Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More on hymn CD sets/ French language hymn book

This post gets quite a few hits looking for "French language hymnal".  I will give the link to where it can be purchased from CPH, right at the top here.

Yesterday, I told you how much we like the "Heirs of the Reformation" set.  While I am loading whatever I can get my hands on into the computer and into my I-Pod, these days, I also borrowed a set of CD's from a relative called  "Neue Lieder.  Lieder aus dem Evangelischen Gesangbuch".  ("New songs.  Songs from the 'evangelische' hymnbook.")

This particular set contains some of the newer songs that have been added to the hymn book in whichever German state (there are different hymn books).   I have to say that, aside from the old hymn which was also included "In dir ist Freude in allem Leide", none of the songs, NONE of the songs talk about Jesus Christ.  NONE.  There is stuff about joy and grace and blessing;  there is even a song that has the Father in it, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but nothing about sin and redemption.  There are songs about having faith and not being afraid and trusting, but nothing about sin and redemption. Very sad.

On the other hand,  Ian Adnams reports on the success of our new French language hymnal here.  See the men and women in Togo use it singing vigorously standing up and with a drum set.  Have a listen to them. Very nice.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting stuff from CPH and Cyberbretheren

This morning's readings included some things from Paul McCain's blog.  He has a very nice day by day scripture summary of what happened on each day of Holy Week.  Have a look.  There is also a link to a tour through Jerusalem and where Jesus would have been.  I haven't tried it yet.  Maybe tomorrow.

His post today also deals with a campaign "a hymnal in every home". -- O, please, let there be a hymnal in every home.-- I do not understand how people cannot have a hymnal. -- We make such a big deal of our heritage of hymns and then we don't even have a hymnal or know any hymns by heart.-- !!!

While I am at it, let me also recommend another CPH product, which is my latest acquisition from them.  It's a 4 CD set titled:  "Heirs of the Reformation."  Currently on sale for $30.00.  You could get it together with your hymnal or give it to someone together with a hymnal.  There are about 45 hymns with tons of verses and professionally done.  The music is perfect and the singing--you can understand every word.  It is so very nice.  If you are going to get only one set of hymn CD's, get this one.

At night, we take up one hymn at a time, more or less in order on the CD, rather than by season, and get out the hymnal and sing along.  Well, I sing along and my husband meditates along sometimes voicing his deep approval or else complaining about a particular arrangement (he can be a little narrow but several are a little "artistic").

Also interesting to me was the discussion about this video.  The producer of the video also has a blog "Better than sacrifice."   is the address, since the video does not fit here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Recipe 2: Olga's Raspberry Delight and Combination Recipe

This is a recipe garnered from one of the church ladies.  I've made it once like this and then I've once invented a recipe which is a combination of this recipe and the last one.  This "combination recipe" has received much accolade, and though I did not measure anything, I will try and reproduce it here, as per request and the best I can.  You really can't go very wrong, as long as you use enough gelatin to hold it all together.

Here goes Olga's.

1/3 cup sugar, 1 and 1/4 cup graham wafer crumbs, 1/3 cup  margarine.
Combine and press into 9x13 pan. Chill.

Combine: 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

put over crumb layer

top with 1 pkg frozen strawberries in Jello.
make jello like this:  1 pkg. raspberry Jello with 1.3 cups water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

--you have to get a bit of a head start with this, too, as the Jello has to set.  But it looks quicker than the Kaesesahne Torte.


You can use either the graham base or the cake base (or none).  (Personally, I avoid graham cracker crumb bases because I don't like them and because there is one more thing to buy in a package.)

You can mix quark, cream cheese, the boiled milk mix and whipping cream or icing sugar.
I did this by going right through the fridge. I had a little whipping cream on hand, some quark and some cream cheese and put it all together (I had accidentally bought a whole ton of cream cheese at Costco.  It was delicious, but I had thought it was sour cream.)  Instead of the icing sugar I used the boiled milk with gelatin and sugar and eggs (see Kaesesahne recipe) to sweeten and hold it all together. 

For the fruit topping, I did make a substantial amount of Jello from a mix, but so that it does not taste all fake, I used frozen grapefruit juice to give flavor and cool things down.  Instead of raspberries I used blueberries because I had some.

In Germany they also make a Yogurt cake in similar fashion.  You can use quark, cream cheese, whipping cream, yogurt...  Just remember at least two packages of gelatin.  If you think you made a lot of filling, maybe use three packages of gelatin to make sure.  Gelatin is good for you, don't worry. 

So that's the "combination recipe".  Go to and don't ask me for exact proportions. 

