In This Issue
Martha Stortz on Bible Study
PLTS Alum Teaching at Luther Seminary
So CA Meeting on Religious Freedom in Vietnam
Charitable Gift Opportunity
Ordinations and New Calls
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy receiving these messages about what's going on at PLTS.  We welcome your comments, personal updates, and suggestions for future content.  Feel free to forward this to your friends.
When Worlds Collide, You Get A Better Bible Study!
""I know that text by heart - but now it rings true!" Marty Stortz head shot These words warm the heart of any teacher.  A familiar text suddenly became a truthful text.  This kind of epiphany often happens in spite of the lesson plan.  But good Bible study requires a three-fold preparation.  A text that "rings true" bears witness to a number of truths: a truthful rendering of the context in which the text was written, a truthful account of the author's intent, and finally, a truthful insight into the reader's own experience."  
With these words, Dr. Martha Stortz begins her reflection on the intersection of Bible study and the worlds in which it was written and in which it is read.
She draws on New Testament scholar Sandra Schneiders' work in The Revelatory Text (Collegeville MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999) in which she argues that insight happens at the intersection of three worlds: the world behind the text, the world of the text, and the world in front of the text.  

To read Dr. Stortz' essay, entitled, "What Makes for Good Bible Study?  The Intersection of Three Worlds", go to When Worlds Collide.
PLTS Alum Teaching at Luther Seminary
Dr. Chris ScharenDr. Christian Scharen (MA, 1995; MDiv, 1996) joined the Luther Seminary faculty as assistant professor of Worship in 2008. He spent the four years prior as Director of the Faith as a Way of Life Program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture and Assistant Professor of Congregational Studies and Practical Theology (Adjunct) at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.
Scharen has published a number of books including "Faith as a Way of Life: A Vision for Pastoral Leadership" (Eerdmans) and "One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God" (Brazos) as well as a variety of popular and scholarly articles. Scharen currently has two titles in progress: "Embodying Care of Souls: Notes on an Apprenticeship in Ministry" and "Broken Hallelujahs: Thinking Popular Music Through the Cross" (Brazos).

For more information on Dr. Scharen, go to Dr. Scharen's Faculty Page.   
TEEM Graduate Hosts Meeting on Religious Freedom in Vietnam
 Dels Garden
On October 11, King of Glory Lutheran Church in Fountain Valley, CA (Pastor Tim Philips, MDiv, 1987) hosted a meeting at which the US Ambassador to Vietnam, Michael Michalak, was present to discuss the status of the freedom of religious expression in Vietnam.  Pr. Vanson Tran (TEEM, 2008) organized the meeting at the request of California Assembly member, Van Tran.  Those present, which included state and federal lawmakers, agreed that Vietnam should be placed back on the list of "countries of particular concern" for the United States for the suppression of religious freedom.  The ambassador did not agree, citing the progress that has been made recently and the continuing efforts of the U.S, government to address issues on a case by case basis.
Federal Legislation Has Re-Opened a Charitable Gift Opportunity
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows individuals over the age of 70 1/2 to make a gift of up to $100,000 directly from an individual retirement account (IRA) to PLTS without a tax consequence.  The gift also counts toward the individual's minimum required distribution. This provision in the legislation is sometimes called the IRA Charitable Rollover.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this special rule, contact your IRA account administrator or Joel Wudel at today for the necessary paperwork to complete the transfer. We recommend that you ask your fund administrator to copy PLTS with the transfer information, as well. This allows your gift to be matched if the check is sent to us without mention of your name.
Act quickly if you would like to take advantage of this special rule in 2008. To ensure that the transfer qualifies, the check from the IRA account administrator should be received by PLTS by December 31, 2008, or at the very least mailed with a U.S.P.S. post-mark of December 31, 2008 or earlier.
Ordinations and New Calls
Travis Larsen, MDiv, 2008, will be ordained December 7 and will serve at St. Paul of Damascus Lutheran Church, Damascus, OR.  He and his wife, Katie, are expecting their second child.