September 2016


Complex Christianity


The Witness of Richard John Neuhaus


I am glad to have had the chance to meet Father Neuhaus (1936–2009) in 1990. I told him I was Goldie Halvorson’s (1910–2008) pastor in West Seattle and his eyes immediately lighted up. “Oh, how is she doing?” he said. “Those were great days we had together in New York City!” That was when Pastor Halvorson left our church in 1959 to serve in Brooklyn, New York.

  Neuhaus was a powerful witness to Christ in America. He was a prolific and deft writer on all matters concerning American culture and global matters. An expert pugilist, he never shied away from personal criticism and public scrutiny – especially in the pages of his beloved journal, First

Things. Toward the end of his life he blessed a fellow priest with the words: “May ages see through you – Christ” [Randy Boyagoda, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square (NY: Random House, 2015) p. 397]. I like that. I also like his famous self-description: “In descending order of importance I am religiously orthodox, culturally conservative, politically liberal, and economically pragmatic” (“Neuhaus, the Liberal,” First Things, August/September 2016, p. 6). That complex picture of a contemporary American Christian man is well worth our consideration. It strikes me as an astute elaboration of Matthew 13:52 – treasure something old; treasure something new.

-Pastor Marshall


 Pastor Marshall’s New Book


Signing Party November 13, 2016

Pastor Marshall’s new book will be out in November. It’s called Kierkegaard in the Pulpit: Sermons Inspired by His Writings. It has 27 sermons and eleven essays – reaching to nearly 500 pages in length. It is a follow-up to his acclaimed first book on Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard for the Church: Essays & Sermons (2013) – which had seven sermons and 17 essays. This new book also includes an original piece of art, The Hotel Kierkegaard – drawn by the same Heather Hudson, who drew Kierkegaard’s Fiancée for Kierkegaard in the Church.

     This new book is published by Cave Moon Press in Yakima, Washington. Its owner, Doug Johnson, has agreed that all proceeds from sales will go to benefit the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline. How very generous of him!

     The signing party for Kierkegaard in the Pulpit will be on Sunday, November 13, at 12 pm in the Parish Hall, in the basement of our church.

     The book is dedicated to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle where all of the sermons were originally preached. Books will be available at the signing party at a 35% discounted price of $23.00.



As summer winds down, and the Olympics end, and football is again in the air (or maybe the MLB wildcard?), one might think of some of Paul’s references to athletes, such as in 2 Timothy 2.3-6:

Take your share of suffering, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.  It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.


     There are three analogies for the spiritual life here, the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer.   Not getting entangled in civilian pursuits means not being side-tracked by worldly concerns.  Competing according to the rules means following the path that Christ lays out, and not making up our own.  Hard work is a warning about sloth.  In any case, as far as sports are concerned, they only serve as an analogy for higher things, and are not (one reminds oneself!) the higher end in themselves.

     This was an easy summer for Church Council with respect to the Church’s budget.  Instead of the usual dip in giving during the summer months, we saw a significant rise.  To be sure, the summer started out in June looking like the usual pattern, but then July and the first half of August roared in with some of the highest giving the church has seen in any summer.   There was a major gift, to be sure, but that remains undesignated until Council meets in September, and is not part of the giving I’m talking about, which was more broadly based.  This has meant that we were able to catch up with all regular payments to savings accounts, such as Major Maintenance, for the

year to date, and anticipate entering September on budget instead of behind as we usually do.  Overall, to this point in the year, we have seen more regular monthly giving, which allows the Church to function financially with less stress.  Council now anticipates being able to build up the Rainy Day fund, which has been at zero since our difficulties last year.  On behalf of the Council, I want to thank the Congregation. 

    Pastor’s Sunday morning study of 2 Corinthians draws to a close this month and we start on Luther’s Commentary on Psalm 117 on September 11.  Psalm 117 is two verses, on which Luther writes about 35 pages!  Here is an example of how Luther is able to see the whole of Scripture in its parts, the big picture of the Word in its details, which testifies to the integrity and divine inspiration of the Word.  Please join Pastor for this study beginning in September.

