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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Christopher Miller on December 02, 2011, 10:29:59 AM

Title: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Christopher Miller on December 02, 2011, 10:29:59 AM
http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front_page/article_2cf92ca2-1bdf-11e1-bf30-001cc4c002e0.html (http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front_page/article_2cf92ca2-1bdf-11e1-bf30-001cc4c002e0.html)

Quote
Nearly 70 members of Grace Lutheran Church, including a former pastor and former council presidents, are asking an Eau Claire County judge to intervene in a dispute over church affiliation.

The group — through a civil suit filed this week in Eau Claire County Court — is asking a judge to declare that the longtime Eau Claire church remains solely affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and must be governed in a manner consistent with the church's constitution and the governing documents of the ELCA.

The Grace Lutheran Church council voted last April to also join the more conservative Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ after a vote to disaffiliate with the ELCA failed.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James S. Rustad on December 02, 2011, 01:56:26 PM
How long has it been since those worshiping at Amazing Grace contributed or communed at Grace?  If it's been a year or more, they'd be candidates for removal from membership at my congregation (constitution and bylaws clearly define this as the standard).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 02, 2011, 02:55:21 PM
How long has it been since those worshiping at Amazing Grace contributed or communed at Grace?  If it's been a year or more, they'd be candidates for removal from membership at my congregation (constitution and bylaws clearly define this as the standard).

My guess would be that as long as they're opening up the entire church & state can of worms in the first place, adding an inability to worship (and contribute to the offering plate) would be among the list of grievances the plaintiffs would want to add to their laundry list of complaints.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 02, 2011, 08:53:58 PM
How long has it been since those worshiping at Amazing Grace contributed or communed at Grace?  If it's been a year or more, they'd be candidates for removal from membership at my congregation (constitution and bylaws clearly define this as the standard).

My wife and I probably have a better track record than the "estranged members" as we worshiped there back in August whilst on vacation, communing AND contributing.

And whatever happened to Paul's admonition against lawsuits? 

Having read the article, how exactly is this going to foster unity within this congregation?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2011, 06:06:22 AM
The issue in any such congregational suit may not be "the unity of the ELCA," but legal, proper, and churchly responsibility for church property, the rights of the members who did not vote to leave the ELCA and fairness.
Someone far upstream proposed this sneaky and unethical and divisive "tactic" for congregations whose vote to leave the ELCA failed. "Just join another church body, and let the ELCA throw you out." It may be that the valid members of a congregation would rise up and oppose that, going to civil court if other methods fail.
But as usual, we do not know all the necessary details in this present case.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 03, 2011, 09:55:41 AM
Not going to tackle the Apostle Paul's admonition against lawsuits amongst Christians, eh Charles?  Go read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.  I'll save you the trouble, and I'll post it here:

If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.


considering that they have been worshiping in a "SAW" or whatever its being called, for quite some time now, what would be the point of further destroying any unity, implied or real, going forward?  How does this help the overall body of Christ?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 03, 2011, 10:01:23 AM
Who in such a dispute would be trusted to mediate in a fair and open manner?  Perhaps better would be to ask who would the various parties trust to mediate?  The ELCA Bishop could well be considered a party to the dispute.  Representatives from LCMC or even NALC would represent the interests of those groups and members of the congregation inclined toward those groups.

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2011, 10:30:58 AM
Can we step back from the hogwash, the hokum and the crocodile tears? There is no "unity" at stake here. 
Of ELCA members, 99.95 percent will never hear of this lawsuit. And a good number of the .05 percent who might - repeat, might - hear of it will probably agree with the plaintiffs.
As for the reputation of "the Church" at large, get real. The church's reputation is in more danger from financial scandals, sexual misconduct (and not only among Roman Catholics), partisan politics, and an inability to get the Gospel message clear than it is from one tiny lawsuit in one tiny congregation.
And FWIW, Paul's admonition about not going to court had partially to do with plunging Christians into what Paul thought was the wrong kind of involvement with pagans and emperor worship.
The biblically scrupulous LCMS just took a lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, so they must have found a way around what might appear to be Paul's admonition.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on December 03, 2011, 11:07:16 AM
Not going to tackle the Apostle Paul's admonition against lawsuits amongst Christians, eh Charles?  Go read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.  I'll save you the trouble, and I'll post it here:

If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.


considering that they have been worshiping in a "SAW" or whatever its being called, for quite some time now, what would be the point of further destroying any unity, implied or real, going forward?  How does this help the overall body of Christ?

If I remember correctly the LCMS has taken some congregations to court, one of which was dismissed in CA, after the LCMS dropped the lawsuit.

I don't know about the other one, if it's still going on or not. 

However, it seems that the LCMS does use the courts when it feels the need to.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on December 03, 2011, 11:13:47 AM
Can we step back from the hogwash, the hokum and the crocodile tears? There is no "unity" at stake here. 
Of ELCA members, 99.95 percent will never hear of this lawsuit. And a good number of the .05 percent who might - repeat, might - hear of it will probably agree with the plaintiffs.
As for the reputation of "the Church" at large, get real. The church's reputation is in more danger from financial scandals, sexual misconduct (and not only among Roman Catholics), partisan politics, and an inability to get the Gospel message clear than it is from one tiny lawsuit in one tiny congregation.
And FWIW, Paul's admonition about not going to court had partially to do with plunging Christians into what Paul thought was the wrong kind of involvement with pagans and emperor worship.
The biblically scrupulous LCMS just took a lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, so they must have found a way around what might appear to be Paul's admonition.

The PC-USA has also used the court system to its advantage and disavantage, over church property rights.

Other church orgainzations have also.  So this is nothing new within the court system or the Christian Church.

Just another issue in Scripture that is ignored or subject to mans interpretation, or total disregard of it.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 03, 2011, 11:14:20 AM
Charles, get a clue.  I'm talking about the critical damage that has happened to this congregation in particular, and for that matter, ANY congregation upon taking any such action, including the congregation I currently serve.  It is a highly flammable situation and can cause varying degrees of disunity and disruption.  Now I'm not going to debate the action itself, as I feel we are all compelled to take a stand for the Gospel, and that even includes you, Charles.  I will at least give you credit for your passionate stance, even though you are always wrong.  A compliment?  Yes.  Backhanded?  Also I suppose.  And believe me, there are no crocodile tears here. 

Whatever happened to all the official rhetoric (which by the way, had to come from on high/Higgins road, since it was repeated verbatim at at least 5 different assemblies that I know of), namely that its time to put the past behind and move ahead with the business of the church?  It sounds as though both the congregation (both from the reporting and from my own conversations with Rev. Nestingen) and those upset by the division had done just that.  And now they want to rehash the whole thing yet again?   We see that its just more empty rhetoric from a denomination that values control over the Gospel - control of the congregations and clergy by those in power.

And based on your response, I'll let my admonition with Paul's words stand - lawsuits today generally do get involved with pagans, as we are a pagan society.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2011, 12:37:45 PM
Meanwhile from the thread on the LCMS church going to ELCA we read in the news story -

"Their separation from the LCMS is amicable, and since the congregation holds title to its property, no rancorous lawsuits will result. ... "

By their fruits you shall know them .... disappointment, concern for faithfulness, even disagreement, certainly, but what then is the last word on separation, what does the prodigal's father do? Two different spirits at work here I think.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 03, 2011, 02:59:34 PM
Who in such a dispute would be trusted to mediate in a fair and open manner?  Perhaps better would be to ask who would the various parties trust to mediate?  The ELCA Bishop could well be considered a party to the dispute.  Representatives from LCMC or even NALC would represent the interests of those groups and members of the congregation inclined toward those groups.

Dan

They could always assemble a panel of leaders from full-communion partner churches. They could ask someone from the local PCUSA, TEC, UCC, UMC and other full-communion partner churches to provide people for an impartial panel.
 
I'm not suggesting that would be a good idea, but it might be the kind of off-the-wall thing the ELCA might consider.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 03, 2011, 04:08:09 PM
As far as I can tell from a distance, there is no issue of property rights at play in this case.  The congregation is still an ELCA congregation.  They have merely chosen to affiliate with LCMC ... something the LCMC constitution allows and something that the ELCA constitution does not expressly prohibit.  In fact it has been tacitly interpreted as allowing such dual affiliations for years under the clause 9.31 in the ELCA constitution:

9.30. RESERVATION OF AUTHORITY
9.31. Congregations of this church shall have authority in all matters that are not assigned by the constitution and bylaws of this church to synods and the churchwide organization.


See the LCMC list of congregations that are still affiliated with the ELCA as a for-instance. There is also a quote from The Lutheran going back to the very early days of the ELCA quoting the PB at that time (I don't have it in front of me at the moment) saying that the ELCA had no problem with dual rostered congregations ... at that time ELCA/LCMS which preexisted the formation of the ELCA. 

What will evidently be litigated here is Sec. Swartling's ruling almost 2 years back that the constitution precludes dual affiliation (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2608.0).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 03, 2011, 04:39:57 PM
See the LCMC list of congregations that are still affiliated with the ELCA as a for-instance.

Here are the ones I have listed on the database. This doesn't include dual-rostered congregations that never went through a change affiliations vote.
 
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Cathlamet, WA, ELCA/LCMC
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ceresco, NE, ELCA/LCMC
Christ Lutheran Church, Chino, CA, ELCA/LCMC
Zion Lutheran Church, Clearville, PA, ELCA/LCMC
Grace Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, WI, ELCA/LCMC
St John Lutheran Church, Elkhorn, WI, ELCA/LCMC
Iglesia Evangelica Luterana San Pedro, Miami, FL, ELCA/NALC
St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nekimi, Oshkosh, WI, ELCA/NALC
Hope Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD, ELCA/NALC
Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Winter Haven, FL, ELCA/NALC
Faith Lutheran Church, Conover, NC, NALC/ELCA
Philadelphia Lutheran Church, Granite Falls, NC, NALC/ELCA

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: SmithL on December 04, 2011, 12:19:12 AM
So, just because the Bible doesn't specifically forbid homosexual activity (as long as it's publicly accountable, etc), the ELCA says that it must be acceptable.

BUT, because all those congregational constitutions don't specifically allow dual memberships, the ELCA says that they are not acceptable?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 04, 2011, 05:19:16 AM
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 05, 2011, 10:22:43 AM
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .   ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 05, 2011, 10:33:36 AM
Pastor Sampson (in yet another one-line snarky response) writes, re my comment about our governing documents:
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .

I ask, once again:
Anything to contribute to the discussion other than mean-spirited one-liners? And, since you have either left the ELCA or were never in it, why should I give a rat's rump about whether you eyes roll, light up, glaze over or close?
Seriously, Pastor Sampson, check your last 30 or so postings, at least 23 of them are one or two-line (and in some cases one character) pot shots aimed at this humble correspondent or Pastor Stoffregen. What is really up with that?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 05, 2011, 12:46:30 PM
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .   ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Wouldn't one think that if an organization that's founded on Biblical principles discovered that a system or procedure they put into place wasn't working, and was actually counterproductive, then that organization would change the non-functioning procedure?
 
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 05, 2011, 03:04:36 PM
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?

In due time, George.  First let us fix the flaws in Scripture, the Creeds and the Confessions.  ;)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 05, 2011, 04:11:58 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?

I muse:
And so we do. Our constitution and policies have been amended a lot of times during the last 21 years. We fixed some flaws in 2009.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 25, 2011, 02:55:36 PM
Just learned of an article on Examiner.com.

ELCA Bishop and Amazing Grace Eau Claire Celebrate Christmas- With a Lawsuit (http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-st-paul/elca-bishop-and-amazing-grace-eau-claire-celebrate-christmas-with-a-lawsuit)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 25, 2011, 06:59:41 PM
Not the most unbiased article.  It relates a view of the dispute that reflects the point of view of those leaving the ELCA.  Not that it is not true.  I personally would likely agree with that point of view.  But it should not be taken as strictly objective reporting.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: jeric on December 25, 2011, 07:37:00 PM
Not the most unbiased article.  It relates a view of the dispute that reflects the point of view of those leaving the ELCA.  Not that it is not true.  I personally would likely agree with that point of view.  But it should not be taken as strictly objective reporting.
 
Dan


Wow! "Not the most unbiased article."?  Much worse than that.  The folks who formed Amazing Grace came out ahead on the legal vote but were shouldered out by those who used their power positions to negate the vote.  A.G. took time to consider the whole situation and addressed it in the only way available to them.  Sounds considerate, to me!  And much more gracious.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 25, 2011, 09:00:14 PM
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on December 25, 2011, 09:25:28 PM
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.


or their eternal condemnation...per St. John 5:28 (RSV): "... for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
[29] and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. "
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 26, 2011, 01:06:38 AM
Got permission to publish a full report from a person at Grace in Eau Claire summarizing the latest communications from the congregation President and between the synod and congregation.  This includes two recent letters from the president to the congregation as well as a letter from the synod consultation committee.  Obviously the correspondent who wrote this is not a disinterested bystander, they are in the eye of the storm so there is a particular edginess and understandable bias.  So don't bother to complain about it.  That does not preclude them from being right or at least having some valid thoughts.

Quote
Dear friends in Christ,

This spring I shared with you the struggles of Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire as it voted 56-44% to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

Since that time, the church leadership reports a robust ministry and expansion of its mission in the community and the world.  However, the ELCA leadership continues to oppose the elected and called leadership of Grace Lutheran.  Four documents put forth in the past eight days will tell you the story.

The first document is an extraordinarily insightful report filed last week by Chris Connor, a reporter for Examiner.com, on the events leading up to a civil lawsuit filed by disgruntled ELCA supporters.  For those not fully aware of the situation, he does a nice job putting the issues at Grace into perspective.  http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-st-paul/elca-bishop-and-amazing-grace-eau-claire-celebrate-christmas-with-a-lawsuit

The lawsuit apparently not being distraction enough from Grace's ministry, the bishop sent a letter that arrived last Friday for the council president demanding that Grace bring a delegation to an adjudication hearing three days later in nearby Chippewa Falls.  The report of that meeting by council president Anne Carter to the members of her congregation follows:

    Greetings,

    As you know, this morning the Consultation Committee of the NW Synod of Wisconsin met at Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls to adjudicate a complaint filed with Bishop Pederson by those who are attending Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc.

    Bishop Pederson had contacted me by mail asking if Grace Lutheran Church intended to rescind dual affiliation and reinstate voting rights to those who had been moved to associate status. I responded with several questions. He did not answer those questions but informed me on Friday that Grace leadership was to report to this Committee meeting.

    Over the weekend Council appointed the following people to represent the leadership of Grace at that meeting:  Anne Carter, President; Carolyn Nestingen, attorney; and Jay Heit, attorney.

    The Consultation Committee is an elected standing committee of the NW Synod. It is made up of 6 to12 lay people and pastors. I'm afraid that I can't remember the names of all those attending today. It was a mix of male and female.

    We were called into the meeting at 10:45. The head of the committee thanked us for coming because without our presence it would be more difficult for them to render a decision in this case.

    After we introduced ourselves, I informed the committee that Carolyn Nestingen would be our spokesperson. When Jay Heit was identified as our attorney, they announced that it had already been decided that if any attorneys attended, they would not be allowed to speak. We were told that they had questions they wanted us to answer. Carolyn received permission to read a prepared statement.

    She then informed the committee that we were attending under protest and outlined several concerns we had:  Article 15 does not apply as this is not a dispute between factions-there is a duly elected Council and a minority who disagree with Council decisions; we had only two days notice; a lawsuit has been filed against us; Bishop Pederson has the appearance of bias against us; the committee will be subpeonaed for any discussion or decisions made during this meeting.

    As Carolyn paused in her reading, Ned Lenhart of Living Water Church interrupted her saying that he had some questions that he wanted answered. She said, "Excuse me, I'm not finished." He responded, "Yes, you are."

    At that we all picked up our things and proceeded to leave the meeting. As we were heading for the door, one female pastor said that she wanted to ask me one question. "Anne, after the vote failed how could you have moved your church out of the ELCA?" (approximately) I said that we were still an ELCA church and left. We left copies of the statement with the committee.

    We were in the meeting for 12 minutes.

    While we were still in the library discussing the meeting, Barb Radke, Dawn Sands and Drew Ryberg arrived for their meeting with the committee.

    Carolyn and I returned to Grace and met with Pastor Rolf and Pastor David to report the meeting. Later this afternoon I met with Council.

    These are just the facts. We have no idea of the next step in the process because we were not told of any guidelines or procedures that are in place.  We are bound to honor our Constitution and did so by attending today's meeting and registering our protests with the committee.

    Thank you all again for your support. We have been blessed by the Lord in so many ways. Now may we all celebrate the birth of Jesus in joy and happiness for His guidance and love.

    Merry Christmas,
    Anne

Predictably, the judgment from the Bishop was swift, as described in this email by Council President Carter to her members today (the letter from the Bishop is attached):

    Greetings:

    Yesterday I received communication from the Consultation Committee regarding our Monday meeting. The letter is attached.

    The letter speaks for itself so I offer no further comment, but I am always happy to hear any feedback from you.

    These last few weeks have been challenging but also very interesting. I have been outside the Grace Lutheran family and taken a look at a different world. As I look back at Grace, I am struck most by what I do not see among our family members. I do not see shallowness or superficiality. I do not see imperiousness or arrogance. I do not see greed or covetousness. I do not see hatred or discord. I am glad to be home and honored to be one of a host who do not put themselves above the other person or above our dear Savior.

    I thank God every day for all of you. Thank you for your laughter and hope and strength.

    God bless us, every one.
    Anne

 As you can see, the leadership and members of Grace Lutheran Church need to remain in your prayers.

The letter from the Consultation Committee to the council president is shared as a Google Document here (https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9QCUSuRfQygN2FlNTY1YTYtNDRlZi00ZDhkLTkzNjgtMDVjMjNlNTI0MWFl).

Mark
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 26, 2011, 02:04:45 AM
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.

I'm sorry, but anyone who expects human beings to not have some sort of "bias" about things that affect them personally is due for disappointment. Given how many times you've revealed your emotional reactions to events with the church, how can you condemn as unhelpful people expressing their stories as they see them, clouded and colored by their emotions? Yes it is a mess, but clarity will require one or both of two things to happen. First, all parties involved need to somehow get past their emotional investments in the outcome, regardless of what that investment is. I'm sure praying for help from the Holy Spirit is the best method of achieving that end. The help received might involve a need for a catharsis of expression of grief, anger, and other emotions. The other thing required is a neutral, impartial arbitrator or mediator to help both sides come to some sort of agreement. Either will help, getting both would be better.
 
I won't express any opinion in this post about who is right and who is wrong. But one party or the other is wrong. This is not one of those mythical figments of some peoples' imaginations where each side's perception is merely a different point of view, with all points of view having equal worth and merit. The outcome of this controversy will see one side winning and the other side losing. If we're going to pray, then let us pray that the matter of which side is right is determined quickly and decisively, and that the side that loses accept losing graciously and goes on about its business.
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 26, 2011, 07:35:45 AM
Language and the use of it is a funny thing.
The letter states (emphasis added):  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

I note:
That "technicality" is not some minor quibble about an interpretation of anything, but a clearly stated, forcefully-worded provision of the congregation's constitution. And if the congregation is to stay in the ELCA, the Synod has declared that it may not join any other church body. But the council majority (and not the 2/3rds majority required) decided to do so anyway. Seems to me that is the "technicality," which must be questioned.
But doing so from afar is risky.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 26, 2011, 10:10:44 AM
Far be it for me to say nay to anyone wanting to leave the ELCA or any other denomination for that matter.  But where there are rules that you have agreed to, those are the rules you play by.  Obviously this church did not have a consensus, lacking that it had a power struggle.  My suggestion is that the 56% who voted to leave do so.  No church body should undertake any kind of major activity with just a bare majority in agreement--that turns the Body of Christ into some sort of club or political organization.  From the little I can see here, it is a very sad situation.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on December 26, 2011, 10:47:42 AM
Language and the use of it is a funny thing.
The letter states (emphasis added):  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

I note:
That "technicality" is not some minor quibble about an interpretation of anything, but a clearly stated, forcefully-worded provision of the congregation's constitution. And if the congregation is to stay in the ELCA, the Synod has declared that it may not join any other church body. But the council majority (and not the 2/3rds majority required) decided to do so anyway. Seems to me that is the "technicality," which must be questioned.
But doing so from afar is risky.


I agree that the word "technicality" was ill chosen.


However, whether a congregation can legally affiliate with multiple church bodies depends on the provisions of congregation's governing documents and whether they were followed. The synod has no role to play in this internal, congregational matter. I don't think that we know enough here to give any opinions on whether the congregation acted in accord with its own governing documents when it joined  LCMC.


If in fact dual affiliation is against synod's rules -- a debateable proposition -- the synod's recourse is to bring a discipline action against the congregation. The synod's sole options in a disciplinary action are to censure, admonish, suspend, or expel the congregation, which in all cases would keep its property.


I don't know what the synod is trying to accomplish here. It lacks the credibility with one side to play an effective mediating role. The synod and bishop probably would be best served by backing out of this internal, congregational matter and state publicly that the synod's leaders are praying for all involved as they work through this matter.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 26, 2011, 11:10:47 AM
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.

I'm sorry, but anyone who expects human beings to not have some sort of "bias" about things that affect them personally is due for disappointment. Given how many times you've revealed your emotional reactions to events with the church, how can you condemn as unhelpful people expressing their stories as they see them, clouded and colored by their emotions?

I fully expect human beings to have biases regarding things that touch them personally, and I do not disparage the people in this situation for having emotional reactions to events in their church. 

Once a journalism major, always a journalism major.  When writing what appeared to me to be a news account of the events in these congregations, one is expected to set aside one's personal bias, according to the ethics of journalism.  (This is a goal one aspires to, even though journalists seldom attain it completely and perfectly.)  Now, if this account was a personal opinion piece, bias is expected, even required.  But this article was not clearly labeled as such.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding the operating principle of Examiner.com, in which case I should not have approached this with the idea that I would gain knowledge about the facts of the case, rather than the writer's opinion regarding the interior motives of the synod bishop and the people in the newly formed congregation, presented as "facts."

I was looking for information about the facts, not another opinion piece.  It seems that finding the facts in this matter is, as in many congregational conflicts, nearly impossible to obtain.  More's the pity, from my point of view (personal, indeed biased, but not intended to be overly-emotional). 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 26, 2011, 12:28:07 PM
I was looking for information about the facts, not another opinion piece.  It seems that finding the facts in this matter is, as in many congregational conflicts, nearly impossible to obtain.  More's the pity, from my point of view (personal, indeed biased, but not intended to be overly-emotional).

Outsiders will never learn the facts. Matters such as this are always conducted in an air of confidentiality.
 
There are some facts (and other things) one can easily learn.
 
Fact: The church in question had over 2,500 members.
Fact: The total attendance at the meeting where the side voting to change affiliation got 54% had fewer than 20% of the congregation attending. In other words, over 80% of the baptized members didn't care one way or the other, or at least they didn't care enough to show up for the meeting.
Fact: Swartling has the authority to interpret the ELCA's rules & regulations.
Factoid/opinion: Swartling's "interpretation" that dual-affiliations are forbidden is something he made up out of whole cloth, because it's not in the ELCA's rules & regulations.
 
If you were a journalism major (as I was), then you also know that one can slant an article by simply omitting some facts selectively. And, you'll know that newspapers tend to follow the principle "All the news that fits, we print". A reporter can turn in a perfectly balanced piece, written in inverted pyramid, and discover that when the editor trimmed it to fit, enough facts were deleted to destroy objectivity.
 
And, if you were a journalism major, you should have learned that "objectivity" was really nothing more than a circulation gimmick William Pulitzer used against William Randolph Hearst around the turn of the last century. It has always been more of a theoretical ideal than something any publication actually practiced.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 26, 2011, 12:48:10 PM
Fact: One way disparage the other party in a disputation is to state an opinion, especially a cynical opinion widely expressed in the profession, as fact that anyone who is trained in the profession should "know."  Therefore, since the disputant did not assume that "fact" their training must be deficient.

If you were a journalism major (as I was), then you also know that one can slant an article by simply omitting some facts selectively. And, you'll know that newspapers tend to follow the principle "All the news that fits, we print". A reporter can turn in a perfectly balanced piece, written in inverted pyramid, and discover that when the editor trimmed it to fit, enough facts were deleted to destroy objectivity.
 
And, if you were a journalism major, you should have learned that "objectivity" was really nothing more than a circulation gimmick William Pulitzer used against William Randolph Hearst around the turn of the last century. It has always been more of a theoretical ideal than something any publication actually practiced.

As Pr. Wolf admits, objectivity is a goal and an ideal, not always or even ever perfectly achieved.  But whether or not it was originally a ploy, it is, in my non-journalistic background, understanding still a goal, especially by readers who look to news for information not merely opinion.

Selectively omitting facts is one way of slanting an article.  Another is to ascribe motives to the principals that the reporter assumes they have but does not know they have, nor have been told by the principals that they have.  I could say that you wrote what you did out of dislike for Pr. Wolf and in an attempt to discredit her, but that would be a conclusion on my part, not a fact that I observed or was told by you.  That also would not be a slant introduced by an editor in the process of trimming my piece to fit.

Still another way to slant an article not normally introduced by the editor (natural enemy of reporters and writers everywhere) is to state opinion as fact.  This also was done in the article in question.  Fine for an opinion piece, but questionable in an article that is presented as reportage. 

Perfect objectivity is an elusive ideal.  But should not reporters strive for that ideal?  If indeed had journalistic aspirations, you have a very cynical view of the profession.

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 26, 2011, 01:41:01 PM
Bias or not, what I find fascinating is that no one here seems to want to address the chain of events recorded in the article, which are indeed factual.  And lest Charles begin another rant of "well, we really don't know all the facts/don't know from the source/don't know ????"  I am personally acquainted with this congregation on a number of levels. 

And I still stand by my assertion earlier in this thread that what "Amazing Grace" and the NWS/W has done is nothing short of pagan behavior.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 26, 2011, 01:56:56 PM
I agree on the obvious bias (that's why I mentioned it in my last post) of both the Examiner article and the reports from the people at Grace (the one who wrote the brief summary and the congregation president who wrote the letters to the congregation), but there are some simple facts that can be gleaned from these letters.

1) The congregation was summoned to appear before the consultation committee.
2) They did so with legal council as their spokesperson.
3) They presented a prepared statement.
4) The consultation committee responded with a letter which states (summarized):
     a) You can't dual roster in the ELCA.
     b) Restore people who left the congregation to voting member status {my note, if people were unfairly removed from voting status they should be restored ... if they left and joined another congregation they should not}.
     c) ELCA supporters there are full voting members.
     d) LCMC supporters should be made associate members (removed from voting member status).

The consultation committee cites C8.02c (regarding voting members) but does not fully cite the section d which follows it regarding associate members.

Quote
d. Associate members are persons holding membership in other [Lutheran] [Christian] congregations who wish to retain such membership but desire to participate in the life and mission of this congregation, or persons who wish to retain a relationship with this congregation while being members of other congregations. They have all the privileges and duties of membership except voting rights and eligibility for elected offices or membership on the Congregation Council of this congregation.

According to the constitution is is the responsibility of the congregation council to provide for the review the membership roster.  It doesn't seem like a stretch for the council to move people who have been active in organizing and attending a competing local congregation (the SAWC called Amazing Grace) from voting member to either associate member or to remove them from the membership roles.

It does seem like a stretch for the consultation committee to make their 4th point.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 26, 2011, 02:43:04 PM
An irony I see in the congregational council believes dual membership for the congregation is OK -- they can be ELCA and LCMC; but they will not accept dual membership for people -- unilaterally (as I read the reports) removed the folks attending the mission congregation from active/voting membership to associate/non-voting membership status.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 26, 2011, 03:45:46 PM
According to the constitution is is the responsibility of the congregation council to provide for the review the membership roster.  It doesn't seem like a stretch for the council to move people who have been active in organizing and attending a competing local congregation (the SAWC called Amazing Grace) from voting member to either associate member or to remove them from the membership roles.

It does seem like a stretch for the consultation committee to make their 4th point.

I think that illustrates the difference between a human being's relationship to his congregation as "membership", while a congregation's relationship with a denomination is an "affiliation". Membership is one thing, affiliation is a different thing. The two aren't exactly the same, so the two can't really be identically compared.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 26, 2011, 04:28:28 PM
I find it laughable that a bunch of disgruntled members, who A:  left the congregation and started a new congregation, and B:  with the aid of the sitting bishop, would sue their former congregation to have their membership restored.

Like I said:  pagan behavior, which is not wholly unexpected from my former synod to the north.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 26, 2011, 04:34:46 PM
According to the constitution is is the responsibility of the congregation council to provide for the review the membership roster.  It doesn't seem like a stretch for the council to move people who have been active in organizing and attending a competing local congregation (the SAWC called Amazing Grace) from voting member to either associate member or to remove them from the membership roles.

It does seem like a stretch for the consultation committee to make their 4th point.

I think that illustrates the difference between a human being's relationship to his congregation as "membership", while a congregation's relationship with a denomination is an "affiliation". Membership is one thing, affiliation is a different thing. The two aren't exactly the same, so the two can't really be identically compared.


The Model Constitution does use "membership" to describe a congregation's relationship to the ELCA (see chapters 6 & 7).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 26, 2011, 04:37:11 PM
I find it laughable that a bunch of disgruntled members, who A:  left the congregation and started a new congregation, and B:  with the aid of the sitting bishop, would sue their former congregation to have their membership restored.

Like I said:  pagan behavior, which is not wholly unexpected from my former synod to the north.


Any less "pagan" than the congregation who, ignoring the rules of the ELCA, decided to join the LCMC? and remove from voting membership those people who opposed that decision?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 26, 2011, 04:58:50 PM
Another thing regarding church councils determining who is and isn't a member. I'm aware of the stipulation that a member can be removed from voting status without cause if they go an entire year without communing and making an offering. But are there other grounds, such as if a person performs an action that is the equivalent of sending a letter of resignation? If one becomes a member of a different ELCA church, doesn't that automatically end one's membership in a previous ELCA church? Whenever I joined a new ELCA congregation, the congregation I joined handled the paperwork to have my letter of membership moved. Isn't it against the rules to be a voting member at more than one ELCA congregation at a time? Isn't that why the status of "associate member" exists?
 
So, if this tiny little minority of the one congregation joins the new congregation in town, shouldn't being converted to associate members at their former congregation be automatic?
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 26, 2011, 06:50:48 PM
Another thing regarding church councils determining who is and isn't a member. I'm aware of the stipulation that a member can be removed from voting status without cause if they go an entire year without communing and making an offering. But are there other grounds, such as if a person performs an action that is the equivalent of sending a letter of resignation? If one becomes a member of a different ELCA church, doesn't that automatically end one's membership in a previous ELCA church? Whenever I joined a new ELCA congregation, the congregation I joined handled the paperwork to have my letter of membership moved. Isn't it against the rules to be a voting member at more than one ELCA congregation at a time? Isn't that why the status of "associate member" exists?
 
So, if this tiny little minority of the one congregation joins the new congregation in town, shouldn't being converted to associate members at their former congregation be automatic?


*C8.05. Membership in this congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:
 a. death;
 b. resignation;
 c. transfer or release;
 d. disciplinary action by the Congregation Council; or
 e. removal from the roll due to inactivity as defined in the bylaws.
  Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall remain persons for whom the Church has a continuing pastoral concern.


Since there are no model bylaws, they can vary, but typical bylaws allow the council to remove a member for inactivity after two years of no communion or contribution of record (usually after being contacted about their inactivity). I have never seen bylaws that gave the council the authority to move someone from (active & voting) member to associate (non-voting) member. Every associate member I've had, was placed in that category at their request.


I'm not saying that filing the lawsuit is necessarily right, but there were also questionable acts by all parties.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 26, 2011, 06:59:00 PM
Isn't it against the rules to be a voting member at more than one ELCA congregation at a time? Isn't that why the status of "associate member" exists?


If the congregation accepts the premise that one cannot be a voting member of two different congregations -- they recognize that dual membership is not permitted in the ELCA. While they want that for themselves; they didn't want it for the opposition.

Quote
So, if this tiny little minority of the one congregation joins the new congregation in town, shouldn't being converted to associate members at their former congregation be automatic?


I have never had a council move someone from the active membership to associate membership. When we discover that they have joined another congregation, they are simply removed from membership. (Although properly, such removal should take place  after the member has fulfilled the requirements for inactivity as defined in the bylaws.) I've known people who were active in another congregation and sent in a small offering to the congregation where they were members just to keep their names on membership roles. (I don't agree with that position, but I've seen it done.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 26, 2011, 07:23:09 PM
An irony I see in the congregational council believes dual membership for the congregation is OK -- they can be ELCA and LCMC; but they will not accept dual membership for people -- unilaterally (as I read the reports) removed the folks attending the mission congregation from active/voting membership to associate/non-voting membership status.

The same irony holds for the synod ... which insists on no dual rostering of congregations yet asks that LCMC supporters be moved to associate status ???
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 26, 2011, 07:28:14 PM
Is anyone but me puzzled that some ELCA lawyers who post in here can find and copy the exact pieces of wording in the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws that support their contentions, but no one can show a clear and unambiguous statement in those same documents that forbids dual rostering? So far, all I've seen that forbids dual rostering of congregations is Swartling's "interpretation". Where is the statement in the Constitution and ByLaws that Swartling is basing his interpretation on?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on December 26, 2011, 08:10:40 PM
Is anyone but me puzzled that some ELCA lawyers who post in here can find and copy the exact pieces of wording in the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws that support their contentions, but no one can show a clear and unambiguous statement in those same documents that forbids dual rostering? So far, all I've seen that forbids dual rostering of congregations is Swartling's "interpretation". Where is the statement in the Constitution and ByLaws that Swartling is basing his interpretation on?

Are there ELCA lawyers who post here?  Or lawyers who argue here that the ELCA governing documents prohibit the dual rostering of congregations?  Maybe. But I am not aware of any.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 26, 2011, 08:21:45 PM
Is anyone but me puzzled that some ELCA lawyers who post in here can find and copy the exact pieces of wording in the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws that support their contentions, but no one can show a clear and unambiguous statement in those same documents that forbids dual rostering? So far, all I've seen that forbids dual rostering of congregations is Swartling's "interpretation". Where is the statement in the Constitution and ByLaws that Swartling is basing his interpretation on?

Sec. Swartling's memo prohibiting dual rostering is posted here (https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9QCUSuRfQygNzg0NTMwNmMtMTU0OS00MDIzLWIxYjctOTE4OWI0NGU4YTAx).  I don't think it's too difficult to see how he comes to his opinion ... however it's also quite easy to see how his opinion is rather weak.  Which one is right is probably going to need to be decided in court some day.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 26, 2011, 11:22:42 PM
Ye gods and little fishes!
Being a "journalism major" doesn't make one a journalist. Working for newspapers, magazines and news services for 30+ years does.
But this is not the place for a seminar on the profession I have served (alongside my call to the profession of clergy) for those decades.
Mr. Erdner's comments about the profession, Hearst, Pulitzer and related matters are even further away from reality than are his views about the ELCA.
 
As for Secretary Swartling's memo on dual rostering: You may call it "interpretation," you may call it "weak," but it is the interpretation that counts, for the ELCA Secretary - as has been explained here many times before - is the person whose job it is to interpret the ELCA constitution.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 26, 2011, 11:54:41 PM
I find this paragraph from the article to be incomplete in the information conveyed and confusing:

"Bishop Pederson, who wrote documents included in the suit, worked with 70 members to leave Grace Lutheran and start their own Church.  Ironically, these members began meeting at First Lutheran Church, incorporated as an LLC and called themselves “Amazing Grace Lutheran Church.”  Realizing that the members had left and started their own Church, with no intention of returning, Grace Lutheran re-adjusted the status of those who left to “associate members,” a new designation created by the Bishops of the ELCA.  As associate members, Grace Lutheran hoped to recognize that those who left were always welcomed back, but as members of another congregation they could not vote at congregational meetings or serve on congregational boards."

What is an "LLC" and would attending or helping to start one of these be equivalent to formally joining a congregation?  Would the leadership at Grace Lutheran be constitutionally justified in viewing those 70 persons as having left one congregation to join another? 

Also, what constitutional provision allowed the leadership of Grace Lutheran to "re-adjust the status of those who left to 'associate members'"?  (And, btw, the provision for "associate members" was not "created by the Bishops of the ELCA.")  I have always thought that if one learns (reliably) that a member of the congregation has joined another congregation, that the council could remove that person from the list of church members.  Or can one have dual membership in more than one congregation of the ELCA at one time?  And how was it determined that the 70 who left Grace Lutheran had "no intention of returning"?  Was anyone told this explicitly, or was this yet another (of many, it seems) assumption?

And when the leadership of Grace Lutheran determined to have the congregation join LCMC, how was this matter decided?  Council meeting?  Congregational meeting?  A vote, and if so by what margin?  These are the kind of facts that should be discoverable, and tell much about the intent of the actions of the leadership of the congregation. And without more information it is difficult if not impossible to determine who has acted well, and who has not.  Because of the way the article is written, it is decidedly unhelpful in learning what happened.

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 27, 2011, 12:02:37 AM
Is anyone but me puzzled that some ELCA lawyers who post in here can find and copy the exact pieces of wording in the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws that support their contentions, but no one can show a clear and unambiguous statement in those same documents that forbids dual rostering? So far, all I've seen that forbids dual rostering of congregations is Swartling's "interpretation". Where is the statement in the Constitution and ByLaws that Swartling is basing his interpretation on?

Sec. Swartling's memo prohibiting dual rostering is posted here (https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9QCUSuRfQygNzg0NTMwNmMtMTU0OS00MDIzLWIxYjctOTE4OWI0NGU4YTAx).  I don't think it's too difficult to see how he comes to his opinion ... however it's also quite easy to see how his opinion is rather weak.  Which one is right is probably going to need to be decided in court some day.


He is right that the older constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions had no provisions for creating a dual rostered congregation. However, neither did those documents prohibit a dual rostered congregation. (They'd have to figure out how to do it on their own.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on December 27, 2011, 12:04:24 AM
I find this paragraph from the article to be incomplete in the information conveyed and confusing:

"Bishop Pederson, who wrote documents included in the suit, worked with 70 members to leave Grace Lutheran and start their own Church.  Ironically, these members began meeting at First Lutheran Church, incorporated as an LLC and called themselves “Amazing Grace Lutheran Church.”  Realizing that the members had left and started their own Church, with no intention of returning, Grace Lutheran re-adjusted the status of those who left to “associate members,” a new designation created by the Bishops of the ELCA.  As associate members, Grace Lutheran hoped to recognize that those who left were always welcomed back, but as members of another congregation they could not vote at congregational meetings or serve on congregational boards."

What is an "LLC" and would attending or helping to start one of these be equivalent to formally joining a congregation?  Would the leadership at Grace Lutheran be constitutionally justified in viewing those 70 persons as having left one congregation to join another? 

Also, what constitutional provision allowed the leadership of Grace Lutheran to "re-adjust the status of those who left to 'associate members'"?  (And, btw, the provision for "associate members" was not "created by the Bishops of the ELCA.")  I have always thought that if one learns (reliably) that a member of the congregation has joined another congregation, that the council could remove that person from the list of church members.  Or can one have dual membership in more than one congregation of the ELCA at one time?  And how was it determined that the 70 who left Grace Lutheran had "no intention of returning"?  Was anyone told this explicitly, or was this yet another (of many, it seems) assumption?

And when the leadership of Grace Lutheran determined to have the congregation join LCMC, how was this matter decided?  Council meeting?  Congregational meeting?  A vote, and if so by what margin?  These are the kind of facts that should be discoverable, and tell much about the intent of the actions of the leadership of the congregation. And without more information it is difficult if not impossible to determine who has acted well, and who has not.  Because of the way the article is written, it is decidedly unhelpful in learning what happened.

 

You're absolutely right. There are a number of important facts that I don't know and that aren't in that article.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 27, 2011, 12:26:14 AM
Is anyone but me puzzled that some ELCA lawyers who post in here can find and copy the exact pieces of wording in the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws that support their contentions, but no one can show a clear and unambiguous statement in those same documents that forbids dual rostering? So far, all I've seen that forbids dual rostering of congregations is Swartling's "interpretation". Where is the statement in the Constitution and ByLaws that Swartling is basing his interpretation on?

Are there ELCA lawyers who post here?  Or lawyers who argue here that the ELCA governing documents prohibit the dual rostering of congregations?  Maybe. But I am not aware of any.

It was a metaphor. There are some who'll quote chapter and verse of the ELCA Constitution and ByLaws so often one might mistake them for ecclesial lawyers.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: David Garner on December 27, 2011, 01:18:49 AM
I find this paragraph from the article to be incomplete in the information conveyed and confusing:

"Bishop Pederson, who wrote documents included in the suit, worked with 70 members to leave Grace Lutheran and start their own Church.  Ironically, these members began meeting at First Lutheran Church, incorporated as an LLC and called themselves “Amazing Grace Lutheran Church.”  Realizing that the members had left and started their own Church, with no intention of returning, Grace Lutheran re-adjusted the status of those who left to “associate members,” a new designation created by the Bishops of the ELCA.  As associate members, Grace Lutheran hoped to recognize that those who left were always welcomed back, but as members of another congregation they could not vote at congregational meetings or serve on congregational boards."

What is an "LLC" and would attending or helping to start one of these be equivalent to formally joining a congregation?  Would the leadership at Grace Lutheran be constitutionally justified in viewing those 70 persons as having left one congregation to join another? 

I can't be much help in any other area in this thread, but I can answer the first question you ask.  An "LLC" is a "Limited Liability Company."  Basically a flow-through tax entity similar to an S Corporation but a bit easier to form and administer.  It gives you the flow through taxation of an S Corp. without the double taxation of a C Corp. and without the administrative hassles of either.  It works in practice more like a partnership than a corporation, but it gives the limited liability protection of a corporation.

My opinion -- and it is only an opinion since I have not researched the matter and don't know the law on it, particularly in the jurisdiction at issue -- is that forming an LLC and operating as a separate Church parish would give reasonable cause to make those who remain think the members acting in such fashion had left the parish at issue.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 27, 2011, 04:57:20 AM
I was involved in the founding of an LCMC congregation (physically filing the papers with the state to form a new religious corporation) while the ELCA congregation I was president of was in the process of disbanding (we had already announced the date of the final service).  I was informed by an attorney representing the synod that my participation in both congregations (the first service of the new congregation was scheduled for the week to follow the final service of the ELCA congregation) was an unacceptable conflict of interest even though I was careful not to be one of the signatories on the papers filed with the state.  On the next Sunday (the week prior to the final service of that ELCA congregation that I was a charter member of) I announced my resignation as president effective immediately and my resignation from the congregation effective at the end of worship.

Was that lawyer right?  I have no idea, but I acted with integrity based on the opinion I had been given.  I don't see the actions of the Grace council as any different (though perhaps more gracious as they explained their action of making them associate members rather than simply removing them for a conflict of interest) than the synod lawyer informing me that I needed to make a choice or perhaps face (unknown) consequences.

What was this game of hardball played over?  The lay leadership planned on gifting the new LCMC congregation the hymnals, communion ware, banners that were made by congregation members over the years, and an advent wreath at a brief congregational meeting to follow the final service.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 27, 2011, 05:08:54 AM
...
And when the leadership of Grace Lutheran determined to have the congregation join LCMC, how was this matter decided?  Council meeting?  Congregational meeting?  A vote, and if so by what margin?  These are the kind of facts that should be discoverable, and tell much about the intent of the actions of the leadership of the congregation. And without more information it is difficult if not impossible to determine who has acted well, and who has not.  Because of the way the article is written, it is decidedly unhelpful in learning what happened.

 

LCMC permits congregations to join by whatever mechanism they chose.  In this case I believe (though I'm not completely sure off the top of my head ... and I'm up early with rotator cuff pain) I've read they they voted to affiliate with LCMC by congregation council vote - though it may have been in their resolution to leave the ELCA and affiliate with LCMC ... as they did achieve greater than 50% on the question.  All they would need to do is fill out the paperwork declaring agreement with the LCMC statement of faith and that they have voted to join LCMC by a majority vote of the council or congregation and send it in.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 27, 2011, 08:07:04 AM
You are correct - the required percentage to join LCMC was simple majority (as opposed to 2/3), which passed congregational vote.  It was not a unilateral action by the council.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 27, 2011, 09:44:29 AM
...
And when the leadership of Grace Lutheran determined to have the congregation join LCMC, how was this matter decided?  Council meeting?  Congregational meeting?  A vote, and if so by what margin?  These are the kind of facts that should be discoverable, and tell much about the intent of the actions of the leadership of the congregation. And without more information it is difficult if not impossible to determine who has acted well, and who has not.  Because of the way the article is written, it is decidedly unhelpful in learning what happened.

 

LCMC permits congregations to join by whatever mechanism they chose.  In this case I believe (though I'm not completely sure off the top of my head ... and I'm up early with rotator cuff pain) I've read they they voted to affiliate with LCMC by congregation council vote - though it may have been in their resolution to leave the ELCA and affiliate with LCMC ... as they did achieve greater than 50% on the question.  All they would need to do is fill out the paperwork declaring agreement with the LCMC statement of faith and that they have voted to join LCMC by a majority vote of the council or congregation and send it in.

Thank you for this information.  I'm not asking these questions in order to accuse LCMC of impropriety, but because I don't know a lot about this situation.  I did bold that portion of your sentence because I think it points out a genuine problem in this situation (and one that crops up in other congregations in similar situations):  if an ELCA congregation takes a vote to leave which fails to achieve the constitutionally mandated 2/3s majority, and in subsequent actions then takes a vote to affiliate with LCMC, what exactly are they intending to do and what procedural rules apply?  Regardless of whether a congregation may dual affiliate under the ELCA constitutions (and yes I do know how Sec. Swartling has ruled on this matter!), since there is nothing in the model constitution that lays out how this may happen, what could make this vote legitimate from the ELCA side of things?  Just because LCMC requires a majority vote in favor does not mean that the ELCA's requirement of 2/3's majority might not be a requirement for what is still an ELCA congregation.  And if their vote to "dual-affiliate" was in actuality a vote to leave the ELCA and join LCMC, that just complicates the whole thing. 

Some in the ELCA have said that congregations vote to dual affiliate with LCMC only so that they get kicked out of the ELCA because of their insistance on being dually affiliated.  And some have accused LCMC of encouraging this as a tactic to "get around" a failure to get a 2/3 majority to vote to leave the ELCA.  I'm not saying that is true; but actions such as this would muddy the water at best, build distrust and resentment at worst.  I know from having served congregations that underwent a split decades ago what the legacy is of these kind of votes and fights, and it has caused me to rethink this whole matter of congregational voting to leave a church body. 

The physical stuff, no matter how much or how little, is not worth it.  It is dust in the wind, vanity of vanities.  Leave it and start over clean.  Easy for me to say?  Perhaps.  But these battles over names and real estate and bricks and communionware are about legal "rights" and less and less about the truth of the gospel, no matter what initials follow the congregation's name. No one is righteous in these matters; we all behave badly. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 27, 2011, 09:46:23 AM
What a mess this whole situation is!  A very few of seem to have first hand information, most of us know only what we have read and what may be surmised from general knowledge of the polity of the ELCA.  It kind of sounds that both sides have at times been less than gracious, and perhaps less than scrupulous in following all the proper proceedures.  Apparently from something that was said early on in the discussion, Grace has large endowments.  When control of money enters the discussion, whether in a family fight or a church fight, things often get ugly fast.

I don't see how we, or at least those of us without first hand information, can at our remove figure out the rights of the situation.  I know that I shouldn't even try, even though I know where my sympathies lie.  It does illustrate what can happen when people feel passionately about an issue, and especially when money and valuable property gets involved.

It seems to me that some humility is in order, especially for us sitting at a remove, for making judgements.  I can certainly agree that cases can be made for everyone involved, including the ELCA for the way they set up proceedures to deal with dissenting congregations and then how they at times deal with them, to argue that they have not always acted properly and graciously.  I don't think that anybody comes off here especially well.  But neither is it for use to judge the case.

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Wayne Kofink on December 27, 2011, 10:05:31 AM

Also, what constitutional provision allowed the leadership of Grace Lutheran to "re-adjust the status of those who left to 'associate members'"?  (And, btw, the provision for "associate members" was not "created by the Bishops of the ELCA.")  I have always thought that if one learns (reliably) that a member of the congregation has joined another congregation, that the council could remove that person from the list of church members.  Or can one have dual membership in more than one congregation of the ELCA at one time?  And how was it determined that the 70 who left Grace Lutheran had "no intention of returning"?  Was anyone told this explicitly, or was this yet another (of many, it seems) assumption?
 

About 15 years ago I raised the issue with then ELCA Secretary Lowel Almen of a person holding full membership in more than one ELCA congregation. He replied that it is not prohibited under the Model Constitution for Congregations. If a person joins an ELCA congregation without transferring membership that person becomes a members of two congregations with all rights and privileges of membership at both. That is a problem that has never been fixed constitutionally.

The only way I can see that a congregation council can “adjust” membership status is by disciplinary action or by declaring someone inactive. Both of those processes are spelled out in the Constitution for Congregations. I can’t see any way for a council to make people associate members except by their own request.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 27, 2011, 10:26:23 AM
Erma writes:
Some in the ELCA have said that congregations vote to dual affiliate with LCMC only so that they get kicked out of the ELCA because of their insistance on being dually affiliated.  And some have accused LCMC of encouraging this as a tactic to "get around" a failure to get a 2/3 majority to vote to leave the ELCA.  I'm not saying that is true; but actions such as this would muddy the water at best, build distrust and resentment at worst.
 
I comment:
Yes, indeed. Wise words. It need not be complicated at all. To me (and I often like complications) it seems very simple.
1. If a congregation wants to leave the ELCA, there is a regular process by which they can leave. We have heard heard of many congregations that have done that.
2. If the vote to leave fails, it fails. Period. Stop. End of story. Those who don't like the result might end up leaving the congregation.
3. If the vote to leave gets the 2/3rds majority, there are still some things to consider, but there are stipulated ways of doing so. And those in the 1/3rd might end up leaving that congregation.
4. It seems to me that any other "tactic" - dual affiliation, repeated "first votes," weepy talk about the 50 percent (but not the two-thirds) majority, - whether by those who want to leave or those who want to stay, breeds distrust and does no good.
It's just not that complicated.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 27, 2011, 10:33:29 AM
I still notice that no one is picking up on the fact that the congregation has over 2,500 baptised members, and fewer than one out of every five even showed up for the meeting to vote! Can anyone state with certainty that the opinions expressed after the vote by the 4 out of 5 who didn't show up might not have had some impact on what happened next? Might not the fallout from outcome of the vote have shaken those who didn't show up out of their apathy, leading to the beginning of a broader consensus?
 
After all, the real results of the vote were around 10% for changing affiliation, 10% against, and 80% OK with either decision.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 27, 2011, 11:12:39 AM
From the report from a member:

This spring I shared with you the struggles of Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire as it voted 56-44% to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

There has been discussions about whether or not any other business could be conducted at the special meeting called to terminate a congregation's membership in the ELCA. The way this report reads, it sounds like there was one resolution that included both leaving the ELCA and joining LCMC. In the reports where congregations have accomplished both these acts, they were often (if not required to be) done at two three separate congregational meetings (since leaving requires two meetings).

There has arisen at least one case at a CWA that if part of a resolution requires 2/3 majority, e.g., changing the constitution, then it takes 2/3 majority to approve the whole resolution. If, the two acts (leaving and joining) were part of one resolution and it failed to receive 2/3 majority, the entire resolution was defeated. It then becomes a type of straw poll of those voting, upon which the council acted to join LCMC -- but, from the report, it doesn't seems to have come from passing a resolution by the congregation. (I'm not saying that what the council did was right or wrong, but as I read the report, it does not seem that there was a separate resolution approved by the congregation to affiliate with LCMC.

