Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Waiting

Advent Waiting
By Peter Marty

It’s not just about us. This season let’s come to God.

We lay some pretty heavy burdens on God’s shoulders. We place some fairly serious expectations in God’s lap. On one level, there is nothing wrong with our regular pleading for the Lord of heaven and earth to come through for us. On another level, though, there are problems with this lopsided practice of faith. Why should the weight of responsibility for sustaining a two-way relationship always fall to God?

Take our prayer instincts, for example. The prayers in many congregations commonly conclude with the petition: “Lord, hear our prayer.” It’s as if the burden for listening is on God hearing us rather than on us hearing God. Our ears are evidently exempt when it comes to many prayers. We trot out a list of concerns and hope God will click into gear and show some responsiveness to our requests.

Would that we could learn more from our Jewish counterparts whose focus is more on hearing from God than speaking to God. Our Christian habit of eagerly announcing what we believe or what we want from God is a far cry from the central pronouncement of the Jewish community: “Hear, O Israel.” Their listening approach to faith would do well alongside our many spoken claims, propositions and “I believe” statements.

Or consider the patient and not-so-patient waiting of many believers who want God to reveal a personal plan for their life. The assumption is that God knows who our mate for life should be, what our next career move ought to be and what our odds for succeeding in that brand-new diet plan will be.

God knows the answer to such specifics, many people profess: It’s just that God refuses to reveal that answer to us on the schedule we desire. Never mind that Scripture gives no evidence for this “personal plan” talk, in spite of God having a will about some very large and important things.

It must simply feel good, and sound trusting, to make God responsible for coming up with a personal design for our individual lives.

Our relationship with God

Here’s my proposal for this Advent and Christmas season: Let’s rethink these behavioral tendencies. How about a fresh willingness on our part to actually share in a relationship with the Lord? This would require some different habits than those that typically expect God to make a command performance and rise to meet our needs. We would carry more of our load in sustaining the quality of relationship God desires.

Think of the many times in life when you’ve wondered why God hasn’t been in precisely the place where you most needed God to be. Generally, this declaration of divine absence happens when we are in deep crisis. We may spend precious little energy inquiring as to the whereabouts of God when life is humming smoothly. But when things go awry, the Lord often catches the most heat.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, faith shouldn’t be this way. Why is it that we don’t ask more questions about our absence from God than of God’s absence from us? Given our conspicuous absenteeism from the Lord on many days, this shift in thinking would be refreshing. It would serve as a nice reversal to the troubling practice of often ignoring God, only to expect God to be suddenly at our beck and call.

In the congregation I serve, we use a Taize chant during many Advent services: “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.” This is all well-and-good theology. It matches one strain of Scripture. We must be patient in waiting upon the Lord.

But there is another strain that deserves attention as well. This one has God waiting patiently for us—perhaps waiting for us to finally “get it right.” Here we discover God putting up with all sorts of loose ends, every imaginable form of hard-heartedness and one wrong stacked upon another.

The author of 2 Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (3:9). This faith statement is emblematic of a Lord whose compassion will not foreclose on the future. It’s divine patience at its best—the Lord waiting upon us with grace and mercy.

In an old Jewish parable, a young man is troubled by the delay of the Messiah. He goes to his rabbi and asks: “Why does the Messiah not come? It may have been that in former times the Jews were not ready. But we have now endured the Holocaust and have never been so ready.”

The wise rabbi drops his voice to a low whisper: “I will tell you a great secret,” he says. “It is not we who are waiting for the Messiah. It is the Messiah who is waiting for us. He has been here all the time. We just haven’t found ourselves to be ready for him.”

I like this parable as a reminder that God waits for us—a startling reversal of the way we usually think about our tendency to wait for God.

Part of our Advent commitment ought to be a restoration of surprise to our faith lives. Such a move would free us from the monotony of always expecting God to meet our timetables and answer our every call. It’s time we quit abandoning astonishment, taming the truth and angling for predictable surprises. Like the student who shows up the first day of class to ask his professor, “Tell me exactly what I need to do to get an ‘A’ ” or like the wife who picks her own Christmas presents so her husband may then wrap them, we void life of surprise far too often.

