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Pastor Morris and Newtown: An LCMS Fair Fight?

The controversy over Pastor Rob Morris’ participation in a syncretistic worship service for the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting revealed a lot about the character of the LCMS. Steadfast Lutherans had a huge week of posts, and Gerald Kieschnick and David Behnke came out of the woodwork, along with their “once-in-a-lifetime” service exception. If you have belonged to the LCMS for a long time, you’ve seen stuff like this, and the fact it occurred again isn’t surprising.

But in reading the blogs and news stories, I came to a realization: LCMS is in conflict because it is unwilling to allow conflict. Non-confrontationalism is an essential part of our denomination’s character, and until we are willing to accept the fact we have divisions, we’re not going to be able to work through them.

No place was this more clear than in President Harrison’s first blog post after the service, where the lone embolden words were “I accept his apology”. The whole tenor of Harrison’s first post on the was, “Yes, Pastor Morris should not have participated in this service, and he knows it. Let’s stop fighting about it.” After the news outlets and blogs cycled through stories, President Harrison felt the need to write another post apologizing for the reaction that was outside of his control, and that this was so terrible that this became a national story.

But really, who cares? The liberal media is picking on a small, infighting church body? That’s not news. In fact, Jesus said things like this would happen.

Lutherans, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but there are several types of congregations in our synod. First, there are psuedo-ELCA congregations, who use the green hymnal and say that women serving as elders and communion assistants are just a different expression of the gospel. Then there’s the full blown contemporary, praise band congregations who embrace mega-church trends. There are the churches who embrace the full liturgy and who call mostly from Fort Wayne. And then there are the moderates, who borrow a little from everyone. That makes four very different.. If this is your church body (and how we all ended up in the same church body, I have no idea), you are going to drop the gloves and go at once in a while.

And that isn’t a bad thing. As modern relationship studies have taught us, the couples who never fight are the ones who end up getting divorced, or who are unhappy in their marriage. The couples who learn how to “fight fair” are the ones who survive and thrive. So the question becomes, is the Newtown situation one where the LCMS fought fair?

On that count, I’m not as sure. I don’t know that this caused people to do anything more than to come to their various platforms and reiterate their own beliefs, for their own sake as much as those of their fellow believers. I’m not privy to Synod politics, but there doesn’t really seem to be two fighting factions, as there was in the Behnke-Yankee Stadium controversy, where Kieschnick, the synod’s president at the time, and Behnke, were fighting conservatives on various boards. Pastor Morris apologized (some pastors said he should have “confessed sin”; semantics, in my opinion), and likely would not have participated in the service had he known what people would have said about it afterward. I don’t think this event will result in CTCR studies; the greater damage is that, when a big problem comes up, the LCMS behaves like a good family who lives behind a white picket fence and goes into denial when their youngest son gets arrested for drug use. They make statements and deny that such a thing could even happen.

Just one big, always-at-each-other's throats, family

Just one big, always-at-each-other’s throats, family

Judges 21: Stealing Wives & Israel’s Leadership Void

At St. John in Seward, the Heritage Room Study recently completed a series on the book of Judges. Yes, that’s right, we dug into the Old Testament. (Jerry Pfabe said he’d kept the notes around for thirty plus years.) Last Sunday, we had an interesting discussion on the end of the book

When I was a kid, I always thought the ending of Judges was odd. The Benjamites couldn’t marry their fellow Israelites because of their injustices, so they went off and stole wives from a foreign country. The main thing I remember was the last verse. ” In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25 ESV) The Benjamites kidnapping the daughters of Shiloh didn’t really sound  that bad, but of course, a lot of things don’t sound as bad after you read about Israel annihilating the Benjamite women, children, and livestock. So when Dr. Pfabe compared what the Israelites did to human trafficking, I reconsidered the story in those different terms.

“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Kind of sounds like the modern slogan of whatever is true for you is true. But one thing that comes through in the whole story is no one is leading Israel in the campaign against Benjamin. You can’t always fault people for not having great leadership in front of them, although it doesn’t absolve the from personal responsibility either. Israel may have had the Moses and the books of the law, but they didn’t listen to them.

That’s probably why I don’t fault the Benjamites that much for stealing daughters away from Shiloh, and taking them away from their families. May be if Israel had good king or judge, that leader would have gone around Israel and taken up a national offering to pay the dowries for the Benjamites to marry wives from another neighbor. But instead, they took the more expedient route.

