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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: JMOtterman on July 10, 2007, 03:53:52 PM

Title: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 10, 2007, 03:53:52 PM
A letter I recieved today in my mail from A Lutheran Pastor that I do not know. 

The letter is dated July 7, 2007

Greetings from Atlanta.  My name is Jill Henning and, like you, I am a voting member at the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August.  My husband, Matt, and I are both pastors in the Southeastern Synod.  Between being pastors and parenting two children, ages nine and five, we know first hand how busy all of our lives can be.  Still, I'm writing to you about a matter of real concern for my family, my synod, and the ELCA.

Before we leave for Chicago, I'd like to tell you about my good friends, the people of St. John Lutheran Church in Atlanta and their pastor, Bradley Schmeling.  If you read The Lutheran, you may have seen something about them.  St. John's is the oldest Lutheran Church in Atlanta.  Pastor Brad is a dear man, an excellent preacher, teacher, evangelist, and spiritual advisor.  I would love to have Bradley as my pastor.  With the leadership of Prastor Bradley, St. John has grown in its membership and service to the community.  The pews are filled--well, except in the summer, just like everywhere else--and the members are learning to park down the street so there's room for their many visitors.  What a wonderful problem to have!

Pastor Bradley has been open with the congregation and Bishop Ron Warren about this sexual orientation since before he was called in 2000.   The Bishop approved his call and has affirmed his outstanding ministry.  Pastor Bradley ever served as my conference dean.  The congregation, Matt and I were all thrilled when Bradley announced, in March of last year, that he had found a life-partner in Pastor Daren Easler.  However, on August 11th, 2006, the Bishop filed charges  against Pastor Bradley for "conduct incompatible with the office of ministry."  After nearly a year of legal briefs, a trial, a decision and an appeal, the ELCA Committee on Appeals decided on July 2, 2007, to remove Pastor Bradley from the ELCA clergy roster.  the congregation recieved the news with tears and resolve to tell their story.

At the Churchwide Assembly St. John's will be joined by 22 synods of the ELCA, representing 40% of the ELCA's members.  They have asked the Churchwide Assembly to eliminate the ELCA's policy of discrimination against ministers in committed same-gender relationships and the congregations that call them.  Because the Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the ELCA, you and I will have some important decisions to make.

To help you prepare for Chicago, enclosed you will find a brief summary of the trial.  It includes words from Pastor Bradley himself, his partner, his mom, and the first Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, the Rev. Dr. Herbert Chilstrom.  You will also see a timeline that the many congregations and pastors affected by the church's policies of exclusion.  It only takes 10 minutes to read, but it carefully asks us to consider, "are we really living together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements?"  This is precisely the question that we must answer in August.

Thanks for giving me a chance to tell you about these friends of mine.  I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

In Christ,

Jill J. Henning
Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church
Lilburn, Georgia
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 10, 2007, 04:18:34 PM
Good Soil has sent me and I am guessing all the other CWA voting folks an 8 page newsletter.  One of the pages is called Questions and Answers.  Here goes.

Why not delay any more conversation about the ordination of partnered gay clergy until after the social statement on sexuality has been approved?

The guide Journey Together Faithfully Part 3: Free to Serve the Neighbor, is not intended to offer study resources or guidance to the church regarding homosexuality, blessings of relationship or partnered gay clergy.
At CWA 2005 the assembly considered numberous resolutions regarding the recommentdations of the Sexuality Task Force.  The upshot was a collection of votes which confirmed our desire to live together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements, stayed the course with intentional ambiguity concerning blessings of same-gender relationships, and said what we don't want relative to ordination but not what we do want.  The ciritical vote of the day was the defeat of a motion to enforce the current policy of exclusion.  The recommendation of the Church Council on an exception policy for partnered gay pastors failed to reach a majority by only seven votes.
You should know that many gay, lesbian, and allied voting members were not in favor of the exception policy and voted against it since it would have established extra rules for the qualification of partnered gay clergy as well as a second class of rostered clergy. 
If we don't change the policy in 2007, the issues will stand before us again at Churchwide 2009 and beyond until the policy is changed.  If we do not come to terms with out disagreements regarding homosexuality, we will not be able to pass a social statement of human sexuality which will require a two-thirds majority vote. 
Meanwhile pastors, like Bradley, stand trial or are pressured to resign their calls.  How many gifted pastors must we lose, until the church says enough is enough and the policy fails? 

Why all the fuss about the story of just one person?
We are concerned about Bradley--but also about many others.  Because of the policies currently in place, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in the ELCA have been denied their calling to the ordained ministry.  Pastor Schmeling's story is just one of many similar situations occuring since the beginning of the ELCA.  Se the timeline beginning on page 6 listing the 4 trials the ELCA has conducted, the 12 otherwise qualified seminarians which the ELCA wouldn't approve for ordinations, 7 ELCA rostered leaders that have been defrocked or forced to resign, 3 congregations removed from the ELCA, 7 ELCA congregations which have been disciplined, and 15 Extraordinary Candidacy Project pastors currently serving ELCA and Independent Lutheran Congregations.  Ultimately, the current policies impoverish the whole church--all laypersons, all ordained clergy, all servants, all leaders of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Are the policies precluding homosexuals from the ordained ministry of this church part of the ELCA constitution?
No, they are not.  In Chapter 7, the constitution gives the standards for ordained ministers which include commitment to Christ; soundness of faith; aptness to preach, teach and witness; educational qualifications; examination; proper call and ordaination; acceptance and adherance to the Confession of Faith; diligence and faithfulness in the exercise of the ministry; and life and conduct above reproach.  An ordianed minister shall comply with the constitution of this church.  the constitution does not mention homosexuality.

Why aren't the policies included in the constitution?
Those on the first ELCA church Council detemined that policies like Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline for rostered leaders and Vision and Expectations for ministerial candidates should be separated from the constitution, allowing for the use of discretion in their application.  The constitution sets the firm boundaries for the denomination.  Amendments to the constitution require a two-thirds majority of voting members of the Churchwide Assembly over two consecutive assemblies.  the constitution is not easily changed.  The first Church Council saw that, over time, situations might occur requiring change in the policy documents; therefore these policies should not rise the authoritative level of the constitution.

Who put the policy in place?
There is a constitutionally prescribed process for the creation of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations, the Committee on Appeals presented a draft to the ELCA Church Council which edited it to include the current language precluding practicing homosexuals for the ordained ministry.  The Council passed the policy in November 1989.  The policiy was never approved by the CWA.
For Vision and Expectations, the Division for Ministry in consultation with the Conference of Bishops presented a draft to the ELCA Church Council which was edited to include the phrase, "persons who are homosexual in their self understanding are expected to abstain from Homosexual sexual relationships."  The Church Council passed Vision and Expectations in October 1990.  The policy was never approved by the CWA.

Must the policies in Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations comport with the ELCA Constitution?
Yes, they must.  Until the Schmeling trial, no one has challenged the constitutionality of the policies excluding partnered gay pastors.

Which entity holds the highest legislative authority in the ELCA?
The Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the ELCA.  The ELCA Church Council has interim authority between CW assemblies.

Can the ELCA CWA change the policies excluding partnered gay clergy?
While the CWA may not change the policies outright, according to Secretary Almen, the assembly may direct the appropriate units of the church to change the policies.  Consequently, memorials regarding policy change must be worded carefully to direct the responsible entities within the ELCA structure to make the changes as instructed.  Such memorials directing change will require a simple majority pass.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: peter_speckhard on July 10, 2007, 04:18:56 PM
Is there any policy of any kind that cannot be termed a "policy of exclusion" by people who would rather break the policy and be thrown out than abide by the policy and remain in good standing? If our service is at 9:00 a.m. does that mean we have a policy of exclusion toward people who show up at 10:00? Or would it be more fair to say we have a policy of welcoming everyone, and part of what we're welcoming them into is a church that meets at 9:00 a.m.? Pastor Schmeling is more than welcome on the ELCA clergy roster; it is just that it is more important to him to engage in homosexual sex.  
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 10, 2007, 05:09:50 PM
Good Soil: How many gifted pastors must we lose, until the church says enough is enough and the policy fails?

PJ:  We shall lose every gifted pastor if the pastors continue to be "turned in on themselves" for to be a pastor is not a right or guarantee.  To be a pastor is a privelege extended to those called to serve.  The privelege of serving as Pastor carries with it expectations that are valued for the public office of pastoral ministry, of which on my own merit because of my sinful ways I am unworthy and unable, but that of Jesus Christ crucified and risen am I saved for the faith given me by God, God has called me to serve and I will serve and I ask God to help me in my serving as Pastor.  It is an honor to serve God and God's people and when I graduated I thought my call was a right, I was wrong.  But when the issue is about being served, about getting your just desserts, may God send you quail. 

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Bergs on July 10, 2007, 06:35:06 PM
As I mentioned in another topic, watch for the intense emotional full-court press coming on this issue.  My responses are in italics.

Quote
The letter is dated July 7, 2007

Greetings from Atlanta.  My name is Jill Henning and, like you, I am a voting member at the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August.  My husband, Matt, and I are both pastors in the Southeastern Synod.  Between being pastors and parenting two children, ages nine and five, we know first hand how busy all of our lives can be.  Still, I'm writing to you about a matter of real concern for my family, my synod, and the ELCA.

I never quite get how this concerns her family?  The letter below does not make that connection.  The family stuff is just ever so much emotional, trying to connect with the reader.

Quote
Before we leave for Chicago, I'd like to tell you about my good friends, the people of St. John Lutheran Church in Atlanta and their pastor, Bradley Schmeling.  If you read The Lutheran, you may have seen something about them.  St. John's is the oldest Lutheran Church in Atlanta.  Pastor Brad is a dear man, an excellent preacher, teacher, evangelist, and spiritual advisor.  I would love to have Bradley as my pastor.  With the leadership of Prastor Bradley, St. John has grown in its membership and service to the community.  The pews are filled--well, except in the summer, just like everywhere else--and the members are learning to park down the street so there's room for their many visitors.  What a wonderful problem to have!

You know the Southern Baptist churches I attend are filled even in the summer.  So we might really learn from them.  We always have to park a block away.  So if that is the measure of success, Bradley Schmeling would never have received his first call.

Quote
Pastor Bradley has been open with the congregation and Bishop Ron Warren about this sexual orientation since before he was called in 2000.   The Bishop approved his call and has affirmed his outstanding ministry.  Pastor Bradley ever served as my conference dean.  The congregation, Matt and I were all thrilled when Bradley announced, in March of last year, that he had found a life-partner in Pastor Daren Easler.  However, on August 11th, 2006, the Bishop filed charges  against Pastor Bradley for "conduct incompatible with the office of ministry."  After nearly a year of legal briefs, a trial, a decision and an appeal, the ELCA Committee on Appeals decided on July 2, 2007, to remove Pastor Bradley from the ELCA clergy roster.  the congregation recieved the news with tears and resolve to tell their story.

Bishop Warren was always open with Bradley Schmeling and let him know from the start that if he entered into a committed same-sex partnership, the Bishop would file charges.  Yes, one could predict there would be tears in the congregation and that it would get highlighted.  So in March, Bradley Schmeling announced to others that he was in a committed relationship but did not tell his Bishop until August.  As indicated in an earlier post, the August date was very convenient for timing things to hit the press just as Synod conventions were setting up resolutions.

Furthermore the Committee on Appeals did not decide to remove him from the roster, the Discipline Hearing Committee did.  The Committee on Appeals affirmed their decision and correctly set the date.


Quote
At the Churchwide Assembly St. John's will be joined by 22 synods of the ELCA, representing 40% of the ELCA's members.  They have asked the Churchwide Assembly to eliminate the ELCA's policy of discrimination against ministers in committed same-gender relationships and the congregations that call them.  Because the Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the ELCA, you and I will have some important decisions to make.

40% sounds like about the same split as votes on the critical Sexuality Task Force recommendations.  To my ears, there is no more support to change things than there was 2 years ago.  Plus consider that LCNA made a major effort on this and still could only get a minority of synod conventions to go along with them.

Quote
To help you prepare for Chicago, enclosed you will find a brief summary of the trial.  It includes words from Pastor Bradley himself, his partner, his mom, and the first Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, the Rev. Dr. Herbert Chilstrom.  You will also see a timeline that the many congregations and pastors affected by the church's policies of exclusion.  It only takes 10 minutes to read, but it carefully asks us to consider, "are we really living together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements?"  This is precisely the question that we must answer in August.

The odds are very high that Bradley Schmeling, his partner, and his mom will speak well of him and how badly he is treated.   As for Chilstrom, he mucked things up horribly  at our little congregation when he was LCA Bishop.  His integrity has been shot with me for nearly 20 years.  He is a noisy gong and I would not read anything he wrote if it was 3 word phrase on a bumper sticker.

Yes, we are doing the best we can to live together faithfully.  It seems to look different in different synods.  But can we continue to live together faithfully as traditionalists are discredited by ELCA leaders?


Quote
Thanks for giving me a chance to tell you about these friends of mine.  I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

In Christ,

Jill J. Henning
Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church
Lilburn, Georgia

Who paid for this?  Was there disclosure?  Was this just a plain old parish pastor who got the mailing list on her own and sent this out cause Bradley Schmeling is such a nice guy and this was so important to her and her family?  I would be curious to know if the organization behind this identified themself.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Jeffrey Spencer on July 10, 2007, 07:32:03 PM
Brian Bergs wrote:  40% sounds like about the same split as votes on the critical Sexuality Task Force recommendations.  To my ears, there is no more support to change things than there was 2 years ago.  Plus consider that LCNA made a major effort on this and still could only get a minority of synod conventions to go along with them.

I add:  That 40% figure, which, as a CWA voting member, I expect to hear bandied about quite a bit in Chicago, is misleading.  They are happy to state that the synods which passed the Good Soil resolutions represent 40% of the membership of the ELCA.  However, while that might be true, you can bet that none of those resolutions passed unanimously.  Most, like the one passed in my own synod (SWWA), probably only barely passed. 

