Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Modern Parables (Very cool!)

This is a series of six trailers from a really cool cinematic project to retell some of our Lord's parables in the current age.  They have gone over so well that the company is fundraising to tell even more of our Lord's parables in modern cinematic form.

 Here is their main page, and here is more about the next phase.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Surprise, Faithful Bishop Defrocked by Apostate "Church"...

Bishop Thor Henrik With's consecration in Tromsø, March 24, 2013

... and yet, Christ's Church continues serving the Lord with faithful ministers and laypeople in Norway!  Blessings to the faithful bishop Thor Henrik, and may the persecutors of the Church repent and allow the Good News to be preached in its purity unhindered by the evil one!

[Note: according to Dr. Chris Barnekov, the translator of the bishop's statement below, "As expected, Bishop Thor Henrik With was defrocked today by the Church of Norway for accepting consecration as Bishop of the new Evangelical-Lutheran Diocese of Norway.  Below is a note from him to those who have been praying for him." - Ed.]

Dear Praying Friends,

I am filled with deep gratitude to you who have prayed for my meeting with the Tunsberg bishop today. An extra thank you to all of you who responded so quickly. Assured of prayers and support from all of you, I traveled to Tønsberg with confidence. During the meeting, I felt comfort and peace.

The conversation in Tønsberg was characterized by a surprisingly calm seriousness. The Church of Norway has placed Mrs. Laila Riksaasen Dahl as bishop of Tunsberg diocese. Since I now live in Tunsberg diocese, it is her official duty to make the final decision on disciplinary measures, because I let myself be consecrated bishop in violation of applicable canon law provisions of the Church of Norway.

In the conversation I elaborated the basis for the actions that began with doctrinal conversations at my initiative with my then Bishop of Nidaros, and ended with my episcopal ordination in Tromsø in 2012. Laila Riksaasen Dahl listened attentively and sympathetically, revealing good theological insight and respect. She expressed, in an unexpectedly clear manner, her understanding that this matter shall at the Last Day be of profound seriousness to both parties.

I pointed out that when the bishops and CoN’s General Assembly accept unbiblical teachings in the Church, they break apart the unity of the Church of Norway. Because of the new doctrine of the bishop of Nidaros, I had to exclude him from the church communion fellowship. And when church members, because of what has happened elsewhere, have no shepherd and call me to help, my ordination vow commits me to take care of the flock – even as a bishop. With fervent desire I encouraged her, along with my former Bishop of Nidaros, to change their doctrine, and I promised my prayer for that to happen.

Laila Riksaasen Dahl concluded the conversation by stating that​​, particularly due to the episcopal ordination in Tromsø, she decided to terminate my authorization as a pastor in theChurch of Norway. To this I replied that the new doctrine contrary to Scripture has led us to this rupture, and to the consequences that are now taking place. There and then I put on my episcopal cross and made visible in this way our claim to be a diocese in the church. Explicit notice was taken of this symbolic act.


I see an image of the Norwegian church as a large and pleasant area, built on floats. Priests, bishops - and laity in the CoN General Assembly – cut away the tendons that keep this area secured to land – one mooring after the other. When the floating area now drifts from shore, it can easily seem that they who control developments are sending us who have other foundations under our feet away from themselves. But we, who stand on the firm ground, know that really it is they who drift away from the mainland of Christ’s Church; they drift away before the weather and wind of this age.

Let us pray that the Lord may have mercy!

Yours in Christ
+Thor Henrik

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Please Pray for this Faithful Lutheran Bishop

Bishop Thor Henrik With of Norway (left) and Archbishop Walter Obare of Kenya

[Note: This is an urgent request for prayers for a faithful Lutheran bishop in Norway, the Rt Rev. Thor Henrik With, who is being persecuted by his own church (sic) body for being faithful to Scripture.  Bishop Thor Henrik is asking for our prayers via our brother in Christ, Dr. Chris Barnekov, a Missouri Synod Lutheran, who translated the bishop's plea. Sed libera nos + a malo! - Ed.]

I just received an email prayer request from Bishop Thor Henrik With of the Evangelical-Lutheran Diocese of Norway (a recently formed Confessional Lutheran body associated with the Mission Province in Sweden and the Mission Diocese inFinland).  My quick translation is below.

Chris Barnekov 

Dear Friends,

Will you pray for me and for a discussion tomorrow, Thursday, May 16?

