Monthly Archives July 2014

Baltimore Sun on 26 July 1920

H. L. Mencken wrote:

“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

One might ask whether these united States may have arrived at a ‘more perfect’ democracy.  Although I am certain that Mr. Mencken was far too rough on people.  As Mr. Nock noted, if one takes modern men and women for what they are, then one is not surprised or shocked or dismayed by their actions.  Since it remains true that psychically-anthropoids vastly out number psychically-humans, the resulting chaos is what is to be expected.


Sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.  3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.  3:18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.  3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”  3:20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”  3:21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,  3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all belong to you,  3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Mission San Juan, San Antonio, Texas

Grace and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Our epistle reading is an example of a literary unit that is broken apart at interesting places.
  • We can only ask what does the epistle say; what does it mean; and what does it do?
  • Here we have Paul continuing to admonish good Christians that are full of pride, license, jealousy, selfishness and … well you know…
    • Just like us!
  • But Paul knows that appealing to the Corinthians to be moral is not the solution to their problems.
  • No, the evangelical solution is forgiveness in the Gospel.
  • He (and we) begin today by being reminded that the foundation of life is
    • “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8)
    • that foundation is Jesus Christ.(3:11)And upon this foundation, God in His mercy has created little temples to Himself….that is you and I.
  • He puts Himself in these little temples as
    • ‘…God’s Spirit dwells in…’ them (3:16)
  • God also posts a warning sign outside of these temples
  • Anyone that destroys this temple will also be destroyed.
    • By the way, this is a warning to others as well as ourselves.
    • Do not destroy yourself with by following false teachers & false leaders.
  • We, of course, are smarter and more clever than these poor wretched Corinthians.
  • We have two-thousand years of information to make us wise beyond any first century cretin.
  • God laughs at our craftiness and you will too!
  • Listen to these absurdities, you hear them all the time;
    • “Everyone is a winner!”
    • “All the men are handsome and all the women are beautiful!”
    • “All the children are above average!”
    • Perhaps funniest of all; “Hope has returned!”
    • Oh yes, ‘there’s a new dawn a’ coming’ and
    • Utopia, the promised land, is just around the corner.
  • In my neck of the woods, there are two towns; Tarpley and Utopia.
    • Tarpley advertises itself as “Not Quite Utopia”
    • Tarpley would be St. Paul’s kind of place.
  • Don’t listen to that stuff!
    • The snow job of the ‘wise’ is to get you to believe what they say…
    • They are liars and murderers because they are the children of devil.
    • God says, “…that they are futile.” (3:20)
  • Forget what the wise leaders say, it doesn’t matter….
  • Quit fussing over the little things, because,
    • “…all things are yours…”(3:21)
  • Now let’s not strip our gears
  • Paul shifted the whole focus of his words
    • Stay with us……
  • All things are yours because;
    • He was with God in the beginning.
    • Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
    • In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.(John 1:2-4)
  • AND…
    • “…he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Eph. 1:4)
  • As baptized children of God…
  • Jesus Christ has taken you for His own
  • You can’t escape!
  • You little temples…you….
  • Jesus Christ has taken you for His own; and
    • “Christ belongs to God.” (3:23)
  • As such, today you will receive all things…
  • the body and blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
  • because you are His.  Amen




Prayers of the Congregation

Cross at Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas

LORD God, see that we do not put our trust in anything that we do: Mercifully protect us with your power and defend us against all adversity.

Hear our prayer

ALMIGHTY God, you have given eternal salvation to those who believe: Hear our prayer for all who are sick: We ask for your mercy and healing so that they may rejoin us in giving thanks to you.

Hear our prayer

CREATOR God, you ordered the universe according to your will: Deliver us from chaos by convicting our leaders that they might repent and restore to us free and responsible government that we may be a people of peace, order and humility according to your will.