I'll bet the most reliable figure we have gauging support for blessing/rostering practicing homosexuals is to be found in the results of JTFII, which (I just looked it up) had only 18.2% unabashedly in favor.

What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

Jeffrey Spencer
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Winlock, WA
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 04:48:04 AM
Jeffrey Spencer writes (re a communication from the Good Soil organization):
What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

I ponder:
And what would one call the messages from those organizations that oppose any change in ELCA policies on the matter under discussion?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 11, 2007, 07:12:10 AM
Dear JMOtterman,

Greetings in Christ. Could you or another participant please bullet point for me the "battle lines"? (e.g., party one, party two, etc, but not too detailed). Though I'm aware of the theological issues, I'm not clear on the political fronts.

In Christ,
EE

P.s. - Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in My name, there [will be politics] among them."  :-\
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Bergs on July 11, 2007, 08:07:56 AM
Jeffrey Spencer writes (re a communication from the Good Soil organization):
What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

I ponder:
And what would one call the messages from those organizations that oppose any change in ELCA policies on the matter under discussion?

What messages opposing changes have been mailed to all delegates?  Who funded them? 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 08:11:08 AM
Someone writes:
Though I'm aware of the theological issues, I'm not clear on the political fronts.

I comment, one more time:
When we think of discussions within the body of Christ as "battles" and draw "battle lines," we are on destructive ground. When we speak of "political fronts," we are on even more dangerous ground. If such lines need be drawn, it should be on matters relating to the core doctrine of the Gospel of justification by grace through faith.

But it seems, at least in these forums, that we are unable to abandon such language; and that we are unable to think brothers and sisters in the whole Church - and that means the whole ELCA and the rest of Christendom -  as fellow proclaimers of the Gospel, united in the faith, who are struggling through difficult issues.

And before the piling-on begins; I intend these comments to apply to those seeking change and those resisting change.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 08:17:36 AM
Brian Bergs writes:
What messages opposing changes have been mailed to all delegates?  Who funded them?

I comment:
I am not a voting member, (people who go to assemblies are not "delegates"), so I do not know. But I do know that newsletters, position papers, and other materials are widely circulated throughout the ELCA by Word Alone, Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans and other groups. And they hold rallies and workshops and conventions to promote their views. Some of this I find a little distasteful; but I do not consider it a horrendous wrong. We are all free to promote our views.

As for funding, what does it matter? I would like to see all activist organizations report the sources of their funding, just for the sake of full information. (Do we suspect that drug companies or other corporate behemoths have some stake in what the church does?  ;D) But that probably won't happen.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: MMH on July 11, 2007, 08:43:23 AM
This may seem like a small thing, but 22 divided by 65 is not .40.  It is .34 (being generous & rounding up)  They would need 26 synods to hit 40% of 65.

So-

Are the folks pleading for Mr. Schmelling incapable of good research, or are they being disingenuous?  In either case, is there a reason to believe them?  Luke 16:10 comes to mind.

Matt Hummel+
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Keith Falk on July 11, 2007, 08:49:33 AM
This may seem like a small thing, but 22 divided by 65 is not .40.  It is .34 (being generous & rounding up)  They would need 26 synods to hit 40% of 65.

So-

Are the folks pleading for Mr. Schmelling incapable of good research, or are they being disingenuous?  In either case, is there a reason to believe them?  Luke 16:10 comes to mind.

Matt Hummel+

Without actually looking at synod membership numbers myself, I would suspect that out of the total ELCA membership, 40% of that total comes from those 22 synods.  For the sake of easy math... if we have 5 million in the ELCA (5 million is easier to deal with than 4.82 or whatever the actual number is), then those 22 synods have 2 million members.  The other 43 synods have the remaining 3 million.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 09:06:43 AM
Jeffrey Spencer writes (re a communication from the Good Soil organization):
What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

I ponder:
And what would one call the messages from those organizations that oppose any change in ELCA policies on the matter under discussion?

What messages opposing changes have been mailed to all delegates?  Who funded them? 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

First, in respose ot what someone wrote a few posts back, I think a reasonable person must make a clear distiction between a reform group and "activists." Sure Lutheran CORE and LCNA both organize and as part of that solicit funds, but one is trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith and hold to policies that reflect it, where as the latter's sole purpose is to change a policy.

To answer the question where does the LCNA money come from, how can anyone forget the campaign to raise $2,000,000 that we got tipped to in Lent 2006. A letter was sent around to friendly activists written by the pastor of http://www.trinitylowereastside.org/ which was signed by our former bishop, Barbara Lundblad and others.

BTW, WAN annual budget is less than most congregations with one pastor.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on July 11, 2007, 09:26:58 AM
Jeffrey Spencer writes (re a communication from the Good Soil organization):
What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

I ponder:
And what would one call the messages from those organizations that oppose any change in ELCA policies on the matter under discussion?

Why, Pastor Austin!  I had no idea you thought so highly of Lutheran CORE (et al)!  "Well-oiled political spin machine."  Granted, I would have preferred "dedicated (and humble) servants and protectors of Christian truth as revealed in Scripture and Lutheran Confessions", but the times being what they are, we'll take what recognition and credit we can get. 

Erma Wolf
vice chair, Lutheran CORE steering committee   
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Bergs on July 11, 2007, 10:07:03 AM
I comment:
I am not a voting member, (people who go to assemblies are not "delegates"), so I do not know. But I do know that newsletters, position papers, and other materials are widely circulated throughout the ELCA by Word Alone, Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans and other groups. And they hold rallies and workshops and conventions to promote their views. Some of this I find a little distasteful; but I do not consider it a horrendous wrong. We are all free to promote our views.

As for funding, what does it matter? I would like to see all activist organizations report the sources of their funding, just for the sake of full information. (Do we suspect that drug companies or other corporate behemoths have some stake in what the church does?  ;D) But that probably won't happen.

As I am also not a voting member, I do not know what materials are being sent.  If CORE or WAN are sending things to voting members, I am curious what is being sent out.  As the letter from Pastor Henning showcases, there is great emotional spin going on.  We are in agreement that some of this is distasteful but not a horrendous wrong. 

My point is that the materials from both sides should be subject to evaluation and fact-checking.

We would disagree on funding.  Where the funding comes from is incredibly important.  What if the ELCA were considering to support pro-choice legislation.  If materials were sent on either side, the funding source would be very important.  Given two well-oiled machines on the two different divides, there might be millions being spent that was funded by outsiders to influence internal ELCA policy.   

As for this issue we know that LCNA has been fund-raising outside of the ELCA.  On the other side, I would like to know if an organization like the IRD were getting involved.  Though they are free to fund-raise where they like, how much and who is giving to a cause gives an indication as to the motivations of those working for change or the status-quo. 

Take Pastor Henning's letter as an example.  If she did this on her own with no backing, that says a lot.  Here is a person who is so unhappy with the policies, she takes special effort to get the mailing list, write an emotional letter, pays for printing and mailing, and sends it to all delegates.  That is very impressive and the letter will be read in that context.  Here we find she writes on congregational letterhead so one can imply that the congregation is behind her. So we can imply that the congregation might have funded it and the letter has a different context.   But if we find that another organization found her (or she volunteered), had her write the letter, then did all the legwork to send it out, the letter is read in a different light.  "He who pays the piper calls the tunes." 

If the ELCA were considering a stem-cell policy, actually the drug companies might take an interest in the CWA. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 10:16:32 AM
Eric writes:
First, in respose ot what someone wrote a few posts back, I think a reasonable person must make a clear distiction between a reform group and "activists." Sure Lutheran CORE and LCNA both organize and as part of that solicit funds, but one is trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith and hold to policies that reflect it, where as the latter's sole purpose is to change a policy.

I comment:
You may say that only one of those groups is "trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith and the policies that reflect it." Others might say that both groups are "trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith," even though they advocate that some policies reflecting that faith should be changed. 
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 10:20:18 AM
Erma Wolf writes:
Why, Pastor Austin!  I had no idea you thought so highly of Lutheran CORE (et al)!  "Well-oiled political spin machine."  Granted, I would have preferred "dedicated (and humble) servants and protectors of Christian truth as revealed in Scripture and Lutheran Confessions", but the times being what they are, we'll take what recognition and credit we can get.

I clarify:
Well, I have no direct information as to how oiled CORE is or whether their spin has staying power. I have no problem with considering CORE people "dedicated (and humble) servants."
We have heard, if we listen carefully, others describe themselves in exactly the same way, even though they disagree with CORE on certain matters about what has been "revealed in Scripture and Lutheran Confessions."
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 10:47:36 AM
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are. Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Deb_H. on July 11, 2007, 10:52:43 AM
On the matter of "drawing battle lines," I also believe that is inappropriate terminology.  If the lines are drawn for fighting, you know you're not in church anymore anyway.  That is one of the problems with conciliar churchianity, where something beyond the local congregation and its understanding of scripture is considered authoritative.  Some Lutheran historians will argue the Reformation actually ended when Luther and Melanchthon initiated the Saxon visitation.  At that point, the Lutheran church became another top-down initiative to get those "poor dumb souls" out in the countryside to understand "what they actually believe."   In a congregation, you have to be more careful about your language and presentation than you do at an assembly, because you will be seeing those people every week.  At assembly, you state your convictions bluntly, "get a vote to go your way," and then go home.  That's not church.

At one of the ELCA sexuality task force meetings in Chicago I was involved in a conversation with one of the gay advocates during the lunch break.  I or someone else asked the question -- don't you worry about those folks who don't agree with you on the appropriateness of gay behaviors being excluded from congregations where they or their families have been members forever?  His response was interesting to me, because it showed that for all the talk about the importance of inclusion, gay people aren't that inclusive.  He said -- There are plenty of other churches for those people to go to.

One of the sessions we had at the task force was when we asked advocates for both sides of the question to come in and state their views and engage in question and answer format with us.  It was interesting the contrast between the two "sides."  The first day we had what we would call traditionalists.  They had given us their views in writing prior to the meeting and then we were free to ask questions of them and engage in conversation.  I asked the question -- What doubts do you have about the position you are taking?  Every one of the respondents admitted they had doubts and wrestled with the positions they had taken.

The next day the gay folks came in under the same format.  The difference was striking.  We had asked both groups for 5-6 people to represent their veiws.  The gay people insisted that 11 had to be present.  We had asked for written papers to be presented ahead of time and then we would ask questions and engage in conversation.  The gay people insisted first that they read their papers to us.  The conversation time, therefore, was deeply shortened.  I asked the same question -- What doubts do you have? -- and to a person, everyone said they had NO doubts whatsoever.  We are dealing with zealots here; there is no middle ground.

For those of you who will be voting members in Chicago, keep a cool head, remember Whose you are, and at the end of the day, if you can't take it anymore, remember there is life elsewhere.  It is well to remember the advice of Gamaliel to Saul of Tarsus:  If this is of God, it can't be stopped, if it is not, it can not survive.  It's not about battle.  And God's timeline for this may be different than ours.  Oddly enough, I believe this may result in a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit as faithful people move to house churches (or wherever) where they  can be faithful to Jesus Christ, unencumbered with the language of "battle" and "fight."

Lou
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 10:57:23 AM
Eric writes:
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

I comment:
But those things - scripture, creeds, confessions, constitutions - are expressed and understood through your words. So it matters what you say and how the proper juridical authorities adjudicate what you say as opposed to what others may say.

Eric again:
If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are.

Me again:
I make no case that would fully define any group; they do that themselves. I only note that   numerous groups seek change in how the ELCA does some things. They are "equal" in that sense; I make no qualitative judgement, but I do note that almost every group uses the language of "reform," whether they call themselves a reform group or not.

Eric again:
Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.

Me, finally:
Perhaps the above explanation will make it seem less "novel," though I suspect the view may be unique to me in this forum. "Calling" me on it? What is that?

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 11, 2007, 10:59:19 AM
Brian J. Bergs said: "He who pays the piper calls the tunes."

PJ says: Newsletter is from Good Soil but since it didn't say good soil on the envelope then I would speculate that this pastor sent it out on the church's dime.

Now, forensics suggests that the parchment with which the paper was used for the letter head was of a heavier stock, and that the finger prints that touched the actual paper could have been a person from Good Soil or just the secretary from the church, the parchment had a very earthy smell but alas this proves that nothing more can be deduced at this time as to whom paid the piper, now the tune seems to me to be too flat with a dissonance that even a Jazz artist might stray from; but that's my spin.

PJ

 

 

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 11:01:14 AM
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"? The catchy tune? Lou, I say this as a brother who really likes you (OK?) but are you aware that you are on your own time table. We are headed into a fight. Why should anyone be saying otherwise (I think I know your answer, but I will argue against it). The people who are not ready to walk away from their congregations in the ELCA are going to go ahead and keep using the fight language through the assembly and many are looking beyond this one to 2009.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 11:05:09 AM
Eric writes:
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

I comment:
But those things - scripture, creeds, confessions, constitutions - are expressed and understood through your words. So it matters what you say and how the proper juridical authorities adjudicate what you say as opposed to what others may say.

Eric again:
If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are.

Me again:
I make no case that would fully define any group; they do that themselves. I only note that   numerous groups seek change in how the ELCA does some things. They are "equal" in that sense; I make no qualitative judgement, but I do note that almost every group uses the language of "reform," whether they call themselves a reform group or not.

Eric again:
Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.

Me, finally:
Perhaps the above explanation will make it seem less "novel," though I suspect the view may be unique to me in this forum. "Calling" me on it? What is that?



You seem to know what "I call you on it" means. To be clear it means make your case (which I also said). And you have not. So what if one groups says they are about reform? Reform is what it is. Historians know what it is. Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 11:14:18 AM
Eric writes:
Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.

I comment:
And here we go again, alas! Look, Eric, there is no one here from those advocating change to make their case, and I am not a partisan, so I cannot and will not do so. But I do report to you that for those seeking to include gay and lesbian people fully in the ministry of the church, this is not a "secular agenda." It stems from how they see their being as Christians and, in the case of some, their vocation to be called and ordained pastors. Surely, if you have been around any of the dialogue, you have heard this. You may call it "secular," you may call it "anti-reform." They do not.

