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ALPB => Selected Re-Prints => Topic started by: Richard Johnson on March 02, 2005, 04:46:38 PM

Title: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 02, 2005, 04:46:38 PM
Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her
(March 2005)
by Richard O. Johnson, associate editor
Copyright 2005 Americzn Lutheran Publicity Bureau. All rights reserved.
 
In Forum Letter’s December issue, we included Pr. Marshall Hahn’s report on a pair of Episcopal clergy in Pennsylvania who achieved notoriety when it became known they were also priests of the ancient pagan religion of Druidry (“Christians 2—Druids 0”). Of course, as Mom used to say, when you point a finger at someone else, three are pointing back to you. Fittingly, we recently came upon the website of an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation. Frankly, it makes Druidry look rather traditional.

A new form of church
The congregation is Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco, a fine old historic place, the “mother church” of the Augustana Synod on the Pacific coast. Like many urban congregations, Ebenezer has seen better days. Baptized membership is reported in the low 60s, down from over 600 twenty years ago, making it the smallest ELCA congregation in the City by the Bay, with the exception of a predominantly Hispanic group in the Mission District. But, as their web page proudly states, “a new form of church is happening at Ebenezer,” and it gives a whole new meaning to the concept of “mother church.” Under the leadership of Pr. Stacy Boorn, it centers around “a lively, engaging, thoroughly inclusive and feminist service of worship.” This group is “a diverse community” (well, as diverse as an average attendance of 30 can be) “standing firmly within the Christian tradition in order to reconstruct the divine by reclaiming her feminine persona in thealogy [sic], liturgy, church structure, art, language, practices, leadership, and acts of justice.”

Even though the feminist stuff gets the lead on the web page, a closer reading suggests that the “feminist liturgy” is only offered on the first Sunday of the month. Of course “all other worship events are inclusive, diverse, and dynamic” — not that we had any doubts about that. And just in case you were wondering, the congregation is “Reconciling in Christ” with links to Lutherans Concerned, the Lutheran gay lobbying outfit.

Goddess beads
What, you ask, might it mean for a congregation to “stand firmly within the Christian tradition”?

One answer comes into view when you read about the brand new worship event beginning this month, the Goddess Rosary prayer service. Each Wednesday evening the sanctuary will be open for prayer and meditation. Not only will there be “candles to light and bells to ring,” but they will make available Goddess Rosary Beads and booklets with Christian Goddess prayers. Each quarter hour there will be a “community spoken Goddess Rosary.” It goes in part like this:

Hail Goddess full of grace.
Blessed are you and blessed are all the
fruits of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
Hear us now and in all our needs.
Blessed be!

Now we have never been especially attracted to the Rosary, not even to the various attempts to make it ecumenically acceptable to Protestants. But then we don’t have any congenital apprehension about it, either. If rosary beads help one pray, then we’re for it — with one caveat, of course, which is that prayers advertised as being “within the Christian tradition” ought to be somewhere in the neighborhood of the actual tradition being claimed.

But that does not seem to be the thrust of Ebenezer’s “new form of church.” Here God is the Eternal Feminine, the Divine Mother, ready to cater to our every whim. Here’s a lovely prayer by Miriam Therese Winter: “Our Mother who is within us, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come, your will be done unfolding from the depths within us . . .” Well, you get the idea. (Miriam Therese Winter, by the way, is the ex-nun feminist spiritual advisor who convinced Hillary Clinton to role-play Eleanor Roosevelt while she was First Lady. It was a stress reliever from Whitewater, Monicagate, her husband’s impeachment trial, and all that.)

The will of ourselves
“Within us,” of course, is exactly the root of the problem with all of this. We human beings want a deity whose will unfolds from within ourselves. Makes it easier to follow that way, huh? Safely encapsulated within our own identity, this deity is very accommodating, affirming everything we think we are. We want a deity who is like us, a reflection of us. We don’t want Incarnation so much as our own divinization, on our own terms. We want a divine being with “many names.” We’ll pick the one that works best for us. We don’t want the stodgy old God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That God is, like, you know, way, way retro. Especially, we suppose, in California.

And so let’s find a different god, or goddess, or godthing. The web site contains a poem that seems to speak to that desire. Mother God begins “God to me / Is my dark-haired mother, / Stroking my forehead / As she lullabies me to sleep.” A colleague remarked after reading it, “This is great news! I can generally get anything I want from my mom!”

Divinely humorous
There is a highly precise and technical theological term for this human view of God. The word is “idolatry.” But in the ELCA, as in most American churches these days, we are not prepared to use it. Nor do we use “heresy,” because nobody believes in heresy anymore, and “flakiness” is regarded as impolite. So we prefer to speak about “contextualization” and “niches” and “theological exploration” and “spiritual journey,” and the like. Well, as God once said through the psalmist with surprised incredulity, “You thought that I was one just like yourself!” (Psalm 50:21).

For further information, and directions to Ebenezer, we urge you to visit their website, the aptly named <www.herchurch.org>. When you do visit, remember, a sense of humor is crucial. We recommend keeping in mind another psalm: “He who sits in the heavens
laughs.” (Psalm 2:4)

Copyright 2005 ALPB. All rights reserved
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 03, 2005, 04:22:40 PM
Richard,

I think your article is wonderful.  I also think there's probably a whole 'nother aspect to humor going on here:  Could she be your synod's secret weapon against declining congregations?  Given her track record, maybe she was sent there to make sure the place "just went away."  Then the property could be sold, other dying ministries can be funded for a few more years, etc.  In other words, who's the real target audience of this joke?   :-)

Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: G.Edward on March 04, 2005, 05:38:02 PM
How does a person who would lead a circus like this ever get through the candidacy process?  Seems more like UU than ELCA.  
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 05, 2005, 04:05:49 AM

> How does a person who would lead a circus like this ever get through the candidacy process?  


   The more appropriate question might be, "How coiuld her bishop allow this to go on?"

  Which helps us circle back to the recent  response (posted elsewhere on alpb) by the group of serious theologians.  When there are no policies and procedures guiding the overall understandings of what it is to be ordained in this church, (ie; local option), this is what will happen.

   I plan to copy off sections of this webpage as a "See, this is where it will lead" learning tool about the sexuality recommendations.  Also, you should call up Christ Church in San Francisco and copy off the first page of their webpage.  Steve Sabin was removed from the clergy roster in Iowa.  Do your own research, but after leaving his wife and family and coming out, his home synod released him from the ELCA - as a result of a trial.  Think that one through.  Members of this church had to go through the trauma of such an event and yet there he is serving as a pastor of an ELCA congregation.

http://www.christchurchlutheran.org/

   Ross Merkel was removed from the roster of the ELCA when he came out at St. Paul Lutheran in Oakland, yet there he is serving as their pastor to this day.  Scroll down the page:

http://www.gamaliel.org/Affiliates/California/occ/OCCboard.htm

   BTW,  as an aside, if baptisms are performed by either of these two defrocked pastors still serving ELCA congregations, would those baptisms be recognized by the universal church?  Hmmm ...


   Anyway, in response to your question, we shouldn't be so naive about what's really happening in some corners of the ELCA - regardless of what happens this summer.  The vote won't change Ebenezer, Christ Lutheran or St. Paul.  Unless, as a  result, pastors and congregations in that synod confront the growing mess out there.
 
Brian
 
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: DanTC56 on March 05, 2005, 12:03:59 PM
In regards to your aside Brian,I believe that the baptism is considered valid as long as the Triune Formula is used--baptizing the child with water in the name of the Father,the Son,and the Holy Spirit. I believe that I read somewhere that even baptisms performed by heretics using the Triune Formula are considered valid. Or am I wrong....? Anyone ??
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 05, 2005, 01:03:02 PM
Quote

>
   BTW,  as an aside, if baptisms are performed by either of these two defrocked pastors still serving ELCA congregations, would those baptisms be recognized by the universal church?  Hmmm ...

 


Assuming the baptisms were done with water, and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the answer is "yes, of course." The efficacy of the sacrament does not depend on the morality or the status of the administrator of the sacrament.

This was pretty much settled during the Donatist controversy, I believe.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 05, 2005, 02:34:54 PM
Quote


Assuming the baptisms were done with water, and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the answer is "yes, of course." The efficacy of the sacrament does not depend on the morality or the status of the administrator of the sacrament.

This was pretty much settled during the Donatist controversy, I believe.

It was settled then, but is in a flux now. The Mormons use water and the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." (For them "Holy Ghost" is different than "Holy Spirit.") There are questions about whether or not that is Christian baptism and whether or not Mormons need to be baptized in a Christian church when they convert.

Principle 24 of The Use of the Means of Grace states:
Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity. The baptized are welcomed into the body of Christ. This is the community which lives from "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit . . . ."
While uses the language of the Trinity, the Mormons do not "confess" or "teach" the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity -- at least not the orthodox position of mainline Christians.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 05, 2005, 05:52:40 PM
Quote
I believe that I read somewhere that even baptisms performed by heretics using the Triune Formula are considered valid. Or am I wrong....? Anyone ??

Who said that Mormons were heretics or even apostates?  Mormons are, in my humble opinion and that of a great many scholars of comparitive religion, a non-Christian polytheistic faith with most of the characteristics of a cult.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 05, 2005, 05:55:02 PM
Quote
The Mormons use water and the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." (For them "Holy Ghost" is different than "Holy Spirit.") There are questions about whether or not that is Christian baptism and whether or not Mormons need to be baptized in a Christian church when they convert.
.

In addition to the Baptisms being done in water, and in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, isn't there also supposed to be the intent on the part of the officiant to be administering Christian Baptism?  

Since Mormonism is a polytheistic non-Christian religion, how can the officiant be intending to administer Christian Baptism?  Considering the doctrines taught by Mormonism and contained in their sacred books like "Doctrine and Covenants" and "The Pearl of Great Price," there is no way Mormonism is Christian.  Therefore I do not consider their Baptisms valid and do, in fact require Mormon converts to be re-baptized.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: DanTC56 on March 05, 2005, 08:25:04 PM
Good points to consider, Fr.Irl...didn't think of them. Thanks for the insight.....
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 06, 2005, 05:49:24 AM
Quote

Who said that Mormons were heretics or even apostates?  Mormons are, in my humble opinion and that of a great many scholars of comparitive religion, a non-Christian polytheistic faith with most of the characteristics of a cult.


And for me, that would be the issue. The defrocked pastors may or may not be heretics or apostates. They may simply be Christians who have been misled on an issue of sexual ethics. Be that as it may, I would assume that, if they baptized with water and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, their INTENTION is Christian baptism, however mistaken their teaching about sexuality (or anything else) may be.

Mormons, as pointed out, are not in that camp, IMHO.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 06, 2005, 03:22:49 PM
As far as the defrocked Pastors are concerned, I certainly would accept Baptisms performed by them as long as they used water and the Trinitarian formula as Christian Baptisms.  To not do so would be to slipinto the Donatist heresy.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 06, 2005, 05:15:23 PM

 Yes, I'm familiar with the Donatist heresy and the outcome.  Augustine left us with ex opere operato instead of ex opere operantis.  But in order to dance a few times on the head of that pin ... 1) It wasn't until the Council of Trent in 1547 that Augustine's insight was officially written into canon and 2) The issue we are facing today is (I believe) a different concern.

  At the time, Donatus was primarily unhappy with priests who had denied Christ in order to save their skin.  OK, once the political climate changed, former denying priests wanted their life back in the church.  The super-pious martyr wing wasn't so sure about their entree'.

   OK, so here's the rub: at any point during the rise of the original Donatist position, were the Donatists dealing with priests who had been defrocked  - an action of the church to remove their standing as priests?  For example, and for the sake of discussion, if the Roman Catholic Church today were to defrock a priest, would he be allowed to conduct baptisms using a font located inside one of their sanctuaries?  Why or why not?   What if said defrocked priest conducted a series of baptisms at the local river or in a neighborhood pool, would these baptisms have standing in their church?  Would the local parish or Bishop recognize these sacramental acts by said defrocked priest?

  If the answer is "yes", then we're done with all this and I guess it's OK to have defrocked pastors leading our congregations and engaging in Word and Sacrament ministries.

  If the answer is "no" to any of the above Roman Catholic senarios,  then we have not fully answered the question concerning baptisms in the Sierra Pacific Synod.  Will the universal church accept as valid baptisms performed by pastors who have been defrocked by their larger church?  Probably not something in BEM, but it makes for interesting conversation considering the LWF was a participant in that document.

 AND since this whole topic started with Ebenezer, do we know what formula is being used there?  Reading the webpage, Orthodox Trinitarian theology seems less obvious than godess imagery.

Brian
Musings on a Sunday evening.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 06, 2005, 08:41:24 PM
Quote

What if said defrocked priest conducted a series of baptisms at the local river or in a neighborhood pool, would these baptisms have standing in their church?  Would the local parish or Bishop recognize these sacramental acts by said defrocked priest?

The first pastor at a church I served was "defrocked" -- or at least "derostered" in a predecessor body. When he was removed, he started his own independent Lutheran congregation. He did baptisms and communions and weddings. In his mind, he was still an ordained Lutheran minister. He attended the local ministerial association. Wore a collar. The independent church at folded by the time I came to the area. Some of the members were at my church. I considered their baptisms valid. In fact, that "pastor" turned over his parish records from the independent church to me.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 07, 2005, 12:41:46 PM
Quote

The first pastor at a church I served was "defrocked" -- or at least "derostered" in a predecessor body. When he was removed, he started his own independent Lutheran congregation. He did baptisms and communions and weddings. In his mind, he was still an ordained Lutheran minister. He attended the local ministerial association. Wore a collar. The independent church at folded by the time I came to the area. Some of the members were at my church. I considered their baptisms valid. In fact, that "pastor" turned over his parish records from the independent church to me.

These Baptisms would certainly be recognized as valid Christian baptisms in my Denomination.   The fact that he would be considered by some to be schismatic is irrelevant. I would simply consider him the Pastor of an Independent Lutheran Parish.  After all, a great many of the microsynods have been started by pastors in the same situation as the one you describe.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Paul Gausmann on March 16, 2005, 06:17:29 PM
It is certainly terribly sad to hear about a congregation of the old Augustana Synod that now is becoming a center of pagan heretical worship. Sometimes it feels like the ELCA is simple trying to deconstruct the faithful work of the church and lead us back into the kind of chaos tha our Lord's death and resurrection has overwhelmed through the new creaton it echoed in.  For any Bishop to allow such practicies as Ebenezer's to go on clearly indicates that the office of oversight that Bishops should be maintaining is in this case being terribly neglected. Only an excuse of ignorance about the situation might excuse such negligence on the part of the Synod and Bishop that Ebenenezer is a part of, but then why does Forum know about the situation and the Synod not?
Is it justs my perception or are the Bishops really under scrutiny all of a sudden. Perhaps it was the irony of having a faithful statement by theologians proceed by only a few days a lame statement from the Conference of Bishops. Notice how few people challenged the fact that no one would claim the Bishop's staement to be one written by theologians. But let me just add there are many faithful Bishops in the minority who are also theologians. may they be supported and encouraged to boldly proclaim and uphold the intent of Visions and Expectations.  
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 17, 2005, 06:52:15 AM
Paul,

My raising the issue of defrocked pastors leading Word and Sacrament ministries in ELCA congregations was another way of getting at your point.  Whether it be defrocked pastors leading worship or a goddess touting pastor selling "prayer beads" with a naked woman fob in place of the usual crucifix, I think it fair to say theological flakiness is certainly tolerated in that synod.  And unless I make the complete move into congregationalism, it means the larger church of which I'm a member is similarly tolerant.


Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 17, 2005, 07:32:07 PM
Does anyone know what it is likely to cost a synod to go through the disciplinary process with a congregation? (This is assuming that the congregation does not willingly leave the ELCA.) I wonder if part of the reason they choose to refrain from disciplining is because they can't afford it or that it is not a high priority on their limited budgets.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 18, 2005, 03:31:24 AM

 Does anyone know what its costing some synods and the largrer church by allowing heresy and willful disregard of mutual admonition and accountabiity to continue?

 But you do make a point:  It very well might not be worth the investment of time and effort to straighten out the mess synods like yours are creating for the rest of the church.  Perhaps it might make sense to go ahead and let the entire ELCA collapse so that all defrocked pastors and goddess worshippers of California may be allowed access to (then formerly) ELCA pulpits.  I mean, if we're going to go ahead and open the doors of free access, we might as well allow everyone a shot at playing at church.  Certainly there seems to be no theological or disciplinary process to prevent such a thing from happening even now in Ebenezer's synod...

Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 18, 2005, 09:46:01 AM
Quote
 Does anyone know what its costing some synods and the largrer church by allowing heresy and willful disregard of mutual admonition and accountabiity to continue?

One problem is that those who often feel outside the mainstream of the conference beliefs don't attend conference meetings where there could be admonitions and accountability. I am only guessing, and you may have better knowledge about Ebenezer's San Francisco Conference, that most would be supportive of the "inclusive" nature of the congregation. The pastors who might not, may not be attending meetings.

The dean of my conference was somewhat surprised when he went to his first dean meeting that he was the only one arguing for a more traditional position concerning the homosexual issue. He said that many of the others had never heard the arguments he was presenting -- and were appreciative of hearing them in the spirit they were given.

It can be impossible to offer mutual admonition and accountability if no one is questioning the beliefs and practices.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: hansen on March 18, 2005, 06:12:02 PM
Quote

He said that many of the others had never heard the arguments he was presenting -- and were appreciative of hearing them in the spirit they were given.

It can be impossible to offer mutual admonition and accountability if no one is questioning the beliefs and practices.


How about actively seeking out the best arguments from the 'other side' (rather than waiting for a personal visit)?  I find it more than a little disappointing that there are pastors advocating a massive change to the church, who have not already done that.
Title: Response from Bea Chu
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:32:38 PM
  Dear Richard Johnson,

Before you posted the message concerning Ebenezer, did you contact Pastor Stacy Boorn to seek out a conversation with her?
Before you posted the message, did you contact any member of the church council of Ebenezer to seek a conversation with them?
Did you consider the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 18:15 ('go and point out the fault when the two of you are ALONE?')
Did you keep in mind Martin Luther's explanation of the 8th commandment in which he says we are to come to the "defense of our neighbors, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light"?

All these steps should be of outmost importance to someone who claims to affirm the Church's scriptural and confessional foundations!

Bea Chu
Title: Response from Rob Buechler
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:34:46 PM
While issues of the 8th commandment are valid, and I would hope that Richard (or perhaps the bishop of Ebenezer's synod) would have spoken to pastor and council, nevertheless, it seems to me that accusatory nature of  Bea's post leads to a couple of other questions.

1) Is what Richard posted made up, or did he get it from the official website of said congregation? If not, he is in trouble...if so, then it would seem to me that he is only reporting what the congregation and pastor have publicly professed about themselves (therefore getting an explanation from them is less important than getting repentance)

2) The next issue comes directly out of this first line of questioning...is what he posts True? Again, if the congregation's website is posting said material, then we have the True representation of their beliefs, and therefore Richard is not misusing the 8th commandment, but merely reporting truth.  

3) If this is truth, then who truly needs to "rethink" their behavior? Not Richard, but the congregation and pastor of Ebenezer.

4) Finally, if Richard's point is simply to alert us to the fact that local option cannot but alter the church doctrinally as well as morally, he has proven his point. Here we have a congregation that is publicly flaunting and in essence discarding the Christian faith by taking up worship of the Mother Goddess (The religion of Ashtarte, Isis, etc.). As far as we know, no discipline has been handed down. That means this congregation has been given the green light to "be pagan" and pass it off as simply another non-adiaphoristic Christian liturgical form.

I would suggest then that the facts of Richard's post do not warrant an accusation that he is violating church disciplinary rules of Matthew 18, nor the 8th commandment. This may however be justified towards Ebenezer's synodical officers if they are aware of its apparent apostacy and have done nothing.

Peace!
Rob Buechler
     
Title: Response from Brian Stoffregen
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:35:21 PM
 on Mar 19th, 2005, 8:26pm, buechler wrote:
4) Finally, if Richard's point is simply to alert us to the fact that local option cannot but alter the church doctrinally as well as morally, he has proven his point. Here we have a congregation that is publicly flaunting and in essence discarding the Christian faith by taking up worship of the Mother Goddess (The religion of Ashtarte, Isis, etc.).

I find nothing on their website about the worship of Ashtarte, Isis, etc. Thus what you are spreading is in conflict with the 8th Commandment. You are not explaining their actions in the best possible light, e.g., that they are emphasizing female images of God that are found in scriptures and in Christian tradition. Rather you bring in pagan goddesses.

Did you read through their website before making your accusations?

Brian Stoffregen
     
Title: Response from Brian Stoffregen
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:36:09 PM
 on Mar 19th, 2005, 8:26pm, buechler wrote:
This may however be justified towards Ebenezer's synodical officers if they are aware of its apparent apostacy and have done nothing.

The Synod Offices are 21.8 miles from Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Pastor Johnson's congregation is 146.5 miles away. Who do you think may be more in touch with what's happening at the congregation? It could be that they know and find nothing heretical about it.
     

Brian Stoffregen
Title: Response from Rob Buechler
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:36:41 PM
        Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 1) (March, 2005)
« Reply #5 on: Today at 12:40pm »       Quote Modify Remove
Brian,

Given your inability to understand the scriptures, it is not surprising that you cannot understand their website or even understand the progression of the argument I made.

Again, this should not be an issue of contention. When a congregation or pastor wants to support the worship of "Mother" goddess, in whatever form it takes (even questionable liturgy), it is heretical and apostate. There is no place in Scripture or tradition that is supportive of such things.

As to how far away someone is from Ebenezer, what difference does that make. The website is up and running. It is public. There is nothing about distance with regards to this.

As I said before, you are in my prayers and I truly hope your mind and heart are made right through the work of the Holy Spirit.  

Peace!
Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Proximity
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2005, 04:46:47 PM
Quote


The Synod Offices are 21.8 miles from Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Pastor Johnson's congregation is 146.5 miles away. Who do you think may be more in touch with what's happening at the congregation? It could be that they know and find nothing heretical about it.
     

Brian Stoffregen


Of course geographical proximity means little these days. Gee, Brian, if the only thing I can can have any information about is a parish close to me geographically, what are you suggesting? That Forum Letter should turn its investigative eye on Faith, Marysville, one of our closest neighbors? <g>

Rest assured, I read your newsletter each month with interest, and have never seen anything there likely to be brought to the attention of the readers of Forum Letter!
Title: Re: Proximity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 20, 2005, 07:36:01 PM
Quote
Of course geographical proximity means little these days. Gee, Brian, if the only thing I can can have any information about is a parish close to me geographically, what are you suggesting? That Forum Letter should turn its investigative eye on Faith, Marysville, one of our closest neighbors? <g>

Rest assured, I read your newsletter each month with interest, and have never seen anything there likely to be brought to the attention of the readers of Forum Letter!

I'm certain that if I had done something worthy of the attention of the readers of Forum Letter, Russ would have done that long ago when I was his parents' pastor -- and he occasionally attended the services -- and we'd have drinks together.

I read your newsletters with interest, too.

My point about proximity is that those who are closer are more likely to have actually experienced what happens at Ebenezer than us who are far away. It is one thing to read about a congregation on a website or in a newsletter, and a different thing to participate in their activities. If any of our synod staff were concerned about the worship that is happening there, they are in a better position than you or I to "check it out" in person.

Just as I have "checked out the worship" at your congregation and experienced what I expected from knowing you: a good, high quality, traditional Lutheran worship (led by a former Methodist and a former Baptist) -- who could have imagined that!
Title: Re: Response from Brian Stoffregen
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 20, 2005, 10:05:18 PM
Quote
I find nothing on their website about the worship of Ashtarte, Isis, etc. Thus what you are spreading is in conflict with the 8th Commandment. You are not explaining their actions in the best possible light, e.g., that they are emphasizing female images of God that are found in scriptures and in Christian tradition. Rather you bring in pagan goddesses.

Did you read through their website before making your accusations? 

The following is cut and pasted from Ebenezer's website, and it sure doesn't sound Christian to me . . . "Our Christian/Lutheran  feminist prayers and liturgy reach back into the stroehouse of tradition to bring forth names as Mother, Shaddai, Sophia, Womb, Midwife, Shekinah, She Who Is.  They do so out of renewed insights into the nature of the Gospel!  

Let your relationship with the Divine be opened and expanded.

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come
your will be done
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen."

There is a lot more there - this is just for starters (there is a photo of a set of beads resembling a rosary but with a yellow metal female figure rather than a crucifix.  This is Christian ?  It sure doesn't look or sound  Christian to me -  more like neopagan "New Age" Goddess worship  . . .

What would Jeremiah have done when confronted with this sort of thing. . .  *rhetorical question*   . . . Oy VAY !!


Title: Re: Response from Brian Stoffregen
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 21, 2005, 07:15:55 AM
Quote

The following is cut and pasted from Ebenezer's website, and it sure doesn't sound Christian to me . . . "Our Christian/Lutheran  feminist prayers and liturgy reach back into the storehouse of tradition to bring forth names as Mother, Shaddai, Sophia, Womb, Midwife, Shekinah, She Who Is.  They do so out of renewed insights into the nature of the Gospel!  

Which of those names cannot be traced back to biblical words, passages, or themes?

Psalm 131 pictures God as a mother.

El Shaddai is a common name for God. The closest Hebrew word I can find related to _shaddai_ is _shad_, which means "(female) breast". My large Hebrew Lexicon, Brown-Driver-Briggs, lists this name of God with _shad_, but notes that the connection is only a guess.