If you are confused you can ask me.  But this is per special request of one friend M. and another friend M.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recipe: Kaesesahne Torte

 In my mind I'm already at Easter Sunday.  I have to play organ and I'm hosting at my house.  Lots to prep.  Anyone want to come to church or my house, let me know.

This is why finally, there is a long expected post on the cake that I get the most compliments on.  The well-known "Kaehsesahnetorte".  After this will come also variations on the theme.  This is what it looks like:

However, whoever posted the picture of this cake to the internet, did not do it quite right.  The top layer is very thick and if you tried to cut the cake, you will inadvertently squish the quark-gelatin layer beneath it.  MY MOTHER taught me to cut the top layer into 16 little wedges and place the top on pre-cut. Plus, the top layer should not be this thick to start with. 

Found this other picture.  It should look more like this, but make 16 pieces.

To shop ahead:  make sure that you have a spring form, some wax paper, 600 gr of quark (deli section) and whipping cream and gelatin.  Also vanilla sugar (should really be a staple), and 2 cans of mandarin oranges, if desired.  Then you can get started.  At first it seems all a little involved.  But with practice it is not a difficult cake and it is always appreciated for it's light, creamy composition.  It never flops.  A perennial winner.  (However, never cut back on gelatin;  then it would flop for sure.)

Cake portion:

125 gr butter
125 gr sugar
125 gr flour
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoons baking power

make a regular stirred dough, bake in round spring form;  if possible bake the day ahead for easier cutting in half.

For Americans:  get a little kitchen scale that measures grams and ounces, or else remember that 30 gr. is an ounce.

Cream portion:

In a pot on the stove on lower heat and stirring:

heat 1/2 liter of milk
with 4 stirred egg yolks and 200 gr sugar,
1 package vanilla sugar
2 packages of gelatin.

You do want to bring this to a boil, so you want some heat, or else you'll be there all day, but you don't want to scorch anything, so be careful and stir.  I usually start out very gently and let the gelatin dissolve then add the remainder and increase the heat.

After it has boiled, you need to let it cool down.  I usually put it in a cold water bath, so it goes more quickly.  If my quark is frozen, I can put it in and let it help cool down the mix.

Once it has cooled, you want to add in total
600 gr quark
250 ml of whipped whipping cream.

You can now put the torte together.

1.  Slice your cake portion in half with  knife or with the proper thread method (make a groove all around, lay the thread around the perimeter, cross over in the front and then pull.  Let the thread cut the cake.) (My mother, of course, always used the thread method.  My mother was a bit of an expert.  She already had a Bosch kitchen machine in the 50's, which especially was used to knead her yeast doughs.)

2.  Cut some wax paper so you can line the perimeter part of the spring form with it.

3.  Lay the bottom layer of your cake on the serving plate and put the spring-perimeter part of your form around it.  Put your fruit of choice on the bottom layer.  This is traditionally canned mandarin oranges or fresh strawberries, but theoretically you have your choice.  A little tang is nice, as the rest is quite delicate.  If you are using mandarin oranges, get two of the little cans.  Mandarin oranges are VERY nice in this.

4. Put your entire cream layer on top of this.  The wax paper spring form will hold it all together.

5.  Cut your top layer of the cake into 16 wedges (half it, quarter it,...)  Put your wedges on top.

6.  Put in the fridge for TOMORROW, as the gelatin has to set.  I'd say, give it at least 10 hours to set.

7.  Serve with dusting of powdered sugar.

Make the day ahead for any occasion.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More nieces and nephews

 My sister-in-law sent this, this morning.  My brother's wife is a God-sent, a wonderful woman, hard-working, kind and full of good ideas and follow-through.  Last week we celebrated the niece's birthday.  Hear the children speak English mixed with German in a Swabian accent/dialect.  See the birthday girl talk with her grandma in Germany via Skype.  Grandma checks in every morning and evening.  What a neat use of technology.  Also see hubby and me visiting. Now all the other relatives can see the birthdays.  What a long shot from the olden days, that when you emigrated you were as good as dead to the rest of the family.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Confirmations/special books by auntie Brigitte

Ugh, it is snowing again.  Well, let's be positive.  We could be grateful for the moisture.  Dry springs are not good around here.

Spent some time yesterday, making my nephew's special book (see further down) and making an Easter package for his family (my sister's).  His sister is having confirmation in May.  Also another nephew has confirmation in early May.  Here is a picture of a whole bunch, four of them my God-children, this year's confirmands among them.

The boy with the tie in the front and the girl in the skirt in the front are this year's confirmands.  The girl on the left in the dress is also in confirmation classes this year:  Anastasia, Colin and Sarah.  You may pray with me for them.

