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

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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 »

Review of Life in Space

From the February 2010 Print Edition

Life in Space: Astrobiology for Everyone by Lucas John Mix Harvard, 344 pages, $29.95 Mix is an Episcopal priest with a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard, and the new chaplain at Arizona State University. His religious credentials are secure. Equally so is his scientific work. The origins of life touch . . . . Continue Reading »

Like A Mighty Wind

From First Thoughts

As the national convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted yesterday in Minneapolis to accept a social statement on human sexuality, tornado-like winds shook the downtown and ripped up the steeple at the ELCA’s Central Lutheran Church next door to the convention center. No . . . . Continue Reading »

An Ecumenical Moment for One

From Web Exclusives

During its August 17-23 national church convention in Minneapolis, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seems poised to approve same-sex relations and the ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships. The history behind this move, which will be decided by a majority vote, is too tedious to repeat. Just call to mind the similar success of churnings within the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church and you’ll have an adequate understanding of it. Presbyterians and United Methodists have so far held off the radical assaults from the Christian left. But since ELCA Lutherans are now firmly part of the Christian left, few resources exist to turn back this latest attempt… . Continue Reading »