In line with what George has been saying, I would rather see such an important vote as terminating one's relationship from the ELCA to require a majority vote of the voting members of a congregation (not just those present). If voting members stay home, they are casting a "no" vote. This eliminates the fact that 10% of the membership can make decisions for the whole congregation. (Assuming a quorum of 15% and 2/3 would be 10%.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 27, 2011, 11:16:27 AM
I still notice that no one is picking up on the fact that the congregation has over 2,500 baptised members, and fewer than one out of every five even showed up for the meeting to vote! Can anyone state with certainty that the opinions expressed after the vote by the 4 out of 5 who didn't show up might not have had some impact on what happened next? Might not the fallout from outcome of the vote have shaken those who didn't show up out of their apathy, leading to the beginning of a broader consensus?
 
After all, the real results of the vote were around 10% for changing affiliation, 10% against, and 80% OK with either decision.


I think that it's generally true that the folks who want to change are more likely to show up and vote. Those who are content with the status quo, don't have the same degree motivation. At the same time, how many of those 80% could even tell a stranger what the letters ELCA stand for.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on December 27, 2011, 11:46:02 AM
Erma writes:
Some in the ELCA have said that congregations vote to dual affiliate with LCMC only so that they get kicked out of the ELCA because of their insistance on being dually affiliated.  And some have accused LCMC of encouraging this as a tactic to "get around" a failure to get a 2/3 majority to vote to leave the ELCA.  I'm not saying that is true; but actions such as this would muddy the water at best, build distrust and resentment at worst.
 
I comment:
Yes, indeed. Wise words. It need not be complicated at all. To me (and I often like complications) it seems very simple.
1. If a congregation wants to leave the ELCA, there is a regular process by which they can leave. We have heard heard of many congregations that have done that.
2. If the vote to leave fails, it fails. Period. Stop. End of story. Those who don't like the result might end up leaving the congregation.
3. If the vote to leave gets the 2/3rds majority, there are still some things to consider, but there are stipulated ways of doing so. And those in the 1/3rd might end up leaving that congregation.
4. It seems to me that any other "tactic" - dual affiliation, repeated "first votes," weepy talk about the 50 percent (but not the two-thirds) majority, - whether by those who want to leave or those who want to stay, breeds distrust and does no good.
It's just not that complicated.


While this might be what you view as best, and it might be the wisest approach for many congregations, the ELCA structure allows for other scenarios.


First, whether or not a congregation may join more than one church body is determined by that congregation acting in accord with its own governing documents. I haven't seen the congregation's constitution. Nor do I know whether the congregation's leaders and members followed it. In all events, no bishop or secretary is empowered to do anything more regarding this internal matter than to try to mediate.


Second, the ELCA may determine whether its congregations may belong to multiple church bodies. Secretary Swartling has ruled that they may not?  The effect of this ruling is less clear than it might be because it is at odds with the clearly stated policy followed by the ELCA before the election of Mr. Swartling. Are secretaries free to overturn the practices of their predecessors?  If the constitution was deemed by the former secretary as permitting dual rostering of congregations, if many in the church relied on this consensus view, and if the constitution never was amended to alter the consensus, can the secretary, acting alone, effectively amend the ELCA constitution?


Even if the answer to this question is yes, the ELCA as a body has no jurisdiction over a congregation that is a member of multiple church bodies. The ELCA has delegated to synods the authority to discipline congregations that violate the ELCA constitution. The options open to the synod are limited. The harshest penalty is expulsion from the ELCA. No disciplinary measures require a congregation to forfeit any property.


Any party pursuing any of it's rights may act in a manner that others may consider to be unchristian. I suspect, but don't know, that this has happened on both sides of the Wisconsin dispute at some points.   


I suggest that we pray for those on both sides. But the process that you lay out is not what they will follow. And indeed, they are not bound to in the real world of the ELCA's interdependent (not hierarchical) structure.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck on December 27, 2011, 01:11:18 PM
You are correct - the required percentage to join LCMC was simple majority (as opposed to 2/3), which passed congregational vote.  It was not a unilateral action by the council.

That assertion does not seem to fit the facts of the article...

"However, two days after the vote, the council voted to also affiliate with the LCMC..." [emphasis added]
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 27, 2011, 01:37:47 PM
There are still some points that people seem reluctant to address.
 
In prior threads, it has been noted that the courts are very reluctant to address any issue having to do with any sort of theological issues, but the courts will rule on strictly procedural issues based on regarding constitutions and bylaws as contracts. The courts won't rule on theological matters. In this case, there is no theology involved in determining if Swartling's imaginative interpretations of the ELCA's governing documents are consistent with the actual letter of the documents and with the ELCA's prior practices/precedents. Therefore, my best guess (and it's purely a guess) is that there is a good chance that the courts will rule that Swartling's novel interpretation of dual rostering is questionable. I would also guess (and this is purely a guess as well) that they'll rule that the only action that the ELCA can take as punishment for a congregation being dual rostered is what it says in the constitution and bylaws -- expulsion with the expelled congregation retaining its property.
 
I also note the usual automatic responses to pray for all involved. I can't argue with that advice, but I was taught that when we pray, we should be specific. So, I would specifically urge those praying for the people involved to pray that the outcome will be that those whose basic position is correct will prevail in judgement over those whose basic position is incorrect. I'd also pray that everyone on both sides is given the strength to be charitable winners and gracious losers when the final decision is reached.
 
And finally, in light of the other threads running about forgiveness of sins, penance, and purgatory, while it is true that some individuals on both sides have done things that were wrong, those actions shouldn't change the fundamental issue of one side being right and the other being wrong. If people on the right side err in their pursuit of justice, that shouldn't negate the rightness of their position. And if people on the wrong side err in their pursuit of justice, that shouldn't affect the wrongness of their position. It's really easy to cluck ones tongue and say, "Tsk, tsk" about the behaviour of others. Too easy, perhaps. But aside from making the person passing that judgement on both sides feel good about passing judgement, do such statements of the blatantly obvious really benefit any discussion about actual issues?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 27, 2011, 03:47:53 PM
You are correct - the required percentage to join LCMC was simple majority (as opposed to 2/3), which passed congregational vote.  It was not a unilateral action by the council.

That assertion does not seem to fit the facts of the article...

"However, two days after the vote, the council voted to also affiliate with the LCMC..." [emphasis added]

The information is from first hand conversation with the pastors there, NOT from an article in the paper.  I am well familiar with the situation there, and there was indeed a congregational vote to join LCMC at the same time they voted (and failed to pass) the termination with the ELCA.  the latter required 2/3 majority.  The former was a simple majority, which passed easily.  The council was only affirming what the congregation had already passed.

What is also largely being ignored is the bishop's complicity in sending in ringers to derail the constitutional process at Grace, his subsequent aid in developing another congregation just down the street for the minority who wished to remain ELCA, and his support and involvement in the current lawsuit.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 27, 2011, 11:38:29 PM
Just to note that the "problem" is not unique to the ELCA, an Assemblies of God congregation in New Jersey is locked into a battle with the denomination, which has determined that the congregation is too small and unstable to continue and has - as the denomination's and congregation's procedures apparently allow - taken over the property.
 
No  one has yet addressed what seems to me to be the oddity (idiocy?) of a congregation joining a group formed to be in opposition to the ELCA, yet still pretending to want to be a part of the ELCA. "Dual affiliation," it would seem to me, would compromise the witness and integrity of the congregation. "Oh," says an inquirer, "you're ELCA?"
"No," says the outreach committee member, "we're really not."
Or, "well, yes, we are, but we don't pay any attention to it."
Who would want to join an organization with a three-card-monte shuffle scam going on?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 28, 2011, 12:35:07 AM
....
No  one has yet addressed what seems to me to be the oddity (idiocy?) of a congregation...

Actually a lot of us have addressed the oddity(idiocy?) of making s decision like CWA '09, when everyone knew it would breed train wrecks like this. That decision was pretty much, "yeah we know but full speed ahead, and we'll wait through all the train wrecks .... if you are going to make an omelet and all ... " And we should not expect some "broken eggs?" Don't blame the eggs. Talk to the cook.

As addressed two years ago, pray for all, it will be ugly.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 28, 2011, 01:20:35 AM
The information is from first hand conversation with the pastors there, NOT from an article in the paper.  I am well familiar with the situation there, and there was indeed a congregational vote to join LCMC at the same time they voted (and failed to pass) the termination with the ELCA.  the latter required 2/3 majority.  The former was a simple majority, which passed easily.  The council was only affirming what the congregation had already passed.


What is not clear is whether there were two separate resolutions (which received the same number of votes?) or a single resolution that contained two parts: leaving the ELCA and joining the LCMC. If there was one resolution that lack of a 2/3 majority means that it didn't pass.

Quote
What is also largely being ignored is the bishop's complicity in sending in ringers to derail the constitutional process at Grace, his subsequent aid in developing another congregation just down the street for the minority who wished to remain ELCA, and his support and involvement in the current lawsuit.


Bishops make mistakes.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on December 28, 2011, 07:36:18 AM
Who would want to join an organization with a three-card-monte shuffle scam going on?

Who indeed?......bound conscience and all.....

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 28, 2011, 07:48:33 AM
Just to note that the "problem" is not unique to the ELCA, an Assemblies of God congregation in New Jersey is locked into a battle with the denomination, which has determined that the congregation is too small and unstable to continue and has - as the denomination's and congregation's procedures apparently allow - taken over the property.
 
No  one has yet addressed what seems to me to be the oddity (idiocy?) of a congregation joining a group formed to be in opposition to the ELCA, yet still pretending to want to be a part of the ELCA. "Dual affiliation," it would seem to me, would compromise the witness and integrity of the congregation. "Oh," says an inquirer, "you're ELCA?"
"No," says the outreach committee member, "we're really not."
Or, "well, yes, we are, but we don't pay any attention to it."
Who would want to join an organization with a three-card-monte shuffle scam going on?

Ah, yes.  More respect for the bound conscience from the ELCA's resident mouthpiece. 
one church:  "we are opposed to the CWA 2009 actions."
ELCA:  "that's great.  We 'respect' your bound conscience on the matter, as long as it conforms to ours."
church:  "We've affiliated with a more conservative group that identifies where we are at as a result."
ELCA:  "Like we said...   OH, and by the way, any such other group is false, deceptive, is trying to scam you, and so on."

Seems someone has, yet again, shown his true feelings WRT other Lutheran groups.  I find it funny that he can be so critical of others who level the slightest hint of criticism at the ELCA, and then in his next breath, refer to another denomination (recall, he claims he never, NEVER disparages OTHER denominations (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4227.msg246360#msg246360)) as a "organization with a three-card-monte shuffle scam."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 28, 2011, 10:29:20 AM
Just to note that the "problem" is not unique to the ELCA, an Assemblies of God congregation in New Jersey is locked into a battle with the denomination, which has determined that the congregation is too small and unstable to continue and has - as the denomination's and congregation's procedures apparently allow - taken over the property.
 
No  one has yet addressed what seems to me to be the oddity (idiocy?) of a congregation joining a group formed to be in opposition to the ELCA, yet still pretending to want to be a part of the ELCA. "Dual affiliation," it would seem to me, would compromise the witness and integrity of the congregation. "Oh," says an inquirer, "you're ELCA?"
"No," says the outreach committee member, "we're really not."
Or, "well, yes, we are, but we don't pay any attention to it."
Who would want to join an organization with a three-card-monte shuffle scam going on?

As you note, Charles, these kinds of things don't only happen in the ELCA.  And within the ELCA, they don't just happen among "traditionalists".

A pre-2009 inquirer asks, "Does your church ordain partnered gays and lesbians."
"No," responds the pastor.
"What about what I read in the paper?"
"No, it is against our V&E."
"Does that mean that those churches and pastors were disciplined?"
"Yes, or course.  We expect all people to abide by our policies."
"What about the church in ------, that has not been disciplined?"
"That's between them and their bishop."
"What about the bishop who says he will not enforce the guidlines."
"How dare you disparage our bishops!  They all act with the utmost integrity.  Go find an LCMS congregation you intolerant fundamentalist homophobe."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 10:31:13 AM
According to those who'll defend the ELCA against anything and everything, to know what the ELCA is all about one simply needs to read it's formal documents. Forget what it actually does. That's irrelevant. Just read what it has written down.
 
And yet, these same people seem to be able to condemn the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ as being "formed to be in opposition to the ELCA" even though there isn't a single word in any of the founding documents of the LCMC that support that unChristian slander about that denomination.
 
How can such a hypocrite look in the mirror while wearing a clerical collar?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 28, 2011, 01:07:53 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
And yet, these same people seem to be able to condemn the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ as being "formed to be in opposition to the ELCA" even though there isn't a single word in any of the founding documents of the LCMC that support that unChristian slander about that denomination.
I comment:
Well, let us not look at their "founding documents," but at what they actually do. I think Mr. Erdner favors that. And what does one conclude then? Did the LCMC just pop up without a reason? And what was the reason for it to pop up? Might it not be to oppose the ELCA and provide a place for congregations to do so?
 
Mr. Erdner writes:
How can such a hypocrite look in the mirror while wearing a clerical collar?
I comment:
More name-calling and yet another mean-spirited comment. The real hypocrisy here is remaining in an ELCA congregation while holding the views that Mr. Erdner posts here day after day.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 28, 2011, 01:12:44 PM
In trying to find out what the ELCA actually teaches and what its confession actually means, where should we look, to the founding documents and formal confessional statements, or to what is actually taught in the colleges and seminaries by the actual leaders of the ELCA?

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 28, 2011, 01:16:29 PM
Pastor Fienen writes:
In trying to find out what the ELCA actually teaches and what its confession actually means, where should we look, to the founding documents and formal confessional statements, or to what is actually taught in the colleges and seminaries by the actual leaders of the ELCA?

I comment:
Both. Or either. Some of us do not see any contradiction. And some of us are not panicked into psychotic fear if our colleges and seminaries allow enough academic freedom to explore and examine all views. Nor do we call for a purge of any faculty member of student that does so.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 28, 2011, 01:27:35 PM
So, when I am asked to accept the ELCA as an orthodox Lutheran church body it is on the basis that at least some of the people involved in the ELCA are orthodox Lutherans but of course there is enough room and academic freedom for ELCA teachers to be anything else they want to explore.  Why get so uptight about what is taught?

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 02:05:37 PM
In trying to find out what the ELCA actually teaches and what its confession actually means, where should we look, to the founding documents and formal confessional statements, or to what is actually taught in the colleges and seminaries by the actual leaders of the ELCA?

Dan

According to the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders, look at the founding documents and formal statements. Stoffregen in particular keeps waving the ELCA's "Statement of Faith" around as a sort of magic talisman to disprove any accusations made about the ELCA's actual practice. Perhaps the ELCA's motto should be "Do as we say, not as we do". That would be more appropriate than, "God's work, our hands".
 
Then again, other ELCA self-anointed cheerleaders follow the path of recommending whichever one best supports the point they are trying to make at the time. If confronting someone who gets a petty detail wrong, then the exact wording of the ELCA's documents is something sacred and carved in stone. If confronting someone who notices the inconsistencies in the ELCA's teachings and actions, then being open minded about supporting alternative understandings is a virtue.
 
My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on December 28, 2011, 02:31:59 PM
In trying to find out what the ELCA actually teaches and what its confession actually means, where should we look, to the founding documents and formal confessional statements, or to what is actually taught in the colleges and seminaries by the actual leaders of the ELCA?

Dan

According to the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders, look at the founding documents and formal statements. Stoffregen in particular keeps waving the ELCA's "Statement of Faith" around as a sort of magic talisman to disprove any accusations made about the ELCA's actual practice. Perhaps the ELCA's motto should be "Do as we say, not as we do". That would be more appropriate than, "God's work, our hands".
 
Then again, other ELCA self-anointed cheerleaders follow the path of recommending whichever one best supports the point they are trying to make at the time. If confronting someone who gets a petty detail wrong, then the exact wording of the ELCA's documents is something sacred and carved in stone. If confronting someone who notices the inconsistencies in the ELCA's teachings and actions, then being open minded about supporting alternative understandings is a virtue.
 
My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant.


My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant.   ;)

Couldn't agree more, with your statement.  I don't think the ELCA is orthodoxal in her beliefs, but more in the way of being antinomianal.

What do you Think George?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 28, 2011, 02:35:00 PM
Pastor Fienen writes:
So, when I am asked to accept the ELCA as an orthodox Lutheran church body it is on the basis that at least some of the people involved in the ELCA are orthodox Lutherans but of course there is enough room and academic freedom for ELCA teachers to be anything else they want to explore.  Why get so uptight about what is taught?
I comment:
Are you unable to understand the difference between academic discussion, investigation and exploration and what is taught as what we believe?
 
Mr. Erdner writes:
My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant.
I comment:
Well, this cheerleader was not "self-anointed." I was ordained to be a "cheerleader" for the Gospel and for the church body that called me to Word and Sacrament ministry and in whose disclipline I exercise that ministry. And so far as I know, Pastor Stoffregen holds the same ordination, as do the other ELCA pastors here.
The "self-anointed" one here is the one who persistently, consistently and with vengeance ignores, misrepresents and denounces the teachings and practice of the church body to which he belongs in favor of his own unique views which he holds out as those of God over against those of the church body he so despises.

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Kevin Cook on December 28, 2011, 03:12:37 PM
It's still 2011, I can read this board and post.   

To Confessional Lutheran:  I thought you were in the LCMS now.  I thought you were done with the ELCA and had nothing more to say about it.  That's what you said in a post recently, that you were not going to say anything more about the ELCA.

I think I will go to Georgia and try to get George's congregation to join the LCMC or start an LCMC congregation near George so he can leave and quick bi*****g about the ELCA constantly.  We know you hate it, George. 

George, if you ever leave the ELCA, will you quit writing about it?  Just curious. 

And from a few on this board, we also are aware that the ELCA is bad and the LCMS is the truth.  Now I know the truth and have been properly catechized. 

The day that the ELCA becomes confessional and orthodox is the day I leave.  I am not in the LCMS or WELS.  I don't want to be.  I want to be in the ELCA.  It is liberal.  Our congregation actually had a couple people leave because we were not liberal enough.  We are a rather conservative liberal congregation. 

There is so little actual conversation anywhere anymore.  And to be honest, some I can't even understand.  I have no idea what some of you are trying to say.  So maybe I am actually losing it.

The facebook sites on WO in the LCMS are mostly putdowns and mockery or just "NO"  Or from the number one inquisitor, "when are you going to address LGBT?"  Over and over and over and over.

The exposing the elca site digs up stuff from years and years ago.  I sent a comment which never got posted.  A woman had made a point supporting the ELCA and a man told her she needed to examine her faith.  I said that maybe her faith gave her the freedom to believe the way she did.  That's all.  Nothing inflammatory, just a simple statement.  But it goes against what they want to show, that the elca is bad.  And there were only 3 comments when I sent mine.  But my comment didn't support the agenda. 

And I am so sick of hearing about herchurch.  We know it's there.  Now exposing site posts a letter from Mark Chavez where he says that herchurch is put out there as cutting edge.  Well, the ipad and kindle I think are cutting edge and most people in my congregation know about them.  I will bet that only a few of us in my congregation know about herchurch.  And the one's that I have told have said, that's just wrong, and then gone on about their lives.  It is a bunch of others that make it a big issue.

This site has so few threads that don't degenerate quickly.  We get a positive one, Erma gets a long awaited call, and that takes a wrong turn in my opinion. 

I didn't think it was true until lately but I have been trying to come up with reasons and excuses to not go to my church.  I have visited some other churches.  ELCA ones but I am just a visitor.  And a couple of non ELCA and non Lutheran ones.  It's just nice to go and worship and not hear about anything going on in the church that is negative, gossip, or conflicts, etc.

And the more I talk to other pastors and non Lutherans I am starting to believe what I hear them saying.  That Lutherans will never get into Heaven because they are going to be standing at the gates arguing about which foot to put forward, which hand holds the latch, how to bow, how not to bow, should you cross yourself or not, do you pray outside the gate or after you step through, who goes first, is it by age, gender, family, LCMS, WELS, LCMC, TAALC, NALC, ILC, ELCA, etc, etc, etc. 

And everyone else will be in Heaven wondering why the Lutherans don't just come in.

So I am at that place again where I am happier when I am not here. 

Happy New Year to everyone. 

Have a great 2012.  I may pop by occasionally.

Kevin 


Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 03:37:26 PM
My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant. ;)

Couldn't agree more, with your statement.  I don't think the ELCA is orthodoxal in her beliefs, but more in the way of being antinomianal.

What do you Think George?

I think that given that the ELCA has distributed all real power and authority to the synods, who in turn wield minimal power and authority over congregations, that really worrying very much about what the ELCA does, teaches, or preaches at the national or synodical level is relatively unimportant. What really matters to the individual Lutheran Christian is the local congregation. I think the practices and teachings one encounters at the local congregational level are extremely important. I think that the actions and teachings of the ELCA's national leadership are only marginally important to an individual Lutheran Christian most of the time. One exception would be when the local congregation needs to call a new pastor. Another might be for someone who feels called to the ministry. And of course, there are situations like this where the local bishop is acting like one of the De Medicis. There might be other exceptions, but I can't think of any right now.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 03:42:29 PM
I  think I will go to Georgia and try to get George's congregation to join the LCMC or start an LCMC congregation near George so he can leave and quick bi*****g about the ELCA constantly.  We know you hate it, George. 

George, if you ever leave the ELCA, will you quit writing about it?  Just curious. 


Talk about false witness! I do not hate the ELCA. I just have no respect for the current Presiding Bishop, a position I take based on his actions and the actions that took place under his leadership. Replace him with a confessional Lutheran who sets on a course of undoing the damage Hanson has done, and I'll be totally on board. Replace Hanson with a confessional Lutheran who is open to repealing the errant 2009 Social Statement and restoring the ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 28, 2011, 04:29:57 PM
And some of us are not panicked into psychotic fear if our colleges and seminaries allow enough academic freedom to explore and examine all views. Nor do we call for a purge of any faculty member of student that does so.

Having attended an ELCA seminary, I can say confidently that what you claim is not the case.  20 years ago it was not the case that "all views" could be explored.  All views from the left could be explored.  Views that are conservative or evangeliical could not be explored.  For instance, one was not free to explore the merits of inclusive language, women's ordination or biblical inerrancy.  Those were settled.  One could openly question the ELCA policy on same gender relationships, but one had to be quite careful as to when and where one would defend V&E.  I can give further examples.  So unless things have changed, no such academic freedom exists.

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 28, 2011, 05:39:40 PM

<<snip>>

And the more I talk to other pastors and non Lutherans I am starting to believe what I hear them saying.  That Lutherans will never get into Heaven because they are going to be standing at the gates arguing about which foot to put forward, which hand holds the latch, how to bow, how not to bow, should you cross yourself or not, do you pray outside the gate or after you step through, who goes first, is it by age, gender, family, LCMS, WELS, LCMC, TAALC, NALC, ILC, ELCA, etc, etc, etc. 

And everyone else will be in Heaven wondering why the Lutherans don't just come in.

So I am at that place again where I am happier when I am not here. 

Happy New Year to everyone. 

Have a great 2012.  I may pop by occasionally.

Kevin
It is too bad that the conversation here is not up to your enlightened liberal standards, and that the concerns of some of us are beneath your notice and concern - much too enlightened apparently to think such things worthy of consideration.  If you are so narrow minded and rigid to consider the theological concerns discussed here as having no more significance than what foot to lead off with, which hand to grasp the latch and the proper method for bowing, then perhaps this is not the place for you to do your intellectual slumming.  What do you find interesting and important to discuss?

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 28, 2011, 06:50:12 PM
Once again, Kevin boldly posts what he senses and feels here. Good for him.
In my not-so-humble opinion...
The prevailing view here is that the ELCA is apostate, heretical trash; that all those who disagree with the ELCA are beleaguered, falsely persecuted and unjustly ignored by bishops. (When the real reason may be that they are whining and complaining people who poison the atmosphere of a congregation and or a synod and use their ideology as a cover for incompetence.)
The prevailing view is that all those in ELCA leadership, from the Presiding Bishop to any synodical bishop who has not instantly found calls for "traditionalists" are corrupt, insensitive manipulators.
The prevailing view is that there should be rejoicing in heaven and on earth and beneath the seas when a congregation leaves the ELCA.
The prevailing view is that anything Pastor Stoffregen posts is wrong.
The prevailing view is that anyone who has a kind word to say about the ELCA is a "cheerleader" and an uncritical sycophant.
The prevailing view is that anyone in the LCMS who even raises questions about women's role in the church is a stalking horse for the dreaded issue of ordination for women, something which sends the whole heavenly host into a tizzy.
The prevailing view is that the nasty postings and shuck-and-jive fiddle faddle of Mr. Erdner is o.k. (This must be true because I'm the only one who seems to find his comments odious, not to mention uninformed.)
The prevailing view is that no idea, no understanding of doctrine or scripture, no spiritual experience, no development in mission, piety, liturgy or language that was not firmly in place in 1580 could ever have value.
The prevailing view is that if something even leans "liberal," it is to be opposed with inquisitorial vehemence.
So this site becomes nothing more, nothing better than those other sites run by often-crazed ideologues whose agenda is victory, not dialogue, whose desire is to destroy inter-Lutheran cooperation rather than further it whenever possible.
Half the posters, even the "traditionalist" ones, can't even pass muster with the LCMS. Pastor Awtry started LCMS, buy sought ordination elsewhere; no one here who has left the ELCA has been received into the LCMS ministerium.
That's the way things look to me. But then I'm a liberal Lutheran in a liberal denomination, and I am still totally puzzled by those who thought that a merger of the ALC, LCA, and ELCA would produce anything but a denomination that was moderate to liberal and getting more liberal.
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 28, 2011, 07:21:36 PM

The day that the ELCA becomes confessional and orthodox is the day I leave.   

Just wow . . . but it will be interesting to see how Charles and Brian respond to this admission.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on December 28, 2011, 07:29:24 PM
I  think I will go to Georgia and try to get George's congregation to join the LCMC or start an LCMC congregation near George so he can leave and quick bi*****g about the ELCA constantly.  We know you hate it, George. 

George, if you ever leave the ELCA, will you quit writing about it?  Just curious. 


Talk about false witness! I do not hate the ELCA. I just have no respect for the current Presiding Bishop, a position I take based on his actions and the actions that took place under his leadership. Replace him with a confessional Lutheran who sets on a course of undoing the damage Hanson has done, and I'll be totally on board. Replace Hanson with a confessional Lutheran who is open to repealing the errant 2009 Social Statement and restoring the ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.

ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.

Do you actually believe that would happen?  I don't not in a million years!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Kevin Cook on December 28, 2011, 07:33:52 PM
Dan, you know if you looked back on my posts, you are one of the people who I've mentioned that I respected their honest and balanced views. 

But then again, what do I know, I'm a narrow minded liberal. 

Chuck Sampson, YEP! WOW! JUST WOW!  Here, I'll repeat it for you!  WOW!  JUST WOW!

You know, for a bunch of y'all bitc***g about honesty, "why won't you revisionists just admit what you believe?!", I did. 

I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE LCMS.  I DON'T GIVE A RAT'S A** WHAT YOU DO THERE ABOUT YOUR ISSUES!

I am so tempted to really publicize the BJS threads on WO and the facebook page to all the LCMS people I know and watch the exodus.  Except y'all would be so happy.  And I can't do that to people who actually like their congregations.  I wish there was an Exposing the LCMS site!

So there.  Now are ya all happy.

bye

Delete my post, throw me off, ban me for life!  ask me if i give a sh

yeah, I'm one angry s*b         there, I said it for you!

Better yet, I'm just gone.

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on December 28, 2011, 08:21:11 PM
And some of us are not panicked into psychotic fear if our colleges and seminaries allow enough academic freedom to explore and examine all views. Nor do we call for a purge of any faculty member of student that does so.

Having attended an ELCA seminary, I can say confidently that what you claim is not the case.  20 years ago it was not the case that "all views" could be explored.  All views from the left could be explored.

As well as further back, although some of us were blessed with orthodox and faithful teachers, but their retirements occurred shortly after our departure. Those who have ascended to professorships in many cases are the result of 60s & 70s liberalism, uncritically examined, but fondly remembered and thoroughly embraced (sounds much like a certain cheerleader and a certain presiding Bishop in these parts).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 08:50:08 PM
I  think I will go to Georgia and try to get George's congregation to join the LCMC or start an LCMC congregation near George so he can leave and quick bi*****g about the ELCA constantly.  We know you hate it, George. 

George, if you ever leave the ELCA, will you quit writing about it?  Just curious. 


Talk about false witness! I do not hate the ELCA. I just have no respect for the current Presiding Bishop, a position I take based on his actions and the actions that took place under his leadership. Replace him with a confessional Lutheran who sets on a course of undoing the damage Hanson has done, and I'll be totally on board. Replace Hanson with a confessional Lutheran who is open to repealing the errant 2009 Social Statement and restoring the ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.

ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.

Do you actually believe that would happen?  I don't not in a million years!

I doubt that it would happen, but it is possible. I think that if there was a clear and obvious alternative to Hanson that the remaining traditionalists in the ELCA could get behind and support, and the remaining traditionalists can mount an aggressive campaign to get traditionalists picked as voting members for the CWA when Hanson is up for re-election, then I think Hanson could be replaced with someone who'll work to undo the damage Hanson has wrought. Now, thinking that something is possible is a lot different from thinking it is probable. I think the chances of Hanson being replaced are slim and none.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 28, 2011, 11:08:19 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 28, 2011, 11:08:35 PM
My best recommendation is to ignore the ELCA's self-anointed cheerleaders. That makes life much more pleasant.   ;)


So it is true, at least for some, that ignorance is bliss.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Scott6 on December 28, 2011, 11:11:18 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 28, 2011, 11:13:17 PM

The day that the ELCA becomes confessional and orthodox is the day I leave.   

Just wow . . . but it will be interesting to see how Charles and Brian respond to this admission.


A. I believe that the ELCA is confessional and orthodox. I believe that we have the correct understand and practice of what it means to be saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.


B. The ELCA is not confessional and orthodox in the very narrow sense that the LCMS uses the terms. Should the ELCA became that kind of confessional, orthodox church, I'm gone, too.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 28, 2011, 11:16:53 PM
I  think I will go to Georgia and try to get George's congregation to join the LCMC or start an LCMC congregation near George so he can leave and quick bi*****g about the ELCA constantly.  We know you hate it, George. 

George, if you ever leave the ELCA, will you quit writing about it?  Just curious. 


Talk about false witness! I do not hate the ELCA. I just have no respect for the current Presiding Bishop, a position I take based on his actions and the actions that took place under his leadership. Replace him with a confessional Lutheran who sets on a course of undoing the damage Hanson has done, and I'll be totally on board. Replace Hanson with a confessional Lutheran who is open to repealing the errant 2009 Social Statement and restoring the ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.

ELCA to scriptural faithfulness, and I'll be lobbying the NALC to enter into merger talks with the ELCA.


The phrases "scriptural faithfulness" and in an earlier post "confessional and orthodox" seem to mean, "agree with my beliefs about faithfulness, confessions, and orthodoxy." I'm sure that Charles and I, like millions of others in the ELCA, believe that we are scripturally faithful in our confession of faith and in our practices of that faith. It's just that what we hear God speaking in his Word is not what you are hearing.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 28, 2011, 11:24:25 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.


What's your answer to his question? Did you really think that a merger of the two most liberal Lutheran bodies in the United States would suddenly result in a conservative Lutheran body? I don't recall that any of the objections to the merger were about our theological differences, method of exegeting and interpreting scriptures, because essentially there weren't any. It was some of our structural differences that were problematic and the biggest arguments that I heard were about what percentage should be paid into the pension fund.


I don't recall any arguments about women's ordination, removing "inerrancy and infallible" that had been in the ALC constitutions (I remember some comments about that, but no real arguments -- not like with the pension percentage.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 28, 2011, 11:42:08 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 28, 2011, 11:43:11 PM
So, from the beginning, the ELCA was to be a liberal denomination, dedicated to liberal ideals, theological as well as social?  Conservatives would be welcome so long as they did not get in the way of the liberal path and trajectory of the ELCA.  They should not, and it has been so from the beginning, expect that their beliefs would in any way be supported or even especially welcome, they would be tolerated and welcome only under sufferance solong as they would be useful.  Is that what it means that the ELCA was from the beginning a liberal denomination and nobody should have been fooled into thinking otherwise?
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James Gustafson on December 28, 2011, 11:46:10 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.


What's your answer to his question? Did you really think that a merger of the two most liberal Lutheran bodies in the United States would suddenly result in a conservative Lutheran body? I don't recall that any of the objections to the merger were about our theological differences, method of exegeting and interpreting scriptures, because essentially there weren't any. It was some of our structural differences that were problematic and the biggest arguments that I heard were about what percentage should be paid into the pension fund.


I don't recall any arguments about women's ordination, removing "inerrancy and infallible" that had been in the ALC constitutions (I remember some comments about that, but no real arguments -- not like with the pension percentage.)

And thus, to the American Public at large and even the aware Christian American citizen, the word Lutheran is worse than meaningless as a descriptor, it's a contradictory oxymoron.  To the non-Lutheran American, the word Lutheran is irrational. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on December 28, 2011, 11:46:33 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.



au contraire...in my neck of the woods back then the "old" ALC did not resemble the LCA.  The minority position of the old ALC lost much of its influence in connection with altar-pulpit fellowship conversation, imo. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 28, 2011, 11:50:18 PM

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.

I'm sorry George, but that is way out of line.  I have no great  love of ELCA theology, but your comparison is odius, and way inaccurate..
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 28, 2011, 11:58:00 PM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.
;) ;D
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 12:12:28 AM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.



au contraire...in my neck of the woods back then the "old" ALC did not resemble the LCA.  The minority position of the old ALC lost much of its influence in connection with altar-pulpit fellowship conversation, imo.


Some Haugean and free Lutheran traditions were part of the ALC -- a piety that I don't believe folks in the LCA understood (or perhaps appreciated). Conversely, the LCA had the grand Augustana liturgical piety that those Haugeaners just couldn't fathom. The "sides" did poke a bit of fun at each other, e.g., "happy" Danes vs. "sad" Danes. Both the ALC and LCA, in the mergers that created them learned to become a "big tent" church to accommodate the many different Lutheran flavors that were coming together.


On one hand, you can say that the minority position (WordAlone types) lost much of its influence when they couldn't sway the CWA to reject the full-communion agreement with the Episcopalians. On the other hand, the ELCA revised its constitution and bylaws just for this minority group, so that it would be possible for candidates to be ordained without a synod bishop present. Even as the losing minority, they still had influence with the whole body.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on December 29, 2011, 12:17:42 AM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Just wanting to preserve this against a possible deletion later.

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.



au contraire...in my neck of the woods back then the "old" ALC did not resemble the LCA.  The minority position of the old ALC lost much of its influence in connection with altar-pulpit fellowship conversation, imo.


Some Haugean and free Lutheran traditions were part of the ALC -- a piety that I don't believe folks in the LCA understood (or perhaps appreciated). Conversely, the LCA had the grand Augustana liturgical piety that those Haugeaners just couldn't fathom. The "sides" did poke a bit of fun at each other, e.g., "happy" Danes vs. "sad" Danes. Both the ALC and LCA, in the mergers that created them learned to become a "big tent" church to accommodate the many different Lutheran flavors that were coming together.


On one hand, you can say that the minority position (WordAlone types) lost much of its influence when they couldn't sway the CWA to reject the full-communion agreement with the Episcopalians. On the other hand, the ELCA revised its constitution and bylaws just for this minority group, so that it would be possible for candidates to be ordained without a synod bishop present. Even as the losing minority, they still had influence with the whole body.



I suppose I should have been specific enough to clarify that the "old" ALC at least in my neck of the woods was represented within the German tradition. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 29, 2011, 12:18:17 AM

I thought that the ELCA would be liberal as compared to the LCMS or WELS. I never thought it would be considered liberal in comparison to the Universal Life Church or the Scientologists.

I'm sorry George, but that is way out of line.  I have no great  love of ELCA theology, but your comparison is odius, and way inaccurate..
 
Dan

I was using hyperbole to make a point. I thought that was obvious.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 12:30:27 AM
I suppose I should have been specific enough to clarify that the "old" ALC at least in my neck of the woods was represented within the German tradition.


Considering that the old ALC (1930) came from German roots as did the LCMS and WELS, we can easily understand some of the great differences of German Lutheranism. Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe (who is commemorated on January 2) sent missionaries who helped start the Synod of Ohio and Missouri Synod, and Iowa Synod. Even from one school in Germany, different synods arose whose differences remain today. (Iowa and Ohio synods were part of the old ALC).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 29, 2011, 12:35:21 AM
On one hand, you can say that the minority position (WordAlone types) lost much of its influence when they couldn't sway the CWA to reject the full-communion agreement with the Episcopalians. On the other hand, the ELCA revised its constitution and bylaws just for this minority group, so that it would be possible for candidates to be ordained without a synod bishop present. Even as the losing minority, they still had influence with the whole body.

Brian, even though I supported both the Concordat and Call to Common Mission, what you have written here is most incomplete, misleading and inaccurate.  As you should well know, the first time a CWA voted on a full-communion agreement with the PECUSA, the Concordat, it failed to pass.  It failed to achieve the constitutional mandate of a 2/3s vote to adopt it, and by the reasoning of many here regarding such things as 2/3s votes the whole thing should have stopped there, and those who lost that vote should have accepted their loss and never brought the matter up again.  And your description of the "exception clause" that was passed is also demeaning in its description. 

One of the few positive memories I have of the past few years is hearing the Rev. Stan Olson, then working in the churchwide offices of the ELCA, say at a Church Council meeting that there was no "minority" position following the 2009 CWA, but instead four equally valid positions within the ELCA on these matters.  Whether holding to that interpretation was realistically workable long-term or not, I appreciated hearing that from him and believed then and believe now that he spoke as an "honest broker" on these matters.  I wish he was still in the churchwide office. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on December 29, 2011, 12:36:47 AM
I suppose I should have been specific enough to clarify that the "old" ALC at least in my neck of the woods was represented within the German tradition.


Considering that the old ALC (1930) came from German roots as did the LCMS and WELS, we can easily understand some of the great differences of German Lutheranism. Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe (who is commemorated on January 2) sent missionaries who helped start the Synod of Ohio and Missouri Synod, and Iowa Synod. Even from one school in Germany, different synods arose whose differences remain today. (Iowa and Ohio synods were part of the old ALC).


Yes.  Part of my own dilemma when I matriculated at Wartburg before moving to St. Louis was whether Lutheran confessionality could be used in a critical way (and not simply as some historically confined document), say as it was in Bonhoeffer's Germany.  To my surprise I discovered that Christ Seminary-Seminex filled that bill.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 29, 2011, 12:38:25 AM

The day that the ELCA becomes confessional and orthodox is the day I leave.   

Just wow . . . but it will be interesting to see how Charles and Brian respond to this admission.


A. I believe that the ELCA is confessional and orthodox. I believe that we have the correct understand and practice of what it means to be saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.


B. The ELCA is not confessional and orthodox in the very narrow sense that the LCMS uses the terms. Should the ELCA became that kind of confessional, orthodox church, I'm gone, too.

Actually, it seems to me that your definition of confessional and orthodos is much narrower than most of us in the LCMS.  If I read you correctly, for you confessional and orthodox consists only one thing - salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  A quite limited and narrow definition.  As long as that doctrine is somehow adhered to one is orthodox and confession no matter what from the Scripture and the Lutheran confessions is discarded, denied or toyed with.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 29, 2011, 12:55:09 AM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination?

Charles, no one expected the ELCA to be a "conservative" Lutheran church.  We did have reason to expect it to be a "confessional" Lutheran Church, that she would use Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions to play a central role in her teaching and decision making.  Because she was primarily a confessional church, there was room for conservatives such as myself, as there had been room for us in the LCA. 

I have noted before that most of the "traditionalists" who opposed, and continue to oppose (either inside or outside of this church) the major innovations of the last 6 years (feminist language, are proud "liberals."  But it is a liberalism that does not extract the church from its biblical/confessional roots, and that is what the leadership of this church has done. 

The ELCA united 2/3rds of US Lutherans into a confessional church committed to an even fuller Lutheran unity.  The lawsuit that opened this particular topic is yet one more demonstration that it has, instead, been turned into a bureaucratic sect.  And like all bureaucracies, it is interested primarily in self-preservation.

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 29, 2011, 01:07:03 AM
(The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)


That's what the local (Los Angeles area) ALC and LCA pastors said often in the '70s and '80s.  I remember my (LCA) pastor coming back from the first meeting of the two ministeria (still in the CNLC days) astounded at just how different the ALC and LCA pastors were from each other.  And this was in Southern California, where Lutherans (except WELS and CLC) had been co-operating with each other for as long as there were Lutherans in metro Los Angeles!

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: pearson on December 29, 2011, 01:07:57 AM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Only a post like this could get me to set down my mug of glӧgg and retire from the glow of a Texas victory in the Holiday Bowl in order to respond.

I was pastor/senior pastor of an LCA/ELCA congregation in St. Louis (Clayton), MO from 1982-1989.  Until April, 1987, we were part of the LCA's Illinois Synod, under the leadership of the sainted Bp. Paul Erickson.  Throughout the time I served as pastor of that parish, we provided office space, financial support and hospitality for a number of AELC agencies.  Bp. John Tietjen was in our building every couple of weeks, meeting with Larry Neeb (ELIM), Richard Mueller (Lutheran Perspective), Arden Mead (Creative Communications), Al Horst (Campus Ministry), and a host of other AELC leaders, working at just stayin' alive.  During that time, the CNLC held one regional meeting, and one national meeting, in our facilities.  One had only to squat in the corner and stay awake to see what was going on.

What was going on -- at least in our corner of congested Lutheranism -- was an LCA and ALC leadership being led into a reconstituted Lutheran body by a deeply motivated and visionary AELC leadership.  It was the AELC leaders who repeatedly insisted that we were forming, not a "merged" church, but a "new" Lutheran church, beholden to none of the traditions and practices of what came to be known dismissively as "the predecessor church bodies."  It was the AELC leaders who kept urging that we didn't need to resolve conflicted issues of ecclesial order, pastoral identity, theological commitments or biblical authority; these were matters best left to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the future corporate wisdom of this "new" Lutheran church.  Dr. Serge Castigliano, who was a member of my parish, joined in 1987 the initial staff at Churchwide in Chicago as supervisor of chaplains and pastoral counselors; he told me early on that "this (the ELCA) is a really strange place."

The bottom line is that many of us pastors had no idea what to expect of the ELCA in 1987.  I do know that while the AELC folks in St. Louis were exulting, the LCA pastors there were expressing various degrees of uncertainty and concern.  If anything, we hoped that the ELCA would continue to be "liberal" in just the way that the LCA was "liberal."  We understood the LCA to represent a socially sensitive, confessionally orthodox Lutheran community, minimally diverse, with a lot of theological common ground.  We did not expect the ELCA to be "conservative," especially if that meant ethnically isolated.  But we also did not expect -- although some may have feared -- that the ELCA would speed up away from a distinctive "LCA liberalism" and toward a generic "American cultural progressivism."  If anyone in 1987 expected the ELCA to look as it does on the brink of 2012, it was those who patiently manufactured this current ELCA, and those who cheered them on.

Well, this reflection has been mostly anecdotal, as these things must be, so take it all with the proverbial grain of salt.  It's one man's perspective.

Tom Pearson 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 01:22:35 AM
On one hand, you can say that the minority position (WordAlone types) lost much of its influence when they couldn't sway the CWA to reject the full-communion agreement with the Episcopalians. On the other hand, the ELCA revised its constitution and bylaws just for this minority group, so that it would be possible for candidates to be ordained without a synod bishop present. Even as the losing minority, they still had influence with the whole body.

Brian, even though I supported both the Concordat and Call to Common Mission, what you have written here is most incomplete, misleading and inaccurate.  As you should well know, the first time a CWA voted on a full-communion agreement with the PECUSA, the Concordat, it failed to pass.  It failed to achieve the constitutional mandate of a 2/3s vote to adopt it, and by the reasoning of many here regarding such things as 2/3s votes the whole thing should have stopped there, and those who lost that vote should have accepted their loss and never brought the matter up again.  And your description of the "exception clause" that was passed is also demeaning in its description.


I was at the assembly when the concordat failed to pass by six votes (684-351 -- 690 needed to approve it). A large majority supported it (66.1%), but not quite 2/3rds -- even closer than the vote at the congregation that started this whole discussion. After many hours of discussion the following resolution was passed 930 to 79:

CA97.5.23 WHEREAS, while a solid majority (66.1 percent) voted for the adoption of the Concordat of Agreement, this was not sufficient for the required two-thirds majority; and
WHEREAS, despite the sadness among us and within the church at large, our church remains committed to the ultimate goal of full communion with The Episcopal Church and other churches; and
WHEREAS, we recognize our need as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to understand our own doctrine, creeds, and polity and that of The Episcopal Church; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Churchwide Assembly, hereby,
1. Request that the presiding bishop, Church Council, Department for Ecumenical Affairs, and Conference of Bishops create opportunities for dialogue and teaching within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America concerning the possible avenues for full communion with The Episcopal Church;
2. Request that educational opportunities be created in consultation with The Episcopal Church for members of the faculties of ELCA colleges and seminaries, the Conference of Bishops, clergy, and laity designed to communicate the history, theology, and ecclesiology of both The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and that materials will be made available to allELCA congregations and rostered persons during the two-year period before the next Churchwide Assembly;
3. Calls for discussion in the 1997-1999 biennium within our church of the process toward full communion and the implications of full communion with The Episcopal Church; and
4. Aspires to ratification of an agreement for full communion with The Episcopal Church at the 1999 Churchwide Assembly.


An overwhelming majority (92%) voted to proceed. This resolution brought some peace and unity back to the assembly after the majority "lost" the vote for the Concordat. Would that all contentious resolutions could result in the same group of people approving steps to move forward on the same issue with over 92% agreement.

Perhaps the whole issue should have been dropped then. We can also say that when a congregation fails to approve withdrawing from the ELCA, all steps related to withdrawing should cease. The ELCA didn't in 1997. Some congregations didn't in 2011.

What do you think caused the "exception clause" to be placed in our constitution? It was not part of the CCM (and some supporters object to it being there). It was not WordAlone who asked or pushed for it, but the ELCA leadership recognizing the validity of some of their concerns, provided the exception clause. I do not think it would be there if WordAlone hadn't raised their concerns throughout the full-communion discussions.

Minority positions are heard. I stand by my position that the minority position had an influence on the ELCA and led to the "exception clause."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 29, 2011, 01:45:21 AM

What do you think caused the "exception clause" to be placed in our constitution? It was not part of the CCM (and some supporters object to it being there). It was not WordAlone who asked or pushed for it, but the ELCA leadership recognizing the validity of some of their concerns, provided the exception clause.

And I was at the assembly of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod when my then-bishop Glenn Nycklemoe, speaking from the floor, brought a/the resolution that would create the exception clause in the ELCA Constitution.  The reason he gave at that time was to preserve the ELCA and prevent the rupture that would take place, as he anticipated the loss of numerous congregations in the synods in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and elsewhere over Call to Common Mission.  He pleaded with the assembly to vote for this, to keep the ELCA from splitting. 

This also is anecdotal and should be read with the usual caveats.  But it is seared on my memory.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on December 29, 2011, 09:53:40 AM
I'll ask again, and it is a serious question.
Which of you thought that the ELCA would be a "conservative" denomination? Which of you thought that the ELCA would not speak frequently on social issues and generally take what is considered a moderate to liberal approach? Which of you thought that the ELCA would lean towards the LCMS way of doing hermeutic? Which of you thought that the ELCA would carry on the culture, piety and practice of the "old" ALC? (The ALC at the time of the merger had begun to look much like the LCA.)
Was it not clear from the earliest days, through the ecumenical agreements, through virtually every social statement, through all our involvements with issues that the ELCA was going to be considered
"liberal"?
Those who joined in the ELCA merger got on this bus. I cannot understand why some are surprised at the direction it is going.

Only a post like this could get me to set down my mug of glӧgg and retire from the glow of a Texas victory in the Holiday Bowl in order to respond.

I was pastor/senior pastor of an LCA/ELCA congregation in St. Louis (Clayton), MO from 1982-1989.  Until April, 1987, we were part of the LCA's Illinois Synod, under the leadership of the sainted Bp. Paul Erickson.  Throughout the time I served as pastor of that parish, we provided office space, financial support and hospitality for a number of AELC agencies.  Bp. John Tietjen was in our building every couple of weeks, meeting with Larry Neeb (ELIM), Richard Mueller (Lutheran Perspective), Arden Mead (Creative Communications), Al Horst (Campus Ministry), and a host of other AELC leaders, working at just stayin' alive.  During that time, the CNLC held one regional meeting, and one national meeting, in our facilities.  One had only to squat in the corner and stay awake to see what was going on.

What was going on -- at least in our corner of congested Lutheranism -- was an LCA and ALC leadership being led into a reconstituted Lutheran body by a deeply motivated and visionary AELC leadership.  It was the AELC leaders who repeatedly insisted that we were forming, not a "merged" church, but a "new" Lutheran church, beholden to none of the traditions and practices of what came to be known dismissively as "the predecessor church bodies."  It was the AELC leaders who kept urging that we didn't need to resolve conflicted issues of ecclesial order, pastoral identity, theological commitments or biblical authority; these were matters best left to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the future corporate wisdom of this "new" Lutheran church.  Dr. Serge Castigliano, who was a member of my parish, joined in 1987 the initial staff at Churchwide in Chicago as supervisor of chaplains and pastoral counselors; he told me early on that "this (the ELCA) is a really strange place."

The bottom line is that many of us pastors had no idea what to expect of the ELCA in 1987.  I do know that while the AELC folks in St. Louis were exulting, the LCA pastors there were expressing various degrees of uncertainty and concern.  If anything, we hoped that the ELCA would continue to be "liberal" in just the way that the LCA was "liberal."  We understood the LCA to represent a socially sensitive, confessionally orthodox Lutheran community, minimally diverse, with a lot of theological common ground.  We did not expect the ELCA to be "conservative," especially if that meant ethnically isolated.  But we also did not expect -- although some may have feared -- that the ELCA would speed up away from a distinctive "LCA liberalism" and toward a generic "American cultural progressivism."  If anyone in 1987 expected the ELCA to look as it does on the brink of 2012, it was those who patiently manufactured this current ELCA, and those who cheered them on.

Well, this reflection has been mostly anecdotal, as these things must be, so take it all with the proverbial grain of salt.  It's one man's perspective.

Tom Pearson
Your reflections are quite similar to Carl Braaten's commentary on his experience at LSTC after the AELC influx.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 29, 2011, 10:02:29 AM
I covered the decision to merge the three Lutheran bodies as a reporter for The New York Times, which put the merger story on Page One. Later, I was director of news for the LCA and attended a number of CNLC meetings, including the final ones; and I spent time with all the key players, writing for the LCA news service, The Lutheran magazine, and guiding secular reporters through the merger process, including running the newsroom at the ELCA Constituting Convention.
    I agree that the AELC had undue influence. They were strong and stubborn and the LCA and ALC were maybe (in my not-so-humble opinion) a little too nice to them. After all, they had come through the great tribulation.  ;)
     Segments of the ALC never took the "national church" very seriously. Or they didn't like "Minneapolis" and came to conventions to complain about "Minneapolis."  I concluded this after I had attended several national ALC conventions. Some of these segments - ELCA bishops have told me - never "really" joined the ELCA.
     At the last, or maybe the penultimate, CNLC meeting, Bishop Crumley told the LCA representatives that he had reservations; that maybe "we don't have it all in place" and hinted that a postponement might be in order. Some back-room negotiations kept the process rolling.
    Dr. David Preus of the ALC, it seemed to me, took a "looser" approach to the merger documents and agreements than did the LCA and AELC people. The ALC leaders might have fostered the idea that the "national expression" of the ELCA would be weak and easy to ignore or control.
     And here we are, more than two decades later. We haven't yet hit the time span between All Saints' Eve, 1517 and 1580, but then it took longer to spread the words around in those days.
 