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 11, 2007, 11:28:16 AM
On the matter of "drawing battle lines," I also believe that is inappropriate terminology.

Lou,

Just because it's a battle doesn't mean its going to be a fight.  Although as to inappropriate terminology was it inappropriate terminology that Paul used in Ephesians 6: 10-20?  The Battle Lines are stated quite clearly by the good soil people in the Q and A section of what their intent is for the next few years, they have read the Art of War and are using it as a means by which to confound those who think they will just go away.  Who is the idealist when you think that battle might not need to take place?  The battle is going to happen.  Can a person battle as a Lutheran Christian i.e. matter of conscience and belief and still love his/her enemy?  Yes.  Do you believe that the good soil people love you so much that they are willing to die for you?  I don't know.  I think they would sacrifice the entire church for their agenda.  Thus, the battle lines have been drawn not be me but by the good christian folks from good soil.
 
PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Deb_H. on July 11, 2007, 11:34:55 AM
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

Because it's about God's fight, not ours.

You know I have great respect and love for you, Eric, but I wonder what all this "fighting" does to the faith life of the children of pastors and faithful lay people.  I know if I was a child growing up in a home where my family always seemed to be at war over things in the church, it would be difficult for me to be a faithful church person as an adult.  My younger brother is not a church person and I argue that it is because of my mother's authoritarian stance about matters of church impacting upon his sensitive personality.  When Debbie and I were young parents, we left the LCMS congregation in Moses Lake precisely because we did not want our children to grow up with a negative attitude about church.  (That congregation was always fighting about the liberal spin that LCMS was falling into, if you can imagine such a thing.)  Our three grown children are all faithful church people today. 

Whether the two are related or not, I do not know, but I do know it is hard on kids to be raised in a home where the main topic of discussion is conflict.

As to my timeline or God's timeline, who can know?  Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

Lou
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 11:36:43 AM
Eric writes:
Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.

I comment:
And here we go again, alas! Look, Eric, there is no one here from those advocating change to make their case, and I am not a partisan, so I cannot and will not do so. But I do report to you that for those seeking to include gay and lesbian people fully in the ministry of the church, this is not a "secular agenda." It stems from how they see their being as Christians and, in the case of some, their vocation to be called and ordained pastors. Surely, if you have been around any of the dialogue, you have heard this. You may call it "secular," you may call it "anti-reform." They do not.



As Carl Braaten said to the reporter in 2005 "It doesn't come from Scripture, it doesn't come from tradition, it has to come from culture.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 11:45:03 AM
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

Because it's about God's fight, not ours.

You know I have great respect and love for you, Eric, but I wonder what all this "fighting" does to the faith life of the children of pastors and faithful lay people.  I know if I was a child growing up in a home where my family always seemed to be at war over things in the church, it would be difficult for me to be a faithful church person as an adult.  My younger brother is not a church person and I argue that it is because of my mother's authoritarian stance about matters of church impacting upon his sensitive personality.  When Debbie and I were young parents, we left the LCMS congregation in Moses Lake precisely because we did not want our children to grow up with a negative attitude about church.  (That congregation was always fighting about the liberal spin that LCMS was falling into, if you can imagine such a thing.)  Our three grown children are all faithful church people today. 

Whether the two are related or not, I do not know, but I do know it is hard on kids to be raised in a home where the main topic of discussion is conflict.

As to my timeline or God's timeline, who can know?  Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

Lou

Thanks, Lou. I worry about those things ans many others which helps put things in perspective (like someone saying that WAN and LCNA are both reform groups). You are right that it is God's battle. It is also mainly a spiritual battle. People get burnt.  I didn't mean to say that you are not on God's timeline. And I do know that there are very good reasons why people leave and its too bad that more people cannot understand that God has planted many new churches in just this way. We keep that in tension with His need for unity tough. Also, the pastors in this froum do not have the same considerations, that is, we cannot just go, there are a lot of forms to be filled out first :-\
.
Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 11, 2007, 12:24:22 PM
Although as to inappropriate terminology was it inappropriate terminology that Paul used in Ephesians 6: 10-20?  The Battle Lines are stated quite clearly by the good soil people in the Q and A section of what their intent is for the next few years, they have read the Art of War and are using it as a means by which to confound those who think they will just go away. 

  Yes, it's a fight.  It's not even a contest.  It's a level five conflict for the advocates (using Alban Institute's scale for such things) which denotes a jihad - a war where winning is so important that both sides may be taken out in the conflict.  Look at the home congregation of Good Soil's face to world; Jeff Johnson.  My sources in Bay Area tell me he's down to less than 20/Sunday in worship.  That's certainly a signal as to their ultimate agenda .... and it has nothing to do with the Gospel or reaching people for Christ.

So the question becomes, is this fight worth it for the orthodox?  As Lou has pointed out, if we step up into it all we'll probably do is create the same outcomes in our congregations as the advocates; the fight will send the next generation off into the ranks of the unchurched.

So you can go to the national assembly and cast your vote against change ... but does anyone here think that will have any impact at all on 1) seminary faculty, 2) Lutheran Youth Organization, 3) our campus ministries, 4) ECP and their candidates, 5) certain out-of-control synods  and.... 6) a particular congregation in Atlanta currently being led by a defrocked pastor?

Their aim is to change or kill the church.  You fight their conflict as they've defined it and they'll still win because they already have a grip on most of the institutional expression of this church.  All you'll do is kill your congregation in the process.... hence they win again.

Why are you folks losing sleep over this?  Go after the Lost in your community.  I think heaven will rejoice over that.  And sit back and grieve the collapse of the ELCA along the same lines as TEC and PCUSA.  But don't fight their conflict, not the way they want it.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Mike Bennett on July 11, 2007, 01:02:03 PM


My point is that the materials from both sides should be subject to evaluation and fact-checking.




I disagree.  I think it's important for advocates to have their say, in their words, without being censored by some operative on Higgins Road. 

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 11, 2007, 01:06:34 PM
When we think of discussions within the body of Christ as "battles" and draw "battle lines," we are on destructive ground. When we speak of "political fronts," we are on even more dangerous ground. If such lines need be drawn, it should be on matters relating to the core doctrine of the Gospel of justification by grace through faith.

But it seems, at least in these forums, that we are unable to abandon such language; and that we are unable to think brothers and sisters in the whole Church - and that means the whole ELCA and the rest of Christendom -  as fellow proclaimers of the Gospel, united in the faith, who are struggling through difficult issues.

Hi, Charles. Do you believe I've sinned against you or others by my use of language in my post?

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Bergs on July 11, 2007, 01:26:58 PM


My point is that the materials from both sides should be subject to evaluation and fact-checking.




I disagree.  I think it's important for advocates to have their say, in their words, without being censored by some operative on Higgins Road. 

Mike Bennett

Nothing in my statements imply censoring anyone.  I agree advocates deserve to have their say.  They have the right to spin it anyway they want.   My point is that the materials should be subject to evaluation by many different viewpoints.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Jeffrey Spencer on July 11, 2007, 01:40:05 PM
Jeffrey Spencer writes (re a communication from the Good Soil organization):
What we're seeing (I got the letter and accompanying newsletter too) are the machinations of a well-oiled political spin machine.

I ponder:
And what would one call the messages from those organizations that oppose any change in ELCA policies on the matter under discussion?

How about "orthodox Christians?"

JRS
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: MMH on July 11, 2007, 01:54:11 PM
OK- I see where they are going with the "40%"  Those 22 synods combined may well equal 40% of the ELCA.

But what metric is used? AWA, CCC, Total?  Any clues?

Also- I am am willing to bet anyone that the folks who are waving the 40% banner were some of the loudest voices as well in protesting both the 2000 & 2004 elections and the fact that they did not speak for them.  If we were to ask all of those 40% for their voice in the matter, would it be so high?

You cannot have it both ways.  Oh yeah, I forgot, when you are a revisionist, you can!

Matt Hummel+ 
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on July 11, 2007, 02:10:31 PM

As I am also not a voting member, I do not know what materials are being sent.  If CORE or WAN are sending things to voting members, I am curious what is being sent out.   

Brian, I am writing one of the letters Lutheran CORE is sending out to the voting members.  Once it is completed and out, I will post it here.

Erma Wolf
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Bergs on July 11, 2007, 02:12:58 PM
My comments are in italics.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs

Good Soil has sent me and I am guessing all the other CWA voting folks an 8 page newsletter.  One of the pages is called Questions and Answers.  Here goes.

Why not delay any more conversation about the ordination of partnered gay clergy until after the social statement on sexuality has been approved?

The guide Journey Together Faithfully Part 3: Free to Serve the Neighbor, is not intended to offer study resources or guidance to the church regarding homosexuality, blessings of relationship or partnered gay clergy.
At CWA 2005 the assembly considered numberous resolutions regarding the recommentdations of the Sexuality Task Force.  The upshot was a collection of votes which confirmed our desire to live together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements, stayed the course with intentional ambiguity concerning blessings of same-gender relationships, and said what we don't want relative to ordination but not what we do want.  The ciritical vote of the day was the defeat of a motion to enforce the current policy of exclusion.  The recommendation of the Church Council on an exception policy for partnered gay pastors failed to reach a majority by only seven votes.
You should know that many gay, lesbian, and allied voting members were not in favor of the exception policy and voted against it since it would have established extra rules for the qualification of partnered gay clergy as well as a second class of rostered clergy. 
If we don't change the policy in 2007, the issues will stand before us again at Churchwide 2009 and beyond until the policy is changed.  If we do not come to terms with out disagreements regarding homosexuality, we will not be able to pass a social statement of human sexuality which will require a two-thirds majority vote. 
Meanwhile pastors, like Bradley, stand trial or are pressured to resign their calls.  How many gifted pastors must we lose, until the church says enough is enough and the policy fails? 

This note sounds like a threat.  If you don't change the policy, there is a threat to bring it back until the CWA changes policy to Goodsoil's liking.  The statement that we must come to terms about our disagreements is not at all about compromise though the language sounds that way.   This is the threat.  Either you capitulate or we will hound you till you do.  That is a threat borne out by experience.

My question is how many pastors will we lose if the CWA capitulates?  How many more members?


Why all the fuss about the story of just one person?
We are concerned about Bradley--but also about many others.  Because of the policies currently in place, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in the ELCA have been denied their calling to the ordained ministry.  Pastor Schmeling's story is just one of many similar situations occuring since the beginning of the ELCA.  Se the timeline beginning on page 6 listing the 4 trials the ELCA has conducted, the 12 otherwise qualified seminarians which the ELCA wouldn't approve for ordinations, 7 ELCA rostered leaders that have been defrocked or forced to resign, 3 congregations removed from the ELCA, 7 ELCA congregations which have been disciplined, and 15 Extraordinary Candidacy Project pastors currently serving ELCA and Independent Lutheran Congregations.  Ultimately, the current policies impoverish the whole church--all laypersons, all ordained clergy, all servants, all leaders of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Impoverish the whole church?  The controversy spun by these advocates have impoverished the church a whole lot more.  


Who put the policy in place?
There is a constitutionally prescribed process for the creation of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations, the Committee on Appeals presented a draft to the ELCA Church Council which edited it to include the current language precluding practicing homosexuals for the ordained ministry.  The Council passed the policy in November 1989.  The policiy was never approved by the CWA.
For Vision and Expectations, the Division for Ministry in consultation with the Conference of Bishops presented a draft to the ELCA Church Council which was edited to include the phrase, "persons who are homosexual in their self understanding are expected to abstain from Homosexual sexual relationships."  The Church Council passed Vision and Expectations in October 1990.  The policy was never approved by the CWA.

Must the policies in Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations comport with the ELCA Constitution?
Yes, they must.  Until the Schmeling trial, no one has challenged the constitutionality of the policies excluding partnered gay pastors.

So for 18 years no one thought the policy was unconstitutional.  What changed in 2007?  New Scriptural revelations?  More likely it is the failure of these advocates to convince enough of the ELCA that it is wrong.  So now they will try to prove the rules are unconstitutional though for 18 years no one brought this up.  

Which entity holds the highest legislative authority in the ELCA?
The Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the ELCA.  The ELCA Church Council has interim authority between CW assemblies.

Can the ELCA CWA change the policies excluding partnered gay clergy?
While the CWA may not change the policies outright, according to Secretary Almen, the assembly may direct the appropriate units of the church to change the policies.  Consequently, memorials regarding policy change must be worded carefully to direct the responsible entities within the ELCA structure to make the changes as instructed.  Such memorials directing change will require a simple majority pass.

Watch for those memorials.  Look for long nights.  My sympathies and prayers go out to CWA attendees.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 11, 2007, 02:40:08 PM
Mike Bennett writes:
 wtihout being censored by some operative on Higgins Road.

I comment:
And if we are to continually use the language of mistrust, suspicion and label our church leaders "operatives" rather than our chosen leaders (with whom we may disagree), then the discussion is doomed to fail. I tried to point out above how - in this forum - we talk about people, those seeking change, our church leaders; and apparently we are not talking to them. Nor are we likely to, so long as we label them such.

It is likely that such dialogue is impossible in this particular medium. But I still lament the fact that we post with such hostility rather than hopefulness.

And that's really it for me. I'm off to Argentina and Brazil.

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on July 11, 2007, 02:45:05 PM

  Yes, it's a fight.  It's not even a contest.  It's a level five conflict for the advocates (using Alban Institute's scale for such things) which denotes a jihad - a war where winning is so important that both sides may be taken out in the conflict.  Look at the home congregation of Good Soil's face to world; Jeff Johnson.  My sources in Bay Area tell me he's down to less than 20/Sunday in worship.  That's certainly a signal as to their ultimate agenda .... and it has nothing to do with the Gospel or reaching people for Christ.

So the question becomes, is this fight worth it for the orthodox?  As Lou has pointed out, if we step up into it all we'll probably do is create the same outcomes in our congregations as the advocates; the fight will send the next generation off into the ranks of the unchurched.

