Thursday, December 14, 2006
One of the key concepts I have become acquainted with is that we sometimes need to “let God be God” and should not try to peer into His mysteries as we humans are prone to do. Whether it’s divine mysteries such as how the Trinity might “work” or more practical applications such as “Why did such and such happen in my life?”, there is a limit as to how far we can and should delve into His mysteries. After all, it’s no coincidence that, when asked by Moses to reveal His glory (Ex 33), the Lord replied that He would let His goodness pass before Moses—and then showed Moses His back. All we really need to know about God has already been revealed: in Christ’s suffering on the cross on our behalf. Another thing we have learned, which has come as a surprise to me—having grown up with everything from the Beatles to Van Halen—is our newly found appreciation and growing love for the richness of Lutheran liturgy and hymnody. If you think about what liturgy—or more precisely—worship is, namely receiving the gifts of God, which are His Word and Sacrament, then it comes as no surprise that, as we learn to understand Lutheranism better, we would also come to increasingly cherish the Divine Service—a most important component of our denomination.
Lastly, one other thing has certainly changed since we have come here. We have another mouth to feed—Lilly’s, although since she is still breast-fed, that task is at this time still more or less Lula’s. It is amazing how the six of us are quite comfortable in our snug 700 square foot apartment, one third the size of our house in Texas… Yet, while we had three acres to run around on back then, with no neighborhood kids, we now have the 72 acres of beautiful Concordia Seminary Campus—with some 200 playmates… The Lord truly provides!
What’s next? On November 30 we were exactly half way through our time in St. Louis. God willing, my studies here will be followed by one year of vicarage, which could be anywhere from Alaska to Florida. Ordination should be in the spring of ’09. If I am accepted into the church planting program for which I have applied, we would stay in the same region as our vicarage congregation, which would then be the “mother church” from which we would launch our church plant. We will see what the Lord continues to have in store for us. Regardless of whatever that may be, we are excited to be part of His program.
The Tiews Family's boots on the morning of December, 6th. Filled with candy by St. Nikolaus!
Bring out the Lutheran beverages (beer), bratwurst and sauerkraut! It doesn’t come as a real surprise that one can find many German links here at the “Vatican” of the Germanic Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. This German connection just might have something to do with Luther’s nationality and the Saxon immigrants who founded the LCMS in the 1840s. As such, not only has Chris had the opportunity to translate dozens of historical church documents and articles from German theological publications this past year, but German has also turned out to be a “secret” weapon in many of his classes. And then he also got his whole family to work, with all of us helping to publish a book of German household phrases and record it on CD.
This year Chris also joined fellow students practicing the German language at the weekly “Stammtisch”, helped several Ph.D. candidates study for their German finals, and filled in as a radio announcer on a local German music radio show. We also had the honor of getting acquainted with Gillian and Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, the director of the Concordia Institute on Lay Vocation who has a very interesting German background. Plus, the Tiews were interviewed by German Christian news service IDEA on homeschooling and our life here at the Sem.
"Ist das nicht eine fette Sau, Ja, das ist eine fette Sau"…
The Tiews practiced their German and learned the famous Schnitzelbank song while visiting the annual Fall Festival at Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Perry County, MO (see below).
In fact, the children enjoyed the Schnitzelbank song so much that they prepared all the props and presented the song at the Seminary’s Oktoberfest. And here another German connection: mark your calendars for the Tomball (TX) German Heritage Fest 3/30-4/1/2007, to which Chris has been invited to preach bilingually in the fest’s beer tent that Sunday. Prost!
June 5th: Greg Hintz starts his time in seminary with Summer Greek. Nine years ago the Hintzes, the Stocktons, and the Tiews started a small group at Salem. A year later the Hintz family moved to Wisconsin. Now they live across the street from us on campus. Doesn’t the LORD work in wonderful ways?
July 19-23: Along with some 100,000 other residents of St. Louis, the Tiews family is without electricity for five days after two whopper summer storms knock out power.
August 12: Sitting in the back row of our Suburban as we drive through Colorado on our camping trip, Me-Me cuts off her bangs, while everybody else is admiring the Continental Divide. Speaking of hair, Carlotta is contemplating donating some of her hair to “Locks of Love”, while Chris is contemplating his growing bald spot.
August 13: Carlotta gets locked in an outhouse at State Forest State Park, CO—at night.