P.S. I still contend that overall the ALC and LCA and AELC were "moderate" to "liberal" in all things and that no one should be surprised at the directions the ELCA took.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on December 29, 2011, 11:01:24 AM
Something has been lost though.....

They are dying away now, but I cherish the old ALC Pastors wistfully speaking of the old days when they would attend an old ALC district convention for the collegiality and good spirit and decide who would be the national convention delegate by who among those who had not attended yet had an opening in his schedule and could go. Much less agenda aggrandizement, much less sectarian spirit. Altogether a much healthier way to be christian than today's aggressive politicizing of every item into political divides of "liberal" or "conservative--probably another instance of AELC passion wreaking havoc outside of the LCMS which seems to have these kinds of divisions as part and parcel of their internal culture.

I now believe it is simply odd that a church has notions of liberal or conservative. Augsburg 7 you know.

Lou

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 11:01:46 AM
Actually, it seems to me that your definition of confessional and orthodos is much narrower than most of us in the LCMS.  If I read you correctly, for you confessional and orthodox consists only one thing - salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  A quite limited and narrow definition.  As long as that doctrine is somehow adhered to one is orthodox and confession no matter what from the Scripture and the Lutheran confessions is discarded, denied or toyed with.


It is the key thing, but not the only thing. Every thing is interpreted in light of "justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ" -- even more simply, what God is doing for us. Thus we understand the sacraments as God acting for us -- not our act for God. We see the Ten Commandments as God acting for us, not rungs on a ladder whereby we try to get closer to God. That key confession is like the hub of a wheel from which everything us must flow and without it, everything else false apart.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 11:07:19 AM
I covered the decision to merge the three Lutheran bodies as a reporter for The New York Times, which put the merger story on Page One. Later, I was director of news for the LCA and attended a number of CNLC meetings, including the final ones; and I spent time with all the key players, writing for the LCA news service, The Lutheran magazine, and guiding secular reporters through the merger process, including running the newsroom at the ELCA Constituting Convention.
    I agree that the AELC had undue influence. They were strong and stubborn and the LCA and ALC were maybe (in my not-so-humble opinion) a little too nice to them. After all, they had come through the great tribulation.  ;)
     Segments of the ALC never took the "national church" very seriously. Or they didn't like "Minneapolis" and came to conventions to complain about "Minneapolis."  I concluded this after I had attended several national ALC conventions. Some of these segments - ELCA bishops have told me - never "really" joined the ELCA.
     At the last, or maybe the penultimate, CNLC meeting, Bishop Crumley told the LCA representatives that he had reservations; that maybe "we don't have it all in place" and hinted that a postponement might be in order. Some back-room negotiations kept the process rolling.
    Dr. David Preus of the ALC, it seemed to me, took a "looser" approach to the merger documents and agreements than did the LCA and AELC people. The ALC leaders might have fostered the idea that the "national expression" of the ELCA would be weak and easy to ignore or control.
     And here we are, more than two decades later. We haven't yet hit the time span between All Saints' Eve, 1517 and 1580, but then it took longer to spread the words around in those days.
 
P.S. I still contend that overall the ALC and LCA and AELC were "moderate" to "liberal" in all things and that no one should be surprised at the directions the ELCA took.


A neighboring pastor, a member of the CNLC, also commented that the AELC folks had never been through a merger. In their experience, disagreements result in schisms. They were less equipped to deal with give-and-take that ALC and LCA had been through with earlier mergers. President Preus did speak against the new church. He believed that there were too many differences to overcome, but he would support the will of the people of the ALC.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 11:10:50 AM
Something has been lost though.....

They are dying away now, but I cherish the old ALC Pastors wistfully speaking of the old days when they would attend an old ALC district convention for the collegiality and good spirit and decide who would be the national convention delegate by who among those who had not attended yet had an opening in his schedule and could go. Much less agenda aggrandizement, much less sectarian spirit. Altogether a much healthier way to be christian than today's aggressive politicizing of every item into political divides of "liberal" or "conservative--probably another instance of AELC passion wreaking havoc outside of the LCMS which seems to have these kinds of divisions as part and parcel of their internal culture.

I now believe it is simply odd that a church has notions of liberal or conservative. Augsburg 7 you know.


Exactly the same thing happened in my former conference (I'm at least 180 miles from the meetings of my present conference, so I have attended any meetings). We surfacing nominees for Churchwide Assemblies we did ask, "Who hasn't been to one?" And ask that person if they were willing to be nominated. For the most part, that conference was predominately conservative ELCA folks, and the voting members reflected that position.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 29, 2011, 12:12:26 PM
I covered the decision to merge the three Lutheran bodies as a reporter for The New York Times, which put the merger story on Page One. Later, I was director of news for the LCA and attended a number of CNLC meetings, including the final ones; and I spent time with all the key players, writing for the LCA news service, The Lutheran magazine, and guiding secular reporters through the merger process, including running the newsroom at the ELCA Constituting Convention.
    I agree that the AELC had undue influence. They were strong and stubborn and the LCA and ALC were maybe (in my not-so-humble opinion) a little too nice to them. After all, they had come through the great tribulation.  ;)
     Segments of the ALC never took the "national church" very seriously. Or they didn't like "Minneapolis" and came to conventions to complain about "Minneapolis."  I concluded this after I had attended several national ALC conventions. Some of these segments - ELCA bishops have told me - never "really" joined the ELCA.
     At the last, or maybe the penultimate, CNLC meeting, Bishop Crumley told the LCA representatives that he had reservations; that maybe "we don't have it all in place" and hinted that a postponement might be in order. Some back-room negotiations kept the process rolling.
    Dr. David Preus of the ALC, it seemed to me, took a "looser" approach to the merger documents and agreements than did the LCA and AELC people. The ALC leaders might have fostered the idea that the "national expression" of the ELCA would be weak and easy to ignore or control.
     And here we are, more than two decades later. We haven't yet hit the time span between All Saints' Eve, 1517 and 1580, but then it took longer to spread the words around in those days.
 
P.S. I still contend that overall the ALC and LCA and AELC were "moderate" to "liberal" in all things and that no one should be surprised at the directions the ELCA took.

I agree with this: On the whole, we were moderate. The average Lutheran and the average Lutheran congregation in '88 were moderate. On the mess that brought on the actions and lawsuit at Grace, Eau Claire, we were conservative. The '93 statement was opposed by 80% of the laity and 65% of the clergy.

The pastor of Grace Lutheran, Eau Claire, Rolf Nestigen, who was in W. North Dakota when I was there, was one of the most vocal opponents of the '93 statement in our synod and his opposition always had the line that the statement was based on "a bizarre method of biblical interpretation," included in it. I would say he has remained consistent in his views. He is just as conservative as he has always been. His bishop was no less embarrassed (his words, made in public) by the '93 statement and Rolf almost replaced that bishop once back in '92. What I remember from that election was that he was a staunch defender of the concept that the synod, seminary, and the national church needed to take their lead from the congregations in all matters and never assume that it worked the other way around.

His church has changed; maybe: it was changed, is a better line. It was moved from large scale agreement to a statement that enshrines disagreement as a institutional value under the rubric of diversity. We might want to ponder in how many other matters we have drifted apart from large scale unity.

I disagree with this: We were not liberals and, I am going out on a limb here, we still are not. There is a lot of public talk that sounds very "liberal" and there are a number of decisions that are tainted that way. There is a lot of "institutional speak" that uses a lot of liberal academia words but the average Lutheran in the pew remains a moderate, with expressed permission to be so by the '09 statement that also allows him to be conservative or liberal, as if he needed that permission. There are some really liberal congregations out there. There are some really conservative ones. Same with pastors and parishioners. Most do not choose to advertise how liberal or conservative or whatnot they are. I am not sure that even our National Bishop, who speaks publicly and does so often, would want to say we are "liberal." He would say that we are "diverse." The value of that latter value might make a good new thread, BTW.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 29, 2011, 01:12:53 PM
With churches and denominations, as with politics and other issues in the secular world, "liberal" and "conservative" only have real meaning in comparison to other things. Using the standard analogy of right and left, something is only located on the right when compared to something to its left. To something even further right, the thing on the right is really to the left. That's why labels like liberal and conservative are only meaningful in context. Compared to the WELS, the LCMS is liberal. Compared to some micro-synods, the WELS is liberal.
 
Then there's the issue of issues. Some congregations or denominations are liberal about worship practices and conservative about theology. Others are the opposite. I've encountered churches that were extremely conservatively fundamentalist in their teachings, but were very liberal in what they did during worship services. I've met women pastors in the ELCA who would fit right in to the conservative theology of the LCMS or WELS, aside from disagreement over women's ordination. I've met male pastors who are totally conservative regarding women's ordination, but who are very liberal concerning issues like universalism.
 
To some, favoring a congregationalist structure over an episcopal/hierarchical structure is the mark of being conservative. Others see that as totally opposite.
 
Most people I've encountered in life regard themselves as being center/moderate in their outlook, because where they are is the center of the universe, and everyone else is to their right or their left. Still others were self-proclaimed liberals at one time, but as events surrounding them caused the center to shift beyond them, leaving them now to the right of the new center, still believe that they are liberals.
 
In short, while it's easy to make a blithe statement about the ELCA having always been a "liberal" denomination doesn't change the fact that to many people in the ELCA, the center moved so far to the left as to be out of sight.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 29, 2011, 01:48:04 PM
I agree with this: On the whole, we were moderate.


Within the range of Christian thinking in the U.S., the ELCA is moderate. Among the range of Lutheran thinking in the U.S., the ELCA is the most liberal Lutheran denomination.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 29, 2011, 03:11:05 PM
I'm still trying to figure out just what it should mean for conservatives this insistence that the ELCA has always been a moderate to liberal denomination, everyone should have been able to see that from the beginning, and realistically, that is not going to change. 
 
But what sould the implications of that be for conservatives who are members of the ELCA or are considering being members of the ELCA.  They are being told that they are not joining or belonging to a conservative denomination and they should not hope that is going to change.  Perhaps they should not even consider trying to change that.
 
Yet the ELCA has been insistent that they welcome conservatives, value their contribution to the conversation, and want them to be a part of the big tent.  Even so, Pr. Stoffregen (as I remember, I think it was a week or more ago and I do not have the reference at my finger tips) said specifically that positions that conservatives hold (especially on same sex issues but also on things like women's ordination, and I guess view of Scripture, but I digress) are not forbidden in the ELCA but they should not expect any support for their beliefs or any help to spread them.
 
Pr. Austin has been insistent that he hopes that all those who were disappointed by CWA '09 would remain in the ELCA, that their voices in the conversation are important.  He seems somewhat disparaging towards those who feel they must leave (he certainly wants them to stay), but wishes that if they must they would do so (abiding by all the rules) will all due haste and never speak about the ELCA again, except may to report how graciously they were treated.  If they stay, they should always be respectful toward the rest of the ELCA and the decision that were made and fulfill all obligations.  If they feel badly treated, and some probably have been, consider that they may have had a hand in causing their ill treatment by their disrespectful bahavior and their failure to fulfill their obligations.  He seems to want to assume unless proven otherwise that traditionalists have at least in part deserved what they have gotten.
 
With all of that, what place is there within the ELCA for conservatives or traditionalists?  They will always be at best a tolerated minority existing on the sufferance of the majority.  The "Liberals" can expect their positions to be supported and celebrated by the ELCA, the "Conservatives" with get whatever support that they can provide for themselves.  Can they expect Sunday School material, Bible Study material, teaching at the colleges and seminaries of the ELCA to support their viewpoint or offer it as a viable position?  They are wanted, but it seems to me told to then sit on the sidelines.
 
It seems to me a bit confusing.  On the one hand the traditionalists are told that they are desired to be a part of the whole but implicitly told that while they are wanted and can join in the conversation, to never expect their beliefs to be a part of the ELCA ethos when their beliefs differ from that of the liberal majority.
 
Pr. Austin despairs of meaningful theological diaglog with the LCMS.  What is the LCMS offered by the ELCA but an opportunity to be a part of a larger church that will never embrace what we believe and will allow us in only if we will play nice and not upset the majority.  We are told, the ELCA will never be LCMS so why don't you stop being LCMS and become ELCA.  Our beliefs are apparently respected, but why don't you drop them or allow them to be strange personal opinions so that you can join us and support our causes. Why would we?  Would the ELCA be willing to do that to be closer to the LCMS?  I doubt it.
 
Dan
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 29, 2011, 04:26:56 PM
I'm still trying to figure out just what it should mean for conservatives this insistence that the ELCA has always been a moderate to liberal denomination, everyone should have been able to see that from the beginning, and realistically, that is not going to change. 
 
But what sould the implications of that be for conservatives who are members of the ELCA or are considering being members of the ELCA.  They are being told that they are not joining or belonging to a conservative denomination and they should not hope that is going to change.  Perhaps they should not even consider trying to change that.

This was exactly the point I was trying to make in response to Charles' claim that ELCA seminaries were open to "all views".  When I attended an ELCA seminary 20 years ago, it was a moderate to liberal seminary.  There is nothing wrong with that in itself.  What is wrong is the claim that ELCA seminaries are more open to diverse views than they are.  The fact is that ELCA seminaries are open to all views that fall within the moderate to liberal spectrum.  They are not nearly as open to conservative or evangelical views.  I don't think we can expect them to be that diverse.  We should be able to expect folks like Charles to stop making grandiose claims about their diversity.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 29, 2011, 04:33:44 PM
I agree with this: On the whole, we were moderate.


Within the range of Christian thinking in the U.S., the ELCA is moderate. Among the range of Lutheran thinking in the U.S., the ELCA is the most liberal Lutheran denomination.
In comparison to the range of Christian thinking in the US, I am a liberal.  In the eyes of the ruling intelligentsia in the ELCA, I am a paleolithic conservative. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 29, 2011, 04:51:05 PM
President Preus did speak against the new church. He believed that there were too many differences to overcome, but he would support the will of the people of the ALC.

He spoke against it when it was initially proposed.  Once an ALC referendum made it clear merger had strong support within the ALC, he changed his mind and was strongly committed to it -- even when (or perhaps one should say, especially when) the LCA, uh, got quite nervous over some serious matters.
Title: "Big Tent"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 29, 2011, 05:11:41 PM

We are the "big tent" denomination.


Big tents are for circuses.

Christe eleison, spt+


Please note that the above quotation (which is usually beneath my image to the left) is from another topic and another time on this forum.

spt+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 29, 2011, 08:16:33 PM
I'm still trying to figure out just what it should mean for conservatives this insistence that the ELCA has always been a moderate to liberal denomination, everyone should have been able to see that from the beginning, and realistically, that is not going to change. 
 
But what sould the implications of that be for conservatives who are members of the ELCA or are considering being members of the ELCA.  They are being told that they are not joining or belonging to a conservative denomination and they should not hope that is going to change.  Perhaps they should not even consider trying to change that.
 
Yet the ELCA has been insistent that they welcome conservatives, value their contribution to the conversation, and want them to be a part of the big tent.  Even so, Pr. Stoffregen (as I remember, I think it was a week or more ago and I do not have the reference at my finger tips) said specifically that positions that conservatives hold (especially on same sex issues but also on things like women's ordination, and I guess view of Scripture, but I digress) are not forbidden in the ELCA but they should not expect any support for their beliefs or any help to spread them.
 
Pr. Austin has been insistent that he hopes that all those who were disappointed by CWA '09 would remain in the ELCA, that their voices in the conversation are important.  He seems somewhat disparaging towards those who feel they must leave (he certainly wants them to stay), but wishes that if they must they would do so (abiding by all the rules) will all due haste and never speak about the ELCA again, except may to report how graciously they were treated.  If they stay, they should always be respectful toward the rest of the ELCA and the decision that were made and fulfill all obligations.  If they feel badly treated, and some probably have been, consider that they may have had a hand in causing their ill treatment by their disrespectful bahavior and their failure to fulfill their obligations.  He seems to want to assume unless proven otherwise that traditionalists have at least in part deserved what they have gotten.
 
With all of that, what place is there within the ELCA for conservatives or traditionalists?  They will always be at best a tolerated minority existing on the sufferance of the majority.  The "Liberals" can expect their positions to be supported and celebrated by the ELCA, the "Conservatives" with get whatever support that they can provide for themselves.  Can they expect Sunday School material, Bible Study material, teaching at the colleges and seminaries of the ELCA to support their viewpoint or offer it as a viable position?  They are wanted, but it seems to me told to then sit on the sidelines.
 
It seems to me a bit confusing.  On the one hand the traditionalists are told that they are desired to be a part of the whole but implicitly told that while they are wanted and can join in the conversation, to never expect their beliefs to be a part of the ELCA ethos when their beliefs differ from that of the liberal majority.
 
Pr. Austin despairs of meaningful theological diaglog with the LCMS.  What is the LCMS offered by the ELCA but an opportunity to be a part of a larger church that will never embrace what we believe and will allow us in only if we will play nice and not upset the majority.  We are told, the ELCA will never be LCMS so why don't you stop being LCMS and become ELCA.  Our beliefs are apparently respected, but why don't you drop them or allow them to be strange personal opinions so that you can join us and support our causes. Why would we?  Would the ELCA be willing to do that to be closer to the LCMS?  I doubt it.
 
Dan

The problem with the big tent is that not all the acts can share the ring. The lion act and the miniature ponies don't belong in the same space, neither will the high wire act want to share the ring while the firewater is spouting it off below.

That is an ELCA problem and will be for a while to come. We want to be diverse. The problem is that diversity turns into  division in one simple action: assertion of one's position. If the liberal and the conservative merely live next to one another, there really is no problem. We have done that and are doing that in many things as is the LCMS. It becomes division and hostility when someone asserts that their view is "the right one." The implication being that the other side needs to convert.

As soon as either side asserts that diversity is nice but that their side is "right" diversity ends and division starts and all kinds of political bullying and other unsavory tactics will be pulled out. Once that starts, and it started in ELCA over 10 years ago, it is a goat rodeo to try to restore diversity think because the fighting mechanisms and habits of the factions will not just go away. 2009 was an attempt to create a framework to make a move to diversity happen. I am not so sure it can be done by such simple fiat. You cannot legislate humility and you cannot sign a cease fire agreement on behalf of a parties you do not represent.

BTW: You have to accept diversity as a value for any of this in the first place. No problem there.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 29, 2011, 09:11:59 PM
Even the largest of tents have their limits, beyond which lie pegs and ropes that can trip one face-down into the mud.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on December 29, 2011, 09:20:36 PM
...As soon as either side asserts that diversity is nice but that their side is "right" diversity ends and division starts and all kinds of political bullying and other unsavory tactics will be pulled out. ...

You add money, church property, and the blood, sweat, and tears of members and their ancestors into the mix and you get to lawsuits ...
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 29, 2011, 09:32:12 PM
The problem with the big tent is that not all the acts can share the ring. The lion act and the miniature ponies don't belong in the same space, neither will the high wire act want to share the ring while the firewater is spouting it off below.

That is an ELCA problem and will be for a while to come. We want to be diverse. The problem is that diversity turns into  division in one simple action: assertion of one's position. If the liberal and the conservative merely live next to one another, there really is no problem. We have done that and are doing that in many things as is the LCMS. It becomes division and hostility when someone asserts that their view is "the right one." The implication being that the other side needs to convert.

As soon as either side asserts that diversity is nice but that their side is "right" diversity ends and division starts and all kinds of political bullying and other unsavory tactics will be pulled out. Once that starts, and it started in ELCA over 10 years ago, it is a goat rodeo to try to restore diversity think because the fighting mechanisms and habits of the factions will not just go away. 2009 was an attempt to create a framework to make a move to diversity happen. I am not so sure it can be done by such simple fiat. You cannot legislate humility and you cannot sign a cease fire agreement on behalf of a parties you do not represent.

BTW: You have to accept diversity as a value for any of this in the first place. No problem there.

So part of the bargain is to agree that no position can be held to be the right position, all positions are, if not equally likely, at least potentially right - a sort of assumed equality among positions?  I may like my position better than yours, but I can't say that what I believe is right if that would make your position wrong?  It seems to me that among other things it calls on everyone to hold their position kind of lightly and not actually argue for it for that would imply one position is right and the other one wrong.

How post-modern.

That still does not deal with the implied bias affirmed by some in the ELCA that while the traditionalist position will be tolerated, it will not be supported, while the revisionist position is supported, or at least informs the actual policy and workings of the ELCA.

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 29, 2011, 09:35:49 PM
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?
You have the situation (which seems bizarre to me) in which individual pastors can declare that they are not in communion fellowship with other LCMS pastors. How does that foster "unity"?
Is there a place for "moderates" or even (O horrors!) "liberals" at LCMS colleges and seminaries? Or are they threatened with loss of tenure or other career-ending actions?
Can you say that you value the contributions of someone such as Dr. Becker who occasionally has posted here, or do you agree with those who seem to say he has no place in the LCMS?
Obviously no one here is going to do it; but I wonder if someone of "moderate" or "liberal" leanings in the LCMS might not have a memory bank load of incidents where his colleagues were hassled or black-listed by district presidents.
I am quite serious about the joy I feel that Erma has received a call and that Steven says he's staying in the ELCA, although our disagreements on some things are strong. (Our agreements on many other things are equally strong, I suspect.)
What will be your attitude towards an LCMS colleague who might favor ordination for women and even lobby for it within the Synod?
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on December 29, 2011, 09:41:25 PM
I'm still trying to figure out just what it should mean for conservatives this insistence that the ELCA has always been a moderate to liberal denomination, everyone should have been able to see that from the beginning, and realistically, that is not going to change. 
 
But what sould the implications of that be for conservatives who are members of the ELCA or are considering being members of the ELCA.  They are being told that they are not joining or belonging to a conservative denomination and they should not hope that is going to change.  Perhaps they should not even consider trying to change that.
 
Yet the ELCA has been insistent that they welcome conservatives, value their contribution to the conversation, and want them to be a part of the big tent.  Even so, Pr. Stoffregen (as I remember, I think it was a week or more ago and I do not have the reference at my finger tips) said specifically that positions that conservatives hold (especially on same sex issues but also on things like women's ordination, and I guess view of Scripture, but I digress) are not forbidden in the ELCA but they should not expect any support for their beliefs or any help to spread them.
 
Pr. Austin has been insistent that he hopes that all those who were disappointed by CWA '09 would remain in the ELCA, that their voices in the conversation are important.  He seems somewhat disparaging towards those who feel they must leave (he certainly wants them to stay), but wishes that if they must they would do so (abiding by all the rules) will all due haste and never speak about the ELCA again, except may to report how graciously they were treated.  If they stay, they should always be respectful toward the rest of the ELCA and the decision that were made and fulfill all obligations.  If they feel badly treated, and some probably have been, consider that they may have had a hand in causing their ill treatment by their disrespectful bahavior and their failure to fulfill their obligations.  He seems to want to assume unless proven otherwise that traditionalists have at least in part deserved what they have gotten.
 
With all of that, what place is there within the ELCA for conservatives or traditionalists?  They will always be at best a tolerated minority existing on the sufferance of the majority.  The "Liberals" can expect their positions to be supported and celebrated by the ELCA, the "Conservatives" with get whatever support that they can provide for themselves.  Can they expect Sunday School material, Bible Study material, teaching at the colleges and seminaries of the ELCA to support their viewpoint or offer it as a viable position?  They are wanted, but it seems to me told to then sit on the sidelines.
 
It seems to me a bit confusing.  On the one hand the traditionalists are told that they are desired to be a part of the whole but implicitly told that while they are wanted and can join in the conversation, to never expect their beliefs to be a part of the ELCA ethos when their beliefs differ from that of the liberal majority.
 
Pr. Austin despairs of meaningful theological diaglog with the LCMS.  What is the LCMS offered by the ELCA but an opportunity to be a part of a larger church that will never embrace what we believe and will allow us in only if we will play nice and not upset the majority.  We are told, the ELCA will never be LCMS so why don't you stop being LCMS and become ELCA.  Our beliefs are apparently respected, but why don't you drop them or allow them to be strange personal opinions so that you can join us and support our causes. Why would we?  Would the ELCA be willing to do that to be closer to the LCMS?  I doubt it.
 
Dan
FWIW, I've gone from being a conservative in the ELCA to a liberal (or moderate) in an LCMS congregation. After two years, I still feel more welcome here, and am relieved the conflict is over for us. But no, I felt that there was no longer a place for tradionalists in our ELCA congregation or synod; maybe they said they wanted our "voice", but they refused to actually "listen" to it.  We have found a place of refuge, and it is in an LCMS congregation.  There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees. If you had told me this would happen five years ago, I'd have laughed at the idea that we'd be in an LCMS congregation and loving it. Of course, I didn't think CWA 2009 would actually happen, either.
Kurt
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 29, 2011, 09:47:23 PM
Kurt Weinelt writes:
There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees.
 
I comment:
If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 29, 2011, 09:50:16 PM
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?
You have the situation (which seems bizarre to me) in which individual pastors can declare that they are not in communion fellowship with other LCMS pastors. How does that foster "unity"?
Is there a place for "moderates" or even (O horrors!) "liberals" at LCMS colleges and seminaries? Or are they threatened with loss of tenure or other career-ending actions?
Can you say that you value the contributions of someone such as Dr. Becker who occasionally has posted here, or do you agree with those who seem to say he has no place in the LCMS?
Obviously no one here is going to do it; but I wonder if someone of "moderate" or "liberal" leanings in the LCMS might not have a memory bank load of incidents where his colleagues were hassled or black-listed by district presidents.
I am quite serious about the joy I feel that Erma has received a call and that Steven says he's staying in the ELCA, although our disagreements on some things are strong. (Our agreements on many other things are equally strong, I suspect.)
What will be your attitude towards an LCMS colleague who might favor ordination for women and even lobby for it within the Synod?

This is one area in which we disagree.  You see having a theologically diverse membership as a cardinal virtue in a church body, that the more diverse theological positions that you can count as members, the better the church.  So for you to still have Erma and Steven within the ELCA is a gold star in your book, as sign that the ELCA is doing good things, even if their position has minimal influence and is not supported but only tolerated. 

By the by, I in no way doubt your joy for Erma in her call and Steven in his determination to stick in the ELCA, nor do I look for any ulterior mootive in that.  They are genuinely nice people, something some of us can only aspire to emulate.  Besides, the more traditionalists that you can keep around the more it affirms the essential virtue of the ELCA. 

I am interested in your insistance that we should have moderates and liberals teaching in our colleges and seminaries.  Does that mean that traditionalists are well represented on your faculties?  Or do you just expect more diversity there from us than from your own institutions?

Since we do not meet your standards for diversity of theology and thought, does that mean that we do not meet your standards for a good church body?  Well, that is nothing new.  You have made it quite clear on numerous occasions that we do not measure up to your standards.  Why should that matter to us any more than our opinion of you matter to you?

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 29, 2011, 09:53:45 PM
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?

Charles,

Turn your musings around and apply them to our denomination:

1.  Substantiate your claim that ELCA seminaries are open to "all views".
2.  Tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.
3.  Tell us whether anyone who did not favor women's ordination, open communion, historical criticism or a woman's right to choose would be repsected.  Would synodical bishops find calls for them?

The truth is that the LCMS and the ELCA are open to some ideas and closed to others.  And while partisans in the LCMS may be more agressive in their attacks on dissidents, I would argue that there is an equal amount of conflict in the ELCA.  It just that antagonists in the ELCA favor passive-aggression.  The end result is often the same.

David
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 29, 2011, 10:00:29 PM
Kurt Weinelt writes:
There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees.
 
I comment:
If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.
I will not quibble over the proper terminology for ELCA pastors, now retired who have joined an LCMS church.  For one thing, we have not been told when they left the ELCA, before or after retirement.  I would assume that they have joined the congregation so finding them at the communion rail should give no one angst.  If they have not joined, then I might be curious as to why they communing, something the Kurt did not specify.

Why the astonishment that someone who once served in the ELCA ministerium would end up in an LCMS congregation and be welcomed?  Does being an ELCA pastor leave an indelible mark that forever marks them as ELCA so that they cannot decide to join another church?  Is it just too astonishing that an LCMS church in good standing could unbend enough and get over being so petty as to allow someone who has been an ELCA pastor to join?

Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 29, 2011, 10:04:09 PM
2.  Tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.

When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 29, 2011, 10:05:24 PM
Pastor Fienen writes:
This is one area in which we disagree.  You see having a theologically diverse membership as a cardinal virtue in a church body, that the more diverse theological positions that you can count as members, the better the church.
I comment:
That is a typical, simplistic overstatement. "Cardinal virtue"? No. Realistic? Yes. We do not all think alike on everything. It doesn't bother me that some ELCAers will not commune with Presbyterians. But it bothers me that they want to insist that I should not.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
 So for you to still have Erma and Steven within the ELCA is a gold star in your book, as sign that the ELCA is doing good things, even if their position has minimal influence and is not supported but only tolerated.
I comment:
For that matter, my own positions on some things have no support at all. Our value within our church family doesn't depend on how much influence we have.
 
Pastor Fienen writes: 
By the by, I in no way doubt your joy for Erma in her call and Steven in his determination to stick in the ELCA, nor do I look for any ulterior mootive in that.  They are genuinely nice people, something some of us can only aspire to emulate.  Besides, the more traditionalists that you can keep around the more it affirms the essential virtue of the ELCA. 
I comment:
So you do doubt my joy and see an "ulterior motive"? Your view of the "essential virtue" of the ELCA is warped indeed. And it is not my view.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
I am interested in your insistance that we should have moderates and liberals teaching in our colleges and seminaries.  Does that mean that traditionalists are well represented on your faculties?  Or do you just expect more diversity there from us than from your own institutions?
I comment:
I do no such thing. It is not my place to say who you should have teaching in your seminaries. I only asked what would happen if some moderates or liberals were able to sneak through the screening process or if someone got infected with liberalism after being hired at a college or seminary.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
Since we do not meet your standards for diversity of theology and thought, does that mean that we do not meet your standards for a good church body?  Well, that is nothing new.  You have made it quite clear on numerous occasions that we do not measure up to your standards.
I comment (for the quadrillionth time):
In my opinion the LCMS is a fine Lutheran church body in which the Gospel is preached, the sacraments administered and in which people find their vocations as pastors and lay persons. It holds to some things that I find repugnant and it does some things that I don't like very much. So what? I know some LCMS people that I like very much. And I know some that I don't like very much. Ditto for the ELCA.
 
Pastor Fienen:
Why should that matter to us any more than our opinion of you matter to you?
Me:
It don't "matter" at all. (But w-a-a-y deep down, I might want you to like me a little bit.  ;D ;) )
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 29, 2011, 10:07:01 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 29, 2011, 10:09:56 PM
Charles,

Would you be kind enough to answer my questions:

1.  Can you substantiate your claim that ELCA seminaries are open to "all views".
2.  Can you tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.
3.  Can you tell us whether anyone who did not favor women's ordination, open communion, historical criticism or a woman's right to choose would be repsected.  Would synodical bishops find calls for them?

Thanks.

David

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 29, 2011, 10:13:27 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.

Are you suggesting that in the LCMS moderate or liberal opinions could not be expressed out loud?  What means does the LCMS have from preventing people from speaking out loud?  Do they literally muzzle moderates and liberals?  Do they put bark collars on them?

If your claim is that the ELCA open to all views because it has not developed a means of preventing people from speaking out loud, then you have lowered the bar considerably.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 29, 2011, 10:56:27 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.

Are you suggesting that in the LCMS moderate or liberal opinions could not be expressed out loud?  What means does the LCMS have from preventing people from speaking out loud?  Do they literally muzzle moderates and liberals?  Do they put bark collars on them?

If your claim is that the ELCA open to all views because it has not developed a means of preventing people from speaking out loud, then you have lowered the bar considerably.

The "no room for discussion" comment meant that no sooner had I broached the subject, I was immediately declared "out of order" and told to sit down and shut up. It wasn't just that no one agreed. No one was willing to listen to any explanation. All speakers were granted the floor for a set period of time to make their statements. My time was cut short as soon as I started saying something that didn't fit the ELCA's narrow range of broad diversity of opinion.
 
But I am not surprised that Austin would twist what I said in the worst possible way, even though he hasn't a clue what he's talking about. He wasn't there.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 29, 2011, 11:20:46 PM

If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

If they are members of LCMS congregations, they are subject to being removed from the ELCA roster.  Historically, ELCA bishops tended to (using a popular phrase from other contexts) "err on the side of grace" and do nothing about it.  Since 2009, however, our bishops have been much stronger about enforcing the constitutional provision that those on ELCA rosters be members of ELCA congregations, and have been removing retired pastors (and, I presume, AIMs, etc.) from the rosters.

As an aside that may actually relate to this topic, anyone else find it, uh, funny that since "grace" was adopted as the official policy of the ELCA (regarding the same-sex activity of its rostered leaders) its practice has been dramatically curtailed...

spt+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 29, 2011, 11:32:26 PM

If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

If they are members of LCMS congregations, they are subject to being removed from the ELCA roster.  Historically, ELCA bishops tended to (using a popular phrase from other contexts) "err on the side of grace" and do nothing about it.  Since 2009, however, our bishops have been much stronger about enforcing the constitutional provision that those on ELCA rosters be members of ELCA congregations, and have been removing retired pastors (and, I presume, AIMs, etc.) from the rosters.

As an aside that may actually relate to this topic, anyone else find it, uh, funny that since "grace" was adopted as the official policy of the ELCA (regarding the same-sex activity of its rostered leaders) its practice has been dramatically curtailed...

spt+

Along those same lines, when anyone cease to be something that they used to be, then the word "former" can be used to accurately describe them. For example, if someone was a coach in the NBA and then took a position as a coach at an NCAA school, he'd be accurately described as a "former NBA coach". Likewise, if someone used to be an ELCA pastor, but no longer was one, then the term "former ELCA pastor" is exactly correct. The are still pastors, but the are no longer "ELCA pastors".
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 30, 2011, 12:21:40 AM

If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

If they are members of LCMS congregations, they are subject to being removed from the ELCA roster.  Historically, ELCA bishops tended to (using a popular phrase from other contexts) "err on the side of grace" and do nothing about it.  Since 2009, however, our bishops have been much stronger about enforcing the constitutional provision that those on ELCA rosters be members of ELCA congregations, and have been removing retired pastors (and, I presume, AIMs, etc.) from the rosters.

As an aside that may actually relate to this topic, anyone else find it, uh, funny that since "grace" was adopted as the official policy of the ELCA (regarding the same-sex activity of its rostered leaders) its practice has been dramatically curtailed...

spt+
And yet when an LCMS retired pastor was threatened with discipline for becoming a part of the communing, worshipping  community of an ELCA church the howls of outrage from some quarters here were notable.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 09:05:54 AM
Do you people think retired pastors are no longer "pastors in the ELCA"? Are you that dense?
Retired pastors are on the roster in exactly the same way and with the same obligations (save for those connected with a specific call) as pastors in a called ministry.
Did those pastors so happily communing now at the LCMS church leave the ELCA roster or not? If they did not, they are still pastors in the ELCA.
As for the "outrage" cited by Pastor Fienen: I am not "outraged" that the LCMS took action against the pastor communing in the ELCA congregation. You did what your laws say you should do. I find the laws outrageous, not the specific action.
As for Mr.Erdne's rebuff by his synod discussion forum: try again, make a better case. See what happens. Don't give up so easily. Can't you take the heat of having an unpopular opinion? Is this not part of the responsibility (and glory) of witnessing to what you believe?
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on December 30, 2011, 09:47:41 AM
Do you people think retired pastors are no longer "pastors in the ELCA"? Are you that dense?

Uhh, Charles, I heard Bishop Hansen state that a pastor without a call is a layman in the Lutheran understanding. There is no ontological change. Is Mark Hansen dense?

Lou (density matters)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 09:59:09 AM
If he said that, Presiding Bishop Hanson was wrong. I have been without a call, and still a pastor in the ELCA. Retired pastors are without calls, and we are still on the clergy roster, able to function fully as pastors.  It has nothing to do with ontology. It has to do with rostering.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on December 30, 2011, 10:10:40 AM
If he said that, Presiding Bishop Hanson was wrong. I have been without a call, and still a pastor in the ELCA. Retired pastors are without calls, and we are still on the clergy roster, able to function fully as pastors.  It has nothing to do with ontology. It has to do with rostering.

Whatever you say, Charles. Bishop Hanson is wrong.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 10:36:27 AM
The problem with the big tent is that not all the acts can share the ring. The lion act and the miniature ponies don't belong in the same space, neither will the high wire act want to share the ring while the firewater is spouting it off below.

That is an ELCA problem and will be for a while to come. We want to be diverse. The problem is that diversity turns into  division in one simple action: assertion of one's position. If the liberal and the conservative merely live next to one another, there really is no problem. We have done that and are doing that in many things as is the LCMS. It becomes division and hostility when someone asserts that their view is "the right one." The implication being that the other side needs to convert.

As soon as either side asserts that diversity is nice but that their side is "right" diversity ends and division starts and all kinds of political bullying and other unsavory tactics will be pulled out. Once that starts, and it started in ELCA over 10 years ago, it is a goat rodeo to try to restore diversity think because the fighting mechanisms and habits of the factions will not just go away. 2009 was an attempt to create a framework to make a move to diversity happen. I am not so sure it can be done by such simple fiat. You cannot legislate humility and you cannot sign a cease fire agreement on behalf of a parties you do not represent.

BTW: You have to accept diversity as a value for any of this in the first place. No problem there.

So part of the bargain is to agree that no position can be held to be the right position, all positions are, if not equally likely, at least potentially right - a sort of assumed equality among positions?  I may like my position better than yours, but I can't say that what I believe is right if that would make your position wrong?  It seems to me that among other things it calls on everyone to hold their position kind of lightly and not actually argue for it for that would imply one position is right and the other one wrong.

How post-modern.

That still does not deal with the implied bias affirmed by some in the ELCA that while the traditionalist position will be tolerated, it will not be supported, while the revisionist position is supported, or at least informs the actual policy and workings of the ELCA.

Dan

Dan,

Two things: Yes, it is post modern in a way but if you think about it, families do this all the time. My brothers and I are "diverse" in our political views. At the same time we get along quite well. What happens when one of us just cannot resist talking politics? Angry faces and swollen voices. What holds us together? Well, we are brothers. COuld it happen that we get in so deep a fight with one another that we would permanently take a vacation from one another? It is possible I would suppose - other families have done so. We know that some subjects will be divisive and we stray there only with much care.

I would think that we continue to work under the assumption that the ELCA is a very cohesive family with deep roots in this faith we call Lutheran and have cherished through the generations. It is an assumption that the generation that worked out the merger worked under and it is the assumption that allowed them to leave even important things unresolved in the trust that, since we will do it like we always have, we can afford to wait a spell before we make a definite decision. Being from three different ways of being church, I think that was a big mistake since the closeness we assumed was not as abundant as we dreamed.

 As I look at my own congregation and the congregation that surround me, it occurs to me  that generational adherence and deep roots in Lutheranism, ELCA, ALC, LCA, are in the minority. Many of my colleagues and I are in congregations that have dipped into the pool of unchurched, loose Catholics, Methodist, etc. Life time members, Lutheran or congregational, are a minority where I travel.

This challenges the base assumption that we are just a happy family that will live through thick and thin and stick together in spite of our difference. We are not an organic whole. People can "check out," and do. They have done it before after all and all was well with them. Add to this this point: To some extent, memories of better places, Lutheran (ALC, LCA) and otherwise, make the idea of departing palatable even to Lutherans. 'The world will not end. It is just a corporate affiliation. We changed it once before. Why not now." And again the idea of this organic whole that the LIFT process held up is challenged. We are not this one happy family. A deep value and a grand dream, the a dream of a united Lutherandom on American shores, is being challenged.

Which brings me to the second point: People do not like it when their base assumptions are challenged and people do not like it when some reject the base assumption hard enough to walk away. Right now it is conservatives who are walking off so they are the ones that are raising the ire of those who want to think that we are just a one happy family. As conservatives walk off, their friends who chose to stay will be viewed with suspicion. That is what I think brings in the bias against conservatives you are trying to understand.

The question is well asked: What holds any denomination together? Maybe you can answer it for the LCMS, Dan. But, don't come to me with "subscription to the confessions." That makes you Lutheran. What makes you LCMS to the point that you will never walk away? What glues any of us into our denominations, in the corporate entity sense of the word? "Because we got <fill in the blank> right?" That can change, can't it? "Because it is here where I found out about God and God's amazing Grace?" Thankfulness? That has limits and we all know it. Congregations go through turmoil when pastor Bludwizc leaves after 30 years of ministry because "He was the guy who first taught me about God's amazing Grace and maybe now it is time to go on." Subtitle: I was only sticking around to thank Pastor but now . . .

I know this is a touchy subject to raise: What keeps you <fill in alphabet sup combination of your choice>? But, does it not go to the heart of the issue in Eau Claire or many places in ELCA where churches and individuals have been leaving in the last two years and where bishops and others are trying to find reasons for people to stay? All while we are still in division I might add.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 10:44:12 AM
If he said that, Presiding Bishop Hanson was wrong. I have been without a call, and still a pastor in the ELCA. Retired pastors are without calls, and we are still on the clergy roster, able to function fully as pastors.  It has nothing to do with ontology. It has to do with rostering.

Retired pastors are a subcategory of the ELCA roster of ordained ministers. You stay on the roster as long as you maintain membership in an ELCA congregation. I am not sure if any bishop checks all that closely where the retired guys have gone, and few have made use of the clause so as to demand that a retired man in a departing ELCA congregation change membership or face expulsion, though one such case is known to me. I would believe it is known to Pr. Tibbetts as well as he is a common friend. That is what his reference to retired pastors not on ELCA congregational rolls was referring to.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 11:05:45 AM
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.
Retired pastors are not a "sub-category," they are a different category. As a retired pastor, I have served full-time and part-time interims. I preach and preside regularly, take part in our local and synodical events and do what I am asked to do to help local pastor in their ministries. Nothing "sub" about that.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 30, 2011, 11:10:28 AM
    Just to say that this matter has affected rostered persons even before the 2009 decisions, and at times regardless of their support (or lack of) for the 2009 CWA decisions.  I know a person rostered as an AIM who really hated having to transfer congregations when the one she was a member of voted to leave the ELCA.  But she would lose her place on the roster if she didn't do so. 

    What troubles me with retired pastors and AiMs is that they may have greater difficulty, due to mobility issues, in finding another ELCA congregation to join.  I would hope in those situations some grace might be applied, as indeed the guidelines allow for. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 30, 2011, 11:19:46 AM

I know this is a touchy subject to raise: What keeps you <fill in alphabet sup combination of your choice>? But, does it not go to the heart of the issue in Eau Claire or many places in ELCA where churches and individuals have been leaving in the last two years and where bishops and others are trying to find reasons for people to stay? All while we are still in division I might add.

As one who, while on the Lutheran CORE steering committee. tried to help congregations find reasons to stay, all I can say is that the way of the cross is a hard sell.  Shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose, but somehow it was.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 30, 2011, 11:21:27 AM
Pr. Krause, what keeps a family together?  It is their family ties, their relatedness and their love for each other.  Politics are not a part of the core of what it means to be family.  A family can simply avoid talking about politics without harm to "family" because that is not part of what makes it family.  You have perhaps known people for whom politics is a core identity issue.  For them to not talk politics is to deny an essential part of their identity.  For them to not talk politics in family is very hard - they usually can't avoid it.  "Love me, love my politics."  In my own family we usually try to avoid talking theology.  I am LCMS, my father, one brother and sister are now WELS, and my other brother is ELCA.  We have a core faith that we can agree on, but theology and church politics is a minefield.  But theology is not what makes us family.
 
What makes church?  Can we be church while avoiding talking theology?  Is that not part of the core of what makes us church?  Unless the unity comes simply from having a common pension plan, or a common worship book - believe what you want so long as your worship service looks right - common ethnicity or mutual friendships. 
 
This is perhaps part of why ELCA and LCMS has so trouble talking with each other, much less forming common bonds.  Confessionalism is a part of our core identity.  Yes, we are not perfectly theologically united.  Anyone who pretends that the LCMS is a perfect church is delusional.  Yes, we may well be too proud of our attempts at doctrinal unity and do not live up to our self-image of what we would like to think we are.  Is that so strange?  Is the ELCA perfectly united in your mutual respect for bound consciences and mutual bearing of burdens?  I do not think that the LCMS has a corner on the market of hubris.
 
It seems from what you say that part of the core identity of the ELCA lies in the bonds you feel for each other that transcend theological differences - that allow you to be "family" even if you have quite different theological commitments.
 
Quote

This challenges the base assumption that we are just a happy family that will live through thick and thin and stick together in spite of our difference. We are not an organic whole. People can "check out," and do. They have done it before after all and all was well with them. Add to this this point: To some extent, memories of better places, Lutheran (ALC, LCA) and otherwise, make the idea of departing palatable even to Lutherans. 'The world will not end. It is just a corporate affiliation. We changed it once before. Why not now." And again the idea of this organic whole that the LIFT process held up is challenged. We are not this one happy family. A deep value and a grand dream, the a dream of a united Lutherandom on American shores, is being challenged.

Which brings me to the second point: People do not like it when their base assumptions are challenged and people do not like it when some reject the base assumption hard enough to walk away. Right now it is conservatives who are walking off so they are the ones that are raising the ire of those who want to think that we are just a one happy family. As conservatives walk off, their friends who chose to stay will be viewed with suspicion. That is what I think brings in the bias against conservatives you are trying to understand.

If an important part of your core identity is family that puts up with differing theology, part of our core identity is confessional unity.  It seems that you are family in spite of great theological differences, we are family because of our relative theological unity.  Your way of being church seems to many of us as alien as our way of being church must seem to many of you.
 
Essentially, it seems to me, that you consider your ties to each other as part of a church body are more important than the theological issues and that those who find the theological issues of great importance have betrayed the ELCA core identity and betrayed the family.
 
There is a basic incompatability here, which is why we have so much trouble talking to each other.  The LCMS admonishes the ELCA for what we see as departures from the core of Lutheran identity, and you hear it as an attack on your core identity of being Lutheran.  The ELCA admonishes the LCMS (less officially) to get over our obsession with some illusional ideal of confessional unity and come be family with them as they are with each other so that we can work and play together, and we hear it as an invitation to loose our identity and betray our commitment ultimately to God.  And neither can understand why the other is so upset.
 
I don't know what the answer is.  How do you talk about what is important if you disagree fundementally over what is important.  Yelling at each other to get over yourself does not seem to work.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 30, 2011, 11:24:58 AM

I know this is a touchy subject to raise: What keeps you <fill in alphabet sup combination of your choice>? But, does it not go to the heart of the issue in Eau Claire or many places in ELCA where churches and individuals have been leaving in the last two years and where bishops and others are trying to find reasons for people to stay? All while we are still in division I might add.

As one who, while on the Lutheran CORE steering committee. tried to help congregations find reasons to stay, all I can say is that the way of the cross is a hard sell.  Shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose, but somehow it was.
Those who try to balance loyalty to the institutional family and loyalty to confessional integrety have an especially hard row to hoe.  Yet if some did not try, where would be tug in the family for seeing theological issues of importance and to witness to those parts of the Christian witness.  Very hard.  Those who do have my admiration.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 30, 2011, 11:25:20 AM
Two things: Yes, it is post modern in a way but if you think about it, families do this all the time. My brothers and I are "diverse" in our political views. At the same time we get along quite well. What happens when one of us just cannot resist talking politics? Angry faces and swollen voices. What holds us together? Well, we are brothers. COuld it happen that we get in so deep a fight with one another that we would permanently take a vacation from one another? It is possible I would suppose - other families have done so. We know that some subjects will be divisive and we stray there only with much care.

I would think that we continue to work under the assumption that the ELCA is a very cohesive family with deep roots in this faith we call Lutheran and have cherished through the generations. It is an assumption that the generation that worked out the merger worked under and it is the assumption that allowed them to leave even important things unresolved in the trust that, since we will do it like we always have, we can afford to wait a spell before we make a definite decision. Being from three different ways of being church, I think that was a big mistake since the closeness we assumed was not as abundant as we dreamed.

 As I look at my own congregation and the congregation that surround me, it occurs to me  that generational adherence and deep roots in Lutheranism, ELCA, ALC, LCA, are in the minority. Many of my colleagues and I are in congregations that have dipped into the pool of unchurched, loose Catholics, Methodist, etc. Life time members, Lutheran or congregational, are a minority where I travel.

This challenges the base assumption that we are just a happy family that will live through thick and thin and stick together in spite of our difference. We are not an organic whole. People can "check out," and do. They have done it before after all and all was well with them. Add to this this point: To some extent, memories of better places, Lutheran (ALC, LCA) and otherwise, make the idea of departing palatable even to Lutherans. 'The world will not end. It is just a corporate affiliation. We changed it once before. Why not now." And again the idea of this organic whole that the LIFT process held up is challenged. We are not this one happy family. A deep value and a grand dream, the a dream of a united Lutherandom on American shores, is being challenged.

Which brings me to the second point: People do not like it when their base assumptions are challenged and people do not like it when some reject the base assumption hard enough to walk away. Right now it is conservatives who are walking off so they are the ones that are raising the ire of those who want to think that we are just a one happy family. As conservatives walk off, their friends who chose to stay will be viewed with suspicion. That is what I think brings in the bias against conservatives you are trying to understand.

The question is well asked: What holds any denomination together? Maybe you can answer it for the LCMS, Dan. But, don't come to me with "subscription to the confessions." That makes you Lutheran. What makes you LCMS to the point that you will never walk away? What glues any of us into our denominations, in the corporate entity sense of the word? "Because we got <fill in the blank> right?" That can change, can't it? "Because it is here where I found out about God and God's amazing Grace?" Thankfulness? That has limits and we all know it. Congregations go through turmoil when pastor Bludwizc leaves after 30 years of ministry because "He was the guy who first taught me about God's amazing Grace and maybe now it is time to go on." Subtitle: I was only sticking around to thank Pastor but now . . .

I know this is a touchy subject to raise: What keeps you <fill in alphabet sup combination of your choice>? But, does it not go to the heart of the issue in Eau Claire or many places in ELCA where churches and individuals have been leaving in the last two years and where bishops and others are trying to find reasons for people to stay? All while we are still in division I might add.

Once again, the problem with analogies and metaphors arises. Church's might be like families, but they aren't identical to familiar. Maybe a case could be made that congregations are like nuclear families while denominations are like extended families, but that wouldn't be a perfect comparison either. Though it would be more accurate for a member of a congregation in one particular denomination to view his fellow congregants as brothers, the members of nearby congregations as cousins, and the members of distant congregations in other synods as second, third, or fourth cousins or even in-laws. I can think of a few members of the greater ELCA "family" who are about as close to me as my ex-wife's brother's father-in-law.
 
Sure, when one has blood ties with one's brother, getting past differences of opinion over matters unrelated to the relationship is something to be expected. But churches are families in that sense. We don't share the same DNA. Membership in a congregation that has a denominational affiliation is a choice, not a legacy. At least, it should be a deliberate, conscious choice. That choice should be based on a call from God similar to the call to the ministry. One should recognize within that what a church teaches regarding the details about the relationship between oneself and God is true and accurate, or at least in conformance with what the Holy Spirit leads one to believe.
 
