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Title: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 31, 2007, 10:03:17 PM
I often feel, shall we say, a little out of place when I am in gatherings with other pastors. I'm kind of used to this by now. One of the things about going to confirmation camp is that it gives an opportunity to visit with other pastors in a relaxed setting, where there are no resolutions to be debated and theological discussions tend to be limited to amused asides about the theology and musicality of some of the songs that the camp staff (college students all) teach our young teens. But hey, it's camp.

Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

I skipped the after-dinner game, muttered something about living in the wrong century, and went off into the trees to sing Evening Prayer at the top of my lungs. It calmed me down, just a bit.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: BeornBjornson on July 31, 2007, 11:03:10 PM
Richard,
I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.
Ken Kimball
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on July 31, 2007, 11:26:26 PM
Richard,
I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.
Ken Kimball

Likewise. 

Feeling a bit less like Elijah in the cave.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 01, 2007, 12:26:36 AM
You guys are a bunch of fuddy-duddies. Just because the creed is one of the six chief parts of the catechism doesn't mean it should be part of confirmation class. We let the kids mix it up with all the parts. Just prior to confirmation we have them name two or three physical elements to which they personally attach God's grace and forgiveness so they aren't stuck with boring old bread and wine. It makes it more real, more relevant, and more personal to give the kids this kind of flexibility. And it makes first communion a hoot, as all the congregation oohs and ahs (and yes, sometimes laughs) at the creative and fun things the kids chose as their personal means of grace. And it isn't as though God couldn't work through the kids' choices, and why wouldn't He?   
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 01, 2007, 12:28:40 AM
Richard, I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.  Ken Kimball
Likewise.    Feeling a bit less like Elijah in the cave. 
Ditto. 
Blessings,
Irl
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 01, 2007, 03:51:16 AM
I was surprised when our beloved moderator informed me, some months back, that numerous congregations in his neck of the woods were routinely and intentionally inviting the unbaptized to receive communion.  I guess I should not be surprised to hear that some reserve the use of the creeds for an occasional high holy day, but I am.  I hope that this was not a group preparing to go to the churchwide assembly.  Are there still any here who deny that there is more than one faith being taught in the ELCA?

Mel Harris   (truly a dinosaur)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 01, 2007, 05:24:57 AM
I have no doubt that I would have reacted in exactly the same way as did our esteemed moderator. I have had confirmands write their own "what does this mean?" paragraphs regarding the Creed (and the other parts of the catechism), but they are - without exception - to learn the Creed, and it is what we use at the eucharist. (My predecessor here had the confirmands read their "explanations" to the congregation on Confirmation Sunday, but the kids always hated doing that and I didn't like the idea, so this year we didn't do it.)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 01, 2007, 05:30:01 AM

One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday."


I just took a late night (actually very early morning) walk over to my office to check and found that the Apostles' Creed is part of the profession of faith in the Affirmation of Baptism rite in ELW.  I have no idea just what the confirmands will affirm if they will not use the creed on confirmation Sunday.  I must really be behind the times.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on August 01, 2007, 06:41:59 AM
I believe, I think, in the creation of kool aide, ex nihilo from the pink dust, and the sharing of a pitcher of the deep red kind with a thick chocolate chip cookie and of faith in the cabin when falling, with your eyes closed, into the arms of my buddies and blindfolding walking along the creek with the older Counselor leading the way, all the smelly socks under the bed reminding me later in the week.   You can cross yourself or bow at the word FALLING, if you wish.  Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: gcnuss on August 01, 2007, 07:43:08 AM
It would have been interesting to witness the "explosion" -- and to respond with a hearty "Amen."
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 01, 2007, 07:45:27 AM
One wonders why pastors who do not regard the Apostles' Creed as important enough for children to memorize bother to be pastors at all.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Bergs on August 01, 2007, 09:49:54 AM
Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

The fact that 2/3's of the pastors supported this nonsense or did not have a strong opinion is an indictment against ELCA (of course I am assuming this is not a LCMS camp) seminaries.  What are we teaching these pastors?  I suppose the logical end to this kind of thinking is have the children write their own Scriptures. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 01, 2007, 10:06:55 AM
Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

The fact that 2/3's of the pastors supported this nonsense or did not have a strong opinion is an indictment against ELCA (of course I am assuming this is not a LCMS camp) seminaries.  What are we teaching these pastors?  I suppose the logical end to this kind of thinking is have the children write their own Scriptures. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Why is this surprising?  Its just another symptom of the post modern "interpretation" shell game that is used these days.   The hermeneutic of smoke and mirrors that is used on creeds, confessions, scripture and constitutions.   No authority of its own and only a matter of time until it is overturned in a vote some where.   

Sure you might say its a foundation of our faith but these people (like some on this list even) have been taught that such things may be outdated, ill informed, need to be reinterpreted by personal present experience.   Sure it may be in a church constitution but again that is just a simple  individual interpretation away from being nullified?

Why was the Apostles Creed such a mile stone when so much of the Christian faith has been tacitly denied already?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 01, 2007, 10:17:39 AM
One wonders why pastors who do not regard the Apostles' Creed as important enough for children to memorize bother to be pastors at all.

Obviously because is they are in a system that teaches a different understanding of pastors than yours.  One where tacit vows to uphold interpretations routinely trumps any vow to uphold scriptures, confessions, constitutions, creeds ect.   You can see it routinely on this list.

For these folks they are only an official interpretation, special interest group or vote away from being the new self proclaimed (postmodern) orthodox.   

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Pr. Jerry on August 01, 2007, 11:03:25 AM
This is my first post on this site, so I beg forgiveness ahead of time if I mess something up...

Much can, has, and should be said about what this says about the state of orthodox/confessional understanding in our denomination, but I think something equally interesting needs to be noted... 

Kinda sad, dontcha' think, that the ministerium is so fragmented that we feel so ill at ease among our colleagues?  I too feel amazingly lonely at Synod Assemblies, conference meetings, and even text study as I listen to my fellow pastors wax "progressive" about such issues.  I usually end up feeling more depressed than uplifted after spending any ammount of time around my colleagues.  Prayer and the Daily Offices are a good remedy for such feelings, but still...

I thank God, Richard, that you are indeed in the right century, when we need your most urgently.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: bmj on August 01, 2007, 11:58:41 AM

One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday."


I just took a late night (actually very early morning) walk over to my office to check and found that the Apostles' Creed is part of the profession of faith in the Affirmation of Baptism rite in ELW.  I have no idea just what the confirmands will affirm if they will not use the creed on confirmation Sunday.  I must really be behind the times.

Mel Harris

You are not behind the times Mel.  Keep the Faith.  For what it is worth, my 7 year old daughter insists on saying the Apostles Creed every night as part of bedtime prayers.  My 4 year old "parrots" most of it along with her.  I also cannot image confirmands not being taught the creeds, both the words and the meaning.  These creeds also are one of the strongest points of unity and ecumenical agreement with other parts of the Body of Christ.

Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 01, 2007, 01:06:11 PM
I think your going ballistic is justified, Richard.  I cannot fathom a confirmation program that will end in a rite we now call "affirmation of faith" without learning or, for that matter, drinking deeply of the creed.  Sure, I think I'd rather pointedly say, it skips from birth to death, but what does that have to do with it?  Dig down into that story between, but the creed, not to mention the scriptures about the death and resurrection, provides a framework in which we understand that story.  I think it's worth going ballistic about.  If anything, it should make an impression that these things should be really important.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 01, 2007, 01:43:57 PM
One wonders why pastors who do not regard the Apostles' Creed as important enough for children to memorize bother to be pastors at all.
No kidding!!  >:(
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 01, 2007, 10:46:50 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes about the ELCA:
Why was the Apostles Creed such a mile stone when so much of the Christian faith has been tacitly denied already?

