Surplices Are for Sissies

Introduction: So imagine for yourself the sweetest little boy in the church, one whose mind turns naturally to edifying themes—the kind of meditative theme inspired by reflections on a porcelain figurine of the infant Samuel at prayer. Suppose further that this boy has plump cheeks, with kind of a rosy tint or glow, and those …

Liturgical Confession

Introduction: As part of our emphasis on practical Christian living, we have emphasized the importance of confession of sin for many years. We have taught (and continue to teach) that confession is nothing less than full honesty before God, and that such honesty is always to be ongoing and immediate. But something else we do …

Hauling In a Ten-Pound Fish on a Five-Pound Line

I am currently working my way through a fascinating book about Reformation-era music called Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism, written by Joseph Herl. It is a tightly-packed scholarly tome, but would be a great read for any pastor interested in musical reformation — as every pastor ought to be. Church music can be divided into …

Catholicity Begins at Home

One of the things I have noticed over the years is that an awful lot of theological assessment is made on the basis of who you are standing next to when you say something. This creates problems if you have ecumenical impulses, because you might be standing next to entirely different types of people at …