If all that matters is agreeing with the big picture, then there's little use for worrying about the subtle nuances of theology. If all that matters is what's contained in the three creeds, you might as well throw away all the copies of the Book of Concord because they aren't needed. And that would be ridiculous.
 
The reason for staying in a given congregation should be what is taught and preached there, and the relationships one has with the other members. That is a strong bond. Staying in a given denomination might matter to clergy, since their credentials are certified by the denomination they are affiliated with. But to an ordinary pewsitter, like me, denominational affiliation is little more than an extra logo on the bulletin, if that.
 
Take the controversy over this church, and this stupid lawsuit. As I repeatedly pointed out earlier, this argument over denominational affiliation and who owns the property involves only around 20% of the members. One out of every 10 wants to change affiliations, one out of every 10 wants to remain in the ELCA. But eight out of every 10 just plain don't care. That's because affiliation with a denomination isn't a "family" issue. It's a metaphor that helps explain a relationship to a point, but that just doesn't hold up to intense scrutiny. The most troubling thing I'm observing in looking at the memberships of congregations that change denominational affiliation is how many of them show a decline in Baptized members, but maintain the same average attendance. I suspect that just proves that CEO's don't think of themselves as "family".
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 11:26:38 AM
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.
Retired pastors are not a "sub-category," they are a different category. As a retired pastor, I have served full-time and part-time interims. I preach and preside regularly, take part in our local and synodical events and do what I am asked to do to help local pastor in their ministries. Nothing "sub" about that.

Charles,

I am happy to hear that you still perform pastoral duties as asked for by the bishop or contracted by a congregation. Unlike a pastor not retired, however, you remain on the roster even if you decide to build sand castles, write opinion pieces for the newspaper, or go on tour with the barbershop Quartet instead. An active roster pastor would be removed after three years (with one possible three year extension granted by synod council/ bishop/ CoB/Secretary ELCA) of inactivity, you remain indefinitely so long as you maintain membership in an ELCA congregation. Des Selben Gleichen: The pastor on leave from call also can still perform pastoral duties as asked for by the bishop or contracted by a congregation. Only in her case, in spite of such service, after three years without ordinary call she would still be subject to removal from the roster.

So the ontological change is actually delayed until retirement in ELCA constitutional ecclesiology.  ;D

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 30, 2011, 11:27:16 AM
Those who try to balance loyalty to the institutional family and loyalty to confessional integrety have an especially hard row to hoe.  Yet if some did not try, where would be tug in the family for seeing theological issues of importance and to witness to those parts of the Christian witness.  Very hard.  Those who do have my admiration.
 
Dan

That's because a denomination is not a family. Comparisons to families to attempt to prove a point about denominations will never truly work, because a denomination is not a family, it's not even really like a family.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on December 30, 2011, 11:42:20 AM
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 11:53:46 AM
Pr. Krause, what keeps a family together?  It is their family ties, their relatedness and their love for each other.  Politics are not a part of the core of what it means to be family.  A family can simply avoid talking about politics without harm to "family" because that is not part of what makes it family.  You have perhaps known people for whom politics is a core identity issue.  For them to not talk politics is to deny an essential part of their identity.  For them to not talk politics in family is very hard - they usually can't avoid it.  "Love me, love my politics."  In my own family we usually try to avoid talking theology.  I am LCMS, my father, one brother and sister are now WELS, and my other brother is ELCA.  We have a core faith that we can agree on, but theology and church politics is a minefield.  But theology is not what makes us family.
 
What makes church?  Can we be church while avoiding talking theology?  Is that not part of the core of what makes us church?  Unless the unity comes simply from having a common pension plan, or a common worship book - believe what you want so long as your worship service looks right - common ethnicity or mutual friendships. 
 
This is perhaps part of why ELCA and LCMS has so trouble talking with each other, much less forming common bonds.  Confessionalism is a part of our core identity.  Yes, we are not perfectly theologically united.  Anyone who pretends that the LCMS is a perfect church is delusional.  Yes, we may well be too proud of our attempts at doctrinal unity and do not live up to our self-image of what we would like to think we are.  Is that so strange?  Is the ELCA perfectly united in your mutual respect for bound consciences and mutual bearing of burdens?  I do not think that the LCMS has a corner on the market of hubris.
 
It seems from what you say that part of the core identity of the ELCA lies in the bonds you feel for each other that transcend theological differences - that allow you to be "family" even if you have quite different theological commitments.
 

Let me stop here for a moment.

I am not sure what the defined bond right now is. I would hope it is not just feelings. I also do not think that the bonds we share are all that profound. I am sure many are being voiced by bishops and important people alike. That does not make them the true bonds tough. It could be merely inertia or indifference, to be honest. There was a scenario response in the LIFT process written by a former Lutheran College President that took the entire process to task for not realizing that the church acted more like a college faculty than a family or an organic unit of some sort. We act, he said, like the many little professors and department office in a college. Each perfectly happy to act on its own to a large extent; each involved in the other to the extent chosen by the particular professor or department; a tacit agreement between them that as long as some things were done, like teaching classes, all was well. If one takes that metaphor for a spin (No, George! Not you, you keep crashing with them when you do that ;D ) maybe the answer to what connects us really is: They let me do what I want and don't bother me over much while I do, so I keep going. Not very catholic, but it works I guess and it explains the many variations that exist in the ELCA.

Quote

Quote

This challenges the base assumption that we are just a happy family that will live through thick and thin and stick together in spite of our difference. We are not an organic whole. People can "check out," and do. They have done it before after all and all was well with them. Add to this this point: To some extent, memories of better places, Lutheran (ALC, LCA) and otherwise, make the idea of departing palatable even to Lutherans. 'The world will not end. It is just a corporate affiliation. We changed it once before. Why not now." And again the idea of this organic whole that the LIFT process held up is challenged. We are not this one happy family. A deep value and a grand dream, the a dream of a united Lutherandom on American shores, is being challenged.

Which brings me to the second point: People do not like it when their base assumptions are challenged and people do not like it when some reject the base assumption hard enough to walk away. Right now it is conservatives who are walking off so they are the ones that are raising the ire of those who want to think that we are just a one happy family. As conservatives walk off, their friends who chose to stay will be viewed with suspicion. That is what I think brings in the bias against conservatives you are trying to understand.

If an important part of your core identity is family that puts up with differing theology, part of our core identity is confessional unity.  It seems that you are family in spite of great theological differences, we are family because of our relative theological unity.  Your way of being church seems to many of us as alien as our way of being church must seem to many of you.
 
Essentially, it seems to me, that you consider your ties to each other as part of a church body are more important than the theological issues and that those who find the theological issues of great importance have betrayed the ELCA core identity and betrayed the family.
 
There is a basic incompatability here, which is why we have so much trouble talking to each other.  The LCMS admonishes the ELCA for what we see as departures from the core of Lutheran identity, and you hear it as an attack on your core identity of being Lutheran.  The ELCA admonishes the LCMS (less officially) to get over our obsession with some illusional ideal of confessional unity and come be family with them as they are with each other so that we can work and play together, and we hear it as an invitation to loose our identity and betray our commitment ultimately to God.  And neither can understand why the other is so upset.
 
I don't know what the answer is.  How do you talk about what is important if you disagree fundementally over what is important.  Yelling at each other to get over yourself does not seem to work.
 
Dan

Thank you for the analysis of the LCMS ELCA relational problems. I have come to understand that I do not really understand the LCMS, as much as I cherish quite a few people in the LMCS as friends. FOr some reason, I have an easier time talking theology with many of you than I do with many of my own, but then, that is probably true for everyone who knows something about theology.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 11:56:19 AM
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou

Structurally correct, BTW. If you have no call, you are not allowed to perform any of the duties normally associated with the office and an ELCA pastor at your own volition. If one did questions of respect for the integrity of a ministry that one is not called to (s14:14) could well arise, so one is best advised to just act like a layperson.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 30, 2011, 12:50:11 PM
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou

I wonder if the day will ever dawn when words with multiple meanings, like "call", will ever be used completely unambiguously.
 
We refer to someone receiving a "call" to go to seminary and enter the ministry. Then, after graduation and ordination, he might get a "call" to serve as a parish pastor, or to serve in some other ministry vocation. So when the word "call" is used, does it mean the "call" to enter the ministry or does it only mean a "call" to being a parish pastor?
 
In the past, there were discussions about the fact that if an ELCA pastor can't find a congregation that will "call" him before an arbitrary deadline, then his "call" to be a pastor is questioned and he's "removed from the roster", even though he remains a called pastor in the eyes of God.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 30, 2011, 12:56:18 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 30, 2011, 01:37:11 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
For all your erudition, I do not think that you understand us.  Either that or you are so dismissive of us and what we find important that you consider our concerns unworthy of consideration or acknowledgement.  For all your praise of diversity, you seem totally unwilling to consider that there might be diversity in what some find important, and then to dismiss their concerns as not worthy of consideration.  I doubt that you mean it, and would deny saying so, but from my side your dismissiveness towards what many in the LCMS (and some in the ELCA) consider important even vital to our faith feels like contempt.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 30, 2011, 02:04:14 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
For all your erudition, I do not think that you understand us.  Either that or you are so dismissive of us and what we find important that you consider our concerns unworthy of consideration or acknowledgement.  For all your praise of diversity, you seem totally unwilling to consider that there might be diversity in what some find important, and then to dismiss their concerns as not worthy of consideration.  I doubt that you mean it, and would deny saying so, but from my side your dismissiveness towards what many in the LCMS (and some in the ELCA) consider important even vital to our faith feels like contempt.
 
Dan

It appears Stoffregen has missed even more than you observed. God's "family" is nothing like human families. For one thing, if praying to "Our Father" meant we were all literally brothers and sisters, then the human race would have perished a long time ago, because marriage would also be incest! Since that is absurd, it can only mean that thinking of each other as parts of a "family" is metaphor, and not literally the case. And, when metaphors are used to describe situations, they often aren't so exact that they can be used as proof of nuances of meaning.
 
I'll stand by my earlier assertion that if one regards a denomination as a "family", then many of the other people in other congregations affiliated with the same denomination are little more than extremely distant cousins or in-laws.
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on December 30, 2011, 02:28:41 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.



I have to agree.  The issue, imo, is not whether theological agreement or disagreement is the standard but simply Jesus' instructing us to pray "Our Father..." that Jesus views us as adopted children of God.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 02:35:12 PM
I have been on leave from call on three occasions. At no time, dealing with three different synods for supply preaching and interim ministries, did anyone ever suggest that I was anything but a full member of the ELCA clergy roster.
At no time did anyone suggest that I could not preach or preside. As a matter of fact, I was sought out to do so.
Someone will have to show me where anything says a pastor on leave from call is not allowed to perform pastoral duties.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 30, 2011, 02:38:58 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.



I have to agree.  The issue, imo, is not whether theological agreement or disagreement is the standard but simply Jesus' instructing us to pray "Our Father..." that Jesus views us as adopted children of God.

Where do you get "adopted"? And where do you see the relationship being literally "children"? And what does that imply about our relationships with other people? Is everyone brother and sister? Are there no parents, grand-parents, uncles and aunts, cousins, or any other sort of relatives? And if all of humanity is one single family, how does one explain considering congregations or denominations as families? If all of humanity is already one single family, how does moving between congregations and/or denominations have any implication of "family" being broken or breached?
 
Please note, I'm not suggesting losing the metaphor of "family". I'm only saying to acknowledge that it is a metaphor, and not something that can be extrapolated to "prove" relationships exist that really don't. It is one thing to accept that the relationship between human and God is like that of a child and a parent, as in "it is similar to". That doesn't mean it's identical. There will never come a time when as children, we're obliged to care for God in His old age, or bury him when He dies. That's part of a human parent/child relationship. It is not part of the God/human relationship. 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 02:41:42 PM
How can we pray "our Father" together unless we consider ourselves a family? Children of the same father. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Does anyone other than Mr. Erdner really want to remove this long-standing Christian imagery?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 02:48:03 PM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.

Most certainly! So why is so much fuzz being made about a congregation wanting to get her pastors from different church body or about them sending their support to somewhere else? Why bother them about these technicalities? They pray to the same father after . . .

 ;D
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 30, 2011, 04:43:19 PM
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 06:03:04 PM
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.

Charles,

The issue is not blurred at all. The family image is applicable to the church just fine. Even Bonnhoefer used the image in his famous writings on ecclesiology though he used "Traditional patriarchal family" as his sociological archetype for the Holy catholic and apostolic church. 

But, and we both know this, the issue at hand in Eau Claire is not whether the Fatherhood of God is respected or whether Grace Eau Claire prays to God the Father. The issue at hand is whether they are in compliance with the ELCA, the Northwest Wisconsin Synod, the Grace Lutheran Church constitutions and the non profit laws of the state of Wisconsin. The lovely flight into the "we are all family because we pray to God the Father line was not my diversion, by the way. I find  humor in Brian deploying it, don't you? That is why I chose to include a  ;D with my reply. I hope you did not defeat those and missed out on the intent of my post.

But, While we are at it: Those who would use seventh article reductionism need to explain at some time why they have a constitution in their congregation and how it is the Gospel, since, if it is not, it would be an add on to the church that the seventh article forbids. Let us face it, we have a very earth bound structure that we use to organize ourselves by, in our case that would be the ELCA constitutional system. Beyond us are are others that likewise share the prayer to the Father but have other constitutional and corporate realities. They and we have reasons to remain under the tutelage of those constitutions or to doubt and bemoan our presence under their strictures. What holds us together as ELCA, note what I say here: As ELCA, is not praying to God the Father.

Before anyone howls: Grace seems to not have be sued or been put under the bishop's angry eye for not praying the Lord's Prayer correctly. They are in trouble with the ELCA and the synod for not following the very earthly legal structure that makes up the ELCA. They for some reason no longer see a reason to be ELCA and want out. Let us also ask the question: What keeps you ELCA? I asked that about a page ago. with cautions and disclaimers and I invite you look them up if you chose. Erma attempted a short reply there as did George who thought that the letters on the door are irrelevant to most people. Then we got off on retired pastors and esoteric other stuff.

So: Why be ELCA or LCMS or NALC? insert letters at your own speed. But what make for a corporate denomination that you want to be or remain part of?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 30, 2011, 06:14:11 PM
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.
That's churlish of you Charles.  It is clear from a cursory reading of the posts today that the language of family that Pastor Kruse was using had to do with the temporal entity called "the ELCA and its predecessor church bodies".  Our friend Pastor Stoffregen made a tangential point about the Church as a spiritual reality.  You then took advantage of that tangent to further obfuscate. Heal thyself.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 30, 2011, 06:29:35 PM
The last page brings to mind the theological double speak that frustrates many of us who remain in the ELCA:

A.  We are told that anyone who leaves the ELCA over issues of sexuality is denying the unity we have in Christ.  Here both the images of the Body of Christ and the Family of God are employed.

B.  ELCA leaders then demand strict adherence to the interpretations of the current Secretary of the ELCA as the measure of good standing in the ELCA.  These make dual association with other members of the Family of God cause for discipline.

A.  To support the Family Imagery employed by those who argue for unity, we are told that, since we all pray the Our Father, we ought to be able to live as family.

B.  Prominent congregations within the ELCA refuse to pray the Our Father with impunity.

A.  Those who leave the ELCA are called schismatic.

B.  Those who refuse to pray the Our Father are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.

In summary:

In spite of criticizing those who consider matters pertaining to the Left Hand Realm to be church dividing, the ELCA consistently disciplines rostered leaders and pastors for failure to abide by its policies, which pertain to the Left Hand Realm.*  It consistently refuses to discipline rostered leaders and congregations over matters pertaining to the Right Hand Realm. 

*I am not claiming that the ELCA is wrong in doing this, but only that its actions contradict its condemnation of others for allowing temporal matters to be church dividing.  In other words, its hypocritcal to condemn those who left the ELCA over temporal matters, while it disciplines others over temporal matters.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 30, 2011, 06:33:07 PM
I have been on leave from call on three occasions. At no time, dealing with three different synods for supply preaching and interim ministries, did anyone ever suggest that I was anything but a full member of the ELCA clergy roster.
At no time did anyone suggest that I could not preach or preside. As a matter of fact, I was sought out to do so.
Someone will have to show me where anything says a pastor on leave from call is not allowed to perform pastoral duties.

Charles,

You are certainly allowed to perform pastoral duties while on leave from call. But, you have to be specifically invited to perform them by a proper authority, be that a congregational council, bishop, or a fellow pastor according to S14.14.

And you are a full member of the clergy roster while on leave though the constitution does stipulate that your vote at synod is dependent on you being under call according to S7.21a. So, on leave from call pastors are not allowed to vote according to the latest ELCA model constitution for Synods unless your synod made use of S7.22 to give them vote. That also applies to retired pastors for whom the synod must make intentional provision. In many synods that means a waiting list is formed to make sure the 60 - 40 lay - clergy or 50 - 50 male - female ratios are not violated by the presence of too many retired or on leave pastors.

Now see what I did:

I used a document called the constitution written as an earthly document by mere humans who wrote governing documents. It describes ELCA. Praying to God the Father is part of it in its opening articles but it does not exhaust the scope of the constitution. And also note that without it, the matter of your call or your standing as a minister of word and sacrament, or the existence of that office would be undefined. There is something transcendent but also something very earthly about ELCA.

In the case at hand the earthly is the issue. Just so that we can get back to Eau Claire: What would you, Charles, say to the pastors and council of Grace Lutheran Eau Claire, to convince them that they should stay ELCA?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mel Harris on December 30, 2011, 11:59:03 PM

Someone will have to show me where anything says a pastor on leave from call is not allowed to perform pastoral duties.


Since others have pointed to a required provision in ELCA synod constitutions, this someone will point to the Augsburg Confession.

Quote

Article XIV
Of Ecclesiastical Order


Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.


Mel Harris
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 31, 2011, 12:27:26 AM

Someone will have to show me where anything says a pastor on leave from call is not allowed to perform pastoral duties.


Since others have pointed to a required provision in ELCA synod constitutions, this someone will point to the Augsburg Confession.

Quote

Article XIV
Of Ecclesiastical Order


Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.


Mel Harris

Mel, that is confusing. It was my understanding that a pastor is ordained by a denomination, but he is ordained into the ministry of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Other denominations can (and do) make up their own rules about whether or not he can be called to one of their congregations, but if a pastor wants to transfer his affiliation between two Lutheran denominations, the one he's moving will examine him and accept or reject him, but they won't re-ordain him.
 
So, which call is the "regular" call, the call that comes from God and starts the process towards ordination, that only happens once, or the call that comes through the call committee of a congregation to come and be the parish pastor of a congregation, a call which might be repeated several times during a pastor's vocational career? And what about if a pastor is "called" to serve as a hospital chaplain, or an instructor at a seminary, or an administrator of a church organization? Are those calls real calls? Does a pastor who takes such a call remain a pastor? Can such a pastor accept pulpit supply calls? 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 31, 2011, 08:48:12 AM
This is a question about which Lutherans disagree.  As I understand the LCMS argument, this statement means that there can be no such thing as an interim pastor, because such is not a regular call.  I can't speak for WELS or ELS, but they might have the same understanding.  Many of us, however, believe an interim call is well within the leeway allowed to a congregation, ie. they can call someone for a period.  Personally, I think this can be read and treated both ways and therefore we ought not fight about it.  The question of chaplaincy is easily solved by simply having a congregation call a chaplain and then charge him with that task.  He is properly called and properly tasked.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 31, 2011, 09:46:58 AM
There is the "call" which is spiritual and to some extent personal. There is the "call" that is endorsed by the church leading to ordination. There is the "call" that is the agreement to serve in a particular ministry. This third "call" is mediated and supervised by one of those pesky human things we call a church or a denomination or a synod. And it is dependent upon some more pesky human things such as constitutions and regulations and protocols.
In ELCA, being rostered, means you can preach and preside. How and when you do that is mediated elswhere.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 11:14:20 AM
There is the "call" which is spiritual and to some extent personal. There is the "call" that is endorsed by the church leading to ordination. There is the "call" that is the agreement to serve in a particular ministry. This third "call" is mediated and supervised by one of those pesky human things we call a church or a denomination or a synod. And it is dependent upon some more pesky human things such as constitutions and regulations and protocols.
In ELCA, being rostered, means you can preach and preside. How and when you do that is mediated elswhere.

Then we can conclude, can't we, that unity in the ELCA requires agreement on more than "the Gospel" however that is defined.  Agreement on Left Hand matters is also necessary.  Unity in the Family of God may not be sufficient to maintain one's place on the roster of the ELCA.  That's not news to most of who were ordained in the ELCA (or in other church bodies I assume). 

The thing is, I am not aware of any on the traditionalist side who argued that it wasn't the case.  As I recall, it was the Presiding Bishop and others who in the aftermath of CWA 2009 chided traditionalists for allowing matters of the Left Hand Realm to divide the ELCA.  It is primarily the pro-HSGT partisans who insist that things like policy and guidlines for rostered leaders ought not be considered a big deal.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 31, 2011, 11:24:52 AM
This is a question about which Lutherans disagree.  As I understand the LCMS argument, this statement means that there can be no such thing as an interim pastor, because such is not a regular call.  I can't speak for WELS or ELS, but they might have the same understanding.  Many of us, however, believe an interim call is well within the leeway allowed to a congregation, ie. they can call someone for a period.  Personally, I think this can be read and treated both ways and therefore we ought not fight about it.  The question of chaplaincy is easily solved by simply having a congregation call a chaplain and then charge him with that task.  He is properly called and properly tasked.

If that's the case, how does an LCMS congregation handle pulpit supply when their one and only called pastor is on vacation? Are not retired pastors still "regularly called" enough to handle pulpit supply for one Sunday?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 11:29:39 AM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
For all your erudition, I do not think that you understand us.  Either that or you are so dismissive of us and what we find important that you consider our concerns unworthy of consideration or acknowledgement.  For all your praise of diversity, you seem totally unwilling to consider that there might be diversity in what some find important, and then to dismiss their concerns as not worthy of consideration.  I doubt that you mean it, and would deny saying so, but from my side your dismissiveness towards what many in the LCMS (and some in the ELCA) consider important even vital to our faith feels like contempt.


Who is the "us" that you claim I do not understand? Remember, I attended an LCMS college. My wife grew up LCMS. Albeit, my exposure to the LCMS was in the State of Oregon, where they often said, "We're a long ways from St. Louis." I, as an ALCer, was attending the college at a time where there was fellowship between our two church bodies.


I wonder, what is more important to you than together calling God, "Our Father"? My brothers and I don't agree on everything, but we do agree that Paul Stoffregen is our father. We agree, in spite of our differences, that we are brothers, children of the same father -- and it pleases him greatly when we get along with each other (which we do).


I don't see in scriptures any third category of partially members of the family -- there are people for whom God is their father, which makes them all brothers and sisters to each other -- members of the same "family" and there are people for whom God is not their father, who are not members of that family.


Or, to use a biblical image, people re either connected to the Vine or not.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 11:34:30 AM
It appears Stoffregen has missed even more than you observed. God's "family" is nothing like human families. For one thing, if praying to "Our Father" meant we were all literally brothers and sisters, then the human race would have perished a long time ago, because marriage would also be incest! Since that is absurd, it can only mean that thinking of each other as parts of a "family" is metaphor, and not literally the case. And, when metaphors are used to describe situations, they often aren't so exact that they can be used as proof of nuances of meaning.


Apparently you don't believe that there was a literal Adam and Eve whose children had to engage in incest for there to be a third generation. Does this mean you joined the critical, liberal side in biblical interpretation?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 11:42:28 AM
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father …." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.

Most certainly! So why is so much fuzz being made about a congregation wanting to get her pastors from different church body or about them sending their support to somewhere else? Why bother them about these technicalities? They pray to the same father after . . .

 ;D


Because just as each of my brothers has enter into a covenant relationship with their wives and children, so also denominational congregations have entered into a covenant relationship with the denomination -- and congregational members have entered into a covenant relationship with their congregation.


Even though we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have a special love and relationship and concern for our own spouses and children. They are not and should not be treated like any ol' neighbor; but the second most significant persons in our lives (after God whom we are to fear, love and trust above anything else). Congregations are to have a similar special relationship with their denomination. Members are to have a similar special relationship with the congregation they have joined.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 11:57:10 AM
The last page brings to mind the theological double speak that frustrates many of us who remain in the ELCA:

A.  We are told that anyone who leaves the ELCA over issues of sexuality is denying the unity we have in Christ.  Here both the images of the Body of Christ and the Family of God are employed.


I have not heard that argument used at all. Whether or not a congregation or individuals leave the ELCA, we are still united in Christ. We don't always act like it.

Quote
B.  ELCA leaders then demand strict adherence to the interpretations of the current Secretary of the ELCA as the measure of good standing in the ELCA.  These make dual association with other members of the Family of God cause for discipline.


Members and congregations have a covenant relationship with their denomination -- and the closest analogy that we have to a covenant relationships is marriage. Once in that relationship, we agree to follow certain rules and behaviors. Throughout scriptures, turning to another God is called adultery -- being unfaithful to the marriage vows. God's covenant with us is summarized with: "I will be your God and you will be my people." In marriage: "I will be your husband/wife and you will be my wife/husband." And, "We will be your congregation and you will be our denomination." While there are means to get out of the marriage and denominational relationship; but once in them, the proper steps have to be taken to get out.


Quote
A.  Those who leave the ELCA are called schismatic.


It depends on their rhetoric and actions after leaving. If they continue to encourage congregations to leave and bad-mouthing the ELCA, that is being schismatic -- working at tearing apart their former denomination. If they believe that leaving was the best choice for themselves, that is not seeking to tear apart the ELCA.

Quote
B.  Those who refuse to pray the Our Father are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.


Not necessarily. Those who pray "Our Father" should be considered members in good standing of the family of God and should be treated as a brother or sister in Christ, regardless of who they have married or which denomination they have entered a relationship with.


As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 12:08:57 PM
This is a question about which Lutherans disagree.  As I understand the LCMS argument, this statement means that there can be no such thing as an interim pastor, because such is not a regular call.  I can't speak for WELS or ELS, but they might have the same understanding.  Many of us, however, believe an interim call is well within the leeway allowed to a congregation, ie. they can call someone for a period.  Personally, I think this can be read and treated both ways and therefore we ought not fight about it.  The question of chaplaincy is easily solved by simply having a congregation call a chaplain and then charge him with that task.  He is properly called and properly tasked.


In many of our synods, the synod council extends a Letter of Call to interim ministers. They are under call to the Synod to serve as interim ministers where needed. There are also some specialized ministries to which the Synod council extends calls, e.g., a campus ministry when there is not an organized congregation that can extend a call.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 12:15:27 PM
The thing is, I am not aware of any on the traditionalist side who argued that it wasn't the case.  As I recall, it was the Presiding Bishop and others who in the aftermath of CWA 2009 chided traditionalists for allowing matters of the Left Hand Realm to divide the ELCA.  It is primarily the pro-HSGT partisans who insist that things like policy and guidlines for rostered leaders ought not be considered a big deal.


Only one sentence in V&E that was consider both unjust and a non sequitur within the paragraph. And, in some ways, they considered the details of our policies and guidelines an even bigger deal than the "traditionalists," because the language of disciplinary actions repeated uses the word "may". According to the details of our documents, no bishop was required to seek the removal of pastors from the roster because they had failed to meet an expectation in V&E.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 12:29:06 PM
The last page brings to mind the theological double speak that frustrates many of us who remain in the ELCA:

A.  We are told that anyone who leaves the ELCA over issues of sexuality is denying the unity we have in Christ.  Here both the images of the Body of Christ and the Family of God are employed.


I have not heard that argument used at all. Whether or not a congregation or individuals leave the ELCA, we are still united in Christ. We don't always act like it.

Then you weren't paying attention.  It was used over and over again.

Quote
Quote
B.  ELCA leaders then demand strict adherence to the interpretations of the current Secretary of the ELCA as the measure of good standing in the ELCA.  These make dual association with other members of the Family of God cause for discipline.


Members and congregations have a covenant relationship with their denomination -- and the closest analogy that we have to a covenant relationships is marriage. Once in that relationship, we agree to follow certain rules and behaviors. Throughout scriptures, turning to another God is called adultery -- being unfaithful to the marriage vows. God's covenant with us is summarized with: "I will be your God and you will be my people." In marriage: "I will be your husband/wife and you will be my wife/husband." And, "We will be your congregation and you will be our denomination." While there are means to get out of the marriage and denominational relationship; but once in them, the proper steps have to be taken to get out.

Since you chose the analogy of marriage, I use it as well.  The relationship between traditionalists and the ELCA is like that between a woman and her philandering husband.  For 20 years he plays fast and loose with his marriage vows.  When the wife finally decides to leave, he lectures her about marital faithfulness.  For 20 years the ELCA played fast and lose with the marriage vows (constitutions and policies) it had made with its members.  When those members and congregations finally decided to leave, they were lectured on marital faithfulness (just as you have done above).

Quote
Quote
A.  Those who leave the ELCA are called schismatic.

It depends on their rhetoric and actions after leaving. If they continue to encourage congregations to leave and bad-mouthing the ELCA, that is being schismatic -- working at tearing apart their former denomination. If they believe that leaving was the best choice for themselves, that is not seeking to tear apart the ELCA.

Many were called schismatic for the simple act of leaving. 

Quote
Quote
B.  Those who refuse to pray the Our Father are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.


Not necessarily. Those who pray "Our Father" should be considered members in good standing of the family of God and should be treated as a brother or sister in Christ, regardless of who they have married or which denomination they have entered a relationship with.

Try reading it again Brian.  I'm talking about those who refuse to pray the Our Father.  Many who refuse to pray the Our Father are considered members in good standing. 

Quote
As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

No one that I'm aware of, except those trying to get people and congregations to stay in the ELCA, have argued that having a common Father is sufficient for congregational or denominational unity.  In fact, you were the one who sought to confuse a discussion of the "family ties" within the ELCA with a discussion of the Church as the Family of God. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 12:31:13 PM
The thing is, I am not aware of any on the traditionalist side who argued that it wasn't the case.  As I recall, it was the Presiding Bishop and others who in the aftermath of CWA 2009 chided traditionalists for allowing matters of the Left Hand Realm to divide the ELCA.  It is primarily the pro-HSGT partisans who insist that things like policy and guidlines for rostered leaders ought not be considered a big deal.


Only one sentence in V&E that was consider both unjust and a non sequitur within the paragraph. And, in some ways, they considered the details of our policies and guidelines an even bigger deal than the "traditionalists," because the language of disciplinary actions repeated uses the word "may". According to the details of our documents, no bishop was required to seek the removal of pastors from the roster because they had failed to meet an expectation in V&E.

I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 12:47:53 PM
As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

Brian,

It is clear that the ELCA does not consider having a common Father a sufficient basis for unity.  It does not even consider having a common Father a necessary basis for unity.  Many who refuse to use the prayer Our Lord taught us to pray are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.  And yet, I'm sure that if I refused to pray with those who will not pray the Our Father, but pray to another god, I would be called the schismatic.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 31, 2011, 01:03:34 PM
As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

Brian,

It is clear that the ELCA does not consider having a common Father a sufficient basis for unity.  It does not even consider having a common Father a necessary basis for unity.  Many who refuse to use the prayer Our Lord taught us to pray are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.  And yet, I'm sure that if I refused to pray with those who will not pray the Our Father, but pray to another god, I would be called the schismatic.

I'm a little confused. I've read this a few times in this thread. Who are the "many" who refuse to pray the Lord's Prayer? I've never heard of that before, except possibly for the apostates and heretics at "herchurch" that the ELCA embraces with open arms.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 31, 2011, 01:26:36 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 01:50:17 PM
I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.


I don't see the ELCA has having any affairs. They haven't turned to other gods (although some claim that about one congregation in San Francisco, but they aren't using ELCA materials).


A husband must be faithful the vows and the rules of marriage, he must remain faithful to his wife. Within those rules there are many "may" clauses, he may be the one who takes out the garbage, changes the oil in the cars, mows the grass, has an every Friday night date night with his wife, etc.


There are rules within the ELCA that congregations and clergy and bishops must follow, e.g., 2/3 majority vote of those present to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. If those rules are not followed precisely, the bishop declares that the congregation remains part of the ELCA. (I've heard of cases where bishops have helped congregations to properly follow these rules so that there are no misunderstandings about what must be done to leave the ELCA.)


There are also many "may" rules -- especially in terms of disciplining congregations and clergy. Congregations are not to call non-rostered pastors without permission of the bishop. When they do act contrary to this rule, the bishop may call for the removal of the congregation, which only requires a vote of the synod council -- not the whole disciplinary hearing process (see 9.23.). In nearly every case, bishops opted not to discipline congregations who had called ECP ordained clergy who were not on the ELCA roster. Prior to 2009, there were very few rostered homosexual clergy in committed relationships. Most of those in the news, e.g., Jeff Johnson and Anita Hill, were not on the ELCA clergy roster prior to 2009. They were not subject to disciplinary actions by a synod bishop.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 31, 2011, 02:09:47 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 31, 2011, 02:22:01 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on December 31, 2011, 02:35:01 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.

Oh dear . . . . !  :o


(Maybe you could take steps to make sure no one mistakes your attribution of the quote for a signature?)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on December 31, 2011, 03:42:08 PM
To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order.

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.

Oh dear . . . . !  :o


(Maybe you could take steps to make sure no one mistakes your attribution of the quote for a signature?)

Done!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 31, 2011, 04:04:41 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."


I still think the marriage analogy works. A man wants to marry another woman, but he can't until he's been legally divorced from his wife. The congregation wants to affiliate with another denomination. They can't until they have legally separated from their present denomination -- something they did not do. As pastors, when we hear that a marriage is falling apart, we counsel or refer the couple to counseling to try and preserve the marriage.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 31, 2011, 04:24:41 PM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 07:17:16 PM
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

Who is we?  I certainly don't confuse the two.  I allege that in their attempts to justify the 2009 policy changes and talk people into staying in the ELCA, that our leaders did that.  I criticize ELCA spokespersons for making a claim that they know doesn't stand up.  They made the claim that unity in faith is sufficient for denominational unity.  They criticized those leaving for allowing matters of the left hand realm to divide the ELCA.  They should have been able to make the distinction that you make above, but failed to do so.  Were they careless or disingenuous?  I don't know.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 07:31:06 PM
I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.


I don't see the ELCA has having any affairs. They haven't turned to other gods (although some claim that about one congregation in San Francisco, but they aren't using ELCA materials).


A husband must be faithful the vows and the rules of marriage, he must remain faithful to his wife. Within those rules there are many "may" clauses, he may be the one who takes out the garbage, changes the oil in the cars, mows the grass, has an every Friday night date night with his wife, etc.


There are rules within the ELCA that congregations and clergy and bishops must follow, e.g., 2/3 majority vote of those present to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. If those rules are not followed precisely, the bishop declares that the congregation remains part of the ELCA. (I've heard of cases where bishops have helped congregations to properly follow these rules so that there are no misunderstandings about what must be done to leave the ELCA.)


There are also many "may" rules -- especially in terms of disciplining congregations and clergy. Congregations are not to call non-rostered pastors without permission of the bishop. When they do act contrary to this rule, the bishop may call for the removal of the congregation, which only requires a vote of the synod council -- not the whole disciplinary hearing process (see 9.23.). In nearly every case, bishops opted not to discipline congregations who had called ECP ordained clergy who were not on the ELCA roster. Prior to 2009, there were very few rostered homosexual clergy in committed relationships. Most of those in the news, e.g., Jeff Johnson and Anita Hill, were not on the ELCA clergy roster prior to 2009. They were not subject to disciplinary actions by a synod bishop.

It sounds like more of the self-justification and blame shifting of the philanderer.  I have dealt with many husbands who felt they never really violated their marriage vows.  Sure, they violated the spirit of their vows, but not the letter.  Not really. 

If a husband had the attitude that you have, I would advise his estranged wife not to reconcile with him.  He thinks he did nothing wrong, and will do the same as soon as she returns to him.

Likewise, although I am staying in the ELCA, I have no illusions that all of its leaders will abide by the spirit of HSGT.  They might refrain from violating the letter, but like you, many feel free to violate the spirit of those policies, as long as there are "mays" that give them wiggle room.  If a bishop decides that "traditonalists" will not serve in his/her synod, they will do so with impunity.  If a bishop wants to pressure a congregation into calling a pastor in a same gender relationship, he/she will go right ahead.  Hopefully the next generation of ELCA bishops will have a different attitude toward their duties than some did prior to 2009. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 31, 2011, 07:34:42 PM
that all those who disagree with the ELCA are beleaguered, falsely persecuted and unjustly ignored by bishops. (When the real reason may be that they are whining and complaining people who poison the atmosphere of a congregation and or a synod and use their ideology as a cover for incompetence.)

Gone three days and I see more sputum from the resident mouthpiece again.  So when you were falsely persecuted and ignored by your Bishop, was it also that the real reason was your incessant whining and complaining and poisoning the atmosphere of your congregation and synod and using your liberal ideology as a cover for your incompetence?   >:(
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on December 31, 2011, 07:41:31 PM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

Fortunatley, I don't need to look to you for reasons to stay in the ELCA.  Most of the ELCA pastors I deal with have moved beyond the lame tropes that characterized the attempt to hold things together in 2009-2010.  I argue with you and Brian because you insist on recycling them. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 01, 2012, 10:32:08 AM
Pastor Cottingham writes:
So when you were falsely persecuted and ignored by your Bishop, was it also that the real reason was your incessant whining and complaining and poisoning the atmosphere of your congregation and synod and using your liberal ideology as a cover for your incompetence?
 
I comment:
I never said I was "falsely persecuted and ignored" by my bishop. I said I was told by more than one bishop that because of my views, I would probably not get a call in their synods. And I might have - at times - taken on the role of the young know-it-all firebrand out to reform the church and save the world, purifying and reforming both according to what I knew without a doubt was God's intention.
I went on to a varied career inside and outside of the church. It may even be that the Holy Spirit was at work in those bishops who didn't want me around way back there in the early 1970s.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: amos on January 01, 2012, 02:23:03 PM
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.   
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on January 01, 2012, 03:02:41 PM
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on January 01, 2012, 04:16:15 PM
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.

Thank you George, well stated!  Happy New Year!

Peace,

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: amos on January 01, 2012, 06:37:27 PM
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 01, 2012, 06:48:57 PM
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.


Jesus is clear that the most important command he has taught us is love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (He goes even further in Matthew 5 and commands us to love our neighbors.)


Also, with Jesus "right" and "wrong" get a bit muddled. Was it the right thing to put Jesus death? By most standards of justice the answer is "No". He had done nothing that deserved the penalty of death. It was a lynching. Yet, he predicted it would happen. He could have stopped it from happening. Wouldn't that have been the right thing to do -- to stop an unjust act? But he doesn't. If Jesus had not been crucified, we would have nothing to preach. There would not be the resurrection.


Divergent views do not always become right and wrong. Sometimes they are just different views. Sometimes one approach works with some people; but another approach is necessary for another group of people. Is there one right way of teaching math or English to students? I believe that the most effective teachers will use a variety of ways of teaching to try and reach all of the students.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on January 01, 2012, 08:23:37 PM
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!

When discussing something people are passionate about, the discussions can get passionate. If you want bland, vanilla, polite chit-chat, that can be found in fora where people discuss stamp collecting. The thing is, the line between "slamming" another denomination and disagreeing with a core principle that defines that denomination and makes it what it is is very, very fine.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 02, 2012, 09:26:46 AM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

Charles,

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation. DCharlton recalls in very recent pages what the characterization from our side, ELCA, has been of those who have departed: "Schismatic, unreasonable, benighted, etc."  Many anecdotes exist. They tell stories of ELCA officials, prominent members or vocal groups in clutches of clergy saying in effect: "Good riddance! They were defective anyhow." Stories from Iowa tell of long standing friendships with synodical leadership suddenly turning into consultation addresses that clearly state that the pastor has been disloyal, disingenuous, dishonest, intellectually deficient, is intentionally misleading the congregation, and that the representative is now here to educate the congregation properly. The lines that then follow are reported to be the "this is not church dividing," or "you will not have to call," or "the bible was really not at issue," bromides. Our pages attest to ire with bishops who did take this tack in consultation.  One the other side, I have seen my own bishop attacked in public for not putting up the nastiest fight possible to make congregations stay ELCA.

These are all anecdotes and need to be collected and assembled at some point. I am really hoping that will also bring to light positive, lucid arguments that are being recalled by those who heard them. My sense is that the reasons that do in the end allow an individual or a congregation to stay are intangible and attest to the complex tapestry of thought that individuals and sometimes congregations are certainly capable of, so it might be a difficult project. Yet, at the same time, we have recently expanded the consultation time that will be needed to depart the ELCA and we made changes in the methodology employed in the process. I am certain that the idea that it will keep more congregations ELCA is misguided if the argument made during those consultations is not considerably better than ad hominem attack against leadership or questions concerning the congregation's common sense. Such counter attacks merely drive the listeners deeper into their position. Creating a good rationale to remain is therefore not a bad next step after changing the methods of departure.

ANd should that rationale not be similar to how we attracted people to the ECLA in the first place? Yes, we attract them one at a time, I know, but should those arguments not be expandable? It has no doubt been noticed by everyone here that the ELCA has not exactly grown recently. To put it in different words: we weren't growing with the departed congregations in our fold, what gives us reason to think we will now grow without them? (NALC and LCMC can ask that question in modified form.) So I would think that being able to make a solid argument for staying ELCA is actually an investment in the future.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 02, 2012, 11:06:47 AM
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!

When discussing something people are passionate about, the discussions can get passionate. If you want bland, vanilla, polite chit-chat, that can be found in fora where people discuss stamp collecting. The thing is, the line between "slamming" another denomination and disagreeing with a core principle that defines that denomination and makes it what it is is very, very fine.


I don't believe anyone's been disagreeing with the core principles of the denominations. No one has opposed the Bible being the Word of God. There are differences about whether that means it has to be inerrant or just inspired. No one has called for throwing out the Book of Concord or the Creeds or the Trinity or Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.


Those are the core principles that define our denominations, whether ELCA, LCMS, LCMC, NALC, TAALC.


The ELCA ordains qualified women and homosexuals in committed relationships which is different than some other denominations; but those are not core principles that define the ELCA. I don't believe I've ever preached a sermon about who can or who can't be ordained. I have preached many sermons about the Trinity and Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and the Bible as the inspired Word of God. We read from scriptures and recite one of the creeds every week. I have quoted from the Book of Concord in sermons. My preaching and teaching does not revolve around who can be ordained.


When critiques disagree with some of this issues that are peripheral to our core beliefs and treat them as the defining principles of the denomination -- that is probably slamming the denomination. It's true whether it's LCMS attacking the ELCA for ordaining women, or the ELCA attacking the LCMS because they do not ordain women. Neither practice is stated in our core confessions of faith.



Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2012, 11:12:38 AM
I still contend that if one looks at NALC and LCMC, they will "see" the ELCA, except for a couple of things, primarily the refusal to ordain non-celibate homosexuals.
Those denominations, I believe, represent a particular part of the ELCA and do not depart from the core of the ELCA.
There are those who will say that by the decisions of 2009, the ELCA "abandoned the Bible" or leaped off the ship of state that is orthodox Christianity. I still contend that this view erroneously defines Christendom and Lutheranism by a particular interpretation of scripture or a particular sexual ethic.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 02, 2012, 11:15:45 AM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on January 02, 2012, 11:25:41 AM
I still contend that this view erroneously defines Christendom and Lutheranism by a particular interpretation of scripture or a particular sexual ethic.

Or, in some cases, a different understanding of justification.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on January 02, 2012, 11:53:48 AM
The LCMC's website listing of all of their congregations now includes the date when they joined the LCMC. I've bounced that against my database and found 72 ELCA congregations that were welcomed into the LCMC before they left the ELCA. Some joined after a first vote but before their second. But many of them were months or even years before they left. There were 30 congregations that left the ELCA after the 2009 CWA that had joined the LCMC before the CWA, ten of them prior to 2005!
 
It also occurs to me that when organizations divide, they are embarking on a diverging path. It is only natural that they should appear very similar at first, with further changes happening over time. I doubt if the very first Lutheran congregations in Germany were as different from Roman Catholic congregations in the first few years of the Reformation as they became in the fullness of time. If anyone is too short-sighted to recognize the different directions that the LCMC and NALC are taking, and to extrapolate where they are likely to end up in a few generations, I suggest they make a more diligent attempt at research and contemplation.
 
The way that the leadership of the NALC and LCMC look at scripture appears very different from the way that the ELCA looks at it. The ELCA's leadership seems to attempt to determine what outcome they want, then they comb through scripture to find some way to interpret it to match that outcome. That's explains their obsession with "relationships". By recasting the issue from one of activities to one of emotions and feelings, they are able to twist the interpretation of scripture to support the outcome they wanted.
 
At this point in history, there is one particular issue where that sort of fuzzy logic has become a point of contention. Who knows what future issues might next be distorted by that particular lens? Might the commandment "Thou Shall Not Steal" be interpreted to mean that it is only stealing if one takes the property of another that the other deserves to have? Might we not see an interpretation that those who hoard more than their "fair share" are not the true owners of the property they claim as theirs, and so it is not stealing to take it from them? Might we not see an interpretation that since all observation is subjective, and no one can be sure of what they see, all witness regarding anyone else is "false", and therefore no one may any witness against anyone?
 
Who knows? This is speculation on the future. The examples I used are only illustrations. The point is not whether those particular illustrations are likely to come to pass. The point is that once one accepts the practice of "creative interpretation" to achieve a desired outcome, then that practice can be adapted to achieving other outcomes.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 02, 2012, 12:20:48 PM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.

As I said: there will be anecdotes on both sides.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on January 02, 2012, 12:32:49 PM
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.

Really, Brian, and may I ask where is the New Life that Jesus has asked for when a person becomes a new person in Christ?

To me its more about acceptance then anything else, and nothing more.  Your promise of full savation while living in the same _NONE SIN _ isn't what Luther believe in is it? Or for that matter the Teaching of Christ?

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 02, 2012, 01:04:30 PM
I still contend that if one looks at NALC and LCMC, they will "see" the ELCA, except for a couple of things, primarily the refusal to ordain non-celibate homosexuals.
Those denominations, I believe, represent a particular part of the ELCA and do not depart from the core of the ELCA.
There are those who will say that by the decisions of 2009, the ELCA "abandoned the Bible" or leaped off the ship of state that is orthodox Christianity. I still contend that this view erroneously defines Christendom and Lutheranism by a particular interpretation of scripture or a particular sexual ethic.

With Lou I would say that two different understanding of justification could be at work as well and ALPB's pages here online do suggest that the ELCA has had that division/ diversity and continues to have it.

On a larger scale: Your post says that the new denominations are basically just like the ELCA with a largely unimportant, maybe even petty and negative, difference and that the ELCA is still as orthodox Lutheran as any other and that any disagreement is based on a misunderstanding by those departed on the place of scripture in Lutheranism or Christendom. If that is not what you meant, my apologies, but that is what I find. What troubles me here is that to someone in the process of withdrawing from ELCA this is basically a negative argument for remaining ELCA because the landing spot and the reason for departure are basically flawed and both those arguments will be taken as ad hominem because it basically says to a hearer: "You do not know what you are talking about." Is it really true that a congregation that is leaving the ELCA is a priori misguided, misinformed, and miseducated? There has got to be a positive argument for remaining ELCA. We can do better than this.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2012, 01:15:26 PM
Pastor Kruse writes:
Your post says that the new denominations are basically just like the ELCA with a largely unimportant, maybe even petty and negative, difference and that the ELCA is still as orthodox Lutheran as any other and that any disagreement is based on a misunderstanding by those departed on the place of scripture in Lutheranism or Christendom. If that is not what you meant, my apologies, but that is what I find.
I comment:
Except for the fact that I don't care for the comparative phrase "as orthodox Lutheran as any other" or for calling the differences "petty" and "negative," you are not far from wrong. The ELCA is still Lutheran, Christian, and with the realm of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, confessing the creeds of the Church.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
What troubles me here is that to someone in the process of withdrawing from ELCA this is basically a negative argument for remaining ELCA because the landing spot and the reason for departure are basically flawed and both those arguments will be taken as ad hominem because it basically says to a hearer: "You do not know what you are talking about."
I comment:
Not necessarily. It could mean that I do not agree with what you are talking about.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
Is it really true that a congregation that is leaving the ELCA is a priori misguided, misinformed, and miseducated? There has got to be a positive argument for remaining ELCA.
I comment:
No. And I contend that there "has got to be a positive argument" for leaving the ELCA. You have to convince me why you should leave. Some didn't like it when we declared fellowship with the Episcopalians, but they stayed. Others didn't like fellowship with the Reformed, but they stayed (even if they said they would never commune in a Reformed church or call a Presbyterian pastor). Others didn't like our social statement on abortion, but they stayed. Others didn't like ELW, but they stayed, using older hymnals. People didn't like a lot of things that the ELCA did, but they stayed...until the vote on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians. Hmmm.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
We can do better than this. But maybe the fact that we do not is that we are still angry at those departed and we don't want to.
I comment:
I am not angry at those who depart in good faith and through our proper procedures. I am annoyed at those who leave and keep - as someone else far upstream said - lobbing grenades back over the wall at us.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: MaddogLutheran on January 02, 2012, 02:09:32 PM
No. And I contend that there "has got to be a positive argument" for leaving the ELCA. You have to convince me why you should leave. Some didn't like it when we declared fellowship with the Episcopalians, but they stayed. Others didn't like fellowship with the Reformed, but they stayed (even if they said they would never commune in a Reformed church or call a Presbyterian pastor). Others didn't like our social statement on abortion, but they stayed. Others didn't like ELW, but they stayed, using older hymnals. People didn't like a lot of things that the ELCA did, but they stayed...until the vote on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians. Hmmm.
People HAVE been giving you positive reasons for leaving the ELCA, to which you refuse to listen.  The end to strife--people have expressed their relief at not having to fight this battle anymore, and you mock and belittle them for "dissing" the ELCA.  But you still don't get it.  CORE, it's predecessors and allies, have been telling you why many have finally reached the breaking point to depart, and it's not the implicit homophobia of your "hmmm" reply.  The ELCA has finally and distinctly crossed a line where it has said that historic biblical teaching need not guide our teaching.  CORE has been warning about this for years.  The Missouri Synod has been warning us about it for years.  Those other things on your list of "don't like" are as much about style than substance (although the Concordat/CCM may rise above that, because it was a confessional disagreement, even though I don't agree with the opponents position).  The unique thing about the CWA09's decision is that it will ultimately touch every single congregation in a way that the others do not.  Don't like ELW?  You can keep using LBW as long as your books survive, just be judicious in your use of S&S online material, and don't attend a synod worship services.  Do most people in the pews care if their pastor or bishop was ordained/installed by bishops in historic succession?  Can't really see that.  Having a gay-partnered pastoral candidate, or pressure from some in a congregation to begin permitting same-sex unions in OUR church building?  That's much more "in your face".  But again, it's not like people haven't been warning about this moment for years.  People are ultimately motivated by what they can see right in front of them, sometimes that's already too late..  Maybe if it were otherwise, we wouldn't be in this predicament. 

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on January 02, 2012, 02:33:34 PM
I comment:
Except for the fact that I don't care for the comparative phrase "as orthodox Lutheran as any other" or for calling the differences "petty" and "negative," you are not far from wrong. The ELCA is still Lutheran, Christian, and with the realm of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, confessing the creeds of the Church.