I comment:
But you are no longer a pastor in the ELCA. If you left for reasons of conscience, you have made a choice, presumably with integrity, but is it really healthy to keep lobbing grenades at us from afar?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 01, 2007, 10:57:01 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes about the ELCA:
Why was the Apostles Creed such a mile stone when so much of the Christian faith has been tacitly denied already?

I comment:
But you are no longer a pastor in the ELCA. If you left for reasons of conscience, you have made a choice, presumably with integrity, but is it really healthy to keep lobbing grenades at us from afar?


Did I say was talking about the ELCA? 

As for reasons of concience, making choices and integrety I think that is indeed what is being talked about. 

Do you mean granades like calling folks  "suspect", "Pastor with hostility", "hijacked", "ill-advised or intentionally ignored procedures ", "to alienate the church from the ELCA".    Those kind of granades?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 01, 2007, 11:06:48 PM
Those of us in the ELCA, trying to work out our ministries in concert with our fellow members of the ELCA, often have disagreements, sometimes serious ones. We may handle those disagreements in various ways. We don't always do it well, but we are doing it within the context of our church fellowship and our common mission with one another.

I understand that some have left the ELCA for matters of conscience; and I respect the decision. But I wonder if it is fair or healthy for such people, who have left our circles, to persist in their understandably angry criticisms of the church body they have left. I don't see how that helps anyone. It would seem to me that they have forfeited their "standing" to be involved in the internal ELCA discussion and it would seem to me that continuing to focus on the church body they have left delays their own adjustment to whatever new ministry they are pursuing.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 01, 2007, 11:14:28 PM
Those of us in the ELCA, trying to work out our ministries in concert with our fellow members of the ELCA, often have disagreements, sometimes serious ones. We may handle those disagreements in various ways. We don't always do it well, but we are doing it within the context of our church fellowship and our common mission with one another.

Did I say I was taking about the ELCA?

Quote
I understand that some have left the ELCA for matters of conscience; and I respect the decision. But I wonder if it is fair or healthy for such people, who have left our circles, to persist in their understandably angry criticisms of the church body they have left. I don't see how that helps anyone. It would seem to me that they have forfeited their "standing"
"angry criticisms" , "forfeited their "standing"  I think this may be the Hostility thing?

Quote
to be involved in the internal ELCA discussion and it would seem to me that continuing to focus on the church body they have left delays their own adjustment to whatever new ministry they are pursuing.
Again I dont think I saw where this was labelled an ELCA thread?  I count 1,2,3,4 Lutheran entities represented? 

Are you trying to say something to me Charles?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 01, 2007, 11:22:45 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes:
Are you trying to say something to me Charles?

I respond:
Yes.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 01, 2007, 11:55:49 PM

Those of us in the ELCA, trying to work out our ministries in concert with our fellow members of the ELCA, often have disagreements, sometimes serious ones. We may handle those disagreements in various ways. We don't always do it well, but we are doing it within the context of our church fellowship and our common mission with one another.


Something like this has come up before.


Mel Harris wrote:

(I somehow doubt that Pastor Austin meant to suggest that we in the ELCA should only take into consideration the ideas and opinions of other members of the ELCA and of members of church bodies with which we are in "Full Communion".)

I comment:
That's not quite what I meant, but I do believe that there are matters that the ELCA needs to discuss on its own terms and involving those with whom we are most closely partnered in mission and ministry.


I continue to appreciate the comments of other Lutherans, and take them into consideration.  Pastor Austin apparently continues to disagree with me on this.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Maryland Brian on August 02, 2007, 09:56:53 AM
I understand that some have left the ELCA for matters of conscience; and I respect the decision. But I wonder if it is fair or healthy for such people, who have left our circles, to persist in their understandably angry criticisms of the church body they have left. I don't see how that helps anyone. It would seem to me that they have forfeited their "standing" to be involved in the internal ELCA discussion and it would seem to me that continuing to focus on the church body they have left delays their own adjustment to whatever new ministry they are pursuing.

  Uh ... comments on a Blog are, IMHO, what they are:  comments left by individuals who enjoy conversation.  This Blog, as well run as it is, is *not* part of any sort of official process in the ELCA.  It is simply a public gathering of people who like to type and leave prose.

  Perhaps some of the comments are coming from a place of grief.  Perhaps some of the comments are coming from a sense of guilt, having left their orthodox congregations behind and are having trouble letting go.  Perhaps they feel a need to continue to remind others of the reasons why they have left ... so that others who may think and feel the same way while still inside the ELCA will not think themselves crazy.  I don't ever presume to understand another's motivations unless they are sufficiently self-aware that they can share them with me in ways that a communication event happened.

BTW, maybe I just come at it differently. I dont' see these individuals as having "left our circles."  They are still members in the Body of Christ and I fully expect, by God's Grace, to spend all eternity with them.  Might as well get to know them now ...

MD Brian
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: frluther1517 on August 02, 2007, 10:50:50 AM
Those of us in the ELCA, trying to work out our ministries in concert with our fellow members of the ELCA, often have disagreements, sometimes serious ones. We may handle those disagreements in various ways. We don't always do it well, but we are doing it within the context of our church fellowship and our common mission with one another.

I understand that some have left the ELCA for matters of conscience; and I respect the decision. But I wonder if it is fair or healthy for such people, who have left our circles, to persist in their understandably angry criticisms of the church body they have left. I don't see how that helps anyone. It would seem to me that they have forfeited their "standing" to be involved in the internal ELCA discussion and it would seem to me that continuing to focus on the church body they have left delays their own adjustment to whatever new ministry they are pursuing.


I too disagree with Pr. Austin here.  Is this not an intergral part of ecumencial dialogue/intra-Lutheran discussions?  Shouldn't fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, if they see us in err, seek to tell us and desire our return to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic?  Isn't this fundamental to building relationships across the Body of Christ?  I think it is actually quite uncharitable to expect people to leave and shut-up.  It seems to me to be a sin to silence the voices of those who even though may have departed the ELCA, still care about her and her members.  I would supose that those who have left and found refuge in another branch in the Body of Christ still care about the denomination they have left.  IMHO the true goal and work of ecumenical relationships to work towards unity in a way where we care so much about the other that we will hold the mirror of the law in one another's face and be just as quick to proclaim a word of Gospel.  It seems to me that this is exactly what Rob is doing.  (Even though as he rightly notes he never mentioned the ELCA)

