ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: ptmccain on November 24, 2010, 09:59:46 AM

Title: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 24, 2010, 09:59:46 AM
This came up in the topic on congregations that are voting to leave, but it seem this is a separate topic.

This is what they report to be the new requirements that will be voted on at the ELCA's August 2011 Churchwide Assembly.

The proposed changes — all of which make the process more difficult for congregations — include the following:

A congregation must hold a 30-day consultation period with its bishop before taking a first vote to leave the ELCA, in addition to the current 90-day consultation after a congregation’s first vote.

The synod bishop is given authority to determine how the consultation will be conducted “in consultation with” the congregation’s council.

The bishop will be able to appoint “designees” with whom the congregation will be required to consult.

The bishop or his/her designee must be granted the opportunity to speak at special congregational meetings regarding ending ELCA affiliation.

A congregation will be required to vote by a two-thirds majority to join a new Lutheran church body, or else it will be “conclusively presumed” to have become an independent Lutheran congregation, potentially forfeiting its property.

Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

Congregations must wait at least six months before taking another first vote if the original first vote does not achieve the required two-thirds majority.

Congregations must wait at least six months and restart the process if their second vote does not achieve the required two-thirds majority.

Congregations which fail to follow the specified process must obtain synod council approval in order to leave the ELCA.

My observation: They strike me as quite Draconian. And, I'm speculating, but perhaps this proposal will serve to accelerate the number of congregations leaving the ELCA. Another thought: in spite of what appears to me a somewhat "it's nothing" attitude when the numbers of ELCA congregations leaving or associating with other groups as these things are reported from the ELCA PR office, it seems that in fact there is great angst at the national level over the growing exodus out of the ELCA. Proposing such stringent measures indicates the level of concern. I can see these proposals actually having the opposite effect of what might be intended. I suspect that between now and next August the ranks of the NALC are going to grow beyond what anyone in the NALC, or the ELCA, may have anticipated.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 10:29:40 AM
What's really "nothing" is the fate of individual members, Pastor McCain. They can simply leave, leave leave - as long as the "franchise" remains in the hands of the ELCA, with all its assets and monies. That way the ELCA can boast how few congregations have succeeded in leaving. The fact that this will encourage individual members to bolt, rather than put their congregation through a draconian process, is of little interest to some, evidently.

Had the Church Council simply tightened up the rules for leaving, by stating, "if the 2nd vote fails, the congregation must wait 6 months before beginning the process all over; and all steps (including 90 days between new first and new second vote) must be observed," very few people would quarrel with that.

Now, the cynic in me thinks that they are over-stating their case now so that when it's modified slightly to remove whatever 2011 CWA voters might find most egregious, they'll STILL have 90% of what they're proposing....

Also, as I have been reminded, no matter how this is presented to CWA - even as a recommendation/memorial from the Church Council - it is a modification of the ELCA constitution, and even if it's approved at this upcoming assembly, it would have to be be RATIFIED - what - at the 2013 assembly - coincidentally the one at which the election for PB occurs... Still, it's a mess - talk about legalism.... We might as well admit, this is gonna look like roadkill before it's all over.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 10:32:08 AM
I also tend to think that LCMC will be a primary beneficiary, even more than NACL - and God knows, I can understand why.

Er, make that NALC - although being "the salt of the earth", at least in print, isn't a bad thing....! ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 24, 2010, 10:32:14 AM
Also, as I have been reminded, no matter how this is presented to CWA - even as a recommendation/memorial from the Church Council - it is a modification of the ELCA constitution, and even if it's approved at this upcoming assembly, it would have to be be RATIFIED - what - at the 2013 assembly - coincidentally the one at which the election for PB occurs... Still, it's a mess - talk about legalism.... We might as well admit, this is gonna look like roadkill before it's all over.

Does the CWA ratify constitutional changes alone or do the congregations play a part as well?  In the LCMS, a change to the synodical constitution requires ratification by the congregations and not just the convention.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Evangel on November 24, 2010, 10:36:36 AM
Also, as I have been reminded, no matter how this is presented to CWA - even as a recommendation/memorial from the Church Council - it is a modification of the ELCA constitution, and even if it's approved at this upcoming assembly, it would have to be be RATIFIED - what - at the 2013 assembly - coincidentally the one at which the election for PB occurs... Still, it's a mess - talk about legalism.... We might as well admit, this is gonna look like roadkill before it's all over.

Does the CWA ratify constitutional changes alone or do the congregations play a part as well?  In the LCMS, a change to the synodical constitution requires ratification by the congregations and not just the convention.

Congregations have no vote in the ratification process in the ELCA (they very much do in LCMC, and I believe in NALC).  They can pass memorials that they would send on to synod - but this carries no meaningful weight.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 10:38:18 AM
Does the CWA ratify constitutional changes alone or do the congregations play a part as well?  In the LCMS, a change to the synodical constitution requires ratification by the congregations and not just the convention.

Well, as I understand it - and frankly, folks like James Gale and (for a different perspective) Charles Austin probably understand the technicalities far better than do I - no, all votes taken at CWA are "official ELCA polity." Now, synodical constitutions must also be brought into line - I'm not sure if that is a 2-vote ratification process or if it's just a "we have to be in conformity with the ELCA model constitution and here are the changes." Individual congregations technically don't have to immediately incorporate the changes, but as soon as they modify their own constitutions, they are obligated to do so. However, the current ELCA secretary does seem to imply that when congregational constitutions conflict with the ELCA's, the latter takes precedent....

At least that's how I have been given to understand all this. AS I said, their are others who can speak more cogently to the ins and outs of the overall process, its limitations, and the implications therein.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 10:39:46 AM
OOOOH, I see I've posted enough to finally get a second gold star!!! :D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 24, 2010, 11:04:22 AM
Also, as I have been reminded, no matter how this is presented to CWA - even as a recommendation/memorial from the Church Council - it is a modification of the ELCA constitution, and even if it's approved at this upcoming assembly, it would have to be be RATIFIED - what - at the 2013 assembly - coincidentally the one at which the election for PB occurs... Still, it's a mess - talk about legalism.... We might as well admit, this is gonna look like roadkill before it's all over.

Does the CWA ratify constitutional changes alone or do the congregations play a part as well?  In the LCMS, a change to the synodical constitution requires ratification by the congregations and not just the convention.

Pr. Cathy got it a bit wrong.  The ELCA church council may propose constitutional amendments.  So long as the church council publishes its proposals at least six months in advance of a CWA, that CWA may adopt the amendments by a two-thirds vote.  (Look at Chapter 22 of the ELCA constitution if you want to read the governing provision.)  No further action is needed.  Congregations play no role.

Now, that does not mean that the new termination process will be binding on all congregations.  Each congregation will be bound by whatever termination process is set out in its own constitution.  As a separate corporation, a congregation holds all authority not expressly assigned upstream to a synod or the ELCA.  And the model constitution for congregations does not assign upstream the power to impose a new termination process. 

For what it's worth, I'd bet a steak dinner at the best restaurant in Charlottesville that Secretary Swartling issues an opinion arguing that the new rules will apply immediately to all congregations.  But in a court, any such argument would be very difficult to sustain.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 24, 2010, 11:07:42 AM
For what it's worth, I'd bet a steak dinner at the best restaurant in Charlottesville that Secretary Swartling issues an opinion arguing that the new rules will apply immediately to all congregations.  But in a court, any such argument would be very difficult to sustain.

Has he made such moves before?  Cathy alluded to it as well -- is there a link to a place where he does this?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 24, 2010, 11:21:55 AM
For what it's worth, I'd bet a steak dinner at the best restaurant in Charlottesville that Secretary Swartling issues an opinion arguing that the new rules will apply immediately to all congregations.  But in a court, any such argument would be very difficult to sustain.

Has he made such moves before?  Cathy alluded to it as well -- is there a link to a place where he does this?

I don't know of a link or a document.  I am aware of instances in which the argument has been made by synod bishops to congregations.  Synod bishops seem to consider themselves obligated to look to the secretary to dictate procedure.  All of this is admittedly circumstantial.   And I may be proved wrong.  However, one way or another, the secretary will have to take a position.  As the proposed amendments are debated, some certainly will ask the secretary to explain when and how the new process would apply.  At some point soon, we'll know the outcome of my hypothetical bet.

One more point.  Synods have circulated documents that describe the process for leaving as set out in the ELCA constitution and the model constitution for congregations.  Here is an example (http://www.montanasynod.org/09ELCA_Resources/IX/FAQ%20Information%20for%20congregations%20about%20leaving%20the%20ELCA%20IX.5.pdf).  None such document that I've seen makes clear that a congregation's documents govern and that the standard process therefore does not apply to congregations that have not adopted it.  On the contrary, the documents simply assume that the usual practice applies to all.

 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on November 24, 2010, 11:24:05 AM
Tim posits: Just idle speculation, but Swartling's predeccessor did his job for years and years and rarely, if ever caused a ripple across the church. Swartling seems to have assumed (or been put into) an almost "attack dog" role in the current leadership cadre, and it's all constitutional legalisms. That certainly sends, at the very least, a very convoluted "mixed message" in light of the "gospel (sans law)" message that comes forth from other precincts of the leadership. Is this merely coincidence, is it being carefully orchestrated, is this a strategy formulated recently or have these conversations occurred since CWA 09, is it merely short-term thinking without reflecting on long-term ramifications, is it the old "good cop-bad cop" ploy, etc. etc. would seem to be honest questions. It is certainly interesting in terms of the timing.
For what it's worth, I'd bet a steak dinner at the best restaurant in Charlottesville that Secretary Swartling issues an opinion arguing that the new rules will apply immediately to all congregations.  But in a court, any such argument would be very difficult to sustain.

Has he made such moves before?  Cathy alluded to it as well -- is there a link to a place where he does this?

I don't know of a link or a document.  I am aware of instances in which the argument has been made by synod bishops to congregations.  Synod bishops seem to consider themselves obligated to look to the secretary to dictate procedure.  All of this is admittedly circumstantial.   And I may be proved wrong.  However, one way or another, the secretary will have to take a position.  As the proposed amendments are debated, some certainly will ask the secretary to explain when and how the new process would apply.  At some point soon, we'll know the outcome of my hypothetical bet.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 24, 2010, 11:39:09 AM
If this discussion is at all accurate, I find myself put in a bit of a quandry...  I have always said that I would not instigate my congregation's discussion to withdraw from the ELCA, were that to happen.  But if these proposed measures are accurately reported, I would have to suggest to my congregation that we begin such a withdrawal before such measures become implimented.

The reason?  A binding of conscience which would be in conflict with my conscience which is already bound (and freed) to and by the Gospel.  Such a tightening of concept of "membership," vis-a-vis the prohibition around severing such membership, impinges upon the ability to have a conscience bound to the Word of God as opposed to the denomination.

Charles and others will doubtless disagree with my assesment (I can almost hear the "Codswallop" right now...) and judge me as "reactionary" or at least "over-reacting."  But my oppinion is that these measures come close to trumping the First Commandment: To fear, love, and trust God above all other things.

Yes, we must have common rules and discipline.  But the purpose of such rules is to enable us to abide by the First Commandment, not to take away or inhibit our common life.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 11:41:43 AM
Richard Mathieson was an observer at the meeting at which these changes were proposed. He has written an interesting and cogent analysis and attached side-by-side comparison of old and new rules, plus some "behind the scenes" discussion that was illuminating. I'll ask for permission to post his entire piece; but one thing he did say was that a major concern was for accurate and timely information being shared between congregational leadership and members, (hence the requirement to inform the synod prior to a first vote: so that "both sides of the argument" can be accurately presented to members before they vote) and between congregations and synodical leadership, especially after a second vote (evidently, although there's a 10-day notification period after the 1st vote, there's currently no such deadline after a second vote).
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dadoo on November 24, 2010, 11:50:39 AM
Tim,
Almen was an ordained pastor, a significant player in the formation process of the ELCA, and a bit of an official historian of our church. Startling is and was a lawyer. One would expect a bit of a difference in approach.

The changes also might have been proposed because there have been a lot of votes in the past year and the original process has now had a chance to reveal it's oddities. One should probably not assume that the council would propose a process that would skew the matter more towards the congregations. From their perspective, the national church does not get enough input into the congregational leaving process. Is it any wonder then that they strengthen the involvement of the bishop. They seem to truly believe, and they might be right, that the storm is survivable and that making it more difficult for congregations to leave will lessen the likelihood that they will. I do not think they believe, as Cathy does, that there will be a mass exodus of people because of it or maybe they believe, maybe rightly, who knows, that the losses can be made up in the future when in an atmosphere of peace congregation will grow again. Time will prove them fools . . . Or wise. No telling.


Tim posits: Just idle speculation, but Swartling's predeccessor did his job for years and years and rarely, if ever caused a ripple across the church. Swartling seems to have assumed (or been put into) an almost "attack dog" role in the current leadership cadre, and it's all constitutional legalisms. That certainly sends, at the very least, a very convoluted "mixed message" in light of the "gospel (sans law)" message that comes forth from other precincts of the leadership. Is this merely coincidence, is it being carefully orchestrated, is this a strategy formulated recently or have these conversations occurred since CWA 09, is it merely short-term thinking without reflecting on long-term ramifications, is it the old "good cop-bad cop" ploy, etc. etc. would seem to be honest questions. It is certainly interesting in terms of the timing.
For what it's worth, I'd bet a steak dinner at the best restaurant in Charlottesville that Secretary Swartling issues an opinion arguing that the new rules will apply immediately to all congregations.  But in a court, any such argument would be very difficult to sustain.

Has he made such moves before?  Cathy alluded to it as well -- is there a link to a place where he does this?

I don't know of a link or a document.  I am aware of instances in which the argument has been made by synod bishops to congregations.  Synod bishops seem to consider themselves obligated to look to the secretary to dictate procedure.  All of this is admittedly circumstantial.   And I may be proved wrong.  However, one way or another, the secretary will have to take a position.  As the proposed amendments are debated, some certainly will ask the secretary to explain when and how the new process would apply.  At some point soon, we'll know the outcome of my hypothetical bet.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 24, 2010, 11:54:24 AM

Tim posits: Just idle speculation, but Swartling's predeccessor did his job for years and years and rarely, if ever caused a ripple across the church. Swartling seems to have assumed (or been put into) an almost "attack dog" role in the current leadership cadre, and it's all constitutional legalisms. That certainly sends, at the very least, a very convoluted "mixed message" in light of the "gospel (sans law)" message that comes forth from other precincts of the leadership. Is this merely coincidence, is it being carefully orchestrated, is this a strategy formulated recently or have these conversations occurred since CWA 09, is it merely short-term thinking without reflecting on long-term ramifications, is it the old "good cop-bad cop" ploy, etc. etc. would seem to be honest questions. It is certainly interesting in terms of the timing.


For what it's worth, a set of facts and a set of first hand observations:

1. Two plain facts, of which each reader can make what (s)he finds reasonable:  (a) Secretary Ahlmen's education and prior experience were as a pastor; (b) Secretary Swartling's education and prior experience were as an attorney, with a specialty in litigation.  (This was well known by Voting Members at the 2007 CWA where Sec. Swartling was elected to replace the retiring Sec. Ahlman).

2.  An observation which I promise is trustworthy, but each reader can also make of it what (s)he finds reasonable:  At the 2007 CWA where Sec. Swartling was elected, I was a volunteer for the entire week, as a microphone page, so I was on the assembly floor 100% of the time.  (I live in suburban Chicago and have very odd taste in vacations).  I was interested in the Secretary election and paid close attention to it, as it seems like an important position.  In the ELCA the Secreatry (and many other positions) are filled by "modified ecclesiastical ballot," which means among other things that

a. The first ballot is a nominating ballot - i.e. any voting member can write any name (s)he wishes on the ballot, subject only to the person being qualified according to the rules for filling the position.
b. Subsequent ballots proceed according to a specific set of rules governing how many candidates are removed on each round (this is a sisnificant part of the "modified" terminology).
c. When a certain number of candidates remain (5 if memory serves) each candidate addresses the assembly for the first time.
d. After those speeches I believe 2/3 of the votes are required to elect a candidate, else the number of candidates is again reduced according to a fixed rule.
e. etc.

As the balloting proceded, Mr. Swartling was among the leaders but was not the leading vote getter.  Then came step c. above.  Mr. Swartling's speech was very well received by the voting members, and some other speeches not se well received, as evidenced by the results of the subsequent ballot, on which Mr. Swartling's vote increased sharply, and the previous front-runner's votes decreased sharply.

How Mr. Swartling came to be a candidate I can't say.  What backing he might have had from the "churchwide office establishment" I can't say.  How the Secretary's role in the years since 2007 might have been foreseen by folks more insightful than I, I can't say.  But what I can say from first hand observation is that he presented himself well as a candidate, and won the votes of ~1,000 voting members in open assembly.  I can also report based on both his speech and a brief one-on-one chat in the corridor, that Secretary Swartling has a likeable personal presence, which is always helpful in politics (church as well as civil).

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 24, 2010, 12:03:39 PM
One more point.  Synods have circulated documents that describe the process for leaving as set out in the ELCA constitution and the model constitution for congregations.  Here is an example (http://www.montanasynod.org/09ELCA_Resources/IX/FAQ%20Information%20for%20congregations%20about%20leaving%20the%20ELCA%20IX.5.pdf).  None such document that I've seen makes clear that a congregation's documents govern and that the standard process therefore does not apply to congregations that have not adopted it.  On the contrary, the documents simply assume that the usual practice applies to all.

Yeah, there does seem to be some very, very questionable opinions being given in that document on this topic:

An ELCA congregation must look to the ELCA Constitution provision 9.62 for the process to be followed when the congregation seeks to leave this church body. No matter what a particular congregation's constitution may say or not say about withdrawal from membership, the ELCA Constitution 9.62 speaks to all such discernment about bringing to an end of congregational membership in the ELCA.

This claim seems untenable to me.  There is a reason why congregations have constitutions and that denominations have something invested in making sure that they say what they want them to say -- because it is those congregational documents, along with others such as their articles of incorporation, that govern how congregations conduct their business, including denominational affiliation or disaffiliation.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: gausmann on November 24, 2010, 12:42:35 PM
Wouldn't it be simpler for the ELCA simply to announce that any congregation seeking to leave the ELCA will have ten percent of its membership drawn and quartered. What a blessing it is to be out of this mess! Seriously, this shows the dangers of having a hybrid polity where one grapples between a congregational, presbytery, and episcopal polity with distinctions between them often being too obscure for the average person to understand. My question is how many Bishops will relish and have time for this elaborate new proposal should it come into place, faced with declining budgets, smaller staffs, etc. at what point does all this just become silly and overly time consuming? In any case the correct way to descirbe this is not changes to the procedure for congregations seeking to leave the ELCA, but actions to deter congregations form leaving the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on November 24, 2010, 01:17:15 PM
Thanks to Richard Mathiesen, here is what he observed, and how he interprets same, from the meeting at which these changes in procedure were proposed.

"Many of you may be aware from the November CORE newsletter of constitutional changes proposed by the ELCA Church Council, which make it more difficult for a congregation to leave the ELCA.

"I attended the four-hour meeting of the ELCA Church Council's Legal and Constitutional Review Committee on November 12, at which the proposed changes to the Termination Process were fully discussed. I also attended the meetings of the ELCA Church Council itself on November 13 and 14, where there was further discussion. (I was identified as an observer connected with Lutheran CORE.)

"The article in the CORE Newsletter is basically accurate in what it says about the proposed constitutional changes.

"The real question, in my opinion, is whether the changes are reasonable or not. I believe that many of the changes are quite reasonable. However, there is at least one which raises major problems for me (#2, that the synod bishop is given authority to determine how the consultation will be conducted).

"In addition, there was more going on behind the scenes. Here is what I wrote elsewhere:

"The Termination Process is the process specified in the model congregational constitution by which a congregation can leave the ELCA. The Termination Process in the Model Congregational Constitution was substantially revised. These proposed revisions will be submitted to the 2011 CWA.  I have enclosed a copy of the Old Version and the New Version so you can compare them. (See
below) There is still a possibility of further revisions before the CWA, although the New Version is what is being sent to Voting Members of the 2011 CWA.


"The big surprise to me was something you won't see in the New Version attached. The original proposal made by the Churchwide Office to the Legal and Constitutional Review Committee of the ELCA Church Council eliminated the distinction between former ALC and former LCA congregations! All LCA congregations would have been treated as former ALC congregations. In other words, the original proposal would have removed the power of synods to require synod approval of former LCA congregations who wish to leave the ELCA. I can supply the wording of the original proposal if you wish to receive it. The Legal and Constitutional Review Committee decided to not make that change, so it is not included in the New Version. However, the issue is still alive. The Conference of Bishops will consider it and Secretary Swartling and General Counsel Phil Harris appear to favor it.

"Why would the ELCA want to remove the requirement of synod approval for former LCA congregations? The main reason, as far as I could tell, was that it really bothers the ELCA that the constitution contains references to ALC and LCA today, 22 years after the merger. They want to get rid of those references. The ELCA also recognizes that no synod can stop a congregation from leaving, anyway. A congregation can simply cut its benevolence to zero, join the NALC or LCMC, and sit tight and wait for the ELCA to kick it out. So the provision really doesn't do much good.

"The discussion of the Termination Process was introduced by Phil Harris, the General Counsel, approximately as follows: In considering the Termination Process, we should focus on the right of congregation members to be fully informed. We should not focus on attempts by the synod or the churchwide office to keep a congregation from leaving the ELCA. The congregational
constitution should be about what is best for the members. [That's a summary of what Phil Harris said.]

"The main concern of the churchwide office seemed to be about the fact that a congregation could take its first vote without informing the synod. Harris and Swartling believe this is not fair to the congregation members. In some cases, they believe, the congregation's leadership does not present accurate information. Therefore, the members do not have full and complete
information when they take their first vote. By adding a notification to the synod, their intention is that the members will have a better chance of hearing both sides of the issue.

"Another main concern of the churchwide office was that there was no time limit on informing the synod of the results of the final vote. The Old Version had a requirement that the results of the first vote must be sent to the synod within 10 days, but there was no similar requirement for sending the results of the second vote. Apparently some congregations had taken a long time before sending the final results of their second vote to the synod. There was also a concern about ambiguous wording. The Old Version
stated that as soon as the second vote passed, the relationship was terminated, while there are cases (ELCA missions starts or the former LCA congregations) where that was not accurate.

"My understanding is these new Termination Provisions, if passed by the 2011 CWA, will take effect immediately after the end of the CWA.

"Anyway, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Dick Mathisen"

Shown below is the actual text of the Old Version of the model congregational constitution and the New Version.


OLD VERSION

9.62. A congregation may terminate its relationship with this church by the following procedure:

a. A resolution indicating desire to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of the
congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present.

b. The secretary of the congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the synodical bishop and shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of the congregation. This notice shall be submitted within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted.

c. The bishop of the synod shall consult with the congregation during a period of at least 90 days.

d. If the congregation, after consultation, still desires to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present, at which meeting the synodical bishop or an authorized representative shall be present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.

e. A certified copy of the resolution to terminate its relationship shall be sent to the synodical bishop, at which time the relationship between the congregation and this church shall be terminated.

f. Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the secretary of this church and published in the periodical of this church.

g. Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church.

h. Congregations that are established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church.


NEW VERSION

A congregation may terminate its relationship with this church by the following procedure:

a. A resolution indicating the intent to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of the congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present. Such meeting may be held no sooner than 30 days after written notice of the meeting to the bishop of the synod, during which time the congregation shall consult with the bishop and the bishop’s designees, if any. The times and manner of the consultation shall be determined by the bishop in consultation with the congregation council. Unless he or she is a voting member of the congregation, the bishop, and the bishop’s designee if any, shall have voice but not vote at the meeting.

b. The secretary of the congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the bishop, attesting that the special meeting was legally called and conducted and certifying the outcome of the vote, and shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of the congregation. This notice shall be submitted within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted.

c. The bishop of the synod and the congregation shall continue in consultation, as specified in a. above, during a period of at least 90 days after receipt by the synod of the notice as specified in b. above.

d. If the congregation, after such consultation, still seeks to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members and to the bishop at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. Unless he or she is voting member of the congregation, the bishop, and the bishop’s designee if any, shall have voice but not vote at the meeting.

e. A copy of the resolution, attesting that the special meeting was legally called and conducted and certifying the outcome of the vote, shall be sent to the bishop within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted, at which time the relationship between the congregation and this church shall be terminated subject to paragraphs g. and h. below. Unless this notification to the bishop also certifies that the congregation has voted by a two-thirds vote to affiliate with another Lutheran denomination, the congregation will
be conclusively presumed to be an independent or non-Lutheran church.

f. Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the bishop to the secretary of this church, who shall report the termination to the Churchwide Assembly.

g. Congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply with each of the foregoing provisions in 9.62., shall be required to receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church.

h. Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church.

i. Congregations established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to complying with the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to satisfy all financial obligations to this church and receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church.

j. If a congregation fails to achieve the required two-thirds vote of voting members present at the congregation’s first meeting as specified in a. above, another special meeting to consider termination of relationship with this church may be called no sooner than six months after that first meeting. If a congregation fails to achieve the required two-thirds vote of voting members present at the congregation’s second meeting as specified in d. above, another attempt to consider termination of relationship with this church must follow all requirements of 9.62 and may begin no sooner than six months after that second meeting.

9.71. Subject to the provisions of 9.52., the following shall govern the ownership of property by congregations of this church: . . .


d. Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. and has acted by a two-thirds vote to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation.

e. Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. and has acted by a two-thirds vote to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on November 24, 2010, 02:03:50 PM
Thanks to Richard Mathiesen, here is what he observed, and how he interprets same, from the meeting at which these changes in procedure were proposed.

"Many of you may be aware from the November CORE newsletter of constitutional changes proposed by the ELCA Church Council, which make it more difficult for a congregation to leave the ELCA.

"I attended the four-hour meeting of the ELCA Church Council's Legal and Constitutional Review Committee on November 12, at which the proposed changes to the Termination Process were fully discussed. I also attended the meetings of the ELCA Church Council itself on November 13 and 14, where there was further discussion. (I was identified as an observer connected with Lutheran CORE.)

"The article in the CORE Newsletter is basically accurate in what it says about the proposed constitutional changes.

"The real question, in my opinion, is whether the changes are reasonable or not. I believe that many of the changes are quite reasonable. However, there is at least one which raises major problems for me (#2, that the synod bishop is given authority to determine how the consultation will be conducted).[/i]

Thank you very much for posting this.    I have received two phone calls this week from ELCA pastors asking about any such revisions and will forward this information to them.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 24, 2010, 02:35:37 PM
Some of the changes do resolve ambiguities.  Others add what might be regarded as helpful additional details.  And if this had all been proposed, say, 20 years ago, one could read it without any suspicion regarding motives.  However, in the current environment, motives will be questioned.  The church council doesn't trust congregational leaders to provide truthful information.  Unhappy congregations don't trust their synods to refrain from unjustifiable power grabs.  And the church council's solution?  Add a new, highly legalistic process to govern how congregations leave the ELCA.

I think that this is a big mistake from the ELCA's perspective.  A very big mistake.  It will foster distrust, further poisoning an already close-to-toxic environment.

Looking at the substance, the new proposal has problems.  Among those --

The church council wants to add a new consultation period before the first vote.  Why?  Is the reason to ensure that a congregation has the benefit of the synod's best and strongest statements and arguments before deciding whether to leave?  If so, that purpose is already served by the existing consultation period, which takes place after the first vote and before any second vote.  In other words, the current process ensures that a congregation won't vote to leave without the benefit of whatever the bishop and his or her colleagues have to say.  So what new purpose is served by the new consultation period?  None, really, other than to add more complexity to the process of considering whether to leave the ELCA.  In other words, it makes the process more difficult.  That's about it.

Richard Mathison stated his concern for the provision that arguably gives the bishop the power to decide what form any consultation will take.  The bishop could arguably decide, for example, that he or she (and any number of "designees") would deliver the sermon each Sunday during the discernment process.  The bishop and any number of "designees" are given voice at the congregational meetings at which a congregation votes on whether to leave.  In other words, these provisions would arguably give the bishop power to be very heavy-handed.  And the congregation would have no choice but to go along.  That would hardly be effective consultation.  The rules should require that all sides agree on what is and what is not appropriate, including regarding the rights of bishops at congregational meetings.

The new sub-section (g) is at first glance perplexing.  It states that "congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply with each of the foregoing provisions in 9.62., shall be required to receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church."  What does that mean?  Is this an acknowledgement that not all congregations are obligated under their congregational governing documents to follow the general rules?  After all, if the ELCA could impose a new rule on all congregations, there would be no need for this sub-section.  All congregations would be required to comply.  Period.  On the other hand, if the ELCA can't impose a process on congregations, this new sub-section could only apply to those congregations adding it to their congregational constitutions.  In other words, the sub-section would apply only to congregations that have added all the new rules to their congregational governing documents.  As to them, the sub-section would be redundant.  So what purpose does this serve?  

In the short term, I think that the answer is "none."  But this sub-section has the potential to be a very dangerous trojan horse.  Once a congregation has added it, that congregation would never be permitted to delete it.  And going forward, the ELCA could amend Section 9.62, thereby unilaterally imposing new limitations on the ability to leave the ELCA.  These new limitations could even put a congregation's property at risk.  Congregations therefore should understand that if they add this sub-section to their constitutions, the ELCA will gain enormous new power over them -- power that congregations will be legally unable to resist.  The ultimate power regarding whether a congregation leaves will pass from congregations to the ELCA and its synods.  

In short, while some parts of the proposal might be helpful, it is on balance, a turkey.  And not one for which to give thanks.  Indeed, sub-section (g) is downright toxic. 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2010, 02:48:30 PM
And of course, we should all thank ptmccain for starting this discussion with his pronouncement that the proposed changes are "draconian." (I suppose we ought to be surprised and grateful that he didn't call them "liberal clap trap.)
And great big hugs, too, for all the members of the LCMS who have opinions on what it takes for a congregation to leave the ELCA.  ::) ::) ::)

Now I think I will compile my various opinions on the LCMS koinonia process, the second-class pastors reaching ordination through goofy means, and ACELICK or whatever other special interest group is trying to purge that denomination of the many errors that are nearing the schismatic point.
Then I'm going to write the Canadian parliament with my suggestions for their new national anthem.

My advice: Let those of us in the ELCA who want to discuss the suggested changes find a place where we can do so without hostile meddling, and boycott this thread.


Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 24, 2010, 03:16:44 PM
The new sub-section (g) is at first glance perplexing.  It states that "congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply with each of the foregoing provisions in 9.62., shall be required to receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church."  What does that mean?  Is this an acknowledgement that not all congregations are obligated under their congregational governing documents to follow the general rules?  After all, if the ELCA could impose a new rule on all congregations, there would be no need for this sub-section.  All congregations would be required to comply.  Period.  On the other hand, if the ELCA can't impose a process on congregations, this new sub-section could only apply to those congregations adding it to their congregational constitutions.  In other words, the sub-section would apply only to congregations that have added all the new rules to their congregational governing documents.  As to them, the sub-section would be redundant.  So what purpose does this serve?  

In the short term, I think that the answer is "none."  But this sub-section has the potential to be a very dangerous trojan horse.  Once a congregation has added it, that congregation would never be permitted to delete it.  And going forward, the ELCA could amend Section 9.62, thereby unilaterally imposing new limitations on the ability to leave the ELCA.  These new limitations could even put a congregation's property at risk.  Congregations therefore should understand that if they add this sub-section to their constitutions, the ELCA will gain enormous new power over them -- power that congregations will be legally unable to resist.  The ultimate power regarding whether a congregation leaves will pass from congregations to the ELCA and its synods.  

In short, while some parts of the proposal might be helpful, it is on balance, a turkey.  And not one for which to give thanks.  Indeed, sub-section (g) is downright toxic.  

Just so I understand you, are you saying that if a congregation agrees to include subsection (g) into their constitution, they are essentially nullifying whatever process for leaving the ELCA might currently be enshrined in their constitutions if it does not conform to the latest revision of the ELCA's constitution in section 9.62?

That is, for example, if these proposals pass the next CWA and if a congregation's constitution does not include those new proposals but DOES include subsection (g), they can follow their own procedures, but at the end, they still have not officially left unless and until the synod council approves, essentially placing all ELCA congregations in the current situation of former LCA congregations if their constitution does not reflect the most recent revision of the ELCA constitution?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on November 24, 2010, 03:39:51 PM
And of course, we should all thank ptmccain for starting this discussion with his pronouncement that the proposed changes are "draconian." (I suppose we ought to be surprised and grateful that he didn't call them "liberal clap trap.)
And great big hugs, too, for all the members of the LCMS who have opinions on what it takes for a congregation to leave the ELCA.  ::) ::) ::)

Now I think I will compile my various opinions on the LCMS koinonia process, the second-class pastors reaching ordination through goofy means, and ACELICK or whatever other special interest group is trying to purge that denomination of the many errors that are nearing the schismatic point.
Then I'm going to write the Canadian parliament with my suggestions for their new national anthem.

My advice: Let those of us in the ELCA who want to discuss the suggested changes find a place where we can do so without hostile meddling, and boycott this thread.




Hey, Charles--I've been waiting for you or Brian to weigh in on Pastor McCain's thread on shooting . . .   ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on November 24, 2010, 03:45:39 PM
Tim notes: Charles, despite your repeated protestations to the contrary, your disdain for the LCMS and those who represent it on this board is palpable nonetheless.  :P

And of course, we should all thank ptmccain for starting this discussion with his pronouncement that the proposed changes are "draconian." (I suppose we ought to be surprised and grateful that he didn't call them "liberal clap trap.)
And great big hugs, too, for all the members of the LCMS who have opinions on what it takes for a congregation to leave the ELCA.  ::) ::) ::)

Now I think I will compile my various opinions on the LCMS koinonia process, the second-class pastors reaching ordination through goofy means, and ACELICK or whatever other special interest group is trying to purge that denomination of the many errors that are nearing the schismatic point.
Then I'm going to write the Canadian parliament with my suggestions for their new national anthem.

My advice: Let those of us in the ELCA who want to discuss the suggested changes find a place where we can do so without hostile meddling, and boycott this thread.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: gausmann on November 24, 2010, 04:29:44 PM
Having recently gone through the present structure for leaving it strikes me that it was fairly reasonable given the polity of which we were a part. In Lower Susquehanna Synod they have a Bishop who treats congregations that are considering leaving fairly and graciously, after we left people did not complain about the process or seem to think any worse of the ELCA because of it. Since the process was put in the constitution more in light of discerning the connection between congregations and churchwide  than as a result of a reaction to congregations in large numbers seeking to leave, it had a certain neutrality to it. 

While I would not speak for congregations around the country of a body I am no longer a part of it seems to me that tightening the procedure at this point may only cause congregations that are tentative in their relationship to the ELCA to want to leave rapidly. One should also consider that congregations that have left often designate benevolence dollars to organizaitons that have a churchwide affiliation and may be more likely to continue that support if their parting form the ELCA has not been a bitter one.

As to pastors who are not part of the ELCA commenting on ELCA matters, it seems to me that ALPB is an independent body that has a pan-Lutheran and beyond readership. I do not comment on ELCA websites nor do I desire to, perhaps Charles you should start a facebook page of your own that could control membership to that way you could continue to write here and perhaps fine peace there.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 24, 2010, 04:49:53 PM
.....

My advice: Let those of us in the ELCA who want to discuss the suggested changes find a place where we can do so without hostile meddling, and boycott this thread.


I will again remind you that Chicago has no more claim to these churches than those of us who have family, children, sisters and brothers, cousins attending church in buildings 200 plus years old, who are being targeted by these musings.

ELCA is a 20 year old wet earred teenage failure of an experiment, and is reaping the results of that failure. Deluded pontification of those with the pieces in their hands is not jurisdiction.

I recommend that those of us with 200-500 years of family and over 50 years in the fellowship of those brothers and sisters tell ELCA to get out of the conversation of churches with centuries of substance, annoyed by the meddling of a twenty year old self evident implosion? What part of of this scattered reactionary process do you not understand?

My families' blood is on the bricks of that property.  The proceeds of their labor have kept the heat and lights running. The pastors have been paid from their treasury. All ELCA ever did was cash the checks they received from their charity. The three guys from New Jersey who joined last year, are not that church in that place. Period. Deal with it as congregations begin to understand they will have to take actions such as poison pills to stomp out this power grab of depair.

TV
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2010, 04:57:36 PM
Pastor Christ writes:
Tim notes: Charles, despite your repeated protestations to the contrary, your disdain for the LCMS and those who represent it on this board is palpable nonetheless.

I comment:
Ah, but there's the rub! I separate the LCMS and some of those who claim to represent it on this board. I am reliably told that ptmccain does not "represent" the LCMS at its best. I believe that. Unfortunately, ptmccain is the most vocal LCMSer here, constantly on the prowl and ready to attack.
I have little use for the "type" of LCMS he presents or for his tactics.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Glenn Ryder on November 24, 2010, 05:52:42 PM
Cue the 'Star Wars' soundtrack...

Roll credits....Episode 'Summer 2011'...


...More planets seek refuge in the rebellion as the empire tries to hold onto its power through legislative manuevers..."



I wish there was some humor reading the latest attempt by the ELCA to retain it's control over congregations by amending the 'process for leaving' next churchwide assembly. All I can say is best to get out by next August!




Glenn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2010, 05:54:39 PM
Glenn Ryder writes:
All I can say is best to get out by next August!

I respond:
Yes, I agree. The sooner the better.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 24, 2010, 06:29:45 PM
I wish there was some humor reading the latest attempt by the ELCA to retain it's control over congregations by amending the 'process for leaving' next churchwide assembly.

I see absolutely no control over the process for leaving, but wanting to assure that the process is as fair as possible for all people involved. Robert's Rules have been defined as a process to protect the rights of the minority -- to make sure that they are adequately informed of meetings, that they know that their position will be heard, etc. I see the changes as trying to close loopholes that are in the present process.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 24, 2010, 06:38:32 PM
I wonder why these changes are being proposed now instead of five years ago?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Glenn Ryder on November 24, 2010, 06:44:33 PM
I wonder why these changes are being proposed now instead of five years ago?


Pastor Paul-
I rather suspect that 5 years ago the number of congregations leaving was a small number, with probably little or no financial consequences. Now the numbers start to get a bit larger and the financial impact starts to hurt....huh?



Glenn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 24, 2010, 06:51:48 PM
I wonder why these changes are being proposed now instead of five years ago?


Pastor Paul-
I rather suspect that 5 years ago the number of congregations leaving was a small number, with probably little or no financial consequences. Now the numbers start to get a bit larger and the financial impact starts to hurt....huh?

Once a process moves out of theory (as it was when created for the model constitution) and into actual practice, short-comings of the theory can be seen and corrected.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 24, 2010, 06:56:41 PM
So there were no congregations leaving until recently?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 24, 2010, 06:58:38 PM
So there were no congregations leaving until recently?

Not too many -- and few who misused the rules.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 24, 2010, 07:10:05 PM
I suspect a good many people are going to regard this as changing the rules in the middle of the game and a fairly transparent move to clamp down on those whose consciences are bound to dissent and leave. It will be interesting to see if this changing if the rules accelerates departures from the ELCA.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 24, 2010, 07:54:42 PM
So there were no congregations leaving until recently?

Not too many -- and few who misused the rules.

Come on, Brian, that is disingenuous at best.  Yes, there have been the occasional rebel congregation that left doing things somewhat shady, but by and large, the VAST majority have followed their constitution and the procedures outlined there to the letter, to the best of their ability.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2010, 08:40:51 PM
I believe I was told that about 12-25 congregations left the ELCA almost every year of its existence.
Nothing is proposed that will prevent people from following their consciences and leaving the ELCA.
What ptmccain "suspects," that this is "changing the rules in the middle of the game and a fairly transparent move to clamp down on those whose consciences are bound to dissent and leave" reveals yet another misuse of the language.
Our on-going discussion is how to accommodate those whose "bound consciences" object to the August decisions and yet want to stay in the ELCA. The phrase only applies to those who dissent from the August decisions on the social statement.
How in the name of Aunt Sadie's goat would a church body "clamp down" on someone whose conscience said they should leave?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on November 24, 2010, 09:24:15 PM
I suspect a good many people are going to regard this as changing the rules in the middle of the game and a fairly transparent move to clamp down on those whose consciences are bound to dissent and leave. It will be interesting to see if this changing if the rules accelerates departures from the ELCA.


It was in anticipation of precisely this type of maneuvering that back in July my Congregation Council asked to intiate the process of leaving the ELCA.

I have been closely following the realignement of North American Anglicanism for many years and the horrendous legal battles between TEC Dioceses and their departing congregations.  The polity and nomenclature differ but the strategy of oppression is the same.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Revbert on November 24, 2010, 09:47:44 PM
As an outsider, but one who was in the ELCA, it seems to me that a congregation could--at least in theory--have a single vote to affiliate with ANY Lutheran body outside the ELCA and wait for the bishop to oust them from the ELCA roster.

Of course, the bishop could be really mean and simply take away the congregation's right to vote in synod assemblies and serve on synod committees, then not "approve" the congregation's dual rostering, and/or tell the pastor "resign or be kicked off the roster."

Much ado about nothing, but at the same time, I have to agree with Pastor McCain in this does seem to be a little bit more than just "tweaking" the rules which have been in place for some 20 years and used by (as Pastor Austin claims) by 12-25 congregations each year along the way.

Obviously, there are no more important issues out there to address in the ELCA. I pray for you all.

Art
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 25, 2010, 01:03:58 AM
The new sub-section (g) is at first glance perplexing.  It states that "congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply with each of the foregoing provisions in 9.62., shall be required to receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church."  What does that mean?  Is this an acknowledgement that not all congregations are obligated under their congregational governing documents to follow the general rules?  After all, if the ELCA could impose a new rule on all congregations, there would be no need for this sub-section.  All congregations would be required to comply.  Period.  On the other hand, if the ELCA can't impose a process on congregations, this new sub-section could only apply to those congregations adding it to their congregational constitutions.  In other words, the sub-section would apply only to congregations that have added all the new rules to their congregational governing documents.  As to them, the sub-section would be redundant.  So what purpose does this serve?  

In the short term, I think that the answer is "none."  But this sub-section has the potential to be a very dangerous trojan horse.  Once a congregation has added it, that congregation would never be permitted to delete it.  And going forward, the ELCA could amend Section 9.62, thereby unilaterally imposing new limitations on the ability to leave the ELCA.  These new limitations could even put a congregation's property at risk.  Congregations therefore should understand that if they add this sub-section to their constitutions, the ELCA will gain enormous new power over them -- power that congregations will be legally unable to resist.  The ultimate power regarding whether a congregation leaves will pass from congregations to the ELCA and its synods.  

In short, while some parts of the proposal might be helpful, it is on balance, a turkey.  And not one for which to give thanks.  Indeed, sub-section (g) is downright toxic.  

Just so I understand you, are you saying that if a congregation agrees to include subsection (g) into their constitution, they are essentially nullifying whatever process for leaving the ELCA might currently be enshrined in their constitutions if it does not conform to the latest revision of the ELCA's constitution in section 9.62?

That is, for example, if these proposals pass the next CWA and if a congregation's constitution does not include those new proposals but DOES include subsection (g), they can follow their own procedures, but at the end, they still have not officially left unless and until the synod council approves, essentially placing all ELCA congregations in the current situation of former LCA congregations if their constitution does not reflect the most recent revision of the ELCA constitution?

Let me give a bit more detail.

If a congregation adds sub-section (g) to its own governing documents, it will by definition be required to add the other parts of the revised process.  Thus, in the short term, sub-section (g) will have no meaningful effect on congregations that have included it in their governing documents.  Their congregational governing documents will include in every detail the process set out in the ELCA constitution.  The potential mischief would come in the future.  If the ELCA enacts future changes to Section 9.62, sub-section (g) would effectively incorporate those future changes into the congregation's constitution even if the congregation never expressly adopts them.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 25, 2010, 01:59:15 AM
This subject is being discussed in "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.  Here's a couple of relevant items I posted over there before seeing this thread:

At the beginning of the ELCA, congregations were mandated to bring their constitutions in line with the model constitution, not in every single paragraph, but in certain things which assemblies had determined were required for ELCA congregations.

Charles, never was the word "mandate" or "require" used.  "Encouraged" or "recommended" were frequently used, and I've even seen "urged" -- which is the strongest word possible for any congregation that existed Dec. 31, 1987 -- a few times in the last half-dozen years.  But there was no "mandate," nor was one asserted, from the ELCA.

Someone will want to check the year, but my recollection was that only in 2005 did the CWA approve the provision that, henceforth, any time a congregation amended any portion of its constitution, that it must conform to the model to be approved, and from then on any amendments to the required sections of the Model would be automatically amend the congregation's constitution.  But the wording can only apply to those congregational constitutions that have been amended since that particular CWA.  

There are a lot of us with pre-2005 Constitutions.  One congregation in my Conference is still operating on a Constitution that hasn't been amended since the early years of the first (1930) American Lutheran Church.  Clearly Mr. Swartling and Synods are going to assert "mandate" language, or that remaining in the ELCA means we have "consented" to the ELCA's amendments to the Model.  However, until a judge with jurisdiction says so, 'taint so.



and...