When we remove surprise from faith, we are left with nothing but dead religion.

When was the last time you thanked God for not showing you the future? Maybe it’s time to reverse all that waiting for the Lord to deliver the goods for which you long. Stop waiting for a plan to arrive on your doorstep.

Think instead of the Lord waiting for you: “Surprise me,” the Holy One says. “Tell me what you plan to do with this precious new day I have given you. With great eagerness, I await your next move.”

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turning In My WVU Fan Card

After the Colrado game, I stated that we should fire Coach Bill: Here

Today, I think that I am going to turn my WVU football fan card in.

Yeah, I know it is only sports. Yes, I know it is just one year.

But, man, this season has been pathetic. I really believe that it has to do with the new coaches. Maybe they have the "scheme" that will work for the future BUT they definitely did not use the talent that they have this season in the right way.

As I watched them struggle and then lose to Pitt, I was absolutely shocked and in disbelief at the play-calling. The play-calling was below average all game and the play calling on the 2 - 1st and Goal series that we had were just plain AWFUL.

We may end up with a .500 record this year. We could very easily lose vs. South Florida and then the bowl game. And to think that there were quiet whispers of a National Championship after we dismantled Oklahoma in the bowl game and had most of the fire-power back.

Now, who to root for to play in the National Championship game ?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heart Goes Out to Those in India

Gunmen have targeted nine locations in south Mumbai, including two luxury hotels. A state spokesman put the death toll at 78. Gunmen are holding hostages at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, police said. One witness told reporters gunmen had tried to find people with U.S. or British passports.


It may be a rough night. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jesus is in the Film Frame ....

Jesus is in every film frame ....

Numerous times in my life, I wish that I could have fast-forwarded life. As I look back, in particular, on the last 2 1/2 years, I would have loved to have the thumb on ff button and quickly move on. However, in life, we do not get that option. We must live through every frame of life.

We do not usually see Him though because we are not looking and we are consumed with what is occurring in our lives and are blinded. Most times, we may even be able to justify the blindness because the things that we are going through "are just not fair".

But, if we look back, we can see that He was there in every frame. Would it not be great if as we walked through life, we would recognize his face at every frame. If we could do that, it would make the journey a little more bearable and we may be a little less likely to press the ff button because we might miss something great and we may miss a very valuable lesson.

If I were honest, I know that I would have loved to press the ff button through numerous areas of my life in the recent past. however by doing so, I know that I would have missed out on a great deal. I try very hard and I think that I succeede most times in looking "for and at" the Divine in the daily moments, if we do not; we are going to miss out on a great deal and our hurt will be greater than it needs to be.

I am sorta reminded of the following icon:

God is No Where


God is Now Here

My challenge to me and my challenge to you is to recognize that God is now here. Our life is a "movie" and He is in every frame for us. Take comfort in that and has you go through life and the "kitchen sink" is being thrown at you; see God and grab a hold of him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Update on my Wife

I did not put this up on my blog, however there was some conversations on forums and emails about my wife and wanted to place an update for you, so you will know what has been happening.

Stacey was beginning to feel pain and last week, she called her surgeon and scheduled a visit. The surgeon got her in very quickly. We went up to the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday and they scheduled an EUA (examination under anesthesia) on Friday.

On Friday, we left at 4:15 am and we were a little concerned that we were not going to make it up there due to the snow and the wind. It was almost "whiteout" in a few instances. However, we did get up there and was only a few minutes late.

They got her in and the procedure lasted a little over an hour. I am typing this and my wife is not here and have not cleared what I can and cannot say, so I will say it in the following manner:

They had to do more than normal, thus the surgeon stated that she will be in more pain than normal following the surgical procedure. After 72 hours, I believe that she would concur with the surgeon - her pain is higher than normal.

We have lost count in a sense. We believe that this is her 10th procedure in the last 20 months. One day, we hope and pray that this will end. However, we also understand that unfortunately this may be a continual occurrence and can hope and pray that the time lapse in between them grow. This last time, it was 5 months, so that is a good thing.

Stacey is doing good, not great at the present time. However, I am amazed at how much she is able to do with only 72 hours passing. She is a real trooper. We will need to see how the long trip will play out for her - we are headed to Illinois for Thanksgiving.