The picture was taken at Stefan's and Thomas' confirmation.  We had a nice big do at a restaurant in Ft. Sask. and everyone was there.  In retrospect it was good we celebrated big what we could, now Stefan is no longer with us. 

Sarah was baptized in Japan and I could not be there.  I went all out for her and stitched a very fancy, personalized baptism picture for her at one time, which is a very uncharacteristic activity for me.  Mostly I stick with mementos that take less time to prepare, such as the book put in the mail yesterday for the boy in the blue T-shirt in the front, Simon (the name goes in English, German, Japanese and is Biblical).

These books are super-easy to make and inexpensive, but can be a real treasure for the recipient.  I wish now I had included some more things that I have from our parents and grandparents.  Maybe that will be another book, then.

This is the way to get started:  There are so many wonderful images on the internet to supplement one's own. 

(See also my Large Lutheran Study Bible on the cart.  I have resigned myself to carrying it to a proper table and reading sitting on a chair and then carry it back.  At present it sits on this drinks cart, as we don't actually have any drinks.) 

Then there is the cheap photo album that the children chose the cover for themselves and the pages for it that they have created themselves. It's always good to involve the children.  This padding and covering with cloth is my only craft.  I pretty much resent the time involved in making anything else.  For this I keep fabric on hand, which indulges my hoarding habit.  (I should make some bed covers to use some of it up.  I do know how to use the sewing machine.)

Simon's book turned out pretty big as it had room for many pages.  This is how some of them looked.  The one with the armed men at the Lord's supper is my favorite for this book.  This is really how life is.  We are all in armor.

Here are some more to give you ideas.  I spent about three hours and everything could be done better.  But at least it's in the mail.

 These are the mountains where Simon lives.  He sees them right from his front lawn.

You get the idea.  I finished up with this one.  And tucked the tiny cheap Catechism into the last sleeve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Islam, Terrorism & Violence Mosab Hassan Yousef, author “Son of Hamas”

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Where there is a will there is a way, or How I read my big Lutheran Study Bible this Sunday

This is a way that worked for me for a while:  I lay on the sofa full length on my stomach and had the Bible propped up by the far end.  I got through Psalm 68, 69, 70 and 71 that way.  It probably was a good stretch for the lower back, also.  It's good for about 20 min. or so.

Also, another option is I can sit on the sofa with my feet on the table, the knees angled up and the Bible propped on my legs.  This is probably the most comfortable and allows for underlining.  (As M. Harrison said about the "At Home in the house of my Fathers" tome--you can keep wound dressings down like this.)

Or one could have special desk for it.  That might be worthwhile.  A nice Bible table and chair somewhere.  But that would look too pious.

I did enjoy the study notes to go with it and the law/gospel applications are very good.  No, they are not just very good, they are outstanding and extraordinarily helpful.  It's worth getting the LS Bible just for those.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Amazing fortifications.  The Turk threw at least 100 000 men against them to take the city.

Not that old though.  In my mother's home town the walls are 800 years old! :)  See below.  It is amazing to me that the generations come and go, battles rage, people die and these walls still stand.  The Lord is my rock and my fortress.  More permanent  and invincible than even these walls.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"The Knights of Rhodes"

I finished "The Knights of Rhodes".   It involves swords and diameters of canon balls, etc. as well as God;  this might very well be your type of thing.   The characters and their words live in my mind now, and with Bo Giertz putting it together, that's really worth it.

See the book again here and do note that the first review you can view was done by "simul", which is me, :) (that is simul justus et peccator, of course).  You can buy the book on Amazon or borrow mine.  You can also purchase it from the publisher.

This was my review:

Bo Giertz, Swedish Bishop, must have been a wonderful pastor and shepherd of souls, on top of being a first rate theologian and a humble Christian himself. As in the "Hammer of God", in "The Knights of Rhodes" he combines narrative with history, theology, soul care and worship in his own unique way of writing a novel. Of all this mingling of strands and lines of thought, Giertz' understanding of human beings in relation to God and His comfort, is his most profound contribution. Through the characters we learn something about ourselves, how we view ourselves, how we related to each other and how we can find strength and forgiveness in God's word and sacrament.

The story is set in the Eastern Mediterranean in the early 16th century, where we learn initially of the death of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers in the fortress on the island of Rhodes. The new Grand Master is elected and prepares to do battle with the Turkish invaders. Many details are provided regarding the preparation for and conduct of the hostilities. Many characters are introduced. Many of them are true historic figures; all of them occupy different positions and stations, which teach us about the way the society on Rhodes worked. Through the characters we are introduced to many types of conflicts, issues and fears and the way people tried to resolve them.

