Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quotes from The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Korby

Through having Pastor William Cwirla and Pastor William Weedon serve as speakers at the St. John Chrysosytom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat over the last few years I have been introduced to the teachings of the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Korby. Through a group on The Wittenberg Trail I have been able to read some of his quotations from students of his. Through the Internet I have been able to locate a presentation he made to the Montana District Convention in 1988. Below are some quotes to wet your appetite. The entire presentation can be found at

1. If, in all this, I tend to get a little cranky, I would like you to do a Montana thing: take out your lariat rope and lasso me. Wrap the other end around the saddle horn of your cow pony. When he sets his feet there should be an abrupt ending to crankiness. Sometimes I tend to be cranky, partially because of what I am, and partially because of my story. While I am not in the class of Thomas a Beckett, his statement in a diminutive way speaks also about my thinking: "When I had the yoke put on my neck at ordination, holy church was tied to my back and I do not intend to untie her until I go down." I want to be tied to this mother who has borne me, fed me, and cared for me. I love her. She will not do me wrong. Indeed, I may get cranky at times about the way she acts, or the way others treat her. But Christ's Bride, our Mother, is not to be pimped, threatened to get something from her. She is to be loved, honored, and cared for.

2. Do you remember the story of Odysseus? He was the doubting Greek, the great warrior, the husband absent from Penelope, his wife. He was sailing back to her. But he had to sail between the islands where the Sirens sang the most beautiful tunes, one this way, and another that way. Nobody made it past the Sirens. After they had seduced a sailor, they destroyed him. Odysseus had himself tied to the mast. [Interestingly enough, the mast on the Greek ship was in the form of a cross.] In addition, Odysseus had his ears stuffed with wax. He instructed his sailors not to follow his orders if he commanded them to sail other than straight through. Ordination is where the priesthood of believers sets a man among them, saying to him, "Stick to your business. If we blow the siren signal, beat you up, starve you, or what not, do not listen to us. Do not change course." That it is when the priesthood ordains. God makes priests. The church makes pastors.

3. Consider, for example, the propensity to dissolve the "and" in "Word AND Sacrament." In the evangelical, catholic confession, the AND must remain. If, however, the intellectual meat clever slashes between them, eventually both will be lost. The "word" without the sacrament becomes rationalistic. Remove the Sacrament from the word and superstition cannot be far away.

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