Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Substitute for Study

Make friends quickly with your accuser, lest...

Most Wormhaven gardening practices go against common garden myths, for good reason - constant study. In the past, the Grace Dow Library was my Harvard and Yale in gardening. Between the gardening books upstairs and the children's books downstairs, I had every title read. I bought the rest of the books I needed, from earthworm culture to Rodale organic gardening books.

In addition, my parents taught me the difference between the artificial growth of modern agriculture and the flavor-filled results of old practices. My father often railed against tasteless tomatoes and bland chicken.

Creation principles do not go away, even if people think they have better ideas. I still like the American Indian response to the effect of plowing. Expected to react in wonder, he said, "Soil upside down." I remember a pastor recalling with pride how he rototilled leaves into his garden in the fall. I said, "Earthworms will do that for you." He was oblivious to the obvious. Don't come between a gardener and his 10 hp rototiller.

Almost everyone dismisses fallen leaves - even some composting gardeners do. If nitrogen is the ideal, why bother with dry leaves, loaded with carbon, short on nitrogen? Dry leaves compost slowly, etc. Likewise, wood lacks nitrogen and will "absorb nitrogen," so wood mulch is bad, bad, bad.

First of all, the big swap underground is the plant giving up carbon for nitrogen. Who wants all the carbon (boo hiss)? Fungi do. They need carbon to grow. Fungi give up nitrogen to the plant roots because of their need for carbon. Fungi are purpose-driven.

Secondly, wood does absorb nitrogen in the first stage of rotting, but releases it again later. Organic matter is self-adjusting. Manure promotes bacteria, which digest it. Wood promotes fungi, which excel at attacking wood with chemical-bond splitting enzymes.

These principles were established at Creation, and they will not change. They are so complex that no one can briefly summarize what happens in that ocean of life in the soil.

Biblical Principles
We can discover Creation principles with science. The more we learn from the microscope and telescope, the more we grasp the infinite number of dependencies in the universe.

The most important truths are revealed in the Scriptures, yet they are ignored with more obstinacy than Creation principles.

Lutherans like to say that justification is the Chief Article of the Christian Religion, quoting Luther (remember him?). Justification is the master and the prince, judging all other articles - as Luther wrote. But - justification is also the topic most often ignored in discussions, because it is divisive. Indeed. Justification divides the sheep (JBFA) from the goats (UOJ).

Instead, the blogs and discussion groups like to talk about the symptoms of the One Great Error of the Synodical Conference and ELCA - forgiveness without faith. One might as well argue about blue handles on the rake as opposed to green handles.

Likewise, all doctrinal discussions should be based upon the efficacy of the Word, but that phrase is seldom mentioned and often implicitly rejected. The morons and criminals who run the synods assume that their entertainment services will attract new members when their own statistics show how wrong they are. Meanwhile, Koine charges $3,000.00 just to show up. No one blushes.

The all-time universal favorite hymn is Amazing Grace, but few discuss the Means of Grace.  Those who reject the efficacious Word in the Word and Sacraments are never mentioned, but they are not so irenic in return. Nothing enrages the Enthusiasts more than the Instruments of God's grace. Thus the UOJ Stormtroopers talk about Jesus while tearing down the bridge to Jesus - the Means.

I found some Facebook friends boo-hooing the recent effort to subpoena sermons that might offend a mayor. I responded to Matt Harrison (LCMS SP) and a WELS pastor - "Let me know when you two stand up to ELCA and Thrivent. I won't hold my breath."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Raining on the Mulch

Google images will reveal all colors of disgusting molds that
grow on mulch, but the key growth is almost microscopic.

When our helper and I finished all the mulching - I promise - for this year, I thought. "We should hose it down." Sometimes his children come along to help, so I was ready for them to help - with a suitable length of garden hose and a brand new nozzle. We had plenty to do and no children to help, so the mulch stayed dry...for a few hours.

That night we had a heavy rain, enough to build a puddle across Scott Street (my rain gauge). Aha, I thought, the mulch has started to rot.