I did find that I needed to read the book twice to catch all the different characters and their conflicts sufficiently well enough. There is so much material introduced with not much introduction and quick change of scene, that one needs to be a little patient and prepared to spend enough time absorbing the events and personalities. As someone told me, the book is a "Masterpiece". Like with any masterpiece, you discover more layers and depth with each reading. Many parts of the dialogues could be memorized because they are profound. Again, they gain in this profundity for the reader when one understands the characters well enough. Many of them only come onto the scenes twice or so, and you have to remember what was going on with them and spend some time thinking.

One of my favorite characters is the War Judge, who is in charge of torturing people for the Knights. He is a cultured man who loves to practice his beautiful, studied Latin, but seems to catch no ironies related to his work, life and point of view. Even as he is driven from Rhodes, he is speaking Latin filled with superlatives "sagacissimi", "crudelissimi". Yet, he does not understand. -- We can be so blind. But then, how could he be any different and still torture people as his life's work?

The Grand Master is a very special figure, almost Christ-like, relying on the Father, God's word and still betrayed in a Judas-like fashion. In the end his formation is complete. He sacrificed his ambition for the people. The translator summarized the whole story as a narrative of the theology of the cross. We see it most plainly in the Grand Master.

I should not give it all away. There are many more characters, introduced often in a sketch-like fashion. And yet we learn something deep or ironic about each of them, which teaches us also about ourselves and God.

Throughout the story, we also are provided images of the nature of the weapons, the fortification, the warfare, the Islamic enemy and the life and point of view of the Knights. One finds oneself wanting to learn more about the crusades to get a better background.

All of Bo Giertz' books deserve reading because of their depth of understanding of the human condition, of sinfulness, of suffering, of Christ's completed saving work on behalf of mankind, of right care of souls and right teaching and worship. I am a little familiar with writing that has been translated into the German language. We can be grateful that this book "The Knights of Rhodes" is now available in English.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

About the "Lutheran Study Bible"

About the new Lutheran Study Bible:  I bought Martin one in the fall, the nice bonded leather one.  He had really wanted it, but it turned out that neither one of us was reading it. This was the problem.

The Lutheran Study Bible has significant amount of commentary per page, with the result that the volume of material is a little too much for a book you can comfortably read or hold in your hands.  I did get the magnifying glass with it.  Still the paper is too thin and flimsy for my liking.  You don't dare underline in it.  And what good is a book you can't underline in?  I ask you!

So with my last CPH order, I ordered a version of the Lutheran Study Bible that is not nicely bound in leather, but has larger print, thicker paper.  It weighs a lot and it quite a chunk of a book;  not something you take to bed with you or on a trip. So, now because of its size, it sits smack on the living room table from where it does not get budged, like a prized exhibit.  We have read it from there and finally discovered the wealth of material in it.  The commentary is superb.  It includes highly useful quotes, including abundant Luther quotes, as well as short prayers and applications to congregational life, etc.  Very nice.  You should have one.

So from the living room table, I'll read a little here and a little there with a little very useful commentary here and there.  But when I want to really cuddle with a Bible, it will be a different one. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scott Klussendorf at University of Alberta, March 20, 2010

I've heard him speak before.  If you have a chance, you Must go.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reaching out to kids while there is no Sunday School

The "easy Easter crafts" came in the mail the other day.  Since we have no Sunday School kids at this point in the congregation I have figured out that these can be easily given away to all grandma's and aunts, ect. to do in their homes with the children that come on occasion, as well as to the dayhome providers one knows.

I gave four of this type of thing to one grandma, who then proceeded to pour out her heart to me about her extended family. I encouraged her to just be consistent in her witness and plant the seeds whenever she can, saying something about the Lord as she has opportunity.  One never knows when these seeds sprout.  All manner of seed only comes up only in its own or the Lord's time.

There are also these nail crosses, which were a little dangerously poky looking to me, but other women thought it was no concern.  Some took them to take to some teens who might think them very cool. 

Bottomline:  this is neither hard, nor expensive and you're still sharing the story.
(If anyone would like some, I have more. :))

We also have our basement ripped apart, which precludes Sunday School at this time.  Thanks to many, this is progressing, well, and will be so much more attractive when done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Miscarriage of Justice--Mayerthorpe/ 3--Peter Bowals radio interview

Peter Bowal sent this e-mail:

If you missed the 630 CHED show last night and you are still
interested in this, you can hear my radio interview online 
for the next month only.  Go to:
Then set it for Friday, March 12, 2010 at 7 p.m. 
Push listen.  Once it has loaded, advance it past 
the first 6 minutes (which is just news),
and then start listening. 
You'll need to turn on the speakers.

