Reformation Sunday is October 26th. In that regard, Thomas
Cahill, best-selling author of the “Hinges of History” series,
has written: “It is not so very surprising that Luther was often
misunderstood in his time. He might have been better appreciated
in the nineteenth century by Kierkegaard” [Heretics
and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests
Created Our World
(2013) p. 173].
Agreeing with Cahill, I have written: “When Luther says ‘the
world is one big whorehouse,’ Kierkegaard would agree. When
Luther says ‘all bishops nowadays are of the devil,’ Kierkegaard
would agree. And when Luther says ‘faith takes no holidays,’
‘what is of God must be crucified in the world,’ ‘preference
must be given to truth’ over friends, ‘we have no greater enemy
than ourselves,’ Kierkegaard would agree again. And when Luther
also says that ‘this life is not a life… but a mortification and
vexation of life,’ that we should ‘neither fear death nor love
this life,’ ‘love of oneself… is always wrong,’ ‘the majority
remains blind,’ the gospel makes Christians ‘sleepy and secure’
when they wrongfully suppose ‘there is no further need to do
anything, give anything, or suffer anything,’ ‘Christians are
few and far between,’ ‘reason is the devil’s prostitute,’ the
believer ‘hangs between heaven and earth,… suspended in the air
and crucified,’ and ‘is lonely in the faith,’ Kierkegaard would
also agree. And when Luther says that ‘the life of a Christian
is as hard as if he were walking on… nothing but razors,’ ‘there
is no life… on earth more wretched than that of a Christian,’
‘counterfeit faith… does not produce a new man, but leaves him
in his former opinion and way of life,’ Christians who mock God
‘have been baptized in vain,’ the clarity of the Bible ‘ensures
the victory over evasive subtleties,’ those who reject God’s
attack on sin ‘show plainly that they are damnable knaves,’
‘baptism has made the repose, ease, and prosperity of this life
a very poison… to its work,’ ‘a Christian is uplifted in
adversity, because he trusts in God; he is downcast in
prosperity, because he fears God,’ and that martyrdom helps
Christians ‘receive salvation’ – to all these and many more like
them, Kierkegaard would say yes, yes, and yes” [Kierkegaard
for the Church
(2013) pp. 302-303]. May God bless you as you keep these things
in mind during our celebration of Reformation.
Plumbing the Depths
Robert W. Jenson’s Metaphysics
Christianity’s proclamation is
basically simple (Matthew 22:36-40; John 20:31) – but when it
comes to explaining it (1 Peter 3:15), difficulties crop up (2
Peter 3:16). Often we give up on these, however, erroneously
supposing that such stress and strain go against the Christian
faith. In Robert W. Jenson’s new book,
Theology as Revisionary
Metaphysics: Essays on God and Creation, he helps us plumb
those difficulties and depths (Ephesians 3:18), instead of
turning our back on them.
first, what is a revisionary metaphysic? According to Jenson, it
is a description of the world implied in the Christian message
that does not rule out change, freedom or surprise (pp. 3, 31,
44-45) – something which classical metaphysics often did with
its categories of being and necessity.
One of Jenson’s more stirring thoughts has to do with
Christian mystery: “That God is unknowable must not be construed
to mean that he is but vaguely glimpsed through clouds of
metaphysical distance, so that we are compelled –
and at liberty – to
devise namings and metaphors guided by our religious needs. It
means on the contrary that we are stuck with the names and
descriptions the [Bible] contingently enforces, which seem
designed always to offend somebody; it means that their
syntax is hidden from
us, so that we cannot identify synonyms or make translations. It
means that we have no standpoint from which to relativize them
and project more soothing visions” (pp. 70-71). On this matter,
it’s worthy of your consideration how he links divine mystery to
flat-footed Bible verses.
Year to date (Jan-August)
Moses proclaims: “You shall take
some of the fruit of all the fruit of the ground, which
you harvest from the land that the Lord your God gives
“Then the priest shall take
the basket from your hand, and set it down before the
altar of the Lord your God.”
(Deuteronomy 26:2, 4)
When we give to our church or
other places where people in need are helped, we are thanking
God for this journey to the promised land.
