Monday, April 21, 2008

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

Well, you've found me. You may or may not be happy about that. We'll see. I am Rev. Jody R. Walter, a confessional Lutheran pastor who is currently rostered in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I serve two congregations in northwest Wisconsin - Immanuel, Frederic and Immanuel, Cedar Lake. (You'll find Cedar Lake listed under Rice Lake, Wisconsin.)

I have many interests, but I don't intend to bombard you with stuff about the Detroit Tigers baseball team, historical wargaming, or my years in the Society for Creative Anachronism. My wife Bonnie is certain she doesn't want me to talk too much about her, though she is a wonderful, hardworking, longsuffering spouse. She also has a wonderfully pure singing voice, but that does not blog too well. My purpose here is to write about the matters of religion and how it intersects with society, particularly in northwest Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. I have long also contended that if our faith in Christ informs our life it will also be reflected in various political matters. And so a great bit of space will also be taken up with politics.

A bit more by way of full disclosure. I am a theological conservative. That means I believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God and is without error. Lutherans have not historically believed that the entire Bible is literally true, as we would understand that today. Rather, the context of each book within the Bible will inform us how to read it. So I contend, for example, the book of Genesis must be read literally. But, the Revelation of St. John must read figuratively. This is actually a simpler task than one would think, if one has actually done some real study of the Biblical writings and their background. With just a little work one can figure out what is literal and what is figurative. What is amazing is how many people get messed up on this! I generally however don't call myself a conservative Lutheran, rather I term myself a confessional Lutheran. That means that I also hold to the historic confessional writings of the Lutheran Church. I think Luther, Melanchthon, and Chemnitz, back in the 1500's got it right! (For those who want to find these documents, they are collected in "The Book of Concord" which made its first appears in 1580.) Part of being a confessional Lutheran is holding to the historic worship practices of the Lutheran Church. I'm no fan of praise bands and other such schlock.

In politics, I am a conservative more than a Republican. I am, however, on the executive committee for the Polk County, Wisconsin Republican Party. I am not, however, always happy with the Republicans. I give President Bush a grade of C. He's been awesome on some things, like appointing supreme court justices, but a disaster on issues like securing the border.

A bit more about me personally. I have Cystic Fibrosis. At 44 years of age I am about 10 years past median life expectancy. I have three siblings who have died, that had CF. My brother Tim lives in Michigan, and is a school teacher, but without permanent position at the moment. He keeps out of trouble (or in trouble) as the state's busiest athletic official. My sister Susie lives in Illinois. She also served as a Lutheran School teacher. Though she doesn't have CF, other health problems have left her unable to teach. My wife and I have two nieces and two nephews. The youngest is still in college and the others are getting started in the world. Bonnie's parents have passed away. My parents live in Michigan, still in the same house where I grew up.

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