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Author Topic: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering  (Read 6025 times)

DCharlton

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2012, 03:39:07 PM »
Legalism is hard to escape. Those who escape it are legalistic in their opposition to it or their embrace of their favorite alternative.


We escape legalism by dying to self.

Are you trying to be funny?  You're saying that in order to escape legalism, I need to accomplish a legalistically defined task (i.e., dying to self).  Very good.

Not being funny; being Lutheran.

Legalism says, "I can do this (if I try hard enough)."
Repentance confesses, "I can't do this (no matter how hard I try)."
Faith says, "God has done for me what I can't do for myself."

I hear very little of steps two or three in the context of synod assemblies or national gatherings these days.  There is lots of condemnation of the legalism of the right.  Then, there is a lot of self and group affirmation, masquerading as Gospel.   And then there is a lot of legalism of the left.  Lots of "You can do better at being inclusive, diverse, tolerant, compassionate, concerned, and just if you try hard enough." 

So if you're opposed to legalism, you might try starting in our own back yard.  Rather than feeling superior to the legalists in the evangelical churches, we might face the legalism in the mainline churches.


Is the proclamation that God has made us all one people where there had been two (Jews & Gentiles) based on Ephesians 2:11-22 (our text for last week) a word of Gospel = what God has done for us; or a word of legalism = we have to be more inclusive?

Well, you know the answer to that.  If it is proclaimed as a promise, it is Gospel.  If it is proclaimed as that which we ought to do, should do, can do if we really want to, then it is Law.  Furthermore, if it is proclaimed as a self-justifying comparison to other, less inclusive, Christians, then it is not the righteousness of faith. 

So what I'm complaining of is the confusion of Law and Gospel.  This confusion has been in evidence when I have heard PB Hanson preach as well as in the sermons of others in episcopal office. 

In summary:

1.  Proclaiming inclusion and diversity as the Law (what PB Hanson called it) is appropriate.  A preacher who makes us aware of our failings in this arena is faithfully preaching the Law.

2.  Proclaiming it as a promise or gift based on what God in Christ has done is also appropriate.  Scripture authorizes a preacher to do that, and when done, it is Gospel.  Nothing wrong there either.

3.  Crowing about how inclusive we are, and how much better we are at it than "those other guys" is a false gospel of self affirmation.  Oddly, I have heard this self congratulation offered as Gospel by certain persons holding episcopal office.

I have heard a lot of #1 and #3 in recent years.  However, I have heard very little of #2.
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #61 on: July 25, 2012, 04:05:53 PM »
Yup, and that's precisely the freedom Luther gave us. The authority of a pastor or even parents cannot supersede the authority of Scriptures. The youth reads scriptures and comes to an interpretation of it. The parents read scriptures and come to an interpretation of it. The pastor reads scriptures and comes to an interpretation of it. They may all be different. There are three different opinions -- perhaps even "bound consciences" about the meaning of the Scripture passage. The authority I was taught that we had as [ALC] pastors was the that of persuasion. Essentially we enter into a debate with the parents and youth and present our arguments why the interpretation/opinion/bound-conscience more accurately reflects what God is saying to us in Scriptures.

No that is not the freedom Luther gave us. Luther spoke of the conscience bound to scripture. The ELCA  has distorted this to mean that it does not matter what binds our conscience. Show me where I said the authority of a pastor supersedes the authority of scripture. I never did. But then again these are the trick you try and pull; putting words in people's mouths that they never said. Indeed if a pastor has tossed aside scripture for their own understanding it is the right and obligation of the laity to correct them and hold them accountable. But the ELCA system does not even allow for that, because the heretical pastor can also brush aside the biblical testimony of the laity as just another opinion. Of course you know this but you have to twist the reality. I have seen this in action where a person from the synod came and spoke about the future of the ELCA. One person questioned the ELCA's decisions in 2009 citing scripture. Another person asked "Do those bible passages even matter any more?" How did the synod rep reply?? "The ELCA is a big tent." 
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 04:18:49 PM by RevSteve »
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #62 on: July 25, 2012, 05:50:35 PM »
Yup, and that's precisely the freedom Luther gave us. The authority of a pastor or even parents cannot supersede the authority of Scriptures. The youth reads scriptures and comes to an interpretation of it. The parents read scriptures and come to an interpretation of it. The pastor reads scriptures and comes to an interpretation of it. They may all be different. There are three different opinions -- perhaps even "bound consciences" about the meaning of the Scripture passage. The authority I was taught that we had as [ALC] pastors was the that of persuasion. Essentially we enter into a debate with the parents and youth and present our arguments why the interpretation/opinion/bound-conscience more accurately reflects what God is saying to us in Scriptures.