     Finally, do keep in mind the ornaments you have taken from the St. Nicholas Faire tree.  Larraine and her helpers need these items well in advance of the Faire itself so they can organize and prepare the bidding tables and items.  It is a huge task, and we are grateful for all who help with it.





We Are Stewards


We love because He first loved us.

                                               I John 4:19

Or as a corollary, we give because He first gave Himself to save us from our sins and give us eternal life.  The immense welling up of gratitude that occurs when we realize the deep significance of this!  We have hope, joy, meaning, purpose, direction – the list is endless – but most important of all, we have forgiveness of sins and the promise of salvation because Jesus Christ gave His life for us.  How can we not rejoice that we are able to give back, “return thanks,” for this immeasurable gift?  He saved us!  We can’t help showing our gratitude in our service to His Church.  We are stewards of His legacy.  Let our thankfulness be evident in our gifts of treasure, time, and talents that we give in grateful acknowledgment of His sacrifice for us.

David King, Church Council




                        Budget     Received

Month (July)       $18,051 $26,601

Year (Jan-July)         $143,669 $149,383



40th Anniversary

of the

Gallery Organ

On Sunday, September 26, 1976, the Noack organ located in the gallery of our church was dedicated at the morning liturgy, followed that afternoon with an inaugural organ recital.  This grand day in the life of our parish will be celebrated again this fall with two separate events. 

     The anniversary will be observed on Sunday, September 25, 2016, incorporating prayers, hymns, choral and organ music from the dedicatory service into the morning liturgy that day. 

     On Sunday, November 6, 2016, an organ recital will be played at 3:00 pm by parish organist Andrew King.  A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Mr. King earned the master of music degree in organ performance at the University of Washington. The program will include compositions from the inaugural and 25th anniversary recitals, as well as other music. 

     Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend both events!



Sunday Education

with Pastor Marshall


9:00 to 10:00 am, Room D


FALL SESSION I, September 11 - October 30

Wisdom in Brevity: Luther on Psalm 117

        This eight week class will study Luther’s 35 page commentary from 1530 in Coburg on the two verse long Psalm 117. The text is from Luther’s Works 14:4–39.

This class is the fourteenth in our series of studies on the Reformation, leading up to the 500th anniversary in October 2017. This series began in April 2009.


FALL SESSION II, November 6 - December 18

Refined by Fire: Luther on the Book of Job

        In this eight week class we will study Luther’s scattered comments on The Book of Job. Our theme verse will be Job 23:10.

This class is the fifteenth in our series of studies on the Reformation.


WINTER SESSION, January 1 - 29

Close to the End – Luther’s Last Printed Sermon

        In this short, four week class, we will study Luther’s January 17, 1546 sermon from Eisleben. Even though he preached five more times before his death, the following month, this is the last sermon for which we have a printed text.

This class is the sixteenth in our series of studies on the Reformation. 

 SPRING SESSION I, February 5 – March 26

The Early Letters: A Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians

        In this eight week class we will study 1 & 2 Thessalonians. These two letters of Saint Paul are considered to be two of his earliest.

Each class session will be based on a worksheet of questions handed out the week before.

, April 2- May 21

Keeping the Faith Straight: Luther on Moses & Jesus

        This eight week class will study Luther’s 1525 treatise, “How Christians Should Regard Moses,” Luther’s Works 35:161–174. This is one of his classic treatments on the difference between the Law and the Gospel.

This class is the seventeenth in our series of studies on the Reformation.                                                            

Moses & the basket.