Miscarriage of Justice--Mayerthorpe/ 2

Peter Bowal has been on the radio.  His article is being debated on the opinion pages.

After watching the CBC videos, which Mary kindly sent the links to (couple posts back).  The one video deals with the sting operation against Cheeseman and Hennessy.  That video makes them indeed look like scapegoats, victims of both Roszko and the police.  The other video demonstrates how unprepared the junior officers were to deal with someone like Roszko, how the system failed to put Roszko away and emboldened him further, how people demanding accountability were silenced.  Hopefully, all this leads to some improvements.  About Hennessy and Cheeseman, you wonder if they should be in prison at all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Hitchens'

Found this on Cranach:

Fascinating but how awkward for Peter Hitchens.  He is trying to be direct and fraternal at the same time. God help them both.

It is true that with atheism evil things can be quickly rationalized.  I have seen it myself.  I have experienced it myself.  I am in the middle of it.

Just want to keep this story here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

About "Love"

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The last little while I've been listening to the Issues etc. podcasts on my I-pod.  Certainly a good way to spice up the time I've spent painting walls and baseboards lately.  That, of course, and good music.  How will one ever be bored again?

This one by Pastor Cwirla on "Love" for Valentine's Day was really good.  Something for anyone to listen to any time. What is love?  What does "agape" mean? What about marrying your "soul mate"?  And so on.

Give Issues, etc. a try.  You won't be sorry.  On demand is amazing.  Listen to anything, anytime.  On your I-pod--anywhere.

Word Day of Prayer

My Gibbons choir sang at the World Day of Prayer on Friday evening.  As a confessing Lutheran, I am not sure how much one should participate in these things.  None the less, the "Unity Singers" had prepared a lively song and it went over very well in the little, historical, Anglican church (1906).

I noted that nobody was there from the local evangelical church. I must say, however, that I enjoyed it very much.   Having always been a Lutheran in the diaspora-- as my parents liked to say, though we were not strictly Lutheran (first in Bavaria, now here in the countryside)--I enjoy getting together with my Christian friends from town.   I meet them at the bank and the post-office and in the street.  I've cleaned their teeth.  We fool around at choir.  (As I mentioned before, the British background people, cannot desist from constant repartee-ing.  They are impossible and they crack me up, which likely eggs them on.  The Sopranos in the back row are quite a nuisance, but the conductor also is a stand-up comedian. So we're not sure who is worse.)

The service was happy and sad.  The women of Cameroon described their incredible suffering (HIV, sex trade, girl children not getting the food, labor, labor and more labor) and their joy in their God.  We sang 5 well-known hymns together, with P. on the organ and the United Church minister and the Anglican minister on the African drums, together.  One could tell that the United Church minister had some practiced skill in this.  The Anglican minister looked more like he had been roped into this, but was co-operative.

There was confession and absolution and there was faith in the resurrection and a lot of joy in being together and singing together.  The offering was taken in African style with everyone going up to the front dancing (which I could not get myself to do-- no dancing up the isle from me, though nobody could really watch anyone else, nor move much in the tiny church, crowded together.) 

I should take some pictures of the historical Anglican church.  It's probably on the web, though.  It has artisan type woodwork and beautiful paneling all over the inside.  It has seven rows of pews on either side of the isle which seat about 4 per pew; so  it seats 7x8 which is 56 persons. 

Afterward, we had treats in the other little building.  We discussed the merits of being Anglican vs. United.  Nobody really seems in favor of this inclusive language stuff.  However, the opinion that scripture is obscure and the translations can't be trusted, which one hears regularly from United church members everywhere, was expressed and I did my job and objected vehemently, which was not a problem in the general atmosphere of kinship. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Herr unser Herrscher" , opening chorus of Bach's St. John's passion

Someone might remember how my German class once  listened to this in the language lab.  This is to me one of the most amazing, stirring pieces ever.  When I first heard it, I was transfixed.  Even the German students behaved when they heard it.

This performance is to me the best one I found on YouTube, even though it looks dated.   This is not just Bach.  This is an unfathomable spiritual text.  It has to be sung right. You have to think about every single word.  Some of the other versions seemed rushed to me and just getting through the text.  You have to sing every single word right.  "Herr", "Herr", "Herr"! 