So you can go to the national assembly and cast your vote against change ... but does anyone here think that will have any impact at all on 1) seminary faculty, 2) Lutheran Youth Organization, 3) our campus ministries, 4) ECP and their candidates, 5) certain out-of-control synods  and.... 6) a particular congregation in Atlanta currently being led by a defrocked pastor?

Their aim is to change or kill the church.  You fight their conflict as they've defined it and they'll still win because they already have a grip on most of the institutional expression of this church.  All you'll do is kill your congregation in the process.... hence they win again.

Why are you folks losing sleep over this?  Go after the Lost in your community.  I think heaven will rejoice over that.  And sit back and grieve the collapse of the ELCA along the same lines as TEC and PCUSA.  But don't fight their conflict, not the way they want it.

Brian and others, I also think about this.  I try to remember and apply the lessons I learned from the Missouri Synod conflict in the seventies.  I was a teenager when that happened, and as a female I was definitely out of the loop.  But I remember watching two pastors, both of whom I deeply respected, arguing from the two different positions (at that time it looked like only two) and just feeling grief for what my church was coming to.  Folks are probably sick of me saying we should pray for those we disagree with, and view that as naive and simplistic advice.  But I keep trying to remind myself to do that first and always, in hopes that God will keep me from being consumed by (un)righteous anger at people and organizations that I fear may end up destroying my church body.  

And I hear you when you warn "don't fight their conflict, not the way they want it."  That is the danger of using the "fight" language as metaphor; it can become literal.  And folks in congregations do grow weary and tire of hearing about this stuff.  In the run up to 2005 I spoke about these issues quite a bit, because there was interest; this year, people in my parish have told me they don't want to know what is happening at the CWA, and I have refrained from bringing it up unless I am asked.  If the assembly this year passes any of the Goodsoil memorials, it will be interesting to see how people in my congregation react.  

I do try to focus on reaching the Lost.  But you see, I believe some of the Lost will be there in Chicago.  I am not there to beat anyone into submission, but I believe I have to be there, to witness what is said and done, and to bear witness to what I believe is the truth, and of the truth.  Will it change any institutions?  No, I'm sure not.  But one person at a time? Maybe, if the Holy Spirit wishes it.  

I've been reading Hebrews a lot, recently.  "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."   That, and Galatians 6:9-10 from last Sunday.  

You keep looking for the Lost too, Brian.  Alas, they are everywhere, as last week's Gospel reminded us.

Erma  
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Mike Bennett on July 11, 2007, 03:04:47 PM
Mike Bennett writes:
 wtihout being censored by some operative on Higgins Road.

I comment:
And if we are to continually use the language of mistrust, suspicion and label our church leaders "operatives" rather than our chosen leaders (with whom we may disagree), then the discussion is doomed to fail. I tried to point out above how - in this forum - we talk about people, those seeking change, our church leaders; and apparently we are not talking to them. Nor are we likely to, so long as we label them such.

It is likely that such dialogue is impossible in this particular medium. But I still lament the fact that we post with such hostility rather than hopefulness.

And that's really it for me. I'm off to Argentina and Brazil.



I also don't want responsibility for fact-checking somebody's advocacy piece for myself.   It's hard to imagine a more thankless task than that.   I don't know why you consider "operative" to show hostility.  I also find it odd that a journalist's first instinct isn't to be sympathetic to freedom of expression by the advocates, rather than to find things to criticize in a brief statement advocating such freedom.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: bmj on July 11, 2007, 03:08:57 PM
Although as to inappropriate terminology was it inappropriate terminology that Paul used in Ephesians 6: 10-20?  The Battle Lines are stated quite clearly by the good soil people in the Q and A section of what their intent is for the next few years, they have read the Art of War and are using it as a means by which to confound those who think they will just go away. 

  Yes, it's a fight.  It's not even a contest.  It's a level five conflict for the advocates (using Alban Institute's scale for such things) which denotes a jihad - a war where winning is so important that both sides may be taken out in the conflict.  Look at the home congregation of Good Soil's face to world; Jeff Johnson.  My sources in Bay Area tell me he's down to less than 20/Sunday in worship.  That's certainly a signal as to their ultimate agenda .... and it has nothing to do with the Gospel or reaching people for Christ.

So the question becomes, is this fight worth it for the orthodox?  As Lou has pointed out, if we step up into it all we'll probably do is create the same outcomes in our congregations as the advocates; the fight will send the next generation off into the ranks of the unchurched.

So you can go to the national assembly and cast your vote against change ... but does anyone here think that will have any impact at all on 1) seminary faculty, 2) Lutheran Youth Organization, 3) our campus ministries, 4) ECP and their candidates, 5) certain out-of-control synods  and.... 6) a particular congregation in Atlanta currently being led by a defrocked pastor?

Their aim is to change or kill the church.  You fight their conflict as they've defined it and they'll still win because they already have a grip on most of the institutional expression of this church.  All you'll do is kill your congregation in the process.... hence they win again.

Why are you folks losing sleep over this?  Go after the Lost in your community.  I think heaven will rejoice over that.  And sit back and grieve the collapse of the ELCA along the same lines as TEC and PCUSA.  But don't fight their conflict, not the way they want it.

Maryland Brian

I agree that it is a fight and that damage is being done on all sides.  There is one misconception that is stated in many of these discussions.  The assumption is that those who leave the ELCA are falling " into the ranks of the unchurched.".   Many of those who leave are passionate for orthodox and tradition, and one should not assume they leave Christendom rather than follow a calling elsewhere.  After all, the ELCA is a fraction of a percent of the overall body of Christ (about 0.25 % I believe).  My guess is that the majority who "leave" do not fall into the ranks of the unchurched.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 11, 2007, 03:35:39 PM
It is likely that such dialogue is impossible in this particular medium. But I still lament the fact that we post with such hostility rather than hopefulness.

Charles, I bid you safe travel.

On the topic of appropriate language in Christian dialogue, I invite folks to read St. Paul's comments to the Galatians:

"When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned" (Gal 2:11).

"I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!" (Gal 5:12).

Rather sharp, I'd say. How should one take such statements in Sacred Scripture? Is this worthy of public reading or as a text for preaching? In a hot voters meeting I found that pausing to pray and recite the Lord's Prayer together worked wonders.

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Deb_H. on July 11, 2007, 04:13:28 PM
My guess is that the majority who "leave" do not fall into the ranks of the unchurched.

I can't say that this has been my experience.  There are more that have left for "nowhere" than have left for "somewhere else."  Our house church is merely one attempt to provide one more place for those who have left to feel welcome if they want to hear the Word and receive the sacraments.  The temptations of Sunday mornings sleeping in, being free from the contentious atmosphere of a congregation of people, and the desire to simply have a day of rest lead many to say "why bother?"

Lou Hesse
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 11, 2007, 04:14:17 PM

I've been reading Hebrews a lot, recently.  "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."   That, and Galatians 6:9-10 from last Sunday. 

You keep looking for the Lost too, Brian.  Alas, they are everywhere, as last week's Gospel reminded us.

Erma 

Erma,

You've probably seen enough of my posts over the years to know I don't take this issue lightly.  I appreciate what you are trying to do.  It grieves me to think that millions of dollars of ELCA assets have already been wasted on this debate.  It can become very depressing.

As you know, I think the family in this country is in deep trouble and yet the best we can do as a tradition is argue about gay sexuality.  Fine.  Let this ever more irrelevant institution called the ELCA fight the wrong battle.  The real issue is whether the next generation will be Christ followers.  That means reaching the parents.  Children will not be shaped by the Gospel if their parents are not disciples either.  That's where my energy will be going.

MD Brian
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 11, 2007, 04:28:02 PM
As you know, I think the family in this country is in deep trouble and yet the best we can do as a tradition is argue about gay sexuality.  Fine.  Let this ever more irrelevant institution called the ELCA fight the wrong battle.  The real issue is whether the next generation will be Christ followers.  That means reaching the parents.  Children will not be shaped by the Gospel if their parents are not disciples either.  That's where my energy will be going.

Here, here! After a clergy friend of mine came out of the closet, his wife tried to be understanding. She tried to work with the situation. But when he began telling their little boy that he was going to be gay just like daddy, she explained to me, "I just couldn't stay." His response, "I tried to talk her out of leaving me. Oh, well."

I used to baby sit for these kids. I saw up close the self-destructiveness of gay lifestyle and it permanently settled my mind on what's most important---and I do not mean self-indulgent adults. God have pity.

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 11, 2007, 04:41:35 PM
Mike Bennett writes:
 wtihout being censored by some operative on Higgins Road.

I comment:
And if we are to continually use the language of mistrust, suspicion and label our church leaders "operatives" rather than our chosen leaders (with whom we may disagree), then the discussion is doomed to fail. I tried to point out above how - in this forum - we talk about people, those seeking change, our church leaders; and apparently we are not talking to them. Nor are we likely to, so long as we label them such.

It is likely that such dialogue is impossible in this particular medium. But I still lament the fact that we post with such hostility rather than hopefulness.

And that's really it for me. I'm off to Argentina and Brazil.



Have a safe trip. Are you going to Canoas? Charles, please do try and reflect on where the hostility you lament comes from, and how much of it you are registering in yourself is actually being at least partially generated by what you write. You consistently say there is perhaps reason to be a little upset but its not that bad. You get reactions from people who have a quite different experience than yourself. And you keep on writing that we are not talking to leadership in the ELCA, which for many of us is simply not true. Many traditionalists in this forum are on their synod councils. I speak wiht my bishop and some of his assistants regularly. Enough said?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on July 22, 2007, 07:56:23 PM
Here is the letter that I wrote that has been sent to the CWA voting members by Lutheran CORE.

Dear Friend in Christ,
It is a tremendous gift and responsibility to be able to serve as a voting member to a churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  You have already received some of the many reports and information that you will need to read in order to participate fully in the work of the assembly.  Other Lutherans across this country, like you, are also preparing for this challenge.  On behalf of Lutheran CORE, I want to extend both my gratitude for your service to the ELCA and the promise of my prayers for you and all at the assembly.

My writing to you, like my membership on the steering committee of Lutheran CORE, comes out of my deep commitment to the ministry that God has entrusted to the ELCA.  I have served the ELCA for the past twenty years as a parish pastor.  The issues that are under discussion in the ELCA are ones that I have studied and prayed over, as I have sought to understand the history and background as well as the real-life human dimension of these issues.  How are we being called to live together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements, faithful first of all to the Word of God as revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and through his Scriptures and his Church down through the ages?  To answer such a question means listening carefully, not only to the voices of our time, but to the faithful voices that speak to us from the Church of all times and all places.  Most of all, it means listening to the voice of our Lord, prayerfully, mindfully, asking always that his will be done.

Lutheran CORE seeks to be a voice for the Word of God within our church.  I became a part of this work because, for the first time in a long time, I no longer felt alone and isolated with my concerns and apprehensions regarding the direction of the ELCA.  Lutheran CORE is a coalition of many individuals and groups around the country who wish to be a positive voice for reform within this church, working to strengthen the commitment of the ELCA to these matters:
*    The priority of the name of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in worship and Christian education
*    The Biblical teaching and practice of marriage and sexuality throughout the church
*    The role of leaders, churchwide and synodical, who are committed to the orthodoxy of our creeds and confessions
*    The interpretation of the Bible as God's authoritative word of law and Gospel over the church.

The ELCA, like its predecessor church bodies, is called to proclaim the good news of God in Christ Jesus, a good news that welcomes sinners into the Kingdom of God through the redeeming and transforming waters of baptism.  By that baptism we are declared righteous for the sake of the suffering, death, and resurrection of the only Son of God, and through daily living in that baptism we are called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified by the Holy Spirit to be his holy people.  Lutheran CORE is committed to be faithful to that proclamation, regardless of the disagreements that beset the ELCA.

Recent synod assemblies have reminded all of us that the ELCA is deeply divided over matters of human sexuality, in particular those relating to homosexuality.  It is a reality that there is pain and anguish felt by Christians on all sides of this issue.  Such pain and division only demonstrates the need for following the careful process laid out by earlier churchwide assemblies and the church council, to give the sexuality task force time to do its work and develop a proposed social statement on human sexuality.  While current events, such as the decision of the Committee on Appeals ratifying the decision of the Discipline Hearing Committee to remove Pastor Bradley Schmeling from the clergy roster, grabs our attention, the mission of the ELCA would be badly served by a precipitous rush to change these policies.  Upholding standards for sexual behavior that honors Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality has never been easy.  To do so now requires that we speak the truth in love, so that the life-giving Word may do its work of re-shaping all of us, sinners one and all, into the image of Christ.

There are many other important issues and decisions that will be brought before you and the other voting members at the assembly in Chicago.  I invite you to be in touch with me or with those of us who are on the Lutheran CORE steering committee.  We are eager to have conversation with you about who we are, and what our hopes and dreams are for our church.  May the guidance of the Holy Spirit be with you in your preparations, travels, and deliberations in the coming weeks.
Yours in Christ,

Erma S. Wolf
Vice Chair
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on July 22, 2007, 09:53:30 PM

Folks are probably sick of me saying we should pray for those we disagree with, and view that as naive and simplistic advice.  But I keep trying to remind myself to do that first and always, in hopes that God will keep me from being consumed by (un)righteous anger at people and organizations that I fear may end up destroying my church body.   


For situations such as these, I love the explanation that Luther wrote to Peter, the barber of Wittenberg, regarding the Lord's Prayer:

"Dear Lord God and Father, convert and control.  Convert those who are still to become children and members of your kingdom, that together we may serve you in your kingdom  in the right faith and true love and pass from this kingdom begun here to your everlasting kingdom.  Control those who would not withdraw their might and means from disturbing your kingdom.  May they be dethroned and in humiliation stop molesting your kingdom"

And I pray for that conversion and control for my heart as well.  For another prayer that I have come to love is a petition in many General Intercessions written by Lucien Deiss, C.S.P., for when addressing God concerning the lost he concludes "convert their hearts...and ours."
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 23, 2007, 11:42:37 AM
Eric wrote last week:

Have a safe trip. Are you going to Canoas?

