Dr. Seuss birthday observations…

I am not witty enough to write in his style (but it shouldn’t stop anyone from trying in the comments), but today (Mar 2) is his 107th birthday.  In researching the man who wrote many of my kids favorite books, I discovered that Dr. Seuss was a Lutheran, and according to this comment by Dr. Gene Veith, Seuss was a lifelong member of a congregation of the LCMS.

What was interesting is some of the things people have been doing over the past years to “honor” Dr. Seuss.  I came across two ELCA congregations who did sermons in Dr. Seuss’ style.  See here.  Probably the most disturbing for me was this Episcopal rendition that was reported in the First Things article above.  It linked to a “Seusscharist” which can be found here (PDF file).  Just when things couldn’t get worse, here is a video of a Dr. Seuss Sunday at Transfiguration Lutheran (ELCA) in Rochester, New York.

These things hardly honor the memory of a lifelong Lutheran who contributed much to kids literature (and is rightly celebrated in our Lutheran schools).

What sort of theology is evidenced by such innovations?  Certainly it is humorous to see such things, but then it sinks in that this was some people’s Divine Service that week.  Certainly we can see how liberal doctrine has affected practice (but also the other way around).  It is certainly encouragement for us in the LCMS to start having discussions (with the goal of coming to the true doctrine and responsible practices which flow from it) about our theology and the practices, and how various practices have affected our theology.

For some more information on Dr. Seuss, check out his wikipedia entry here.  I am sure many Lutheran schools indeed have celebrated Dr. Seuss in great ways, but from what I can tell the churches failed to do so.





About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


Dr. Seuss birthday observations… — 17 Comments

  1. I must be getting old, but I find this very sad. You are correct that this was someone’s Divine Service. But what is wrong with the people in the pews that they find this acceptable and even worthwhile?

  2. Joyful Noise :I must be getting old, but I find this very sad. You are correct that this was someone’s Divine Service. But what is wrong with the people in the pews that they find this acceptable and even worthwhile?

    Short Answer: Fifty years of poor catechesis.


  3. It is a cycle that is very bad.

    Johannes is right, poor catechesis is a root. Another root is that many sheep do not know their God-given role to judge their shepherd. That is the key teaching which needs to fall away in order for the false teachers to gain complete control.

    Which came first, I think it is a chicken-egg situation.

  4. Goodness gracious Gerry he
    Can’t you see it’s all about me?

    In confessions and Greek you toil and sweat;
    Get rid of them, don’t you miss me yet?

    Confessions? Bible? Liturgy?
    Silly you, it’s all about me.

    I want my praise with my guitar strum.
    why can’t I praise him with a drum?

    I want a red dressed leader lady singing
    Not penitential pharisaical hands a wringing

    I want my praise with flashing lights.
    why can’t I praise him without your fight?

    I want my praises to be seen.
    not like the others who are so mean.

    Clowns, puppets, dance the latest phase
    Not candles, albs, and incense haze

    I want my life to be much better.
    So please read me now an Osteen letter.

    I want my worship to jump and jostle.
    So why can’t I worship like a pentecostal?

    Why can’t the leader walk and roam?
    What’s with those who find the pulpit home?

    I want my worship to go here and there.
    Not like those bores who at hymnals stare.

    Marantha music it’s just so fine.
    What’s wrong with singing verses 2x times?

    So to all of you it’s just doctrinal.
    But praise is about me and that is final.

  5. This is a combination response to your pointing out that this is Dr. Suess’ birthday and inspired by two previous posts. Pastor Rossow”Interesting question From Former President Kieschnick, ‘Miss Me Yet'”? and the post by Mollie “Kieschnick’s New Position”

    One of Suess’ lesser known works is “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” I am inspired to offer this slightly altered version in light of the above articles.

    “Gerald B Kieschnick will you please go now!
    The time has come.
    The time has come.
    The time is now.
    Just go.
    I don’t care how.
    You can go by foot.
    You can go by cow.
    Gerald B Kieschnick will you please go now!
    You can go on skates.
    You can go on skis.
    You can go in a hat.
    Please go.
    I don’t care.
    You can go
    By bike.
    You can go
    On a Zike-Bike
    If you like.
    If you like
    You can go
    In an old blue shoe.
    Just go, go, GO!
    Please do, do, do, DO!
    Gerald B Kieschnick
    I don’t care how.
    Gerald B. Kieschnick
    Will you please
    GO NOW!
    You can go on stilts.
    You can go by fish.
    You can go in a Crunk-Car
    If you wish.
    If you wish
    You may go
    By lion’s tale.
    Or stamp yourself
    And go by mail.
    Gerald B Kieschnick
    Don’t you know
    The time has come
    To go, go, GO!
    Get on your way!
    Please Gerald B.!
    You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
    You can go by balloon . . .
    Or broomstick.
    You can go by camel
    In a bureau drawer.
    You can go by bumble-boat
    . . . or jet.
    I don’t care how you go.
    Just get!
    Gerald B Kieschnick!
    I don’t care how.
    Gerald B Kieschnick
    Will you please
    GO NOW!
    I said
    I meant . . .
    The time had come
    So . . .
    Gerald WENT.”