Hear our prayer

O LORD God Almighty, who removes ideologues and quiets the noise and turmoil of the masses: We ask you to disperse those that create mischief and bring an end to their violence: Remove the unjust from leadership and prevent the revolutionaries from causing trouble: remove all envious and malicious preoccupations and bind all the wicked, so that the whole world may be at rest before you.

Hear our prayer

LORD of host, who has gathered your angels under the leadership of Michael: We ask you to send your guardians to protect, defend and lead all of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith.

Hear our prayer

LORD God of passion, who sent your evangelic angel with the Good News of the birth of Christ: Give voice to your angelic evangels; those pastors, ministers and chaplains; that they may speak your Word of forgiveness and salvation to your people and all those who believe.

Hear us, merciful LORD, in these our humble prayers, which we offer to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.



Hammock Camping; a new trick

Should file this one under, ‘teaching old dogs new tricks.’

I have been camping and in the outdoors all my life (suffice it to say well over half a century).  Any way, unlike our friends to the north, here in central Texas we do not have bears.  No, instead we have the much more vicious and formidable red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta).


The boy who has long since become the past tense of me, never had to worry about fire ants, imported or otherwise.  Oh, I had chiggers and ticks, which I shared with my dogs.  Those were pests to be dealt with one at a time.  Since the fire ant was ‘accidentally’ imported, chiggers and ticks are no longer to be feared.  This can not be said for the fire ant.

No, when you encounter a fire ant, you encounter thousands of fire ants.  There is no single fire ant!  They attack as one, but are in reality hundreds of thousands.  They are everywhere now, one the ground, under the ground, in the trees, under the brush.  It seems that they like campsites especially well.  Ergo, sleeping on the ground has become a test.  Are you setting up on top of a fire ant mound?  Just to the side of a fire ant mound?  Will a scout fire ant wander through and alert the million others that there is fresh meat on the ground.  You get the picture.

Over the past few years, I had been looking at and considering the use of a camping hammock to keep myself and my children from becoming fire ant feed.  However, cost constraints kept me from buying a camping hammock (Have you seen the price of those things!).  Recently, I was pleased to come across Kenneth Kramm’s channel.  Mr. Kramm is an old time camper, hiker and backpacker – similar in many respects to yours truly.  Mr. Kramm has the advantage of living in the east part of Texas, while I am of the prairie (really a live oak savannah, but who would know with all the juniper covering everything).  So, Mr. Kramm has a few advantages in woodcraft that do not exist in my country.  However, he has traveled in the state parks near and around my country.  I have watched several of his videos and I recommend them.

Of particular interest was Mr. Kramm’s entry Bedroll & Haversack Camping in the 1800s: #5 Hammocks.  Finally, I had found an answer to getting a camping hammock that I could use.  Taking Mr. Kramm’s idea and adapting it to what I had in the barn, closet and various other hiding places, here is the results:


It works great as a summer set up!  I have made a few adjustments in how the hammock is attached to the trees, but otherwise it remains as is.

It does get cold in my country.  Not like this past winter (2013-14) up north, but we did have winter this year.  This presented the next question, how to camp in my hammock in the winter?

I stumbled across Wilderness Outfitters site.  Guess what?  Right there was the solution to the winter cold.  The video; Winterizing the Hammock for the Common Man, was spot on.  I went out and purchased the material, although had I searched long enough I may have found the materials in my barn.  So, here are the additions:


On the left is reflective insulation and on the right is a yoga mat (don’t worry I am not contorting myself in an effort to attain enlightenment).

Once the insulation and mat are installed in the hammock, it begins to take shape:


I then add my old wool mexican blanket:


Of course we have insects, even in winter.  So, add mosquito netting:


Finally, given the unpredictability of the nationalist weather service, one should add a cover for precipitation:


I have used this set up through the winter and into the summer with great results.  The main thing is that I have not had one fire ant to sleep with me or keep me awake at night.  Well done!

A big tip of the hat to Ken Kramm and Dave Canterbury.