No that is not the freedom Luther gave us. Luther spoke of the conscience bound to scripture. The ELCA  has distorted this to mean that it does not matter what binds our conscience.


Since the ELCA's position is partly based on what Luther wrote, it still is scriptures which binds our conscience. We recognize that on some issues, scriptures has bound consciences in different ways.

Quote
Show me where I said the authority of a pastor supersedes the authority of scripture. I never did. But then again these are the trick you try and pull; putting words in people's mouths that they never said. Indeed if a pastor has tossed aside scripture for their own understanding it is the right and obligation of the laity to correct them and hold them accountable.

I know of no pastor who tosses aside scriptures for their own understanding. They study scriptures and come to their understandings, which may be different than what we understand scriptures to be saying.

Quote
But the ELCA system does not even allow for that, because the heretical pastor can also brush aside the biblical testimony of the laity as just another opinion. Of course you know this but you have to twist the reality. I have seen this in action where a person from the synod came and spoke about the future of the ELCA. One person questioned the ELCA's decisions in 2009 citing scripture. Another person asked "Do those bible passages even matter any more?" How did the synod rep reply?? "The ELCA is a big tent."

A good answer. What I read in the person's question is not really "Do those Bible passages even matter any more," but "Does my understanding of those Bible passages even matter any more?" People with his (or her) understanding fit under our big tent as well as people who have come to other understandings of those Bible passages.

I admit that the Task Force could have used more scriptures in supporting their conclusions; but no one asked me to be on the Task Force. Even when I offer biblical passages and interpretations on this forum, they tend to be dismissed as my own distortion of scriptures. It seems likely that had such interpretations and uses of scripture been included, opponents would have just dismissed them as being heretical interpretations anyway.
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #63 on: July 25, 2012, 07:10:40 PM »
What I read in the person's question is not really "Do those Bible passages even matter any more," but "Does my understanding of those Bible passages even matter any more?"

Given that I am the one who was actually there I am gonna stick with what I know I heard rather than what you think you read. I am also standing by everything else that I have said but, by your comments, I have been reminded that your "everything is subjective" viewpoint makes discussion with you an exercise in futility, no matter how wrong you are.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #64 on: July 25, 2012, 08:41:01 PM »

Because we are not Jesus, what we express are our opinions -- presumably, well-informed-by-biblical-exegesis opinions. The converse, which I have heard -- third-hand -- has happened in pulpits, where the preacher tells the congregation that they must consider every word he preached to be coming directly from God.

The converse you have regularly asserted yourself on this Forum, Brian -- that your (or my, or any other preacher's) sermon is "the Word of God."  Or at least ought to be, as opposed to being an expression of the preacher's opinion. 

Then again, I was taught (at PLTS during the very first years of the ELCA, by professors from the ALC, AELC, LCA, and their predecessors) to not be impressed when the preacher, especially myself, expressed opinions from the Pulpit.  Frankly (I was taught) no one was particualrly interested in my opinion.  The congregation came to hear the Gospel proclaimed (and a "gospel" denuded of the Law is not the Gospel), and if I didn't proclaim that from the Pulpit (or wherever I preached from) but gave them my opinion I was wasting everyone's time -- even if I managed to get a good "bible study" into that "sermon," or convince a hostile (or apathetic) audience that my opinion is correct.

spt+
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #65 on: July 25, 2012, 08:53:03 PM »
Anyway, the youtube connector for Nadia Bolz-Weber hooked up a bunch of the other speakers.  What I appreciated listening in was that the topics and backgrounds of the speakers addressed issues of importance to kids today from a specifically Christian, and interesting, perspective.  Lots of connecting to the youth, and food for thought and conversation among the kids and their counselors/pastors; that was always the important part - the debriefing and conversation afterward.  And the relationships formed with kids from around the country. 