The contents of this link (http://www.lutherancore.org/pdf/ELCA-Church-Council-amendments-Chap-9.pdf) are supposed to be what was given to the ELCA Church Council.  I describe it this way because 1) the format is not typical for ELCA documents and 2) the language was clearly not vetted by a parliamentarian -- it is really sloppy in certain places.  (I was going to write "clearly not vetted by an attorney," but I'm caught between accepting that something like this was presented to the Church Council without the Secretary's review on one hand and his reputation as an attorney on the other.)

Most of the amendments appear to me to be the result of a new awareness of imprecision in the existing language.  That is, synods have in the last year-and-a-half have gained a lot of experience in applying long-standing rules and realized some things that were not spelled out as clearly as they need to be. 

The big deals in this proposal seem to be the requirement of notice and consultation before the first vote, making clear that any failed votes start the process over (with a minimum 6-month "cooling-off" period), and the application to everyone of standards of property ownership that are more stringent on a departing congregation than were the LCA's standards.

Meanwhile, the proposed paragraph g.

Quote
Congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply with each of the foregoing provisions in 9.62., shall be required to receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church.

strikes me as a perfect illustration of the old Perry Mason objection, "incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial."

As I've been saying for nearly two years, this is all terribly and sadly ironic given what our church says on the topic of trust (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2616.msg189057#msg189057).

kyrie eleison, spt+


On further thought, the proposed paragraph g. seems to grant a Synod Council authority to permit the departure of a congregation from the ELCA on the say-so of anyone who purports to speak on behalf of the congregation!

spt+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 25, 2010, 02:40:13 AM

If a congregation adds this language to its constitution, all future changes by the ELCA to section 9.62 of its constitution will effectively be incorporated by reference into the the congregation's constitutions without express congregational approval of those changes.  Thus, in my view, sub-section (g) is potentially very dangerous.

Except that it is already the case that amendments approved by the CWA to the required provisions in Model, of which 9.62 is one of many, are automatically incorporated in the constitutions of congregations that have been approved since a required provision saying so (your "Trojan Horse") has already been added to the Model, in (my recollection is) 2005.

How about this: this provision seems to grant a Synod Council authority to permit a congregation to leave the ELCA (intact and with its property) even though the congregation is unable or unwilling to get the required votes in a proper manner!

But perhaps we move further discussion on this to the thread "ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3490.msg190545#msg190545)."

Pax, Steven+

I hadn't thought about your alternative possibility.  Interesting.  And it makes the sub-section all the more odd.

Do you have a cite to the "trojan horse" added in (or about) 2005?  I have the 2009 version of the model constitution and I don't see any such provision.  I certainly may be missing it.  But the provisions regarding "amendments" (chapter 17) don't include it.

I'm aware that synods today won't approve changes to optional provisions in a congregation's constitution unless the congregation brings the constitution into full compliance with the current model.  But that's different than a provision that makes changes to the model automatically applicable to congregations.  That, in effect, is what sub-section (g) would do.  Why?  Because a congregation that added sub-section (g) to its constitution would be agreeing that it is bound by all future additions to section 9.62, whether the congregation approves those or not.  The synod council could let the congregation out of these new requirements (or as you point out, any requirements).  But this would be a matter of discretion for the synod.  And the ELCA could conceivably amend section 9.62 to make it impossible or very costly for congregations to leave.  I'm not saying that the ELCA will do that.  But it could.  And congregations would be powerless to do anything about it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 25, 2010, 07:53:19 AM
James,

A couple of years ago our congregation council ran a disciplinary procedure on a member.  The details as to why are not important (but the behavior justified it, private admonition from pastor, ignored, admonition with three council leaders and pastor, ignored, admonition by entire council, ignored) and then the individual appealed to the synod council.  The synod council, in a two page letter, castigated our leadership for not following the discipline procedure as described in the current model constitution.  They/we had followed the version in ours, a version of the constitutiion approved by the congregation in the early 90's.  We were told all constitution changes at a CWA assembly become the operating documents for every ELCA congregation.

So this has been around for at least the last few years.  These are the sorts of things that make it difficult to make the case for remaining ...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 25, 2010, 08:18:01 AM
James,

A couple of years ago our congregation council ran a disciplinary procedure on a member.  The details as to why are not important (but the behavior justified it, private admonition from pastor, ignored, admonition with three council leaders and pastor, ignored, admonition by entire council, ignored) and then the individual appealed to the synod council.  The synod council, in a two page letter, castigated our leadership for not following the discipline procedure as described in the current model constitution.  They/we had followed the version in ours, a version of the constitutiion approved by the congregation in the early 90's.  We were told all constitution changes at a CWA assembly become the operating documents for every ELCA congregation.

So this has been around for at least the last few years.  These are the sorts of things that make it difficult to make the case for remaining ...

I don't doubt that you were told this. Did they give a basis for their position that the changes made at the CWA applied to a congregation that had not incorporated the changes into the congregational constitution?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 25, 2010, 08:21:27 AM


So this has been around for at least the last few years.  These are the sorts of things that make it difficult to make the case for remaining ...

I don't doubt that you were told this. Did they give a basis for their position that the changes made at the CWA applied to a congregation that had not incorporated the changes into the congregational constitution?

The Secretary of the ELCA gave them the basis for their position.

Needless to say, our church council leaders were not happy.  It's all part of the continuing conversation around why stay.  At our next council meeting I will share the proposed changes.  I can assure you they won't go over well.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 25, 2010, 10:50:09 AM
So, Pastor Hughes, you think again that you are probably leaving the ELCA?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: FrPeters on November 25, 2010, 11:07:25 AM
Perhaps Charles would agree that posters on topics related primarily to one church body should identity their affiliation and then the moderators could decide whether or not the posters would be allowed to address content outside their Lutheran (or other) affiliation... thereby reducing the issue Charles has raised and, by a significant amount, reducing the number of posts we might all have to keep up with on this forum...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 25, 2010, 11:15:22 AM
So, Pastor Hughes, you think again that you are probably leaving the ELCA?

Happy to see me go, eh?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 25, 2010, 12:18:47 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 25, 2010, 12:22:32 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.

I think it's your whining about how bad the ELCA is that we would like to see go.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 25, 2010, 02:50:42 PM
Perhaps Charles would agree that posters on topics related primarily to one church body should identity their affiliation and then the moderators could decide whether or not the posters would be allowed to address content outside their Lutheran (or other) affiliation... thereby reducing the issue Charles has raised and, by a significant amount, reducing the number of posts we might all have to keep up with on this forum...

The ALPB prides itself, rightly so, on being a pan-Lutheran organization free of church control, as they state on the home page of this forum. For anyone to suggest that any topic is "off limits" to those in church bodies not directly and immediately impacted by the issue at hand is simply totally contrary to the spirit of the ALPB.

If Charles Austin wants to offer his opinions on any matter concerning The LCMS, then I say, more power to him. We have nothing to fear in hearing from others not of our communion. Why he should get so upset when others not of his communion offer their views on matters ELCA is quite beyond my ability to understand.

The chief positive aspect of the ALPB forum is unhindered sharing of opinions and views.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 25, 2010, 02:55:57 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.



  Ha ha ha ha ... Then why do keep showing me the door?  Oh man, it would be irritating if it wasn't do damn funny.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 25, 2010, 02:59:04 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.

I think it's your whining about how bad the ELCA is that we would like to see go.

  Ah yes, the voice that equates confessional Lutherans with hard-hearted Pharisees speaks again with the imperial "we."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: FrPeters on November 25, 2010, 04:27:40 PM
In case anyone missed it, I was being sarcastic in my previous post. . . :-\
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 25, 2010, 09:40:52 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.

I think it's your whining about how bad the ELCA is that we would like to see go.

Are we voting?  Because I have some things I'd like to see go...  And one's named Brian, but his last name's not Hughes.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on November 25, 2010, 10:05:15 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Happy to see me go, eh?

I respond:
Actually, I'm totally indifferent to whether you go or stay.


I'm not - I know Brian pretty well and know that he has a lot to offer any denomination that is smart enough to use and appreciate his gifts.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 25, 2010, 10:27:10 PM
Gifts or not, I am indifferent regarding Pastor Hughes and membership in the ELCA. But he is among those of whom I ask myself: Given what he believes about the ELCA, how can he stay in?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on November 26, 2010, 08:59:50 AM
Gifts or not, I am indifferent regarding Pastor Hughes and membership in the ELCA. But he is among those of whom I ask myself: Given what he believes about the ELCA, how can he stay in?

My guess is that he cares about the people God called him to serve.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 26, 2010, 09:03:35 AM
Gifts or not, I am indifferent regarding Pastor Hughes and membership in the ELCA. But he is among those of whom I ask myself: Given what he believes about the ELCA, how can he stay in?

My guess is that he cares about the people God called him to serve.

People being more important than collapsing institutions ...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 26, 2010, 09:36:30 AM
No matter what pious langauge is applied, I believe that if someone wants to minister in a church body, but consciously disconnects themselves from that church body as a "dead" institution, the word "hypocrisy" comes to mind.
One can minister to whatever crowd of people one can gather around themselves, but if that disconnection occurs, don't call yourself an ELCA pastor or the crowd an ELCA congregation. You are a drain on the rest of us and an embarrassment.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 26, 2010, 09:49:41 AM
No matter what pious langauge is applied, I believe that if someone wants to minister in a church body, but consciously disconnects themselves from that church body as a "dead" institution, the word "hypocrisy" comes to mind.
One can minister to whatever crowd of people one can gather around themselves, but if that disconnection occurs, don't call yourself an ELCA pastor or the crowd an ELCA congregation. You are a drain on the rest of us and an embarrassment.

If you believe this, then you can't write off herchurch.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 26, 2010, 09:53:59 AM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

I do not understand this personal, idiosyncratic "disfellowshipping" or excommunication that seems to be a practice within the LCMS.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 26, 2010, 10:03:48 AM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

I do not understand this personal, idiosyncratic "disfellowshipping" or excommunication that seems to be a practice within the LCMS.

While this is for a different thread, I understand it but don't condone it.  I think it's wrong.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 26, 2010, 10:06:33 AM

One can minister to whatever crowd of people one can gather around themselves, but if that disconnection occurs, don't call yourself an ELCA pastor or the crowd an ELCA congregation. You are a drain on the rest of us and an embarrassment.


I thought you said you had no feelings about someone like me staying or going.  And that was just yesterday.   ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 26, 2010, 11:29:43 AM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on November 26, 2010, 11:56:44 AM
No matter what pious langauge is applied, I believe that if someone wants to minister in a church body, but consciously disconnects themselves from that church body as a "dead" institution, the word "hypocrisy" comes to mind.

Yes, I agree.  The same would go for those who want to minister in a church body, but have consciously disconnected themselves from the confession of faith of that church body as sexist, racist, hetero-sexist, sadistic, etc...  Doesn't  hypocrisy come  to mind in that case as well?

Now give me an example of an ELCA syodical bishop who has blessed pastors or congregations that consciously disconnect themselves from the ELCA as a "dead" institution.   Meanwhile, we have a clear example of a synod, bishops and pastors who have encouraged and blessed a congregation that rejects the confession of faith of the ELCA as sexist, racist, hetero-sexist and sadistic.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on November 26, 2010, 12:03:35 PM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.


Well, in that case, Ebenezer does represent a large portion of the ELCA.  

By the way, no one "has the authority to know" anything.  Knowing happens when we conform our minds to reality.  Kowing is a form of obedience or submission.  Perhaps you meant "the authoriity to determine", but you know as well as I do that bishops in the ELCA are loath to take on that responsibility.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 26, 2010, 12:18:10 PM
Pastor Hughes writes (re a recent posting of mine):
I thought you said you had no feelings about someone like me staying or going.

I comment:
Not writing about you, Pastor Hughes. Wouldn't want to incur the wrath of your lawyer wife. If you decide you fit the profile of someone in my comment, that's your interpretation.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 26, 2010, 12:48:38 PM
Pastor Hughes writes (re a recent posting of mine):
I thought you said you had no feelings about someone like me staying or going.

I comment:
Not writing about you, Pastor Hughes. Wouldn't want to incur the wrath of your lawyer wife. If you decide you fit the profile of someone in my comment, that's your interpretation.

 ::)

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on November 26, 2010, 12:56:38 PM
I comment:
Not writing about you, Pastor Hughes. Wouldn't want to incur the wrath of your lawyer wife. If you decide you fit the profile of someone in my comment, that's your interpretation.

Or in other words, "Not me, Lord, the women You gave me." or "Not me, Lord, the snake." That pesky original sin and our in-bred self-justification keep getting in the way of progress, eh?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 26, 2010, 03:16:55 PM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.


Thank you for strengthening my point.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cnehring on November 26, 2010, 03:39:03 PM
No matter what pious langauge is applied, I believe that if someone wants to minister in a church body, but consciously disconnects themselves from that church body as a "dead" institution, the word "hypocrisy" comes to mind.
One can minister to whatever crowd of people one can gather around themselves, but if that disconnection occurs, don't call yourself an ELCA pastor or the crowd an ELCA congregation. You are a drain on the rest of us and an embarrassment.


Just who "owns" these churches and congregations that us "hypocritical" pastors are leading? Last time I looked, I believe the Head of the Church is Christ, not some earthly institution.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 26, 2010, 03:40:23 PM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.


Thank you for strengthening my point.

What? That you, nearly 2400 miles away, claim to know more about Ebenezer Lutheran than the folks who are only 24 miles away? That you, who have never met their pastor, knows more about her teaching and preaching, than those who know her personally?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 26, 2010, 03:45:07 PM

Thank you for strengthening my point.

Indeed.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 26, 2010, 03:49:47 PM

Thank you for strengthening my point.

Indeed.

At least you've spent some time in the Bay area.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 26, 2010, 03:58:13 PM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.


Thank you for strengthening my point.

What? That you, nearly 2400 miles away, claim to know more about Ebenezer Lutheran than the folks who are only 24 miles away? That you, who have never met their pastor, knows more about her teaching and preaching, than those who know her personally?

Then can we take what is written on that church's web site as an expression of the true Christian faith as accepted by the ELCA?  If those who should know the situation far better than those of us who are not close do nothing, then shouldn't we assume that they consider the Christian faith expressed by that church as published by their leaders (not relying on hearsay or rumor, but their own words and images) to be within the bounds of Lutheran orthodoxy and orthopraxy?  

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on November 26, 2010, 04:51:31 PM

Thank you for strengthening my point.

Indeed.

At least you've spent some time in the Bay area.

Is there a form of English that can only be understood by people who have spent time in the Bay Area?  Because the criticism of Ebenezer is addressed at their public words, available to anyone in the world with a computer and knowledge of English.  

Or does that mean that with the exception of those of us who live within a 60 mile radius of your home, you will no longer be commenting on what you read here?  Afterall, you don't live anywhere near Florida, so how could you possible have an opinion about what I say?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 26, 2010, 04:57:54 PM
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 26, 2010, 08:54:39 PM
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

Pax, Steven+

Ahh, suppressing news reports.  Beautiful.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on November 26, 2010, 08:58:54 PM
Scott, it is not within my power or authority to "write off" Ebenezer in San Francisco or Zion in Peoria. Both are congregations which - so far as I can understand from afar - consciously maintain their connection to the ELCA and are not under discipline. I might like the congregation in Peoria better than the one in San Francisco, but...

Yes, I know it's not in your power or authority to do anything with herchurch's practice, but it is certainly within your power to understand that the fact that herchurch is not under discipline says quite a bit about the ELCA.  Those who acknowledge that have a very good point.

Yes, it says that the present and previous bishops of that synod, whose offices were 23.9 miles away from the congregation, who personally know the Pastor of the congregation, who may have even worshiped with the congregation, are in a much better position -- and have been given the authority -- to know whether or not the congregation/pastor should come under discipline than any of us making judgments from afar.

I also note that there have not been ten pastors in the synod willing to bring disciplinary charges against the pastor, nor have three congregations in that synod been willing to bring disciplinary charges against the congregation.


Thank you for strengthening my point.

What? That you, nearly 2400 miles away, claim to know more about Ebenezer Lutheran than the folks who are only 24 miles away? That you, who have never met their pastor, knows more about her teaching and preaching, than those who know her personally?

Wow.  And the case keeps getting stronger that the ELCA condones herchurch's teaching.  You're really making my point for me.  Thanks, Brian!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 26, 2010, 09:53:23 PM
Wow.  And the case keeps getting stronger that the ELCA condones herchurch's teaching.  You're really making my point for me.  Thanks, Brian!

Yes, the ELCA folks who know what is actually being taught at the congregation and who know what is actually be preached in their services, rather than just reading what a webmaster -- not likely the pastor -- puts on their webpage -- find no reason for discipline.

At best, a webpage only tells part of the story of a congregation. I know that I often find mistakes on our webpage -- and the volunteer webmasters make corrections when they have the time. I have very little to do with what is posted on the site.

It is also very true that greater diversity is permitted in the ELCA than in the LCMS. As great as you might think the LCMS is, there must be some reason why most the 100s of congregations who have voted to leave the ELCA have not chosen the LCMS as their home.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 26, 2010, 10:37:06 PM
Pastor Tibbetts writes:
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 26, 2010, 10:56:32 PM
Wow.  And the case keeps getting stronger that the ELCA condones herchurch's teaching.  You're really making my point for me.  Thanks, Brian!

Yes, the ELCA folks who know what is actually being taught at the congregation and who know what is actually be preached in their services, rather than just reading what a webmaster -- not likely the pastor -- puts on their webpage -- find no reason for discipline.

At best, a webpage only tells part of the story of a congregation. I know that I often find mistakes on our webpage -- and the volunteer webmasters make corrections when they have the time. I have very little to do with what is posted on the site.

It is also very true that greater diversity is permitted in the ELCA than in the LCMS. As great as you might think the LCMS is, there must be some reason why most the 100s of congregations who have voted to leave the ELCA have not chosen the LCMS as their home.

While I must agree with Pastor Stoffregen's general point, namely that impressions drawn from a website are generally insufficient to establish departure from the faith all Lutheran pastor's swear to preach and teach, in this particular case I think that a reasonable person would find probable cause to inquire formally into the doctrinal position proclaimed.

SPS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 27, 2010, 12:36:24 AM
Pastor Tibbetts writes:
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.


Now, Charles, you and I both remember when every issue of The Lutheran reported pastoral call changes.  It stopped in the early years of the ELCA because 1) the Secretary's office was running about a year or more behind and 2) it took up too much room in the magazine.  Seems to me this is just a pre-emptive move.   :(
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2010, 05:11:52 AM
Steven writes:
Now, Charles, you and I both remember when every issue of The Lutheran reported pastoral call changes. 

I comment:
Actually, I do not remember when the Lutheran reported every change in call. Perhaps it did so in LCA days, but I don't remember that. With 10,000+ clergy in the ELCA, doing that would consume incredible amounts of time and space. And do I as a reader really need to know every call change?
For a while, the magazine dropped reporting the death of every rostered person, but restored that feature after hearing from readers.
Anyhow, trying to "suppress" knowledge about congregations leaving is stupid and impossible and as noted upstream I believe cooler heads will prevail.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Tom Senge on November 27, 2010, 09:17:03 AM
I remember the days when "The Lutheran" published change of call info.  It was before my ordination (1995).  I kind of liked it, but it did take some space.  I also agree that witholding names of departing congregations is not a good idea. It just doesn't feel right to withold information like that, for such an action can cut many ways.  One may see this as news, others as giving notice to 'renegades', and still others may ask "What are 'they' hiding now?"  Did not Presiding Bishop Hanson say we should treat departing congregations in the best possible light (or similar words)?

Tom
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2010, 09:21:20 AM
I have put the question to the smart people at the magazine and await their reply.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Glenn Ryder on November 27, 2010, 09:31:07 AM
I have put the question to the smart people at the magazine and await their reply.



Thank you Charles!


Glenn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 27, 2010, 09:48:07 AM

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.


There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 27, 2010, 09:56:21 AM
Looking strictly at what is printed and what is not in a church magazine, the editorial crew of church publications would much rather devote space in their publications to feature stories and columns, not lists of names, positions, changes on the roster, etc. That information can be easily loaded up to a web site that can be kept current and checked anytime, anywhere, by anyone. It seems the only wrinkle in this story is that, apparently, the information on congregations leaving won't be published until the time for the Churchwide Assembly comes.

But, here's one vote in favor of eliminating the rather tedious routine of publishing all this kind of information in a church magazine. The web would be a much better way to go with this kind of "inside baseball" information.

FWIW.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: vicarbob on November 27, 2010, 10:41:51 AM
Last week while participating in the MNYS bishop's retreat and the following SC retreat  and after prayerful discernemnet, I resigned my 'at-large" position. Withdrawn from the published agenda was a discussion and hopeful determination as to how the SC would finally address the former LCA congregations who had voted to leave the ELCA. Previous resolutions denied their request in the spirit of konina (sic-sorry). A Chinese, former mission start, was the latest to petition.
There are a number on the SC who have put forward the understanding that should the Synod agree to grant their request, based upon their statements that the ELCA no longer subscribes to Holy Scripture, to grant the petition would affirm that position on "our" part. There is, IMHO merit to this understanding.
What then is left for the SC to do?
Constitutionally, they can be "disciplined" for calling a non-rostered ELCA pastor.
Held on the roster and pray that they see the error in their decision to leave.
Expel and retain the property pursuant to NYS law. (Which, I believe will affirm the Synod's right to determine internal property matters and discipline)
In the case of mission starts and those who have received partnership grants and other assistance over the years, they can satisfy their obligations or depart w/o the property. I have wrestled with the latter and find it not to be punitative in its spirit.
What disturbed me most was a brief 'discussion' which briefly touched upon, "What if they want to return in the future"? I was horrified by info shared that it would extremely difficult to return! Early Church Fathers wrestled with "this' and their decisions I would have hoped been our guide.
Ipray for themembers of these congregations and theMNYS Council as they continue to wrestle and discern.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2010, 11:17:48 AM
Pastor Hahn writes:
There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

I comment:
Thank you for this most charitable depiction of our called and elected leaders. I wish you well as you separate yourself from what you consider such rampaging idiocy.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 27, 2010, 12:29:51 PM
Looking strictly at what is printed and what is not in a church magazine, the editorial crew of church publications would much rather devote space in their publications to feature stories and columns, not lists of names, positions, changes on the roster, etc. That information can be easily loaded up to a web site that can be kept current and checked anytime, anywhere, by anyone. It seems the only wrinkle in this story is that, apparently, the information on congregations leaving won't be published until the time for the Churchwide Assembly comes.

But, here's one vote in favor of eliminating the rather tedious routine of publishing all this kind of information in a church magazine. The web would be a much better way to go with this kind of "inside baseball" information.

FWIW.

Have to disagree. Especially when you have publication like The Lutheran, whose readership is mostly over 70 and not as computer savvy as younger generations.

And I would compare it to obituaries in the local paper. Sure, I could go on line every day and see who might have died. I probably wouldn't. But I always read the obits in the local paper, and often learn that people I know have died.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 27, 2010, 12:43:06 PM

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.


There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

That's the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Evangel on November 27, 2010, 12:45:28 PM

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.


There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

That's the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA!

Is the exclamation point instead of a question mark a Freudian slip? (!)   ;)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 27, 2010, 12:47:40 PM

I muse:
A stupid idea that is probably unenforceable. I suspect smarter heads will prevail.


There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

That's the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA!

Is the exclamation point instead of a question mark a Freudian slip? (!)   ;)

Technically, the sentence is not a question, which would be: "Is that the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA?"

Assuming that Marshall seeks to speak/write under the rubrics of Luther's Small Catechism, I'm surprised that this would be the best construction he could offer.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 27, 2010, 12:56:39 PM

But, here's one vote in favor of eliminating the rather tedious routine of publishing all this kind of information in a church magazine. The web would be a much better way to go with this kind of "inside baseball" information.


And even when I was a boy, pastoral changes and obituaries were my favorite parts of the magazine.  They weren't just lists of names, they were family updates.  "I know that pastor!"  "We have a [E]LCA church there?  Cool!"  Etc., etc., etc.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 27, 2010, 12:59:26 PM
There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

That's the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA!

How about that -- Hahn, Stoffregen, and Tibbetts are in agreement!

gdr,vvf
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 27, 2010, 01:39:16 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

I comment:
Thank you for this most charitable depiction of our called and elected leaders. I wish you well as you separate yourself from what you consider such rampaging idiocy.

Assuming that your response is meant to be sarcastic, Pastor Austin, I will respond by saying that, when you are able to respond charitably and with understanding toward those who are critical of the ELCA - those who have invested just as much time, effort, talent and love toward the church as you, I might add - then I will be willing to accept admonishment from you.

I will also add that I make no judgments as to why the decisions being made by the leadership are so poor.  I am at a loss to explain them.  But the rule of thumb stands.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 27, 2010, 01:45:25 PM
The ELCA can indeed choose to make life difficult for congregations wanting to leave.  But at what price.  All a congregation need do is call a non-ELCA pastor, refuse to send any money to the Synod, refuse to take calls or answer mail or have anything to do with them.  Then they can join the LCMC and dare the ELCA to sue them.  So let's hope common sense and Christian love shine through all this rampant nonsense about making leaving difficult and things work themselves out fairly and honestly.  I really can't understand why a denomination would want to keep a congregation against its will.  Such behavior seems simply stupid to me.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 27, 2010, 02:58:03 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
There is a little known but fairly accurate rule of thumb concerning the prediction of decisions to be made by the leadership of the ELCA.
"Given the choice between smart and stupid - go with stupid."

I comment:
Thank you for this most charitable depiction of our called and elected leaders. I wish you well as you separate yourself from what you consider such rampaging idiocy.

and


That's the best construction you can put on the leadership of the ELCA!

How about that -- Hahn, Stoffregen, and Tibbetts are in agreement!

gdr,vvf

Actually, and especially when there is much evidence to the contrary, it is the best construction to assign idiocy, as opposed to premeditated, malicious intent. Please feel free to offer a better alternative, to malicious intent or naivete? (is that a better word?) I am usually at a loss to find a better construction. I am not sure, "naive, deluded, confused" or such terminology is a better construction than idiocy. Those would be the only options I can see for self-evident implosions in the face, being dressed up with lipstick on the pig? All other constructions apply intentional response, knowingly causing a great deal of pain.

TV
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2010, 05:20:21 PM
Pastor Culler writes:
I really can't understand why a denomination would want to keep a congregation against its will.  Such behavior seems simply stupid to me.

I respond:
It has been said that synods may have constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities with regard to the property of congregations under its care. Therefore, a synod council might even be subject to legal action if they just said: "Sure! Go! And you can have the church, the school, the parsonage" every time a congregation wants to leave. Those who do not want their congregation to leave, even if they are a 10 percent minority, can have a valid, constitutional, legal claim to the property.
It is not necessarily a matter of keeping "a congregation against its will," but a matter of proper concern for the assets of the church and the members who want to remain with the ELCA and the synod.
This has been explained before.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 27, 2010, 05:27:14 PM
It has been said that synods may have constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities with regard to the property of congregations under its care. Therefore, a synod council might even be subject to legal action if they just said: "Sure! Go! And you can have the church, the school, the parsonage" every time a congregation wants to leave. Those who do not want their congregation to leave, even if they are a 10 percent minority, can have a valid, constitutional, legal claim to the property.
It is not necessarily a matter of keeping "a congregation against its will," but a matter of proper concern for the assets of the church and the members who want to remain with the ELCA and the synod.
This has been explained before.

Similarly, what would happen if someone got upset at a congregation and demanded that all of his offerings for the past year be returned to him?

What if a congregation does not spend designated money for what it was designated, can the donator request their money back or does it belong to the congregation?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 27, 2010, 05:33:31 PM

Similarly, what would happen if someone got upset at a congregation and demanded that all of his offerings for the past year be returned to him?

What if a congregation does not spend designated money for what it was designated, can the donator request their money back or does it belong to the congregation?

I have yet to hear of a congregation which demanded that its Mission Support donations be returned to it from the ELCA.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 27, 2010, 06:06:47 PM
...
Those who do not want their congregation to leave, even if they are a 10 percent minority, can have a valid, constitutional, legal claim to the property.
It is not necessarily a matter of keeping "a congregation against its will," but a matter of proper concern for the assets of the church and the members who want to remain with the ELCA and the synod.
This has been explained before.

These are red herrings, and I have a hard time not assuming that you know that.

What was the vote in Florida again? The only viable law suit out of all of this is if anyone wished to make the case that the leadership knew full well what the result would be that has wrecked congregations, consciously decided that the "?minimal?" damage anticipated for specific litigants, was worth it, and that certain manner of dealing with the process leading into and during CWA '09 would be indicative. That would be an easier case to make, than the three people who never came to church, and gave $5.00 total wanted the assets of the congregation from those who had given millions over 200 years. Like I said "confused" may be the best construction. I can understand how when in the heat of a mess, it is hard to think straight.

TV
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Evangel on November 27, 2010, 06:07:19 PM

Similarly, what would happen if someone got upset at a congregation and demanded that all of his offerings for the past year be returned to him?

What if a congregation does not spend designated money for what it was designated, can the donator request their money back or does it belong to the congregation?

I have yet to hear of a congregation which demanded that its Mission Support donations be returned to it from the ELCA.

Marshall Hahn

Though I have heard of at least a couple that when the ELCA demanded their early mission support money returned have told the ELCA "we've paid you X thousands more in benevolence than you ever gave us as start up funds ... we're willing to call it even."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: prglj on November 28, 2010, 12:56:19 AM
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

Has anyone seen what this refers to?  My expectation, being a pastor of a church that left the synod in February of this year, is that at least part of it refers to previous subsidy received by the congregation.  After our meeting with the bishop, the ELCA representative of Division of Outreach, Rev. Jerry Wahl, indicated that there was discussions going on to demand that of us.  A quick calculation by me and I sent them a note.  If they want to consider their subsidy a loan to be recalled if we leave the synod, we'd send the $106,000 to them after receiving the $640,000 we have sent to the synod in benevolence over the years.  I believe a case can be made that synod (ELCA) has left it's prior positions and therefore is no longer the synod to whom we sent the money.  I have never heard a response.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 28, 2010, 09:52:25 AM
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

It could refer to a loan from the ELCA's Mission Investment Fund.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on November 28, 2010, 02:41:45 PM
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

It could refer to a loan from the ELCA's Mission Investment Fund.

A MIF loan is a legal contract so congregations are already required to fulfill their financial obligations to the MIF. Additionally the MIF currently has the right to call a loan if a congregation leaves the ELCA. All this requirement would do (if indeed it is about the MIF) would be to force the MIF to call in all loans to non ELCA congregations - I suspect that this is something the MIF does not want to do in this economy.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on November 28, 2010, 05:15:34 PM
prglj- you speak wisdom!  That's a great idea.  Please let us know when you receive a response.   ;)

Your post, and this whole thread, underscores in bold print how messy this has all become and how needless it is.  But the horse is under the bridge, the water is out of the tube, and the toothpaste is out of the barn, or whatever phrase we can find.  Very sorry for this.  Blessings to you and your congregation.

Jeremy
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Revbert on November 28, 2010, 10:01:07 PM
When I was in the ELCA, and we applied for mission grants for a Korean ministry, we had to sign off that if the ministry was cancelled, the congregation closed, or the congregation left the ELCA within 3 years following receipt of the grant, it had to be paid back.

I can understand that. I can't understand asking a congregation that got mission money more than 3 years ago to pay that back.

What are they going to do if a congregation doesn't pay it back? Kick them out of the ELCA?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 30, 2010, 04:06:16 AM
To resolve an issue raised upstream:
The Lutheran published changes of call until 1989. One year into the new ELCA, it was determined that to do so took up too much space and required too much staff time and that the changes were not always promptly reported to the ELCA secretary by synods. It was stopped.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on November 30, 2010, 11:00:00 AM
Back on topic. I have been away for a week when this news broke. When I read about the proposed changes my reaction was disbelief. This is a stared chapter in the consitiution. It cannot be altered or changed by a congregation or a synod, but the ELCA Church Council and CWA appear to be exempt from that. They can change what should be unchangable, since it is the "covenant" under which all parties agreed to observe.

What can I compare this to? The ELCA looks like an immature child that does not like what is happening as a consequence of its own actions. So like in a backyard game of touch football, the side that is losing the most wants to chage the rules to its own advantage. How sad. 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 30, 2010, 12:21:55 PM
I just returned last week from Hungary visiting our son who is studying there, and I do not know if this has been brought up in all of the subsesquent posts concerning who makes the grade as a legitimate ELCA pastor in the exalted opinion of one of our colleagues and all of that, so if it has already been discussed I apologize for taking up more precious space in this corner of the blogosphere, BUT, in looking through the proposals from the ELCA Church Council, this one struck me in particular:

Quote
A congregation will be required to vote by a two-thirds majority to join a new Lutheran church body, or else it will be “conclusively presumed” to have become an independent Lutheran congregation, potentially forfeiting its property.

This seems particularly presumptious, in my opinion.  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?  If a congregation has successfully voted twice to leave the ELCA, by what authority would the ELCA have to make requirements upon that former ELCA congregation as to the threshhold needed to approve a recommendation to join another Lutheran body?  This is just hubris.  And if it became a dispute over who retains the property of the congregation, I very much doubt it would stand up to a challenge. 

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 30, 2010, 12:30:37 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 30, 2010, 12:41:30 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?

What happens if, after voting properly to leave the ELCA, the congregation then votes on whether to join LCMC or NALC, and the vote is split 55-45?  According to the paragraph cited, the ELCA could "conclusively presume" it to be an "independent Lutheran congregation" thereby "potentially forfeiting its property."  Even though the rest of the world would probably "conclusively presume" that the congregation would now be joining LCMC.  To be sure, there are "coulds" and "potentiallys", which leaves room for grace and "go in peace", but there's also room for it to swing the other way.  One thinks that ELCA seizure of property is unlikely in this sort of scenario, but it's an interesting point nonetheless. 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 30, 2010, 01:16:43 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?

"conclusively presumed" seems to do it, in my opinion. 
"presumed" means that this one factor, i.e., failing to attain a 2/3 vote to join another Lutheran body, implies that the congregation remains independent of any Lutheran body.
"conclusively" means that this one factor is sufficient in reaching that conclusion, i.e., there are no extenuating or additional factors to consider, for example, what the policies of the other Lutheran body or of the congregation itself might be.

The presumption is that unless there is a 2/3 vote to join another Lutheran body the congregation has not done so.  And in the eyes of the ELCA this is conclusively the case - even if the other Lutheran body has a policy of requiring a simple majority vote for a congregation to affiliate with it.  This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so. 
If this is not the case, then it should be expressed differently.  And if this is not the case, then what is the point of this proposal?

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 01:20:30 PM
To resolve an issue raised upstream:
The Lutheran published changes of call until 1989. One year into the new ELCA, it was determined that to do so took up too much space and required too much staff time and that the changes were not always promptly reported to the ELCA secretary by synods. It was stopped.


Like I wrote...[url] (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3490.msg190967#msg190967)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 30, 2010, 02:54:30 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

To Steven:
Yes, your recollection of what was in The Lutheran 19 years ago was better than the memory of this humble correspondent. And I was the one who sought out the accurate information and posted it here, knowing full well that it might damage my reputation for being right all the time. But hey, that's the king of guy I am.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Evangel on November 30, 2010, 03:00:42 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

To Steven:
Yes, your recollection of what was in The Lutheran 19 years ago was better than the memory of this humble correspondent. And I was the one who sought out the accurate information and posted it here, knowing full well that it might damage my reputation for being right all the time. But hey, that's the king of guy I am.  ;D ;D

That may be the intent - and it complies with the ruling in January from Sec. Swartling stating that a congregation may not belong to two denominations (a highly contentious ruling at that which has been rather roundly ignored).  LCMC doesn't even require a majority vote of a congregational meeting to apply for membership - a passed resolution from a church council is sufficient to do the deed.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 30, 2010, 03:05:56 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

Except that a congregation cannot do both in a single vote.  The procedures outlined specifically state that the vote to leave the ELCA shall be a separate vote from the vote to join another Lutheran body.  They may be done at the same meeting, but they must be two separate votes.  Even though I strive to be as charitable as you, the procedures for leaving the ELCA do not allow for the reading you suggest.  

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 30, 2010, 03:08:38 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 30, 2010, 03:18:58 PM

That may be the intent - and it complies with the ruling in January from Sec. Swartling stating that a congregation may not belong to two denominations (a highly contentious ruling at that which has been rather roundly ignored).  LCMC doesn't even require a majority vote of a congregational meeting to apply for membership - a passed resolution from a church council is sufficient to do the deed.

Except that this proposal does not have in view the case of "dual rostering" of any kind.  The statement says that if the 2/3 vote to join another body is not acheived it will be "'conclusively presumed' to have become an independent Lutheran congregation."  In other words, the situation in view here is of a congregation that has already taken the two votes necessary to leave the ELCA - otherwise it would not be "presumed" to be an independent Lutheran congregation.  At that point, it seems to me, the only proper way for the ELCA to determine if a congregation has joined another Lutheran body is to inquire of that body if the congregation has indeed been received within its fellowship.  The method by which such reception takes place is between the congregation and the Lutheran body it wishes to join.  What possible say does the ELCA have at that point in whether the congregation has joined or not?

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 30, 2010, 03:24:30 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)



I have heard of congregations taking both votes at the same meeting.  Perhaps by "same meeting" they meant "on the same day" and had adjourned one meeting to call another - or perhaps their constitution does not contain the precise wording to which you refer - or perhaps they did not go "by the book." 

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 03:25:30 PM
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

I don't think that the language creates any gray areas.  

The new language would not, as you suggest, require that in order to leave the ELCA, a congregation must by a 2/3-majority vote to join another Lutheran body.  On the contrary, a congregation can depart without taking any votes on whether to join another church body, Lutheran or otherwise.  

This is entirely about property ownership.  The proposed language creates a new, potentially high hurdle that congregations must clear in order to ensure that they can keep their property upon leaving the ELCA.  If congregations do not clear this hurdle, ownership of the congregation's property would be decided by the synod council.

If this new provision is enacted, congregations likely will protect themselves from the threat of the "conclusive presumption" by including in a single resolution (i) a provision terminating the ELCA relationship and (ii) a provision creating a relationship with another Lutheran body.  The whole resolution would require a 2/3-majority for passage.  By linking the two provisions, some congregations may be less likely to vote to leave the ELCA, which may have been the point.  It's hard to imagine why else the church council would propose creation of an onerous "conclusive presumption" rather than simply looking at the facts of each case to determine if fact whether a congregation joined another Lutheran body.

Of course, the new provision won't be binding on a congregation unless the congregation adds it to its congregational constitution.  Secretary Swartling might argue otherwise.  But it's an argument that he'd almost certainly lose in court.  Thus, the best protection for congregations is to refuse to add these provisions to their constitutions.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 03:34:22 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

I think that you're misreading the model constitution.  At a special meeting, a congregation can conduct only business that matches the "purpose" identified in the meeting notice.  However, "purpose" is not nearly as narrow a term as you suggest.  The "purpose" given in the notice might be to consider "(i) a resolution to terminate the relationship with the ELCA; (ii) a resolution to join Lutheran church body X; and (iii) any other business related to church-body affiliation."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 03:39:31 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

Except that a congregation cannot do both in a single vote.  The procedures outlined specifically state that the vote to leave the ELCA shall be a separate vote from the vote to join another Lutheran body.  They may be done at the same meeting, but they must be two separate votes.  Even though I strive to be as charitable as you, the procedures for leaving the ELCA do not allow for the reading you suggest.  

Marshall Hahn

Why can't the two matters be included in a single resolution?  I see nothing in the current or proposed language that would prevent this. 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: jrubyaz on November 30, 2010, 03:48:12 PM

We are the only congregation that has voted to leave the ELCA to date that has not voted to join another body, that I am aware of.
 

Mr. Gale is correct. This was done to create more barriers to churches leaving. Very foolish, as none of it is legally binding.

However, as a broadside meant to keep congregations in line, it might have that effect, on a few.

J. Ruby   

actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)



I have heard of congregations taking both votes at the same meeting.  Perhaps by "same meeting" they meant "on the same day" and had adjourned one meeting to call another - or perhaps their constitution does not contain the precise wording to which you refer - or perhaps they did not go "by the book." 

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 04:01:16 PM
Incidentally, as others have mentioned, the drafting of the new language is less than artful.  The provisions dealing with the affiliations of congregations that have left the ELCA are illustrative.

Section 9.62(e) provides as follows:  "Unless this notification to the bishop also certifies that the congregation has voted by a two-thirds vote to affiliate with another Lutheran denomination, the congregation will be conclusively presumed to be an independent or non-Lutheran church."  The only reason to create such a presumption relates to the provision in section 9.71 regarding property ownership.  There is no other provision in any governing document that turns on whether a departing congregation has joined another Lutheran body.

But interestingly, new proposed language for section 9.71(e) -- the provision dealing with property ownership -- does not turn on any presumptions.  Quite the contrary:  "Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. and has acted by a two-thirds vote to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council."  The express language of this provision gives the synod council authority over a congregation's property only if it has voted by a 2/3-majority to become independent or to join a non-Lutheran body.

So what does the church council intend?  To create a "conclusive presumption" that would give the synod council authority over property in an expanded number of cases?  Or to reduce the number of cases subject to synod council action by including only those that have chosen by a 2/3-majority to do something other than join a Lutheran body?  Hmmmm.

On top of all this, the current version of the model constitution for congregations seems to assume that every congregation that has voted to leave the ELCA has voted by a 2/3-majority either to "transfer to another Lutheran church body"  (section C7.03) or "to become independent or relate to a non-Lutheran church body" (section C7.04).  Obviously, a congregation leaving the ELCA might do none of these things.

What a mess!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 05:24:37 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.

Sorry, bro, but that is simply impossible under the terms in which an LCA/formed-in-ELCA continues to own its property (Chapter 7 of the Model Congregation Constitution, a "required section), where determining which Lutheran church body the congregation subsequently joins is a necessary part of the process to keep the property.

And if our Bishop or someone in his office has told you otherwise, please tell me -- for our Conference's Colloquy with him is two weeks from today and I will gladly question him about this.

Fraternally, Zip+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 05:30:20 PM

We are the only congregation that has voted to leave the ELCA to date that has not voted to join another body, that I am aware of.

I think La Casa de Cristo is the only former LCA congregation that has left the ELCA and been able to keep its property without joining another Lutheran church body.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Glenn Ryder on November 30, 2010, 05:41:06 PM
So if a congregation is contemplating 'leaving' the ELCA then it should seriously consider doing so before the churchwide next August! Get while the getting's good as it were.


Glenn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 30, 2010, 05:43:35 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on November 30, 2010, 05:46:22 PM
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

Except that a congregation cannot do both in a single vote.  The procedures outlined specifically state that the vote to leave the ELCA shall be a separate vote from the vote to join another Lutheran body.  They may be done at the same meeting, but they must be two separate votes.  Even though I strive to be as charitable as you, the procedures for leaving the ELCA do not allow for the reading you suggest.  

Marshall Hahn

Why can't the two matters be included in a single resolution?  I see nothing in the current or proposed language that would prevent this. 

It can. Our first vote had one resolution with three resolves. One to terminate our relationship with the ELCA. One to begin the process of discernment and exploration of other Lutheran Church bodies and one to hold the ELCA in prayer. The second vote, seven months later had one resolution with two resolves. One to terminate our relationship with the ELCA and the other to join the NALC.  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 30, 2010, 05:50:36 PM
So if a congregation is contemplating 'leaving' the ELCA then it should seriously consider doing so before the churchwide next August! Get while the getting's good as it were.


Glenn

Or ... Send in a dollar or two a year (or thirty pre-1964 quarters) and ignore the larger church should you so desire.  The ball could be punted for years.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 30, 2010, 06:03:10 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

I think that you're misreading the model constitution.  At a special meeting, a congregation can conduct only business that matches the "purpose" identified in the meeting notice.  However, "purpose" is not nearly as narrow a term as you suggest.  The "purpose" given in the notice might be to consider "(i) a resolution to terminate the relationship with the ELCA; (ii) a resolution to join Lutheran church body X; and (iii) any other business related to church-body affiliation."

Perhaps I misspoke.  I was specifically referring to our own constitution, which states regarding the specific meeting to vote to terminate the relationship with the ELCA, that only THAT will be discussed and action taken, and no other business.  In other words, only the vote to terminate this relationship will be acted on.  This would presumably mean a vote to join another Lutheran body then as well.

As I said, though, I see an easy solution in adjourning said meeting, and then immediately reconvening to take another vote at a separate special meeting.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Glenn Ryder on November 30, 2010, 06:14:36 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

Glenn
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 06:17:07 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.

"That" or "what"?  

FWIW, my Bishop expected to lose 20% of the Synod's congregations.  

And then there was this thread (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=1675.0) from 2 years ago (one reason I think just cleaning everything "old" on this forum out is not the best of ideas).

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 30, 2010, 06:32:05 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on November 30, 2010, 06:38:45 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.

"That" or "what"?  

