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Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

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Reflections, and Resources, for Christians Who Can’t Go to Church during the COVID-19 Lockdown

If I attend church this morning, I could be fined $1,000 or imprisoned for 90 days.

In America.

In small-town, midwestern America.

I’m not a convict.

I’m not a fugitive.

I’m not infected (to the best of my knowledge) with COVID-19.

But, just in case, last Sunday my church told everyone to stay home.

Yes, last Sunday, it was against the church to go to church. (They provided a videostream service instead.)

This Sunday, today, it is against the state to go to church. I could get arrested just for trying.

No kidding.

Not a dream.

Not quite a nightmare, either.

More like a tragedy. “Tragedy,” in the tradition of the Greek playwrights, had a peculiar meaning: it wasn’t just that the story ended in sadness, but rather that it must do so, that it inescapably would have a bad ending, and, moreover, the main characters knew this but were powerless to do anything about it. They act, and sometimes aim to act freely, but always, it is as if someone else is pulling their puppet strings.

If we could do it all over again, what would we do differently?

Since we can’t go back to re-do any of it differently, what should we do now?

Following are some resources to help you think through how we got to where we are, and how we might get to where we’d like to be. There is no formal position statement here. Even if I tried to write one, it would be obsolete by the time you read it, in this rapidly changing COVID-19 era. I offer simply some food for thought and some resources for encouragement—including some timeless resources.

Is the Church the Problem or the Solution?

  • A New York Times editorial blames Christians for being (supposedly) anti-science and thereby thwarting (supposedly) scientific methods for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
  • A Los Angeles Times op-ed exonerates Christians for using the common cup for Holy Communion, citing scientific studies that show this is just as safe as using individual cups.

Must Services Be Canceled? (Dare We Postpone Easter?)

  • An article in the Federalist expressed hope that social distancing could be prudently practiced while people continued to gather for public worship.
  • The Lutheran worship experts (or, better to say: “divine service” experts) at Gottesdienst caution against rescheduling Easter Sunday in view of prohibitions against attendance. They also offer suggestions for marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ whenever congregations do resume meeting publicly, noting that every Sunday is a mini Easter anyway.
  • A Georgian Orthodox Church has labeled the closing of churches as “an unjustified offense against God.”
  • Minnesota’s Executive Order 20–20 exempts clergy as “essential” workers, “wherever their services may be needed,” which would seem to permit pastors to make home visits, while the main thrust of the order is to prohibit any public gathering (including, obviously, worship service at the church).
  • The President of Brazil, by contrast, has exempted churches from the general prohibition of public gatherings; church services are “essential services.”

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Jesus Never Will Leave Me

To the tune of Meinen Jesum Lass Ich Nicht
(“Jesus, I Will Never Leave”)


1. Jesus never will leave me.
Nothing e’er can separate us,
Though my thoughts and mind both flee.
Conqueror though Him who loved us!
Baptism is my guarantee—
Jesus never will leave me!

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Project Boaz: Christian Men and Pro-Life Advocacy

Project Boaz is my vision for how the Christian men of America can end abortion on demand in this country in half a generation. And this without reversing Roe v. Wade or getting the approval of women! That’s right, I have a plan. It’s ambitious, but it is really quite basic: call Christian men in America to be men like Boaz--men of principle, men of character, men of action, and men who are known to be reliable.

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The Culture of Life: Ten Essential Principles for Christian Bioethics


By Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D.



Book CoverDesigned for both individual and group study, this book outlines the culture of life in sharp contrast to the culture of death. Grounded in Holy Scripture, oriented by the forgiving love of Jesus Christ, and motivated by compassion for people in all of life’s stages, The Culture of Life guides readers through today’s most controversial topics in bioethics, including:

  • abortion and infanticide
  • euthanasia (“mercy killing”) and physician-assisted suicide
  • chastity, marriage, parenting, and elder care



12 chapters plus a bonus section:

  • Introduction: “There are two ways: one of life and one of death.”
  • Principle 1: “The culture of life cherishes God’s creation.”
  • Principle 2: “The culture of life celebrates marital procreation.”
  • Principle 3: “The culture of life flows from marriage.”
  • Principle 4: “The culture of life honors parents.”
  • Principle 5: “The culture of life respects the elderly.”
  • Principle 6: “The culture of life provides for widows and orphans.”
  • Principle 7: “The culture of life nurtures the rising generation.”
  • Principle 8: “The culture of life fosters a free and just society.”
  • Principle 9: “The culture of life appears doomed to extinction.”
  • Principle 10: “The culture of life heralds the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • Conclusion: “The culture of life looks to Christ alone.”
  • Bonus Section:
    • God’s Life-Giving Gospel Is Active at Conception
    • Will You Forgive Her, as God Has Forgiven Her?
    • “Return to Me”: The Perfect Marriage Is Founded on Forgiveness in Christ
    • How a Christian Child’s Love Won Jane Roe’s Heart
  • Study Questions
  • Scripture Index
  • Lutheran Confessions Index
  • General Index

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