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Archive for May, 2009

From Reporter Online, the official newspaper of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, posted April 22, 2009: Two churches burn, one classified as arson:

Investigators say the early-morning fire April 4 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Yankton, S.D., was set deliberately, but church officials have no idea why.

“A tornado you can understand,” St. John’s Pastor David Gunderson told the Argus Leadernewspaper.  “This, you wonder why people would do it.”  Gunderson says he knows of no one who would have a grudge against the 500-family congregation.

The fire was discovered about 3:20 a.m.  Some 65 firefighters from Yankton and nearby towns fought the blaze for seven hours, and had to return once when winds reignited it.

Most of the damage is on the south end of the complex, so a lounge, offices, and work rooms are “pretty much [totaled],” according to Gunderson.  Collapsed ceilings, and smoke and water damage are “everywhere,” he said.

Total damages are estimated at more than $2 million, most of which is expected to be covered by insurance.  Repairs — including the meticulous cleaning of a $300,000 pipe organ — may take six months or more to complete, as part of the complex will have to be rebuilt.

 Associate Pastor Steven Weispfennig, who has been at St. John’s — his first congregation — for only nine months, described the week or so after the fire as “an emotional rollercoaster,” as he experienced “shock and sadness at what we lost,” as well as “joy in seeing the congregation coming together and supporting and encouraging one another.”

Perhaps as a symbol of the congregation’s resilience, its “eternity candle” continued to burn, even as firefighters were hosing down the building.  Located in the main worship area, hanging above the baptismal font, the candle’s flame has never gone out.

That congregational resilience was evident within 24 hours of the disaster, when St. John’s held a Palm Sunday worship service with communion, new-member welcome, a children’s choir, and palm branches that were “miraculously preserved” in a church cooler.  All Holy Week and subsequent services were held at Mount Marty College, a Catholic institution two blocks south that has offered its auditorium to St. John’s “for as long as we need it,” according to Gunderson.

“The community support has been overwhelming,” he said.  “Other churches have raised funds for us.  Everybody’s offered us a place for weddings.”  The church’s preschool and offices also have been relocated.

In the midst of members’ shock and sadness, the congregation is “adapting,” said the pastor.  “Overall, we’re still in the business of sharing the Gospel with people.”  In fact, 19 St. John’s youth were confirmed on Sunday, April 19, at Mount Marty.

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I’ve been online so little of late that I’ve just been following links around, and skipping to and fro, getting a feel for the place again (so to speak). It’s funny, isn’t it, how so often when you do that, some sort of pattern seems to develop…

Fixed on Eternity

A Good Reminder to Take Time Out

Meaningless, meaningless? Maybe Not.

The Unheard Questions

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My thanks to Kelly Antonczak, for bringing this powerful video from Willow Creek Leadership Summit to my attention. It’s not in my style particularly (how much I dislike rap, or anything like it, I can’t tell you), but I’m glad I stuck it out. Hankie alert. Parental guidance suggested.

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I like rice and beans, but I haven’t tried it Jennifer F’s way, yet (see Quick Take #7). But it sounds good. (And easy. Yay easy.)

We eat a lot of oatmeal, but I haven’t tried baked oatmeal yet. But it sounds good. And we’re having cold weather (again, or do I mean still?), so I’m happy to find an excuse to use the oven to warm up that part of the house. (hat tip: Veronica on the Verge)

I found the following recipe in the remains of a church cookbook somebody brought to our bookstore. Amongst the missing parts of the cookbook is the part that would tell me where the cookbook is from and when it was printed, but from adding clues from here and there together, it seems to be some church called St. Andrews, and it seems to be in the Portland, Oregon area, and I’d peg it from anywhere between twenty and forty years ago, at a wild guess. (It’s from when we were all taught to double space after a sentence, if that helps any…) At any rate, there is a recipe in there for Amazingly Fast Cookies, submitted by a Karen Davis, and the subtitle is “No, there isn’t any flour!” I couldn’t resist trying them, to see what cookies without flour come out like. To my surprise, if you’d handed me the cookies and had me sample some, and hadn’t told me that there wasn’t flour in them, I wouldn’t have guessed. They’re a bit too rich for me, but if you’re feeling like experimenting, or have wheat allergies, or are having a cookie attack without flour in the house, here goes: 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg. Cream everything together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes… Yields 30 to 40 cookies.

Added: This post has a link to a recipe for a pureed zucchini soup made with chicken stock, olive oil, and nutmeg.

Added: This (go to number 10) doesn’t sound like what I think of when I think Apple Pancake, but it sure sounds good.

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Denny Hartford recommends An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, by Nigel Lawson, and says it’s available in paperback with an updated afterword. I haven’t seen the book, but anything that injects reason into the ‘global warming’ needless hysteria fest is welcome, in my view.

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then and now.

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I just stumbled across a blog where a pastor is hoping to host a million prayers for President Obama. That’s not a bad goal, I’d say. Do read the guidelines before you join in, please.

Added: There’s a pro-lifer in Minnesota who needs our prayers now. Update May 6, 2009: Good news!

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Please note the reaction of the audience to this Christian ballad sung by Alison Krauss.

America’s jaded, did you say?

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Via This time last year…, Jennifer F. at Conversion Diary discusses the problems she’s had in her life with the gods of other people’s opinions.

A taste of Jennifer’s post (emphasis mine):

At a young age, I think pretty much every human begins to notice two fundamental things within themselves:

  • a yearning to know where we currently stand in relation to the best version of ourselves we could possibly be, and
  • an understanding that we are not very good at evaluating this ourselves.

That second point caused me a fair amount of angst when I was an atheist. I had this vague, unspoken sense that lingered in my subconscious of somehow wanting “approval” for what I was doing with my life, and even for who I was as a person. Years of half-hearted dabbling in various secular, introspection-based self-help techniques made one thing pretty clear: giving myself a thumbs-up didn’t cut it. Though I felt reasonably sure that I was meeting my own general standards of being a “good person,” my ideas about the details of rights and wrongs and the best way to live life were forever in flux. Relying on myself for my sense of self was like trying to moor a ship by dropping the anchor on the deck. It wasn’t working.

This is where having a website got tricky…

Read the rest.

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What Barbara Curtis and her family learned from a paper route… 🙂

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