    It is importan for leaders to know when their time has come…and gone.

  6. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #3
    About the role of sheep judging shepherds, that sounds counterintutitive, but it does have support in Scripture and from Dr. Walther.

    The Sheep Judging Their Shepherds: A Sermon by C. F. W. Walther

    I guess this means that the sheep-shepherd metaphor should not be made to walk on all fours.

    About the state of catechesis, this is like when Luther first gave the Small Catechism. In the Preface, he really gives it to the bishops and preachers. But also, each section begins something like this for the Ten Commandments, “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.” Since both are to blame, this is, as you say, a chicken and egg situation.

    Based on personal experience being raised by a father who took responsibility for using the Catechism and other materials in the home, in the truck, in lots of places, I tend to place a lot of the weight on the head of the home. If the catechism is used only “at church” and not in the home, then I think Luther’s idea for it is not followed.

    Combining these two ideas about the prerogatives of the sheep and the state of catechesis, maybe what we need is a Lutheran laypersons, what should it be called, “movement,” maybe, restoring the Catechism to use in the home.

  7. Really? We need to be bagging on Kieschnick in a post about Dr. Seuss? Is it not enough to leave that to every single other recent post?

  8. @T. R. Halvorson #6
    Thanks for your comments. Getting Catechesis back into our homes is a great idea. Implementing that idea is more challenging. Certainly it could start by restoring men’s groups across our Synod, which in turn would teach our good lutheran laymen about being a lutheran head of the household. I think the men that remain in our Synod would be more than happy to start learning about their God-given vocation as husbands and fathers over and against what the world has been teaching them. Let’s be men again.

  9. One praise, two praise, me praise, you praise
    Us praise, we praise, old praise, new praise

    Some are us and some are you, some of us are old but now act new
    Some praise sad, but we praise glad, any traditional is very, very bad
    Why are they sad, and glad, and bad? I don’t know but praise worship must be had.
    Some are thin and some are fat. The boring ones have mitred hats.

    From there to here, from here to there, we can praise him anywhere.
    There are those who like to strum. They strum and drum a praise anthem
    Oh me! Oh my!
    Oh me! Oh my!
    Oh what a lot of funny praise gets by.

    Some have two bands, some have four.
    Some like to wander about the floor.
    Where do they come from?
    I dare not say.
    But most assured it’s ancient heresy

    We’ve seen them come
    We’ve seen them go.
    Some praise fast
    And some praise slow
    Some praise with hands so very high
    But still this praise worship is very low

    All of these fakes are like each other
    Don’t ask me why
    But still they want me to call them brother.

  10. Heterodox Harry
    Harry Heterodox
    His confession it does vary
    With every changing of his socks

    He taught one thing when he was young
    Something different as he grew older
    He said it wouldn’t hurt you much
    for this world view to be a holder

    He went to chasing after wind
    it was getting pretty breezy
    Like a hungry little fox
    His behavior it got sleazy

    We saw him breath a word of truth
    And then we saw him sneeze it
    He coughed and sneezed and sneezed and coughed
    We hoped that he would seize it

    He’s been itching at the ear so much
    Crossed the borderline to hear so much
    Bad doctrine, works and fear so much
    For his good is is clear so much

    He needs to change his socks!

    You see…

    Poor guy married Jezebel
    And she doesn’t sew so well
    All the socks she sews
    Are smelly to the toes

    So well, Harry needs to change his socks
    One last time
    Just change his socks
    He needs to put on clean socks

    Heterodox Harry
    Harry Heterodox
    Change your name from Heterodox
    Put on the clean white socks

  11. PAstor Scheer wrote: “Certainly it is humorous to see such things, but then it sinks in that this was some people’s Divine Service that week…”

    I wish it were humorous. Sadly, this was done as humor in the ’90s (I’m guessing) by the Canadian sketch comedy team “Kid’s in the Hall” and can be seen on youtube under the title “Dr Seuss church.” These “inovators” are 15-20 years behind the times (as is typical) and are only suceeding in parodying a parody of themselves (also typical). Instead of “on Christ the solid rock” these churches try to stand firmly on the shifting sands of cultural expediencey, and of course FAIL!

    Eric Ramer

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