Sophia comes from the Greek for Wisdom, and in Proverbs and Wisdom, Wisdom (usually as a woman) is personified as God or as being with God at creation.

It is quite a leap to go from these biblical (female) images for God to accusing them of worshiping Astarte or Isis.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 21, 2005, 07:58:34 AM
>>It is quite a leap to go from these biblical (female) images for God to accusing them of worshiping Astarte or Isis.<<

I didn't say that their website mentioned Astarte or Isis.  But this doesn't come through my theologically conservative "filter" as being in synch with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity, either.  (And maybe the people at Ebenezer Church would agree with that . . .) And I don't know of a single reputable theologically conservative Evangelical theologian who would consider what Ebenezer Church is doing with the "goddess" /"divine feminine" thing to fit in with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity.  

If I didn't know better, I would almost think that they have been taking Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" too seriously . . .

I have to wonder with the positions they are taking, and the direction in which they are going, why they are staying in the ELCA rather than becoming an independent, non-Lutheran congregation.

I also know a lot of Synods (not only mine, but the LCMS, WELS, ELS just to mention a few big ones for starters) which would not tolerate what Ebenezer Church is doing "for a New York minute."  Their Congregation and Clergy would find themselves thrown out of those Synods faster than they could say "Da Vinci Code."
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 21, 2005, 06:32:27 PM
Quote
And I don't know of a single reputable theologically conservative Evangelical theologian who would consider what Ebenezer Church is doing with the "goddess" /"divine feminine" thing to fit in with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity.  

One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males who were usually unable (or unwilling) to see the feminine images of God that are present in scriptures. Even the Greek word for God Theos, is used both as a masculine and feminine. In all four of the Greek dictionaries I checked, "God," "god," and "goddess" are ways this one Greek word is translated. (It is used as a feminine in Acts 19:37.) Thus it is not incorrect to refer to Theos as a she. In some context it is clear that the god is feminine.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 21, 2005, 09:54:07 PM
Quote
Even the Greek word for God Theos, is used both as a masculine and feminine. In all four of the Greek dictionaries I checked, "God," "god," and "goddess" are ways this one Greek word is translated. (It is used as a feminine in Acts 19:37.) Thus it is not incorrect to refer to Theos as a she. In some context it is clear that the god is feminine.

Indeed.  Of course, the goddess in Acts 19:37 is not the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, St. Paul, or Jesus of Nazareth, but a different divine being.

Which leaves open the question, just which god(dess) is being invoked on Ebenezer Lutheran's web site?

spt+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 22, 2005, 05:54:14 AM
Brian wrote: "One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males..."

Let me get this straight, the scriptures and traditions of the church were written by males who were simply writing through their own cultural bigotries without benefit of divine inspiration. Therefore the Scriptures and traditions of the church can be thrown out in favor of another set of human made criteria, because after all this "Christian stuff" is whatever we decide it is in our culture.

Well Brian, I certain can see the reason for your revisionist ideas. No divine inspiration, no divine mandate with regards to metaphors used for God, therefore anything goes...sexually or theologically. (unless of course you find something politically incorrect, then it is objectionable).

Thanks for the secret Gnosis!

Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: hansen on March 22, 2005, 06:56:54 AM
Quote

One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males who were usually unable (or unwilling) to see the feminine images of God that are present in scriptures.


Presuming that's true (something I don't believe) what makes you think that your current views/opinions/ideas aren't driven mostly by the culture in which you live, rather than by all that is good, decent, upright, righteous, and holy?  Seems to me that your view of the world is very much in synch with the secular temple of the university, where "studies" are their scripture, postmodernism is their philosophy, gender/race/class is their trinity, "no distinctions" is their view of male/female, where you can never be too liberal/leftist, and where the only real sin is being "judgmental".  Ergo, to be consistent, you should discount/discredit your own words and ideas, by at least equal measure that you discount/discredit all of Christianity which has come before you.

DH
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 07:28:05 AM
Quote
Let me get this straight, the scriptures and traditions of the church were written by males who were simply writing through their own cultural bigotries without benefit of divine inspiration. Therefore the Scriptures and traditions of the church can be thrown out in favor of another set of human made criteria, because after all this "Christian stuff" is whatever we decide it is in our culture.


Nope. The writers were divinely inspired. The centuries of studies and interpretation by only (white) males reflects the interpreters' cultural myopia.

Quote
Well Brian, I certain can see the reason for your revisionist ideas. No divine inspiration, no divine mandate with regards to metaphors used for God, therefore anything goes...sexually or theologically. (unless of course you find something politically incorrect, then it is objectionable).

Well, Rob, I can certainly see the reason why you are unable to carry on a conversation with someone else. You put words in their mouths that they have never said -- actually, opposite words from what is said. I have always maintained divine inspiration for scriptures. There are divine mandates regarding metaphors for God -- and many of them are in feminine images that have frequently been overlooked. I don't believe that I have made any statements that I couldn't back up biblically.

Quote
Thanks for the secret Gnosis!

If you now know it, it's no longer a secret. It seems to me that it's about time that some of your faulty gnoses were challenged.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 07:43:25 AM
Quote
Presuming that's true (something I don't believe) what makes you think that your current views/opinions/ideas aren't driven mostly by the culture in which you live, rather than by all that is good, decent, upright, righteous, and holy?

1. My views/opinions/ideas come from detailed study of scriptures. Although I try to use the best unbiased exegetical tools available, it is likely that my own life will filter what I see.
2. I listen to the views/opinions/ideas of other Christians. I find that my white, middle-class, male cultural limits my abilities to look fully at scriptures. For example, I can't fully understand the situation of a woman who was bleeding for 12 years as well as female exegetes might understand the woman's turmoil. When I read biblical studies by females and non-whites and from third-world countries, I usually discover ways of looking at a text that I had never thought of before. I read what both liberal (e.g., Jesus Seminary) and conservaitve exegetes may say about a passage. I certainly don't agree with every person whom I read; but if I only read views that were the same as mine, I wouldn't learn anything. It is from those who are different that I learn the most -- and discover some of my own cultural filters that limit my understanding.

I look at Paul who was so damn certain of his beliefs and what God wanted that he tried to rid the world of Christians. God had to make him blind before he could see clearly. So I worry about anyone who is so certain about his/her beliefs in God that they were willing to judge others as ungodly. They strike me as being somewhat like the self-righteous, strongly religious, deeply committed, but misguided Paul.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: hansen on March 22, 2005, 08:15:07 AM
Quote

1. My views/opinions/ideas come from detailed study of scriptures. Although I try to use the best unbiased exegetical tools available, it is likely that my own life will filter what I see.


Given that there are others who have contrary opinions, who likewise draw on a detailed study of scriptures and "the best unbiased" exegetical tools, then...

Quote
2. I listen to the views/opinions/ideas of other Christians. I find that my white, middle-class, male cultural limits my abilities to look fully at scriptures.


Wow.  Excuse me for being harsh here, but what nonsense.  What on earth does skin pigmentation, social class, or even culture have to do with a clear understanding of God?  I have been friends with a hispanic family for about ten years (many of whom were born and raised in a dirt poor part of Mexico) and in all that time, I certainly haven't noticed any significant differences -- no great religious epiphanies yet.  But we have had a lot of long talks about the nonsense ideas that liberal intellectuals come up with (including about race, sex, and culture).

Quote
For example, I can't fully understand the situation of a woman who was bleeding for 12 years as well as female exegetes might understand the woman's turmoil.


The likelyhood that a modern woman could fully empathize with a woman of thousands of years ago, is slim.  Add in a heavy-duty dose of feminism on the part of the exegete (which is most likely) and I think that I could better empathize with that woman.

Quote
When I read biblical studies by females and non-whites and from third-world countries, I usually discover ways of looking at a text that I had never thought of before.  I read what both liberal (e.g., Jesus Seminary) and conservaitve exegetes may say about a passage. I certainly don't agree with every person whom I read; but if I only read views that were the same as mine, I wouldn't learn anything. It is from those who are different that I learn the most -- and discover some of my own cultural filters that limit my understanding.


Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.

Quote
I look at Paul who was so damn certain of his beliefs and what God wanted that he tried to rid the world of Christians. God had to make him blind before he could see clearly. So I worry about anyone who is so certain about his/her beliefs in God that they were willing to judge others as ungodly. They strike me as being somewhat like the self-righteous, strongly religious, deeply committed, but misguided Paul.


So, after Paul became a Christian, he became a wise,  open-minded liberal, unwilling to take a stand on anything, because then he was no longer sure of himself?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 03:13:09 PM
Quote
Wow.  Excuse me for being harsh here, but what nonsense.  What on earth does skin pigmentation, social class, or even culture have to do with a clear understanding of God?


Since "we know only in part" and "see in a mirror, dimly" (1 Cor 13:9, 12), none of us have a "clear understanding of God?" What any of us knows is only partial -- and our knowledge is colored by our own experiences.

Quote
The likelyhood that a modern woman could fully empathize with a woman of thousands of years ago, is slim.  Add in a heavy-duty dose of feminism on the part of the exegete (which is most likely) and I think that I could better empathize with that woman.

Perhaps a modern woman cannot fully empathize with a woman from 2000 years ago -- but I'm certain that whatever empathy they may have with the ancient woman, it will be a whole lot more than I could ever muster.

Quote
Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.

That is your loss. One example that my seminary theology professor discovered was that he had been teaching that the basic sin was trying to be like God: being proud of our accomplishments, raising ourselves up to to godlike status. He knew that that was his experience.

His wife went to seminary and said that she did not have that experience of sin. For her, like many women, she had never had thoughts of becoming like God. She saw her basic sin was thinking of herself as less than human -- not living up to the giftedness and potential that God had given her.

Quote
So, after Paul became a Christian, he became a wise,  open-minded liberal, unwilling to take a stand on anything, because then he was no longer sure of himself?

There is some ambiguity in his writings. Circumcision is not necessary, but he has Timothy circumcised. There are no such things as other gods, so sacrifices to them mean nothing, but he would refrain from eating such meat. We are justified by faith (alone). Works account for nothing, but then most of his letters have a section where he tells the readers what they should be doing. While he says that he doesn't want to boast, he goes ahead and boasts about what a good Jew he was -- and what a suffering Christian he is. I think Romans 7 is a good illustration of a man who knows the limits of his own abilities. If anything, Paul is sure that he will sin; and he is sure that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 22, 2005, 03:16:11 PM
Brian wrote: "Nope. The writers were divinely inspired. The centuries of studies and interpretation by only (white) males reflects the interpreters' cultural myopia."

Good to see that you and yours are so much wiser than the apostolic fathers, Nicene fathers, Luther, etc...not to mention Peter, Paul, and our Lord. Also amazing that you and yours know the culture of that time better than they did. What Wisdom! There must be a secret Gnosis here!

As for your other comments, they are hardly worth a reply.

Peace!
Rob Buechler



Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 03:24:59 PM
Quote
Good to see that you and yours are so much wiser than the apostolic fathers, Nicene fathers, Luther, etc...not to mention Peter, Paul, and our Lord. Also amazing that you and yours know the culture of that time better than they did. What Wisdom! There must be a secret Gnosis here!

Yup. I would venture to guess that I know a whole lot more about the 20th & 21st century Americans than those apostles, patriarchs, and reformers did. Presumably, I know a whole lot more about the English language than they did.

If the Gospel is to be something more than a history lesson, it has to interact with the lives of people today. It has to be presented in language and images and metaphors that are (1) accurate in reflecting the biblical and theological truths and (2) make so much sense to the people of today that it changes their lives.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 22, 2005, 03:54:20 PM
Quote

Yup. I would venture to guess that I know a whole lot more about the 20th & 21st century Americans than those apostles, patriarchs, and reformers did. Presumably, I know a whole lot more about the English language than they did.

If the Gospel is to be something more than a history lesson, it has to interact with the lives of people today. It has to be presented in language and images and metaphors that are (1) accurate in reflecting the biblical and theological truths and (2) make so much sense to the people of today that it changes their lives.



Great! Good for you! And thanks for proving the point that what THEY say means less than what YOU say.
That would also mean that what God says means less than what You say. I didn't realize that you had been elected to such a high estate, nor did I realize that I was arguing with the GREAT I AM BRIAN!


Peace!
Rob Buechler

P.S. I think I am enjoying rattling your cage too much, so lets consider this discussion closed. I will keep you in prayer, that you may repent of your pride.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: hansen on March 22, 2005, 04:46:58 PM
Quote


Since "we know only in part" and "see in a mirror, dimly" (1 Cor 13:9, 12), none of us have a "clear understanding of God?" What any of us knows is only partial -- and our knowledge is colored by our own experiences.


True, but I find little in race, gender, and class, per se, to help us see the face of God.  We see it in a variety of people.  We see the antithesis of God in those whose lives are in chaos, and we see excellent examples of it in those who bring peace to others -- peace which breeds strength   order, and happiness, rather than the liberal version of peace, which is really just wimpiness.  Race-gender-class have little to do with it.  E.g., I have more in common with Condoleeza Rice (a black woman raised in a poor, racist environment, who now is far beyond me socially, and is an evangelical protestant) than I do a white male Lutheran attending Ebenezer.

Quote
Perhaps a modern woman cannot fully empathize with a woman from 2000 years ago -- but I'm certain that whatever empathy they may have with the ancient woman, it will be a whole lot more than I could ever muster.


That sounds like a generalization -- one which states that there are innate, inborne differences between men and women...

Quote

DH Wrote:
Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.
BS Wrote:
That is your loss. One example that my seminary theology professor discovered was that he had been teaching that the basic sin was trying to be like God: being proud of our accomplishments, raising ourselves up to to godlike status. He knew that that was his experience.

His wife went to seminary and said that she did not have that experience of sin. For her, like many women, she had never had thoughts of becoming like God. She saw her basic sin was thinking of herself as less than human -- not living up to the giftedness and potential that God had given her.


Male-female differences are significant, I accept that.  It is important for us to have contact with the opposite sex.  But I don't accept your theology professor's take on it.  Women are quite capable of playing God, and men are quite capable of thinking of themselves as less than human, and not living up to their potential.

Quote
There is some ambiguity in his writings. Circumcision is not necessary, but he has Timothy circumcised. There are no such things as other gods, so sacrifices to them mean nothing, but he would refrain from eating such meat. We are justified by faith (alone). Works account for nothing, but then most of his letters have a section where he tells the readers what they should be doing. While he says that he doesn't want to boast, he goes ahead and boasts about what a good Jew he was -- and what a suffering Christian he is. I think Romans 7 is a good illustration of a man who knows the limits of his own abilities. If anything, Paul is sure that he will sin; and he is sure that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.


Sounds right-on to me.  Works are important, but only as a *byproduct* of faith.  Standards vs. compassion.  Passion & ambition vs. humbleness.  Etc..  As our pastor once said, a symptom of being a Christian is an internal struggle.  And it's true.  If we move too far in the conservative direction, then we are heartless and inhumane.  If we move too far in the liberal direction, then chaos ensues.  The goal is to be in the middle (the absolute middle, not relative to society), constantly struggling with truisms of right and left, micro and macro, etc..  The goal isn't to be perfectly consistent.  I think it was Fr. Neuhaus who once said, "better to be inconsistent, than consistently wrong".

So Paul didn't become a liberal (or a conservative).  He became a Christian.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 09:01:44 PM
Quote

Great! Good for you! And thanks for proving the point that what THEY say means less than what YOU say.
That would also mean that what God says means less than what You say. I didn't realize that you had been elected to such a high estate, nor did I realize that I was arguing with the GREAT I AM BRIAN!

I tried letting God speak one Sunday, and there was silence. I realized that God had called me to the office of pastor and that God was expecting me to preach -- and so were all the people sitting in the pews. They were uncomfortable with the silence.

I believe that there are few pastors who spend more time studying scriptures than I do in preparation for preaching or teaching. At best guess, at least 3000 use my biblical exegesis on the gospels each week to help them prepare sermons -- or just for their own devotions.


Quote
P.S. I think I am enjoying rattling your cage too much, so lets consider this discussion closed. I will keep you in prayer, that you may repent of your pride.

I'm happy to give you pleasure. If any of your accusations were even remotely close to reality my cage might be rattled. The arrows you're throwing my way completely miss your target.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 24, 2005, 04:01:45 AM
To get back to the point vis-a-vis Ebenezer, a couple of thougths that I would bring to the table:
1) This congregation is not alone in its syncretism or heterodoxy. There are any number of pastors or parishes that would join Ebenezer in this kind of thing. What does that mean with regards to a united witness by virtue of doctrine for any denomination?

2) If there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation by virtue of discipline, then is it time for the orthodox and the heterodox to part ways?

3) If this happens, can the orthodox keep orthodoxy or will the spirit of Anti-Christ creep in and create the same mess we now have?

I am reminded by Luther that we cannot find a perfect church, but am also reminded that we must strive to be holy as Christ is holy and keep fast to the apostolic witness and the authority of Scripture.

The whole situation that Ebenezer encapsulates makes me more than a little nervous for the future. I pray the Lord will come soon and put an end to this rebellion.

Peace!
Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 24, 2005, 06:46:37 AM
Quote
2) If there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation by virtue of discipline, then is it time for the orthodox and the heterodox to part ways?
[/color]

 There's plenty that could be done, but it wouldn't be pleasant for those seeking to do so.  In the synod where this congregation offers its ministry it would mean confronting a number of situations open to disciplinary process.  The office of the bishop would be left with answering the question, "Why this one and not that one?"  That leaves it up to local congregations to band together and file charges.  Not a fun time.  Trust me, it would get real nasty.

So it is doubtful anything will occur.  Just take a deep breath and understand that goddess worship is happening in a congregation wearing the same franchise label as yours.  

brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2005, 07:33:11 AM
Quote
[So it is doubtful anything will occur.  Just take a deep breath and understand that goddess worship is happening in a congregation wearing the same franchise label as yours.

If I were to "interpret everything they do in the best possible light" as the 8th Commandment and Luther's meaning tells us to do, I see them expanding our understanding of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This same God was involved in the lives of Sarah, Rebekkah, Leah and Rachel -- and their stories are also part of scriptures.

If "God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27), there has to be both masculine and feminine sides of God. While most of us have emphasized the masculine side, they are looking more at the feminine side. Both sides are found in scriptures.

In similar ways, while Lutherans emphasize the graciousness of God, I've heard other preachers stress the judgment side of God. Both are found in scriptures.

Why do you (and others) assume that if female images are used for God, they must be worshiping a false god?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 24, 2005, 10:19:34 AM
Quote



 There's plenty that could be done, but it wouldn't be pleasant for those seeking to do so.  In the synod where this congregation offers its ministry it would mean confronting a number of situations open to disciplinary process.  The office of the bishop would be left with answering the question, "Why this one and not that one?"  That leaves it up to local congregations to band together and file charges.  Not a fun time.  Trust me, it would get real nasty.

So it is doubtful anything will occur.  Just take a deep breath and understand that goddess worship is happening in a congregation wearing the same franchise label as yours.  

brian


Brian,

I certainly understand what you are saying. However, is there a time when congregations recognize that discipine will not happen, and therefore to be in communion with those who are involved in "idolatry" jeopardizes their own witness? If so, is there a time to leave and form something new, or perhaps join something that already exists (i.e. LCMS, AFLC, AALC, RC, etc)?

Has that time come now, or do we wait until later? When do we say that enough is enough, and being labled ELCA only hinders the ministry here?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Hughes on March 24, 2005, 01:03:45 PM
Quote
Has that time come now, or do we wait until later? When do we say that enough is enough, and being labled ELCA only hinders the ministry here?


Rob,

Well, that's the question isn't it?  At this point there can be little doubt there are those who would just as soon see folks like you and me take our congregations and go away.  That would accomplish two goals: 1) remove effective evangelical congregations from the table and, 2) diminish this church as an agent of support for traditional marriage and morality in our culture.  We are well on our way with goal number two.  Ten years of homosexuality debate has all but killed off any expectation that this church can provide relevent  materials for strenghthen families as part of a national strategy.

Unless you understand these two dynamics, you really don't understand what this is all about in most mainline denominations.  At this point in the conflict it has *nothing* to do with the mission of the church.  It has everything to do with changing how our culture understands sexuality and marriage.

So what do we do Rob?  Do we stick it out a few more years, doing what we can to stop as much drift as possible?  Or is it time to go, recognizing the real mission of the church is bringing the Gospel to the lost.

Realistically, when the dissolution of the ELCA accelerates beyond it's current trickle of congregations walking away, I don't think it will have any impact on our members.  It will have a greater impact on the leadership: what about our pensions, what about accountability, what about the training of new and effective pastors, what about connections to expressions of the Lutheran church which show themselves to be likewise effective and faithful in this post-modern era?  Maybe what you're asking is whether now is the time to lower the lifeboats.  For me and my congregation; not yet.  OTHO, it would be foolish not to look for how you and your congregation will keep afloat as the water level continues its rising...

Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: hansen on March 25, 2005, 11:48:14 AM
Question:  would it be safe to say that the hermenutic which leads to being in favor of changing church policy on same-sex marriage/ordination, is the same hermenutic which leads to situations like what's going on at Ebenezer?  (hopefully I'm using the word "hermenutic" correctly).  And likewise, is it conceivable that such a hermenutic could be used to justify countless other deviations from what has always been understood as normative, orthodox, Christianity?

What I'm trying to get at, is to better understand where the revisionists are coming from.  And where they're heading to.

DH
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: buechler on March 25, 2005, 02:18:56 PM
Quote
Question:  would it be safe to say that the hermenutic which leads to being in favor of changing church policy on same-sex marriage/ordination, is the same hermenutic which leads to situations like what's going on at Ebenezer?  (hopefully I'm using the word "hermenutic" correctly).  And likewise, is it conceivable that such a hermenutic could be used to justify countless other deviations from what has always been understood as normative, orthodox, Christianity?

What I'm trying to get at, is to better understand where the revisionists are coming from.  And where they're heading to.

DH


Yes, I believe you have a good handle on that. Revisionist hermenutics can justify anything, no matter how truly unjustifiable they may be.

Peace and a blessed Resurrection Day!

Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: hansen on March 25, 2005, 03:08:49 PM
Thank you.  So, someone planing to "go there" should understand that there's a whole lot more at stake, than an individual issue or two or three.  It's truly opening the floodgates to a whole lotta 'stuff', most of which even they would be opposed to.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
Post by: buechler on March 25, 2005, 07:45:06 PM
Quote
Thank you.  So, someone planing to "go there" should understand that there's a whole lot more at stake, than an individual issue or two or three.  It's truly opening the floodgates to a whole lotta 'stuff', most of which even they would be opposed to.


True. For example, those who wish to allow for homosexual marriage out of the hermenutic that "God is love, and love covers all" must allow also for incest, polygamy, polyamory, etc. Why? If love and commitment are the only criteria for romantic relationships, then what is to stop two siblings from marrying because they love one another and are committed to a life long relationship. Most proponents of homosexual marriage think incest is bad and wrong, but their hermenutic must lead to the conclusion that marriage must be given to incestuous couples as well as gay/lebian/bi-sexual ones.

This would be true for doctrines other than sex and marriage, but since that is a hot topic right now, it is the easiest one to discuss as an example.

Peace!
Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: G.Edward on March 25, 2005, 07:53:45 PM
You forgot about the man-boy and man-dog couples!
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: G.Edward on March 25, 2005, 07:54:57 PM
And if you think I'm kidding, a google search will turn up cases already in the courts and in the news over the last couple of years.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: buechler on March 25, 2005, 08:00:01 PM
Quote
And if you think I'm kidding, a google search will turn up cases already in the courts and in the news over the last couple of years.


YIKES! Come Lord Jesus SOON!

Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on May 01, 2007, 11:53:57 AM
Has that time come now, or do we wait until later? When do we say that enough is enough, and being labled ELCA only hinders the ministry here?

Rob Buechler

Ebenezer using the ELCA label opens us up for all kinds of ridicule, of course.  As long as we tolerate this narcissistic silliness, we probably deserve such ridicule.  Take for example the following article from Dr Mike Adams, who normally writes on attacks on free speech on college campuses.  I don't agree with much of what he says in this article, but since Ebenezer is an ELCA congregation it leads to this sort of mischaracterization of our denomination--in a national media forum, no less.  The article is titled My Conversion to the Lutheran Feminist Faith, and may be found at:

http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/MikeSAdams/2007/04/30/my_conversion_to_the_lutheran_feminist_faith

Note: Even though I don't agree with much of the article, it did make me chuckle a few times! ;D

Peace,
Kurt
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 01, 2007, 12:42:41 PM

Kurt,

  I do hope you are keeping your leadership informed about the coming "GoodSoil" memorials that will hit either your local synod assembly or the national one this summer.  Like TEC, we are about to get our own fair share of press, particularly if Vision and Expectations are changed this summer by a majority vote.  I'm assuming you lead your people through the sexuality study of 2004/2005, right?  You're feeling pretty good about the 2.5 million ELCA benevolence dollars that funded it, yes?  And then you'll feel great that the 2005 assembly vote really didn't mean anything, yes?

HerChurch.org, like I posted a couple of years ago now ... is a problem because the local bishop cannot discipline that congregation without taking on other discipline issues in his synod that he dare not touch...

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 01:15:42 PM
HerChurch.org, like I posted a couple of years ago now ... is a problem because the local bishop cannot discipline that congregation without taking on other discipline issues in his synod that he dare not touch...
Can you tell me what it costs a synod to go through the disciplinary process?

