November 2011

Unpopular Love


Kierkegaard’s Fight for True Christian Love


At the end of Søren Kierkegaard’s great book on Christian love, entitled Works of Love (1847), he writes. 

Christianity is not infrequently presented in a certain sentimental, almost soft, form of love. It is all love and love; spare yourself and your flesh and blood; have good days or happy days without self-concern, because God is Love and Love – nothing at all about rigorousness must be heard; it must all be the free language and nature of love. Understood in this way, however, God’s love easily becomes a fabulous and childish conception, the figure of Christ too mild and sickly-sweet for it to be true that he was and is an offense to the Jews, foolishness to the Greeks [1 Corinthians 1:17] – that is, as if Christianity were in its dotage (Kierkegaard’s Writings 16:376).

Use these words as an entrance into Kierkegaard’s book on love. Use these words also as a challenge to keep Christian love Biblical – and, as a result, unpopular as well. Amen.


                                                                                                                      Pastor Marshall


X  X  X


               PRESIDENT'S REPORT.... by Matthew Kahn

 For over two hundred years the United States has been officially celebrating Thanksgiving in November.  This Thanksgiving I wanted to juxtapose the current holiday filled with family, football, feasts, parade balloons, and of course, the start of the holiday shopping season with the first official Thanksgiving as provided by George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

    NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of government for our saety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

    GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

                                                                                (signed) G. Washington

Thanksgiving was set up as a day of “PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER.” How different is the county today? This Thanksgiving let us remind ourselves of what the original intention of Thanksgiving was and to give thanks to God for His blessings for they are numerous!

     One of our blessings is the continued giving of our Parish.  September saw Total General Budget Income at $17,598.41 this was well more than one thousand dollars short of our budget of $19,043.00. However this shortfall was not as painful as it could have been because we kept our expenses low in the month.  We originally expected to spent $19,873.10 in the month of September but we actually only spent $18,846.37, for a difference of about one thousand dollars.  Please note that even with the reduction of expenses we spent much more money than we took in; $17,598.41 Total General Budget Income vs. $18,846.37 Total Expenses or a deficit of $1,247.96.

     Year to date we have had a Total General Budget Income of $168,123.81 as compared to a budget of $177,764.00. This currently makes us about $7,500 short of our budget goals for the year thus far. We need to try and fill some of this gap over the last two months of the year so we can pay our bills and not start the New Year in a disastrous hole.

     On that special Thursday in November I hope you share with your loved ones the words of our 1st President in order to remind us of the purpose and intent of Thanksgiving.  So “with grateful hearts” let us all have a thankful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Stewardship                                               Budget                       Received

            Month (September)                       $19, 043                      $18,828

            Year to date (Jan-Sept)                 $177,764                     $171,319

Luther in America

The Mühlenberg Anniversary (1711-2011)

By Pastor Marshall

William J. Mann (1819-1892) argues in his book on Henry M. Mühlenberg (1711-1787), that Mühlenberg is "the father of the Lutheran Church in America" [Life and Times of Henry Melchior Mühlenberg (1887) p. 529]. So we rightly mark the 300th anniversary of his birth this year. Mann further notes that "no one could justly claim [him] as an advocate of new and extravagant measures in matters of doctrine and practice" (531). As such, Mühlenberg is our "Luther in America" (528). We see this in his using of Luke 16:9 as the verse for a test sermon for would-be pastors (209). We also see this in the nickname given him, Gachswungarorachs, an Indian word meaning, "a sachem or

teacher whose words... go through the hard, obstinate minds of men like a saw through knotty trunks of trees" (198). And finally we see it in how he selected hymns for his 1786 hymnal: "I omitted [hymns] which speak of Jesus in a playful manner, etc. in diminutive terms, because such language, though intended as child-like and familiar, appears to me childish and not according to Scripture language. Hymns... of the oldest... times... are not omitted, [even] though, while they are orthodox, their style and rhythm may appear somewhat harsh" (501). And so we thank God for his servant, Mühlenberg, and affirm the verse etched on his gravestone: "By faith he being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4) (534)!



