September Calendar Added

Click on the tab, above, titled “Calendar” to view all the events scheduled for September.  It’s a busy month with fall programming starting up, and we hope you can be a part of some of our learning, study, and service opportunities.  See you soon!

On Suffering

Someone once asked C.S. Lewis, “Why do the righteous suffer?”

“Why not?” he replied. “They’re the only ones who can take it.”

Our gospel reading this Sunday (Matthew 16:21-28) is the story of Peter denying the fact that Jesus had to go to Jerusalem and suffer and die for God’s purpose, in him and for us, to be fulfilled (forgiveness of sin and new & eternal life for us).  Like Peter we too want to deny the facts of suffering, and often we hear the question, “Why do good people have tosuffer?”  Perhaps we should instead ask, “Is suffering a fact of faith or is faith a response to the fact of suffering?”

I’ve found this story about the founders of our Christian Creeds of Faith incredibly interesting:

At the Nicene Council (an important church meeting in the 4th century A.D. at which our Nicene Creed was written), of the 318 delegates attending, fewer than 12 had not lost an eye or lost a hand or did not limp on a leg lamed by torture for their Christian faith.

Suffering as fact of faith, or faith as fact of suffering?

Looking Forward To It

This Sunday, August 21, we will be considering Peter’s confession of faith, a reading on spiritual gifts in the body of Christ, and a poem of steadfast love from the prophet Isaiah.  All three of these readings are proclaiming truth for the moment, but also pointing to a time beyond the now.

On the outside looking in, some see the faith practices of Christianity (going to worship on Sunday, praying before meals, Sunday School attendance, service to neighbor and various moral convictions) as old-fashioned.  Quaint.  Historical, even.  A nice vestige of a bygone era.  But what if we lived our faith in such a way that we met, perhaps even welcomed, the uncertainties of the future with hope and confidence?

God of all times, your strong arm stretches from the past, into the present, and beyond us into the future.  Because of your Son, we are looking forward to it.  Amen.

Name That Header Contest

First, we want to thank all of you loyal blog readers.  It’s such a thrill to know that we are connecting near and far in this way.  God is so good!

Secondly, the blog celebrated its 3rd birthday in July.  Can you believe that?  You know, it takes some creativity to keep a blog interesting and lively.  We have done well with keeping the weekly posts going, maintaining links and keeping the tabs up to date…but we have not been so great at maintaining visual interest.  We’ve made only minor changes to the layout for the past 36 months.  Mostly, that’s good–complete website overhauls can be confusing.  But sometimes it makes for a “blah” experience if you are a frequent visitor…and many of you are.

SO, to spice things up a little bit, we are introducing a little contest once a month called “Name That Header.”  Once a month for the next year, the header* will change.  Be the first to identify the photo by leaving a comment either here or on FB, and you will win a little prize!  Pastorhh will notify you if you win.  Simple.  Fun.  Good luck!

*the picture at the very top of the blog that contains the heading: First Lutheran of Blooming Prairie

Imposter Syndrome

How many of us start our first day of our first job saying to ourselves I shouldn’t be here.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  If they knew how little I know, they’d fire me.

In psychology, the term for this is Imposter Syndrome.  Those who have find it impossible to internalize their own accomplishments.  They dismiss their achievements as luck, timing, or the result of “fooling” others.  At its worst, those afflicted by Imposter Syndrome believe themselves to be frauds.  These feelings of inadequacy are especially prevalent among those in higher academic circles, particularly graduate students, men and women alike.

One controversy of the early church (there were several, just like today!) centered around the Jewish people and God’s relationship to them.  Christ has come, some argued.  What about the Jews who do not believe in him?  Paul’s answer in Romans chapters 9-11 is a long and complex argument that we have been reading over the past few weeks.  This Sunday, August 14, the argument boils down to one phrase, Romans 11:29:  for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

I think there are many who feel some level of Imposter Syndrome feelings as Christians. Who am I to go to worship every Sunday? I don’t know enough to teach Sunday School.  Don’t look to me as an example, youth group.

And yet, God has called us, and given us gifts.  Do Imposter Syndrome feelings hold you back from serving and giving as you have been gifted and called?  If so, how can we nail that to the cross, too?

Calling God, what you say and do and give to us will never be revoked–even (especially!) when we make mistakes.  May we live into that Good News fully and deeply.  Amen.

August 2011 Calendar Posted

Hi Friends,

Can you believe that August is here?  Don’t get me started!  Anyway, the church calendar is posted for you.  Just click on the green tab, above, to view it.  You may also print from your browser if you’d like.  Enjoy these summer days.