We had that previously mentioned, Sunday three-inch rain storm in one hour, then late season drought - typical for this region. I began watering most of the plants. I ran out of stored rainwater and hoped for another big rain. Then it arrived. The first day was more of a slow mist, but better than nothing. The second day brought the total to two inches. Mrs. Ichabod said, "You got your rain."
We had a few baby Hosta plants started in the rose garden, some only roots. The leaves sprouted fast and I hoped for enough growth to deter the rabbit population. Their favorite food consists of tender new sprouts, which is why they killed off two Crepe Myrtles last year.
The Crepe Myrtles will have plastic clergy collars to hold Stinky Peat (peat plus manure) and leaves for winter protection. Roses will have the same device.
I was inspecting the rose garden for new Hostas when I saw rose petals. Bright red. No, they were plump, tiny wild Strawberries. My vision is not the best, but I was pleased to see late season berries in the front yard. I consider Wild Strawberries an ideal ground cover, along with Dutch White Clover and Hostas.
If all goes well, and I intervene at times, the ground cover will be low growing and the roses will rise above it.
Army Ranger Bob - also a landscaper - said, "What happened here?" He pointed to the new growth of Buckwheat, which was instigated by the weed-eater crew knocking down the Buckwheat when it had formed mature seeds. The earlier big rain made the second crop grow fast and surround the Mr. Lincoln roses again. I said, "The frost will knock them out for good."
I am unorthodox for a gardener, because I do not use toxic fertilizer, toxic herbicides, toxic insecticides, or toxic fungicides. I simply do not know how to justify the ungodly - the toxins that motivate so many to spend all their money.
My worst problem this year was a two-week binge of Japanese beetles eating up the rose blooms. After that, they came back strong and produced many bouquets. Between altar flowers displays, we are giving away roses to neighbors, doctors, and college students.
Once plants or seeds are in the ground, most of the work is always going to be accomplished by the rain and snowmelt. Just as Isaiah 55 teaches clearly about the efficacy of the Word. the basic argument can also be used for gardening. The effectiveness of the rain cannot be overestimated, because God's Creation takes care of itself so well.
Our modern age has shown itself to be especially foolish, because Lutherans and others allowed the Enthusiasts to brush aside the foundation doctrine of the Word, the constant connection between the Holy Spirit and the Word.
McGavran and his idiot disciple - C. Peter Wagner - wanted everyone to ask, "What makes a church grow?" The answer was already found in Acts - the Word grew.
In an age when the Lutherans are ashamed of Luther and teach against him, we should not wonder that all the denominations - including Rome - gallop to Fuller Seminary to learn about success when it is staring them in their bloated faces.
|Graphic by Norma Boeckler|
The leaders have shown themselves to be poor stewards of the mysteries - which are the doctrines revealed by the Holy Spirit, not subject to man's logic or reason. As Luther observed, we seek comfort in man's wisdom instead of God's wisdom, truly the curse of sinful man. But those who claim to be sanctified and led by the Spirit ignore the Scriptures and run to the marketing experts and statisticians.
Remember when Kent Hunter, DMin Fuller Seminary, included graph paper in his Church Growth textbook? I do. And now WELS graphs its congregational numbers on the Net, each parish reduced to zig-zags on a graph. When I saw those charts, I felt like Frodo staring at Smaug, the magnificent dragon in The Hobbit. The beast rested upon gold, silver, and jewels, which adhered to his skin and provided excellent armor.
|Smaug was protected by his jewels - except for one area.|
But one arrow defeated Smaug, just as the Word has defeated Church Growth. The more they rely on CGM or "missional" projects, the hungrier they get for proof of their wisdom. No matter how many Fulleroids they set loose on congregations, the results are dismal, toxic. The ardent Enthusiasts harden their hearts against the Word and blind themselves. The DPs drive and fly everywhere to preserve their hoard of treasure, but they have no use for the real treasure - the Means of Grace.
The leaders are so lost and confused that they cannot say the words - Justification by Faith - and mean them. Usually they only say "Justification," howling and moaning about world forgiveness and salvation without faith. They even claim that their cowardly Universalism is the Chief Article. Therefore I have to provide the quotation that proves them wrong. Do they say thanks? Do they invite me to give a convention essay? Do they send me gifts from Wisconsin Cheeseman for Christmas? No, they claim I have no friends or influence - no credibility!