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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Joy to the world, the LORD has come!

 

Froehliche Weihnachten!

Here I stand...One year later

What has remained the same since we arrived in St. Louis? In every respect time has flown because we have learned so much since August, 2005. Well, we are still sinners (Rom 3:23) and every day realize anew that we have nothing to bring to the table regarding the salvation that the Father has granted us through Christ’s work on the cross. But precisely because we are sinners, we rejoice (Rom 5:11) in being reconciled with our Lord and because of all He has done for us. Furthermore, we continue to have a passion for sharing the Gospel with those who don’t yet know the Lord. While this is true for our little ones as well, it is especially the case for Lula and me because we can both clearly recall the years not so long ago when we were still very distant from Him. What have we learned here at the Sem or, put another way, how are we different from fifteen months ago? As “good Lutherans”, we are continuing to realize that the more we learn, the more we have yet to learn.
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.

Chris

The German connection

 
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! Posted by Picasa
  Posted by Picasa

Events in the Life of the Tiews family - 2006

February 13: Lillian Esther Cisternas Tiews is born—at home on the campus of Concordia Seminary.
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

Church Planting

“Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned…I was in danger from my own people, ; ...And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Cor 11:25-28. No, this is not a description of life at the Seminary. But since Paul, a church planter, wrote this, I pray the LORD will keep us from similar trials should our application to become mission church planters be accepted. With the steady stream of immigrants into our country, many parts of America are drastically changing. Mission work can increasingly be done in-country, with less need to go overseas. What’s more, our postmodern society continues to buy into the lie of the theory of evolution, tossing the value of human life overboard in the process. The story goes like this: “Once upon a time our ancestors accidentally started the process of life in primordial ooze and over billions of years “by chance” they evolved into trilobites, fish, birds, and, finally, mammals. We humans are simply new and improved monkeys.” Largely gone is the view of the human race being created in the “image of God”. Rather, the theory of evolution is diametrically opposed to the Bible, invalidating Scripture’s veracity on page 1 and diluting the Gospel message in the process. The message of evolution’s “survival of the fittest” doctrine is for us to simply rely on ourselves and “look out for No. 1”. With the Bible becoming increasingly irrelevant in our culture, there are growing numbers of people who have never heard the Gospel or who discard it as a myth, because they have fallen for the lie of evolution. As once did Lula and I. We therefore hope to plant a church to reach out to our new immigrants and this lost postmodern generation, proclaiming the true story of the cross and its hope. Even if we are beaten or are stoned like Paul, which is why we hope you would continue to keep us in your prayers.
Chris

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Powerless" Winter Days

Wow, we mailed our year end report a little too early. There were more adventures planned for us in December. The icestorm hit St. Louis and we had the opportunity to experience a power outage in winter. The seminary took great care of us so we didn't have to be accounted among the 'frozen chosen'. We camped out in a guest room in Loeber hall, which Chris called the "SS Loeber", because it looks like the hall of a cruise ship. We were treated with free breakfeast, lunch and dinner, courtesy of the foodbank and food services! And we were able to experience breath-takingly fast sledding in our own Concordia park. Nevertheless we are thankful for restored power. Other than in summer, when we were without electricity for five days, this winter adventure only lasted 36 hours. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Sugarcoated, MTV-style youth ministry is so over"

... 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

What's Happening on Home Base?

I recently read an LCMS family ministry newsletter where they associated some good adjectives with it: "Family Ministry: Home-based, Church Supported".

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.

Oh, Du Schoene Schnitzelbank

"Ist das nicht eine fette Sau,
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. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Tabernacle According to J.J.

J. J. constructed a model of the tabernacle in the wilderness using some unusual material.
See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPH1gA--6r8

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dead as a mummy...

...that's what we are until the Holy Spirit lifts us up and raises us in Christ.

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... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Is this a free country?

When asked, many people wouldn't consider Germany a totalitarian country at all. But some laws - and some methods - have survived from Nazi times: Homeschooling is illegal there. Social engineers have always known that education (or may I dare to say brain washing) is essential to form a people that goes along with what the government has planned for them.