So, thank-you for the prayers and I ask you to continue to pray for her as she continues to heal. I also ask you to pray that there can be a respite from this for awhile and that if/when new medications are in place that those medications will work and that there will be no short-term or long-term side effects from the medications.

I love you Stacey, you are such a strong woman to get through all the procedures and to keep the head up during all of this chaos.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ELCA Takes Action to Address Food, Health Crisis in Zimbabwe

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The economic, political and social decline in Zimbabwe has taken a disastrous toll on the country's food supply and medical institutions, including four hospitals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ). To help sustain the services of the hospitals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is providing $600,000 to the ELCZ. The ELCA is allocating another $330,000 for the purchase of 90 metric tons of seed and fertilizer to help secure food production.

"Just 10 years ago Zimbabwe was in a completely different place. The country was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa," said the Rev. Benyam A. Kassahun, program director for Southern Africa, ELCA Global Mission. "Everything is now destroyed," he said, due to political fallout, land confiscation and mismanagement.

In October Kassahun traveled to Zimbabwe. He described the situation there as "a human disaster." Among those who suffer most are "children, especially those under five, and pregnant women, who do not know if they will be able to give birth just because they are hungry," he said.

Kassahun's trip included visits to the ELCZ hospitals -- Manama, Masase, Mnene and Musome. The hospitals can no longer attract and retain qualified medical staff, afford to purchase food and pharmaceuticals to feed and treat patients, and provide ambulatory services. Funds sent by the ELCA to the ELCZ will be used to restore medical services at the hospitals, such as the purchase and storage of drugs, medical supplies and nutritious food; improve shelter conditions for pregnant women; secure telephone and fax machine capabilities; and provide transportation for patients needing specialized care at other medical facilities.

"Nurses at the hospitals are collapsing because they are also hungry," and "doctors are dismissing patients because there is no food to feed them," said Kassahun.

"I've never seen this kind of disaster and death," said Kassahun. "Churches are also in crisis, and pastors are having difficulty surviving. They are also tired of burying the dead and consoling the living. One bishop looked at me and said, 'My monthly salary does not buy two liters of cooking oil.'"

Between 80 and 85 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, said Kassahun. "A lot of men have left the country to look for jobs in neighboring countries. In a matter of one month, from June to July, the inflation rate jumped from 11.2 million percent to 231 million percent. That means the local money is worthless," he said.

"It's hard to understand the inflation rate figure," said the Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission. "To help make sense of that, consider the salary of a pastor which is 300,000 Zimbabwean dollars per month. That salary only buys one loaf of bread. But, even if you have money, there is no food to buy," he said.

In addition to the $600,000 the ELCA is providing to stabilize and restore the services of the four ELCZ medical institutions, Malpica-Padilla said another critical part of the ELCA's response in Zimbabwe is to purchase food, seeds and fertilizer for distribution to about 15,000 families in an effort to provide "food for today and seed for tomorrow." He said the planting season is now. "If seeds are not planted within the next four to five weeks, it will be too late. The plan is for the seed and fertilizer to be purchased now through local partners in South Africa and transported by truck into Zimbabwe."

"Our hope is that these efforts will leverage the support of the United Nations World Food Programme to assist in providing food for the entire community. This effort is a collaborative one led by the Lutheran World Federation's regional expression in southern Africa," said Malpica-Padilla. He added that all funds from the ELCA will be "carefully transferred and will not be wired in one lump sum." Funds allocated by ELCA Global Mission came from the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal.

"God is calling us to share, to walk with the hungry and, to the best of our knowledge, speak on behalf of the voiceless. Zimbabwe is only one corner of the world, yet the kind of disaster happening there is happening all over the world," said Kassahun. "We are called to share from what we have, share from what is at our table. That is what the gospel is to me, what I have come to realize. To feed the hungry is where I find hope and where God wants us all to be."



The market "crashed" in the last hour of trading. The pic above tells the story. It went down in the morning, rebounded nicely, was doing okay after lunch and then at 3 pm. BOOM!