FWIW, my Bishop expected to lose 20% of the Synod's congregations.  

And then there was this thread[/i] from 2 years ago (one reason I think just cleaning everything "old" on this forum out is not the best of ideas).

Pax, Steven+
 (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=1675.0)

Obviously, "what" not "that" ... happy to clarify.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on November 30, 2010, 06:58:51 PM
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

Pax, Steven+

Ahh, suppressing news reports.  Beautiful.

Mike Bennett

Well, nobody wants too much depressing news... ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 07:05:44 PM
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

I think that you're misreading the model constitution.  At a special meeting, a congregation can conduct only business that matches the "purpose" identified in the meeting notice.  However, "purpose" is not nearly as narrow a term as you suggest.  The "purpose" given in the notice might be to consider "(i) a resolution to terminate the relationship with the ELCA; (ii) a resolution to join Lutheran church body X; and (iii) any other business related to church-body affiliation."

Perhaps I misspoke.  I was specifically referring to our own constitution, which states regarding the specific meeting to vote to terminate the relationship with the ELCA, that only THAT will be discussed and action taken, and no other business.  In other words, only the vote to terminate this relationship will be acted on.  This would presumably mean a vote to join another Lutheran body then as well.

As I said, though, I see an easy solution in adjourning said meeting, and then immediately reconvening to take another vote at a separate special meeting.


Under the new rules (and maybe under the current rules as well), if a congregation were going to vote separately on (i) whether to leave and (ii) where to go, I'd recommend voting on the second resolution first, making it expressly contingent on the passage of the resolution to leave the ELCA.  Otherwise, the congregation runs the risk that it will hold a successful "second vote" to leave but will not muster a 2/3-majority in support of a new church body.  In that event, the fate of the congregation's property arguably would be in the hands of the synod council.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2010, 07:13:10 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.

Concerning the statement above highlighted in red, that is how it should be.  In the church, above all else, decisions should be made because they are the right thing to do, not first taking a survey to see how many will walk if it is done.  Do the right thing and take the consequences.  Just as now some members of the ELCA are deciding what they believe the right thing to do (stay or leave) and taking the consequences.  Although, when Christians deal with each other, one should expect a certain level of respect and graciousness - something that at times has been shown on both sides, and has sadly been lacking at times from both sides.

I have never quite understood the harping on numbers from all sides in this fight, as though numbers should be a deciding factor.  If this was the right thing to do, then let the chips fall where they may and the fall out is part of the cost of discipleship.  (Although there might have been ways to do this better - how should I know what they might have been.)  Nor does a majority vote - even a super-majority - guarentee that the decision was correct and God pleasing.  To simply say of the decision that the vote was taken and the change won therefor it must have been God pleasing also makes no sense.  (Among other things, what then of all the votes where it lost - did God simply change His mind?)  Neither does the seeming majority of the youth generation coming up guarentee that God approves of what the ELCA did, nor the majority of the culture around us.

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 07:15:49 PM
Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max.

You might be right.  But I've never seen any evidence of this.  If the analysis had been done, I think that the ELCA's leadership would have had a fiduciary duty to report the results to the CWA.  In any event, the analysis would have been complicated.  I doubt that anyone employed by the ELCA had the expertise necessary to do it well.  It would have required calculating losses flowing not only from the loss of congregations but also from disillusioned congregations remaining in the ELCA and from the loss of members at congregations across the ELCA.  There might well be other factors as well.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 07:18:17 PM
It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.

Concerning the statement above highlighted in red, that is how it should be.  In the church, above all else, decisions should be made because they are the right thing to do, not first taking a survey to see how many will walk if it is done.  Do the right thing and take the consequences.  Just as now some members of the ELCA are deciding what they believe the right thing to do (stay or leave) and taking the consequences.  Although, when Christians deal with each other, one should expect a certain level of respect and graciousness - something that at times has been shown on both sides, and has sadly been lacking at times from both sides.

I have never quite understood the harping on numbers from all sides in this fight, as though numbers should be a deciding factor.  If this was the right thing to do, then let the chips fall where they may and the fall out is part of the cost of discipleship.  (Although there might have been ways to do this better - how should I know what they might have been.)  Nor does a majority vote - even a super-majority - guarentee that the decision was correct and God pleasing.  To simply say of the decision that the vote was taken and the change won therefor it must have been God pleasing also makes no sense.  (Among other things, what then of all the votes where it lost - did God simply change His mind?)  Neither does the seeming majority of the youth generation coming up guarentee that God approves of what the ELCA did, nor the majority of the culture around us.

Dan

I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 30, 2010, 07:24:37 PM
I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on November 30, 2010, 07:29:53 PM
I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?


Fine.  Does any of this cut against the point that I made?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 30, 2010, 08:58:19 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Or ... Send in a dollar or two a year (or thirty pre-1964 quarters) and ignore the larger church should you so desire.  The ball could be punted for years.

I comment:
Yep. Do that if you want to act like some sleazy politician or shady merchant trying to pull a fast one on the government. Create a "legal fiction" or semi-legal fiction and teach your people it's o.k. to cheat the synod and the ELCA and pretend to be what you are not. That's good church leadership.
 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: GoCubsGo on November 30, 2010, 09:19:14 PM
There was no analysis because some naively believed the hyped up thought of "this need not be church dividing" rather than the on the ground reality that for some this was indeed church dividing.  My synod bishop wrote a long letter post CWA09 that essentially said, "But you can't leave."  Some did not want to face the facts--they still don't.

It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.
Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 03:02:46 AM
Or it could be that our leaders, while recognizing our differences (because they are not stupid), had a hopeful, Spirit-based faith in our unity in Christ, and honestly (yes, our leaders are capable of acting honestly) believed that this was not a church-dividing issue.
Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 06:49:17 AM
Or it could be that our leaders, while recognizing our differences (because they are not stupid), had a hopeful, Spirit-based faith in our unity in Christ, and honestly (yes, our leaders are capable of acting honestly) believed that this was not a church-dividing issue.
Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

You are not listening to Lou and his report of the dynamics that occured within the task force.  Your speculation crumbles under the reality shared by one who was there.  Having a hope that things would have turned out the way you envision does not mean you can rewrite history to align it with the dreams of the so-called winners.  They KNEW the participants in the study process were overwhelmingly against the changes, but led them anyway.  Some call that being prophetic.  I call it intentionally damaging the Body of Christ for personal agendas.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 06:53:13 AM
Pastor Hughes writes:
Or ... Send in a dollar or two a year (or thirty pre-1964 quarters) and ignore the larger church should you so desire.  The ball could be punted for years.

I comment:
Yep. Do that if you want to act like some sleazy politician or shady merchant trying to pull a fast one on the government. Create a "legal fiction" or semi-legal fiction and teach your people it's o.k. to cheat the synod and the ELCA and pretend to be what you are not. That's good church leadership.
 


Yes Charles, there are other options for holding a congregation together while the denomination collapses around you.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James Gustafson on December 01, 2010, 07:37:55 AM
Or it could be that our leaders, while recognizing our differences (because they are not stupid), had a hopeful, Spirit-based faith in our unity in Christ, and honestly (yes, our leaders are capable of acting honestly) believed that this was not a church-dividing issue.
Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

Yes, of course they they can be faulted for believing that if they broke with the previous unity and introduced division against the historical interpretation of a few selected Bible passages for the purpose of re-imagining sexual ethics that they would not be harming the unity of the OHAC.  They decide to break away from the unity and then claim that the unity in Christ should still be the glue that holds us together?  Epic fail.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 01, 2010, 08:08:11 AM
They decide to break away from the unity and then claim that the unity in Christ should still be the glue that holds us together?

Well said.  One pastor down the road from me compares it to "battered spouse syndrome."  (some of this has to do with events at our last synod assembly as well).  The traditionalists are battered, bloodied, and beaten, but then told that they are still loved, and for the sake of the marriage (and the kids) need to stay, but shut up and keep sending your money.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jramnes on December 01, 2010, 08:58:30 AM
Yep. Do that if you want to act like some sleazy politician or shady merchant trying to pull a fast one on the government. Create a "legal fiction" or semi-legal fiction and teach your people it's o.k. to cheat the synod and the ELCA and pretend to be what you are not. That's good church leadership.

Says the poster who earlier this week claimed to not take "pot shots" or engage in "snark", while at the same time trying always to be "charitable".

I'm sure that Pr. Austin feels the very same frustrations with this endless discussion that I do, albeit from a different perspective. My response has been to refrain from posting as it leads to no good for me. Reminders of the 8th Commandment have been helpful to me.

Pastor, I don't know if it matters to you or not, but at least one lurker on this site is greatly disappointed by your behavior. I understand your frustration, because I share it (even though we disagree on "the issue"). However, from my perspective, it seems like you are engaging in dishonest dialogue when you post things like what I quoted above when just a couple of days earlier you made the claims I cited in my first paragraph.

It's painful to me to read some of the things that are posted on this message board-from both sides. Pastor Austin, being a very prolific poster and strong advocate of all things ELCA, probably upsets me as much or more than anyone, but that's OK. What I think isn't OK is for anyone to describe actions of congregations using words like "sleazy", "shady", or "legal fiction".

I will now resume my regularly scheduled lurking status.

Jim
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: GoCubsGo on December 01, 2010, 09:07:25 AM
Or it could be that our leaders, while recognizing our differences (because they are not stupid), had a hopeful, Spirit-based faith in our unity in Christ, and honestly (yes, our leaders are capable of acting honestly) believed that this was not a church-dividing issue.
Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

I never said that our leaders or anyone involved in this debate was "stupid."  Nor did I imply that anyone acted dishonestly.  But a person can be sincerely naive.   :-X
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 09:08:53 AM
Lutheranism has a history - a history we generally acclaim proudly - of "breaking" a certain kind of "unity." Started with Father Martin, didn't it? Continued as we broke with the "unity" of episcopal ordination. Sailed on as we changed the mass. Reached new heights as we made accommodations with secular governments, no longer under the control of the church. Continued again, as "mission" churches in far-flung parts of the world became independent.
We broke with a certain kind of "unity" when we decided to ordain women.
But - in all of these "breaks" in the so-called "unity" of the church, we did not set aside the creeds or the confessions or that doctrine by which the church allegedly "stands or falls."

As for "keeping a congregation together," that is a good thing to do. But if it has to be done through sleazy methods - a dollar a year to the synod - I really wonder about the ethics of it all.

Pastor Hughes writes:
They (leaders, I think, CA) KNEW the participants in the study process were overwhelmingly against the changes, but led them anyway.  Some call that being prophetic.  I call it intentionally damaging the Body of Christ for personal agendas.
I comment:
If you are able to read into the minds of all our leaders and tell me what their "personal agendas" are, I shall be in awe of your psychic powers. I am more likely to wonder why someone - let us say Presiding Bishop Hanson, for example - would want to put his own reputation on the line when, as you suggest, he could have turned it all aside.
But one man's prophecy may be seen by the powers that be or those with entrenched interest as that man's "personal agenda." Just ask John the Baptizer.



Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 09:21:50 AM
Please note, jramnes, that I do not accuse pastor Hughes of being a sleazy politician or shady merchant. I have no basis for doing that. I only note that the tactics he suggests lean that direction. I do not believe he is employing those tactics.

After years of discussion with some people on this board and elsewhere, I did reach a conclusion I had not reached until about three or four months ago.
That conclusion is:
It is time - for some people - to admit fully that they no longer have any hope for the ELCA, that their consciences or view of what "church" is has been so violated that they cannot be a part of it. If this means that they can no longer respect our leaders (even when they disagree), provide their fair share of support to our common mission, or otherwise take part responsibly in the ELCA, then to follow their consciences and convictions, they should leave.
There are people involved in this discussion who have strong disagreements with the ELCA, but have said they will stay in, support our common mission and work with us. Good.
But those who continually say the ELCA is dead or dying, that our leaders are politically-motivated or only after their "personal" agenda, and that our policies take us out of any definition of "orthodoxy" and do not start packing their bags are either disingenuous or cowards or both.
I am sorry that Lou Hesse is no longer a part of the ELCA, as I think he would have been a good voice to have around. But I fully understand his decision to leave and consider it a tribute to his personal integrity that he did.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2010, 09:33:49 AM
On one page: sleazy politicians, shady merchants, and disingenuous cowards. Now imagine the outrage if I (not sure if I am one of Charles' strong disagreeers or disingenuous cowards) if I used those words to describe the leadership of the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on December 01, 2010, 09:53:34 AM
On one page: sleazy politicians, shady merchants, and disingenuous cowards. Now imagine the outrage if I (not sure if I am one of Charles' strong disagreeers or disingenuous cowards) if I used those words to describe the leadership of the ELCA.

You indirectly raise a very important point.  Some people on all "sides" have at times acted less than nobly.  We all would likely accord more credibility to statements such as those you address if the writer didn't launch nearly all of his arrows in one direction.  He might respond by saying that others who post here do the same thing from the other "side."  He'd be right, of course.  But he'd also be missing the point.    
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 10:02:50 AM
Someone writes:
On one page: sleazy politicians, shady merchants, and disingenuous cowards. Now imagine the outrage if I (not sure if I am one of Charles' strong disagreeers or disingenuous cowards) if I used those words to describe the leadership of the ELCA.

I comment (once again):
Please note that I was describing tactics, not people. And that I do not charge anyone here with using those tactics.
One of our moderators has said that it is apparently o.k. here to call people un-Lutheran or un-biblical or (I guess) un-Christian because we're talking about what it means to be (or not to be ;D ) those things. I'm not likely to do that.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cathy Ammlung on December 01, 2010, 10:03:34 AM
Quote
"What? That you, nearly 2400 miles away, claim to know more about Ebenezer Lutheran than the folks who are only 24 miles away? That you, who have never met their pastor, knows more about her teaching and preaching, than those who know her personally?"

I do know her personally. Took 2 classes with her, with Bob Bertram, when I was in the St. Louis area. Her papers, even back then - we're talking 25 years ago - were already trending in the direction of herchurch. I liked her personally but even Dr. Bertram had to "rein her in" from her more off-the-wall interpretations and opinions.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 01, 2010, 10:18:47 AM
But those who continually say the ELCA is dead or dying, that our leaders are politically-motivated or only after their "personal" agenda, and that our policies take us out of any definition of "orthodoxy" and do not start packing their bags are either disingenuous or cowards or both.

Someone wrote:  "Please note that I was describing tactics, not people.  And that I do not charge anyone here with using those tactics."

As Bill Cosby (channeling Noah) used to say:  Riiiiiight!
 :P
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2010, 10:19:49 AM
Someone writes:
On one page: sleazy politicians, shady merchants, and disingenuous cowards. Now imagine the outrage if I (not sure if I am one of Charles' strong disagreeers or disingenuous cowards) if I used those words to describe the leadership of the ELCA.

I comment (once again):
Please note that I was describing tactics, not people. And that I do not charge anyone here with using those tactics.
One of our moderators has said that it is apparently o.k. here to call people un-Lutheran or un-biblical or (I guess) un-Christian because we're talking about what it means to be (or not to be ;D ) those things. I'm not likely to do that.


Just too passive agressive to use my name?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Jim Lehmann on December 01, 2010, 10:22:34 AM

Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

If it were simply a matter of a few selected verses and a matter of interpretation, if were simply a matter of sexual ethics, it may not be church dividing. 

How about CA Art. I -- God?  When the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit becomes offensive and must be replaced with adjectives, that is a huge problem.
How about CA Art. II -- Original Sin?  When we can no longer say that people are from birth sinful, but rather must say that every person is actually good just the way they are, that is a huge problem.
How about CA Art. III -- Son of God?  When it is taught that salvation can be found in other religions and that God saves everyone universally, that is a huge problem.
How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.

How about CA Art IX -- Baptism?  When baptism is now about my opinions are fully equal simply because I am baptized, rather than baptism because am a sinner in need or reconciliation, that is a huge problem.

No, it is not about sex.  It is about a fundamental change in Lutheran theology

Jim Lehmann
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 10:27:58 AM
Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. I -- God?  When the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit becomes offensive and must be replaced with adjectives, that is a huge problem.
I comment:
An overreaction. No one says that the formula "must be replaced with adjectives."

Jim Lehmann writes
How about CA Art. II -- Original Sin?  When we can no longer say that people are from birth sinful, but rather must say that every person is actually good just the way they are, that is a huge problem.
I ask:
Where does ELCA theology say that? "By nature sinful and unclean" is still a confessional used among us.

Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. II -- Son of God?  When it is taught that salvation can be found in other religions and that God saves everyone universally, that is a huge problem.
I ask:
Where does the ELCA teach that? Show us.

Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.
I ask:
See above.

Jim Lehmann:
How about CA Art IX -- Baptism?  When baptism is now about my opinions are fully equal simply because I am baptized, rather than baptism because am a sinner in need or reconciliation, that is a huge problem.
Me:
Don't know what you are getting at here.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2010, 10:35:45 AM
Someone responds to Jim Lehman:
Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. I -- God?  When the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit becomes offensive and must be replaced with adjectives, that is a huge problem.
I comment:
An overreaction. No one says that the formula "must be replaced with adjectives."

Jim Lehmann writes
How about CA Art. II -- Original Sin?  When we can no longer say that people are from birth sinful, but rather must say that every person is actually good just the way they are, that is a huge problem.
I ask:
Where does ELCA theology say that? "By nature sinful and unclean" is still a confessional used among us.

Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. II -- Son of God?  When it is taught that salvation can be found in other religions and that God saves everyone universally, that is a huge problem.
I ask:
Where does the ELCA teach that? Show us.

Jim Lehmann writes:
How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.
I ask:
See above.

Jim Lehmann:
How about CA Art IX -- Baptism?  When baptism is now about my opinions are fully equal simply because I am baptized, rather than baptism because am a sinner in need or reconciliation, that is a huge problem.
Me:
Don't know what you are getting at here.

David Charlton opines:

It seems that someone is being disingenous or willfully obtuse.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 01, 2010, 10:41:37 AM
After years of discussion with some people on this board and elsewhere, I did reach a conclusion I had not reached until about three or four months ago.
That conclusion is:
It is time - for some people - to admit fully that they no longer have any hope for the ELCA, that their consciences or view of what "church" is has been so violated that they cannot be a part of it. If this means that they can no longer respect our leaders (even when they disagree), provide their fair share of support to our common mission, or otherwise take part responsibly in the ELCA, then to follow their consciences and convictions, they should leave.
There are people involved in this discussion who have strong disagreements with the ELCA, but have said they will stay in, support our common mission and work with us. Good.
But those who continually say the ELCA is dead or dying, that our leaders are politically-motivated or only after their "personal" agenda, and that our policies take us out of any definition of "orthodoxy" and do not start packing their bags are either disingenuous or cowards or both.
I am sorry that Lou Hesse is no longer a part of the ELCA, as I think he would have been a good voice to have around. But I fully understand his decision to leave and consider it a tribute to his personal integrity that he did.

Now you seem to be able to "read" the "minds" of some others...

I, for one, DO HAVE HOPE FOR THE ELCA.  Actually, it's not that I have "hope," but rather that I KNOW THE END OF THE STORY.  Christ wins.  Every time.  Christ wins.  So, please do not think for a moment that I, as one Traditionalist, have "given up hope" for the ELCA.  

If I had "given up hope," I would have long ago shut my mouth and would have chosen to live a quiet and sheltered existence, not getting upset about the ELCA because the situation is "hopeless."  It would be far, far easier to have done that.  Instead, I have remained within the ELCA, vocal and (in your words) "sharply critical" of our denomination's decisions, precisely because I have "hope," I still see what the ELCA could and will be someday.  

Somewhere else somebody asked me where all this has gotten me.  I dunno.  But I know this...  This is a fight worth having, a struggle worth enduring because Christ triumphs each and every time.  Oh, I have hope and I'm not going anywhere...

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

PS.  By-the-way, my congregation actually stepped up our benevolence for our Synod for the upcoming FY.  And yes, it's unencumbered.  But we are calling upon the Synod and "this church" to start recognizing its errors.  We're in this fight together.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 01, 2010, 10:46:42 AM
   Mea culpa.  I got sucked in again.  Of making many arguments and explanations there is no end, and they are neither efficacious nor salvific.  Thankfully, I will be spending the rest of the day dealing with the wind and weather, and then with preparations for Evening Prayer on this Wednesday in Advent.  

   I am heartily sorry, and sincerely repent. and pray that in the boundless compassion of my peers I may be forgiven the error of my ways in contributing to meaningless argument and terminal thread drift, being a poor miserable sinner.

   Mea maxima culpa.

   Erma  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 01, 2010, 10:53:23 AM
Or it could be that our leaders, while recognizing our differences (because they are not stupid), had a hopeful, Spirit-based faith in our unity in Christ, and honestly (yes, our leaders are capable of acting honestly) believed that this was not a church-dividing issue.
Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

Charles, if you want to argue that our leaders thought that this was the right thing to do, fine.

If you want to argue that they largely stepped back and let the conversation throughout the church while they moderated it and made sure that it was fair, well, that's an awfully naïve stance from someone as experienced in the church as you.

But to argue that they thought this would not be church dividing is simply being willfully ignorant of their own words and actions as they prepared for the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.  Even those ELCA leaders who would not express their own strongly-held views, openly talked of significant numbers of congregations leaving and, prior to the completion of the proposed social statement's writing, urged synods to have budgetary contingency plans.

To sugggest that they thought this was going to encourage further unity in Christ and common mission, well,please stop insulting your intelligence, much less ours.  

Pax, Steven+

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 01, 2010, 11:08:16 AM
  Mea culpa.  I got sucked in again.  Of making many arguments and explanations there is no end, and they are neither efficacious nor salvific.  Thankfully, I will be spending the rest of the day dealing with the wind and weather, and then with preparations for Evening Prayer on this Wednesday in Advent.  

   I am heartily sorry, and sincerely repent. and pray that in the boundless compassion of my peers I may be forgiven the error of my ways in contributing to meaningless argument and terminal thread drift, being a poor miserable sinner.

   Mea maxima culpa.

   Erma  

Erma, I have searched and searched and I cannot seem to find the sin of which you are confessing, but rest assured that you have not offended me...  You are among those I aspire to emmulate in your even-handed treatment of others and clear-thinking in the midst of conflict.

But perhaps this is contributing to "thread drift" which I do not think is always such a bad thing... 

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2010, 11:58:55 AM

Can they be faulted for not believing that some in the ELCA place matters of sexual ethics or interpretation of a few selected Bible passages above the broader issues of unity in Christ and a common mission?

If it were simply a matter of a few selected verses and a matter of interpretation, if were simply a matter of sexual ethics, it may not be church dividing. 

How about CA Art. I -- God?  When the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit becomes offensive and must be replaced with adjectives, that is a huge problem.

It has not been replaced. "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" language is not deleted from our liturgies. In some places there is another option, but in other places there is not, e.g., for baptisms; in the Lord's Prayer, in the Creeds. A liturgy the excises all references to God as Father, is not following the ELCA liturgies.

Quote
How about CA Art. II -- Original Sin?  When we can no longer say that people are from birth sinful, but rather must say that every person is actually good just the way they are, that is a huge problem.

I have not heard anyone say that. I have read recently that Luther, rather than talk about "original sin," used the phrase "inherited sin". I, for one, continue to preach and teach that sinfulness is part of our human nature. Just last week I stated that there is no such thing as "innocent children".

Quote
How about CA Art. III -- Son of God?  When it is taught that salvation can be found in other religions and that God saves everyone universally, that is a huge problem.

Where has the ELCA ever taught that there is salvation in other religions? There probably are some ELCA folks who say this, but that doesn't make it a teaching of the ELCA. (Just as there are LCMS pastors who practice open communion, it doesn't make it the teaching of the LCMS.) Don't judge the whole denomination by the most radical members.

Quote
How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.
And yet, scriptures talk about a new heaven and a new earth -- just as it talks about Christians being new creations. Paul writes: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the paints of childbirth until now." (Romans 8:19-22, boldface added)

Quote
How about CA Art IX -- Baptism?  When baptism is now about my opinions are fully equal simply because I am baptized, rather than baptism because am a sinner in need or reconciliation, that is a huge problem.

Again, you are talking about an issue that I have never heard stated in the ELCA. Granted, I don't hear from every pastor; but what you are describing is not the position of the ELCA.

Quote
No, it is not about sex.  It is about a fundamental change in Lutheran theology

No, it seems that it's about folks pointing to the most extreme comments a few folks in the ELCA make, and then consider that normative for the whole denomination.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: jrubyaz on December 01, 2010, 11:59:41 AM

I have not heard of former ALC congregations  who have left and  are remaining unaffiliated. If you have, please let me know who has done so.

Jeff  

quote author=The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS link=topic=3490.msg191646#msg191646 date=1291156220]

We are the only congregation that has voted to leave the ELCA to date that has not voted to join another body, that I am aware of.

I think La Casa de Cristo is the only former LCA congregation that has left the ELCA and been able to keep its property without joining another Lutheran church body.

Pax, Steven+
[/quote]
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Ken Kimball on December 01, 2010, 12:09:36 PM
Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley?   But maybe they haven't taken a second vote.

Ken
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on December 01, 2010, 12:22:28 PM
Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley?   But maybe they haven't taken a second vote.

Ken

They have voted and they are now an independent congregation.

I know one of the past presidents of the congregation.  He told me that his congregation had doggedly refused to include provisions in its constitution that could give the synod any control over its property.  For this reason, the congregation was able to become "independent."

He also told me that Calvary will work with ministries of the new Lutheran bodies (and the ELCA) and is open to the possibility that it might join another body at some point.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2010, 01:01:48 PM
[No, it seems that it's about folks pointing to the most extreme comments a few folks in the ELCA make, and then consider that normative for the whole denomination.

Brian,

I'll say to you what I said to Someone earlier.  You are either being disingenous or willfully obtuse.  These thing are not in the extreme.  And while they most likely remain minority opinions, they are by no means uncommon.  I have heard more than one of them espoused (without correction) from the podium or floor of each synod assembly I have attended for the last five years.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "normative" either.  I would assume that the Confession of Faith in the ELCA Constitution along with Canon, Creeds and Confessions remain "normative" in the sense of "official".  That's the concern that is so often expressed by critics of the ELCA.  What the Constitution of the ELCA identifies as "normative" is routinely ignored, or even contradicted, on a regular basis within the ELCA.

David Charlton
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jramnes on December 01, 2010, 01:09:03 PM
Please note, jramnes, that I do not accuse pastor Hughes of being a sleazy politician or shady merchant. I have no basis for doing that. I only note that the tactics he suggests lean that direction. I do not believe he is employing those tactics.
I can't help but stick my head out once more to ask you, Pastor, how your veiled allegations dovetail with your previous assertions that you don't take "pot shots" or engage in "snark"? Once again your "charity" is showing through. Your statement above is incoherent-on the one hand, Pastor Hughes is not employing the nasty tactics you allege, but on the other hand, he is suggesting them. So is it OK to suggest these tactics, but not to employ them? Is he being responsible or not? Or is the last sentence in your quote above just to provide you with plausible deniability-something to hide behind when called out regarding your childish behavior?

Faith is more than just an opportunity for you to demonstrate your theoretical skills as a professional journalist. I really wish you would back off with the passive-aggressive bloviating and learn something about responsible posting from those who you so often hold up as examples of integrity, such as Pastor Wolf.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 01, 2010, 01:18:37 PM

But those who continually say the ELCA is dead or dying, that our leaders are politically-motivated or only after their "personal" agenda, and that our policies take us out of any definition of "orthodoxy" and do not start packing their bags are either disingenuous or cowards or both.


No, Charles.  The bottom line is that I am critical because I fear for the immortal souls of all who are led down a path that leads to destruction.  Including yours.  It goes with the calling to be faithful to the Word of God.  To sit behind a computer screen and accuse others of cowardice, well, I'm going to recall the 8th commandment and refrain from comment.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 02:24:51 PM
Someone writes:
No, Charles.  The bottom line is that I am critical because I fear for the immortal souls of all who are led down a path that leads to destruction.  Including yours.  It goes with the calling to be faithful to the Word of God.
I comment:
We've been here before. Many times. So if the ELCA is taking us "down a path that leads to destruction," you and the others who see this so clearly must then lead us out, if it is a matter of our souls and yours. If the ELCA is not "faithful to the Word of God," then you must take us someplace that is. That is why I respect many of those who have left, even as I regret the loss of their fellowship.

Someone writes:
To sit behind a computer screen and accuse others of cowardice, well, I'm going to recall the 8th commandment and refrain from comment.
I comment:
The "computer screen" is only a medium. It certainly does not "hide" this humble correspondent. Everyone here knows exactly who I am, where I come from, what I have done and where I live. And you?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Jim Lehmann on December 01, 2010, 02:42:17 PM
Yes, we have been down this road so very many times before.  That is why I seldom comment.  After a couple of years, I still have not reached the century mark.

That is why, on another thread, I suggested that after a person has commented a very limited number of times, they be prohibited from commenting again.  The responses become so very predictable.

Jim Lehmann
(I can list my name.  The ELCA has no hold on me any longer.)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 01, 2010, 02:46:09 PM
I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?

But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push. So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals. It was the "right-thing" for them to support, but it was not the "right-thing" in the eyes of the majority (more than 50%) of the rest of the church. Now we are seeing the consequences.

It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 03:08:00 PM

. Your statement above is incoherent-on the one hand, Pastor Hughes is not employing the nasty tactics you allege, but on the other hand, he is suggesting them. So is it OK to suggest these tactics, but not to employ them? Is he being responsible or not? Or is the last sentence in your quote above just to provide you with plausible deniability-something to hide behind when called out regarding your childish behavior?


  For what it's worth, I was being rhetorical.  Given the divisions the vote has created, how far should one go in holding together a congregation?  What price is worth it?  Ignoring the "vote" is dividing congregations.  Talking about the "vote" is dividing congregations.  Actually holding its own vote about what to do in response is dividing congregations.  So...

On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  So how about turning those two on their heads?  What if remaining unified as a congregation means ignoring the larger church?  That seems to be a scenario that pushes buttons.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 01, 2010, 04:12:32 PM
Lutheranism has a history - a history we generally acclaim proudly - of "breaking" a certain kind of "unity." Started with Father Martin, didn't it? Continued as we broke with the "unity" of episcopal ordination. Sailed on as we changed the mass. Reached new heights as we made accommodations with secular governments, no longer under the control of the church. Continued again, as "mission" churches in far-flung parts of the world became independent.
We broke with a certain kind of "unity" when we decided to ordain women.
But - in all of these "breaks" in the so-called "unity" of the church, we did not set aside the creeds or the confessions or that doctrine by which the church allegedly "stands or falls."

All human constructions...the unity stands on Holy Scripture as discerned and handed down by the OHCAAC.  The disagreement is over repeated decisions by some - many of whom happen to be in prominent leadership positions in the ELCA - to read scripture whatever way suits their particular worldview and social perspective, and to throw out red herrings when the discussion goes against them.  As long as everyone with a different opinion keeps their mouth shut (and the cash flowing) we have "unity" in their narrow sense of the term.  It is certainly not unity in Christ!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 01, 2010, 05:01:30 PM
Someone writes,

We've been here before. Many times. So if the ELCA is taking us "down a path that leads to destruction," you and the others who see this so clearly must then lead us out, if it is a matter of our souls and yours. If the ELCA is not "faithful to the Word of God," then you must take us someplace that is. That is why I respect many of those who have left, even as I regret the loss of their fellowship.

I respond,
When I see that respect genuinely demonstrated on your part, then will I believe you.  And if I led you, you've made it abundantly clear (many times before) that you will not follow.  This road we are on leads to a dead end.

Someone writes:
The "computer screen" is only a medium. It certainly does not "hide" this humble correspondent. Everyone here knows exactly who I am, where I come from, what I have done and where I live. And you?

I respond,
I don't recall branding those within the ELCA who are critical as cowards.  Once again you completely miss the point, the mark, and the target.  And while you and I may be on opposite sides, I have never once referred to YOU as a coward OR as disingenuous.  I await your apology.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 01, 2010, 05:09:35 PM
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart?  Would it not be salutary to aid those seeking to leave by leaving things the way they have been since the inception of the ELCA?

Just a puzzle...  Or maybe a rhetorical question.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mike Bennett on December 01, 2010, 05:14:26 PM
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart? 


Property.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 05:16:46 PM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push.
I comment:
Or maybe people who take their faith and participation in their church seriously enough to give up vacation time and family time to spend 12-15 hours a day for a week taking care of their church. Your assessment of the voting members of our assemblies is unfair. I have been at many and find remarkable church folk there.

Pastor Orovitz:
So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals.
Me:
"Suspicion" don't cut it. Not for a minute.

Pastor Orovitz:
It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Me:
I would not say that. But you may have a point. There are many who - in day-to-day church life - whiffle along and say "oh, the synod, who cares? Oh, the ELCA, who cares?" Pastors avoid bringing the ELCA into their congregations because they don't want criticisms. Then when something happens and their people read of it, there has been no preparation or involvement. There is considerable blame there.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 01, 2010, 05:17:30 PM
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart? 


Property.

Oh I understand reality, Mike.  Trust me, as a man who has just survived a divorce, I understand the wrangling around money (which is what property is) and power.  

My observation is more around the passive-aggressive nature of the discourse which seems to say "Maybe it's time for you to go..." but "we're going to make it even more difficult for you to leave..."

It's actually kind of humorous...  In a sick sorta way.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 05:20:22 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  

I comment:
No, that is not what I said and you know it.
I said if one's conscience absolutely prevented them from taking responsible part in the church body to which they belong, it may be time for them to leave.
Your caricature of my statement is as misleading as the allegations that all who oppose last year's decisions are homophobes.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 01, 2010, 05:32:51 PM
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  So how about turning those two on their heads?  What if remaining unified as a congregation means ignoring the larger church?  That seems to be a scenario that pushes buttons.

And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.  I can see indeed why Rev. Lehmann doesn't waste a lot of time replying on this board or this thread.

I may have to join him in that sentiment.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jrubyaz on December 01, 2010, 05:38:20 PM
Let's put aside the makeup of CWA for the moment-although as a first hand voting member I agree it was not near the theological representation of the folks in the pews.

I spoke to my second cousin the other day who is a whizbang at Amazon doing worldwide business stuff for them. He said "what was the ELCA thinking? (this from a liberal who agreed!)  He ticked off these points, albeit putting it in business terms, but wise even in those terms...

1. Their "market" surveys showed a split to favoring no change on this....any decision was bound to po at least 50% of the people.

2. The "management", i.e. Bishops, et al, don't know their market or base..no pulse on the people.

3. If your biggest customers were leaving (whether size of church or volume of number leaving)..wouldn't you pick up the phone and call? Would the PB have been smart to call a bunch of churches together he knew were upset and say "I know you are mad, but let's talk? ) Businesses do this all the time

4. Why was there no plan for the "fallout"? Either they felt there would be none, or sorely misjudged.


Pretty smart stuff coming from a 20 something whizbang .




quote author=Charles_Austin link=topic=3490.msg191968#msg191968 date=1291241806]
Pastor Orovitz writes:
But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push.
I comment:
Or maybe people who take their faith and participation in their church seriously enough to give up vacation time and family time to spend 12-15 hours a day for a week taking care of their church. Your assessment of the voting members of our assemblies is unfair. I have been at many and find remarkable church folk there.

Pastor Orovitz:
So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals.
Me:
"Suspicion" don't cut it. Not for a minute.

Pastor Orovitz:
It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Me:
I would not say that. But you may have a point. There are many who - in day-to-day church life - whiffle along and say "oh, the synod, who cares? Oh, the ELCA, who cares?" Pastors avoid bringing the ELCA into their congregations because they don't want criticisms. Then when something happens and their people read of it, there has been no preparation or involvement. There is considerable blame there.

[/quote]
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 05:38:53 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  

I comment:
No, that is not what I said and you know it.
I said if one's conscience absolutely prevented them from taking responsible part in the church body to which they belong, it may be time for them to leave.
Your caricature of my statement is as misleading as the allegations that all who oppose last year's decisions are homophobes.


 ::)

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 05:42:08 PM
Someone writes (re my recent comments):
And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.

I comment:
Totally, completely, absolutely untrue. Most of the people here are definitely not those things. You, "someone," are way too loose with your language.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 05:53:41 PM

3. If your biggest customers were leaving (whether size of church or volume of number leaving)..wouldn't you pick up the phone and call? Would the PB have been smart to call a bunch of churches together he knew were upset and say "I know you are mad, but let's talk? ) Businesses do this all the time


... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors.  If things were different, they wouldn't be the way they are.  The tilt point is fast approaching and IMHO,  haven't seen the bottom of the free fall.  Not by a long shot.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 01, 2010, 05:56:22 PM
I avoid getting in conversations with you, because you seem to have a "knack" for reading into, or reading out of a statement things that were not meant to be implied. I suppose that is your gift as a journalist. I somewhat envy that gift at the same time I want to come back at you, one more time. So please let me add my "two cents."

Pastor Orovitz writes:
But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push.
I comment:
Or maybe people who take their faith and participation in their church seriously enough to give up vacation time and family time to spend 12-15 hours a day for a week taking care of their church. Your assessment of the voting members of our assemblies is unfair. I have been at many and find remarkable church folk there.
Quote

I agree with you. I always respected the people that were on the ballot for voting members. Many were far more qualified than I, and I was never elected. I had to take myself as a visitor to the last LCA Asembly in Milwaukee in 1987 and the Constituting Assembly of the ELCA in Columbus in 1988, at my own expense. But I was never that naive not to notice that those on the ballot were far more agenda orientated than I. As a pro-life advocate I saw how it went when I fought for a memorial to have a more pro-life position in the LCA Social Statement on Sex, Mariage, and Family.

Pastor Orovitz:
So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals.
Me:
"Suspicion" don't cut it. Not for a minute.
Quote

It is more than a suspicion. I was trying to be a good journalist and not insert an opinion. It has actually been my observation that has been affirmed by people who were voting members from my own synod.

Pastor Orovitz:
It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Me:
I would not say that. But you may have a point. There are many who - in day-to-day church life - whiffle along and say "oh, the synod, who cares? Oh, the ELCA, who cares?" Pastors avoid bringing the ELCA into their congregations because they don't want criticisms. Then when something happens and their people read of it, there has been no preparation or involvement. There is considerable blame there.


Thanks for recognizing my point. As for myself I was always in solid support of anything the LCA/ELCA was doing, and I worked hard to support it and promote it in my ministries. As a interim pastor trained by the Interim Ministry Network I am now having difficulty working at the #3 Developmental Task of Interim Ministry in a congregation which is to, "Strengthen the congregation's participation in and support of the ministry of their judicatory." I recently met with my Bishop and shared my ethical dilemma, because I no longer feel enthusiastic about doing that. I know your advice would be to just leave and be done with it, but I still feel the call to serve in "this church."

I don't know how this post is going to look, I was trying to get it formattted just right, but I may have failed.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 06:04:37 PM
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 01, 2010, 06:43:46 PM

How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.

And yet, scriptures talk about a new heaven and a new earth -- just as it talks about Christians being new creations. Paul writes: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the paints of childbirth until now." (Romans 8:19-22, boldface added)


And yet???  Seems to me that connecting our actions with the redemption of creation is not a very smart way to deflect Pr. Lehmann's commentary on false teachings running rampant in the ELCA.  Remember, your Fake Book is for playing the piano, not theologian.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 01, 2010, 06:58:15 PM
Someone writes (re my recent comments):
And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.

I comment:
Totally, completely, absolutely untrue. Most of the people here are definitely not those things. You, "someone," are way too loose with your language.

This is but one place you used the word "disingenuous" AND "coward" referring to those within the  ELCA who are critical of it.  As one of those, I then take it as a personal accusation against me of being a coward.

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3490.msg191795#msg191795

You wish for us all to leave, but then you state that we must "lead" you down the right path?  You rail against the majority on here who are critical and yet stay, or worse are not even a part of the ELCA, insult them, and then claim that it wasn't aimed at "most people?"  I'm beyond stunned at the absolute contradictory direction this has gone.  I still await your apology.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 01, 2010, 07:00:56 PM
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors. 


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.

I put it that way because 1) I do the PREPARE-ENRICH communications exercise and with 95% of couples, the first attempt so clearly fails and yet neither he nor she recognize it until I point it out and 2) my Bishop has been on the road for a year-and-a-half visiting congregations and pastors yet remains completely baffled at what they're upset about.  Sure, the things he learned in Marriage and Family Counseling has soothed enough folks to prevent several 2/3rds votes, but that's not the same as understanding the problem.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 01, 2010, 07:01:58 PM
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.

Tim reflects: And THAT, Pr. Orovitz, comes across the electronic medium as a very patronizing comment. On behalf of those of us still in the ELCA, perhaps we need to apologize for Charles.  :P
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 01, 2010, 07:05:42 PM
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors. 


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.


 And a lot of that also has to do with timing.  Over a year later and the window is likely closed for those opportunities.  I think the proposed changes for leaving are another example of your insight.  It will now torque off another level of the church and drive the wedge deeper - if that's actually possible.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 01, 2010, 08:33:52 PM
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors.  


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.

I put it that way because 1) I do the PREPARE-ENRICH communications exercise and with 95% of couples, the first attempt so clearly fails and yet neither he nor she recognize it until I point it out and 2) my Bishop has been on the road for a year-and-a-half visiting congregations and pastors yet remains completely baffled at what they're upset about.  Sure, the things he learned in Marriage and Family Counseling has soothed enough folks to prevent several 2/3rds votes, but that's not the same as understanding the problem.

I think the other thing that weighs against the PB (or many Synodical Bishops) calling and wanting to "talk" (I'll use the word expansively here, like "communicate") with those who are upset is that, for many, the time of "talking" has past.  We have been talked "at," talked "to," and talked "about" regarding this issue for the better part of twenty years.  Many traditionalists I know were actually glad to see the issue settled at the CWA in 2009 because the prevailing view was that if it didn't happen in 2009, then it would be 2011.  If not 2011, then 2013. And, as Rogers and Hammerstien might say, "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera..."

My ex-wife called last weekend wanting "to discuss" something with me...  My response was, "What exactly is there left to 'discuss'?"  My counsel to my Synodical Bishop is to "stop" discussing the issue and simply listen as non-anxiously as possible.  Yes, this goes to Steven's point, but my extended point is that if PB Hanson called some of those congregations who were taking votes, it might actually hurt more than less.  I found the PB's letter at the time of the NALC convocation to be deeply hurtful, what I think he should have done is simply kept his peace on the matter.  Not everything needs a response or an action.

Which, to get back to the point of the thread, is what the Churchwide Council ought to be thinking about.  Changing standards at this moment will only steepen the descent....  In pilot talk, we're in a stall condition.  The harder you pull back on the nose of the aircraft, the quicker you are going to fall out of the sky.  Let the nose down, regain airspeed, fly away.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 01, 2010, 09:24:07 PM
Talk, talk, talk.

Reminds me of the old saying, "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

 ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on December 01, 2010, 10:01:39 PM
I agree that the time has past.  There is just too much evidence that not only the presiding bishop but the others also are much more into issues of how to use power effectively from their point of view.

An illustration of how far apart we are is found in the favorite book read by my bishop (I have not yet asked to be removed from the SD roster) while on sabbatical.  He was taken by Phyllis Tickle's book, "The Great Emergence:  How Christianity Is Changing and Why."  A friend also sees this as a very important book.  I have read and reread it, and find it a theological disaster.  It is a symbol of the great difference in the leadership of the Roman Catholic hierarchy today and our own.  Allen in his book, "The Future Church:  Tend Trends Facing the Roman Catholic Church," speaks of the pope and bishops being predominantly Evangelical Catholic.  By this he identifies them as having a predominant disposition to lift up the uniqueness and importance of the Great Tradition.  Tickle sees that as hopelessly stuck in a period 500 years ago.  Our leadership would please Tickle as they are seeing a new paradigm emerging that is moving away from the authority of the Book to one bringing many factors to bear.  Her view is indeed convincing many that it is past time to leave the Reformation era behind us.  A new day is dawning and the Emergent Church gets it.  We so called traditionalists need to be kept around much like ballast on a ship, unseen and just kind of there to keep the ship afloat.  This role, however, is so problematic today that the predominant voices will be what some of us call the revisionist camp. 

I recognize and Allen in his book knows this also that there are dangers in our focus on the distinct identity coming out of the Reformation era and now within RCs.  We can withdraw from engaging a fast changing world and debate fine points of theology endlessly.  That, however, does not negate the faith once delivered and still the heart of the faith.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: djbaer on December 01, 2010, 10:32:34 PM
Paul:

I had the same response to the e-mail message from Bishop Zellmer after his sabbatical.  

Prior to the 2009 CWA votes, I would have thought Zellmer to be a traditional Lutheran who would uphold and even do battle for the Lutheran solas -- including sola Scriptura.

After all of these months of defending the ELCA's 2009 actions, it seems he has bought into all of the ELCA's revisionist arguments.  He now sees the ELCA on the cutting edge of the great changes God is bringing.  At the 2010 synod assembly, his sermon attacked the traditionalists as the pharisees in John's Gospel investigating the healing of the blind man.  Telling us again and again the the earth has shifted and we need to acknowledge the new thing God is doing in Jesus.

I wonder if I misunderstood where Zellmer stood or if he has changed his views so drastically.

