Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday in Holy Week

O God, your Son chose the path which led to pain before joy and the cross before glory. Plant his cross in our hearts, so that in its power and love we come to the final joy and glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen  (Lutheran Book of Worship, Monday in Holy Week)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lenten Quote: Frederica Mathewes-Green

"Repentance is the doorway to the spiritual life, the only way to begin. It is also the path itself, the only way to continue. Anything else is foolishness and self-delusion. Only repentance is both brute-honest enough, and joyous enough, to bring us all the way home."
--Frederica Mathewes-Green, The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation

(Editor's note: Sounds very much like the first of the 95 Theses of Martin Luther:
"Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance." )

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wellington's Rifles

I haven't posted gaming news for awhile, so here's a few pictures of my Napoleonic British Rifles. It has been a long time since I've put paint to lead, as we have been going throuugh house reconstruction. I'm eager to finish more of these guys and finish painting French Voltigeurs and Line troops, so that Cpt. Sharpe, Sgt. Harper, and crew can save England from the despotic French!

New Orleans: Beignets!

I have a new favorite food! Eating beignets during Lent was almost sinful, but I cannot begin to describe how wonderful a fresh, warm beignet tastes (with a cup of cofee) on a cold evening in New Orleans. My mouth is watering as I type.

Lenten Quotes: Chrysostom

John Chrysostom, (4th century church father) speaks of the true Lenten fast:

"Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.

Do not let only your mouth fast,
but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands
and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.

For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and
devour our brothers?

May He who came to the world to save sinners, strengthen us to
complete the fast with humility! Have mercy on us and save us."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lenten Reading from Down Under

Are there Lutherans in Australia? Sure are! A Lutheran Church of Australia pastor posts a must read for this Lenten season:
click here

New Orleans: D-Day Musuem

Actually, it used to be the D-Day musuem, but the correct name these days is The National World War II Musuem. The focus originally was on D-Day, as the "Higgins Boats," that were the key to the amphibious landing, were built in New Orleans. As General Eisenhower put it, "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."

The museum has expanded its focus to include other theaters of the war (including the Pacific "D-Day"), and it is not to be missed when visiting New Orleans. It is easy to forget how perilous the worldwide situation was for many years with the powerful Japanese, German, and Italian war machines threatening so many. At the start of the war, the U.S. Army was only the 18th largest in the world (behind Romania!). The exhibits were fascinating and the Tom Hanks movie "Beyond All Boundaries" should be seen by all Americans (especially school children).

To go to the musuem site, please click here .

As someone who has laid to rest many World War II veterans, I fear that the American propensity to forget will lead us to neglect and fail to appreciate the sacrifices of so many. This is history that needs to be remembered. Each man I buried had a fascinating story to tell. They may have indeed been, in Tom Brokaw's words, "the greatest generation".

Lenten Quotes: Martin Luther (part II)

Lord Jesus,

You are my righteousness,
I am your sin.

You took on you what was mine;
yet set on me what was yours.

You became what you were not,
that I might become what I was not.

- Martin Luther

New Orleans: A Streetcar Named Desire (or 951)

On Monday I picked up a streetcar on St. Charles Street and headed for the World War II D-Day musuem past Lee Circle. I was surprised to see that these were real working streetcars and not the tourist type in San Francisco and other cities I've been too. Yes, there were tourists like me aboard, but the majority were folks going to work or students going to school or the elderly getting a ride to a needed destination.

After the musuem (more on that in another post) I headed out to the Borders bookstore in the Garden District. The Garden District is a distinct neighborhood in New Orleans (like the French Quarter) and includes Antebellum mansions and many beautiful 19th century homes. I also passed the historic Zion Lutheran Church, begun in 1847 by German immigrants. (The current church dates to 1871). The bookstore was housed in a beautiful older home and I asked one of the clerks what it used to be. The surprise response? A funeral home!

New Orleans has the most character of any U.S. city I have visited and it is truly an ecclectic and a fascinating place.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Orleans: Fleur-de-lys Capital of the World

I don't know if that title is true or not, but I have been to Quebec City (Capital of French Canada) and I have observed a wider use here than there.
(Quebec Flag)

In New Orleans the fleur-de-lys is on the trash containers, on the city flag, on the football helmets, on the tourism brochures, interwoven with the decorations, and nearly ubiquitous. I joked with Katy that they sure do love the  Boy Scouts here! (Past and present Boy Scouts may remember that the fleur-de-lys is the universal symbol of scouting.)

In New Orleans, the symbol is a reminder of her French heritage. The Cajuns are really decendents of the Acadians from French Canada. In the Great Expulsion of 1755-1763, mostly during the French and Indian War,  the British forceably deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region of Canada. Approximately one third perished. Many later settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns.

More from New Orleans later....