Author Topic: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal  (Read 17576 times)

Team Hesse

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2009, 10:06:43 AM »
Actually, esteemed moderator Richard, I think you went a little too far in this post towards snarky. 
Ah come on, after his nearly 8,000 posts and my many swats at people who seem to think Brian is at the root of all the problems of the ELCA and maybe the universe, aren't I allowed one little whiff of snarky?

Given your normal modus operandi, it just seemed out of character.  It made me wonder if perhaps you'd been taking a whiff of something stronger than snarky.  Not really a very good witness to the outcome of an STS retreat, if one returns out of characteristically grumpy.  :)
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2009, 10:13:31 AM »
I agree with you up to the point you say, "having nothing to do with the law."  If I read Kolb and Arand correctly, they are not against being specific about what good works are.  Whether it's teaching Christians about the Table of Duties, the Ten Commandments, or Christian virtues, when there is specific content to the teaching, it involves the law.  Otherwise the term good work is without form and content.         David Charlton

There's probably a lot to explore here, but just let me say now --
If -- the law always accuses and
If -- good works can't be accused by the law
Then -- the law has nothing to say to good works.
I suppose we could say the law establishes the form and content of a good work in a descriptive fashion by finding nothing to accuse in a good work (from our perspective), but that's about as far as I want to go.  I tend to work with the imagery of Matthew 25 (the sheep and goats) -- the sheep had no clue they'd done good works and the goats thought they had, but really hadn't.  So establishing what is a good work and what is not a good work in anything but hindsight is a very dangerous occupation... above my paygrade.
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2009, 10:16:41 AM »
While such things might be obvious to the participants in this forum, I don't know how many times I've had people say to me -- after they learn I'm an ordained minister -- "I try to keep the Ten Commandments" as if such attempts at keeping the Law are what make them Christian.

It is the common witness of the Christian culture -- so much preaching is about doing good things, being good, prescriptions for good, ten rules for peacekeeping, how to love your wife better -- we could go on all day.  It's all about Law... there's no Christ in any of it.  And as Paul would say, I am sick to death of it. 
Galatians 2:19-20.
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2009, 10:46:45 AM »
Snarky?????   I guess I have been away from this thread too long...

From Urbandictionary.com:

Critical in a curmudgeonly sort of way. The adjective snarky is first recorded in 1906. It is from dialectal British snark, meaning 'to nag, find fault with', which is probably the same word as snark, snork, meaning 'to snort, snore'. (The likely connection is the derisive snorting sound of someone who is always finding fault.) Most dictionaries label snarky as "Chiefly British Slang." But for the last five or more years, it has become increasingly common in American publications, maybe ones infiltrated by British or Canadian writers and journalists.


Yeah, I learned it from a Canadian.  ;)
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2009, 10:51:11 AM »

Given your normal modus operandi, it just seemed out of character.  It made me wonder if perhaps you'd been taking a whiff of something stronger than snarky.  Not really a very good witness to the outcome of an STS retreat, if one returns out of characteristically grumpy.  :)
Lou

Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Hughes

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2009, 10:54:04 AM »

Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)

  I have a theory.  I think the stench of the recommendations is getting to everyone.  Well, to the orthodox anyway.  Like I say, just a theory.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2009, 10:55:24 AM »

Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)

  I have a theory.  I think the stench of the recommendations is getting to everyone.  Well, to the orthodox anyway.  Like I say, just a theory.