I hope that you are right and that in the future, apart from the ordaining of partnered gay and lesbian pastors, the ELCA and the NALC will remain indistinguishable.  I hope that the ELCA will retain and value the Canonical, Confessional, Ecumenical, Trinitarian, Christocentric, Sacramental, Law/Gospel and Two Kingdoms principles of Lutheranism.  I also hope that no one would wish those things to erode simply so they could say, "I told you so."
 
Quote
I comment:
I am not angry at those who depart in good faith and through our proper procedures. I am annoyed at those who leave and keep - as someone else far upstream said - lobbing grenades back over the wall at us.
  In the same manner, I'm have been annoyed at fellow ELCA members who felt the need to machine gun the dissenters in the back as they attempted to retreat from the field of battle.  Fortunatley, a new strategy of cease fire and withdrawal has characterized recent departures in my own synod.   Less lobbing of grenades and less machine gun fire. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 03, 2012, 10:49:47 AM
Pastor Kruse writes:
Your post says that the new denominations are basically just like the ELCA with a largely unimportant, maybe even petty and negative, difference and that the ELCA is still as orthodox Lutheran as any other and that any disagreement is based on a misunderstanding by those departed on the place of scripture in Lutheranism or Christendom. If that is not what you meant, my apologies, but that is what I find.
I comment:
Except for the fact that I don't care for the comparative phrase "as orthodox Lutheran as any other" or for calling the differences "petty" and "negative," you are not far from wrong. The ELCA is still Lutheran, Christian, and with the realm of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, confessing the creeds of the Church.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
What troubles me here is that to someone in the process of withdrawing from ELCA this is basically a negative argument for remaining ELCA because the landing spot and the reason for departure are basically flawed and both those arguments will be taken as ad hominem because it basically says to a hearer: "You do not know what you are talking about."
I comment:
Not necessarily. It could mean that I do not agree with what you are talking about.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
Is it really true that a congregation that is leaving the ELCA is a priori misguided, misinformed, and miseducated? There has got to be a positive argument for remaining ELCA.
I comment:
No. And I contend that there "has got to be a positive argument" for leaving the ELCA. You have to convince me why you should leave. Some didn't like it when we declared fellowship with the Episcopalians, but they stayed. Others didn't like fellowship with the Reformed, but they stayed (even if they said they would never commune in a Reformed church or call a Presbyterian pastor). Others didn't like our social statement on abortion, but they stayed. Others didn't like ELW, but they stayed, using older hymnals. People didn't like a lot of things that the ELCA did, but they stayed...until the vote on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians. Hmmm.
 
Pastor Kruse writes:
We can do better than this. But maybe the fact that we do not is that we are still angry at those departed and we don't want to.
I comment:
I am not angry at those who depart in good faith and through our proper procedures. I am annoyed at those who leave and keep - as someone else far upstream said - lobbing grenades back over the wall at us.

I think Phirsig coined the line: "You don't take the dog along when you hunt the wolf." If the only responses we have to a congregation leaving is negative and combative then we should wonder what the conservative members of our own flock are hearing. That was Dan Fienen's worries some pages back. He was under impression that conservatives were now a maligned group. That was overstated. But, if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave" -  even though no  argument is offered by the other side - then in that same breath one maligns colleagues of one's own ministerium who have similar believes as the congregation leaving, yet, for themselves, have chosen to stay. Yet, in that ministerium, one is expected to respect the bound conscience of those very others. So we combat the departure by disrespecting the conscience bound positions of others but assure them that we are bound to respect those very consciences as soon as they change their minds about leaving?

Earlier on I posed that the step from diversity to division is as simple as assertion. If one uses adversarial methods to convince congregations or members to stay, then assertion of one side is at work and division is created. Fighting division by being divisive is obviously not effective. Maybe it is, when the history of the ELCA in 2010 - 11 is written, we will hear how well it played. But what the stories of divisive argument will do by being told in real time is to perpetuate division in the ELCA thereby denying diversity the chance to take the field again. That is why I mused what a positive and therefore non divisive argument for remaining ELCA might be. Departing Churches, like Grace here under consideration, can be responsible for their argument. The two of us are ELCA and are remaining so, as are many others who post here. I am surprised that no one jumped in to make a positive argument.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on January 03, 2012, 11:41:17 AM
The positive argument for staying is the same one as the positive one for leaving--how will sinners hear the good news of our justification in Christ if there is no one to tell them?

When we were driven out, ("we do not want to hear about forgiveness from you anymore") we found there were others who did want to hear and were calling for such. So deliver God's goods where and when you can. There is no shortage of sinners in need of a good word. "Those who have ears, let them hear."

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2012, 12:02:25 PM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on January 03, 2012, 12:12:07 PM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on January 04, 2012, 01:23:16 AM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.


Brian, I would like to know what area or areas, in Scripture did God give us that was called Gray?  So, is what your saying if its gray, we can do as we wish, or we can't?



Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 04, 2012, 04:22:05 AM
Scripture is not all "do-this" commands. There are lots of grey areas. Bishops? Overseers? Episcope? Choosing leaders by drawing lots? Pulling a cow out of a ditch on the sabbath? Baptism in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Trinity? King or no king? King by divine right? Marry your brother's widow? Death penalty - stoning - for adultery? Kill all your enemies or care for them and forgive them? Marriage after a divorce?
To approach scripture as if it were all law, all command, all do-this-or-else judgement destroys the Gospel.
Throwing bare verses of scripture at an issue does not help.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2012, 11:38:56 AM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."


From Mark Allan Powell in Loving Jesus:


I think that worship is the essence of spirituality. But worship, like joy, can sometimes be superficial. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they worship God with their lips while their hearts are far from God. The Pharisees, of course, are often the fall guys in this Gospel and they seem to stay in trouble the whole time. Still, say what you will about the Pharisees -- the one thing they never do is doubt. They are always certain about something. They are the "God said it. I believe it, that settles it" people of the Bible. It never occurs to them that they might have overlooked something or misunderstood osmething. As a result, they are often wrong, but they are never in doubt.

By contrast, disciples of Jesus worship and doubt at the same time -- and Jesus doesn't call their worship superficial. It might be going too far to say that doubt is a good thing, but I do note that Jesus rebukes anyone for it. I am tempted to believe that just as fear seasons joy, so doubt seasons worship. Joy without fear becomes shallow; and worship without doubt can be self-assured and superficial. Fear and doubt are not good things in themselves; but they do keep us grounded in reality. (p. 123 italics in original)


Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2012, 11:41:16 AM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.


Brian, I would like to know what area or areas, in Scripture did God give us that was called Gray?  So, is what your saying if its gray, we can do as we wish, or we can't?


"Love your neighbor as yourself" leads to all kinds of grayness it discerning what is the loving deed for our neighbor -- even the question of "Who is my neighbor" leads to a number of different interpretations of the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 04, 2012, 12:30:06 PM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."


From Mark Allan Powell in Loving Jesus:


I think that worship is the essence of spirituality. But worship, like joy, can sometimes be superficial. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they worship God with their lips while their hearts are far from God. The Pharisees, of course, are often the fall guys in this Gospel and they seem to stay in trouble the whole time. Still, say what you will about the Pharisees -- the one thing they never do is doubt. They are always certain about something. They are the "God said it. I believe it, that settles it" people of the Bible. It never occurs to them that they might have overlooked something or misunderstood osmething. As a result, they are often wrong, but they are never in doubt.

By contrast, disciples of Jesus worship and doubt at the same time -- and Jesus doesn't call their worship superficial. It might be going too far to say that doubt is a good thing, but I do note that Jesus rebukes anyone for it. I am tempted to believe that just as fear seasons joy, so doubt seasons worship. Joy without fear becomes shallow; and worship without doubt can be self-assured and superficial. Fear and doubt are not good things in themselves; but they do keep us grounded in reality. (p. 123 italics in original)


Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
 
James 1:5-8 (ESV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Mark 9:24 (ESV)
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Jude 1:21-23 (ESV)
keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

The role of doubt in the faith life of a Christian is complex, much too complex to sum up as the virtue of doubt versus the vice of certainty. 
Quote
Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Was the wavering of the disciples in fact a virtue - a praise of their having a good, honest doubt ridden faith.  Was it being certain that made the Pharisees wrong?  The Pharisees were certain, but they were also certainly wrong about a lot of things.
 
Certainty becomes a vice when it trusts in its own wisdom and completeness; shutting itself off from further learning or correction.  In fact, I am not overly fond of the term certainty in regard to faith - I am more comfortable with confidence.  I am confident that some things that I "know" by faith are true.  I could, I suppose be wrong, but I am not going to loose any sleep over that or suggest that anything that I "know" must be wrong because doubt is the essence of faith.
 
Doubt is not the essence of faith but its antithesis.  A wise man will be willing to say, "I don't know," or "I'm not sure."  But I would not count it wisdom to doubt that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow, or to doubt that my wife has been, is, and will be faithful to me.  Nor would I count it wisdom to doubt what God has said in the Bible.
 
Whether it is "post-modern" or just our contemporary era, but it has become commonplace to value the journey over arrival, the quest for knowledge over the acquisition of knowledge, and to doubt old truths and embrace with fickle enthusiasm any new suggested truth that comes along while eagerly awaiting the next new iconoclasic truth.  How disappointed some will be upon arriving in heaven to learn that it is a destination, not merely a way station upon their never ending quest for the next new thing.
 
Dan
 















Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on January 04, 2012, 02:17:52 PM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."


From Mark Allan Powell in Loving Jesus:


I think that worship is the essence of spirituality. But worship, like joy, can sometimes be superficial. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they worship God with their lips while their hearts are far from God. The Pharisees, of course, are often the fall guys in this Gospel and they seem to stay in trouble the whole time. Still, say what you will about the Pharisees -- the one thing they never do is doubt. They are always certain about something. They are the "God said it. I believe it, that settles it" people of the Bible. It never occurs to them that they might have overlooked something or misunderstood osmething. As a result, they are often wrong, but they are never in doubt.

By contrast, disciples of Jesus worship and doubt at the same time -- and Jesus doesn't call their worship superficial. It might be going too far to say that doubt is a good thing, but I do note that Jesus rebukes anyone for it. I am tempted to believe that just as fear seasons joy, so doubt seasons worship. Joy without fear becomes shallow; and worship without doubt can be self-assured and superficial. Fear and doubt are not good things in themselves; but they do keep us grounded in reality. (p. 123 italics in original)


Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Well Brian, "Dadoo" and I were both students of Dr. Powell.  I had him for Intro to the Gospels and for a exegetical course on the Gospel of Matthew.  Dadoo can speak for himself, but I can honestly say that he was one of the best teachers I ever had in seminary.  And you sir are no Mark Powell.  :P

There is a difference between honest doubt and post-modern scepticism.  I could be wrong, but having studied under him in two courses and hearing him speak on many other occasions, I would not say that Dr. Powell is an advocate of post-modern scepticism.  Furthermore, a postmodernist of the kind that Dadoo describes trades in an honest search for the truth for power politics.  In spite of disagreements I might have with him, I still consider Dr. Powell to be someone who values the search for truth.   
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 04, 2012, 03:37:30 PM
… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."


From Mark Allan Powell in Loving Jesus:


I think that worship is the essence of spirituality. But worship, like joy, can sometimes be superficial. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they worship God with their lips while their hearts are far from God. The Pharisees, of course, are often the fall guys in this Gospel and they seem to stay in trouble the whole time. Still, say what you will about the Pharisees -- the one thing they never do is doubt. They are always certain about something. They are the "God said it. I believe it, that settles it" people of the Bible. It never occurs to them that they might have overlooked something or misunderstood osmething. As a result, they are often wrong, but they are never in doubt.

By contrast, disciples of Jesus worship and doubt at the same time -- and Jesus doesn't call their worship superficial. It might be going too far to say that doubt is a good thing, but I do note that Jesus rebukes anyone for it. I am tempted to believe that just as fear seasons joy, so doubt seasons worship. Joy without fear becomes shallow; and worship without doubt can be self-assured and superficial. Fear and doubt are not good things in themselves; but they do keep us grounded in reality. (p. 123 italics in original)


Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
 
James 1:5-8 (ESV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Mark 9:24 (ESV)
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Jude 1:21-23 (ESV)
keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

The role of doubt in the faith life of a Christian is complex, much too complex to sum up as the virtue of doubt versus the vice of certainty. 
Quote
Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Was the wavering of the disciples in fact a virtue - a praise of their having a good, honest doubt ridden faith.  Was it being certain that made the Pharisees wrong?  The Pharisees were certain, but they were also certainly wrong about a lot of things.
 
Certainty becomes a vice when it trusts in its own wisdom and completeness; shutting itself off from further learning or correction.  In fact, I am not overly fond of the term certainty in regard to faith - I am more comfortable with confidence.  I am confident that some things that I "know" by faith are true.  I could, I suppose be wrong, but I am not going to loose any sleep over that or suggest that anything that I "know" must be wrong because doubt is the essence of faith.
 
Doubt is not the essence of faith but its antithesis.  A wise man will be willing to say, "I don't know," or "I'm not sure."  But I would not count it wisdom to doubt that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow, or to doubt that my wife has been, is, and will be faithful to me.  Nor would I count it wisdom to doubt what God has said in the Bible.
 
Whether it is "post-modern" or just our contemporary era, but it has become commonplace to value the journey over arrival, the quest for knowledge over the acquisition of knowledge, and to doubt old truths and embrace with fickle enthusiasm any new suggested truth that comes along while eagerly awaiting the next new iconoclasic truth.  How disappointed some will be upon arriving in heaven to learn that it is a destination, not merely a way station upon their never ending quest for the next new thing.
 
Dan
 

Dan,

It would seem to me that the devil is really disinterested in what you know for sure or what you doubt. The devil is worried about what you put you faith in.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on January 04, 2012, 03:44:08 PM
I seem to remember that Powell unlike a postmodern, actually made arguments for things and did not resort to merely deconstructing older arguments. As a matter of fact he was fairly comfortable with what had gone before him, exegetical wise. He seem to be more interested in advancing the art and science of exegesis, not in disproving old results.

… if the approach one uses to attempt to retain a congregation is postmodern, i.e. "I deny the validity of your argument therefore you are wrong and I am right and you can't leave"…


I don't see that as postmodern, but "traditionalism." Post-moderns are more likely to say, "I see the validity of your arguments and I also see the validity of the arguments on the other side. Neither of them are wrong or right. We should be able to stay together."


It's the traditionalists who seem more likely to use the language of "right" and "wrong" -- without areas of gray.

Try reading all that Peter wrote, rather than the snippet you copied.  A traditionalist does believe in right and wrong, but also believes in making a case for his position.  A post-modernist, believing that talk of truth is just a power play, merely asserts.  "I assert that you are wrong.  Therefore you are wrong." 

Now, there is another post-modern strategy, that is to deny that we can know anything definitively.  Or, more correctly, the only thing we know for certain is that we are never able to know anything for certain.  Therefore, the one who claims to know something is the one in the wrong.  Of course, a power play must follow.  "All things are relative but the ELCA constitutions as infallilibly interpreted by the Secretary of the ELCA."


From Mark Allan Powell in Loving Jesus:


I think that worship is the essence of spirituality. But worship, like joy, can sometimes be superficial. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they worship God with their lips while their hearts are far from God. The Pharisees, of course, are often the fall guys in this Gospel and they seem to stay in trouble the whole time. Still, say what you will about the Pharisees -- the one thing they never do is doubt. They are always certain about something. They are the "God said it. I believe it, that settles it" people of the Bible. It never occurs to them that they might have overlooked something or misunderstood osmething. As a result, they are often wrong, but they are never in doubt.

By contrast, disciples of Jesus worship and doubt at the same time -- and Jesus doesn't call their worship superficial. It might be going too far to say that doubt is a good thing, but I do note that Jesus rebukes anyone for it. I am tempted to believe that just as fear seasons joy, so doubt seasons worship. Joy without fear becomes shallow; and worship without doubt can be self-assured and superficial. Fear and doubt are not good things in themselves; but they do keep us grounded in reality. (p. 123 italics in original)


Certainty can be detrimental to an honest faith. Is that just a post-modern position, or a biblical truth given through the comparison of the certainty of the Pharisees vs. the waverings of the disciples?

Well Brian, "Dadoo" and I were both students of Dr. Powell.  I had him for Intro to the Gospels and for a exegetical course on the Gospel of Matthew.  Dadoo can speak for himself, but I can honestly say that he was one of the best teachers I ever had in seminary.  And you sir are no Mark Powell.  :P

There is a difference between honest doubt and post-modern scepticism.  I could be wrong, but having studied under him in two courses and hearing him speak on many other occasions, I would not say that Dr. Powell is an advocate of post-modern scepticism.  Furthermore, a postmodernist of the kind that Dadoo describes trades in an honest search for the truth for power politics.  In spite of disagreements I might have with him, I still consider Dr. Powell to be someone who values the search for truth.   
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on January 29, 2012, 09:50:23 PM
New fodder for this thread:

On Jan 24:
http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front_page/article_b43eb556-843e-5bb8-94af-0dad730e2f4b.html

And on Jan 27:
http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front_page/article_d8b0ec16-fb5e-55b8-942b-2aee2604f85f.html
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 30, 2012, 08:44:53 AM
another black eye for Lutheranism, delivered by those who call themselves Lutheran and Christian. 

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 30, 2012, 11:36:20 AM
Or perhaps - we don't really know - another heroic effort of people to keep their church from being hijacked illegally by a group unable to get its way through proper procedures.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on January 30, 2012, 11:35:14 PM
Or perhaps - we don't really know - another heroic effort of people to keep their church from being hijacked illegally by a group unable to get its way through proper procedures.

Or perhaps - we don't know - courageous visionaries being held back by legalistic and outmoded disciplinary structure.  Maybe we can have a festival Eucharist in their honor at the next CWA!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 31, 2012, 07:55:14 AM
Or perhaps - we really do know - those who left and formed a new congregation with synodical help should stop pouting that there is still a clear majority there that wants to leave, and should realize that their departure and chartering of a new congregation does indeed constitute membership elsewhere and thus negates their voice there.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on January 31, 2012, 07:58:32 AM

Or perhaps - we don't really know - another heroic effort of people to keep their church from being hijacked illegally by a group unable to get its way through proper procedures.


Who are the heroes of your "musing"?  The plaintiffs?  The defendants?  Both?  I suspect that you are referring to the plaintiffs, but maybe not.  And if I didn't know your usual position on these questions, I truly wouldn't be able to tell.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 31, 2012, 09:11:34 AM
I note, Mr. Gale, that the effort to leave the ELCA failed; and that the partisans on the leave-the-ELCA side then attempted to join another denomination anyway, contending that this did not take a two-thirds majority vote. From afar, and I cannot obviously be sure; this sounds to me like an effort to do a run around the proper procedures.
But these are musings from afar. Folks can pick their own heroes and heroines if they wish. 

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on January 31, 2012, 09:37:34 AM
I note, Mr. Gale, that the effort to leave the ELCA failed; and that the partisans on the leave-the-ELCA side then attempted to join another denomination anyway, contending that this did not take a two-thirds majority vote. From afar, and I cannot obviously be sure; this sounds to me like an effort to do a run around the proper procedures.
But these are musings from afar. Folks can pick their own heroes and heroines if they wish.


And indeed, this is one perspective on the situation. 


Another is that (i) the congregation's constitution, approved at a time when the ELCA's leaders made clear that dual rostering of congregations was acceptable, does not preclude dual rostering; (ii) the congregation, acting under its constitution, joined a second church body without leaving the ELCA; (iii) the congregation's leaders, acting under the congregation's governing documents, removed from the voting-membership roll those who left to form a new congregation (or worshiping community or whatever other term might be appropriate) instead of staying in the hope of working through differences in accord with the congregation's governing documents; (iv) those who left, having failed to muster a majority for their position, now are going to court to take the congregation's property away from the members there who have acted all along in accord with the congregation's governing documents; and (v) the congregation and its members now are fighting valiantly and at great expense in civil court to keep the congregation from "being hijacked illegally by a group unable to get its way through proper procedures."  The synod, inexplicably, is assisting the litigation effort instead of following its own "proper procedures," which are limited to a consideration of whether disciplinary measures should be taken.  The remedies available under the disciplinary rules do not include taking over the congregation or seizing its property or giving the congregation to a rump group.

Now, I agree that we don't know all the facts.  But your theory would work only if the congregation's governing documents -- which ultimately govern here -- preclude dual rostering, require a two-thirds vote to join a church body, and preclude a congregation from removing from its rolls those who have left the congregation.  Do you have any basis for believing that the congregation's governing documents do any of these things? 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 31, 2012, 11:10:57 AM
Another is that (i) the congregation's constitution, approved at a time when the ELCA's leaders made clear that dual rostering of congregations was acceptable, does not preclude dual rostering;


What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


As I understand Sec. Swartling's ruling, since there are no legal steps given to become a dual rostered congregation, it is prohibited. When the former presiding bishop said that the ELCA allowed it, it was in reference to six congregations who had a relationship with the LCMS before the ELCA was formed. They were grandfathered in. Four of the six chose one Lutheran body to relate to. Two of the six remain -- in Pacific Palisades, CA and in Arcata, CA; but they are not dual rostered congregations -- they are two separate congregations sharing a building and a pastor.



Quote
(ii) the congregation, acting under its constitution, joined a second church body without leaving the ELCA;


What does the constitution say about joining a second church body? How does a congregation do that? I don't read any rules for that in the model constitution. Thus, it seems that congregations made up their own rules of what is required to join another denomination.


Quote
(iii) the congregation's leaders, acting under the congregation's governing documents, removed from the voting-membership roll those who left to form a new congregation (or worshiping community or whatever other term might be appropriate) instead of staying in the hope of working through differences in accord with the congregation's governing documents;


I know of no procedure in the model constitution that allows the congregation council to place active members on the associate member list. Again, the congregation made up their own rules.


Quote
(iv) those who left, having failed to muster a majority for their position, now are going to court to take the congregation's property away from the members there who have acted all along in accord with the congregation's governing documents;


Show me where they followed the rules in the constitution for (a) joining another denomination and (b) transferring members to associate members -- essentially telling them that they no longer had a vote in congregational matters.


Quote
and (v) the congregation and its members now are fighting valiantly and at great expense in civil court to keep the congregation from "being hijacked illegally by a group unable to get its way through proper procedures."  The synod, inexplicably, is assisting the litigation effort instead of following its own "proper procedures," which are limited to a consideration of whether disciplinary measures should be taken.  The remedies available under the disciplinary rules do not include taking over the congregation or seizing its property or giving the congregation to a rump group.


According to their own constitution, the congregation remains in the ELCA and under the authority of the synod. Their constitution gives them no right to join another body nor to remove voting privileges from active members.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: TravisW on January 31, 2012, 11:49:03 AM
It's entirely likely that Grace Lutheran never changed their constitution to conform to the ELCA's model constitution.  Many congregations haven't.  So, I guess if nobody has a copy of their constitution, we're pretty much tossing "could-be's" around. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on January 31, 2012, 11:52:54 AM
Another is that (i) the congregation's constitution, approved at a time when the ELCA's leaders made clear that dual rostering of congregations was acceptable, does not preclude dual rostering;

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?

As I understand Sec. Swartling's ruling, since there are no legal steps given to become a dual rostered congregation, it is prohibited. When the former presiding bishop said that the ELCA allowed it, it was in reference to six congregations who had a relationship with the LCMS before the ELCA was formed. They were grandfathered in. Four of the six chose one Lutheran body to relate to. Two of the six remain -- in Pacific Palisades, CA and in Arcata, CA; but they are not dual rostered congregations -- they are two separate congregations sharing a building and a pastor.


Secretary Swartling has authority regarding interpretation of the ELCA's governing documents.  He has no authority over the congregations and the interpretation of their governing documents.  So his interpretations don't matter at all in discerning the congregation's powers.


Moreover, the ELCA's congregations adopted their constitutions at a time when the ELCA's leadership made clear that "dual congregations don't pose a problem for the ELCA (http://www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=2051)."  Secretary Swartling is attempting to change the rules in the middle of a game in which contrary rules already had been set, established, and held firm.  In other words, the congregations, when approving their constitutions and for many years thereafter had every reason to understand that their governing documents permitted dual rostering.  The congregational constitutions have not added anything new on this subject.  The only change is that a new secretary has decided that the old regime was wrong.  That may or may not bind the churchwide expression.  It certainly does not bind those who adopted congregational governing documents in good faith with an understanding that those documents permitted dual membership.


Thus, in deciding whether to join a second church body, the congregation most assuredly was justified in doing so by following the general decision-making process established by the congregation's governing documents.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2012, 01:17:48 PM
Anyone who offers the knee-jerk response to any and every comment about something that "the ELCA has done" by pointing out that it was the synod that did whatever it was, not the ELCA, has abdicated any moral authority to disagree with the concept that individual congregations can do as their own individual constitutions say they can, regardless of what some hypothetical "model" constitution might say, and regardless of what some layman in a position of authority in Higgins Road says.
 
If the ELCA is not its synods, then the synods are not their congregations. Any arguing over which side is right or wrong in this lawsuit is moot. The people doing the suing have no legal standing. They abdicated their legal standing when they formed a new congregation, regardless of what legalistic nomenclature the ELCA gave it. Worshipping community, mission start, whatever, they all mean "new congregation". By joining a new one, they left the old one. Once they leave the old one, they aren't members any more, and therefore have no standing.
 
The exception would be if individual congregants are permitted to be dual-rostered in multiple congregations. Would one of the ELCA's pseudo-lawyers who are so quick to quote chapter and verse of the ELCA's governing documents care to demonstrate where individual congregants are permitted to be voting members of more than one congregation at a time?
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: grabau on January 31, 2012, 01:55:57 PM
I don't believe Grace Church in Eau Claire, WI is a"tiny congregation".  grabau
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 31, 2012, 02:10:19 PM

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


These are the issues being litigated, Brian.  The ELCA Constitutions do not directly address these questions, unless joining LCMC is adopting a faith contrary to that described in the ELCA's Constitutions.  Are congregations free to do things that are not prohibited (something you like to assert in other contexts), or are the free only to to things specifically permitted (something you seem to be, uh, suggesting in this particular context), or something in-between. 

Perhaps this judge will render a decision, whereupon we can argue whether this is setting a precedent and, if so, for whom.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on January 31, 2012, 02:37:07 PM
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2012, 02:40:14 PM

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


These are the issues being litigated, Brian.  The ELCA Constitutions do not directly address these questions, unless joining LCMC is adopting a faith contrary to that described in the ELCA's Constitutions.  Are congregations free to do things that are not prohibited (something you like to assert in other contexts), or are the free only to to things specifically permitted (something you seem to be, uh, suggesting in this particular context), or something in-between. 

Perhaps this judge will render a decision, whereupon we can argue whether this is setting a precedent and, if so, for whom.

If someone asserts on general principles that anything not forbidden is permitted in one context, it's hard to believe them if they say otherwise in a different context.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on January 31, 2012, 03:06:38 PM

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


These are the issues being litigated, Brian.  The ELCA Constitutions do not directly address these questions, unless joining LCMC is adopting a faith contrary to that described in the ELCA's Constitutions.  Are congregations free to do things that are not prohibited (something you like to assert in other contexts), or are the free only to to things specifically permitted (something you seem to be, uh, suggesting in this particular context), or something in-between. 

Perhaps this judge will render a decision, whereupon we can argue whether this is setting a precedent and, if so, for whom.


We'll see what happens.  But I think that there's a strong chance that the case could turn on the court's understanding of the structure of the ELCA. Courts don't like to resolve church disputes.  Thus, rather than deciding the substance of a dispute, the courts often decide instead who within a church body gets to decide.  Where church bodies are seen as "hierarchical," the church body will get to decide the matter.  Where church bodies are "congregational," the congregation gets to decide.  Where does the ELCA fit in this scheme?  I'd argue that it is neither hierarchical nor congregational.  Instead, using the language of the ELCA's governing documents, I'd argue that the ELCA is "interdependent."  The contours of that interdependence are defined by the various churchwide, synodical, and congregational governing documents.  Unfortunately, this may look like a conclusion that requires complicated analysis, which the court probably will want to avoid. 


We shall see.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on January 31, 2012, 04:42:50 PM
One of the documents that always seems to be forgotten is the document called "The Organization of the ELCA" - a document that used to be prominently displayed on the "Legal" page of the ELCA website.  I haven't looked for it lately but at one time it was only on the archived site.  I have a pdf if anyone is interested.

It says:

Quote
The ELCA consists of three expressions. (See Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (“CBCR”), 8.10. et. seq.) One expression is the “churchwide organization.”2 (CBCR 8.14., 11.10. et. seq.) A second expression is the 65 area organizations known as synods, each of which is separately incorporated. (CBCR 10.01. et. seq.) The third expression is the approximately 11,000 congregations, most of which are also separately incorporated.3 (CBCR 9.11. et. seq.) The relationships between the three expressions are primarily ecclesiastical rather than legal. (CBCR 8.17.) The ecclesiastical relationships are defined by the CBCR and the corresponding required provisions of the synod and congregation constitutions. (CBCR 8.10., 9.10. - 9.90., 10.01.-10.80., 11.10. -11.40.; Constitution for Synods (“S”)4; and Model Constitution for Congregations (“C”).)5 The constitutions of most congregations, all synods and the churchwide organization also serve as the corporate bylaws for each organization.6
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 31, 2012, 06:07:02 PM
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on January 31, 2012, 06:23:57 PM
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

Since it is not defined in the constitution the congregation can decide how to do this.  LCMC requires a congregation to fill out a form subscribing to our statement of faith and tell by what means the congregation decided to affiliate with LCMC (looks like the latest version of this (http://www.lcmc.net/lcmc-membership-form/419.html) requires the date of the congregational vote - it used to leave that field open to the congregation to fill in ... could have been by council vote).  Congregations can then place the additional affiliation in their bylaws or continuing resolutions ... neither of which the synod has veto power over.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on January 31, 2012, 07:16:40 PM
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

Since it is not defined in the constitution the congregation can decide how to do this.  LCMC requires a congregation to fill out a form subscribing to our statement of faith and tell by what means the congregation decided to affiliate with LCMC (looks like the latest version of this (http://www.lcmc.net/lcmc-membership-form/419.html) requires the date of the congregational vote - it used to leave that field open to the congregation to fill in ... could have been by council vote).  Congregations can then place the additional affiliation in their bylaws or continuing resolutions ... neither of which the synod has veto power over.


This exchange reminds me of the testimony beginning at about 12:50 of linked video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBYYMyoW09Q&feature=related).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on January 31, 2012, 07:20:56 PM
LOL! ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 01, 2012, 03:08:06 AM

How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

The same way(s) a congregation joins any other organization -- a matter that is rarely directly addressed in any ELCA congregation's constitution. 

One might say it depends upon what the pastor or Council (think they) can get away with.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 01, 2012, 10:24:25 AM

How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

The same way(s) a congregation joins any other organization -- a matter that is rarely directly addressed in any ELCA congregation's constitution. 

One might say it depends upon what the pastor or Council (think they) can get away with.

I am reminded of a presentation given at a Lutheran congregation here in Atlanta by people from CORE, before the NALC was started. A representative of the Bishop at the meeting advised everyone that they could NOT join CORE because that would be "dual-rostering". He couldn't explain how joining RIC was not.
 
I tend to think Pastor Tibbetts is totally correct about the process for affiliating with a second or even a third denomination. It's identical to the process for joining RIC. The fact that other denominations are denominations while RIC is only what RIC is doesn't matter. The process for joining is the same.
 
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 10:34:30 AM
Mr. Erdner writes:
I am reminded of a presentation given at a Lutheran congregation here in Atlanta by people from CORE, before the NALC was started. A representative of the Bishop at the meeting advised everyone that they could NOT join CORE because that would be "dual-rostering". He couldn't explain how joining RIC was not.
I comment:
The bishop may have been referring to one of the denominations spawned by CORE. I do not think CORE considers itself a church body. On the other hand it is perfectly clear to anyone not blinded by persistent or intentional ignorance that LCMC and NALC are church bodies, denominations with all the accoutrements of such. RIC is an organization, CORE is an organization. Joining either of those is not dual affiliation. Joining NALC or LCMS or LCMS or AALC is.
I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 01, 2012, 10:46:28 AM
I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.


Yes, you have.  And that puts you at odds with Secretary Almen, PB Chilstrom, and PB Anderson, none of whom ever objected to dual rostering of congregations.  Indeed, as is quoted upstream, dual membership was viewed by ELCA leadership until very recently as "not a problem" for the ELCA.  What is more "duplicitous" and "cowardly"?  An ELCA congregation joining a second church body in full accord with the congregation's governing documents?  Or ELCA leadership saying that the churchwide governing documents that had always been understood to permit dual rostering of congregations now prohibit it, even though the documents have not been amended to say so.
[size=78%]  [/size]
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 12:48:21 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 01, 2012, 01:01:10 PM
Let me see if I understand this. It's OK for a congregation to be simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA, because those two organizations came to some sort of agreement. But to be part of the ELCA and another Lutheran church body "is either cowardly or duplicitous"?
 
I cannot argue that belonging to the ELCA and another Lutheran body violates some novel interpretation of the ELCA's rules that even the first two Presiding Bishops didn't agree with, but to call such an action either cowardly or duplicitous is inexcusable.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 01, 2012, 01:41:38 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 01, 2012, 01:46:24 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.

And thus it is when one's confession is wedded to an earthly institution rather than a doctrinal body of faith.

Ideally, we would all be part of the evangelical Lutheran church.  The very fact that we do not believe, teach and confess the same things is waht prevents us from being in fellowship.

But I see no problem whatsoever with being affiliated with multiple earthly institutions which agree that they confess the same thing.

Mike
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 01, 2012, 01:47:08 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.


Sure.  And having a conversation with two or three women is a "bit" like being married to them as well.  But it's a very small "bit."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 01, 2012, 01:49:23 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.


Sure.  And having a conversation with two or three women is a "bit" like being married to them as well.  But it's a very small "bit."

Of course, such ecclesial polygamy is perfectly fine if a congregation is hitched to the ELCA and PCUSA. It's OK to be hitched to the ELCA and RIC.
 
I cannot believe the unmitigated hypocrisy of some of the ELCA's apologists.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: pearson on February 01, 2012, 01:57:34 PM

And thus it is when one's confession is wedded to an earthly institution rather than a doctrinal body of faith.


Is there any such thing as a "doctrinal body of faith" that is not also an earthly institution?

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: SmithL on February 01, 2012, 02:00:10 PM
Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.

Why not?  The ELCA is already trying to redefine marriage to be more inclusive.
 ::)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 01, 2012, 02:04:06 PM

And thus it is when one's confession is wedded to an earthly institution rather than a doctrinal body of faith.


Is there any such thing as a "doctrinal body of faith" that is not also an earthly institution?

Tom Pearson

The Book of Concord.

Somewhat, by necessity, earthly institutions have elaborated on this doctrinal body of faith to address new controversies.  And thus earthly institutions must determine whether they share doctrinal unity.  But if they do share doctrinal unity, then being affiliated with any and all earthly institutions which do so should be fine.  Even God-pleasing.

Mike

Mike
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: pearson on February 01, 2012, 02:11:31 PM

The Book of Concord.

Somewhat, by necessity, earthly institutions have elaborated on this doctrinal body of faith to address new controversies.


Oh.  You were using the curious phrase "doctrinal body of faith" in a way I couldn't recognize.  It didn't occur to me that "doctrinal body of faith" could be referring to a written text.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 02:14:50 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
Let me see if I understand this. It's OK for a congregation to be simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA, because those two organizations came to some sort of agreement. But to be part of the ELCA and another Lutheran church body "is either cowardly or duplicitous"?

I comment:
Would someone please explain to Mr. Erdner - for the thousandth time - that no congregation in the ELCA is ever - repeat ever - "simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA"? This does not happen. Ever. Nothing in any ecumenical agreement envisions congregations simultaneously part of two denominations.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 01, 2012, 02:16:55 PM
For how many years did the ELCA allow congregations to be members of the ELCA and LCMS? Weren't there a handful at one time? I thought I remember reading about how awful it was that the LCMS was going to be forcing those churches to choose one or the other. The point is that if the issue was raised in the past regarding ELCA/LCMS dual rostered congregations, the precedent should be acknowledged.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 02:23:25 PM
I believe, Peter, that those situations came from a time even before there was an ELCA. And it was your people who wanted to put an end to them.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 01, 2012, 03:23:55 PM

Would someone please explain to Mr. Erdner - for the thousandth time - that no congregation in the ELCA is ever - repeat ever - "simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA"? This does not happen. Ever. Nothing in any ecumenical agreement envisions congregations simultaneously part of two denominations.

You might want to open up page 290 of the ELCA's 2012 Yearbook, Charles.  There are 4 federated congregations with the PCUSA and 1 union congregation.

Quote from: 2012 Yearbook
Federated congregations are congregations that are formed and maintained "with the approval of both the synod in which the congregation is located and the comparable ecclesiastical entity of one or more church bodies with which a relationship of full communion has been established" (churchwide bylaw 9.91.01.).  Union congregations are "formed by two separate congregations that shall continue to exist as separate but cooperating entities.  The separate congregations in a union congregation whall be related to their respective church bodies that have established a relationship of full communion. . . churcwide bylaw 9.91.02). 

There are also 5 federated congregations with TEC, 3 union with TEC, 1 federated with the UCC, and 1 union with the UCC. 

Interestingly, the 2 ELCA-LCMS congregations in California (they go back to when the ALC and LCMS were in Altar and Pulpit fellowship, and by the above definitions they would be "union congregations") are no longer identified as such in the Yearbook. 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 01, 2012, 03:27:23 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.


Sure.  And having a conversation with two or three women is a "bit" like being married to them as well.  But it's a very small "bit."


The covenant relationship between a congregation and its denomination is more than just having a conversation with each other.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 01, 2012, 03:35:15 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.


Sure.  And having a conversation with two or three women is a "bit" like being married to them as well.  But it's a very small "bit."


The covenant relationship between a congregation and its denomination is more than just having a conversation with each other.

Perhaps for the ELCA. But how so in general principle?

And in such a case, why does the ELCA provide such "polygamist" arrangements as federated and union congregations?

Mike
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 01, 2012, 03:35:58 PM
Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.

Why not?  The ELCA is already trying to redefine marriage to be more inclusive.
 ::)


Show me where the ELCA has done this.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on February 01, 2012, 04:06:49 PM
I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Any more cowardly and duplicitous than calling a pastor not on the roster of the ELCA?  Any more cowardly and duplicitous than creating a shadow candidacy committee for those unwilling to follow ELCA policies.  Any more cowardly and duplicitous that bishops who openly announce their unwillingness to enforce ELCA policies?  Any more cowardly and duplicitous than one ELCA bishop attending a celebration for a pastor who openly defied his own bishop?

The precedent was set long ago.  Don't like ELCA policies?  Can't get them changed through proper channels and/or procedures?  Simply make up your own rules.  See what you can get away with.  Cry foul when you get caught red handed and have to face the consequences.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 04:08:12 PM

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.


Sure.  And having a conversation with two or three women is a "bit" like being married to them as well.  But it's a very small "bit."


The covenant relationship between a congregation and its denomination is more than just having a conversation with each other.

Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 01, 2012, 04:12:08 PM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.


You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?


I also wonder: if the denominations are so similar that you and/or your congregation can be rostered with them -- why don't they come together as one?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 04:13:13 PM

Would someone please explain to Mr. Erdner - for the thousandth time - that no congregation in the ELCA is ever - repeat ever - "simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA"? This does not happen. Ever. Nothing in any ecumenical agreement envisions congregations simultaneously part of two denominations.

You might want to open up page 290 of the ELCA's 2012 Yearbook, Charles.  There are 4 federated congregations with the PCUSA and 1 union congregation.

Quote from: 2012 Yearbook
Federated congregations are congregations that are formed and maintained "with the approval of both the synod in which the congregation is located and the comparable ecclesiastical entity of one or more church bodies with which a relationship of full communion has been established" (churchwide bylaw 9.91.01.).  Union congregations are "formed by two separate congregations that shall continue to exist as separate but cooperating entities.  The separate congregations in a union congregation whall be related to their respective church bodies that have established a relationship of full communion. . . churcwide bylaw 9.91.02). 

There are also 5 federated congregations with TEC, 3 union with TEC, 1 federated with the UCC, and 1 union with the UCC. 

Interestingly, the 2 ELCA-LCMS congregations in California (they go back to when the ALC and LCMS were in Altar and Pulpit fellowship, and by the above definitions they would be "union congregations") are no longer identified as such in the Yearbook. 

Pax, Steven+

Thanks for this data, Steven, now perhaps even Charles will have to admit that his opening salvo to this discussion was a little over the top. But I am not holding my breath....

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 04:20:10 PM

I also wonder: if the denominations are so similar that you and/or your congregation can be rostered with them -- why don't they come together as one?

Various reasons. Most often either personality, ethical, or ecclesial differences which some hold more tightly than the entire group. None of these need to be ultimately church-dividing by our confessions. They May be dividing but do not Have to be.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 04:22:30 PM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 01, 2012, 04:26:27 PM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.

Was the course of action in this congregation taken before or after the ruling from secretary Swartling which changed long-standing ELCA precedent from the likes of Sec Almen and the former presiding Bishops? I don't know...

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 01, 2012, 04:43:35 PM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.


You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?


I also wonder: if the denominations are so similar that you and/or your congregation can be rostered with them -- why don't they come together as one?

This attitude is probably one of the fears that TAALC had in establishing altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS.  That someone would propose that its under 100 congregations be absorbed into the LCMS.

Mike
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 01, 2012, 04:51:26 PM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.

Was the course of action in this congregation taken before or after the ruling from secretary Swartling which changed long-standing ELCA precedent from the likes of Sec Almen and the former presiding Bishops? I don't know...

Lou


I'm not sure how much this matters, frankly.  Nothing that Secretary Swartling did or said consisted of a revision to the congregation's own governing documents, which almost certainly were enacted during a time when the ELCA had a clear and open acceptance of dual rostering.  Changing the ELCA's governing documents (by fiat rather than through the amendment process) might have an impact on the way in which synods are expected to apply the disciplinary rules.  It did not alter a congregation's rights and powers.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 05:04:32 PM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 05:26:06 PM
So Mr. Erdner does read my comments once in a while! I thought so.  ;)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 01, 2012, 05:27:57 PM
No matter how you slice and dice this situation, it is messy.  I can certainly see how each side (and those who sympathize with each side) can find reason why "their" side is in the right here.  While personally I do not have a dog in this hunt, I can still find things to sympathize with in all sides.  I can also see ways that likely all sides have acted in some ways badly.  Those who wanted to split from the ELCA were frustrated by their failure to reach the threshold of votes (and suspected a bit of skulduggery in coming up with voters who had not been effective members for some time) trying to find a way to satisfy not only their own personal views but that of the majority of members.  Those who had voted to stay in the ELCA were no doubt upset by attempts to get around the Synodically (and ELCA) set proceedures.  Add in a new congregational start (were those going to the new place still members or not - or were the ones who we leading the congregation into LCMC still members) and the prospect of valuable real estate and other assets to be had and you have a big mess.
 
I doubt that anyone's hands are really clean, but those of us watching from that outside want those we identify with in this fight not only to win but to be in the right.
 
I don't know the right of this.  I don't want to venture a guess - I don't know enough of all the circumstances or the technicalities.  I doubt that many if any of the rest of us do either.  Nor either are we called upon to judge.  This is what happens when 1) sinful people, with 2) sinful motives, and 3) passionate loyalties to serve God, and thus also 4) the best of motives get tangled up.  Easy to pick heros and villains truth everybody involved is likely in some way a hero and a villain, as are we all.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 01, 2012, 05:29:23 PM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.
Perhaps these individuals and congregations are staying just to irritate you, Charles . . . something like why you continue to post here.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 01, 2012, 06:36:40 PM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.

Why should it matter to you, Charles?  It preserves the unity you claim to espouse.  Or perhaps you really don't want that kind of unity.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 01, 2012, 07:29:21 PM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.


Over time, when people here have argued for results that are either not allowed or not required by the ELCA's rules and procedures, you have admonished them to learn how the ELCA works.  In this case, you stand in their shoes and need to take heed of your own admonishments.  You may not "understand" why an ELCA congregation would join LCMC.  You might not like it.  But your personal point of view does not control here.  The congregation's governing documents do.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2012, 10:39:32 PM
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.
And, Pastor Cottingham, the "unity" I seek within the ELCA comes through people respecting properly-made decisions, respecting our leaders, and honoring our commitments to one another. I held off saying it for a long time, but people here convinced me that it needs to be said.
If you are not willing to abide by the policies and procedures by which we have - through our approved and proper processes - chosen to "be the church", then maybe you do not belong in the ELCA.
That cuts a lot of ways.
If you will not accept the ministry of a pastor who was not ordained by a bishop, then you do not belong in the ELCA.
If you want to call someone off the ELCA clergy roster or not on the roster of one of our ecumenical partners as your pastor, then you do not belong in the ELCA.
If you will not let a synod or congregation that now wishes to do so issue a call to a partnered gay or lesbian pastor, then maybe you do not belong in the ELCA.
These are not matters of our eternal salvation - though some seem to contend that they are - but they are serious matters concerning how we have agreed to live together within the ELCA and order our life within the ELCA.
And I still do not understand why those whose attitudes towards the ELCA are those expressed by the policies of the NALC and LCMC want to be a part of the ELCA. I am glad that some - like Erma and Steven - stay in and work with us. But for some others? You can't be happy here and it is not healthy for you to be here. So....
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 01, 2012, 10:56:49 PM
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.  The synod may claim in response that the congregation is subject to discipline.  That would be governed by the synod and ELCA governing documents.  That's the way that the interdependent ELCA works.


Frankly, I agree with much of what you say.  Some congregations and some people should leave the ELCA.  And some people should leave their congregations.  Indeed, in the congregation at issue here, many who wanted to remain in the ELCA did leave the congregation and began worshiping in another church across town.  Now they want to come back and to take the property of their former congregation.  How is this healthy?  There are plenty of Eau Claire ELCA congregations for these people to join.  They have already left, for all intents and purposes.  Why interject such strife now to a situation that was well along the process of resolving itself?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 12:43:10 AM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 12:46:11 AM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.

Was the course of action in this congregation taken before or after the ruling from secretary Swartling which changed long-standing ELCA precedent from the likes of Sec Almen and the former presiding Bishops? I don't know...


I'm pretty sure that the four congregations that were dual rostered with ELCA and LCMS had that before the ELCA was formed. As I stated before, they were grandfathered in -- and we had no problems with that. As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 12:47:44 AM
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.


You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?


I also wonder: if the denominations are so similar that you and/or your congregation can be rostered with them -- why don't they come together as one?

This attitude is probably one of the fears that TAALC had in establishing altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS.  That someone would propose that its under 100 congregations be absorbed into the LCMS.


But would a congregation be allowed to be rostered as both TAALC and LCMS?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 12:55:36 AM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.


Over time, when people here have argued for results that are either not allowed or not required by the ELCA's rules and procedures, you have admonished them to learn how the ELCA works.  In this case, you stand in their shoes and need to take heed of your own admonishments.  You may not "understand" why an ELCA congregation would join LCMC.  You might not like it.  But your personal point of view does not control here.  The congregation's governing documents do.


The governing documents do not give an ELCA congregation the power or authority to join another denomination. They have the authority to terminate their relationship with the ELCA C5.03.j. Once that is terminated, then they can give themselves the power to join another denomination.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 02, 2012, 12:59:57 AM
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.


Over time, when people here have argued for results that are either not allowed or not required by the ELCA's rules and procedures, you have admonished them to learn how the ELCA works.  In this case, you stand in their shoes and need to take heed of your own admonishments.  You may not "understand" why an ELCA congregation would join LCMC.  You might not like it.  But your personal point of view does not control here.  The congregation's governing documents do.


The governing documents do not give an ELCA congregation the power or authority to join another denomination. They have the authority to terminate their relationship with the ELCA C5.03.j. Once that is terminated, then they can give themselves the power to join another denomination.


We've been over this several times.  Congregations have the power to do anything that is not prohibited by their governing documents.  Those governing documents create the process by which actions can be taken.  The model governing documents for congregations do not prohibit congregations from joining other church bodies.  This is confirmed, among other ways, by the quotes from ELCA leaders through the years that dual membership of congregations is "not a problem" in the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 01:03:48 AM
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 02, 2012, 01:07:00 AM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 02, 2012, 01:11:20 AM
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.


You sure do like mixes apples and pears and oranges and bananas.  A congregation obviously cannot join a church body against the church body's will.  So what?  The ELCA's model constitution for congregations creates a decision-making structure through which congregations can take the steps required by LCMC for LCMC membership.


You seem to think that congregations can only make decisions specifically identified in congregational governing documents.  Not so.  Not even close.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 01:12:58 AM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh.


If God were truly our master, there would not be denominations. We let things like national heritage, theological differences and practices become more important than God.


God is to be our master, be all of us who are married know that we cannot spend all our time serving God -- spouses and children and sometimes parents at times become our masters.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 01:19:52 AM
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.


You sure do like mixes apples and pears and oranges and bananas.  A congregation obviously cannot join a church body against the church body's will.  So what?  The ELCA's model constitution for congregations creates a decision-making structure through which congregations can take the steps required by LCMC for LCMC membership.


You seem to think that congregations can only make decisions specifically identified in congregational governing documents.  Not so.  Not even close.


You must be looking at a different part of the constitution than I am. C5.03. states what authority is given to the congregation. Other sections talk about how decisions are to be made; but they are not empowered to make decisions beyond their authority. A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2012, 01:50:33 AM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh.

Excellent point! Congregations are not servants of the denomination that they are affiliated with. The denominations are a collection of congregations. The congregations are the church, the denominations are artificial, man-made establishments that are supposed to facilitate the functioning of the congregations, but the denomination is not an authority over the congregations. That's why the only course of discipline available to the denomination regarding a congregation is to sever the affiliation between the denomination and the congregation.
 
The denomination serves the congregation by providing resources, maintaining a certain degree of good order, facilitating cooperative action to accomplish broader ranges of missions, and other things like maintaining seminaries and a publishing service to make available educational and worship materials. It also handles the training, ordination, and certification of clergy. 
 
If being affiliated with one organization that provides those benefits is good, then being affiliated with two such organizations would surely be better. The only issue would be if the mutually agreed upon standards that define each of two different denominations are at variance with each other to the point of being mutually exclusive.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 02, 2012, 02:18:01 AM

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?
The answer to this question depends to a certain extent on whether one sees the congregation serving the denomination or the denomination serving the congregation. I would guess we differ on the answer to this duality.

Quite frankly, I am surprised at the strength of your insistence on this matter, given your long-time argumentation that Christian unity is sooooo very important. In this instance, I am clearly more open to the possibility of a sense of unity than you are. Don't know what to make of that....

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2012, 02:29:12 AM
Quite frankly, I am surprised at the strength of your insistence on this matter, given your long-time argumentation that Christian unity is sooooo very important. In this instance, I am clearly more open to the possibility of a sense of unity than you are. Don't know what to make of that....

Lou

It's called "hypocrisy".
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 02, 2012, 02:29:28 AM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 02, 2012, 03:39:01 AM
Mr.Erdner writes:
The denominations are a collection of congregations. The congregations are the church, the denominations are artificial, man-made establishments that are supposed to facilitate the functioning of the congregations, but the denomination is not an authority over the congregations. That's why the only course of discipline available to the denomination regarding a congregation is to sever the affiliation between the denomination and the congregation.
I comment:
And here we go again with the willful ignorance and persistent refusal to understand. In the ELCA, congregations, synods and the national "expression" of the ELCA are all church and are interdependent. That is, one does not exist without the other. The ELCA as "denomination," and as synod does indeed have authority over congregations, and congregations accept that authority by being part of the ELCA.
In one sense, even congregations are "man-made establishments," are they not?