Herr, unser Herrscher, dessen Ruhm
Lord, our ruler, whose glory
In allen Landen herrlich ist!
is magnificent in all the earth!
Zeig uns durch deine Passion,
Show us through your passion,
Dass du, der wahre Gottessohn,
that you , the true son of God,
Zu aller Zeit,
at all times
Auch in der größten Niedrigkeit,
even in the deepest humiliation
Verherrlicht worden bist!
are glorified.

From Wikipedia

  • opening chorus: Herr, unser Herrscher ... (Lord, our master, whose glory fills the whole earth, show us by your Passion that you, the true eternal Son of God, triumph even in the deepest humiliation. Listen: [1]). There is an orchestral intonation of 36 bars before the imploding entrance of the chorus. Each of these bars is a single stress of lower tones, weakening till the end of the bar. These bass beats are accompanied by the remaining instruments of higher tunes, by legato singing the prospective theme. The last six bars of the orchestral intro produce a robust crescendo, arriving to shouting forte initial three bars of the chorus, where the chorus joins to the long sequence of deep stresses by Herr, Herr, Herr. Soon, after the first portion of the theme, comes the triple Herr, Herr, Herr again, but this time, at the end of the bars, as a contra answer for the corresponding orchestral deep stesses at the beginning of the bars. Just before the composer's ideas could dry out, the full beginning is repeated. But this time our illusion is, as if we heard 36 Herrs.
“Herr, unser Herrscher” and “O Mensch bewein” are very different in character.[13] “O Mensch bewein’” is full of torment in its text. It is a serenely majestic piece of music. “Herr, unser Herrscher” sounds as if it has chains of dissonance between the two oboes and the turmoil of the roiling sixteenth notes in the strings. Especially when they invade the bass it is full of anguish and therefore it characterizes the St John Passion more so.[13]

Friday, March 5, 2010


You probably think I'm a little mixed up this year.  You could say that--or just a couple of weeks behind.
Over Christmas, I was weeping, bewailing my losses, the beginning of Lent I was translating a Christmas hymn.  But I do know where we are. 

I also skipped Valentine's Day, on which I thought about posting an old picture of myself and husband, then I got shy about it. I don't know why.  We're a good looking couple, hey! Thankfully, somebody, apparently, had me take my glasses of. (Weren't they large back then.)  Here is a the picture from our engagement time and was taken for the church directory.

This past Valentine's day there were stories in the paper about couples who've been married for a very long time sharing their secrets for making it happen.  They never went to bed angry, they had fun, etc.  One had a good line:  "When you're wrong admit it, when you're right be quiet." I showed the article to my son-in-law to be.  Martin and I are just about at 27 years married and I have no such secret to share.  We have done all the wrong things.  Gone to bed angry, not admitted, and not been quiet, not had fun when we should have. You name it.  If we are like those couples who've been married for 60-some years, we still have decades to practice, though.

We've had plenty of blessings and plenty of hardships, like anybody else.  Now that we have more time, it seems we are starting again from scratch.  It is a bumpy transition and I still haven't found a rhythm.  There is no secret other than grace.  You must learn to give it and receive it.  And selfishness. You must give it up, try your best, any how.  Believe it or not, You are Not the Center of The Universe.

Ok, now we're in Lent.  I'll just share a song I've listened to a couple of times this week in rediscovering a CD we bought at a concert of the Blind Boys of Alabama.  The CD features the Blind Boys with Ben Harper.  The Youtube video only has Ben Harper and no Blind Boys.  I'll post another one also so we can see the Blind Boys, too.

When we were at the concert one of the Blind Boy's talked a little bit and he said that he wakes up in the morning and thanks the Lord for another day.  I've remembered what he said a few times since then, especially because he is blind and I am not and I have lots of reasons to be thankful in the morning.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

President Bugbee's talk last week at Edmonton Concordia Lutheran Seminary

Last week I was privileged to be able to  hear this talk at the seminary.  Great stuff including encouragement to read Giertz (after min. 10).  Watch the whole thing.  The videos of this kind can be found on the LCC website.

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worse than the pope/ notes

After translating the passage for James Swan  (close enough to current German but a little different), (link),  I was wondering about some of the terms.  For example the pastor is said to be an "einkomling", which I translated as salaried man.  But perhaps, it means something more historically specific.  "Einkommen" is "income".  He is someone who makes an "income" rather than someone who owns lands and real estate.  Then I thought about "Bauer" which nowadays would be just a farmer and first I wrote "farmer", until I noticed that all English translations always say "peasants".  Well a peasant to me was a serf.  Were all the peasants serfs or where some prosperous owners?

