Concordia Seminary and iTunes

If you haven’t heard already Concordia Seminary has partnered with Apple to get set up on iTunes U. You can either download directly to iTunes or you can subscribe to items as podcasts. In addition, there are video files to be downloaded in addition to some documents. Most files you can download in a high or low quality if you have bandwith problems. To access this media go to the seminary website, look at the right hand column and click on iTunes U. You can also access it directly by clicking here. The links don’t always play nice with Firefox (they’re working on it) so I encourage you to use Safari (for those blessed with a mac) and IE for those who must trudge though life on a PC.

Here is what is currently available on iTunes:

  • Semcast: A dialogue between our President, the Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer and various professors and church men from around the world. Topics have included Old and New Testament perspectives on homosexuality, the Da Vinci Code, and Pastoral Formation.
  • Theological Symposium 2006: Files from our 2006 symposium that was centered around the topic of “Recapturing a Full-Bodied Theology of the Resurrection: Christ and Our’s.”
  • Lutheran Confessions: An Overview: This is an opportunity for a person to go through the Lutheran Confessions with Drs. Charles Arand and Robert Kolb.
  • Dellinger Lecture 2006: Cal Thomas was the presenter. Evaluate for yourself… I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet.
  • Convocation 2006: There is only one file up now… Dr. Charles Gieschen from Ft. Wayne presenting on “Antichrist: Has the Biblical Evidence Been Left Behind?” I’m sure more files will be posted as we have more convocations.
  • Chapel sermons: This is self-explanatory.

Professors have also begun using iTunes U for coursework. This also includes our Greek and Christian Doctrine pre-seminary courses. The current courses up on iTunes U include Hebrew Readings and Exodus and the Torah.

The final section of our iTunes U site is “Congregational Resources.” This section includes:

  • Lectionary at Lunch: A group of professors who go through the lectionary readings for the following week. Highly recommended.
  • Lay Bible Institute: Evaluate yourself. I haven’t checked this one out.
  • Hebrew Club: Evaluate yourself. I haven’t checked this one out.
  • Evangelism DVD Project: Evaluate yourself. I haven’t checked this one out.
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Why I Wear a Collar

The issue of me wearing my collar has recently come up. I do not wear my collar every day. I wear it once a week unless I have a Seminary Chorus obligation. I normally wear my collar when I go to my field work at a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) facility in north St. Louis. My supervisor said to wear it. He didn’t give a reason why, he just told me too. I think he did this so that I could recognize why I should wear it for myself. I have… in a big way.

For those of you who don’t know St. Louis… it is what some might call racially divided. South St. Louis is very “white” and north St. Louis is very “black.” This racial tension is a sad part of being in St. Louis. I have been in north St. Louis in just regular street clothes and I was just another white kid walking around, no one looks at you or talks to you. When I wear my collar people honestly treat me different. I have people coming up to me and saying hello and starting discussions themselves. It makes me more approachable. It opens doors. The older folks at my fieldwork site also have said that they like me wearing my collar. It helps people see (and understand) who I am. This is why I wear a collar. Some people have given me a hard time (not other sem students… but friends in the St. Louis area). I don’t wear my collar because it makes me feel special. I don’t wear my collar because it looks good. I don’t wear a collar because it is comfortable. I wear my collar because it opens doors that might otherwise be closed.

I’ll end this post with an article that was in this months edition of Around the Tower, the Concordia Seminary student publication (bad formatting is my fault). This vicar expands nicely on the idea that wearing a collar can be a very good thing.

By Rich Futrell
Third-Year Seminarian
I’m only three months into vicarage, but a few weeks ago, as I entered a hospital for a visit, a lady approached me. Signs of worry and anxiety marred her otherwise peaceful face. “Are you a chaplain?” she asked. “I’m a vicar,” I replied, bringing a furrowed brow and a “What’s that?” expression to her face. “Close enough,” I recovered. “How may I help you?” The floodgates opened and tears welled up in her eyes. “My daughter is sick and may not recover.” “Let’s go see her,” I suggested, and we headed for the elevator. On the way, she told me of herself, her daughter, and how nearly five years previous the first signs of multiple sclerosis had surfaced in the then 17-year old girl. In little more than four years the disease had laid waste to her body. The woman, now 22, was suffering from a high fever, her body was immobile, and she was barely responsive. I said who I was and shared a word from Scripture for her comfort. Then we prayed. I asked Jesus, the Great Physician, to work His will of healing upon her.

All this happened only because I was wearing a clergy shirt with a clerical collar that day.

Flash forward three weeks. On my way to church, I stop by the local dry cleaners. It’s just after 6 a.m., and they don’t open until 7 a.m.; but the lights are on, and the “OPEN” sign is lit, so I go on in. The attendant approaches the counter and, eyeing the clerical collar, said, “You know, I used to believe. I used to be a Christian, but I quit believing.” Why did you quit believing?” I responded.How can such bad stuff happen if there’s really a God?” he replied.

I listened further. Thirty minutes later, I left, having shared afresh with him the story of the falling of the Tower of Siloam and how Jesus said those who died there did not die because they were worse than others. The lesson of the tower – and all “unfair” things that happen to people – is that it shows what we all deserve. It shows that life on earth is not all there is. It points us to look beyond our life here to eternity. It shows that we are to turn from our unbelief to Christ.

This second chance to confess Christ came because I was wearing a clergy shirt with a clerical collar.

Three months of vicarage has shown me a clergy shirt is a blinking evangelism beacon that screams out, “Talk to me about God!” If I wore an oxford shirt and tie, I would look like any other businessman or professional. If I wore a T-shirt and jeans, I would look like any other easy-going guy. But the clergy shirt and collar announces I’m a pastor, a vicar, or one in training for the Office of the Holy Ministry. Some may hate the collar; others may like it. For me, it lets those around me know I am pproachable concerning the things of God. Some may glare, not wanting to be eminded of God and those who believe in Him. But even then, the wearing of the collar is a “witness.” Even if people confront me, it opens a door that otherwise might not have existed to confess Christ.

Evangelism opportunities have made me a believer in wearing the clergy shirt and collar. Even if I never see the fruits of sharing the Gospel Word with those I meet, if a clerical collar allows me to sow the seed, I’m going to wear it! We are not always called to “win” others to Christ, but to be faithful in confessing Him. Through such onfession of Christ, the Holy Spirit works faith when and where He wills. If a clergy shirt and collar open doors for me to confess Christ to others, I’ll wear them. This is what the school of experience has taught me. But be forewarned. If you wear a clergy shirt and clerical collar, you are on display. Others are watching. It will make you pause and think twice about doing anything that may besmirch God’s holy name, anything that may “carry the name of the Lord, Your God, into the emptiness” (2nd Commandment, translation from the Hebrew). So if you decide to wear the collar, do not do so lightly. More than your reputation is at stake. But if you are willing, don the collar. Be a good and faithful servant, for the fields are ripe and the workers are few.