Brugge’s Notes

Cheeseburgers, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Holy Spirit

All of us have experienced cognitive dissonance. That is the stress that is created when we try to hold two or more conflicting beliefs or values in our head, or when we do something or learn something that conflicts with these beliefs or values.

Cognitive dissonance theory says that we all try to keep our mind (our cognitive function) peaceful and in harmony and that when a conflict arises (dissonance) we will act to reduce the conflict, most times without our even realizing that we are doing so.

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The Corrosive Effect of Hate

One of my friends, a former classmate who grew up just down the street from me, is a Christian. I know this because she witnesses her love of Christ all of the time on social media. She is a caring person. She reposts notices of lost children and lost pets as well as encouraging others to adopt a pet from a rescue shelter. She gives emotional encouragement to others by posting memes instructing people to stand up for themselves and to not let others take advantage of them. She gives honor and respect to our soldiers in the Middle East, to firefighters, to policemen, as well as to teachers and to nurses. She posts pictures of disfigured children, asking her friends to “like” and to share, and of course, she posts photographs of dogs and cats being cute. She also posts any mean spirited or ridiculing meme about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as well as any negative stories that she finds despite their being shown to be false. When I sent her a private message about the mix of Christian witness with a particularly hateful story about the former first lady, she replied, “That woman is EVIL. She is nothing but LIES.” I asked her what made her single out this one politician for their lies and remain silent about the many times her favorite candidate was caught lying. She simply repeated how evil the former First Lady was. Now it would be totally wrong for me to point

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Pastor Hatcher to remain in Memphis

Last month, Pastor Josh Hatcher received a Divine Call from Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. A Divine Call is issued by a congregation after a great deal of prayer and deliberation, beseeching the Holy Spirit to guide them in finding a shepherd for their congregation. The congregation issuing the Call hopes and prays that, just as the Holy Spirit has guided them to issue a Call, that the same Spirit will guide the recipient to accept this Call as well. Things do not always work out this way. This week, Pastor Hatcher, after many days in thoughtful prayer and meditation, felt guided by the Lord to decline the Call. We give thanks to God for allowing him to stay with his congregation here in Memphis and we renew our pledge to work with him in growing the Kingdom. At the same time, our thoughts go back not too many summers ago when we were in the same situation as our sister congregation. Several times we asked the Lord’s help in selecting a pastor, only to have our Call declined as well. We raise our hearts in prayer for the Saints of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, that God will give them hope and courage as He, in His own mysterious way and in His own appointed time, guides them to a suitable candidate for the office they now have vacant. Dous vebiscum

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A Few Notes About Pastor’s Call

A Few Notes About Pastor's Call

This past Sunday, Pastor Hatcher surprised most of us with the announcement that he had received a Divine Call to Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, and that he and his family had visited with them and was now prayerfully considering the call. News of this was upsetting to many in the congregation and led to much discussion and many questions. I thought it might be helpful to say a few words about the Divine Call, what it is and how it works in the Lutheran Church. Update: On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Pastor Hatcher announced to the congregation that after much prayer and meditation, that he had declined the call to Trinity Lutheran Church-St. Louis.   The shepherd is used throughout the Bible as an example of Jesus’s relationship with the children of God. A shepherd protects his flock against enemies. He cares for them when they are hurt or sick. He locates lost or strayed sheep and guides them back to the flock. He keeps order and harmony in the flock, and provides them with water and nourishment. God established the Office of the Holy Ministry to serve a congregation in the same way that a shepherd (and Jesus) watches over his flock. The Latin word for shepherd is pastor. In Scriptures, some shepherds were appointed by God directly, such as when He called Abraham or the Apostle Paul. Others He appointed indirectly, such as when He selected a replacement for Judas. The book of Acts tells us that the apostles