Pr. Ian Wolfe
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 02, 2007, 11:07:58 AM
Supposing I am a member of the Big Tomato Garden Club (BTGC). Our mission is to become better gardeners, help other people learn how to grow our beloved vegetables. We focus on tomatoes, but are also skilled at growing cabbage, zucchini and rutabagas. Over time, people say we should also concern ourselves with flowers - a valid gardening enterprise. But I - being a foodie type - am not at all interested in roses or hydrangias, and those concerns are now a key aspect of the Big Tomato Garden Club. As the focus shifts, I say "this is not why I joined the Big Tomato Garden Club, let's get back to tomatoes and zucchinis!" The club majority disagrees and continues to embrace the rose/hydrangia people.
So, somewhat sadly, I pick up my trowel and hoe, and transfer my gardening activties to the Terrific Tomato Growers of Teaneck the (my fair city), and leave the flower people behind.
I still like my friends in the BTGC even if I think they are no longer being true to their name.
But... Should I be writing letters to the newspaper saying how "wrong" those folks in the BTGC are? Should I be telling people still in that garden club how to run their meetings or what their concerns should be? Wouldn't that be an imposition, not to mention a waste of my time. Wouldn't that keep me from my new garden mission with the TTGT? Since it is clear that the shift in interest in the BTGC is not about to be changed, and I am no longer a member, wouldn't I be making myself a little nutty if I kept hollering "Leave this flower stuff alone! Grow tomatoes and zucchinis and rutabagas!"
Oh, and by the way, both clubs are friendly, active members of the New Jersey Federation of Garden Enthusiasts.
Just wondering...
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 02, 2007, 11:10:54 AM
These creeds also are one of the strongest points of unity and ecumenical agreement with other parts of the Body of Christ.
Until discussions about which translation we should use. It seems that the things God has given to unite us are precisely the things that are most devisive among Christians such as: baptism, communion, Lord's Prayer, scriptures, creeds.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 02, 2007, 11:24:30 AM
These creeds also are one of the strongest points of unity and ecumenical agreement with other parts of the Body of Christ.
Until discussions about which translation we should use. It seems that the things God has given to unite us are precisely the things that are most devisive among Christians such as: baptism, communion, Lord's Prayer, scriptures, creeds.

Perhaps because the discussion of these things brings to light questions of faith in God and thus serve not to cause unity or disunity but show which already exists, not based upon human agreement but upon existing faith.    As confessions clearly state faith is not mearly knowlege and communion is not a basis for unity.   Faith is.

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 02, 2007, 11:30:36 AM
Supposing I am a member of the Big Tomato Garden Club (BTGC). Our mission is to become better gardeners, help other people learn how to grow our beloved vegetables. We focus on tomatoes, but are also skilled at growing cabbage, zucchini and rutabagas. Over time, people say we should also concern ourselves with flowers - a valid gardening enterprise. But I - being a foodie type - am not at all interested in roses or hydrangias, and those concerns are now a key aspect of the Big Tomato Garden Club. As the focus shifts, I say "this is not why I joined the Big Tomato Garden Club, let's get back to tomatoes and zucchinis!" The club majority disagrees and continues to embrace the rose/hydrangia people.
So, somewhat sadly, I pick up my trowel and hoe, and transfer my gardening activties to the Terrific Tomato Growers of Teaneck the (my fair city), and leave the flower people behind.
I still like my friends in the BTGC even if I think they are no longer being true to their name.
But... Should I be writing letters to the newspaper saying how "wrong" those folks in the BTGC are? Should I be telling people still in that garden club how to run their meetings or what their concerns should be? Wouldn't that be an imposition, not to mention a waste of my time. Wouldn't that keep me from my new garden mission with the TTGT? Since it is clear that the shift in interest in the BTGC is not about to be changed, and I am no longer a member, wouldn't I be making myself a little nutty if I kept hollering "Leave this flower stuff alone! Grow tomatoes and zucchinis and rutabagas!"
Oh, and by the way, both clubs are friendly, active members of the New Jersey Federation of Garden Enthusiasts.
Just wondering...


So are you saying denominations are just clubs? 

Sounds like a highly fertilized comparison.   :D ;D  ;)

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Deb_H. on August 02, 2007, 11:33:04 AM
Since it is clear that the shift in interest in the BTGC is not about to be changed, and I am no longer a member, wouldn't I be making myself a little nutty if I kept hollering "Leave this flower stuff alone! Grow tomatoes and zucchinis and rutabagas!"
Just wondering...

Not even a close comparison.  It seems to me that you continually confuse the ELCA with the Church.
The Church is not a garden club.  There is no universal truth that a garden club might operate under, they are just interested in gardening.  If a veggie club wanted to branch off into "other growing things" and not just veggies, why not?  Unless, of course, they were to begin to classify roses and daisies as vegetables ... then it would be a matter of truth.  Which is what is happening in certain denominations where the truth is being redefined or even denied, causing people of conscience and integrity to have to depart.  But in so doing, they still have a concern for those people left behind, who are being led astray, now beginning to believe that a rose by any other name could be or even IS a vegetable.   And so, from afar perhaps, they are compelled to continue to point out the TRUTH.

The ELCA is not the Church.  It is just one tiny part of it.  As members of the whole Christian church on earth, we ought to be able to point out the flaws and errors of parts of the church, so they can be examined and corrected.  That you don't want to hear it at all is troubling.  Is there nothing that the ELCA might do that would cause you to question the leadership and/or wonder if they have themselves departed the ranks of the (universal) Church?

Debbie
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 02, 2007, 11:46:51 AM
This thread is about Johnson going ballistic. It is inappropriate for anyone else to go ballistic on this thread. If you want to talk about anything, talk about the significance and importance (or not) of teaching the Apostles' Creed to confirmands.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on August 02, 2007, 12:01:25 PM
This thread is about Johnson going ballistic. It is inappropriate for anyone else to go ballistic on this thread. If you want to talk about anything, talk about the significance and importance (or not) of teaching the Apostles' Creed to confirmands.

Actually I think that is the point.   When the people with you on your camping seemed to deny the basic faith you hold and you thought they held in the creeds, it surprised you.    It surprises me to have the Church compared to garden club just as Mrs. Hesse expressed above .

If faith is the basis for any sort of unity and the aspects of faith such as communion, scripture, baptism and doctrine yield deviation, conflict or disunity.    Well it is a serious cause for concern.  I think anger is understandable.   Concern is seriously appropriate.

After all you were there to share the ministry and instruct the youth.   You where met with a conflicting message from those whom you assumed shared your most basic tenants.

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mike Bennett on August 02, 2007, 12:07:26 PM


Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

The "holes big enough to drive a truck through" resonated a bit with me, but in a different way.  A couple of years ago, after one of the major seasons (Easter I think) when we'd confessed the Nicene Creed every Sunday for several weeks instead of the Apostles Creed, it occurred to me that the Apostles Creed is so sketchy in places, and the Nicene Creed so meaty, that it's worth the small effort to memorize the Nicene Creed (which I'd never done before - very complicated, don't you know  ) for use in personal daily prayers and meditation instead of the Apostles Creed.  Does anybody know why the sketchier Apostles Creed has been the one used for catechesis?  

As for "writing my own creed," heaven forbid!  I still need to ponder on the Church's creed.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Pr. Jerry on August 02, 2007, 12:21:14 PM
This thread is about Johnson going ballistic. It is inappropriate for anyone else to go ballistic on this thread. If you want to talk about anything, talk about the significance and importance (or not) of teaching the Apostles' Creed to confirmands.

Actually I think that is the point.   When the people with you on your camping seemed to deny the basic faith you hold and you thought they held in the creeds, it surprised you.    It surprises me to have the Church compared to garden club just as Mrs. Hesse expressed above .

If faith is the basis for any sort of unity and the aspects of faith such as communion, scripture, baptism and doctrine yield deviation, conflict or disunity.    Well it is a serious cause for concern.  I think anger is understandable.   Concern is seriously appropriate.

After all you were there to share the ministry and instruct the youth.   You where met with a conflicting message from those whom you assumed shared your most basic tenants.