Happy Camping.


Kitsch or Artistic

The decor of our humble abode is a combination of the practical and various projects of our children.  In other words, our house is lived in.

While cleaning up the barn for our annual July invasion, I came across some old ash trays that were used by my grandparents.  Additionally, there were a pair of antlers from a long gone buck.  Given a moment of (artistic) kitsch inspiration and some cleaning, I came up with this:



Isn’t that interesting?

Perhaps, I should include some other things…..



Finally, once all the parts are together, one gets an interesting centerpiece….



Hard to say if this is good, but at least it is has some purpose (other than collecting dust in the barn….now it collects dust in the house).



Church Grieve….err… Growth….

Over at Social Matters, Nick B. Stevens has written: The Search for Religious Relevance (or How I Missed my First Anniversary)



Now, all of this should be obvious to those who attend Lutheran Churches.  However, in recent conversations and in observing recent events, it would seem that it is not as obvious as it seems.

Except for the remnant, all would be lost.


Seromon: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
6:1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
6:4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
6:18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Cross at Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas

Grace and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller writes that, “The mark of the evangelical – The mark of the pietist, is that: Growth, Good Works and Obedience to God’s Word is the mark of the Christian Life;and anything Sacramental or anything to do with the Means of Grace utterly conflicts with that!”

Of course, none of us are like that, are we? No….
We believe our manners and customs more enlightened, our intelligence and culture immeasurably superior.
Brim-full of hypocritical cant and puritan ideas, we preach, pray and whine.

We are the most parsimonious of wretches, yet we extol charity;
• the most inveterate blasphemers, yet we are the readiest exporters;
• the worst of dastards, yet we are the most shameless boasters;
• the most selfish of people, yet we are the most blatant philanthropists;
• the blackest-hearted hypocrites, yet we are religious fanatics.

We are agitators and schemers, braggarts and deceivers, swindlers and extortionists, and yet pretend to Godliness, truth, purity and humanity.  We are the inheritors of the puritanical spirit which manifests itself in the nagging suspicion that someone, somewhere is having a good time.

On top of all of our poor behavior, we also killed the Son of God!
That’s right!
You heard correctly.
You and I are participants in this great crime and there is nothing we can do about it.

Jesus knows who we are.
He tells us straight up in John 8:44 ff;

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.”

We respond; “Hey, wait just a minute. You can not say that!”

He continues by saying; “…because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!”

Again, we say; “It’s just that you are saying mean things about us.”

Jesus simply states; “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?”

Then we really get warmed up; “That is not the issue, the issue is that you have been talking mean to us and you’ve got to go!”
Or better yet we yell; “Crucify him!”

Picking up the preaching office, St. Paul writes in our epistle reading (2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10);

5:20b We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
5:21 For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

He goes on to describe what a Christian life is really all about.
Like St. Paul, Martin Luther writes that there are seven characteristics that are the mark of the true Church:
Holy Communion;
Divine Worship; and

That’s right!
Sacramental living and dependence on the Means of Grace.
Through baptism, Jesus takes all your sin.
Jesus strengthens you with his body and blood.
That you may recognize that;

(Luke 6:40) The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

And be recognized as;
Holy Christian people by the Cross; and
Living on the Sacraments and being dependent on the Means of Grace includes;
suffering persecution; being subjected to hate; undergo misfortune; all sorts of tribulation and evil from the Devil [remember the Lord’s Prayer]; the world and flesh; inwardly morn; be stupid; be frightened; outwardly poor; scorned; ill; weak; and suffer in silence and obedience; So that you are like Christ our Lord.

Then Jesus says to you three things;

(Matt. 5) “Blessed are they who suffer persecution for my sake….’
(Luke 17:10) So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’


… your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

with the gifts of the Sacraments; the Means of Grace; and keep you in the

righteousness of God.


Tempus Dei (God’s Time)

All things will be provided in their time….