The idea behind mulch and straw bale gardening is the decomposition of the medium. I did not think so at first. I imagined that mulch would hold moisture in the soil (true) and prevent wind erosion (also true). I understood that soil creatures liked shade rather than blazing sun (beyond dispute), but I wanted wooden mulch to last forever. No wonder they sell people on various non-rotting media - even plastic "weed barriers" that make weeds worse.

Contact with the soil will begin the rot. Leave a log on the ground and it will look the same for years, but underneath it is eaten away by fungus and soil creatures, leaving its inside soft enough to crumble with a little finger pressure.

The newsprint layer is a bit of a barrier, but mostly there to block the sun and hinder weed growth. Newspapers are sponge-like in absorbing water but they let air through, so they foster decomposition.

From Emlab:
Fungi do not ingest their food like animals. Instead, they release enzymes into their surrounding environment to break down complex materials into simpler ones that can be absorbed by the fungus in a process known as absorptive nutrition. For these enzymes to leave the fungus, remain functional and to break down complex substances, water is necessary. Once the complex substances have been broken down and dissolved in water they are absorbed by the fungus.

I want the fungal strands (hyphae) to attack the wood and begin feeding the broken down chemicals into the soil. The rain promotes the growth of other microscopic creatures, so they prosper together and generate more biomass. The biomass (all creatures great and small, the Lord God loves them all) holds nutrition in the soil in a vast Vanity Fair of buying, trading, and crafty swindles.

I consider sacks of mulch to be soil amendments. I do not have to rototill mulch into the soil to get the effect, because God's Creation takes care of the distribution. Rototilling would wreck the system that goes into action for all decomposition.

Did I have to rototill the lawn to plant spinach? No, I mulched and waited, then opened a section for planting, with all the grass and weeds rotted into the top layer, serving as cafeteria for earthworms, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes.

I have garlic bulbs to plant in the rest of the row. As hardy bulbs, their cloves will grow into fresh garlic bulbs for the spring.

Hymn - All Things Bright And Beautiful  

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all. 

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin in the Compost, Part II

The broad leaves suggest a future in hogging the sun for growth.
Pumpkins are also good for shading the corn patch.

Pumpkin in the Compost, Part I.

Autumn approaches and the pumpkin is still growing out of the compost. The plant took a long time to sprout and form its initial leaves. I watered it during the dry season, then left it alone. The roots reached deep enough to mine the moist compost for water and nutrition. The vining tendrils reached out for support from the chicken wire and the blossoms formed.

Yard debris is piled around the plant, including pears from my my neighbor's tree. When frost ends its growth, the components will become part of the compost during the winter. The soil food web of life does the following to give us healthy soil and plants:

  • Shredders like springtails and earthworms tear dead plants apart for bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, and fungi to attack.
  • The microscopic creatures mineralize the chemicals, breaking organic matter down so the plant can use the component parts. A plant cannot absorb a bean pod, but fungus can.
  • The biomass, which includes all creatures in the soil, keeps recycling all these components, which build up in various ways.

My gardening neighbor is throwing his garden trash into the compost, located in the corner next to his backyard garden. I deliver roses to his front door.

Nine Inches of Rain
Our record rainfall, nine inches over several days, gave the rose garden a boost. Soon we had over three dozen roses in bloom at once. We had enough for large vases of roses for each neighbor, another for school, roses on the altar, and many blooms still on the bushes.

Our grandson said about a grasshopper on the rose, "I will just hang around here. Don't mind me." I was cutting roses for the neighbors when the same grasshopper (or his cousin) was on the roses near the blooms. He looked well fed but I saw no damage. Healthy plants shrug off insects and plant diseases. The insects attract predators, so balance is kept without sprays.

Pigweed is plentiful in Arkansas Hog country.
I harvest it for compost.

Mulching is Done for the Year
I promised to stop mulching, so I made two more trips to Lowe's, each one the last. No, really, I promise this time.

Sassy loves Lowe's. The customers and clerks welcome her. One family smiled at her and petted her, saying, "We have a three-legged dog, too." I asked, "Does your dog have a blog?"

I had piles of soggy newspapers, which made me want to mulch the entire fence line. Our helper wanted some work to do. He is fast and neat, knowing my plans. We ended up with about 200 feet of fence lined with newspapers and mulch, The only un-mulched part of the fence is the compost, which is the ultimate mulch. We  mulched the dead tree, because that will be the support for trumpet vines, a favorite of humming birds.