I respond:
I did. No. Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Rio, Paraty.

Eric:
Charles, please do try and reflect on where the hostility you lament comes from, and how much of it you are registering in yourself is actually being at least partially generated by what you write.

Me:
I do reflect. I have no control over how people respond to what I write. Believe me, after more than 40 years of writing for publication, I know this!

Eric:
You consistently say there is perhaps reason to be a little upset but its not that bad. You get reactions from people who have a quite different experience than yourself.

Me:
No, I do not believe it is as "bad" as some people in this forum say it is. I am very sorry that the ELCA is not more forthright in opposing the war in Iraq. But that is not a matter of the heart of the Gospel (although it could become that.)

Eric:
And you keep on writing that we are not talking to leadership in the ELCA, which for many of us is simply not true. Many traditionalists in this forum are on their synod councils. I speak wiht my bishop and some of his assistants regularly. Enough said?

Me:
Well, let's define "many". Let's see who in this forum is on their synod councils. Doesn't every pastor regularly speak with his or her bishop or an assistant? How could they not do so?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Sublime_Harbinger on July 23, 2007, 12:28:02 PM
Greetings all,

I joined this forum primarily to give further information for you regarding OT of this thread.  Pastor Jill Henning is currently on sabbatical from Trinity Lutheran Church.  Trinity did not fund or endorse the letter that was sent out, so I would imagine it was something that came out of her sabbatical time and other connections in the area.

As for the position of the congregation as a whole, no formal votes or positions have been established and it is hard to say.  I would hazard to say that on the whole though, the congregation is more conservative in the matter than their pastors (especially Pastor Jill) are.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Mike Bennett on July 23, 2007, 12:40:54 PM

Eric:
Charles, please do try and reflect on where the hostility you lament comes from, and how much of it you are registering in yourself is actually being at least partially generated by what you write.

Me:
I do reflect. I have no control over how people respond to what I write. Believe me, after more than 40 years of writing for publication, I know this!


It took me far less than my full 40 years as a professional to learn that when I am the speaker or writer, I bear the primary responsibility for clear communication.  If what I say or write is misunderstood, in a large majority of cases it's my fault, not the fault of the hearer or the reader.  If I'm continually misunderstood, the chances that I'm causing the problem rises to near 100%. 
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: djbaer on July 23, 2007, 01:10:25 PM
Greetings all,

I joined this forum primarily to give further information for you regarding OT of this thread.  Pastor Jill Henning is currently on sabbatical from Trinity Lutheran Church.  Trinity did not fund or endorse the letter that was sent out, so I would imagine it was something that came out of her sabbatical time and other connections in the area.

As for the position of the congregation as a whole, no formal votes or positions have been established and it is hard to say.  I would hazard to say that on the whole though, the congregation is more conservative in the matter than their pastors (especially Pastor Jill) are.


The note from the member of Pastor Henning's church is significant.

There must be more to the story or could it be that Pr. Henning is attempting to deceive CWA voting members into thinking that her congregation is supporting her crusade regarding this situation. 

If she wanted to write a letter for Lutherans Concerned or Good Soil, that would have been fine, but it should have acknowledged its source. 
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: djbaer on July 23, 2007, 01:14:37 PM
Erma:

Thank you for sharing your letter on behalf of Lutheran CORE.  You did a nice job of introducing Lutheran CORE and then sharing your concerns and asking only that the ELCA honor its process regarding sexuality decisions at this assembly.

I admire your restraint and commitment to the church.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 23, 2007, 01:26:20 PM
It took me far less than my full 40 years as a professional to learn that when I am the speaker or writer, I bear the primary responsibility for clear communication.  If what I say or write is misunderstood, in a large majority of cases it's my fault, not the fault of the hearer or the reader.  If I'm continually misunderstood, the chances that I'm causing the problem rises to near 100%.
However, for most of us in most of our communications, e.g., sermons, newsletter articles, etc. we usually find that most understand and respond as we expect, and a few misunderstand and/or respond in ways we do not expect. Seldom is it a case that everyone misunderstands a communication. When they do, it is probably caused by poor writing (or a computer glitch?). However, when they are mixed, the different understandings and responses are likely to be caused by something within the reader/hearer.

To use a big example, part of the causes of different denominations and fighting within denominations are different responses to what is written in scriptures. Do you then blame scriptures for not communicating God's will clearly, or are the differences found in the ways people read and understand the Bible?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 23, 2007, 03:18:05 PM
Mike Bennett writes (Re my comment about how people respond to information):
If I'm continually misunderstood, the chances that I'm causing the problem rises to near 100%.

I note:
But I am not "continually misunderstood." My parishioners seem to like my preaching and understand it; editors keep printing what I write, which they would not do if I were "continually misunderstood."
I continue to assert that I have no control over how people respond to information.
Supposedly someone once asked Harry Truman (who could be a cantankerous guy), "Harry, why do you give people hell all the time?"
The president responded, according to the story. "I don't give 'em hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell."
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 23, 2007, 03:42:04 PM
Mike Bennett writes (Re my comment about how people respond to information):
If I'm continually misunderstood, the chances that I'm causing the problem rises to near 100%.

I note:
But I am not "continually misunderstood." My parishioners seem to like my preaching and understand it; editors keep printing what I write, which they would not do if I were "continually misunderstood."
I continue to assert that I have no control over how people respond to information.
Supposedly someone once asked Harry Truman (who could be a cantankerous guy), "Harry, why do you give people hell all the time?"
The president responded, according to the story. "I don't give 'em hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell."

I'd say that it has to do with knowing your audience or readers, and speaking/writing in a manner that they will understand. 

You obviously (should) know the audience here by now -- very well.  And you're very skilled with the English language.  So why do you continually slip in barbs, and other things that you know full well will prick and set-off the people you're talking to?  To persuade them of the rightness of your position?  That's "loving"?  Please do make thoughtful points, but the barbs are not persuasive.  Quite the contrary.  It looks more like a boy poking another boy in the classroom, hoping to evoke an angry response, just for the fun of it, and maybe even to get the other kid in trouble with the teacher (giggle giggle).
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Mike Bennett on July 23, 2007, 04:34:03 PM

However, for most of us in most of our communications, e.g., sermons, newsletter articles, etc. we usually find that most understand and respond as we expect, and a few misunderstand and/or respond in ways we do not expect. Seldom is it a case that everyone misunderstands a communication. When they do, it is probably caused by poor writing (or a computer glitch?). However, when they are mixed, the different understandings and responses are likely to be caused by something within the reader/hearer.

To use a big example, part of the causes of different denominations and fighting within denominations are different responses to what is written in scriptures. Do you then blame scriptures for not communicating God's will clearly, or are the differences found in the ways people read and understand the Bible?

I remember being taught that the Holy Spirit has a role in proper understanding of Scripture.  I don't remember anything about such involvement in the writings of Austin, Stoffregen, or Bennett, each of whom says darned well what he means to say 99% of the time, without stuttering.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 23, 2007, 05:55:11 PM
Mr. Hansen writes:
You obviously (should) know the audience here by now -- very well.  And you're very skilled with the English language.

I comment:
I think I do, but sometimes they surprise me. And thanks, it's been my living for a long time.

Mr. Hansen:
So why do you continually slip in barbs, and other things that you know full well will prick and set-off the people you're talking to?  To persuade them of the rightness of your position? 

Me:
First, I do not slip in such things "continually," nor is my intention to "prick and set-off" anyone. But who says theological discourse has to be ponderous? And, I repeat again for the umpteenth time, on many things under discussion here, I am not trying to persuade anyone of the "rightness of my position." As a matter of fact, I rarely express a "position," except to say that I am trying to be faithful to my commitment to the Gospel and to the church as it is expressed in our ELCA. Mostly, I think I try to provide information and perspective.

Mr. Hansen:
That's "loving"?  Please do make thoughtful points, but the barbs are not persuasive.  Quite the contrary.  It looks more like a boy poking another boy in the classroom, hoping to evoke an angry response, just for the fun of it, and maybe even to get the other kid in trouble with the teacher (giggle giggle).

Me:
My wife loves me (I am fairly sure), but she barbs and needles me quite frequently. And we are all adults here (I think), and can surely take it if one of us tweaks them a little. What I do object to is the rhetoric in some of these circles that trounces the faith and commitment of those with whom we are in dialogue. A good friend who is a semi-lapsed, but still "practicing" (I suppose until she gets it right) Catholic, doesn't mind at all if I say that some of her views on the church sound a bit like that "old voodoo."
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 23, 2007, 06:36:13 PM
My wife loves me (I am fairly sure), but she barbs and needles me quite frequently. And we are all adults here (I think), and can surely take it if one of us tweaks them a little. What I do object to is the rhetoric in some of these circles that trounces the faith and commitment of those with whom we are in dialogue. A good friend who is a semi-lapsed, but still "practicing" (I suppose until she gets it right) Catholic, doesn't mind at all if I say that some of her views on the church sound a bit like that "old voodoo."

I'd compare such things to practical jokes that people might play on one another.  A good practical joke is the one which, when it's all over, the recipient of it gets a laugh out of it too.  It sounds like your wife does it in a way that, when all's said and done, you too get a kick out of it.  But I don't get any indication that most anyone here appreciates your barbs and needles.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 23, 2007, 08:16:45 PM
I'd compare such things to practical jokes that people might play on one another.  A good practical joke is the one which, when it's all over, the recipient of it gets a laugh out of it too.  It sounds like your wife does it in a way that, when all's said and done, you too get a kick out of it.  But I don't get any indication that most anyone here appreciates your barbs and needles.
I do. I also don't think that I've ever misunderstood Charles. Perhaps it's because of over a decade of "conversing" with him on the internet; and I have actually met him a couple times at Churchwide Assemblies.

There is also something about respecting the other person, and wanting and trying to understand each other. It has happened a few times that opponents in online discussion groups have sent private e-mails, and through more personal discussions, we have come to better understand and respect each other. We have clarified difference and know better where each other is "coming from." We have learned to appreciate each other's posts. Often where there had been antagonistic responses, there are sympathetic disagreements.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 23, 2007, 08:41:17 PM
I do.

The point is whether or not the recipient appreciates it.  You've never been the recipient -- not in this forum.  So apparently what you're saying, is that you enjoy it when Charles sends needles and barbs towards those you disagree with.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 24, 2007, 01:30:22 AM
I do.

The point is whether or not the recipient appreciates it.  You've never been the recipient -- not in this forum.  So apparently what you're saying, is that you enjoy it when Charles sends needles and barbs towards those you disagree with.

Certainly Brian has been the recipient of quite a number of barbs and needles from quite a number of people. Whether that includes Charles or not, I don't know. But barbs and needles are cerrtainly not in short supply around here, and they are no more pleasant (and no more fatal) when they come from this person or that person. Brian, to his credit, seldom is the originator of such barbs and needles, unless you think it is needling for someone to say something with which you disagree.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 06:55:18 PM
Pr. Johnson,

Certainly Brian has been the recipient of quite a number of barbs and needles from quite a number of people.

I don't doubt that, but that wasn't the point.  The discussion was 100% about Charles' barbs and needles (B&N) to which Brian said he appreciated it.  Thus, the context of my response.

Quote
Whether that includes Charles or not, I don't know.

I'll bet $100 that the answer is "not".  $100 to the first person to find one.  In several years of participating here, I can't recall a single disagreement which was expressed, much less B&Ns.

Quote
But barbs and needles are cerrtainly not in short supply around here, and they are no more pleasant (and no more fatal) when they come from this person or that person.

Again, Brian said he appreciated it.  Thus, the context of my response.

Quote
Brian, to his credit, seldom is the originator of such barbs and needles,...


I'd agree with that (that he is seldom the originator of B&Ns).  And nothing I've ever said/implied/thought/felt has suggested otherwise.

Quote
...unless you think it is needling for someone to say something with which you disagree.

Was that a serious question?  If so, then you don't know me very well.  I've disagreed with just about everyone in this forum, at one time or another.  But I have never felt B&N'ed by others.  What's more, throughout my participation, my ONLY complaint has been discussion and debate tactics.  As my tag line suggests, I love the Truth.  As a result, I hate that which perverts the Truth.  People can reasonably disagree on a whole host of issues, but when tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations are injected, then the end-result is a perversion of the Truth.  I hate that.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 24, 2007, 08:25:52 PM
I do.

The point is whether or not the recipient appreciates it.  You've never been the recipient -- not in this forum.  So apparently what you're saying, is that you enjoy it when Charles sends needles and barbs towards those you disagree with.

Certainly Brian has been the recipient of quite a number of barbs and needles from quite a number of people. Whether that includes Charles or not, I don't know. But barbs and needles are cerrtainly not in short supply around here, and they are no more pleasant (and no more fatal) when they come from this person or that person. Brian, to his credit, seldom is the originator of such barbs and needles, unless you think it is needling for someone to say something with which you disagree.

Earlier I raised the question of whether the "battle lines" language, and now the "barbs and needles," should be regarded as sins. I'm curious to know what folks think about this, whether speaking in these ways is sinful.

Last week a deaconess, and then one of my Sunday School students, related to me the story of a delegate calling a chairman a liar at the LCMS convention, an event that obvious gained great attention. The delegate apologized the next day, asked for forgiveness, and was absolved. Should "battle" talk and "barbs" be handled this way?

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 24, 2007, 08:33:58 PM
Mr. Hanson writes (re online etiquette):
People can reasonably disagree on a whole host of issues, but when tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations are injected, then the end-result is a perversion of the Truth.  I hate that.

I comment:
And so do I resent "tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations," but I haven't seen much of those things in these precincts, save for that dissident whose persistently pernicious postings got him banned from a forum a while ago.