The only resolution submitted before the deadline at our synod assembly had two resolves, that were divided into two parts by a vote of the assembly: (1) that the ELCA disclose the cost of disciplinary hearings -- which passed; (2) that the ELCA be limited to spending $50,000 per year (inclluding gifts in kind) for disciplinary hearings -- this was defeated. Steve Sabin spoke against the spending limit because he said that it cost him a whole lot more than $50,000 to go through the whole ELCA disciplinary process.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on May 01, 2007, 01:33:16 PM
Maryland Brian,
Alas, I am no clergyman but a lowly layman toiling away in the halls of academia.  :'(  At our small congregation in San Antonio, we do what we can to keep some of the national foolishness to a minimum, and embrace that which is still good (Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Outdoor Ministry).  In the Southwest Texas Synod, we were blindsided several years ago by LC/NA, and are now branded a "Reconciling in Christ" synod.   However, since then pewsitters such as I have been attending assemblies to shoot down these types of proposals.  Our numbers are diluted somewhat now that several large congregations in our synod have withdrawn to join the LCMC, so I fear what future SWT assemblies may bring.  I agree that after the 2007 churchwide assembly, we will have some of the same issues and press that TEC has been enjoying.

Kurt
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 01, 2007, 01:53:11 PM

Can you tell me what it costs a synod to go through the disciplinary process?


  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?

Anyway, I really don't have much of a dog left in this fight. Given "what is", I'm emotionally already out the door and just sitting around wondering when my tush will follow.

MD Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: janielou13 on May 01, 2007, 02:38:11 PM
Irl,,,,, one doesn't rebaptize LDS Mormons,,, one baptizes them.  Whatever they do in their Temples is an 'unding' as you well note.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 02:43:22 PM
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 01, 2007, 02:44:11 PM
What's that, 12 per year?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 01, 2007, 02:54:13 PM
What's that, 12 per year?

Oh no, lots more than that. Over past three years membership has increased from 64 to 115, and attendance from 30 to 50. Impressive, percentage-wise.

Of course, to qualify as "church growth," doesn't there have to be "church" as well as "growth"?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 02:56:29 PM
What's that, 12 per year?
Actually from 2003-2005 there was an 80% increase in membership and 67% increase in worship attendance. (They didn't have new figures for 2006.)

In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 01, 2007, 02:57:44 PM
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website.  They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 02:59:50 PM
Brian, do I understand you correctly to be saying that you believe "HerChurch" is a faithful Lutheran congregation?
I believe that the gospel is proclaimed there -- this is speculation on my part. I've never been to one of their worship services. I've been introduced to the pastor once, but never had any theological conversations with her. There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical. (There have been some things that I wouldn't do.)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 03:00:49 PM
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website.  They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.
Do you believe that women are created in the image of God?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 01, 2007, 03:17:02 PM
There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical.

Just what part of goddess worship do you find Christian or Biblical?

Well, there is Biblical precedent for it, I suppose. 2 Kings 11.33 comes to mind.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 01, 2007, 03:17:29 PM
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website.  They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.
Do you believe that women are created in the image of God?
Why would you ask that question?  Again, besides the point, as I did not raise that issue.  I don't think God (excluding the special case of Jesus' incarnation) has gender or sex (I use the terms interchangeable, though I recognize you have identified an academic distinction) as we humans know or understand it.   Why should I have to defend myself?  I'm not the one on the cutting edge of faith.

This congregation seems to appeal to people who want to imagine a God which conforms to their own idea of self, in a New-Age idolaterous sort of way.  Their website seems more focused on imaging a feminine God then His savings action through Jesus, or the need to be saved, for that matter.  If the only way you can make the Gospel palatable to some people is to sweeten it with the honey of a feminine-imagined god, then to me that's not preaching the Gospel in its purity.  Because the Gospel is not about gender identity.

But then, I have a long-standing pep peeve about people who inject secular gender agendas into Church ordering.  As the recent upstream web link demonstrated, the whole ELCA can be tarred with this stuff, so it is more than a local matter.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: scott3 on May 01, 2007, 03:26:02 PM
Brian, do I understand you correctly to be saying that you believe "HerChurch" is a faithful Lutheran congregation?
I believe that the gospel is proclaimed there -- this is speculation on my part.

Well, at least you're only speculating about minor, unimportant things...  ::)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: pilgrimpriest on May 01, 2007, 04:15:09 PM
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.

And topless ushers might reach a "target" too, but at what cost to their souls?

Fr. Bob
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 01, 2007, 04:31:05 PM

In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.
This is only true if getting media coverage is considered "doing something". Some little dying country parish has a Bible study where they study the Bible. They influence people. Another little urban parish has a get together where the extol Ashera. They influence the same number, except that everyone knows they did it. Furthermore, influence means more than getting people to change. Getting them not to change, fighting decadence, building people up the faith they have received is also influence.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: Pilgrim on May 01, 2007, 04:33:42 PM
Brian Stoffregen wrote: Actually from 2003-2005 there was an 80% increase in membership and 67% increase in worship attendance. (They didn't have new figures for 2006.)

Tim Christ simply checked the ELCA trends (which included 2006, so lack of figures indicates lack of reporting does it not?): This is Baptized membership. Noting that 1998 to 2000 was obviously an interesting time in this congregation's history (particularly if one desires to trumpet church growth)...and might inform a perspective on the present.

1980     664
1982     668
1984     674
1986     688
1988     684
1990     672
1992     672
1994     657
1996     669
1998     667
2000      84
2002      64
2003      64
2004      85
2006     115


Brian Stoffregen wrote: In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.

Tim Christ honestly and truly wonders: Brian, I've followed your exegetical work and gifts, and have appreciated (whether in agreement or disagreement) your posts for a long time now. With tongue only partially in cheek, is your intention irony with that last statement or is your cheese truly sliding off your cracker?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 01, 2007, 05:25:06 PM
There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical.

Just what part of goddess worship do you find Christian or Biblical?

Well, there is Biblical precedent for it, I suppose. 2 Kings 11.33 comes to mind.

We don't need a reminder about the whole raisin cakes thing do we? Do we need a refresher on Baal/Asherah? About pouring libations?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 07:08:12 PM
There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical.

Just what part of goddess worship do you find Christian or Biblical?

Well, there is Biblical precedent for it, I suppose. 2 Kings 11.33 comes to mind.

I did say that they reported things that I would not do.

I also think there is a difference between "goddess worship" and recovering the idea that females are created in the image of God -- so there must be a feminine side of God that is often lost in the male dominated language about God.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2007, 07:10:24 PM
That a gospel may be proclaimed there, I do not doubt. That the Gospel is proclaimed there is most certainly not the case. To that congregation applies St. Paul's condemnation in Galatians 1. It is a pagan goddess temple, parading about with the name "Lutheran" still associated with it. I have a very hard time understanding how that organization retains its membership in the ELCA.
Perhaps those with the responsibility for oversight in our synod know more about this pastor, the congregation, and the ministry they are doing than either you or I do.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 02, 2007, 01:25:38 AM
Can you tell me what it costs a synod to go through the disciplinary process?

Money is only one measure of "costs."  What does it cost the ELCA to be silent to (apparent) heresy on the part of one of its pastors and/or congregations?

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 02, 2007, 01:35:10 AM
recovering the idea that females are created in the image of God

Where in the ELCA was that idea lost?

spt+
Attending the LCMS Conference on Mercy (http://www.lcms.org/pages/default.asp?NavID=10554)
and gaining a new appreciation for the LCMS
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Gary Hatcher on May 02, 2007, 07:23:16 AM
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.

Brian, is there anything a congregation could do to increase its growth that would fall outside the faith?  I have read the website over and over, I am sorry, if this is Christianity then I missed something important in seminary. "Christ-Sophia" good heavens if that isn't heresy, what is?
Gary
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 02, 2007, 09:18:52 AM

Perhaps those with the responsibility for oversight in our synod know more about this pastor, the congregation, and the ministry they are doing than either you or I do.

Perhaps those with "responsibility for oversight" virtually never remove a congregation.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 02, 2007, 09:29:37 AM

Perhaps those with "responsibility for oversight" virtually never remove a congregation.

Eric,

I go back to an earlier comment; those responsible for oversight can't do anything without also having to address other situations in  the synod.  The most glaring one IMHO is Steve Sabin, removed from the ELCA roster in Iowa yet serving Christ Lutheran in San Francisco.  That one situation, again IMHO, says a great deal about Sierra Pacific Synod.  It suggests a willingness to tell the rest of the church to pound sand. So, how can anyone take on HerChurch when this other situation exists in the same city?  So HerChurch is safe, protected by an ecclesiastical invisibility cloak called "RIC supporters."  Think of it as the gift that just keeps on giving ... with apologies to Harry Potter ...

Since the ELCA will be torn apart on a fashion similar to what's happening in TEC, why do you torture yourself with worrying about it?  Yes, I know that's a rhetorical question.  It really hard watching your own denomination lead so many into sin and error.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 02, 2007, 09:58:53 AM
Eric writes:
Perhaps those with "responsibility for oversight" virtually never remove a congregation.

I comment:
Congregations have been removed from the ELCA and predecessor church bodies.

Maryland Brian writes:
It really hard watching your own denomination lead so many into sin and error.

I comment:
My long-standing question remains. At what point does one decide that, if a church body is actually leading people into "sin and error," one can no longer be a part of that church body, or be true to one's promise to support that church body and abide by its decisions? I know where that point is for the folks who swim the Tiber or cross the Hellespont. I do not know where it is for many of those calling themselves "traditionalists" or other appellations indicating their particular ecclesial identity.
Now, since all human institutions are tainted by sin; I guess one could say that every church body may be capable of leading people into error; but at what point does it become Gospel-denying, soul-imperiling, heretic-spawning "sin" and "error"?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 02, 2007, 10:18:26 AM
Eric writes:
Perhaps those with "responsibility for oversight" virtually never remove a congregation.

I comment:
Congregations have been removed from the ELCA and predecessor church bodies.


We now have 20 years as the ELCA. What congregations have actually been removed over heresy?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 02, 2007, 11:47:43 AM
Now, since all human institutions are tainted by sin; I guess one could say that every church body may be capable of leading people into error; but at what point does it become Gospel-denying, soul-imperiling, heretic-spawning "sin" and "error"?

  As I've said in the past Charles, because the ELCA cannot discipline congregations like HerChurch or Christ Lutheran in San Francisco, we're already there.  By this church's inaction, it is allowing people to be led into error.  The revisionists would prefer we orthodox would shut-up and leave.  When, how or if I leave is my business.  When, how or if I leave alone or with a congregation is also my business - because *if* I leave with a congregation, it will require a movement toward a global orthodox church/communion.  That narrows the field considerably.  Alas, the same inability to remove HerChurch cuts both ways - there's no real way for revisionists to dispose of the orthodox in their presence.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 12:26:40 PM
Where in the ELCA was that idea lost?
"Recover" and "lost," might not be the best word, because that implies that we "had" an understanding of God containing both male and female images. Our language betrays our belief that God was nearly always seen as male. The practice of most denominations of not ordaining women betrays a male bias. Even moreso in denominations that will not allow women to vote or serve in positions of leadership in the church. While biblical texts about the equality of all belivers, and women serving in leadership positions have always been in scriptures, we (the larger church) has not always paid much attention to them.

Perhaps when you attended PLTS biblical female images for God were discussed, as well as the meaning of the biblical personification of Wisdom (Sophia). I'm fairly certain there was pressure to use inclusive language at that time. None of that was present when I went to seminary. In fact, a number of the female students back then have stated how much they felt like second-class students. They were not treated as equals with the male students.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 02, 2007, 12:33:43 PM
Our language betrays our belief that God was nearly always seen as male. The practice of most denominations of not ordaining women betrays a male bias. Even moreso in denominations that will not allow women to vote or serve in positions of leadership in the church.

To use a highly technical theological term, yet one carefully chosen so as not to offend pietists: Baloney.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 12:39:02 PM
Brian, is there anything a congregation could do to increase its growth that would fall outside the faith?
Yes

Quote
I have read the website over and over, I am sorry, if this is Christianity then I missed something important in seminary. "Christ-Sophia" good heavens if that isn't heresy, what is?
"Christ-Sophia" is a way of taking seriously OT and Apocrypha passages that personify "Wisdom" (Sophia in Greek) -- even attributing salvation to Wisdom/Sophia in Wisdom 9:18; 10:4. If we believe that Christ is an eternal person of the Trinity -- present at creation and the flood, why couldn't "Wisdom" or "Sophia" be another term for the second person of the Trinity?

It seems to me to be more hereticial if the personified "Wisdom/Sophia" is viewed as a person other than Christ. I've read studies on John 1 that show how much of the "Logos" language about Christ parallels language about "Wisdom/Sophia".

If you're offering a choice: if it is Christianity or if you missed something important in seminary. I would vote for the second. As I suggest in another note, for most of church history, the feminine image of God has been down-played or ignored.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 12:45:39 PM
To use a highly technical theological term, yet one carefully chosen so as not to offend pietists: Baloney.
You are entitled to your opinion and choice of meats products.

What do you do with the biblical and apocryphal personification of Wisdom/Sophia? Do we need to understand her as a person of the Trinity or an expression of pagan mythology?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 02, 2007, 12:46:11 PM
Our language betrays our belief that God was nearly always seen as male. The practice of most denominations of not ordaining women betrays a male bias. Even moreso in denominations that will not allow women to vote or serve in positions of leadership in the church.

To use a highly technical theological term, yet one carefully chosen so as not to offend pietists: Baloney.

Richard is a quite learned and refined gentlemanly scholar: otherwise how would he know that the current, dare I say "trendy"?, preferred expression by pietists is "Phoney baloney". Sometimes we say "Bull-oh-knee" but I prefer the Phoney boloney because it removes the etilogical and phonetic referrents to both the guts and the excrecences.

To be more specific to the above Stoffism, I think "psuedo-feminist phoney bologney" is an appropriate response to this red herringism wishing to deflect the fact that the bible actually has much more to say about this, i.e., most denominations (2 or 3 nowadays, it mainly being the RC and Orthodox Churches that have held the line) do not ordaiin becasue they see no reason to turn their back on 2,000 years of tradition and scripture.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 02, 2007, 01:16:21 PM
What do you do with the biblical and apocryphal personification of Wisdom/Sophia? Do we need to understand her as a person of the Trinity or an expression of pagan mythology?

I'm not a patristics scholar, but my impressions is that patristic writers are more likely to connect Wisdom with the third person of the Trinity, rather than the second.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 01:44:21 PM
Richard is a quite learned and refined gentlemanly scholar: otherwise how would he know that the current, dare I say "trendy"?, preferred expression by pietists is "Phoney baloney". Sometimes we say "Bull-oh-knee" but I prefer the Phoney boloney because it removes the etilogical and phonetic referrents to both the guts and the excrecences.
I've also heard the phrase "el Toro poopoo."

Quote
To be more specific to the above Stoffism, I think "psuedo-feminist phoney bologney" is an appropriate response to this red herringism wishing to deflect the fact that the bible actually has much more to say about this, i.e., most denominations (2 or 3 nowadays, it mainly being the RC and Orthodox Churches that have held the line) do not ordaiin becasue they see no reason to turn their back on 2,000 years of tradition and scripture.
While many with the RC and Orthodox (and some Baptists and other fundamental denominations) see the non-ordination of women both as the proper way of interpreting scriptures and following tradition; others, mostly females see it as ignoring or down-playing other passages of scriptures and a practice that degrades females.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 02:01:44 PM
I'm not a patristics scholar, but my impressions is that patristic writers are more likely to connect Wisdom with the third person of the Trinity, rather than the second.
That may be, but does it rule out connecting Wisdom with Christ?

For instance, Prov 9:5 has Wisdom saying: "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed." That could easily be applied to Jesus inviting us to his Supper. The saving aspect of Wisdom reported in Wisdom of Solomon, sounds more like actions we attribute to Christ than to the Spirit. (Although the entire Trinity is involved in the saving activities.)

Is it heresy to see Wisdom/Sophia in the OT and Apocrypha as pre-figuring Christ -- in fact, as a way of talking about the pre-existent Christ? In a similar way, John uses "Logos" as a term to refer to the pre-existent Christ.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
Post by: janielou13 on May 02, 2007, 02:38:07 PM
In the Post Apostolics and in AnteNicenes theire is an orthodox thread that identifies Wisdom with the Second Person, the Logos, of the Holy Trinity.  It later morphs into only refering to the Third Person after the Holy Spirit is precisely defined after Nicea.  The Wisdom/Logos piety can still be detected in Eastern Liturgies.
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 02, 2007, 06:25:08 PM
But what caught my eye was a report on their newest queer pastor. I'm not being rude when I write this. It is how she describes herself and her ministry:

Now see, subscribers to the print edition of Forum Letter know all about her already, having read it in December, 2006, issue. You see what you're missing? :o

Well, actually, you could have read it in "Selected Reprints" as well, but you'd still be missing a lot more from the December, 2006, issue.  ;D
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 10:16:04 PM
I'm sure Brian will help us all, as usual, understand why this is all perfectly acceptable, and that if anyone has a concern, we can rest assured that the bishops out there have all this well in hand and there is actually nothing whatsoever to be troubled about.
This pastor is not rostered in the ELCA. The bishop has no authority over her. One could even say that our policies kept her from being ordained in the ELCA. She, like other ECP rostered clergy, are non-ELCA clergy serving ELCA congregations.

Not knowing what she might have meant by "homophile," I don't know if she is referring to pornographic materials (which I don't think is acceptable) or romance novels, where the lovers are of the same sex.
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 02, 2007, 10:24:08 PM

This pastor is not rostered in the ELCA. The bishop has no authority over her. One could even say that our policies kept her from being ordained in the ELCA. She, like other ECP rostered clergy, are non-ELCA clergy serving ELCA congregations.


This bishop, of course, does have some authority over the congregation which has called her. Actually one should say "congregations," since there are more than one. He apparently has chosen not to exercise that authority.
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 10:29:07 PM
This bishop, of course, does have some authority over the congregation which has called her. Actually one should say "congregations," since there are more than one. He apparently has chosen not to exercise that authority.
I try to be clear that he has no authority over non-rostered pastors, but he does over the ELCA congregations. He, like other bishops, have chosen not to exercize the removal power that they have.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 02, 2007, 10:53:12 PM
Brian writes:
I try to be clear that he has no authority over non-rostered pastors, but he does over the ELCA congregations. He, like other bishops, have chosen not to exercize the removal power that they have.

I comment:
And I am still waiting for someone willing to stand up and bring charges against a bishop for not exercising discipline. We can wail about a congregation or a pastor who is not on our clergy roster, but has anyone charged a bishop with failure to fulfill the obligations of his or her office? Until someone does, we can never know exactly how the ELCA would adjudicate such a matter.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2007, 11:05:48 PM
And I am still waiting for someone willing to stand up and bring charges against a bishop for not exercising discipline. We can wail about a congregation or a pastor who is not on our clergy roster, but has anyone charged a bishop with failure to fulfill the obligations of his or her office? Until someone does, we can never know exactly how the ELCA would adjudicate such a matter.

Ten rostered clergy in a synod can bring disciplinary charges against another clergy (ELCA Bylaw 20.21.03.d.).

Three congregations within a synod can bring disciplinary charges against another congregation (ELCA Bylaw 20.31.03.b.).

Although in both these bylaws, the charges are filed with the synodical bishop; I think that if the clergy is the synodical bishop, the charges could be given to the presiding bishop. I don't find anything in particular about the discipline of a bishop, except that it falls under the presiding bishop -- and those are the only clergy that the presiding bishop can discipline. Others fall under the synodical bishops.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LutherMan on May 03, 2007, 09:52:35 AM
http://www.herchurch.org/id13.html

What is the thing they are holding over her head in the picture "Megan is presented for ordination?"
Looks like a magic wand.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 03, 2007, 09:56:05 AM
When I think of the ongoing scandal that is Ebenezer "Lutheran" Church, I'm reminded of the reality that a church that can not curse, can not bless. There can be no meaningful benediction of the Gospel where there is no meaningful damnamus of the Law.



Well stated.   Always remember the words of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council:

"He that saith not ‘Anathema’ to those in heresy, let him be anathema!"
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: ptmccain on May 03, 2007, 10:47:17 AM
Let this point also be very clear. No person who loves our Lord Christ and His precious Word of Truth can take any pleasure, none, in pointing out and rejecting and condemning the scandal and offense to the Gospel that is Ebenezer Lutheran Church. It is a tragedy and it, frankly, shatters my heart to think that this is going on at a place that has such a noble and glorious history of preaching the Word of Truth, but now it has become trapped in the darkness of profound error. And woe to those who are called "overseers" who do nothing about the situation and do not warn all those in their charge to mark and avoid these false teachers. May God have mercy, on us all.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 03, 2007, 10:56:51 AM

And I am still waiting for someone willing to stand up and bring charges against a bishop for not exercising discipline. We can wail about a congregation or a pastor who is not on our clergy roster, but has anyone charged a bishop with failure to fulfill the obligations of his or her office? Until someone does, we can never know exactly how the ELCA would adjudicate such a matter.


 Ha Ha Ha ... yes ... put one's career, reputation and family at risk because a Bishop will not exercise discipline.  Perhaps those who are one or two years away from retirement might want to take this one on.  Or someone with significant personal financial resources to weather the storm when the congregation collapses around said pastor.  What congregation would want to invest their time and energy in such a venture when you *KNOW* the advocates will ensure a very public lynching of the congregation's ministry even as they go after said pastor?

 No, it is what it is.  Once a Bishop is elected in our church I think they're pretty much freed up to discipline or not.  The congregation, OTOH, because they own their buildings ... have many more options than do our oppressed friends in TEC.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 03, 2007, 11:14:45 AM

What is the thing they are holding over her head in the picture "Megan is presented for ordination?"
Looks like a magic wand.

Looks like a princess wand.  Looks like it's from the kind of Halloween costume my daughter might have worn when she was 4.  Poof - you're a pastor!  Oh, wait, that means something else in the UK.  Or maybe it actually fits here.

Or maybe all these people dressed up because it really is Halloween party!  Let's pretend.  Let's play at being a pastor.  Maybe these are the same outfits they actually wear for their own Halloween parties, you know, like the guys who dress up like nuns for parades in San Francisco.

It's such a parody of a real ordination who knows what any of it all means.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: LutherMan on May 03, 2007, 11:45:42 AM
But what caught my eye was a report on their newest queer pastor. I'm not being rude when I write this. It is how she describes herself and her ministry:

Does this mean we are free to revert to using the "q" word?  Or must one be on the 'inside' to to call someone queer?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 03, 2007, 11:46:46 AM

And I am still waiting for someone willing to stand up and bring charges against a bishop for not exercising discipline. We can wail about a congregation or a pastor who is not on our clergy roster, but has anyone charged a bishop with failure to fulfill the obligations of his or her office? Until someone does, we can never know exactly how the ELCA would adjudicate such a matter.


 Ha Ha Ha ... yes ... put one's career, reputation and family at risk because a Bishop will not exercise discipline.  Perhaps those who are one or two years away from retirement might want to take this one on.  Or someone with significant personal financial resources to weather the storm when the congregation collapses around said pastor.  What congregation would want to invest their time and energy in such a venture when you *KNOW* the advocates will ensure a very public lynching of the congregation's ministry even as they go after said pastor?

 No, it is what it is.  Once a Bishop is elected in our church I think they're pretty much freed up to discipline or not.  The congregation, OTOH, because they own their buildings ... have many more options than do our oppressed friends in TEC.

Maryland Brian
Maryland Brian, you are right about the tragedy. Both my home congregation and the congregation I serve have in the past had their pastors removed from the LCMS clergy roster, one for publicly denying the truth of the creeds and the other for becoming embroiled in the charismatic movement with several related doctrinal problems. In both cases it strained personal relationships, tore the congregations apart, and was otherwise wholly unpleasant. But both congregations are thriving today. What is the alternative? What church, Lutheran or otherwise, will people who refuse to charge heretics with heresy flee to for orthodoxy?  
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 12:45:30 PM

And I am still waiting for someone willing to stand up and bring charges against a bishop for not exercising discipline. We can wail about a congregation or a pastor who is not on our clergy roster, but has anyone charged a bishop with failure to fulfill the obligations of his or her office? Until someone does, we can never know exactly how the ELCA would adjudicate such a matter.

Ha Ha Ha ... yes ... put one's career, reputation and family at risk because a Bishop will not exercise discipline.

Yet, it's reported that 50 clergy attended the ordination of Megan Rohrer's (irregular) ordination. I counted 28 who are part of the group photo posted on the site; six clergy are named as "serving as primary ordaining clergy" -- five are on the ELCA clergy roster.

It would seem that some clergy are willing to put their careers, reputations, and family at risk in support of the ordination of practicing homosexuals. If one group is willing to put all that on the line for their beliefs, and the other group is not -- which group is likely to prevail?

There were pastors in the mid 70's, who gave up their pensions in the LCMS to "jump ship" to the ALC or LCA. They were that convinced that what the LCMS was doing at the time was wrong.