August 27: The dining room of the “Steamboat Inn, CO” breakfast is interrupted by cries of “HELP! In the bathroom!” coming from down the hall. This time it’s JJ who has locked himself in.
November 12: Chris completes his last Old Testament exegetical and is done with Hebrew at the Sem—and the beard is off. Baruk YHWH! (Praise the Lord!) Lula
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
... according to TIME magazine. This goes with my earlier post about parents' desinterest in their childrens' faith. Could it be that they were the ones attending this type of youth ministry a while ago? Ok, so we need a different style of youth group? How about catechism instruction around the dinner table in a family "small group" setting? What a novel idea ;)
"Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment. But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugarcoated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early '90s, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all. ... Scholars who have looked at young Christians say their spiritual drift is in part the result of a lack of knowledge about their faith. "The vast majority of teens who call themselves Christians haven't been well educated in religious doctrine and therefore don't really know what they believe," says Christian Smith, a University of Notre Dame sociologist and the author of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. "With all the competing demands on their time, religion becomes a low priority, and so they practice their faith in shallow ways."
TIME Magazine -- In Touch With Jesus
Monday, October 30, 2006
In our field work church Chris is currently teaching confirmation class for students attending public school. And Carlotta is happy to be part of this class. Even though she is a bit younger than the other students, she can more than keep up.
It's sad to see, though, that most parents don't see class attendance as a necessity and only send the kids when it's convenient. What does this tell the young people about the importance of knowing about the faith that they want to confirm? Where is the multi-generational vision of passing on the Good News?
Professor Kloha from the seminary said something really sad in Sunday school the other day: "This culture doesn't have a story anymore. There is no beginning (we are just accidents), there is no purpose, no hope. Life becomes so cheap."
But there is glorious hope in Christ - what is more important to know? Do we want our children do be successful in this world by this world's standards? Then let them play baseball on Sunday mornings, so they may develop some more self-esteem, as if they need it. But can this ultimately give them a hope and a future? They need to know that they are a child of God and loved so much that Jesus died for them.
Ja, das ist eine fette Sau"...
The Tiews practiced their German and the famous Schnitzelbank song, when visiting the annual Fall Festival at Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Perry County. It was wonderful to see the place full of many faithful Lutheran that are still keeping the traditions alive.
The children enjoyed the Schnitzelbank song so much that they prepared all the props and presented it during the seminary Octoberfest on the 20ths.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
We are currently studying Ancient Bible times and specifically the Exodus. So does Chris, who's taking an exegetical on Exodus this quarter. Well, J.J. wanted to experience the steps that are involved in making a mummy.
We tried to do it as authentic as possible ;0 - we left his brain and his intestines inside though...
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Sometimes it takes living somewhere else to really appreciate the liberty and freedom we enjoy in the United States of America. It's easy to take it for granted.We are so thankful and praise God that we are (still) enjoying the privilege of rearing our children in the admonition of the LORD. Please consider contacting the German embassy!
From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Chris had been asked to organized this great event for seminarians from Texas and their families and did a really good job!
Wartburg hall saw some great BBQ, great singing and dancing.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Since we were a little late with reservations ;) we had to move between different parks: Pearl Lake, Stagecoach, State Forest and the Inn at Steamboat (to clean up after a week without shower and only an outhouse). By the time it got down to 27 degrees at night, we were able to rent a cabin with a woodburning stove, which was already a big upgrade.
