Would you like to read more than stories of our kids? Visit the other blog.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Erica Olson has brought it to my attention that we haven't shared the due date of our baby. Sorry about that.

Our baby is due October 10th. That's only 6 weeks away!!! Yikes!

Remembering my baptism.

I was reading John H's not-so-recent post on Confessing Evangelical about baptism and it got me thinking about my own baptism. I've actually been baptized twice, once as a toddler by the decision of my parents, and once as an adult after rejoining the Church. One of those I believe with all certainty was my baptism, the other was an act of disbelief. Perhaps it was the improper teaching of the leaders of the church group I was involved with at the time that lead me to my disbelief.

The first time is actually kind of funny, my mom had gotten remarried to a man (who had adopted me and became my dad) who was Catholic, so we all had to join the Catholic church. I was four and the Catholic church wouldn't let me be baptized "Devona Lynn" because there are no Saint Devonas. So they baptized me "Barbara," my mother's name, while I yelled and screamed, "My name's not Barbara, it's Devona!!!" Thank goodness it was a family baptism only, and it wasn't in front of the whole congregation, I'd have felt bad for my mom and dad. The second one was on the beach in Florida (which is really romantic when you're from Ohio) during the sunset of a full moon. It's funny now that the one I place all value in is the one where they didn't even use my own name, and not the one that would make a wonderful story to tell later on.

Another reason I'm reflecting on the subject is because we're going to be baptizing our new baby in about two months. I want to get it done as soon as we can after the birth, and I look forward to this more than almost anything. We're also deciding not to have Baby circumcised if Baby is a boy. We have a new circumcision in baptism, why do we still need to mutilate our son when the sheding of blood is no longer required from us? Jesus spilled His blood, and we no longer have to.

These are all just my thoughts, and they're really not even that deep. I just thought I'd share.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Some good news, some bad news...

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

The good news: Comments are now a lot more user-friendly.

The bad news: The old comments don't show up in the new comment popups. To look at any old comments, click on the time posted link for the appropriate post. On future posts, I'll be turning off Blogger comments, so it will be getting less confusing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I wrote in HTML!!!!!!!!!

Rob will be so proud of me. I looked at our sidebar and it dawned on me that we didn't put a link to Andy and Ellie's site (shame on us!). So I thought it would be ok for me to go ahead and try to put it there myself. So I looked at our template, found the links, and made my own following Rob's example. I am so proud, I even used the link, and it worked!!! Maybe I could now write my own blog program and you can all use mine instead.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I think I have a name preference!!

This is my public letter to you. I think that I have a great name idea. You've heard it before, but I just looked up its meaning, and I think that you'll approve. Rory is an Irish form of ROBERT! If we named baby Rory Foster it would be just like keeping the family name, but adding a spin to it. Plus it means "Red King" which is always fun, naming your children as if they were royalty.

Oh yeah, Blog-World: What do you guys think of Rory Foster, the Red King?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Semper fidelis, semper reformanda.

I added a bit to our blog's sidebar this week -- a few links to some of our favorite pages on the web and a description of our blog.

To explain the description: For anyone who doesn't know, semper fidelis is Latin for "always faithful," and semper reformanda means "always being reformed."

Since deciding upon this description, I've realized that the second part might need a little clarification. I've found that semper reformanda has a lot of attachments to it -- especially in Reformed theological circles. Devona and are not Reformed with a capital R, meaning we don't hold five-point Calvinism to be true, etc.

Rather, I chose the phrase for two other reasons: 1) We are Lutherans, members of one denomination produced by the reformation. 2) We hope to be experiencing a personal reformation daily. We both hunger for a daily rejuvenation and revitalization of faithfulness, fed by the Word.

We're at a pretty pivotal time in our lives. We've been learning how to be married, welcoming a child, entering a new church and so much more. It often feels like every day I wake up a different sort of person than the one who fell asleep. That's got to be a good thing.

Just thought I'd explain.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Why my wife thinks I'm a heretic

Now that you've all decided I'm a nut, I'll try to explain myself.