Schedule for

Wednesday Bible Classes

with Pastor Marshall


Morning 10- 11:30 am

Fall: Mark                                                        Spring: Jeremiah

1) Mark 1.1-45          9) Mark 9.1-50               1) Jeremiah 1.1-2.37         9) Jeremiah 26.1-29.32

2) Mark 2.1-28        10) Mark 10.1-52             2) Jeremiah 3.1-5.31       10) Jeremiah 30.1-32.44

3) Mark 3.1-35        11) Mark 11.1-33             3) Jeremiah 6.1-8.22       11) Jeremiah 33.1-36.32

4) Mark 4.1-41        12) Mark 12.1-44             4) Jeremiah 9.1-12.17     12) Jeremiah 37.1-41.18

5) Mark 5.1-43        13) Mark 13.1-37             5) Jeremiah 13.1-15.21   13) Jeremiah 42.1-46.28

6) Mark 6.1-56        14) Mark 14.1-72             6) Jeremiah 16.1-19.15   14) Jeremiah 47.1-49.39

7) Mark 7.1-37        15) Mark 15.1-47             7) Jeremiah 20.1-22.30   15) Jeremiah 50.1-51.64

8) Mark 8.1-38        16) Mark 16.1-20             8) Jeremiah 23.1-25.38   16) Jeremiah 52.1-34

Evening 7:30 - 9:00 pm

Fall: Ezra & Nehemiah                                         Spring: Galatians 1.1-10

1) Ezra 1.1-2.70        9) Nehemiah 1.1-2.20         1) Galatians 1.1-10        9) Galatians 4.11-20

2) Ezra 3.1-13         10) Nehemiah 3.1-32            2) Galatians 1.11-24      10) Galatians 4.21-31

3) Ezra 4.1-24         11) Nehemiah 4.1-23            3) Galatians 2.1-10        11) Galatians 5.1-8

4) Ezra 5.1-17         12) Nehemiah 5.1-19            4) Galatians 2.11-21      12) Galatians 5.9-15

5) Ezra 6.1-22         13) Nehemiah 6.1-7.73         5) Galatians 3.1-9          13) Galatians 5.16-26

6) Ezra 7.1-28         14) Nehemiah 8.1-9.38         6) Galatians 3.10-18      14) Galatians 6.1-5

7) Ezra 8.1-36         15) Nehemiah 10.1-11.36     7) Galatians 3.19-29      15) Galatians 6.6-10

8) Ezra 9.1-10.44    16) Nehemiah 12.1-13.31     8) Galatians 4.1-10        16) Galatians 6.11-18 



With the Mind


Readings in Contemporary Theology with Pastor Marshall

in the Church Lounge, 3-5 pm, the fourth Saturday of each month.



Sept. 26     Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (2012).

Oct. 24      Not Just Good, But Beautiful: The Complementary Relationship Between Man and Woman, ed. S. Lopes, H. Alvaré (2015).

Nov. 21     Jack Mulder Jr., What Does It Mean to Be Catholic? (2015).

Dec. 26      Nicholas Wolterstorff, The God We Worship: An Exploration of Liturgical Theology (2015).

Jan. 23      Prue Shaw, Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity (2015).

Feb. 27      Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying (2014).

Mar. 26     Dallas Willard, The Allurement of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus (2016).

Apr. 23      Daniel William Taylor, Death Comes for the Deconstructionist: A Novel (2014).

May 28      Michael Denton, Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis (2016).


September Book


3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, September 26th.

The book for September is American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (2012), by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen Metaxas. This book is about the American ethos and what lies behind our common life in this country. Her thesis is that it’s the thought of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) who famously argued that God is dead. She defends this alarming claim by showing all of the many American writers who promoted Nietzsche’s ideas in the USA during that last 150 years – especially the great Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1884 ) (pp. 5–10, 295–305). She also shows how the American church and its supporters didn’t take this sitting down, claiming that “the emancipated individual needs to master himself [but] Nietzsche cannot tell us [how]” (p. 134).

A copy of this engaging book on our country’s ethos is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss the common background to our American culture.



Pastor Marshall will be preaching at the investiture liturgy for the Reverend Wesley C. Telyea at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Issaquah.  The service will be at 3 pm on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

DEO GLORIA CANTORES – Choir will start their practice sessions at 7:30 pm on Thursday, September 22nd, in the gallery. 

