Pets? Souls?

I realize I’m traveling in dangerous territories with this post as I learned recently when one of my dear friends thought I was saying all kinds of bad things about pets and people who love them, but I’m back once again with a thought that may not make everyone happy.

Dr. Ken Klaus, Lutheran Hour speaker, wrote in his devotion for today the following:

“No Pets Allowed”

November 18, 2009

And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Mark 7:27-28

Pastor Thomas Eggebeen is interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif.

When Pastor Eggebeen started in that church three years ago, he was saddened to see membership was sliding and the faithful who still attended church all seemed to be sporting a lot of gray hair.

Not so long afterwards, a figurative light bulb came on over Eggebeen’s head and he was given an idea on how he could save the church. He would turn God’s house into a doghouse.

Yes, you heard that right. The church would have 30-minute services, individual doggie beds, canine prayers, and an offering of doggy treats. Pastor Eggebeen is not alone in espousing pet worship. Apparently, he is at the front of a spreading movement that believes in pet evangelism.

Now if it sounds like I’m a bit amused by all this, I have to confess, I am.

Pet church adds a whole new — and very strange — dimension to religion. Now I have no problem with St. Francis, or anyone else, if he wants to bless animals or talk to them. On the other hand, red warning flags pop up when I hear Pastor Eggebeen say, “When we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that.” Pastor, that’s not in the Bible.

I get concerned when Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, says, “More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them (pets) to have some kind of soul.”

I get concerned because the idea of doggies and kitties and hamsters, etc. with souls are not only not in the Bible, such a belief is a contradiction of Genesis 2:7. There it says man is unique because he is made and because God breathed a living soul into him.

To both pastor and professor I would say, you can’t change dogma because you love your dog. (Really sorry about that line, but I couldn’t resist.)

Call me “old-fashioned,” but the bottom line is simple. God’s grace sent His Son to save sinful humanity from damnation. So we might be forgiven, cleansed, reconciled, and redeemed, Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose. And while I love all pets, it’s asking a lot of God to have Him send His Son to suffer and die to save Fluffy and Spot.

You may have heard of the news report about this California congregation like I did, and I appreciate Dr. Klaus’ take on the matter. I pray you do to!

If you are interested in subscribing to the daily devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries, please do so here.

Where’s My Cell Phone?

It seems that this is a larger problem than I could have imagined–losing track of one’s cell phone.

Here’s a site that will assist you in finding it. This really works–I tried it.

Now if you want to go a step further and track down a stolen cell phone, my recommendation is to buy an iPhone as the phone has built into the software the ability for you to track where you phone is even if it has been stolen.

My advice: hang on to your cell phone regardless!

For This Coming Sunday

One thing that is so obvious that I should be doing with this blog but haven’t done is to assist you with your preparations for this coming Sunday’s worship. So, I will now begin to publish the Scripture lessons and the hymns for the upcoming Sunday (and also any special services during the week). I pray these are useful to you in your devotional life.

For Sunday, November 22:

Hymns–

“Christ Is the King” (LBW 386–will be an insert)
“Glory Be to God the Father” (LSB 506)
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (LSB 549)
“Crown Him with Many Crowns” (LSB 525)

Scripture Lessons–

Isaiah 51:4-6
Psalm 93
Jude 20-25
Mark 13:24-37

World War II in High Definition

I had seen the commercials for the History Channel’s “WW II in HD” a couple of times so I thought I would take a peek last night and I was not disappointed. I am blessed to have a high definition television and the program definitely came to life in that format. Through modern technology, old film (some never seen before) was brought up to HD standards and the results are stunning.

The series is being shown over five nights and the story of World War II is told through a narrator and through the lives of several men and women who served in the war. As with this type of program, there are always new details to be learned.

If you have the time and inclination, this is a good way to spend a couple of hours each evening. To see the realities of war in this fashion is far different than the “antiseptic” wars we have been involved in the past twenty years. Many complain today when death tolls reach 100 each month. In the 1940’s the loss of life each month was staggering.

I recommend this to you.

A Stewardship Thank You

Thank You for your Commitment, Involvement, and Generosity

Although our culture makes every attempt to conform us to its worldly ways, as Christians we persevere and cling to our faith, for the One Who is in us is greater than all the forces of evil in the world (1 John 4:4). We live in this world, but we are not of this world (John 17:14). By God’s grace, He makes our ways become His ways. By His grace, He gives us power to acknowledge Him as Creator and Provider of all things. By His grace, He empowers us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. By His grace, He forgives us when we lose our way and restores us again to Himself.

It is only because of your commitment, involvement, and generosity to our church that we are able to share the Gospel with both the churched and the unchurched. Thank you for the generous giving of your time, talents, and treasures to God through our church. Through your giving, the Gospel is preached, our ministry goes forward, we are blessed, and God is glorified.

God calls and equips us to be generous people. Through His Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit transforms us into people who excel in the grace of giving.

May God bless you as you faithfully manage all the blessings He has entrusted to your care.

In His love,

Pastor Herring