Still, their world was much different than ours is today. Remember, Lot’s daughters slept with their father to continue their line (and so created two of Israel’s worst enemies, Genesis 19). Letting the Benjaminites die off and loosing a tribe of Israel was so heartbreaking to the rest of the nation, they compromised their own plan. Keeping the family together is important, even at the expanse of breaking up someone else’s family.

But at least the men who wrote the Old Testament were honest enough to include Israel’s flaws. Prof. Moulds noted this at one of St. John’s studies on Leviticus, that while Israel’s neighbors were writing long books with nothing but praise for their kings, Israel’s priests and prophets constantly condemned their own people, which undoubtedly (aside from divine inspiration) helped the Scriptures endure down to our day.

We don’t know hat happened to those girls. Personally, I hope that many of them went on to lead, long happy lives, and become good wives and mothers. Of course, I’m being really optimistic, but that’s just my hope, that even though these guys treated them poorly at first, they repented, and treated them better.

Productive Lutheran Worship Discussion?

After reading Pastor Todd Wilken’s Worship Wars article in the Fall Issues Etc. Journal, I would like to examine  the choices that lead a congregation to worship the way it does. While I agree that doctrine is inevitably at the center of worship controversy, looking across our synod and making a sweeping judgment that a return to doctrine is going to automatically going to cure worship-related-anxieties is not the only answer that everyone will accept. It starts with doctrine, but it doesn’t just end there.

As I’ve traveled around our Synod, I’ve been many different congregations, some who use the liturgy in its fullness, and some that use some or all contemporary. One thing I’ve found that’s a bit surprising is that the churches who use the liturgy (and keep closed communion) are more friendly and outgoing than the churches who use contemporary worship. I suspect this in large part because the liturgical churches know that they are asking more of people, and they are okay with that. Some people may find their worship dense and confusing, but the liturgical church uses this as an opportunity to present the gospel. Meanwhile, the non-liturgical churches often have greeters with authenticity and zeal of a car salesman.

As I’ve heard the stories of the advocates of alternative worship, they all follow the same narrative. Dying church, no young people are coming, older adults panic, so contemporary worship gets instituted. Visitors come in and don’t understand the liturgy. Instead of explaining it, the pastor says “Lord have mercy on me” and runs for his guitar. Notice how all these methods are reactionary, presumptuous, and don’t even involve discussion with the people they are trying to reach.

So, in some sense, the difference in our synod between those who use the liturgy and those who use the praise band can come down to “Inner Scoreboard”, as Warren Buffett would say. If your congregation is a middling 150 people, how do you feel about it? Are you okay with consistent attendance by a select few who give and who do a lot of the work, or do you want more? To put it within the context of Wilken’s post, are you okay with worshiping in the way that best reflects the doctrine you believe, or do you have to go chasing people? I will say this: while it’s admirable to try to reach more people, if a congregation holds steadfast to its doctrinally principals, even the most worldly people will admire that.

But of course, none of this deals with the primal issue in our synod, namely we are divided on the nature of what worship should be, going down multiple generations, and don’t have a platform to discuss these issues. In my CUW class, there was a per-seminary student whose father was the pastor of a LCMS parish who embraced contemporary worship and church growth practices. His senior seminar tried to justify contemporary worship’s place in our synod, but it lacked any opening for anyone from the opposing side to come in and engage him on the topic. Even the moderate students didn’t respect it.

So how do we create a platform to have meaningful conversations about worship in our synod? Doctrine is a huge part of the worship wars and at the center, but to find a real solution to the worship wars, we have to talk about practice within the context of doctrine. First, we talk about what we believe and why we are part of this synod (given how we are slaves to tradition at times, such self-examination). Then, let’s move beyond that and talk about what’s essential to teach our churches through worship and preaching. Then, move on to circumstance. If people are leaving our church, what’s the solution? Is changing the worship style the real solution? What about the churches that are taking in more people with alternate worship? Do we want to do everything that they do and believe what they want to believe?

So, there are two parts to this discussion, first doctrine (in the pastor’s study and in the sanctuary) and then practice. The way to have a productive discussion about worship is starting with doctrine, working through this issues, clear through to practice. But it’s important that as we move the discussion from doctrine to practice, we don’t suddenly stop talking about doctrine and jump to practice, because these things are inevitably connected. And even if they aren’t we should weigh them to be sure.