Fall Schedule starts on Sunday, September 11th.  Adult Bible Class, rm. D and Sunday School, rm. 4, 9:00 am.  Confirmation (6th – 8th grades) meet in the library.  The Wednesday pastor’s classes (10:00 am & 7:30 pm in rm. D) start on September 7th, and confirmation (3:30 pm in rm. D) starts on September 14th.

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for September is canned, boxed or instant soup.


Saint Nicholas Faire

Sunday, December 11, 2016 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm


We’re at it again.  Thank you to all who have already begun helping prepare for this annual fund raising event.  So many of you have stepped up to the plate, or in this case the “Christmas in July and August tree,” and taken ornaments.  Many of you have already made your purchases/donations and they have been catalogued and are waiting to be made into baskets for purchasing at the Faire.  At this writing, there are many items yet to be turned in.  It would be outstanding if all “ornament” items can be brought to the church by Sunday, September 18th.  If you need assistance of any kind getting this done, please call Larraine King (206-937-6740) or email her (

     If you would prefer, you can donate money designated to the St. Nicholas Faire and we will do the shopping.  Plus, in late November, we will be purchasing items that need to be fresh, so they need to be bought closer to the date of the Faire.  If you would like to help in this way, please let me know and I can give you a list of items to choose from.   But most important, always remember that all our efforts are to support, in a fun and enjoyable way, two very important extended ministries – the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.

     We are looking forward to having a super  evening of wine tasting, winning prizes at the wine toss game, munchies, conversation and fellowship, and “shopping” for Christmas gifts for friends and family.  Where else can you go so close to home for such a party?!?!?  And it all benefits two great organizations!  So plan to come and invite your neighbors and family and friends to come with you.

     Sign-up sheets for helpers for the event will be posted in October and more details about the event will appear in future Messengers and bulletin announcements.  So,


If you don’t come there will be no party, no fun, and no funds raised for the Food Bank and Helpline. 

Please note the change of date and time…..Our beloved Seahawks schedule has worked havoc on choosing a date and time for the St. Nicholas Faire.  We hope the change will solve the problem of encouraging friends and family to attend the Faire.  If possible we will have TV transmission of the last portion of the game for those who just can’t miss the end!

-Larraine King



Many Thanks


This past August, 12 three ring binders, four pks. wide ruled paper, 12 spiral bound notebooks, four boxes crayons, six glue sticks, 13 pks. tissues, 24 pencils, 64 pens, 2 scissors, one pencil box and a composition notebook were donated to the West Seattle Helpline Back-to-School supply collection.



Luther’s Life


Running for 25 weeks, from March 6 to August 21, 2016, we had excerpts in the Sunday bulletin from Scott Hendrix new book, Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer (Yale University Press, 2015). These inserts were offered as a preparation for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Extra copies are available through the church office.


Romans 8.17

Monthly Home Bible Study, September 2016, Number 283

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). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!

Week I. Read Romans 8.17 noting the word suffer. What does it mean to suffer? On this read Matthew 27.19 noting the words suffered, much and dream. What kind of suffering is that? On this read 2 Corinthians 7.5 noting the phrase fear within. How does this anxiety cause suffering? On this read John 20.19 noting the words shut and fear. So fear constrains us to hide, and that confinement is suffering. On this read also Matthew 27.26 noting the word scourged. How does scourging cause suffering? On this read Job 30.17 noting the words racks, gnaws, rest and pain. So pain causes suffering by depleting our strength and joy. And read Matthew 2.16-18 noting the words killed, children, weeping, refused and consoled. How does this weeping cause suffering? On this read Judges 11.37 noting the line bewail my virginity. So loss of love and life causes suffering. Are all Christians, then, expected to endure such confinement, physical pain, and loss of love and life? How so? On this read John 15.18-19 noting the words hated, own and world. Note also the words revile, persecute and evil in Matthew 5.11. Does that settle it? Or do you side with the words prosperity and never in Psalm 30.6? Explain the way you lean.