The chemical fertilizer crowd used to pan compost as "OK but really low in NPK." That is like saying, "Steak is fine, if it makes you feel good, but you should concentrate on vitamin pills for all your meals. If you feel hungry, eat more vitamin pills."

The soil food web people see compost as the ultimate soil amendment because of its complex chemical combinations, humus, earthworm cocoons, and soil creatures. That is why I am saving the compost for the corn patch, where pumpkins and pole beans will also grow.

Corn demands nitrogen, so the chemical people say, "Pour on the nitrogen fertilizer, but not too much or it will be all greens and no crop." But the soil food web delivers  nitrogen to the roots, chiefly through fungi that need carbon from the root tips. The soil food web balances the chemicals according to the needs of the plant.

Mulch feeds the birds by providing a feeding ground for them. Fungi reach up into the mulch to break down the shredded wood and feed the roots. Mulch pretends to shelter insects and earthworms, but movement and noise alert the birds that food is being served.

Spiders show that mulch effectively promotes insect life. Soon after I mulch a plant, a web is cast about the surface of the shredded wood. A spider, unbidden by me, decides that the spot is ideal for a home, with fresh meals delivered hourly. In contrast, a raked bare soil area under the plant will remain dry and relatively free of insect life. Earthworms will avoid the surface until dark.

You can buy this toad house for only $72 - named Hopsburg Castle.
What happened to using broken clay flower pots?
Toads love dampness and slugs.

Orders for the Spring
I am ready for spring planting. The spinach will be covered when the frost arrives.

Some gardening plans include:

  • Straw bale gardening in the sunny garden, for potatoes and strawberries.
  • Peas, asparagus, Malabar spinach, gourds, and pole beans along the fence, stage left.
  • Roses along the fence, stage right.
  • Screening plants along the back fence. No offence, but the alley view needs a vegetative wall of butterfly bushes and sunflowers.
  • Tomatoes galore in the vegetable garden.
  • Trumpet vines for the dead tree and a nearby living tree.
  • Roses around the maple tree in front.
Nothing beats the giant Russian, Siberian, striped sunflower
for growth, screening, and seed production.

Lucky To Have Clay
My Army veteran neighbor used to dig out the clay soil from yards when he landscaped them. They filled the empty area with topsoil. If they did not punch holes in the clay bowl before filling with topsoil, the lawn floated like a waterbed during heavy rains. In fact, that waterbed effect has been portrayed recently in the local paper.

We have a clay yard, so it turns white and brick-like when dry. No waterbed effect during rainstorms. 

Wake up, gardeners. Clay is the best soil of all. The tiny particles hold the most electrical charges, which are needed for the ion exchange of minerals. Once clay is amended with organic matter, the soil is much easier to dig and even more fertile.

I could hardly jam the shovel in the prospective spots for screening bushes, so I made a slight bowl with my shovel. I began watering those spots when days of rain intervened. Afterwards, digging the moist clay was a dream. Our grandson helped with one excavation. In each cavity I poured a bag of mushroom compost. I also put the upturned sod back in the hole, to compost with its captive soil creatures. The organic matter will mix with the clay soil from the inevitable explosive growth of soil creatures. Planting will foster even more development of soil health.

Tim Glende started this debt-ridden debacle in Savoy, Illinois,
which was foreclosed by WELS and sold to Baptists.
Glende studied under Mark Driscoll!

Go Big or Go Home
I know when ministers have inhaled the toxic fumes from Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek, or similar carnivals of con. They write, "Go big or go home."

They emphasize bigness as a measure of their success. The harvest of weed seeds is plentiful. 

Robert Schuller was the model of success, with his Crystal Cathedral, sold to the Catholic Church in bankruptcy. He founded the Church Growth Movement, minutes away from Fool Her Seminary, but he resigned from his own church - bitter and angry. 

Mark Driscoll made pulses race with his enormous numbers and abusive language. He used church funds to manufacture a best seller, and plagiarized without shame. He also resigned from the church he founded.

