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31 posts from May 2007

Are Concordia University-Wisconsin students blasphemers or just being kids with their video?

How should you react when a bunch of pre-seminary students from your denomination--in this case, the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod--make a video where they act out on a church altar a rap song where they make fun of everything we should hold sacred?

In this case, it was at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin where they make a mockery of the Lord's Supper and where women claw at the student playing the role of the pastor on the altar. There's more that you can read about. Read this and then share your thoughts; were they just young guys having fun or were they guilty of some pretty gross blasphemy?

Click on the PDF links for the school newspaper and then click on the response of the Rev. Paul McCain.

UPDATE: By the way, according to the LCMS website, May is Pastoral Education Month. Perhaps, these Concordia students were getting ready to celebrate that.

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Are Gov. Granholm's cost-cutting actions meaningful or just political eye wash?

State government in Michigan is running out of money quickly.

This weekend the State Legislature is apparently meeting to work out an agreement to make cuts and raise taxes. It's Memorial Day weekend and state lawmakers have seen this coming for months. But they have been unable to reach agreement with themselves or Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Now Granholm has issued an Executive Order eliminating the Michigan Department of Civil Service and moving those people into the Department of Management and Budget (DMB). And she's also eliminating human resource offices in other state departments and putting those functions in the DMB.

There's no word from the governor's office on any cost-savings. They don't know yet.

This is supposed to be a response to the state's urgent money problems, but nobody knows whether and what effect it will have.

Doesn't that seem like a strange way of responding? They're doing something just to be doing something.

Did Granholm make a bold move or is she playing the role of leader at what's seeming more and more to be the asylum at the State Capitol?

Is this just eye wash? It looks good, but does nothing.

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Today's toast: Martin Luther was declared an outlaw and heretic at the Diet of Worms

When you pop open a cold one this weekend, don't forget to toast Martin Luther who shook up the world back in the 1500s. It was on this day 486 years ago that he was declared an outlaw and heretic by the Diet of Worms.

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Whatever happened to "The Price of Government" principles being implemented in Michigan

I probably already know the answer to this. But with state government in Michigan on the verge of collapse whatever happened to the Michigan Legislature's intimate embrace of the principles in "The Price of Government" by Dave Osborne and Peter Hutchinson?

From my memory from a couple of years ago, the book contained field-tested principles for effective governmental budgeting.

It was touted as an answer to Michigan's budgeting struggles. Lots of money was spent to implement it if I recall correctly. Whatever happened to all that?

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Young Lutheran pastor starts blog discussion with women about their lives

I think it was about two years ago that I first met Pastor Roy Olsen at a Beaners coffee shop here in Lansing, the heart of mid-Michigan. He was just getting out of the seminary and was here to visit his new church, Our Savior Lutheran Church.

He had a passing familiarity with blogs, but had not had the time to become more familiar. With the wi-fi in the coffee shop, he became an instant blogger. He got a half-hour crash course in the basics and he was ready to go.

Today, he's using his blog, The Road Less Traveled, to raise key issues with various demographic groups in our congregation with members learning how to respond through comments. Right now, women in the church are responding to a discussion about "What Women Wished Pastors Knew."

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What states have the highest gas prices?

Who has the highest gas prices in the country?

The states of Illinois and Michigan, according the AAA and as reported in the Detroit Free Press this morning.

The story states:

"Michigan gas prices jumped another 4 cents overnight to $3.51 a gallon, the second-most expensive fuel in the nation trailing only Illinois ($3.52), according to AAA’s"

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Would a part-time legislature for Michigan be good or bad?

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says it's time to think about making the state legislature part-time.

He says it would save money and might help the process.

It works well in Indiana which has successfully competed against Michigan for manufacturing jobs and which has a good standard of living.

Bishop wants to make the change part of governmental reform talks.

Do we need a full-time state legislature where each member gets a six-figure salary, handsome pension and impossible to turn-down health benefits?

What are the pros and cons?

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Michigan gas prices result in many saying "I'm staying put" for the Memorial Day holiday

In Saginaw, MI, folks are saying, "I'm staying put" this weekend with the gas prices aiming for $4 per gallon.  Read this story about a driver fueling his vehicle for $75 and customers choosing between a Subway sandwich and a gas in their tank.

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Good time to buy cottage "up north" in Michigan, according to Detroit Free Press video columnist

Being a 'born and raised' in Michigan type, I heard people talk about their cottages 'up north' pretty much my whole life.  Owning a second home is not uncommon.

But, Detroit Free Press video columnist Mike Wendland says that 'up north' realtors have their walls papered with notices about cottages being for sale.  People just can't afford them anymore.

As gas prices skyrocket and as jobs are being eliminated, going up north for the weekend will become less and less an option.  This means that Michigan's economy gets another blow that will certainly trickle down.

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Michigan gets credit downgrade from Standard & Poors and sends layoff notices

Michigan lawmakers are riding right to the edge of closing down state government with their failure to pass a state budget.