Mr. Erdner writes:
The denomination serves the congregation by providing resources, maintaining a certain degree of good order, facilitating cooperative action to accomplish broader ranges of missions, and other things like maintaining seminaries and a publishing service to make available educational and worship materials. It also handles the training, ordination, and certification of clergy.
I comment:
That is neither the sole, nor is it the main function of the "denomination" in the ELCA. And since Mr. Erdner refuses to recognize the "degree of good order" established by synods and ELCA Assemblies, he is not even consistent with his own warped view of what the ELCA or any denomination is.

Mr. Erdner writes;
If being affiliated with one organization that provides those benefits is good, then being affiliated with two such organizations would surely be better. The only issue would be if the mutually agreed upon standards that define each of two different denominations are at variance with each other to the point of being mutually exclusive.
I comment:
Hogwash. Mr. Erdner continues to describe a "church" and the relationships between congregations, synods and the ELCA concocted only from his own fanciful musings and without any understanding of reality. Even ELCA "traditionalists" here ought to be offended.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 02, 2012, 08:17:07 AM
And here we go again with the willful ignorance and persistent refusal to understand. In the ELCA, congregations, synods and the national "expression" of the ELCA are all church and are interdependent. That is, one does not exist without the other. The ELCA as "denomination," and as synod does indeed have authority over congregations, and congregations accept that authority by being part of the ELCA.


and here we go again with your willful veiled insults and persistent ad hominem attacks.  Until you recognize the equality among this official proclamation of interdependency, it is pointless to even debate with you, since anyone who disagrees with you will be called willfully ignorant or worse.   >:(
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 02, 2012, 08:34:20 AM
Do you admit, Pastor Cottingham, that a congregation cannot leave the ELCA without proper procedure or - in some circumstances - without the approval of the synod council? Do you admit that a synod and the ELCA may determine that "dual rostering" violates our agreement?
And do you subscribe to Mr. Erdner's quirky, independent, non-theological, non-structural, what-I-think view of the church?
The insult, Pastor Cottingham, comes from those like Mr. Erdner. One may certainly criticize the ELCA and advocate for changes in what it does. But to do so, you damn well better understand what it is you are criticizing and how it works. Otherwise, you are not a helpful critic, but simply a pain in the posterior.
Such people are like a fool who would go around whining "Awww! Geee! I think each state should have three senators, not two. Why don't they? Nobody asked me! So why don't they just change? After all, a state is just yada yada yada and the senate is yada yada yada (insert unique and inaccurate statements about states and the senate), so why not do it my way?"
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 02, 2012, 09:03:39 AM
Time to let this one go.....
Once again, hyperbole and ad hominem rule the day. So be it. Cowardly and duplicitous indeed....

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: MaddogLutheran on February 02, 2012, 09:13:36 AM
Mr.Erdner writes:
The denominations are a collection of congregations. The congregations are the church, the denominations are artificial, man-made establishments that are supposed to facilitate the functioning of the congregations, but the denomination is not an authority over the congregations. That's why the only course of discipline available to the denomination regarding a congregation is to sever the affiliation between the denomination and the congregation.
I comment:
And here we go again with the willful ignorance and persistent refusal to understand. In the ELCA, congregations, synods and the national "expression" of the ELCA are all church and are interdependent. That is, one does not exist without the other. The ELCA as "denomination," and as synod does indeed have authority over congregations, and congregations accept that authority by being part of the ELCA.
In one sense, even congregations are "man-made establishments," are they not?
Your continuing jihad against George and your descent into semantics with "man-made establishments" aside, I'd suggest that you ought to rethink your hypothesis above that "one does not exist without the other".  My heritage is LCA as well, and I'm no raging congregationalists, but even I recognize that the congregation can and does exist without higher levels of hierarchy.  If the geography/population of a jurisdiction is large enough to allow for multiple congregations, then such human ordered institutions to provide the biblical mandate of supervision are proper.  I believe you are confusing the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which any congregation does belong to in some mystical way, with the human institutions of denomination.  Synods and churchwide assemblies do not regularly gather for word and sacrament to qualify as such (though they are church when they do so).  If they did, they would effectively be cathedral congregations.  The local assembled congregation is foundational, and everything else springs from it.  It's only when you have 2 or more of them, do you have the possibility of interdependent hierarchy.  UPDATE:  If tomorrow the ELCA decided to dissolve itself (through constitutional processes), the congregations which compose it would not cease to exist.  But the synod and national church offices would.  The two upper "expressions", however, have no power to dissolve a healthy congregation; they both exist only as long as their constituent congregation do.  The deference to outside authority which congregations place in their constitutions does not mean their continuance is dependent on that outside authority.

George (and Lou) are not wrong here; you're apparently just determined to say they are in defense of your (well, our) institution's inconsistent actions.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on February 02, 2012, 09:17:55 AM
Time to let this one go.....
Once again, hyperbole and ad hominem rule the day. So be it. Cowardly and duplicitous indeed....

Lou

This is another one they could close!  :(
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 02, 2012, 11:01:18 AM
How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?

That a rather curious turn of phrase. 

As for me and my house, the object of this pastor's and congregation's devotion is the Lord. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 02, 2012, 11:03:11 AM

As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

Several dozen ELCA congregations joined LCMC, without leaving the ELCA, under Secretary Almen's watch.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 02, 2012, 11:08:12 AM

The governing documents do not give an ELCA congregation the power or authority to join another denomination.

They do not need to.  From a legal and constitutional perspective, it is the congregation -- already constituted as an organization that has its own powers and authority -- that joins the ELCA, not the ELCA that creates the congregation.  None of the power or authority of an ELCA congregation is granted by the ELCA's governing documents.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 02, 2012, 11:11:46 AM
A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.

Talk about mixing apples and pears and oranges and bananas, then you start throwing in carburetors and bifocal lenses...
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 02, 2012, 11:15:29 AM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".

Lou

You are of course correct Lou.  Brian's statement is demonstrably false ... there were several (perhaps dozens) {edit: a quick check of the internet archive site looking at the November 2006 update of the LCMC.net site shows 44 member congregations as ELCA members} of congregations that have been listed on the LCMC list of congregations as also being ELCA members that go back into the time when Sec. Almen was in office.

Brian's continued insistence that congregations are unable to affiliate with another denomination has also motivated me to actually open the ELCA constitution and look up the section that recognizes that they are allowed to enter such arrangements.

Take a look at Chapter 9, titled "Congregations", under section 9.30. "Reservation of Authority" you will find the following:

9.31. Congregations of this church shall have authority in all matters that are not assigned by the constitution and bylaws of this church to synods and the churchwide organization.

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 11:26:59 AM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".


The LCMC began as a network of congregations and purposely did not seek to become a "denomination". As such it was not too different from RIC or LC/NA. However, it morphed into a Lutheran denomination.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 11:30:52 AM
How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?

That a rather curious turn of phrase. 

As for me and my house, the object of this pastor's and congregation's devotion is the Lord.


Spoken by a single pastor who doesn't fall under Paul's critique of the necessity of sharing devotion with a spouse.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 11:33:47 AM
A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.

Talk about mixing apples and pears and oranges and bananas, then you start throwing in carburetors and bifocal lenses...


I'm not clear from your answer. Are you agreeing with me that their constitutions do not give congregations the authority to elect a bishop even at a duly called congregational meeting? Or, in more general terms, that  the constitutions do not give congregations all authority.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 02, 2012, 11:35:26 AM

9.31. Congregations of this church shall have authority in all matters that are not assigned by the constitution and bylaws of this church to synods and the churchwide organization.


The rostering of clergy and of congregations falls under the authority of the synods, thus it has been assigned and not under the congregation's authority.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 02, 2012, 11:36:20 AM
How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?

That a rather curious turn of phrase. 

As for me and my house, the object of this pastor's and congregation's devotion is the Lord.


Spoken by a single pastor who doesn't fall under Paul's critique of the necessity of sharing devotion with a spouse.
Of more than 20,000 posts this one may be the most incredible. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on February 02, 2012, 11:39:48 AM
How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?

That a rather curious turn of phrase. 

As for me and my house, the object of this pastor's and congregation's devotion is the Lord.


Spoken by a single pastor who doesn't fall under Paul's critique of the necessity of sharing devotion with a spouse.

How petty of a response, Brian!  How sad, I never thought you would be a person without words!  I think Steven deserves better answer then this!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 02, 2012, 11:43:42 AM

9.31. Congregations of this church shall have authority in all matters that are not assigned by the constitution and bylaws of this church to synods and the churchwide organization.


The rostering of clergy and of congregations falls under the authority of the synods, thus it has been assigned and not under the congregation's authority.

Oh boy ... of course the synod has the authority to list congregations on their roster.  That has nothing to do with congregations' right to join any other organizations.

LCMC also has the authority to list or not list a congregation that makes application to join.

Apples, oranges, etc.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2012, 11:44:19 AM
A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.

Talk about mixing apples and pears and oranges and bananas, then you start throwing in carburetors and bifocal lenses...

Stoffregen actually makes a good point, though it is against his argument. The fact that individual "voting members" rather than representative delegates elect bishops is further proof of the weakness of the relationship between congregations and the ELCA.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on February 02, 2012, 12:03:29 PM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".


The LCMC began as a network of congregations and purposely did not seek to become a "denomination". As such it was not too different from RIC or LC/NA. However, it morphed into a Lutheran denomination.

You are correct -- at least until your last sentence.  Actually, the question is whether it was the insistence by the churchwide office of the ELCA that LCMC was a denomination that caused LCMC to (to use your wording) "morph into a Lutheran denomination," or whether that "morphing" was already underway and the ELCA leadership was only naming what they saw occuring on the ground. 

Probably impossible to prove either way, at this point in time.  Future dissertation topic, definitely!

( I will attest, based on personal conversations with those in leadership roles in LCMC and Word Alone, that those who were instrumental in how LCMC worked during most of the previous decade never intended to form a seperate denomination, because they firmly believed that the time of denominations was ending and LCMC was "post-denominational." I think they would say, accurately or not, that it was the ELCA's insistence that LCMC was a separate denomination that caused LCMC to finally embrace the word, albeit with their own spin on how their particular denomination would or would not reflect traditional denominational structures and ways of governing.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on February 02, 2012, 12:49:26 PM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".


The LCMC began as a network of congregations and purposely did not seek to become a "denomination". As such it was not too different from RIC or LC/NA. However, it morphed into a Lutheran denomination.

You are correct -- at least until your last sentence.  Actually, the question is whether it was the insistence by the churchwide office of the ELCA that LCMC was a denomination that caused LCMC to (to use your wording) "morph into a Lutheran denomination," or whether that "morphing" was already underway and the ELCA leadership was only naming what they saw occuring on the ground. 

Probably impossible to prove either way, at this point in time.  Future dissertation topic, definitely!

( I will attest, based on personal conversations with those in leadership roles in LCMC and Word Alone, that those who were instrumental in how LCMC worked during most of the previous decade never intended to form a seperate denomination, because they firmly believed that the time of denominations was ending and LCMC was "post-denominational." I think they would say, accurately or not, that it was the ELCA's insistence that LCMC was a separate denomination that caused LCMC to finally embrace the word, albeit with their own spin on how their particular denomination would or would not reflect traditional denominational structures and ways of governing.)

Erma has this right. LCMC was originally cast as an alternative in a post-denominational world. Even (originally) to the extent of letting districts colloquy and roster pastors--LCMC would only maintain a "list". This went mostly by the wayside as time and certain disagreements evolved. Today LCMC maintains a clergy roster.

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 02, 2012, 01:04:00 PM
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".


The LCMC began as a network of congregations and purposely did not seek to become a "denomination". As such it was not too different from RIC or LC/NA. However, it morphed into a Lutheran denomination.

You are correct -- at least until your last sentence.  Actually, the question is whether it was the insistence by the churchwide office of the ELCA that LCMC was a denomination that caused LCMC to (to use your wording) "morph into a Lutheran denomination," or whether that "morphing" was already underway and the ELCA leadership was only naming what they saw occuring on the ground. 

Probably impossible to prove either way, at this point in time.  Future dissertation topic, definitely!

( I will attest, based on personal conversations with those in leadership roles in LCMC and Word Alone, that those who were instrumental in how LCMC worked during most of the previous decade never intended to form a seperate denomination, because they firmly believed that the time of denominations was ending and LCMC was "post-denominational." I think they would say, accurately or not, that it was the ELCA's insistence that LCMC was a separate denomination that caused LCMC to finally embrace the word, albeit with their own spin on how their particular denomination would or would not reflect traditional denominational structures and ways of governing.)

Erma has this right. LCMC was originally cast as an alternative in a post-denominational world. Even (originally) to the extent of letting districts colloquy and roster pastors--LCMC would only maintain a "list". This went mostly by the wayside as time and certain disagreements evolved. Today LCMC maintains a clergy roster.

Lou

True.  I'm not sure what the latest is, but I have heard that the bylaws committee is trying to arrest some of the "structure" that sort of took on a life of its own extra-constitutionally.  The rapid influx of congregations and pastors that came following CWA 09 drove some of the ad-hoc structure to deal with it, but it may or may not be long lasting.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2012, 01:18:54 PM
And here we go again with the willful ignorance and persistent refusal to understand. In the ELCA, congregations, synods and the national "expression" of the ELCA are all church and are interdependent. That is, one does not exist without the other. The ELCA as "denomination," and as synod does indeed have authority over congregations, and congregations accept that authority by being part of the ELCA.


and here we go again with your willful veiled insults and persistent ad hominem attacks.  Until you recognize the equality among this official proclamation of interdependency, it is pointless to even debate with you, since anyone who disagrees with you will be called willfully ignorant or worse.   >:(

Perhaps someone should point out that interdependent implies that neither party can survive without the other. When two entities have a mutually beneficial relationship that both one can survive quite nicely without, then the term interdependent does not accurately apply. There are plenty of Christian congregations that get along just fine with no affiliation with any denomination or church body. The fact of their existence proves that no congregation automatically requires denominational affiliation, except perhaps if it is too weak to survive without external support. Even then, such support can come from other sources than a denomination such as the ELCA.
 
The ELCA has lost or is losing around 675 congregations. Nevertheless, it survives. According to the sandcastle builder, the ELCA is still going strong. Therefore, it would appear that the ELCA doesn't depend on any individual congregations, making the claim of being interdependent hollow from that side as well.
 
There is often a huge difference between rhetoric and reality. One such situation is in how the ELCA describes itself in its own documents. The mere fact that the ELCA makes a rhetorical claim to the existence of an interdependent relationship between itself and the congregations affiliated with it does not make that claim accurate. Neither does claiming that congregations are members of the ELCA change the fact that they are in reality merely affilates, capable of changing their affiliation or acquiring additional affiliation as they see fit. There is nothing that the ELCA can do about such actions, other than withdrawing from the affiliation.
 
Even the one single piece of authority that the ELCA has for disciplining a congregation is presented in the ELCA's documentation in a less than accurate manner. The ELCA does not "expell" a congregation. The ELCA simply cuts the part of the (metaphorical) rope that ties the congregation to the ELCA at the ELCA's end of the rope. The ELCA doesn't kick out the congregation, the ELCA is the party that does the leaving. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 02, 2012, 03:26:45 PM
A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.

Talk about mixing apples and pears and oranges and bananas, then you start throwing in carburetors and bifocal lenses...


I'm not clear from your answer. Are you agreeing with me that their constitutions do not give congregations the authority to elect a bishop even at a duly called congregational meeting? Or, in more general terms, that  the constitutions do not give congregations all authority.

I was just trying to say red herring in a different way.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mel Harris on February 07, 2012, 04:09:18 AM
A friend pointed me to these two new articles by Pastor Chris Conner.

http://tinyurl.com/6vxk3a6

and

http://tinyurl.com/7kzp5v2

     Mel Harris
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 07, 2012, 05:57:36 AM
The links provided just upstream provide more information showing us how inappropriate it is for us to draw huge conclusions, make judgements, or attempt authoritative analysis of a parish situation from afar.
Hamlet advises his friend, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Act 1, Scene V) We might do well to remember that there are "more things in heaven and earth" than are concocted by our biases and assumptions.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 07, 2012, 07:53:15 AM
On the contrary, I thought the exposure of the many "facts" behind this whole mess quite illuminating, and I found the preponderance of those far outweighed any bias from the author. 

But I would expect no less of a statement from the ELCA's resident mouthpiece when confronted by such facts.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: GalRev83 on February 07, 2012, 08:09:53 AM
A friend pointed me to these two new articles by Pastor Chris Conner.

http://tinyurl.com/6vxk3a6

and

http://tinyurl.com/7kzp5v2

     Mel Harris

Thanks for these citations. I admit I have not followed this story as closely as have some others. The situation is so disturbing, and sad. And the account of the Bishop's divorce just adds more --I dunno -- sadness, I guess -- to the whole situation. Thank you for the insights this writer provided.

Donna
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 07, 2012, 08:41:06 AM
I was not, Pastor Cottingham, referring to what was in the particular articles. I was referring to the second- third- and four-guessing that goes on among those far away from the actual situation.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 07, 2012, 09:35:17 AM
And just why would that be, Charles?   What I saw in those articles has been reflected in many of the posts here - the devilish behavior on the part of a bishop who has stirred the pot several times, tossed live grenades into the room, and then stood back and absolved himself of all responsibility.

Those two articles have only affirmed the "second- third- and four-guessing" you rail against from those here, who actually know far more about the situation than you will ever admit. 

But as the ELCA's chief defender, it is no surprise that you continue defend your mother church, and you fail to see in the situation the harm being done to the body of Christ and just how appalling the entire mess is, largely at the responsibility of the synodical leadership there.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 07, 2012, 09:55:14 AM
I'm not clear from your answer. Are you agreeing with me that their constitutions do not give congregations the authority to elect a bishop even at a duly called congregational meeting? Or, in more general terms, that  the constitutions do not give congregations all authority.

I was just trying to say red herring in a different way.


Congregations are not free to do anything they want to do. Electing their own bishop is not something an ELCA congregation can do. The Secretary of the Church has also said that an ELCA congregation cannot vote to join another denomination. (However synodical bishops can make exceptions -- but it's under the bishop's authority to allow it, not the congregation's.)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 07, 2012, 10:07:32 AM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 07, 2012, 10:13:21 AM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.


The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 07, 2012, 11:10:25 AM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.


The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 07, 2012, 12:57:33 PM
Pastor Cottingham persists (following my warning about drawing large conclusions from afar):
And just why would that be, Charles?   What I saw in those articles has been reflected in many of the posts here - the devilish behavior on the part of a bishop who has stirred the pot several times, tossed live grenades into the room, and then stood back and absolved himself of all responsibility.
I comment:
The "devilish" word is yours, not in the information offered, as is the reference to weaponry.

Pastor Cottingham writes:
Those two articles have only affirmed the "second- third- and four-guessing" you rail against from those here, who actually know far more about the situation than you will ever admit.
I comment:
They refer to the situation reported in those particular articles; they may not pertain to the ELCA as a whole.

Pastor Cottingham writes:
But as the ELCA's chief defender, it is no surprise that you continue defend your mother church, and you fail to see in the situation the harm being done to the body of Christ and just how appalling the entire mess is, largely at the responsibility of the synodical leadership there.
I comment:
Yes, I defend the church I serve. Don't you?
As to assigning "blame" for any alleged "mess," I do not want to do that from afar; I do not want to say definitively what the situation in that church is or what it means for the whole wide world. You apparently do.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 07, 2012, 07:39:56 PM
FWIW, the first of the above referenced examiner.com pieces (http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-st-paul/elca-bishop-duane-pederson-wages-battle-with-grace-eau-claire-announces-divorce) just made me sad, not only in the two incredibly distressing situations facing the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin but in the way the writer melds the two unseemly situations together.  Frnakly, that's entirely too much psychological "analysis" going out under a reporter's byline for me.
 
As for the second (http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-st-paul/grace-eau-claire-when-the-journalist-becomes-part-of-the-story), I must confess to almost laughing out loud at the headline, for its second part ("When the Journalist Becomes Part of the Story") pretty well describes how Pastor Connor made his name as a reporter of matters ELCA back in his final seminarian days, when he didn't want any stinking Bishop laying hands on him at his ordination.  Granted he unearthed some pretty awful stuff and there are matters where I think he and I are actually on much the same page.  But if I'm going to feel unclean after reading a story, I don't want to be wondering how much of that comes primarily from my experience with the writer rather than the story.

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 07, 2012, 07:46:18 PM
And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.


No, only "a." is the one that a bishop can do. Note the boldface. Any others actions are referred to the disciplinary hearing committee.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 07, 2012, 07:54:23 PM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on February 07, 2012, 07:59:48 PM
And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.


No, only "a." is the one that a bishop can do. Note the boldface. Any others actions are referred to the disciplinary hearing committee.

OK  ::)  They should get on with it then.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 07, 2012, 10:07:32 PM

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).

I don't know.  Seems to work for judges in California.  :-(

Lord, have mercy.  Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 08, 2012, 12:05:13 AM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).


However, if the head of the Megamillions jackpot who has the authority and power to declare who the winner is, says that you are the winner. It is so. There are people who have the authority to make such proclamations. The Secretary has authority to make proclamations about the legality of actions within the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 08, 2012, 01:08:02 AM

Would someone please explain to Mr. Erdner - for the thousandth time - that no congregation in the ELCA is ever - repeat ever - "simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA"? This does not happen. Ever. Nothing in any ecumenical agreement envisions congregations simultaneously part of two denominations.

Tell it to the good people of Truckee Lutheran-Presbyterian Church in Truckee, CA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 08, 2012, 01:08:44 AM
I believe, Peter, that those situations came from a time even before there was an ELCA. And it was your people who wanted to put an end to them.

Which means that the ELCA was fine with it back then.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 08, 2012, 02:14:09 AM
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).


However, if the head of the Megamillions jackpot who has the authority and power to declare who the winner is, says that you are the winner. It is so. There are people who have the authority to make such proclamations. The Secretary has authority to make proclamations about the legality of actions within the ELCA.


Round and round we go.  At first, you said that the "bishop simply declares" whether or not a congregational vote to leave the ELCA is "legal."  When challenged, you backed off from this incorrect assertion.  That was wise.  It was not so wise, though, to substitute another incorrect assertion.  While the Secretary presumably can "make proclamations" on any subject whatever -- even on whether I won the lottery jackpot.  However, he has no special authority to make "proclamations about the legality of actions within the ELCA."  And such proclamations certainly have no binding effect. 


I suspect that you are thinking about ELCA Bylaw 13.41.04.  But it says something quite different from what you wrote.  Specifically, it provides that the "secretary shall prepare interpretations, as necessary, of the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."  The secretary has no power to proclaim any act to be legal or illegal.  And he has no authority to issue authoritative interpretations of synod or congregational governing documents. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2012, 03:40:34 AM
I noted that the ecumenical agreements did not envision dual-rostered congregations.
Richard wrote:
Tell it to the good people of Truckee Lutheran-Presbyterian Church in Truckee, CA.

I comment:
I did not say it could not happen, in a particular setting, with particular permission. I said it was not in the documents.
I also noted that at the formation of the ELCA, there had been congregations that, prior to the merger, considered themselves both ELCA and LCMS.

Richard wrote:
Which means that the ELCA was fine with it back then.
I comment:
Maybe. Maybe not. Or maybe later we decided it wasn't a good idea. (The LCMS certainly did.)

Mr. Gale writes, re ELCA bylaw 13.41.04, disputing what Pastor Stoffregen wrote about the ELCA secretary's "authority":
Specifically, it provides that the "secretary shall prepare interpretations, as necessary, of the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."  The secretary has no power to proclaim any act to be legal or illegal.  And he has no authority to issue authoritative interpretations of synod or congregational governing documents.
I comment:
If, Mr. Gale, by "legal or illegal," you are referring to status vis a vis U.S. civil law, you may be correct. But the constitution says (at least this is how we have interpreted it up to now) that the ELCA secretary has the authority to issue interpretations which are understood as authoritative within the ELCA, how the ELCA officially sees the
matter at hand and how the ELCA interprets its documents.
I believe that for a civil court to rule contrary to the ELCA secretary's interpretation of our constitution would be to have the courts meddle in the internal affairs of a church body, and you have noted that they are reluctant to do so.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 08, 2012, 09:01:28 AM
Yes, I defend the church I serve. Don't you?
As to assigning "blame" for any alleged "mess," I do not want to do that from afar; I do not want to say definitively what the situation in that church is or what it means for the whole wide world. You apparently do.

Yes, as long as that church is in accord with its historic roots and understanding of Scripture, aka "unless I can be convinced by Scripture or reason..."

That you do not want to call out evil, devilish behavior, and so on says a lot more about you than my willingness to cry "BS" says about me. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2012, 09:14:03 AM
Pastor Cottingham persists (re defending one's church body):
Yes, as long as that church is in accord with its historic roots and understanding of Scripture, aka "unless I can be convinced by Scripture or reason..."
That you do not want to call out evil, devilish behavior, and so on says a lot more about you than my willingness to do so says about me.
I comment:
But you - and a chancelful of others - have set yourselves up as individuals who decide, on their own, or in small groupings, exactly how a church is "in accord" or "evil, devilish" etc.
     That's fine, so long as you recognize that you are doing so on your own as an individual and in these small conventuals.
Have at it. Your puritan and separatist forbears did the same.
That's what got us the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and when those separatists and conventuals got too exclusivist and persecuted Roger Williams, that's how we got Rhode Island.
Why do you seem to think you can continue to call us heretics, "evil," "devilish" and such things without consequence? That's absurd.
    Have the guts of those puritans and separatists and move on. Maybe the NALC or the LCMC will be your Leiden until you decide you have to start your own colony somewhere or until a Roger Williams arises in the NALC and LCMC and the internal wars begin again.

P.S. My deepest apologies for not knowing about a joint Lutheran-Presbyterian congregation. I was thinking in terms of what is prescribed in the documents and it was wrong of me not to consider that in some places, even further progress was being made. Sorry for the error and for overstating my point.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James Gustafson on February 08, 2012, 10:02:34 AM
P.S. My deepest apologies for not knowing about a joint Lutheran-Presbyterian congregation. I was thinking in terms of what is prescribed in the documents and it was wrong of me not to consider that in some places, even further progress was being made. Sorry for the error and for overstating my point.

Good enough for me, I've deleted my other post on this issue.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 08, 2012, 05:44:16 PM
Pastor Cottingham persists (re defending one's church body):
Yes, as long as that church is in accord with its historic roots and understanding of Scripture, aka "unless I can be convinced by Scripture or reason..."
That you do not want to call out evil, devilish behavior, and so on says a lot more about you than my willingness to do so says about me.
I comment:
But you - and a chancelful of others - have set yourselves up as individuals who decide, on their own, or in small groupings, exactly how a church is "in accord" or "evil, devilish" etc.
     That's fine, so long as you recognize that you are doing so on your own as an individual and in these small conventuals.
Have at it. Your puritan and separatist forbears did the same.
That's what got us the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and when those separatists and conventuals got too exclusivist and persecuted Roger Williams, that's how we got Rhode Island.
Why do you seem to think you can continue to call us heretics, "evil," "devilish" and such things without consequence? That's absurd.
    Have the guts of those puritans and separatists and move on. Maybe the NALC or the LCMC will be your Leiden until you decide you have to start your own colony somewhere or until a Roger Williams arises in the NALC and LCMC and the internal wars begin again.

P.S. My deepest apologies for not knowing about a joint Lutheran-Presbyterian congregation. I was thinking in terms of what is prescribed in the documents and it was wrong of me not to consider that in some places, even further progress was being made. Sorry for the error and for overstating my point.

Charles, your juvenile and immature ongoing method of insult by insinuation has risen to a whole new level.  I hope you are thoroughly ashamed, but I'm guessing not.  In either case, you ought to be.  I'd better stop now before I stoop to your level and get the moderators upset.   >:(
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James_Gale on February 08, 2012, 05:54:04 PM
Pastor Cottingham persists (re defending one's church body):
Yes, as long as that church is in accord with its historic roots and understanding of Scripture, aka "unless I can be convinced by Scripture or reason..."
That you do not want to call out evil, devilish behavior, and so on says a lot more about you than my willingness to do so says about me.
I comment:
But you - and a chancelful of others - have set yourselves up as individuals who decide, on their own, or in small groupings, exactly how a church is "in accord" or "evil, devilish" etc.
     That's fine, so long as you recognize that you are doing so on your own as an individual and in these small conventuals.
Have at it.
.  .  .  .


Just curious.  Do you think that Luther, Melanchthon, and the gang warranted the same admonition?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2012, 06:03:10 PM
I'd better stop now before I stoop to your level and get the moderators upset.   >:(

Good idea. I've felt the wrath of the moderators when I stooped to his level.  ::)
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2012, 07:11:45 PM
My objection, people, is that Pastor Cottingham and his cohort seem to think they can denounce their fellow ELCA Lutherans, call them names, pronounce judgment on the church body and use terms like "devilish" and "evil" to apply to what we do and then expect there to be no consequences.
"Oh, my," cry they, "we are passed over for calls!" Well, what the heck did you think would happen? You went beyond the bounds of fair criticism. And if your bishops overreacted, that's just part of the whole dynamic, isn't it?
I would have thought you to be honored by the comparison with the puritans and separatists, who had the courage to leave their homeland for the sake of their faith. If what was happening to them in England was unjust, then their very suffering bore witness to the truth they claimed to espouse.
For heaven's sake! If you want to be a dissident or revolutionary or reformer, at least summon up the guts to take the punches and lay off the "poor me, I'm so persecuted, can't-get-a-call" attitude.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 08, 2012, 07:37:52 PM
By all means, let's save our sympathy for those who really need it - the poor members of the ELCA who were on the majority side, who got the policy changed to be more like what they thought was best and what they wanted and still found that not everybody thought that they were heros, celebrated their prophetic courage, and that some even dared complain that they had changed key elements of how the Bible was understood.  Some didn't like what happened but rather than decently keeping quiet, paying their dues and cheering for the victors, they were upset and angery.  How dare they!  The victors were willing for them to hang around so long as they didn't cause trouble and kept the mission support coming.  Wasn't that enough to placate the poor loosers?!?   :o :o
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2012, 10:37:30 PM
Pastor Fienen, your continuing characterization and misrepresentation of what has happened and is happening in the ELCA - filtered through your LCMSism - is not helpful to any kind of discussion.
I seriously doubt that you have had nearly enough close contact with or exposure to the "revisionist" elements of the ELCA to make the kind of statements you make. Consequently, they are uncharitable and wrong.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 08, 2012, 10:40:14 PM
My objection, people, is that Pastor Cottingham and his cohort seem to think they can denounce their fellow ELCA Lutherans, call them names, pronounce judgment on the church body and use terms like "devilish" and "evil" to apply to what we do and then expect there to be no consequences.
"Oh, my," cry they, "we are passed over for calls!" Well, what the heck did you think would happen? You went beyond the bounds of fair criticism. And if your bishops overreacted, that's just part of the whole dynamic, isn't it?
I would have thought you to be honored by the comparison with the puritans and separatists, who had the courage to leave their homeland for the sake of their faith. If what was happening to them in England was unjust, then their very suffering bore witness to the truth they claimed to espouse.
For heaven's sake! If you want to be a dissident or revolutionary or reformer, at least summon up the guts to take the punches and lay off the "poor me, I'm so persecuted, can't-get-a-call" attitude.
\

For the love of Mike, Charles, take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and exhale.  Not once have I called you any name, but your persistence sure pushes me to the limits on that.  Thank heavens for the 8th commandment.  That said, if you think that a sitting bishop being involved as heavily as this in a lawsuit is just fine and dandy, which is denounced by the Apostle Paul (Oh, there I go again, using Scripture as a means of applying the 3rd use of the law...), then perhaps your lamenting about not getting a call long ago had tremendous merit.  Too bad they then changed their minds about it, apparently.   >:(

Oh, that's right - we can't postulate from afar, despite the known facts of the case staring you  (dare I say clubbing you over the head?) right in the face.   ::)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 08, 2012, 10:43:05 PM
Pastor Fienen, your continuing characterization and misrepresentation of what has happened and is happening in the ELCA - filtered through your LCMSism - is not helpful to any kind of discussion.
I seriously doubt that you have had nearly enough close contact with or exposure to the "revisionist" elements of the ELCA to make the kind of statements you make. Consequently, they are uncharitable and wrong.

Sure he has:  the LCMS was smarter - they jettisoned all of those elements, and guess what??!  They then corrupted the ELCA through merger!

And since when are you the judge of who may or may not participate in said discussions?  Quite frankly, being a "revisionist" yourself, your comments are also not helpful to any kind of discussion.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2012, 10:50:13 PM
I see nothing wrong with a bishop trying to preserve the property of one of his congregations if he believes it is being wrongly taken from the people who want to continue as ELCA members. Do you?
And, Pastor Cottingham, you refer to actions of the church body to which I belong - actions which I and millions of others support - as "evil" and "devilish" (your precise words).
And you have constantly complained about the difficulty that "traditionalists" have in getting calls. I only note that, given the language you are using, I'm not the least bit surprised a bishop wasn't eager to put you in a parish. 
You want to have the hoop-de-doo of a "victim" or the smoke and thunder of a revolutionary opposing the evil of the administration, but you don't seem to be able to handle the consequences.
So you left the ELCA. Fine. Best wishes on your ministry.
I reject your attempts to call mine "devilish" and "evil."

Pastor Cottingham writes:
Quite frankly, being a "revisionist" yourself, your comments are also not helpful to any kind of discussion.
I comment:
And there you are. I rest my case. Whatever troubles you may have experienced in the ELCA just might have been the result of the attitude expressed in statements like that.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 08, 2012, 10:57:44 PM
Pastor Fienen, your continuing characterization and misrepresentation of what has happened and is happening in the ELCA - filtered through your LCMSism - is not helpful to any kind of discussion.
I seriously doubt that you have had nearly enough close contact with or exposure to the "revisionist" elements of the ELCA to make the kind of statements you make. Consequently, they are uncharitable and wrong.
Actually, I was thinking more of your reaction to Pr. Cottingham and others than the ELCA in general.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 08, 2012, 11:09:59 PM
Whatever troubles you may have experienced in the ELCA just might have been the result of the attitude expressed in statements like that.

The adjectives, my dear Charles, were directed specifically at a sitting bishop who is in direct contradiction to the directives of Scripture.  If you wish to paint those comments at representing the whole of the ELCA,well, that is your choice.

On the contrary, the troubles that exist in the ELCA are precisely because of the attitude you've so aptly expressed here time and time again.  Your continued disdain for and insulting attitude towards anyone who dares show even a hint of criticism toward your beloved institution is what is not helpful, and I find it the prevailing attitude of the vast majority of revisionists.

With that, I refuse to engage you on this any longer.   Your disdain and contempt is more than evident.  You have embodied time and time again the reasons I and so many others have left or continue to leave the ELCA. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 09, 2012, 04:07:49 AM
Pastor Cottingham writes:
On the contrary, the troubles that exist in the ELCA are precisely because of the attitude you've so aptly expressed here time and time again.  Your continued disdain for and insulting attitude towards anyone who dares show even a hint of criticism toward your beloved institution is what is not helpful, and I find it the prevailing attitude of the vast majority of revisionists.

I comment:
My irritation - I say for the thousandth time - is not towards those who criticize the ELCA. It is certainly not towards those who show "even a hint" of criticism. (And BTW, I do love my church body. Do you not love yours?)
     It is towards those who denounce, carp, condemn, pronounce judgement, and otherwise try to write our fellowship out of the Lutheran communion or the Church.
     It is towards those who, having taken their stand - supposedly based on their faith and conscience - against the direction of their church body (and not only on The Issue), and then expect no reaction.
     My irritation is towards those who supposedly are part of our fellowship, but arrogantly announce that they despise what we do and refuse to support our common mission, those who claim that because we disagree on some things they will no longer honor our fellowship, its leaders and members in anything.
     "You, ELCA," they say, "are unbiblical, your leaders are corrupt and I will not give you my full support. Now, would you please nominate me for a call to one of your parishes?" Give me a break!
     Not all the "traditionalists" denounce, carp, condemn, despise and pronounce judgement. I hope we can treat them as partners. I admit that some of us have a hard time doing that.
     You have left the ELCA. But your continued obsession with who we are and what we do - even after you are no longer with us - strongly suggests that it was good for you and for us that you left.
     I say again: best wishes for your ministry in your new church body. And I think that will go better if you let go of mine. And I hope we are done here.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on February 09, 2012, 09:38:35 AM
By all means, let's save our sympathy for those who really need it - the poor members of the ELCA who were on the majority side, who got the policy changed to be more like what they thought was best and what they wanted and still found that not everybody thought that they were heros, celebrated their prophetic courage, and that some even dared complain that they had changed key elements of how the Bible was understood.  Some didn't like what happened but rather than decently keeping quiet, paying their dues and cheering for the victors, they were upset and angery.  How dare they!  The victors were willing for them to hang around so long as they didn't cause trouble and kept the mission support coming.  Wasn't that enough to placate the poor loosers?!?   :o :o
 
Dan

Actually, Pr. Fienen, I find many of your comments to not only be quite insightful, but written with a pastoral spirit.  You are one of the posters whose comments I will look for, for they often contain observances worth thinking about.  And I would also say, however you meant this comment, it is a fair assessment of what has been happening since a certain Wednesday in August, 2009. 

Erma
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on February 09, 2012, 10:04:49 AM
By all means, let's save our sympathy for those who really need it - the poor members of the ELCA who were on the majority side, who got the policy changed to be more like what they thought was best and what they wanted and still found that not everybody thought that they were heros, celebrated their prophetic courage, and that some even dared complain that they had changed key elements of how the Bible was understood.  Some didn't like what happened but rather than decently keeping quiet, paying their dues and cheering for the victors, they were upset and angery.  How dare they!  The victors were willing for them to hang around so long as they didn't cause trouble and kept the mission support coming.  Wasn't that enough to placate the poor loosers?!?   :o :o
 
Dan


Well Stated, Pastor Fienen, however, the majority in the pews didn't support this at all; as well as many Pastors and some Bishops.  Antinomians now are now in control the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 09, 2012, 10:20:55 AM
That is a correct assessment:  we have a bunch of pelagian antinomians running most denominations today.  Most, but not all.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 09, 2012, 06:17:27 PM

Actually, Pr. Fienen, I find many of your comments to not only be quite insightful, but written with a pastoral spirit.  You are one of the posters whose comments I will look for, for they often contain observances worth thinking about.  And I would also say, however you meant this comment, it is a fair assessment of what has been happening since a certain Wednesday in August, 2009. 


Amen.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on March 03, 2012, 09:34:04 PM
Yet another article published (http://www.leadertelegram.com/content/tncms/live/leadertelegram.com/news/front_page/article_33a324e8-895a-5555-8a1f-ec04b4159167.html) about the ongoing saga at Grace Eau Claire.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Evangel on March 05, 2012, 10:19:32 AM
An email from the Grace Eau Claire President was posted to the LCMC Facebook page:

UPDATE ON FEBRUARY 26, 2012, MEETING

As you should all be aware, on Sunday, Febuary 26, Grace Lutheran Church met in a special congregational meeting to determine a response to Synod Council demands resulting from an adjudication process brought against Grace by Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. The motion that was unanimously passed (236-0) at that meeting was a successful first vote to disaffiliate from the ELCA. A second vote to disaffiliate is scheduled for May 30, 2012.

This week a letter was sent to Bishop Pederson and the Synod Council informing them of the meeting and the vote. Today an article was published in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram concerning that vote. I take this opportunity to challenge the claim that the vote was somehow "improper".

Each church has its own constitution which is its primary governance. The ELCA Constitution 9.52 states: "The governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of this church shall continue to govern such congregations." The ELCA also has a Model Constitution for Congregations that is updated periodically by the churchwide organization. When a church (such as Grace) updates its own constitution, it is required to include updates made to the Model Constitution. But a church is not required to update their constitution when and if any changes are made to that Model. That means that while the ELCA changed the rules regarding disaffiliation in the Model, we are not mandated to change our constitution to match the Model. We have rules regarding disaffiliation. Our rules do not require a 30-day notification to the bishop of our intent to vote to leave the ELCA. Our Constitution is our primary governance; and our vote is, therefore, valid and binding. Our Constitution requires notification to the Bishop of the results of the first vote, and a consultation with the Bishop within the 90-days before our second vote. The notice has been sent, and a consultation will be negotiated.

Within the court order, the congregation was instructed to review the recommendations of the Synod Council and discern a response. The "spirit" of the court order was met with a resounding vote to move away from the ELCA.

If anyone has any questions, please contact me.
Thank you.
Anne
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 05, 2012, 02:04:35 PM
An email from the Grace Eau Claire President was posted to the LCMC Facebook page:

UPDATE ON FEBRUARY 26, 2012, MEETING

As you should all be aware, on Sunday, Febuary 26, Grace Lutheran Church met in a special congregational meeting to determine a response to Synod Council demands resulting from an adjudication process brought against Grace by Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. The motion that was unanimously passed (236-0) at that meeting was a successful first vote to disaffiliate from the ELCA. A second vote to disaffiliate is scheduled for May 30, 2012.

This week a letter was sent to Bishop Pederson and the Synod Council informing them of the meeting and the vote. Today an article was published in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram concerning that vote. I take this opportunity to challenge the claim that the vote was somehow "improper".

Each church has its own constitution which is its primary governance. The ELCA Constitution 9.52 states: "The governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of this church shall continue to govern such congregations." The ELCA also has a Model Constitution for Congregations that is updated periodically by the churchwide organization. When a church (such as Grace) updates its own constitution, it is required to include updates made to the Model Constitution. But a church is not required to update their constitution when and if any changes are made to that Model. That means that while the ELCA changed the rules regarding disaffiliation in the Model, we are not mandated to change our constitution to match the Model. We have rules regarding disaffiliation. Our rules do not require a 30-day notification to the bishop of our intent to vote to leave the ELCA. Our Constitution is our primary governance; and our vote is, therefore, valid and binding. Our Constitution requires notification to the Bishop of the results of the first vote, and a consultation with the Bishop within the 90-days before our second vote. The notice has been sent, and a consultation will be negotiated.

Within the court order, the congregation was instructed to review the recommendations of the Synod Council and discern a response. The "spirit" of the court order was met with a resounding vote to move away from the ELCA.

If anyone has any questions, please contact me.
Thank you.
Anne
Some of us remember the assurances of many Bishops prior to the merger that no congregation would be required to adopt a new constitution.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 05, 2012, 02:06:55 PM
Yes, but did they get it in writing from the final arbitur of such things, the Secretary of the ELCA?
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on March 05, 2012, 04:55:31 PM
I could've predicted that as the result of the drama there. Not surprised at all.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 05, 2012, 05:01:46 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
Some of us remember the assurances of many Bishops prior to the merger that no congregation would be required to adopt a new constitution.

I comment:
No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 05, 2012, 05:07:26 PM
Yes, but did they get it in writing from the final arbitur of such things, the Secretary of the ELCA?
 
Dan

And, do they get follow up notices in writing when a new Secretary of the ELCA replaces the previous Secretary of the ELCA, and makes up new rules out of thin air?
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Gary Hatcher on March 05, 2012, 05:09:43 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
Some of us remember the assurances of many Bishops prior to the merger that no congregation would be required to adopt a new constitution.

I comment:
No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.
So, if one asks those in authority over you, whom one ought to trust as a leader in the faith, and that leader gives an answer that is inaccurate, later proved to be false or reneged on by later church leaders, then one is to be considered stupid for not harboring the suspicions of the leadership you so often decry in this forum. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 05, 2012, 05:12:13 PM
Pastor Hatcher writes:
So, if one asks those in authority over you, whom one ought to trust as a leader in the faith, and that leader gives an answer that is inaccurate, later proved to be false or reneged on by later church leaders, then one is to be considered stupid for not harboring the suspicions of the leadership you so often decry in this forum. 

I muse:
To quote a former president: "Trust, but verify."
To quote myself: "Use some common sense!"
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Ken Kimball on March 05, 2012, 07:06:09 PM
Pastor Hatcher writes:
So, if one asks those in authority over you, whom one ought to trust as a leader in the faith, and that leader gives an answer that is inaccurate, later proved to be false or reneged on by later church leaders, then one is to be considered stupid for not harboring the suspicions of the leadership you so often decry in this forum. 

I muse:
To quote a former president: "Trust, but verify."
To quote myself: "Use some common sense!"
Which of course is what many of us--some of us now former ELCA and others still within the ELCA--have done in our critiques of the ELCA (i.e. "use common sense" and attempts to verify were met either with stone-walling or reneging or actually confirmed the reality of the revisionist agenda contra the ELCA's own Confession of Faith) which you have blithely dismissed or decried as paranoid rants or violations of the 8th Commandment. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 05, 2012, 09:56:36 PM
decried as paranoid rants or violations of the 8th Commandment.

Is it starting to seem like the last resort of anyone who can't come up with a rebuttal to anything is to autmatically invoke the 8th Commandment as some sort of magic talisman? Maybe it doesn't happen every time it could happen, but it certainly seems to happen with increasing frequency.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 06, 2012, 12:18:46 AM

No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.

Well, that's one thing in the ELCA that hasn't changed!  Assurances given prior to a vote don't mean squat after the vote happens.  Now, which smiley do I insert?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mel Harris on March 06, 2012, 03:46:15 AM

I comment:
No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.



Congregations of the ALC were each entitled to a vote on whether or not the ALC would join in the new ELCA.  Bishops and others gave them assurances about what the ELCA would be like, based in part on what was in the constitution that was written for the ELCA.  I personally heard and read some of those assurances before the congregations voted on this in 1987, and after 1988 when congregations were considering whether or not to make any changes to their constitutions. Some of those assurances were based on article 9.52. of the ELCA Constitution which reads as follows:

Quote

The governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of this church shall continue to govern such congregations. When such a congregation wishes to amend any provision of its governing documents, the governing documents of that congregation shall be so amended to conform to 9.25.b. The synod responsible for the review of such amendments may permit, for good cause, a congregation to retain particular unamended provisions in the congregation’s governing documents that were in force at the establishment of this church.


Pastor Austin clearly has stated that those who were designated to explain the ELCA to the congregations and pastors of the ALC were stupid, and any ALC congregations and pastors who believed them were also stupid.

Pastor Austin has therefore implied that any who believed the ELCA would actually follow its constitution were stupid.

I am surprised that Pastor Austin would publicly admit that the written word of the ELCA and the spoken word of its bishops and other officials is not to be trusted.

       Mel Harris

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 06, 2012, 05:42:13 AM
Mel Harris writes:
I am surprised that Pastor Austin would publicly admit that the written word of the ELCA and the spoken word of its bishops and other officials is not to be trusted.

I comment:
That is not what I said, nor what I implied.
     The constitution of the ELCA was not final until - well duh! - the Constituting Convention, so any "assurances" made prior to that time had at least a soupçon of speculation. And Mr. Harris rightly notes that congregation "may" - repeat "may" - have been given permission to keep some provisions of their earlier constitutions; but that when amended, the constitutions were to have been brought in line with the key provisions of the ELCA documents.
    Again, all that was 20+ years ago, and the world moves on. Constitutions are subject to interpretation by trial and error, judicial rulings, and amendment.
    I still contend that a lot of the fooferaw about the alleged "horrors" of the ELCA has come from those who did not do their own due diligence or pay attention to the reality of the church body that was being formed.
     Some did, asked sufferance from their synod, or - in some cases - did not join the ELCA.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Scotty8284 on March 06, 2012, 10:25:24 AM
I comment:
...And Mr. Harris rightly notes that congregation "may" - repeat "may" - have been given permission to keep some provisions of their earlier constitutions; but that when amended, the constitutions were to have been brought in line with the key provisions of the ELCA documents.
    Again, all that was 20+ years ago, and the world moves on. Constitutions are subject to interpretation by trial and error, judicial rulings, and amendment.

It was that dual edged sword of being forced to adopt changes a congregation may not want to that kept many from making any changes whatsoever to their constitutions.

The further the ELCA traveled down the road to its current circumstances, congregations that were skeptical of that direction decided against making any changes because their original constitutions had escape clauses that were less stringent or prone to manipulation than that imposed by the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 06, 2012, 11:13:34 AM

I comment:
No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.



Congregations of the ALC were each entitled to a vote on whether or not the ALC would join in the new ELCA.  Bishops and others gave them assurances about what the ELCA would be like, based in part on what was in the constitution that was written for the ELCA.  I personally heard and read some of those assurances before the congregations voted on this in 1987, and after 1988 when congregations were considering whether or not to make any changes to their constitutions. Some of those assurances were based on article 9.52. of the ELCA Constitution which reads as follows:

Quote

The governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of this church shall continue to govern such congregations. When such a congregation wishes to amend any provision of its governing documents, the governing documents of that congregation shall be so amended to conform to 9.25.b. The synod responsible for the review of such amendments may permit, for good cause, a congregation to retain particular unamended provisions in the congregation’s governing documents that were in force at the establishment of this church.



The next article in the ELCA Constitution is:


9.53. Each congregation shall have governing documents, no terms of which shall conflict with provision 9.21. Subject to the provisions of 9.52., these documents shall contain the elements listed in the bylaws.

9.53.01. The governing documents of congregations shall include:
     a. the Confession of Faith;
     b. the Statement of Purpose;
     c. provisions describing the congregation’s relationship to this church;
     d. a process for calling a pastor;
     e. a listing of the duties of a pastor;
     f. provisions describing the role of the pastor in the governance of the congregation;
     g. a process for removal of a pastor;
     h. provisions regulating the disposition of property;
     i. a legislative process;
     j. an enumeration of officers with definition of authority and functions of each;
     k. a definition of each structural component (e.g., committees, boards); and
     l. a process for the discipline of members.


Congregations could keep their Constitution, but if anything was in conflict with 9.21, it would have to change. If they changed any part, then the whole Constitution had to be in line with the model. Frankly, I always felt that a congregation of the ELCA should want to have constitution that was consistent with the Model Constitution. I've always had congregations compare their constitutions with the latest model (which are updated every 2 years) and revise theirs.

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 06, 2012, 04:54:27 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
Some of us remember the assurances of many Bishops prior to the merger that no congregation would be required to adopt a new constitution.

I comment:
No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.
Rest assured, Charles, that I did not believe those Bishops for a moment.   Nor do I attribute the Bishops' statements to "stupidity"; instead I suspect the statements had a more nefarious explanation.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 06, 2012, 05:27:58 PM
I've always had congregations compare their constitutions with the latest model (which are updated every 2 years) and revise theirs.

Tim, smiling as I type, notes: Ergo, "revisionists" continually "revise"!  ::)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Ken Kimball on March 06, 2012, 07:57:28 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
I did not believe those Bishops for a moment.   Nor do I attribute the Bishops' statements to "stupidity"; instead I suspect the statements had a more nefarious explanation.

I comment:
I suppose it is good to know, for future reference with regard to conversations with you, that you presumed the worst of your ecclesiastical superiors and approached them expecting to find something evil in what they said and did.
And with those presumptions, how easy it must have been for you to have your "expectations" fulfilled. You write it smugly, but I consider it a sad commentary on ministry and our relations with one another.
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?
Ken
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 06, 2012, 08:32:00 PM
Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?
Ken

I would add that there are two very different kinds of "trust". One can trust someone else to never deliberately lie, but that doesn't automatically mean that one can also trust that person to be accurate. There are many people who I trust to never knowingly tell me a lie, but who I have little confidence are accurate in what they say. It angers me to read someone automatically assume that if one doesn't have confidence in the accuracy of statements from ELCA middle management, that means one is accusing them of being "evil". I don't think anyone is saying that they were "evil" to pass along what they thought was the truth at the time, only to have subsequent events make those statements inaccurate.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 06, 2012, 09:17:01 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
I did not believe those Bishops for a moment.   Nor do I attribute the Bishops' statements to "stupidity"; instead I suspect the statements had a more nefarious explanation.