Quote
No, it is what it is.  Once a Bishop is elected in our church I think they're pretty much freed up to discipline or not.
A bishop has freedom as to what discipline to impose when there is misconduct. Private censure and admonition is a disciplinary action.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 12:57:45 PM
Maryland Brian, you are right about the tragedy. Both my home congregation and the congregation I serve have in the past had their pastors removed from the LCMS clergy roster, one for publicly denying the truth of the creeds and the other for becoming embroiled in the charismatic movement with several related doctrinal problems. In both cases it strained personal relationships, tore the congregations apart, and was otherwise wholly unpleasant. But both congregations are thriving today. What is the alternative? What church, Lutheran or otherwise, will people who refuse to charge heretics with heresy flee to for orthodoxy?
The congregation that I am serving had about a third of its members leave in 1987 to avoid becoming part of the ELCA. (The pastor who was part of the split remains on the ELCA roster as a retired minister. The new congregation is part of the AALC.) It was and remains a tragedy. It strained personal relationships. It left two congregations that are barely surviving. Many people in my congregation blame all the congregational problems on "those who left," rather than doing the work to rebuild the congregation.
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 01:00:38 PM
But what caught my eye was a report on their newest queer pastor. I'm not being rude when I write this. It is how she describes herself and her ministry:

Does this mean we are free to revert to using the "q" word?  Or must one be on the 'inside' to to call someone queer?
That is a word that some "insiders" use. (Just as the "n" word is one some "insiders" use, but still not an appropriate word for most of us to say.)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 02:00:21 PM
Maryland Brian writes:
 Ha Ha Ha ... yes ... put one's career, reputation and family at risk because a Bishop will not exercise discipline.  Perhaps those who are one or two years away from retirement might want to take this one on.  Or someone with significant personal financial resources to weather the storm when the congregation collapses around said pastor.  What congregation would want to invest their time and energy in such a venture when you *KNOW* the advocates will ensure a very public lynching of the congregation's ministry even as they go after said pastor?

I comment:
Yes, indeed, Brian; put your career on the line. If there is rank heresy threatening the body of Christ and souls are in peril, then what else can one do, but put one's career on the line? If there is injustice in the world, and if your fight against that gets dangerous, well...? Did not the early Christians risk much more? What about the pastors and lay people whose careers were damaged or ruined because they championed integration or opposed the war in Vietnam? Some of them were my friends and colleagues and they were sometimes destroyed by their concern for justice. And the Church lost some fine leaders. But some of them survived, even to this day, and we are all better for what they taught us.
It is one thing to whine and complain and theologize and gripe about heresy or worse online or in "scholarly" papers or in rabid newsletters.
All I say is: Prove it! See if your charges stand up in a legitimate venue. Trust the Body of Christ even if it means a lost career. Yes, there may be a schism or "collateral damage."
But if all one does is complain, is that not allowing what one considers an atrocity to go on? And where is the integrity or honor in that?
And don't start the old line about a "corrupt system" or "stacked decks"! If you believe in your case, you take it even into the belly of the beast, and your "death" becomes part of your witness.
Otherwise you are just whining.
Now ... if the hot topic at hand is ordination for non-celibate homosexuals, and if discussion about this is not a soul-damning matter, but a subject for continued discussion and common ministry even while we disagree, then let us get on with that.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 03, 2007, 02:09:06 PM


All I say is: Prove it! See if your charges stand up in a legitimate venue. Trust the Body of Christ even if it means a lost career. Yes, there may be a schism or "collateral damage."


 Or ... are we to spend our time creating disciples of Jesus Christ or casting our pearls before swine?

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 02:10:19 PM
Maryland Brian writes:
 Ha Ha Ha ... yes ... put one's career, reputation and family at risk because a Bishop will not exercise discipline.  Perhaps those who are one or two years away from retirement might want to take this one on.  Or someone with significant personal financial resources to weather the storm when the congregation collapses around said pastor.  What congregation would want to invest their time and energy in such a venture when you *KNOW* the advocates will ensure a very public lynching of the congregation's ministry even as they go after said pastor?

I comment:
Yes, indeed, Brian; put your career on the line. If there is rank heresy threatening the body of Christ and souls are in peril, then what else can one do, but put one's career on the line? If there is injustice in the world, and if your fight against that gets dangerous, well...? Did not the early Christians risk much more? What about the pastors and lay people whose careers were damaged or ruined because they championed integration or opposed the war in Vietnam? Some of them were my friends and colleagues and they were sometimes destroyed by their concern for justice. And the Church lost some fine leaders. But some of them survived, even to this day, and we are all better for what they taught us.
It is one thing to whine and complain and theologize and gripe about heresy or worse online or in "scholarly" papers or in rabid newsletters.
All I say is: Prove it! See if your charges stand up in a legitimate venue. Trust the Body of Christ even if it means a lost career. Yes, there may be a schism or "collateral damage."
But if all one does is complain, is that not allowing what one considers an atrocity to go on? And where is the integrity or honor in that?
And don't start the old line about a "corrupt system" or "stacked decks"! If you believe in your case, you take it even into the belly of the beast, and your "death" becomes part of your witness.
Otherwise you are just whining.
Now ... if the hot topic at hand is ordination for non-celibate homosexuals, and if discussion about this is not a soul-damning matter, but a subject for continued discussion and common ministry even while we disagree, then let us get on with that.

As for taking it to a legitimate venue your congregations can always send resolutions only to have them sent back stating they where against the unity.   So much to being able to take it to a legitimate venue?

As for ministers? Yep stand up!   Have a Bishop declare your folks schismatic, that you serve schsimatics and simply be removed from the ELCA roster without any such Atlanta style hearing, media events or resolutions to the national to change the rules for you.

Prove it?  Common minisrty?  On with that you say?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 02:17:27 PM
Maryland Brian writes:
are we to spend our time creating disciples of Jesus Christ or casting our pearls before swine?

I comment:
I didn't raise the issue of discipline; and I'm not the one trying to write people out of the ELCA. Others are. And I assume by "swine" you mean the ELCA's committees, boards, and synods.

Rob Moskowitz writes (re my plea that those charging heresy prove it):
Yep stand up!   Have a Bishop declare your folks schismatic, that you serve schsimatics and simply be removed without any such Atlanta style hearing, media events or resolutions to the national to change the rules for you.

I comment:
If that indeed happens, then you will have served what you consider to be the truth by suffering for it. And isn't service to the truth what matters?
Title: Re: What a pastor does for fun: Collecting Homophile Periodicals and Novels
Post by: LutherMan on May 03, 2007, 02:40:26 PM
But what caught my eye was a report on their newest queer pastor. I'm not being rude when I write this. It is how she describes herself and her ministry:

Does this mean we are free to revert to using the "q" word?  Or must one be on the 'inside' to to call someone queer?
That is a word that some "insiders" use. (Just as the "n" word is one some "insiders" use, but still not an appropriate word for most of us to say.)

Seems like a real double-standard to me she can call herself that, but I can't.  Queer seems like such an apt description for that outfit, and I don't mean queer as only in homosexual, either.  "Church" is what Ebenezer isn't.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 02:53:10 PM
As for ministers? Yep stand up!   Have a Bishop declare your folks schismatic, that you serve schsimatics and simply be removed from the ELCA roster without any such Atlanta style hearing, media events or resolutions to the national to change the rules for you.

A bishop does not have constitutional power to remove either a pastor nor a congregation from the roster -- at least not without the cooperation of the pastor. A bishop can only bring charges against a clergy, which then takes it to a discipline hearing committee. (Although, in many cases, the pastor will resign rather than fight charges.) Only the discipline hearing committee can remove a pastor because of disciplinary reasons.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 03, 2007, 03:01:19 PM
And isn't service to the truth what matters?

Would that be bent truth or unbent truth?

I'm astonished at the iresponsibility of these words. Since you have no intention of bringing any charges against anyone for anything, how can you repeatedly say it? It's not that any of us hear who know you would do it, but there might be some guileless person out there who ruiins his career and someone else's.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 03, 2007, 03:13:47 PM
A bishop does not have constitutional power to remove either a pastor nor a congregation from the roster -- at least not without the cooperation of the pastor. A bishop can only bring charges against a clergy, which then takes it to a discipline hearing committee. (Although, in many cases, the pastor will resign rather than fight charges.) Only the discipline hearing committee can remove a pastor because of disciplinary reasons.

Not quite correct. Pr. Moskowitz is referring to the following provision of Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the ELCA: "An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17, or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister's name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly."

Of course nowhere is "schism" defined in this document. One would assume it means a formal split--i.e., a congregation actually voting to withdraw from the ELCA. But the lack of definition would conceivably leave open the possibility of a bishop saying, "This group has in fact become schismatic." It is unclear to me what constitutional authority might lie behind this "management of the roster" provision.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 03:21:17 PM
Not quite correct. Pr. Moskowitz is referring to the following provision of Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the ELCA: "An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17, or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister's name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly."

Of course nowhere is "schism" defined in this document. One would assume it means a formal split--i.e., a congregation actually voting to withdraw from the ELCA. But the lack of definition would conceivably leave open the possibility of a bishop saying, "This group has in fact become schismatic." It is unclear to me what constitutional authority might lie behind this "management of the roster" provision.

It seems to be a secret book of rules. I hadn't heard of it before. I would think that any such pastor who is removed for that reason, and who has not joined any other denomination, nor had his congregation joined another denomination, could challenge the removal as being unconstitution.

You know more about the situation here, but the pastor who was part of the actual split from the ALC was able to remain in the ALC and then came into the ELCA, although the congregation did not. (Perhaps such situations led to the creation of the "management of the roster" provision (as well as congregation and clergy joining LCMC).
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 03:25:06 PM
As for ministers? Yep stand up!   Have a Bishop declare your folks schismatic, that you serve schsimatics and simply be removed from the ELCA roster without any such Atlanta style hearing, media events or resolutions to the national to change the rules for you.

A bishop does not have constitutional power to remove either a pastor nor a congregation from the roster -- at least not without the cooperation of the pastor. A bishop can only bring charges against a clergy, which then takes it to a discipline hearing committee. (Although, in many cases, the pastor will resign rather than fight charges.) Only the discipline hearing committee can remove a pastor because of disciplinary reasons.

And yet I have been offically informed that I will be removed from the ELCA roster via a little known manual on the roster which states
"or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof,  shall cease to be a member of this church.    The ordained minister's name shall be removed from the roster of this church and to the next synod assembly" (italic emphasis added)."

Funny though this sectyion clearly deliniates "Group" and "Congregation".   Yet I dont serve a group only congregations and certainly no group from a congregation?    But I guess that makes no difference just like the supposed declaration you made above?

Yes In deed I can see why many choose just to resign rather than put up with this stuff.   Being removed for serving?  Truth!

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 03:31:44 PM
Not quite correct. Pr. Moskowitz is referring to the following provision of Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the ELCA: "An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17, or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister's name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly."

Of course nowhere is "schism" defined in this document. One would assume it means a formal split--i.e., a congregation actually voting to withdraw from the ELCA. But the lack of definition would conceivably leave open the possibility of a bishop saying, "This group has in fact become schismatic." It is unclear to me what constitutional authority might lie behind this "management of the roster" provision.

It seems to be a secret book of rules. I hadn't heard of it before. I would think that any such pastor who is removed for that reason, and who has not joined any other denomination, nor had his congregation joined another denomination, could challenge the removal as being unconstitution.

You know more about the situation here, but the pastor who was part of the actual split from the ALC was able to remain in the ALC and then came into the ELCA, although the congregation did not. (Perhaps such situations led to the creation of the "management of the roster" provision (as well as congregation and clergy joining LCMC).

Nope Im not on the roster of another denomination.   The "secret book of rules" as you call it does not define schismatic, nor who gets to delcare another lutheran body, congregation or groups as such.   The "(italic emphasis added)" area does not say denomination, or lutheran body?   Only group.    I serve no group or group from a congregation, I only serve congregations.     Apeal this to who?   It says removed and people told latter?   

Real funny in light of the ELCA constitutions section on Lutheran unity and the resolution passed on such in SW MN recently. 

But ya stand up!    Have faith in the common minisrty!  Just beware as you say the "secret book of rules".     But as per this thread topic I guess it only applies to some?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 04:20:21 PM
Eric writes:
I'm astonished at the iresponsibility of these words.

I comment:
You mean my words about suffering for the truth? Why is that so astonishing? One of my classmates lost his pastorate because he counseled conscientious objectors to war, according to the LCA's social statement on that subject. To this day, he is convinced the hassle was worth the witness.

Eric again:
Since you have no intention of bringing any charges against anyone for anything, how can you repeatedly say it? It's not that any of us hear who know you would do it, but there might be some guileless person out there who ruiins his career and someone else's.

I comment:
"Some guileless person"? "who ruins his career and someone else's"? Please! Do you have such a low regard of people in our church? As was pointed out upstream, a number of those advocating certain kinds of changes have put their careers and reputations on line because of what they believe. And again, if the integrity of the gospel is at stake, I would hope all of us would be willing to ruin our "careers" to defend it. We are not supposed to have a "career;" we are supposed to have a calling.

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 03, 2007, 04:23:54 PM
It would seem that some clergy are willing to put their careers, reputations, and family at risk in support of the ordination of practicing homosexuals. If one group is willing to put all that on the line for their beliefs, and the other group is not -- which group is likely to prevail?

1) In one sense, Brian, that horse left the barn years ago.  Partcipating in an "irregular" ordination is a public act, and those who participated in the first irregular ordination in San Francisco in the early '90s knew they were taking a significant risk.  It has been reported that some of the pastors who participated were privately admonished by the first Sierra Pacific Bishop.  If there were any other consequences, those ceased under the second Sierra Pacific Bishop when Jeff Johnson (one of those irregular ordinands) was elected a Conference Dean and other irregular ordinations continued to happen with no observed consequences.  If there are any private admonishments, everyone is being (unusually) quiet about it.

The only public admonishment to the now-numerous irregular ordinations related to Anita Hill's, where the invading Bishop was asked to resign, which he did about 6 weeks prior to his retirement (after first being awarded "emeritus" by his synod and attending the Churchwide Assembly to receive other lauds), and members of that congregation were suspended from membership on Synod committees for about a year.  If you know of any other pastors who have risked careers, reputations, etc. for attending or participating in such ordinations, I'd truly like to hear about about it.  I'll acknowledge that some may have risked their current call.  But any evidence that they have risked their career will be the first evidence offered in over a decade.

If you want to learn about risks to reputation or be held to public ridicule, speak against gay ordination at just about any of our Synod Assemblies.  I've written of our own experience in our largely rural, reputedly "conservative" Synod.  Ultimately we prevailed, but it was only after we directly named the sin and then only by the sinner acknowledging he had wronged us.  Until we did so, the vicious smear against us was left standing by those called to prevent such smears.

2) On the other hand, as I have written you, Charles, and others several times over the years in this and other public forums, I agree with you.  The minute such an ordination happens in my Synod, I'll willingly be the first to sign a complaint and find 9 pastors to join me -- and do whatever else is required to bring public censure to such public disobedience.  I'm truly willing to put it all on the line.  I would do so if I were in Sierra Pacific or any other Synod, regardless of whether most would consider it an act of futility.  

Maryland Brian has repeated witnessed to his experience in Sierra Pacific, where he dared to be a public moderate (not traditionalist) voice.  And while I remain disappointed that your recent Bishops and Synod Assemblies are not held to account, I was in your Synod long enough earlier to witness the ecclesial price paid by Bishop Lyle Miller and those pastors and congregations who are not willing to move lock-step with a progressive sexual ethic.  So I understand why they choose to be quiet or move far, far away.  

Christ is risen!

Steven+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 03, 2007, 04:38:45 PM
Maryland Brian has repeated witnessed to his experience in Sierra Pacific, where he dared to be a public moderate (not traditionalist) voice.  And while I remain disappointed that your recent Bishops and Synod Assemblies are not held to account, I was in your Synod long enough earlier to witness the ecclesial price paid by Bishop Lyle Miller and those pastors and congregations who are not willing to move lock-step with a progressive sexual ethic.  So I understand why they choose to be quiet or move far, far away.  

I know personally of a congregation which considered filing charges against one of the congregations who have blatantly violated the constitution. The congregation's pastor was told in no uncertain terms by the then bishop just what they could expect if they proceded with that plan--told, not in the sense of warning but in the sense of threat. Alas, it has come to that.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 03, 2007, 05:04:46 PM
I know personally of a congregation which considered filing charges against one of the congregations who have blatantly violated the constitution. The congregation's pastor was told in no uncertain terms by the then bishop just what they could expect if they proceded with that plan--told, not in the sense of warning but in the sense of threat. Alas, it has come to that.

  Which brings us back to my comment to Pastor Charles.  Metaphorically, am I called to continue building disciples or expend my life's energy fighting a fight that is already lost - casting my time and work before swine?   If and when it comes to my personal "puke point" as Oliver Wenndel Holmes would say, I'm left with looking for options.  On the one hand I could work for a particular consulting firm and average at least twice my current salary, but in doing so I would demit my call.  OTOH, I could help my congregation sort through their options and we could decide if it was time to leave together.  I think there are limited options for where I'd be comfortable taking the congregation.

But one thing is sure, if V&E (are or is?) changed this summer, I cannot remain in this church.

Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 03, 2007, 05:28:35 PM
But one thing is sure, if V&E (are or is?) changed this summer, I cannot remain in this church.

"Is." The verb must agree with the titled document as a singular whole, not to the singular vision or the plural expectations as words of the title. You wouldn't use "are" with The Brothers Karamozov (unless, of course, you are referring to the brothers rather than the novel).
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 06:58:29 PM
Nope Im not on the roster of another denomination.   The "secret book of rules" as you call it does not define schismatic, nor who gets to delcare another lutheran body, congregation or groups as such.   The "(italic emphasis added)" area does not say denomination, or lutheran body?   Only group.    I serve no group or group from a congregation, I only serve congregations.     Apeal this to who?   It says removed and people told latter?
There is a Committee on Appeals, but they are for appealing decisions of the Discipline Hearing Committee.

As I have read the ELCA Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions on discipline, it does not give bishops unilateral power and authority to remove either a clergy nor a congregation from the roster. If this secret book of rules does, it is in conflict with the Constitution and Bylaws and should be challenged.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Mel Harris on May 03, 2007, 07:23:43 PM

I know personally of a congregation which considered filing charges against one of the congregations who have blatantly violated the constitution. The congregation's pastor was told in no uncertain terms by the then bishop just what they could expect if they proceded with that plan--told, not in the sense of warning but in the sense of threat. Alas, it has come to that.


It really bothered me to read the above.  It is difficult to believe that could happen, but I trust that it is true.  (Would our beloved moderator have posted this if it were not true?)  Then I began to wonder what the threat might have been.

I think that there is very little that a synod bishop can do to a congregation directly, unless the congregation is receiving some kind of grant or other financial support from the synod or churchwide, or is receiving Mission Partner support from other congregations of the synod, or if the congregation is in the process or soon expects to be in the process of Calling another pastor.  It also occurred to me that a synod bishop could threaten to do something to their pastor(s) or other rostered persons if the congregation took actions that the bishop asked them not to take.

It also occurred to me that a bishop could threaten to do something that technically a synod bishop does not have the authority to do.  I do know of a situation in what is now the Sierra Pacific Synod where a Bishop was able to tell a congregation what to do, by sheer force of will (or chutzpah if you like) when he did not technically have the authority to do so.

Anyway, if it is possible to do so, without revealing sensitive information, or breaking the 8th commandment, I would like to know what that bishop threatened to do.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 07:25:14 PM
Not quite correct. Pr. Moskowitz is referring to the following provision of Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the ELCA: "An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17, or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister's name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly."

Of course nowhere is "schism" defined in this document. One would assume it means a formal split--i.e., a congregation actually voting to withdraw from the ELCA. But the lack of definition would conceivably leave open the possibility of a bishop saying, "This group has in fact become schismatic." It is unclear to me what constitutional authority might lie behind this "management of the roster" provision.

I found the secret book of rules! plus some other documents at http://www.elca.org/secretary/guidelines/index.html

The entire section referred to (with boldface and italics in the original) is:

A. Consent of the Bishop: An ordained minister, serving under call, who either leaves the work of the ordained ministry or engages in another occupation without consent of the bishop of the synod shall cease to be an ordained minister of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report such action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly.

B. No Dual Roster Membership: An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17.), or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly.

C. Discipline: See Chapter 20 in the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the rules of procedures that govern the process on discipline.

It seems clear by the boldfaced title of the paragraph (and the following one), that the issue is "dual roster membership" not discipline. I cannot see how this could legitimately be applied against an ELCA pastor serving an ELCA congregation. I would think that before this rubric could be invoked, the bishop would have to file disciplinary charges against the congregation according to chapter 20:

20.31.01. Congregations shall be subject to discipline for:
a. departing from the faith confessed by this church;
b. willfully disregarding or violating the criteria for recognition as congregations of this church; or
c. willfully disregarding or violating the provisions of the constitution or bylaws of this church.

If it is determined that a congregation has willfully disregarded or violated the criteria for recognition as an ELCA congregation, and then either votes to leave the ELCA or is removed by a discipline hearing committee; then I think the secret rule should be invoked to remove the pastor.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 03, 2007, 09:12:20 PM
Anyway, if it is possible to do so, without revealing sensitive information, or breaking the 8th commandment, I would like to know what that bishop threatened to do.

As I recall, a part of it had to do with the threat of litigation and what that might cost the congregation financially.

But this was several years ago now, and I do not remember the specifics. Nor was I directly involved; this is based on what the pastor involved told me at the time as to why the congregation elected not to carry through on their intention of filing charges.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 03, 2007, 09:16:42 PM
I found the secret book of rules! plus some other documents at http://www.elca.org/secretary/guidelines/index.html

If you found it that easily, it isn't much of a secret, now is it?

I think this is intended to be used in a situation such as that in your own parish some years ago, where a group (or even the whole congregation) leaves the ELCA and therefore is no longer subject to discipline. This is a way of warning the pastor that he/she may not continue to serve that group. It is intended to be used in extraordinary situations where the ordinary disciplinary procedures cannot really be used. But it also is potentially able to be abused by a bishop who chooses to do so, as I believe to be the case with Pr. Moskowitz.

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 10:09:13 PM
If you found it that easily, it isn't much of a secret, now is it?
I had to know that it existed before I could look for it. Once I knew it's title it was easy to find.

Quote
I think this is intended to be used in a situation such as that in your own parish some years ago, where a group (or even the whole congregation) leaves the ELCA and therefore is no longer subject to discipline. This is a way of warning the pastor that he/she may not continue to serve that group. It is intended to be used in extraordinary situations where the ordinary disciplinary procedures cannot really be used. But it also is potentially able to be abused by a bishop who chooses to do so, as I believe to be the case with Pr. Moskowitz.


However, the pastor who left with the splinter group continues to be on the ELCA clergy roster. Perhaps situations like that created the need for the "rules".

It was used with a pastor and congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod that joined LCMC. The bishop told them that they had to belong to one or the other, but not both. I don't believe that either the congregation or pastor are in the ELCA now.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 10:12:07 PM
Our Word and Sacrament ministries within the ELCA do not belong to us, but are subject to the approval of the ELCA. If it appears we are trying to exericise a ministry outside the confines of the ELCA or the jurisdiction of our bishop or that by our job choice we leave the ministry of the ELCA, the denomination has a perfect right to remove us from its roster. Such people still can consider themselves clergy, but not within the ELCA.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 10:16:17 PM
Our Word and Sacrament ministries within the ELCA do not belong to us, but are subject to the approval of the ELCA. If it appears we are trying to exericise a ministry outside the confines of the ELCA or the jurisdiction of our bishop or that by our job choice we leave the ministry of the ELCA, the denomination has a perfect right to remove us from its roster. Such people still can consider themselves clergy, but not within the ELCA.

I don't think that there's a disagreement about that. The specific issue that was brought up was about threats a bishop made to a pastor (or pastors) who wanted to pursue disciplinary actions against another pastor in the synod. Their actions were seen by the bishop as creating schism and grounds for removal. That, as Richard indicated and I agree, is a misuse of the rule.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 10:26:41 PM
Our Word and Sacrament ministries within the ELCA do not belong to us, but are subject to the approval of the ELCA. If it appears we are trying to exericise a ministry outside the confines of the ELCA or the jurisdiction of our bishop or that by our job choice we leave the ministry of the ELCA, the denomination has a perfect right to remove us from its roster. Such people still can consider themselves clergy, but not within the ELCA.

Nice idea but I dont see it based in any constitutional understandings?  I also think that the call is an agreement between a congregation, minister and the denomination.   So where does the constitution say the Bishops own every aspect of a ministers ministry, as such the Word and sacrament minisrteries with in the ELCA are just that within the ELCA?    Otherwise I guess I cannot preach at the communiity good friday cervice, lead prayer at the fire department,  visit a non member?

I think there is a disiplinary/apeal process to assure that this kind of totalitarian ecclesiology is not abused.    Well as I think we have seen of late that process does not seem to work either?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2007, 10:31:25 PM
Nice idea but I dont see it based in any constitutional understandings?  I also think that the call is an agreement between a congregation, minister and the denomination.   So where does the constitution say the Bishops own every aspect of a ministers ministry?   I think there is a disiplinary/apeal process to assure that this kind of totalitarian ecclesiology is not abused.    Well as I think we have seen of late that process does not seem to work either?
Calls have to go through the bishop.