Detroit News this morning says that credit rating agency Standard and Poors downgraded the state's credit rating again and the governor has sent out layoff notices to state employees for a possible shutdown.

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In mid-Michigan, news on May 23 dominated by gas prices going to $3.65

Local television news and the local Lansing State Journal is dominated by gas prices jumping to $3.65 per gallon.

This news story tells how Meijer stores with gas stations are using text messages to warn drivers about upcoming price changes.  In Michigan, the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is a traditional time for residents to hit the highway to go north.  Temps are expected to be near 90 today.

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Author Karen Kingsbury keeps my wife up late at night.

  Late at night with Karen Kingsbury 
  Originally uploaded by west846.

Some fiction can draw readers into a story like a strong magnet pulling towards metal.  Author Karen Kingsbury seems to have that power with a growing number of women.  She's a Christian author who seems to have an uncanny knack for growing stories and books from strands of plot started in an earlier book.

Kingsbury seems to really know her audience and what they want to read.  The plots are related in a context that can be understood by a lot of women.  They seem to always revolve around a message where Jesus Christ plays a central role.

My wife has read many or most of her books and the coming out of a new one is reason for a visit to Barnes and Noble.

By the way, this is my first experience in using a flickr photo on my blog.

Should Michiganders be concerned about reports of sexual and racial slurs against black women?

It would be easy to ignore the story on page one of the Lansing State Journal about how a black female conservation officer had to endure sexual and racial slurs among colleagues and superiors.

Then you start to think about what happened to Lt. Linda Copeland-Morgan of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  What if she were my mother, my wife or my sister.  I would be disgusted that such things still happen today in a supposedly more tolerant culture.

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If there was a Hall of Fame for Mothers, my mom would be in it

My wife was reading the Local & State section of the Lansing State Journal this morning and started reading the Great Grads listings from the local schools.

This morning, they listed the top 10 graduates from Lansing Christian School along with some basic facts like parents, activities, honors, philosophy, favorite quote and book and future plans. It also listed their inspiration.

Who would I put down for my inspiration?

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Lansing will continue to languish until Mayor Virg Bernero learns to take criticism

I like Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. We've worked together as staffers in the Michigan Legislature and we worked together again when I served as a staffer on a committee where he served in the Michigan House of Representatives. He was always cordial and respectful to me.

But when he got frustrated on the House Family and Childrens Services Committee, he would lash out at the chair and at the Republican majority. It got to a point where they would seem to stop listening when he carped about his frustrations.

Then he changed his attitude. He became a valued team member on the committee. He showed respect for other viewpoints and respect was shown towards him. When he was a state legislator, he played a positive role in helping to get significant child protection legislation through both house and signed by the governor.

Now he's mayor. Reading the scant coverage of City Hall by the local media, he seems to be trash talking those who question him. Here's an example from what he said about City Council member Carol Wood:

“I’ve never heard a good thing out of her,” he continues.

“She is irresponsible as hell. She’s the greatest obstacle to progress in this city. She is mired in the status quo. And guess what? The status quo isn’t working for us.”

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Is Slate editor Jacob Weisberg a religious bigot for believing that Joseph Smith was a con man?

When I got up early this morning to let our dog out, I read the Time magazine story from this week's issue where Slate's editor Jacob Weisberg is quoted as saying that Mormonism's Joseph Smith was "an obvious con man."

He then says he wants to know if Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney believes in Smith. If he does, Weisberg doesn't want him running the country.

Does that make Weisberg a religious bigot?

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Check this: Lansing manufacturer--Demmer Corp.--is starting to look for 750 workers

The news about the Demmer Corp. in Lansing looking for 750 workers for new manufacturing jobs is bittersweet. 

For mid-Michigan, the sweet part is simple.  Lansing and nearby townships have been hubs for manufacturing for decades.  Car assembly, including Oldsmobile and other GM models, has been as much a part of the landscape as the State Capitol and Michigan State University.

Then the auto industry started its death dive and local manufacturing jobs were eliminated by the hundreds.

The addition of 750 manufacturing jobs for everybody from welders to secretaries is welcomed news. And the pay is decent.

The bitter part is that the jobs are to make armor for light-duty military vehicles.  It's war related. 

Still it's work.

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Am I a bigot if I won't vote for Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon?

I just got up to let the dog out and while waiting for her to come in, I opened my Ahead of Time which gives a peek at the upcoming issue of Time magazine.  Mitt Romney is on the cover and there's a link to this story which asks the question:

Is it sheer bigotry to say you won't vote for someone because he's a Jew? A Muslim? What about a Mormon?

How important is it to me that a presidential nominee share my views about God and about Jesus Christ? 

Mormons don't believe the same about Jesus Christ and whether he's true God, along with God, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  They don't even believe that Jesus is a God, right?

Isn't it a question of do we share the same values? 

That's pretty important in my view.  There's a big belief gap between Mormons and Christians.

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