Aug 18, 2017

The Quantum Mechanics of Sanctification (from our Archives)

Note: This post first ran in July 2015

By Heather Judd

Quantum mechanics, the science of matter and energy on the smallest scales, is a field bulging with mind-boggling paradoxes. One of its counterintuitive principles is that at the subatomic level there is no certainty about a particle’s state until it is observed. In effect, it can simultaneously be both here and there, both yes and no. To illustrate this bizarre principle, twentieth-century physicists introduced thought experiments such as Schrodinger’s Cat, which is theoretically both alive and dead until a sealed box is opened revealing its actual state.

The idea that the act of observation can actually affect the state of reality seems slightly less outlandish if we consider how this so-called Observer Effect is evident in everyday measurement. If you wish to measure the air pressure in your car’s tires, it is impossible to do so without releasing a small amount of air, thereby changing the pressure by your act of observation. But this phenomenon is much more pronounced on the tiny quantum scale. Strange as it seems, when we look at things on the quantum level, we change their behavior or nature.

Sanctification has its own kind of quantum mechanics. As Christians we must and we do carry out good works (see Augsburg Confession VI), but as soon as we look at those good works, they turn in some degree into works of pride. Our observation changes the nature of our works, and when we try to start measuring our good deeds, we turn them back into works of the Law, and consequently our means of justification.

Aug 1, 2017

Note: We are Taking Some Time Off. Posts Will Resume in Late August.

Dear Readers,

Just an FYI: this blog will be quiet for the next three weeks. You'll hear from us again in late August.

Blessings on your summer!


Anna



Jul 30, 2017

Teaching Children to Participate in Church (Podcast episode)




Living Our Vocations, Season One, Episode 3: "Teaching Children to Participate in Church" with Ruth Meyer.

Have you ever heard the saying, "children in church are the devil's instruments?" Yet children, too, are part of the church; and children, too, need God's Word. In this episode I chat with Ruth Meyer about the theological basis for bringing kids into the Divine Service as well as practical ways to help them learn to participate. The questions we talked about include:
1. Why bring a potentially noisy bundle of cute distraction into church in the first place? 
2. Why is, "How can I keep my child quiet in church?" the wrong question for parents to be asking? 
3. What are practical ways to help kids behave well and listen to what is going on around them? 
4. What about older kids who once participated with gusto, but now have lost their enthusiasm? 
5. How can people without kids help support parents in the pew?

You can listen-in here in this post or head over to iTunesLibsyn, or Stitcher. As always, we are grateful for reviews (more reviews on iTunes will allow more people to find our podcast). 



Links:

Getting Kids to Behave in Church

Four Reasons It Is Good Your Children Are Being Too Loud in Church

Whisper, Whisper: Learning About Church (a helpful picture book by Mary Moerbe)

Jul 28, 2017

What We're Reading (July Issue)

I have two really, really good books to recommend (and other SDMW writers have titles to share as well). What about you? Anything we should add to our book lists?



Jul 25, 2017

Summer Camp, Sons, and the Coming of Age

By Rebekah Thielen

Let not the world’s deceitful cares
The rising plant destroy
But let it yield a hundred fold
The fruits of peace and joy
Almighty God Your Word is Cast, LSB 577



Suddenly it all makes so much sense.  In the experience of one child psychologist, the two most common times for parents to seek his help with their sons are ages four and fourteen.  It would’ve been nice to know about this supposed testosterone surge that passes through a boy’s body sometime between the ages of three and four, and then of course again about a decade later, give or take a year or two, depending on the child’s unique makeup, and, I might add, the Lord’s divine timetable.

Time now past begins to flash before my eyes.  The toddler years were physically demanding, especially when bathing them or changing their diapers.  But it wasn’t the terrible two’s that would test and reveal the weakness of my mental wit and emotional strength. It was the exasperating threes, extended out through age four for good measure.  It’s the perfect training ground, really; walking through an emotionally charged mine field while operating on one to two years of sketchy sleep.