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...
Calls Needed to the German Embassy Next Week
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
The German government is persecuting homeschoolers like never before. Armin Eckermann, president of Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home--SIH), the homeschool legal defense association of Germany, states that there are over 40 homeschool families in court in Germany!The families are being heavily fined; the parents are being jailed; the children are being threatened with being seized and placed in the custody of the state; and families are being forced to flee to Austria and other surrounding countries.Here are a few current and frightening situations:
1) The Rudolph family: They are diligently homeschooling their six children in Hamburg. The father, Andre, was jailed for a week for refusing to send his children to public school. Like many of the homeschool families in Germany, they are evangelicals. What is even more surprising about Andre Rudolph being put in jail for homeschooling is that he has a degree in teaching! He and his wife have been fined 840 euros ($1,090) for homeschooling. After Andre's jail time the authorities tried a new weapon and began to forcibly take the children to public school each day. Their plan was take custody of these six children and make them wards of the state. One day, however, the authorities came to take the children to school, but no one answered the door. The Rudolphs fled to another country in order to homeschool their children according to God's ways.
2) The Plett family: If you recall, last year we asked you to pray and contact the embassy about the seven Baptist homeschool families of Paderborn. One of the families, the Pletts, have continued to homeschool their 12 children. Last week, a female plainclothes police officer rang at the Platt's house. When the mother opened the door, other police officers who were hiding in the bushes forced their way in. The mother was able to inform her husband by cell phone before the police took her to jail. The husband then fled to Austria with the children. She was given a 10-day prison sentence and is facing heavy fines and more jail time.Of the seven Paderborn homeschool families from last year, two have fled to Austria and five have enrolled in a Christian school in Heidelburg. They all still have pending cases against them.
3) Three homeschool families from Saxony have been taken to court and convicted. One was fined 3,000 euros, one 6,000 euros, and another 10,000 euros.4) The Bauer family: This family in Hesse are American missionaries for the last 15 years. They were prosecuted about five years ago and have exhausted their appeals and have sought review by the Human Rights European Court that covers all of Europe.There are now eight cases pending before the European Court, most of which the SIH organization has brought, along with Ronald Richert, a renown Constitutional law attorney who has handled some of the SIH members' cases. The problem with the European Court, is that it all cases are discretionary: there is no right of appeal. If the Court decides not to rule on them, the case will not be heard. Another problem is the Court has no particular deadline of when they have to decide to take the case or not, so some of these cases have been sitting for three to four years, with no resolution in sight.
5) The Herrmann family: This family from Baden-Wurttemberg was facing prosecution for homeschooling their twins who have many medical problems. They have been forced into hiding and are seeking asylum in the United States and other countries. The Maisch family, also from Baden-Wurtemberg, has been convicted of homeschooling. For the past three weeks they have faced increasing fines.Schulunterricht zu Hause (SIH), the legal association that HSLDA helped establish, is being worn out with defending all these families in court. They have approximately 150 members in their association that are all homeschool families, many of whom are underground, and almost 40 in court.Appeals have been exhausted time and time again, and money is running out. The German homeschool families are pleading for your help.Will you take a moment and contact the German Embassy?
ACTION REQUESTED
1. Please contact the German Embassy and give them this message:"German governments need to make homeschooling legal. Over 40 families are being prosecuted in Germany merely for teaching their children at home. These families have been given huge fines, some parents have been jailed, some have been forced to flee to other countries, and they are all being threatened to take their children into state custody. This is deplorable and unacceptable for any free nation to persecute Christian families who are providing an excellent education for their children. We ask you to stop prosecuting these families like the Maisches, the Pletts, the Bauers, the Rudolphs, and the many others. Homeschooling needs to be legalized in Germany."This message can be put in your own words, along with a story or information about the success of your own homeschool.
The German Embassy can be contacted at:
Wolfgang Ischinger
Ambassador
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000
The embassy can be e-mailed from its website: http://www.globescope.biz/germany/reg/index.cfm
2. If you want to support homeschoolers in other countries--and causes such as Schulunterricht zu Hause in Germany--you can make a donation to the Home School Foundation's international fund. For more information visit http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/ .
3. Please pray fervently for these poor families facing incredible pressure and fear.We cannot give up. Our brothers and sisters in Germany need us and have their back against the wall.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

