Editorial Update

ramblings by John W. Berg

This “update” was originally published in October of 2004.


Christian Worship is the hymnal with which I operate and was the second (third, if you include LBW) entrant in the “Replace The Lutheran Hymnal Contest,” won handily, and, ironically, by our laconic Norwegian brothers in the ELS with their excellent Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (how can you beat a hymnal that includes the Augustana and the Catechism). Browsing through CW the other day I noticed that it includes 8 hymns in the “Baptism” section and 28 in the “Commitment” section. Did I say the name of the hymnal was Christian Worship?


To Seek Out And Explore Strange New Worlds


My good friend Reverend Gregory Gibbons reminded me of a Star Trek (original series, please) episode entitled “The Changeling.”  (By the way, Double G’s Star Trek credentials? He has been court ordered to stay 500 feet away from William Shatner.) In this episode an alien probe, Tan Ru, melds with an earth satellite and becomes the world destroyer “Nomad” which because of crossed circuitry thinks that Captain James Tiberius Kirk is its creator.  As it is bent on “sterilizing” the universe, most specifically biological units (humans) who unlike it are “imperfect” and so must be sterilized (zapped into nothingness) Kirk must stop this menace and does so with Spock-like logic and a Lutheran understanding of original sin. If he, its creator, is imperfect, then his creation must be imperfect and so it must sterilize itself. As Nomad is overloading over this Gordian knot of logic it is transported into deep space and (Ka-boom!) explodes. Universe saved, as if we get-a-life Trekkies had any doubt.


A similar futuristic episode was presented to me not long ago where just such a dilemma is presented. A WELS female ministerette visits an elderly woman in the hospital to consecrate and give her communion. Grandma’s WELS’ grown grandson comes to visit granny and asks for communion as well. As it is an exercise of authority the female minister cannot commune the man, therefore she must refuse him the Supper, but since that is an exercise of authority - she cannot excommunicate him - she must give him the Holy Supper, but since she a woman…. (Ka-boom!)


All I can say is, “Beam me up, Scotty.”


To Boldly Go…


There’s good news and, well, good news. The contributing editors of this “rag” (thanks CHARIS) are going to stick to their original intention and subsequent promise of publishing for three years and be done with it.  We said in our first issue that we would commit for three years, then think about it. It didn’t take us long to realize - this is a whole lot of work (and we’re not that smart)!  We will have said what we hoped to say in this forum, and to let you have your say. Our apologies, and thanks, to all who have encouraged us to continue. Perhaps some day, this majestic bird will rise like a Phoenix…. oh, shut up.


Perhaps you noticed that we have sent you this issue first class and not via non profit mail.  As we were extremely late in getting this issue out we felt obligated to do so, the expense borne by two faithful friends and subscribers who live in Las Vegas. We asked no questions about the source of this gift, but they muttered something about “a system.” You will note that this issue has a number of articles by Fr. Peter Berg. He recently had a little extra time, as for a while he was in between jobs, er, uh, synods. You will also notice that the Reverend James Frey has no article contribution in this edition, not that he does not contribute. His answer to two representative letters questioning his article “Infant Communion” is article length (editor note, these letters and answer were appended to Fr. Frey’s article published in our e-Volume 2:3).  That particular article received the most comment of any so far (although it has not caused the most trouble, Fr. Peter Berg’s “That Jesus Christ was Born a Man” in Volume II: 1, has, but that’s another story). As a reader of the notes received, I couldn’t help but noticing, especially among a number of college and seminary student writers, a profound misunderstanding about faith. It seems to be understood by many as intellectual knowledge and assent and not as fiducia. 


Finally, don’t believe everything you read on Luther Quest.  Live long and prosper.  §



Reverend John W. Berg is pastor of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church. This “update” was originally published in October of 2004. (And since that time the LCMS’ Lutheran Service Book has hit the stands and is the best of the crop.)