First off, I certainly do not believe we were totally depraved in the garden. I do a really bad job of communicating myself to Devona, and somehow that's what she ended up hearing. My apologies, dear wife.

Here's what I do think: Before the fall Adam and Eve were not kept righteous by their own power, but the power of God.

Now, anyone who has listened to the last few episodes of White Horse Inn will know that some say Adam and Eve were in a covenantal relationship with God before the fall. I used to agree until reading Forde's On Being a Theologian of the Cross - an excellent book on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation.

In the fifteenth thesis of this disputation, Luther writes: "Free will [could not] remain in a state of innocence, much less do good, in an active capacity, but only in its passive capacity." In the garden it was not our "active capacity" of holding up our end of a covenant with God that preserved our innocence. We depended on God for all our righteousness in the Garden.

This is why eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was wrong. God didn't want to play some cruel trick by giving us a Law He knew we would never uphold and then watch us flail off into the abyss. He wanted us to remain righteous by letting Him be our righteousness.

This is an important step for Luther in demolishing justification by works. To take hold of the cross in its fullness we must realize that any work to "rise up" to God or exist independently from Him will always be tainted by sin -- even those works that occurred before the fall.

In the garden, Luther would say, we did not remain innocent by holding up our end of the deal, but by being completely dependent on God. When Adam and Eve struck out for independence they committed the original sin, and humans have been giving birth to people dead in their transgressions ever since.

Righteousness has never existed apart from God. Even in the garden, any righteousness we had was His.

Thoughts? After listening to White Horse, I'm wondering what the LCMS understanding of this issue is today. Rosenbladt seems to differ from Luther.

A further explanation

I tend to stray away from getting into theology in this blog with any depth for fear of truly revealing myself to be a numb-skull. But I realize that as I have left my question in my last post, I am not going to get any where because no one knows where this precise question comes from. So here I go. Keep in mind this is just an idea and not a fully developed thesis, and that's why I'm looking for help.

I was trying to explain to a friend of mine that Lutherans would completely disagree with her. She is from a modern evangelical background, and attends a surprisingly sound theological growth church that has a Calvinist spin to it's doctrine. No sacraments. (That's right Liz, if you're reading this I'm talking about you). Any way she was saying that it's hard for her to believe that we are all completely and equally far from God, because we see people who are a lot closer to what God asks us to be, like Mother Theresa and St. Paul. She said that we of course all need a Savior, and that Savior is Christ, because we can't reach perfection on our own, but since we were created in God's image there are shadows of good left in us. We are not yet spiritually dead, but spiritually dying.

I could have come at this from a million angles, but I'm not always the best at explaining myself. I tried to explain that we create these divisions of bad to really bad out of a desire to place ourselves somewhere on that spectrum, preferably near the top. We desire to have something good to offer God. Then (I wish I had explained this better) I tried to explain that we're definitely spiritually dead. All the way dead. At least that's what Paul said. "And you He hath quickened [made alive] , who were DEAD in trespasses and sin" ( emphasis mine KJV Eph. 2:1). Not dying but dead. This lead me to talking about the Garden.

I said that we were not under Grace at that time, we were under a covenant of the law (I'm getting this idea from the past three episodes of White Horse Inn). God gave us the Garden and in order to keep it we had to uphold our side of the deal. Don't eat the fruit. Until that command was broken, and for a time it wasn't, we were perfect, alive, and right with God and able to look at Him in the eye without being destroyed. We did not have any understanding of evil, but you don't need that to be perfect. We had no need for a Savior at that time because there was nothing to be saved from, but it didn't last long. We had free will and ate the fruit, and then we were dead. At that moment God made a new covenant with us, it was no longer a covenant of works, "don't eat," but a covenant of Grace, "I will save you from your current state of being dead."

This is where I bring in the idea of Total Depravity that is totally mine, I've not read it backed up anywhere else, but I think it is the next step of logic. Until the fall of man we were not Totally Depraved, God gave us the Garden with the Tree of Life, and as long as we wanted to be alive we could eat of it freely. It was not until we were kicked out of the Garden and unable to eat of the Tree anymore it was God who sustained our breath. Because of the effects of Original Sin we are all in a state of Total Depravity, we have nothing, not even the Common Grace to take our next breath with out God's consent. Let alone the ability to be Good. "There is none good but one, that is, God"(KJV MK10:18).