YeeHaw...Do the Two-Step in Wartburg Hall

What a great evening of music, fellowship and fun! Texas district president, the Rev. Ken Hennings and his wife had words of wisdom and encouragement for the seminarians as well as surprise guest President Kieschnick, who was introduced by the band as the "Long, tall Texan".
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

We finally spotted the Lutheran Moose

... on Long Draw close to State Forest State Park in Northern Colorado. And this is not a post card - we took this picture ourselves! Yes, we chickened out and didn't spend our family retreat at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. A record heat and the ticks changed Chris' mind the night before we left. Instead of braving the heat we took on the cold. Camping in Colorado at over 9000 feet can be winterly even in Summer as we learned. We were surprised how tough our family was and how great the children took the nights in the forties.

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

10 years and still without a TV

Carlotta had the opportunity to publish her first article in the Seminary students newspaper "Around the Tower". She received a lot of feedback and caused interesting discussions, as you can imagine....

Tuning in to life, world, people is difficult with TV interference

By Carlotta
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.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Virtual small group reunion on Luther Tower

We were so blessed to have Texas visitors again! Kristy, the boys and Hope endured the heat, air mattress and close quarters to spend the weekend with us. Long ago back in Texas we started our small group with them, Greg and Sara and the Stocktons with just one child each - now there are 15!

"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 Day the Seminary Stood Still

By Carlotta Tiews

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

Time flies when you are studying theology

Well, we’ve been here almost a year now and what a year it’s been!

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. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There is no greater joy

than being a helpmeet to my husband and a mother to our children.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 John 1: 4

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Texas family and friends tour

Our trip in May gave us the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our friends and family in Texas: Tomball, Rockport, New Braunfels, Austin ... we just loved it!

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! Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

Now he's got the license to...

...preach! Today during chapel service Chris was officially granted permission to go and preach law and gospel from the pulpit.
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 :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 08, 2006

We have lift-off!

As part of our seminary homeschool learning fair, Carlotta and J.J. launched the rockets they built as part of our studies about space exploration. Our second rocket went up 200 feet, but when the parachute shot out as planned, the wind drifted it over to the professor housing area and we never found it. But what a success! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hey, that was a groovy session

The Tiews concluded their studies of the 50s, 60s and the Space Race with a nice unit party. The week before we met Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two astronauts who set foot on the moon. He visited the Science Center here in St. Louis. That was really groovy....

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

He is risen!




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.
 Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Spring has arrived in St. Louis! Since the Tiews kids are currently studying the "Space Race", it seemed appropriate to start the application of our knowledge by flying our first kite on seminary campus.

Stand by for reports of the first rocket launch... :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

"Mazel Tov, Lilly, on Your Baptism"

Today Lillian was "buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father" (Rom 6:4), she too may live a new life. We praise the Lord!

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

Crunchy Cons

Chuck Colson's Breakpoint made us aware of a new book that gives weird people like us a name:

"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

C.F.W. Who?

The Tiews were exploring the area where Lutheran immigrants from Saxony settled in 1839. Looking for freedom to practice their faith, they left Germany and sailed to the port of New Orleans from whence they traveled upriver on the Mississippi. Some buildings here still have their German names, and a visit to the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna was a historical and spiritual treat.In the background you can see a statue of C.F.W. Walther, the first president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

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

Praise the Lord For Lillian Esther Cisternas Tiews!

"Rocky" turned out to be a girl - she was born at 7:10 am on February 13th, 2006 at home on seminary campus with the help of wonderful Dr. Duhart. She is 19 inches long, weighs 7.8 lbs and is another beautiful Tiews girl. Mother and little Lilly are doing great.

To God be the Glory! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

We are counting down

The due date (2/6/2006) has passed. All our other babies have been 10 days late - the new 'target date' is 2/16, right before Chris' Winter quarter is over!

We are praying that Baby "Rocky" will arrive soon and everything will go well. God's timing is perfect.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Family Ministry

Chris is preparing for his first Divine Service presentation in front of his worship professor and class. The family has the great job of being the 'congregation'. We had always been grateful that he was our family pastor - so far we hadn't seen him wearing an alb at home.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Joshua fought the battle


... 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.