We are giving thanks for the love of God in Christ Jesus
our Lord. May we
keep this in mind as we plan our giving to the church over the
Thanks be to God!
─Melanie Johnson, Church Council
to all who supported and donated to the
School Supplies collection in August for the West Seattle
Helpline. We were
able to donate: 17 eraser pks, 2 pks colored pencils, 18 boxes
of crayons, 1 pencil sharpener, 3 spiral notebooks, 35 glue
sticks, 15 pocket portfolios, 7 three ring binders, 2 pencil
boxes, 3 pencil pouches 17 pencil pks, 6 pen pks, 14 rulers, 12
marker pen pks, 14 scissor pks, 13 composition books, 7 pks of
notebook dividers, and 2 backpacks.
NEW MEMBER CLASSES
will be starting on Sunday, October 6th at 11:45 am in room D.
If you are interested in becoming a member please let
Pastor Marshall know.
A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 2nd at
206-935-6530 to register or
FOOD BANK DONATION
suggestion for October is tuna and mayonnaise.
“The Son is a condition of
the deity of the Father.”
requiescat in pace
As saints of old their firstfruits brought……..to God, the giver
of all good, so we
today firstfruits would bring.
This is part of the first verse of Hymn #404.
Very appropriate words as we enter our Pledge
We all have things we can give, “ourselves, our time, and
our possessions,” as our Offertory prayer states.
To what are we giving first place?
How do we spend our time and money?
How do we decide what gets priority in our lives?
These are important questions to ask ourselves, because
if we are honest, the answers reveal what matters most to us.
Stewardship asks us to give of ourselves, to help others,
to support the work of the Church.
It is not always easy, but it is part of being a
Christian….A world in
need now summons us to labor, love, and give; to make our life
an offering to God, that all may live.
The church of Christ is calling us to make the dream come
true: a world
redeemed by Christ-like love; all life in Christ made new.
Take some time to prayerfully consider your commitment to
the life of the Church, your financial giving, and ways you
might be of more service to her mission.
Plan to complete your new Pledge Card for 2015 and return
it to church by Sunday, October 19, 2014, even if you are not
able to pledge. The
council will be contacting those who miss the deadline.
We will be using the information gathered from the pledge
cards to craft the 2015 budget, so it is important to get the
cards back as soon as you can.
The Fall schedule is underway with education classes for all
ages on Sunday mornings and two Bible studies on Wednesdays.
The Deo Gloria Cantores are back rehearsing on Thursday
nights and singing at the 10:30 am Sunday Eucharist.
St. Nicholas Faire preparations are progressing.
If you have yet to deliver your item(s) from the
“Christmas in July/August” tree, please bring it to the church
office. We need
everything by early October, so the baskets can be assembled.
Remember that hunger takes no vacations, so try to buy a
non-perishable food item every time you purchase groceries.
The need is great.
With the weather cooling off, there will also be a
greater demand for assistance from the West Seattle Helpline.
Donations of any amount do make a huge difference.
We are blessed.
We can share with our neighbors.
Financially, the church is still running about $2,500 below
projected giving to meet the budget.
We have made up about $1,000 from June and July, but the
offerings (as well as attendance) during the summer have been
lower than in previous years.
Please try to meet your pledged giving and help us stay
Installation of the new floor in the parish hall is completed.
A huge THANK YOU (!!!) to Tilden School for these
outstanding improvements to our facility.
With the new floor and freshly painted walls and ceiling,
it completely changes the look and brightens up the space.
The school spent around $25,000 to complete this project.
We are grateful for these enhancements to our basement
Let the last
verse of Hymn #404 be our prayer…In
gratitude and humble trust we bring our best today to serve
your cause and share your love with all along life’s way.
O God, who gave yourself to us in Jesus Christ your
Son, teach us to give ourselves each day until life’s work
by Bob Baker
Raised a Lutheran, are you? Then you know
Martin Luther’s “Ah ha” bolt of lightening while studying
Romans: We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and
not by works of the Law.
Now that is a bit of a mouthful that may get shortened to
“Saved by grace through faith,” which itself may get shortened
to “Saved by Faith”.