In addition, the bishops are the primary ones responsible for discipline which can be imposed when:

20.21.01. Ordained ministers shall be subject to discipline for:
a. preaching and teaching in conflict with the faith confessed by this church;
b. conduct incompatible with the character of the ministerial office;
c. willfully disregarding or violating the functions and standards established by this church for the office of Word and Sacrament;
d. willfully disregarding the provisions of the constitution or bylaws of this church; or
e. willfully failing to comply with the requirements ordered by a discipline hearing committee under 20.23.08.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 10:33:59 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes (re my comment about not being freelance clergy):
Nice idea but I dont see it based in any constitutional understandings?  I also think that the call is an agreement between a congregation, minister and the denomination.   So where does the constitution say the Bishops own every aspect of a ministers ministry? 

I comment:
The bishop does not own "every aspect" of a pastor's ministry; but we agree to be under call or in some other rostered status with the ELCA. If we are not under call or in another type of status on the roster, then the ELCA has a perfect right to remove us from the rolls. (Note well: I do not necessarily agree with this, and have ofttimes argued against it, but it is the way we are currently structured.) If I decide to go out and start my own congregation, the synod has a right to bounce me.
Without provisions such as these, the ELCA would have no way of protecting the integrity of its clergy roster.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 10:36:02 PM
Nice idea but I dont see it based in any constitutional understandings?  I also think that the call is an agreement between a congregation, minister and the denomination.   So where does the constitution say the Bishops own every aspect of a ministers ministry?   I think there is a disiplinary/apeal process to assure that this kind of totalitarian ecclesiology is not abused.    Well as I think we have seen of late that process does not seem to work either?
Calls have to go through the bishop.

In addition, the bishops are the primary ones responsible for discipline which can be imposed when:

20.21.01. Ordained ministers shall be subject to discipline for:
a. preaching and teaching in conflict with the faith confessed by this church;
b. conduct incompatible with the character of the ministerial office;
c. willfully disregarding or violating the functions and standards established by this church for the office of Word and Sacrament;
d. willfully disregarding the provisions of the constitution or bylaws of this church; or
e. willfully failing to comply with the requirements ordered by a discipline hearing committee under 20.23.08.


Yes I think a congregation has to consult a Bishop before calling.

Discipline.  Process.

Yet thats not what is being done.   No group or from a congregation.  No definition of schismatic or who gets to judge as such and then no such process as you lay out.

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 10:40:50 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes (re my comment about not being freelance clergy):
Nice idea but I dont see it based in any constitutional understandings?  I also think that the call is an agreement between a congregation, minister and the denomination.   So where does the constitution say the Bishops own every aspect of a ministers ministry? 

I comment:
The bishop does not own "every aspect" of a pastor's ministry; but we agree to be under call or in some other rostered status with the ELCA. If we are not under call or in another type of status on the roster, then the ELCA has a perfect right to remove us from the rolls. (Note well: I do not necessarily agree with this, and have ofttimes argued against it, but it is the way we are currently structured.) If I decide to go out and start my own congregation, the synod has a right to bounce me.
Without provisions such as these, the ELCA would have no way of protecting the integrity of its clergy roster.

Actually I think the way it gets to protect itself and the minister get to protect themself is the process Brian has begun to outline above.  Specifics,  Definitions, process.     But some get the process, media, resolutions and well see if the rules get changed and others simply labelled and off. 

I would also like to see the the Word and confessions excercised somewhere in such a process? 

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 03, 2007, 10:45:16 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes:
But some get the process, media, resolutions and well see if the rules get changed and others simply labelled and off.   

I comment:
So you say. But the comment - "some get this, some get that" - is simiply too vague to be useful.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Rev_Rob on May 03, 2007, 10:48:35 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes:
But some get the process, media, resolutions and well see if the rules get changed and others simply labelled and off.   

I comment:
So you say. But the comment - "some get this, some get that" - is simiply too vague to be useful.

On the contrary in this situation being "too vague" I.E. no definition or who gets to judge as such seems to be very useful?    Unseful in negating an entire constitutional process and well, we will have to see what comes next?

 ;D The charge is serving!   ;D
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2007, 03:11:38 AM
Yes I think a congregation has to consult a Bishop before calling.
And the bishop has to sign the letter of call. I've heard of cases where a bishop sent a Letter of Call back to a congregation when the salary was inadequate and telling the congregation that they had to raise it before he would sign it.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2007, 09:36:02 AM
Yes I think a congregation has to consult a Bishop before calling.
And the bishop has to sign the letter of call. I've heard of cases where a bishop sent a Letter of Call back to a congregation when the salary was inadequate and telling the congregation that they had to raise it before he would sign it.
It sounds like bishops in the ELCA have a lot more authority than district presidents in the LCMS. Is this authority something the ELCA sees as part of Scriptural church polity or have they agreed by human arrangement to give bishops that much authority? It seems it would have to be the former if aq bishop can actually interfere with a divine call or if he must discern and approve the call. If a congregation calls a pastor and that pastor accepts the call, they are both saying that God did this; what human arrangement can have authority to get in the way of that?
Title: The 900 lb. Gorilla
Post by: pilgrimpriest on May 04, 2007, 09:50:14 AM
The key question that has yet to be answered is how much heresy and/or outright apostasy can the members of the ELCA endure before someone stands up and says, "Enough!"?  How long before such a climate of "inclusivity" diminishes the "evangelical," the "Lutheran" and even the "Christian" of this denomination? It seems from the previous posts here that it may already be too late.

Am I way off base or what?

Fr. Bob
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 04, 2007, 10:39:41 AM
Peter asks:
If a congregation calls a pastor and that pastor accepts the call, they are both saying that God did this; what human arrangement can have authority to get in the way of that?

I comment:
I would contend that the "divine call" is mediated through the human authority as expressed by a denominations procedures for ordination and calling. One may believe one has a "divine call," and a congregation may endorse that "divine call," but one's standing on the roster of the ELCA requires something else. Does this "human arrangement" ever "get in the way"? Perhaps, but the mere "human arrangement" of someone saying "I have a call, let me preach" and a group of people saying "we'll pay you to do so" can also get in the way, or - much worse - it can also foster a "call" that is driven by ego or psychosis rather than the Spirit.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LTSS_Sem_2 on May 04, 2007, 10:59:10 AM
It sounds like bishops in the ELCA have a lot more authority than district presidents in the LCMS. Is this authority something the ELCA sees as part of Scriptural church polity or have they agreed by human arrangement to give bishops that much authority? It seems it would have to be the former if aq bishop can actually interfere with a divine call or if he must discern and approve the call. If a congregation calls a pastor and that pastor accepts the call, they are both saying that God did this; what human arrangement can have authority to get in the way of that?
Quote

Can a LCMS congregation call any pastor they choose, even a non-LCMS pastor? If not, then it seems to me that the LCMS has a structure in place that can "interfere in a divine call" between a pastor and congregation...it is just a different structure. I am not saying that I agree one way or the other regarding the level of an ELCA Bishop's involvement in a call, but it is what it is. Going into my final week, I don't really have time to address all of the questions you raise. Sorry. I am curious what level of (scriptural/confessional) authority and role do you think an ELCA Bishop should/could have?

Peace.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: ptmccain on May 04, 2007, 11:42:29 AM
In The LCMS a congregation is required to seek their district president's advice when engaging in a call. That is what our Bylaws state, and that is the extent of the requirement. Some congregations assume that the LCMS district president must "approve" their call to a man in good standing on the roster of the Synod. That is not the case at all. Any man in good standing on The LCMS roster may be called to a congregation's pastors. Misunderstandings arise when district presidents ask for a "call list" from the congregation to review, or provide a "call list" to a congregation. Sometimes congregations are left with the impression that they must use the district president's "call list." That is not so. Also, sometimes a district willl ask a congregation to go through a set period of consultation with a district advisory, or a period of self-study. That is only advice, but sometimes it may be that manner in which the advice is given a congregation comes away with an impression that this is a requirement in order to obtain a pastor. Again, that is not the case.

I know of one situation personally where a congregation kept asking their district president for his advice about a list of names they were considering to call and the district president delayed giving his answer and asked them first to go through a year long self-study process before calling and told them they should bring in an intentional interim minister. The congregation then proceeded simply to inform the district president that they would be calling a man from the list of names they had sent on such and such a date and if the district president had any counsel or advice for them about those names he should provide that by such and such a date. The district president then simply proceeded to give that advice by the date required. Such an action by that congregation was entirely within the congregation's right.

From the description of the bishop's involvement in the call to a pastor in the ELCA, it would be true that this is a lot more authority than any exercised by a LCMS district president.

The thinking behind the LCMS practice is that the local congregation has the full authority, from Christ our Lord, to call any man it wishes to be its pastor, and by virtue of its membership in The LCMS, a man called to serve a LCMS congreation, must be a man in good standing on the Synod's roster of clergy. They may call anyone they wish, but if they choose to call somebody other than a member in good standing on the roster of the Synod they will forfeit their membership in the Missouri Synod.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 04, 2007, 12:23:08 PM
From the description of the bishop's involvement in the call to a pastor in the ELCA, it would be true that this is a lot more authority than any exercised by a LCMS district president.
Maybe the descriptions here might lead you to that conclusion, but technically, an ELCA bishop has no significant difference with an LCMS DP.  The Ebenezer situation proves exactly that.  Scattered across the ELCA are congregations who have called non-ELCA rostered clergy, most of whom I would guess are ECP pastors.  That this goes on shows that an ELCA congregation can call whoever it wants.  I believe Pr. Stoffregen has covered some of those rules in other threads on the forum.

Now, as this discussion has shown, an ELCA synod bishop can certainly make things difficult for particular pastors and congregations, no matter what the rules say, or where there is a gray area where discretion comes into play.  But I would guess that only happens if said bishop knows he has either enough support from similar thinking people throughout the synod, or the synod is gridlocked so that neither side can call him to account for overstepping the bounds.  This last statement applies equally to both sides of the homosexual debate.  I know nothing other than what I read here of the history, but our esteemed moderator has laid out some of the history of the Sierra synod and how different bishops reacted to this ongoing challenge.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 04, 2007, 01:40:48 PM
From the description of the bishop's involvement in the call to a pastor in the ELCA, it would be true that this is a lot more authority than any exercised by a LCMS district president.

Oh, I doubt it. Let's quote some language here.

ELCA Model constitution for congregations C9.01: "Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least a two-thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting regularly called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the officers or a committee elected by [either congregation or council] to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and help of the bishop of the synod."  Operative words there are "advice and help"--nothing about approval, or about considering only names received from bishop, or anything else. Simply "advice and help."

C9.02: "Only a member of the clergy roster of the [ELCA] or a candidate for the roseter who has been recommended for the congregation by the synodical bishop may be called as a pastor of this congregation."  Bishop's recommendation thus required only in the case of a "candidate for the roster."

Synod consitution, S8.12e on responsibilities of bishop: "Attest letters of call for persons called to serve congregations in the synod. . . "  Word is not "approve" or "endorse" but "attest"--which really is simply an attestation that the person being called is, in fact, in good standing, and that the bishop is in the loop about what the congregation is doing.

Can a bishop usurp, or be ceded, greater authority in this matter than that envisioned by the constitution? Of course, just as Paul describes can happen in LCMS.

Does this give bishops greater "power" over the call process? Of course not, as evidenced by the congregations in the Sierra Pacific Synod (and likely elsewhere) which have called persons not even on the roster of the ELCA, without attestation from the bishop, and then without further consequence.

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2007, 02:53:36 PM
If a congregation calls a pastor and that pastor accepts the call, they are both saying that God did this; what human arrangement can have authority to get in the way of that?
Congregations within the ELCA have agreed to the process; proper calls go through the office of bishop. The bishop as "pastor to the pastors" has some responsibility to the pastors under his/her care. Of course, congregations can and have called pastors without going through the bishop's office. They are subject to discipline (which has not been too severe in recent years).
Title: Re: The 900 lb. Gorilla
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on May 04, 2007, 03:23:48 PM
The key question that has yet to be answered is how much heresy and/or outright apostasy can the members of the ELCA endure before someone stands up and says, "Enough!"?  How long before such a climate of "inclusivity" diminishes the "evangelical," the "Lutheran" and even the "Christian" of this denomination? It seems from the previous posts here that it may already be too late.

Am I way off base or what?

Fr. Bob

Father Bob, I don't think you are "way off base" in that you have indeed asked the key question.  But it is not easy to come up with an answer.  Church dividing heresy is to a degree in the eyes of the beholder, and we don't all agree what the threshold for that is.  (I reference the ongoing CCM debate taking place elsewhere.)  The situation with Ebenezer Lutheran and its website is a scandal in its open heresy; but it is not typical of congregations in the ELCA.  It is also true that there are other problem areas in congregations, synods, and national levels in the ELCA, but many here disagree on whether those problems rise to the serious level of charging heresy.  Refraining to call something heretical doesn't mean that it isn't being taken seriously.  

There are those individuals and groups within the ELCA who have been trying over the past six years (since the CWA in 2001) to reach out to each other, including those with whom there have been deep and significant disagreement and conflict, and try to find ways to work together for reform in the ELCA.  Some say it is too late for that; others say that even if there is still time that groups that make up Lutheran CORE  (such as Word Alone Network, Lutherans Reform, FOCL, and others) are too scattered and uncertain of each other to get their act together to be effective.  They may be right.  But I don't see much in the way of a positive alternative at this time for most congregations.  

I see and hear many who start out by complaining about what they perceive to be wrong about the ELCA.  What changes that "negative" climate (or is it only, finally, speaking the truth?) is being given a real opportunity to do something that will make a difference, and networking with others who have similar concerns for the future of the tradition of orthodox belief and practice in the ELCA.  It is vitally important this spring and early summer that faithful Christians in the ELCA pay attention to what is happening in their synod assemblies.  There is a real movement to flood the CWA with memorials demanding changes in the ELCA constitutional documents regarding the rostering of non-celibate individuals in same-sex relationships.  For some, passage of one of these memorials would be the "line-in-the-sand" moment, and they will leave.  For others of us, we will survey the new scene and then get back to work.  

How much can be endured?  I don't think any of us know the answer to that, yet.

Erma Wolf  
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: ptmccain on May 04, 2007, 05:14:44 PM
So, am I to understand that in the ELCA the bishop is absolutely helpless to take any sort of action at all against a congregation that features goddess worship and goddess beads and has self-described queer pastors on staff? Nothing? Just sit back and wring their hands and wish it were not so? I would find that difficult to believe.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 04, 2007, 05:37:50 PM
Paul McCain writes:
So, am I to understand that in the ELCA the bishop is absolutely helpless to take any sort of action at all against a congregation that features goddess worship and goddess beads and has self-described queer pastors on staff? Nothing? Just sit back and wring their hands and wish it were not so? I would find that difficult to believe.

I comment:
No, that is not the way it is.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Eric_Swensson on May 04, 2007, 05:45:06 PM
Then why is it?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: mchristi on May 04, 2007, 06:23:38 PM
Then why is it?

That it has the tools doesn't necessarily mean that it must use them, or even always should.  Which is most certainly not an endorsement of what we've all seen on www.herchurch.org!  It's just a general statement about such provisions.

As to why disciplinary actions have not (at least publically) been exercised against this particular congregation and her pastor, you'd have to ask the bishop of the appropriate synod about that.  Since nothing about that process is automatic, you'd really have to ask those responsible why it hasn't been done.  All this conversation seems to assume that nothing has been done or considered.  Unless you are aware of all the discussions that may have occured between synod and congregation, that may or may not be an accurate assumption.

Paul McCain's statement also rather simplifies one aspect here, of which many participants here should undoubtedly know.  Having a self-described queer pastor on staff is itself not cause for discipline under the ELCA.  Having a pastor called not on the ELCA clergy roster can be for a congregation.  Being in a same-sex relationship can be for a pastor who is on the roster.  The ELCA has no jurisdiction to discipline a pastor who is not on the roster.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2007, 06:35:37 PM
Paul McCain's statement also rather simplifies one aspect here, of which many participants here should undoubtedly know.  Having a self-described queer pastor on staff is itself not cause for discipline under the ELCA.  Having a pastor called not on the ELCA clergy roster can be for a congregation.  Being in a same-sex relationship can be for a pastor who is on the roster.  The ELCA has no jurisdiction to discipline a pastor who is not on the roster.
The pastor in question is not on the ELCA roster. She is not subject to discipline by the bishop. She was called by four congregations. The three that are on the ELCA roster of congregations are subject to discipline. St. Francis Lutheran has already been removed from the roster. There's nothing a bishop can do about it.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 04, 2007, 08:10:04 PM
So, am I to understand that in the ELCA the bishop is absolutely helpless to take any sort of action at all against a congregation that features goddess worship and goddess beads and has self-described queer pastors on staff? Nothing? Just sit back and wring their hands and wish it were not so? I would find that difficult to believe.

Of course, as others have pointed out, the bishop could file disciplinary charges against the congregation and/or the pastor (not the non-rostered one, the rostered one).

But here's the problem--and I'd be interested to know just how an LCMS district president would approach this: How, exactly, does one make a case for heretical teaching? Does one base this on silly things on the web page? Or on monitoring sermons for a month, or for one Sunday? Does one base the charge on the general "smell" of things? The problem with a heresy charge is that it can be rather subjective. I suspect that's why bishops are wary of it.

Of course in this case the bishop could file charges on the "calling a non-rosetered pastor" thing, and probably should. I would, if I were bishop, which is certainly one of many reasons why I'm not bishop.  ::) But truth be told, I think the other issue--the heresy one--is actually more serious, if one could parse it that finely, than the "disciplinary" one; but also much harder to make an airtight case.

We're so afraid of "authority," you see, that we don't want to give it to anyone who might actually exercise it. We're afraid of charges of "inquisition." We're afraid (and by "we" I mean ELCA) that someone might use that authority in the same way that we have perceived some other Lutheran groups using it in the past, to do a thorough "housecleaning" for reasons that have less to do with doctrine than with politics. (I'm talking perceptions here, trying to explain why ELCA is so resistent to taking action in these cases.)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: ptmccain on May 04, 2007, 08:19:25 PM
How does a bishop behave himself as a true bishop? By acting to attack error and defend truth and protect the flock of God. Any church doing the kind of things "herchurch.org" is up to is a scandal to the Gospel of Christ our Lord. A real bishop would act to remove that congregation, to speak very openly about the errors espoused on its web site and to anything and everything in his power, both privately and publicly, to warn all the faithful to mark and avoid these false teachers. That's what a bishop would do, or should do, or could do. But church politicians hide behind supposed rules and speak in gentle tones about not offending anyone, and about how these things take oh so much time and one must never be too sure about such things because all things are open to study and discussion and we can certainly agree that unity is most important even when there are some practicese might not agree on. That's what most bishops do these days. Authentic bishops would not be so uncertain as to what to do, or hesitant to do it.

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LutherMan on May 04, 2007, 08:41:21 PM
She was called by four congregations. The three that are on the ELCA roster of congregations are subject to discipline. St. Francis Lutheran has already been removed from the roster. There's nothing a bishop can do about it.

Why was St. Francis removed?  Was their heresy *worse* than Ebenezer's? 
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 04, 2007, 10:47:50 PM

Why was St. Francis removed?  Was their heresy *worse* than Ebenezer's? 

  They called Jeff Johnson to be their pastor.  Others here can expand the story.  But the short version is that the congregation was removed from the ELCA because they called someone not on the roster.  He had never made it out of the candidacy process and could not be called to an ELCA congregation.  Because the process is confidential, we have to assume the primary reason was his refusal to abide by V&E.  He is an openly gay man, though I don't know if he is currently in a relationship.

 In case you're late to the game, Jeff is now across the Bay at University Lutheran in Berkeley.  He was called, the call letter was never signed by the Bishop at the time, but the congregation was not removed. 

 I'm not sure what percentage of his salary is covered by ELCA campus ministry funds.  Last I heard the attendance was back down around 30/Sunday.  Your benevolence dollars at work.

 And you thought Ebenezer was alone ...  check out Christ Lutheran in San Francisco.  Steve Sabin serves there.  He was removed from the roster by the Iowa synod.  Yet ... he openly serves as a pastor in an ELCA congregation in SF with no consequences.

 Which is worse:  Sierra Pacific allowing a pastor removed by another synod to serve in another synod OR campus ministry funds help support the ministry of a non-rostered pastor who previously helped lead a congregation out of the ELCA?

MD Brian
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 05, 2007, 12:02:21 AM
  They called Jeff Johnson to be their pastor.  Others here can expand the story.  But the short version is that the congregation was removed from the ELCA because they called someone not on the roster.  He had never made it out of the candidacy process and could not be called to an ELCA congregation.  Because the process is confidential, we have to assume the primary reason was his refusal to abide by V&E. 

No, you've got the facts all messed up, Brian. Jeff Johnson never served as pastor of St. Francis; he was called to First United LC in SF. St. Francis called Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart. And Jeff and company went through the candidacy process just as the ELCA was in formation, thus before V&E even existed.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 05, 2007, 12:08:49 AM
They called Jeff Johnson to be their pastor.  Others here can expand the story.  But the short version is that the congregation was removed from the ELCA because they called someone not on the roster.  He had never made it out of the candidacy process and could not be called to an ELCA congregation.  Because the process is confidential, we have to assume the primary reason was his refusal to abide by V&E.  He is an openly gay man, though I don't know if he is currently in a relationship.

First-United called Jeff Johnson (from PLTS). St. Francis called Phyllis Zillhart and Ruth Frost (from Luther Seminary).

Jeff was one of the three in the following report:

In January 1988, directly following the formation of the ELCA, three seminarians at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., made a public announcement that they were "openly gay" and that they had been fully certified for ordination by committees of predecessor church bodies. Immediately the ELCA Conference of Bishops promulgated "interim guidelines" adopted by the board of the Division for Ministry. These "guidelines" made it clear that ordination and pastoral calls would not be an option for gay men and lesbians -- unless they committed themselves to celibacy. All three candidates were examined as to their intentions regarding sexual behavior and by June 1988 had been removed from the active list of candidates available for call. (http://www.soulforce.org/article/226)

Note, this was before Vision and Expectations. As I recall, at that time, only the "openly gay" candidates were asked to abstain from sexual behaviors. Other single candidates were not asked such a question. Later that was changed so that all single candidates were asked to abstain from sexual behaviors while single.

In 1989 First-United and St. Francis issued letters of call and held an ordination for Jeff Johnson, Ruth Frost, and Phyllis Zillhart. In January, 1990, Presiding Bishop Chilstrom called the irregular ordinations "unacceptable and regrettable." They were not recognized by the ELCA. The two congregations were charged with violating ELCA policy. An ecclesiastical trial was convened in the summer of 1990 and the congregations were suspended from the ELCA for five years. At the end of the "disciplinary period," in which the congregations made no changes in pastoral leadership, they were expelled from membership in the ELCA. They have been independent Lutheran congregations since January 1, 1996.

From what I have heard, while serving First-United (a non-ELCA congregation) -- Jeff Johnson (a non-ELCA clergy) was frequently elected dean of the San Francisco conference. People in San Francisco did not consider the congregation nor Jeff to be non-ELCA.

As further information, the bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod at that time, Lyle Miller, who oversaw the disciplinary actions, had been Jeff Johnson's pastor and confirmed him as a youth.

Quote
In case you're late to the game, Jeff is now across the Bay at University Lutheran in Berkeley.  He was called, the call letter was never signed by the Bishop at the time, but the congregation was not removed.  

I'm not sure what percentage of his salary is covered by ELCA campus ministry funds.  Last I heard the attendance was back down around 30/Sunday.  Your benevolence dollars at work.

According to the ELCA website, in 2005 (no report in 2006) the following statistics are given.
Regular Giving by Members====$138,287
Designated Giving by Members==$172,439
Grants or Partnerships Support===$29,762
TOTAL================$362,049

If all of the partnership support was from ELCA campus ministry funds, that's only 8% of their income.

Quote
And you thought Ebenezer was alone ...  check out Christ Lutheran in San Francisco.  Steve Sabin serves there.  He was removed from the roster by the Iowa synod.  Yet ... he openly serves as a pastor in an ELCA congregation in SF with no consequences.
You forgot Ross Merkel at St. Paul Lutheran in Oakland. Up until this year, Sabin and Merkel were the only gay pastors to have gone through the whole disciplinary process and removed from the ELCA roster. (The fact that the are both serving ELCA congregations suggest that the disciplinary process is a bit ineffective.)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 05, 2007, 12:20:59 AM

Why was St. Francis removed?  Was their heresy *worse* than Ebenezer's? 

St. Francis was removed for calling Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart who had earlier graduated from Luther Northwestern but had discontinued the processes of ordination in the ALC when they became a lesbian couple.  Jeff Johnson was one of 3 PLTS seminarians who had been approved for ordination in 1987 -- since he was from the ALC that approval would have been in the hands of the PLTS faculty -- who in January 1988 sent out a press release that they were homosexual.  Through actions of the (then new) ELCA Bishops, those 3 were essentially "unapproved" for ordination unless they declared an intention to be chaste.  They did not do so.  Johnson was later called by First United, San Francisco, in conjunction with St. Francis' call to Frost and Zillhart.  

Both congregations were charged by the first Sierra Pacific Bishop with calling and installing as pastors persons not eligible to serve as pastors in the ELCA, and the disciplinary process led to their suspension and then expulsion from the ELCA.  They continue as independent Lutheran congregations, though the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly annually grants them full rights (except for actual Assembly votes) to the Synod's governance.

A few years later Johnson was called by University Lutheran Church in Berkeley.  The second Sierra Pacific Bishop briefly considered engaging in a process that, if successful, would have cut off the ELCA Campus Ministry funding that the congregation depends on.  But after a time of "discernment," during which the Synod Assembly, uh, encouraged him to leave them alone, he ultimately chose to do nothing.