J.J. caught his first trout and prepared it on the camping stove. He mastered fire building and tracking. MeMe had to learn that you can only sleep in a sleeping bag, when you stay in it. Carlotta prepared no-bake cheese cakes, which were a real welcome in our camping kitchen. Lula learned that black bears are not necessarily always snatching children and that it is possible to pack for a camping
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Tuning in to life, world, people is difficult with TV interference
Daughter of First-year Seminarian
Have you seen that funny TV commercial with the man talking on his cell phone while a really big lobster in the background gets stuck in a door? My answer to questions like that would rarely be yes. That’s because I’m almost 10 years old now and haven’t watched much TV. We don’t even own one. My name is Carlotta Tiews. I’m going into fifth grade and am home schooled with my younger brother. I also have two younger sisters. I am the oldest child in my family. We live on the campus of Concordia Seminary where my father is studying to become a pastor. I moved here from Houston a year ago. I have been living without a TV all my life and love it! I think that all the stuff they show on TV is so stupid. Plus, it gives me a bad headache. Once, I watched a little bit of TV in a hotel, and my eyesight got all blurry. Do you think my parents just don’t let me have one? Certainly not! I actually don’t plan to get one even when I’m older. I always think “Why do you need a TV anyway?” Instead of watching cartoons, I read the comics I like from the newspaper or computer. What about movies? We have a VCR and DVD player and occasionally watch movies in the evening. We usually only watch DVDs and videos about once every two weeks. Even though I could, I don’t go over to Loeber Hall and watch TV. However, the whole family went there to see some soccer games during the World Cup. You might think, “How do you know what’s happening in the world?” When 9/11 happened, we went to our neighbor’s house to watch it. Otherwise, to keep up to date, I read the newspaper or read it on the Internet. There are lots of advantages in not having a TV. You buy fewer items because you don’t see all the commercials about things you don’t really need. You don’t waste time getting hooked on shows you don’t really want to watch. You won’t be influenced by actors or actresses that lead a bad lifestyle. You get more exercise. Most importantly, you’re with your family or friends more. Some might think “Well, we watch TV together.” But that doesn’t count! Some might not talk to their family much because all they are doing is sitting on a couch and staring at a TV screen. Some people might think it’s boring to live without a TV, but it’s definitely not! I love music, especially ’60s pop music and smooth jazz. I made a CD with my favorite ’60s music, and I love it, even more than TV! Listening to the radio was an old pastime when there was no TV. My Mom listens to Todd Wilken’s “Issues, Etc.,” on KFUO 850AM, and sometimes I listen with her. My Dad likes to say “TV turns your brain into oatmeal.” Nobody in my family wants it. We’re perfectly happy just the way we are. I also love to read. It’s so much more fun than watching TV. I mean, think about it: The pioneers were a lot better off than most of us, probably because they didn’t watch TV and did other things instead. I think TV was the worst invention of the 20th century. People don’t sit out on their front porch and get to know their neighbors anymore like people did not too long ago. Most everybody chooses to be in their homes, eyes glued to the TV screen. TV ruined everything. God planned people to be outside, getting to know each other. It would be great if, for at least a day, people did not turn on their TVs right when they wake up, like they might do every day, but leave it off. And when they come home from work, they do not sit down in front of the TV. But instead, they would go outside to be with other people, and have a front porch experience. Concordia Seminary campus is a perfect place to do just that.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
"Be fruitful and multiply"
Who would have thought that we would be reunited at the seminary with Greg and Sara soon to live across the street from us. Praise be to GOD!
The Stocktons visited us last year and climbed the tower as well:
Friday, July 28, 2006
The black clouds are moving fast, and the wind picks up and throws all the branches around. The lights flicker. Some people think it’s just a thunderstorm, but they don’t know what they’re in for!
On July 20, 2006, around seven in the evening, huge black clouds started rolling towards St. Louis, and within about 15 minutes, there was a terrible storm going on outside. Then everything went black, inside and out. It knocked down about four or five trees, which will later make great forts for the kids.
At around seven-fifteen p.m., about when the storm hit, an old friend of ours arrived, Mr. Bruce Miller from Tomball. We lit candles, and sat down to a nice candlelight dinner. We thought the power would come back on in a little while. Little did we know that it would take 4 days to get it back.
We had just been eating for about 5 minutes, when the tornado siren went off. So we went down to the basement, and did we ever have a party down there! In the meantime the sky had turned bright orange, but everybody was allowed to leave the basement again. We were able to watch the most exciting lightning storm. We thought this was just a bad storm; that you go down to the basement and come up an hour later, and then everything is fine. But this was definitely not the case.
We had absolutely no power until Sunday afternoon. There were 500,000 people in the St. Louis area that had no power when the storm hit. All this happened on Wednesday night. Then to top it all off, we had a really bad heat wave on Thursday, with a heat index of about 110 F. For some people, Thursday was just too much. They went away to friends’ homes and hotels. But the power company, Ameren, was working hard to restore power. Then, the work suddenly got harder for the company on Friday morning. Another thunderstorm hit and now another 160,000 were without power!