Rob was disagreeing with me about our state before the fall. That at that time we were under God's grace, even in the Garden. We needed God's grace to sustain us. Which I don't totally disagree with, but I am a little unsure if "Grace" is the right word. We needed God's good opinion, we needed His consent, but we were capable of keeping those things on our own. Right? Rob's opinion (and he has read something to back him up unlike me) is that we were Totally Depraved from the very beginning, even before the fall. I guess that just doesn't make any sense to me.

That's where my question comes in, if anyone knows anything about this, or knows where I could find the answer on my own, I'd love to know.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Looking forward to my next 2 days off

This is just a short blog to laud and magnify the glory of two days off in a row. Praise God. After today's lunch shift I am free. I will clean my house, read my book, sleep in, and get my prescriptions filled!!!! Amen!!!

Ok I'm done with that.

By the way, could anyone help with this? Is our state of total depravity the result of original sin? Rob and I are reading different things from different places, and they are saying different things.

You know who I'd really like to hear from if anyone could let him know, it's John H the "Confessing Evangelical."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Everything hard happens at the same time

Yesterday was the first day I've done laundry in 2 weeks. That was getting a little scary. And, I haven't gotten the time to grocery shop since two Mondays ago!! Needless to say we're starving. We haven't blogged, we haven't emailed, I haven't made appointments with doctors. Why this lapse in responsibility? Everything hard happens at the same time!

Two Mondays ago, my grandmother got really sick and has been in and out of the ICU since. She got pneumonia from her congestive heart failure. I've been trying to catch up since then. She's fortunately doing better, and should fully recover after a they perform a stint operation, thank God. But but story goes on!

Rob's great-grandmother passed the same day that my grandmother got sick, so the stress has been up on his family's side too. Unfortunately no one got to go down and visit for her funeral, it was a small private ceremony. And the story goes on...

Last Monday I discovered that my 18 year old prodigal sister was not going to come home from California in time to start college in less than one week. She's turning down a $40,000 scholarship to her first choice school. I spent the week at my mom's house trying to receive a phone call from her to try and change her mind because we have no way to reach her. She never called. And the story goes on...

This Monday Rob's very-soon-to-be-18-year-old sister came home from work feeling sick, only to suddenly need to be rushed to the emergency room and have her appendix removed!! They got to it before it ruptured, praise God, but she's been in a lot of pain the past few days, both before and after the surgery. Rob and I have spent the last few days at his mom's house helping to take care of his 4 youngest siblings. This is where I got my laundry done yesterday. Thanks, Mary! (My mother in law). Rob's sister, Ginny, is recovering well and should be home later today.

This is not a complaint. It is more a reflection, with awe, at the amount of stress that one family can withstand in a short period of time. Rob has seen me acting like a basket case this week, especially the day I found out about my sister. I have held Rob while he cried over the loss of his great-grandmother, a very strong and independent woman. And we have both gracefully and non-argumentatively tossed our carefully and diligently constructed budget to the wind to go out to eat almost everyday that a family member wasn't feeding us. We've also fought very little, and made time to connect and talk to each other almost every night before going to bed. We have somehow managed to get through this, and God willing we'll be on the other side oft his mountain shortly.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Rob's car has been in the shop for the past two days. That's just the cherry on the sundae!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Theses 3-6

Last night I was reading Forde's On Being a Theologian of the Cross after being begged and prodded by Rob for about a month to do so. I was putting it off in order to mentally recover from my summer class I took in which I read 6 Shakespeare plays in about 5 weeks. And wrote an 8 page paper! Needless to say I'd been braindead since. Anyways, back to the point. I was reading and thinking about the perplexing and hard to swallow, yet completely true idea that there is nothing good about me. Forde was expanding on the Heidelburg Disputation theses 3-6 which focus on the works of man vs. the works of God. All works of man are a mortal sin, unless they are feared to be a mortal sin. All works of God are good, yet tainted by sin because we often are the bringers of such works and we cannot help but make them sinful because that is what we are through and through. This reminds me of the guy who wrote The Spirituality of the Cross (I unfortunately forget his name). In this book he said, "go do good deeds and then repent of them." This I found to wonderfully freeing and equally maddening. I want to be able to go something good. I want to be able to claim the deeds that Christ does in me, and show them to people saying, "Look at how much Christ is changing me, look at these wonderfully selfless and charitable works that I have done."