It’s the perfect training ground, sure, and a recipe for total disaster.  I chew on the recent podcast interview for several days, reliving my dark hallway horror stories of testosterone filled four year-olds and rage-filled mothers.  I engage the great and powerful Google with more questions, this time coming up with varied answers.  According to eight years of extensive on-going Internet research done by one mother of three sons, the testosterone surge in young boys has turned out to be a myth, something too often used to excuse bad behavior.   “Whatever,” I think to myself. I let out a sigh, roll my eyes, and close the browser.  One says this, another says that.  It’s so typical of everything you read about parenting.

Jul 21, 2017

"Save the Life of My Child!"

By Leah Sherman

Though it never made the New York Times,
In the daily news the caption read:
“Save the life of my child!”
Cried the desperate mother.
Paul Simon, “Save the Life of my Child”



My husband and I have spent a lot time in cemeteries. They are solemn and quiet, and the headstones bear witness to the centuries of grief and sadness a community has experienced. Many of the headstones in the country cemeteries near us are old and worn, yet the names and dates of the deceased are still legible. One cemetery has an entire row of small white headstones, all bearing the same surname. The dates on these stones reveal that child after child born to this mother and father, died within days, months, or years. What tragedy!

While I have not experienced the loss of my own child, I have seen the tragedy it brings. I have woken in grief and terror many a night from dreams where my child dies just out of my arm’s reach. I have watched grown men cry as they held my babe, remembering a son’s infancy, and recalling his untimely death. I have mourned with mothers who have suffered miscarriages, and whose children have died hours after birth.

The loss of a child is devastating.

Jul 18, 2017

Why We Break the 11th Commandment

By Alison Andreasen

NOTE: Have you taken our podcast survey yet? Thanks!



Has someone ever tried to convince you to keep quiet about your beliefs because they might hurt someone’s feelings? People like this argue that pointing out differences causes divisions.There is no good pointing out the truth, they say, because all thoughts are equal. It is frustrating to be labeled as intolerant, cold-hearted, and stuck in your ways even though you are only describing what you believe. It makes you wonder how stating what you believe can be so offensive. It makes you question if the other party is being as tolerant as they claim since your thinking is so disturbing to them. Yet that is exactly how you are labeled--a haughty person who thinks her beliefs are better than others’.

It is almost as if there is an 11th commandment that says, “Thou shalt not think you are in the right.” There is a fancy name for this, too. Jeff Mallinson speaks of it in his section entitled “How We Know” in the book, Learning at the Foot of the Cross: A Lutheran Vision for Education. He says that epistemological relativism, a common way of thinking in our day, stands on two premises: 1. That there are many thoughts on one subject, and 2. That there is no way to determine whether one has a better view than another.

With this thinking, it is a terrible sin to claim you possess the truth. But being an epistemological relativist is not an ideal Christians should strive toward.

Jul 14, 2017

Being a Christian in College: The "Culture War" and the Gift of Faith (from our Archives)

Note: This post first ran July of 2015

By Caitlin Magness

Remember when you were a child, and being good was a simple matter of doing what your parents said and treating others the way you wanted to be treated? It wasn't easy, of course, but at least it was straightforward. Then you blinked, and now you're in college, surrounded by conflicting messages about seemingly countless issues people like to get upset about. Everyone seems to have a slightly different opinion, so no matter what you do or say or think, you'll still be offending someone. What's worse, everyone seems to expect you to have a fully-formed worldview now that you've reached 18. After all, 18 means you're an adult, and adults know what they think, right? (Right?)



Last year was my first year attending public college. I'd been homeschooled in a loving, traditional, Lutheran family until then, so the transition was a bit rocky. As a chronic overthinker, I was already struggling with some tough questions, but even the Internet, books, and my overactive brain couldn't prepare me for the diversity of thought on a college campus. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the experience actually taught me to place my trust more fully in God.

Jul 9, 2017

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (Podcast Episode)

Hi Everybody! This time around, I got to be the guest. Kaitlyn and I talked about kids, imagination, individualism, and vacuum cleaners on the first book club episode of Living Our Vocations.

You can listen-in here in this post or head over to iTunesLibsyn, or Stitcher.

Have you read Ten Ways? We'd love to hear your own comments or questions. We anticipate airing a second episode, with a different guest, about the later material in this book.




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