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Quasimodo Sunday

This Sunday is Quasimodo Sunday. No, it is not named after the character in Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s actually the other way around. In the novel, the abandoned baby who grew to be a hunchback, was found on Quasimodo Sunday, so his adopted father named him Quasimodo.* The name Quasimodo comes from the first line of the Introit for the day. Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob. As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Rejoice to God our helper: sing aloud to the God of Jacob. This is taken fro 1 Peter 2:2. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” In the traditional liturgy of the church, the celebration of Eastertide was an eight day event or octet, and the Sunday following Easter marked the end of the Octet. Thus, the day was sometimes known as Octave Sunday. Because this was the closing of the Easter celebration, another name has been Pascha Clausum which translates “Closed Easter”. It has also been called Low Sunday, but no one seems to know why. It is perhaps because in the Roman Catholic church as well as many other Christian faiths, Easter is celebrated with high Mass, the service with all the bells and whistles, the incense, the choir, the chanting, the responses of the congregation, and so forth. The following

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Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him…

Peter knew the dangerous situation Jesus was in. The leaders of the church hated Jesus and were plotting to have him killed. This was no secret. It was common knowledge among his followers. Peter knew how powerful the clerics were and what it meant to defy them. He was no fool. Nor was he a coward. When the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus, Peter whipped out his sword to defend his lord against a squad of armed soldiers. I think it can be said that Peter was ready to die for his lord right then and there. Its possible this outburst of Peters was connected to something Jesus had said to him just a few hours earlier. Jesus told him very calmly that that night, Peter would deny him. Not only deny him, but deny him three times. Peter had never known Jesus to be wrong, but he was determined that this prophesy would not come true. So when soldiers came for Jesus, out comes the sword. No doubt Peter remembered something Jesus had once said, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Mt 10:32-33). Peter was determined that this would not be his fate. But we all know the rest of the story. Not only does Peter deny knowing Jesus, he even curses and swears an oath that he has nothing to do with Jesus. Then the rooster crows. Peter looks up to see

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Atheist’s to meet the Peabody ducks.

This spring, the American Atheists’ will host their 41st Annual Convention in Memphis at the Peabody hotel. It is my hope and prayer that they will come and go without anyone noticing. It would be wonderful if no one came to picket, to preach, or in any other way give the news media cause to give them publicity. I seriously doubt that this will be possible. I confess to being somewhat amused by atheists, the vocal ones at least and those that try and convert them. They amuse me by their behavior. These atheist cannot be content denying the risen Christ and keeping it to themselves. They feel the need to announce their disbelief to any and all who will listen. My well-meaning Christian brethren forget Jesus’ admonition, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Mat 7:6) Atheists insist on proselytizing to believers, using their understanding of science, reason, and logic. Christians are powerless to fight back, at least not using the same methods. Reciting bible verses to atheists is folly. The gospel holds no authority to those who do not recognize it as the holy word of God. Getting into the mud with them and debating science or logic is what they live for. Christians cannot win in this arena. There is no logic to Christianity. To outsiders, Christianity makes no sense. Saint Paul says as much

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Life and Death, and Life Again.

As I jiggled my mouse, my monitor lit up showing the last email that I had read. It was from my good buddy Greg. Greg and I have been out of touch for some time. Whenever we run into each other, we promise to get together, but so far it hasn’t happened. The email says how much he is looking forward to our lunch next Friday. The message was written late Sunday evening, on Monday Greg died. Yesterday, I learned that Steve, my best friend in college and best man at my wedding, was likely being moved to hospice care after another bout with cancer. This afternoon, my wife sent me a text saying that the son of our very good friends is in intensive care with a blood clot in each lung. Earlier in the day, I sat at my parents house waiting for the painter, only to learn that he had taken his wife to the hospital with ovarian cancer. Death surrounds us. No one gets out of life alive. Tonight on the news, I heard about the inquiry in Mexico into the deaths of the 43 students. Last week, it was the 14 killed by terrorists in Paris and more than 200 killed by terrorists in Nigeria. No one gets out of life alive. If the wages of sin is death, everyday is payday. Death hurts like nothing else can. Even if we die quickly and painlessly, those we leave behind are affected. Death devastates. Thank God for

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