I haven't read Tickel's book that Zellmer loves so much, but a quick look at the reviews on Amazon confirms that he is recommending that synod pastors read affirms his new-found beliefs and the ELCA's move away from traditional Christian teaching.

I grieve over what has happened to him and how it seems to be spreading across our synod.  Today's e-mail from the bishop only confirms why it is time to move on.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 01, 2010, 10:33:55 PM
Yes, this goes to Steven's point, but my extended point is that if PB Hanson called some of those congregations who were taking votes, it might actually hurt more than less.  


Well, let me confess here that the goal for further listening and talking would be to 1) for the Presiding Bishop (and synodical Bishops) to acknowledge his culpability (yes, mea maxima culpa) and 2) repent himself and lead the appropriate expressions of the ELCA into repentance with even more determination than he lead us into error.  Or if he is still unable or unwilling to do so, at the very least he could be convinced that peaceful accomodation is preferable to Swartling's Jacobin hardball.

kyrie eleison, spt+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 10:56:41 PM
Someone writes:
You wish for us all to leave, but then you state that we must "lead" you down the right path?
I comment:
No, I do not wish for people to leave and have said so many times. You are new here, so perhaps you have not noticed that.
You are the one who raised the issue of where we are being "led." In your opinion we are being led to our destruction; those are your words. So I say: Lead us somewhere else. No guarantees that I or others will follow; but if you want us to go a different direction, get out in front and show us what it is.

I wrote upstream:
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.

And Pastor Christ writes:
And THAT, Pr. Orovitz, comes across the electronic medium as a very patronizing comment. On behalf of those of us still in the ELCA, perhaps we need to apologize for Charles.
I ask (in utter amazement):
Say what? I say I hope he finds a place to minister in the ELCA and you call it "patronizing"! On what grounds? What is wrong with you people? Are we yet again in one of those full-moon cycles where something is automatically wrong, mean, un-yada yada yada simply because I or Pastor Stoffregen say it?
Good grief!!!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 01, 2010, 11:05:22 PM
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart?  Would it not be salutary to aid those seeking to leave by leaving things the way they have been since the inception of the ELCA?

Just a puzzle...  Or maybe a rhetorical question.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


They just need more time to be heard, so that those who think they want to depart can understand and come around to a more enlightened view of the world... ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on December 01, 2010, 11:18:52 PM
David, thanks for the response.  Since I wrote my post I spent a half hour going back over Tickle's book.  I have literally read it several times.  Paul Rohde wanted me to read it.  I have massive parts of it underlined.  It is hard to imagine what a bubble Tickle and those she is sucking in are living in.  She contends that the Emergent Church, spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew and responsive to the notion that particularity and exclusive truth claims are foolhardy today, is growing "exponentially."  I would like to see where this is happening.  In the face of severe persecution upwards of 100 million Christians are now in China.  South Korea in a relatively short period of time has risen to a very large portion of its population being Christian.  You could go on to Africa and you would be hard pressed to defend any notion that growth in these places grows out of a live and let live walking away from conversion of the lost so that we can all live together in peace.

Tickle speaks of the "hegemony" (the pride of place, the power) that fossilized reformation era protestants still want to believe is theirs to have.  Now pride of place is emerging in this new expression.  It is theologically bankrupt. It is really something that Zellmer would be enamored by it.  And bishops are to be guardians of the faith?  Better find a new era of a ministerium that can discern truth from nonsense.  When will we all see that power, hegemony, is made perfect in weakness.  Strength is in God alone

Thanks for your leadership in the reconfigurataion of Lutheranism.  Your journalistic gifts are helpful to say the least.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on December 01, 2010, 11:49:30 PM
David, thanks for the response.  Since I wrote my post I spent a half hour going back over Tickle's book.  I have literally read it several times.  Paul Rohde wanted me to read it.  I have massive parts of it underlined.  It is hard to imagine what a bubble Tickle and those she is sucking in are living in.  She contends that the Emergent Church, spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew and responsive to the notion that particularity and exclusive truth claims are foolhardy today, is growing "exponentially."  I would like to see where this is happening.  In the face of severe persecution upwards of 100 million Christians are now in China.  South Korea in a relatively short period of time has risen to a very large portion of its population being Christian.  You could go on to Africa and you would be hard pressed to defend any notion that growth in these places grows out of a live and let live walking away from conversion of the lost so that we can all live together in peace.

Tickle speaks of the "hegemony" (the pride of place, the power) that fossilized reformation era protestants still want to believe is theirs to have.  Now pride of place is emerging in this new expression.  It is theologically bankrupt. It is really something that Zellmer would be enamored by it.  And bishops are to be guardians of the faith?  Better find a new era of a ministerium that can discern truth from nonsense.  When will we all see that power, hegemony, is made perfect in weakness.  Strength is in God alone

Thanks for your leadership in the reconfigurataion of Lutheranism.  Your journalistic gifts are helpful to say the least.

As the Good Book says, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  Generation after generation, Satan plants in our midst the same heresies and the same worldly idols to worship. 

I am saddened to see Lutheran leaders pushing this, uh, stuff.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on December 02, 2010, 12:05:42 AM

I ask (in utter amazement):
Say what? I say I hope he finds a place to minister in the ELCA and you call it "patronizing"! On what grounds? What is wrong with you people? Are we yet again in one of those full-moon cycles where something is automatically wrong, mean, un-yada yada yada simply because I or Pastor Stoffregen say it?
Good grief!!!

I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but the difficulty for many of us, who have read your posts over the years, is that we know that you are very careful in choosing your words. You did not say that you simply hoped pastor Orovitz would find a place to minister in the ELCA. What you said is that you hoped that he could find a place where he could serve "appropriately and responsibly". This might make people draw the conclusion that you were implying that there are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for him to serve given his "traditionalist leanings."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 02, 2010, 12:09:46 AM
    To be fair to Bishop Zellmer, here is the portion of his email communication to the synod that speaks of Tickle's book:

"My sabbatical was filled with travel, conversations with old friends and new, some time for play and some work. My favorite book during my sabbatical was, The Great Emergence, by Dr Phyllis Tickle. Very thought provoking and I recommend to all of you."

    
    I have never read this book and am not at all familiar with it.  I really can't tell from this letter why this book was his favorite during his sabbatical.  (I have read some other things by her and so I am concerned, but I'm not sure I can find all that others are finding in these three short sentences.)  Maybe in the near future I will learn more about what my bishop is finding so thought provoking in this book, and why.  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 02, 2010, 03:34:29 AM
Pastor Keener writes (emphasis added):
I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but the difficulty for many of us, who have read your posts over the years, is that we know that you are very careful in choosing your words. You did not say that you simply hoped pastor Orovitz would find a place to minister in the ELCA. What you said is that you hoped that he could find a place where he could serve "appropriately and responsibly". This might make people draw the conclusion that you were implying that there are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for him to serve given his "traditionalist leanings."

I comment:
Well, Duh! There are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for me (or you, or anyone else on this discussion board) to minister "appropriately and responsibly". That might be because of "traditionalist leanings" or it might be because of a gazillion-dozen other reasons. The last time I thought I should be looking for a call, a bishop would tell me, "well, we have some open parishes, but I'm not sure any are appropriate for you." O.k. No big deal.
So: Yes, I hope that pastors looking for a call, an interim, a Sunday morning supply assignment, or a nearby Starbucks find a place where they can minister "appropriately and responsibly." Good grief!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 07:22:45 AM

Say what? I say I hope he finds a place to minister in the ELCA and you call it "patronizing"! On what grounds? What is wrong with you people?

Perhaps this might help focus the conversation:

http://www.noogenesis.com/game_theory/johari/johari_window.html (http://www.noogenesis.com/game_theory/johari/johari_window.html)

The subtext for this forum is the perception of not being heard, but rather being talked at with increasing volume.  To answer your questions, study the blind window.


Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on December 02, 2010, 07:49:36 AM
Pastor Keener writes (emphasis added):
I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but the difficulty for many of us, who have read your posts over the years, is that we know that you are very careful in choosing your words. You did not say that you simply hoped pastor Orovitz would find a place to minister in the ELCA. What you said is that you hoped that he could find a place where he could serve "appropriately and responsibly". This might make people draw the conclusion that you were implying that there are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for him to serve given his "traditionalist leanings."

I comment:
Well, Duh! There are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for me (or you, or anyone else on this discussion board) to minister "appropriately and responsibly". That might be because of "traditionalist leanings" or it might be because of a gazillion-dozen other reasons. The last time I thought I should be looking for a call, a bishop would tell me, "well, we have some open parishes, but I'm not sure any are appropriate for you." O.k. No big deal.
So: Yes, I hope that pastors looking for a call, an interim, a Sunday morning supply assignment, or a nearby Starbucks find a place where they can minister "appropriately and responsibly." Good grief!

Quite honestly, I was sincere when I said that I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  I was simply pointing out why some probably would not. Many of your posts are sarcastic, condescending and have a mean spirited edge to them. For instance, I began my post with, "I will give you the benefit of the doubt," you began your reply with, "Well Duh!" You remind me of the guy who stands in the fellowship hall with arms crossed, scowling at everyone and then complains that the church isn't friendly when no one talks to him. Anyway, all I'm saying is that there are reasons beyond content for why people react to you the way they do. You may want to consider a style change.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 02, 2010, 08:08:56 AM
If this means that they can no longer respect our leaders (even when they disagree), provide their fair share of support to our common mission, or otherwise take part responsibly in the ELCA, then to follow their consciences and convictions, they should leave.

No, I do not wish for people to leave and have said so many times.

The utter contradiction and hypocrisy in your statements continues to astound me. 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 02, 2010, 08:30:00 AM
Once again. Read very s-l-o-w-l-y.
I do not wish for people to leave. I understand why some do. I do not understand why some do not.

Admissions from this humble correspondent:
Occasional sarcasm.
Occasional satire.
Frequent frustration.
At times anger.

Non-admissions:
Being a hypocrite
Being mean-spirited

BTW I have passels of friends and colleagues who seek me out, laugh at my jokes, share most of my concerns, read what I write and think that I'm a reasonable decent guy. I believe that I speak, act and write the same among them as I do online.
It is only here - in this forum - that a few people (usually those who disagree with me) seem to see me as a scary creature they would meet in a Star Wars bar on a distant planet.

Now I shall try to go back to my usual policy of not responding to anonymous posters.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 02, 2010, 09:34:27 AM
Pastor Keener writes (emphasis added):
I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but the difficulty for many of us, who have read your posts over the years, is that we know that you are very careful in choosing your words. You did not say that you simply hoped pastor Orovitz would find a place to minister in the ELCA. What you said is that you hoped that he could find a place where he could serve "appropriately and responsibly". This might make people draw the conclusion that you were implying that there are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for him to serve given his "traditionalist leanings."

I comment:
Well, Duh! There are places in the ELCA where it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for me (or you, or anyone else on this discussion board) to minister "appropriately and responsibly". That might be because of "traditionalist leanings" or it might be because of a gazillion-dozen other reasons. The last time I thought I should be looking for a call, a bishop would tell me, "well, we have some open parishes, but I'm not sure any are appropriate for you." O.k. No big deal.
So: Yes, I hope that pastors looking for a call, an interim, a Sunday morning supply assignment, or a nearby Starbucks find a place where they can minister "appropriately and responsibly." Good grief!

Quite honestly, I was sincere when I said that I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  I was simply pointing out why some probably would not. Many of your posts are sarcastic, condescending and have a mean spirited edge to them. For instance, I began my post with, "I will give you the benefit of the doubt," you began your reply with, "Well Duh!" You remind me of the guy who stands in the fellowship hall with arms crossed, scowling at everyone and then complains that the church isn't friendly when no one talks to him. Anyway, all I'm saying is that there are reasons beyond content for why people react to you the way they do. You may want to consider a style change.

Co-sign.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 09:34:47 AM

BTW I have passels of friends and colleagues who seek me out, laugh at my jokes, share most of my concerns, read what I write and think that I'm a reasonable decent guy.

  Then how do you account for the fact that a large passel of folks here have very different opinions, other than the "What's wrong with you people?" approach to self examination?

   IMHO, this is all of a piece with this particular topic/forum.  The original results of the study process made clear the church did not want (or were not ready for, depending on your orientation) to make changes that were being suggested.  When the changes happened anyway, a large percentage of the ELCA believed themselves not heard.  The distrust is still fairly deep and, IMHO, the only reason things are not as bad as they could be (and they are already pretty bad) is that pastors are doing all they can to limit the damage this is doing to their own congregations.

 As your posts continue to make clear you are a supporter of the ELCA and the changes, what does it mean so many here receive you the same way; dismissive and "unhearing?"  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: DCharlton on December 02, 2010, 09:46:49 AM
Somebody (to distinguish him from Charles Austin's manifold "someone") responds to my non-anonymous post:  

Someone writes (re my recent comments):
And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.

I comment:
Totally, completely, absolutely untrue. Most of the people here are definitely not those things. You, "someone," are way too loose with your language.

I reply:
Dear Somebody,

You are rather loose with your language.  To begin with, you know quite well who wrote those words.  Secondly, you are the one who has been throwing around the terms sleazy politician, disingenuous, coward, etc...  But I admit you are good at what you do.  With your passive agression you succeed quite well in baiting other members of this forum.  

David Charlton
 
 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 09:50:17 AM

BTW I have passels of friends and colleagues who seek me out, laugh at my jokes, share most of my concerns, read what I write and think that I'm a reasonable decent guy. I believe that I speak, act and write the same among them as I do online.
It is only here - in this forum - that a few people (usually those who disagree with me) seem to see me as a scary creature they would meet in a Star Wars bar on a distant planet.

Now I shall try to go back to my usual policy of not responding to anonymous posters.

FWIW, Charles -- and I've observed this on the forum a few times over the years -- you describe well the Charles Austin I knew for years on LutherLink and the Charles Austin I've conversed with at Churchwide Assemblies -- including the last one.  The Charles Austin who has been posting on this forum the last five years or so?  Not so much.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 02, 2010, 09:55:50 AM
Steven's comments might make me look back at some postings and consider whether I was clear enough or stylish enough. We shall see.
Meanwhile, my basic position has not changed: the ELCA is a church body in which the gospel is preached and the sacraments administered and those who have the privilege of being its "public ministers," whether ordained or rostered as lay people, should fairly and adequately support it. If their conscience or allegiance to a higher power is so much in conflict with that privilege that they cannot live up to their obligations, they have some serious decisions to make.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on December 02, 2010, 10:00:11 AM
Erma, I would commend your reading the book.  Yes, it is very possible to over react to a simple statement in Zellmer's word to synod pastors and others.  I would be surprised, however, if after reading this book you found it innocuous.  I believe we need discernment among our bishops and recommending this book would be good if there was a clear caveat that this is highly suspect on numerous fronts.  Don't have time here and now to enumerate them.  Off to work for the morning.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 02, 2010, 10:20:02 AM
Yes, this goes to Steven's point, but my extended point is that if PB Hanson called some of those congregations who were taking votes, it might actually hurt more than less.  


Well, let me confess here that the goal for further listening and talking would be to 1) for the Presiding Bishop (and synodical Bishops) to acknowledge his culpability (yes, mea maxima culpa) and 2) repent himself and lead the appropriate expressions of the ELCA into repentance with even more determination than he lead us into error.  Or if he is still unable or unwilling to do so, at the very least he could be convinced that peaceful accomodation is preferable to Swartling's Jacobin hardball.

kyrie eleison, spt+

I know Steven, and I would have the same perspective (re:listening).

My parents asked me after one of the recent exchanges I had with my ex-wife, where she for the umpteenth time went over the long litany of my errors while conceding none of her own, why I didn't ask why she didn't ask for my forgiveness after I had, for the umpteenth time, confessed my sins and asked for hers.  My response is that (I think) from her perspective she does not have any sense that she sinned, and hence she doesn't feel that there is anything to be forgiven.

I think that there is a similar condition present within the ELCA.  We (the traditionalists) are asked over and over again to confess our sins (and we ought to rightly confess when and where we have sinned) but the "other side" sees no sins on their part to confess.  We saw that played out in the "Confession" rite used in the reception ceremony in the SP Synod, I hear it in the discourse on this forum.  The closest that we get to a shared admission of sin is "Well, we're sorry you're offended and that you might feel the need to go somewhere else..."

I just don't have a feeling that anyone on the "pro-change" party really has a sense that a sin has been committed, and hence needs to be repented of.  Remember, contrition is a key part of confession and lack of contrition is valid grounds for the witholding of absolution.

Anyway, I agree with you...  I just don't have a sense that is possible at this moment....  Maybe in time.  Maybe in time.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 10:39:07 AM

I just don't have a feeling that anyone on the "pro-change" party really has a sense that a sin has been committed, and hence needs to be repented of.  Remember, contrition is a key part of confession and lack of contrition is valid grounds for the witholding of absolution.


  And perhaps the greater sin is an unwillingness to own the role they've played in fracturing the church...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 02, 2010, 10:50:22 AM
David, thanks for the response.  Since I wrote my post I spent a half hour going back over Tickle's book.  I have literally read it several times.  Paul Rohde wanted me to read it.  I have massive parts of it underlined.  It is hard to imagine what a bubble Tickle and those she is sucking in are living in.  She contends that the Emergent Church, spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew and responsive to the notion that particularity and exclusive truth claims are foolhardy today, is growing "exponentially."  I would like to see where this is happening.  In the face of severe persecution upwards of 100 million Christians are now in China.  South Korea in a relatively short period of time has risen to a very large portion of its population being Christian.  You could go on to Africa and you would be hard pressed to defend any notion that growth in these places grows out of a live and let live walking away from conversion of the lost so that we can all live together in peace.

Tickle speaks of the "hegemony" (the pride of place, the power) that fossilized reformation era protestants still want to believe is theirs to have.  Now pride of place is emerging in this new expression.  It is theologically bankrupt. It is really something that Zellmer would be enamored by it.  And bishops are to be guardians of the faith?  Better find a new era of a ministerium that can discern truth from nonsense.  When will we all see that power, hegemony, is made perfect in weakness.  Strength is in God alone

Thanks for your leadership in the reconfigurataion of Lutheranism.  Your journalistic gifts are helpful to say the least.

I have made an attempt to see what all the excitement surrounding the emergent church was and found a book entitled "Why We're not Emergent" by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck that was very helpful from the viewpoint of a traditionalist. From this book and other materials I've read, it seems that nobody can definitively say what the emergent church is other than that it is emerging. Tickle's contention that the Emergent Church is spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew may be true for some few self-styled "emergent's", and they are all self-styled, but it is not the case for most of them.  

Her reference to the "hegemony" that fossilized reformation era protestants is hardly a new thought since Malanchton warned against turning the Eucharist into a "trafficking of priests". The emergent answer to that fossilization is to not have either a Eucharist or a Priest. The power of the emergent movement is in allowing the individual to work their way through a faith journey without external requirements. That is also it's weakness.

The PB, Bp Zellner, and Ms Tickle are, once again, woefully behind the curve concerning the significance of the Emergent Movement. While the Jesus Seminar may be one faction claiming the Emergent church, the term is so malleable the there could just as easily be a orthodox emergent movement in the not too distant future. That possibility is one of the ideas that I gleaned from "Why We're not Emergent".
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 02, 2010, 11:09:48 AM

I just don't have a feeling that anyone on the "pro-change" party really has a sense that a sin has been committed, and hence needs to be repented of.  Remember, contrition is a key part of confession and lack of contrition is valid grounds for the witholding of absolution.


  And perhaps the greater sin is an unwillingness to own the role they've played in fracturing the church...

Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 11:14:58 AM


Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.


  That was/is to be expected and was predicted pre-assembly action.  It's what happened in TEC before they really started to fall apart.  With most of the traditionalists gone, TEC now has to deal with the reality of their continuing rapid decline as a church.  They can't blame the haters anymore, it's all on them.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 02, 2010, 11:29:14 AM


Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.


  That was/is to be expected and was predicted pre-assembly action.  It's what happened in TEC before they really started to fall apart.  With most of the traditionalists gone, TEC now has to deal with the reality of their continuing rapid decline as a church.  They can't blame the haters anymore, it's all on them.

Yet, if my experience with my ex-wife is any indication, there is always a way to place blame on someone else.  Scapegoating is a powerful psychological phenomenon, and once you have driven off the poor goat, people seem to find a way to keep placing the blame on the same goat, even at a distance.

If you look at the TEC, for example (who are several years "ahead" of us in the conflict process), I still hear anger at the "traditionalists," even though they've gone, at "robbing" the denomination of diocese's and resources.  I would guess, for the near term at least, you will continue to hear the blame for the ELCA's trevails placed primarily on the necks of those "stiff-necked" traditionalists who "took their ball and went home."  (Don't believe me?  Look at the "Letters" page of the current issue of The Lutheran.)  We have yet to deal with the nostalgia of the not so long ago days when the ELCA had "over 5,000,000 members" and a whole bunch more congregations. 

Things should be interesting at the 2011 Synod assemblies when, on a local level, several synods will meet with substantially fewer folks in the room.  My understanding is that in places like NE Iowa Synod, La Crosse Area Synod, and couple of others, there will be such a drop in congregations and delegates that the room's/spaces needed will be substantially smaller or the room will seem almost too big.

Watch and wait...  I think the realization of what has really happened will come with these Synod Assemblies.  But I would still guess that the (primary) blame will be leveled at those who have gone, not those who have repeatedly forced the action.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: racin_jason on December 02, 2010, 12:16:25 PM
I've been thinking lately about the ELCA departures compared to TEC.

We've had more churches leave the ELCA than TEC, right?

What about even when we account for proportion?  

The reason pose the question is that perhaps those who advocated change in the ELCA anticipated a reaction (departure-wise) gauged on what happened in TEC post Gene Robinson. Sure they suffered some atrophy, but the levels were perceived as "manageable".

Then along come CWA09 quickly followed by a CORE convention with LCMC in the mix along then NALC and suddenly you've got enough Lutherans who are worked up into a lather that that Higgins Road realizes they have a real problem on their hand.

They underestimated the reaction. Hence these new procedures. Granted they do clear up some questionable practices (immediate re-voting) but are clearly geared toward making it more difficult to leave the ELCA.

Between the fact that in TEC churches can't take their property with them, along with the fact that the denominational-slide is much further along hence they are less spiritually vital than the ELCA leads me to conclude TEC was a poor choice to use as a canary in the coal mine.  

BTW, Can anyone affirm the changes proposed in this thread are anything beyond hearsay? I didn't see anything in the ELCA news-service.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on December 02, 2010, 01:57:11 PM
I may have not spoken quite as clearly as I should have.  Phyllis Tickle speaks very favorably of the impact of folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar.  You are right, Gary, that it is very hard to pin down what marks the Emergent Church movement.  I have read mostly McLaren, and he surely is charting a most unusual course for the Church's future.

Tickle wrestles with the question of authority, which all have to face.  She goes with the usual critique of those who speak of the Word's authority.  Ten interpreters all see a passage differently.  The only conclusion is that this blows holes in any notion of the authority of Scriptures.

As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 02, 2010, 02:03:52 PM
That's an interesting last name she has.
 ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2010, 02:04:00 PM

BTW I have passels of friends and colleagues who seek me out, laugh at my jokes, share most of my concerns, read what I write and think that I'm a reasonable decent guy.

  Then how do you account for the fact that a large passel of folks here have very different opinions, other than the "What's wrong with you people?" approach to self examination?

Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.

Quote
As your posts continue to make clear you are a supporter of the ELCA and the changes, what does it mean so many here receive you the same way; dismissive and "unhearing?"  

It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me." He couldn't fathom that I had heard him and understood his argument, but still did not agree with him. (I told him what I thought his argument was, and he agreed that I understood it.)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 02, 2010, 02:11:54 PM
It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2010, 02:17:38 PM
It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steverem on December 02, 2010, 02:40:20 PM
It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

I've always found it odd how some in the church are quick to identify their revisionist positions as "prophetic."  Seems to me that the price paid by those in the Bible who claimed to be prophets but were later found out as false was pretty severe.

To channel the late Janis Joplin, "Prophetic's just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'"   ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 02:49:30 PM
As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.

 A few months back John Ortberg posted on his blog that speakers at a recent church planter conference said no one is talking about the Emerging Church movement.  As a church expansion effort it is viewed as dead by those who are effetively growing congregations with younger generations.  Agree or disagree with him, Ortberg represents a stream of the prevailing church within Presybeterian circles.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 02, 2010, 02:49:40 PM

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

If it bears up against against scrutiny using Scripture and Scriptural tradition, that's how.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 02:55:00 PM

Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.


Oh please.  One hallmark of his posts is a near complete lack of biblical or theological support for his assertions. They are mostly personal opinions bluntly and sarcastically authored and sent. And if called on them, they get worse.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 02, 2010, 03:02:08 PM
Brian, you are spot-on.That's why I urge everyone simply to ignore the one making these comments. Responding is only facilitating more of the same. Sometimes the best way to deal with a child having a temper-tantrum is to let them cry it out and ignore them. The same principle applies here.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 02, 2010, 03:02:30 PM

 A few months back John Ortberg posted on his blog that speakers at a recent church planter conference said no one is talking about the Emerging Church movement.  As a church expansion effort it is viewed as dead by those who are effetively growing congregations with younger generations.  Agree or disagree with him, Ortberg represents a stream of the prevailing church within Presybeterian circles.

That tip by itself was worth logging on for today. Thanks!

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 02, 2010, 03:06:12 PM
Oh, rats, as usual, The LCMS is hitching itself up to a movement already fading into memory. Oh, well.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 02, 2010, 03:13:29 PM
The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members?

Tim notes: After I got through laughing, I only had one question, "How long have you been involved in life on this planet and in the church?"  :D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 03:13:57 PM
That tip by itself was worth logging on for today. Thanks!

Peace,
Michael

Here's a link to his comments.  

http://johnortberg.com/?p=149 (http://johnortberg.com/?p=149)

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 02, 2010, 03:17:58 PM
I may have not spoken quite as clearly as I should have.  Phyllis Tickle speaks very favorably of the impact of folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar.  You are right, Gary, that it is very hard to pin down what marks the Emergent Church movement.  I have read mostly McLaren, and he surely is charting a most unusual course for the Church's future.

Tickle wrestles with the question of authority, which all have to face.  She goes with the usual critique of those who speak of the Word's authority.  Ten interpreters all see a passage differently.  The only conclusion is that this blows holes in any notion of the authority of Scriptures.

As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.

I may have to spend my hard earned money to buy a copy of Tickle's book just to understand where Bishop X, Y, or Z is coming from.

What I see in the emergent church (and some mainline churches) is indeed something new. It is a church that claims to be the future of religion because it can be coherent within secular society. This new spirit may be ascendant within the our culture (dominated by the politically correct ideology of middle/upper class liberal professionals) where free will is over-valued. However, being dominant and having the faith handed down by the Apostles isn't the same thing and doesn't make it Christian. If someone is more concern about retaining their property than they are about defending the faith then the suggested changes to procedures for leaving the ELCA may keep some (uninformed) congregations in the ELCA. OTOH, it may motivate some congregations to shake the the dust from their sandals.


Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 02, 2010, 04:21:27 PM
So I am supposed to be more caring, kind, understanding, pastoral or whatever to people here, but ptmccain gets to say that others in this discussion should be ignored or are children having tempter tantrums. And he says he ignores the posts of certain people, but wait! that is only true except when he wants tell others how awful those people are. What's up with that?

Pastor Hughes writes (re my comments:)
One hallmark of his posts is a near complete lack of biblical or theological support for his assertions. They are mostly personal opinions bluntly and sarcastically authored and sent.

I muse:
And give yourself the pleasure of scrolling back through the last 100 posts of Pastor Hughes. See how much "biblical or theological support for his assertions" you find there. You will find mostly one-liners, sometimes just an emoticon, sneering at the comments of others. Or "personal opinions" fed by some management guru fad or who knows what. 

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 02, 2010, 04:28:21 PM
.

I muse:
And give yourself the pleasure of scrolling back through the last 100 posts of Pastor Hughes. See how much "biblical or theological support for his assertions" you find there. You will find mostly one-liners, sometimes just an emoticon, sneering at the comments of others. Or "personal opinions" fed by some management guru fad or who knows what. 



   Yeah, but most of the people here like me ...   :P
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2010, 04:36:30 PM
Brian, you are spot-on.That's why I urge everyone simply to ignore the one making these comments. Responding is only facilitating more of the same. Sometimes the best way to deal with a child having a temper-tantrum is to let them cry it out and ignore them. The same principle applies here.

That's exactly the principle presiding bishop Hanson asked the CWA to use during the demonstration in Orlando -- and many criticized him for doing it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2010, 04:37:23 PM
The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members?

Tim notes: After I got through laughing, I only had one question, "How long have you been involved in life on this planet and in the church?"  :D

I believe that my answer to both is "longer than you."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Cnehring on December 02, 2010, 05:31:25 PM
The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members?

Tim notes: After I got through laughing, I only had one question, "How long have you been involved in life on this planet and in the church?"  :D

I believe that my answer to both is "longer than you."

As I asked the bishop when he was at the congregations I serve, "what about the communion of saints" in his response that what the CWA decreed, so it was the "church" speaking, so Brian, here, once again states the interesting definition of the wider church-as though the ELCA "speaks" for the Church catholic.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 02, 2010, 05:35:01 PM
It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

Brian, you raised the CWA voting member defense in an earlier post. I do not aggree that Voting Members at a CWA really represent the whole church when they are really determined by "quotas" and "politics." I made a response to that issue in your earlier post and it went as follows:

"But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push. So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals."



Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 06:24:42 PM

I think that there is a similar condition present within the ELCA.  We (the traditionalists) are asked over and over again to confess our sins (and we ought to rightly confess when and where we have sinned) but the "other side" sees no sins on their part to confess.  We saw that played out in the "Confession" rite used in the reception ceremony in the SP Synod, I hear it in the discourse on this forum.


Actually, if I'm reading those, uh, confession (?) rites rightly, they are confessing (what they believe to be) our sins.  Though I suppose a possible intent is to confess in solidarity with us -- should we happen to show up.

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 06:34:00 PM

BTW, Can anyone affirm the changes proposed in this thread are anything beyond hearsay? I didn't see anything in the ELCA news-service.

The proposal has been confirmed by the official observer of Lutheran CORE to the last ELCA Church Council meeting.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2010, 06:46:23 PM
It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

Brian, you raised the CWA voting member defense in an earlier post. I do not aggree that Voting Members at a CWA really represent the whole church when they are really determined by "quotas" and "politics." I made a response to that issue in your earlier post and it went as follows:

"But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push. So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals."

There have been many years where I've been the only one from a congregation to attend a synod assembly -- especially when the congregation was not willing to pay for anyone to attend. However, except for their time, the ELCA pays for the voting members to travel and attend the churchwide assembly.

It is not fair to blame the people who are committed enough (or have a particular agenda) so that they will attend synod and churchwide assemblies as voting members. I have told people directly who complain about what the voting members did to make themselves available to be a voting member at the next CWA.  I don't know of anyone who has taken up that challenge. If "traditionalists" are not willing to use the process we have in place, they shouldn't blame those who do use it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 02, 2010, 07:12:54 PM
The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members?

Tim notes: After I got through laughing, I only had one question, "How long have you been involved in life on this planet and in the church?"  :D

I believe that my answer to both is "longer than you."
Limitations on the number of daily posts looks better all the time . . .
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 07:14:10 PM
I've been thinking lately about the ELCA departures compared to TEC.


One of the differences is that organized departures from the Episcopal Church began in 1977 with the ordination of women and the new Book of Common Prayer (finally adopted in 1979).  

Another is that the changes in ordination practice (whether it be women or gays) and the acceptance of "progressive" ideology happened fairly gradually, whereas in the ELCA it seems to be more of a churchwide imposition.  Look, for example, at the seminary systems between the churches.  For all their differences, the ELCA seminaries are pretty homogenous in progressive theology and have been for over a generation.  Meanwhile, TEC seminaries still include Trinity (evangelical and generally traditionalist) and Nashotah House (Anglo-Catholic and generally traditionalist).  Or notice that even today there are TEC Bishops who publicly disagree on the matters that divide them, whereas the ELCA bishops continue to publicly portray a united front.

It is worth noting that the Episcopal Church has existed as "an institution" since 1789, while the ELCA goes all the way back to 1988.  That produces a rather different sort of loyalty in our churches, and that along side an historically more, uh, relaxed sense of theological unity among Episcopalians/Anglicans than among historic groups of Lutherans.

That's three factors -- note that they do not necessarily complement each other -- off the top of my head.  (I've been following the Episcopalians and those separating from them for some 20 years.)  

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 07:19:04 PM

To channel the late Janis Joplin, "Prophetic's just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'"   ;D

Actually, you're channeling Kris Kristofferson -- raised Lutheran!

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: totaliter vivens on December 02, 2010, 07:24:24 PM
A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict. But if one has strong convictions, this is not sufficient reason to leave.

Dissent is neither popular nor rewarding in the conventional sense. If your position is in the electoral minority, do not expect plum calls, committee appointments, or winning elections. The only way around this reality is to be unfailing in integrity, charity, and the willingness to work with your opponents whenever possible.

There is no escaping the reality that the Church is in God’s time. He will ultimately decide whether the ELCA flourishes or fails. I doubt any of us really likes being that dependent and not even the most faithful see other than the dim reflection of His Mercy.

I can’t stand some of my sisters and brothers in the faith. God brought us together and I must live with that.

The desert is not fun, yet it is the place where faithfulness is tested and the Providence of God revealed.

We all whine too much.

SPS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jramnes on December 02, 2010, 07:27:46 PM
It is not fair to blame the people who are committed enough (or have a particular agenda) so that they will attend synod and churchwide assemblies as voting members. I have told people directly who complain about what the voting members did to make themselves available to be a voting member at the next CWA.  I don't know of anyone who has taken up that challenge. If "traditionalists" are not willing to use the process we have in place, they shouldn't blame those who do use it.
I cannot believe the fool I have been. Here for all these years, I thought the church (in the sense of the ELCA) was guided by people who were attempting to interpret God's will for us, and now it comes out that the real guidance the agenda of people who are motivated enough to have the ELCA pay their way to the CWA.

C'mon, Brian, surely you didn't mean it to come out that way-that a certain group of people is "using" the process to get their way. Or perhaps you did?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jramnes on December 02, 2010, 07:30:35 PM
A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict. But if one has strong convictions, this is not sufficient reason to leave.

Dissent is neither popular nor rewarding in the conventional sense. If your position is in the electoral minority, do not expect plum calls, committee appointments, or winning elections. The only way around this reality is to be unfailing in integrity, charity, and the willingness to work with your opponents whenever possible.

There is no escaping the reality that the Church is in God’s time. He will ultimately decide whether the ELCA flourishes or fails. I doubt any of us really likes being that dependent and not even the most faithful see other than the dim reflection of His Mercy.

I can’t stand some of my sisters and brothers in the faith. God brought us together and I must live with that.

The desert is not fun, yet it is the place where faithfulness is tested and the Providence of God revealed.

We all whine too much.

SPS

Thank you.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 02, 2010, 07:36:52 PM

Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.

There is a difference between subtle nuances on a continuum of black through grays into white, and the gray of fog and whispy shadows.  As for who here is unable to deal with subtle nuances, your posts are about as subtly nuanced as a grove of trees in a fog bank.  Two years living at PLTS on Grizzley Peak [OUCH!] prepared me well for your posts and your metaphors.

kyrie eleison, spt+  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Ken Kimball on December 02, 2010, 09:19:14 PM
A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 02, 2010, 09:23:55 PM
Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.


Well, golly gee wiz, I thought that an M.Div from an accredited Seminary and an M.A. in Humanities with a major in Philosphy of Religion might have given me a little pollish or the ability to follow a reasonable argument.  But I guess that I have been found out.  As one who is traditional in my theology, I am a hick with no appreciation of subtlety who is either too ignorant or too stupid (or both) to understand such a refined scholar as Brian or Charles.

Reminds me of the time that I was patronized by the wife of a pastor in town who with her high school education and frequent attendance at feminist seminars of course knew way more than I did.  I think what upset her most, was that I was also better at cross stitch than she was.

One who just doesn't know any better.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 02, 2010, 09:47:24 PM
A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken

You may be right, Ken, in terms of whether ELCA recognition and conversation matters to you.  But it may matter to those of us remaining in the ELCA, as dissenters and loyal opposition.  And I think it matters, not because of what it might give to you and others in the NALC or LCMC, but of what it could give to the ELCA. 

But it is in God's hands.  And Christ has won the last battle already.  That I can be assured of.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mel Harris on December 02, 2010, 10:19:20 PM

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.


I agree with Pastor Kimball.  I doubt that many who are leaving expect that the ELCA will acknowledge their existence or engage them in meaningful conversation.


Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism.


While the ELCA may be the largest Lutheran church body in the United States for some time yet, it seems likely that before very many years there will be more Lutherans in this country who are not in the ELCA than are in it.


If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.


WordAlone and Lutheran CORE seem to have decided that the odds were against them having much influence upon the ELCA or upon others by working through the ELCA; therefore they have now focused their efforts on other ways of assisting Lutherans to remain faithful, whether or not they remain in the ELCA.


If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict.


I do agree that, as time goes on, it is likely to get more difficult for those who remain in the ELCA, unless they fully support the new policies and teachings of the ELCA.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 02, 2010, 10:46:29 PM
A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken

You may be right, Ken, in terms of whether ELCA recognition and conversation matters to you.  But it may matter to those of us remaining in the ELCA, as dissenters and loyal opposition.  And I think it matters, not because of what it might give to you and others in the NALC or LCMC, but of what it could give to the ELCA. 

But it is in God's hands.  And Christ has won the last battle already.  That I can be assured of.

If those who remain as dissenters and loyal opposition can stop this wholesale reinterpretation of the Augsburg Confession, the works of Luther, and the Loci Communes (not to mention the Bible) then they should be listed among the greatest Lutherans in reformation history. May God bless their witness.

Unfortunately, the merging of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC seems like a much more likely future for mainline denominations walking in lockstep with folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar. That may be a very large denomination but it won't be Lutheran.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: totaliter vivens on December 02, 2010, 11:47:59 PM

Unfortunately, the merging of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC seems like a much more likely future for mainline denominations walking in lockstep with folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar. That may be a very large denomination but it won't be Lutheran.


Tempting though it is to deal in worst case scenarios because it makes us seem so heroic, I cannot envisage a merger of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC. After the experience of the formation of the ELCA, structural unity has, I think left a bad taste in the mouths of American Lutherans likely to last a generation or two. These days, full communion is the preferred though by no means unproblematic approach.


I understand Ken’s and Mel’s perspectives, and have great respect for them personally. As I said, my observations were highly personal and subjective. The most painful and frustrating part of my 12-year “internal exile” in the ELCA was the shrinking of my pastoral world to the confines of my parish. At the point that any of us “holes up” in the parish we lose something essential to our understanding of Church, ministry, and mission.

SPS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 02, 2010, 11:53:54 PM
There is absolutely no theological reason why there should not be a merger. The reasons for maintaining separate corporate structures is not theological, but is merely institutional self-preservation. The ELCA has already "merged," where it counts and genuinely matters, with the United Church of Christ. The rapidly dwindling membership numbers in the ELCA, the UCC, the ECUSA, and the PCUSA will lead, inevitably, to a physical/structural merger in the next ten to twenty years.

While those who wish to remain in the ELCA and "fight the good fight" are demonstrating admirable courage and care for their immediate flock, I believe the better pastoral decision is to lead the sheep to safe pastures where there can be more assurance of an orthodox Christianity, which the ELCA continues to distance itself from.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mel Harris on December 03, 2010, 12:06:26 AM

The most painful and frustrating part of my 12-year “internal exile” in the ELCA was the shrinking of my pastoral world to the confines of my parish. At the point that any of us “holes up” in the parish we lose something essential to our understanding of Church, ministry, and mission.


From what I have seen, those who are "holed up" in their parish are staying in the ELCA, keeping quiet and trying to keep themselves and their congregations off the radar.  Others are finding colleagues and church fellowship and cooperation in reform or renewal groups and/or in another church body.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 01:09:20 AM
It is not fair to blame the people who are committed enough (or have a particular agenda) so that they will attend synod and churchwide assemblies as voting members. I have told people directly who complain about what the voting members did to make themselves available to be a voting member at the next CWA.  I don't know of anyone who has taken up that challenge. If "traditionalists" are not willing to use the process we have in place, they shouldn't blame those who do use it.
I cannot believe the fool I have been. Here for all these years, I thought the church (in the sense of the ELCA) was guided by people who were attempting to interpret God's will for us, and now it comes out that the real guidance the agenda of people who are motivated enough to have the ELCA pay their way to the CWA.

C'mon, Brian, surely you didn't mean it to come out that way-that a certain group of people is "using" the process to get their way. Or perhaps you did?

That is my response to those who believe that the "revisionists" were able to use the process to get their way. If that is true, then the "traditionalists" had exactly the same opportunities.

I believe that the folks at our churchwide and synod assemblies and even congregational meetings are guided by the Holy Spirit. I believe that the prayers that are offered before every major vote is answered by God. I believe that it is God's will that the ELCA is taking the steps it is taking at this time in our history.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 03, 2010, 06:42:37 AM

That is my response to those who believe that the "revisionists" were able to use the process to get their way. If that is true, then the "traditionalists" had exactly the same opportunities.


As one who has been a "traditionalist" all my life I can say although the opportunity was there, I never got the opportunity because I was not in the liberalist-revisionist camp. It was that side that got the actual opportunity. Some "traditionalists" got the opportunity but not many, even though an almost super-majority of the whole church is "traditionalist" in orientation.

My wife once had the opportunity to serve on the Justice and Social Change Committee of the NE Penn Synod of the LCA. She was the only "traditionalist" on the committee. The synod staff laison to the committee was an admitted Marxist. When my wife attended a NARAL meeting in Philadelphia with another committee member to ascertain whether or not the Synod should support NARAL, when her pro-life reservations were revealed she was asked, "What are you doing on this committee?" One pastor on the committee was so disqusted with her that he walked out of the room. All she did was report the facts of what NARAL was all about, and that it appeared that it would be inappropriate for the synod to support it. Fortunately the committee voted not to support NARAL with a synod grant.

How many notable "traditionalists" with outstanding credentials like Carl Braaten, Robert Bene, James Nestigen, are on a "do-not-call" list to speak at synod assemblies and other ELCA events? Where is the same opportunity?     
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 07:22:25 AM
The ones you mention - Dr. Braaten and Dr. Jenson, have had distinguished careers in the ELCA, teaching at its seminaries. Dr. Benne is not on the ELCA roster, but is a layman who has been on church committees.

And, Pastor Orovitz, it seems that your wife was probably treated unfairly in her work, and that is too bad.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Revbert on December 03, 2010, 07:40:02 AM
FWIW, as the secretary of one of those "oblivion"-destined church bodies (established 1967, by the way), i will say that the ELCA does recognize our existence, even if we are not seen as a "threat" (and, God forbid ANY church sees another as a "threat"). In fact, I get somewhat regular communication from the folks on Higgins Alley asking for denominational statistics, as well as what we're doing in mission and such.

YMMV
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 03, 2010, 08:28:38 AM
At the point that any of us “holes up” in the parish we lose something essential to our understanding of Church, ministry, and mission.

SPS


And sadly, that is exactly what continues now in the ELCA.  To have my own bishop tell me that there is no blacklist, that the call process is fair and equitable, and then (in response to a question of how another pastor filed papers 2 months after me and has already accepted a new call within our synod) to hear that he would be "reluctant to place me in a parish somewhere that I might someday in the future lead them out of the ELCA" has done just that to me:  exiled me into the confines of the parish I currently serve.

And for those here who apparently (according to Brian) don't understand "subtle nuances," let me summarize:  There is no blacklist in the ELCA.  And I'm on it.

And lest Charles decide to respond again, let me remind him that I stay anonymous on this forum, and his usual practice is to not respond to anonymous posters. 

I must say that I was hoping for something better in the discussions here than I currently get at synod assemblies and gatherings.  I'm saddened that it is more of the same, with the divide amongst ELCA leaders as sharp and pronounced as ever.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 03, 2010, 08:31:33 AM
The ones you mention - Dr. Braaten and Dr. Jenson, have had distinguished careers in the ELCA, teaching at its seminaries. Dr. Benne is not on the ELCA roster, but is a layman who has been on church committees.

And, Pastor Orovitz, it seems that your wife was probably treated unfairly in her work, and that is too bad.

And yet Dr. Braaten, along with ALL the others listed earlier, are openly critical of the ELCA's direction, and it has had no influence.  Once again, Charles, you completely sidestep the issue and keep missing the mark.

Remember, I'm anonymous, so stick to your guns and don't reply to an anonymous poster.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jramnes on December 03, 2010, 09:20:55 AM
It is not fair to blame the people who are committed enough (or have a particular agenda) so that they will attend synod and churchwide assemblies as voting members. I have told people directly who complain about what the voting members did to make themselves available to be a voting member at the next CWA.  I don't know of anyone who has taken up that challenge. If "traditionalists" are not willing to use the process we have in place, they shouldn't blame those who do use it.
I cannot believe the fool I have been. Here for all these years, I thought the church (in the sense of the ELCA) was guided by people who were attempting to interpret God's will for us, and now it comes out that the real guidance the agenda of people who are motivated enough to have the ELCA pay their way to the CWA.