I comment:
I suppose it is good to know, for future reference with regard to conversations with you, that you presumed the worst of your ecclesiastical superiors and approached them expecting to find something evil in what they said and did.
And with those presumptions, how easy it must have been for you to have your "expectations" fulfilled. You write it smugly, but I consider it a sad commentary on ministry and our relations with one another.
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?
Ken

As we were recently reminded by a participant here of Pres. Ronald Reagan - "trust but verify".
 
Pastor Hatcher writes:
So, if one asks those in authority over you, whom one ought to trust as a leader in the faith, and that leader gives an answer that is inaccurate, later proved to be false or reneged on by later church leaders, then one is to be considered stupid for not harboring the suspicions of the leadership you so often decry in this forum. 

I muse:
To quote a former president: "Trust, but verify."
To quote myself: "Use some common sense!"
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 06, 2012, 09:57:16 PM
Pastor Sampson writes:
I did not believe those Bishops for a moment.   Nor do I attribute the Bishops' statements to "stupidity"; instead I suspect the statements had a more nefarious explanation.

I comment:
I suppose it is good to know, for future reference with regard to conversations with you, that you presumed the worst of your ecclesiastical superiors and approached them expecting to find something evil in what they said and did.
And with those presumptions, how easy it must have been for you to have your "expectations" fulfilled. You write it smugly, but I consider it a sad commentary on ministry and our relations with one another.
For your own good, put the shovel down.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 07, 2012, 12:08:29 AM
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?


To think that an ALC or LCA bishop could make guarantees about the new church before it was even formed suggests a gift of foresight and prophecy that I doubt any of our ecclesiastical leaders really have.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 05:33:38 AM
Pastor Kimball writes:
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA. 
I comment:
Just because one "feels" betrayed does not mean that something dastardly has actually taken place.
     As the merger approached, we had decided that the ELCA would maintain a media relations office in New York City and that I would be the person to staff that office. We laid plans.
     About two months before the merger, plans changed. There would be no New York office and in seven weeks I would be unemployed. This left me scrambling for a regular source of income, which I did not find until almost 11 months later. I survived - on a lesser income than previously - as a freelance writer until the Hearst News Service found me.
     Though what had been promised me by the new ELCA did not happen, I did not consider it a "betrayal," even though the "actual direction" (your words) of the ELCA turned out to be different from what I had been told, with difficult consequences for my own life and my family's well-being.
     So I think I have some sense of what others whose lives are impacted by the ELCA are experiencing.

Pastor Kimball writes:
On what grounds can you encourage or convince them (those "others," I assume) they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?
I comment:
On the grounds that we and our called and elected leaders are all fellow members of the Body of Christ, committed to the mission of the church as we understand it, pledged to bear common burdens, forgive each others sins, and continue in Christian fellowship around our mission and the Lord's table. On the grounds that we are to assume that they are acting in good faith (not, like Pastor Sampson said he assumes, with nefarious intent), and that even if they screw it up; they are not evil manipulators out to get us.
     Talk with your parishioners, if you have people who have been "downsized," or whose jobs were sucked away by a corporate merger, or restructured by a new CEO, or made unnecessary by new technologies. They can help you with this.
     We in the church are not unique, we are not promised lifetime sinecures, we are not promised that everything will work out as we intend or to our personal benefit.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Terry W Culler on March 07, 2012, 07:05:01 AM
Nothing seems to show the church at its least appealing as a merger.  I've heard stories about the shenanigans that went on to get the Lutheran Free Church merged into the ALC.  Outright lies, misrepresentations and pastors whose job it was to stir up trouble amongst congregations opposing the merger were just a few of the things that went on.  It makes me feel the LC-MS has the right "take" on that kind of thing.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Mel Harris on March 07, 2012, 07:47:49 AM

Pastor Kimball writes:
On what grounds can you encourage or convince them (those "others," I assume) they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?
I comment:
On the grounds that we and our called and elected leaders are all fellow members of the Body of Christ, committed to the mission of the church as we understand it, pledged to bear common burdens, forgive each others sins, and continue in Christian fellowship around our mission and the Lord's table. On the grounds that we are to assume that they are acting in good faith (not, like Pastor Sampson said he assumes, with nefarious intent), and that even if they screw it up; they are not evil manipulators out to get us.



       Pastor Kimball did not ask about those who are concerned about their future job and financial security.  He asked about those who are concerned that their "bound consciences" may not be respected.  I doubt that many think the leaders of the ELCA are "evil manipulators" intentionally plotting to ruin their lives and their financial futures.  I think some pastors and congregations are concerned that they will not be allowed, let alone encouraged, to carry on with the mission of the church as they understand it, within the ELCA.

       By the way, I was never an English major, but I thought the "them" referred to what was immediately before that sentence in Pastor Kimball's post.


those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.


       Mel Harris
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: grabau on March 07, 2012, 09:13:12 AM

what motivates the "liberal"?  To me seems like a  merchant whose sales are down.  Thus he/she keeps reducing the prices and  finds few willing to "buy" anyway.  grabau
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 09:27:08 AM
someone writes:
what motivates the "liberal"?  To me seems like a  merchant whose sales are down.  Thus he/she keeps reducing the prices and  finds few willing to "buy" anyway.  grabau

I muse (IRONY and SARCASM alert!!!)
what motivates the "conservative"? to me he seems like someone so afraid of change or challenge that he locks himself in a mental and spiritual room and is afraid to come out, lest his weak faith be overpowered. 
See how silly such quickie put-downs are?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 07, 2012, 10:07:39 AM
What motivates "sinners"?


Self.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: grabau on March 07, 2012, 10:54:19 AM
Pr. Austin, remember That Was The It Was--a British revues.  One sketch they did:  There ain't nobody out there or up there itis true, but we keep on swinging the censer 'round the way we used to do. grabau
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 07, 2012, 11:09:46 AM
someone writes:
what motivates the "liberal"?  To me seems like a  merchant whose sales are down.  Thus he/she keeps reducing the prices and  finds few willing to "buy" anyway.  grabau

I muse (IRONY and SARCASM alert!!!)
what motivates the "conservative"? to me he seems like someone so afraid of change or challenge that he locks himself in a mental and spiritual room and is afraid to come out, lest his weak faith be overpowered. 
See how silly such quickie put-downs are?

Tim notes with irony as well: a gift you also apparently seem to possess in abundance, when you're not self-defining as "sweet, cuddly, cute, sand castle building or cat-petting."  :P
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 07, 2012, 12:52:01 PM
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?


To think that an ALC or LCA bishop could make guarantees about the new church before it was even formed suggests a gift of foresight and prophecy that I doubt any of our ecclesiastical leaders really have.

Boy, Brian, I wish I kept those two books on how the ELCA was formed.  This guy was there from the very beginning to the very end.  Much of what was stated here was also published in his books of promised made, and not kept.  Those who were representing the ALC felt betrayed in the end.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 07, 2012, 12:56:13 PM
someone writes:
what motivates the "liberal"?  To me seems like a  merchant whose sales are down.  Thus he/she keeps reducing the prices and  finds few willing to "buy" anyway.  grabau

I muse (IRONY and SARCASM alert!!!)
what motivates the "conservative"? to me he seems like someone so afraid of change or challenge that he locks himself in a mental and spiritual room and is afraid to come out, lest his weak faith be overpowered. 
See how silly such quickie put-downs are?

Tim notes with irony as well: a gift you also apparently seem to possess in abundance, when you're not self-defining as "sweet, cuddly, cute, sand castle building or cat-petting."  :P

He should start all of his post this way. (IRONY and SARCASM alert!!!) Since the majority of them are just that.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 07, 2012, 12:58:49 PM
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?


To think that an ALC or LCA bishop could make guarantees about the new church before it was even formed suggests a gift of foresight and prophecy that I doubt any of our ecclesiastical leaders really have.

Boy, Brian, I wish I kept those two books on how the ELCA was formed.  This guy was there from the very beginning to the very end.  Much of what was stated here was also published in his books of promised made, and not kept.  Those who were representing the ALC felt betrayed in the end.


I was also there through the whole process. A neighboring pastor was on the CNLC -- and we met at his church every week for pericope studies. We heard directly from him about what was going on. He was ALC, but he never talked about being betrayed. He was also elected the first bishop of that new synod, which was about 2/3 LCA! Yes, the ALC had to give up some things, but so did the LCA. The ELCA is a new Lutheran Church -- different from any of the predecessor bodies.

I was also a reporter for a transition team. I attended all the meetings and sent out a newsletter to every congregation after each meeting. In that particular synod (called Missouri-Kansas at the time) there were six predecessor bodies (and six bishops) to deal with.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: grabau on March 07, 2012, 01:17:47 PM
If I might pursue my analogy (above) when sales are down it might be best to upgrade the quality of the  merchandise.  grabau
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Terry W Culler on March 07, 2012, 03:17:17 PM
I had no part in it, but the pastor who supervised my vicarage was ALC--a kinder, gentler man it would be hard to find. His words to me--they lied to us and sold us down the river.  FWIW.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 03:24:36 PM
I was there from before the beginning. I was also partially responsible for getting news about the CNLC, church body conventions, and other doings out to synods and districts and congregations and the religious and secular media.
I suspect I was too naive about readership, interest and intelligence; because as I started going to constituting conventions of "new" ELCA synods, I found a few people who barely knew that a merger was in the works and still thought that things were as they were in the ALC or LCA or AELC.
Since then I have sought a cure for invincible ignorance, but none has arrived.
But I still contend that if you, or your beloved pastor, or your congregation or your former bishop or your best friend did not know the details of the ELCA merger, someone was not paying attention.
OTOH, the ELCA, like all organisms has evolved, and it is not now exactly as it was 21 years ago, nor should it be. And so....?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 07, 2012, 04:42:20 PM
... Since then I have sought a cure for invincible ignorance, ... someone was not paying attention.
[SARCASM ALERT]
I'm just trying to figure this out. On the one hand good old ALC pastors and bishops like those mentioned and Pr. Culler were "not paying attention," or worse (I haven't quite sorted out what invincible ignorance is??).
Ok we can discount those guys...

Hmmm. now those who saw it and left, like me and for that matter The AALC as a body, ??whimsically flitted like sectarians from church to church body,??, is that the basic charge? ... and are to be discounted for some other reason?

So just to get this straight .... Only those who stayed and still stay in the ELCA are measured alert and wise?.... And the evolution of ELCA is just ... charting the one true way?... Ok I think I got it...  ;D ;D ;D

Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...

Kyrie Eleison

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 07, 2012, 04:47:42 PM
... Since then I have sought a cure for invincible ignorance, ... someone was not paying attention.
[SARCASM ALERT]
I'm just trying to figure this out. On the one hand good old ALC pastors and bishops like those mentioned and Pr. Culler were "not paying attention," or worse (I haven't quite sorted out what invincible ignorance is??).
Ok we can discount those guys...

Hmmm. now those who saw it and left, like me and for that matter The AALC as a body, ??whimsically flitted like sectarians from church to church body,?? are to be discounted for some other reason?

So just to get this straight .... Only those who stayed and still stay in the ELCA are measured alert and wise?.... And the evolution of ELCA is just ... charting the one true way?... Ok I think I got it...  ;D ;D ;D

Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...

Kyrie Eleison

TV
+1  8)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 07, 2012, 05:28:49 PM
... Since then I have sought a cure for invincible ignorance, ... someone was not paying attention.
[SARCASM ALERT]
I'm just trying to figure this out. On the one hand good old ALC pastors and bishops like those mentioned and Pr. Culler were "not paying attention," or worse (I haven't quite sorted out what invincible ignorance is??).
Ok we can discount those guys...

Hmmm. now those who saw it and left, like me and for that matter The AALC as a body, ??whimsically flitted like sectarians from church to church body,?? are to be discounted for some other reason?

So just to get this straight .... Only those who stayed and still stay in the ELCA are measured alert and wise?.... And the evolution of ELCA is just ... charting the one true way?... Ok I think I got it...  ;D ;D ;D

Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...

Kyrie Eleison

TV
+1  8)
+2  8)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 05:56:22 PM
Pastor Awtrey writes:
I'm just trying to figure this out.
I comment:
I doubt that.

Pastor Awtrey writes:
On the one hand good old ALC pastors and bishops like those mentioned and Pr. Culler were "not paying attention," or worse (I haven't quite sorted out what invincible ignorance is??).
Ok we can discount those guys...
I comment:
I make a simple point. All of the plans for the merger, in excruciating detail, were available to anyone who wanted them. Great efforts were made to explain the merger. Some people chose not to find out what was going on.

Pastor Awtrey writes:
Hmmm. now those who saw it and left, like me and for that matter The AALC as a body, ??whimsically flitted like sectarians from church to church body,??, is that the basic charge? ... and are to be discounted for some other reason?
I comment:
I am confused. You were LCA? Or ALC? Or AELC? I thought you were recently LCMS, until you went somewhere else. And I do not recall "the AALC as a body" leaving the ELCA, for indeed, I don't think it was a body until folks left and formed it.

Pastor Awtrey:
So just to get this straight .... Only those who stayed and still stay in the ELCA are measured alert and wise?....
I comment:
Nope. It's the LCMS (and maybe a few others) who claim that they are the only true way, that they have the only "measured, alert, and wise" take on Lutheranism.

Pastor Awtrey:
And the evolution of ELCA is just ... charting the one true way?... Ok I think I got it...
Me:
No. You don't get it. We are charting our way. And we are doing it according to the ways we have agreed to do so.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 07, 2012, 06:33:35 PM
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?


To think that an ALC or LCA bishop could make guarantees about the new church before it was even formed suggests a gift of foresight and prophecy that I doubt any of our ecclesiastical leaders really have.

Boy, Brian, I wish I kept those two books on how the ELCA was formed.  This guy was there from the very beginning to the very end.  Much of what was stated here was also published in his books of promised made, and not kept.  Those who were representing the ALC felt betrayed in the end.


I was also there through the whole process. A neighboring pastor was on the CNLC -- and we met at his church every week for pericope studies. We heard directly from him about what was going on. He was ALC, but he never talked about being betrayed. He was also elected the first bishop of that new synod, which was about 2/3 LCA! Yes, the ALC had to give up some things, but so did the LCA. The ELCA is a new Lutheran Church -- different from any of the predecessor bodies.

I was also a reporter for a transition team. I attended all the meetings and sent out a newsletter to every congregation after each meeting. In that particular synod (called Missouri-Kansas at the time) there were six predecessor bodies (and six bishops) to deal with.

  That's great news, Brian, who would have thought!   I can't remember the name of the Author who wrote them.  I know he wrote two books about the whole deal from start to finish.  It was a very interesting read.  Our old Pastor was from the ALC, and then ELCA when it merged, now retired after the CWA 2009 announcement.

If I had known this, I would of love to have discussed what went on from his prospective as well as yours.  However, you’re right about one thing, a New Lutheran Church like NO OTHER, sure blew up like a volcano and the last eruption in 2009 sent it flying.  Of course I'm sure more is to come as the ashes settle from the last one.

Thanks for the come back and info!  It's to bad Bound Conscience, was a bunch of hot air from HQ, might of stayed. However, Scripture over road Bound Conscience; as well as CWA 2009 decree of the gay agenda. So it was time to leave.

;)  :)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 07, 2012, 07:18:32 PM
<snip>
Pastor Awtrey:
So just to get this straight .... Only those who stayed and still stay in the ELCA are measured alert and wise?....
I comment:
Nope. It's the LCMS (and maybe a few others) who claim that they are the only true way, that they have the only "measured, alert, and wise" take on Lutheranism.
 <snip>


 
Somewhere along the way, the LCMS has gotten the reputation as being stubborn (not to mention a bit prideful).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are not stubborn, we are just always right.  It's not stubbornness (or pride) when you're right.  What's more, we are generous.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to be as right as we are, so we tell everyone who asks (or doesn't - why should we discriminate against those too shy to ask to share in our correctness) what the correct position is.
 
{Note the use of irony and hyperbole  ;D }
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 07:28:12 PM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 07, 2012, 07:54:03 PM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 07, 2012, 08:41:42 PM

As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan

Well stated Dan. And that is the crux of what I think is just not understood within revisionist - new way circles.

I'm going to try one more time to help Charles understand what my history says to this key element.
1. I was born and raised in a corner of the SC Synod, which affiliated with ULCA-LCA. But it was always a Synod in fellowship, not a division of a corporation. Through those roots I say that my confession hasn't changed since at least the 1300's, traced through pre-reformation, the Reformation.
2. My confession never changed - I moved out of SC and naturally looked first into LCA churches. That was when I noted - "This is not my Grandmother's church" I went to an ALC church and found the same confession, and was in ALC.
3. My confession never changed - But in the mid '80's this new fangled church was forming, that "was not my grandmother's church." All the ALC congregations in the area were off to see the wizard. So I went to an LCMS church.
4. My confession never changed - In study with the pastor there I found common confession, fellowship, and became a member of LCMS congregations.
5. My confession never changed - I knew some from  the old ALC, and The AALC which split before the formation of the ELCA, because ... well see item 3. The LCMS and The AALC ... well because this is how they do things like "fellowship," had discussions and found the confession was the same and in fellowship. I was therefore in fellowship with the AALC because it was "recognized" NOT due to being "created." (see item 3 wizard of Oz)
6. My confession never changed - along with LCMS calls, I received calls from those in The AALC who were in full fellowship "recognized" (note "not created," etc. item 3.) In order to answer easily those calls, the LCMS DP and I, and AALC leadership mutually agreed to transfer my membership over to The AALC.

Charles, do you see how that works - my confession from pre-Reformation times forward, never changed. I never changed. The exotic new thingie American Lutheran Church flittered with the winds of change. I continued to find faithful congregations within that same confession.

So you see, what we cannot embrace is that - "that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way." Because ... well it isn't !!! If it was I would still be ULCA-LCA-ELCA.

Your criteria for civil discourse is what we disagree with!!! That's the problem!

TV
 

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 07, 2012, 09:00:29 PM
Pr. Austin, you're the one who said those who came into the ELCA believing the assurances of their bishops were "stupid" for doing so.  Your lack of understanding and empathy for those who felt betrayed by the gap between assurances received from their bishops and the actual direction taken by ELCA leadership speaks volumes about the difficulties and pressures facing those orthodox-traditional pastors and laity who remain in the ELCA.  On what grounds can you encourage or convince them they should trust (and act with trust and support) for the synodical and churchwide leadership of the ELCA, including the supposed promise that their "bound consciences" will be respected?


To think that an ALC or LCA bishop could make guarantees about the new church before it was even formed suggests a gift of foresight and prophecy that I doubt any of our ecclesiastical leaders really have.

Boy, Brian, I wish I kept those two books on how the ELCA was formed.  This guy was there from the very beginning to the very end.  Much of what was stated here was also published in his books of promised made, and not kept.  Those who were representing the ALC felt betrayed in the end.


I was also there through the whole process. A neighboring pastor was on the CNLC -- and we met at his church every week for pericope studies. We heard directly from him about what was going on. He was ALC, but he never talked about being betrayed. He was also elected the first bishop of that new synod, which was about 2/3 LCA! Yes, the ALC had to give up some things, but so did the LCA. The ELCA is a new Lutheran Church -- different from any of the predecessor bodies.

I was also a reporter for a transition team. I attended all the meetings and sent out a newsletter to every congregation after each meeting. In that particular synod (called Missouri-Kansas at the time) there were six predecessor bodies (and six bishops) to deal with.

Found them Brian.



High Expectations: Understanding the ELCA's Early Years, 1988-2002 [Paperback]
Edgar R. Trexler
(Author)


Anatomy of a Merger: People, Dynamics, and Decisions That Shaped the ELCA [Paperback]
Edgar R. Trexler   
(Author)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 07, 2012, 09:13:50 PM

No one could give any "assurances" about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed. If "many bishops" gave you those assurances prior to the merger, they were stupid to do so and you were stupid to believe them.

And then 48 hours later,


Pastor Awtrey writes:
On the one hand good old ALC pastors and bishops like those mentioned and Pr. Culler were "not paying attention," or worse (I haven't quite sorted out what invincible ignorance is??).
Ok we can discount those guys...
I comment:
I make a simple point. All of the plans for the merger, in excruciating detail, were available to anyone who wanted them. Great efforts were made to explain the merger. Some people chose not to find out what was going on.

Not trying to issue a "gotcha" here, Charles, but trying to see if perhaps we could make sure that we are on the same page when it appears that we are not.  When "we" are speaking of "assurances given," these reference things that were said when the CNLC had settled on the relevant issues -- i.e, the "excruciating detail" that, indeed, was available well before the churchwide and synodical constituting conventions. 

The critique we, both former ELCA folks and staying-in-the-ELCA critics, are offering -- and have offered consistently for several years now, but which has fallen on hears that do not hear -- is that from 1986 to about 1994, we looked at the words of the (your appelation, here) "excruciating detail" of concern and asked "We read this to mean thus-and-so; are we correct in this understanding?" the assurances were, "Yes, that is what the words say."  And then by (say) 2005, we were being told, "No, that is not what the words say," often followed by, "and they never said that.  How could you have gotten such an interpretation?" 

Or, in 1991, "No, the words don't mean that; this is the furthest thing from our minds," only to be told in 2010, "Of course that's what they mean.  Why would you think otherwise?"  "Well, we were given assurances by our leaders."  To which, two days ago, you replied "No one could give any 'assurances' about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed."  Only to insist today that all you are trying to say is, "All of the plans for the merger, in excruciating detail, were available to anyone who wanted them."

Do you understand this?  (Not "do you accept this," but "do you understand what we are saying?")

Kyrie eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 07, 2012, 10:07:05 PM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan

Pastor Fienen writes: we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


Can you tell me how so?  If that's the case, then all of these people that left before 2009 CWA decree, and all of those Bishops, Pastors, and Congregations that left thereafter, must of have some other reason for doing so.

I'm sure you are aware that the LCMS Convention as declared otherwise, a few times now.  Would President Harrison or officers of the Synod declare it also to be so?

Respectfully,
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 10:28:11 PM
Pastor Awtrey writes (edited):
I'm going to try one more time to help Charles understand what my history says to this key element.
My confession never changed (he says six times)
I comment:
As a child and young person, my "confession" was the catechism and the Common Service Book, later the Service Book and Hymnal.  I never knew the Book of Concord or the Augsburg Confession even existed until college.
     And my "confession" changed as I learned about it.
     My "confession" changed again as I learned systematics, was taught how to read scripture critically, and came to understand more about church history.
     My "confession" changed yet again, as Lutherans became ecumenically involved and we learned from other segments of the church.
     Often this was unsettling and uncomfortable and I had to come to terms with things that at first seemed contrary to what my "confession" was.

Pastor Awtrey:
6. My confession never changed - along with LCMS calls, I received calls from those in The AALC who were in full fellowship "recognized" (note "not created," etc. item 3.) In order to answer easily those calls, the LCMS DP and I, and AALC leadership mutually agreed to transfer my membership over to The AALC.
Me:
Well something must have changed, if your "confession" was consistent with that of the LCMS when they were showering you with calls, and then you decided to go elsewhere for ordination, something changed.

Pastor Awtrey:
So you see, what we cannot embrace is that - "that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way." Because ... well it isn't !!! If it was I would still be ULCA-LCA-ELCA.
Me:
And there you have it. The end of dialogue. The declaration of judgement. I am orthodox, you are not. Your way of being Lutheran is not a proper way.
     Honestly, Pastor Awtrey, you wander through the fields of Lutheranism and its various manifestations, trying this, then that, and now - apparently - declaring that your orthodoxy is the bee's knees and nuts to the rest of us. It just don't wash.
    And I simply do not get this romanticism about "grandma's" church. If my church were exactly as it was in 1901, when she arrived from Sweden, or in 1954, when I was confirmed, I probably would not be in it.
     Once again, you cause me to doubt your frequent declarations of "concern" and your assertions that you are not pillaging the ELCA for your own church body; for you have judged it and condemned it.
     So in any conversation with anyone in the ELCA, you are going to have to say to them - if you are consistent and honest - "Well, after all the ELCA is not orthodox and their contention that they are is false."
     For that is what you have written.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 07, 2012, 10:31:30 PM
"Confessional Lutheran," I have already - too many times - violated my general principle of not getting involved in dialogue with people who will not post their real names, and I find some of your comments extremely hard to follow, so I shall back off.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on March 07, 2012, 10:36:25 PM
Pastor Fienen writes: we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


Can you tell me how so?  If that's the case, then all of these people that left before 2009 CWA decree, and all of those Bishops, Pastors, and Congregations that left thereafter, must of have some other reason for doing so.

I took that to be sarcasm, and a statement he didnt believe but that the ELCA revisionists claim to believe. FWIW.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: pearson on March 07, 2012, 10:51:42 PM
I have little interest in mounting a defense of ELCA actions in August, 2009, or of subsequent ELCA actions to close ranks around those 2009 decisions.  This is by way of offering the usual de rigeur disclaimers, in the forlorn hope that my complaint below be not misunderstood.  And so. . .


1. I was born and raised in a corner of the SC Synod, which affiliated with ULCA-LCA. But it was always a Synod in fellowship, not a division of a corporation. Through those roots I say that my confession hasn't changed since at least the 1300's, traced through pre-reformation, the Reformation.
2. My confession never changed - I moved out of SC and naturally looked first into LCA churches. That was when I noted - "This is not my Grandmother's church" I went to an ALC church and found the same confession, and was in ALC.

. . . .

Charles, do you see how that works - my confession from pre-Reformation times forward, never changed. I never changed. The exotic new thingie American Lutheran Church flittered with the winds of change. I continued to find faithful congregations within that same confession.


Does anyone else see something distinctly peculiar in this biographical litany?  Pr. Awtry has "my confession," and then he migrates from one church body to another as he sees them progressively dissolving their allegiance to "my confession."  It sounds like nothing so much as the story of one who has discerned "my confession" in "my Grandmother's church," and now goes wandering in the wilderness seeking that once-familiar promised land.  So the commitment here is not to the Church of Jesus Christ, evanescent wraith that it is, but to "my confession" -- we belong not to the body of Christ, but to "my confession."

I find this distinctly weird.  Even for a Lutheran.  But maybe mine is strictly a minority position.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 07, 2012, 10:53:51 PM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan

Pastor Fienen writes: we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


Can you tell me how so?  If that's the case, then all of these people that left before 2009 CWA decree, and all of those Bishops, Pastors, and Congregations that left thereafter, must of have some other reason for doing so.

I'm sure you are aware that the LCMS Convention as declared otherwise, a few times now.  Would President Harrison or officers of the Synod declare it also to be so?

Respectfully,
You misunderstand me by not taking into account the entire sentence.  What I meant was a counterfactual.  My entire sentence had two main parts.  "In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse," (it seems to me that some want to demand that if our discourse is to be considered proper then) "we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way."  I am not agreeing that is what we should do, but rather what it seems to me some are demanding that we do.
 
Dan

 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: pearson on March 07, 2012, 11:08:53 PM
And just to show how sweetly even-handed I can be. . .


    And I simply do not get this romanticism about "grandma's" church. If my church were exactly as it was in 1901, when she arrived from Sweden, or in 1954, when I was confirmed, I probably would not be in it.
     

I don't get this romanticism about the past, either, just as I don't get the romanticism of the present and the romanticism of the future.  Why should I find sloppy sentimentalism like, "This is who we have agreed to be as Church, and we can be proud of how we presently embody the Gospel," or "We cannot stand still -- we must move forward into God's future," any more alluring than "Be still, and listen to the truth from 1580"?

Swooning progressives are no more immune to romanticizing their metaphysical vision than are recidivist conservatives.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 07, 2012, 11:56:10 PM
"Confessional Lutheran," I have already - too many times - violated my general principle of not getting involved in dialogue with people who will not post their real names, and I find some of your comments extremely hard to follow, so I shall back off.
Is this something like "bound conscience"?   ;D
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 12:13:01 AM
....
And there you have it. The end of dialogue. The declaration of judgement. I am orthodox, you are not. Your way of being Lutheran is not a proper way.
    .....
     So in any conversation with anyone in the ELCA, you are going to have to say to them - if you are consistent and honest - "Well, after all the ELCA is not orthodox and their contention that they are is false."
     For that is what you have written.

Other than the "end of dialog" judgement, you really are beginning to get the framework. Maybe we can break through - for some dialog after all. :)

I actually do make plain statements like the above to those in the ELCA. They take the statement at its face value and it is not a problem. Some say maybe, amybe not and shrug. Some disagree, some agree and are staying in the ELCA anyway for a number of reasons. The statement is not a problem. I encourage you to try and hear what that means. The statement is nothing more than a witness.I would guess that you would say it is a false witness. I would disagree.

At some level the assertion you stand by is framed as follows: "For us to discuss, debate, whatever, it is a precondition that you accept that my (your) position is valid and correct." To use Brian's framework "right for me."

But don't you see. That's part of the debate for us. We discuss with the presumption that there is an absolute truth. You are welcome to convince that yours is it, or even that there is none. Go for it. But you don't get to set preconditions for that discussion. That is the only thing that makes "end of argument." We simply cannot endorse what we believe to be in error. Why do you wish to insist-make us- do so as a precondition?

It runs deeper but let's try framing it this way. We assert there is absolute truth. the argument is presented and you (ala Brian) argue that there is only truth "for you," and "for him," and "for me" and who really knows. So let's discuss.. But you basically say, "wait not till you agree that there is only relative truth." Actually you go further and note that because we assert absolute truth, we have "judged you," ... maybe ... but in truth, we only witness to what we believe to be true, and note you reject it ... which is true. Actually what you say is just as judgmental, using your logic.

It goes on and on but if we could get that far, it would be a good start.

TV

PS I also reject the way you framed "romanticism of grandma." in opposition to the "same confession," but one subject at a time.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 08, 2012, 12:50:18 AM
So the commitment here is not to the Church of Jesus Christ, evanescent wraith that it is, but to "my confession" -- we belong not to the body of Christ, but to "my confession."

I find this distinctly weird.  Even for a Lutheran.  But maybe mine is strictly a minority position.

Tom Pearson

I suspect the problem is using the LCMS jargon of "confession" as meaning "the doctrines, teachings, and understandings of what the church is". He was saying that he understood the Church of Jesus Christ to be a particular way. It was like this, not like that. It was (and is) what it was (and is). He was lead by the Holy Spirit to a particular understand of what the Church of Jesus Christ is, including the understanding that one's understanding is called a "confession", even if that confuses most folks who hear it.
 
So, over the years, while his understanding of what the Church of Jesus Christ was about never changed or wavered, what various denominations within the Church of Jesus Christ taught as being their understanding did change. So, he stayed put, as they left him.
 
I'm reminded of the old couple from New England who were out riding in their buggy, and the wife asked why they didn't sit close together like they used to. The old guy said, "I haven't moved".
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 01:26:06 AM
George thanks.

I sometimes forget how radically our vocabularies differ in use of the same words. I should have known better. Tom, I'm sorry you heard it the way you did. I'll try and be less casual with my word use.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 06:17:36 AM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan

Pastor Fienen writes: we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


Can you tell me how so?  If that's the case, then all of these people that left before 2009 CWA decree, and all of those Bishops, Pastors, and Congregations that left thereafter, must of have some other reason for doing so.

I'm sure you are aware that the LCMS Convention as declared otherwise, a few times now.  Would President Harrison or officers of the Synod declare it also to be so?

Respectfully,
You misunderstand me by not taking into account the entire sentence.  What I meant was a counterfactual.  My entire sentence had two main parts.  "In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse," (it seems to me that some want to demand that if our discourse is to be considered proper then) "we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way."  I am not agreeing that is what we should do, but rather what it seems to me some are demanding that we do.
 
Dan


So we can still agree, that the ELCA is not an Orthodox Lutheran Church!  It's anything but, and has always been that way from the start!   ;) :)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 06:28:37 AM
"Confessional Lutheran," I have already - too many times - violated my general principle of not getting involved in dialogue with people who will not post their real names, and I find some of your comments extremely hard to follow, so I shall back off.
Is this something like "bound conscience"?   ;D


Pastor Sampson

He doesn't believe in "Bound conscience"; anymore then the ELCA does.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 08:15:30 AM
In the midst of all those words, Pastor Awtrey, I think I see the bottom line:
We in the ELCA are not "orthodox." Period. Stop. End of story.
And you will do all you can to make sure that ELCAers in your arena of influence know that.
Yours is "absolute" truth or teaching or doctrine or whatever; ours is "relative" and therefore wrong wrong wrong.
Any dialogue has to begin with the agreement that we are wrong, for you will not entertain the idea that we could be right or half right or sort of right or whatever.
I think I have encountered more graciousness and brotherliness from some in the LCMS.
Good grief!

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: grabau on March 08, 2012, 08:27:43 AM
In the C. S. Lewis tale the bishop who is in hell says: "WE have such interesting discussions.  grabau
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 10:07:19 AM
In the midst of all those words, Pastor Awtrey, I think I see the bottom line:
.....
I think I have encountered more graciousness and brotherliness from some in the LCMS.
Good grief!

Nope I think you do not see the bottom line yet, but at least we are talking about the right things. :) The difficulty with your conclusion is that it doesn't match the plain witness in the street. IE.Many in LCMS are currently very cautious to engage the discussion. On the other hand, while I admit to better "brotherhood" and common purpose with NALC types, we still multually  manage "gracious" relationships in real terms with ELCA folks. The message here is that you must have missed something on the way to your conclusion,

But I believe we are close. Whether my understandings are absolutely true God will judge, and we might examine. If "absolutely" means "without any error," I imagine I fall quite short. If much of what you witness is in fact true, that still speaks nothing to the question of whether it is also only relatively so. This is why 'bound conscience' is such a meaningless ruse.

Your major premise is that we can both be right. How gracious and brotherly that is. But it doesn't mean that this point is true. That's the level of disagreement between us, and in fact the argument. When you insist that before discussion, it must be conceded that we can both be right, you empty the discussion, because we assert, no we cannot both be correct on what is absolutely true, whichever of us is right. In fact you show no graciousness in insisting your presumption must be conceded as a staring point.

And history of the church, setting aside my own, has consistently held this. We allow we may have been wrong at this turn or that, even that we assumed revealed, what perhaps God may not have included in the revealed Word. But at its heart traditionalist continue in the same confession, and revisionist thought seeks to set aside absolute revealed truth, even revealed absolute error. "It was true then." That is the divergent road, the ELCA path over the last 60 plus years has taken. That is the discussion. Tradition has in fact maintained a constant faith. ELCA is self confessing that it is on the road to something new. In other words, I didn't change, the ELCA and its predecessor bodies where I formally found the faith, changed and gladly proclaims that reality. ELCA is proud of it.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 10:15:41 AM
I had no part in it, but the pastor who supervised my vicarage was ALC--a kinder, gentler man it would be hard to find. His words to me--they lied to us and sold us down the river.  FWIW.


Who is "they"? The ones that I saw blatantly lying were some pamphlets decrying the new Lutheran church. One had a column of what the ALC believes and another with what the new church believed -- even before there was the new church -- and there were lies!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 10:25:01 AM
Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...


TAALC was not there. They bailed before "there" arrived. They believed some of the lies that were being told about the new church. The last congregation I served had a major split in 1987 when the pastor and about 1/3 of the members left to form a TAALC congregation. Even a conservative guy like our moderator Richard Johnson, who I believe was dean of the conference at the time, could not persuade them otherwise. The result was two struggling congregations whose total membership even after 20 years was only 2/3 of what had been in the single congregation. 1/3 of the members just disappeared -- left over all the turmoil. Ironically, that pastor soon retired and remains on the roster of the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 10:34:26 AM
If I had known this, I would of love to have discussed what went on from his prospective as well as yours.  However, you’re right about one thing, a New Lutheran Church like NO OTHER, sure blew up like a volcano and the last eruption in 2009 sent it flying.  Of course I'm sure more is to come as the ashes settle from the last one.


And yet the ELCA is still the largest Lutheran denomination in North America even after 2009. A majority of the members and congregations are not leaving. Who knows if we still be the largest 20 years from now?


As more and more of the disgruntled people leave, more and more of the members of the ELCA will be in agreement with the 2009 decisions. The ladies who will be at our Bible study later today have expressed their agreement with it.


As I've said before, the ELCA Clergy facebook page has over 3600 members (a few more than who belong to this forum) and, for the most part, they support the direction of the ELCA.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 10:38:50 AM
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


I believe that it is entirely possible that God is big enough to accept the ELCAers and the LCMSers and a whole bunch of others people with some differences in their beliefs and biblical interpretations than ours as his own children. What do we think of a child within a multi-child family who declares to the world and all the other children, "I'm the best and only proper child of our parents"?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 10:46:46 AM
Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...


TAALC was not there. They bailed before "there" arrived. They believed some of the lies that were being told about the new church.

I understand Brian. I was there also during that chaos. I went over to LCMS in 1985/6ish, prior to "there being there." With many friends and family growing through the "birth of the new thing," I was there at kitchen tables, and visiting in pews, in discussions with folks like Richard on "how could I go to LCMS?" Substantive discussions, on what was unfolding as it evolved. -
As an aside to the Richard reference I was a member of Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley from 1974-Nov 76, when the events were just beginning. I'm sorry if you think that doesn't quailify as being "there."

To the points you make, I will agree that we were predicting, divining, projecting things that would happen, as basically already decided. And to this extent, you are correct that they were sometimes more like "lies" than facts. BUT BUT did the predictions in fact come true? By and large I have to say that the "lies" ended up being true and later facts. The technicalities that were technically true, ended up being lies. That is the simple reality and seen no clearer than CWA '09.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 10:50:12 AM
Rarely, Pastor Awtrey, have I encountered such arrogance. Do you notice how many times your have said now that it is your confession, your references to your grandmother's church, your repeated declaration that you have held the same beliefs and that you have never changed? And this focus on what you say leads you from one church body to another and now to the declaration that your view is right and that there are no allowances for interpretation, for that would go against your absolutism.
And all this without a decent explanation of just what is included in your "absolute truth." Ordination for women? Historical Adam and Eve? Literal interpretation of scripture? Open or closed communion? A particular view of marriage?
I still contend that it is that last item - a particular view of marriage - that becomes the ultimate issue for many. For you, given your peripatetic wanderings through Lutheranism, I can't really tell.
Since you cannot even begin to say that the ELCA is a church where the gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered (save, perhaps for a dozen or so folks who might, if pressed, agree with you), I wonder if there is anything left to say.
I can only conclude that the "relationships" with ELCA folks you speak of so frequently only exist so that you can lead them from our "errors." So I would rather not hear any more unctuous words about what you are "really" doing.
Pastor Stoffregen points out that, even with the defections, the ELCA remains the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S.A. And I have noted that over the past ten years (except for the last two) the drop in membership in the LCMS has been about the same as that in the ELCA. That certainly wasn't because the LCMS is too "liberal."
We all have work to do to reach people with the Gospel, people who have no faith community. We should not spend time trying to rustle people from one faith community to another.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 10:52:01 AM
Not trying to issue a "gotcha" here, Charles, but trying to see if perhaps we could make sure that we are on the same page when it appears that we are not.  When "we" are speaking of "assurances given," these reference things that were said when the CNLC had settled on the relevant issues -- i.e, the "excruciating detail" that, indeed, was available well before the churchwide and synodical constituting conventions.


Part of the "excruciating detail" was the process by which the ELCA would make decisions for itself. Through that process, we are not quite the same church now as in 1988. I am not quite the same pastor I was in 1976 or 1991. Hopefully, I've learned a few things over the past 35 years and made modifications in practices. So has this new church. I've heard it being compared to a maturing child: infancy, toddler, teenage years, emerging adult. After only 24 years, we are still discovering who we are as a maturing denomination -- like many humans at that age.


Quote
The critique we, both former ELCA folks and staying-in-the-ELCA critics, are offering -- and have offered consistently for several years now, but which has fallen on hears that do not hear -- is that from 1986 to about 1994, we looked at the words of the (your appelation, here) "excruciating detail" of concern and asked "We read this to mean thus-and-so; are we correct in this understanding?" the assurances were, "Yes, that is what the words say."  And then by (say) 2005, we were being told, "No, that is not what the words say," often followed by, "and they never said that.  How could you have gotten such an interpretation?" 

Or, in 1991, "No, the words don't mean that; this is the furthest thing from our minds," only to be told in 2010, "Of course that's what they mean.  Why would you think otherwise?"  "Well, we were given assurances by our leaders."  To which, two days ago, you replied "No one could give any 'assurances' about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed."  Only to insist today that all you are trying to say is, "All of the plans for the merger, in excruciating detail, were available to anyone who wanted them."


Who was telling you "No, that is not what the words say"? Who was giving you assurances? When we had to hire a lawyer, we were advised that any lawyer who guaranteed a verdict was not worth hiring. No one can know for sure what a judge or jury might decide. We can think or suppose what our process and our good arguments should produce, but no one knows for sure until there has been a vote by a CWA.


Considering that bishops have even less control over what happens than a lawyer does -- bishops are only advisory positions -- they can only offer opinions. They don't make policy.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DeHall on March 08, 2012, 11:06:38 AM
Rarely, Pastor Awtrey, have I encountered such arrogance....
You should read your own posts more often.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: efretheim on March 08, 2012, 11:09:48 AM

And yet the ELCA is still the largest Lutheran denomination in North America even after 2009. A majority of the members and congregations are not leaving. Who knows if we still be the largest 20 years from now?


It appears to be a temporary thing.  The ELCA membership for 1988 was 5.2 million, the LCMS 2.6.  The ELCA membership for 2010 was 4.2 million, the LCMS 2.3 million.   The ELCA started almost exactly twice as big as the LCMS, now it is only 1.8 times the size.  The ELCA has declined by 20%, the LCMS by 12%.  The losses in the ELCA have been accelerating in the last few years, the losses in the LCMS have been slowing.

The LCMS has never tried to be the biggest Lutheran denomination in North America, just itself.  It isn't my cup of tea, but it doesn't tell me it is, or that I have to play with them.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 11:10:13 AM
I understand Brian. I was there also during that chaos. I went over to LCMS in 1985/6ish, prior to "there being there." With many friends and family growing through the "birth of the new thing," I was there at kitchen tables, and visiting in pews, in discussions with folks like Richard on "how could I go to LCMS?" Substantive discussions, on what was unfolding as it evolved.


Ah, but those at the kitchen tables and in the pews were not likely members of the commission of 70 who were actually making the decisions that would form the new church. Hearing directly from a member of the CNLC and sitting in on a synod transition team's meetings gives more direct and likely more accurate information than what often happens around kitchen tables or coffee fellowships.





Quote
As an aside to the Richard reference I was a member of Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley from 1974-Nov 76, when the events were just beginning. I'm sorry if you think that doesn't quailify as being "there."


'74-'76 can be considered a precursor to the new Lutheran church. Would the ELCA have happened if there hadn't been Seminex and the AELC -- and the removing of fellowship with the ALC by the LCMS -- all that happened in those years? Perhaps not. I was in an ALC seminary at the time -- after attending an LCMS college during fellowship between the ALC and LCMS. I received communion regularly in chapel. I preached occasionally in chapel.


The sentiment I heard was that the ideal that the ALC had of not uniting with the LCA unless the LCMS could be part of bringing together the three main branches of Lutheranism in the U.S. was dashed by the events in those years. It was also generally assumed that theologically we were closer to the LCA; but in terms of polity, we were closer to the LCMS.

Quote
To the points you make, I will agree that we were predicting, divining, projecting things that would happen, as basically already decided. And to this extent, you are correct that they were sometimes more like "lies" than facts. BUT BUT did the predictions in fact come true? By and large I have to say that the "lies" ended up being true and later facts. The technicalities that were technically true, ended up being lies. That is the simple reality and seen no clearer than CWA '09.


What has not changed in the ELCA during these 24 years is our Confession of Faith. I thought and continue to think that it is a far superior one than what we had in the ALC and in the LCA. There was little differences in the core beliefs of the three predecessor bodies. Polity practices were a different story.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 11:16:22 AM
So we can still agree, that the ELCA is not an Orthodox Lutheran Church!  It's anything but, and has always been that way from the start!   ;) :)


Only if you can give us your definition of what defines an "Orthodox Lutheran Church." We in the ELCA believe that we are Orthodox Lutherans: believing in the Trinity of God, the Lordship and two natures of Christ, the power of the Gospel to save (and the Law to convict of sin); the Bible as the Word of God, the Confessions as the proper interpretation of scriptures -- what about our beliefs are not orthodoxy Lutheranism?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 11:56:47 AM
Charles I am truly sorry that my simple witness has created a wall, such that it seems to be framed as arrogance at the outset.  I will take ownership of creating that error with poor communication. What I ask you to do, is to try and understand that what you presume in many cases is not true. When you respond this is so. And I reply, "you aren't hearing me." we have a failure in premise leading to errors in conclusions.

If either of us is arguing against a caricature, the conclusions will be off base. When the conclusions are personal attacks, that failure is any thing but gracious. The remedy is to try and get past the caricatures. I thought and still think, that perhaps the first caricature that we might discuss rationally is that I have "[been led] from one church body to another,"  which I infer, (and assert that you plainly intend) means some sort of "peripatetic wanderings" here one year, there the next.

That is a false characterization. Much of your argument hangs on that. To discuss it, the underlying personal attack, I will have reply in personal witness, with "my" etc. That is the charge you bring. We are not young men. I have been in each church body, longer than some here have been Lutheran. That is not flitting from flower to flower. It is a constant Lutheran continuance. If you see, only being in ELCA, and a thread in one predecessor body as the majority and faithful Lutheran answer, I would propose that is rather arrogant. My witness is no more than I have not been cloistered in an LCMS(or any other) shell. I was there in ELCA places, when these issues were being discussed.

Charles, if your caricatures were true, and they are not, then I would agree with you. What you do not hear, is they are not true. They are caricatures which you turn into straw men.

I do want to answer one other charge you make and have made for years, that is simply false and maliciously so. I do not and have not had relations with ELCA that, "only exist so that you can lead them from our 'errors.' "  You say you "can only conclude," and you conclude wrongly. That means you aren't hearing what is being said. Either present evidence that we can discuss whether this charge is true, or recognize that your conclusion may have taken a wrong turn somewhere. If your conclusion is off, then you are being slanderous.

To the "absolute truth" discussion you continue to miss the point. At this early entrance We are not discussing "just what is included in your 'absolute truth.' " At least not yet. You keep forcing a premise on absolute truth as the starting point. We disagree, (at this point anyway) not on what the "absolute truth is," but whether such a thing exists. We can't discuss those truths until we get past that.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on March 08, 2012, 11:58:28 AM
And yet the ELCA is still the largest Lutheran denomination in North America even after 2009. A majority of the members and congregations are not leaving. Who knows if we still be the largest 20 years from now?


As more and more of the disgruntled people leave, more and more of the members of the ELCA will be in agreement with the 2009 decisions. The ladies who will be at our Bible study later today have expressed their agreement with it.


As I've said before, the ELCA Clergy facebook page has over 3600 members (a few more than who belong to this forum) and, for the most part, they support the direction of the ELCA.

Snark like this deserves a response.  My response is this:  the faithful have always been a remnant.  8)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 08, 2012, 12:09:07 PM
...
Ah, but those at the kitchen tables and in the pews were not likely members of the commission of 70 who were actually making the decisions that would form the new church.
..

I do not say that I was in the smoke filled rooms, but you may want to notice that I drive by Lowman Home, White Rock SC, as I visit my dad's house, and many like a certain bishop emeritus are there, who were in "those pews" and at "those kitchen tables," and were in the smoke filled rooms.  I will grant you my perspective is second hand to the decision rooms, but your caveat may not be true? Bishop Crumley and others had to eat breakfast somewhere, and there really aren't a lot of restaurants in that part of Lexington/Newberry counties. But you are correct, no I wasn't in the decision rooms.

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 08, 2012, 12:27:02 PM
For what it's worth, I refer to the woman who bore me as my mother. I refer to the place where I grew up as my home town. I refer to the congregation I belong to as my congregation. I refer to my favorite NFL football team as my team. Whether it's something serious or something trivial, I often use the word "my" to describe a particular connection or affiliation that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any ownership, real or implied.
 
I imagine that many people, including my friends and acquaintances, use the word "my" in the same way. At least, those who understand how the English language works do. And, those who understand English don't get snarky about it when someone else uses the word in that manner.
 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 01:14:46 PM
If I had known this, I would of love to have discussed what went on from his prospective as well as yours.  However, you’re right about one thing, a New Lutheran Church like NO OTHER, sure blew up like a volcano and the last eruption in 2009 sent it flying.  Of course I'm sure more is to come as the ashes settle from the last one.


And yet the ELCA is still the largest Lutheran denomination in North America even after 2009. A majority of the members and congregations are not leaving. Who knows if we still be the largest 20 years from now?


As more and more of the disgruntled people leave, more and more of the members of the ELCA will be in agreement with the 2009 decisions. The ladies who will be at our Bible study later today have expressed their agreement with it.


As I've said before, the ELCA Clergy facebook page has over 3600 members (a few more than who belong to this forum) and, for the most part, they support the direction of the ELCA.

Good for them Brian!  However, your numbers may drop again in Africa, and Asia, as the partnerships take up the cause of not being members there of, due to what they have flatly rejected in the new decree of the ELCA in 2009.

These Pastors, Bishops, Gay partners in Ordination, will answer to a Holy God! The final judgment will be his, not mine, or anyone else’s.  I for one want to stay true to his Word, although not perfect by any means.

Remember dear friend, Christ is still the head of his Church. Even through the ELCA has put him in the back seat, he still controls it, and evil will not stand against for any period of time.

Be Thankful for those Pastor who stood on their Confessional vows, and refused to align themselves with the new degree.  Its one thing to have a Confession of Faith and follow it, it another to have one and just pretend we follow it.  ;)  :)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 01:36:14 PM
So we can still agree, that the ELCA is not an Orthodox Lutheran Church!  It's anything but, and has always been that way from the start!   ;) :)


Only if you can give us your definition of what defines an "Orthodox Lutheran Church." We in the ELCA believe that we are Orthodox Lutherans: believing in the Trinity of God, the Lordship and two natures of Christ, the power of the Gospel to save (and the Law to convict of sin); the Bible as the Word of God, the Confessions as the proper interpretation of scriptures -- what about our beliefs are not orthodoxy Lutheranism?

Oh, Brian, come on now!  :D  :o  How many times has this been discussed, on ALPB over the years?  The conclusion is that same.  Even after years of discussions, we reject your liberal revisionist doctrine, as you reject our conservative view of Lutheranism.  I sure don't want to open that can of worms again. My goodness, how much more do we have to repeat the beat?  ;)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 01:49:43 PM
All I can say, Pastor Awtrey, is "whatever". And since our exchange does not seem to interest anyone else, "whatever" seems like the best I can say.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 08, 2012, 01:56:52 PM
As I've said before, the ELCA Clergy facebook page has over 3600 members (a few more than who belong to this forum) and, for the most part, they support the direction of the ELCA.

Brian rejects Task Force on Human Sexuality's own studies because they were not based on a random sample, etc...  Therefore, he argues that we cannot conclude that a majority of people in the ELCA opposed changes to V&E. 

Now, he puts forward this anecdote about facebook as proof that a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction.   :o
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 01:59:31 PM
Someone writes:
How many times has this been discussed, on ALPB over the years?  The conclusion is that same.  Even after years of discussions, we reject your liberal revisionist doctrine, as you reject our conservative view of Lutheranism.

I muse:
Ah, but "confessional Lutheran" has only been in this forum for seven months, so how can he or she know about "years of discussions"?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 08, 2012, 02:01:26 PM
What has not changed in the ELCA during these 24 years is our Confession of Faith. I thought and continue to think that it is a far superior one than what we had in the ALC and in the LCA. There was little differences in the core beliefs of the three predecessor bodies. Polity practices were a different story.