Could there possibly be danger in such faith? Recently we
spent a couple of months in Pastor Marshall’s Sunday morning
class studying a sermon of Martin Luther. The sermon of course
was full of arresting and challenging observations and
assertions. And Pastor Marshall is most adept at highlighting
and polishing them.
One such comment Pastor Marshall made was that we,
Lutherans in particular, are in danger of having “Faith in Our
Faith,” rather than “Faith in Jesus Christ”! The danger here is
that our confidence may be that we have faith, which is faith in
our faith; rather than confidence in the atonement of Jesus
Christ on the Cross. The language-tricks we play on ourselves
are as dangerous as the language-trick between Eve and the
Devil. I was arrested and found guilty on the spot!
To deflect from my guilt, I immediately had the thought,
“how sad so few people are in class this morning.” Week after
week, Pastor Marshall invigorates and challenges us, and makes
at least some of us so glad to have the opportunity to be there
and benefit. Having
myself graduated from a Lutheran seminary, I can say that none
of my classes were as good as any given class session with
Come to a class with Pastor Marshall and discover the
dangers and riches of faith in Jesus Christ. Only eternity hangs
in the balance!
What We’re Supposed to Be
Shakespeare on Being Human
A prestigious university
professor has confessed: “Perhaps I am emblematic of everything
that is wrong with elite American education, but I have no idea
how to get my students to build a self or become a soul” (“How
to Break from the Flock,”
The Seattle Times, September 10, 2014). Out of love for
American education (Jeremiah 29:7), the church is bound to
remind our country of the Christian ideas in William Shakespeare
(1564-1616) about being human – ideas which should be taught in
our secular, public schools. These ideas have been wonderfully
collected and explained by the famously prodigious Yale
University professor, Harold Bloom, in his 750 page book,
Invention of the Human (1998).
In an early passage from his book
Bloom notes how Hamlet teaches us the value of perpetually
arguing with ourselves over our “clashing realizations” (p. 7).
This idea nicely fits with Romans 7:23 on how we are “at war”
within. This inner conflict is worth thinking about (Philippians
4:8-9) – how we are necessarily problematic to ourselves. This
insight is the beginning of becoming a person.
the Mind: Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, October 26th
The book for October is
The Rocks Don’t Lie: A
Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood (2012), by David R.
Montgomery, a geology professor at the University of Washington.
This book is about the intersection between science and
religion. It tells about how this geologist changed his mind
about the flood. “Like most geologists, I had come to see Noah’s
Flood,” he writes, “as a fairy tale – an ancient attempt to
explain the mystery of how marine fossils ended up in rocks high
in the mountains. Now I’ve come to see the story… as rooted in
truth…. The discoveries of science have revealed the world and
our universe to be far more spectacular than could have been
imagined” before (p. 253).
A copy of this instructive 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 this more constructive view of the
relationship between geology and the Bible.
THE HELPLINE NEEDS OUR “HELP!”
The West Seattle Helpline is to be the Extended Ministry chosen
to support during the month of October.
Because there is such a great need to help families in
our neighborhood pay for utilities and rent so that they can
stay in their homes, we have decided again to ask you to
consider giving a little extra to the Helpline.
The number of families among us
that need extra money to pay their utility bills, is unthinkably
high. We probably
have little understanding of what some of our neighbors go
through each month just to make enough money to pay for heat,
electricity, and water.
As I think of these, it would be like anticipating a
chronic power and water outage.
What if the stove didn’t work and we couldn’t cook food?
Or what if the refrigerator had no power, the food would be
spoiled? With no
water, how could you take care of basic sanitation and hygiene?
And as cooler months approach, what if we had no heat
because there just wasn’t enough money to pay that bill?
These are the questions that many of our West Seattle
residents face monthly.
Couldn’t we all just give up one
latte a week or limit ourselves to just a couple each week and
donate the money saved to support the Helpline?
Or maybe dessert is our favorite indulgence.
Donate money saved from cutting back on those delectable
you feel you can donate, whether it is because you have adjusted
your spending or just off the top of your income, you can know
that by helping the Helpline, you have done a good work out of
the generosity of your heart.