Firstly, I think Richard is correct...  This thread is/was about him "going ballistic," (which is preferable, I assume, to going postal...) to open and blatant heresy (ie. the belief that the Creeds are not binding and dispensable...).  So the question for this thread should probably return to the core question(s) at hand: how are the Creeds used and misused, what should our response(s) be when we are confronted with the misuse and misunderstanding of the Creeds by clergy, and the like...

Second, I think it's a related, but important thread, that has just surfaced: ecclesiology.  I, for one, am not surprised that the metaphor of a "club" is used to describe the ELCA by Pr. Austin.  After all, ordination is commonly viewed only in operational terms, unity is viewed only as consensus, and all things doctrinal are up for vote and individual acceptance in the ELCA...  Even so-called "Social Statements" are non-binding upon conscience.  So, why not use the metaphor of the "club" to describe the ELCA?  But that, as I say, may be a whole 'nother thread...

To return to the original question: Richard, I'm glad that you had the chutzpah to stand up to naked heresy.  I, unfortuneately, tend to get furious inwardly, but "throw up my hands" and not bother trying to confront such faithlessness when I see it.  I am humbled by your example.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Pr. Jerry on August 02, 2007, 12:41:00 PM
As for "writing my own creed," heaven forbid!  I still need to ponder on the Church's creed.

I agree with you, Mike.  The question for the ELCA (in particular) is do we truly consider the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds the "Church's Creed(s)"?  I would argue "YES," but I seem to be in the minorty view.  After all, our new "worship book" (ELW) omits the Athanasian Creed completely and uses novel translations of the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds that are, as of the present moment, not shared by any other tradition outside of the ELCA and ELCIC.  Are they the "Church's Creeds" or are they ours to modify (perhaps wisely, perhaps not...) unilaterally or dispose of depending upon our sensibility?  It seems to me that, if they are indeed the "Church's Creeds," then we are bound by the wider Church-- the Church catholic-- about just how we use and treat the Creeds.

But the more pervasive view in the ELCA, the view of the Pastor with whom Pr. Johnson was at odds with, is that the Creeds are not the "Church's" Creeds, but our own property.  They then become dispensable... We can quit using them or use them when and however we want.  If they offend us, we simply drop them or change the language so that they sound better.  We can formulate our own "credos" that "make sense to me..."  But the sad thing is that we end up separating ourselves from fellow Christians and trading universal truth for individual truth that is only applicable for myself and this moment.

The Church's Creeds should challenge us and push us.  It is never a bad thing to challenge confirmands to disect the Creeds and to make the Creeds "their own..." through study and conforming their lives to the truth of the Creeds.  Sadly, much more commonly we get that backwards and demand that the Creeds be challenged to conform to our lives, making the Creeds not the property of the Church, but the property of the individual.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 02, 2007, 12:41:31 PM
I feared this parable would go awry, due to the "ohmygod-the-world-is-ending" attitudes in some of these discussions. I have no problems with anybody's criticism. And I know the ELCA is not The "Church". But it is an organization, and as such has its ways of doing things which its members have constructed. I grow a little weary of those who are no longer in ministry with us, who have left us for ideological reasons, but who persist in trying to tell us how to do things or who make sweeping statements about how bad we all are. As far as I am concerned the Big Tomato Garden Club is still a part of the horticultural community and I wish them well, though I'm growing my rutabagas elsewhere. The problem in these discussions, I fear, is that some of us have been written out of the community by people who think they are the only ones who know how to get seeds to grow.
I teach confirmands the creeds, require them to memorize it, and work through the catechism's explanations. (We're on topic now, right?)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: David Charlton on August 02, 2007, 12:45:40 PM
This thread is about Johnson going ballistic. It is inappropriate for anyone else to go ballistic on this thread. If you want to talk about anything, talk about the significance and importance (or not) of teaching the Apostles' Creed to confirmands.

I wonder if we have things backwards.  Perhaps it isn't because pastors question the core teachings of the Christian faith that they neglect the Creeds and the Catechism.  They might question the core of the Christian faith because they have neglected to teach the Catechism regularly.  

Too often, pastors choose to offer courses that are "more relevant" to todays seekers, topical classes that will create more interest.  They choose non-denominational resources for a more lively confirmation class.  Other pastors say they are too busy to teach confirmation, leaving it to youth ministers or lay volunteers.  The result is that these pastors no longer teach the catechism on a regular basis.  In turn, they lose the regular discipline of teaching the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lords Prayer and the Sacraments.

Would so many be able to meddle with God's name, deny the uniqueness of Christ, or reject traditional teachings about sexual morality, if they were teaching the Catechism on a regular basis?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: frluther1517 on August 02, 2007, 01:11:58 PM
I think another part of this nonsense about not teaching the creeds and having students write there own is due to the rejection of knowable objective Truth and the superiority of the subjective truth of the individual.  This is textbook post-modernism, isn't it?.  One book which speaks to this I think is On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt.  His discourse on BS is actually quite enlightening.  He defines BS, at least in my understanding, as having a complete lack of care or concern for the Truth.  

He writes,

      "The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowning how things truly are.  These "antirealist" doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry.  One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by a dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity.  Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself.  Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature.  It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.
     "But it is preposterous to imagine that we are ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and to incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription of determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake.  As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them.  Moreover, there is nothing in theory, and certainly nothing in experience, to support the extraordinary judgement that it is the truth about himself that is the easiest for a person to know.  Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution.  Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial--notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things.  And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself if bullshit."

Frankfurt, Harry G.  On Bullshit. Princeton, New Jersy: Princeton University Press 2005, pp.64-67

I think Frankfurt's description of BS as a lack of concern or desire to search for objective knowable Truth corresponds to Pastor Johnson's encounter with letting students write their own personal creeds.  Why teach Truth when one can sincerly figure out what's true to each individual?  

Another book that I cautiously recommend, just because I have only started it, is B16's On Conscience.  This book contains two lectures given to the National Catholic Bioethics Center while he was Cardinal Ratzinger.  The gist of the book is dealing with relativisim by arguing against what he calls "the infallibility of the conscience."  Here he talks about the growth of the understanding of the "infallible conscious" within the RCC contra the magisterium of the Church.  I am probably doing a horrible job of explaining the book.  I'll do better when I've actually finished it.    


I am sure somewhere on this forum there is a list of books on postmodernism.  Could anyone point them out to me or if you know of some send me a private message with the titles and authors?  I would greatly appreciate it!

Pax
Pr. Ian Wolfe
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 02, 2007, 01:41:16 PM
Does anybody know why the sketchier Apostles Creed has been the one used for catechesis?  
I'll offer my guess. The Nicene Creed is the Creed of the Church. It came out of a church controversy and created and revised by a church committee and is a statement of what we believe.

The Apostles' Creed, which took a long time to be formed into its final wording, perhaps 700 years, was a confession of individuals about to be baptized. Thus the "I believe" language. It has remained connected to baptism, and catechesis, which originally led to baptism, now, more often than not, leads to affirmation of baptism, has kept that connection.

From my reading on ancient liturgies, the creeds were not part of the traditional mass. Rather, the trinitarian confession was part of the Great Thanksgiving as mention of God the Creator, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were essential elements of the Prayer.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: JoshuaEM on August 02, 2007, 02:04:05 PM
As per the moderator's remark a few posts up that this is about one particular 'ballistic incident' I would like to add my congratulations (though I'm sorry for the angst this must have caused) for this example of public 'losing it' in the face of other pastors who espouse outright ecclesial lunacy. It's easier to call out the crazies, even those on the roster, who are jettisoning Christianity when we have examples to follow!