These blowhards and their disciples never take into account Paul's words about being faithful stewards. 

1 Corinthians 4:1Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

The Church Growth imposters are so intoxicated with themselves that they mistake their cleverness for God's Word.

The soil food web exists without our planning or wisdom. We can destroy it, but we cannot order one spider, one earthworm, or one fungus to obey our will. They were all programmed by the Creator to do His will.

Paul also wrote about sowing and watering. 

1 Corinthians 3:5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

Ministers should be studying Paul rather than the appalling Church Growth leaders.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2014. Matthew 22:34-46.
The Lord Said to My Lord

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Time

The Hymn # 239     Come Thou Almighty King                        2:72
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #269            O Lord Our Father                  2:56   

Justification Throughout the Bible

The Communion Hymn # 315:11-15            I Come O Savior             2:66
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #651               Be Still My Soul               2:17

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Justification Throughout the Bible

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

The religious opponents of Jesus are historically true, and the polemic continues to this day. But the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees also represent the spirit of justification by works and reliance on the law, which is dominant in the visible church of this day.

We can view the religious opponents as allegories of the eternal struggle between faith and unbelief. When an unbeliever hears the Gospel, he often reacts against it. People find an endless array of expressions where they can remain in unbelief and yet use the language of faith. 

On the academic side, the academic theologians reward those who do not believe in Christ and who dance around that topic. They know and understand that the faith words are just there as structure for the philosophy being presented. They hail this as creative, refreshing, exciting, and groundbreaking.

The modern Lutheran theologians who teach faith are almost non-existent. Their disciples gather around and bow to their greatness, chattering about these fellow apostates as "Confessional." If anyone dares to dispute this, the response is exactly the same as the scribes and Pharisees. Thus Carl Braaten rejected all the articles of faith in the Creeds, the most basic ones, and he is called a "confessional Lutheran" because he has expressed dismay with ELCA, an organization he helped create with a lifetime of false teaching in ELCA schools. Worst of all, he helped write a dogmatics textbook that rejected Christianity while using some words of faith rather selectively.

When the Gospel is rejected, the Law must replace it. Moses is the savior. Of course, this is  not the Law of the Bible, but the Law of man. One must obey all the laws of human tradition in that organization or be banished with an excommunication more horrible and swift than any carried out legitimately. As Father Richard Neuhaus said, when liberals excommunicate, they excommunicate for life. He was always a liberal, but became a little less liberal over time. That was not allowed, so he was banished and attacked in public - even though he helped shape ELCA through Seminex, their portable mini-seminary.

Jesus had silenced His opponents, so the battle was on. They would defeat Him with a question He could not answer.

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Tempting is such a good word to use here. One could say, testing, or even trying, but the idea is to trap Jesus with a question. Many people do this when they want to hear the "wrong answer" so they can pounce. Church officials are nimble in always answering ambiguously or in changing the subject so their unbelief is not exposed.

The right way to deal with opponents is to answer clearly and plainly. If there is an error in communication or in understanding, they can be worked out. If the intention is false and deceptive, it is all the more reason to answer from faith rather than trying to be pleasing or diplomatic.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is where Jewish leaders will say, "All the Jewish scholars agree with this. Nothing new here." I have gone to the Jewish Encyclopedia many times, to get their perspective on various issues. The main idea is this - Jesus was a rabbi like many other rabbis. What He taught and did was common for that time, including miracles.

That will always be the rationalistic response, which refuses faith and and cannot see anything revealed by the Holy Spirit as a mystery. Many modern Lutherans exist happily and blindly in that same mode. Thus they will always grasp some form of law because of their unbelief.

Of course this word love is connected with faith. Love is the result of trusting the Word, which reveals the true nature of God. As the new book will show, the Holy Trinity is taught throughout the Bible, from Creation to the Heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation. The true nature of God is mercy, love, and forgiveness. So we fallible, weak, and stumbling humans look to God with love because of His gracious and loving nature.

This statement also shows us the result of loving God - loving our neighbor and caring for our neighbor's needs. That is so enjoyable and fulfilling. We like our roses outside. Our neighbors like them inside. Pruning them the right way means we have more in bloom outside and they enjoy theirs inside. 