They were not accused of heresy and, apart from calling as pastors homosexuals who proclaim that homosexual relationships can be blessed, are not particularly different from other "progressive" ELCA congregations.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 05, 2007, 12:39:52 AM
But after a time of "discernment," during which the Synod Assembly, uh, encouraged him to leave them alone, he ultimately chose to do nothing.

Don't forget the bishop's rather fatuous announcement: "Grace wins."
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 05, 2007, 01:20:34 AM
Note, this was before Vision and Expectations. As I recall, at that time, only the "openly gay" candidates were asked to abstain from sexual behaviors. Other single candidates were not asked such a question. Later that was changed so that all single candidates were asked to abstain from sexual behaviors while single.

There were initially no guidelines for Candidacy Committees specific to questions of a candidate's sexual practices, orientation, etc.  

As a result of the the PLTS 3's self-outing, some seminarians in some synods were subject to questions from their candidacy panels in spring 1988.  A couple of Synodical Candidacy Committees quite sternly grilled candidates that someone on the committee thought might be gay.  (It was reported that at least one well-married candidate was put in the position of "proving" -- by argument, not by action -- that he was not gay.)  To prevent such abuse, the Division for Ministry that fall came up with "Interim Guidelines" that included two questions that all candidates for ordination were to be asked in person during their winter 88-89 "approval" or spring 1989 "endorsement" panels.  I'm not recalling the exact phrasing, but essentially we were asked if we were committed to not engaging in sexual relations with anyone other than our opposite-sex spouse.  To be "endorsed" or "approved" in the ordination process, we had to answer "yes" to both questions.  No other questions regarding sexuality were to be asked of candidates, and we were instructed to respond "yes" or "no" and to not say anything else.  (A single male on the eve of my 30th birthday, my panel did not ask me the question.  An Assistant to the Bishop asked me on the phone a few days later.  One of the persons on my panel would later be on the first Extraordinary Candidacy Committee.)

The "Interim Guidelines" remained in effect until Vision and Expectations was promulgated in time for the winter 90-91 approval and spring 91 endorsement panels.  Under V&E, we were asked if we'd read and understood the document, and if we intended to live in accordance with it.

Pax, Steven+
Candidate for ordination; Pacific Southwest Synod, LCA 1987; Southern California (West) Synod ELCA, 1988-1992
PLTS MDiv 1992
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 05, 2007, 01:21:47 AM
Don't forget the bishop's rather fatuous announcement: "Grace wins."

How can I?  That's how I got a byline in Forum Letter. ;)

spt+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: ptmccain on May 05, 2007, 07:58:43 AM
And here I thought The LCMS was the only Lutheran church in this country that gets itself in seemingly impossible tangles over bylaws and procedures. And I suspect, in so doing, in many ways, the truth gets pushed to the corner as people and parties jockey for position. Sigh. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Amen. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Maryland Brian on May 05, 2007, 08:20:06 AM

No, you've got the facts all messed up, Brian. Jeff Johnson never served as pastor of St. Francis; he was called to First United LC in SF. St. Francis called Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart. And Jeff and company went through the candidacy process just as the ELCA was in formation, thus before V&E even existed.

 That's why teams are so important - different people can add to the mix, particularly from those where were there.  Johnson's call was before my time in SP Synod.  For some reason I thought he was at St. Francis.  You and Steve are obviously correct in that V&E was created after (in response to?) the three seminarians.  I remembered they were very close in the time line.

  The operative dynamic I think is that Jeff was not available for call/ordination because he came out, but was called by a congregation anyway and then served there. Now he serves another ELCA congregation and part of his salary and/or the support of the ministry comes from campus ministry funds.

MD Brian

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LutherMan on May 05, 2007, 08:40:30 AM
Every time gross sin is down-graded the slope gets slipperier.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 05, 2007, 09:34:10 AM
not that I disagree about the direction of this quotation but I would say it this way: every time sin is down-graded the slope gets more slippery, because I am not sure what your distinction is with the term GROSS, for there is no fine or comely sin.  Harvey Mozolak


Every time gross sin is down-graded the slope gets slipperier.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LutherMan on May 05, 2007, 09:36:02 AM
Aren't all sins gross in God's eyes?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 05, 2007, 11:08:36 AM
Aren't all sins gross in God's eyes?

I know mine are.  >:(
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 05, 2007, 12:42:41 PM
and I certainly agree all sin is not divided into any parts, all sin/sins are gross.  Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 05, 2007, 08:36:49 PM
I think that I've committed more than a gross of sins -- perhaps even more than 490.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: BeornBjornson on May 05, 2007, 10:56:26 PM
Pastor Erma Wolfe, in the thoughtful and gracious fashion we have come to expect from her, wrote:
Quote
There are those individuals and groups within the ELCA who have been trying over the past six years (since the CWA in 2001) to reach out to each other, including those with whom there have been deep and significant disagreement and conflict, and try to find ways to work together for reform in the ELCA.  Some say it is too late for that; others say that even if there is still time that groups that make up Lutheran CORE  (such as Word Alone Network, Lutherans Reform, FOCL, and others) are too scattered and uncertain of each other to get their act together to be effective.  They may be right.  But I don't see much in the way of a positive alternative at this time for most congregations. 

I see and hear many who start out by complaining about what they perceive to be wrong about the ELCA.  What changes that "negative" climate (or is it only, finally, speaking the truth?) is being given a real opportunity to do something that will make a difference, and networking with others who have similar concerns for the future of the tradition of orthodox belief and practice in the ELCA.  It is vitally important this spring and early summer that faithful Christians in the ELCA pay attention to what is happening in their synod assemblies.  There is a real movement to flood the CWA with memorials demanding changes in the ELCA constitutional documents regarding the rostering of non-celibate individuals in same-sex relationships.  For some, passage of one of these memorials would be the "line-in-the-sand" moment, and they will leave.  For others of us, we will survey the new scene and then get back to work. 


As a fellow member of the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee with Erma (on which she serves as vice-chair--the chair being Pastor Paull Spring, a former ELCA synodical bishop) and as one who deeply appreciates the confessional passion, theological depth, and love for the Church that she brings to our work for reform, I only want to add a a web address for those interested in and looking for other orthodox and confessional ELCA congregations, laity, and pastors with whom to make a stand and work for the reform of the ELCA:   www.lutherancore.org

Pastor Ken Kimball
Waterville, Iowa
Old East and Old West Paint Creek Lutheran Parish
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on November 30, 2007, 08:33:32 PM
Quote from: Maryland Brian on May 04, 2007, 10:47:50 PM
They called Jeff Johnson to be their pastor.  Others here can expand the story.  But the short version is that the congregation was removed from the ELCA because they called someone not on the roster.  He had never made it out of the candidacy process and could not be called to an ELCA congregation.  Because the process is confidential, we have to assume the primary reason was his refusal to abide by V&E.  He is an openly gay man, though I don't know if he is currently in a relationship.
quote

This is an excerpt from my congregational report on the SPS Assembly for 2007:

"Budgets are moral documents. They clearly reveal the priorities of a Synod. A budget shows what we most care about and how that compares to other things we care about. There are two budget items that I feel require full disclosure: Campus Ministries and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Rev. Jeff Johnson and Rev. Craig Minich are the University Lutheran Chapel’s current called staff. Neither of them are ELCA Rostered clergy. Campus Ministry is based at the Chapel and serves young adults and students from CAL, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and other schools of the Graduate Theological Union. Pr. Johnson is co-chair of the University Religious Council at CAL Berkeley and is a Teaching Parish Supervisor for Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

On October 21, 2006, Rev. Johnson gave the installation sermon for Erik Christenson, a non-rostered candidate, who was called as pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Logan Square in Chicago. In that sermon, he states that “...Jesus is a sinner no better than the rest of us.” With one deft stroke, he does away with the spotless Lamb of God and the moral authority of Jesus. Is this what we want our Campus Ministry and Seminaries teaching? I certainly do not want my money to be used to promote the idea that Jesus is just another man. I would like to know if this is representative of how our money is being used. If it is then I feel that serious consideration be given to moving these two sacred cows to Second Mile giving and Lutheran Social Services be fully funded as a regular budget item."

In that same sermon he bragged about the advantages of having his former lover working at the San Francisco Opera. So if you are interested in what Pr. Jeff is doing go to http://www.elm.org/roster/jeffj/ and see the resume. He is still supported by the SPS and has the Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries as one of the University Lutheran Chapel’s mission partners.

Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: LutherMan on March 22, 2008, 12:03:07 PM
Bumping up for a forum newcomer.

It would be curious to see how they celebrate Easter, and who they are worshipping...
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on June 30, 2009, 10:26:52 AM
Seems like as good a place as any to re-post the modified "Lord's Prayer" found at HerChurch's website:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 30, 2009, 04:34:14 PM
Seems like as good a place as any to re-post the modified "Lord's Prayer" found at HerChurch's website:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

It would also have been good of you to post the source of this prayer. There is no claim that it is a reworking of the biblical Lord's Prayer, but a new prayer written by Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality. Author of WomanWord and other books and resources for Ritual.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on June 30, 2009, 07:19:13 PM
Seems like as good a place as any to re-post the modified "Lord's Prayer" found at HerChurch's website:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

It would also have been good of you to post the source of this prayer. There is no claim that it is a reworking of the biblical Lord's Prayer, but a new prayer written by Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality. Author of WomanWord and other books and resources for Ritual.

It was sourced -- from the page you got your information from.

Further, it is prayed during their "Goddess Rosary" time on Wednesday evenings.  The "Goddess Rosary" going like this, btw:

Hail Goddess full of grace. 
Blessed are you
  and blessed are all the fruits
  of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
   Hear us now
  and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen

Moreover, its structure parallels the Lord's Prayer.

Finally, even their parishioners refer to it as a repeated prayer in their prayer life, functioning just like the "Lord's Prayer" or "Our Father" does in that of the church:

From the basket of rosaries, I took into my hand a strand of vibrantly-colored beads with a silver goddess icon in place of the traditional cross. The goddesses came in a variety of shapes and sizes, celebrating the beauty of the feminine form; I found reflections of my own figure in the full hips and Rubenesque curves of my goddess. [Note that there are little feminine, uh, figures connected to the "rosaries"] Once gathered, we began to recite together the “Our Mother” and “Hail Goddess” prayers.  (http://www.herchurch.org/id8.html)

Even more, as I've indicated elsewhere (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=1480.msg103436#msg103436), it parallels pagan goddess prayers such that it is indistinguishable from them
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: revjagow on June 30, 2009, 08:24:33 PM
I'm thinking that a liturgy for raising and Asherah pole is next.  :-\
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 30, 2009, 09:35:08 PM

O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen


FWIW, a phrase that is commonplace in Wiccan rites and incantations.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 30, 2009, 09:37:24 PM
There is no claim that it is a reworking of the biblical Lord's Prayer, but a new prayer written by Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality.

LOL!
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on June 30, 2009, 10:13:19 PM

O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen


FWIW, a phrase that is commonplace in Wiccan rites and incantations.

Holy cow, you're right.  There's a website entitled "Blessed be," and it has the following "charge":

The Charge of the Goddess

Blessed be, and blessed are,
The lovers of the Lady.
Blessed be, and blessed are,
The Mother, Maiden, Crone.
Blessed be, and blessed are,
The ones who dance together.
Blessed be, and blessed are,
The ones who dance alone.
She’s been waiting, waiting.
She’s been waiting so long.
She’s been waiting for her children
To remember, to return.

http://blessedbe.sugarbane.com/goddess.htm

And you can find "O blessed be" functioning as an official type of signing a letter, similar to "Pax" or "God bless".  It is apparently written in this way: ")o( Blessed Be )o(" (for one example: http://www.wiccantogether.com/profile/SerenityDove)

There's even Wiccan bumperstickers to this effect: http://bumperstickers.cafepress.com/item/blessed-be-wiccan-sticker-oval/331584291
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 12:57:49 AM
I just saw a TV show about an Apache mission in Arizona. It raised issues I've heard from different pastors who have served with Native Americans; and, I believe, relates to this discussion. One practice, that was frequently done in the past, is that the Apaches were removed from their families, their culture, and their language. In some cases, even removed from their families and sent to "white" schools. Another approach is to embrace elements of the Native American spirituality and incorporate that into Christian worship. An issue that came up with a minister I knew was whether or not a (peace) pipe should be on the altar in Christian worship. He thought it was syncretism, while another minister, embraced that symbol; using the biblical symbol of smoke rising up as prayers. I was in a church on a reservation that had a very large drum in the middle of the sanctuary, along with other Native American symbols.

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists? Should we avoid the language, culture, and symbols of the culture of the people we are trying to reach, or embrace and use such things?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 01, 2009, 01:02:23 AM

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists?

Quite different.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on July 01, 2009, 01:37:22 AM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.

Shalom, Steven+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 02:00:50 AM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.
I believe that it is exactly the issue. The question of how much Native American culture and spirituality can one incorporate into a Christian worship service is precisely the issue with Ebenezer, although it's not Native American culture and spirituality, but feminist.

You'll probably think it's another non-sequitur, but the one time I preached in Peoria, I was still a student at Wartburg. I used something about "John Deere" as an illustration in the sermon. (There was a John Deere plant in Dubuque, and my uncle and cousins worked for Deere in Waterloo. It was part of my culture.) I learned later that some took offense at that, because Peoria is a Caterpillar town. I spoke the wrong "language" to them. I used an image that made sense to me, but was offensive to some others. While you and I, because of our backgrounds, may find "Sophia" language offensive, there are also some who find all the male talk about God to be offensive and they resonate and find their faith strengthened by the female images of God -- many of which are found in scriptures. (Although I do think that Ebenezer goes too far.)
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 08:22:08 AM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.
I believe that it is exactly the issue. The question of how much Native American culture and spirituality can one incorporate into a Christian worship service is precisely the issue with Ebenezer, although it's not Native American culture and spirituality, but feminist.

You'll probably think it's another non-sequitur, but the one time I preached in Peoria, I was still a student at Wartburg. I used something about "John Deere" as an illustration in the sermon. (There was a John Deere plant in Dubuque, and my uncle and cousins worked for Deere in Waterloo. It was part of my culture.) I learned later that some took offense at that, because Peoria is a Caterpillar town. I spoke the wrong "language" to them. I used an image that made sense to me, but was offensive to some others. While you and I, because of our backgrounds, may find "Sophia" language offensive, there are also some who find all the male talk about God to be offensive and they resonate and find their faith strengthened by the female images of God -- many of which are found in scriptures. (Although I do think that Ebenezer goes too far.)

This is some of the most inane stuff you've ever posted, Brian.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Eileen_Smith on July 01, 2009, 08:25:45 AM
There are times I think we are a bit over the top in our sensitivity to certain things in church - such as language.  I do understand that certain things may resonate more fully with one than the language in LBW or ELW.  But I also believe that we're so focused on what offends us - that we miss hearing God speaking to us - in His language of love.  A few examples....  

-  I truly don't advocate for placing Mother's or Father's Day on the liturgical calendar, but think that a petition within the prayers is appropriate.  Yet there are some who will not include a petition as someone may have had an abusive father -- but what of our loving heavenly father.  Or - I've also heard some say they will not include a petition as there are people who no longer have a mother or father and it's too difficult. Yet can't we give thanks for their lives and care of us.  It may be more distracting to have no mention at all.

-  I've been in finance for 20 years and Caterpillar was my client.  I appreciate the fact that towns are built not only on an industry, but a company as well.  But, I have to ask - can't we hear God speaking to us in the proclamation of Scripture and the sermon -- even with a competitor being mentioned in the Word?  Three readings and a sermon and that's all people heard?

- My parents were from Italy and joined the Lutheran church shortly after they came to NY.  They were both very active and my mom gladly served pot roast and knockwurst along with all the German Lutheran women.  Have to tell you - she couldn't understand how people could eat that stuff -- but she loved working alongside those in her church family.   It was a bit before the days of pot lucks that included all sorts of ethnic dishes - and in all we did we never really embraced the Italian language, food, or culture - but they loved the church.

Silly examples, maybe - but the points are 1) are we letting our individual sensitivities make so much noise that God's word can't penetrate; 2) who are we worshipping anyway - sometimes it seems ourselves as we want to make it as acceptable to us as individuals as possible.

I don't mean to sound harsh but I'll admit some of this is difficult for me to understand.  Even those times where a word may remind one of difficult times or, perhaps in the 'world' seem exclusive -- I wish we could embrace God's loving acceptance of all of us - unconditionally - no matter the language.   There are so many beautiful examples in Scripture of people crossing religious and cultural boundaries to come to Jesus - begging for healing  -  and in love they are healed.   Maybe not quite bearing out the thoughts herein - but just wish we could all pass through our boundaries to simply rest in Jesus healing love.


-  
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Thomas Byers on July 01, 2009, 08:44:41 AM
 ELCA formally subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions so sahould be held to that commitment.  But denominational drift is a fact of life.  Witness how NE Puritanism morphed into unitarianism.  tb
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 08:47:15 AM
Just when you think it can't get any stranger...

Brian, the most verbose adovocate for the non-sinfulness of (some forms of) homosexual behavior on this board, is now defending goddess worship -- something that I didn't think he would verbalize because his preferences would go against it, even as I knew that his "theological" approach, if applied consistently, would lead him to do so.  A few days ago, he had also indicated that in theory (to, again, my great amazement), if certain criteria were met (the animal would have to have a certain level of intelligence and maturity, and there would have to be a long-standing relationship -- all quite possible with chimps and maybe dolphins), bestiality could be an acceptable form of sexual expression.

Thing is, it all seems to make sense from the point of view of his thought-world that he has shared with us over the course of 9,000+ posts.  He is actually being consistent with his "theological" method when he says these things.

In the case of goddess worship, he does say that they "go too far," even for him.  However, I'll bet that we'll never hear about why they go too far -- just what that point is that they've crossed that now qualifies as "too far."  I say this because if he does share that point and it's based in anything other than his personal preferences, he will be contradicting the method he has been exhibiting for years on this board.

Something to ponder, I would think...
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steverem on July 01, 2009, 08:55:59 AM

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists?

Quite different.

Like comparing apples and Mack trucks.  Seriously, Brian, if you can't tell the difference, I worry for you--and your parishoners.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Erme Wolf on July 01, 2009, 10:15:20 AM
I just saw a TV show about an Apache mission in Arizona. It raised issues I've heard from different pastors who have served with Native Americans; and, I believe, relates to this discussion. One practice, that was frequently done in the past, is that the Apaches were removed from their families, their culture, and their language. In some cases, even removed from their families and sent to "white" schools. Another approach is to embrace elements of the Native American spirituality and incorporate that into Christian worship. An issue that came up with a minister I knew was whether or not a (peace) pipe should be on the altar in Christian worship. He thought it was syncretism, while another minister, embraced that symbol; using the biblical symbol of smoke rising up as prayers. I was in a church on a reservation that had a very large drum in the middle of the sanctuary, along with other Native American symbols.

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists? Should we avoid the language, culture, and symbols of the culture of the people we are trying to reach, or embrace and use such things?


You saw a TV show.

Lakota Sioux Christians do not take an image of the sacred buffalo and put it in place of the cross, or an image of Jesus.  There is ongoing, serious discussion that takes place in American Indian communities about what is and is not appropriate in mixing Christian worship with Native American spirituality.  This is to be respectful of both faiths.  I am shocked that you can't see the difference. 

As for reaching women who are feminists and not Christians, what are you trying to reach them for?  The cross is a scandal, a stumbling block.  So is a male savior.  No one is doing women in general or feminists in particular any favors by trying to pretend that the historical, male, Jewish Jesus doesn't exist, or that any of those physical realities have no importance.   Yes, God is beyond gender; but Jesus was  and is truly human, with human sexual gender and all the baggage that comes with that.  Women do have to deal with that.  And guess what?  By the grace of God, we can.  Pandering to us is insulting, and dishonest. 

Erma+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dan Fienen on July 01, 2009, 12:21:13 PM
In looking through the Herchurch website I found a very interesting quote highlighted on the "About Us" page: "Jesus' redemptive power lies ultimately in ideal liberated-humanity, not in his maleness.  Christ's maleness is significant only insofar as he renounced the privileges that accompany it."  Now I do not derive much significance from Christ's maleness - other than that He had to be one or the other if He were truly incarnate as one of us.  I certainly do not find His maleness to be redemptive.  However, is there any serious theologian of any Christian denomination no matter how conservative, traditional, liberal or wacko who asserts that Jesus' redemptive power lies in His maleness?  That seems to total red herring, perhaps as an excuse for their fondness for refering to Jesus as "Christ-Sophia". 

As in the opening of the "About Us" page: WELCOME to Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran! 
In Christ-Sophia we gather for sacred ritual, communion(ity) and acts of justice.  Our mission is to embody and voice the prophetic word of the divine feminine to "self," "Church," and "world!"

Even more significant is what is not said about Jesus' redemptive power - nothing about sin or forgiveness - nothing about what He did that was redemptive.  (Actually the statement says very little which is a problem in itself.)  All I can conclude is that redemption is about liberation in some fashion, perhaps becoming a part of an ideal liberated-humanity.  The only thing that the statement talks about Jesus doing, "he renounced the privileges that accompany it" (maleness) could serve as an example for us to follow, renouncing privileges.  Does this mean that Jesus' redemptive work was as an example for us to follow?  That would fit well with the pop WWJD theology, but not Lutheran theology.  Salvation as following the example of Jesus is all Law and no Gospel.  Since Jesus was male, what example does He give women to follow for their liberation/empowerment?  Perhaps that is why there is so much reliance on other (non-Christian) spiritual traditions at Herchurch.

There is more going on here than just reclaiming some feminine Biblical imagrey for God.  What is portrayed on the web is a thorough reworking of the Gospel into something other than Christ and Him crucified.

Dan
 
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 12:47:05 PM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.
I believe that it is exactly the issue. The question of how much Native American culture and spirituality can one incorporate into a Christian worship service is precisely the issue with Ebenezer, although it's not Native American culture and spirituality, but feminist.

You'll probably think it's another non-sequitur, but the one time I preached in Peoria, I was still a student at Wartburg. I used something about "John Deere" as an illustration in the sermon. (There was a John Deere plant in Dubuque, and my uncle and cousins worked for Deere in Waterloo. It was part of my culture.) I learned later that some took offense at that, because Peoria is a Caterpillar town. I spoke the wrong "language" to them. I used an image that made sense to me, but was offensive to some others. While you and I, because of our backgrounds, may find "Sophia" language offensive, there are also some who find all the male talk about God to be offensive and they resonate and find their faith strengthened by the female images of God -- many of which are found in scriptures. (Although I do think that Ebenezer goes too far.)

This is some of the most inane stuff you've ever posted, Brian.
Perhaps inane, but factual and true. Am I to conclude that you've never unknowingly said something that offended others? Haven't you talked about using language very carefully when with Muslim friends so as to not unduly offend them?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 01:03:39 PM
There are times I think we are a bit over the top in our sensitivity to certain things in church - such as language.
I agree, but there is also a point where we need to be sensitive to the power of language in the lives of others. Would any of us preachers use "four-letter" words in a sermon? Or even in public conversations? I don't know about others, but when I've been asked, "What is circumcision?" or "What is a eunuch?" I choose my words very carefully.

At a Christmas Eve service early in my career, I read from the Good News Bible. A young lady complained because it used the word "pregnant". She was offended by that word being used in worship. I asked, "Should I have said, 'She was great with child'?" She said, "Yes." I then asked, "What does that mean?" She paused and meekly said, "She was pregnant."

Being sensitive to what words or topics might be offensive doesn't mean that we don't use them; but it does mean that in our prayers of thanks for mothers and fathers on their special day, we also consider those folks whose parents didn't live up to their divine calling to be loving parents, and also offer a petition on their behalf.

I've said this before, I do not believe that we should do away with male images and language for God. I use "Father" quite often; but I also believe that we need to expand our use of biblical images for God. Some are female, a hen who gathers her brood under her wings; some are inanimate, a mighty fortress; some are based on actions, savior, creator, giving birth.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 01:04:23 PM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.
I believe that it is exactly the issue. The question of how much Native American culture and spirituality can one incorporate into a Christian worship service is precisely the issue with Ebenezer, although it's not Native American culture and spirituality, but feminist.

You'll probably think it's another non-sequitur, but the one time I preached in Peoria, I was still a student at Wartburg. I used something about "John Deere" as an illustration in the sermon. (There was a John Deere plant in Dubuque, and my uncle and cousins worked for Deere in Waterloo. It was part of my culture.) I learned later that some took offense at that, because Peoria is a Caterpillar town. I spoke the wrong "language" to them. I used an image that made sense to me, but was offensive to some others. While you and I, because of our backgrounds, may find "Sophia" language offensive, there are also some who find all the male talk about God to be offensive and they resonate and find their faith strengthened by the female images of God -- many of which are found in scriptures. (Although I do think that Ebenezer goes too far.)

This is some of the most inane stuff you've ever posted, Brian.
Perhaps inane, but factual and true. Am I to conclude that you've never unknowingly said something that offended others? Haven't you talked about using language very carefully when with Muslim friends so as to not unduly offend them?

Indeed inane.  I've never thought of calling a gathering at a mosque where folks recite the shahadah and perform salat a Christian service.

Likewise when pagan prayers with Wiccan overtones (or intentional references?) are used and, moreover, held up as defining symbols of the service.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 01:06:12 PM

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists?

Quite different.