But in theological discourse, that capital "T" - TRUTH! - is sometimes eluisive, and we do not all agree on what that capital "T" - TRUTH! - really is. And, in my opinion, that's sometimes o.k.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 24, 2007, 09:08:05 PM
I do.

The point is whether or not the recipient appreciates it.  You've never been the recipient -- not in this forum.  So apparently what you're saying, is that you enjoy it when Charles sends needles and barbs towards those you disagree with.

Certainly Brian has been the recipient of quite a number of barbs and needles from quite a number of people. Whether that includes Charles or not, I don't know. But barbs and needles are cerrtainly not in short supply around here, and they are no more pleasant (and no more fatal) when they come from this person or that person. Brian, to his credit, seldom is the originator of such barbs and needles, unless you think it is needling for someone to say something with which you disagree.

Earlier I raised the question of whether the "battle lines" language, and now the "barbs and needles," should be regarded as sins. I'm curious to know what folks think about this, whether speaking in these ways is sinful.

Last week a deaconess, and then one of my Sunday School students, related to me the story of a delegate calling a chairman a liar at the LCMS convention, an event that obvious gained great attention. The delegate apologized the next day, asked for forgiveness, and was absolved. Should "battle" talk and "barbs" be handled this way?

In Christ,
EE

EE,

If it is "iron sharpening iron" then great.  But if the words penetrate the heart, mind, soul, and strength and rob a person of their identity in Christ, so that one might stumble, or fall away, or walk away from the faith then yes "battle" talk and "barbs" are sin, and confession of sin is indeed warranted.  Having not logged in for a week or so, I needed a break from the banter to stop being an all consuming know it all who really doesn't know that much.  If I have wounded anyone, I apologize, I am sorry.  But if I encouraged you in the faith, even if we disagree, well then again it is "iron sharpening iron", and God working in us to be as "wise as serpents and as gentle as doves".

PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 09:17:23 PM
Mr. Hanson writes (re online etiquette):
My last name is spelled with an "e", although I know you intentionally misspelled it before, and Pr. Johnson supported you in that decision.  Interesting.

Quote
I comment:
And so do I resent "tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations,"

But intentional needles and barbs are o.k., regardless if the recipient finds it annoying.  Gotcha.

Quote
But in theological discourse, that capital "T" - TRUTH! - is sometimes eluisive, and we do not all agree on what that capital "T" - TRUTH! - really is. And, in my opinion, that's sometimes o.k.

Correct.  Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I too think it's o.k..  But what I don't think is o.k. is when it isn't elusive -- it's quite obvious to anyone with a clear mind.  E.g., inconsistencies, avoidance techniques, injecting barbs and needles when one's back is up against a wall, etc., are indicators of someone who's avoiding the Truth.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 24, 2007, 09:35:05 PM
My last name is spelled with an "e", although I know you intentionally misspelled it before, and Pr. Johnson supported you in that decision.  Interesting.

I beg your pardon?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 09:36:14 PM
Last week a deaconess, and then one of my Sunday School students, related to me the story of a delegate calling a chairman a liar at the LCMS convention, an event that obvious gained great attention. The delegate apologized the next day, asked for forgiveness, and was absolved. Should "battle" talk and "barbs" be handled this way?
I take it that he wasn't a liar (i.e., someone who persistently and intentionally lies), and so the deaconess was actually the one who was lying.

And then choosing to do it at that time and place is probably wrong most of the time, although I can imagine a scenario where it might be appropriate (although it would be a pretty extreme situation).
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 09:36:55 PM
My last name is spelled with an "e", although I know you intentionally misspelled it before, and Pr. Johnson supported you in that decision.  Interesting.

I beg your pardon?

Would you like me to forward the e-mail to you?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 24, 2007, 09:39:04 PM

Would you like me to forward the e-mail to you?

Sure, why not?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 09:41:03 PM

Would you like me to forward the e-mail to you?

Sure, why not?

Why not?  I guess that if it doesn't really matter to you, then it would be waste of time.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 24, 2007, 10:19:36 PM

Would you like me to forward the e-mail to you?

Sure, why not?

O.k., I just sent it to you via PM.  Or if you prefer, I'd be willing to post a copy of it on the forum.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: peter_speckhard on July 24, 2007, 10:38:04 PM
Mr. Hanson writes (re online etiquette):
People can reasonably disagree on a whole host of issues, but when tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations are injected, then the end-result is a perversion of the Truth.  I hate that.

I comment:
And so do I resent "tricks, maneuvers, and manipulations," but I haven't seen much of those things in these precincts, save for that dissident whose persistently pernicious postings got him banned from a forum a while ago.

But in theological discourse, that capital "T" - TRUTH! - is sometimes eluisive, and we do not all agree on what that capital "T" - TRUTH! - really is. And, in my opinion, that's sometimes o.k.
What happened was that a speaker from the floor proposed a friendly amendment to a contested resolution, and the chairman of the floor committee declined to receive it is as friendly and instead had it put to a vote. The speaker from the floor then claimed that he made the motion to amend because the previous evening the floor committee chairman had said that he would receive it as friendly. The speaker from the floor claimed the chairman of the floor committee had therefore lied to him the day before. (As I recall he didn't call the chair a liar, he said he had lied-- big difference). It was a misunderstanding because the main resolution in question was a conglomeration of multipple overtures and resolutions and had been assigned to two floor committees for consideration. The floor committee chair who had made the promise to the floor speaker kept it, but the other floor committee chair working on it, who had made no such promise, declined to receive the amendment as friendly for reasons pertinent to his committee. So it all got worked out. It sounds as though the story grew substantially in the telling.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 24, 2007, 10:52:30 PM
To all who continue to read this ragged thread, may God's peace be with you.

"Justification by grace and faith alone remains in every aspect the final word and for this reason, when we speak of the things before the last, we must not speak of them as having any value on their own, but we must bring to light their relation to the ultimate.  It is for the sake of the ultimate that we must now speak of the penultimate.  This must now be made clearly intelligible. "  125 Ethics by D. Bonhoeffer

"Two extreme solutions can be given to the problem of relation of the penultimate with the ultimate in Christian life.  It may be solved  'radically' or by means of a comprimise; and it is to be noted at once the comprimise solution, too, is an extreme solution.  The radical solution sees only the ultimate and in it only the complete breaking off of the penultimate.  Ultimate and penultimate are here mutually exclusive contraries.  Christ is the destoyer and enemy of everything penultimate, and everything penultimate is enmity towards Christ.  Christ is the sign that the world is ripe for burning.   There are no distictions.  Everything must go to judgement.  There are only two categories : for Christ, and against Him.  'He that is not with me is against me.' (Matt. 12:30).  Everything penultimate in human behaviour is sin and denial.  In the face of the approaching end there is for the christian only the last word and his last conduct.  What becomes of the world through this is no longer of any consequence.  The Christian bears no responsibility for it, and the world must in any case perish.  No matter if the whole order of the world break down under the impact  of the word of Christ, there must be no holding back.  The last word of God, which is a word of mercy, here becomes the icy hardness of the law, which despises  and breaks down all resistance.

The other solution is the comprimise.  Here the last word is on principle set apart from all preceding words.  The penultimate  retains its right on its own account, and is not threatened or imperilled by the ultimate.  The world still stands; the end in not yet here; there are still penultimate things which must be done, in fulfillment of the responsibility for this world which God has created.  Account must still be taken of men as they are (cf. Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor).  The ultimate remains totally on the far side of the everyday; it is thus, in fact, an eternal justification for things as they are; it is the metaphysical purification from the accuation which weighs upon everything that is.  The free world of mercy now becomes the law of mercy, which rules over everything penultimate, justifying it and certifying its worth.  

The two solutions are equally extreme and both alike contain elements both of truth and of untruth.  They are extreme because they place the penultimate and the ultimate in a relation of mutual exclusiveness.  In the one case the penultimate is destroyed by the ultimate; and in the other case the ultimate is excluded from the domain of the penultimate.  In the one case the ultimate does not admit the penultimate; and the penultimate does not admit the ultimate.  In both cases thoughts which are in themselves equally right and necessary are in an inadmissable manner made absolute.  The radical solution has as its point of departure the end of all things, God the Judge and Redeemer; the comprimise solution bases itself upon the Creator and Preserver.  On the one side it is the end that is regarded as absolute, and on the other side it is things as they are.  Thus creation and redemption, time and eternity confront one another in a conflict which cannot be resolved; the unity of God Himself is sundered, and faith in God is broken apart.  the answer to the exponents of the radical solution must also be that Christ does not make  compromises.  Christian life, therefore, is a matter neither of radicalism nor of compromise.  There is not a point in debating the relative ernestness of these two conceptions; for there is ernestness only in Jesus Christ, and His earnestness reveals that neither of these soltuions is earnest.

There is earnestness neither in the idea of a pure Christianity in itself nor in the idea of man as he is in himself; there is earnestness only in the reality of God and the reality of man which became one in Jesus Christ.  What is earnest and serious is not some kind of Christianity, but it is Jesus Christ Himself.

And in Jesus Christ there is neither radicalism nor compromise but there is the reality of God and men.  There is no Christianity in itself, for this would destroy the world; there is no man in himself, for he would exclude God.  Both of these are merely ideas; only the God-Man Jesus Christ is real, and only through Him will the world be preserved until it is ripe for its end.
  
Radicalism always springs from a conscious or unconscious hatred of what is established.  Christian radicalism, no matter whether it consists  in withdrawing from the world or in improving the world, arises from hatred of creation.  The radical cannot forgive God His creation.  He has fallen out with the created world, the Ivan Karamazov, who at the same time makes the figure of the radical Jesus in the legend of the Grand Inquisitor.  When evil becomes powerful in the world, it infects the Christian, too, with the poison of radicalism.  

It is Christ's gift to the Christian that he should be reconciled with the world as it is, but now this reconciliation is accounted a betrayal and denial of Christ.  it is replaced by bitterness, suspicion, and contempt for men and the world.  In the place of the love that believes all, bears all and hopes all, in the place of the love which loves the world in its very wickedness with the love of God (John 3:16), there is now the pharisaical denial of love to evil, and the restriction of love to the closed circle of the devout.  Instead of the open Church of Jesus Christ, which serves the world till the end, there is now some allegedly primitive Christian ideal of a Church, which in its turn confuses the reality of the living Jesus Christ with the realization of a Christian idea.  Thus a world which has become evil succeeds in making the Christians become evil too.  it is the same germ that disintegrates the world and that make the Christians become radical.

In both cases it is hatred towards the world, no matter whether the haters are the ungodly or the godly.  On both side it is a refusal of faith in the creation.  But devils are not cast out through Beelzebub.

Compromise always springs from hatred of the ultimate.  The Christian spirit of compromise arises from the hatred of the justification of the sinner by grace alone.  The world and life within it have to be protected against this encroachment on their territory.  The world must be dealt with solely by means which are of the world.  The ultimate has no voice in determining the form of life in the world.  Even the raising of the question of the ultimate, even the endeavour to give effect to God's word in its authority for life in the world, is now accounted radicalism and apathy or antipathy toward the established orders of the world and towards the men who are subject to these orders.  That freedom from the world which Christ has given to the Christians as well as the renunciation of the world (1 John 2:7), is now denounced as opposition to creation, as unnatural estrangement from the world and from men, and even as hostility towards them.  In their place adaptability, even to the point of resignedness, and mere worldly-wise prudence and discretion are passed off as genuine openness to the world and as genuine Christian charity.

Radicalism hates time, and compromise hates eternity.
Radicalism hates patience and compromise hates decision.
Radicalism hates wisdom and compromise hates simplicity.
Radicalism hates moderation and measure, and compromise hate the immeasurable.
Radicalism hates the real, and compromise hates the word.

To contrast the two attitudes in this way is to make it sufficiently clear that both alike are opposed to Christ.

For in Jesus Christ those things which are here ranged in mutual hostility are one.

The question of the Christian life will not, therefore, be decided and answered either by radicalism or by compromise, but only reference to Jesus Christ Himself.  In Him alone lies the solution for the problem of the relation between the ultimate and the penultimate.
In Jesus Christ we have in the incarnate, crucified, and risen God.  In the incarnation we learn of the love of God for His creation; in the crucifixion we learn of the love of the judgement of God upon all flesh; and in the resurrection we learn of god's will for a new world.  There could be no greater error than to tear these three elements apart; for each of them comprises the whole.  It is quite wrong to establish a separate theology of the incarnation, a theology of the cross, or a theology of the resurrection, each in opposition to the others, by a misconceived absolutization of one these part; it is equally wrong to apply the same procedure to a consideration of the Christian life.  A Christian ethic constructed solely on the basis of the incarnation would lead directly to the compromise solution.  An ethic which was based solely on the cross or resurrection  of Jesus would fall victim to radicalism and enthusiasm.  Only in the unity is the conflict resolved."127-131 Ethics by D. Bonhoeffer


PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 24, 2007, 10:59:54 PM
My deepest, sincere and most profound bowing-to-the-ground apologies to Mr. Hansen if I have unwittingly or carelessly misspelled his name; especially if he is a Norwegian who resents the fact that the error in his name came out making it look as if he were a Swede.
I guess the cat is out of the bag. I err. Sometimes on little things. Sometimes on big things. (Which is one of the reasons I'm reluctant to declare some things absolute TRUTH ... with a capital "T.")
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 25, 2007, 12:33:45 AM

O.k., I just sent it to you via PM.  Or if you prefer, I'd be willing to post a copy of it on the forum.

And I have responded to you privately. But if you want to post it here, I certainly have no objection. I can't see how any reasonable person can conclude either that Pr. Austin deliberately misspells your name, or that I "supported him" in his alleged "decision" to do so. I think you need to lighten up.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 25, 2007, 12:36:01 AM
My deepest, sincere and most profound bowing-to-the-ground apologies to Mr. Hansen if I have unwittingly or carelessly misspelled his name; especially if he is a Norwegian who resents the fact that the error in his name came out making it look as if he were a Swede.
I guess the cat is out of the bag. I err. Sometimes on little things. Sometimes on big things. (Which is one of the reasons I'm reluctant to declare some things absolute TRUTH ... with a capital "T.")