C'mon, Brian, surely you didn't mean it to come out that way-that a certain group of people is "using" the process to get their way. Or perhaps you did?

That is my response to those who believe that the "revisionists" were able to use the process to get their way. If that is true, then the "traditionalists" had exactly the same opportunities.

I believe that the folks at our churchwide and synod assemblies and even congregational meetings are guided by the Holy Spirit. I believe that the prayers that are offered before every major vote is answered by God. I believe that it is God's will that the ELCA is taking the steps it is taking at this time in our history.
I can't help but ask-in theory, then, if a large group of what you call "traditionalists" DID make themselves available to serve as delegates to CWA, and they reversed the 2009 CWA actions, that would be God's will too? And the literally hundreds of congregational meetings where members are voting by overwhelming margins to leave the ELCA are also expressing God's will? Is God trying to confuse us by the contradictory actions of various bodies?

There is a higher authority than voting. Every person at any of these assemblies is a sinner and more than capable of making a mistake when casting a vote. We don't want to admit it, but there is more than God's will at work here on earth when we imperfect people meet in assembly. I suppose it's hard to give up on the idea that we always reflect how God wants things to be, but any reasonable person who takes a look at the world can come to no other conclusion.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 09:55:24 AM
Questions to all:
1. If a pastor, by word and deed, seems to be so disaffected with the ELCA that he or she is likely to lead a congregation out of the ELCA, is it surprising that a bishop - whose job it is to protect the congregations and the people in them and to minister on behalf of the ELCA - might not consider that pastor for a call?

2. Is not Dr. Braaten an ELCA theologian, on our roster in good status, who has had a distinguished career in the ELCA? He has been retired for several years and might not be on the "A List" of many people, but is he not a man with a generally good reputation among us? I would gladly go and hear him speak. Now... the fact that some say he has "had no influence" or that his current views do not seem to prevail simply doesn't matter. The same is true of Dr. Nestingen (although I do not know for certain whether he is still in the ELCA.)

3. How many of us, over the past decades, believe we were "passed over" for a call that we thought should have been ours, or asked a bishop to put our name up before a congregation and were told that he thought we were not quite right for that place? Happened to me. Happened to most pastors I know. Anyone here?


Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 03, 2010, 09:57:29 AM
There is absolutely no theological reason why there should not be a merger. The reasons for maintaining separate corporate structures is not theological, but is merely institutional self-preservation. The ELCA has already "merged," where it counts and genuinely matters, with the United Church of Christ. The rapidly dwindling membership numbers in the ELCA, the UCC, the ECUSA, and the PCUSA will lead, inevitably, to a physical/structural merger in the next ten to twenty years.

While those who wish to remain in the ELCA and "fight the good fight" are demonstrating admirable courage and care for their immediate flock, I believe the better pastoral decision is to lead the sheep to safe pastures where there can be more assurance of an orthodox Christianity, which the ELCA continues to distance itself from.

Twenty years out?  No one of us has a crystal ball, and I argue that it is impossible to predict what the denominational landscape will look like by that time.  But I also argue that you really don't understand how denominational mergers work, to so blithely predict such a huge change based on dwindling membership numbers alone.  And being Missouri Synod, there is no reason that you should understand that.  I'm not saying that is a shortcoming on your part; the LCMS has a strength that comes from its long history and scarcity of mergers in its structural life.  I am merely stating a fact.  (Now I won't be surprised if some cost-cutting measures are explored that would allow several of these denominations to share office space and bureaucratic work that minimizes some duplication; but it will not be a merger, no matter how it looks to you in the LCMS.)

And while I thank you for the compliment on courage (at least I take it as intended to be a compliment), your sage advice conveys, I believe, false comfort.  Safe pastures?  And where would that be?  In a Missouri Synod that is busy arguing whether women can serve as organists, since they lead the pastors in the singing of the liturgy; and in which pastors in the same winkle regularly excommunicate each other from the Sacrament of the Altar over the matter of laity reading a Scripture lesson in the Divine Service?  Do you really think such attention to doctrinal minutia will help you fortify the walls against the encroaching heresies ravaging the mainline denominations across the first world?  If you do think so, then I sincerely advise you to wake up and smell the incense.  There is no safe place, only places where the shepherds are ever alert and vigilent, and the sheep have been properly armed with the whole armour of God to withstand the storm that is yet to come.  

Attend to your own walls and watchtowers, Pastor.  And please stop advising me to abandon mine.

Erma Wolf, STS  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 10:14:33 AM
Erma,

Within the ELCA, it is my contention, based on careful reading and study and observation, and many ongoing private conversations with ELCA seminary students, that the seminary educational programs across that there is very little hope that the ELCA's clergy roster will be witnessing an ever increasing number of more orthodox Lutheran pastors. Just the opposite. And that is why I feel it is— and again this is only my  opinion—incumbent on the faithful pastors that remain to guard their flocks from false teaching and error.

And by false teaching and error I do not have in mind here relatively trivial matters, I'm talking about defending the most fundamental articles of the Christian faith, where they are given lip-service on paper, but in actuality there is grave doubt case on even the most basic truths of the Christian faith.

And, yes, I do regard the Missouri Synod as one of those greener and safer pastures. We have not institutionally embraced the apostate practice of ordaining actively homosexual men and women as clergy. We do not tolerate and tacitly endorse the murder of unborn children. We still, as an institution, give more than mere lip-service to the historic creeds of Christendom and the confessions of the Lutheran Church. We are in sync with the church catholic, historically and universally, in not ordaining women to the office of the ministry, a practice that brings with it a wholescale reconfiguration and redefinition of many truths of the Faith. The ELCA has compromised the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper and the doctrine of justification, by way of trading their Biblically Lutheran birthright for the pottage of modern ecumenism.

I would say that, from a human perspective, there is a much higher probability that the sheep will not be subjected to grave doctrinal error that can jeopardize their salvation. You are comparing apples to oranges, Erma, and I sincerely think that you know that, when you try to compare the grave heretical movements throughout the ELCA with a few oddball LCMS pastors here and there who do things, by way of practice, you may not like. If you in fact honestly think this is The LCMS, then you do not know us very well.

So, again, while I *do* admire the courage of those who want to "stay and fight," and particularly so in the case of pastors who honor the calls they have to their congregations, to guard and defend them, it remains my respectful opinion that ELCA clergy who are opposed to the grave errors within the ELCA should act to lead their flocks out and think beyond their own tenure as their congregations' pastors. There is little assurance that their flock will receive a faithful shepherd after they leave, again, from a human perspective, aware of what is being taught throughout ELCA seminaries and advocated by the ELCA leadership structure.

Further, I do not want, in any way, to make these comments and not make it very clear I understand the deep pain, anguish and torment so many are now going through in the ELCA as they take their stand and do what they feel they must do, in their own way, to oppose and resist the grave error that has overtaken the ELCA. I have heard directly from many and have listened to them as they, literally, weep over what is happening in their church body. I am not unsympathetic or unfeeling about the very real human emotional toll this is taking on people. I watch you, with tears, Erma, decline to join the NALC. I respect your heartfelt convictions and though I can not agree with you, I do not want you to think I do not both admire and appreciate your feelings in these matters!

I personally support and stand ready to help these moves in any way I possibly can. I am doing it right now at every opportunity I have and these opportunities are continually increasing. You may be surprised to know that the number of ELCA clergy who contact me privately has continued to increase from what was once a few contacts a months, to a few contacts every week. And what do I say to them? I never say, "Oh, come join The LCMS." Instead, I encourage them, I pray with them, I recommend resources they can use to teach the good solid truths of God's Word and I leave the "church political" issues to them, to figure out. If I am asked my opinion, I give it.

I do not expect many to come to The LCMS, that is not really my interest at all. I am passionate about the blood-bought souls of those who remain within the ELCA and are continually tempted to abandon the simple Faith they may have learned as children from the Small Catechism.

That's where I'm coming from.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on December 03, 2010, 10:18:28 AM
Questions to all:
1. If a pastor, by word and deed, seems to be so disaffected with the ELCA that he or she is likely to lead a congregation out of the ELCA, is it surprising that a bishop - whose job it is to protect the congregations and the people in them and to minister on behalf of the ELCA - might not consider that pastor for a call?

It might be the "job" of a bishop to minister on behalf of the ELCA, but the precise question is whether ministry on behalf of the ELCA is aligned or misaligned with ministry to the Word of God in his Church. In other words, doesn't the call of any ordained person transcend allegiance to the denomination? Isn't part of "testing the spirits" to have a healthy skepticism regarding any human institutions?

Presuming that bishops understanding their calls in this way, one would assume that their opposition to congregations voting to leave would, in fact, be a judgment that those congregations were acting in ways misaligned to the ministry of the Word of God in his Church.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 10:19:38 AM
ptmccain writes (re the people allegedly flocking to his counsel):
I do not expect many to come to The LCMS, that is not really my interest at all.

I muse:
Perhaps this is a teensy teeny-weeny iota of the dimmest "hope" in that there appears to be an admission here that there is salvation outside the LCMS. But I'm probably getting this wrong.  ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 03, 2010, 10:26:57 AM
Paul,

For the moment I'm staying and protecting.  There's not much fight left in me.  I think the word is distancing.  And I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have the votes to exit, probably a very strong majority, but not 2/3.  My leaving would turn this ministry over to someone else or it would mean leaving with all the key leaders and tithers.  Not sure either of those scenarios serves the Kingdom. The former runs the risk of abandoning them to a false shepherd, the later means rending the church just like is happening nationally.   So I carry the stress and hypertension that goes with all that and daily walk it out.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 10:28:31 AM
Brian, understood, brother.

I find quality trigger-time is very therapeutic for yours truly.

 :)

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 03, 2010, 10:37:47 AM
Brian, understood, brother.

I find quality trigger-time is very therapeutic for yours truly.

 :)



Not to put too fine a point on it, but when I show up I'm usually the best pistol shot on the range.  Next time you're in MD, let's punch some holes in paper.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 10:48:02 AM

That is my response to those who believe that the "revisionists" were able to use the process to get their way. If that is true, then the "traditionalists" had exactly the same opportunities.


As one who has been a "traditionalist" all my life I can say although the opportunity was there, I never got the opportunity because I was not in the liberalist-revisionist camp. It was that side that got the actual opportunity. Some "traditionalists" got the opportunity but not many, even though an almost super-majority of the whole church is "traditionalist" in orientation.

If so, shouldn't we expect an almost super-majority of our congregations to elect traditionalists to be voting members at synod assemblies, and wouldn't that almost super-majority elect the voting members to the churchwide assemblies? Why didn't/doesn't that happen?

Quote
My wife once had the opportunity to serve on the Justice and Social Change Committee of the NE Penn Synod of the LCA. She was the only "traditionalist" on the committee. The synod staff laison to the committee was an admitted Marxist. When my wife attended a NARAL meeting in Philadelphia with another committee member to ascertain whether or not the Synod should support NARAL, when her pro-life reservations were revealed she was asked, "What are you doing on this committee?" One pastor on the committee was so disqusted with her that he walked out of the room. All she did was report the facts of what NARAL was all about, and that it appeared that it would be inappropriate for the synod to support it. Fortunately the committee voted not to support NARAL with a synod grant.

So, are you complaining that the committee followed the advice of your traditionalists wife rather than the other member? This is how debate is supposed to work. Each side presents their arguments, and people vote.

Quote
How many notable "traditionalists" with outstanding credentials like Carl Braaten, Robert Bene, James Nestigen, are on a "do-not-call" list to speak at synod assemblies and other ELCA events? Where is the same opportunity?

I've heard Jim Nestigen at a couple different synod events.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 10:55:03 AM
I can't help but ask-in theory, then, if a large group of what you call "traditionalists" DID make themselves available to serve as delegates to CWA, and they reversed the 2009 CWA actions, that would be God's will too?

Yes. I would see it as God's for us at that particular time in history.

Quote
And the literally hundreds of congregational meetings where members are voting by overwhelming margins to leave the ELCA are also expressing God's will? Is God trying to confuse us by the contradictory actions of various bodies?

There are contradiction of God's will in Scriptures. So why should we be surprised when it happens in our lives. In Ezra, it was God's will that all Jewish men were to get rid of their foreign wives and children. In the book of Ruth, it was God's will that Boaz marry the foreign woman, Ruth.

Quote
There is a higher authority than voting. Every person at any of these assemblies is a sinner and more than capable of making a mistake when casting a vote. We don't want to admit it, but there is more than God's will at work here on earth when we imperfect people meet in assembly. I suppose it's hard to give up on the idea that we always reflect how God wants things to be, but any reasonable person who takes a look at the world can come to no other conclusion.

What process do you recommend for a church body to discern God's will without study, prayer, and a vote?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 10:58:16 AM
3. How many of us, over the past decades, believe we were "passed over" for a call that we thought should have been ours, or asked a bishop to put our name up before a congregation and were told that he thought we were not quite right for that place? Happened to me. Happened to most pastors I know. Anyone here?

Yup. Even had an assistant tell me that they had no good congregations for me in the synod -- one that is considered a "revisionist" synod. The assistant knew my abilities and what the open congregations needed, and I was not a good match.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 11:01:37 AM
The same is true of Dr. Nestingen (although I do not know for certain whether he is still in the ELCA.)

He is listed as rostered on the ELCA website.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 03, 2010, 11:06:17 AM
Erma,

And by false teaching and error I do not have in mind here relatively trivial matters, I'm talking about defending the most fundamental articles of the Christian faith, where they are given lip-service on paper, but in actuality there is grave doubt case on even the most basic truths of the Christian faith.
<snip>
I would say that, from a human perspective, there is a much higher probability that the sheep will not be subjected to grave doctrinal error that can jeopardize their salvation. You are comparing apples to oranges, Erma, and I sincerely think that you know that, when you try to compare the grave heretical movements throughout the ELCA with a few oddball LCMS pastors here and there who do things, by way of practice, you may not like. If you in fact honestly think this is The LCMS, then you do not know us very well.

Paul, thank you for your thoughtful reply.  I agree with much of what you write.  I only want to respond briefly to these two matters.
  1) I am also talking about defending the most fundamental articles of the Christian faith.  That is why I send this warning from the battlements over here:  don't think it can't happen in the LCMS.  You do have strengths the ELCA does not have (either never had or has wasted and foolishly, wickedly thrown away).  Nonetheless, attend to your walls and watchtowers and on the, as you say, most fundamental articles of the faith.  You are also at grave risk.
  2)  I know the LCMS that existed in my youth.  That LCMS no longer exists except in my memory.  Now, and for the past 20 years, the only LCMS I experience personally comes from the pastors I have met in STS (men whom I deeply respect and whose guidance I treasure), those I meet on this board, and those who have been in congregations in the communities of Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota. (Well, there is one other, but as he is family he gets to roll his eyes at me with impunity!  :D)  The ones on this board do, indeed, argue to excess (my view) about matters that are on the fringe and "oddball."  The ones in my current community in the Great Plains states do not care to talk with me, period.  I hear you and others saying, "Not everyone in the LCMS is like that" when I recount my personal experiences; but what you and others fail to take seriously is that for 360 days out of each year, the only experience I have of LCMS clergy in my community is of those who literally will not speak to me.  
    In spite of that, when I hear of parishoners leaving an ELCA congregation due to the decisions the ELCA has made on any one of a number of recent decisions, I do recommend nearby LCMS congregations.  I want them to remain Lutheran, and I trust what the LCMS teaches about the Christian faith.  But in this area of the country, there is no welcome there for me.  So be it.  

   Keep CPH strong and confessional.  That is the best way I and many others are helped and supported.

   And that's where I'm coming from.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 11:09:38 AM
Within the ELCA, it is my contention, based on careful reading and study and observation, and many ongoing private conversations with ELCA seminary students, that the seminary educational programs across that there is very little hope that the ELCA's clergy roster will be witnessing an ever increasing number of more orthodox Lutheran pastors. Just the opposite.

If by "orthodox" you mean, "like LCMS pastors," you are right, but it's been that way for decades. ALC and LCA pastors were not like LCMS pastors -- and were not considered "orthodox" by them, except for the brief fellowship between ALC & LCMS. I'm certain that Charles A., John P., and I consider ourselves orthodox in our beliefs; but we are not LCMS.

Quote
And by false teaching and error I do not have in mind here relatively trivial matters, I'm talking about defending the most fundamental articles of the Christian faith, where they are given lip-service on paper, but in actuality there is grave doubt case on even the most basic truths of the Christian faith.

One of the differences is the definition of "the most basic truths of the Christian faith." This difference was true in the 70's when the LCMS created a paper showing the differences between themselves and the ALC. (I thought that they were accurate in their depiction of the ALC.) It remains a difference between our denominations.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 11:17:34 AM
It might be the "job" of a bishop to minister on behalf of the ELCA, but the precise question is whether ministry on behalf of the ELCA is aligned or misaligned with ministry to the Word of God in his Church. In other words, doesn't the call of any ordained person transcend allegiance to the denomination? Isn't part of "testing the spirits" to have a healthy skepticism regarding any human institutions?

Scriptures are pretty clear about what "testing the spirits" means in 1 John 4:

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 11:36:15 AM
1) I am also talking about defending the most fundamental articles of the Christian faith.  That is why I send this warning from the battlements over here:  don't think it can't happen in the LCMS.

I know you are, and believe me, I do not. The price of orthodoxy is eternal vigilance, to borrow and adapt a phrase.

Quote
You are also at grave risk.

At grave risk in the sense of the devil prowling around like a roaring lion? Of course. At grave risk in the sense of our theological faculties denying and casting doubt on the articles of the Creed and Six Chief Parts? No.

Quote
the only experience I have of LCMS clergy in my community is of those who literally will not speak to me.

I can understand why this is upsetting to you. I can't blame you, at all, for the hurt feelings. I can only chalk it up to intense fear and I'm sorry you get swept up into the general fear all around.

Quote
Keep CPH strong and confessional.  That is the best way I and many others are helped and supported.

By God's grace and with His help, that is what we strive to do!

Thanks, Erma.

 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 12:34:41 PM
It might be the "job" of a bishop to minister on behalf of the ELCA, but the precise question is whether ministry on behalf of the ELCA is aligned or misaligned with ministry to the Word of God in his Church. In other words, doesn't the call of any ordained person transcend allegiance to the denomination? Isn't part of "testing the spirits" to have a healthy skepticism regarding any human institutions?

Scriptures are pretty clear about what "testing the spirits" means in 1 John 4:

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.



Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

That is the same idea expressed by Richard Swanson (a Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD religion department Professor) in the April 2008 issue of The Lutheran magazine. It is also parallels your statement that Jesus was not divine during His time on earth.

Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 03, 2010, 12:46:12 PM
I need to be tutored on how to respond to sections of a previous post. So I apologize for my post below to Brian Stoffregen. I guess I can identify with Charles Austin.

You said:
That is my response to those who believe that the "revisionists" were able to use the process to get their way. If that is true, then the "traditionalists" had exactly the same opportunities.

I said:
As one who has been a "traditionalist" all my life I can say although the opportunity was there, I never got the opportunity because I was not in the liberalist-revisionist camp. It was that side that got the actual opportunity. Some "traditionalists" got the opportunity but not many, even though an almost super-majority of the whole church is "traditionalist" in orientation.

Your Comeback:
If so, shouldn't we expect an almost super-majority of our congregations to elect traditionalists to be voting members at synod assemblies, and wouldn't that almost super-majority elect the voting members to the churchwide assemblies? Why didn't/doesn't that happen?

My Response:
As I stated to you earlier in another post, getting the traditionalist people to go is a difficult task, even though they represent a majority of the church. The people who want to get elected and do get elected to serve tend to be people who are interested in organizational power or have an issue they want the church to address, i.e., people with causes. It is interesting to be at synod assembly after synod assembly to see the same people get up again and again to speak about about the same cause that they are passionate about. The human sexuality debate was a prime example of that happening.

I said:
My wife once had the opportunity to serve on the Justice and Social Change Committee of the NE Penn Synod of the LCA. She was the only "traditionalist" on the committee. The synod staff laison to the committee was an admitted Marxist. When my wife attended a NARAL meeting in Philadelphia with another committee member to ascertain whether or not the Synod should support NARAL, when her pro-life reservations were revealed she was asked, "What are you doing on this committee?" One pastor on the committee was so disqusted with her that he walked out of the room. All she did was report the facts of what NARAL was all about, and that it appeared that it would be inappropriate for the synod to support it. Fortunately the committee voted not to support NARAL with a synod grant.

Your Comeback:
So, are you complaining that the committee followed the advice of your traditionalists wife rather than the other member? This is how debate is supposed to work. Each side presents their arguments, and people vote.


My Response:
I was amazed the committee voted the way they did and my wife has often wondered about how they might have voted if she had not been there to point out the inappropriateness of the funding request. I am certainly not complaining. The fact that I was highlighting is how the composition of that committee was "stacked" with liberalist/revisionists and my wife was the sole traditionalist on a committee of a dozen people.

I Asked:
How many notable "traditionalists" with outstanding credentials like Carl Braaten, Robert Bene, James Nestigen, are on a "do-not-call" list to speak at synod assemblies and other ELCA events? Where is the same opportunity?[/quote]

Your Comeback:
I've heard Jim Nestigen at a couple different synod events.

My Response:
I have also heard Nestigen at synod events, but not since he was forced to retire early from Luther Seminary (please correct me if I am wrong about that).
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 01:09:35 PM
Once again, Dr. Nestigen had a distinguished career; but exercise some common sense. Given what he has been saying about the ELCA in recent years, does it surprise you that he is not invited to synod events? He has found his audience among the Word Alone and CORE people.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jpetty on December 03, 2010, 01:22:25 PM
Once again, Dr. Nestigen had a distinguished career; but exercise some common sense. Given what he has been saying about the ELCA in recent years, does it surprise you that he is not invited to synod events? He has found his audience among the Word Alone and CORE people.

Actually, he has spoken at our synod assembly.  It was a few years ago, but after he was identified with WordAlone.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 02:48:01 PM
It might be the "job" of a bishop to minister on behalf of the ELCA, but the precise question is whether ministry on behalf of the ELCA is aligned or misaligned with ministry to the Word of God in his Church. In other words, doesn't the call of any ordained person transcend allegiance to the denomination? Isn't part of "testing the spirits" to have a healthy skepticism regarding any human institutions?

Scriptures are pretty clear about what "testing the spirits" means in 1 John 4:

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.



Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

That is the same idea expressed by Richard Swanson (a Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD religion department Professor) in the April 2008 issue of The Lutheran magazine. It is also parallels your statement that Jesus was not divine during His time on earth.

Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.

I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.) 1 John is speaking against Docetists who argued that Jesus was God who only seemed to be a human being. (I think of Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a godlike character who assumes human shape to interact with the humans.) I believe it is those who want to attribute to Jesus all of his divine powers and abilities and downplay the limitations of his humanness during his time on earth who are closer to the wrong spirit that 1 John talks about.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 02:55:01 PM
Once again, Dr. Nestigen had a distinguished career; but exercise some common sense. Given what he has been saying about the ELCA in recent years, does it surprise you that he is not invited to synod events? He has found his audience among the Word Alone and CORE people.

Actually, he has spoken at our synod assembly.  It was a few years ago, but after he was identified with WordAlone.

He, with Susan Briehl, also spoke at that synod's theological conference. He was identified with WordAlone, but it was before his "retirement".
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 02:58:29 PM
And probably before he started declaring that the ELCA was no longer "church".
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 02:58:37 PM
I was amazed the committee voted the way they did and my wife has often wondered about how they might have voted if she had not been there to point out the inappropriateness of the funding request. I am certainly not complaining. The fact that I was highlighting is how the composition of that committee was "stacked" with liberalist/revisionists and my wife was the sole traditionalist on a committee of a dozen people.

That is precisely why Charles and I have stated our desire for "traditionalists" to stay. Their voices are important. They are heard -- although the majority may not always agree with them.

Conversely, that's a big part of the reason I joined this forum. A more liberal voice needed to be heard even if the majority of posters disagree with me -- and occasionally, even some of the most conservative/traditional folks have agreed with me about some issues.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 03:01:52 PM
"Their voices are important. They are heard."

Why does this sound strangely like, "Some of my best friends are black people."

 ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: SteveS on December 03, 2010, 03:15:01 PM
Pr. McCain,

I think that is an unfair comment.  To compare skin color to theological leanings is not right.

Steve Shumate

"Their voices are important. They are heard."

Why does this sound strangely like, "Some of my best friends are black people."

 ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 03, 2010, 03:20:36 PM
That is precisely why Charles and I have stated our desire for "traditionalists" to stay. Their voices are important. They are heard -- although the majority may not always agree with them.


   ::)

  The church is coming apart and desires and wishes will not change that.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 03:39:59 PM

Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

That is the same idea expressed by Richard Swanson (a Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD religion department Professor) in the April 2008 issue of The Lutheran magazine. It is also parallels your statement that Jesus was not divine during His time on earth.

Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.

I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.) 1 John is speaking against Docetists who argued that Jesus was God who only seemed to be a human being. (I think of Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a godlike character who assumes human shape to interact with the humans.) I believe it is those who want to attribute to Jesus all of his divine powers and abilities and downplay the limitations of his humanness during his time on earth who are closer to the wrong spirit that 1 John talks about.

How is it that our historic creeds include the statement that Jesus is both fully man and fully God? If Jesus did not have divine powers and abilities why did Satan try to tempt Jesus to use those powers? I agree that Jesus was a man of human flesh but He is also God. If we can be both saint and sinner and God made us, why can't Jesus be both man and deity?

As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on December 03, 2010, 03:52:23 PM
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

I TA'd for an intro course to Christianity, and the prof required that book, which means I got to teach it in my discussion sessions.  It's a good way to see two people arguing on opposite sides of the same field.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 04:13:38 PM

Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

That is the same idea expressed by Richard Swanson (a Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD religion department Professor) in the April 2008 issue of The Lutheran magazine. It is also parallels your statement that Jesus was not divine during His time on earth.

Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.

I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.) 1 John is speaking against Docetists who argued that Jesus was God who only seemed to be a human being. (I think of Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a godlike character who assumes human shape to interact with the humans.) I believe it is those who want to attribute to Jesus all of his divine powers and abilities and downplay the limitations of his humanness during his time on earth who are closer to the wrong spirit that 1 John talks about.

How is it that our historic creeds include the statement that Jesus is both fully man and fully God? If Jesus did not have divine powers and abilities why did Satan try to tempt Jesus to use those powers? I agree that Jesus was a man of human flesh but He is also God. If we can be both saint and sinner and God made us, why can't Jesus be both man and deity?

Jesus is man and God, but as you indicated, when tempted to use godly powers, he did not. His limited himself to human powers and abilities during his time on earth. It's precisely this fact that gives us humans hope of the resurrection after death. If it was because Jesus had divine powers that brought about his resurrection, then there's no hope for us who do not have those divine powers. If, however, he refused to use any of his divine powers and died as a mortal human, while trusting his Father to act on his behalf when he could do nothing for himself; then we have the same hope and promise from the Father.

Quote
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

Haven't read the book. Don't have the book. However, I do have and have read Borg's book, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teaching, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary. This was published a year before The Meaning of Jesus. He writes on page 6 (italics in original):

Thus, for Christians, Jesus is utterly central. In a concise sentence, Jesus is for Christians the decisive revelation of God. Slightly more fully, Jesus reveals, discloses, what can be seen of God in a human life and what a life filled with God looks like. This affirmation defines what it means to be Christian. Christians find the decisive revelation of God and life with God in Jesus, just as Jews find the decisive revelation of God in the Torah and Muslims find the decisive revelation of God in the Qur'an.

Then on the next page:

Importantly, Jesus is not the revelation of "all" of God, but of what can be seen of God in human life. Some of God's traditional attributes of qualities cannot be seen in a human life. The omnipresence of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being cannot be present everywhere. The infinity of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being by definition is finite. So also omnipotence: a human being cannot be all-powerful and still be human. So also omniscience: what could it mean to say that a human is "omniscient" and that Jesus in particular was? That he would "know everything" -- including, for example, the theory of relativity and the capital of Oregon?

So there is much of God that cannot be seen in a human life. But -- and this is what matters -- what can be seen is the character and passion of God. By the "character of God," I mean simply "what God is like." By the "passion of God," I mean simply "what God is passionate about," what God most cares about, what concerns God most. The first is often called the nature of God, the second the will of God. This is what Jesus reveals: the character and passion, the nature and will, of God.

This sounds to me to be much like the opening chapter of John, especially if λόγος is translated "Revelation" rather than "Word". Jesus is the Word/Revelation of God. Borg goes on to argue that to say that Jesus is God, is docetism. If Jesus had all those divine "omni-" abilities, then he was not human. He was God appearing in human form.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 04:20:26 PM
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

I TA'd for an intro course to Christianity, and the prof required that book, which means I got to teach it in my discussion sessions.  It's a good way to see two people arguing on opposite sides of the same field.

Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

I think that the most charitable way that Borg's understanding of the pre-Easter Jesus is that He was "mostly human". You know kinda like the hero of the Princess Bride was "mostly dead".  ;D What is your take on it.

In the mean time, for those drinking the ELCA cool aid ala Borg, be reminded that resistance is futile.  :o
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 03, 2010, 04:23:02 PM
That is precisely why Charles and I have stated our desire for "traditionalists" to stay. Their voices are important. They are heard -- although the majority may not always agree with them.

and like the majority minority you represent, you would also be in the minority in your sentiments.  The ELCA cannot have it both ways:  they cannot want us to stay, but also tell us to shut up, which is PRECISELY what they are doing.  Or, more commonly, as was heard on more than one occasion at our synod assembly (affirmed numerous times by others in this forum), when one was critical of the direction the synod was going, there were mutterings from the floor, "well why don't you just leave then?"

Like it or not, that is the prevailing sentiment in the ELCA, no matter how you or Charles attempt to sidestep, ignore, deflect, or otherwise challenge the issue.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 04:27:13 PM
Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

Really Gary! Are you going to tell me that your relationship with the post-Easter Jesus is exactly the same as the relationship the disciples had with the pre-Easter Jesus? Do you shake hands with him, feel his arm on your shoulder, carry on a conversation with him, have him wash your feet, to name a few things the pre-Easter did with the disciples. Post-Easter Jesus appeared and disappeared. In John and Luke, he is clear that the relationship the disciples would have with him after the ascension would be through the Holy Spirit -- certainly a different kind of relationship than they had with the earthly Jesus.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2010, 04:29:40 PM
That is precisely why Charles and I have stated our desire for "traditionalists" to stay. Their voices are important. They are heard -- although the majority may not always agree with them.

and like the majority minority you represent, you would also be in the minority in your sentiments.  The ELCA cannot have it both ways:  they cannot want us to stay, but also tell us to shut up, which is PRECISELY what they are doing.  Or, more commonly, as was heard on more than one occasion at our synod assembly (affirmed numerous times by others in this forum), when one was critical of the direction the synod was going, there were mutterings from the floor, "well why don't you just leave then?"

Like it or not, that is the prevailing sentiment in the ELCA, no matter how you or Charles attempt to sidestep, ignore, deflect, or otherwise challenge the issue.

So, a report from one side about one synod assembly should be considered normative for all 65?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 04:50:10 PM

Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

That is the same idea expressed by Richard Swanson (a Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD religion department Professor) in the April 2008 issue of The Lutheran magazine. It is also parallels your statement that Jesus was not divine during His time on earth.

Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.

I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.) 1 John is speaking against Docetists who argued that Jesus was God who only seemed to be a human being. (I think of Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a godlike character who assumes human shape to interact with the humans.) I believe it is those who want to attribute to Jesus all of his divine powers and abilities and downplay the limitations of his humanness during his time on earth who are closer to the wrong spirit that 1 John talks about.

How is it that our historic creeds include the statement that Jesus is both fully man and fully God? If Jesus did not have divine powers and abilities why did Satan try to tempt Jesus to use those powers? I agree that Jesus was a man of human flesh but He is also God. If we can be both saint and sinner and God made us, why can't Jesus be both man and deity?

Jesus is man and God, but as you indicated, when tempted to use godly powers, he did not. His limited himself to human powers and abilities during his time on earth. It's precisely this fact that gives us humans hope of the resurrection after death. If it was because Jesus had divine powers that brought about his resurrection, then there's no hope for us who do not have those divine powers. If, however, he refused to use any of his divine powers and died as a mortal human, while trusting his Father to act on his behalf when he could do nothing for himself; then we have the same hope and promise from the Father.

Quote
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

Haven't read the book. Don't have the book. However, I do have and have read Borg's book, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teaching, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary. This was published a year before The Meaning of Jesus. He writes on page 6 (italics in original):

Thus, for Christians, Jesus is utterly central. In a concise sentence, Jesus is for Christians the decisive revelation of God. Slightly more fully, Jesus reveals, discloses, what can be seen of God in a human life and what a life filled with God looks like. This affirmation defines what it means to be Christian. Christians find the decisive revelation of God and life with God in Jesus, just as Jews find the decisive revelation of God in the Torah and Muslims find the decisive revelation of God in the Qur'an.

Then on the next page:

Importantly, Jesus is not the revelation of "all" of God, but of what can be seen of God in human life. Some of God's traditional attributes of qualities cannot be seen in a human life. The omnipresence of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being cannot be present everywhere. The infinity of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being by definition is finite. So also omnipotence: a human being cannot be all-powerful and still be human. So also omniscience: what could it mean to say that a human is "omniscient" and that Jesus in particular was? That he would "know everything" -- including, for example, the theory of relativity and the capital of Oregon?

So there is much of God that cannot be seen in a human life. But -- and this is what matters -- what can be seen is the character and passion of God. By the "character of God," I mean simply "what God is like." By the "passion of God," I mean simply "what God is passionate about," what God most cares about, what concerns God most. The first is often called the nature of God, the second the will of God. This is what Jesus reveals: the character and passion, the nature and will, of God.

This sounds to me to be much like the opening chapter of John, especially if λόγος is translated "Revelation" rather than "Word". Jesus is the Word/Revelation of God. Borg goes on to argue that to say that Jesus is God, is docetism. If Jesus had all those divine "omni-" abilities, then he was not human. He was God appearing in human form.

You said: "Jesus is man and God, but as you indicated, when tempted to use godly powers, he did not."

I ask: So are you saying that He didn't use godly powers because He didn't have them? Are you saying the creeds have it wrong? Couldn't it be that He was conforming His actions to the scriptural witness? (Man does not live by bread alone - Thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God) If Jesus was not divine during His time on earth, how could His death take away the sins of mankind. Borg says that Jesus was very influential in Israel. So was Pilot, could he have taken away our sins?

You said: "Borg goes on to argue that to say that Jesus is God, is docetism. If Jesus had all those divine "omni-" abilities, then he was not human. He was God appearing in human form."

I opine: Gee, that's not how Irenaeus saw it. However, since Borg and you have explained away the Mysteries of God, I can only conclude that Irenaeus and I just see the foolishness of God as being wiser than the wisdom of men.

Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 05:02:02 PM
Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

Really Gary! Are you going to tell me that your relationship with the post-Easter Jesus is exactly the same as the relationship the disciples had with the pre-Easter Jesus? Do you shake hands with him, feel his arm on your shoulder, carry on a conversation with him, have him wash your feet, to name a few things the pre-Easter did with the disciples. Post-Easter Jesus appeared and disappeared. In John and Luke, he is clear that the relationship the disciples would have with him after the ascension would be through the Holy Spirit -- certainly a different kind of relationship than they had with the earthly Jesus.

Yes, if it was His will I could shake His hand, etc. Since He has not willed that too date, I rely on the scriptural witness to tell me how I am to relate to Jesus. Of course, thanks to those who have new and advanced methods of discerning God's will, we no longer need the uninformed witness of the disciples. ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mike Bennett on December 03, 2010, 05:15:29 PM

Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.


Your contempt for folks who "have a problem" with Charles's posts " ("unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world") shows you absolutely don't get it.  You remind me a bit of somebody else who doesn't get it:  a recent presidential candidate whose efforts to understand those who disagreed with his views were expressed in words something like the following:  "unemployed, frightened, angry, clinging to their guns and their churches."  He understood them and sympathized with them.  Yeah, sure he did.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: gcnuss on December 03, 2010, 08:41:26 PM
Jesus is man and God, but as you indicated, when tempted to use godly powers, he did not. His limited himself to human powers and abilities during his time on earth. It's precisely this fact that gives us humans hope of the resurrection after death. If it was because Jesus had divine powers that brought about his resurrection, then there's no hope for us who do not have those divine powers. If, however, he refused to use any of his divine powers and died as a mortal human, while trusting his Father to act on his behalf when he could do nothing for himself; then we have the same hope and promise from the Father.

Would you not say that his healings and his exorcisms were examples of using his godly powers?  How about bringing back to life those who had died (Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, etc.)?  I will say that he did not use his godly powers for his own benefit, thus no stones turned into bread, no leaping down from cross, etc.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 08:45:16 PM
Some of us have a vision of the ELCA which includes people of varying opinions on matters that do not touch on what it is we need to believe or know to be saved.
I despise the practice of "licensing" non-ordained people to preside at the sacrament and will not go to services where such people preside. But I'm not leaving the ELCA over that.
I think we should devote a lot more time and energy towards peace-making issues that we do. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
I think we should elect bishops for life, letting them retire when they wish, but retain their episcopal standing. But....
I'm not totally thrilled with the way we have justified some of our ecumenical statements. I believe they reach the right conclusions, but don't always present enough of the right arguments. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
We have people in the ELCA who adopt a "creationist" view of Genesis. That is not actually what the ELCA teaches, but I have no problem with ELCA members who hold those views.
We have people in the ELCA who are staunchly "pro-life" in the abortion discussion and people who are staunchly "pro-choice." That's o.k. with me and I'm glad that both views are expressed in our church.
That's the kind of "church" that the ELCA wants to be. Oh, and did I say I believe we are solid, firm, and orthodox in that which pertains to how we are brought to salvation in the eyes of God?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Ken Kimball on December 03, 2010, 10:29:07 PM
Which "God" Pastor Austin?  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?  Or Mother within us, Sophia, and the She-spirit?  
And "saved" from "what"?   Salvation from what?  

The ELCA is fuzzy on Nicenean Trinitarian teaching and practice.  The ELCA is fuzzy on "sin".  

Pastor Stoffregen repeatedly demonstrates fuzziness on the Incarnation and the two natures of Christ.

Remember the 2007 CWA discussion on "sin" and "sinner" and "sinful" being too negative?  Or early in the HS Statement, the admission that the task force could not agree on "sin."?  

To claim everything is all right with ELCA because we still believe in and teach Justification misses the huge point that Justification without the three previous articles in the AC is completely unintelligible and ambiguous.  A confusion of Law and Gospel.  Enthusiasm. 

I take no joy or schadenfreude in the self-inflicted disintegration of the ELCA.  I wish deeply it had not taken the path it has.  I wish that things had been otherwise, so that I and the congregations I serve did not have to leave.  That I did not have to be at odds with my synod bishop, a man I once regarded as a good friend and a good bishop.  I wish I did not have to be at odds with you, a pastor whose long service to the church I greatly appreciate, whose churchmanship (mostly in other venues than this one) I greatly admire, and whose loyalty to the ELCA I wish I could emulate...were the ELCA other than what it has chosen to become...if wishes were horses...I'd have a troop of mounted beggars.

Ken
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on December 03, 2010, 10:31:58 PM
Some of us have a vision of the ELCA which includes people of varying opinions on matters that do not touch on what it is we need to believe or know to be saved.
I despise the practice of "licensing" non-ordained people to preside at the sacrament and will not go to services where such people preside. But I'm not leaving the ELCA over that.
I think we should devote a lot more time and energy towards peace-making issues that we do. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
I think we should elect bishops for life, letting them retire when they wish, but retain their episcopal standing. But....
I'm not totally thrilled with the way we have justified some of our ecumenical statements. I believe they reach the right conclusions, but don't always present enough of the right arguments. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
We have people in the ELCA who adopt a "creationist" view of Genesis. That is not actually what the ELCA teaches, but I have no problem with ELCA members who hold those views.
We have people in the ELCA who are staunchly "pro-life" in the abortion discussion and people who are staunchly "pro-choice." That's o.k. with me and I'm glad that both views are expressed in our church.
That's the kind of "church" that the ELCA wants to be. Oh, and did I say I believe we are solid, firm, and orthodox in that which pertains to how we are brought to salvation in the eyes of God?

On the last day I doubt that the Lord will care what bothers you or me. And I don't think he will much care if we are ELCA, NALC, or MOUSE. Each of us will stand naked before God and simply plead "Lord have Mercy."  You keep saying that this isn't a salvation issue and that is why you and I will probably never agree.  As a called and ordained minister of the Gospel I truly do believe I will be held accountable for the lives of those who God called me to lead. I know that I am supposed to be much more sophisticated than that but I am not. When I listen to all the revisionist arguments calling into doubt the plain reading of scripture all I can hear is the voice of the serpent asking (my paraphrase), "Are you sure that is what God said?", "Look the fruit is good to eat", "Eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and you will be like God."  Humans wanting to be God, wanting to decide for themselves what is right and wrong is how the fall began.

Please don't take this as a personal attack - it is not. I believe you are sincere in your belief that an undue burden has been put upon those who are homosexual in their understanding. I am just as sincere in my belief that it is irresponsible (and dangerous) for a pastor to ignore something that has been considered sin for thousands of years. We will both have to make an account - Lord have Mercy on us all.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 03, 2010, 10:33:53 PM
So, there should be room in the ELCA for a great variety of opinions, except when you come to the question of what should be or should not be church dividing.  There the decisions have been made and should not be questioned.

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 03, 2010, 10:43:32 PM

To claim everything is all right with ELCA because we still believe in and teach Justification misses the huge point that Justification without the three previous articles in the AC is completely unintelligible and ambiguous.  A confusion of Law and Gospel.  Enthusiasm. 


We are on dangerous ground whenever we become narrowly focussed on any one particular article of the Augsburg Confession to the neglect of the other twenty-seven.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 03, 2010, 10:44:00 PM
Some of us have a vision of the ELCA which includes people of varying opinions on matters that do not touch on what it is we need to believe or know to be saved.
I despise the practice of "licensing" non-ordained people to preside at the sacrament and will not go to services where such people preside. But I'm not leaving the ELCA over that.
I think we should devote a lot more time and energy towards peace-making issues that we do. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
I think we should elect bishops for life, letting them retire when they wish, but retain their episcopal standing. But....
I'm not totally thrilled with the way we have justified some of our ecumenical statements. I believe they reach the right conclusions, but don't always present enough of the right arguments. But I'm not leaving the ELCA because of that.
We have people in the ELCA who adopt a "creationist" view of Genesis. That is not actually what the ELCA teaches, but I have no problem with ELCA members who hold those views.
We have people in the ELCA who are staunchly "pro-life" in the abortion discussion and people who are staunchly "pro-choice." That's o.k. with me and I'm glad that both views are expressed in our church.
That's the kind of "church" that the ELCA wants to be. Oh, and did I say I believe we are solid, firm, and orthodox in that which pertains to how we are brought to salvation in the eyes of God?

I can walk arm in arm with you on most of what you stated above. I would rather not have non-ordained people preside at the Eucharist but don't believe that it requires a 7 or 8 year college education to qualify to preside. It should be a matter of ordination after a thorough education in altar service  and a fervent belief in the efficacy of the Eucharist. In other words, whoever presides should be immersed in the the theology and praxis of the Eucharist, ordained for that service and believe that it isn't just a "trafficking of priests".

I would like the ELCA to devote a lot more time and energy towards peace-making issues than we do. By that I do not mean lobbying congress to bring sanctions against whoever we don't like that week.

I agree that we should elect bishops for life, letting them retire when they wish, but retain their episcopal standing. But I would expect a Bishop to be a defender of the faith handed down by the Apostles (not the ELCA) and to be an example of Christian humility and chastity.

I would rather see the ELCA, which I am still a member of, make ecumenical agreements based on adherence to the historic creeds and not expect or require absolute uniformity in altar practice for inter-faith cooperation. Altar fellowship should be restricted to church bodies that subscribe to the Augsburg Confession. All baptized Christians who believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist should be welcome to receive communion.

Secular ideology, political affiliation or activism, and special interest pleading should never be included in the policies, mission, or preaching of the ELCA. Such influences are motivated by the flesh and not the Holy Spirit and, even if God uses them for good, they are sin.

So obviously we can agree on enough to not be church dividing. However when I am told that secular ideology that exalts free will, multiple paths to God, Goddess worship, doubt about the divinity of Jesus and His resurrection are equally valid expressions of the Christian faith, division seems to be the only responsible solution.

I was willing to respect the bound conscience of those who claimed to see scriptural support for gay ordination and marriage as long as that was not denominational policy. The fact that our friend Steve Sabin was called by an ELCA congregation even though he was not rostered was one expression of my respect for the bound conscience of that congregation. After all, I could be wrong. But when the ELCA calls the teaching of the OHACC, the Augsburg Confession, the scriptural witness into question it is no longer a matter of respecting bound consciences, it is a matter of placing ourselves above the authority of both the OHACC and the historic Lutheran Church. At some point the faith has to take presidence over our individual realities or division is inevitable.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 11:15:22 PM
We are not necessarily "at odds," Pastor Kimball. Where we are is confused about how to best be the church given our differences of opinion on issues which we seem to be unable to "rank" in mutually agreeable ways.