Like comparing apples and Mack trucks.  Seriously, Brian, if you can't tell the difference, I worry for you--and your parishoners.
Seriously, Steve, if you can't see the similarities, I worry for you and your parishioners.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 01:18:48 PM
Lakota Sioux Christians do not take an image of the sacred buffalo and put it in place of the cross, or an image of Jesus.  There is ongoing, serious discussion that takes place in American Indian communities about what is and is not appropriate in mixing Christian worship with Native American spirituality.  This is to be respectful of both faiths.  I am shocked that you can't see the difference.
I never stated how much Native American spirituality one should incorporate into Christian worship. I've met a couple of clergy who believe that nothing of their culture can be used in Christian worship. I've met others who try to use as much as they believe is appropriate. I've not said that everything is appropriate; but that a discussions about the appropriateness of some symbols and actions is necessary. 

Quote
As for reaching women who are feminists and not Christians, what are you trying to reach them for?  The cross is a scandal, a stumbling block.  So is a male savior.  No one is doing women in general or feminists in particular any favors by trying to pretend that the historical, male, Jewish Jesus doesn't exist, or that any of those physical realities have no importance.   Yes, God is beyond gender; but Jesus was  and is truly human, with human sexual gender and all the baggage that comes with that.  Women do have to deal with that.  And guess what?  By the grace of God, we can.  Pandering to us is insulting, and dishonest. 
I don't know specifically about Ebenezer, but in reading and conversations I've had with feminists, there is no problem accepting Jesus as a historical, male, Jewish person. There is less clarity about the gender of Christ or Logos or Wisdom as other language for the 2nd person of the Trinity. Is the primary significance of the incarnation of the logos about becoming a male or about becoming human? "Became truly human," I believe is a more accurate translation in the Nicene Creed.

On one hand, I've heard it argued that the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith cannot be separated.

On the other hand, I've also read and have written papers to indicate that they are separate, e.g., John 1 is about the Christ/Logos of faith -- what we believe about this person of God that could not be videotaped; rather than Jesus of history whose words and actions could have been recorded. As such, the Jesus of history was male. The Logos of eternity is beyond gender identification.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steverem on July 01, 2009, 01:22:15 PM

How different is it to have a "black" Jesus hanging on a cross in a church with primarily "black" members, or Native American symbols in a church full of Native Americans; from from talking about "Sophia-Christ" on the cross to a congregation full of feminists?

Quite different.

Like comparing apples and Mack trucks.  Seriously, Brian, if you can't tell the difference, I worry for you--and your parishoners.
Seriously, Steve, if you can't see the similarities, I worry for you and your parishioners.

You needn't worry about my parishoners, as I am a layman myself.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 01:23:40 PM
Indeed inane.  I've never thought of calling a gathering at a mosque where folks recite the shahadah and perform salat a Christian service.
But would you call it "a bunch of pagan, meaningless bunk" to those who are participating in such services?

Quote
Likewise when pagan prayers with Wiccan overtones (or intentional references?) are used and, moreover, held up as defining symbols of the service.
Are you showing it and those who participate in it as much respect as you do the Muslims who gather at a mosque?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: revjagow on July 01, 2009, 01:53:02 PM
Indeed inane.  I've never thought of calling a gathering at a mosque where folks recite the shahadah and perform salat a Christian service.
But would you call it "a bunch of pagan, meaningless bunk" to those who are participating in such services?

Quote
Likewise when pagan prayers with Wiccan overtones (or intentional references?) are used and, moreover, held up as defining symbols of the service.
Are you showing it and those who participate in it as much respect as you do the Muslims who gather at a mosque?

Respect for other religions like Isalm and herchurch is something I hope we all have.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Erme Wolf on July 01, 2009, 01:54:26 PM
I don't know specifically about Ebenezer, but in reading and conversations I've had with feminists, there is no problem accepting Jesus as a historical, male, Jewish person. There is less clarity about the gender of Christ or Logos or Wisdom as other language for the 2nd person of the Trinity. Is the primary significance of the incarnation of the logos about becoming a male or about becoming human? "Became truly human," I believe is a more accurate translation in the Nicene Creed.

On one hand, I've heard it argued that the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith cannot be separated.

On the other hand, I've also read and have written papers to indicate that they are separate, e.g., John 1 is about the Christ/Logos of faith -- what we believe about this person of God that could not be videotaped; rather than Jesus of history whose words and actions could have been recorded. As such, the Jesus of history was male. The Logos of eternity is beyond gender identification.

On the one hand, we are talking about Ebenezer, not about your conversations.  

And on the other hand, I choose to interpret your remarks about the Christian interpretation of how Christ is to be identified as arguing for argument's sake.  You have not said that you do not believe the orthodox Christian teaching about the person of Jesus Christ.  There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.  

(I need to listen to my own posts.  It is time to leave the rabbit hole.)

Erma+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 02:24:56 PM
Indeed inane.  I've never thought of calling a gathering at a mosque where folks recite the shahadah and perform salat a Christian service.
But would you call it "a bunch of pagan, meaningless bunk" to those who are participating in such services?

Quote
Likewise when pagan prayers with Wiccan overtones (or intentional references?) are used and, moreover, held up as defining symbols of the service.
Are you showing it and those who participate in it as much respect as you do the Muslims who gather at a mosque?

Respect for other religions like Isalm and herchurch is something I hope we all have.

Well said.

Except I would add that my respect is generally more given to members of other religions, and not so much the religions themselves.  That is, I respect the religious insights of my Muslim (and I suppose pagan, though I don't know any self-professedly pagan folks [though I do know lots of folks who are functionally pagan]) friends even as I hope and pray that, by the power of the Spirit, they see the fullness of life with God in Christ.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dan Fienen on July 01, 2009, 02:32:33 PM
How respectful of Native American Spirituality would it be to coopt their symbols and rituals and make them into Christian symbols and rituals.  These symbols and rituals mean something in Native American culture.  To simply take them over and reinterpret them to fit within the Christian belief system would be cultural agression as though they had no right to understand their own culture and symbols in their own right but needed Christians to show them what they really mean.

To draw parallels is one thing and to show points of similarity can be a good evangelistic tool.  But when Christians coopt elements of Native American Spirituality into Christian ritual is not repecting Native Americans.  To do visual, musical or decorative arts that accompany Christian ritual in the cultural style of the intended audience is something else.  So to do a picture of Jesus so that He looks ethnically like the intended audience is not the same as replacing the Cross in a church with a sacred buffallo.

Dan
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 02:34:40 PM
(I need to listen to my own posts.  It is time to leave the rabbit hole.)

Yup -- another inane obfuscation (funny that that's really the #1 tool in his arsenal).

Let's get back to what HerChurch writes.

Here's the "Our Mother" again:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

And the "Goddess Rosary," also known as the "Hail Goddess":

Hail Goddess full of grace. 
Blessed are you
  and blessed are all the fruits
  of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
   Hear us now
  and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen

The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain.  It even has it's own bumper sticker: http://bumperstickers.cafepress.com/item/blessed-be-wiccan-sticker-oval/331584291

Compare these with professedly pagan prayers, taken from: http://www.spiralgoddess.com/Homage.html)

A Morning Prayer

Oh Great Goddess
Bless this day
Keep me safe and whole
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my path
Help me to act on thy wisdom
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my family
All life on this Earth
~ Abby Willowroot © 1999

And the prayer "She Who":

She Who

Great Cosmic Mother
Sacred Life Force in All Things
She Who Creates from Her Own Source
All that is, was, and shall be Mirrors Her

She Who is the Spiraling Galaxies
Alive in the Stars, immenant [sic] in All Things
Endlessly becoming, spinning Life into Being
She Who speaks to us through the Wind and the Calm

She Who is Sacred Balance
Spiral Weaver of Truth and Wisdom
Her Sacred Texts are the Leaves and Grasses
Everywhere is Her Consecrated Ground, Her Temple

She Who, She Who is Many
The Brilliant Sparks of Her Essence
Pulsing & Alive in each Cell of our Body
The Vibrant Red Sea flowing through us All
Is the Sacred River of She Who is the Spiral Goddess

~ Abby Willowroot © 2000

This last "She Who" corresponds nicely with a retreat HerChurch is promoting, entitled: "Celebrate “She Who Is”: Encounter the Divine Feminine with body, mind and spirit -- A Retreat for Women" (http://www.herchurch.org/id10.html)

The point is, of course, that as Brian intimated and Andrew pointed out, what we have are trappings of another religion.  In this case, paganism.

Funny thing is, no one has apparently been able to determine the difference between the prayers from HerChurch and those from pagan sources, not to mention the "Goddess" figurines that come with the rosaries.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 02:48:19 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 02:51:19 PM
The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain. 
The phrase "blessed be" occurs 66 times in the NRSV. It must be a Wiccan document, then.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 01, 2009, 03:02:35 PM
The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain. 
The phrase "blessed be" occurs 66 times in the NRSV. It must be a Wiccan document, then.

Um . . . isn't it usually followed by a direct object, primarily "the Lord"?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 03:13:32 PM
The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain. 
The phrase "blessed be" occurs 66 times in the NRSV. It must be a Wiccan document, then.

Um . . . isn't it usually followed by a direct object, primarily "the Lord"?

No, it's always followed by a direct object, primarily "the Lord" (in the 67 occurrences in NRSV's translation of the Bible and the Apocrypha).
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 01, 2009, 03:22:03 PM
I was being whimsical.  ;D
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Erme Wolf on July 01, 2009, 03:24:28 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 03:25:56 PM
I was being whimsical.  ;D

Whimsy schmimzy -- sounds like something that namby-pamby Hun guy would use.  Us Ruthinians, née Scythians, used to drink from human skulls (insert really, really mean face here:  >:( [See?]).
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 03:26:15 PM
The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain. 
The phrase "blessed be" occurs 66 times in the NRSV. It must be a Wiccan document, then.

Um . . . isn't it usually followed by a direct object, primarily "the Lord"?
Yup, "the Lord" follows in about half the "blessed be" phrases. "God" or "the God" in another 13 phrases.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 03:28:04 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 01, 2009, 03:28:41 PM
(I need to listen to my own posts.  It is time to leave the rabbit hole.)

Yup -- another inane obfuscation (funny that that's really the #1 tool in his arsenal).

Let's get back to what HerChurch writes.

Here's the "Our Mother" again:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

And the "Goddess Rosary," also known as the "Hail Goddess":

Hail Goddess full of grace. 
Blessed are you
  and blessed are all the fruits
  of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
   Hear us now
  and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen

The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain.  It even has it's own bumper sticker: http://bumperstickers.cafepress.com/item/blessed-be-wiccan-sticker-oval/331584291

Compare these with professedly pagan prayers, taken from: http://www.spiralgoddess.com/Homage.html)

A Morning Prayer

Oh Great Goddess
Bless this day
Keep me safe and whole
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my path
Help me to act on thy wisdom
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my family
All life on this Earth
~ Abby Willowroot © 1999

And the prayer "She Who":

She Who

Great Cosmic Mother
Sacred Life Force in All Things
She Who Creates from Her Own Source
All that is, was, and shall be Mirrors Her

She Who is the Spiraling Galaxies
Alive in the Stars, immenant [sic] in All Things
Endlessly becoming, spinning Life into Being
She Who speaks to us through the Wind and the Calm

She Who is Sacred Balance
Spiral Weaver of Truth and Wisdom
Her Sacred Texts are the Leaves and Grasses
Everywhere is Her Consecrated Ground, Her Temple

She Who, She Who is Many
The Brilliant Sparks of Her Essence
Pulsing & Alive in each Cell of our Body
The Vibrant Red Sea flowing through us All
Is the Sacred River of She Who is the Spiral Goddess

~ Abby Willowroot © 2000

This last "She Who" corresponds nicely with a retreat HerChurch is promoting, entitled: "Celebrate “She Who Is”: Encounter the Divine Feminine with body, mind and spirit -- A Retreat for Women" (http://www.herchurch.org/id10.html)

The point is, of course, that as Brian intimated and Andrew pointed out, what we have are trappings of another religion.  In this case, paganism.

Funny thing is, no one has apparently been able to determine the difference between the prayers from HerChurch and those from pagan sources, not to mention the "Goddess" figurines that come with the rosaries.

Don't leave out the Gnostics. The Sethian Gnostics taught that due to Sophia's rebellion against the supreme god, divine sparks were scattered into all humans. The only way for the supreme god to become whole again was for the sparks to be released from the bodies that they are imprisoned in by gnosis of passwords needed to reach the higher realms or by the death of the human. This may be what is the original understanding of the "brilliant sparks of her essences".
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 01, 2009, 03:32:25 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?

I'm confused here, Brian. Are you just trying to draw Erma out, or are you really, like, completely unschooled in Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy?  ???
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 03:35:46 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?

I'm confused here, Brian. Are you just trying to draw Erma out, or are you really, like, completely unschooled in Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy?  ???

I'm going with a dash of the latter, with a dollop of distraction.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Erme Wolf on July 01, 2009, 03:36:30 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?

I'm confused here, Brian. Are you just trying to draw Erma out, or are you really, like, completely unschooled in Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy?  ???

I'm voting for door number two.   ;)

Erma+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 03:41:00 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?

I'm confused here, Brian. Are you just trying to draw Erma out, or are you really, like, completely unschooled in Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy?  ???
I interpret the line in the Athanasian creed: the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; that there was something different about the Son's existence after conception and birth than his existence before that time. I'm using "Jesus" or "the human Jesus" to refer to that portion of "the Son's" life that was lived incarnationally on earth. This begottenness is what separates this person from the other two. Other terms, like Logos, Wisdom, 2nd Person, the Son, express more the eternal aspect of this Person of the Godhead.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 01, 2009, 03:47:27 PM
(I need to listen to my own posts.  It is time to leave the rabbit hole.)

Yup -- another inane obfuscation (funny that that's really the #1 tool in his arsenal).

Let's get back to what HerChurch writes.

Here's the "Our Mother" again:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

And the "Goddess Rosary," also known as the "Hail Goddess":

Hail Goddess full of grace. 
Blessed are you
  and blessed are all the fruits
  of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
   Hear us now
  and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen

The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain.  It even has it's own bumper sticker: http://bumperstickers.cafepress.com/item/blessed-be-wiccan-sticker-oval/331584291

Compare these with professedly pagan prayers, taken from: http://www.spiralgoddess.com/Homage.html)

A Morning Prayer

Oh Great Goddess
Bless this day
Keep me safe and whole
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my path
Help me to act on thy wisdom
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my family
All life on this Earth
~ Abby Willowroot © 1999

And the prayer "She Who":

She Who

Great Cosmic Mother
Sacred Life Force in All Things
She Who Creates from Her Own Source
All that is, was, and shall be Mirrors Her

She Who is the Spiraling Galaxies
Alive in the Stars, immenant [sic] in All Things
Endlessly becoming, spinning Life into Being
She Who speaks to us through the Wind and the Calm

She Who is Sacred Balance
Spiral Weaver of Truth and Wisdom
Her Sacred Texts are the Leaves and Grasses
Everywhere is Her Consecrated Ground, Her Temple

She Who, She Who is Many
The Brilliant Sparks of Her Essence
Pulsing & Alive in each Cell of our Body
The Vibrant Red Sea flowing through us All
Is the Sacred River of She Who is the Spiral Goddess

~ Abby Willowroot © 2000

This last "She Who" corresponds nicely with a retreat HerChurch is promoting, entitled: "Celebrate “She Who Is”: Encounter the Divine Feminine with body, mind and spirit -- A Retreat for Women" (http://www.herchurch.org/id10.html)

The point is, of course, that as Brian intimated and Andrew pointed out, what we have are trappings of another religion.  In this case, paganism.

Funny thing is, no one has apparently been able to determine the difference between the prayers from HerChurch and those from pagan sources, not to mention the "Goddess" figurines that come with the rosaries.

Don't leave out the Gnostics. The Sethian Gnostics taught that due to Sophia's rebellion against the supreme god, divine sparks were scattered into all humans. The only way for the supreme god to become whole again was for the sparks to be released from the bodies that they are imprisoned in by gnosis of passwords needed to reach the higher realms or by the death of the human. This may be what is the original understanding of the "brilliant sparks of her essences".

You'd have to say more to convince me of this, as most of my studies of the various streams of gnosticism focus more on a sense disembodied, disincarnate life, and I get a sense of the opposite here.  I do agree that the sense of the divine being scattered into the human is indeed present in the pagan prayers, but I see instead a glorying in earthiness sans a need for a return -- something that would be quite foreign to most Gnostics, I would think.  I may be wrong as I've looked primarily into Valentinian Gnosticism as spread through his students, but like I said, I'd have to hear more.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 01, 2009, 03:50:55 PM
There is no Christ apart from Jesus in orthodox Christianity.  I know from prior experience that you often raise arguments just to tweek your debate opponents.
I believe that there was a Christ/Logos/Wisdom before Jesus was born.

There were a lot of things before Jesus was born. 

However, in orthodox Christianity, there is no Christ apart from Jesus.
What about the Logos or Wisdom? Did they exist before Jesus was born? Did the human Jesus exist before he was born?

Humans by definition are finite. The Logos (God's word) is co-eternal with the Father. Praying to wisdom makes no sense in a Christian context. It is not part of the Godhead and God's thoughts are not our thoughts. So God's wisdom is not our wisdom. Christians accept the mystery. Gnostics think that their wisdom will make them closer to God.

For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 01, 2009, 04:08:25 PM
(I need to listen to my own posts.  It is time to leave the rabbit hole.)

Yup -- another inane obfuscation (funny that that's really the #1 tool in his arsenal).

Let's get back to what HerChurch writes.

Here's the "Our Mother" again:

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever. Amen

And the "Goddess Rosary," also known as the "Hail Goddess":

Hail Goddess full of grace. 
Blessed are you
  and blessed are all the fruits
  of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
   Hear us now
  and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be.  Amen

The refrain "Blessed be," as pointed out earlier by Tom S., is a common Wiccan refrain.  It even has it's own bumper sticker: http://bumperstickers.cafepress.com/item/blessed-be-wiccan-sticker-oval/331584291

Compare these with professedly pagan prayers, taken from: http://www.spiralgoddess.com/Homage.html)

A Morning Prayer

Oh Great Goddess
Bless this day
Keep me safe and whole
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my path
Help me to act on thy wisdom
Oh Great Goddess
Bless my family
All life on this Earth
~ Abby Willowroot © 1999

And the prayer "She Who":

She Who

Great Cosmic Mother
Sacred Life Force in All Things
She Who Creates from Her Own Source
All that is, was, and shall be Mirrors Her

She Who is the Spiraling Galaxies
Alive in the Stars, immenant [sic] in All Things
Endlessly becoming, spinning Life into Being
She Who speaks to us through the Wind and the Calm

She Who is Sacred Balance
Spiral Weaver of Truth and Wisdom
Her Sacred Texts are the Leaves and Grasses
Everywhere is Her Consecrated Ground, Her Temple

She Who, She Who is Many
The Brilliant Sparks of Her Essence
Pulsing & Alive in each Cell of our Body
The Vibrant Red Sea flowing through us All
Is the Sacred River of She Who is the Spiral Goddess

~ Abby Willowroot © 2000

This last "She Who" corresponds nicely with a retreat HerChurch is promoting, entitled: "Celebrate “She Who Is”: Encounter the Divine Feminine with body, mind and spirit -- A Retreat for Women" (http://www.herchurch.org/id10.html)

The point is, of course, that as Brian intimated and Andrew pointed out, what we have are trappings of another religion.  In this case, paganism.

Funny thing is, no one has apparently been able to determine the difference between the prayers from HerChurch and those from pagan sources, not to mention the "Goddess" figurines that come with the rosaries.

Don't leave out the Gnostics. The Sethian Gnostics taught that due to Sophia's rebellion against the supreme god, divine sparks were scattered into all humans. The only way for the supreme god to become whole again was for the sparks to be released from the bodies that they are imprisoned in by gnosis of passwords needed to reach the higher realms or by the death of the human. This may be what is the original understanding of the "brilliant sparks of her essences".

You'd have to say more to convince me of this, as most of my studies of the various streams of gnosticism focus more on a sense disembodied, disincarnate life, and I get a sense of the opposite here.  I do agree that the sense of the divine being scattered into the human is indeed present in the pagan prayers, but I see instead a glorying in earthiness sans a need for a return -- something that would be quite foreign to most Gnostics, I would think.  I may be wrong as I've looked primarily into Valentinian Gnosticism as spread through his students, but like I said, I'd have to hear more.

Gnosticism is a very broad subject and the Valentinian's were probably the most subtly Christianized form. Sethian's were a completely different animal. It seems to be influenced by Asian mysticism and Greek pantheistic mythology. My primary source for Gnostic information is "Ancient Gnosticism" by Birger A. Pearson.

PS An excellent example of Sethian Gnostic thought is the Gospel of Judas. April DeConick's book "The Thirteenth Apostle" does a great job of guiding you through the tract and supplying background information. The attitude of the tract towards the Apostle's is very close to modern day academics who refer to them as the duh-ciples.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on July 01, 2009, 05:22:04 PM

On the TV show, they showed pictures of Mary and Jesus as Apaches. I've seen pictures of a "black" and Asian Jesus. (Actually, I've not seen many pictures where he looks Jewish!)


Even for you, Brian, that makes for a curious non-sequitur.

I believe that it is exactly the issue.


I suppose I was too subtle.  Compare and contrast:

     a) I saw a couple pictures of the Holy Family as Apaches.

     b) I've seen pictures of a black Jesus.

     c) I've seen pictures of an Asian Jesus.

     d) I've not seen many pictures where Jesus looks Jewish.


Oy vey!  Steven+
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 05:53:37 PM
For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
The personification of Wisdom as part of the Godhead is also found in canonical Proverbs. Consider Pr 8:22-31 where Wisdom considers her divine origin, somewhat similar to John 1.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 01, 2009, 06:02:47 PM
For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
The personification of Wisdom as part of the Godhead is also found in canonical Proverbs. Consider Pr 8:22-31 where Wisdom considers her divine origin, somewhat similar to John 1.

And you take that as literal truth but Jesus' statement about the purpose of human sexuality, marriage, and divorce is only kinda true. Go figure.  ???
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 01, 2009, 08:14:37 PM
For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
The personification of Wisdom as part of the Godhead is also found in canonical Proverbs. Consider Pr 8:22-31 where Wisdom considers her divine origin, somewhat similar to John 1.

And you take that as literal truth but Jesus' statement about the purpose of human sexuality, marriage, and divorce is only kinda true. Go figure.  ???
I've been pretty literal that marriages after divorce are committing adultery. Have you forgotten that? I've also been pretty clear that sex makes the couple one (in opposition to those who state that the biblical purpose of sex is procreation).
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 01, 2009, 08:23:08 PM
For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
The personification of Wisdom as part of the Godhead is also found in canonical Proverbs. Consider Pr 8:22-31 where Wisdom considers her divine origin, somewhat similar to John 1.

And you take that as literal truth but Jesus' statement about the purpose of human sexuality, marriage, and divorce is only kinda true. Go figure.  ???
I've been pretty literal that marriages after divorce are committing adultery. Have you forgotten that? I've also been pretty clear that sex makes the couple one (in opposition to those who state that the biblical purpose of sex is procreation).

So does that make gays who have sexual relations two sinners or one? How many gays have you known that have only had one sexual partner? Gene Robinson had three children when he was divorced and "married" his boyfriend. So was he a masturbator, a sodomite, or an adulterer? You love to judge straight married couples who divorce. Why don't the same rules apply to gays?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 01, 2009, 10:18:57 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
How many gays have you known that have only had one sexual partner?
I ask:
So how many heterosexuals have you known that have only had one sexual partner? And why is that an issue?

Gary Hinton writes:
Gene Robinson had three children when he was divorced and "married" his boyfriend. So was he a masturbator, a sodomite, or an adulterer? You love to judge straight married couples who divorce. Why don't the same rules apply to gays?

I ask:
And what is the point of these questions? As I understand the proposals in the ELCA statement, the intent is to make the same requirements of same gender couples as for heterosexual couples?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 02, 2009, 07:14:55 AM
::) ::) ::)

<snip>

 As I understand the proposals in the ELCA statement, the intent is to make the same requirements of same gender couples as for heterosexual couples?

Oy wey, again with the divorce thing.  Will we ever get it straight? I will be happy to demand that divorced men and women seek redemption and  forgiveness for their sin. Heck, most do realize the awkwardness of their situation very naturally.  A few "celebrate" their "achievement" of freedom from their spouse and truly need to have the boom lowered on them. Those reflective enough and brave enough to admit it know that the matter haunts for a lifetime, remarriage or not.

The intent of the ELCA statement is to "un- sin" both. Therein lies the problem and always has. Yes, there is an exegetical battle over the issue of gay sex; yes, there was one over divorce. Yes, there is and was, respectively, a theological battle.

The problem at heart is that everyone wants to say: "There, there: you are alright no matter what that awful scripture says," instead of saying: "Sinner, as you have confessed and as you believe, by the blood of Christ and by his bitter passion I declare unto you the forgiveness of all your sin." It would be countercultural to do that.  Maybe we are just too much into embracing culture right now.

Personally, I find much, much, much more comfort in the words of absolution than I find in the exegetical hijinks of today's biblical scholars and their amateur minions. I know they will change their minds with the seasons and the next season and method to be used and explored is just around the corner. As for me an my house, we shall throw ourselves on the mercies of Christ the lamb who was slain to take away the sin of the world.