Tithing Means First Fruits

Our children are wonderful but so full of questions.  “Why is the sky blue?”  “How does the sun shine every day?”  Even adults have their questions.  A close friend of mine asked me about the practice of tithing in the church.  “How do you tithe?”  “How much should I give?”  These questions made me reflect on my own views on tithing so I could respond.  I explained we are advised in the Bible to give of the first fruits which means first before anything else.  If we wait until our bills are paid expecting to tithe with the “leftovers”, we find that there are no leftovers and God is left out.  I do not believe this is what he intended.  If we have him as first on our list, he will not leave us but will provide for the rest of our needs.  All we have to do is trust in his promises. 

Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; that your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

                                                                                                   Proverbs 3:9-10

                                                                                          -Janice Lundbeck, Church Council



Sunday, December 4 from 4pm to 7pm

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle will celebrate St. Nicholas Day by hosting a “Faire” fundraiser to benefit our local West Seattle service organizations, the Food Bank and the Helpline.  Since St. Nicholas was known for his acts of charity, it is fitting that we sponsor this fundraiser on his saint’s day.

     We will be serving beverages and goodies, and we will again have a selection of holiday and Scandinavian sweets which you can purchase. For a small donation, we will have a wine toss, where you can win a bottle(s) of wine if your aim is on target, PLUS wine tasting sponsored by Maryhill Winery (and a portion of the cost of the bottles of wine you purchase from Maryhill will be donated to West Seattle Helpline and Food Bank). 

     There will also be a silent auction where you can bid on and purchase gift baskets that are designed to make great gifts for your friends and family.  Again, all of the proceeds will be given directly to the Food Bank and Helpline.

     As we did in previous years, admission to the St. Nicholas Faire will be $5 per person or $15 per family if you donate a non perishable food item for every member of your party.  If you do not bring a “canned” food donation, it will cost $10 per person or $25 per family.  All monies collected will be donated directly to the Food Bank and Helpline.

    For this to be a success we need assistance from all of you by volunteering to help at the Faire, to bake homemade taste treats to sell at the Faire.  We will also need donations of apple cider and bottles of wine valued at $10, $20, and above, as prizes for the wine toss.  The sign up sheets are posted on the bulletin board outside The Library.   Call Larraine King (206-937-6740) if you have any questions.

     So we hope that you will find a way to help us make the Third Annual St. Nicholas Faire as successful and as enjoyable as the first two were.  Plan to come and bring family and friends, have a great time, and at the same time support our deserving extended ministries.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!


-Larraine King, Church Council


A Word of Thanks

From the new bishop of the Diocese of Cascadia, in the Anglican Church in Washington and Rector of St. Brendan’s Anglican Church, Bellingham, WA.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


It was a joyful celebration and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ that we were blessed with at your home, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, on Friday, September 30, 2011.  Pastor Marshall and Deacon Hard were outstanding in their hospitality and contributions to our service, Organist Andy bless us with his excellent music, and your volunteers, especially the Altar Guild, were great to work with.  And who knew that the second person to bless a new Anglican Bishop would be a Lutheran thurifer… Pastor Marshall?  Wonderful!


Thank you for all your love, prayers and service in inviting us to your church.  We shared an historic moment as 25 bishops, all heroes of the Faith, came from across North America to consecrate this humble servant as a sign of God’s love and call to mission for us all in this Pacific Northwest.  And it was my special joy, through this time together, to gain new friends in Christ: the people and pastors of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  I pray that God will bless your ministry and that, through our common mission, more people will come to know the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. 




Bishop Kevin Bond Allen

(a former student at Pacific Lutheran University)

November Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, November 27th

The book for November is The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (2010) by Andreas J. Köstenberger & Michael J. Kruger. This book argues against the celebration in the church today that “all is fluid, doctrine is dead, and diversity reigns” (p. 15). It bemoans the fact that “what used to be regarded as heresy is the new orthodoxy of the day, and the only heresy that remains is orthodoxy itself” (p. 16). It does so by defending the doctrinal agreement of the early church, the consistency of the Bible, and that the early church didn’t switch the first Bible – now lost forever – with a rigid, false one.

