Russell E. Saltzman is a former Lutheran pastor, transitioning to the Roman Catholic Church.

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From Web Exclusives

In 1975 I decided I was going to get me a refugee, and I did. A lot of them it turned out, two related families, ten people altogether, not counting the 11-year-old boy I got later who became my son. Saigon fell in April and the U.S. evacuated upwards of 136,000 South Vietnamese to the United . . . . Continue Reading »

Divorce and Communion

From Web Exclusives

There were only two occasions in my life as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that required disciplinary ministry with a church member. One was gossip; the other was sex. The first didn’t get beyond private admonition by the pastor, me. That’s what the pastor does in . . . . Continue Reading »

Trashing Luther

From Web Exclusives

Theological hobbyists of a hyper-Catholic sort continue to misconstrue Luther’s “errors.” Oh, I hardly think he was error-free, but (having recently been one) I know Lutherans who pretty much think he was essentially infallible. But I also know Catholics (me having recently become one) who . . . . Continue Reading »

Kim Davis and the Mess She's In

From Web Exclusives

Once upon a time I was a sworn officer of the State of Kansas, occupying a statutory office as deputy secretary of state for legislative matters. I had to take an oath before I could sign my name to anything that pertained to the job. (Somewhere I think there is still a photograph of the occasion, . . . . Continue Reading »


From Web Exclusives

It is time for some late summer lighthearted fun, except our household is dieting. We have gone low carb, paleo, eggplant. Yes, I know, eggplant doesn’t belong to a paleo diet. It’s cultivated. Fruits, berries, nuts, and wild roots are paleo. But with only four or so carbohydrates to a cup, . . . . Continue Reading »

Tourists at a Tragedy

From Web Exclusives

Vacation this year took us to Fredericksburg, Virginia just to see a ridge known as Marye’s Heights. It was there, December, 13, 1862, that a Union brigade of II Corps attacked the Confederate left, two thousand entrenched Rebels positioned behind a four-foot high stone wall bordering a narrow lane. Enhanced here and there by field fortifications, the wall was a perfect defense. Originally known as Telegraph Road, the lane was forever after called the Sunken Road. Continue Reading »

Catholicism Unriddled

From Web Exclusives

I first read Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Riddle of Roman Catholicism: Its History, Its Beliefs, Its Future (1959) while doing my pastoral residency in Detroit, 1978–79. I just finished it for the second time. It is still a book with value. Pelikan says one thing in particular that struck me: Any . . . . Continue Reading »

Dump Hamilton

From First Thoughts

Quinn Hillyer at National Review is calling the anticipated change in the U.S. $10 note “outrageous and ignorant.” The change entails removal of Alexander Hamilton’s portrait for that of an as yet unnamed woman. It’s not the woman that arouses Hillyer’s unhappiness, but the removal of his . . . . Continue Reading »