The LCMS is divided on this issue, and working through it is probably going to take another generation. Be honest about what you’re doing and consistent in doing it. Don’t sit on the differences you have with your brother; instead, bring them to the front, and share them openly. Even if we don’t come to a consensus, maybe we can at least move forward.

Church Work: Taping for Shut-ins

A while back, I saw a blurb in the St. John bulletin asking for someone to help with the tape ministry at St. John, which made audio tapes for the older adults at St. John. I called about, and it turned out that our family friends Gene and Marian Faszholz were in charge of the production. So I began helping them make tapes for the shut-in members of the congregation.

I know what you are thinking: can’t we just digitally record the service? Yes, the service is recorded digitally and with full video. There is a ministry that distributes DVD’s but so far, we haven’t worked out a way to easily distribute a distribute an audio recording or CD’s, so we’re stuck with tapes until these machines break. The machines have already been paid for, so anything else we get out of them is gravy.

On the Sundays I tape, I arrive around 8:10 to set up the taping equipment. It’s stored in the work area behind the fellowship area by the pastor’s offices. I take the three bulky tape copiers out of the cupboard, plug them in, and stock them with tapes. I take a clean tape that’s never been used before and write the date on it, and head upstairs.

The taping equipment is up in the corner of the balcony at church. During the school year, I usually have to climb past choirs (bells or voice, and sometimes both), to get to the tape deck and where I insert the tape. I have a little over forty minutes of record time, so I have to cut certain things out, like the pre-service announcements, or a couple of the hymn verses. Time has never been a problem, and once the service is done I head back down to the tape room.

Tape Deck

Once I’m there, I plug the tape into the first machine, careful to get the right side up (otherwise, I will have to stay late and record the eleven o’clock service). It usually takes me half an hour to get all of the tapes I need, during which time I sort the bulletins to send with the tapes, or just read the news bulletin. I need thirty tapes for all of the routes and another seven or eight for the church office, in case someone wants to pick them up during the week. I’m lucky-when Gene started working with the tape ministry ten years ago, he had to make twice as many tapes.

Yes, Tapes.

When I started, there were three delivery routes, so I always had to take a route to either Heartland or around town. But since there have been a few death, and we only do two routes now. While I enjoy not having to deliver and going to Bible study instead, I do miss seeing the people at Heartland. It’s great to be a presence in their lives.

(Worship Committee)

Church Work: What I Do For Worship Committe

Where I watch the sermon from when I’m on Worship Committee Duty

A two years ago, I was asked to be a part of the worship committee at St. John Evangelical Lutheran. As I wasn’t doing a lot at the time, I said sure, and since have been privileged to serve my Christian community in such a capacity.

Worship committee members are part of the ushering team at St. John and do a lot of the coordinating of the various participants in the service (acolytes, lay readers, etc.). One WC member is on duty at each service (two for 8:30 communion services), along with the usher teams, and mostly just handout programs at the beginning, help with offering, and direct people up to communion. They are also have the responsibility of finding a communion assistant if one doesn’t show up, or lighting the candles if one of the kids doesn’t show up (done both). Post-service, they collect bulletins and go up the aisles to collect attendance registers and take them to the office, and change the hymn boards. I’ve even had the privilege of setting up for baptism.

By and far the biggest responsibility of the worship committee is responding to a medical emergency if one arises during the service. This happened once when I was serving (thankfully others were there to help as well), a second time when I wasn’t to someone who was sitting directly behind me. There’s an automatic defibrillator that all of us are trained to use, and Clark urges all of the members to take CPR courses annually.

One of my friends told me when I first started that I had the perfect demeanor to be an usher. I suppose she’s right, although I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it. Sure, it’s a couple of meetings over the course of a year and staying late after service, but with everything God has done for me, it is the least that I can do to serve His people.

For 8:30 service, I arrive at 7:45. I collate programs and news bulletins for most of that time, greet people as they come in. I love it when we have an usher group of teenagers during lent because it usually means I can sit back and let them do all the work, and it’s great to have them involved. I always end up pacing a lot during the sermon, because I worry about having to help someone who might have a medical emergency. Surprisingly, Pastor Ratcliffe doesn’t find this distracting.

