07 November 2012

Enjoying a most stimulating

Lutheran Free Conference at the lovely campus of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. Things chasing around my mind at present, provoked directly or indirectly by presentations:

Is canon law best understood as the description of the way that the People of the New Age order their lives in the Old Age toward the reality of the New?

Some speakers have made a distinction between grace perfecting nature and grace liberating nature. I'm not sure I see the difference, for surely nature's perfection is found in her liberation from the bondage of sin/death/decay?

I really appreciated Paulson's presentation - it opened up vistas that I've not yet worked my way through. It will take some time. I did LOVE his take on the rejection of the AC's confession just leaving everyone under the law. More later on that.

Enjoy some pics of the interior of the Chapel of the Christ:

Do you notice how everything about that building confesses? It does. And it gets the confession just right: truly an orthodox space that proclaims the orthodox faith of the Christian community in the Lamb of God who takes away the world's sin!  As I said to Pr. Schroeder, I think it leaves behind the silliness of some of the 60's-70's architecture while picking up from it the very best (light, space, gathering) and by a return to truly classic art produces a thoroughly contemporary space that is rooted in the ageless light that streams into this fallen world through the means of grace. VERY well done.


Unknown said...

You think that altar is (small -"o") orthodox? That's not a crucifix. The altar is free standing and the paintings behind it are, frankly, ugly. Something from the Renaissance or Baroque style would be preferable.

Jeremy Loesch said...

The worship space works for me! I especially like the painting of the lamb. And the paintings behind the altar are easy to understand. They speak a message, in other words, they confess something. It looks nice.

Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts on the conference.


Rev. John Frahm said...

Some similarities to the chapel at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato:

Unknown said...

The sixth ecumenical council, which Lutherans accept because it agrees with Scripture, says plainly that Christ may not be depicted in any other way than as a man. Thus, the lamb image is heretical. I'm continually perplexed why this image is used in modern Lutheran art. A lamb was not crucified; it was the Θεανθροπος, the God-Man Christ.--Chris

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cheryl said...

Question to 'Unknown',

Where in the 6th council, did the Fathers teach that Christ is to be artistically depicted as a man alone and not a lamb (for example). Hasn't Christ been depicted symbolically as a fish and bird (phoenix or peacock (I can't remember)) since the earliest days of Christianity?

Michael L. Anderson, M.D. said...

The pelican, dear friends; the pelican.

The Christological symbolism of the pelican, and other assorted creatures, is lavishly depicted in the Physiologus, an ancient pedagogical text of unknown Alexandrian authorship, believed to have been penned no later than the second century. The book was familiar to Ss. Epiphanius, Basil and Peter of Alexandria of the East, all who cited it; and it served as an inspirational source for altar-pieces and architectural stone-works of the Church at large.

All this, and considerably more, is related here by Rev. William Saunders: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0682.html

A verse of a prayer-hymn of Aquinas makes reference to the pelican; the following is Gerard Manley Hopkins' English translation:

"Like what tender tales tell of the Pelican
Bathe me, Jesus Lord, in what Thy Bosom ran
Blood that but one drop of has the pow’r to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin."

Of course, to say that the pelican and its rumored behavior calls to mind its Creator's accomplishments, is not to depict Him as being one. But it is also true that the Word very much paints a verbal picture of Himself as a Lamb, albeit one with seven horns and seven eyes, in John the Seer's Revelation Chapter 5.

So it must be said on Scriptural testimony that New Ulm's painting of a lamb "confesses something," indeed, no question ... although one might have to stand on the altar to appreciate what's confessed. The WELSian's Nicene Creed confesses about a descended Christ "fully human;" so you'd think their show-piece chapel would be bolder about a "fully human" corpus fastened to timber. Perhaps, to the human eye, the tortured human frame just doesn't "look nice." Or maybe its that NPR atmosphere hanging heavily over the civilized and non-offending Lake Wobegon. I don't know.

Your (unworthy) servant,
Herr Doktor

cheryl said...

Thanks Michael!

Unknown said...


Canon 82 of the 6th council.

William Weedon said...

Regarding Trullo, please note:

"The Eastern Orthodox churches holds this council an ecumenical one, and adds its canons to the decrees of the Fifth and Sixth Councils. ***In the West St. Bede calls it (De sexta mundi aetate) a "reprobate" synod, and Paul the Deacon (Hist. Lang., VI, p. 11) an "erratic" one.*** Dr. Fortescue rightly says (op. cit. below, p. 96) that intolerance of all other customs with the wish to make the whole Christian world conform to its own local practices has always been and still is a characteristic note of the Byzantine Church. For the attitude of the popes, substantially identical, in face of the various attempts to obtain their approval of these canons, see Hefele, "Conciliengesch." (III, 345-48)."

Jonathan Micheel said...

Dr. Anderson,

You commented, "so you'd think their show-piece chapel would be bolder about a 'fully human' corpus fastened to timber". In the Chapel of the Christ, the Christus Rex seen pictured is replaced with a corpus during some seasons.

Rev. Jon Micheel

William Weedon said...

Here is the Crucifix:


Unknown said...

Fr. Weedon

The 6th ecumenical Council is NOT the same as the Quinisext Council or the Council at Trullo. The Sixth Council was convened by Constantine Pogonatos while the one at TRullo was convened by Justinian II.

Unknown said...

The Crucifix isn't much better. Definitely some painting from the Renaissance or Baroque is preferred.

cheryl said...


Thanks, but I search CCEL and cannot find any canons (properly so-called) from the sixth council. I could only find edicts and letters. Is there a link you could provide me with?

William Weedon said...


Look at 82 of Trullo. You'll find the one that is being referred to.

William Weedon said...


Mark Beitz said...

Pastor Weedon - When do the transcripts for the free conference come out?

cheryl said...

Thanks Pastor!

William Weedon said...

You're welcome, Cheryl.

Mark, I'm not entirely sure. I'd especially commend Dr. Paulson's paper for a bit of mind bending. Pr. Schroeder's was entirely in the realm of the practical (and solidly grounded theologically).