I'm always a little skeptical about how well speakers do at "connecting with the youth".  I remember being such a youth in the 1970's and remember how corny all the attempts to "speak our language" was.  Old Hippies trying to be groovy, can you dig it?  I also remember the eye rolls of kids that I took to youth conferences in the 90's when an adult tried to be relevant.  That's why I think the content is more important than the style.

You make a very good point about being fake when attempting to talk to youth, or anyone else for that matter. On the other hand, it's a poor public speaker who only has one voice. The advice "be yourself" is rather meaningless when given to someone with a well-rounded personality. One can be oneself and be stuffy, or one can be oneself and be relaxed. When I used to make marketing presentations to department heads and staff in the corporate world, I was "myself". When I spoke to Junior Achievement classes about economics, I was also "myself", but I was the less formal, "myself". I'd never attempt to use teenage slang, but I also wouldn't use corporate jargon with the kids either.
 
The best advice to anyone attempting to speak to others is to be authentic and appropriate, and to consider what's best for the audience, not what feeds your ego.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #66 on: July 25, 2012, 08:57:02 PM »
What I read in the person's question is not really "Do those Bible passages even matter any more," but "Does my understanding of those Bible passages even matter any more?"

Given that I am the one who was actually there I am gonna stick with what I know I heard rather than what you think you read. I am also standing by everything else that I have said but, by your comments, I have been reminded that your "everything is subjective" viewpoint makes discussion with you an exercise in futility, no matter how wrong you are.


OK, some synod reps do a poor job.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #67 on: July 25, 2012, 09:14:42 PM »

Because we are not Jesus, what we express are our opinions -- presumably, well-informed-by-biblical-exegesis opinions. The converse, which I have heard -- third-hand -- has happened in pulpits, where the preacher tells the congregation that they must consider every word he preached to be coming directly from God.

The converse you have regularly asserted yourself on this Forum, Brian -- that your (or my, or any other preacher's) sermon is "the Word of God."  Or at least ought to be, as opposed to being an expression of the preacher's opinion.


Almost, if not always, I have raised the question: Are your sermons the inspired Word of God?

Quote
Then again, I was taught (at PLTS during the very first years of the ELCA, by professors from the ALC, AELC, LCA, and their predecessors) to not be impressed when the preacher, especially myself, expressed opinions from the Pulpit.  Frankly (I was taught) no one was particualrly interested in my opinion.  The congregation came to hear the Gospel proclaimed (and a "gospel" denuded of the Law is not the Gospel), and if I didn't proclaim that from the Pulpit (or wherever I preached from) but gave them my opinion I was wasting everyone's time -- even if I managed to get a good "bible study" into that "sermon," or convince a hostile (or apathetic) audience that my opinion is correct.


So what's the difference between an opinion and a conclusion based on biblical exegesis? How is your understanding of the Law and Gospel from a particular text not an opinion about the meaning of that text for your congregation at this time?


I've often said that sermon writing is deciding what not to say. I find that if I've done the exegetical homework well, there's more than enough topics in the text for many sermons or an hour or two hour Bible study. To reduce that to a 15 minute sermon means making a decision to center on a particular theme from the text and ignore many other important elements. My exegetical notes, which I know you know longer read, are three to four times longer than my sermons. I make many choices about what will be said in a sermon. God does not take over my brain. While Jesus did promise the disciples that the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say, it was when they were arrested. I don't think that standing in the pulpit (or prancing in the chancel) qualifies as being arrested.
Brian Stoffregen
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2012, 10:07:30 PM »

I've often said that sermon writing is deciding what not to say. ... I don't think that standing in the pulpit (or prancing in the chancel) qualifies as being arrested.