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.

Jesus answered their question correctly, so there was nothing more to say about that. But He asked the ultimate question leading to faith. Who is the Messiah? Whose son is He?

The correct answer, beyond dispute, is - David's. That is the one word answer in the Greek text. The KJV adds "The Son of" to make it clear. In conversation we would probably be just as concise, saying "David's."

This is leading them into a response, which is typical of the rabbi-audience dialogue. The audience asks difficult questions and the rabbi asks them stumpers as well, a good tradition for thinking and teaching.

A good question leads to an inevitable meeting point, whether it means agreement or opposition.

43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

This response always confused me when I was very young. Many portions of Scripture are plain and clear so that no one can miss their meaning. This seems so convoluted. As adults we learn that faith untangles these passages.

David - in the Spirit - has faith and calls his descendant "Lord" because he believes in the coming Messiah, centuries to come.

Son suggests a subordinate position, which is common in human families. Everyone wants to be equal to the great patriarch. But David was the model king, the great leader of history, yet he called his descendant Lord.

Since the response demanded an answer from faith or rejection of faith, the opponents were afraid to answer. 

Unbelievers hair-split and use ambiguities to make their answers pleasing to both sides. But faith makes us bold to respond with God's Word rather than man's wisdom.

Unbelief will not stop opposing faith. The worst comes from the great, the wise, the honored spiritual leaders who cover up for criminals and may have a criminal past of their own. They know the visible unity of the church requires public relation falsehoods, while the truth of God's Word sparks revolutions. 

God delights to do His work through the insignificant members of the church while the great and mighty parade in their best clergy costumes.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Canadian Lutheran Leader Deals with Child Abuse the Right Way - Tells Police

"He spoke as a guest speaker about problems with cohabitation at the 2011 Getting Real About Sexuality conference at the Concordia University College of Alberta."

EDMONTON - An Edmonton pastor has been charged with possessing child pornography following an investigation that began with a complaint to a church official.  

Richard John Docekal, 58, was pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church — located at 13850 119A St. — in early September, when an individual brought allegations of child pornography to Don Schiemann, a regional president of the Lutheran Church-Canada. 

Schiemann passed the complaint on to police the next day. The Internet child exploitation unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) opened a month-long investigation.   
Docekal was arrested on Oct. 9 and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. ALERT’s forensic teams are currently analyzing a significant number of electronic devices seized from Docekal’s home. 

Police seized dozens of manual drawings depicting sexual assaults against children, said Sgt. Mike Lokken. There is no evidence that any sexual contact was made with any children.
“They were depicting some pretty horrific stuff in these images,” Lokken said. “Anybody that’s attracted to this material, it’s disturbing.”

According to a biography on an archived version of his former church’s website, Docekal had been pastor at the Carlisle neighbourhood church since 2007. The American-born pastor graduated from a Lutheran seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1994 and pastored in Oklahoma and Ohio before coming to Edmonton in 2001, gaining Canadian citizenship in 2007. Initially, he was a regional vacancy and supply pastor for the Lutheran Church-Canada. 

According to his denomination’s website, he also served as chaplain of Faith Lutheran School in northeast Edmonton.

The Winnipeg-based Lutheran denomination released a statement Friday. Docekal officially resigned from the church and denomination on Oct. 2, a day after a meeting with Schiemann about non-criminal activities that were part of the complaint, which were “of concern regarding his role as a pastor.” 
The denomination is co-operating with the authorities and Schiemann will provide pastoral care to Docekal’s former church. 

“Because the matter is now before the courts, Lutheran Church-Canada is unable to make further comments at this time, other than to pray for God’s guidance and mercy in what is a difficult time for many,” the statement said. 

Docekal also worked with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the Lutheran Layman’s League and the Good Samaritan Society. He spoke as a guest speaker about problems with cohabitation at the 2011 Getting Real About Sexuality conference at the Concordia University College of Alberta.