Maybe, but I think I'm just congenitally melancholy. Used to walk around the Yale campus in a cape, pretending to be Kierkegaard.  ;D
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Team Hesse

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2009, 04:06:06 PM »
Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)
  I have a theory.  I think the stench of the recommendations is getting to everyone.  Well, to the orthodox anyway.  Like I say, just a theory.
Maybe, but I think I'm just congenitally melancholy. Used to walk around the Yale campus in a cape, pretending to be Kierkegaard.  ;D 

Oh, I see -- we have to accept you as you are -- you were born that way :D
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2009, 04:30:20 PM »
Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)
  I have a theory.  I think the stench of the recommendations is getting to everyone.  Well, to the orthodox anyway.  Like I say, just a theory.
Maybe, but I think I'm just congenitally melancholy. Used to walk around the Yale campus in a cape, pretending to be Kierkegaard.  ;D 

Oh, I see -- we have to accept you as you are -- you were born that way :D
Lou

Ah, but I struggle against it. I even confess it and ask for mercy. I try to do better. Didn't you see the  ;D ?
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2009, 04:31:19 PM »
Some people do forget that the ten commandments are an expression of natural law.
Paul, in Galatians, refers to the elemental principles that the Galatians were aware of prior to ever knowing or meeting a Jew.
Lou

Preparing to preach last Sunday on the Covenant with Noah, I was reminded again how fruitful it is to review Jewish thought on a Universal Moral Code. For those who have never glanced in this direction, I found http://www.geocities.com/rachav/Chazon/Universal_Moral_Code_Seven_Precepts.html to be a helpful quick review.

Tom Pearson has repeatedly mentioned our Lutheran theological weakness when it comes to "natural law," and I keep suspecting that we (i.e. "I") should be doing more with God's governance of the Kingdom of the Left when I think about the sexuality statement.

As I understand it, Jews do not regard the 613 laws of the Torah as binding on anybody who's not Jewish. But the Ten Words -- except perhaps for the Sabbath observance -- encompass the code governing everyone.

As the Talmud has it, a universal moral code is clearly established. It includes:

1. Establish courts of justice - a systematic way of balancing responsibility, supplanting vendettas or other personal retributive action
2. Monotheism. Respect for the "higher power," called by whatever name in whatever state of ignorance
3. Do not set up idols - the deification of any object, being, or power other than the One God (especially prohibiting appeasement and fertility cults)
4. Do not murder - human life is to be respected
5. Do not commit incest or adultery - I understand both of these to imply and include the protection of children
6. Do not steal. Property is to be respected.
7. Humane treatment of animals (even those used for food)
Mike Rothaar
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Paul L. Knudson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2009, 09:32:38 PM »
Is there any interest in discussing Braaten's section of his critique where he focuses on the proposal's conclusion that our varying views should not be dividing because it has nothing to do with the Gospel but with Kingdom on the Left?  I found it interesting that he showed the inconsistency of the proposal.  He reminded us of the major battle we fought back in the eighties over apartheid and the pension programs's investments in companies doing business in South Africa.  Braaten raised the issue of the Lutheran World Federation raising that issue to the level of Status Confessiones.  He then went on to speak of other issues where some defended segregation as simply a matter of the Kingdom on the Left and thus not dividing.  It seems to me that he raises here a significant challenge to the thinking in the proposal.

I was thinking about this also in relationship to Ken Kimball's point that if the policy proposals pass that he and others would work for their synod standing in opposition at the level of status confessiones.  I remember as an inner city pastor and moderately liberal back in those days willing to go to the mat so to speak on the apartheid issue.  Now that the issue is essentially reversed the current liberal position in the ELCA wants to minimize the differences.

Do you think Braaten is raising a significant issue, and why might you think as you do?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2009, 02:08:27 AM »
Oh, I'm a lot more grumpy than I sometimes seem. Just ask my wife.  ;)
  I have a theory.  I think the stench of the recommendations is getting to everyone.  Well, to the orthodox anyway.  Like I say, just a theory.
Maybe, but I think I'm just congenitally melancholy. Used to walk around the Yale campus in a cape, pretending to be Kierkegaard.  ;D 

Oh, I see -- we have to accept you as you are -- you were born that way :D
Lou

Ah, but I struggle against it. I even confess it and ask for mercy. I try to do better. Didn't you see the  ;D ?
Does that mean that you continually tried to be a better pretender of Kierkegaard?
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2009, 10:32:08 AM »

Does that mean that you continually tried to be a better pretender of Kierkegaard?