Which reminds me of Sister Radegundis, who used to teach us history. I remember her teaching us about serfdom.  In Germany we did not have spiraling curriculum, which means you don't cover the same ground over and over in each grade with a little more complexity each time.  In grammar school we started in antiquity and worked our way up in time over the grades.  Sister Radegundis was not very inspiring, always in a foul mood, which should not generally be said about the other sisters, who were quite cheerful.  She was old and had her pet-peeves for which she would chew out some poor girl, taken quite unawares.  It never happened to me, thankfully.  When it was Lent, it seemed worse.  Anyhow, hence my aversion to lenten fasts, but I'm trying it this year.

Ok, that's all I remembered about the peasants. (I have a book on medieval history, but I haven't actually read it.)  Surely, the peasant's aspirations played into the reformation scenario and historical context.  One could almost understand their little capitalist notions, that maybe Luther is decrying here.  I am guessing that we would act and think similarly.  Except the notion that the pastor should not have anything-- that is not nice-- or the widow and orphan.  Remember he is not really talking about widows and orphans, here, though;  he is just making a comparison and adducing Bible passages.

So much for that.  Below, some results of rudimentary, quick googling on the subject to illustrate more or less, not to properly research.

I just had a memory flash.  My father used to sing a little mocking tune.  It sounded like Gregorian chant, but made fun of the matter over prayer and trying to get or retain goods.  "Ein Pferd ist was wert...  eine Pfennig fuer den Klingel Klangel Gloria".  (A horse is worth something...  a penny for the clinging, clanging Gloria.) 

The average peasant in the feudal structure could be grouped into two main professions: farmer or craftsmen. The farmers worked the fields daily, planting, harvesting, and fertilizing the plants. They paid for their rights to use the land directly in the form of their harvest, and keep the excess to be sold or for their own family use. Most farmers were not free and were bound to their land. Some were free and were known as villeins. These people were theoretically allowed to leave and go where they pleased, however, that was often not the case. The craftsmen were usually trained in the home by a parent who was in the profession, or by going into an apprenticeship with another skilled craftsmen in the town. The craftsmen built their goods to sell, and paid a tax to the lord for their right to use the land. Their life mainly consisted of making their goods and services available to the public of the town, coming to help when the town or castle needed repairs, or training the younger generation with their craft. Their profit from the sales was used to buy food from the farmers, and other items which kept the cycle of sales and purchases flowing to keep the medieval economy going.


Most of the peasant had a few meager possessions, including benches, tools, pots and wooden bowls, cups and spoons. Many households also had a simple wooden chest to keep valuables in. Beds were not a common thing, and most slept on a sort of straw mattress on the floor. They slept in their work clothes, covered by an animal skin usually. Some houses had linen towels, woolen blankets, and livestock were also a common possession for them to own, normally chickens, cows, or a pig. If the wife in the family was not helping with the craftsmanship or the farming, she usually occupied her time with raising the children and having a small garden, called a croft. This was usually located next to the house. Some of the farmers lived in town and made the daily commute to their farms, but others lived outside of the protection of the walls on the farms. Generally, farmers did not merely subsist on the crop they grew, and could also produce a cash crop which would be sold. The money from this was used to pay their taxes and buy the necessary supplies for living.

A simple wooden chest
A chest like this one might be used by a prosperous merchant or farmer to store belongings in.

Religion was an important part of the life for the peasants, and it was taken very seriously. In fact, before the strong, tyrannical government emerged in the tenth to thirteenth with the king as its ruling figure, the church could also be considered a contending force with the king, sometimes overthrowing the king and placing a puppet of the church in command. The church had strict laws which were carefully followed, and a severe punishment was usually guaranteed if they were broken. The hierarchy of the church was most often mixed with the feudal system of the town. The bishops had great power, were usually involved in politics, and were even occasionally granted fiefs by the king or his ministers. And so, religion became a ever-present facet in the lives of the medieval world. Most villagers practiced religion by observing holidays and the Sabbath when necessary. They practiced many religious rites, such as baptisms, burial Masses, and communion, when they could afford to, that is.

Festivals and Famine:

Famines were frequent and plagues depleted the livestock. Crops were destroyed by frosts, floods, and droughts. Fields and harvests were burned when the lords had bursts of warfare across the countryside. Thus, the peasants life was a hard one. However, peasants of the middle ages enjoyed many holidays, both religious and non-religious, which meant that the peasant worked for about 260 days a year. The life of the peasant was extremely difficult, but enjoying holidays kept spirits high.

Monday, March 1, 2010

worse than the pope/3

This is the end of the passage.

("Worse than the pope/1" is the middle; " /2" is the beginning of the passage; " /3" is the end.  There is nothing omitted.)