Look at this from CNN Money:

Wall Street slumped Thursday afternoon and the S&P 500 closed at an 11-1/2 year low as fears of a prolonged recession sparked a massive selloff.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index lost 6.7% according to early tallies and closed at its lowest point sine April 14, 1997.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 445 points or 5.6%. It closed at the lowest level since March 12, 2003, just above the low of the last bear market.
Stocks were mostly lower throughout the session after the morning's weak readings on the labor market and manufacturing sector. The major gauges briefly bounced after falling to some key technical levels, before turning lower.

The fate of the automakers and the woes of Citigroup were among the factors dragging stocks down Thursday afternoon. GE slumped too on news that it's not getting additional capital, as had been rumored.

"The wealth destruction is phenomenal," said Tom Schrader, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus.


This makes the Sojournal magazine this month so much more appropriate

Blog Comment Day


People blog for all kinds of different reasons. Some blog to get their thoughts out in a public diary; others blog to share their expertise with others; many more blog for a dozen other reasons.

I blog for the interaction, learning, and friendship that comes from putting my heart and mind out in public and the privilege of people responding through comments.

Though there may be 100 reasons why people blog, I've yet to meet a blogger who doesn't appreciate comments. For this reason I'm starting Blog Comment Day on December 3, 2008. Here's how it works:

On December 3, 2008 you will leave one comment on at least 5 different blogs.
Out of the 5 blogs you comment on, at least 2 of them will be blogs you haven't commented on previously.

That's it. Simple, right?



I am glad that I received the notice. I will participate. Now, I need to go over and let them know. Now, the question for me, who's blogs that I "lurk" at do I want to comment on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Thanks to The Naked Pastor

My head was spinning this afternoon after I got back home from the church office. I was reflecting a number of issues from church on Sunday and from conversations that I had in the office and looking ahead to the Council meeting tonight ....

It was one of those, throw the towel in weekends and hope that the bleeding stops.

Now, it was not a throw the towel in, I am quitting the church aspect. It was more of a. "I am done fighting on a few hills and I am going to just let the chips fall where they may ......."

Well, I had 30 minutes before we get ready for swimming, church notes and council and I decided to read a few blogs before the night gets rolling .... here is a blog that I read .......

One of the most difficult things to know when you are involved in a church is that it is not an institution primarily. That is what it is called when it is organized, instituted, businessed, and controlled. The truth is that it is basically a group of people in relationship with one another and with the spirit of Jesus. This is essentially it. Not only does this take the pressure off of me having to perform on Sunday mornings and present a production. It also takes the pressure off of people having to shop around until they find the best show in town.

Of course, this is rarely remembered. Especially when numbers are low, my mind stretches toward imagining new and fantastic ways of attracting people. And if the Sunday morning just doesn’t do it for me, I’m tempted to look over the fence for greener grass. Not much different than any relationship actually. When someone comes to me to discuss a difficulty they’re having in a relationship, and they say something like, “The romance is gone!” I usually say something like, “Well, that’s good. Now the necessary work begins!” But that’s when most bail. Honeymoons are getting shorter.

I’m not sour-graping or resentful about this. I’m just as human as the next guy. If we have a down day I’m just as inclined to want to throw in the towel. Until I remember that these are my friends. It’s them I’d be bailing on. What’s this “church” thing that always gets me so frustrated and depressed? It’s nothing but a label. It’s a label used to try to describe something. When I obsess over the label, that’s when I lose sight. The label is not the thing. The word is not the reality. The reality is the mutual love we have for one another. That’s where it begins, and where it ends.

The posts spoke to me and the bolded line (my emphasis) jumped out at me. I am getting back into the ring and I am asking for the towel to not be thrown in.

The issues on the burner and the battles on the hill are worth "dying" for and the reason that they are worth dying for is the following ....

The ministries that we are discussing involve friends that I love. Families that I care for and we are a community. We need each other. There are things that we need/must do to make our community more of a family and thus the steps must be taken .... whether we have resources or not.

I am off to take Jacob swimming, drop Bethany and Isaiah off at the school so they can go to church notes. While Jacob is swimming, I am going to listen to some music and walk (thanks to an ipod giving to me) and brainstorm for tonights meeting.

Walking Update .....

Some have asked; so here you go ....