Josh
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on August 02, 2007, 02:35:50 PM
Brian S. is correct that the Apostles' Creed was originally a baptismal creed, and is thus the basis still today for baptism, catechesis and confirmation. 

But while the Creed is in the 1st person singular (I believe) that does not mean that it is simply one individual's statement of faith.  The fact that a candidate for baptism or confirmation confesses the same Creed as the rest of the baptized means that the candidate is publicly identifying with the common confession of the whole Church.  So while it may be a useful exercise for confirmation students to explore how they understand the common Creed, it is still the one Creed they confess.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 02, 2007, 03:10:11 PM
But while the Creed is in the 1st person singular (I believe) that does not mean that it is simply one individual's statement of faith.  The fact that a candidate for baptism or confirmation confesses the same Creed as the rest of the baptized means that the candidate is publicly identifying with the common confession of the whole Church.  So while it may be a useful exercise for confirmation students to explore how they understand the common Creed, it is still the one Creed they confess.
Yes, this is noted by the name that it has been given, "The Apostles' Creed." Although not written by the apostles, it was determined by the church to contain the same confession as the apostles.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: bmj on August 02, 2007, 03:47:33 PM
Supposing I am a member of the Big Tomato Garden Club (BTGC). Our mission is to become better gardeners, help other people learn how to grow our beloved vegetables. We focus on tomatoes, but are also skilled at growing cabbage, zucchini and rutabagas. Over time, people say we should also concern ourselves with flowers - a valid gardening enterprise. But I - being a foodie type - am not at all interested in roses or hydrangias, and those concerns are now a key aspect of the Big Tomato Garden Club. As the focus shifts, I say "this is not why I joined the Big Tomato Garden Club, let's get back to tomatoes and zucchinis!" The club majority disagrees and continues to embrace the rose/hydrangia people.
So, somewhat sadly, I pick up my trowel and hoe, and transfer my gardening activties to the Terrific Tomato Growers of Teaneck the (my fair city), and leave the flower people behind.
I still like my friends in the BTGC even if I think they are no longer being true to their name.
But... Should I be writing letters to the newspaper saying how "wrong" those folks in the BTGC are? Should I be telling people still in that garden club how to run their meetings or what their concerns should be? Wouldn't that be an imposition, not to mention a waste of my time. Wouldn't that keep me from my new garden mission with the TTGT? Since it is clear that the shift in interest in the BTGC is not about to be changed, and I am no longer a member, wouldn't I be making myself a little nutty if I kept hollering "Leave this flower stuff alone! Grow tomatoes and zucchinis and rutabagas!"
Oh, and by the way, both clubs are friendly, active members of the New Jersey Federation of Garden Enthusiasts.
Just wondering...


The answer depends on if you are talking about the "one holy catholic and apostolic Big Tomato Garden Club" (OHCABTGC ), created and empowered by God himself.   Or if you are simply talking about human organizational constructs, such as the "BTGC".  I do not think your example fits well when comparing parts of the Body of Christ.

Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 02, 2007, 04:15:39 PM

I'll offer my guess. The Nicene Creed is the Creed of the Church. It came out of a church controversy and created and revised by a church committee and is a statement of what we believe.

The Apostles' Creed, which took a long time to be formed into its final wording, perhaps 700 years, was a confession of individuals about to be baptized. Thus the "I believe" language. It has remained connected to baptism, and catechesis, which originally led to baptism, now, more often than not, leads to affirmation of baptism, has kept that connection.


Well, ahem, putting on my church historian cap, though without benefit of my library close at hand, Brian is at least in the ballpark here, though I would not say it quite this way.  The Nicene Creed (more properly, the Niceano-Constantinopolitan Creed, since it was adopted at the Council of Nicea and then somewhat revised at the Council of Constantinople to get to the form in which we have received it) was not the product of a "committee" but a Council of the Church, authorized and representative of the church as a whole in the 4th century. "Committee" generally, except in Soviet language, suggests a small group. This was several hundred bishops.

And the Apostles' Creed was not "a confession of individuals" but was the "confession of the church" cast into a form appropriate for catechesis and for use at baptism.

The two creeds are both "creeds of the church," albeit in somewhat different ways and with different purposes. The one is intended to be a basic document for catechesis and baptism (thus its association with confirmation), and the other is a more specifically doctrinal piece meant to rule "out of bounds" certain heretical notions in the 4th century. They both have their uses, and IMO they should both be committed to memory by Christians.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 02, 2007, 04:39:08 PM
The One Holy and Apostolic Gardening Club is manifest in human organizations, and it is those organizations to which I refer. I shall not declare that the LC-MS garden is invested with cinch bugs and produces mushy fruit just because they do not plant and water the way we do in the ELCA. But it seems to me that some in the LC-MS and some who have left the ELCA seed-planters are driven to insist that our tomatoes are rotten and our zucchinis have no taste because of how we grow them. Meanwhile, cooks all over the country are producing fine ratatouille with ingredients from both our plots. And sometimes they even mix them together.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Kurt Strause on August 02, 2007, 04:53:52 PM
From my reading on ancient liturgies, the creeds were not part of the traditional mass. Rather, the trinitarian confession was part of the Great Thanksgiving as mention of God the Creator, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were essential elements of the Prayer.

The first part is partly true: creeds were not universally confessed at every mass, although within a couple of hundred years after the Nicene Creed was formulated it was universal in the Eastern Church, and common at least throughout the West.
The second part is true: the Great Thanksgiving was, and still is, the Church's traditional location for its public confession of the Trinitarian Dogma.
The third part is not quite right: The Church gives thanks to God the Father, through God the Son, in the power of God the Holy Spirit, among which his many roles is Creator. (And Redeemer, and Sanctifier, and Law-Giver, and Judge, and many other roles described in scripture). Praying in this manner is what keeps any churchly assembly in communion with the Church. (And thus points to one of my criticisms of ELW.)

Kurt Strause
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 02, 2007, 05:03:18 PM
I agree with you, Mike.  The question for the ELCA (in particular) is do we truly consider the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds the "Church's Creed(s)"?  I would argue "YES," but I seem to be in the minorty view.  After all, our new "worship book" (ELW) omits the Athanasian Creed completely and uses novel translations of the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds that are, as of the present moment, not shared by any other tradition outside of the ELCA and ELCIC.

Novel translations?  Hmmm.  The people who work on the Consultation on Common Texts might think differently about how novel they are.  They are not unique to the ELCA or the ELCIC, and are used in other traditions.  They are printed in "The Presbyterian Hymnal" from 1990.  In 1993 the Nicene Creed, at least, was used in the worship book of the Wisconsin Synod.

I don't think that the absence of the Athanasian Creed from the hymnal, although perhaps regrettable, makes it any less the "church's creed."  While I know that some places do use it on Trinity Sunday, it hasn't been a regular practice for many of our churches (nor was it used as a liturgical creed before the Reformation).  One can make arguments for including it and for it not being necessary to include it.

On the other hand, I see little reason to agree with your statement that seeing the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds as the "church's creeds" is a minority view.  It seems to me that seeing them as not having such status is the minority view (although it isn't hard to find that minority, unfortunately).

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 02, 2007, 05:05:30 PM
I shall not declare that the LC-MS garden is invested with cinch bugs and produces mushy fruit

And I shall not declare, along the lines of this gardening theme, that there seem to be nuts and fruits aplenty these days, here and there, in this place and that.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 02, 2007, 05:11:20 PM
Pastor McCain writes:
And I shall not declare, along the lines of this gardening theme, that there seem to be nuts and fruits aplenty these days, here and there, in this place and that.

