Abounding Bishops: We hear that there will be no fewer than three former ELCA Bishops in attendance at the ordination extra ordinem of Jen Nagel on January 19 in Mimnneapolis. We believe that to be a record. if you've missed the news about Jen's ordination, you can catch up here.

Executive Discernment: We aren't sure what to make of the ELCA's job posting for the position Executive for Discernment of Contextual and Theological Issues:
The incumbent in this position will exercise considerable discretion and judgment in serving as executive assistant to the presiding bishop; assisting him/her in both taking the initiative on and responding to current theological, ecumenical, and social/cultural issues and trends. This position also serves as a theological resource to the officers of this church and is responsible for developing theological and academic correspondence and overseeing the response to correspondence of the presiding bishop.
There's no deadline in the job posting, so maybe applications will still be accepted. But we note that this posting is not listed with the rest of the ELCA's career opportunities. Perhaps it's a test of potential applicants' discernment capabilities.
Among the people of our acquaintance, no one has better-exercised discretion and judgment than Pr. Sophie. We wonder if her resume is up to date.

Cross Yourself: Here's a clever instructional video explaining how to make the sign of the cross. Apparently this came out of Cruzando, the ELCA youth gathering in 2006. Sticklers will note that this video does not address the all-important question of right-to-left vs. left-to-right. Here's Wikipedia to set you straight:
Originally, all Christians signed themselves in this order: forehead, stomach, right shoulder, left shoulder. By the end of the Middle Ages Christians in the West touched the left shoulder before the right, as is done today by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. However, Eastern Christians have retained the original right to left movement, mirroring the direction in which priests bless the people.

Messenger of Faith: On the Saturday after Christmas, as we enjoyed a nice brunch, our hostess suddenly produced a Jesus Action Figure that quoted John 3:16 to us in a manly voice. (2MB wav file, not for the faint of heart.)
The "Jesus" doll is one of eight "Messenger of Faith" dolls marketed by One2Believe. Made in China, the plastic doll is about 12 inches tall, has blue eyes, a muscular physique, and a button in the abdomen that controls the recitation of Bible passages.
Now children can learn more about Jesusí incredible Tale of Glory while they play! Jesus narrates his own biography, and also quotes key memory verses from the Bible, including Mark 12:30, Mark 12:31 and John 3:16. Our unique start/stop function allows children to pause and restart the story at any point.


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.


    Only $19.99.

    Give Not Thy Strength Unto Women: While browsing the One2Believe site, we encountered P31 dolls:
    P31 are a new exclusive collection of high-quality dolls, based on the biblical teaching of Proverbs 31. P31 dolls were specifically designed to provide a Bible-based, Christian alternative to other secular toys on the market, and to encourage young girls to pursue biblical womanhood.
    It is our prayer that the Lord would use these dolls as a means to encourage the girls of today to become Proverbs 31 women of tomorrow!

    Naturally we were curious. First we read Proverbs 31 and then we googled "Proverbs 31" and found a considerable collection of web sites representing ministries for the Proverbs 31 Woman:
    Proverbs 31:20 Ministries, proverbs31-woman.com, A Virtuous Woman, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and A Proverbs 31 Woman.
    We leave it to you to choose.
    In case you're curious what all the fuss is about, here's the text of Proverbs 31 from the King James Version:
    The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
    What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
    Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.[It is] not for kings, O Lemuel, [it is] not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
    Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
    Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
    Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.
    The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
    She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
    She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
    She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
    She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.
    She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.
    Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
    She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
    Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
    Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

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