The ELCA confesses the God proclaimed in scripture and the creeds. Some within the ELCA stretch the boundaries and push the edges in ways that disturb both of us. So all is not "right" within the ELCA and that grieves all of us. What we need is less denunciation and more willingness to find common ground. Some will find it. Others will not. I hope you are among the former.



Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: dkeener on December 03, 2010, 11:48:14 PM
We are not necessarily "at odds," Pastor Kimball. Where we are is confused about how to best be the church given our differences of opinion on issues which we seem to be unable to "rank" in mutually agreeable ways.

The ELCA confesses the God proclaimed in scripture and the creeds. Some within the ELCA stretch the boundaries and push the edges in ways that disturb both of us. So all is not "right" within the ELCA and that grieves all of us. What we need is less denunciation and more willingness to find common ground. Some will find it. Others will not. I hope you are among the former.


This is a Charles I could like.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 01:50:54 AM

Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)


I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.)


Help me here, Brian.  Just how is Gary's attribution "backwards"  -- especially given your parenthetical addition? 

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 02:03:42 AM

That is precisely why Charles and I have stated our desire for "traditionalists" to stay. Their voices are important. They are heard -- although the majority may not always agree with them.


I've been hearing that for years, both in general and specifically in reference to me.  What usually followed such comments, though, was that the conversation/discussion picked up where it was before I spoke and "was listened to," as if I hadn't said anything at all.

After a while one wonders, "Why the continued expression of desire that we remain and speak up?" when it has no effect on the actual decisions.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 02:11:07 AM

Then on the next page:

Importantly, Jesus is not the revelation of "all" of God, but of what can be seen of God in human life. Some of God's traditional attributes of qualities cannot be seen in a human life. The omnipresence of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being cannot be present everywhere. The infinity of God cannot be seen in a human life -- a human being by definition is finite. So also omnipotence: a human being cannot be all-powerful and still be human. So also omniscience: what could it mean to say that a human is "omniscient" and that Jesus in particular was? That he would "know everything" -- including, for example, the theory of relativity and the capital of Oregon?

So there is much of God that cannot be seen in a human life. But -- and this is what matters -- what can be seen is the character and passion of God. By the "character of God," I mean simply "what God is like." By the "passion of God," I mean simply "what God is passionate about," what God most cares about, what concerns God most. The first is often called the nature of God, the second the will of God. This is what Jesus reveals: the character and passion, the nature and will, of God.

This sounds to me to be much like the opening chapter of John, especially if λόγος is translated "Revelation" rather than "Word". Jesus is the Word/Revelation of God. Borg goes on to argue that to say that Jesus is God, is docetism. If Jesus had all those divine "omni-" abilities, then he was not human. He was God appearing in human form.

Sounds to me more like finitum non capax infiniti.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 02:13:52 AM

Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Jesus is God incarnate.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 04, 2010, 05:30:32 AM
Steven writes (regarding the need for "traditionalist" voices):
I've been hearing that for years, both in general and specifically in reference to me.  What usually followed such comments, though, was that the conversation/discussion picked up where it was before I spoke and "was listened to," as if I hadn't said anything at all.

I comment:
No. The conversation would have been different had you not spoken.

Steven writes:
After a while one wonders, "Why the continued expression of desire that we remain and speak up?" when it has no effect on the actual decisions.
I comment:
See above. Your voice has had an "effect," though not the one that you desire. Without certain voices in the discussion, we might have made quite different decisions or made them at different times. We might have justified our decisions in different language. We might have implemented the decisions differently. We might have done things which would have made our disagreements worse or more divisive than they seem to be now.
If the only purpose of your "voice" is to assure that the decisions agree with you completely, then I understand why you feel you have had "no effect." But if you see your participation as part of our continuing, long-range life together, you have had and are having an effect on who we are.
 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Scott6 on December 04, 2010, 07:57:04 AM
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

I TA'd for an intro course to Christianity, and the prof required that book, which means I got to teach it in my discussion sessions.  It's a good way to see two people arguing on opposite sides of the same field.

Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

In its general form, nope.  It's a pretty basic distinction in Borg.  Though I would quibble about the living, earthly Jesus intentionally being the founder of Christianity as well as inquiring what the writer means by "divine reality."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 04, 2010, 10:25:27 AM
I may have not spoken quite as clearly as I should have.  Phyllis Tickle speaks very favorably of the impact of folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar.  You are right, Gary, that it is very hard to pin down what marks the Emergent Church movement.  I have read mostly McLaren, and he surely is charting a most unusual course for the Church's future.

Tickle wrestles with the question of authority, which all have to face.  She goes with the usual critique of those who speak of the Word's authority.  Ten interpreters all see a passage differently.  The only conclusion is that this blows holes in any notion of the authority of Scriptures.

As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.

I may have to spend my hard earned money to buy a copy of Tickle's book just to understand where Bishop X, Y, or Z is coming from.

What I see in the emergent church (and some mainline churches) is indeed something new. It is a church that claims to be the future of religion because it can be coherent within secular society. This new spirit may be ascendant within the our culture (dominated by the politically correct ideology of middle/upper class liberal professionals) where free will is over-valued. However, being dominant and having the faith handed down by the Apostles isn't the same thing and doesn't make it Christian. If someone is more concern about retaining their property than they are about defending the faith then the suggested changes to procedures for leaving the ELCA may keep some (uninformed) congregations in the ELCA. OTOH, it may motivate some congregations to shake the the dust from their sandals.

I think it's worth noting a couple of things about the "Emergent Church" thinking...

First, there is no coherent POV about the "Emergent Church."  As a matter of fact, the very definition of "Emergent" almost defies a singular definition or category.  That being said, there seems to be a couple of powerful, maybe uncompatible, thoughts that seem to typify the "Emergent Church" thinking.  The first strand of thought in Emergent Church stuff seems to be extremely conservative in it's social stances and "primitive" (not meant as a perjorative here, but rather as a descriptive term, like "Primitive" Art...) in it's ecclesiology.  These tend to focus on the "House Church" movement, downplaying any sense of physical connection between "worshipping communities," focussing upon the literal model of the Church as found in the Acts of the Apostles.  This expression of the "Emergent Church" movements seem to be distrustful of "institutional" Christianity because they see "institutional" Christianity as being irrepairably corrupted by the culture of the day.  A second stain in the "Emergent Church" movement seems to be typified in congregations that blend contemporary worship music and preaching styles, but attempt to recreate ancient "rituals" in a modern "idiom."  This strain attempts to be (at least vocally) "a-political" and "neutral" on social issues, declaring themselves to be "welcoming for all."  St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco is what I might cite as "typical" of this strain.  This strain seems to want to "reform" institutional Christianity by "challenging" it from "the margains."   A final strain of the "Emergent Church" seems to be typified by Spong, Tickle, and Barbara Brown-Taylor and others who advocate a "burning down" of "institutional" Christianity in favor of a "de-mythologized" and "de-theized" (Spong's term) "faith" that is focussed around the individual's "free-thinking."  The hall-mark of this strain of the "Emergent Church" seems to be a radical individualism that allows each individual believer to accept and reject whatever parts of spiritualities that they want.  "Faith," in this strain is an individual assent and excercise.

Second, it is unclear whether the "Emergent Church" is a real thing or just a recapitulation of older trends.  For example, the "House Church" tendancies of the "Emergent Church" look remarkably like the anabaptist movements that followed in the wake of the Reformation in Eastern Europe.  The desire of Rick Warren (for one) to recreate ancient "rituals" in a modern idiom has been with us since antiquity.  (For example, Warren's use of "40 Days..." is not so different in some key ways from the medieval Franciscan desire to "recreate" the nativity experience by setting up full-sized "Creches")  So whether or not the "Emergent Church" has more sticking power than the "Charismatic Movement" that preceded it is somewhat up for debate.

Finally, the "Emergent Church" defies any easy description precisely because it is not static.  I remember at the ELW training when someone complained that "there aren't any Emergent Church resources in this book."  That is a little like going to the zoo and complaining that there are no dinosaurs.  The whole premise behind the "Emergent Church" is that it exists outside the institutional control of the Church.  Whether embodied in distrust or a desire to "burn it down," the whole "Emergent Church" thesis implies that the "Emergence" is happening outside the prompting or the control of institutional rules.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 04, 2010, 10:39:05 AM
Erma,

Within the ELCA, it is my contention, based on careful reading and study and observation, and many ongoing private conversations with ELCA seminary students, that the seminary educational programs across that there is very little hope that the ELCA's clergy roster will be witnessing an ever increasing number of more orthodox Lutheran pastors. Just the opposite. And that is why I feel it is— and again this is only my  opinion—incumbent on the faithful pastors that remain to guard their flocks from false teaching and error. <snip!>

"...The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away-and the wolf snatches them and scatters them." (Jn. 10:12)

Not that I make any claim to be "The Good Shepherd," but I do believe that God has entrusted me the care of my flock.  The wolves are howling around the edge of the flock, the question is not about others but about myself; will I flee and leave my sheep to the wolves or will I stand my ground and fight?

As I said somewhere above, I have hope because Christ wins every time.  I set my feet and I fight.  Christ will triumph.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 12:13:28 PM
Jesus is man and God, but as you indicated, when tempted to use godly powers, he did not. His limited himself to human powers and abilities during his time on earth. It's precisely this fact that gives us humans hope of the resurrection after death. If it was because Jesus had divine powers that brought about his resurrection, then there's no hope for us who do not have those divine powers. If, however, he refused to use any of his divine powers and died as a mortal human, while trusting his Father to act on his behalf when he could do nothing for himself; then we have the same hope and promise from the Father.

Would you not say that his healings and his exorcisms were examples of using his godly powers?  How about bringing back to life those who had died (Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, etc.)?  I will say that he did not use his godly powers for his own benefit, thus no stones turned into bread, no leaping down from cross, etc.

The miracles were that of the God-emptied human Jesus making use of the Father's power -- the disciples, who were not divine, but only human, did all of those same miracles because they were able to tap into the same source of power as Jesus did. If Jesus were truly dead in the tomb, he had no powers, it was the Father who raised him; the corpse of Jesus did not raise itself.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 12:15:43 PM
Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Yup, and "incarnate" means that God assumed all the human limitations of putting on human flesh and blood and heart and mind.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 12:18:13 PM
Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

Really Gary! Are you going to tell me that your relationship with the post-Easter Jesus is exactly the same as the relationship the disciples had with the pre-Easter Jesus? Do you shake hands with him, feel his arm on your shoulder, carry on a conversation with him, have him wash your feet, to name a few things the pre-Easter did with the disciples. Post-Easter Jesus appeared and disappeared. In John and Luke, he is clear that the relationship the disciples would have with him after the ascension would be through the Holy Spirit -- certainly a different kind of relationship than they had with the earthly Jesus.

Yes, if it was His will I could shake His hand, etc. Since He has not willed that too date, I rely on the scriptural witness to tell me how I am to relate to Jesus. Of course, thanks to those who have new and advanced methods of discerning God's will, we no longer need the uninformed witness of the disciples. ::)

And the scriptural way of relating to Jesus (at least according to John and Luke) is through the Holy Spirit -- a way that was not present with the disciples during Jesus' stay on earth. In John Jesus states that it is better for him to go away so that the Spirit will come. In Luke/Acts, Jesus ascends with the promise of the coming of the Spirit's power. It is clear in scriptures that the disciples' relationship with Jesus was different before Easter/Ascension than it was afterwards.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 12:30:56 PM
Steven writes (regarding the need for "traditionalist" voices):
I've been hearing that for years, both in general and specifically in reference to me.  What usually followed such comments, though, was that the conversation/discussion picked up where it was before I spoke and "was listened to," as if I hadn't said anything at all.

I comment:
No. The conversation would have been different had you not spoken.


Charles, you are not listening.  You may think you are, but you are not.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 04, 2010, 12:32:13 PM
I have said it before, to you Brian, and I will say it yet again...

"Now this is the catholic faith:
  We worship one God in Trinity
   and the Trinity in unity,
      niether confusing the Persons,
      nor dividing the divine being." (Athanasian Creed)

You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 12:35:40 PM

Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)


I think that you have it backwards. I see Borg as affirming that Jesus was a man of human flesh. (He may be more sketchy about Jesus divine side before Easter.)


Help me here, Brian.  Just how is Gary's attribution "backwards"  -- especially given your parenthetical addition? 

The backwards-ness was more about his last statement: Now, how is that an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? I would not object if you wanted to distances yourself from Marcus Borg and/or Richard Swanson, but your quotation clearly puts them into the spirit of the Antichrist.

The spirit of the antichrist as defined in 1 John is the confession that Jesus did not come in the flesh. Gary's quotes from Borg and Swanson affirmed very strongly their beliefs that Jesus had come in the flesh and was limited by his life "in the flesh." Thus, their spirit is not the biblically defined one of the antichrist. Rather, it is those who make Jesus a God, with all the non-human powers that gods have, while on earth that are much closer to the spirit of the antichrist,
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 12:41:27 PM
I have said it before, to you Brian, and I will say it yet again...

"Now this is the catholic faith:
  We worship one God in Trinity
   and the Trinity in unity,
      niether confusing the Persons,
      nor dividing the divine being." (Athanasian Creed)

You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

And you continually fail to quote the next line of that creed:

"For the Father is one person,
the Son is another,
and the Spirit is still another."

Later there is the confession about the Son: "subordinate to the Father in humanity."

I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity. I suspect that you are docetic -- unwilling to let Jesus be truly human; unwilling to fully divide the persons of the Trinity. One of my theology profs stated, "You can never make Jesus too human."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Dadoo on December 04, 2010, 12:45:38 PM
I have said it before, to you Brian, and I will say it yet again...

"Now this is the catholic faith:
  We worship one God in Trinity
   and the Trinity in unity,
      niether confusing the Persons,
      nor dividing the divine being." (Athanasian Creed)

You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

And you continually fail to quote the next line of that creed:

"For the Father is one person,
the Son is another,
and the Spirit is still another."

Later there is the confession about the Son: "subordinate to the Father in humanity."

I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity. I suspect that you are docetic -- unwilling to let Jesus be truly human; unwilling to fully divide the persons of the Trinity. One of my theology profs stated, "You can never make Jesus too human."

Sure you can. That is what Borg is being accused of often. He has no room for the divinity of Christ.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 01:07:31 PM

Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Jesus is God incarnate.

Pax, Steven+

Yes, and He was then too. (just to clarify that He was the incarnate God during His time on earth for Brian)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 01:08:05 PM
I have said it before, to you Brian, and I will say it yet again...

"Now this is the catholic faith:
  We worship one God in Trinity
   and the Trinity in unity,
      niether confusing the Persons,
      nor dividing the divine being." (Athanasian Creed)

You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

And you continually fail to quote the next line of that creed:

"For the Father is one person,
the Son is another,
and the Spirit is still another."

Later there is the confession about the Son: "subordinate to the Father in humanity."

I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity. I suspect that you are docetic -- unwilling to let Jesus be truly human; unwilling to fully divide the persons of the Trinity. One of my theology profs stated, "You can never make Jesus too human."

Sure you can. That is what Borg is being accused of often. He has no room for the divinity of Christ.

Sure he proclaims the divinity of Christ and the humanness of Jesus who did not have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal humans. If he did, he was not human -- and may, perhaps, have come from Krypton.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 01:09:07 PM

Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Jesus is God incarnate.

Yes, and He was then too. (just to clarify that He was the incarnate God during His time on earth for Brian)

What do you mean by the word "incarnate"?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 04, 2010, 01:12:45 PM
I have said it before, to you Brian, and I will say it yet again...

"Now this is the catholic faith:
  We worship one God in Trinity
   and the Trinity in unity,
      niether confusing the Persons,
      nor dividing the divine being." (Athanasian Creed)

You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

And you continually fail to quote the next line of that creed:

"For the Father is one person,
the Son is another,
and the Spirit is still another."

Later there is the confession about the Son: "subordinate to the Father in humanity."

I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity. I suspect that you are docetic -- unwilling to let Jesus be truly human; unwilling to fully divide the persons of the Trinity. One of my theology profs stated, "You can never make Jesus too human."

No, I don't...  The Son is fully God and fully human.  I have never said otherwise.  And, if we're going to be trading acusations of "missing the next line," let me quite Quincunque Vult more fully:

"For the Father is one person,
  the Son is another,
  and the Spirit is still another.

But the diety of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
   is one, equal in glory,
   coeternal in majesty
.

What the Father is,
  the Son is,
  and so is the Holy Spirit.
"

And later...
"And in this Trinity,
   no one is before nor after,
   greater or less than the other;
 but all three persons are in themselves,
   coeternal and coequal;
   and so we must worship the Trinity in unity
   and the One God in three persons.
"

And yet later...
"For this is the true faith,
   that we believe and confess;
      that our Lord Jesus Christ,
      God's Son, is both God and man.
      He is God, begotten before all worlds
         from the being of the Father,
      and he is man, born in the world,
         from the being of his mother--
      existing fully as God,
      and fully as man
      with a rational soul and a human boidy;
         Equal with the Father in divinity,
            subordinate to the Father in humanity.
      Although he is God and man,
         he is not divided,
         but is one Christ.
      He is not divided because God has taken humanity into himself;
         he does not transfrom diety into humanity.
      He is completely one,
         in the unity of his person,
         without confusing the two natures.
"

If I am guilty of docetism, then I beg repentance.  Would you submit yourself to such a judgment, or are you privilidged to some secret word of knowledge that exempts you from the judgment of the Church?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 01:17:43 PM
As for what Borg was affirming, please see "The meaning of Jesus: two visions
 By Marcus J. Borg, Nicholas Thomas Wright" and show me there he affirms the earthly divinity of Jesus.

I TA'd for an intro course to Christianity, and the prof required that book, which means I got to teach it in my discussion sessions.  It's a good way to see two people arguing on opposite sides of the same field.

Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

In its general form, nope.  It's a pretty basic distinction in Borg.  Though I would quibble about the living, earthly Jesus intentionally being the founder of Christianity as well as inquiring what the writer means by "divine reality."

Thanks for the input Scott. It seemed fairly clear to me. I'm glad we are in general agreement. The definition that Borg would give for the term "divine realty" would be interesting to hear but he looks to me like a more sophisticated (with the emphasis on sophist) but less honest version of Spong. So even after he defined it we may not be able to fully understand it. Sometimes what comes across as erudition is really just an intellectual smoke screen.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 01:46:15 PM
Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Yup, and "incarnate" means that God assumed all the human limitations of putting on human flesh and blood and heart and mind.

No Brian, Jesus did not assume all the human limitations by putting on human flesh since He was still one with the Father. That means that He was without sin. Show me a human of flesh and blood and heart and mind that is without sin. So what you are saying sounds more like Jeff Johnson's statement (in a Chicago church) that "Jesus was a sinner, no better than the rest of us" then it does anything found in the creeds.

Jesus is, was, and always will be God but that can only be seen through the eyes of faith. It can never be understood by putting Jesus under microscope or expecting Him to act like just another sinful man.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 02:04:10 PM
Reaallly! Well come on Scott, does anything in that book contradict the quote from wikipedia that Marcus Borg "distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg)

Really Gary! Are you going to tell me that your relationship with the post-Easter Jesus is exactly the same as the relationship the disciples had with the pre-Easter Jesus? Do you shake hands with him, feel his arm on your shoulder, carry on a conversation with him, have him wash your feet, to name a few things the pre-Easter did with the disciples. Post-Easter Jesus appeared and disappeared. In John and Luke, he is clear that the relationship the disciples would have with him after the ascension would be through the Holy Spirit -- certainly a different kind of relationship than they had with the earthly Jesus.

Yes, if it was His will I could shake His hand, etc. Since He has not willed that too date, I rely on the scriptural witness to tell me how I am to relate to Jesus. Of course, thanks to those who have new and advanced methods of discerning God's will, we no longer need the uninformed witness of the disciples. ::)

And the scriptural way of relating to Jesus (at least according to John and Luke) is through the Holy Spirit -- a way that was not present with the disciples during Jesus' stay on earth. In John Jesus states that it is better for him to go away so that the Spirit will come. In Luke/Acts, Jesus ascends with the promise of the coming of the Spirit's power. It is clear in scriptures that the disciples' relationship with Jesus was different before Easter/Ascension than it was afterwards.

How many pieces do you want to chop God into Brian? The Holy Spirit is one of the persons (or aspects) of God and, as such, was always active. So, yes the disciple's relationship with Jesus was different before Easter than it was after but it was the same God, the same Word, and the same spirit of truth. It was not a matter of Jesus not being the Christ prior to His resurrection. He was not a fallen human given to the sin of moral perfectionism who repented after His resurrection as the Christ and founded universalism as His penance. He was one with the Father before, during and after His time on earth.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James Gustafson on December 04, 2010, 02:44:27 PM
Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Yup, and "incarnate" means that God assumed all the human limitations of putting on human flesh and blood and heart and mind.

Matthew 8:27
And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on December 04, 2010, 02:49:09 PM
The memory-tricks I use to remind me of the church’s  teachings ( and Luther’s) concerning  hypostatic union is a red-hot iron. The fire is in the iron, but not changed in its properties,  and the iron contains the fire but the iron, as well, is not changed.

The other trick to remember Jesus' divinity on earth is St. John 10:18.

Peter (resident 12 th. Century mind) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 02:53:30 PM
Jesus is, was, and always will be God but that can only be seen through the eyes of faith. It can never be understood by putting Jesus under microscope or expecting Him to act like just another sinful man.

Jesus is, was, and always will be God, but emptied himself of his divine abilities during his life as a human (Read Philippians 2:6-11). We put Jesus under a microscope to see what life as a perfect human being is like. He, as a human, was able to perform miracles, because he was a perfect human; not because he tapped into his own divine powers. Did the crucified Jesus raise himself, or was he exactly the same as any other deceased human -- powerless?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 02:57:29 PM
How many pieces do you want to chop God into Brian?


In as many persons as scriptures and our confessions do.

Quote
The Holy Spirit is one of the persons (or aspects) of God and, as such, was always active. So, yes the disciple's relationship with Jesus was different before Easter than it was after but it was the same God, the same Word, and the same spirit of truth.

Read John, especially chapters 14-16. It is clear that Jesus presents himself and the Paraclete as two separate persons; and that the Paraclete was yet to come.

Quote
It was not a matter of Jesus not being the Christ prior to His resurrection. He was not a fallen human given to the sin of moral perfectionism who repented after His resurrection as the Christ and founded universalism as His penance. He was one with the Father before, during and after His time on earth.

And he was/is a separate and distinct person from his Father.

Was Jesus omniscient during his time on earth? If he was, then he wasn't human.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 04, 2010, 02:58:31 PM
Brian, would you agree to the Creed of Chalcedon?  Not one of the three Ecumenical Creeds, but widely recognized for centuries in both Eastern and Western Christianity, and later recognized as an orthodox statement of Christology by Lutherans and Protestants.

Quote
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;  the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

The relationships between the Persons of the Trinity, and communication of attributes between the two natures of Christ are not new subjects for study, nor are they topics that for centuries Christians naively thought were simple or obvious and only recently have we recognized the complexities involved.  The ancients may not have all our knowledge in all areas, but they were not stupid or naive.  If you sincerely want to know what had come to be considered the orthodox position on the incarnation of Christ, or the nature of the Trinity, I can suggest some books, starting with Christian Dogmatics by Franz Pieper.  If you are truly puzzled by what is meant by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, you could start with the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, followed by the Chalcedonian Creed and again many books.

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 02:59:21 PM
Oh, and btw God wasn't just seen in the life of Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate.

Yup, and "incarnate" means that God assumed all the human limitations of putting on human flesh and blood and heart and mind.

Matthew 8:27
And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"

A perfect, sinless human for whom God would answer his every prayer, because what Jesus willed was also what the Father willed.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: iowakatie1981 on December 04, 2010, 03:00:57 PM
Um, hold on a second.

He, as a human, was able to perform miracles, because he was a perfect human; not because he tapped into his own divine powers.

and

The miracles were that of the God-emptied human Jesus making use of the Father's power -- the disciples, who were not divine, but only human, did all of those same miracles because they were able to tap into the same source of power as Jesus did.

Which is it?  Was Jesus able to perform miracles because he was perfect, or because he was "tapping into" the Father's power?  (And what of the disciples, who certainly were not perfect humans?)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 03:04:49 PM
Brian, would you agree to the Creed of Chalcedon?  Not one of the three Ecumenical Creeds, but widely recognized for centuries in both Eastern and Western Christianity, and later recognized as an orthodox statement of Christology by Lutherans and Protestants.

Quote
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;  the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

The relationships between the Persons of the Trinity, and communication of attributes between the two natures of Christ are not new subjects for study, nor are they topics that for centuries Christians naively thought were simple or obvious and only recently have we recognized the complexities involved.  The ancients may not have all our knowledge in all areas, but they were not stupid or naive.  If you sincerely want to know what had come to be considered the orthodox position on the incarnation of Christ, or the nature of the Trinity, I can suggest some books, starting with Christian Dogmatics by Franz Pieper.  If you are truly puzzled by what is meant by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, you could start with the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, followed by the Chalcedonian Creed and again many books.

Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin." I'm arguing, and I believe it's what Paul is saying in Philippians 2; that Jesus, through the incarnation put aside such divine aspects of his being; and thus, very ungod-like, he was born of a human mother, he was limited in where he could be present, and his powers, and his knowledge, and he could and did die.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 03:07:44 PM
Um, hold on a second.

He, as a human, was able to perform miracles, because he was a perfect human; not because he tapped into his own divine powers.

and

The miracles were that of the God-emptied human Jesus making use of the Father's power -- the disciples, who were not divine, but only human, did all of those same miracles because they were able to tap into the same source of power as Jesus did.

Which is it?  Was Jesus able to perform miracles because he was perfect, or because he was "tapping into" the Father's power?  (And what of the disciples, who certainly were not perfect humans?)

He was "tapping into" the Father's powers (as opposed to tapping into his own divine powers, of which he had emptied himself). At times the Father granted the disciples' requests for miracles; other times not. Unlike Jesus, sometimes their wills were not in tune with the Father's will.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 04, 2010, 03:20:32 PM
Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin." I'm arguing, and I believe it's what Paul is saying in Philippians 2; that Jesus, through the incarnation put aside such divine aspects of his being; and thus, very ungod-like, he was born of a human mother, he was limited in where he could be present, and his powers, and his knowledge, and he could and did die.
So I take it the answer is no, you reject the Chalcedonian Creed - the crowd back then got it wrong?  I take it also that therefor you reject much of what has been taken as orthodox Christology?  How about Augustana III, Smalcald I, or Formula VIII?

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 03:33:16 PM
How many pieces do you want to chop God into Brian?


In as many persons as scriptures and our confessions do.

Quote
The Holy Spirit is one of the persons (or aspects) of God and, as such, was always active. So, yes the disciple's relationship with Jesus was different before Easter than it was after but it was the same God, the same Word, and the same spirit of truth.

Read John, especially chapters 14-16. It is clear that Jesus presents himself and the Paraclete as two separate persons; and that the Paraclete was yet to come.

Quote
It was not a matter of Jesus not being the Christ prior to His resurrection. He was not a fallen human given to the sin of moral perfectionism who repented after His resurrection as the Christ and founded universalism as His penance. He was one with the Father before, during and after His time on earth.

And he was/is a separate and distinct person from his Father.

Was Jesus omniscient during his time on earth? If he was, then he wasn't human.

Well, I kinda thought that the triune God was ... well triune. I must admit that it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings. Then again, I never thought of adding the Sophia to the Godhead either. So now I guess we have a pentaune (if there is such a word) God. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, and the goddess. Well isn't that special. This is a very inclusive (universalist) and intellectually consistent (academically sound) creed. The only thing it isn't is Christian.

Why is it that for you the divinity of Jesus hangs on the question of the powers of the Father. Does God have to be God the way you expect Him to or can God just be God.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 04:10:30 PM

Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin."

Perhaps one reason this conversation -- which seems quite far afield from the topic title -- is not going anywhere is that you seem to be beginning with a definition of "God" and seeking to fit things into that rather than beginning with his revelation of himself and recognizing that this is God.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 04:13:29 PM
Well, I kinda thought that the triune God was ... well triune. I must admit that it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate persons.

Then you are not orthodox in your Trinitarian beliefs which is, simply stated: one God, three persons. Jesus Christ and the Paraclete (another term for Holy Spirit) are separate persons.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 04:16:32 PM
Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin." I'm arguing, and I believe it's what Paul is saying in Philippians 2; that Jesus, through the incarnation put aside such divine aspects of his being; and thus, very ungod-like, he was born of a human mother, he was limited in where he could be present, and his powers, and his knowledge, and he could and did die.
So I take it the answer is no, you reject the Chalcedonian Creed - the crowd back then got it wrong?  I take it also that therefor you reject much of what has been taken as orthodox Christology?  How about Augustana III, Smalcald I, or Formula VIII?

I'm confessing exactly what I believe the Chalcedonian Creed states. Jesus was "in all things like unto us, without sin." Humans are not omni-present, omnipotent, or omniscient, so neither was Jesus if he was like unto us.

How does that square with the confession that Jesus was God? By stating, as Paul does, that Jesus emptied himself of those divine characteristics to live as a mortal and limited human being.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 04:17:32 PM

Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin."

Perhaps one reason this conversation -- which seems quite far afield from the topic title -- is not going anywhere is that you seem to be beginning with a definition of "God" and seeking to fit things into that rather than beginning with his revelation of himself and recognizing that this is God.

Those are terms I remember learning about God back in confirmation classes. If you want to argue that they are not accurate depictions of God, have at it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 04:18:13 PM

Well, I kinda thought that the triune God was ... well triune. I must admit that it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate persons.


Ah, the answer to the question, "Pastor, why do you make us sing 'Holy, Holy, Holy (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lyrics/tlh246.htm)' every Trinity Sunday?"

 :P

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 04:46:00 PM
Well, I kinda thought that the triune God was ... well triune. I must admit that it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate persons.

Then you are not orthodox in your Trinitarian beliefs which is, simply stated: one God, three persons. Jesus Christ and the Paraclete (another term for Holy Spirit) are separate persons.

Ooops, sorry, my bad. What I should have said was, it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings. That is an error not a lapse in my Trinitarian beliefs. That's what I get for trying to respond to you and play elf bowling with my 5 year old granddaughter at the same time.  :)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 04, 2010, 04:55:12 PM
Simply stated if Jesus was had the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscience, immortality, then he was not "all things like unto us, without sin." I'm arguing, and I believe it's what Paul is saying in Philippians 2; that Jesus, through the incarnation put aside such divine aspects of his being; and thus, very ungod-like, he was born of a human mother, he was limited in where he could be present, and his powers, and his knowledge, and he could and did die.
So I take it the answer is no, you reject the Chalcedonian Creed - the crowd back then got it wrong?  I take it also that therefor you reject much of what has been taken as orthodox Christology?  How about Augustana III, Smalcald I, or Formula VIII?

I'm confessing exactly what I believe the Chalcedonian Creed states. Jesus was "in all things like unto us, without sin." Humans are not omni-present, omnipotent, or omniscient, so neither was Jesus if he was like unto us.

How does that square with the confession that Jesus was God? By stating, as Paul does, that Jesus emptied himself of those divine characteristics to live as a mortal and limited human being.
That is one phrase of the Chalcedonian Creed, what about the rest of the creed?  For example the part the reads: "truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood."  Would you say that in becoming one of us "in all things like unto us, without sin" Jesus ceased for a time to be God - after all none of us are also God?  When Jesus pronounced forgiveness - did He claim the authority to forgive sins or did He speak as one authorized by the Father to forgive using the Father's authority?  (It is not worded that way in the text, by the way.)  When Jesus taught, did He teach "as one with authority" (you have heard it said, . . . But I say unto you . . .)?  Perhaps when Paul talked about the Kenosis, Jesus emptying Himself, he was speaking of only one aspect of what happened when the Word became flesh and the whole topic is a bit more nuanced, less black and white (was flat out God, utilizing all the powers of God, or using no power at any time that was not common to ordinary humans) and more shades of grey (did not fully and at all times utilize the power He had as God).  How do you reconcile that apparently very little if any "Godness" that Jesus had before Easter with Col. 1:19-20, "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."  The "blood of his cross" was certainly pre-Easter.

Dan
 


Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 05:39:39 PM
Ooops, sorry, my bad. What I should have said was, it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings.

Then you agree with me about three separate and distinct persons of the trinity?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 04, 2010, 05:41:51 PM
Do you find that your understanding of pre-Easter Jesus agrees with what is set forth in the Formula of Concord.  I am specifically thinking of Article VIII, in the Epitome:

5. Since both natures are personally united (that is, united in one person), we believe, teach, and confess that this union is not a connection or association of the sort that neither nature shares things with the other personally (that is, because of the personal union), as if two boards were glued together, with neither giving the other anything or receiving anything from the other. Instead, here is the most complete Communion, which God truly has with this human being; out of this personal union and out of the most complete and most indescribable communion that results from it flows everything human that can be ascribed to and believed about God and everything divine that can be ascribed to and believed about the human Christ. The ancient teachers of the church have explained this union and communion of the natures using similes of a glowing iron and of the union of body and soul in the human being.
6. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that God is a human being and a human being is God.60 That could not be if the divine and human natures had absolutely no communion with each other in fact and in truth. For how could the human being, Mary’s son, be called, or be, the Son of the most high God in truth if his humanity was not personally united with God’s Son, in reality, that is in fact and in truth, but instead shared only the name “God” with him?
7. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that Mary did not conceive and give birth to a child who was merely, purely, simply human, but she gave birth to the true Son of God. Therefore, she is rightly called and truly is the Mother of God.
8. Therefore, we also believe, teach, and confess that no mere human being suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and was exalted to the majesty and almighty power of God for us, but rather it was a human being whose human nature has such a profound, indescribable union and communion with the Son of God, that this human nature is one person with the Son of God.
9. Thus, the Son of God truly suffered for us—to be sure, according to the characteristics of the human nature, which he had assumed into the unity of his divine person and made his own, so that he could suffer and be our high priest for our reconciliation with God, as it is written, “They crucified the Lord of glory,” and, “With God’s blood61 we have been redeemed” (1 Cor. 2[:8*]; Acts 20[:28*]).
10. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that the Son of Man in reality, that is, in fact and in truth, was exalted to the right hand of the almighty majesty and power of God according to his human nature, because he was assumed into God, when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of his mother and was personally united with the Son of the Almighty.

And especially section 11:

11. According to the personal union he always possessed this majesty, and yet dispensed with it in the state of his humiliation. For this reason he grew in stature, wisdom, and grace before God and other people [Luke 2:52*]. Therefore, he did not reveal his majesty at all times but only when it pleased him, until he completely laid aside the form of a servant [Phil. 2:7*] (but not his human nature) after his resurrection. Then he was again invested with the full use, revelation, and demonstration of his divine majesty and entered into his glory, in such a way that he knows everything, is able to do everything, is present for all his creatures, and has under his feet and in his hands all that is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, not only as God but also as human creature, as he himself testifies, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” [Matt. 28:18*], and St. Paul writes: He ascended “above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things” [Eph. 4:10*]. As present everywhere he can exercise this power of his, he can do everything, and he knows all things.
Kolb, Robert ;  Wengert, Timothy J. ;   Arand, Charles P.: The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 2000, S. 510

Somehow what you have said concerning Jesus emptying Himself of being God does not spring to mind as I read how Chemnitz and company put it.

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 05:55:31 PM
Would you say that in becoming one of us "in all things like unto us, without sin" Jesus ceased for a time to be God - after all none of us are also God?

Jesus did not cease to be God, but he emptied himself of his divinity.

Quote
When Jesus pronounced forgiveness - did He claim the authority to forgive sins or did He speak as one authorized by the Father to forgive using the Father's authority?  

"Father, forgive them, for then don't know what they are doing?" At least in that phrase, The forgiveness was not coming directly from Jesus, but from the first person of the Trinity.

Quote
When Jesus taught, did He teach "as one with authority" (you have heard it said, . . . But I say unto you . . .)?

As the perfect human being who was perfectly connected to his Father, their was no distinction.

Quote
Perhaps when Paul talked about the Kenosis, Jesus emptying Himself, he was speaking of only one aspect of what happened when the Word became flesh and the whole topic is a bit more nuanced, less black and white (was flat out God, utilizing all the powers of God, or using no power at any time that was not common to ordinary humans) and more shades of grey (did not fully and at all times utilize the power He had as God).  How do you reconcile that apparently very little if any "Godness" that Jesus had before Easter with Col. 1:19-20, "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."  The "blood of his cross" was certainly pre-Easter.

I'm pretty sure that Paul was writing post-Easter, and applying a post-Easter viewpoint of Jesus.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 06:01:17 PM
Ooops, sorry, my bad. What I should have said was, it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings.

Then you agree with me about three separate and distinct persons of the trinity?

No, we both agree with the historic creeds that there are three separate and distinct persons in the trinity. I also happen to agree with the historic creeds that the three person are of one being. That is what Christians believe, that the three persons are of one divine being. Jesus didn't empty Himself of His divinity.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 06:06:23 PM
Somehow what you have said concerning Jesus emptying Himself of being God does not spring to mind as I read how Chemnitz and company put it.

What I am describing is illustrated by the temptations. Jesus, with his divine power and authority, could have done everything Satan asked the Son of God to do; but his emptying meant that he will not make use of that power and authority, but will use only his human powers and authority.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 04, 2010, 06:07:22 PM
Ooops, sorry, my bad. What I should have said was, it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings.

Then you agree with me about three separate and distinct persons of the trinity?

No, we both agree with the historic creeds that there are three separate and distinct persons in the trinity. I also happen to agree with the historic creeds that the three person are of one being. That is what Christians believe, that the three persons are of one divine being. Jesus didn't empty Himself of His divinity.

Please offer your interpretation of Philippians 2.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 06:41:15 PM
Do you find that your understanding of pre-Easter Jesus agrees with what is set forth in the Formula of Concord.  I am specifically thinking of Article VIII, in the Epitome:

5. Since both natures are personally united (that is, united in one person), we believe, teach, and confess that this union is not a connection or association of the sort that neither nature shares things with the other personally (that is, because of the personal union), as if two boards were glued together, with neither giving the other anything or receiving anything from the other. Instead, here is the most complete Communion, which God truly has with this human being; out of this personal union and out of the most complete and most indescribable communion that results from it flows everything human that can be ascribed to and believed about God and everything divine that can be ascribed to and believed about the human Christ. The ancient teachers of the church have explained this union and communion of the natures using similes of a glowing iron and of the union of body and soul in the human being.
6. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that God is a human being and a human being is God.60 That could not be if the divine and human natures had absolutely no communion with each other in fact and in truth. For how could the human being, Mary’s son, be called, or be, the Son of the most high God in truth if his humanity was not personally united with God’s Son, in reality, that is in fact and in truth, but instead shared only the name “God” with him?
7. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that Mary did not conceive and give birth to a child who was merely, purely, simply human, but she gave birth to the true Son of God. Therefore, she is rightly called and truly is the Mother of God.
8. Therefore, we also believe, teach, and confess that no mere human being suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and was exalted to the majesty and almighty power of God for us, but rather it was a human being whose human nature has such a profound, indescribable union and communion with the Son of God, that this human nature is one person with the Son of God.
9. Thus, the Son of God truly suffered for us—to be sure, according to the characteristics of the human nature, which he had assumed into the unity of his divine person and made his own, so that he could suffer and be our high priest for our reconciliation with God, as it is written, “They crucified the Lord of glory,” and, “With God’s blood61 we have been redeemed” (1 Cor. 2[:8*]; Acts 20[:28*]).
10. Therefore, we believe, teach, and confess that the Son of Man in reality, that is, in fact and in truth, was exalted to the right hand of the almighty majesty and power of God according to his human nature, because he was assumed into God, when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of his mother and was personally united with the Son of the Almighty.

And especially section 11:

11. According to the personal union he always possessed this majesty, and yet dispensed with it in the state of his humiliation. For this reason he grew in stature, wisdom, and grace before God and other people [Luke 2:52*]. Therefore, he did not reveal his majesty at all times but only when it pleased him, until he completely laid aside the form of a servant [Phil. 2:7*] (but not his human nature) after his resurrection. Then he was again invested with the full use, revelation, and demonstration of his divine majesty and entered into his glory, in such a way that he knows everything, is able to do everything, is present for all his creatures, and has under his feet and in his hands all that is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, not only as God but also as human creature, as he himself testifies, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” [Matt. 28:18*], and St. Paul writes: He ascended “above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things” [Eph. 4:10*]. As present everywhere he can exercise this power of his, he can do everything, and he knows all things.
Kolb, Robert ;  Wengert, Timothy J. ;   Arand, Charles P.: The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 2000, S. 510

Somehow what you have said concerning Jesus emptying Himself of being God does not spring to mind as I read how Chemnitz and company put it.

Dan

Dan;

It isn't that Brian doesn't know what the Church teaches, it is just that he doesn't agree. It's all just so implausible don't you know.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 06:46:49 PM
Ooops, sorry, my bad. What I should have said was, it never occurred to me that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete were separate beings.

Then you agree with me about three separate and distinct persons of the trinity?

No, we both agree with the historic creeds that there are three separate and distinct persons in the trinity. I also happen to agree with the historic creeds that the three person are of one being. That is what Christians believe, that the three persons are of one divine being. Jesus didn't empty Himself of His divinity.

Please offer your interpretation of Philippians 2.

I used to think that the fundamentalists were the main purveyors of self-serving (out of context) proof texting but you are giving them a run for their money.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 04, 2010, 06:47:49 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
It isn't that Brian doesn't know what the Church teaches, it is just that he doesn't agree. It's all just so implausible don't you know.

I respond:
I thought we were being told to talk about the subject, not the one posting comments.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: totaliter vivens on December 04, 2010, 06:59:35 PM
I think it might be important to approach our dogma with humility. It is necessary for Truth to teach and confess what the Creeds confess: that God is in three eternal persons, coeternal, coequal in divinity and majesty. We KNOW that Jesus in the condescension of His Incarnation is True God and True man, and both from His conception.

Beyond that, I think the nature of the Trinity is in the same category as the Real Presence in the Eucharist...it IS, but I do not know how it IS. IMHO, speculative theology generally causes more problems than it solves.

SPS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 07:07:20 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
It isn't that Brian doesn't know what the Church teaches, it is just that he doesn't agree. It's all just so implausible don't you know.

I respond:
I thought we were being told to talk about the subject, not the one posting comments.

Sorry Charles, I was just trying to keep Dan from wasting his time on researching quotations that won't be convincing to Brian anyway. I apparently was correct since Brian tried to use an out of context proof text to contradict the Formula of Concord. I did not intend it to be taken as a personal attack.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 04, 2010, 07:10:01 PM
I think it might be important to approach our dogma with humility. It is necessary for Truth to teach and confess what the Creeds confess: that God is in three eternal persons, coeternal, coequal in divinity and majesty. We KNOW that Jesus in the condescension of His Incarnation is True God and True man, and both from His conception.

Beyond that, I think the nature of the Trinity is in the same category as the Real Presence in the Eucharist...it IS, but I do not know how it IS. IMHO, speculative theology generally causes more problems than it solves.

SPS


Thank you Steve and I hope everyone will bow to the wisdom of your comments.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 04, 2010, 07:15:31 PM
I believe the subject was the Holy Trinity when Dr. Carl Braaten warned that attempting to unpack it was trying to "unscrew the inscrutable". Or maybe it was "screw the inscrutable." Whatever.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 10:15:44 AM
I had asked/stated:
If I am guilty of docetism, then I beg repentance.  Would you submit yourself to such a judgment, or are you privilidged to some secret word of knowledge that exempts you from the judgment of the Church?

Aparently, after a loooong weekend of tending to two sick (everything in my house smells of vomit...) children, we never progressed past this from Brian:
Quote
I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity.

Which is a statement EVERY heretic would be able to say with conviction.

What this has to do with the subject at hand is that this statement is emblematic of the ELCA's response to traditionalists all along the way.  We keep citing the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Confessions, reputable theologians and Church Fathers, and we get this type of stance in response:  "I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about..."  We even can get into citing relevant parts of Church constitutions and by-laws about processes and procedures about leaving and we get back, from the PB, the Secretary of the ELCA, and Synodical Bishops: "I stand on the orthodoxy of my understandings about..."

All of which is a polite way of saying: "You can't tell me a darn thing..."

Sad.  Very sad.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 10:25:40 AM
I had asked/stated:
If I am guilty of docetism, then I beg repentance.  Would you submit yourself to such a judgment, or are you privilidged to some secret word of knowledge that exempts you from the judgment of the Church?

Aparently, after a loooong weekend of tending to two sick (everything in my house smells of vomit...) children, we never progressed past this from Brian:
Quote
I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity.

Which is a statement EVERY heretic would be able to say with conviction.