You might try the discipline of that first sentence elsewhere, Brian.
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2012, 10:18:17 PM »
Careful, Steven; some of us get warned about burping out one-line slams at other participants. Just telling someone else to shut up doesn't advance the discussion very much, does it?
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #70 on: July 25, 2012, 11:29:47 PM »
Careful, Steven; some of us get warned about burping out one-line slams at other participants. Just telling someone else to shut up doesn't advance the discussion very much, does it?

When the Moderators have problems with my brief critiques, they will tell me.  I'm thinking that this is your third such public "warning" addressed to me in the last few weeks. That would be three more than the Moderators -- or anyone else associated with this Forum -- have directed towards me in the same time period.

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #71 on: July 26, 2012, 03:30:25 AM »
Then it occurs to me, Steven, that sharp, personal comments directed towards Pastor Stoffregen or myself are permitted, while comments perceived to be sharp and personal directed at the "traditionalists" here get the poster whanged on the knuckles and warned that he may be banned.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 03:55:58 AM by Charles_Austin »
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #72 on: July 26, 2012, 07:35:46 AM »
I'm always a little skeptical about how well speakers do at "connecting with the youth".  I remember being such a youth in the 1970's and remember how corny all the attempts to "speak our language" was.  Old Hippies trying to be groovy, can you dig it?  I also remember the eye rolls of kids that I took to youth conferences in the 90's when an adult tried to be relevant.  That's why I think the content is more important than the style.

Sometimes "connecting with youth" has everything to do with the meat of the message and little to do with attempts to speak the language of the young. Pope John Paul II and his message were received with wild enthusiasm at a number of World Youth Days during his pontificate. At the time, he was of the age that most would consider "old." What seemed to be at work here (aside from the Holy Spirit) was the phenomenon of youth finding an authentic message truly, strangely, and wonderful beguiling.
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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #73 on: July 26, 2012, 08:36:54 AM »
The following is a letter was written by an adult chaperone the day she returned from Youth Gathering. She is not a member of my congregation, but the letter was shared with me by her pastor (and with her permission). I did not include her signature (as I did not ask if I could share her letter in this forum, but I thought it would inform our discussion).

Dear Church Council and Pastors,



I want to share my thoughts with you as a parent and chaperone on the recent trip to New Orleans.





First of all, I have to say that I love our kids! I spent a week with wonderful children, full of energy and enthusiasm and hunger for giving of themselves. Out of the whole experience the overwhelming majority of them lifted up the service project as their favorite part of the trip.





On Thursday, we worshiped with our Synod in the morning and then spent the afternoon learning about discipleship and doing a scavenger hunt to find places or items that would represent the 7 faith practices: Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Study, Giving, Encouraging, and Serving. These were positive experiences where the Bible was lifted up.





Most of the kids' favorite speaker at the dome was Nadia. I agree with them. Her message was theologically very solid. Aside from a slam to the parents who were concerned prior to the youth gathering, she was entertaining and had a great message.





Unfortunately, I have very little more that is positive to say about the gathering. I am alarmed at the direction in which the national church is moving.

a. The Bibles that the kids received have microscopically small font. They are portable but not usable.

b. There was no Biblical foundation for devotions. Zero. No verse to be found. Highs and lows, excerpts from speakers at the dome and prayer were they only aspects of "Final 15". 

c. At every level, at the mass events in the dome, there was a reference to homosexuality. Every speaker, every skit. Frequently this was tied to anti-bullying.

d.. There were frequent anti-American references and more than one pro-Occupy Wall Street reference. Other political themes had to do with immigration-reform, anti-war, social justice.

e.. Half of the songs were secular.


f. Gandhi's quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world" was more emphasized than any Bible verse - even the theme verse from Ephesians took 2nd place to Gandhi. Seriously. 4 varieties of the quote were available to purchase as t-shirts.

g. On the service day the video about justice told our kids that justice means "doing what is in your heart that you know is right." Secular Humanism another frequent theme of the gathering.

