Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Hunters Gather

Attendance at Church is directly affected by Deer Hunting. We saw yesterday that the male populace practically diappeared from Mt. Olive. This morning there were some missing from St. Petri and Oak Park. But Nazareth increased dramatically. This gets at the heart of why so called "Church Growth" methods are contrary to the Gospel.

There is nothing wrong with taking a weekend to go fishing, camping or hunting. And sometimes a lot of people pick the same weekend to do it because of some special event, like deer hunting. Their absence doesn't mean that they are despising God's Word. They'll be back next week for the same reason that they come the rest of the year, to confess their sins and to receive the forgiveness of sins; to be instructed from the Word of God, and to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

And just as it would be wrong to condemn those who absent themselves for hunting, so it would also be wrong to look at all those who came to Nazareth for the hunters' dinner and see some special virtue in doing this extra thing to attract people to church. A Hunters' Dinner is a nice thing to do, but it's not the reason that people will continually go to church. Most of those guests in attendance live far away and have their own home congregations. Their being here today was mostly based on convenience and a good time, not primarily because of the ministry of Word and Sacrament. But they did choose to hear God's Word rather than be out in the woods during that hour.

I'm not slighting the guests in attendance. I am very happy that they chose to come to Nazareth to hear the Word of God. And I pray that God will grant His Holy Spirit to build them up in the true faith. What could be dangerous is if people looked to dinners like this as something that builds the church rather than focusing on the Word and Sacrament through which God says He builds the church.

A dinner like this provides excellent opportunity to introduce people to our congregation and the teaching of God's Word here, but if they are going to stay, it should be based on the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, not the great food.

These are the ash poles I'm hoping to tiller out into bows. In a few minutes I'm going to head over to Dean's to get some sinew from a deer that he got this weekend. Some experienced bowyers will look at these staves and say, "man, some of them have a lot of knots." I know, but I need the practice if I want to make good bows some day.

I'll try to put together a series of photos and steps I went through to make the bows. I'll put the failures up as well as the successes. That will help me to remember better.

Oh, a new northern MN redneck word:

"eschew" meaning to avoid, pronounced in high society as es-shew or es-chew. Northern Mn redneck usage:

"Hey, what's that tin in you're back pocket"

"Es-Chew, want a dip?"

OK, I'm off to cut some sinew now.