What this has to do with the subject at hand is that this statement is emblematic of the ELCA's response to traditionalists all along the way.  We keep citing the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Confessions, reputable theologians and Church Fathers, and we get this type of stance in response:  "I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about..."  We even can get into citing relevant parts of Church constitutions and by-laws about processes and procedures about leaving and we get back, from the PB, the Secretary of the ELCA, and Synodical Bishops: "I stand on the orthodoxy of my understandings about..."

All of which is a polite way of saying: "You can't tell me a darn thing..."

Sad.  Very sad.

What I find to be sad, very sad, are those who cry, "Heretic, heretic," and offer no evidence of heretical sayings or teachings. You can hurl the charge, modalist at me, and I'll hurl back docetist at you.

The key point for me is that if Jesus made use of his divine omniscience, then he was not being fully human, but some kind of super human.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 10:29:47 AM
And the bigger point, Pastor Kliner, is that some spend entirely too much time denouncing another person's faith and measuring their "orthodoxy" and, finding it not to their measurement, uttering imprecations. And to be honest, I do not think it is the alleged "revisionists" who are doing this.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 10:35:03 AM
I had asked/stated:
If I am guilty of docetism, then I beg repentance.  Would you submit yourself to such a judgment, or are you privilidged to some secret word of knowledge that exempts you from the judgment of the Church?

Aparently, after a loooong weekend of tending to two sick (everything in my house smells of vomit...) children, we never progressed past this from Brian:
Quote
I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about the Trinity.

Which is a statement EVERY heretic would be able to say with conviction.

What this has to do with the subject at hand is that this statement is emblematic of the ELCA's response to traditionalists all along the way.  We keep citing the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Confessions, reputable theologians and Church Fathers, and we get this type of stance in response:  "I stand on the orthodoxy of my faith about..."  We even can get into citing relevant parts of Church constitutions and by-laws about processes and procedures about leaving and we get back, from the PB, the Secretary of the ELCA, and Synodical Bishops: "I stand on the orthodoxy of my understandings about..."

All of which is a polite way of saying: "You can't tell me a darn thing..."

Sad.  Very sad.

What I find to be sad, very sad, are those who cry, "Heretic, heretic," and offer no evidence of heretical sayings or teachings. You can hurl the charge, modalist at me, and I'll hurl back docetist at you.

The key point for me is that if Jesus made use of his divine omniscience, then he was not being fully human, but some kind of super human.

This is NOT about hurling competing charges, Brian.  If I am guilty of slipping into heresy, I beg correction.  Please, for God's sake, correct me because heresy is a damnable offense.  I have always maintained my ability to be in error, that's why I fall back on the surer ground of the Scriptures, the Creeds, and the collective wisdom of the Church.  I can not, in good conscience, say "I stand upon the orthodoxy of my faith..."

One of the reasons I (for one) have not sought to leave the ELCA (up to now, at least) is becasue I know that I cannot stand upon my own faith.  That's one reason I will never...can never...decide that somehow I am a better Christian left to my own devices.  I am not convinced of my own self-righteousness.

That, sadly, is not what I hear from those (yourself included) have championed this "new" church.  And hence why I think the ELCA at the same time (seems to be saying) "Maybe its time the traditionalists left..." while studying how to raise the bar for those seeking to leave.

And, if you read my original post to you CAREFULLY you will find this little sentence:
Quote
You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 10:37:01 AM
And the bigger point, Pastor Kliner, is that some spend entirely too much time denouncing another person's faith and measuring their "orthodoxy" and, finding it not to their measurement, uttering imprecations. And to be honest, I do not think it is the alleged "revisionists" who are doing this.

What a surprise...

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 10:39:18 AM
And, if you read my original post to you CAREFULLY you will find this little sentence:
Quote
You consistently either fall into the habit of speaking of the Trinity as a modalist or as a tri-theist, but rarely as a Trinitarian.

Yet, I constantly speak of the three persons of the Trinity, which is orthodoxy.

What is your response to my statement: The key point for me is that if Jesus made use of his divine omniscience, then he was not being fully human, but some kind of super human. Is that orthodoxy or something else?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 06, 2010, 10:59:35 AM
Tim Christ notes: A sidebar on all this: I've got a sizeable group olf laity studying the Augsburg Confession. These are people who have been "good churchpersons" to adhere to Charles Austin's admonitions, who have been involved in the various studies throughout the last few years and have sought to stay abreast of what has/is been taking place in the ELCA. Repeatedly in the confessions class, they are observing that the recent round of decisions and implications of what the ELCA has been doing often stand in direct violation of AC at numerous points, and the arguments put forth by those leading the way in these decisions are far more in harmony with the views and arguments of the RC confutation. It strikes me as more than interesting that a group of laity are seemingly able to clearly recognize what a passle of purportedly trained and and educated theological leaders are failing to grasp.

All due respects, Charles, Brian S. and others. One key in the arguments that I repeatedly heard raised and widely ignored was that the arguments for change needed to be based upon Scripture and Confessions. Outside of Brian S. exegetically weak "argument from silence" Biblical gymnastics, and near total silence regarding the confessional foundation, the change went forward anyway. Frankly, if I was a revisionist, this lack of substantive theological grounding would bother me deeply, even if in favor of the changes made. The fact that it is widely ignored and dismissed, seems to me, to be of great significance in assessing the long term foundations of the ELCA as a denomination.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 11:03:59 AM
I'm not calling you a heretic, Pastor Kliner, and neither is Pastor Stoffregen. There are valid questions about how one can (or can not) express the mysteries of the Holy Trinity. So far as I can tell, you confess the faith of the Creeds. So far as I can tell, so does Pastor Stoffregen.
So far as I can tell, none of us speaks of the Holy Trinity with the kind of divine perfection that exists only in the mind of God.
We spend way too much time denouncing someone who we think - via our human minds - gets the mind of God wrong.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on December 06, 2010, 11:07:07 AM
Very interesting note Pilgrim.

And not that Pastor Kliner needs any defense from me, but his comments seem to fall under the umbrella of "He who cannot condemn cannot bless."  Pastor Kliner is pointing out comments that appear contradictory to Christian teaching.  He is letting it be known what he believes the error is, and is welcoming admonition and correction.  Nice job, Pastor Kliner.

Jeremy
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 11:17:14 AM
How these things come up in this topic, is beyond me, but no matter.

There heresy which Brian S. is reflecting in his comments, most recently, is known as Kenoticism.

Here's a summary I grabbed off the Internet, short and useful.

Introduction
The doctrinal heresy known as Kenoticism originated in the nineteenth century by the German theologians, Thomassius, von Frank, and Gess. It teaches that Christ divested himself of certain divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence, while becoming incarnate. Kentocism, while rightly affirming the humanity of Christ, denies, however, the fully deity of Christ and is to be rejected.

The Teaching Summarized
Kenoticism comes from the Greek word, kenosis, meaning "emptying." The heart of this incorrect doctrine originates from a poor exegesis and interpretation of Phil 2:6-7:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11, emphasis added. Note the text that reads, "humbled Himself," is literally "emptied himself," ekenoosen, as in the NAS translation).

Using this passage (especially v. 7), the kenoticists taught that God subtracted something from his very nature to become man. This, however, is not an accurate contextual exegesis of the verses. Neither is it faithful to the rest of the biblical teaching that in Christ, the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Col. 2:9). Therefore, it should be rejected.

The word, ekenoosen, is used elsewhere in scripture to mean "of no account" or "of no reputation" (Rom. 4:14; 1 Cor. 1:17, 9:15; 2 Cor. 9:3). If this is so, then the word translated "empty" seems to indicate nothing about the actual fullness of Christ’s divine nature, but rather the own humiliation of Christ and selfless servanthood (hence the reason why the NIV, NKJV, KJV, and the ASV all translate the word in that sense in Phil. 2:7). In fact, one would do well to consider the context of the surrounding verses (vv. 5-6), even the entire book of Philippians, as Christ therein is referred to as the one who took “the form of a bondservant.” For, it is in this sense that Christ emptied himself. And, as such, the humility of God's people (modeled after that of Christ) becomes the central theme of the 3rd and 4th chapters of Phillipians. Surely, when one sacrificially serves another, there is humility. But, at the same time, such service does not subtract from the full equality of the server with the one served. This is especially true of the husband-wife relationship, where the wife, while she submits to the husband, is still equal in every respect to the husband. In the same way, although Christ was made man by becoming incarnate, he was and is still Lord over all.

The scriptures are clear that Christ was and is fully divine, and nowhere do they teach that Christ did not possess the divine attributes as Jesus! The Reformers summarized it well, when they stated that Christ gave up “the independent exercise” of his divine attributes. The Son voluntaritly accepted limitations in this unique union with humanity. This means that even as a child in the manger, Christ was still upholding and sustaining the entire world! Of course, the baby Jesus did not exercise all of the attributes of Diety, but still possessed them.

Conclusion
The mystery of the incarnation, therefore, is not resolved by a truncation of the deity of Christ in a doctrine such as kenoticism. God being made flesh will remain a mystery, which is not fully comprehensible. Yet, this is the joy in worshipping a wonderfully infinite God, who is Lord over all, self-existent, and Almighty.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 11:40:54 AM
Interesting that ptmccain wants us to take the word of a website with no attribution, no names, nothing that would enable us to assess the source of its information.
Interesting also how far this thread has wandered.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Christopher Miller on December 06, 2010, 11:49:52 AM
Amazing what Google can do......

http://www.xristian.org/ft/kenoticism.html
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: iowakatie1981 on December 06, 2010, 11:51:57 AM
Interesting that ptmccain wants us to take the word of a website with no attribution, no names, nothing that would enable us to assess the source of its information.
Interesting also how far this thread has wandered.

Thanks, Paul, for that interesting information.  Would you mind posting the link to where you found it?

Happy Advent!

~Katie
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 12:02:00 PM
Maybe it has wandered...  Some of this should be under the various threads "Why Stay" or "Why Leave".  

But then again, I think where this does hit the mark (in regards to this thread) is that there are valid reasons why congregations and pastors do leave, and hence why then is the denomination seeking to ratchet up the process for leaving?

It seems to me that part-and-parcel of "ratcheting up" (my phrase here) the process for leaving is the idea that "We (the ELCA) have not erred, therefore there are no substantial reasons for leaving.  Hence the bar must be raised in proving the validity of the decision to depart."  (Just for clarity's sake, this is ME putting words in the mouth of Bishops and the Churchwide council.  I understand the perils of literally putting words in someone else's mouth, but I am trying to understand what the logic is for the developments that spurred this thread.)

Or maybe more clinically:
Premise 1: The current process for severance has been proved to be inadaquate.
Assumption 1a: There are congregations who have left who might have decided to stay had they had the benefit of additional counsel.
Assumtion 1b: There are congregations who have been harmed by decisions to leave that, had the bar been set higher, might have been not been harmed.

Premise 2: The ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teaching of the Church, therefore decisions to sever relationships are motivated by other reasons.
Assumption 2a: "Nothing" really changed in the faith and teaching of the ELCA, we just "opened up" options that were not available before.
Assumption 2b: Since the ELCA "continues to hold to the orthodox faith," those who are leaving must have some sort of nefarious reasons.

Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?  I think it is consistent with the 8th Commandment (I am assuming, for instance, that the reasoning is motivated by noble motivations and not just a "grab for property"...).  

And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 06, 2010, 12:22:14 PM
Maybe it has wandered...  Some of this should be under the various threads "Why Stay" or "Why Leave".  

But then again, I think where this does hit the mark (in regards to this thread) is that there are valid reasons why congregations and pastors do leave, and hence why then is the denomination seeking to ratchet up the process for leaving?

It seems to me that part-and-parcel of "ratcheting up" (my phrase here) the process for leaving is the idea that "We (the ELCA) have not erred, therefore there are no substantial reasons for leaving.  Hence the bar must be raised in proving the validity of the decision to depart."  (Just for clarity's sake, this is ME putting words in the mouth of Bishops and the Churchwide council.  I understand the perils of literally putting words in someone else's mouth, but I am trying to understand what the logic is for the developments that spurred this thread.)

Or maybe more clinically:
Premise 1: The current process for severance has been proved to be inadaquate.
Assumption 1a: There are congregations who have left who might have decided to stay had they had the benefit of additional counsel.
Assumtion 1b: There are congregations who have been harmed by decisions to leave that, had the bar been set higher, might have been not been harmed.

Premise 2: The ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teaching of the Church, therefore decisions to sever relationships are motivated by other reasons.
Assumption 2a: "Nothing" really changed in the faith and teaching of the ELCA, we just "opened up" options that were not available before.
Assumption 2b: Since the ELCA "continues to hold to the orthodox faith," those who are leaving must have some sort of nefarious reasons.

Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?  I think it is consistent with the 8th Commandment (I am assuming, for instance, that the reasoning is motivated by noble motivations and not just a "grab for property"...).  

And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


Jerry, I find what you have written to be most interesting.  

I really wish the folks working at Higgins Road had gotten out in front of this story.  I don't know why they didn't; I stubbornly cling to the belief that no one realized what the impact of these proposed amendments would be on congregations and pastors who have been trying to stay in the ELCA, and encourage those asking for votes to leave to give it more time.  

I really wish these proposed amendments had been mentioned in one of the press releases from the ELCA News service following the church council meeting.  Even better would have been a communication to all the rostered pastors giving us a head's up on this, and explaining the reasons these changes were being sought now (such as the problems they are meant to address).  It is always good when pastors are seen as needed in the interrelated nature of the three levels of the denominational structure.  (At least, that is what I heard Sec. Swartling say at great length at the church council meeting in the spring of 2010.  Surely he wasn't just talking about the constitutional obligation of pastors to get their congregations to send in ever-increasing amounts of mission share money?  :'()  I continue to ask:  why did they let Lutheran CORE break this story?

And I really wish someone in the upper reaches of the organizational corporate structure of ELCA,Inc. would acquire the gift of seeing one's self as others see us.  Since I have had no "official" (meaning from the ELCA structure) notification of any of this, I will not bring this up in the place I am serving (except I have warned the council president about these proposed amendments), and I am just waiting for the rumors to reach my corner of the church despondent.  Not the best way to build trust in an organization; what kind of gifts will be coming in the new year?  I can hardly (NOT!) wait.   :-\
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Paula Murray on December 06, 2010, 12:43:15 PM
Erma, when I first read this line, "I am just waiting for the rumors to reach my corner of the church despondent" from your last post that phrase, "the church despondent," just hit me in the gut.  How accurate, in so many ways, and how different from the description of the Church on earth as the "Church Militant."

Have we, the church of the northern hemisphere, had it too easy for too many generations?  So much so that we have lost even the memory, preserved as it is in both Scripture and tradition, of the struggle of faith with the powers and principalities?

How do we recover that memory, and with it the joy of a struggle fully waged with the whole of one's heart, mind, spirit, and strength?

Yours in Christ,
Paula Murray
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 06, 2010, 01:08:08 PM
    Actually, I wasn't thinking about the phrase, "the Church Militant," but rather "the Church Triumphant," meaning the Church in the Kingdom yet to come. 

    And I am not despondent about the prospect of proclaiming and defending the faith.  But these days, the despondency seems to come with dealing with ELCA matters.  (And please, folks, don't start.  Tis the winter of my discontent, when lack of sunlight brings out the morose northern European/South Dakotan part of my personality.  I just probably need more time under the intense sun light.  Yeah, right.)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: edoughty on December 06, 2010, 02:20:41 PM
    Actually, I wasn't thinking about the phrase, "the Church Militant," but rather "the Church Triumphant," meaning the Church in the Kingdom yet to come. 

    And I am not despondent about the prospect of proclaiming and defending the faith.  But these days, the despondency seems to come with dealing with ELCA matters.  (And please, folks, don't start.  Tis the winter of my discontent, when lack of sunlight brings out the morose northern European/South Dakotan part of my personality.  I just probably need more time under the intense sun light.  Yeah, right.)
I prescribe a trip to someplace sunny, preferably with beaches.

Erik
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 02:52:59 PM
The doctrinal heresy known as Kenoticism originated in the nineteenth century by the German theologians, Thomassius, von Frank, and Gess. It teaches that Christ divested himself of certain divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence, while becoming incarnate. Kentocism, while rightly affirming the humanity of Christ, denies, however, the fully deity of Christ and is to be rejected.

Which Church Fathers and at what ecumenical council declares this to be heresy?

What does the "emptying" mean in Philippians 2? No one seems to be willing to answer that question.

My answer: Jesus will not make use of his divine attributes so that he can live his life fully as a human being.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 06, 2010, 02:55:10 PM
What does the "emptying" mean in Philippians 2? No one seems to be willing to answer that question.

Tim asks: Just curious. Do you actually read posts before responding? I saw this question answered. Perhaps you missed it. Try again.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 03:17:12 PM

I went to the site from which ptmccain cribbed the article. Can't find out who those people are, what their credentials might be or what they are up to. But of course, as long as someone supports a certain agenda, that doesn't matter.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 04:26:24 PM
What does the "emptying" mean in Philippians 2? No one seems to be willing to answer that question.

Tim asks: Just curious. Do you actually read posts before responding? I saw this question answered. Perhaps you missed it. Try again.

I just did a search for "Philippians 2" and a search for "emptying". I did not find the question answered.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Pilgrim on December 06, 2010, 04:36:50 PM
Wow! Now THAT'S research!  :o
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mel Harris on December 06, 2010, 05:00:00 PM
       This is pure speculation.  My guess is that the leadership of the ELCA has listened to complaints from a number of synod bishops such as:

I was not even notified that the congregation was considering leaving the ELCA until after they had taken a successful first vote to do so.  By that time they had already made up their minds, and any efforts to present the positions of the ELCA and the wisdom of staying in the ELCA were an uphill battle.

Congregations are trying to limit when and how I can consult with them on possibly leaving the ELCA, rather than saying, "Yes, Bishop.  It is your responsibility to consult with us about this decision.  We will do so whenever and however you think best."

When I have successfully kept a congregation from voting to leave the ELCA, some of them have simply turned right around and scheduled another vote to do so.

Some congregations are not agreeing that they need to pay back all the money the ELCA has invested in them before they can leave the ELCA.


       It seems to me that the proposed constitutional changes are an effort to deal with some of these disagreements between synod bishops and congregations.  I also do not know why the ELCA has not been out front in announcing these proposed constitutional amendments.  As I understand this, however, if they want these changes to go into effect following a vote of the next ChurchWide Assembly, they will have to be published as the recommendation of the ELCA Church Council by a certain date.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on December 06, 2010, 05:06:26 PM
As my Mormon polygamist ancestor was fond of saying, "Everyone just simmer down."

Now- looking at Tappert (1959), pages 586 and 587 we read about the three modes of Christ's body: corporeal, spiritual and heavenly.

Page 587, 101-102 tells you what you need to know and we're all wrong because we're all human and Jesus is all human and all God:

"....You must posit this essence of Christ because he is one person with God, very far beyond creatures, as far as God transcends them, and you must posit it again as deep and near in all creatures as God is immanent in them. For he is one indivisible person with God, and wherever God is, he must be also, otherwise our faith is false. But who can explain or even conceive how this occurs? We know indeed that he is in God beyond all creatures and is one person with God. But how this happens, we do not know; it transcends nature and reason, even the comprehension of all the angels in heaven, and is known only to God."

Peter (OK, and maybe to Brian S.) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 05:10:28 PM
It seems to me that the proposed constitutional changes are an effort to deal with some of these disagreements between synod bishops and congregations.  I also do not know why the ELCA has not been out front in announcing these proposed constitutional amendments.  As I understand this, however, if they want these changes to go into effect following a vote of the next ChurchWide Assembly, they will have to be published as the recommendation of the ELCA Church Council by a certain date.

The rules for amendments to the ELCA constitution:

22.11. The constitution of this church may be amended only through either of the following procedures:
a. The Church Council may propose an amendment, with an official notice to be sent to the synods at least six months prior to the next regular meeting of the Churchwide Assembly. The adoption of such an amendment shall require a two-thirds vote of the members of the next regular meeting of the Churchwide Assembly present and voting.
b. An amendment may be proposed by 25 or more members of the Churchwide Assembly. The proposed amendment shall be referred to the Committee of Reference and Counsel for its recommendation, following which it shall come before the assembly. If such an amendment is approved by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting, such an amendment shall become effective only if adopted by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at the next regular Churchwide Assembly.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 06, 2010, 05:34:36 PM
The doctrinal heresy known as Kenoticism originated in the nineteenth century by the German theologians, Thomassius, von Frank, and Gess. It teaches that Christ divested himself of certain divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence, while becoming incarnate. Kentocism, while rightly affirming the humanity of Christ, denies, however, the fully deity of Christ and is to be rejected.

Which Church Fathers and at what ecumenical council declares this to be heresy?

What does the "emptying" mean in Philippians 2? No one seems to be willing to answer that question.

My answer: Jesus will not make use of his divine attributes so that he can live his life fully as a human being.
  This is from the study note of The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH)

2:7 made Himself nothing. Lit, “emptied Himself.” “[The Son of Man] was received into God when He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in His mother’s womb, and His human nature was personally united with the Son of the Highest. Christ always had this majesty according to the personal union. Yet He abstained from using it in the state of His humiliation, and because of this He truly increased in all wisdom and favor with God and men. Therefore, He did not always use this majesty, but only when it pleased Him”  (FC Ep VIII 15–16). form of a servant. Jesus was, in every way, completely a servant to those around Him. See note, v 6. likeness of men. Not mere resemblance. He was conceived as a man like any other man, except without sin.

Engelbrecht, Edward A.: The Lutheran Study Bible. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2009, S. 2034

Note especially the section quoted from the Formula that I have highlighted in red.  It was not, according to this interpretation that Jesus, never used His divine attributes pre-Easter, but that He usually did not except when He had a specific reason to do so.  This is a more nuanced position than the one that says that Jesus could not be in any way divine if He was to be actually human.  Your position seems to verge on saying that Jesus simply could not be both divine and human, He had to be one or the other.

Dan
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Mel Harris on December 06, 2010, 05:39:08 PM

The rules for amendments to the ELCA constitution:

22.11. The constitution of this church may be amended only through either of the following procedures:
a. The Church Council may propose an amendment, with an official notice to be sent to the synods at least six months prior to the next regular meeting of the Churchwide Assembly. The adoption of such an amendment shall require a two-thirds vote of the members of the next regular meeting of the Churchwide Assembly present and voting.


Doing the math:   If these constitutional amendments are to be considered for final action by the ChurchWide Assembly in August 2011, then the official notice to the synods will have to take place by some time in February 2011.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 05:40:03 PM
Kenoticism is the Christological heresy that Jesus emptied himself of His divinity at His incarnation. This is what Brian is advocating, at this point, but perhaps upon further reflection he will realize the error of his position and acknowledge that the "emptying" is not a divestment of Divinity but the choice not to make full use of His divinity. The Transfiguration makes no sense, at all, if Christ in fact did not exercise His divinity, nor any miracle He did.

But, if those are only stories that are not true, then it doesn't much matter anyway.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 05:45:05 PM
So he only pretended to empty himself?
(hear the sounds of spinning wheels?)
I believe the Bible teaches me what the creed says we believe about God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, yes! there is a historicity to those events. I believe that the Bible teaches me about how I am made right with God and gives me models (note the plural) of how to life a godly life with other people. Do I have to use the Bible as a text for physics, astronomy, biology and paleontology in order to be a Christian?
(sound of wheels spinning again)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 06:17:34 PM
Probably good to start another topic titled, "Christology 101" to help those who are unclear or confused about the doctrine of the two natures in Christ.

This topic, that I started, is devoted to the measures the ELCA is advancing, which I regard as rather Draconian, to make it more difficult congregations to leave the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: racin_jason on December 06, 2010, 06:35:11 PM
Lately I've been seeking to make the connection between the events around Seminex and what the ELCA is doing now pertaining to this thread.

Draconian is a common term for both. 

Might we see the ELCA in its efforts to keep congregations as draconian as President Preuss' efforts to rid the LCMS of what he viewed as false teachings in his denomination?

One church so interested in being radically inclusive that it is doing everything it can to keep churches from leaving while back in the day there was a Lutheran body looking to purge a pocket full of moderates. Anybody else seeing it?

Just a thought, admittedly half-baked.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 07:02:06 PM
2:7 made Himself nothing. Lit, “emptied Himself.” “[The Son of Man] was received into God when He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in His mother’s womb, and His human nature was personally united with the Son of the Highest. Christ always had this majesty according to the personal union. Yet He abstained from using it in the state of His humiliation, and because of this He truly increased in all wisdom and favor with God and men. Therefore, He did not always use this majesty, but only when it pleased Him”  (FC Ep VIII 15–16). form of a servant. Jesus was, in every way, completely a servant to those around Him. See note, v 6. likeness of men. Not mere resemblance. He was conceived as a man like any other man, except without sin.

Engelbrecht, Edward A.: The Lutheran Study Bible. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2009, S. 2034

Note especially the section quoted from the Formula that I have highlighted in red.  It was not, according to this interpretation that Jesus, never used His divine attributes pre-Easter, but that He usually did not except when He had a specific reason to do so.  This is a more nuanced position than the one that says that Jesus could not be in any way divine if He was to be actually human.  Your position seems to verge on saying that Jesus simply could not be both divine and human, He had to be one or the other.

Sections from that article of the Formula quoted below. Emphasis added.

2. We believe, teach, and confess that the divine and human natures are not blended together into one essence. Neither is one transformed into the other. Rather, each retains its own essential characteristics, which never become the characteristics of the other nature.

3. The characteristics of the divine nature are: that it is almighty, eternal, infinite, present everywhere (according to the characteristics of the nature and its natural essence, in and of itself), all-knowing, etc. These never become the characteristics of the human nature.

4. The characteristics of the human nature are: being a bodily creature, being flesh and blood, being finite and circumscribed, suffering, dying, ascending, descending, moving from one place to another, suffering from hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and the like. These never become characteristics of the divine nature.

And the section that includes the red above, note what comes before it: boldfaced and highlighted in red:

11. According to the personal union he always possessed this majesty, and yet dispensed with it in the state of his humiliation. For this reason he grew in stature, wisdom, and grace before God and other people [Luke 2:52*]. Therefore, he did not reveal his majesty at all times but only when it pleased him, until he completely laid aside the form of a servant [Phil. 2:7*] (but not his human nature) after his resurrection. Then he was again invested with the full use, revelation, and demonstration of his divine majesty and entered into his glory, in such a way that he knows everything, is able to do everything, is present for all his creatures, and has under his feet and in his hands all that is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, not only as God but also as human creature, as he himself testifies, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” [Matt. 28:18*], and St. Paul writes: He ascended “above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things” [Eph. 4:10*]. As present everywhere he can exercise this power of his, he can do everything, and he knows all things.

I see nothing in what I have said that is in conflict with our Confession.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 06, 2010, 07:06:44 PM
Kenoticism is the Christological heresy that Jesus emptied himself of His divinity at His incarnation. This is what Brian is advocating, at this point, but perhaps upon further reflection he will realize the error of his position and acknowledge that the "emptying" is not a divestment of Divinity but the choice not to make full use of His divinity. The Transfiguration makes no sense, at all, if Christ in fact did not exercise His divinity, nor any miracle He did.

But, if those are only stories that are not true, then it doesn't much matter anyway.

According to the Jesus Seminar, Jesus was “A mortal man born of two human parents, Jesus did not perform nature miracles, die as a substitute for sinners nor rise bodily from the dead. Sightings of a risen Jesus were nothing more than the visionary experiences of some of his disciples rather than physical encounters.” They deny the supernatural which I see as denying spirituality. Their denial of major parts of the scriptural witness because reality isn't like this so it couldn't be true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

So for Borgians like Brian, it doesn't much matter anyway. Unless he wants to distance himself from Borg now.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 07:07:52 PM
Kenoticism is the Christological heresy that Jesus emptied himself of His divinity at His incarnation. This is what Brian is advocating,

Nope. This is what you are saying I'm advocating. Note my answer to the emptying posted earlier: Jesus will not make use of his divine attributes so that he can live his life fully as a human being. That is not the same thing as saying that Jesus did not have his divine attributes.

You still haven't answered the question: Who declared it a heresy?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 07:10:51 PM
Kenoticism is the Christological heresy that Jesus emptied himself of His divinity at His incarnation. This is what Brian is advocating, at this point, but perhaps upon further reflection he will realize the error of his position and acknowledge that the "emptying" is not a divestment of Divinity but the choice not to make full use of His divinity. The Transfiguration makes no sense, at all, if Christ in fact did not exercise His divinity, nor any miracle He did.

But, if those are only stories that are not true, then it doesn't much matter anyway.

According to the Jesus Seminar, Jesus was “A mortal man born of two human parents, Jesus did not perform nature miracles, die as a substitute for sinners nor rise bodily from the dead. Sightings of a risen Jesus were nothing more than the visionary experiences of some of his disciples rather than physical encounters.” They deny the supernatural which I see as denying spirituality. Their denial of major parts of the scriptural witness because reality isn't like this so it couldn't be true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

So for Borgians like Brian, it doesn't much matter anyway. Unless he wants to distance himself from Borg now.

I agree with much that Borg writes. I do not agree with much of what the Jesus Seminar has produced. I agree even less with what Wiki says about the Jesus Seminar.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 07:16:46 PM
Might we see the ELCA in its efforts to keep congregations as draconian as President Preuss' efforts to rid the LCMS of what he viewed as false teachings in his denomination?

Nope. In fact, it is those very errors that Seminex brought with them into the ELCA and spread the infection of the false doctrine they had embraced.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 07:18:51 PM
Nope. This is what you are saying I'm advocating.

Yes, Brian. Everyone always misunderstands you.

 ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: hillwilliam on December 06, 2010, 07:21:42 PM
So he only pretended to empty himself?
(hear the sounds of spinning wheels?)
I believe the Bible teaches me what the creed says we believe about God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, yes! there is a historicity to those events. I believe that the Bible teaches me about how I am made right with God and gives me models (note the plural) of how to life a godly life with other people. Do I have to use the Bible as a text for physics, astronomy, biology and paleontology in order to be a Christian?
(sound of wheels spinning again)

No Charles, you shouldn't use the Bible as a text for physics, astronomy, biology and paleontology. However none of those texts books can teach you about faith in the triune God or the benefits of Christ. If being an academic is more important than having the faith handed down from the Apostles then why claim Jesus as your savior. Eternal life, having the favor of God, following the man Jesus who was born of a virgin, walking on water and His resurrection are all so implausible. Accepting the scriptural witness and following Jesus, the Son of God, is nonsense in our culture. Why would anyone who sees the foolishness of believing such outlandish things want to humiliate him/herself by claiming to be a Christian?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 07:39:32 PM
Nope. This is what you are saying I'm advocating.

Yes, Brian. Everyone always misunderstands you.

 ::)

But not everyone tries to argue with their misunderstanding of me
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 06, 2010, 07:43:46 PM
I'm sure you are right, Brian.

Now, how about get back on topic.

I know the topic of the measures the ELCA is taking to crack-down on congregations is leaving is a sensitive one, but it needs to be discussed.

If you want to keep talking about Christology, take it to a new topic.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 08:39:52 PM
I'll bump this back up into the queue and ask again whether or not this might be a fair assessment of the logic behind the proposal to "ratchet up" (as opposed to "crack down") the bar for congregations seeking severance from the ELCA:
Premise 1: The current process for severance has been proved to be inadaquate.
Assumption 1a: There are congregations who have left who might have decided to stay had they had the benefit of additional counsel.
Assumtion 1b: There are congregations who have been harmed by decisions to leave that, had the bar been set higher, might have been not been harmed.

Premise 2: The ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teaching of the Church, therefore decisions to sever relationships are motivated by other reasons.
Assumption 2a: "Nothing" really changed in the faith and teaching of the ELCA, we just "opened up" options that were not available before.
Assumption 2b: Since the ELCA "continues to hold to the orthodox faith," those who are leaving must have some sort of nefarious reasons.

Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?  I think it is consistent with the 8th Commandment (I am assuming, for instance, that the reasoning is motivated by noble motivations and not just a "grab for property"...).  

And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 06, 2010, 08:41:24 PM
Nope. This is what you are saying I'm advocating.

Yes, Brian. Everyone always misunderstands you.

 ::)

But not everyone tries to argue with their misunderstanding of me

Or in other words... "You aren't going to tell me a darn thing."

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 08:48:23 PM
I know the topic of the measures the ELCA is taking to crack-down on congregations is leaving is a sensitive one, but it needs to be discussed.

And why do you care or get involved in an internal issue of the ELCA?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 06, 2010, 09:04:47 PM
Amazing what Google can do......

http://www.xristian.org/ft/kenoticism.html

Quite frankly -- and do read this in the context of my other posts on this topic -- that's not very helpful.  Just who are these folks and whose judgments are they presenting?  Their About Us Information Page (http://www.xristian.org/about.shtml) is not particularly helpful.

spt+
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Christopher Miller on December 06, 2010, 09:40:23 PM
Quite frankly -- and do read this in the context of my other posts on this topic -- that's not very helpful.  Just who are these folks and whose judgments are they presenting?  Their About Us Information Page (http://www.xristian.org/about.shtml) is not particularly helpful.

spt+
My comment was merely in response to CA's questioning about where it came from. I wanted to demonstrate how easy it was to find. I make no claims about source or accuracy.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: racin_jason on December 06, 2010, 10:00:43 PM
I'll bump this back up into the queue and ask again whether or not this might be a fair assessment of the logic behind the proposal to "ratchet up" (as opposed to "crack down") the bar for congregations seeking severance from the ELCA:
Premise 1: The current process for severance has been proved to be inadaquate.
Assumption 1a: There are congregations who have left who might have decided to stay had they had the benefit of additional counsel.
Assumtion 1b: There are congregations who have been harmed by decisions to leave that, had the bar been set higher, might have been not been harmed.

Premise 2: The ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teaching of the Church, therefore decisions to sever relationships are motivated by other reasons.
Assumption 2a: "Nothing" really changed in the faith and teaching of the ELCA, we just "opened up" options that were not available before.
Assumption 2b: Since the ELCA "continues to hold to the orthodox faith," those who are leaving must have some sort of nefarious reasons.

Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?  I think it is consistent with the 8th Commandment (I am assuming, for instance, that the reasoning is motivated by noble motivations and not just a "grab for property"...).  

And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


This was among the best posts of the day and I am disappointed it wasn't discussed more.

What would the discussion and rationale be for supporting such an amendment to our constitution? It would be good to hear from those on this forum who think these changes would be a good idea.

Surely being against such provisions will be depicted as being disloyal to the ELCA. Yet carrying a 2/3rd majority at churchwide is never easy.

There's no way the ELCA church council could approve these changes without churchwide approval, right?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 10:48:56 PM
My point was that I found where it came from and found no credentials for the people running the site.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 10:50:28 PM
Nope. This is what you are saying I'm advocating.

Yes, Brian. Everyone always misunderstands you.

 ::)

But not everyone tries to argue with their misunderstanding of me

Or in other words... "You aren't going to tell me a darn thing."

You can tell me whatever you want -- and I will try and understand what you mean; but that doesn't mean I'll agree with it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Ken Kimball on December 06, 2010, 10:56:45 PM
I think the current implosion of the ELCA is already well past the Seminex split numerically.   I think it is heading in the direction of the General Synod and General Council split.  And the new hurdles and checks being proposed for the termination process are a sign of panic that the number of congregations taking votes to leave and either leaving or splitting continues to increase--presaged by the financial meltdown of the ELCA and a good share of its synods.  We're still on the front end of this tsunami. 

Ken
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 06, 2010, 10:58:45 PM
Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?
 

No.

Quote
And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

The inadequacies that are being corrected is to give all the voting members equal access to both sides of the discussion. It is not a fair debate for a pastor or a council or other leaders to tell a congregation that they are going to vote on leaving the ELCA and only let them hear reasons why they should leave. For a proper, informed vote on the issue, folks should also have the opportunity to hear reasons why people should stay -- from people who are committed to staying.

A primary point of Robert's Rules of Order, of the ELCA rules on leaving, is to protect the rights of the minority to be heard in an equal and fair debate. I see the revisions as trying to make the debate more equal and fair.

I don't see the new procedures raising the bar any higher. It still requires a 2/3 majority of those present, a period of at least 90 days and a second vote of at least 2/3 of those present. Raising the bar would be something like increasing the percentage to 3/4; or making it 2/3 of all the voting members.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: GoCubsGo on December 06, 2010, 11:13:47 PM
I know the topic of the measures the ELCA is taking to crack-down on congregations is leaving is a sensitive one, but it needs to be discussed.

And why do you care or get involved in an internal issue of the ELCA?
We should "care or get involved" in issues concerning other church bodies because they are a part of the Church catholic.  What one denomination does affects others?  Should we just not give a damn about what Roman Catholics are doing or Southern Baptists?  Should we not "get involved" when some church or church body does something crazy like a planned Koran burning?

Honestly, you make no sense to me Brian.  None whatsoever!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 07, 2010, 06:40:24 AM
The nasty part of the "getting involved in other church bodies" thing is a little like pornography: we can't quite define it, but we know it when we see it.
     We can say: "That is wrong, and we oppose it" if a church body does something or a congregation wants to burn Korans. We can say: "We are sorry for the schism in the Episcopal Church, but stand by our agreements with them."
     We can even say: "We have such differences with Baptists, that we can't see the point of any discussions."
     But that is not diving into the policy-making and legislative aspects of another church body, advising its members what to do if they agree with me rather than their bishops, or continually hammering away at their perceived errors and heresies.
     The obvious case in point: The LCMS has declared the rest of us un-Lutheran and un-biblical and some other things ever since we started to ordain women and took our ecumenical actions. Said and done. They don't like what we did. They broke fellowship with the ALC over women clergy. We get that.
    Now, when members of that church body pick up on virtually everything the ELCA does and raise the pointy finger to say "See! See! Look how awful they are! We told you it would come to this! Oh! The horror!", I get a little peeved.
     Or when members of another church body decide that their "call" is to "work with" ELCA people and help them through current difficulties, I find that meddlesome and irritating. I've said it before; if an LCMS congregation or pastor came to me for advice on leaving the LCMS and/or joining the ELCA, I'd refer them right back to their district president, and say "settle your accounts there before you talk to me."
     I think certain policies of the LCMS are wrong and have said so. But I'm not cheerleading for any faction in the LCMS that might want to change those policies. Some of their actions impinge on my ministry and I have to be prepared to explain and bear with that difficulty. I can say: "That's how they see it; that's how they do it; that's how they are 'Lutheran'. Some of us are 'Lutheran' in a different way."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 07, 2010, 07:51:05 AM
Quote from: the fuzzball writes=topic=3490.msg193150#msg193150 date=1291722024
The nasty part of the "getting involved in other church bodies" thing is a little like pornography: we can't quite define it, but we know it when we see it.
     We can say: "That is wrong, and we oppose it" if a church body does something or a congregation wants to burn Korans. We can say: "We are sorry for the schism in the Episcopal Church, but stand by our agreements with them."
     We can even say: "We have such differences with Baptists, that we can't see the point of any discussions."
     But that is not diving into the policy-making and legislative aspects of another church body, advising its members what to do if they agree with me rather than their bishops, or continually hammering away at their perceived errors and heresies.
     The obvious case in point: The LCMS has declared the rest of us un-Lutheran and un-biblical and some other things ever since we started to ordain women and took our ecumenical actions. Said and done. They don't like what we did. They broke fellowship with the ALC over women clergy. We get that.
    Now, when members of that church body pick up on virtually everything the ELCA does and raise the pointy finger to say "See! See! Look how awful they are! We told you it would come to this! Oh! The horror!", I get a little peeved.
     Or when members of another church body decide that their "call" is to "work with" ELCA people and help them through current difficulties, I find that meddlesome and irritating. I've said it before; if an LCMS congregation or pastor came to me for advice on leaving the LCMS and/or joining the ELCA, I'd refer them right back to their district president, and say "settle your accounts there before you talk to me."
     I think certain policies of the LCMS are wrong and have said so. But I'm not cheerleading for any faction in the LCMS that might want to change those policies. Some of their actions impinge on my ministry and I have to be prepared to explain and bear with that difficulty. I can say: "That's how they see it; that's how they do it; that's how they are 'Lutheran'. Some of us are 'Lutheran' in a different way."

I have no idea what you just said.  Aside from you claiming that you think certain policies of the LCMS are wrong...  there are many who would take exception to just about everything in this, including how elusive a definition of pornography is, whatever that has to do with anything here...
 ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 07, 2010, 07:59:15 AM
I'll bump this back up into the queue and ask again whether or not this might be a fair assessment of the logic behind the proposal to "ratchet up" (as opposed to "crack down") the bar for congregations seeking severance from the ELCA:
Premise 1: The current process for severance has been proved to be inadaquate.
Assumption 1a: There are congregations who have left who might have decided to stay had they had the benefit of additional counsel.
Assumtion 1b: There are congregations who have been harmed by decisions to leave that, had the bar been set higher, might have been not been harmed.

Premise 2: The ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teaching of the Church, therefore decisions to sever relationships are motivated by other reasons.
Assumption 2a: "Nothing" really changed in the faith and teaching of the ELCA, we just "opened up" options that were not available before.
Assumption 2b: Since the ELCA "continues to hold to the orthodox faith," those who are leaving must have some sort of nefarious reasons.

Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?  I think it is consistent with the 8th Commandment (I am assuming, for instance, that the reasoning is motivated by noble motivations and not just a "grab for property"...).  

And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


This was among the best posts of the day and I am disappointed it wasn't discussed more.

What would the discussion and rationale be for supporting such an amendment to our constitution? It would be good to hear from those on this forum who think these changes would be a good idea.

Surely being against such provisions will be depicted as being disloyal to the ELCA. Yet carrying a 2/3rd majority at churchwide is never easy.

There's no way the ELCA church council could approve these changes without churchwide approval, right?



Thank for putting this back up front of this discussion.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 07, 2010, 08:01:13 AM
The nasty part of the "getting involved in other church bodies" thing is a little like pornography: we can't quite define it, but we know it when we see it.

Did I miss something?  Have participants of this little online community showed up at one of your assemblies and caused problems?  Did they do so dressed in alb and stole, handing out literature decrying the unjust practices of your church?  Did you check to see if the little crowd of people standing about in alb and stole were actually ordained by some church?  No you say to all of the above?  Hmmm ....

So I guess none here have engaged the nasty part of getting involved in other church bodies.  We leave that to those who led the ELCA changes.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Papster on December 07, 2010, 08:57:41 AM
Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?
 

No.

Quote
And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

The inadequacies that are being corrected is to give all the voting members equal access to both sides of the discussion. It is not a fair debate for a pastor or a council or other leaders to tell a congregation that they are going to vote on leaving the ELCA and only let them hear reasons why they should leave. For a proper, informed vote on the issue, folks should also have the opportunity to hear reasons why people should stay -- from people who are committed to staying.

A primary point of Robert's Rules of Order, of the ELCA rules on leaving, is to protect the rights of the minority to be heard in an equal and fair debate. I see the revisions as trying to make the debate more equal and fair.

I don't see the new procedures raising the bar any higher. It still requires a 2/3 majority of those present, a period of at least 90 days and a second vote of at least 2/3 of those present. Raising the bar would be something like increasing the percentage to 3/4; or making it 2/3 of all the voting members.

What this rational does not recognize is the fact that the congregation has been participating in the ministry of the ELCA and is fully aware of "this church's" position and arguments. Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken? 
 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 07, 2010, 09:26:57 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
 
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 09:41:11 AM
I know the topic of the measures the ELCA is taking to crack-down on congregations is leaving is a sensitive one, but it needs to be discussed.

And why do you care or get involved in an internal issue of the ELCA?
We should "care or get involved" in issues concerning other church bodies because they are a part of the Church catholic.  What one denomination does affects others?  Should we just not give a damn about what Roman Catholics are doing or Southern Baptists?  Should we not "get involved" when some church or church body does something crazy like a planned Koran burning?

Honestly, you make no sense to me Brian.  None whatsoever!

But the LCMS has already declared us to be something less than authentic Lutherans. They've made their statement. The debate within their denomination is whether or not to completely separate from the ELCA in all joint ministries. Why would they be concerned about revisions in our process for leaving the ELCA? What affect does that have on them or on Lutheranism or Christianity in general?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: JMerrell on December 07, 2010, 09:47:54 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 07, 2010, 09:56:44 AM
The nasty part of the "getting involved in other church bodies" thing is a little like pornography: we can't quite define it, but we know it when we see it.
     We can say: "That is wrong, and we oppose it" if a church body does something or a congregation wants to burn Korans. We can say: "We are sorry for the schism in the Episcopal Church, but stand by our agreements with them."
     We can even say: "We have such differences with Baptists, that we can't see the point of any discussions."
     But that is not diving into the policy-making and legislative aspects of another church body, advising its members what to do if they agree with me rather than their bishops, or continually hammering away at their perceived errors and heresies.
     The obvious case in point: The LCMS has declared the rest of us un-Lutheran and un-biblical and some other things ever since we started to ordain women and took our ecumenical actions. Said and done. They don't like what we did. They broke fellowship with the ALC over women clergy. We get that.
    Now, when members of that church body pick up on virtually everything the ELCA does and raise the pointy finger to say "See! See! Look how awful they are! We told you it would come to this! Oh! The horror!", I get a little peeved.
     Or when members of another church body decide that their "call" is to "work with" ELCA people and help them through current difficulties, I find that meddlesome and irritating. I've said it before; if an LCMS congregation or pastor came to me for advice on leaving the LCMS and/or joining the ELCA, I'd refer them right back to their district president, and say "settle your accounts there before you talk to me."
     I think certain policies of the LCMS are wrong and have said so. But I'm not cheerleading for any faction in the LCMS that might want to change those policies. Some of their actions impinge on my ministry and I have to be prepared to explain and bear with that difficulty. I can say: "That's how they see it; that's how they do it; that's how they are 'Lutheran'. Some of us are 'Lutheran' in a different way."