Prayers

This past year, I received a leather bound journal for Christmas. Presently, I wasn’t in a journaling frenzy, so I decided to turn it into a prayer book, with the prayers I write down and pray again and again, along with other spiritual meditations. Here’s a sampling of them.

Heavenly Father,

You have said that all who turn to you in faith, You will not turn away. Save me according to Your unfailing love and grace through your Son Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice is good enough for You. May my hope be the one who needs no repentance. Amen.

You are the Creator of all that is good. Cause my mind to meditate on such things, so that I may not be drowned into sin and my mind may be renewed.

You have given us your word for our salvation. Grant us patience to study it, that we may be faithful unto death. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Heavenly Father, You created male and female. Grant us oh Lord grace to serve each other in peace, according to the gifts You have given us, neither out of envy nor strife, but out of love for one another.

In the Light

Issues Etc. Vidcasts: Liturgy and American Revivalism

Driving across Wisconsin and Iowa, while exhausting and tiring, was a great time to get caught up on some Issues, Etc. podcasts that had been piling up. Issues, Etc. works great on the road espescially when you have series, which thanks to Pastor Will Weedon, I did.

I’d referenced this before, but I wanted to mention again how great Dr. Larry Rast’s podcast on American Revivalism is. It goes a long way to showing how dangerous emotion-driven Christianity and the idea of “new measures” are. Dr. Rast, I hope you write a book on this.

Acts 2 has to be the most-abused chapter in all of Scripture. The feminists use it to justify woman pastors, the non-dems use it to justify throwing out the liturgy, and the real extremists use it to justify universal redemption.

Appealing Flaws

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23:23 (ESV)
John Grisham’s novel The Appeal, while a work of liberal propaganda, raises many issues conservatives must confront. Grisham, a self-described moderate baptists who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election, draws his lines clearly, using a tort case against a big company: on the one side, there are the big corporations who use “Christian values” to mask their agenda of advantages for the rich. Then there’s the real church, the one that’s concerned with helping the poor above all else. Just judges, in Grisham’s mind, will always take the side of helping the poor. While I do think that helping the poor needs to be an important part of the judicial system, Grisham draws too many generalities when it comes to religion and excludes the obvious connection between the liberal philosophy he’s advocating and abortion.

Grisham’s perspective, however flawed, does provide insight as to how the Democrats have won the upper hand in the current political arena: cast them as rich, out-of-touch bureaucrats who use empty values to mask greed. Jack Donaghy has done as much to ruin Republicans’ image as George W. Bush did. Growing up, I always thought of Republicans as a party primarily defined by religious, traditional values, but political parties are much more complex. In light of the financial crisis where big corporations share much of the blame, it does give me second thought about the party I belong to. Truth be told, I get my political news from SNL most of the time. Being a true Lutheran, I’m politically apathetic.

Politics aside, there is a bigger problem in this regard, and Grisham takes advantage of American’s (and even Christian’) lack of religious knowledge). There’s more to churches than just large, suburban, and callous, and urban and outreach oriented . Grisham writes little about specific beliefs in The Appeal, andI wonder if he would be surprised to find out that churches who preach social activism over Christ forty years ago are now dying off in America.

As Lutheran, I understand this personally. My own church body, the LCMS, while trying to resolve its issues, has congregational practice that can vary quite a bit from congregation to congregation, and with that, teaching also can very. Not to get into that debate, but churches just can’ be judged actions only. Their teachings (and specifics) should be debated too.

Yes, many Christians have abandoned missions in the cities for houses in the suburbs. Repentance is needed, but we cannot go into these neighborhoods with just food and money. If we don’t preach Christ to these people, than they are worse off than before. This is something that cuts at me personally, because my own church body, while doing notable acts for the poor, does have a track record of pushing doctrine, sometimes too hard.

As far as cases like the one Grisham describes, sadly there are instances where families who suffer injuries aren’t compensated fairly by the courts system. But the judicial liberalism that Grisham advocates for victims is the same logic that legalized abortion, which in many ways slaps the poor in the face by telling them, “The world doesn’t have room for your unexpected babies.” Grisham subtly ignores this fact and does his readers a great disservice by doing so.

But conservatives should read and deal with the issues raised inTthe Appeal, because these are the tactics that lifestyle left are using in their arguments against them. The winning side of a political debate isn’t the one that’s right, merely the one who frames its argument the best.

