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

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An Imposition of Ashes

From Web Exclusives

Just lately from the forest and after a short time on the savannah, humanity acquired a sense of self. We awakened one morning, so it seems, and if we did not know who we were we at least knew we were not like the animals. We knew we died and the animals did not. We possessed an interior . . . . Continue Reading »

Buy One, Not the Other

From Web Exclusives

The Tre Ore, the “three hours,” is a Good Friday devotional exercise that marks the last hours of Christ on the cross. The service is marked by prayers, readings, and devotional examination of the Seven Words, the last words of Christ.Those words, those seven, are evocative. They raise questions . . . . Continue Reading »

The Holy Family

From Web Exclusives

Of the Passover festival in Jerusalem, St. Luke concisely reports, “When the festival was ended, Jesus stayed behind but his parents did not know it” (2:43). Of course they didn’t know it. They are parents. What makes anyone think they knew anything at all? The twelve-year-old Jesus decided to . . . . Continue Reading »

David's Sin, David's Son

From Web Exclusives

The son of David has no name, none that the author of Second Samuel thought to record. Yet this son of David will die for David’s sin. (2 Sam. Chapters 11-12) The story of the unnamed son of David is a disturbing one, and disgusting in scale. It starts with David, great king of Israel, and it . . . . Continue Reading »

Refugees

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 »