Joke of the week
There will be no blog next week, so I’m posting two jokes this week
A woman wants to take her dog to Cincinnati, so she goes to the travel agent to find out how. He says, “It’s easy. You go to the airline, they give you a kennel, you put your dog in it, when you get off at Cincinnati go to the luggage rack, and there’s your dog. So she does, gets off at Cincinnati, goes to the luggage rack, no dog. She goes to the lost and found, says, “Where’s my dog?” They look all over the airport for it, and find the dog in another terminal. Only the dog is dead. “Oh, my Gosh, they say, we killed this woman’s dog. What are we going to do?” Then one says, “Wait a minute, it’s a cocker spaniel. They’re common dogs. There’s a pet shop across the street from the airport. We’ll get the same size, shape, color, sex. She’ll never know the difference.” They bring the woman the other dog and she says, “That’s not my dog.” Laughingly and making light of it they say, “What do you mean that’s not your dog?” She says, “My dog’s dead. I was taking it to Cincinnati to bury it.”
Little Johnny came in from the backyard sobbing. His mother asked “What’s the matter?” “Dad was fixing the fence and hit his thumb with the hammer,” he said through his tears. “That’s not so serious,” his mother said, “and a big boy like you shouldn’t cry about that. Why didn’t you just laugh?” “I did!” cried Johnny.
No blog next week.
Next week Ill be out of state and unable to blog. Rogland Writes will resume February 8.
Luther’s 95 theses for the 21st century
Last week we began a series presenting and explaining Luther’s 95 theses. Five hundred years ago their posting on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, began the Protestant Reformation. The points Luther made are relevant to us today, necessary changes being made. Here is Thesis 2.
- This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.
Sacramental penance is something the Church requires one to do to be absolved or forgiven of sin. The Catholic Church believes it has the power to assign certain acts as sacramental penances on the basis of these words of Jesus to the disciples he chose to be his apostles:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Mt. 16:19
And when [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” Jn. 20:22-23
In the first few centuries of the Christian era the bishops and elders of the Church assigned acts of penance to erstwhile penitents to prove their repentance was real. After all, John the Baptist told those who came to him to be baptized as a token of repentance that they needed to show their repentance by a new way of life (Lk. 3:7-14).
Over the centuries the practice became distorted. By Luther’s day repentance was reduced to confession and satisfaction, i.e., performing rote works of penance (e.g., saying so many Our Fathers or going on pilgrimage to a shrine.) It is so easy to go through the motions without real repentance, which is a real grief for sin and for disobeying God, coupled with a resolution to live more like a follower of Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit.
We Protestants may judge Roman Catholics for going through the motions without a genuine change of heart, but it is easy for us to do the same. Do we not often pray “In Jesus’ Name” mechanically as we ask for forgiveness? “In Jesus’ Name” is not a lucky incantation or a get-out-of-jail-free card. To misuse his Name is a violation of the third commandment. I confess to committing that sin frequently. Do you?