Being honest with myself to this degree first led me to recognize how little I have changed since Christ began his work in me when I was baptised at 4 or 5. Second, it made me recognize how little I repent. Really I only do it on Sunday at Church during the confession and absolution.
And third, and most importantly, I began to believe that I am truley sinful through and through, and that I could honestly say, "I am evil, yet I am redeemed."

Monday, August 09, 2004

Hey there everyone. This is our baby about 3 months ago. We haven't had any pictures taken since then, but I just now got the file off my mom's computer so I thought, "Hey, why not let little Baby make it's public debut?!" Isn't it cute? We still don't kow if it's a boy or a girl. If it's a girl we're gonna name her Olivia Hope. We're having a hard time with a boy's name though. What do you think of Crispin? He was an early Church Martyr, and in Latin it means "Curly hair," which is appropriate if you've ever seen us before (we've both got uber-curly hair). So let us know what you think. Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Ron Sexsmith - Retriever

I'm really enjoying this record that I picked up the other day. I've always liked Ron Sexsmith -- the little bits that I've heard of him -- but have never owned one of his albums. After reading Paste magazine's review of Retriever I decided to give it a go. It's well worth it.

It's also interesting to note that ultra-famous producer Daniel Lanois is a friend of Sexsmith's. He took the photos for this album and others.

Anyway, highly recommended. It's a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Proper Application of Law and Gospel

Yesterday at work I had a very interesting experience. There were two high school kids sitting in my section, and I thought to myself, "These kids are either going to stiff me, or leave me a huge tip because they look like to kind of people who don't understand the value of money. Sometimes you get these young kids that haven't figured out that leaving you $10 on a $15 dollar check is a bad idea for them. They might need to buy gas or something later. The opposite is the kid who doesn't realise that I work here to make money, my mom doesn't buy my gas like his does, so they leave nothing at all.

Anyways, back to these two specific kids. They both order drinks, appetizers, and entrees. The bill comes to $31.53. They have happened to arrive just before the lunch rush hits, so I know exactly what they are doing. But for some reason, shortly after I start getting busier one of the kids is gone. He could be in the bathroom, he could be in Rome. I don't know. The other kid asks for the check. He puts some money down, so I offer to give him change. "It's not all there," he says," my friend went to go get the rest of my money." So I wait. I go take onother order, walk into the kitchen, come back and the dumb kid is gone.

Making a long story short, they dine-and-dash! I get $4 for a $31.53 check! I am freaking out because I think that I have to pay this check. So I go crying to my manager. I don't have to pay the check, they're going to comp it. But here's the twist. One of my fellow employees lives across the street from the dumb kid who ripped me off and called his house and told him he either needs come be a man and pay his bill, or the cops are going to be knocking on his door the next day to arrest him for stealing. Dumb Kid had some friends over at the time and was bragging about how he'd pulled one over on me. But now he was scared, and he was coming back to pay, after he got the money from his mom!!

So I spent the rest of the afternoon waiting until Dumb Kid and Dumb Friend come to pay their check, and while I wait I think, "How can I be a Christian to these kids? How do I show them that what they did was wrong, convicting them of their sin, and then quickly forgive them, and show them the mercy of Christ so as to impact them in a way they have never yet been impacted?" I think about telling them how my manager would have made me pay the check if for any reason she had suspected that I had taken the money myself, or let them go with out paying. I thought about telling them that I am 7 months pregnant, and I am trying to save money before the baby is born so I can quit working. I thought about all these ways of showing them that they were wrong, and they should not just be sorry they got caught, but be sorry they had even tried it in the first place. Then I wanted to tell them that they were forgiven, thank them for being brave enough to come and fess up to their crime. Tell them we weren't going to press charges, they were off the hook. "Now that's some undiluted Gospel if I've ever seen it," I thought. I was hoping to be a servant of the Word, what an honor!

