The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Weeds Galore in the Heat and Rains of August.
Gardening Is Weeding, Just as Sound Doctrine Demands Discernment

Pokeweed is not invited into the garden.
Pokeweed comes on its own, via birds.
Answer to Weeds Galore

If anyone wonders why the same plant has so many names, just ask people what a particular weed is. The answers vary and those names doubtless get passed on to others. In Phoenix, this was common, where the Monarch butterfly was never seen but named when a Viceroy showed up. Weeds were confidently given the wrong name.

I bought a large book on Weeds of the West and learned a lot about how to distinguish one from another.  One way to tell a minister is a gardener is when he lists a Wednesday service as a Mid-Weed Service. And yet it is true. Gardening, weeding, and theology go together.

Our primary weeds at this time are
  1. Crabgrass
  2. Bermudagrass, aptly called Wiregrass, and Devil's Grass
  3. Pokeweed
Crabgrass made an early showing in the spring, but regular mowing took care of it. We are now in the second phase, where healthy rain and hot days make it the cut-rate grain it was imported to be, able to generate thousands of of seeds per plant. 

Bermudagrass is fussy about watering and shade, needing water and hating shade. It is also the premier late summer pest. "Would that it were fall," the literate gardener mutters, borrowing from Henry V.

Pokeweed is not fussy about any conditions, growing under any bird roost, crack in the sidewalk, garden. Pokeweed will grow a few inches tall, flower, fruit, and lend its tasty toxic berries to one of 60 species of birds that eat and plant it. In ideal conditions - my mulched gardens - Pokeweed will grow more than 8 feet tall, spread out on every side, and produce a bountiful harvest of berries for the birds.

Learning about weeds is similar to comparative dogmatics, the area where various confessions of faith are described and distinguished from each other. For instance, one pretty vine growing in the shade of bushes is a Woody Nightshade, with flowers very much like a tomato's, because it is also a Nightshade.

The strength of each weed is also its weakness. Crabgrass spreads out wide and defies the lawn-worshiper to kill it, which would leave a large RoundUp fallout zone, uglier than Crabgrass itself. But that is also a great chance to gather up its crab legs in one bundle and yank hard after a rain. 

Bermudagrass prospers when it gets what it wants, so shading it will weakens its access to solar power and make survivors easy to pull. Those that reach out for sunshine from under the mulch will be weak and vulnerable.

Pokeweed is my free birdfeeder, if it shows some discretion and manners. We have one almost as large as our giant, rainwater-supplied  Butterfly Bush. That Pokeweed is providing us with screening and shade, the birds with perches and future berries. In another place, the same gigantic growth was not welcome. I could not cut the base with my sharp rose shears. How sharp? I casually nicked my finger brushing against the blade and began fertilizing the soil with my blood, bandaged immediately.
I could not cut that woody-stemmed Pokeweed, so I got out the tree trimmers, making it fall over like Jack's Beanstalk reaching up toward heaven.

Nota bene (2nd singular, because "no one reads the blog" - otherwise notate bene) - I do not list Dandelion, an herb, as a weed. I welcome them as potential salad greens, as seed fluff for birds' nests, and as taproot miners of calcium from the soil deep below. I welcome them in the rose gardens where they do not dominate, take over, or give me any grief. Likewise, they are relatively rare in the lawn.


Comparative Dogmatics
Various Christian groups can be grouped, using taxonomy - as we do for plants, by their distinctive characteristics. Christian groups have common histories, favorite authors, and obvious characteristics.

This is a field that always fascinated me, even before Notre Dame. But at Notre Dame, the classes were ideal for long-term study in depth. At the time, the theology faculty included a Jewish rabbi, a Mennonite seminary professor, a Seminex Lutheran pastor, a Jesuit, the future president of Notre Dame (Holy Cross priest), a Dutch Remonstrant (liberal) pastor, a Methodist theologian and ethics professor, and assorted Roman Catholics, including several liberation theolians and a Pentecostal priest.



Calvinists
The true Calvinists and their liberal offspring have rationalism in common. Calvin was a rationalist, so his solemn declarations began with reason judging the Word. By the way, a kind word of Sig Becker, his best book was about Luther and Calvin on reason and the Word - The Foolishness of God.
This rationalism emerges in Stage 4 Pietism, which climaxed at Halle University and spread through Lutherdom.

  • Separating the Holy Spirit from the Word
  • Treating the Sacraments as ordinances
  • Reason judges the Word

Quasi-Christian cults seem to have sprung from Calvinism. This creation of Zwingli and Calvin - with its rejection of the Means of Grace and mocking of the Sacraments - gave birth to the Anabaptists: Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish.



Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Dogma
If one wants the beginning of worshiping worship, which is rampant in ELCA-LCMS-ELDONUTs, just look at Roman Catholic influence through its gay training center at Notre Dame. Every denomination studies there. Notre Dame is considered #1 in America for getting a PhD in worship. When I was at ND, two of the worship professors were known atheists. Digest that for a while, unless you are used to apostate mainline leaders in WELS-LCMS-ELCA.

Rome is the only true Church, incapable of error

  • The pope - and all clergy teaching in harmony with the pope - cannot err in in doctrine. The Holy Spirit will not allow error in teaching.
  • Justification by Faith means "faith adorned by good works." Justification by Faith is rejected and condemned.
  • Since nobody can do enough adorning with good works, Purgatory is promised.
  • Jesus is a law-giver, and Moses is the savior.
  • Mary is given the attributes of Jesus - kindness, mercy, love, and forgiveness. Mary commands Jesus to be compassionate.

Reformation Lutheran Doctrine
The doctrine of the Lutheran Reformation is distinguished by:

  • Justification by Faith is the Chief Article of Christianity, the Master and Prince, the judge of all other articles of faith.
  • The efficacy of the Word (Isaiah 55:8-10) is the foundation of all teaching, the Spirit always working with the Word, the Word always working with the Spirit.
  • God's graces comes only through the Means of Grace, so the Sacraments are the visible Word - Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

WELS/ELS Dogma - LCMS Is Mixed - But the LCMS Leaders Agree with  WELS/ELS

  • Rejects and condemns Justification by Faith and teaches Objective Justification (universal absolution without faith) as the Chief Article (Zarling, Bivens, Buchholz, Webber).
  • Teaches that the synodical leaders cannot err, because "the Holy Spirit has put them in their office."
  • Gladly works with ELCA on one hand, but also worshiping with and learning under liberal Babtists, Pentecostals, and other Pietistic sects.
 WELS-ELS-CLC (sic) babies are trained from birth
to give others the stink-eye.

ELCA Dogma
  • Teaches Universalism, like the leaders of WELS-ELS-LCMS-CLC (sic) and mocks Justification by Faith.
  • Rejects the Holy Trinity, described by the "confessional" ELCA dogmatics as simply "The Father, the man Jesus, and the spirit of the believing community."
  • Rejects Biblical inerrancy and cannot grasp the Atonement.
  • Ordains women, has women bishops, and practices pan-sexuality.
  • Loves to work with LCMS and WELS/ELS, but only on ELCA's terms.