No nativity scene would be complete without those three wise men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, kneeling reverently before the manger while their faithful camels look on. And of course, there’s one African, one Caucasian, and one Asian in appearance. Who knew that the first Christmas was so diverse and inclusive, even before that was a … Continue reading We Three… Kings?
It surprises many to learn that the Twelve Days of Christmas (birds and all) are not the days leading up to Christmas, but the days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas Day and leading up to Epiphany. First off, the month of December – contrary to popular belief – is not Christmas time. The roughly four … Continue reading The Twelve Days of… Not Yet
Ah, yes. The topic everyone has an opinion on, and a topic most people even agree on: churches should spend a whole lot less time talking about and asking for my money. But why do churches take offerings, preach about giving, hold "Stewardship" Sundays and even hold fundraisers? The answer has to do with two … Continue reading Why Do We Do That: Churches and Money
See that beautifully manicured mullet up there? Yep, that's me, about a month after my 14th birthday and finishing the 8th grade. It's my confirmation photo. If you weren't raised Catholic or Lutheran, you may have no idea what confirmation is. So let me try and explain it - from the Lutheran perspective. For many … Continue reading Why Do We Do That: Confirmation
In spite of the fact that we are not able to gather in person to observe it, the Season of Lent nevertheless concludes this week in what is known as Holy Week. Holy Week has been observed since the earliest days of the Church, and reflects what is known as Christ's Passion, or suffering, on … Continue reading Why Do We Do That: Holy Week
In a previous post, I began exploring the question of why I am Lutheran, particularly with all of the choices out there among Christian denominations. While there are differences among Lutherans (a topic which I will explore in a future post), let's take a look at what makes Lutheranism in general different from other Christian … Continue reading The Lutheran Difference, Part 2
In a previous post, I began exploring the question of what makes Lutheranism different from other Christian denominations, and why that is appealing to me. I think it's especially interesting to people because I have spent time studying and teaching about religion and theology, and because I have spent time worshiping at and with many … Continue reading A Tangent: Denominationalism
As many of you know by now, I was raised in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Then, as an adult I spent a great deal of time "church shopping" my way through other Christian denominations before God brought me back into the LCMS. One of the things I did not like about the LCMS … Continue reading Why Do We Do That: Vestments
At some point, while watching the History Channel, talking to friends or browsing social media, you are bound to come across a familiar refrain: "Christmas isn’t Christian! Jesus was born in the summer! December 25th was stolen from the Egyptians/Babylonians/Romans! Christmas trees are pagan! Santa is an anagram of Satan!" And once again, it's not … Continue reading Christmas Is Most Definitely NOT Pagan
The church year begins with the season of Advent, which we are in now. Advent is the season of Christmas carols, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating and Christmas parties. But the most recognizable part of Advent, apart from the Advent wreath, is the Advent Calendar, which counts down to Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus. … Continue reading Advent… of What?