Just wow!   Talk about "jumping the shark".
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 07, 2010, 09:58:32 AM
Chuck, indeed! But, same-old, same-old. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

 :)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 10:00:57 AM
The nasty part of the "getting involved in other church bodies" thing is a little like pornography: we can't quite define it, but we know it when we see it.

Did I miss something?  Have participants of this little online community showed up at one of your assemblies and caused problems?  Did they do so dressed in alb and stole, handing out literature decrying the unjust practices of your church?  Did you check to see if the little crowd of people standing about in alb and stole were actually ordained by some church?  No you say to all of the above?  Hmmm ....

So I guess none here have engaged the nasty part of getting involved in other church bodies.  We leave that to those who led the ELCA changes.

All the folks I know who did that were members of ELCA congregations -- both the folks from WordAlone who handed out brochures against the Concordat and those from Lutherans Concerned who sought to put a face to the homosexuality discussions.

I've also found that in many of our congregations "stoles" are no longer limited to the ordained; but they are given to confirmands, choir members may wear them, in a few cases deacons wear them. In addition, the "stoles" you are referring to were not in a liturgical color, but rainbow-colored, and only came down to about the belly, rather than long stoles that reached down to about the knees. None of the folks were wearing albs.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 10:03:35 AM
Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?
 

No.

Quote
And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

The inadequacies that are being corrected is to give all the voting members equal access to both sides of the discussion. It is not a fair debate for a pastor or a council or other leaders to tell a congregation that they are going to vote on leaving the ELCA and only let them hear reasons why they should leave. For a proper, informed vote on the issue, folks should also have the opportunity to hear reasons why people should stay -- from people who are committed to staying.

A primary point of Robert's Rules of Order, of the ELCA rules on leaving, is to protect the rights of the minority to be heard in an equal and fair debate. I see the revisions as trying to make the debate more equal and fair.

I don't see the new procedures raising the bar any higher. It still requires a 2/3 majority of those present, a period of at least 90 days and a second vote of at least 2/3 of those present. Raising the bar would be something like increasing the percentage to 3/4; or making it 2/3 of all the voting members.

What this rational does not recognize is the fact that the congregation has been participating in the ministry of the ELCA and is fully aware of "this church's" position and arguments. Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken? 

It's not the "revisionists" who are doing this, but the synod office. My guess that a major part of the pre-vote discussion is to make sure that all the legalities will be met. It's much better to make sure a congregation knows all the rules before a vote, rather than afterwards -- mistakes have been made. Such a pre-vote consultation could eliminate all of the mistakes.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 10:06:14 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Maryland Brian on December 07, 2010, 10:16:51 AM

 In addition, the "stoles" you are referring to were not in a liturgical color, but rainbow-colored, and only came down to about the belly,

   ::) ::) ::) 
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Evangel on December 07, 2010, 10:45:44 AM
... My guess that a major part of the pre-vote discussion is to make sure that all the legalities will be met. It's much better to make sure a congregation knows all the rules before a vote, rather than afterwards -- mistakes have been made. Such a pre-vote consultation could eliminate all of the mistakes.

Because many of us who have been approached by ELCA congregations wanting to get out have been asked; "How did you do it?", there are several published "How to" guides.

This is not a universal fact, but many congregations that are looking at leaving would not trust the information given in such a synod "pre-vote consultation".  That's why pastors and lay leaders who successfully navigated the way out are called to come and speak.  It's also why some congregations have retained lawyers.  Face it, there are some synods where congregations wanting to leave would look outside to check if the consultant from the synod said the sky is blue.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on December 07, 2010, 10:50:22 AM
Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

As an initial matter, it's nearly always impossible to discern a single, coherent reason for a legislative act (perhaps unless that act is undertaken by a single person).  What we know from various reports is that the ELCA church council agreed on proposed amendments to the ELCA constitution.  We can infer -- fairly, I think -- that senior leaders within the churchwide organization (the presiding bishop, the secretary, and perhaps others) supported the proposals.  What we do not know is why each leader and church council member chose to support these proposals.  Each person's reasons might well be different.

I do think that it's fair to try to understand the motives that might be at play.  This exercise can help concerned congregations and others make educated guesses regarding the way in which the ELCA and its synods are likely to deal with congregations and pastors on a path that may lead out of the ELCA.  However, those seeking a coherent logic behind a legislative act should qualify their conclusions appropriately.

With these qualifications, I can construct a more benign "motive" than that posited by Pr. Kliner:  The current constitutional provisions are ambiguous and full of holes.  We have been vaguely aware of this in the past.  However, it's becoming a big problem now because so many congregations are choosing at least to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  Synod bishops have inundated Secretary Swartling with questions regarding how to deal with the ambiguities and holes.  He's been as consistent as he can be in giving advice.  And as best he can tell, bishops are largely following that advice.  But congregations often challenge the sercretary's interpretations.  And while Secretary Swartling generally is confident in his opinions, the ambiguities and holes create space for the opposing points of view.  By amending the constitution, the ELCA can resolve the ambiguities and fill the holes that have been most problematic.  And while we're at it, we can fix another big problem.  Bishops have found that congregations are choosing to leave without knowing all the facts.  In many cases, a few people within a congregation have driven the process and the argument.  Some of these leaders may be intentionally trying to mislead their fellow congregants.  Many, however, are simply not well-informed.  If congregations truly wish to leave the ELCA, they should be permitted to do so (so long as they follow the proper process).  However, no congregation should vote to leave unless and until it has heard the best and clearest case for staying in the ELCA.  Thus, as we amend these provisions, we should ensure that bishops have a chance to ensure that the ELCA's case is well made to a congregation before it votes to leave.  In particular, we need congregations to know that they will be able to act in accord with their bound consciences.  The ELCA will NOT force congregations to call gay pastors.  This word has not gotten through.  Some may argue that this is about making it more difficult for a congregation to leave.  But that misses the point.  The goal here is to make sure that tank-and-file members of congregations make fair, well-informed decisions.  When congregations understand all the facts, as they will under this "more fair" process, we are convinced that many will stay that otherwise might have chosen to leave.

In any event, understanding the motives of those supporting these changes is less important (in my view) than understanding the substance of the changes and the likely reactions from congregations and members.  I won't get into issues of substance here.  We discussed them at some length above.  As for congregational reaction?  Congregations, pastors, and others that have grown mistrustful of the ELCA and its bishops will likely find their trust further eroded.  Congregations, pastors, and others who wish to leave the ELCA are likely to accelerate their discernment process, fearful that the ELCA might be trying to thwart that process (or perhaps take the congregation's property).  And the ELCA's strange silence on the church council action will look to many as if the ELCA is trying to sneak these changes through before congregations figure out that the process has changed, further eroding trust.  By not giving a positive rationale for the proposed amendments, the ELCA leaves people free to engage in unanswered speculation of the sort that we are undertaking here.

In short, even assuming that the ELCA's motives are good, its actions are likely to be perceived as legalistic and heavy handed; the ELCA is pushing congregations toward the door that otherwise might be inclined prayerfully to wait and watch.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: SmithL on December 07, 2010, 11:22:22 AM
I would expect any congregations that are even contemplating leaving to at least get their first vote completed prior to the next CWA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 11:49:53 AM
... My guess that a major part of the pre-vote discussion is to make sure that all the legalities will be met. It's much better to make sure a congregation knows all the rules before a vote, rather than afterwards -- mistakes have been made. Such a pre-vote consultation could eliminate all of the mistakes.

Because many of us who have been approached by ELCA congregations wanting to get out have been asked; "How did you do it?", there are several published "How to" guides.

This is not a universal fact, but many congregations that are looking at leaving would not trust the information given in such a synod "pre-vote consultation".  That's why pastors and lay leaders who successfully navigated the way out are called to come and speak.  It's also why some congregations have retained lawyers.  Face it, there are some synods where congregations wanting to leave would look outside to check if the consultant from the synod said the sky is blue.

However, in cases of formerly LCA and ELCA congregations, they need the support of the synod to withdraw -- not the support of consultants or lawyers. Turning the synod into the enemy in the process could be counter-productive.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 07, 2010, 05:06:41 PM
Is this a fair assesment of the logic involved?
 

No.

Quote
And, if it is a fair assesment of the logic, then it also explains the reason this thread has evolved in the way it has, because one way of arguing is to discredit the premises of a proposition.

The inadequacies that are being corrected is to give all the voting members equal access to both sides of the discussion. It is not a fair debate for a pastor or a council or other leaders to tell a congregation that they are going to vote on leaving the ELCA and only let them hear reasons why they should leave. For a proper, informed vote on the issue, folks should also have the opportunity to hear reasons why people should stay -- from people who are committed to staying.

A primary point of Robert's Rules of Order, of the ELCA rules on leaving, is to protect the rights of the minority to be heard in an equal and fair debate. I see the revisions as trying to make the debate more equal and fair.

I don't see the new procedures raising the bar any higher. It still requires a 2/3 majority of those present, a period of at least 90 days and a second vote of at least 2/3 of those present. Raising the bar would be something like increasing the percentage to 3/4; or making it 2/3 of all the voting members.

Didn't you just make my point?  Especially "Assumption 1a" and "Assumption 2b"?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 07, 2010, 05:14:27 PM
Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

As an initial matter, it's nearly always impossible to discern a single, coherent reason for a legislative act (perhaps unless that act is undertaken by a single person).  What we know from various reports is that the ELCA church council agreed on proposed amendments to the ELCA constitution.  We can infer -- fairly, I think -- that senior leaders within the churchwide organization (the presiding bishop, the secretary, and perhaps others) supported the proposals.  What we do not know is why each leader and church council member chose to support these proposals.  Each person's reasons might well be different.

I do think that it's fair to try to understand the motives that might be at play.  This exercise can help concerned congregations and others make educated guesses regarding the way in which the ELCA and its synods are likely to deal with congregations and pastors on a path that may lead out of the ELCA.  However, those seeking a coherent logic behind a legislative act should qualify their conclusions appropriately.

With these qualifications, I can construct a more benign "motive" than that posited by Pr. Kliner:  The current constitutional provisions are ambiguous and full of holes.  We have been vaguely aware of this in the past.  However, it's becoming a big problem now because so many congregations are choosing at least to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  Synod bishops have inundated Secretary Swartling with questions regarding how to deal with the ambiguities and holes.  He's been as consistent as he can be in giving advice.  And as best he can tell, bishops are largely following that advice.  But congregations often challenge the sercretary's interpretations.  And while Secretary Swartling generally is confident in his opinions, the ambiguities and holes create space for the opposing points of view.  By amending the constitution, the ELCA can resolve the ambiguities and fill the holes that have been most problematic.  And while we're at it, we can fix another big problem.  Bishops have found that congregations are choosing to leave without knowing all the facts.  In many cases, a few people within a congregation have driven the process and the argument.  Some of these leaders may be intentionally trying to mislead their fellow congregants.  Many, however, are simply not well-informed.  If congregations truly wish to leave the ELCA, they should be permitted to do so (so long as they follow the proper process).  However, no congregation should vote to leave unless and until it has heard the best and clearest case for staying in the ELCA.  Thus, as we amend these provisions, we should ensure that bishops have a chance to ensure that the ELCA's case is well made to a congregation before it votes to leave.  In particular, we need congregations to know that they will be able to act in accord with their bound consciences.  The ELCA will NOT force congregations to call gay pastors.  This word has not gotten through.  Some may argue that this is about making it more difficult for a congregation to leave.  But that misses the point.  The goal here is to make sure that tank-and-file members of congregations make fair, well-informed decisions.  When congregations understand all the facts, as they will under this "more fair" process, we are convinced that many will stay that otherwise might have chosen to leave.

In any event, understanding the motives of those supporting these changes is less important (in my view) than understanding the substance of the changes and the likely reactions from congregations and members.  I won't get into issues of substance here.  We discussed them at some length above.  As for congregational reaction?  Congregations, pastors, and others that have grown mistrustful of the ELCA and its bishops will likely find their trust further eroded.  Congregations, pastors, and others who wish to leave the ELCA are likely to accelerate their discernment process, fearful that the ELCA might be trying to thwart that process (or perhaps take the congregation's property).  And the ELCA's strange silence on the church council action will look to many as if the ELCA is trying to sneak these changes through before congregations figure out that the process has changed, further eroding trust.  By not giving a positive rationale for the proposed amendments, the ELCA leaves people free to engage in unanswered speculation of the sort that we are undertaking here.

In short, even assuming that the ELCA's motives are good, its actions are likely to be perceived as legalistic and heavy handed; the ELCA is pushing congregations toward the door that otherwise might be inclined prayerfully to wait and watch.

Thanks, Jim.  I appreciate the thoughtful nature of your response.  The only thing that I would ponder is the nature of argumentation.  In order to argue against (of for) a measure, it usually helps to know the logic (not the motivation, per se) so that you can assess and push against the premises of the argument.

So, for example, if my first major premise is accurate (which, as you point out may be the case if the current severance procedure is "full of holes") then it does no good to argue that the current provisions are adaquate and should be maintained.  But that is a far cry from arguing that these new proposed measures are necessary. 

Any case, thanks for the analysis.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 05:14:42 PM
Didn't you just make my point?  Especially "Assumption 1a" and "Assumption 2b"?

No, because I don't impose such a negative motivation on the ELCA and our synods. For congregations who are committed to leaving, they seek to help in the process.

I assisted in a high school class (as an accompanist). The teachers commented about one student who's grade improved when he skipped class. Then they could only give him an F. When he was in class, he'd get an F- because he not only was not trying to learn anything, but was disrupting all the other students.

I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on December 07, 2010, 05:23:37 PM
Didn't you just make my point?  Especially "Assumption 1a" and "Assumption 2b"?

No, because I don't impose such a negative motivation on the ELCA and our synods. For congregations who are committed to leaving, they seek to help in the process.

I assisted in a high school class (as an accompanist). The teachers commented about one student who's grade improved when he skipped class. Then they could only give him an F. When he was in class, he'd get an F- because he not only was not trying to learn anything, but was disrupting all the other students.

I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)

What "negative motivation"?  Seeking to prevent those who you think are hurting themselves is a "negative motivation"?  Seeking to deter those who you think have a "nefarious intent" is a "negative motivation"?

You yourself responded by saying that congregational voters were being dis-enfranchised when the "Pastor and council" announced that suddenly there was going to be a vote on the subject and only literature promoting leaving was available.  (Which, just for the record, I think is an exceptional event, not representing the majority of such congregational votes.)  Does that mean that you have a "negative motivation"?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: pr dtp on December 07, 2010, 05:41:45 PM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.


Including that part about the quick and the dead?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: James_Gale on December 07, 2010, 05:47:08 PM
Conclusion: Therefore, since the current process for severance is inadequate and the ELCA continues to hold to the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church, the process for severance must be increased so that congregations do not harm themselves and those with nefarious reasons for severance must be deterred.

As an initial matter, it's nearly always impossible to discern a single, coherent reason for a legislative act (perhaps unless that act is undertaken by a single person).  What we know from various reports is that the ELCA church council agreed on proposed amendments to the ELCA constitution.  We can infer -- fairly, I think -- that senior leaders within the churchwide organization (the presiding bishop, the secretary, and perhaps others) supported the proposals.  What we do not know is why each leader and church council member chose to support these proposals.  Each person's reasons might well be different.

I do think that it's fair to try to understand the motives that might be at play.  This exercise can help concerned congregations and others make educated guesses regarding the way in which the ELCA and its synods are likely to deal with congregations and pastors on a path that may lead out of the ELCA.  However, those seeking a coherent logic behind a legislative act should qualify their conclusions appropriately.

With these qualifications, I can construct a more benign "motive" than that posited by Pr. Kliner:  The current constitutional provisions are ambiguous and full of holes.  We have been vaguely aware of this in the past.  However, it's becoming a big problem now because so many congregations are choosing at least to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  Synod bishops have inundated Secretary Swartling with questions regarding how to deal with the ambiguities and holes.  He's been as consistent as he can be in giving advice.  And as best he can tell, bishops are largely following that advice.  But congregations often challenge the sercretary's interpretations.  And while Secretary Swartling generally is confident in his opinions, the ambiguities and holes create space for the opposing points of view.  By amending the constitution, the ELCA can resolve the ambiguities and fill the holes that have been most problematic.  And while we're at it, we can fix another big problem.  Bishops have found that congregations are choosing to leave without knowing all the facts.  In many cases, a few people within a congregation have driven the process and the argument.  Some of these leaders may be intentionally trying to mislead their fellow congregants.  Many, however, are simply not well-informed.  If congregations truly wish to leave the ELCA, they should be permitted to do so (so long as they follow the proper process).  However, no congregation should vote to leave unless and until it has heard the best and clearest case for staying in the ELCA.  Thus, as we amend these provisions, we should ensure that bishops have a chance to ensure that the ELCA's case is well made to a congregation before it votes to leave.  In particular, we need congregations to know that they will be able to act in accord with their bound consciences.  The ELCA will NOT force congregations to call gay pastors.  This word has not gotten through.  Some may argue that this is about making it more difficult for a congregation to leave.  But that misses the point.  The goal here is to make sure that tank-and-file members of congregations make fair, well-informed decisions.  When congregations understand all the facts, as they will under this "more fair" process, we are convinced that many will stay that otherwise might have chosen to leave.

In any event, understanding the motives of those supporting these changes is less important (in my view) than understanding the substance of the changes and the likely reactions from congregations and members.  I won't get into issues of substance here.  We discussed them at some length above.  As for congregational reaction?  Congregations, pastors, and others that have grown mistrustful of the ELCA and its bishops will likely find their trust further eroded.  Congregations, pastors, and others who wish to leave the ELCA are likely to accelerate their discernment process, fearful that the ELCA might be trying to thwart that process (or perhaps take the congregation's property).  And the ELCA's strange silence on the church council action will look to many as if the ELCA is trying to sneak these changes through before congregations figure out that the process has changed, further eroding trust.  By not giving a positive rationale for the proposed amendments, the ELCA leaves people free to engage in unanswered speculation of the sort that we are undertaking here.

In short, even assuming that the ELCA's motives are good, its actions are likely to be perceived as legalistic and heavy handed; the ELCA is pushing congregations toward the door that otherwise might be inclined prayerfully to wait and watch.

Thanks, Jim.  I appreciate the thoughtful nature of your response.  The only thing that I would ponder is the nature of argumentation.  In order to argue against (of for) a measure, it usually helps to know the logic (not the motivation, per se) so that you can assess and push against the premises of the argument.

So, for example, if my first major premise is accurate (which, as you point out may be the case if the current severance procedure is "full of holes") then it does no good to argue that the current provisions are adaquate and should be maintained.  But that is a far cry from arguing that these new proposed measures are necessary. 

Any case, thanks for the analysis.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


I guess I'd argue that discerning "logic" behind legislation is fraught with the same challenges as discerning "motivation."  Different people may have different logical rationales for supporting (or opposing) a proposal.

I do agree that the current provisions include some ambiguity and some holes.  The provisions could be improved.  That does not mean that the current process is "inadequate."  It has been working, after all.  The question confronting the church council therefore was not whether the current provisions should be maintained.  Rather,  the question was whether the proposed amendments on balance are preferable to the current provisions.  
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 07, 2010, 11:46:36 PM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.


Including that part about the quick and the dead?

You mean one way of translating vivos et mortuos?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: pr dtp on December 08, 2010, 12:53:27 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.


Including that part about the quick and the dead?

You mean one way of translating vivos et mortuos?

As in the judgment....

Too bad some that could do CPR happen to think flatlines are just a matter of choice...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 08, 2010, 08:55:45 AM
I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)

Oh yeah, that's why case after case is being made across the country of synods attempting to prevent congregations from leaving, threatening lawsuits, claiming they didn't follow procedures to the letter, etc, asking pastors to place moratoriums on any votes for a year (my Bishop did that to me), and the like. 

Give me a break.   ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: JMerrell on December 08, 2010, 10:11:00 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.

Are you talking about A) the creed that the ELCA decided to change to make it PC?  and B) the one that many congregations don't use due to page 92 of the ELW that says its not a central part of worship?
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 08, 2010, 11:45:55 AM
I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)

Oh yeah, that's why case after case is being made across the country of synods attempting to prevent congregations from leaving, threatening lawsuits, claiming they didn't follow procedures to the letter, etc, asking pastors to place moratoriums on any votes for a year (my Bishop did that to me), and the like. 

Well, there were congregations who did not follow procedures according to the letter. What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 08, 2010, 11:51:57 AM
I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)

Oh yeah, that's why case after case is being made across the country of synods attempting to prevent congregations from leaving, threatening lawsuits, claiming they didn't follow procedures to the letter, etc, asking pastors to place moratoriums on any votes for a year (my Bishop did that to me), and the like. 

Well, there were congregations who did not follow procedures according to the letter. What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.

You are not listening. Only charity and 8th commandment keep these real events from this forum. And usually a gentle and soft "what's wrong with," is insulting to the intelligence, and charity of those you ask. I think you pretty well did a Freudian slip there when you compared them to a "child." That's exactly what many synods seem to have as a perspective. There is little respect being reflected, and quite the opposite. Try that out on your wife and get back to us on how many stitches you got from the slap. (figurative, ... or literal)

TV
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 08, 2010, 12:03:04 PM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.

Are you talking about A) the creed that the ELCA decided to change to make it PC?

That is a false statement. The ELCA did not change any creeds. With the LBW, the church bodies opted to use the ICET (International Consultation on English Texts - 1969-1975) translations of the creeds and other liturgical texts. About those texts: "the major Christian Churches throughout the English-speaking world have adopted many of the liturgical forms then proposed for common use. Some of these have found almost universal acceptance, but others clearly required further work and consultation."

In 1983 an ecumenical liturgical consultation was held and determined to constitute a body to succeed the ICET. The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) was formed. They retained some of the ICET translations and revised some others.

Your statement is wrong because the ELCA did not change the creeds, but choose to use an ecumenical translation of the creeds. They are not even an ELCA translation, but one created by a committee with representatives from the major English-speaking church bodies from around the world.

Quote
and B) the one that many congregations don't use due to page 92 of the ELW that says its not a central part of worship?

It was also true that the saying of a Creed was a may rubric in LBW's communion liturgies. Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 08, 2010, 01:11:29 PM

Well, there were congregations who did not follow procedures according to the letter. What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.

"Some people see things differently."    ::)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 08, 2010, 01:43:21 PM


Well, there were congregations who did not follow procedures according to the letter. What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.

Whats wrong is that we've already given that year and then some... and during that time, were told there were no calls because of our concerns over this new direction, were told that if we don't like it we should just leave, and were ridiculed for our assembly resolutions, NOT for the content, but for perceived grammatical constructs.  That's whats wrong.  In that year, the respect for the bound conscience has been stated in not so many words, "this is the way it is, and if you don't like it, you can shut up."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: pr dtp on December 09, 2010, 01:59:01 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.

Are you talking about A) the creed that the ELCA decided to change to make it PC?

That is a false statement. The ELCA did not change any creeds. With the LBW, the church bodies opted to use the ICET (International Consultation on English Texts - 1969-1975) translations of the creeds and other liturgical texts. About those texts: "the major Christian Churches throughout the English-speaking world have adopted many of the liturgical forms then proposed for common use. Some of these have found almost universal acceptance, but others clearly required further work and consultation."

In 1983 an ecumenical liturgical consultation was held and determined to constitute a body to succeed the ICET. The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) was formed. They retrained some of the ICET translations and revised some others.

Your statement is wrong because the ELCA did not change the creeds, but choose to use an ecumenical translation of the creeds. They are not even an ELCA translation, but one created by a committee with representatives from the major English-speaking church bodies from around the world.

Quote
and B) the one that many congregations don't use due to page 92 of the ELW that says its not a central part of worship?

It was also true that the saying of a Creed was a may rubric in LBW's communion liturgies. Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.


I get it - they didn't change the creed - they just approved of the changes.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 09, 2010, 02:27:51 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.

Are you talking about A) the creed that the ELCA decided to change to make it PC?

That is a false statement. The ELCA did not change any creeds. With the LBW, the church bodies opted to use the ICET (International Consultation on English Texts - 1969-1975) translations of the creeds and other liturgical texts. About those texts: "the major Christian Churches throughout the English-speaking world have adopted many of the liturgical forms then proposed for common use. Some of these have found almost universal acceptance, but others clearly required further work and consultation."

In 1983 an ecumenical liturgical consultation was held and determined to constitute a body to succeed the ICET. The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) was formed. They retrained some of the ICET translations and revised some others.

Your statement is wrong because the ELCA did not change the creeds, but choose to use an ecumenical translation of the creeds. They are not even an ELCA translation, but one created by a committee with representatives from the major English-speaking church bodies from around the world.

Quote
and B) the one that many congregations don't use due to page 92 of the ELW that says its not a central part of worship?

It was also true that the saying of a Creed was a may rubric in LBW's communion liturgies. Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.


I get it - they didn't change the creed - they just approved of the changes.

They had representatives and approved the new translations from the original languages, which, in most cases, I believe more accurately reflect the meaning of the original.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 10, 2010, 09:34:24 AM
Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.

Perhaps a part of our problem is that too many are reciting the Creeds rather than confessing them.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2010, 09:51:51 AM
Chuck, that is a perceptive observation. Merely mouthing the words or pointing to them written on paper is not the same as actually believing, teaching and *confessing* them.

We know that, tragically, many in mainline protestantism mouth these words, but they have so emptied the words of any real meaning that they are not actually confessing the realities the Creeds are declaring.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 10, 2010, 10:42:14 AM
Aaah, the good ol' reliable, ever-present LCMS mindset: "You say you believe, but we don't believe you believe. You say you confess the creeds, but we know that you don't really mean it."
Or "You say you believe, but unless you can get a 100 percent on our check-list test of what you believe, you don't really believe."
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: G.Edward on December 10, 2010, 10:53:59 AM
I believe that our synods would rather help a congregation who wants to leave to follow the proper procedures for leaving than trying to force them to stay where they are likely to be disruptive to the synod. (There have been perhaps a few exceptions to this, but in general, I hear folks speaking favorably of the help bishops and staff have given.)

Oh yeah, that's why case after case is being made across the country of synods attempting to prevent congregations from leaving, threatening lawsuits, claiming they didn't follow procedures to the letter, etc, asking pastors to place moratoriums on any votes for a year (my Bishop did that to me), and the like. 

Well, there were congregations who did not follow procedures according to the letter. What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.

The only angry children who need a time out here in the ELCA are those who are choosing this time to raise the bar for departing congregations so the illusion of acceptance may be maintained.  Let those who want to leave go, wish them Godspeed and farewell, and get on with living as "god's hands doing god's work". 

This is less of a sudden need to close loopholes that haven't been a concern for the past couple of decades and more of a need of folks in the ELCA leadership to force other folks to go along with their agenda.  If these changes were so pressing, why weren't they addressed ten years ago? 

Perhaps all the bishops, synod staff, and church-wide officials should resign in shame and seek God's forgiveness for such ongoing failure of fiduciary responsibility.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 10, 2010, 10:55:45 AM
Pastor Orovitz writes:
Why do the revisions need to provide for a thirty day period of hard-sell, "in-your-face" confrontation and argument before a vote is taken?
  
I muse:
Perhaps because the "default" position ought to be: stay in the ELCA.
And who says that the 30-day period is "hard-sell" or "in-your-face" or a "confrontation"? Who thinks that would work? Why not make doubly sure that everyone has adequate information and a chance to discuss things with all parties (including that nasty bishop) before a decision is made?

The default position ought to be for the ELCA to repent of its sins and remain faithful to the one, holy, apostolic faith and teachings that we have received.

Doesn't the Apostles' Creed, which we continue to confess, convey the apostolic faith? That remains part of our confession and our teaching.

Are you talking about A) the creed that the ELCA decided to change to make it PC?

That is a false statement. The ELCA did not change any creeds. With the LBW, the church bodies opted to use the ICET (International Consultation on English Texts - 1969-1975) translations of the creeds and other liturgical texts. About those texts: "the major Christian Churches throughout the English-speaking world have adopted many of the liturgical forms then proposed for common use. Some of these have found almost universal acceptance, but others clearly required further work and consultation."

In 1983 an ecumenical liturgical consultation was held and determined to constitute a body to succeed the ICET. The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) was formed. They retrained some of the ICET translations and revised some others.

Your statement is wrong because the ELCA did not change the creeds, but choose to use an ecumenical translation of the creeds. They are not even an ELCA translation, but one created by a committee with representatives from the major English-speaking church bodies from around the world.

Quote
and B) the one that many congregations don't use due to page 92 of the ELW that says its not a central part of worship?

It was also true that the saying of a Creed was a may rubric in LBW's communion liturgies. Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.


I get it - they didn't change the creed - they just approved of the changes.

They had representatives and approved the new translations from the original languages, which, in most cases, I believe more accurately reflect the meaning of the original.

Yeah, Godself and God's Son are throughout the original languages.  How did the Church miss that for 2000 years?  The fools!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 10, 2010, 10:59:52 AM
Aaah, the good ol' reliable, ever-present LCMS mindset: "You say you believe, but we don't believe you believe. You say you confess the creeds, but we know that you don't really mean it."
Or "You say you believe, but unless you can get a 100 percent on our check-list test of what you believe, you don't really believe."

The Historic Creeds are a "check list" of sorts - condensed Biblical story and concentrated theology in bite-sized chunks.  Check lists help human beings stay on track and get the job done when they are followed.  But following is a heart issue, and not one that any law - human or divine - can require in this between-time.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2010, 11:20:23 AM
It is easily documented that each significant phrase in the Creed, or, almost all, particularly those in reference to Christ are either denied outright or cast into doubt across the liberal mainline. This is no secret.

Virgin Birth
Vicarious satisfaction
Resurrection from the dead

The doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of the two natures in Christ

And so forth.

etc. etc. etc.

Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 10, 2010, 11:22:21 AM
It is easily documented that each significant phrase in the Creed, or, almost all, particularly those in reference to Christ are either denied outright or cast into doubt across the liberal mainline. This is no secret.

Virgin Birth
Vicarious satisfaction
Resurrection from the dead

The doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of the two natures in Christ

And so forth.

etc. etc. etc.

Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

There you go again, you LC-MS folks bringing Jesus into everything.  No wonder us ELCA'rs have such a hard time with you.  ;D
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: efretheim on December 10, 2010, 11:31:07 AM
It is easily documented that each significant phrase in the Creed, or, almost all, particularly those in reference to Christ are either denied outright or cast into doubt across the liberal mainline. This is no secret.

Virgin Birth
Vicarious satisfaction
Resurrection from the dead

The doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of the two natures in Christ

And so forth.

etc. etc. etc.

Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

There you go again, you LC-MS folks bringing Jesus into everything.  No wonder us ELCA'rs have such a hard time with you.  ;D
Next thing you know they'll ask you to read the bible instead of using it to prop your keyboard to the right height too.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 10, 2010, 11:34:01 AM
It is easily documented that each significant phrase in the Creed, or, almost all, particularly those in reference to Christ are either denied outright or cast into doubt across the liberal mainline. This is no secret.

Virgin Birth
Vicarious satisfaction
Resurrection from the dead

The doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of the two natures in Christ

And so forth.

etc. etc. etc.

Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

There you go again, you LC-MS folks bringing Jesus into everything.  No wonder us ELCA'rs have such a hard time with you.  ;D
Next thing you know they'll ask you to read the bible instead of using it to prop your keyboard to the right height too.


And not only read it but actually believe the plain reading of the text, and wrestle alone and together as a community with the tensions in and among texts.  I'm not sure I'm  up to the task...
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2010, 11:44:04 AM
Next thing you know they'll ask you to read the bible instead of using it to prop your keyboard to the right height too

To be fair about it, it if is The Lutheran Study Bible, that might not be a good idea.

: )
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 12:00:58 PM
Reciting of a creed is not historically a central part of the communion liturgy. It is not even included in the liturgy of Communion for those in Special Circumstances. From my research, in the earliest liturgies the proclamation/confession of the Trinitarian God was in the Great Thanksgiving, not the creeds.

However, the Apostles' Creed is not optional in baptism and related rites. It remains part of catachetical instructions from the Small Catechism.

Perhaps a part of our problem is that too many are reciting the Creeds rather than confessing them.

Or maybe too many people that confessing the creeds is all they need to do to confess their faith. There's much more to believing in the Triune God than just confessing the creeds.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 12:06:35 PM
Yeah, Godself and God's Son are throughout the original languages.  How did the Church miss that for 2000 years?  The fools!

"Godself" is not in the translation. "God's son" is accurately reflecting the meaning of filium eius unicum and more closely related to the biblical "Son of God" (which could be translated "God's son").
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 12:09:00 PM
Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

In other words, we have to agree with you or we are in denial. Your mind is made up and nothing will change it.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 12:11:23 PM
And not only read it but actually believe the plain reading of the text, and wrestle alone and together as a community with the tensions in and among texts.  I'm not sure I'm  up to the task...

And the "plain meaning" according to Mark Allan Powell is the meaning it had for the original hearers. Without some historical criticism we are likely to miss that plain meaning.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2010, 12:14:21 PM
Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

In other words, we have to agree with you or we are in denial. Your mind is made up and nothing will change it.

Brian, facts are stubborn things.

You, for example, have cast doubt on nearly every major phrase of the Creed, in various ways.

You have reduced the Christian faith to some sort of existential/emotional/subjective experience of God, without little, to no, apparently, concern for the actual historicity and factuality of the Faith once delivered to the saints.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 01:48:23 PM
Those who refuse to acknowledge this, or can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, are simply in denial.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

In other words, we have to agree with you or we are in denial. Your mind is made up and nothing will change it.

Brian, facts are stubborn things.

You, for example, have cast doubt on nearly every major phrase of the Creed, in various ways.

You have reduced the Christian faith to some sort of existential/emotional/subjective experience of God, without little, to no, apparently, concern for the actual historicity and factuality of the Faith once delivered to the saints.

Amazing, you talk about facts and then offer your subjective opinion about me with absolutely no facts to support it.

I believe, preach and teach every major phrase of the Creed. Your subjective evaluation is nothing but your bigoted bs against me and the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2010, 01:50:58 PM
All anyone has to do, if they really have the time to kill, or interest, can read your 16,000+ comments on this forum and find you doubting/denying:

The Virgin Birth
The miracles of Christ
The bodily resurrection of Christ
The two natures in Christ
The vicarious satisfaction for sins

And that's just for starters.

Facts are stubborn things, Brian.

You have chosen to devote in excess of 2,330 hours of your life, that's a total of over three months!, to commenting here. And you have therefore provided a highly detailed record of your views, available for all to see.

You've got nobody to blame but yourself.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 10, 2010, 02:11:47 PM
All anyone has to do, if they really have the time to kill, or interest, can read your 16,000+ comments on this forum and find you doubting/denying:

Apparently you have done a very poor job of that.

Quote
The Virgin Birth

I believe and have written and preach and teach in support of the historicity of the virgin birth -- although I prefer Raymond Brown's phrase, virginal conception.

Quote
The miracles of Christ

I believe and preach and teach that the miracles of Christ actually happened -- and they continue to happen today. (However, that is not a phrase in the creed.)

Quote
The bodily resurrection of Christ

I believe and teach and preach what we confess in the Creed: "On the third day he rose again." The creeds say nothing about what kind of body the resurrected Jesus had. I argue that we have differing pictures of the resurrected Jesus in scriptures -- sometimes with a body, e.g., in the gospels; and sometimes as a bodiless light, in Acts. Even the appearances with the body indicate a different kind of body than we have. The risen Jesus appeared and disappeared. In addition, Paul, in 1 Cor 15 makes a distinction between a physical and a spiritual body.

Quote
The two natures in Christ

Jesus was human and divine. In accordance with Philippians 2, Jesus emptied himself of his divine powers in becoming a human. Otherwise he would only seem to be a human -- which is the docetist heresy. This does not mean that he ceased to be God.

Quote
The vicarious satisfaction for sins

The only thing about sins that is confessed in the creeds is that they are forgiven. I believe, teach, and preach that weekly.

One of the ways of understanding the meaning of forgiveness is that Christ paid the penalty that God exacts from sinners.


Quote
Facts are stubborn things, Brian.

Yes they are. Someday I hope that you get them right. Your "evaluation" of my posts indicates more about you than about what I've actually written.

Quote
You have chosen to devote in excess of 2,330 hours of your life, that's a total of over three months!, to commenting here. And you have therefore provided a highly detailed record of your views, available for all to see.

And I've devoted myself to over 34 years of public ministry. The few hours and words posted here is only a small percentage of what I say and write.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 10, 2010, 03:20:53 PM
Well, the Grand Inquisitor writing under the nom de guerre of ptmccain is back in action. Yuck.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: jrubyaz on December 10, 2010, 03:44:26 PM

Mr. Erdner was booted. I wonder what the forum would be like if Pastors Austin, McCain and Brian S took a  voluntary break.  It might actually become a place of healthy debate. Or perhaps say to all with over a 1000 posts take some time off and get out from behind the keyboard...might do you some good. 



Well, the Grand Inquisitor writing under the nom de guerre of ptmccain is back in action. Yuck.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: George Erdner on December 13, 2010, 11:43:07 AM

Mr. Erdner was booted. I wonder what the forum would be like if Pastors Austin, McCain and Brian S took a  voluntary break.  It might actually become a place of healthy debate. Or perhaps say to all with over a 1000 posts take some time off and get out from behind the keyboard...might do you some good. 



Well, the Grand Inquisitor writing under the nom de guerre of ptmccain is back in action. Yuck.

For the record, I was given a 30 day time-out on November 13. Today is December 13.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: ptmccain on December 13, 2010, 11:53:14 AM
What happened to the Santa-esque beard??

Welcome back, George.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: George Erdner on December 13, 2010, 08:18:59 PM
What's wrong with waiting for a year to see how we will work out this new "respecting bound conscience" approach? I see it as being no different than telling an angry child (or adult) to count to ten before saying or doing anything.

It doesn't take a full year to count to ten. There is a world of difference between taking a short pause for reflection before an action and postponing the inevitable for an entire year. There is no comparison between the time it takes to count to ten and an entire year. Perhaps if you would conduct an experiment, you'd see what I mean. Hold your hand over a hot charcoal grill as you count to ten. Think about what that felt like. Then hold your hand over a hot charcoal grill for a year. Then reflect on whether or not the two lengths of time were significantly different or not.

People have a finite capacity for enduring an unacceptable condition. The only thing to be gained by forcing congregations to delay action for a full year is to ensure that enough members will tire of waiting for the congregation to leave the ELCA and will instead decide to leave for a different congregation. That will help prevent the mustering of a 2/3rds majority. The congregation will be smaller, weaker, and possibly at risk of collapse, but it won't have enough membership remaining who want to change affiliations.

Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 14, 2010, 02:18:38 PM
I also don't believe that Pastor McCain's so-called "rant" in response to Pastor Stoffregen's claims depicts any semblance of Grand or subordinate Inquisitor.  I had come to the same conclusions regarding Pr Stoffregen and I've only read the last couple of months' worth of posts, which still number well over 1000, or at least it certainly seems that way.

What he has done is shed light, again, on the fundamental rift within the ELCA, and perhaps also why that rift will never be healed from within.  Revisionists, in general, don't seem to believe in absolute claims with respect to faith and theology, where traditionalists do.  It is next to impossible to find "common ground" when one group has a line that cannot be crossed, that keeps getting crossed by the other side.

That is to say nothing of the whole sham of a concept passed in 2009, "respect for the bound conscience."

I'm curious to know if anyone has seen a copy of the letter recently received by the ELCA headquarters from the Ethiopian church "Mekane Yesus" (sp?) calling for the ELCA to repent of its sins from August 2009?  As far as I can tell, there has been no response from Higgins Road on this (recognizing that this is off topic for this thread...)
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 14, 2010, 02:44:17 PM
I'm curious to know if anyone has seen a copy of the letter recently received by the ELCA headquarters from the Ethiopian church "Mekane Jesus" (sp?) calling for the ELCA to repent of its sins from August 2009?  As far as I can tell, there has been no response from Higgins Road on this (recognizing that this is off topic for this thread...)

I imagine that it will receive as much attention as if the ELCA sent a letter to the LCMS headquarters asking them to repent of the sins of close(d) communion and exclusion of women from ordination.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 14, 2010, 02:46:51 PM
I had come to the same conclusions regarding Pr Stoffregen and I've only read the last couple of months' worth of posts, which still number well over 1000, or at least it certainly seems that way.

Then you, too, like Paul, have come to false conclusions.

Quote
What he has done is shed light, again, on the fundamental rift within the ELCA, and perhaps also why that rift will never be healed from within.  Revisionists, in general, don't seem to believe in absolute claims with respect to faith and theology, where traditionalists do.  It is next to impossible to find "common ground" when one group has a line that cannot be crossed, that keeps getting crossed by the other side.

The "revisionists" in this forum have stated over and over again about the absoluteness of the claims that the ELCA spells out in our Confession of Faith.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 14, 2010, 03:00:06 PM
I spoke with some African Lutherans this summer. Some will ask the ELCA to "repent" of a position they find totally wrong. Some seek dialogue. Some seek ways to maintain our fellowship. I do not believe that one church writing a letter to another church asking them to "repent" will be the most productive way to proceed.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on December 14, 2010, 03:08:50 PM
Yes, it is quite unproductive to stand on the teachings of the Bible and call things what they are.  I believe I saw a link on facebook to the Ethiopian church doing just this.  Good for them. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: George Erdner on December 14, 2010, 03:17:41 PM
What he has done is shed light, again, on the fundamental rift within the ELCA, and perhaps also why that rift will never be healed from within.  Revisionists, in general, don't seem to believe in absolute claims with respect to faith and theology, where traditionalists do.  It is next to impossible to find "common ground" when one group has a line that cannot be crossed, that keeps getting crossed by the other side.

Of course, the ELCA seems to skilled at speaking from both sides of its mouth. On the one hand there are things like the Confession of Faith (http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Statements-of-Belief/ELCA-Confession-of-Faith.aspx). On the other hand, there are the Social Statements that contradict the Confession of Faith, or that endorse an ambiguous "believe what you will, it doesn't matter" position. You are quite correct that there can be no "common ground". How can two sides decide on a common ground when one side insists on attempting to stand on all grounds simultaneously?

I'm curious to know if anyone has seen a copy of the letter recently received by the ELCA headquarters from the Ethiopian church "Mekane Jesus" (sp?) calling for the ELCA to repent of its sins from August 2009?  As far as I can tell, there has been no response from Higgins Road on this (recognizing that this is off topic for this thread...)

I have not seen it. I do not doubt that they are doing the right thing, which is calling for repentance. There are times when conversations are appropriate and there are times when it is appropriate to stick to what one believes. This is the latter. Seeking "dialogue" with a group that has abandoned the principles in its Confession of Faith is a foolish waste of time, unless the dialogue is only a pretense for intense attempts at persuasion.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 14, 2010, 11:42:12 PM
Yes, it is quite unproductive to stand on the teachings of the Bible and call things what they are.  I believe I saw a link on facebook to the Ethiopian church doing just this.  Good for them. 

Jeremy

Nice paraphrase of Luther's definition of a theologian of the cross - one who calls a thing what it is!
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA
Post by: G.Edward on December 14, 2010, 11:45:32 PM
Yeah, Godself and God's Son are throughout the original languages.  How did the Church miss that for 2000 years?  The fools!

"Godself" is not in the translation. "God's son" is accurately reflecting the meaning of filium eius unicum and more closely related to the biblical "Son of God" (which could be translated "God's son").

You have spoken truthfully.  Thank you for clearing up one of the common revisions of the texts.
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: James_Gale on December 15, 2010, 01:20:18 AM
I'm curious to know if anyone has seen a copy of the letter recently received by the ELCA headquarters from the Ethiopian church "Mekane Jesus" (sp?) calling for the ELCA to repent of its sins from August 2009?  As far as I can tell, there has been no response from Higgins Road on this (recognizing that this is off topic for this thread...)

I haven't seen the letter, but here is a story (http://www.eecmy.org/?page=!news&article=62) about it from the Mekane Yesus web site.

In related news, the Rev. Gemechis D. Buba, a pastor who came from the Mekane Yesus Church and who currently is the ELCA's Director of African National Ministries, has accepted a call to serve as the NALC's Missions Director.  A press release is here (http://thenalc.org/documents/NALC-Buba-release.pdf).
Title: Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 15, 2010, 08:10:04 AM
Thanks for the link to that story.

I either need a new search engine, to think and utilize better keywords, or both.  I didn't find that link when I searched for it.