Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wetten Dass ..? - The Autobahn

Wetten Dass ..? (Wanna Bet?) is the most watched German TV show. It is a combination of stars and ordinary folk. There are some interviews, singing, and betting on whether someone will perform a silly task or not. A fare number of American stars show up on this ZDF program.

This guy is trying to determine what part of the Autobahn is being shown. It's quite amazing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ewigkeitssonntag (Eternity Sunday)

I thoroughly enjoy the last Sundays in the Church year, and I am glad that the new lectionary the LCMS is using (with the Proper system) returns us to the traditional German Lutheran practice of holding the last few series of pericope readings in such high regard that they are read every year.

I read an article why researching for this past Sunday's Eternity Sunday sermon that recently all the Germany states (except Saxony) have repealed the day of repentance and prayer as an official state holiday. Pious Christians who wise to celebrate this repentance service (usually observed on the Wednesday of the last week of the Church year, which happens to be Thanksgiving Eve's day for Americans) must take a personal holiday from work.

In some ways, Eternity Sunday is similar to All Saints' Day, but with a more last day theme to it. I recall a professor at the seminary who encouraged us to once a year preach a really in depth sermon full of meaty theology (preferably on justification) and another on the glories of eternal life in heaven. I have followed his advice for the past decade.

Some churches call the last Sunday in the Church year ,,Christ the King Sunday". This follows the example of the Roman Catholic Church which transitioned to this theme in the 1960s or '70s. The traditional, one year lectionary uses Matthew 25.1's parable of the maidens as the text for Eternity Sunday, but the revised common lectionary as revised by the LCMS uses Matthew 25.31's parable of the final judgment. Matthew 25 is just packed full of great parables and a true joy to preach upon every three years.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Fateful Day

Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse, 1961

Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse, 2008

At least six historic events have occured in Germany on November 9th. Some have been quite horrendous, and others cheerful. The most recent event to occur on this day was in 1989 with the opening of the Berlin Wall. This night became a key date in German reunification.

Deutsche Welle has some good articles about the event.

Bridging the Divide

Germany also marks this date as the anniversary of the 'Kristallnacht', known in English as the Night of Broken Glass. German Chancellor Angela Merkel marked the event with Jewish leaders at Germany's biggest synagogue in Berlin. She called on all Germans to reject anti-Semitism and racism, and said that the crimes that began 70 years ago, on November 9, must never be repeated. On this day in 1938, Nazi Germany launched its first pogrom against Jews, killing scores, injuring and arresting thousands of others, and attacking Jewish property. The night is considered a harbinger of the Jewish holocaust (Deutsche Welle).

Recently, the largest synagogue in Berlin was renovated.

Germany's Largest Synagogue Reopens in Berlin

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Political Parties

I don't know about you, but in my polling district we had several political parties on the ballot. There are the obvious ones, and some lesser known small ones. Here's what appeared on our ballot for presidental choices:

Green Party
Socialism and Liberation
Socialist Party USA
Vote Here
Libertarian Party
Socialist Workers Party
Constitution Party

While we have a plethora of political parties, our Congress is essentially a two-party system: Democrats and Republicans (with two Independents in the Senate, but I don't think they are affiliated with the Independent Party).

Germany has a number of political parties, and their Bundestag (Federal Parliament, which is similar to our Congress) has at least four parties that get elected to seats. This is why German political parties often form coalitions after elections because no single party seems to garner a majority of seats, so the party with the most seats often forms a coalition with a smaller party to form the majority. These coalitions are temporary and are constantly changing. Right now there are 612 members seated in the Bundestag.

Here are Germany's parties with seats in the Bundestag. Like us, their parties are identified by colors:

Alliance 90/The Greens - Green
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) - Black
Christian-Social Union (CSU) - Black
Free Democratic Party (Liberal Party)(FDP) - Blue and Yellow
Left Party - Dark Red
Social Democratic Party (SPD) - Red

Here's a Wikipedia link that identifies the current breakdown in the Bundestag:


Here's the Bundestag's homepage: http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/

And the U.S. Congress:



Monday, November 03, 2008

Christianity in Germany

Below is the link for Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto's discussion on Issues, Etc. It is from Wednesday, October 29, 2008. The discussion is a good summary of the state of Christianity in Germany today. I highly recommend any thing by Dr. Netto. He has wise insights regarding Christianity in Germany and America.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

AC 21: Regarding the Worship of the Saints

Vom Heiligendienst wird von den Unseren also gelehrt, daß man der Heiligen gedenken soll, auf daß wir unseren Glauben stärken, so wir sehen, wie ihnen Gnade widerfahren, auch wie ihnen durch Glauben geholfen ist; dazu, daß man Exempel nehme von ihren guten Werken, ein jeder nach seinem Beruf, gleichwie die Kaiserliche. Majestät seliglich und göttlich dem Exempel Davids folgen mag, Kriege wider den Türken zu führen; denn beide sind sie in königlichem Amt, welches Schutz und Schirm ihrer Untertanen fordert. Durch Schrift aber mag man nicht beweisen, daß man die Heiligen anrufen oder Hilfe bei ihnen suchen soll. ,,Denn es ist allein ein einiger Versuhner und Mittler gesetzt zwischen Gott und den Menschen, Jesus Christus,“ 1 Tim. 2,5, welcher ist der einige Heiland, der einige oberste Priester, Gnadenstuhl und Fürsprecher vor Gott, Röm. 8,34. Und er hat allein zugesagt, daß er unser Gebet erhören wolle. Das ist auch der höchste Gottesdienst nach der Schrift, daß man denselbigen Jesus Christus in allen Nöten und Anliegen von Herzen suche und anrufe. 1 Joh. 2,1: ,,So jemand sündigt, haben wir einen Fürsprecher bei Gott, der gerecht ist, Jesus“.

Of the worship of saints our Lutheran churches teach that we should remember the saints, so that we strengthen our faith, so we see how they received grace, and also how they are helped through faith; also, that we take the example of their good works, each one according to his vocation, just as his Imperial Majesty might follow the holy and godly example of David to lead wars against the Turk; because both are in a royal office, which demands protection and shield of their subjects. Through Scripture we one is shown not to call upon or look for help from the saints. ,,Because there is one alone who is a reconciler and mediator placed between God and mankind, Jesus Christ,“ 1 Timothy 2,5, who is the one savior, that one high priest, chair of grace, and advocate before God, Romans 8,34. And He alone has said that He wants to hear to our prayer. This is also the highest Divine Service to the Scriptures, that one looks for and calls upon that same Jesus Christ in all necessities and concerns from the heart. 1 John 2,1: ,,If someone sins, we have an advocate with God, Jesus, the righteous one.“