But then that should be standard Lutheran fare and I wonder why we are arguing about it.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 02, 2009, 08:33:42 AM
Peter Kruse writes:
Oy wey, again with the divorce thing.

I comment:
I never mentioned divorce, and the word was not in the snip from my posting that you used to start your remark.
I did say that, as I understand it, if there are to be same-gender marriages or unions, they would be with the intent of holding the partners to the same requirements as those now in effect for heterosexual couples.
I did wonder why the earlier poster thought that the number of sexual partners had anything to do with the core issue.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: revjagow on July 02, 2009, 08:43:32 AM
For someone who makes fun of the Hebraic Code as often as you do, it is a great mystery to me why the Wisdom of Solomon has absolute authority. Or is it some other wisdom that you are referring to above.
The personification of Wisdom as part of the Godhead is also found in canonical Proverbs. Consider Pr 8:22-31 where Wisdom considers her divine origin, somewhat similar to John 1.

And you take that as literal truth but Jesus' statement about the purpose of human sexuality, marriage, and divorce is only kinda true. Go figure.  ???
I've been pretty literal that marriages after divorce are committing adultery. Have you forgotten that? I've also been pretty clear that sex makes the couple one (in opposition to those who state that the biblical purpose of sex is procreation).

This probably would be better discussed on the sexuality statement thread, however, its fresh on my mind from doing pre-mariital counseling last night:

I think there is a lot more mystery to embrace when Jesus says "the two shall become one."  It is more than sex and procreation.  When I speak to couples who have been married 20, 40 and 50 + years, there are ways in which they know what their spouse is thinking and feeling.  Their aims and goals in life become more unified than when they first started out.  There are a lot of ways and a lot of different levels that God unites two lives to be one. 

Now, what this has to do with an apostate "church," I am not sure.  But, there it is.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 02, 2009, 09:30:47 AM
::) ::) ::)

Peter Kruse writes:
Oy wey, again with the divorce thing.

I comment:
I never mentioned divorce, and the word was not in the snip from my posting that you used to start your remark.
I did say that, as I understand it, if there are to be same-gender marriages or unions, they would be with the intent of holding the partners to the same requirements as those now in effect for heterosexual couples.
I did wonder why the earlier poster thought that the number of sexual partners had anything to do with the core issue.


In the flow of the conversation the post makes sense. If gay and divorced people are to be held to the same standard then let's finally remember what a Lutheran standard is.  On what basis will we hold gay marriages accountable when we do not do the same with heterosexual marriages? Their marriage is o.k. but the dissolution of it is not? Or is the dissolution of marriage o.k. but entering a gay relationship is not? Is it both? Is it neither? Am I supposed to approve of Gay marriage now but continue to counsel against divorce? The latter has a longer history of acceptance than the latter, BTW, and its acceptance is based on the same hermeneutical trajectory.  I say, the Lutheran solution is to forgive both, not to embrace them.

This, is what raises my eyebrow concerning the reports about Herchurch who, I suppose, enjoys the publicity greatly. They can now claim the title of poster girl for the poor persecuted modern feminist masses and go on lecture and preaching tours for like minded people. But at base the excesses reported here, if accurate, suggest exactly the hermeneutic I object to above.  To me it reads: You are o.k. just as you are, you just need to embrace it fully and claim it and its power for yourself, and the only sin is to hinder someone else from fully embracing themselves. It ain't Lutheran
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 02, 2009, 10:59:56 AM
Gary Hinton writes:
How many gays have you known that have only had one sexual partner?
I ask:
So how many heterosexuals have you known that have only had one sexual partner? And why is that an issue?

Gary Hinton writes:
Gene Robinson had three children when he was divorced and "married" his boyfriend. So was he a masturbator, a sodomite, or an adulterer? You love to judge straight married couples who divorce. Why don't the same rules apply to gays?

I ask:
And what is the point of these questions? As I understand the proposals in the ELCA statement, the intent is to make the same requirements of same gender couples as for heterosexual couples?

Charles, you just have to pay closer attention. I know it's hard when Brian goes off on these tangents but I rode the wave and went wherever he went, so you should be able to also.

You ask "So how many heterosexuals have you known that have only had one sexual partner? And why is that an issue?" First of all, multiple sexual partners are usually referred to in Lutheran circles as one of the sins falling under the heading of adultery. So how the scriptures are 'interpreted' in this area affects our understanding of God's will. Brian has dragged out more red herrings than a Swedish folk festival to un-sin homosex. I have addressed each and every one of his tangents and shown that, in the final account, every new translation of the Greek words for gay sexual partners amounts to the same thing, sin. This would only be a personal problem (between God and the sinner) if the ELCA wasn't on the cusp of changing God's law to accommodate the gay activists.

Getting back to first part of your question. The answer is that I don't know how many heterosexuals I have known who have only had one sexual partners but that is not something that I ask about and they don't usually volunteer. Gays, OTOH, seem to be proud of their sexual exploits with multiple partners. Jeff Johnson references it in his address to a Chicago ELCA congregation. Gene Robinson celebrates it in his speeches. So why would I need to ask them. Yet Brian keeps presenting this type of behavior as the same as divorced couples being remarried. Are they both sins? Yes, but those that find it embarrassing would seem to be the more likely candidates for absolution.

As for the intent of the ELCA being to make the same requirements of those in life long committed same gender relations as for heterosexual couples, that horse died before it even got out of the chute. As I read the motivation of many of those who support these measures, it is seen as a way to allow folks like our friend Steve Sabin to remain the pastor of an ELCA congregation. Now I can relate to that since he is a very likable, intelligent, and competent pastor. None the less, he is "all of that" when it comes to sexual sin, breaking vows to God and the ELCA, defrocked by our denomination, and does not represent the biblical understandings of Luther. If the denomination built on the teaching of Luther is the flock and if the job of the shepherd is to keep the sheep in the flock then what we have here is a stampede. (do sheep do that?) The scriptures would no longer be the norm for our denomination. (contrary to our constitution and confession of faith) This will be attractive to the enthusiasts at first but most of them major in short attention span activities. So, having gotten God's stamp of approval on their current political agenda, will move on to greener pastures.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 11:10:20 AM
I think there is a lot more mystery to embrace when Jesus says "the two shall become one."  It is more than sex and procreation.  When I speak to couples who have been married 20, 40 and 50 + years, there are ways in which they know what their spouse is thinking and feeling.  Their aims and goals in life become more unified than when they first started out.  There are a lot of ways and a lot of different levels that God unites two lives to be one.
I agree with you, but, in some ways, it is a disagreement with Scriptures -- or at least, adding to the scriptural statement that sex makes a couple one flesh (1 Cor 6:16).

This expanded definition about a couples "oneness" can also apply to same-gendered couples; and, contrary to Paul, it is not something that happens in "one night stands," but over the years of living together in a committed relationship that goes through the best and worst of times.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 02, 2009, 11:13:35 AM
Gary Hinton writes:
As far as the intent of the ELCA to make the same requirements of those in life long committed same gender relations as for heterosexual couples? That horse died before it even got out of the chute. As I read the motivation of many of those who support these measures, it is seen as a way to allow folks like our friend Steve Sabin to remain the pastor of an ELCA congregation.

I observe:
I am wary of judging motives of people far from me. And I question whether the discussions about faithful, committed relationships among people of the same gender are designed to aid any particular person or set of persons. As I read the materials, it seems to me that the intent is to require those couples to be committed in the same way as heterosexual couples. Why do you see it differently?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 11:24:44 AM
Or is the dissolution of marriage o.k. but entering a gay relationship is not? Is it both?
As I read scriptures, the dissolution of marriage may be OK (according to Matthew and Paul,) but marrying after a divorce is committing adultery; which I would understand as being not OK.

Quote
Am I supposed to approve of Gay marriage now but continue to counsel against divorce?
I believe that if you oppose gay marriage on biblical grounds, you also have to oppose marriages after divorce -- and treat such people in the szme way you treat same-gender couples.

Quote
I say, the Lutheran solution is to forgive both, not to embrace them.
I agree that our Lutheran emphasis is on forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive divorced people who marry again. Does forgiveness now declare that the remarriages are OK and are not committing adultery? Does forgiveness mean that we will celebrate such marriages in our churches? Does repentance by the couple mean that they have to annul the second marriage? Do we tell couples that it cannot be God's will for them to fall in love after a divorce because it is sin?

When we start applying confession and forgiveness to the specific act of marrying after a divorce, it gets really messy; and, for the most part, we have ignored Jesus' words about it being adultery, and have said that second marriages are OK, and celebrated in our churches, and blessed by God, and do not prohibit one from the ordained ministry. What are the reasons we do that? Why don't those same reasons apply to same-gender relationships?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 02, 2009, 01:14:20 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
As far as the intent of the ELCA to make the same requirements of those in life long committed same gender relations as for heterosexual couples? That horse died before it even got out of the chute. As I read the motivation of many of those who support these measures, it is seen as a way to allow folks like our friend Steve Sabin to remain the pastor of an ELCA congregation.

I observe:
I am wary of judging motives of people far from me. And I question whether the discussions about faithful, committed relationships among people of the same gender are designed to aid any particular person or set of persons. As I read the materials, it seems to me that the intent is to require those couples to be committed in the same way as heterosexual couples. Why do you see it differently?

Let's see. Why would I read the materials and not see the intent of the proposed changes to V&E as a way to hold those in LLCSSRes to the same standards as a married heterosexual couple? Maybe because it doesn't say what standards we are talking about. It seems that standards are left up to the individual based on her/his bound conscious. How is that a standard for a Christian organization?

Of course, if they pass and you are correct that they really mean that the sexual behaviors demonstrated by LLCSSR couples are equally valid expressions of agape love. We need to have a real world discussion of that decision. Before we open this Pandora's box maybe we should take a peek inside. Homosex involves sexual behaviors that are the definition of sodomy. So if sodomy is officially approved by the ELCA does that make it okay for heterosexual couples? After all, why should the gays have all the fun, right. I'm sure that  there are some ELCA wives that can be convinced that, since it is okay'd by the ELCA for gay committed couples that it must be okay for straights.

If you find my statements offensive, I don't blame you. I find those thoughts offensive myself. However, in a sex obsessed society like the one we live in, we need to think seriously about the consequences of our actions. "Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves." Romans 14:22

Agape love must be extended to all sinners regardless of the nature of their sin. That is not the same as loving their sin. If you really think that the task force documents are a higher expression of Christian love then maybe you should think about the weaker vessel. What message is it going to send to weak minded individuals like myself who believe that Jesus, Paul, Peter, et al said what they meant and meant what they said.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on July 02, 2009, 03:38:48 PM
I've been pretty literal that marriages after divorce are committing adultery. Have you forgotten that? I've also been pretty clear that sex makes the couple one (in opposition to those who state that the biblical purpose of sex is procreation).

And you've been persistent in stating things as oppositional when they are not. The biblical (and, indeed, evolutionary) purpose of sex is procreation. Another biblical purpose of sex is uniting two as one, which could also be stated as an aspect of human psychology: emotional bonding. There is no "choose one of the above" involved.

Marriage is a social or communal sanction of the union, and serves to support a stable environment for the safe rearing of children.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 03:43:06 PM
And you've been persistent in stating things as oppositional when they are not. The biblical (and, indeed, evolutionary) purpose of sex is procreation. Another biblical purpose of sex is uniting two as one, which could also be stated as an aspect of human psychology: emotional bonding. There is no "choose one of the above" involved.

Marriage is a social or communal sanction of the union, and serves to support a stable environment for the safe rearing of children.
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

I agree with this understanding of marriage; but how does society determine who is married and who is not? I argue that such public attesting of a marriage was quite different in biblical times than it is today.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on July 02, 2009, 03:55:52 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 02, 2009, 04:02:35 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 04:19:04 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.
I don't know about you, but I generally select foods because of their taste and not their nutritional value. (I take pills to help with the lack of nutrition in the foods I take pleasure in eating.) There are some very healthy foods out there that I don't eat because they don't bring pleasure to my mouth.

Regardless if the real but hidden purpose is nutrition or procreation; I maintain that humans eat what they eat and engage in sex because of the pleasure it brings.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 02, 2009, 04:28:28 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D

βριάν στοφφρέγαν
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 02, 2009, 04:29:39 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D

βριάν στοφφρέγαν

Wait, is that classical or koine?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 02, 2009, 04:57:38 PM
I don't know where Gary Hinton finds in the draft of the sexuality study any "approval" of any specific sexual acts. Where is that?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 02, 2009, 04:59:16 PM
Or is the dissolution of marriage o.k. but entering a gay relationship is not? Is it both?
As I read scriptures, the dissolution of marriage may be OK (according to Matthew and Paul,) but marrying after a divorce is committing adultery; which I would understand as being not OK.

Quote
Am I supposed to approve of Gay marriage now but continue to counsel against divorce?
I believe that if you oppose gay marriage on biblical grounds, you also have to oppose marriages after divorce -- and treat such people in the szme way you treat same-gender couples.

Quote
I say, the Lutheran solution is to forgive both, not to embrace them.
I agree that our Lutheran emphasis is on forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive divorced people who marry again. Does forgiveness now declare that the remarriages are OK and are not committing adultery? Does forgiveness mean that we will celebrate such marriages in our churches? Does repentance by the couple mean that they have to annul the second marriage? Do we tell couples that it cannot be God's will for them to fall in love after a divorce because it is sin?

When we start applying confession and forgiveness to the specific act of marrying after a divorce, it gets really messy; and, for the most part, we have ignored Jesus' words about it being adultery, and have said that second marriages are OK, and celebrated in our churches, and blessed by God, and do not prohibit one from the ordained ministry. What are the reasons we do that? Why don't those same reasons apply to same-gender relationships?

You are missing the point, and  the genius of the Lutheran way. I am saying that the same reasons DO apply or at least should. Another generation of Brian Stoffregens will arise and attempt to ply their hand at the trade of exegesis. They will, mark my words, read your stuff and obstinately interpret  the scriptures the direct opposite of the stuff you are putting out.  After them will come yet others.  What remains, however,  is the Gospel that sinners only understand too well. It is and will be those who have no real proof or idea that they indeed are sinners or who refuse to believe or heed the call of the law, who really do not have the nagging voice of the tempter in their ears saying:  "surely God does not love you?" that read the bible in search for loop holes because they do not understand forgivness. So, why not read the bible in the simplest of ways? Let it convict. That same bible teaches about Jesus work as well, which is, when read simply, the cure for the guilt felt.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 05:06:58 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D

βριάν στοφφρέγαν
Hmmm, for some reason I don't find those words in any of my Greek Lexicons. ;D

Oh, and it should be στοφφρέγεν
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 05:10:36 PM
You are missing the point, and  the genius of the Lutheran way. I am saying that the same reasons DO apply or at least should. Another generation of Brian Stoffregens will arise and attempt to ply their hand at the trade of exegesis. They will, mark my words, read your stuff and obstinately interpret  the scriptures the direct opposite of the stuff you are putting out.  After them will come yet others.  What remains, however,  is the Gospel that sinners only understand too well. It is and will be those who have no real proof or idea that they indeed are sinners or who refuse to believe or heed the call of the law, who really do not have the nagging voice of the tempter in their ears saying:  "surely God does not love you?" that read the bible in search for loop holes because they do not understand forgivness. So, why not read the bible in the simplest of ways? Let it convict. That same bible teaches about Jesus work as well, which is, when read simply, the cure for the guilt felt.
I'll ask you very simply, does Jesus say that those who marry after a divorce are committing adultery?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Scott6 on July 02, 2009, 05:43:21 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D

βριάν στοφφρέγαν
Hmmm, for some reason I don't find those words in any of my Greek Lexicons. ;D

Oh, and it should be στοφφρέγεν

Sorry for the misspelling.  I suppose I'm just subconsciously trying to get back at a lifetime of misspellings (my personal favorite was in a high school swim meet when the announcer said: "And in Lane 5, Scott Yummo!").
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 02, 2009, 05:53:39 PM
I believe that for humans, sex took places because it was pleasurable -- and females would allow it even with they weren't most fertile, unlike most other mammals. The fact that it produced children was secondary.

A complete non sequitor. You could have as easily said that the reason humans began eating was that their tummies stopped rumbling when they did so, and that their tongues took delight in the sweetness of the fig. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "purpose," which involves nutrition.

How do you say 'duuhhh' in classical Greek.  ;D

βριάν στοφφρέγαν
Hmmm, for some reason I don't find those words in any of my Greek Lexicons. ;D

Oh, and it should be στοφφρέγεν

Sorry for the misspelling.  I suppose I'm just subconsciously trying to get back at a lifetime of misspellings (my personal favorite was in a high school swim meet when the announcer said: "And in Lane 5, Scott Yummo!").

Don't apologize Scott. He was just stepping on your punch line. I was LOL and didn't care whether it was spelled right or not.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 02, 2009, 06:23:21 PM
You are missing the point, and  the genius of the Lutheran way. I am saying that the same reasons DO apply or at least should. Another generation of Brian Stoffregens will arise and attempt to ply their hand at the trade of exegesis. They will, mark my words, read your stuff and obstinately interpret  the scriptures the direct opposite of the stuff you are putting out.  After them will come yet others.  What remains, however,  is the Gospel that sinners only understand too well. It is and will be those who have no real proof or idea that they indeed are sinners or who refuse to believe or heed the call of the law, who really do not have the nagging voice of the tempter in their ears saying:  "surely God does not love you?" that read the bible in search for loop holes because they do not understand forgivness. So, why not read the bible in the simplest of ways? Let it convict. That same bible teaches about Jesus work as well, which is, when read simply, the cure for the guilt felt.
I'll ask you very simply, does Jesus say that those who marry after a divorce are committing adultery?

You are still grazing in the wrong meadow, Zophar . . .
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 02, 2009, 06:26:49 PM
You are missing the point, and  the genius of the Lutheran way. I am saying that the same reasons DO apply or at least should. Another generation of Brian Stoffregens will arise and attempt to ply their hand at the trade of exegesis. They will, mark my words, read your stuff and obstinately interpret  the scriptures the direct opposite of the stuff you are putting out.  After them will come yet others.  What remains, however,  is the Gospel that sinners only understand too well. It is and will be those who have no real proof or idea that they indeed are sinners or who refuse to believe or heed the call of the law, who really do not have the nagging voice of the tempter in their ears saying:  "surely God does not love you?" that read the bible in search for loop holes because they do not understand forgivness. So, why not read the bible in the simplest of ways? Let it convict. That same bible teaches about Jesus work as well, which is, when read simply, the cure for the guilt felt.
I'll ask you very simply, does Jesus say that those who marry after a divorce are committing adultery?

You are still grazing in the wrong meadow, Zophar . . .
Not if the main and underlying issue is the authority of scriptures. Unfortunately, I'm not able to graze on your answer. I can't find it.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 03, 2009, 11:19:43 AM
You are missing the point, and  the genius of the Lutheran way. I am saying that the same reasons DO apply or at least should. Another generation of Brian Stoffregens will arise and attempt to ply their hand at the trade of exegesis. They will, mark my words, read your stuff and obstinately interpret  the scriptures the direct opposite of the stuff you are putting out.  After them will come yet others.  What remains, however,  is the Gospel that sinners only understand too well. It is and will be those who have no real proof or idea that they indeed are sinners or who refuse to believe or heed the call of the law, who really do not have the nagging voice of the tempter in their ears saying:  "surely God does not love you?" that read the bible in search for loop holes because they do not understand forgivness. So, why not read the bible in the simplest of ways? Let it convict. That same bible teaches about Jesus work as well, which is, when read simply, the cure for the guilt felt.
I'll ask you very simply, does Jesus say that those who marry after a divorce are committing adultery?

You are still grazing in the wrong meadow, Zophar . . .
Not if the main and underlying issue is the authority of scriptures. Unfortunately, I'm not able to graze on your answer. I can't find it.

Why?  Are you questioning the authority of scripture?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 03, 2009, 02:32:54 PM
I don't know where Gary Hinton finds in the draft of the sexuality study any "approval" of any specific sexual acts. Where is that?

I said "Let's see. Why would I read the materials and not see the intent of the proposed changes to V&E as a way to hold those in LLCSSRes to the same standards as a married heterosexual couple?" Does that sound like I'm referring to the draft study to you. Now you read the resolutions and tell me if gay marriage has anything to do with specific sexual acts. If it has nothing to do with sex acts then I'm for it.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: northdakota on July 03, 2009, 04:17:56 PM
I don't know where Gary Hinton finds in the draft of the sexuality study any "approval" of any specific sexual acts. Where is that?

I said "Let's see. Why would I read the materials and not see the intent of the proposed changes to V&E as a way to hold those in LLCSSRes to the same standards as a married heterosexual couple?" Does that sound like I'm referring to the draft study to you. Now you read the resolutions and tell me if gay marriage has anything to do with specific sexual acts. If it has nothing to do with sex acts then I'm for it.


I think this response should be on the sexuality thread, but to support your thesis Gary, when the Eastern North Dakota Synod assembly met this year they supported the sexuality social statement and voted against the ministry proposals (barely). What was telling was the response of the bishop (quoted in the Grand Forks Herald). He made it clear that the congregations of the ELCA in this synod were not supportive yet (although the vote against practicing gay/lesbian clergy was only by 20 votes or less) of practicing gay/lesbian clergy, but they were overwhelmingly supportive of blessing same-sex unions on a local level for the laity. What that means is that even while voting in favor of the Social Statement on sex, they understood this statement to be about sex....blessing the sexual acts of gay/lesbian people.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 03, 2009, 05:49:53 PM
Why?  Are you questioning the authority of scripture?
No. I'm questioning your interpretation of scripture. Is marrying after a divorce a sin and something the church should deny all who seek it?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 03, 2009, 06:33:51 PM
Why?  Are you questioning the authority of scripture?
No. I'm questioning your interpretation of scripture. Is marrying after a divorce a sin and something the church should deny all who seek it?

Yes, it is a sin. Ask me again and I'll say it the same. Yes, the Church should not celebrate a 2nd marriage in the Church without scriptural support for an annulment (such as that pesky verse where Jesus says except for sexual immorality).

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Mt 5:31-32

Should they be excommunicated if they disregard the judgment of the Church? No, of course not and neither should gays who disregard the Church's judgment. Should either one be serving as ordained Lutheran Ministers? No, unless they have demonstrated a sincere repentance, confessed their sin, received absolution and lead a chaste and holy life.

Now ask me a hard question.


Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: Dadoo on July 03, 2009, 06:52:05 PM
Why?  Are you questioning the authority of scripture?
No. I'm questioning your interpretation of scripture. Is marrying after a divorce a sin and something the church should deny all who seek it?

Who is talking scriptural interpretation? I am not. I am talking theology. What is sin and how does it get dealt with?
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: hillwilliam on July 03, 2009, 07:41:27 PM
In looking through the Herchurch website I found a very interesting quote highlighted on the "About Us" page: "Jesus' redemptive power lies ultimately in ideal liberated-humanity, not in his maleness.  Christ's maleness is significant only insofar as he renounced the privileges that accompany it."  Now I do not derive much significance from Christ's maleness - other than that He had to be one or the other if He were truly incarnate as one of us.  I certainly do not find His maleness to be redemptive.  However, is there any serious theologian of any Christian denomination no matter how conservative, traditional, liberal or wacko who asserts that Jesus' redemptive power lies in His maleness?  That seems to total red herring, perhaps as an excuse for their fondness for refering to Jesus as "Christ-Sophia". 

As in the opening of the "About Us" page: WELCOME to Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran! 
In Christ-Sophia we gather for sacred ritual, communion(ity) and acts of justice.  Our mission is to embody and voice the prophetic word of the divine feminine to "self," "Church," and "world!"

Even more significant is what is not said about Jesus' redemptive power - nothing about sin or forgiveness - nothing about what He did that was redemptive.  (Actually the statement says very little which is a problem in itself.)  All I can conclude is that redemption is about liberation in some fashion, perhaps becoming a part of an ideal liberated-humanity.  The only thing that the statement talks about Jesus doing, "he renounced the privileges that accompany it" (maleness) could serve as an example for us to follow, renouncing privileges.  Does this mean that Jesus' redemptive work was as an example for us to follow?  That would fit well with the pop WWJD theology, but not Lutheran theology.  Salvation as following the example of Jesus is all Law and no Gospel.  Since Jesus was male, what example does He give women to follow for their liberation/empowerment?  Perhaps that is why there is so much reliance on other (non-Christian) spiritual traditions at Herchurch.

There is more going on here than just reclaiming some feminine Biblical imagrey for God.  What is portrayed on the web is a thorough reworking of the Gospel into something other than Christ and Him crucified.

Dan
 

Anyone who was a young adult during the the 1960's and 70's recognizes this as radical feminism. Their working motto was "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". They blamed all of mankind's problems on "misogynists". They congregate at web sites like "man hater" and glory in their "misandry". Radical feminist leaders stated that no woman was truly a feminist until she came out as a lesbian. This is not Christianity. It is the war of the sexes.

Carol Christ is prominent on the herchurch web site, she is a lesbian, and offers tours of goddess sites in the Mediterranean. What does anyone not see about this worship of other gods. You can worship Jesus Christ or you can worship the human incarnation of the Gnostic Goddess Sophia. You can't do both. Take a lesson from the experience of Solomon.
Title: Re: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)
Post by: peter_speckhard on July 04, 2009, 08:24:30 PM
Wow. Miss a week, miss a lot around here. On second thought, I had to keep checking the year on the posts because nothing has changed. Comforting in a way.