I note:
It is dangerous to muddy the metaphor. The whole purpose of gardening is to produce nuts and fruits; so, thank you. (Even though we who till the soil take offense when pejorative meanings are attached to our crops.)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: pilgrimpriest on August 02, 2007, 05:12:35 PM

I'll offer my guess. The Nicene Creed is the Creed of the Church. It came out of a church controversy and created and revised by a church committee and is a statement of what we believe.

The Apostles' Creed, which took a long time to be formed into its final wording, perhaps 700 years, was a confession of individuals about to be baptized. Thus the "I believe" language. It has remained connected to baptism, and catechesis, which originally led to baptism, now, more often than not, leads to affirmation of baptism, has kept that connection.


Well, ahem, putting on my church historian cap, though without benefit of my library close at hand, Brian is at least in the ballpark here, though I would not say it quite this way.  The Nicene Creed (more properly, the Niceano-Constantinopolitan Creed, since it was adopted at the Council of Nicea and then somewhat revised at the Council of Constantinople to get to the form in which we have received it) was not the product of a "committee" but a Council of the Church, authorized and representative of the church as a whole in the 4th century. "Committee" generally, except in Soviet language, suggests a small group. This was several hundred bishops.

And the Apostles' Creed was not "a confession of individuals" but was the "confession of the church" cast into a form appropriate for catechesis and for use at baptism.

The two creeds are both "creeds of the church," albeit in somewhat different ways and with different purposes. The one is intended to be a basic document for catechesis and baptism (thus its association with confirmation), and the other is a more specifically doctrinal piece meant to rule "out of bounds" certain heretical notions in the 4th century. They both have their uses, and IMO they should both be committed to memory by Christians.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds are Western formulations of relatively late constructs (from about the 8th century) and are not widely known or used at all in the Eastern Churches. The use of the term "Ecumenical" to describe them is somewhat one-sided.  For his part, Charlemagne detested the Nicene Creed as a "Byzantine formulation."

At Baptism & Chrismation the "creed" recited is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (without the filioque... and that is so even among Byzantine Catholics!). As far as its use in the Divine Liturgy is concerned, the Creed's first appearance at Liturgy was in Antioch in about A.D. 517 and it seems the practice of reciting it at Liturgy was fairly well cemented in the East by the end of the 6th Century.  The only other "creedal" addition was the formulation of the Emperor Justinian (d. A.D. 565), "Only begotten Son and Immortal Word of God...," which was attached to the Second Antiphon in response to the Monophysite controversy.  Also the creed in the East begins with "I believe..." rather than the Western usage "We believe..." which is more in keeping with the original formulation. Why the "I" replaces the "We" is likely as an affirmation of the individual's baptismal profession. The only other time "I" is used liturgically is in the "Prayer Before Communion," (I believe, O Lord, and I confess...").

As to creed (and in my experience the liturgy) at Lutheran Bible Camp: you go Richard! In my former Lutheran life, the camp directors, staff and many pastors would balk at any trace of the Church's liturgical and sacramental tradition at Camp. At home they would wonder why the kids abandoned the church after Confirmation only to reappear at the local Assembly of God. And why not? We were training them to be perfect Pentecostals where every Sunday is like Bible Camp!

Fr. Bob
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 02, 2007, 06:32:08 PM
Father McMeekin writes:
In my former Lutheran life, the camp directors, staff and many pastors would balk at any trace of the Church's liturgical and sacramental tradition at Camp. At home they would wonder why the kids abandoned the church after Confirmation only to reappear at the local Assembly of God. And why not? We were training them to be perfect Pentecostals where every Sunday is like Bible Camp!

I comment:
Agreed. Completely. I haven't been to church camp in a long time, but I recognize what Father McMeekin describes. Rather than making our youth events look like the best of what could happen in our parishes (and thereby encouraging them to replicate it), we make such things as much unlike a parish as possible; with the effects mentioned above.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Maryland Brian on August 02, 2007, 06:41:37 PM
They both have their uses, and IMO they should both be committed to memory by Christians.

  Might have been interesting to ask the pastors in question how often they teach the doctrines of the church from their pulpits.  Or, at least how often they teach something from the catechism.  Luther recommended a sermon series on something from the catechism at least once a year.

MD Brian

Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 02, 2007, 07:55:38 PM
They both have their uses, and IMO they should both be committed to memory by Christians.

  Might have been interesting to ask the pastors in question how often they teach the doctrines of the church from their pulpits.  Or, at least how often they teach something from the catechism.  Luther recommended a sermon series on something from the catechism at least once a year.

MD Brian



In my group of 9 kids here at camp, I passed out copies of the second article of the creed and the explanation from the SC. While most of them recognized the creed, none of them seemed to recognize the catechism.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 02, 2007, 08:06:43 PM

  Might have been interesting to ask the pastors in question how often they teach the doctrines of the church from their pulpits.  Or, at least how often they teach something from the catechism.  Luther recommended a sermon series on something from the catechism at least once a year.


That is what I have done with Midweek Lenten Services (and with Midweek Advent Services when I have had them).  I had assumed that most others were doing the same.  Maybe I should not have made that assumption.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Eric_Swensson on August 02, 2007, 08:16:09 PM
They both have their uses, and IMO they should both be committed to memory by Christians.

  Might have been interesting to ask the pastors in question how often they teach the doctrines of the church from their pulpits.  Or, at least how often they teach something from the catechism.  Luther recommended a sermon series on something from the catechism at least once a year.

MD Brian


We ejnoyed having the commandments on Sundays and Lord's Prayer on Wed eves during last Lent.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: 1Ptr5v67 on August 03, 2007, 01:09:11 AM
If you want to talk about anything, talk about the significance and importance (or not) of teaching the Apostles' Creed to confirmands.

There is a recent article over on                               
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6454
authored by a Catholic layman,  that reports on VG Robinson's attitude toward the creeds, 

Excerpt:
Quote
Bishop Robinson recalled a life-changing conversation he had with the chaplain at an Episcopalian college he attended.

One day when I was ranting and raving about how much of the Nicene Creed I didn't believe, he (college chaplain to Robinson) said "well, when you're in church, just say the parts of the creed you do agree with. Be silent for the others. We're not asking you do so something against your integrity". And again I thought whew, that's what one would hope for from a religion - honesty and integrity. And I guess that's a theme that has carried throughout my life in Ministry - that God wants us to be honest and full of integrity.
End of Excerpt

Author's evaluation of the above:
Quote
The advice? (that Robinson received) The advice was to play make-believe, to pretend to be faithful to the Creed, but in fact to be quietly altering it to suit one's own tastes.

My summary of the article is that it points out  the results of a failure to attempt to memorize,  failure to know, failure to understand, failure to believe in and failure to adhere to the creeds,   can be summed up by a quote from J. K Chesterton:   
Quote
One small mistake in doctrine can lead to huge blunders in human happiness.