I am summoned to a meeting with the bishop of Tunsberg at 10:00 am [4:00 am US Eastern Daylight Time], because I have allowed myself to be consecrated bishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran Diocese in Norway. Apparently the bishop of Tunsberg wants to inform me of the decision that my authorization to serve as a pastor in the Church of Norway will be revoked, what is called being defrocked.

After The Church of Norway made the heresy that God blesses gay relationships into a doctrine that bishops and priests can advocate in their dioceses and parishes, the loss of pastoral authorization is sad, but no disaster. What is heavy to bear is that the church’s members will be deceived in this way, and that brother pastors with whom I have previously fought alongside for the good of the faith have become opponents. The church that took me into pastoral ministry in my ordination on 16 December 1979 is also suffering in other serious ways in severe conflict with the only Word that can give life and eternal salvation.

Will you pray that I receive wisdom and love express to bring concern and good counsel to the bishop of Tunsberg, and to bear witness clearly about what God's Word commits us to?

What is first and foremost at stake is the bishops’ and priests’ faithfulness to Scripture and the Lutheran confessions, the allegiance which they solemnly vowed at their ordinations – and thus their correct guidance and care for all God's people, on the path to the Judgment and the resurrection of life.

Thank you, friends, that I can count on you!

Yours in Christ,
+ Thor Henrik

Thor Henrik With
Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Norway
Lavaløkka 9, 3442 Hyggen

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nullification Picking Up Steam, Zombies Unhappy

On nullification, 44% pro, 36% con, 20% undecided.  Details here.

Zombies are still not convinced...

But they are funny in their own brain-dead sort of way...

'via Blog this'

Friday, May 03, 2013

"This is America. Speak English!"

 Have you ever heard anyone say this?  Ever see that on a tee shirt or in a facebook meme?  It's usually said with a self-righteous, scolding tone - or even with anger.

Interestingly, I ran across  an American children's book in our local parish library (that's "parish" not "county" by the way) that was published in my home town of Gretna, Louisiana by the Pelican Publishing Company.  In fact, the illustrator is a Missouri Synod pastor, now retired, who was one of my predecessors at Salem Lutheran Church in Gretna.

To the apparent shock of the "English Only Movement," There is no English in the text of this book.  It is written entirely in French. Louisiana has no official language, though French has had special status in the state since 1968.

How can this be?

Well, not every state in the Union originated as an English colony.  Louisiana was settled by the French and the Spanish long before it became part of the predominantly English-speaking United States.

In fact, in the western part of the state, French is still spoken in many homes, heard on the radio, and is quite apparent in the last names of prominent families.  French was spoken here generations before English.  It is the ethnic heritage of many people in our state.

So, maybe some people here could scold Anglophones with something along these lines: "C'est la Louisiane. Parlez français!"

Even the copyright page of this book is written in French (aside from the name of the government office, and even that is bilingual).

And why is this offensive to some people?  Why would this prompt someone to wear a tee shirt that says: "This is America.  Speak English"?

The answer is really pretty simple: in the words of St. Augustine, it is the "lust for domination."  It is bullying.  It is the desire to control other people and entire populations - even the the point of regulating the speech of school children.  The state constitution of 1921 effectively abolished the use of French in public schools.  Older Cajuns recall being physically punished for speaking French even on the playground.  This has created a situation in many families where older people speak French, but felt ashamed to teach it to the next generation.  This was a sort of ethnic cleansing that has resulted in thousands of people with French last names, Cajun heritage, and francophone grandparents who can't speak French themselves.

There are few things that government does well.  Genocide, including that of the cultural type, is one of them.

Now, schools often have to recruit French teachers from Canada, France, and Belgium to teach ethnically French children how to speak the language their own state government attempted to stamp out.  CODOFIL is an organization dedicated to the encouragement of the French language in our state.

This organization was made necessary by previous generations who maintained the short-sighted attitude that  "This is America.  Speak English."

We Americans are known throughout the world for our inability to speak other languages.  As a professor at the seminary put it, half of our theological library is in German.  Unless a student can read German, half of the books are off limits to him.  What advantage is there in being unilingual?  Is this really something to be proud of?

Germans in America likewise suffered the loss of their linguistic heritage because of pressures from "patriotic" Americans during World Wars I and II - perhaps some of the same "patriots" that interred Americans of Asian descent into forced relocation camps complete with barbed wire and guard towers - even the relatives of some American military personnel who were fighting and dying in Europe.  "This is America..."

But the reality is this: compelling the use of English is un-American.  For the first amendment - a cherished explication of the American mind and articulation of the foundational rights explicitly defended in the Bill of Rights - protects the right of free speech: "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech...".  Instead of "This is America.  Speak English," the truly patriotic sentiment is: "This is America.  Speak whatever you want!"  That is, if we still connect America to freedom, if we still believe it is the preservation of liberty that defines who we are as a people.