Burke's Law - Conservative Cleric Removed by Leftist Jesuit Pope Frank

Cardinal Raymond Burke, the conservative American who holds the top position in the Vatican’s justice system, on Friday told BuzzFeed he was being demoted.
Burke, a former archbishop of St Louis, has publicly challenged Pope Francis on issues including abortion and homosexuality.
A preliminary report from the church’s extraordinary synod on the family, released on Monday, signalled a readiness to adopt a more conciliatory attitude towards homosexuality, divorce and other “irregular” family situations.
More than 200 bishops contributed to the report, which said: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?”
A day later, Burke expressed concern, and said a great number of synod fathers had objected to the contents of the report. He told the Catholic World Herald Francis was “long overdue” in making a definitive statement about suspected changes in the Catholic church.
“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke told Buzzfeed. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”
Burke told Buzzfeed he was being transferred from his position as prefect of the supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura to be patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, though he said he had not received a formal order. He assumed his role as chief guardian of canon law in June 2008, having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.
Benedict also appointed Burke to the Congregation for Bishops in 2009. Four years later, Francis removed Burke and 13 other bishops from the 18-man group. Days after he was removed from that post, in December 2013, Burke criticised Francis in an interview with the Catholic broadcaster EWTN.
“One gets the impression, or it’s interpreted this way in the media, that he thinks we’re talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman,” Burke said. “But we can never talk enough about that.”
When National Catholic Reporter asked Burke who told him that he was being removed from the Vatican’s justice system, he replied: “Who do you think?”

GJ - Related - the big Catholic meeting is turning into a major rebellion against the pope. Stay tuned.

Here is more information.
WELS and Missouri have been playing
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for decades.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How Is Hillsong's Child Abuse Cover-up Different from LCMS-ELS-WELS?
Why Were Hochmuth and Others Never Reported?

Frank and Hazel Houston, Hillsong Church
Press conference
Note this new story about globral Hillsong's changing stance on homosexuality.