If no attempt is made to memorize the creeds,  then consider how much easier it will be to fall into the temptation of altering the creeds to suit our own desires.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 03, 2007, 01:21:43 AM
Interestingly, when we had this argument at my mission church, the people in favor of using something besides the boring old creeds called their proposed replacement "Words of Unity". My persistent question to them was "unity with whom?" Reciting the Apostles' Creed acknowledges, creates, and expands unity with the larger church and the church through the ages. Writing our own "words of unity" seems counter-productive to their own stated purpose.

btw, if snide pot-shots, back-handed put-downs, perpetuation of negative stereotypes and all other form of grenade-lobbing against a denomination by former members of that denomination are out of bounds, then the LCMS is owed a lot more apologies than it owes, at least in my experience. However, for the sake of peace Paul McCain (who is not a former member of the ELCA)thought better of his reference to the ELCA and changed it to something more broad, but Charles quoted the pre-changed version in a later post, so I went back to edit Charles' post to match Paul's.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 04:02:56 AM
Our esteemed moderator writes:
However, for the sake of peace Paul McCain (who is not a former member of the ELCA)thought better of his reference to the ELCA and changed it to something more broad, but Charles quoted the pre-changed version in a later post, so I went back to edit Charles' post to match Paul's.

I comment:
I am not sure to what posting this refers. So when a comment is edited, deleted or otherwise tweaked by our esteemed moderator, can we be advised via personal notice or can the details of the revision be posted here? I can't find what Pastor McCain's reference was, nor am I sure which "pre-changed" words I cited.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 04:15:40 AM
O.k. I spotted it. The original reference was to "nuts and fruits" in the "ELCA," which was modified to read "here and there." Seems to me this alteration drastically dilutes the original. If Pastor McCain  thought the reference to crops was intemperate, he could apologize for it. If the moderator thought it inappropriate, and admonition could have been issued.
It doesn't seem right to have our esteemed moderator change his words for him, nor does it seem right to have the moderator revise my post without my permission. But then, I have never been - deo gratias - a moderator, so I am not sure of the duties and protocol.
Personally, I was neither offended nor surprised; for Pastor McCain makes it clear in various ways that he would not have ELCA produce in his salad bowl.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 03, 2007, 10:23:56 AM
O.k. I spotted it. The original reference was to "nuts and fruits" in the "ELCA," which was modified to read "here and there." Seems to me this alteration drastically dilutes the original. If Pastor McCain  thought the reference to crops was intemperate, he could apologize for it. If the moderator thought it inappropriate, and admonition could have been issued.
It doesn't seem right to have our esteemed moderator change his words for him, nor does it seem right to have the moderator revise my post without my permission. But then, I have never been - deo gratias - a moderator, so I am not sure of the duties and protocol.
Personally, I was neither offended nor surprised; for Pastor McCain makes it clear in various ways that he would not have ELCA produce in his salad bowl.


Esteemed? How'd he get to be esteemed so quickly? He's only been doing this a few days. >:(
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: scott3 on August 03, 2007, 10:36:50 AM
Esteemed? How'd he get to be esteemed so quickly? He's only been doing this a few days. >:(

Shows how much the honorific is worth in these here parts, eh?   :o
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 10:49:21 AM
Richard Johnson writes:
Esteemed? How'd he get to be esteemed so quickly? He's only been doing this a few days.

I comment:
You had the tile from Day One, too.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 03, 2007, 11:32:40 AM
Just so everything is so the up and up, let me explain. I was on a bus with 34 high school kids traveling back  from Orlando to Green Bay and unable to check in here. When I finally checked it last night, there was a reported post from Paul, who said that he had tried to tone down the little "nuts and fruits" pun to be less ELCA-specific, but that Charles had quoted the original after the change had been made. I wasn't sure about that, since the posts seemed to have been made and/or edited within a few minutes of each other. But I thought my making the change was in the realm of fair play and would the thread avoid getting sidetracked, and that making a public note of the modification would avoid confusion. Charles, if you really want the original version in your quote, go ahead and change it back. Certainly nobody should have their posts edited without their consent, so perhaps I erred in taking Charles' consent for granted in this case (though it still seems to me like a minor point and the sort of change Charles would normally favor). Rest assured I have no desire or intent to edit people's posts without their knowledge and consent.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on August 03, 2007, 11:36:37 AM
Well, then how do you explain the fact that my posts often come off sounding somewhat dim-witted?

Oh.

Pete (Duh) Garrison
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 03, 2007, 01:24:01 PM
Oh, brother.

If it is not the intention of the ALPB forum site to allow people to "modify" their posts after making them, to do precisely what I did, take out language that was intemperate and unwise, which I put up in response to Charles' snarky little remark, then please remove the modify button. I've promised the [esteemed] moderator not to respond in kind to C.A. But there is nothing inappropriate on our [esteemed] moderator's part in correcting Charles misquote. Perhaps he should have given Charles the chance to correct it himself. Charles had plenty of time to make note of the fact that I had modified my comments, since he posted his response several minutes after I had modified my post, as the time stamping on the posts proves beyond a shadow of a doubt. With Charles' lengthy experience as a professional journalist I'm sure he would never want to be knowingly misquoting or misrepresenting anyone's comments.

I'm grateful to Peter for catching this mistake on Charles part and correcting it, since Charles did not.

This whole thing is getting a bit nutty!

Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 01:51:03 PM
Or for heaven's sake! Nutty indeed!
Pastor McCain posted.
I responded.
Then he - or somebody - changed his original posting. We all have the right to do that, to change our own postings; but I usually think that is done to correct misspellings or grammatical atrocities.
I feel no obligation to go back and see if someone changed their original post after I had quoted it.
The moderator can inform us precisely how he changes or deletes things, if he does so.
And I remain in the dark about which of my (generally temperate, though sometimes pointed) comments he considers "snarky."
Frankly, Pastor McCain's comment was more to the point before the change, and - as noted above - I was not offended because we know well his views.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 03, 2007, 02:16:04 PM
Charles, *I* modified my post, of course, as I've just explained. Only a few minutes *after* I had modified it, you quoted me, but you used the unmodified form of my post. Your post appeared directly under my post. Within minutes, not hours or days. It is not too much a burden for you to change your post upon seeing that you are not quoting correctly. Seasoned veteran journalists don't always get their quotes correct, so we understand that you don't always either.

Now, perhaps we all better move along before Johnson goes "ballistic" for another reason.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 02:32:01 PM
Pastor McCain writes:
It is not too much a burden for you to change your post upon seeing that you are not quoting correctly.

I comment (and then: Over and Out!)
How would I see that? I picked up your quote and inserted it in my response. Why should I scurry back later to see if you had modified your original post? Now let's end this: I accept your apology, if that's what it was,  for writing that the ELCA is full of "nuts and fruits."
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on August 03, 2007, 02:47:58 PM
As a defense of Charles, Paul, I'll note that once I hit the "reply" or "quote" button, I do not make a habit of reviewing the post to which I'm responding.

It also takes me a few minutes to compose and edit even the most snide and pithy of my remarks, and the time stamp shows when I finally post without any reflection on how long I stared at the "Post reply" screen waiting for just the right words to come to mind.  (Even when one goes ballistic, there can be a long, long fuse!)

As I recall the thread -- as an ex-pat Californian, I tend to notice references to "fruits and nuts," though I haven't yet gone ballistic over any -- Charles' response kinda loses something if"fruits and nuts" is edited out of his response.  Seems to me that, rather than editing the quote in response, it would have been more, uh, beneficial to bring the change to the original note quietly to the respondent's attention with the opportunity to revise, or even delete, that response.

Pax et bonum, Steven+
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 03, 2007, 02:55:02 PM
But, Steven, you are not a seasoned, veteran, experienced professional journalist, so I do not expect you to have the same instincts for watching carefully how you quote, or what you quote.

For the record, I left the "fruits and nuts" in but took the ELCA out. Some may beg to differ, but I saw it as answering one person's snarky remarks, with another. So I changed it.