Alien, Prometheus, and the Married Life of Abortion and Darwinism

(Warning: The following post contains spoilers from the movie Prometheus. Proceed at your own risk.)

I saw Alien and Aliens ten years ago, and when I began reading about Prometheus, the prologue to Alien, last year, I was curious Damon Lindelof’s bold statements that Prometheus would be a bold film about idea and philosophy, and after reconsidering Alien, I wanted to see the film. Lindelof himself is among a group of sci-fi writers who seek to provide man with an explanation for the universe that can exclude God (which I wrote about last winter after seeing Super 8) and is generally a preachy writer who insists on inserting his big, meaty ideas into what would ordinally be an interesting narrative on its own.

Remembering the original film and it’s signature images, I saw Alien as an analogy for how the breakdown of the family can lead to abortion. Think of a young woman, who has a rocky relationship with her parents, then runs off with a boyfriend who turns out to be abusive. Then she hears that she’s pregnant, and in that instant, she envisions the baby growing inside her as a monstrous combination of her parents and boyfriend, just waiting to burst out of her chest. Her abusive boyfriend blames her for getting pregnant, she is an object of scorn to her family, and the weight of caring for a baby weighs on her. She has to kill it, even if it means killing part of herself.

Unwanted pregnancy?

Prometheus has a much more direct abortion scene, where central character Elizabeth Shaw (a Ripley without Ripley-isms) has a Cesarian section of an alien baby in automated medical chamber. It is grizzly and terrifying as anything in the original Alien, as Shaw programs the machine to remove the rapidly developing offspring from her deceased lover. But what the scene gets really right is the loneliness of abortion: Shaw runs down the corridors of a ship full of people alone, has the alien removed by machine (apparently without numbing medicine), and afterward, stumbles out down the hallway. Abortion, in one sense, really is a desire to remain alone, out of the sense of sin. If you can’t deal with your own sin, how could you deal with the sin of the next generation.

The sadness of being

The tragedy of abortion is just the tip of Prometheus‘ ice berg of man’s desire to make a god that works for him. The film throws  around view points: Shaw herself is the child of Christian missionaries, but Lindelof’s choice of her religion seems blase. The film doesn’t even seem that interested in proving Christianity wrong (which it does anyway), but showing the danger of what happens when man ventures to seek that which is above him. To Prometheus, the “maker of humanity” (humanoid aliens who left their DNA on earth to give Darwin the boost he needed) is a cruel, arbitrary judge who destroys the humans and would go to destroy their homeland and start over. In short, the ancestor in Prometheus is how non-Christians view God, all justice and no mercy.

After watching the film, I was curious as to why Deism was replaced by Darwinism. Deism allows man to believe in a creator without dealing sin. Darwinism lead man on a path that  puts man into such a more depressing situation.That is the world where literally you would want to kill the offspring that comes from your flesh. The original Alien had much better philosophy.

Jesus and His Brothers

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Mark 3:31-35 ESV)

This was the text for the Sunday morning Bible study I attend, and its one that cuts to me personally because of what it says about the family. In conservative, religious-based political circles, there is a lot of talk about fighting for the family, family first, etc. Given the track record of the lifestyle left, I’m actually surprised that they haven’t used this passage to say, “See, Jesus didn’t confine himself to the traditional definition of family.”

Jesus’ family must have been an interesting dynamic. Jesus is the talent sibling who goes out into the world to pursue his teaching and ministry, which leads to “Jesus mania”, aka Bieber fever without social media. Jesus is out teaching the people. Back home, Jesus’ brothers and sister are running the carpentry business, taking care of Mom, and feeling that Jesus is ignoring them.

Yes, Jesus does still care for His family. From the cross, he told John to look after his mother (John 19:26-27). But his vocation was/is God’s Son, Savior of the World. In short,  head of God’s family. What God gave, first to Adam and Eve (the first family), he fulfills in Christ, who unites us to him.

 

 

Vocation of Writer/Artist

I have a conflict within my vocation as an aspiring writer/artist becomes. As an aspiring artist, it is my duty to follow my heart every day, but as a Lutheran Christian, following my heart causes me grave concern. I have to give into time of free head-space and wandering thoughts, but wandering thoughts in many instances causes me to turn to places I know I shouldn’t go. It is in those moments, I have to run back to the words and sacrament, remember why my Lord and Savior has called me to this life.