Disturbing news surfaced last week that the founder and senior pastor of one of the largest churches in Australia, and a church well known in this country for its worship music, failed to report his father for sexually abusing children. Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse that in October of 1999, he learned that an adult had reported being sexually abused as a child by leading Pentecostal pastor, Frank Houston.   The elder Houston was permanently suspended from preaching and given a “retirement package”. The victim was sent $10,000.00.   The church eventually uncovered up to eight more cases of child sexual abuse by Frank Houston before he passed away in 2004.   None of these cases were ever reported to law enforcement.
Does any of this pass the “smell good” test?  An adult comes forward to disclose being sexually victimized as a child by an influential minister who happens to be the father of another well-known minister.    The son’s immediate response to hearing about this crime is not to contact the police, but to confront his father who immediately confesses.  Even after the confession, Brian Houston doesn’t call the police, but instead attends a meeting with his father, an attorney, and the church CEO, where it is decided to offer the victim $10,000 as “final payment”. (Undoubtedly, a condition to receive this money would have been that the victim agree not to seek legal action against Houston or the church.)  When he was recently asked why he didn’t report this crime, Brian Houston remarked, “This is one of the things that made it complicated.  He was adamant he didn’t want any kind of police investigation or even a church investigation, he just wanted it dealt with and he just wanted to know that justice was going to happen.” The fact that a victim is an adult when they disclose being sexually assaulted as a child does not relieve those in leadership of the moral duty to report the crimes.  Think about it, what if an adult had stepped forward to report that as a child they witnessed a pastor commit murder?  What if there was evidence that this same pastor had actually murdered 8 other people?  Would there be any hesitation by church leaders to report these crimes to the authorities?  Even if the witness had requested them not to report?  Interestingly, Brian Houston never provides a reason for not reporting the other 8 cases of abuse perpetrated by his father.
Hillsong Church service - courtesy of Kristofer Palmvik via Flickr  (
Hillsong Church service – courtesy of Kristofer Palmvik via Flickr (
One of Houston’s victims told the Royal Commission, “I was so ashamed of the abuse that I kept it inside for many years and did not tell anyone.”  Survivors silenced by years of shame are often empowered to come forward and report after finding out about child sexual abuse investigations and learning that they are not alone.  The failure to report this crime certainly prevented the God ordained authorities in Australia and New Zealand from identifying and helping others who may also have been sexually assaulted by this confessed child molester.   Not only do child sexual abuse investigations empower survivors to come forward, but they often result in finding additional victims.  Recent reports claim that the number of boys sexually victimized by Frank Houston could be in the hundreds.  The failure to report these crimes means that we may never know the degree and extent of the crimes against children committed by this church leader.
Reporting this admitted abuse 14 years ago not only would have helped to identify more victims of Frank Houston, but it would have also provided the opportunity to provide the survivors much needed support and professional assistance.
Brian Houston recently said,
“We probably don’t know now many [victims].  We may never just how far it went.”
What he fails to acknowledge is that his calculated decision not to report these crimes is why we will never know the full extent of abuse and harm perpetrated by his father.    What he fails to acknowledge is that his calculated decision not to report these crimes fourteen years ago left untold numbers of abuse victims stranded and alone.   What he fails to acknowledge is that his calculated decision not to report these crimes ignored the lives of untold numbers of victims who lived through the dark and painful horrors of childhood abuse and are now drowning without hope as adults.
Brian Houston recently told the media that he had “never hidden it [abuse] from the church.”  That statement is hard to reconcile with the fact that in 2001, the Assemblies of God sent a letter notifying pastors that Frank Houston had been suspended because of committing a “serious moral failure”.  At no time was this “serious moral failure” ever identified as the rape of a child.  Even more concerning, the letter went on to say, “We cannot see any reason for this to be announced to your church or further afield.”  Isn’t the intentional use of vague words to mask a dark truth consistent with hiding abuse?  Isn’t a directive to keep silent consistent with hiding abuse?  One can only wonder why Brian Houston and other church leaders believed they had the authority to withhold such child endangering information from the very people who needed to know about it – parents and children.
The failure to report this crime to the authorities, offering money to the victim, giving the perpetrator a retirement package, and the hiding all of this from church members, was a seemingly very convenient way to make the whole matter go away.  Fortunately, survivors don’t go away.  God carries their cries to bring light and truth into the dark places – especially in the Church.
One of the lesser-known horrors of this nightmare is that Brian Houston comes from a “Christian” culture that seemingly prefers to remain silent when learning about children being sexually abused by a pastor.  The Daily Telegraph reports that the Assemblies of God in New Zealand “revealed that 50 of its pastors had known of Frank’s sex abuse.  None of them went to the police or did anything about it.”  Should we be surprised that Brian Houston reacted any differently when he found out?   Yes.  I think we should always be surprised when one who professes to follow Jesus turns his back on the vulnerable who have been exploited and abused.  The Jesus I know actually runs towards the vulnerable and gave His life for them.
Brian Houston recently commented that he was “very pleased” with the way he handled the disclosure of his father’s abuse.  Pleased? Really?  In a well-known scripture passage, Jesus tells us, “…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Matthew 18:6]   Instead, Frank Houston is given a retirement package, a victim is thrown $10,000 to keep quiet, a church is not told the truth, and perhaps hundreds of other victims are left unknown.   Pleased?  Really?
In his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes,
“The choice usually presented to Christians is not between Jesus and Barabbas.  No one wants to appear an obvious murderer. The choice to be careful about is between Jesus and Caiaphas.  And Caiaphas can fool us.  He is a very “religious” man.”
When we fail to report the heinous crimes against children, we fail to choose Jesus.  It’s time for churches to stop making the wrong choice.
Pleased? Really?
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wormhaven Gardening Book Preceded This Article by Decades

That is not me in the back yard,
just some Amish farmer stealing my secrets of Creation gardening.
The Wormhaven Gardening Book - free PDF, share it with anyone.

“In the Second World War,” Samuel Zook began, “my ancestors were conscientious objectors because we don’t believe in combat.” The Amish farmer paused a moment to inspect a mottled leaf on one of his tomato plants before continuing. “If you really stop and think about it, though, when we go out spraying our crops with pesticides, that’s really what we’re doing. It’s chemical warfare, bottom line.”