Well, I did get back up over the 100 mile mark for the week, but I did not really make up any miles. I did have a high total for a single day during this week and that was on Tuesday. But, the high day was "for not" in the sense that it did not push my week total that high.

Here are the week totoals:

Sunday – 24,738
Monday – 21,964
Tuesday – 75,176
Wednesday – 23,684
Thursday – 29,271
Friday – 15,116
Saturday – 18,277

Total = 212,226 ………. 104 miles

Week 9 Walk

Total Journey

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Upward Basketball: Blow-Out City

Tonight was Isaiah's basketball game (Purdue Boilermaker's) for Upward. It was a blow-out. Over the years, we have sat through many blow-outs, usually, we are on the losing end of them. Tonight, we were the winning team.

We won 43-8. Those games can definitely be rough.

Isaiah did not score tonight even though the team tried to get him in the scoring column many times. However, he play a fantastic defense game and husseled everywhere and wiped up the floor numerous times by diving all over the court for the ball.


Perfect season :) ao far.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Change in Church

Churches are notorious for feuding over what is already dying while they lose focus on the timeless principles that really matter. Just remember, even the most ground-breaking version of today's Church will ultimately have to be redesigned and reborn.

I love this statement !

I really wish that we could focus on the timeless principles and values and not feud and fight over items (programs) that are quickly dying.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Food: Southwestern U.S. Style

Two of the American favorites come together to make the donut / hamburger sandwhich.


This may make you sick ....


The Where-Is-Your-God-Now? Burger from MAKE MOVIES on Vimeo.


But, oh how I want to do it !!

Wait! It Was About Hamburger's


My big spike was not due to the election. It was about HAMBURGER'S !!

Over the last 5 days, I have had 298 visits regarding hamburger's.

The 298 visits have come from the following post:


For you see, on October 29th, 2007 (yes, over a year ago), I did the following post:


I loved the restaurant and company that I ate with, especially Sarah Norton and Doug Pagitt. They are both great conversationalist.

Who would have known that a year later, I would be getting numerous hits on that post. But, because of it, I now have a new site to check out:


I am going to search the dite for new hamburger's to make and more importantly; some new places to go and grab a burger and fries.

So, I will not have to post about politics to get the spike, IT IS FOOD !


Who wants to make a run to an unknown restaurant and get a burger ?

Keep Walking ......

Ugh .... this is what keeps going through my head while I walk around town. I really need to get me a music device so I can listen to music, sermons, talks or ....

Yesterday, I was a walking mad-man and today, I am "taking-off" for a cool down day. I walked 75,176 steps yesterday or 35.5 miles. Now, that is quite a bit of walking.

Thus, keep walking bumps through my brain ...UGH

Monday, November 10, 2008

People Like Problems ....

People like problems they know MORE than problems they don't know

Hmmm, I think that this might sum of why some individuals do not like change and the reason that they are "comfortable" with the status quo.

I believe that there are a few things that we need to "shake-up" but if we shake things up, we do not know what problems will come our way. If we remain on the path that we are on, there are going to be a lot of problems, however, we know the problems and can navigate them a little more easily. Going in a different direction, it will cause a bumpy ride.

In areal sense, I want the bumpy ride.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Election Day Spike

I have around 30 regular readers. However, on election day, I had an election day spike. My picutes and post on election day had "rolled" to the top of search engines and I had a number of people click to the blog. Take a look at my "spike". I am sure that all the new visitors were a little disappointed.

I think that I had more 1st time visitors on post-election day (Wed) then I had for all of September, October and first part of November.

On Wednesday, here were my numbers:

I had 185 different individuals visit my site.

23 were returning folks and 162 were first time visitors.

Just wanted to share, not that that is earth-shattering news.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Browns, You Need A Defense

As a Steelers fan, I always love to see the Browns lose. However, I was rooting for Brady tonight and he did a good job. When Isaiah came in and asked who I was rooting for, I told him the Broncos in a close game with Quinn having a great game .. prophecy, I tell you.

The announcers I believe were giving Winslow a hard time. Yes, he did have the interference, a fumble and a dropped pass to end the game ... BUT ... he also had 10 catches, 111 uards and 2 TD's ...