I fear, that we are so trifling with the gospel that we are worse in the eyes of God than the papists.  If something is to be stolen, ever, better from a rich man than from a beggar or orphan, who has nothing besides a morsel of bread.  Sirach said:  "Trouble not the widows and orphans, for their tears go upward not downward" , that is they cry to him, who is above.  Those are the waters which cross mountains, as a proverb says, and God is not called for nothing the Father of widows and orphans, because even when they are deserted by everyone else, God still cares for them.  But it is better that we take care of widows and orphans and help them, because they are thus commended/commanded to us.  But if He has to do it himself, He will begin such a sport with us which goes like this:  "If you will cause sorrow to the widows, I will cause it to happen that your wives' young men will be struck down, and so your women and your children become widows and orphans."  As we see, nowadays, the Turk makes widows and orphans; however, we deserve this.

Well, a person is not supposed to reprimand people. (?!) Christ can preach, too.  Here (Matthew passage) he uses vinegar and forgets all honey and says:  Woe, woe, you who grab everything for yourself, dig and scratch, and still want to be called good Evangelicals.  See to it, that the gospel is not just on your lips (hovering over your tongue) while you are actually doing the opposite.

Ouch.  Papist, Lutheran and Calvinist should probably all smart together.

Worse than the pope/2

These are the paragraphs preceding the passage.  After going on about the hypocrisy in the papacy, at length, especially in the performance of prayers, dissecting all that thoroughly, (Matthew context: Pharisees and their long prayers are but greedy, hyprocrictiacl monsters, like the papists) he comes to this which is quoted below.  From line 22 of the preceding page:

People tell the story that a pious man had a vision of hell and had seen that it is plastered with the "platten" (bald heads? probably looking similar to cobble stones on the road, I'm guessing) of the monks an priests, because these are on the wide path to hell;  the great noblemen, as well.

Here is another thing to lament.  They take in the gulden and do nothing for it other than "pray".   That is much worse than getting it by stealing and robbing.  Therefore, they really are robbers, the likes of which have never been on earth before.  These are our pope, cardinal, bishops and the spiritual estate, who on top of everything else are blaspheming God, thereby.

But God plagues the world so because it despises his word.

One can see how people gave to the hypocritical supplicants (papists, monks...), how they have all the bishoprics and dukedoms, and to THAT people gave (money) all for the sake of a false, holy appearance, whereas NOW, people give nothing where the gospel is being preached, and where we pray properly and where are found pastors who single-handedly do more (good work) than all the bishops of the pope together;  to this pastor people now  maybe give ten gulden.  NOW nobody wants to give, and if we did not now have the stolen goods of the pope (that the pope had stolen) our preachers would not have much to eat;  but this is not enough (evil), people would also like to own everything that the poor pastor has received.  Before, they opened the purse generously, now they would like to rip the (last) bite right out of the pastor's mouth.

The nobleman lacks nothing, but they and the officials would still take the rinds of the pastor's bread, which are left over and still they want to be considered a good Evangelical.  Now that prayer is true, a person cannot not only accomplish that the preachers have food and nourishment but also people would like to take from them what they still have remaining.  One can hardly convince a peasant or a nobleman to think thus:  "He (the pastor) is a salaried man.  The house and the land, where he lays his head, do not belong to him;  it's (just) as if a widow had been thrown out;  but I, myself, own a little castle, which should suffice me;  I won't harm anybody."  (But, no), the noblemen do it themselves (deprive pastors) and everyone laughs at it.  Therefore, we are worse than the pope.

NOTE that the "stolen lands" are not lands that WE stole.  It does not say that.  Rather in the context it is abundantly clear  that the "robbing" and "blaspheming" and "hypocritical" papists have "stolen" them from the "rich."

For James, translation/ worse than the pope/1

On being worse than the papists:

"The pope steals from the rich widows, emperor, king, noblemen and lords.

But we rob from the poor beggars, their children, and widows and this happens also here, in this dukedom.

This is how we deal worse with the gospel than they do in the lands of Duke George or the land of the Margrave.

It means that beggars, sojourners and poor widows get devoured, and one should raise great lamentation/outcry over this,-- they are devouring bone and marrow.

So when one complains loudly over the papists, we should also look to ourselves."

... it is better to steal from the rich than from the poor, as comparative vices go.  He continues in this vein further.  But that is the context in the first link.  Just before he complains that people are not willing to feed the pastors.  Following after he discusses scripture that deal with looking after widows and orphans.

Ok, now I see you would also like the paragraphs before and after.  Just a minute.