Archive for December, 2009

Gran Torino

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 by Country Preacher

I finally saw Gran Torino.  Great movie.  Clint Eastwood has announced that it was his last movie as an actor.  He went out on a high note.  It is perhaps the most explicitly Christian-themed movie I have seen since The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  Since my comments contain spoilers, they are after the jump.

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Sermon for Feast of Saint John

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 by Country Preacher

My sermon from last Sunday is here.

A reminder : You can access all my sermons at


Posted in Uncategorized on December 24, 2009 by Country Preacher

I was looking at a leftish blog, and someone commented that the health care vote was by no means the end of the road.  They said :

This is just the first step on a journey that began decades ago.

If the journey began decades ago, wouldn’t THAT have been when the first step was taken?  Or was it a journey with no progress for decades?  A Churchill quote, it ain’t.

As I tell my children : Words matter.

No Organist For Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 24, 2009 by Country Preacher

My congregation has two organists.  They are both closely connected to the schools, so when the schools get out for Christmas, they are out of here.  This leaves me with no one to organize for Christmas.

What to do?

CPH will sell you Organ accompaniment CD’s for a mere $499.  I’m sure they are great, but the reason we don’t have organists that stay for holidays is because we are to small to have a paid music position.  $499 is a lot of dollars to spend.

In the past I have had the organists play the songs into my digital recorder.  I then verse them correctly, and we play them.  But playing music without people to sing has led to some anomalies, and the audio processing has led to others.

For the small church with no organist, I recommend  Songs in the public domain can be downloaded free of charge.  A nominal fee is charged for copyrighted music.    I haven’t run into that, because the copyright ran out long ago on Silent Night.

The arrangements are simple, but full sounding.  When played on the church sound system, it sounds very good.  I was even able to find some obscure Christmas hymns – some so obscure that I decided to go with more “popular” songs.

The site isn’t specifically Lutheran, so there is a lot of strange stuff there.

But there is also a lot of good Lutheran stuff.  “Lord Thee I Love With All My Heart” is there.   Sometimes you have to change the number of verses, and there may be slight variations in the rhythm here or there.  But for a small church trying to have decent music on a budget (free), you can’t beat it.

I’ll post again after Christmas, and let you know how it goes.

Christmas Services

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2009 by Country Preacher

So, in one of my moods again, I posted the following on Facebook :

Lincoln Winter is feeling cynical and wonders how many of the “Keep Christ in Christmas” people are actually planning to attend church on Christmas DAY.

Of course, the best response came from my friend, The Lake County Lutheran (Apparently he is THE Lutheran in Lake County).  He said :

Somewhere a second-year seminarian is shouting, “You Pietist!”

But another person mentioned that their church doesn’t have Christmas Day services.   This got me thinking about an incident a few years ago.  I was visiting with a visitor to our church.  They had come on Good Friday.  “We usually attend XXX church in town, but they don’t have a Good Friday service.  It just doesn’t seem right to miss that service.”

Now, I would agree that it isn’t right to miss that service.  But I wonder why he never pondered what it says about that church that they don’t have the service in the first place.  Obviously, they don’t see a need to celebrate the death of our Lord. (?!?)

While Christmas Eve is all well and good, I wonder : Why is it that churches – even ostensibly Lutheran ones – have gone so far down a road that thinks a small crowd on Christmas Day means that it isn’t worth actually taking time to celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord?

Of course, the early church didn’t do Christmas at all.  It was all about Easter.  So I guess you could argue that they are simply following the apostolic model.

But I do wonder what some churches really believe.

Avatar Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2009 by Country Preacher

Avatar will make money.  A lot of money.  It will be hailed by many, even as it is condemned as stupid by others.  All of this is already happening.  It’s also what happened with Titanic.

Come Oscar time, it will get nominations, but fewer awards than Titanic.  Here is why :

Titanic was a bad film.  Yet, in all the hysteria, it managed a tie for “most oscars ever.”  As soon as it won all the awards, actually as soon as James Cameron shouted, “I’m the king of the World!”, people snapped out of their revery and said, “We gave all those awards to THAT!”  It was the last “popular” movie to receive the award for best picture.  The academy has very studiously avoided giving the award to any more movies that people actually go and see.  Indeed, ech year since Titanic, the academy has chosen odder and more obscure films.  The pendulum will swing back, but only when they give the award to something so ridiculous it once again becomes a luaghinstock.  Which will be too late for Avatar.

Another prediction : I won’t see it.  Why?  My local theatre doesn’t have high tech projectors.  Which means it won’t be in 3D.  And also, I hate CGI.  I remember watching Titanic.  When the CGI boat sank, I felt very sorry for all those pixel-people that were going under the water.  It just looked bad.  And from what I’ve seen of the previews, so does Avatar.  It isn’t real.  And it doesn’t look it.

How Many Payers

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2009 by Country Preacher

Sen Lieberman refused to vote for the “health care bill”, unless it was stipped of a single payer system.  Now, I’ve got a question.  Unless that single payer is Bill Gates, it’s my understanding that the money comes from the government, which comes from our taxes.  So really, it’s 300,000,000 payer health care.