    However, the authors concede that “we must proceed prayerfully, recognizing that it is the god of this world who has blinded the minds of unbelievers [2 Corinthians 4:4]. With God’s help, we should wage spiritual warfare circumspectly and seek to demolish demonic strongholds in the minds of people [2 Corinthians 10:3-6]. This will involve the use of rational arguments and appeals to historical and other evidence, but it will recognize that in the end, arguments by themselves are inadequate” (p. 234)!

    A copy of this important book is in the church library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss the reliability of the Bible in the early church.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for November is holiday foods: canned yams, turkey, gravy, cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin. 

COMPASS CENTER:  This year, as in the past, we will be collecting Christmas gift items for the Compass Center for both men and women.  So you can better plan your shopping, we are listing the items to be collected now:  gift cards in $5 increments to fast food restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, new sweatshirts (L, XL, XXL sizes), and hats and gloves (in dark neutral colors) for men or women are asked for this year.  Please leave your donations at the office.  Items will be delivered to the Compass Center December 17th.

FLOWER CHART:  There are still a few spaces left for Christmas.  Interested?

HOLY EUCHARIST – THANKSGIVING EVE:  Thanksgiving will be observed with Holy Eucharist on November 23rd at 7 pm, in the chapel. 

GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP:  No luncheon in November.

EXTENDED MINISTRIES are asking for donations through November and December to help defray costs in putting on the St. Nicholas Faire.

SCRAPPER’S will not meet again in 2010, the next meeting being in January of 2012.  Good condition used or new sheets are always needed as well as fabric scraps. 

The King James Version of the Bible:

Its 400th Anniversary, 1611-2011

By Pastor Marshall


I have been observing this year the anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible in this column. At the end of Leland Ryken’s book, The Legacy of the King James Bible (2011), he laments four great losses due to the KJV having fallen out of favor. I think it’s worth pondering his four lamentations:

First, we have lost a common English Bible in both the church and culture at large. It is an incalculable loss…. Second, the authority of the Bible went into eclipse when we lost a common Bible. Probably this was inevitable…. It is a fact that the English Bible is no longer accepted as an authoritative book in the public spheres,…. [in] religion, education, law, politics, and the arts. Even when modern literary authors refer to the Bible, they usually do so in a manner that challenges the intended meanings of the biblical authors. Third, biblical illiteracy has accompanied the decline of the King James Bible. This is widely acknowledged…. After the King James Bible gave way to a proliferation of modern translations, even Christian students became inept at seeing biblical references in literature…. Claims by modern translators and Bible scholars that the Christian public is fortunate to have been delivered from the archaism and occasional inaccuracies of the KJV turn out to be hollow…. The very proliferation of translations has discouraged the Christian public from seeking to know what the Bible actually says. The ideal, of course, would have been for a single successor to the KJV to be its replacement, but it did not happen. The sentiment is widely held that because today we find the King James Bible

archaic and difficult, it must have been equally archaic and difficult for readers in previous eras. It is a great fallacy. Readers of the KJV through the centuries did not struggle with its language, just as modern readers who never relinquished the KJV manage just fine with it… Finally, we have lost the affective and literary power of the King James Bible… [The new] dynamic equivalent and colloquial translations do not come close to the King James standard, and modern readers of those translations have no reason to gloat; they have exchanged a birthright of excellence [Genesis 25:29-34] for something manifestly inferior [pp. 230-231].



