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

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Vibrantly Down-sizing

From First Thoughts

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America today took action, in the words of Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, to position “the churchwide organization to make a vital and vibrant contribution to the ministries of this [ELCA] church and the work of partners throughout the world . . . .” . . . . Continue Reading »

Sexual Orientation, College-Style

From First Thoughts

No doubt college students have sex, though probably never as much as they would prefer, but this will likely get some parents—especially parents of students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota—to think seriously about the “home colleging” option for their kids. . . . . Continue Reading »

Heroic LCMS Pastor Saves Pope

From First Thoughts

Here is a fun adventure  romp , a first novel by former  Newsday columnist Ray Keating.  Stephen Grant is an ex-CIA agent with notches on his pistol who, with a little bit of angst, turns his back on his secret life and becomes, get this, a pastor of the Lutheran Church-Missouri . . . . Continue Reading »

Not So Golden a Standard

From First Thoughts

Some of our readers probably like gold—with an ounce of gold above $1,300 what’s not to like—and talk of reviving the gold standard is going around. The U.S. has been off the gold standard since 1933. David C. Harper, editor of Numismatic News , reports sobering figures for people . . . . Continue Reading »

The Trees Speak Only to the Enlightened

From First Thoughts

I have been dipping into esoteric religious stuff, by accident. Normally it isn’t anything I mess with, beyond the dismal fancies of liberal Protestants in general and Lutherans in particular. I blame UFO Magazine . A recent cover caught my eye at the library. There is a connection, I learned, . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Your Smallest Lutheran Church

From First Thoughts

It is very hard to swallow yet another Lutheran church body in America but that, following a two-day August 26-27 convocation in Columbus, Ohio, is what America has: the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). “North America” sounds rather expansive and that is only because some few . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer at Graduation

From First Thoughts

I grew up with public school prayer and my fourth grade tyrant, Mrs. Earing, not only made us pray daily but also made us sing Faith of Our Fathers every Friday morning (though we never included the original verse praising the Virgin). A choir we were not. I really dislike that hymn. Best I can . . . . Continue Reading »