Eight years ago, it was a war that Zook appeared to be losing. The crops on his 66-acre farm were riddled with funguses and pests that chemical treatments did little to reduce. The now-39-year-old talked haltingly about the despair he felt at the prospect of losing a homestead passed down through five generations of his family. Disillusioned by standard agriculture methods, Zook searched fervently for an alternative. He found what he was looking for in the writings of an 18-year-old Amish farmer from Ohio, a man named John Kempf.
Kempf is the unlikely founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a consulting firm established in 2006 to promote science-intensive organic agriculture. The entrepreneur’s story is almost identical to Zook’s. A series of crop failures on his own farm drove the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences. For two years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of compounds that are toxic to intruders. “The immune response in plants is dependent on well-balanced nutrition,” Kempf concluded, “in much the same way as our own immune system.” Modern agriculture uses fertilizer specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis, Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of pests to flourish.

According to Kempf, the methods he developed through experimentation on his Ohio farm are now being used across North and South America, Hawaii, Europe, and Africa. The entrepreneur promises clients higher-quality crops, bigger yields, better taste, and produce that carries a lucrative “organic” label. Kempf, however, considers his process as an important improvement upon standard organic farming methods. “Organic certification is a negative-process certification,” he explained, “You can do nothing to your field and become certified. In contrast, we focus on actively restoring the balance found in natural systems.”


GJ - In case you missed it in the caption, here is your free copy of The Wormhaven Gardening Book. I may rewrite it with the newest information in it.

Table of Contents

The summaries parallel the material here, in Teaming with Microbes -

In the human world, we send in the National Guard, to hold the line against criminals . But in soil, the levels of inorganic fertilizer being used, or the constant applications of toxic pesticide sprayed, mean the National Guard of the soil has been killed, too. We have to purposefully restore the beneficial biology that has been lost. Where will the new recruits come from? You have to add them—bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, microarthropods— back to your soil. Roots of plants feed these beneficials, but to make sure that the beneficials get reestablished, care packages may need to be delivered. 

Soil Foodweb , Inc., helps people rapidly reestablish the biology that creates the foothold for health to come back into these systems; and this book describes these hardworking members of the front line of defense for your plants . Where do they live? Who are their families? How do you send in lunch packs, not toxics, to help the recruits along? 

Win back your soil’s health. Put nothing on your soil if you don’t know what it will do to the life under your feet . If there is “no information” about how something impacts the life in your soil, or if the material has never been tested to determine what it does to the organisms in your soil, don’t use the material. If you have already purchased the product, test it yourself.

Lewis, Wayne; Lowenfels, Jeff; (2010-09-10). Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition (Kindle Locations 50-60). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

The article on the Amish farmer shows a poor grasp of the concepts, but a good idea about the results.

Modern agriculture, promoted by the federal government, has turned agricultural land into a toxic chemical waste dump. Gardening centers promote the same ideas and warn against natural methods of the past. 

As I wrote before, I avoided chemicals at the start because they cost so much. The gardener who talks up natural methods will generate donations of useful material, whether from horses, rabbits, or newspapers. Many projects have been funded by free materials. I needed a lot of newspapers for mulching the fence line, and I got them.

They get roses in return, so no one is short-changed.

Our helper said, "I worry about how we are going to do all this, but you read all the time. The bush bloomed, just like you said." He was referring to the second bloom of the crepe myrtle bush. Now it is producing seed and going dormant, so it will be a feeder and shelter for birds a storage locker for insect larvae.

The Amish article focuses on adding certain minerals to fix plant problems, certainly a good idea on a farm where the soil was once soaked in toxins. 

My approach has always been to create healthy soil, the foundation for healthy plants. If plants have everything they need, insect damage and plant disease will be minimal. 

The Rodale Press organic gardening books were my introduction to Creation gardening. The soil food web material is my second stage of education, far more detailed about life at the microscopic level. I am in a continuous state of wonder about the interaction of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes.

Here is a summary of damage I saw while gardening without chemicals:
  • Cutworms on the borage, so I tossed the plant away. Roses were not affected.
  • Some chewing on the sunflowers, which was trivial once they grew more.
  • Some bugs in several gourds. All the rest were perfect.
  • A little eating on the white rose blooms, but no other roses.
  • A bit of black spot (a fungus) on two roses.

Pole beans and tomatoes were prolific. Roses were - and are - the talk of the town.