In many ways, it leads me on a course where it would be natural to despise God’s Word. The path of an artist is one of finding what is new. Read as many books as you can, listen to every kind of music, travel, met new people, have new experiences.The nature of God’s Word is to read it over and over, keep its sayings close, and there are times when I open it up and find myself bored with it after five seconds. (Previous forlornings on not knowing the scriptures.)

As an artist, you have to accept things as they are. If you can’t photograph a certain barn on the road without power lines getting in the way, then you have incorporate the lines into the photo in the best way. As a writer, you have to find the best way to express yourself. But as a Christian, you have to know that “all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” (1 Corinthians 10:23). While emotions aren’t wrong, using them as your only guide in life is.

Even as artists, you do have to make judgments about how you present your work. You have to decide what to edit and what to go with, and how to tweak your photos on the computer. There are some directions that an artists just shouldn’t go: even though the nude form is good, not every presentation of it is appropriate. You find a way to express yourself, but if others don’t find it meaningful, then what good is it?

But God is the ultimate authority on what is good, not man. It is He who sends rain on the good and the bad, and this is His creation. I just express it to his glory, Amen.

Poor who Hide, the Simple who Ascend, and the Place of Ambition: Application of Vocation

The doctrine of vocation is one that I am very grateful for. I delight in that everything I do, as a son, a brother, a friend and a worker, is to the glory of God. Earlier this year, the DoV (abbreviation mine, trademark pending) helped me to process the Occupy Movement. But as I continue to ponder the DoV, I keep pouring over situations where the application may not be as clear.

First, say you have the ability to be a doctor doctor, but you decide instead to work on the factory line or in a service profession because you want an easier life with fewer commitments or you don’t want to move away from your family, ALA Good Will Hunting. As someone who gave up the goal of trying to be a pastor (when I was succeeding in much of the coursework), this question rolled over in my head many times. Of you are a single parent and choose to stay in a less demanding job to spend more time with your children, the situation is different. The vocation of father is just as important if not more so than the one of a job. But running away from responsibilities?

By no means am I saying, everyone who works in factory is not fulfilling their vocation. Many of them are. In fact, most people are simply gifted with the contentment to do the exact same thing over and over again every day for their entire life, and this contentment is as much a gift from God as preaching or being a political leader.

DSCN9965

But what if you’re in a job you’re not qualified for? The situation: a manager for a growing company who joins the first year that the company is formed. The company grows, and its sales double in size. The manager assumes a great title because of his seniority, but, out of ignorance, he doesn’t perform as many of the duties as his position demands. Is he stealing from his company by doing less than he could? In some sense, he is, although he may not be conscious of it; if he should realize it, he needs to tell his boss what he is and isn’t able to do, and hopefully, the two can find an appropriate role for the manager.

And what about the head of a company? Say there’s an owner of a single restaurant in downtown Lincoln. He pulls a nice business and makes a nice profit, and people talk about his restaurant. He’s happy doing it, but then he considers: should I expand my business and open a new restaurant in Omaha? Yes, his business is good, but, with a single restaurant, he is very vulnerable to a bad month or a bad quarter. If he opens several new restaurants, his business becomes more sustainable, and he will be able to provide more for his employees and create new jobs, not to mention improve the community he lives in.

This is a dilemma that faces all businesses and causes us to face Gordon Gecko’s question of whether or not greed is good. Over course, greed can cause great pain and suffering, but what about the nature of business? Even though we may crack the one percent in America, but the one percent in America provide a lot of the leadership that give the ninety percent their jobs and food, even through charitable donations. And many of these wealthy individuals had to make hard choices and screw people over to get the point where they could provide jobs to others. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs certainly had too, and all of their actions are not to be condone. But to provide for many, hard choices do have to be made.

This is where vocation for me becomes a dilemma between doing what you are able, right in front of you, to doing what God calls you to do out of faith (like Abram leaving his homeland). Take my situation. I believe now that God probably was calling me to be a pastor at that time, but through a series of events that culminated my senior year, I didn’t go. Since then, other opportunities have arisen, and now my vocation is to work for my father, display photographs, write this blog, and write for Husker Locker. In many ways, it has been “all things working together for good”. Whatever God calls me to in the future is up to Him; thanks be to Him.

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