Week II. Read again Romans 8.17 noting the same word suffer. What’s the good in it? On this read Romans 5.3-5 noting the words endurance, character, hope and disappoint. How do these four come about? On the first, read Luke 16.25 noting the words evil, now and comforted. Here we see how the endurance of Lazarus is rewarded in the life to come after he dies. On the second one, read Acts 5.41 noting the line rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer. Here we see how joy and worth are established through suffering. On the third one, read Hebrews 11.19 noting the phrase God was able to raise men even from the dead. Here we see how knowing that death is not the end enables us to endure the pain in the death of loved ones. And on the last one, read John 14.19 noting the line because I live, you will live also. Here the hope of everlasting life doesn’t disappoint because it is grounded in the certainty of Christ’s resurrection. Where does that leave us then? Is suffering good? On this read 1 Peter 4.13 noting the words rejoice, share, Christ’s and sufferings. Does this sharing launder our pain and sorrow – turning them into something good? On this read Matthew 10.24 noting the line a disciple is not above his teacher. Does that settle it? How so?

Week III. Reread Romans 8.17 noting the word provided. Why is this condition given? On this read James 4.8 noting the two uses of the phrase draw near. How do we do this? On this read John 15.5 noting the words apart and nothing. How does Christ then help us? On this read Matthew 11.28–30 noting the line I will give you rest. What does it mean to come to him to get this rest? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.14–15 noting the line live no longer for themselves. How can we take leave of ourselves? On this read John 6:44 noting the word draw. Does that put us in good shape? How so?

Week IV. Read Romans 8.17 one last time noting the word glorified. Is this about fame and fortune here and now? On this read Colossians 3.1–4 noting the words above, hid and glory. Read also 2 Corinthians 4.16–18 noting the words eternal, glory, beyond and unseen. What is the value in this otherworldly glory? On this read Romans 8.18 noting the words suffering, comparing and glory. Read also the next verses 8.19–23 noting the words futility, bondage, decay, adoption and redemption. Why is being free of these maladies important? On this read 1 Peter 1.4 noting the words imperishable, undefiled and unfading. And what’s the point in this purity and brilliance? On this read 2 Corinthians 3.17 noting the word freedom. Is that intrinsically worthwhile without further ado? If so, how so? For help, read about freedom in Romans 6.16–22.



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Sam Lawson, Linda Olson, Mariann Petersen, Evelyn Coy, David, Eileen and Michael Nestoss, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Ion Ceaicovschi, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Music Faculty, Mike Harty, Mike Granger, Dee Grenier, Kristin Wall, Rick Sitts, Linda Hagen, Heidi Anderson, Leonard Richter, Esther Ko, Jason & Kathleen, Tim Chadwick, Heather de Jesus, Linda LeGrande, Shirley Domery, Matt Anderson, Jordan Corbin, Sheila Feichtner, Geo & Therese Guloy, Angel Lynn, Fernando Valmala, Linda Anderson, Mark Schubert, Josh Carling, those infants and families affected by the Zika virus, the great migration from the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Florence Jenkins, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Elmer & June Wittman, Bill Wright.

     Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one this Summer: Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts: Pray for Chuck & Doris Prescott and family on the death of their grandson Dusty Foster.

     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 September.  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 Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist; and Saint Michael and All Angels.

A Treasury of Prayers


I heartily thank you, O Lord, Ruler of heaven and earth, that you have caused me to enjoy your goodness with which you have crowned the year even to this moment. Be merciful unto all who are in need, the naked, and those that are distressed; and, so keep my heart, that in these days when wickedness stalks forth triumphant, and love so easily grows cold, I may earnestly withhold myself from all the works of darkness, and not deny my soul the offices of mercy; but, at all times willingly aid and give, even as you have prospered me abundantly. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

                                                                                    [For All the Saints I:145, altered.]