Let's talk about the Defense. They blew the lead again. Their defensive backs can not cover and they can not tackle.

McDonald, your pass deflecting stat might look nice (3) but, man .. you got burnt.

Look at all the White Faces

This is what McCain was looking at as he was giving his concessional speech. I went and listen to his speech on youtube and this was very tpical in the crowd shots.

Do you notice anything ? Ohhh wait, my post title might give you a hint.

Philosophy Over Coffee game me a heads up and have been looking at this issue.

Very Interesing ....

Marketing: Starbuck's Vs. The Church

This (in my opinion) is a great Parable on Marketing and looking at it through the lens of the church & starbucks. Unfortunately, I recognize all the "pokes".

Consumerism in the church, what do you think ?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our Political Candidates

Obama, Palin, McCain and Biden ......

A little humor never hurts. From a quick scan on the blogs and facebook statuses and the radio, it looks like people are heated up and mad and numerous are spitting fire ... here is to a laugh and a prayer .. and a song ... everything is gonna be alright

Our State: Ohio

Ohio did go to Obama and the Democrats. However, one of the thingsthat interest me is when you take a look at the county breakdowns. I may bore you with numerous states and I apologize but it is more for me to "remember" the election.

But, I think that it is a very interesting case study to take a look at the election and see the vast difference between the "urban" vote and the "rural" vote. Below is the state of Ohio:

In our "rural" county, the county went for McCain. Our county vote was 56 - 42%.

So, to those that tackle the issue, why do you think that the "urban" went to Obama and the Rural went to McCain ?

Obama Wins

Here are the results. All votes are not in and some states are still too close to call but enough are in for us to know that Obama won.

I think that it is still safe to say that there is still a divide in our country between the north and south. Blue in the north and red in the south. Florida is blue but I think that you can say that Florida is really a north state with how many "northerners" retire to Florida.

I was at breakfast this morning and there were was already "spin" going on ... *sigh*

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Church Fruit Versus Kingdom Fruit

Today was another sad day for me as I sat in/on the Wayne County Student Network Meeting. I really wish (pray) that we could be more about the kingdom then our individual churches. We look through such a small lens and are so me-focused.

I am not going to go through the statements in the meeting ...... it will just be too depressing ....

Ohhhh, btw, in case you have not heard, I heard this moening that there is something called voting and elections going on today and tonight, they may (strong emphasis on may) announce who our next President will be ......

Speaking of which ..... I was definitely in the minority at the Student Meeting and in the unamious crowd at the Interfaith Partnership meeting.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Reasonable Letter To Pastors On Election

Out of all that I have received and seen ... this may be it ....

Pastoral letter to the ELCA on the U.S. Presidential Election

In the Lutheran community of faith we value both public and private discourse, because we believe God works in vital and redemptive ways with human words. In the closing weeks of a presidential campaign, we share with our neighbors of all faiths high expectation for our public discourse. The words uttered by those seeking office and those voting have power, not only to provide the substance necessary for good decision making, but also to bring hope.

Let us maintain a level of discourse worthy of this important moment in our nation’s history and the pressing issues demanding our attention. Let us focus on the vital issues facing our nation and the world. The ELCA’s social statement, "The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective," calls this church to "promote sound, critical, and creative citizenship and public service" and encourages us to join in public deliberations. As we are called also "to contribute toward the upbuilding of the common good," we can express the expectation that the candidates call for an end to personal attacks, and focus on the issues and things that matter to all of us.

With the current financial crisis sweeping the United States and the world, it is too easy to forget those who are most vulnerable, people who live in poverty here at home and abroad. They deserve our attention too, as we prepare to determine this nation’s direction for the next four years. Instead of personal attacks, I appeal to the McCain and Obama campaigns and related message groups to bear in mind and recall for all of us the situations of our sisters and brothers who will suffer the most from our current economic turmoil.

Finally, I call on all of us eligible to vote to exercise faithful civic engagement on November 4. Lutherans acknowledge the instrumental role of government in society, and participation in the electoral process is an example of our affirmation of baptism to "serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus" and "to strive for justice and peace in all the earth."

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Halloween 2008: The Kids

Here are some pics of our children in their costumes:



Jacob and Isaiah


All of Them