Now see, I sort of tongue in cheek had said to Mr. Hansen (in this five months ago correspondence which he seems to have saved and fretted over) that your misspelling of his name was due to your ignorance of Scandinavians, and here's proof positive. The "en" spelling ain't Swedish, it's Danish. Usually, that is, except when it isn't.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 01:39:41 AM
The most pertinent parts:

Don Hansen:
 4)  I have PMed him again, to note the misspelling, and how I find his edit annoying.  He has neither changed it nor responded.

Pr. Johnson:
4) It is quite possible that Pr. Austin is trying to be annoying; wouldn't put it past him. 
And now I must get on to more important things.

Ergo it was intentional (no response, no correction) and Pr. J felt no need to do anything about it (support).  People mispell my name all the time.  Couldn't care less, as long as it isn't on a legal document.

As for the 5-month old e-mail, where did you get that I've been "fretting" over it?  Show me one sentence in support of that insinuation.  I have e-mails dating back to 2003.  And there's a handy-dandy search feature in my software, for finding most anything within thousands of e-mails.  That's the way e-mail works.  It takes up zero space.  And my memory is good enough to remember a contentious incident from 5 months ago.

Okey-dokey, that's enough defending myself from baseless accusations.  These are just more avoidance techniques:  Attack the person, if you can't argue the points.  Make something up, if you don't have anything realistic to go on.  Etc.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 25, 2007, 01:50:03 AM
The most pertinent parts:

Don Hansen:
 4)  I have PMed him again, to note the misspelling, and how I find his edit annoying.  He has neither changed it nor responded.

Pr. Johnson:
4) It is quite possible that Pr. Austin is trying to be annoying; wouldn't put it past him. 
And now I must get on to more important things.

Ergo it was intentional (no response, no correction) and Pr. J felt no need to do anything about it (support).  People mispell my name all the time.  Couldn't care less, as long as it isn't on a legal document.

As for the 5-month old e-mail, where did you get that I've been "fretting" over it?  Show me one sentence in support of that insinuation.  I have e-mails dating back to 2003.  And there's a handy-dandy search feature in my software, for finding most anything within thousands of e-mails.  That's the way e-mail works.  It takes up zero space.  And my memory is good enough to remember a contentious incident from 5 months ago.


Ergo baloney. I didn't "support" Pr. Austin, I said it was "possible" he was trying to annoy you. And no, I didn't "feel any need to do anything about it" because in my view it was utterly unimportant. And I'm happy you have such a good memory. I didn't regard the "incident" as "contentious," though now that you've called it to my attention I do remember that you wrote Pr. Austin a personal e-mail that I thought was inappropriate, and I told you so at the time. Then I promptly forgot it, which apparently you did not.

So I repeat what I said above: you really need to lighten up.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 01:56:44 AM
So I repeat what I said above: you really need to lighten up.

It didn't start out "heavy".  It progressed there.  And the reason it progressed there, is because I won't play along with the games.

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on July 25, 2007, 02:49:30 AM
I can't see how any reasonable person can conclude either that Pr. Austin deliberately misspells your name

You're probably correct on this, Dick.  Pr. Austin, whose other vocation is journalist, regularly misspells many names in this forum, including just about every possible variation of mine, even as those names sit right in front of him on his screen. 

He has, though, admitted to deliberately not using the "quote" feature of this forum, by which the names of those he quotes would not be misspelled.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 25, 2007, 03:59:06 AM
Our esteemed moderator writes (re my tiny excursis on Scandinavian spellings):
The "en" spelling ain't Swedish, it's Danish. Usually, that is, except when it isn't.

I comment:
Yep. Sometimes. But not always. And there I go again, making an error. And - before I totally abandon this rather eerie thread of postings - I don't apply exactly the same sort of proofreading or double-checking in this tiny forum as I would were I writing for publication. We are here no more than a tiny band of people involved in... well, whatever we are involved in. To paraphrase Mr. Lincoln, the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; nor will these words in themselves change the course of history.
But I shall try - without promising to succeed - to remember: it's Hansen, and Tibbetts.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 04:06:16 AM
Here's what I wrote, which spun off a lengthy 'discussion' about this little issue, thus obliterating the main point:
"My last name is spelled with an "e", although I know you intentionally misspelled it before, and Pr. Johnson supported you in that decision.  Interesting."

Note, it does not say that it's an ongoing pattern.  It say that it was misspelled this time (for whatever reason), but that it has been done before, intentionally.  It's the "intentionally" part which is annoying, which Pr.J conceded in Feb. was "quite possible" that was the intent.  When I've misspelled a name and it was brought to my attention, I simply apologized, edited it, and that was the end of it.  Simple.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 04:08:15 AM
I comment:
But I shall try - without promising to succeed - to remember: it's Hansen, and Tibbetts.

Or even simpler:  If someone points out a misspelling to you, correct it.  Why must you make such a big deal out of it?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 25, 2007, 07:59:52 AM
What happened was that a speaker from the floor proposed a friendly amendment to a contested resolution, and the chairman of the floor committee declined to receive it is as friendly and instead had it put to a vote. The speaker from the floor then claimed that he made the motion to amend because the previous evening the floor committee chairman had said that he would receive it as friendly. The speaker from the floor claimed the chairman of the floor committee had therefore lied to him the day before. (As I recall he didn't call the chair a liar, he said he had lied-- big difference). It was a misunderstanding because the main resolution in question was a conglomeration of multipple overtures and resolutions and had been assigned to two floor committees for consideration. The floor committee chair who had made the promise to the floor speaker kept it, but the other floor committee chair working on it, who had made no such promise, declined to receive the amendment as friendly for reasons pertinent to his committee. So it all got worked out. It sounds as though the story grew substantially in the telling.

Peter, thanks for the clarification. Most helpful for those of who did not witness the event.

Did the accuser indeed apologize and receive forgiveness as was reported to me?

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 12:08:02 PM
backtomypostbybonhoeffer,

Howoftendoanyofuschoosesideslikethoseportrayedinbonhoefferspieceaboutradicalismandcompromise? 
Insteadofmisspellingyouhavetopayattentiontothewordsandreadthesentencewholeand
notgetsidetrackedbyerrorsofgrammarandsuchothertrivialnonsenselikemisspelling.
Hansenaustinenglebrechtottermanjohnsonspeckhardstoffregenlohanhiltonspearsjustnameswithoutfaces
forthemostpartexceptforlohanhiltonspearsandsadlyfamousfolksthatwouldrathernotbeasfamousastheyare;
andanoteontheimportanceofobscurityisasimportantasisidentityjumble.MynameisalwaysmessedupandIalways
findtimetosmilewhenmynameisbutcheredintooblivion.pj
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: SCPO on July 25, 2007, 12:47:38 PM
Here's what I wrote, which spun off a lengthy 'discussion' about this little issue, thus obliterating the main point:
"My last name is spelled with an "e", although I know you intentionally misspelled it before, and Pr. Johnson supported you in that decision.  Interesting."

Note, it does not say that it's an ongoing pattern.  It say that it was misspelled this time (for whatever reason), but that it has been done before, intentionally.  It's the "intentionally" part which is annoying, which Pr.J conceded in Feb. was "quite possible" that was the intent.  When I've misspelled a name and it was brought to my attention, I simply apologized, edited it, and that was the end of it.  Simple.

     Don, as an outside lurker who enjoys and gains knowledge from your posts, may I suggest that you take the esteemed moderators suggestion and look for ways to have a little fun now and then.   How about changing your screen name to something along the lines of "Persnickity Poster".   Then think of all the contortions that Pastor Austen would probably go through trying to figure out how to inform an anonymous poster that he misspelled persnickety.

Regards,

Senior
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on July 25, 2007, 01:51:10 PM
How about changing your screen name to something along the lines of "Persnickity Poster".   Then think of all the contortions that Pastor Austen is probably going through trying to figure out how to inform an anonymous poster that he mispelled persnickety.
Regards,
Senior
Senior 

Hmmph! You made me look it up. For some reason I've always thought it was "persnickerty," but you're right.
Of course, you misspelled misspelled, Senior Senior.

My amusement fading, I was going to write a note suggesting getting back to the topic, but then I noticed that all these Austin-Hansen-LameDuckModerator posts are, in fact, on topic.

Not sure what the Bonhoeffer quote has to do with it - I kind of skimmed that one.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 02:09:17 PM
Rev. Michael_Rothaar,

The Bonhoeffer quote is a stab at trying to establish a connection between the arguments of those who are strict confessionalists and those that live in a revisionists world.  Its not a perfect convergence or argument but the means by which we argue often seems to line up from the issues Bonhoeffer was facing in his day.  It's not an either/or but a both/and.  What do you think?  I would have liked to quote more of Bonhoeffer but my fingers were tired from typing the quote from the book.  Of course name(s) calling and spelling and the issue of gerund misuse and other grammar nightmares had taken over the thread for a time. 

PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 02:42:25 PM
To you,
A Revised Hymnary taken from the book The Collect'd Writings of St. Hereticus edited by Robert McAfee Brown

I'm working on a new hymnal.  I'm going to keep the old tunes (grand old tunes, all of them) and simply supply new words for people who feel uncomfortable or hypocritical singing the old words.  The words in my hymnal will reflect what people are actually thinking when they raise their voices on a Sunday morning.

The following offerings, then, are at least descriptively true.  I won't go into any detailed defense of their literary merit.

Backward, Christian Soldiers

Like a fleeing army
Moves the Church of God;
Brother treads on brother
Grinds him in the sod.
We are not united,
Lots of bodies we:
One lacks faith, another hope,
And all lack charity.

Chorus:
Backward, Christian Soldiers,
Waging fruitless wars,
Breaking out in schisms
That our God deplores.

Some of the hymns need to have alternate versions to be used as local circumstances dictate:

Faith of Our Fathers, Wholly Faith

1. Liberal Version

Faith of our fathers, once so great,
We must revise or be out of date,
We must distinguish kerygma from myth,
Or they won't be worth bothering with.

Chorus:
Faith of our fathers we accept
(Save for the parts that we reject).

2. Orthodox Version

Faith of our fathers, keep it intact!
They wrote it down precisely exact.
Change no expression, no phrases delete,
Their propositions cannot be beat.

Chorus:
Faith of our fathers, keep it pure,
Relevance is a sinful lure.

3. American Version

Faith of our founding fathers! We
Now can express with clarity:
"God's on our side, he'll hear every plea
If we'll expand our economy".

Chorus:
Faith of our founding fathers! There
Is nothing quite like laissez-faire
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: SCPO on July 25, 2007, 02:48:40 PM

Hmmph! You made me look it up. For some reason I've always thought it was "persnickerty," but you're right.
Of course, you misspelled misspelled, Senior Senior.


     Oops!! 
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 25, 2007, 02:53:38 PM
Is it correct to presume that SCPO is a Navy or Coast Guard rank?   :)
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: SCPO on July 25, 2007, 03:01:45 PM
Is it correct to presume that SCPO is a Navy or Coast Guard rank?   :)

     Yes, your presumption is correct.   In my case, it is U.S. Navy, (Ret). 

Regards,

Senior
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: pilgrimpriest on July 25, 2007, 03:09:27 PM
To you,
A Revised Hymnary taken from the book The Collect'd Writings of St. Hereticus edited by Robert McAfee Brown

I'm working on a new hymnal.  I'm going to keep the old tunes (grand old tunes, all of them) and simply supply new words for people who feel uncomfortable or hypocritical singing the old words.  The words in my hymnal will reflect what people are actually thinking when they raise their voices on a Sunday morning.

The following offerings, then, are at least descriptively true.  I won't go into any detailed defense of their literary merit.

Backward, Christian Soldiers

Like a fleeing army
Moves the Church of God;
Brother treads on brother
Grinds him in the sod.
We are not united,
Lots of bodies we:
One lacks faith, another hope,
And all lack charity.

Chorus:
Backward, Christian Soldiers,
Waging fruitless wars,
Breaking out in schisms
That our God deplores.

Some of the hymns need to have alternate versions to be used as local circumstances dictate:

Faith of Our Fathers, Wholly Faith

1. Liberal Version

Faith of our fathers, once so great,
We must revise or be out of date,
We must distinguish kerygma from myth,
Or they won't be worth bothering with.

Chorus:
Faith of our fathers we accept
(Save for the parts that we reject).

2. Orthodox Version

Faith of our fathers, keep it intact!
They wrote it down precisely exact.
Change no expression, no phrases delete,
Their propositions cannot be beat.

Chorus:
Faith of our fathers, keep it pure,
Relevance is a sinful lure.

3. American Version

Faith of our founding fathers! We
Now can express with clarity:
"God's on our side, he'll hear every plea
If we'll expand our economy".

Chorus:
Faith of our founding fathers! There
Is nothing quite like laissez-faire

Odd coincidence, I just posted this on Touchstone's website last night on the egregious RC hymnal Glory and Praise:

I was so inspired in my perusal of these aforementioned "cutting edge" hymnals that I, just now, wrote two new hymns. Please excuse the offensive terms used in the original hymns' titles...

1. "Onward, faith-based people!"
(Sung to the tune of "Onward, Christian [sic] Soldiers [sic]!"

Onward, faith-based people!
Moving toward "relevancy,"
With theological substance
re-imagin'd expertly.

AND,

2. Our Community's Stated Purpose"
(Sung to the tune of "The Church's [sic] One [sic] Foundation [sic]")

Our community's stated purpose
Is gracious mass-appeal,
It's in our Mission Statement
Reflecting how we feel:
No "lifestyle choice" appalls us,
C'mon, you're welcome here!
Throw out that moral compass,
There's no one here to steer.

Cheers!
Fr. Bob
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 25, 2007, 03:55:14 PM
If it is "iron sharpening iron" then great.  But if the words penetrate the heart, mind, soul, and strength and rob a person of their identity in Christ, so that one might stumble, or fall away, or walk away from the faith then yes "battle" talk and "barbs" are sin, and confession of sin is indeed warranted. 