But this also teaches us a lesson. Everyone started talking with their neighbors and getting to know one another. Here at the seminary, there were lots of worried and sweating students, and take-home exams. And lots of rejoicing kids because summer school was canceled. There were lots of B-B-Q’s and cookouts, (because everyone had to use their meat) and everyone had lots of fun. Some people were even sad that the power came back on. Everybody was having that much fun. I know even I was a little bit sad when the power came back on. We, the Tiews family thought it was fun, except for Thursday, when it was so hot.
We all got some good experience to prepare for our stay in a cabin without power, coming up in August. We all had one big party here. It just goes to show that the reason people don’t go outside very often, is because they want to be comfortable with their AC and TV. Without power, people go outside more often because it’s cooler. It’s like it was not so long ago. Everyone was always outside and almost always had a great time.
Now the next heat wave is here, and people are sweating again although we have air-conditioning!
Friday, July 07, 2006
The Lord continues to make His face shine upon us. Everybody is healthy and well adjusted to our new life here. I still can’t fathom how easily everyone has transitioned from three acres and horses to three bedrooms and just stuffed animals.
Lilly is starting to roll around and has transitioned to a play pen. Me-Me has just about mastered potty training. JJ is busy catching tadpoles, which we will try to grow in our little fish tank. Carlotta is keeping track of all her summer reading so she can win two new books from a local book store (JJ, too). Lula is keeping up keeping up with all of us and is immensely enjoying reading Carlotta’s articles, J.J.’s first book about himself, Chris’ papers and sermons, and various books about Lutheran theology and “Crunchy Conservatives” (s. Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) by Rod Dreher.)
At the time of this writing I have exactly 50 credits under my belt (117 classroom hours are required in total), with another three credits coming this month.
In the spring quarter I took Psalms and Writings, Homiletics I, History of Christianity in Africa, Lutheran Confessions II, and Late Middle Ages. I am taking three classes this summer—Paul and the Epistles, and Lutheran Reformation last month, and Isaiah and the Prophets this month.
We are still very much attracted to the “church planting” program, for which I will be applying in the next few weeks.
Here are some the theological “nuggets” I picked up from professors and others this past year and which I wanted to share with you:
“A good preacher comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”
“Parishioners don’t care what you have to say unless they know you care.”
“Every open sin is deliberate, but not every deliberate sin is open.”
“Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is active through the Word, not through us. He is not limited by our grasp of things.”
“In preaching, ‘rifle the Gospel’”, i.e., stick to one topic (a rifle, not a shotgun), with the Gospel being the main point.”
“Find out God’s agenda for you and go with that, don’t go with your own agenda.”
“Denominational differences can often be boiled down to their understanding of Original Sin, in that ‘How thoroughly were we infected with sin? Were we just “nicked” (i.e., is there still a lot of good left in us, a “divine spark”) or were we “nuked”, as in Isa 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”)?
“We lead the sanctified life not because we are motivated (synergism!) but because we were crucified with Christ (in baptism) and are now New Creations.”
“My disgrace—His grace”.
“God is not a resource, He’s a source.”
“An illustration for plucking Bible verses out of context: Imagine a glass bowl full of light purple beads. Only up close do you realize that they are actually red, blue or white. Plucking a Bible verse out of context is like picking up one of theses beads and saying, ‘The Bible is red (or blue or white)! You need to stand back and see the whole picture, view the Bible through the lense of the Gospel, not through individual statements.”
Thank you again for your prayers and support!
On top a picture of Pastor Tom Wagstaff of Peace Lutheran Church (right) with me.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Saturday, June 03, 2006
A special thank you to all that put up with the Tiews Moocher Clan and housed and fed them. There is really something special about the family of Christ!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Praise the Lord for this great step forward! We pray that his sermons will be well received and don't put people like our 5 year old son J.J. to sleep too often :)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
At Immanuel, our fieldwork church, Chris is teaching a great class on the weaknesses of evolution and how all the evidence points to the wonderful creator. We are all glad that he's NOT wearing his favorite 60s outfit during that bible study :)
From the church bulletin:
Can Christians Really Believe in Evolution? - Music Room; Apr. 23- May14; Seminarian Chris Tiews. We are blessed to have a seminarian who is also a geologist. Chris will look inside the evolution/creation debate, with some attention to the issue of intelligent design. Topics for each of the four weeks are: "Two Competing Worldviews: Naturalism and Creationism," "Scientific Weaknesses of the Evolution Theory," "Is Intelligent Design a Viable Alternative?" "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing and the Christian Response."