Please pray that you will be able to give a little extra
during the month of October to this very deserving extended
ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE
December 7 from 4pm to 7pm
Sign-up sheets will be posted later this month and preparations
are underway. Be
thinking how you would like to help.
There are plenty of opportunities, but the most important
action is to ─
MARK YOUR CALENDAR –
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND
It will be a spectacular party with good food and beverages,
creative and practical gift baskets you could give as presents,
prizes to win at the wine toss game, and wine tasting courtesy
of Maryhill Winery. Plus there will be an additional surprise
from Maryhill Winery.
You’ll have to come to find out!
A super way to start off the holiday season supporting
our local charities, and having an awesome experience, all at
the same time!!!
especially need donations of wine for prizes from the Wine Toss
Game, and home baked Christmas cookies and Scandinavian
sweets. We had a great response to “Christmas in July and
August,” and most of the ornaments were taken from the tree.
If you haven’t already brought your “ornament” item to
the church, I will be giving you a reminder call.
And you can always donate money that will help cover the
cost of completing the gift baskets that will be sold and other
expenses that we have.
that the money we raise with your help from the St. Nicholas
Faire, will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the
West Seattle Helpline.
Help us make this event fun, memorable, and successful!
─Larraine King for the Extended Ministries
Ministry of Acolyte
of West Seattle
By Dean Hard
will mark the 68th anniversary of the Ministry of Acolytes in
our parish. This
ministry was begun in 1947 by the Rev. Norris R. Halvorson our
7th pastor (1945-1959).
Pastor Halvorson trained the acolytes the years he served
as our pastor.
In 1959 the Rev. M. Donald
Hinderlie was called as our 8th pastor. Pastor Hinderlie
continued the acolyte program but assigned the teaching to the
interns (seminarians) serving our parish.
In the summer of 1968 Rev. Hinderlie asked Dean Hard, our
then Assistant Choirmaster and Youth Advisor, to take over the
training of acolytes.
Forty-six years later Dean continues this teaching
Most but not all Lutheran churches
have acolytes. In
most cases the acolytes are shown how to light candles in "one
easy lesson" and little else.
Our program is unique in the Lutheran Church in that it
requires of each student a commitment of eight 1½ hour classes
of instruction, required reading, practice time, and the
satisfactory completion of a two hour written exam.
The subjects covered are:
The Who, What, Why and How.
A Historical Overview.
The Things We Wear.
Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
Church Architecture/Liturgical Space/Holy Ground.
How We Handle Them.
We will begin the classes mid-January 2015.
If you have any questions please call the church
office. Watch for
more information to come at the end of the year.
Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2014, Number 260
The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall
Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as
a congregation in this home study. We will
study alone then talk
informally about the assigned verses together as we have
opportunity. In this way we can "gather
together around the
Word" even though physically we will not be getting together
(Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)
We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851
Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous
book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the
whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a
prodigious scale" (For
Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we
all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved
in the Bible" (Opening
the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because
we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans,
however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's
Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW
30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW
29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW
25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused
all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so
to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that
we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of
everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus
Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall,
Making A New World: How
Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12).
Read Daniel 1.20 noting the line
in every matter of wisdom
and understanding,… [they were] ten times better. Does this
mean that Christians are smarter than everybody else? On this
read 1 Kings 10.23-24 noting the words
wisdom. Does this
mean that Christians are not only the best Sunday school
students, but also the best mathematicians and chemists? On this
read 1 Corinthians 1.26-2.9 noting the words
hidden. So are there
different types of wisdom? On this read John 14.27 regarding
peace, noting the
line not as the world
gives. Does this same alternative mode of peace also apply
to wisdom? On this read 1 Corinthians 3.18-21 noting the words
boast. See also James
3.13-17 noting the words
Ευπειθης, the word translated as
open to reason in
this verse, only occurs here in the New Testament. What kind of
a restriction does it provide for godly wisdom? Does that help
Read again Daniel 1.20 noting the same line
in every matter of
wisdom,… [they were] ten times better. Following up on last
week, what are the hallmarks of godly wisdom, if not math and
chemistry? On this read Colossians 2.2-3 noting the words
wisdom. What then is
this wisdom of Christ? On this read John 16.7-11 on the
Counselor, or Spirit of Christ (John 14.26, 15.26, 16.14),
noting the two words sin
and righteousness. On
sin, read Mark 7.18-22 noting the words
pride. If our hearts
are so bad, are we like that overall? On this read Romans 7.18
noting the line nothing
good dwells within me. Why is this so hard for us to accept?