No.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Team Hesse

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2009, 11:16:12 AM »
Is there any interest in discussing Braaten's section of his critique where he focuses on the proposal's conclusion that our varying views should not be dividing because it has nothing to do with the Gospel but with Kingdom on the Left?  I found it interesting that he showed the inconsistency of the proposal.  He reminded us of the major battle we fought back in the eighties over apartheid and the pension programs's investments in companies doing business in South Africa.  Braaten raised the issue of the Lutheran World Federation raising that issue to the level of Status Confessiones.  He then went on to speak of other issues where some defended segregation as simply a matter of the Kingdom on the Left and thus not dividing.  It seems to me that he raises here a significant challenge to the thinking in the proposal.

I was thinking about this also in relationship to Ken Kimball's point that if the policy proposals pass that he and others would work for their synod standing in opposition at the level of status confessiones.  I remember as an inner city pastor and moderately liberal back in those days willing to go to the mat so to speak on the apartheid issue.  Now that the issue is essentially reversed the current liberal position in the ELCA wants to minimize the differences.

Do you think Braaten is raising a significant issue, and why might you think as you do?

The use of status confessionis is a significant issue and was discussed at a Task Force meeting, actually.  When it came up, and in particular in reference to the LWF action against apartheid, Jim Childs pointed out that status confessionis was taken by the LWF on apartheid not because of racism per se, but because black folks were being denied the Gospel.  Notice the distinction here (at least according to Jim):  status confessionis can only be claimed when the Gospel is at stake, not as a matter of law.  Whether Braaten would agree with that or not, I don't know.  I happen to believe that the Task Force recommendations can and should be a matter of status confessionis, because the ELCA, if she adopts the TF recommendations, will in fact be denying the forgiveness of sin to GLBT people by teaching people that GLBT practices are not sinful.  Of course, I also believe the ELCA is far advanced down this road anyway because she teaches that the orientation is not sinful, only the behaviors that flow from it, which in my view is a denial of article 2 of the Augustana.  The law has consigned all to sin, according to Romans.

When Pastor Kimball and his friends do move to status confessionis, if need be, I think care should be taken to ensure that it is framed as a matter of the Gospel and not simply the law.

Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2009, 11:21:20 AM »
Is there any interest in discussing Braaten's section of his critique where he focuses on the proposal's conclusion that our varying views should not be dividing because it has nothing to do with the Gospel but with Kingdom on the Left?  I found it interesting that he showed the inconsistency of the proposal.  He reminded us of the major battle we fought back in the eighties over apartheid and the pension programs's investments in companies doing business in South Africa.  Braaten raised the issue of the Lutheran World Federation raising that issue to the level of Status Confessiones.  He then went on to speak of other issues where some defended segregation as simply a matter of the Kingdom on the Left and thus not dividing.  It seems to me that he raises here a significant challenge to the thinking in the proposal.

I was thinking about this also in relationship to Ken Kimball's point that if the policy proposals pass that he and others would work for their synod standing in opposition at the level of status confessiones.  I remember as an inner city pastor and moderately liberal back in those days willing to go to the mat so to speak on the apartheid issue.  Now that the issue is essentially reversed the current liberal position in the ELCA wants to minimize the differences.

Do you think Braaten is raising a significant issue, and why might you think as you do?

Yes.  (As I stated earlier, this is one of the two issues that I believe need real attention among us.)  Why are we unclear about this?  In part because we want to hurry up and get to the Gospel.  My muddled understanding of the Law when I finished seminary was that it was "whatever made you aware of your sinfulness and your need for God's grace."  So the Law could be psychological, emotional, relational, existential.  Whatever got the job done was good enough.  The point was getting the person to the point that they turned to God's grace.  I focused entirely on the function and not at all on content of the Law.  In effect, I did not consider the Law God's Word in the way I considered the Gospel God's Word.  In other words, I was SEPERATING instead of DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN the Law and the Gospel.  As you probably can guess, I believe many others in the ELCA were and are making the same mistake.  

David Charlton
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