Does this confession of faith accurately reflect what is actually preached and taught in ELCA congregations and seminaries?  Does this confession of faith influence the decisions made by churchwide and synodical assemblies? 

If not, it is little more than a museum piece.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 04:02:33 PM
What has not changed in the ELCA during these 24 years is our Confession of Faith. I thought and continue to think that it is a far superior one than what we had in the ALC and in the LCA. There was little differences in the core beliefs of the three predecessor bodies. Polity practices were a different story.

Does this confession of faith accurately reflect what is actually preached and taught in ELCA congregations and seminaries?  Does this confession of faith influence the decisions made by churchwide and synodical assemblies? 

If not, it is little more than a museum piece.


It is an essential part of every class on Lutheranism that I teach. I divide our Confession of Faith between "Catholic" teachings that we share with Christians everywhere and our "Lutheran" teachings from our Confessions.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 04:13:35 PM
dcharlton writes:
Now, he puts forward this anecdote about facebook as proof that a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction.

I muse:
Well, I guess technically, until 5,000 pastors and 2.5 million people leave the ELCA; y'all have to admit that at least a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction enough to stay in it.

Oh, and 3,000+ ELCA pastors on Facebook vs. a dozen or so on ALPB. Duh!
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: efretheim on March 08, 2012, 04:32:18 PM
dcharlton writes:
Now, he puts forward this anecdote about facebook as proof that a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction.

I muse:
Well, I guess technically, until 5,000 pastors and 2.5 million people leave the ELCA; y'all have to admit that at least a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction enough to stay in it.

Oh, and 3,000+ ELCA pastors on Facebook vs. a dozen or so on ALPB. Duh!

The first million of those have already left.  The second may have, but just not be reflected in the numbers, may have been counted different because they still attended an occasional service after they left and there was a new catagory added to count these.

Doesn't really matter about the pastors.  There are lots of Bishops running around their closet cathedrals and plenty of pastors who got their ordination for $5 from the back of Psycology Today.  Without any people, the ELCA pastors will have about the same audience as those guys - and the same IRS tax status.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 05:46:54 PM
Doesn't really matter about the pastors.  There are lots of Bishops running around their closet cathedrals and plenty of pastors who got their ordination for $5 from the back of Psycology Today.  Without any people, the ELCA pastors will have about the same audience as those guys - and the same IRS tax status.

The LCMS trend isn't much better than the ELCAs, and they don't have a national church body vote or rampant liberalism on which to blame their losses. If the day comes when there are no more ELCA members, I'll bet that there won't be any in the LCMS either.


The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.


We, in the church, certainly aren't going to change that culture by waging wars against one another.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 06:05:46 PM
Doesn't really matter about the pastors.  There are lots of Bishops running around their closet cathedrals and plenty of pastors who got their ordination for $5 from the back of Psycology Today.  Without any people, the ELCA pastors will have about the same audience as those guys - and the same IRS tax status.

The LCMS trend isn't much better than the ELCAs, and they don't have a national church body vote or rampant liberalism on which to blame their losses. If the day comes when there are no more ELCA members, I'll bet that there won't be any in the LCMS either.


The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.


We, in the church, certainly aren't going to change that culture by waging wars against one another.

Brian:

The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.

Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o  ::)


Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 08, 2012, 06:09:59 PM
Someone writes:
How many times has this been discussed, on ALPB over the years?  The conclusion is that same.  Even after years of discussions, we reject your liberal revisionist doctrine, as you reject our conservative view of Lutheranism.

I muse:
Ah, but "confessional Lutheran" has only been in this forum for seven months, so how can he or she know about "years of discussions"?
Well, Charles, perhaps he has been "lurking" for years.   Perhaps he has had more than one screen name over the years.    Perhaps (or most likely) he doesn't really care what you think about this. :)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 08, 2012, 06:10:42 PM
dcharlton writes:
Now, he puts forward this anecdote about facebook as proof that a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction.

I muse:
Well, I guess technically, until 5,000 pastors and 2.5 million people leave the ELCA; y'all have to admit that at least a majority of those in the ELCA support its direction enough to stay in it.

Oh, and 3,000+ ELCA pastors on Facebook vs. a dozen or so on ALPB. Duh!

Charles_Austin misses the point.  I don't dispute the obvious.  My point had to do with Brian's movable standard of proof. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 08, 2012, 06:23:54 PM
Someone writes:
How many times has this been discussed, on ALPB over the years?  The conclusion is that same.  Even after years of discussions, we reject your liberal revisionist doctrine, as you reject our conservative view of Lutheranism.

I muse:
Ah, but "confessional Lutheran" has only been in this forum for seven months, so how can he or she know about "years of discussions"?
Well, Charles, perhaps he has been "lurking" for years.   Perhaps he has had more than one screen name over the years.    Perhaps (or most likely) he doesn't really care what you think about this. :)

Right on, Pastor Sampson, ignore is another one!  ;) :)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on March 08, 2012, 06:31:20 PM
Its also not that hard to go back and read the "years of discussions" since any active threads go back quite a while in some cases.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 09:17:25 PM
Someone writes:
The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.

Then this someone writes:
People were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.
I comment:
Well, which is it, "confessional Lutheran"? First you say people don't care, then you say people left because they "saw what was coming" and "had no voice." But if they didn't care, why would it matter to them whether they had voice or not. So which is it?
    Do some serious research on what people think about churches today or at least talk to some of the non-churched or those who want to be "spiritual" but not "religious" before making such sweeping and inaccurate statements.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 08, 2012, 09:45:04 PM
My guess?  Take a hundred people who either don't want to be part of a church or were "churched" but are now no longer, and you will get a hundred various mixes of reasons.  Several themes will recur, but each will have their own individual mix of reasons.  Those reasons may even in some cases be the real reasons, or close to it.  People lie to those who ask personal questions, people even lie to themselves.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 08, 2012, 09:47:50 PM
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 08, 2012, 11:00:49 PM
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."

Does Charles_Austin believe that constitutes a statistically valid survey of opinion in the ELCA?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: George Erdner on March 08, 2012, 11:01:28 PM
What has not changed in the ELCA during these 24 years is our Confession of Faith. I thought and continue to think that it is a far superior one than what we had in the ALC and in the LCA. There was little differences in the core beliefs of the three predecessor bodies. Polity practices were a different story.

Does this confession of faith accurately reflect what is actually preached and taught in ELCA congregations and seminaries?  Does this confession of faith influence the decisions made by churchwide and synodical assemblies? 

If not, it is little more than a museum piece.

What the ELCA preaches and what it practices, at least at the national level and in most synods, are two very different things.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 08, 2012, 11:13:55 PM
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."
No, not everyone lies, but some do.  People also sometimes fool themselves.  I never said that everyone lies.  But sometimes people give reasons that are only part of the reason.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 11:44:09 PM
Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o ::)


A comprehensive study was done by Presbyterians on membership losses before 2009. Their conclusion was what I stated. Our denominations were losing members before 2009. If the ELCA and LCMS and WELS are loosing members at about the same rate, it cannot be attributed to being liberal or conservative.


I've also read surveys of the unchurched and one of the major complaints against the church is what they consider a judgmental attitude towards homosexuals.


I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world. A friend's daughter returned to the church because of the 2009 vote. I doubt that she is the only one.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2012, 11:50:16 PM
My guess?  Take a hundred people who either don't want to be part of a church or were "churched" but are now no longer, and you will get a hundred various mixes of reasons.  Several themes will recur, but each will have their own individual mix of reasons.  Those reasons may even in some cases be the real reasons, or close to it.  People lie to those who ask personal questions, people even lie to themselves.


Are you claiming that the answer, "The church was no longer important to us" is really a lie?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 02:47:45 AM
Pastor Charlton writes:
Does Charles_Austin believe that constitutes a statistically valid survey of opinion in the ELCA?

I comment:
Ninety percent of the people I see each week have nothing to do with the ELCA, and a lot of them have nothing to do with the "church." Often, if there is the slightest opening - and that is rare - my mission is to try to show them that the "church" is not what they think it is.
You don't have to believe me, but I'll say it anyway. None of them are not in "church" because they think it is too liberal.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Terry W Culler on March 09, 2012, 07:19:56 AM
The loss of members Church in this country does indeed have many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that society now believes you can be a socially acceptable person even if you don't attend church.  The fact of the matter is that many of those who no long attend never really believed in the first place.  Their loss is not the unmitigated disaster people seem to feel.  The church is for the elect, not the merely "good". 

That said, it would be silly to look at the membership trends and deny that the so-call mainline churches have lost more members at faster rates than other denominations.  I saw some recent numbers on the UMC indicating that their losses in the US are accelerating and the average age of their members is pushing Medicare levels.  In fact, if you look at the numbers of all the denominations with whom the ELCA has fellowship, you will find that they are the leaders of the collapsing membership.  Something is wrong there and pretending it isn't is silly.

Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured.  It's a complex subject but it is not beyond analysis and the analysis would seem to be something like this: There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 07:55:07 AM
Pastor Culler writes:
The fact of the matter is that many of those who no long attend never really believed in the first place.  Their loss is not the unmitigated disaster people seem to feel.  The church is for the elect, not the merely "good". 

I muse:
I find this a little cold-hearted. And it indicates how seriously we failed to teach people what being "in church" really meant.

Pastor Culler writes:
Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured. .... There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.

I comment:
Again, this does not track. If people have left off church participation because it is now "socially acceptable" to stay home on Sunday morning, then what is going on in those churches would seem to have little to do with why they left. And some studies from the Pew and Barna researchers suggest that a good bit of the decline might be because churches are seen as too "conservative" or unwilling to change.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Coach-Rev on March 09, 2012, 08:07:45 AM
Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o ::)


A comprehensive study was done by Presbyterians on membership losses before 2009. Their conclusion was what I stated. Our denominations were losing members before 2009. If the ELCA and LCMS and WELS are loosing members at about the same rate, it cannot be attributed to being liberal or conservative.

All that shows is that in spite of what those left behind in the ELCA might claim, the reason people have left is NOT just about sex.  This is, of course, the argument that has been presented time and time again by those who HAVE left, but is dismissed by those who remain and support the ELCA (or the PCUSA or whatever denom you wish to choose), and is not worth re-hashing here again.

Quote
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world. A friend's daughter returned to the church because of the 2009 vote. I doubt that she is the only one.

I thought we were called to stand apart from the world? Do I really need to quote Scripture on that repeated emphasis, such as in places like Romans 12:1-2 - "Do not conform to the patterns of the world, but be transformed..." ??  Your statement speaks volumes about the fundamental rift that exists today within Christendom.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 09, 2012, 08:47:41 AM
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."

Does Charles_Austin believe that constitutes a statistically valid survey of opinion in the ELCA?
Only if it fits his template . . .
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: D. Engebretson on March 09, 2012, 08:50:37 AM
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

The church is not called to line itself up with the "secular world."  It is called to proclaim the Word of God regardless of what the "secular world" thinks.  I'm concerned about where this line of reasoning would ultimately take the church. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 09:11:47 AM
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Keith Falk on March 09, 2012, 09:21:57 AM
Someone writes:
The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.

Then this someone writes:
People were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.
I comment:
Well, which is it, "confessional Lutheran"? First you say people don't care, then you say people left because they "saw what was coming" and "had no voice." But if they didn't care, why would it matter to them whether they had voice or not. So which is it?
    Do some serious research on what people think about churches today or at least talk to some of the non-churched or those who want to be "spiritual" but not "religious" before making such sweeping and inaccurate statements.
Charles, you now see the problem when people do NOT use the quote function.  The "Someone" (who, if one were to use literary criticim in looking through and/or remembering posters of the past, can be discerned) was quoting Brian's paragraph.  He did not use the quote function; he typed, "Brian:" then proceeded to copy what Brian had typed earlier, then the "Someone" began his own thoughts.
If folks used the quote function, not only would it remove unneccessary commentary and the chance to passively-aggressively insult someone by not using their name, then the chance for mistaken understandings is less likely to happen.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Ken Kimball on March 09, 2012, 09:33:15 AM
Pastor Culler writes:
Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured. .... There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.

I comment:
Again, this does not track. If people have left off church participation because it is now "socially acceptable" to stay home on Sunday morning, then what is going on in those churches would seem to have little to do with why they left. And some studies from the Pew and Barna researchers suggest that a good bit of the decline might be because churches are seen as too "conservative" or unwilling to change.
  Then, Pr. Austin, the ELCA should be seeing a big uptick in new members or at least in retention of members because it certainly has demonstrated its willingness to change and shed its conservative baggage.  How's that working out? 
Ken
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James Gustafson on March 09, 2012, 09:40:36 AM
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.

Your premise is flawed on at least two levels.  One, we are not smarter today, as individuals, then we were in the past.  You are thinking of technological knowledge but technological knowledge itself has long been ruled out as a meaningful barometer of intelligence, intelligence tests today purposely and vigorously attempt to remove such advantages from test results.  One quick example would be to point out how it seems grand-children quickly adapt to the newest technological gadgets of the day and their elders are left dumbfounded.   And yet, the technological knowledge of the youth in no way anticipates a meaningful long term outcome over that of their parents or grandparents.  e.g., A professor of theoretical physics may never understand how to reset the GPS reader in his grandchild's iPad, but the grand child may never have the mental skill set required competently pass an auto-repair course at the local technical college.  Now stretch that out over centuries and you see why technological knowledge can not be the measuring tool we use to evaluate the "IQ" of our ancestors.  Rather, problem solving and the ability to view topics from diverse angles and perspectives reveals far more and produces a much more reliable result.

Two, from a Christian theological perspective, your premise that the world is trustworthy because God gave it to us and loves those in it is flawed because it runs directly contrary to what Christ said about the world and a worldly out look. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: D. Engebretson on March 09, 2012, 09:49:15 AM
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.

I think there is a difference here that I failed to communicate in my last post.  I am not "afraid" of modern knowledge.  I studied the sciences and other 'secular' disciplines in college just like many. As one who spent part of my academic years in psychology, I respect the many findings in that field as well, and have undoubtedly applied some of it in my daily ministry. Of course, I also recognize their limitations, as you have as well, and do not take the discoveries of any era as absolute truth.  However, when we talk about the "thinking of the secular world," as Pr. Stroffregen phrased it, we are talking about more than just the collective information gained by formal learning.  We are also talking about the attitudes, opinions and social customs of the world and our own culture.  It was to these that I was addressing my remarks.  Even Paul informs us not to be conformed to the general thinking and behavior of the world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds.  In this sense the church often becomes 'counter-cultural.'  We do not follow the world's trends simply because a majority adopt them.  We speak the truth in love, recognizing that we must judge some of the culturally driven behaviors that result in actions and beliefs outside of God's will.  Now, within that realm I realize you and I disagree with what constitutes God's will, especially when it comes to areas such as human sexuality.  But my point is that I am not running scared from science and the revealed knowledge of the left kingdom.  I am critiquing the social trends and opinions with the revealed Word of God. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 10:35:50 AM
Both Mr. Gustafson and Pastor Engebretson, it seems to me, go to great lengths to avoid saying they don't trust "modern" knowledge or find that it threatens their faith.
They are not, I think, "fundamentalists" in the narrow sense; but I don't know how they reconcile the Bible's "geology" and "astronomy" with what we know from that dread "modern" science.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 09, 2012, 10:40:33 AM
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."

Tim opines: To quote that fine 21st century fictional theologian, Dr. Gregory House, "Everyone lies." Which is certainly in keeping with the outcomes of Genesis 3. Sometimes the world might just get the theology more accurate than the church!  ;)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 09, 2012, 10:43:48 AM
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

Tim notes: THAT is one of the saddest statements I've ever read on this board, from anyone. It speaks untold volumes. :( :( :( :(
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Team Hesse on March 09, 2012, 10:53:46 AM
Both Mr. Gustafson and Pastor Engebretson, it seems to me, go to great lengths to avoid saying they don't trust "modern" knowledge or find that it threatens their faith.
They are not, I think, "fundamentalists" in the narrow sense; but I don't know how they reconcile the Bible's "geology" and "astronomy" with what we know from that dread "modern" science.

Theo-logia is a different thought world from anthropo-logia, or bio-logia. We are called to "metanoia", literally "a changed mind". The thoughts of this world are a different intellectual horizon than the mind of Christ. Two kingdoms, two kinds of righteousness, two thought worlds---best not to mix them.....

Lou
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 11:29:02 AM
No, Pastor Christ, what is sad is the declaration that we must reject knowedge, intellect, exploration, discovery etc., because we are afraid that it might contradict some views that we consider "God's."

Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 09, 2012, 11:50:35 AM
No, Pastor Christ, what is sad is the declaration that we must reject knowedge, intellect, exploration, discovery etc., because we are afraid that it might contradict some views that we consider "God's."

Tim notes: You know Charles, having read you for years, there seems to be present an increasing inability for you as someone, presumably well trained in words, to simply understand plain words. Nowhere did I indicate or say that I rejected knowledge, intellect, exploration, discovery, etc. because we are afraid that it might contradict some views that we consider "God's."

Brian said, (and I quote): "I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world."

Now place that clear quoted statement beside this equally clear statement and you will, perhaps... maybe... just maybe... discern the source of my sadness: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2).

Brian suggests an alignment of our conformation to the "secular world". And routinely exegetes his texts in precisely that way. Plainly, that is 180-degrees opposite of what we are called, by God, to be and do. (That says nothing, I repeat NOTHING, about rejecting learning on this fallen side of life.) But that a Pastor of the Church, entrusted with the care of precious ones for whom Christ died, should make such a statement - well, to me, that is why it is the saddest thing I've read herein.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 09, 2012, 12:04:09 PM
Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o ::)


A comprehensive study was done by Presbyterians on membership losses before 2009. Their conclusion was what I stated. Our denominations were losing members before 2009. If the ELCA and LCMS and WELS are loosing members at about the same rate, it cannot be attributed to being liberal or conservative.


I've also read surveys of the unchurched and one of the major complaints against the church is what they consider a judgmental attitude towards homosexuals.


I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world. A friend's daughter returned to the church because of the 2009 vote. I doubt that she is the only one.

Wow.  A new source for knowledge of what people in the ELCA think.  First we had facebook, now studies done by Presbyterians.  Anything BUT the Study of Human Sexuality done by the ELCA itself.  Can't trust the last, because it is not statistically valid.  Facebook on the other hand, or a study of another denomination?  Trustworthy.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 12:17:44 PM
My concern, Pastor Christ, is for those all-too-frequent times when the scientific "knowledge of the secular world" is rejected by the church because the church claims it knows the whole deal. Galileo comes to mind, along with some others, including today's "creationists" or "young-earth" believers.
That "be not conformed to the world" verse - so often flung into these discussions - is not, I believe, intended to cut us off from what the world has to teach us about itself and about humanity.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on March 09, 2012, 01:10:04 PM
Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o ::)


A comprehensive study was done by Presbyterians on membership losses before 2009. Their conclusion was what I stated. Our denominations were losing members before 2009. If the ELCA and LCMS and WELS are loosing members at about the same rate, it cannot be attributed to being liberal or conservative.


I've also read surveys of the unchurched and one of the major complaints against the church is what they consider a judgmental attitude towards homosexuals.


I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world. A friend's daughter returned to the church because of the 2009 vote. I doubt that she is the only one.

Wow.  A new source for knowledge of what people in the ELCA think.  First we had facebook, now studies done by Presbyterians.  Anything BUT the Study of Human Sexuality done by the ELCA itself.  Can't trust the last, because it is not statistically valid.  Facebook on the other hand, or a study of another denomination?  Trustworthy.

Now now, let' be scientific here. The Association of religious data Archives http://www.thearda.com/ records a decrease in membership between 1990 and 2008 for LCMS of 10%, the ELCA 12%, and WELS 7%. The UCC, the most liberal denomination and most in tune with our 2009 decision(position 4 all the way) shrunk by 28 % in that timeframe. In the meantime the RC grew by 14% and reports that its clergy pool is now in the neighborhood of 58,000 up from the low 40 thousands. So: The Lutherans have shrunk in order of "progressiveness," the really "progressives have imploded, while the authoritarian and much maligned RC mopped up. Go figure.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 09, 2012, 01:16:09 PM
My concern, Pastor Christ, is for those all-too-frequent times when the scientific "knowledge of the secular world" is rejected by the church because the church claims it knows the whole deal. Galileo comes to mind, along with some others, including today's "creationists" or "young-earth" believers.
That "be not conformed to the world" verse - so often flung into these discussions - is not, I believe, intended to cut us off from what the world has to teach us about itself and about humanity.

Tim says: Duly noted and no argument, but as if on auto-pilot, you missed the point.  :-\
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 09, 2012, 01:34:51 PM
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

Tim notes: THAT is one of the saddest statements I've ever read on this board, from anyone. It speaks untold volumes. :( :( :( :(
Well, at least it is made it a straightforward way, sans the usual dodging, weaving, and prevaricating.  (Trying to keep the 8th Commandment . . .)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2012, 01:58:43 PM
The fact of the matter is that many of those who no long attend never really believed in the first place.


As I recall, somewhere around 80% of the unchurched say that they believe in God, that Jesus Christ is God, that the Bible is the Word of God. What they don't believe in, is the church. There is a belief that one can be a good Christian and not attend church. In fact, I was recently visiting a winter visitor and another person from their RV Park was witnessing to them about his miraculous healing and all the work he's been doing for the Lord. When asked, "What church do you belong to?" He answered, "I don't belong to any church." We just had a speaker at a breakfast who is proud at being an independent missionary. He has started churches and schools and hospitals in many different countries -- often going to people who have never heard the Word of God. He does attend church, but has no ecclesiastical authority over his ministry.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2012, 02:02:50 PM
All that shows is that in spite of what those left behind in the ELCA might claim, the reason people have left is NOT just about sex.  This is, of course, the argument that has been presented time and time again by those who HAVE left, but is dismissed by those who remain and support the ELCA (or the PCUSA or whatever denom you wish to choose), and is not worth re-hashing here again.


Note: the study was not about people who left one denomination for another, but about folks who no longer are attending any church. Almost never did they leave a congregation because it was too liberal or too conservative.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2012, 02:09:02 PM
I think there is a difference here that I failed to communicate in my last post.  I am not "afraid" of modern knowledge.  I studied the sciences and other 'secular' disciplines in college just like many. As one who spent part of my academic years in psychology, I respect the many findings in that field as well, and have undoubtedly applied some of it in my daily ministry. Of course, I also recognize their limitations, as you have as well, and do not take the discoveries of any era as absolute truth.  However, when we talk about the "thinking of the secular world," as Pr. Stroffregen phrased it, we are talking about more than just the collective information gained by formal learning.  We are also talking about the attitudes, opinions and social customs of the world and our own culture.  It was to these that I was addressing my remarks.  Even Paul informs us not to be conformed to the general thinking and behavior of the world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds.  In this sense the church often becomes 'counter-cultural.'  We do not follow the world's trends simply because a majority adopt them.  We speak the truth in love, recognizing that we must judge some of the culturally driven behaviors that result in actions and beliefs outside of God's will.  Now, within that realm I realize you and I disagree with what constitutes God's will, especially when it comes to areas such as human sexuality.  But my point is that I am not running scared from science and the revealed knowledge of the left kingdom.  I am critiquing the social trends and opinions with the revealed Word of God.


The irony is that what is revealed about Jesus in the Word of God is that his actions were so contrary to the thinking of the religious establishment that they have him executed. His followers came primarily from the "sinful" category of the world. That certainly should give us pause about creating a "religious attitude" that "separates" itself from the world. Our best guess is that the word "Pharisee" meant something like "separated ones".
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2012, 02:12:15 PM
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

Tim notes: THAT is one of the saddest statements I've ever read on this board, from anyone. It speaks untold volumes. :( :( :( :(


Just remember that it was those who had "separated" themselves from the world (the probably meaning of "Pharisee") that Jesus had the most difficulties with.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: James Gustafson on March 09, 2012, 02:22:16 PM
The irony is that what is revealed about Jesus in the Word of God is that his actions were so contrary to the thinking of the religious establishment that they have him executed. His followers came primarily from the "sinful" category of the world. That certainly should give us pause about creating a "religious attitude" that "separates" itself from the world. Our best guess is that the word "Pharisee" meant something to "separated ones".

Just remember that it was those who had "separated" themselves from the world (the probably meaning of "Pharisee") that Jesus had the most difficulties with.

Jesus had just as many difficulties with his own followers, disciples and apostles. 

And Like the apostles in the gospels, who expected Christ to become the Messiah the first century Jewish people in that Roman world were expecting him to be, and thought they needed Him to be, many of the twenty first century christian leaders here are trying to turn Christ into being the Messiah they think they need Him to be, they think they need Him to fit in and be relevant to the problems of this century.  They want Him to solve the problems the twenty first century people think they have. 

The reality is that both are wrong, we don't need Christ to be the Messiah we think we need, we need to become the people that welcome the Messiah who comes as He is.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Pilgrim on March 09, 2012, 02:38:36 PM
Just remember that it was those who had "separated" themselves from the world (the probably meaning of "Pharisee") that Jesus ha]d the most difficulties with.

Tim responds: And just remember that syncretism was, and remains and enemy of the faith. But then, you know that very well, obviously.  :-\
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: SCPO on March 09, 2012, 03:27:16 PM
Well, at least it is made it a straightforward way, sans the usual dodging, weaving, and prevaricating.  (Trying to keep the 8th Commandment . . .)

     Sure you are.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 09, 2012, 03:46:16 PM
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

Tim notes: THAT is one of the saddest statements I've ever read on this board, from anyone. It speaks untold volumes. :( :( :( :(


Just remember that it was those who had "separated" themselves from the world (the probably meaning of "Pharisee") that Jesus had the most difficulties with.

In spite of what Pharisee may mean, that's not really a good description of the Pharisees is it?  The Essenes where the ones who had literally separated themselves.  The Pharisees were a lay movement that sought to extend obedience to the Torah into every aspect of life and to all the people of Israel.  Jesus did disagree with them about whether one ought to associate with sinners, the unclean, Gentiles, etc...  On the other hand, when it came to elevating human traditions above Scripture, he was the conservative.  I don't recall him criticizing them for failure to embrace Greek, Roman or pagan culture, however. 

As N.T. Wright describes it, one of the primary criticisms that Jesus leveled against the Pharisees and others sects, was their neglect of their vocation along with the embrace of violence.    They neglected their call to be a light to the nations, which would have meant engagement with the Gentile world.  Instead, they hid their light under a basket while at the same time coveting the military might of their pagan rulers. 

The vocation of Israel and the Church was not to "get in tune" with the world.  It was to love the world and be engaged in the world, while not embracing the ways of the world.  Jews in the diaspora and early Christians did "get in tune" by speaking and writing in Greek, learning and utilizing Greek philosophy, etc...  And yet their way of life remained distinct.  There were aspect of Greek and Roman culture that the clearly rejected. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on March 09, 2012, 03:51:00 PM
My concern, Pastor Christ, is for those all-too-frequent times when the scientific "knowledge of the secular world" is rejected by the church because the church claims it knows the whole deal. Galileo comes to mind, along with some others, including today's "creationists" or "young-earth" believers.
That "be not conformed to the world" verse - so often flung into these discussions - is not, I believe, intended to cut us off from what the world has to teach us about itself and about humanity.



On the surface the issues seem to be easily discerned and resolved in terms of side-making and side-taking.  In reality the issues of method go much deeper and there is both truth and error in  scientific theory as well as in the scriptural words.  In my 58 years I have come to realize that both truth and error are sometimes indistinguishable and certainly the claims made by the experts need to constantly be tested for sufficient basis.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 09, 2012, 03:56:19 PM
My concern, Pastor Christ, is for those all-too-frequent times when the scientific "knowledge of the secular world" is rejected by the church because the church claims it knows the whole deal. Galileo comes to mind, along with some others, including today's "creationists" or "young-earth" believers.
That "be not conformed to the world" verse - so often flung into these discussions - is not, I believe, intended to cut us off from what the world has to teach us about itself and about humanity.

On the surface the issues seem to be easily discerned and resolved in terms of side-making and side-taking.  In reality the issues of method go much deeper and there is both truth and error in  scientific theory as well as in the scriptural words.  In my 58 years I have come to realize that both truth and error are sometimes indistinguishable and certainly the claims made by the experts need to constantly be tested for sufficient conditions.

Not to mention the oft repeated trope that the Church was always the last to embrace scientific knowledge.  One thinks of the notion that the Church opposed Columbus because he thought the world was round.  In fact, Christian thinkers knew the world was round centuries before Columbus sailed.  For instance, both Thomas Aquinas and Dante knew the world was round. 
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 09, 2012, 04:07:51 PM
Well, at least it is made it a straightforward way, sans the usual dodging, weaving, and prevaricating.  (Trying to keep the 8th Commandment . . .)

     Sure you are.
Et tu, SCPO?  8)
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 09, 2012, 04:49:42 PM
And let us not read too much into the "growth" of the Roman Catholic Church, for most of the increase in numbers is due to Spanish-speaking immigrants.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: readselerttoo on March 09, 2012, 04:52:28 PM
My concern, Pastor Christ, is for those all-too-frequent times when the scientific "knowledge of the secular world" is rejected by the church because the church claims it knows the whole deal. Galileo comes to mind, along with some others, including today's "creationists" or "young-earth" believers.
That "be not conformed to the world" verse - so often flung into these discussions - is not, I believe, intended to cut us off from what the world has to teach us about itself and about humanity.

On the surface the issues seem to be easily discerned and resolved in terms of side-making and side-taking.  In reality the issues of method go much deeper and there is both truth and error in  scientific theory as well as in the scriptural words.  In my 58 years I have come to realize that both truth and error are sometimes indistinguishable and certainly the claims made by the experts need to constantly be tested for sufficient conditions.

Not to mention the oft repeated trope that the Church was always the last to embrace scientific knowledge.  One thinks of the notion that the Church opposed Columbus because he thought the world was round.  In fact, Christian thinkers knew the world was round centuries before Columbus sailed.  For instance, both Thomas Aquinas and Dante knew the world was round.


The hybris of the modern world includes desperately seeking a way to manage discrepancy in method by using the Kantian category to encase results.  At that point then the side-taking and side-making assures us that we have it right and they (in the past) had it wrong.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2012, 06:03:43 PM
The reality is that both are wrong, we don't need Christ to be the Messiah we think we need, we need to become the people that welcome the Messiah who comes as He is.


A quote from Anne Lamott (unknown reference): “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” (http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7113.Anne_Lamott)


A quote from the Introduction to The Five Gospels: "Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you." (p. 5)


So do we keep from creating Jesus in our own image?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on March 09, 2012, 07:02:26 PM
And let us not read too much into the "growth" of the Roman Catholic Church, for most of the increase in numbers is due to Spanish-speaking immigrants.

You are saying that as if it was a bad thing . . .
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Don Whitbeck on March 09, 2012, 07:14:37 PM
No, Pastor Christ, what is sad is the declaration that we must reject knowedge, intellect, exploration, discovery etc., because we are afraid that it might contradict some views that we consider "God's."

Tim notes: You know Charles, having read you for years, there seems to be present an increasing inability for you as someone, presumably well trained in words, to simply understand plain words. Nowhere did I indicate or say that I rejected knowledge, intellect, exploration, discovery, etc. because we are afraid that it might contradict some views that we consider "God's."

Brian said, (and I quote): "I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world."

Now place that clear quoted statement beside this equally clear statement and you will, perhaps... maybe... just maybe... discern the source of my sadness: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2).

Brian suggests an alignment of our conformation to the "secular world". And routinely exegetes his texts in precisely that way. Plainly, that is 180-degrees opposite of what we are called, by God, to be and do. (That says nothing, I repeat NOTHING, about rejecting learning on this fallen side of life.) But that a Pastor of the Church, entrusted with the care of precious ones for whom Christ died, should make such a statement - well, to me, that is why it is the saddest thing I've read herein.

Thank you, Pastor Tim Christ, for your wonderful witness, to God's Truths. Thus the work of the Holy Spirit is there changing and guiding towards a new mind in Christ, a new life in Christ.

Accepting it, and living still in a sinful state, I believe is not the way God told us to live our lives.  Sorry to say, the ELCA, doesn't believe in the correct functions of the Holy Spirit.  To me, it's like calling God a liar.  Christ also gives us many examples through his Apostle Paul, although rejected by the Liberal Revisionist of our time.

Respectully,
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 10, 2012, 10:03:57 AM
Perhaps this conversation illustrates the danger of playing the numbers game.  The ELCA must be doing things right because it is and remains the largest Lutheran body in the US.  No Missouri is right because its rate of decline is slower than that of the ELCA.  The decisions of CWA '09 must have been correct because umpteen thousand ELCA Facebook participants like it.
 
If one carefully chooses and interprets numbers, one can prove just about anything.  There are also untold other factors that affect the raw numbers cited and that are not taken into account by the flattering or damning interpretations.  Don't forget that sometimes Jesus was wildly popular and at other times not so much.  At one point He asked His disciples if they would leave also like everybody else.
 
If the choices made at CWA '09 were the correct ones and the policies enacted according to God's will, then they should have been made thus even if half or more of the church left as a result.  If they were not according to God's will, then they should not have been been made thus even if half or more of the church would have left as a result.
 
I have a bit of a different spin on votes taken on things like LCMS doctrinal statements and ELCA social statements and subsequent policy.  We do not establish God's will or God's truth by majority vote.  God determines for Himself what His will is and what truth is.  What we do when we vote on such things is to determine what we as a body understand God's truth and God's will to be.  Majorities may be wrong - but that cannot stop us from stepping forward on what we as a group understand it to be.  For those who disagree, they may try to convince the rest of the error of their ways, determine that the issue is not important enough to argue about, or leave to find or form a group that sees God's will and truth the way they do.  Doctrine is not established by majority vote, but it may be recognized as such by such a vote.  The alternative is to have no official doctrine, accept everything and so stand for nothing.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dadoo on March 10, 2012, 10:42:08 AM
Perhaps this conversation illustrates the danger of playing the numbers game.  The ELCA must be doing things right because it is and remains the largest Lutheran body in the US.  No Missouri is right because its rate of decline is slower than that of the ELCA.  The decisions of CWA '09 must have been correct because umpteen thousand ELCA Facebook participants like it.
 
If one carefully chooses and interprets numbers, one can prove just about anything.  There are also untold other factors that affect the raw numbers cited and that are not taken into account by the flattering or damning interpretations.  Don't forget that sometimes Jesus was wildly popular and at other times not so much.  At one point He asked His disciples if they would leave also like everybody else.
 
If the choices made at CWA '09 were the correct ones and the policies enacted according to God's will, then they should have been made thus even if half or more of the church left as a result.  If they were not according to God's will, then they should not have been been made thus even if half or more of the church would have left as a result.
 
I have a bit of a different spin on votes taken on things like LCMS doctrinal statements and ELCA social statements and subsequent policy.  We do not establish God's will or God's truth by majority vote.  God determines for Himself what His will is and what truth is.  What we do when we vote on such things is to determine what we as a body understand God's truth and God's will to be.  Majorities may be wrong - but that cannot stop us from stepping forward on what we as a group understand it to be.  For those who disagree, they may try to convince the rest of the error of their ways, determine that the issue is not important enough to argue about, or leave to find or form a group that sees God's will and truth the way they do.  Doctrine is not established by majority vote, but it may be recognized as such by such a vote.  The alternative is to have no official doctrine, accept everything and so stand for nothing.
 
Dan

As one who love statistics I must humbly admit that 57.3% of all statistics are meaningless or just plain made up.

That said: I would make not of your last paragraph. It seems to say that one way or another we"vote" on doctrine. Who does the voting? SOme will chime in and say that the HS through the people gathers does so since we all have the HS. But what about close votes? It has always bothered me. Are we saying to one another: "You do not have the HS?" And what about formation? It sound great that a bunch CHristians gather to discern something.But how were they formed? Where they formed intentionally? WHere they formed in a manner recognizable from one place of origin of the voter to the next? DOes not this way of making "doctrine" or near doctrine decisions assume that the voters have all undergone a rather similar time of "formation?" One might say two thing here: Once upon a time we assumed that these decisions were only made by those rigorously trained and tested: the Ordained. We may also note that once upon a time there was  an assumption of a fair amount of uniformity even amount the lay people. Stories told of grandparents with Catechisms by their chair side along with a bible or Catechism quoted often and at length an probably be found and rehearsed. THe question here is: Are we still formed in a consistent fashion? All of us, clergy and lay.

I find one thing missing from you post: Time. We vote today but the votes we take have already been taken. We over rule the past at our peril. To break with faith handed down to us is to break with the faith, unless the matter at hand really is adiaphora. When Faith is at stake, there is no ignoring the cloud of witnesses that has gone before. To insist that a matter can be taken care of by those who have the handicap of being alive right now is to break with th eFaith
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 10, 2012, 11:34:24 AM
.... When Faith is at stake, there is no ignoring the cloud of witnesses that has gone before. To insist that a matter can be taken care of by those who have the handicap of being alive right now is to break with the Faith

 ;D Careful Peter. You may get characterized as a nostalgic narcissist. And besides, that's  not a fair statement. 2012 is an election year. And we do too let the dead vote!!!

 ;D ;D ::)

"To insist that a matter can be taken care of by those who have the handicap of being alive right now is to break with the Faith"

Nicely worded,

TV
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 10, 2012, 11:52:18 AM
Perhaps this conversation illustrates the danger of playing the numbers game.  The ELCA must be doing things right because it is and remains the largest Lutheran body in the US.  No Missouri is right because its rate of decline is slower than that of the ELCA.  The decisions of CWA '09 must have been correct because umpteen thousand ELCA Facebook participants like it.


My statement about the facebook participants' views did not argue about the decision being right or wrong -- but that they offer a better reflection of the thinking in the ELCA than the few ELCAers here (and not a statement about what thinking is right or wrong -- that's the judgment you put on it, but not what I said.)
 
Quote
I have a bit of a different spin on votes taken on things like LCMS doctrinal statements and ELCA social statements and subsequent policy.  We do not establish God's will or God's truth by majority vote.  God determines for Himself what His will is and what truth is.  What we do when we vote on such things is to determine what we as a body understand God's truth and God's will to be.  Majorities may be wrong - but that cannot stop us from stepping forward on what we as a group understand it to be.  For those who disagree, they may try to convince the rest of the error of their ways, determine that the issue is not important enough to argue about, or leave to find or form a group that sees God's will and truth the way they do.  Doctrine is not established by majority vote, but it may be recognized as such by such a vote.  The alternative is to have no official doctrine, accept everything and so stand for nothing.

A workshop for congregation councils asked the question: "How do you know if your decisions are faithful ones?" The same question can apply to synods, districts, or national denominational decisions. Often in congregations decisions are judged by their effectiveness or efficiency -- or, in other terms, "the numbers" -- more people, lower costs, etc. Numbers are measurable.


How do you propose that we determine faithfulness in our decisions? How does a legislative body determine what is God's truth and will for them at this time? Was it God's will for Luther to be kicked out of the church and begin a split in the Western Church? Was it God's will for Seminex and the AELC to happen that split the LCMS? Was it God's will that LCMC and NALC be formed that further split the church? Why is one "split and a new church body" God's will and not another?


Or, a much more common occurrence, how does a congregation determine if calling a candidate as its pastor is God's will?



Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 10, 2012, 11:59:33 AM
Perhaps this conversation illustrates the danger of playing the numbers game.  The ELCA must be doing things right because it is and remains the largest Lutheran body in the US.  No Missouri is right because its rate of decline is slower than that of the ELCA.  The decisions of CWA '09 must have been correct because umpteen thousand ELCA Facebook participants like it.
 
If one carefully chooses and interprets numbers, one can prove just about anything.  There are also untold other factors that affect the raw numbers cited and that are not taken into account by the flattering or damning interpretations.  Don't forget that sometimes Jesus was wildly popular and at other times not so much.  At one point He asked His disciples if they would leave also like everybody else.
 
If the choices made at CWA '09 were the correct ones and the policies enacted according to God's will, then they should have been made thus even if half or more of the church left as a result.  If they were not according to God's will, then they should not have been been made thus even if half or more of the church would have left as a result.
 
I have a bit of a different spin on votes taken on things like LCMS doctrinal statements and ELCA social statements and subsequent policy.  We do not establish God's will or God's truth by majority vote.  God determines for Himself what His will is and what truth is.  What we do when we vote on such things is to determine what we as a body understand God's truth and God's will to be.  Majorities may be wrong - but that cannot stop us from stepping forward on what we as a group understand it to be.  For those who disagree, they may try to convince the rest of the error of their ways, determine that the issue is not important enough to argue about, or leave to find or form a group that sees God's will and truth the way they do.  Doctrine is not established by majority vote, but it may be recognized as such by such a vote.  The alternative is to have no official doctrine, accept everything and so stand for nothing.
 
Dan

As one who love statistics I must humbly admit that 57.3% of all statistics are meaningless or just plain made up.

That said: I would make not of your last paragraph. It seems to say that one way or another we"vote" on doctrine. Who does the voting? SOme will chime in and say that the HS through the people gathers does so since we all have the HS. But what about close votes? It has always bothered me. Are we saying to one another: "You do not have the HS?" And what about formation? It sound great that a bunch CHristians gather to discern something.But how were they formed? Where they formed intentionally? WHere they formed in a manner recognizable from one place of origin of the voter to the next? DOes not this way of making "doctrine" or near doctrine decisions assume that the voters have all undergone a rather similar time of "formation?" One might say two thing here: Once upon a time we assumed that these decisions were only made by those rigorously trained and tested: the Ordained. We may also note that once upon a time there was  an assumption of a fair amount of uniformity even amount the lay people. Stories told of grandparents with Catechisms by their chair side along with a bible or Catechism quoted often and at length an probably be found and rehearsed. THe question here is: Are we still formed in a consistent fashion? All of us, clergy and lay.

I find one thing missing from you post: Time. We vote today but the votes we take have already been taken. We over rule the past at our peril. To break with faith handed down to us is to break with the faith, unless the matter at hand really is adiaphora. When Faith is at stake, there is no ignoring the cloud of witnesses that has gone before. To insist that a matter can be taken care of by those who have the handicap of being alive right now is to break with th eFaith
My last paragraph should probably be another post - another thought not really connected to the rest.  We vote on what we as a group have descerned as God's doctrine.  As a group we may be wrong - we need to continue to study and prayerfully strive to discern God's will in the matter.  But as a group we need to say that this is what we believe and this is what we will do on the basis of what we believe - that we do not believe and so that we will not do.  I do not know of any other way that works better for a group to establish what they as a group believes. 
 
As to the cloud of witnesses that have gone before - listening to them should be a part of the discernment process, keeping also in mind that they could have been wrong, and that there are often several clouds to be consulted.  Luther and his colleagues were careful to show how they were agreeing with the ancient church fathers.  His Roman opponents also had clouds of witnesses to whom they appealed.
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: DCharlton on March 10, 2012, 12:29:39 PM
My statement about the facebook participants' views did not argue about the decision being right or wrong -- but that they offer a better reflection of the thinking in the ELCA than the few ELCAers here (and not a statement about what thinking is right or wrong -- that's the judgment you put on it, but not what I said.)

You seem to imply that "the few ELCAers here" claim to represent the majority in the new ELCA.  I think you know better than that, so why repeat it?

I've also asked several times why you rely on the self selected sample of a facebook group, but rejected the self selected sample when it was found in the surveys related to the Study on Human Sexuality.  You repeatedly dismissed those studies because they were not statistically valid, saying that they were not an accurate representation of what the majority of ELCA people thought.  Then you repeatedly put membership on a facebook group forward as an indicator of what the majority in the ELCA think.  Are you suffering from amnesia or being disingenuous?
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 10, 2012, 12:30:48 PM
I have a bit of a different spin on votes taken on things like LCMS doctrinal statements and ELCA social statements and subsequent policy.  We do not establish God's will or God's truth by majority vote.  God determines for Himself what His will is and what truth is.  What we do when we vote on such things is to determine what we as a body understand God's truth and God's will to be.  Majorities may be wrong - but that cannot stop us from stepping forward on what we as a group understand it to be.  For those who disagree, they may try to convince the rest of the error of their ways, determine that the issue is not important enough to argue about, or leave to find or form a group that sees God's will and truth the way they do.  Doctrine is not established by majority vote, but it may be recognized as such by such a vote.  The alternative is to have no official doctrine, accept everything and so stand for nothing.

A workshop for congregation councils asked the question: "How do you know if your decisions are faithful ones?" The same question can apply to synods, districts, or national denominational decisions. Often in congregations decisions are judged by their effectiveness or efficiency -- or, in other terms, "the numbers" -- more people, lower costs, etc. Numbers are measurable.


How do you propose that we determine faithfulness in our decisions? How does a legislative body determine what is God's truth and will for them at this time? Was it God's will for Luther to be kicked out of the church and begin a split in the Western Church? Was it God's will for Seminex and the AELC to happen that split the LCMS? Was it God's will that LCMC and NALC be formed that further split the church? Why is one "split and a new church body" God's will and not another?


Or, a much more common occurrence, how does a congregation determine if calling a candidate as its pastor is God's will?

That is a difficult question, and one that ultimately does not have rock hard answers.  One studies the texts - Bible and for Lutherans the Confessions - using the tools that one believes results in interpretations that are most faithful to text; one listens to the "cloud of witnesses" as others have refered to them - the Christians who have gone before us; one prays for guidance; one carefully considers the posibilities that one's reasoning is not rational but rationalizing and one decides.  Sometimes, not making a decision is a decision in itself.  Not deciding is sometimes not a viable option.  Could we have been fooled - by others, by ourselves and our own sinful desires - yes.  But if it turns out that was case then confession and asking for forgiveness is in order.
 
On several key points (one of which is what tools and proceedures are proper for interpreting Scripture) the ELCA and the LCMS have gone separate ways.  That is unfortunate.  We have also disagreed on how important our disagreements are.  A number of ELCA folk who post here opine that the differences are not that important and so expect that the LCMS should be in Altar if not Altar and Pulpit fellowship and at least offer Communion Table hospitality to those of the ELCA.  What should be necessary for such fellowship is one of our areas of disagreement.  What frustates some of us in the LCMS is that while the ELCA seems willing to accept and even celebrate diversity of belief and practice in some areas - they also seem to insist that in this area we of the LCMS must accept their judgement.  We are somehow subLutheran or even subChristian for not offering them communion hospitality and accepting that our differences are not important enough to disrupt that.  To us it seems that ELCA people are willing and even eager to welcome diversity - but only in areas that they deem suitable for diversity - in other areas they expect us to accept their judgement with little question and little hesitation - and our divergence from their teaching and practice is simply wrong - and we should know and accept that.
 
Much ill will has been generated from both sides over these questions.  In the end a church body must make decisions that it deems faithful to God - recognizing that all will not agree and that there will likely be fallout.  In the end I will acknowledge that at times the LCMS has seemed and was arrogant in her actions towards others.  But it seems to me that ELCA folk has been at times equally arrogant towards the LCMS, demanding that we abandon what we have determined is correct teaching a practice to adopt ELCA standards.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 10, 2012, 02:01:40 PM
My statement about the facebook participants' views did not argue about the decision being right or wrong -- but that they offer a better reflection of the thinking in the ELCA than the few ELCAers here (and not a statement about what thinking is right or wrong -- that's the judgment you put on it, but not what I said.)

You seem to imply that "the few ELCAers here" claim to represent the majority in the new ELCA.  I think you know better than that, so why repeat it?


No, I'm not saying that -- and I don't think that most would claim to represent the ELCA. It has been said that Charles and I are more like the mainstream ELCA clergy -- and that's probably true.

Quote
I've also asked several times why you rely on the self selected sample of a facebook group, but rejected the self selected sample when it was found in the surveys related to the Study on Human Sexuality.  You repeatedly dismissed those studies because they were not statistically valid, saying that they were not an accurate representation of what the majority of ELCA people thought.  Then you repeatedly put membership on a facebook group forward as an indicator of what the majority in the ELCA think.  Are you suffering from amnesia or being disingenuous?


I have used the responses in the Study on Human Sexuality, but they don't prove anything, except to give us statistics about the people who responded to the survey. While a majority of those who responded were not in favor of changes; demographically, the percentage of responders who approved of homosexual relationships increased the younger they were. It suggests that there is a gap in the thinking between many oldsters (70+) the young adult members (20-30 year olds).


All I've commented about the facebook group is that the tenor of the discussions there are quite different than in this forum. For example, while many here may chastise Obama and democrats and some of their plans, they often receive support from the ELCA Clergy discussion. (Again, I'm not saying that one is right and the other wrong -- just an observation.)


It seems likely to me that a group of LCMS clergy chatting around glasses of beer would be quite different than a group of ELCA clergy chatting around their beer. We almost live in two different worlds.



Title: Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 10, 2012, 02:15:28 PM
That is a difficult question, and one that ultimately does not have rock hard answers.  One studies the texts - Bible and for Lutherans the Confessions - using the tools that one believes results in interpretations that are most faithful to text; one listens to the "cloud of witnesses" as others have refered to them - the Christians who have gone before us; one prays for guidance; one carefully considers the posibilities that one's reasoning is not rational but rationalizing and one decides.  Sometimes, not making a decision is a decision in itself.  Not deciding is sometimes not a viable option.  Could we have been fooled - by others, by ourselves and our own sinful desires - yes.  But if it turns out that was case then confession and asking for forgiveness is in order.


One group that you are omitting are the people being served today. An example that was given at the workshop on faithful decisions was about setting the time for worship services. Can you find anything in scripture that says what time we should worship God? We can look at what's been done in the past, but we should also look at the needs of the people we believe God wants to bring to the worship: when are they able to come? Should the bus schedule be part of the discernment process? Soccer practices?
 
Quote
On several key points (one of which is what tools and proceedures are proper for interpreting Scripture) the ELCA and the LCMS have gone separate ways.  That is unfortunate.  We have also disagreed on how important our disagreements are.  A number of ELCA folk who post here opine that the differences are not that important and so expect that the LCMS should be in Altar if not Altar and Pulpit fellowship and at least offer Communion Table hospitality to those of the ELCA.  What should be necessary for such fellowship is one of our areas of disagreement.  What frustates some of us in the LCMS is that while the ELCA seems willing to accept and even celebrate diversity of belief and practice in some areas - they also seem to insist that in this area we of the LCMS must accept their judgement.  We are somehow subLutheran or even subChristian for not offering them communion hospitality and accepting that our differences are not important enough to disrupt that.  To us it seems that ELCA people are willing and even eager to welcome diversity - but only in areas that they deem suitable for diversity - in other areas they expect us to accept their judgement with little question and little hesitation - and our divergence from their teaching and practice is simply wrong - and we should know and accept that.
 
Much ill will has been generated from both sides over these questions.  In the end a church body must make decisions that it deems faithful to God - recognizing that all will not agree and that there will likely be fallout.  In the end I will acknowledge that at times the LCMS has seemed and was arrogant in her actions towards others.  But it seems to me that ELCA folk has been at times equally arrogant towards the LCMS, demanding that we abandon what we have determined is correct teaching a practice to adopt ELCA standards.


In this way we may be similar, when we have come to our convictions based on our understanding of God's Word, we do what we can to bring others to that same conviction -- because it is what we believe God is saying, and thus it is God's will, e.g., that woman may also be ordained; that the sacrament is open to all the baptized.


The issue is whether we believe that our understanding of God's will on such issues is universal -- that it applies to all people and it is our job to bring them to that truth -- or it can it be a matter of different interpretations of God's Word and it becomes part of the differing parts of the one body. A foot doesn't have to be as dexterous as a hand to be a valuable part of the body. We don't have to have the same ordination or com