For more information check out the Institute for Creation Research or Discovery Institute
Sunday, April 16, 2006
We are rejoicing on this beautiful Easter day
and thank the LORD for the victory of the
resurrection! Greetings to all near and far!
We are looking forward to the day when He will
raise us up again to praise, talk, laugh, play, discuss
and worship together with our
wonderful Christian brothers and sisters
all over the world. And it will never end.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Stand by for reports of the first rocket launch... :)
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Rev. Kevin Parviz baptized her at Chai V' Shalom and Mary and Sophie represented the Stockton family, who are her sponsors. We are so thankful for the wonderful service and the warm reception by the congregation.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
"If you encountered someone who made his own granola, bought his veggies at a food co-op, wore Birkenstock sandals, and wanted to save the environment, if you're like me, you'd probably think, well, there goes a lefty, or a liberal, or maybe an aging hippie. But the author of a new book says someone like that is just as likely to be a conservative Republican. In his book, Crunchy Cons, journalist Rod Dreher writes about a group of people he calls "crunchy conservatives," a group that includes, among others, "hip homeschooling mamas," "Birkenstocked Burkeans," "gun-loving organic" farmers, and "right-wing nature lovers. What Dreher, a Dallas Morning News columnist, means by "crunchy conservative" is someone who rejects the "consumerist and individualistic mainstream of American life." This rejection distinguishes their worldview from that of mainstream liberalism or conservatism, which, in Dreher's estimation, are both "essentially materialist ideologies."
The result of this materialism is "a society dedicated to the multiplication of wants and the intensification of desire, not the improvement of character." What sets Dreher's "crunchy cons" apart is the extent to which they have recognized the corrosive effects of a culture that is both materialistic and pornographic, and they are prepared to do something about it.
They all start at the most basic level: marriage and family. Of course, the liberal and the conservative mainstream both affirm the centrality of the family. After all, apart from some radicals, everybody is for the family, right?
Well, not like the "crunchy cons" are. People like Caleb Stegall, a Kansas lawyer who is profiled in the book, don't just talk a good game when it comes to family their lives testify to its importance. They walk away from prestigious jobs and sacrifice a second income in order to make the time to raise families correctly.
This emphasis on family and instilling character is why many crunchy cons homeschool. As a Manhattan mother of five told Dreher, homeschooling shows her kids that their well-being is what's most important. Instead of working to give them more "stuff," she gave them more time instead.
This de-emphasizing of "stuff" is another hallmark of Dreher's Crunchy Cons. It's not because they reject capitalism or seek to appear "holier-than-thou." It's because they understand the importance of postponing gratification in building character. They know that people accustomed to satisfying every material want are not likely to exercise restraint in any area of their lives.
This emphasis on restraint cuts across the grain of a culture where people are taught to regard anything that stands between them and their desires as a kind of "tyranny." So it comes as no surprise that most of Dreher's "crunchy cons" are Christians.
That's because Christians understand or should, at least how pervasive what writer Dan Knauss calls the "porno-culture" is. This pervasiveness is why protecting our kids requires diligence and commitment. Dreher's "crunchy" conservatives—mostly "crunchy" Christians—are reminders of what the apostle Peter meant when he called followers of Christ a "peculiar people." And it's why these "hip homeschooling mamas" and "right-wing nature lovers" are worthy of our respect, no matter what they wear on their feet or how much granola they eat.
Get links to further information on today's topic "
Friday, March 03, 2006
As part of his work at Concordia Historical Institute, Chris has been translating many Synod documents and we all learned a lot about our heritage - as Lutherans and Germans. Our immigration here was a lot easier ... we didn't have to build our own log home nor brew our own beer or wine. Even though the people in this neighborhood highly recommend it :)
Highlight of the day for J.J.: counting the number of outhouses we saw.
Monday, February 13, 2006
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, February 11, 2006
We are praying that Baby "Rocky" will arrive soon and everything will go well. God's timing is perfect.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
... he stayed with the Tiews while visiting the Seminary this weekend. We had a great time with Joshua Miller from Troy Lutheran Church, especially when playing a game of Bible Outburst to test his knowledge ;)
We pray that our Lord will clearly show him which path he should take.