A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall


Dr. Knutson was the presiding bishop of the ALC from 1971-1973. I have been exploring in this column his most famous book, The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972). Here is what he says about Jesus, which makes him, in my mind, a faithful and confrontational Savior worth following:


Life among men is pictured in the New Testament as… full of conflict [1 Timothy 6:12]. The rebellious forces of evil in the world were taken on by our Lord and defeated [1 John 3:8]. Life is an experience in which good and evil are in constant confrontation and we cannot expect anything less than that [1 Peter 4:12, 5:8-9]. It is not God’s intention that life should be so serene, so without challenge or conflict [Luke 12:19-20] that man never achieves his full potential [Philippians 3:12-14]. Jesus is not pictured as a placid, sentimental, and retiring person [Matthew 22:46; John 21:12; Hebrews 10:31] who sometimes gives himself over to other powers and by virtue of that weakness becomes a savior. He is rather pictured as a warrior, as the fighter, as the one who overcomes – the one who accomplishes through weakness yet one who accomplishes by strength [John 10:18, 19:30]. The work of Christ is that of a leader of a great army [Matthew 13:41-42, 16:27, 24:30-31, 25:31, 26:53]. The death of Jesus is not humiliation but victory [Philippians 2:8-11] and it is victory which promises freedom [Galatians 5:1] (pp. 39-40).

Enjoy the convenience of electronic giving!





Thank you to those members that have signed up for giving electronically.  If you have thought about it but are still uncertain, I can answer any questions.  Just call or email me. 

    The process is completely safe – it is the same as having your mortgage payment or insurance payment automatically deducted from your checking account.  I handle all the paperwork locally so your authorization form never leaves my possession.  If at any time you want to change or cancel the automatic transactions, let me know and I will immediately process the change. 

    Giving can also be done through our web page now!  Look for the blue button at the bottom of the first page that says “Donate”. 

(Teri Korsmo, Financial Secretary, 206-932-7914,


Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Vera Gunnarson, Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Alan Morrison, Clara Anderson, Pete Morrison, Mary Goplerud, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Robin Kauffman, Rae Terpenning, Mark Mosley & Family, Theresa Malmanger, Paul Jensen, Jennie Jaramillo, Chardell Paine, Craig Purfeerst, Rolf Sponheim, Don Evenson, Dorothy Randall-Wood, Barbara Hancock, Patrick Coy, Donna Berkeley, Kurt & Jennifer Alfano, Mary Uhler, Robin Lantzy.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.

     Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one: Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts: Pray for the family and friends of Nelda Sturm on her death.

     Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called. 

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.

Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this November.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Saint Andrew, the Apostle.


A Treasury of Prayers


Almighty God, teach me to accept your will as the foundation of my happiness, and all other things as only secondary. Convince me that it wouldn’t profit me to gain the whole world and lose my soul. Impress me with the truth that nothing can bring me happiness if I am not already of a joyful heart. And help me to discover that the pleasures at your right hand are pleasures for evermore. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                             [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., II: 958, altered]


Parish Festival Celebration

On Sunday, November 6th, we will gather together to give thanks for our community of faithful, baptized servants of God.

                8:00 am Holy Eucharist – chapel

              10:30 am Festival Eucharist – nave

                  with Festival Procession.

              12 pm All Saints’ Luncheon

   On this rich day of the church year we gather to remember our calling as God's saints, rededicating our lives to God's service and rejoicing in the ministry of Christ.  This day we also join the Church Catholic in affirming our belief in "the communion of saints" remembering all those faithful who have died in Christ.

    Be sure to sign up for the luncheon on the sheet that is posted in the lounge or call the office at 935-6530 and we’ll add you to the list.  The cost is $14 adults and $7 children.   



     The season of Pentecost and the Church Year will end with the celebration of the kingship of Christ at the Sunday morning liturgies, November 20th.  On this day we strengthen the belief that Christ is above all and that every authority is under Him (Eph. 1.21).  We rejoice that the one who is, who was and is to come (Rev. 1:8) is the King and Lord of all! 



     The season of Advent, the first season of the Church Year, is a time when the church focuses its attention on the Lord’s coming, and our need to repent. 

      Join us on Sunday, November 27th.

    8:00 am Holy Eucharist in the chapel

    9:00 am Adult Education in rm. D

                  Advent Faire in the parish hall.

  10:30 am Holy Eucharist in the nave