Instead of bullying foreigners and Americans into using exclusively English, why not let the free market decide?  Most people will speak English - perhaps only English.  But where freedom is allowed full course, some people will speak French in Louisiana, Spanish in Texas, German in Wisconsin, Norwegian in Minnesota, and Hawaiian in Hawaii.  So what?  And by teaching our children to be multilingual, they will only increase their odds at being successful in a global economy.

The fact of the matter is that Americans and foreigners are free to speak anything we want - in our homes, on the street, in our churches, at school, at work - anywhere.  If you want to say your prayers in Latin, read the Bible in Greek or Hebrew, converse with your family in French or Spanish, watch movies in Russian or Italian, order your meal in Hindi, Japanese, or Mandarin, or just plain learn to speak Icelandic for no reason at all, so what?  More power to you!  There are even artificial languages like Esperanto and Klingon.  People can even communicate in Morse Code or Pig Latin.  So what?  Why should I have any desire to compel someone to speak English?

Is this really anyone's business?

Here in New Orleans, some people do still speak French.  Spanish is quite common.  Just off the top of my head, I have also heard people in Louisiana speak Vietnamese, Chinese, Swahili, Russian, Japanese, German, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Arabic.  It is likely that English will always be spoken here.  And if for some reason it dies off (as even Latin did in Rome itself) it will be because over time, people will freely choose to speak something else.

And the words "freely choose" are important here.  That is supposed to be how decisions are made in America.  Not by government decree.  Not by bureaucratic bullying.  Not by social harassment and intimidation.

"This is America.  Speak whatever you want!"  And as we often say in our laissez-faire Louisiana culture: "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Paleo Coach!

I just picked up a book from the library called Paleo Coach: Expert Advice for Extraordinary Health, Sustainable Fat Loss, and an Incredible Body by Jason Seib (rated an impressive 171 five-star reviews out of 180!).

I have been paleo/primal now for quite some time - more than a year.  I am still enjoying it, eating awesome tasty food, have no belly fat, wear 28 inch pants, have lots of energy, and almost never get sick.  Just skimming through the book, this may be the best quick and easy intro to primal/paleo living and eating.

Page 12 basically tells you all you need to know in one fell swoop:

"The Paleo Lifestyle  At a Glance

Foods to Enjoy

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

Foods to Avoid

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Refined Sugar
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes
  • Soy
  • Most Dairy


  • Walk
  • Lift Heavy Things
  • Sprint
  • Get Flexible
  • High Intensity Interval Training
  • Avoid Traditional Cardio

That's pretty much it!

The book includes some testimonials, some detailed explanations of the above, a few recipes, and some "coaching" to encourage the transition to a healthier life.  There are some before-and-after pictures and case studies, and a helpful short bibliography.

The author, Jason Seib, includes this wonderful challenge on page 193:
Maybe you just can't get your head around the fact that most of what you have been taught is complete bunk.  To you, my friend, I issue my favorite challenge.  Do you think that anything I am suggesting will kill you in a month?  If not, then eat strict Paleo for at least three weeks.  If you see no benefit in the way you look, feel, or perform, put a brick through my window and tell everyone on Facebook that I am a scam artist.  Also, be sure to come to one of my seminars and heckle me.
I would certainly not say that if I had not seen the results with my own eyes, time and time again.  While other diets ask you to dupe your body into the illusion of health, Paleo actually delivers health, and it usually begins working its magic right away.  I am not claiming that Paleo will give you the results you want immediately, but you will see enough improvements in your health and vitality within three weeks to know that you have finally found what you have been looking for.
Nothing is more frustrating for someone like me than the critic who has never tried Paleo.  I am not interested in discussing anyone's theories about why Paleo would not work for them.  You have to come at me with something more tangible than that.  All I am asking is that you give it a shot. Even if your only motivation is to make me eat my words.  Please give it a shot.

I agree with Seib on this.  Some of the biggest critics of paleo/primal seem locked into their belief that this is another fad, it won't work for them, they "could never do that," there is something evil about not eating bread when Jesus used bread (though without all the additives and genetically altered garbage that is in our food supply today) for the Lord's Super, and they are simply and contentedly doomed to being fat, sick, and headed to a health crisis.  I agree with Seib.  You can take charge of your health and do something about it.

Try it.  You won't look back, and you won't be sorry!