The Disciples' PrayerCopyright © 2008, Charles Henry Johnsen, III


Why I Write About The Lord's Prayer

Without credentials or a pulpit, who am I to teach anyone about this most perfect of prayers? I am not a scholar. My thinking and writing is far too disorganized to be called philosophy. I am not learned in Greek and Hebrew. I have never published an academic paper or book about philosophy, archaeology, history, theology, or biblical interpretation. A single scientific paper on microprocessor design hardly qualifies me as a scientist. I did graduate with the class of 1970 (we call it LXX) at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, but only by the kindness of two professors who, if they read this, will come to believe they were misguided. I did serve as a pastor in three churches of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod over about a half dozen years. Then, as since, I have managed to deliver a decent sermon or two, now and again, but all of that was youthful bloom and enthusiasm from a thousand years ago.

I am a poor excuse for a preacher. For many years I have remained selfishly silent about something very important. The most famous delayer, Hamlet, comes to mind, perhaps because we are both Danes. Charles Darwin's delay in publication also comes to mind, perhaps because we are both named Charles. I would rather be like Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, who, although he was French, saved Western Europe from Islam. Alas, I am nothing like any of these men, but only an old preacher without a pulpit.

My gifts are slight and only three: the gift of seeing the bridges and canyons of human experience, the gift of seeing the links between His Word and our lives, and the gift of good cheer in His acquaintance. You are the judge if these are enough.

I do not remember when I first began saying this prayer head up, eyes open, and face to face with my fellow believers. Perhaps a seminary professor of liturgics initiated me. Now that I think of it, that is surely how I started, in the late 1960's. Then it must have been Fr. John Damm, Dr. Arthur Carl Piepcorn, or Pastor Ronald Schlegel. They are not to blame for my odd views but whatever grace there is to my celebration of the Sacraments is to due to their example and coaching. Please add to this list Dean Jacobs (blame my poor memory if the name is wrong) of All Saint's Episcopal Cathedral in Milwaukee (even earlier, in 1962). I must also thank Thaler, my beloved black standard poodle, wise beyond his years and species, who walked me 5 kilometers a day while I thought my thoughts. It is a wonder I did not get run over by a car. Sometimes I would stop cold, as if shot, by an insight into bread and Body. Thaler, as if he were Balaam's ass, turns his head up to me and says, You just thought of that? Then he turns back to the walk, and pulls me back into reality.

The final bits of this work came together as I was preparing and teaching a Bible class for men on Saturday mornings at Christ Episcopal Church in Castle Rock, Colorado. The men of Faith Lutheran Church of Castle Rock were also a part of this class as a Lutheran and an Episcopal church looked for common ground. Imagine their disappointment when they found me in that bit of theological topography. After about ten years of keeping these insights to myself, this was the first public presentation of the major ideas that float about in my writing. I especially thank Art Suro, Joe Procopio, and Fr. Todd Kissam who engaged me and the rest of the gentlemen on those breakfast mornings.

But any ungraceful expression or disgraceful doctrine is my own and none of theirs.

Like many who think alone, my way of speaking and my ideas may puzzle or even mystify some readers. That is not my intent. Clarity and truth are my intent. But I cannot promise an easy or exciting read, so I must pray for His mercy, that perhaps at least a few understand what I have so poorly cast. Virtual Atomics, my own insight into the structure of human existence, is in full play here but remains unpublished. That more secular part of the my writing will be here soon at my web site, Bible Freedom Science Network. Meanwhile, please help redeem this old man and reluctant prophet by reading my little book. If my LORD Geshua increases the insight and faith of one or two, it is enough for me, and I will be grateful to Him.