Thanks you for addressing my "sin question." I'm really curious to know how others think about this since it seems to stand behind so much dialogue.

Do you mean that it's sin if the hearer/reader receives the words as offense whether or not the speaker/writer intended that?

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 04:08:27 PM
  Don, as an outside lurker who enjoys and gains knowledge from your posts, may I suggest that you take the esteemed moderators suggestion and look for ways to have a little fun now and then.   How about changing your screen name to something along the lines of "Persnickity Poster".   Then think of all the contortions that Pastor Austen would probably go through trying to figure out how to inform an anonymous poster that he misspelled persnickety.

Thanks -- that's a good one.  Or how about this:  I could sign on using the name "Janielou13b", and then we can watch to see how Pr. Austen reacts to it.  Based on past experience, it seems that particular screen name is immune from his extreme objection to anonymous posters.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 04:44:07 PM
If it is "iron sharpening iron" then great.  But if the words penetrate the heart, mind, soul, and strength and rob a person of their identity in Christ, so that one might stumble, or fall away, or walk away from the faith then yes "battle" talk and "barbs" are sin, and confession of sin is indeed warranted. 

Thanks you for addressing my "sin question." I'm really curious to know how others think about this since it seems to stand behind so much dialogue.

Do you mean that it's sin if the hearer/reader receives the words as offense whether or not the speaker/writer intended that?

In Christ,
EE

Yes.

Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 25, 2007, 05:02:12 PM
If it is "iron sharpening iron" then great.  But if the words penetrate the heart, mind, soul, and strength and rob a person of their identity in Christ, so that one might stumble, or fall away, or walk away from the faith then yes "battle" talk and "barbs" are sin, and confession of sin is indeed warranted. 

Thanks you for addressing my "sin question." I'm really curious to know how others think about this since it seems to stand behind so much dialogue.

Do you mean that it's sin if the hearer/reader receives the words as offense whether or not the speaker/writer intended that?

In Christ,
EE

Yes.

So if I intended to hurt/offend someone with my words but they didn't take offense, then I would not have sinned?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 05:20:41 PM
If it is "iron sharpening iron" then great.  But if the words penetrate the heart, mind, soul, and strength and rob a person of their identity in Christ, so that one might stumble, or fall away, or walk away from the faith then yes "battle" talk and "barbs" are sin, and confession of sin is indeed warranted. 

Thanks you for addressing my "sin question." I'm really curious to know how others think about this since it seems to stand behind so much dialogue.

Do you mean that it's sin if the hearer/reader receives the words as offense whether or not the speaker/writer intended that?

In Christ,
EE

Yes.

So if I intended to hurt/offend someone with my words but they didn't take offense, then I would not have sinned?

No. You still did sin, the sin was against yourself and against God because your intent was to slander the other breaking the 8th commandment even if they did not take offense.

PJ
Title: Back to the battle lines
Post by: MMH on July 25, 2007, 05:54:33 PM
Virtue on Line has posted an article from the Chicago Sun Times

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6396

The germane bits:

The Lutheran pastor soon to be bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod wants his denomination to lift a celibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy.

"That's where I think the church is going," Bishop-elect Wayne Miller of Aurora said. "That's where I think it needs to go."

He's hoping the change will come next month in Chicago, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is conducting its churchwide assembly. Nearly a third of the denomination's 65 synods are asking for a policy shift in clergy standards.



More than 1,000 voting church members are expected at the Aug. 6-11 assembly at Navy Pier.

Miller, 57, will begin his six-year term as bishop on Sept. 1. He'll be formally installed Sept. 9 at the downtown Episcopal cathedral because it can accommodate the sizable turnout expected.

If the rules for gay clergy aren't relaxed, Miller acknowledges that he'll feel tension between his personal beliefs and his vows as bishop to uphold the policies of the church.

"That is the dilemma of a bishop at this particular moment in history," he said.


Indeed

Matt
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: janielou13 on July 25, 2007, 06:21:25 PM
Don,,,,,, I'll let you in on a little secret - not don't tell anybody - janielou13 is actually Charles Austin b
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: hansen on July 25, 2007, 06:23:56 PM
Don,,,,,, I'll let you in on a little secret - not don't tell anybody - janielou13 is actually Charles Austin b

Nice try.  You're close, but no Cohiba.  8)
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 25, 2007, 07:24:47 PM
No. You still did sin, the sin was against yourself and against God because your intent was to slander the other breaking the 8th commandment even if they did not take offense.

Okay. When offense is intended or taken, sin is involved.

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: MMH on July 25, 2007, 08:41:42 PM
No. You still did sin, the sin was against yourself and against God because your intent was to slander the other breaking the 8th commandment even if they did not take offense.

Okay. When offense is intended or taken, sin is involved.

I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but necessarily when it is taken.  I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task.  So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 25, 2007, 09:05:26 PM
I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but necessarily when it is taken.  I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task.  So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?

I think this is a real struggle for us all. It's so much easier to talk about offense, meanness, inappropriateness, etc. That word "sin" is really hard for us.

At my first parish a conflict arose during a building project. One congregational leader was accusing another of acting inappropriately and started gathered supporters to back his position. Folks started drawing up sides. I grew really concerned that the leadership was going to be torn apart. The elders and I pulled folks together for a meeting. We read from the pastorals about how every accusation against an elder should be supported by two or three witnesses. Then we invited the group to tell us what the accused brother's sins were.

Dead silence. No one wanted to say what he had done was a sin. They had taken offense but in the end couldn't bring themselves to say, "He's sinned against me/us." Thank God, from there we were able to talk it all through and pray together and for one another. Everyone calmed down and the project went back on track. The Lord delivered us from a split.

This experience makes me think that we need to talk more about sin, confession of sins, and forgiveness of sins to avoid the dynamic of people dealing with one another without a clear command or promise from the Lord. Instead of escalating matters, I think sincere discussion of sin and forgiveness helps resolve matters.

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 10:08:28 PM
No. You still did sin, the sin was against yourself and against God because your intent was to slander the other breaking the 8th commandment even if they did not take offense.

Okay. When offense is intended or taken, sin is involved.

I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but necessarily when it is taken. I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task. So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?

Matt,

What does the Bible say?

Drive out the wicked from among you
Pauline Parallels 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Romans 1 29-32, Romans 13:11-14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 2 Corinthians 12:19-21, Galatians 5:16-26, Ephesians 4:17-24, Ephesians 4:25-32, Ephesians 5:3-14, Colossians 3:5-11, Romans 16:17-20a, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1,  2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
1 Corinthians 5:9-13  9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons--10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world.  11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber.  Do not even eat with such a one.  12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge?  13 God will judge those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

NRS 1 Corinthians 6:1 When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels-- to say nothing of ordinary matters?  4 If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?  5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, 6 but a believer goes to court against a believer-- and before unbelievers at that?  7 In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?  8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud-- and believers at that.  9 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers-- none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.  11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything.  13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 

Discipline and Restoration
Pauline Parallels 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, Romans 16:17-20a, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, Galatians 6:1-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Phlm 15-20
2 Corinthians 2: 5-11
5 But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent-- not to exaggerate it-- to all of you.
6 This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; 7 so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  8 So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.  9 I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything.  10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.  11 And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 


I warn those who sinned
Pauline Parallels 2 Corinthians 13:1-7, Romans 1: 16-17, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 9: 1-5,
2 Corinthians 12:14-21, 2 Corinthians 13: 5-10,  1 Corinthians 6:4-5a, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

2 Corinthians 13:1-7
 NRS 2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. "Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses." 2 I warned those who sinned previously and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again, I will not be lenient--3 since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you.  4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.  5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!
6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed.  7 But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong-- not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.  8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

Just a few verses dealing with sin...PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: LutherMan on July 25, 2007, 10:12:14 PM
Don,,,,,, I'll let you in on a little secret - not don't tell anybody - janielou13 is actually Charles Austin b

Will you please go answer Rev. McCain's question in LCMS Convention reports in the Kieschnick thread re: Luther and communing at RC altars?  Thanks.
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 10:27:50 PM
I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but necessarily when it is taken.  I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task.  So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?

I think this is a real struggle for us all. It's so much easier to talk about offense, meanness, inappropriateness, etc. That word "sin" is really hard for us.

At my first parish a conflict arose during a building project. One congregational leader was accusing another of acting inappropriately and started gathered supporters to back his position. Folks started drawing up sides. I grew really concerned that the leadership was going to be torn apart. The elders and I pulled folks together for a meeting. We read from the pastorals about how every accusation against an elder should be supported by two or three witnesses. Then we invited the group to tell us what the accused brother's sins were.

Dead silence. No one wanted to say what he had done was a sin. They had taken offense but in the end couldn't bring themselves to say, "He's sinned against me/us." Thank God, from there we were able to talk it all through and pray together and for one another. Everyone calmed down and the project went back on track. The Lord delivered us from a split.

This experience makes me think that we need to talk more about sin, confession of sins, and forgiveness of sins to avoid the dynamic of people dealing with one another without a clear command or promise from the Lord. Instead of escalating matters, I think sincere discussion of sin and forgiveness helps resolve matters.

In Christ,
EE

EE,
I would agree with you that sincere discussion of sin and forgiveness helps resolve matters.  Sin, not as a way of continuing a pattern of shame i.e. not shaming people to continue on a path of destruction, sin though acknowledging our misguided, poor choices, bad words, harmful ways uh vices and allowing God's Spirit to convict so that to all the world and God we confess not only our sins from 1 John 1:8-9 but in our confession of sins we also confess of our belief in Christ Jesus as Lord and God, Romans 10:9-10.    

PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: MMH on July 25, 2007, 10:53:23 PM
I wrote-
    I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but necessarily when it is taken.  I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task.  So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?

But I see I should have written
      I would say that when offense is intended, sin is involved, but not necessarily when it is taken.  I am guessing that many people, when they are confronted in a pastoral manner about their sinful behavior might actually take offense at being called to task.  So does a pastor a priori sin in pointing out a person's sin?

The point I was trying to make is that one could take offense over a truthful and indeed loving statement/admonishment.  But the fact that one takes offense does not make the statement/admonishment a sin.

BTW- thanks for the examples from parish experience.  I would point out also that as we loose the vocabulary of sin, we loose the ability to forgive.  Some of the most hate-filled and angry people I have encounterd in the parish are the "progressives" who  shy away from talk of sin.

Matt+
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Keith Falk on July 25, 2007, 11:00:09 PM

BTW- thanks for the examples from parish experience.  I would point out also that as we loose the vocabulary of sin, we loose the ability to forgive.  Some of the most hate-filled and angry people I have encounterd in the parish are the "progressives" who  shy away from talk of sin.

Matt+


I loved reading this sentence... I'm not sure if Pr. Hummel meant "loose" or "lose", but either way... it is a powerful statement.

As we loose (loose... free... release...) the vocabulary of sin, we loose the ability to forgive

As we lose (mislay... deplete... squander...) the vocabulary of sin, we lose the ability to forgive
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: JMOtterman on July 25, 2007, 11:23:58 PM
Matt,

That is a great insight about sin and forgiveness.

PJ

Keith,

Amazing work on an interesting and inspired play on words.

PJ
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: EENGELBRECHT on July 26, 2007, 07:26:54 AM
I would point out also that as we loose the vocabulary of sin, we loose the ability to forgive. 

I was recently at a workshop with a gentleman from Ambassadors of Reconciliation. He was noting how when someone says, "I'm sorry" we typically say, "That's okay" or "No problem" instead of "I forgive you." I think this illustrates your point. I suppose one could argue that the person intends the same thing but I think these conventions of speech show how uncomfortable sin/forgiveness makes us all feel.

Yet as Lutherans, forgiveness of sins is about the chief doctrine: justification. It's the main thing we are called to proclaim as Christians, the reason why the Church exists!

Somewhere I recall Luther describing the doctrine of original sin as "chief" (Ger: haupt) doctrine. Makes sense, given his emphasis on justification.

In Christ,
EE
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: Deb_H. on July 26, 2007, 09:15:34 AM
Yet as Lutherans, forgiveness of sins is about the chief doctrine: justification. It's the main thing we are called to proclaim as Christians, the reason why the Church exists!

Somewhere I recall Luther describing the doctrine of original sin as "chief" (Ger: haupt) doctrine. Makes sense, given his emphasis on justification.

Indeed, for clarity, conciseness, and sheer beauty of language, I have found nothing to match the first four articles of the Augsburg Confession.  You can't get to Article IV without Articles I, II, and III.  Article I tells of God; Article II speaks of Original Sin; Article III speaks of Jesus; and then Article IV ties them all together in the confession of the very nature of the Christian faith -- salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.  Lose any one of the pieces (Articles I, II, & III) and Article IV disappears.  In the early church, the arguments were about Article III issues (the nature of Jesus), but in our post-modern church what has been lost is the sense of Article II (we are all sinners and can do nothing about it). 

Lou
Title: Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
Post by: peter_speckhard on July 26, 2007, 11:27:28 AM
I would point out also that as we loose the vocabulary of sin, we loose the ability to forgive. 

I was recently at a workshop with a gentleman from Ambassadors of Reconciliation. He was noting how when someone says, "I'm sorry" we typically say, "That's okay" or "No problem" instead of "I forgive you." I think this illustrates your point. I suppose one could argue that the person intends the same thing but I think these conventions of speech show how uncomfortable sin/forgiveness makes us all feel.

Yet as Lutherans, forgiveness of sins is about the chief doctrine: justification. It's the main thing we are called to proclaim as Christians, the reason why the Church exists!

Somewhere I recall Luther describing the doctrine of original sin as "chief" (Ger: haupt) doctrine. Makes sense, given his emphasis on justification.

In Christ,
EE
Along these same lines, it is important to note that forgiveness and tolerance are not only not the same thing, they are mutually-exclusive things. You can only forgive that which is not to be tolerated, and you can only tolerate that which need not be forgiven. But you can never both forgive and tolerate the same thing.