Then the kids showed up and the two biggest guys that work with me stood threateningly in their path. My manager came up and took their money and gave them change. I only got there in time to see them looking embarrassed and kind of like they really didn't care. Then they left. All that work for nothing. No lesson learned, and no Gospel shared. Crap!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

If you still haven't discovered it....

the New Pantagruel: Hymns in the Whorehouse

Excellent site.

I hate the smell of cigarette smoke

BW3 is great, but I can't stand smelling like an ashtray after leaving. Still... the Bass and wings were worth it.

Devona's been on my case to post. I think I've been waiting just to drive her nuts.

I've been mulling over a lot of my modern evangelical experiences lately. Specifically, I keep trying to figure out what exactly modern praise and worship services tried to accomplish. I played in numerous church bands, led hundreds of worship "concerts," etc.

The idea's been in my head that these modern worship services -- though often well intentioned -- often become replacement "sacraments" to their participants.

Think about it: There's always some shade of "means of grace" in the language used to describe these things. People talk about feeling the presence of God in the room, having grace-filled moments, experiencing forgiveness anew, etc. It's obvious that most think there's something more than emotions going on. Under the surface God must be doing something to their hearts during those 30 minutes. Isn't it strange that He always speaks the loudest as the song reaches its crescendo?

Well, not always. Sometimes the music isn't right. The worship leader decides to reprise with the Wild Thing version of Lord I Lift Your Name on High, rather than an accapella Sanctuary.

Worshippers are also distracted pretty easily: I remember sweating bullets the first few times Devona and I were in worship together. Neither of us could concentrate on the words to the songs. I remember thinking is "Geez, she's hot. Er, God's hot. Erm, holy... holy, holy."

Of course, this is terrible stuff. The emotional energy of the individual, the worship leader, or the group becomes the barometer for the presence of truth. If the mood didn't feel right, the teaching probably wasn't right to begin with.

Things have gotten a lot better. It's really great that God gives me the grace to cling unwaveringly to the His presence in the Word and Sacrament -- no matter the mood of the pastor, the really bad chord in "This is the feast...", my hot wife standing next to me, or how easily I'm distracted by her.

Why Love and Blunder?

In response to The Terrible Sweede, I'd like to explain "Love and Blunder." Hopfully Andrew Peterson won't get too mad, but we stole it from his CD entitled "Love and Thunder." It's one the most amazing CDs ever, and I recommend it to everyone who loves CDs about real life. I relate that CD to our relationship for many reasons, in fact I'm sure Rob doesn't even know why, so this should be fun for him to read, too. There's a track on there called "Family Man," which I think Rob probably feels like he could have written, because it's about not expecting to settle down, and Rob and I are settiling down much quicker than we had at one time expected. Then there's the first track "Canaan Bound" which is about Abraham and Sarah. It's really romantic and I thought for a time that I might have trouble concieveing for medical reasons, so I really identified with Sarah having a baby at the drop of a hat just because God said so, even though it seemed to go against all odds. Plus, it's about being "Canaan Bound," and embarking on a journey together. That's what marriage is, we are Canaan Bound as well, only we don't know where Canaan is, we just know we're going there together.

It is interesting to think, though, that Love and Blunder might have been intended to describe us. That makes me think that Rob would definitely be "Love" and I am definately "Blunder." I almost like this way of thinking about it better!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Deep Thoughts From a Turtle

I am a turtle. I can't flip myself over, and I get stuck in bed. I walk much slower than I used to, and I can't get around tables at work very easily. The other night I almost slid off of the toilet because I have no balance! It's my large round belly. It has become my shell, and I am now a turtle. These are my deep thoughts.
By the way, I'm not a computer guru like Rob, so I had to make my turtle body in Microsoft Paint!!!Posted by Hello