On this read Job 34.5 noting the word
innocent. Read also
Isaiah 64.6 noting the words
polluted. These two
passages show how corrupted our self-understanding is. On this
read Jeremiah 17.9 noting the words
all. Do you agree?
Reread Daniel 1.20 noting that same phrase again
in every matter of
wisdom,… [they were] ten times better. Why doesn’t worldly
wisdom understand our sinfulness? Why do we think we’re better
off than God says we are? On this read 2 Timothy 3.2-4 noting
the words money,
power. Why can’t we
clean out this corruption? Why do we deny the power of our faith
to help us out? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.4 noting the words
blinded. On this god,
read 1 John 5.19 noting the words
evil one. Read as
well Luke 4.5-6 noting the words
will. So if we’re
blinded by the devil –the god of this world – what comes of
that? On this read John 8.44 noting the word
lies. Is that it? Are
we by nature liars about our sinfulness? Is that what our
blindness does to us? What do you make of this?
Read Daniel 1.20 one last time noting again the line
in every matter of
wisdom,… [they were] ten times better. Now what shall be
done about this sinful predicament of ours? On this read 1
Corinthians 1.30 noting the words
does Jesus become our righteousness? On this read 2 Corinthians
8.9 noting the play between the words
poor. When we become
rich in this verse, then we are righteous. No longer does sin,
failure and evil define us. In God’s eyes we are now righteous
and pure. But note that we do not do this by ourselves. Jesus
instead does it for us. On this read Colossians 2.13-14 noting
the words alive,
nailing. Here we see
what we need to be righteous: forgiveness. It’s what makes us
alive before God. But this cannot come about without Jesus
putting a stop to the demands of the divine which says that
sinners must be punished. And he does this by being punished in
our place – being nailed to the cross. This is the second piece
of godly wisdom that can be found only in Christ. Do you think
that it, together with the words about sin, makes for greater
wisdom than can be found anywhere else about anything else? Why
or why not?
A Qur’an Manual
Pastor Marshall’s Guide
Pastor Marshall has been offering his class on the Qur’an four
times a year since 2003. As the result of a presentation he gave
on the Qur’an in Irvine, California, this past May, he has
composed a condensed version of his class in written form,
A Manual on the Qur’an for Christians: Highlighting Key Passages.
It is designed to state clearly, in one short pamphlet, what
every Christians should know about the Qur’an. It’s a little
over sixty pages long.
Copies are available on the window ledge by the church office.
Feel free to pick up extra copies to give to your friends.
Remember in prayer before
God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters
Sam and Kevin Lawson, Jim Coile, Anelma Meeks, Kyra Stromberg,
Nora Vanhala, Mary Goplerud, Michael Nestoss, Cynthia Natiello,
Leah Baker, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob &
Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen,
Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, The Jones Family, Robin
Kaufman, Rosita & Jim Moe, Asha Sagmoen, Dano, Karen & W. Erick,
John Bertelsen, Marie & Rick Collins, Karen Klein, Dee Grenier,
The Rev. Bill Hampton, Jeanie Goodwin, Nathan Arkle, Mark
Jarvimaki, Lauren Kinney, The Robert Peters Family, Judy Earle,
Jeff & Dolly Shale, and the Frank Henderson family.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them
Anderson, Donna Apman, Pat Hansen, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser,
Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor,
Vivian Wheeler, Peggy & Bill Wright.
Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, 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 Fall.
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 Emaus 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
Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226; Saint Luke,
Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.
A Treasury of Prayers
O Most Holy Lord and God, come into my heart and by your power
draw it to yourself. Guard me from every evil thought, and so
warm and enflame me again with your most gentle love that every
suffering may seem light to me. Help me in my every need. In
Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
All the Saints (ALPB,
1994-1996) 4 vols.,