I found myself dreading the dome experience. What kind of emotional manipulation with horrible theology would we be exposing our kids to tonight? There was a very clear open agenda that the national synod is using to indoctrinate the youth. I just wish it was using a Biblical foundation and not a political and social one.





I don't want my year old to miss out on the fun of a large youth group experience, but my husband and I will not be sending her to the Gathering in Detroit in 2015. Nor will I ever attend another ELCA gathering.

Please let me know if you would like to see any of my notes from the gathering, or if you would like to talk to me and the other adult leaders. I am not the only one that was horrified.

Sincerely,

xxxxx

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Re: Nadia Bolz-Weber at ELCA Youth Gathering
« Reply #74 on: July 26, 2012, 09:13:38 AM »
The following is a letter was written by an adult chaperone the day she returned from Youth Gathering. She is not a member of my congregation, but the letter was shared with me by her pastor (and with her permission). I did not include her signature (as I did not ask if I could share her letter in this forum, but I thought it would inform our discussion).

Dear Church Council and Pastors,



I want to share my thoughts with you as a parent and chaperone on the recent trip to New Orleans.





First of all, I have to say that I love our kids! I spent a week with wonderful children, full of energy and enthusiasm and hunger for giving of themselves. Out of the whole experience the overwhelming majority of them lifted up the service project as their favorite part of the trip.





On Thursday, we worshiped with our Synod in the morning and then spent the afternoon learning about discipleship and doing a scavenger hunt to find places or items that would represent the 7 faith practices: Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Study, Giving, Encouraging, and Serving. These were positive experiences where the Bible was lifted up.





Most of the kids' favorite speaker at the dome was Nadia. I agree with them. Her message was theologically very solid. Aside from a slam to the parents who were concerned prior to the youth gathering, she was entertaining and had a great message.





Unfortunately, I have very little more that is positive to say about the gathering. I am alarmed at the direction in which the national church is moving.

a. The Bibles that the kids received have microscopically small font. They are portable but not usable.

b. There was no Biblical foundation for devotions. Zero. No verse to be found. Highs and lows, excerpts from speakers at the dome and prayer were they only aspects of "Final 15". 

c. At every level, at the mass events in the dome, there was a reference to homosexuality. Every speaker, every skit. Frequently this was tied to anti-bullying.

d.. There were frequent anti-American references and more than one pro-Occupy Wall Street reference. Other political themes had to do with immigration-reform, anti-war, social justice.

e.. Half of the songs were secular.


f. Gandhi's quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world" was more emphasized than any Bible verse - even the theme verse from Ephesians took 2nd place to Gandhi. Seriously. 4 varieties of the quote were available to purchase as t-shirts.

g. On the service day the video about justice told our kids that justice means "doing what is in your heart that you know is right." Secular Humanism another frequent theme of the gathering.

I found myself dreading the dome experience. What kind of emotional manipulation with horrible theology would we be exposing our kids to tonight? There was a very clear open agenda that the national synod is using to indoctrinate the youth. I just wish it was using a Biblical foundation and not a political and social one.





I don't want my year old to miss out on the fun of a large youth group experience, but my husband and I will not be sending her to the Gathering in Detroit in 2015. Nor will I ever attend another ELCA gathering.

Please let me know if you would like to see any of my notes from the gathering, or if you would like to talk to me and the other adult leaders. I am not the only one that was horrified.

Sincerely,

xxxxx
This reflects my experience of the New Orleans event we attended back in the '90's, one really solid sermon and the rest of the evening events being more of a political rally than a Christian gathering.  There was, and continues to be, the theme that the youth have to wrest control of the Church from their fuddy-duddy elders because they don't understand what is happening in the world.  Sounds like what was the case in 1996 is the same in 2012.
Gary Hatcher STS,
Pastor St. Peter Lutheran
Greene, Iowa