I am sure that Charles would have corrected his post himself, once his incorrect quotation was brought to his attention. In fact, that's what I gather from all this. Next time Peter can point out the problem and he'll fix it, without the moderator needing to delete, or edit, his posts.

Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 03, 2007, 02:59:37 PM
I accept your apology, if that's what it was,  for writing that the ELCA is full of "nuts and fruits."

And, I accept your apology, if that's what it was, for your passive-aggresive rude remarks about The LCMS.

Group hug time?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 03, 2007, 04:46:03 PM
Pastor McCain (yet again)
I am sure that Charles would have corrected his post himself, once his incorrect quotation was brought to his attention.

Me (with a sigh):

Great galloping buffalos!
The quotation was not, repeat not, repeat again not "incorrect" when I posted it. And, I'm not sure I would have "corrected" it. I would have to see whether Pastor McCain is entitled to do-overs when he says something he later wishes he hadn't said. Now can we stop this?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 04, 2007, 12:47:56 AM
Now can we stop this?

All those in favor? OK, the ayes have it.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 04, 2007, 01:46:18 AM
Now can we stop this?

All those in favor? OK, the ayes have it.

Would those ayes be the ones to say ICBM?

(I'll admit it. My mind works in weird ways.)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 04, 2007, 01:50:26 AM
Now can we stop this?

All those in favor? OK, the ayes have it.

Would those ayes be the ones to say ICBM?

(I'll admit it. My mind works in weird ways.)

Apparently so, since I haven't the foggiest idea what you mean.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 04, 2007, 01:54:55 AM
Now can we stop this?

All those in favor? OK, the ayes have it.

Would those ayes be the ones to say ICBM?

(I'll admit it. My mind works in weird ways.)

Apparently so, since I haven't the foggiest idea what you mean.

Just offering a few puns only related to this meeting by words I'm playing with.

ayes = eyes
IC = I see
BM = ballistic missiles.

(ICBM is the abreviation for intercontinental ballistic missile.)
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 04, 2007, 10:54:41 AM
The chair will receive Brian's claim that his mind works in strange ways as a friendly amemdment needing no further debate or vote.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 04, 2007, 11:34:43 AM
I move adoption by unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: scott3 on August 04, 2007, 12:08:22 PM
Point of Order: Wasn't that adopted a few years ago?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 04, 2007, 12:09:58 PM
I believe the gentleman meant to raise a "Point of Information"

And, in light of it, I withdraw my motion.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: scott3 on August 04, 2007, 12:12:18 PM
Gosh durn it -- there goes my campaign for synodical president...
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Keith Falk on August 04, 2007, 10:33:24 PM
I'm glad Pr. Johnson went ballistic.  Having just come home from a week of volunteering as a "camp pastor", his experience is certainly not unusual (just see comments by other pastors).  However, what I experienced was that the leadership of the camp staff were concerned about the pastors who had come during the summer.  In fact, one of the directors asked me about the creeds... because pastors who were present during confirmation camp expressed their disbelief in aspects of the creeds.  I was one of the few who told her that I fully and wholly support, believe, teach, and preach the creeds.  Also, no other pastors used any part of the Small Catechism or any other part of the Confessions during the staff training (pastors are invited to teach/lead Bible studies for the staff... I incorporated Luther's explanation of the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed to talk about faith as gift).  I could go on and on about why camps, at least church camps in Ohio, run things and teach the way they do... but I think that's enough.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Gary Schnitkey on August 05, 2007, 11:46:05 AM
I am a bit befuddled by Mr. Johnson’s response.  I don’t know why he would expect creeds to be used at all.  The ELCA has (is) conducting a sexuality study based more on recent “scientific findings” than on scriptures or Christian tradition.  The presiding bishop and others ponder the moral equivalence of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  The ELCA is in common ministry with several other denominations that would have had historical different beliefs from Lutherans.  Recent graduates of Lutheran seminaries are steeped in post-modernism, which would posit that the creeds are one viewpoint and likely further assert that they only represents a white, male perspective.

Why would creeds be important in this environment?
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Pr. Jerry on August 05, 2007, 02:31:54 PM
I am a bit befuddled by Mr. Johnson’s response.  I don’t know why he would expect creeds to be used at all.  The ELCA has (is) conducting a sexuality study based more on recent “scientific findings” than on scriptures or Christian tradition.  The presiding bishop and others ponder the moral equivalence of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  The ELCA is in common ministry with several other denominations that would have had historical different beliefs from Lutherans.  Recent graduates of Lutheran seminaries are steeped in post-modernism, which would posit that the creeds are one viewpoint and likely further assert that they only represents a white, male perspective.

Why would creeds be important in this environment?

I understand and appreciate the comments, but the reality is that some of us ARE fighting the good fight for soul of the ELCA...  It is maddening that all these things you assert are true, even as the ELCA has proven the LC-MS's assertion that we are not an orthodox Lutheran denomination correct at every turn.  And yet, though the wider denomination is guilty of all these things, please always remember that there are those who choose to stay and fight the good fight of faith rather than flee or remain silent in the face of faithlessness. 

Which, to answer your question, is why the Creeds are the most important precisely in this type of environment, even if the powers-that-be fail to recognize it to be true.   The Creeds combat and curb heresy, they are needed most urgently where orthodoxy is under siege...

But, as you remind us, don't expect the Arians, gnostics, and other heretics to appreciate them!  :D

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 05, 2007, 11:29:45 PM
I am a bit befuddled by Mr. Johnson’s response.  I don’t know why he would expect creeds to be used at all.  The ELCA has (is) conducting a sexuality study based more on recent “scientific findings” than on scriptures or Christian tradition.  The presiding bishop and others ponder the moral equivalence of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  The ELCA is in common ministry with several other denominations that would have had historical different beliefs from Lutherans.  Recent graduates of Lutheran seminaries are steeped in post-modernism, which would posit that the creeds are one viewpoint and likely further assert that they only represents a white, male perspective.

Why would creeds be important in this environment?

Why would the creeds be important?  Well, because the faith they confess is the faith we believe, the faith we proclaim.  And, yes, this is even true of a good many who you might include in your criticisms above.  This is even true of many who some may suggest are "steeped in post-modernism" (which remains a quite indistinct term).  Richard's response doesn't befuddle me.  I think he's right on to respond that way.  And while I'm not surprised that he ran across pastors who spend little to no time on the creeds and don't use them in worship, etc., I am rather befuddled by them instead.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Gary Schnitkey on August 06, 2007, 08:48:05 AM
Why would the creeds be important?  Well, because the faith they confess is the faith we believe, the faith we proclaim.  And, yes, this is even true of a good many who you might include in your criticisms above.  This is even true of many who some may suggest are "steeped in post-modernism" (which remains a quite indistinct term).  Richard's response doesn't befuddle me.  I think he's right on to respond that way.  And while I'm not surprised that he ran across pastors who spend little to no time on the creeds and don't use them in worship, etc., I am rather befuddled by them instead.

Mark C.

The list I provided is a list of facts.  There are no criticisms or moral judgments made.  You are free to refute those facts if you like.

Given those facts, it is hard for me to see why Pastors, particularly those that have a post-modern orientation, would emphasize creeds.  This again is not a criticism.  It is a matter of orientation.  If you are post-modern, an enunciation of what is common in belief is not important.  It is more important in what you believe, hence an exercise in which a person writes his/her own creed is a valid activity.

From a more orthodox perspective, I don’t have much problem with anyone writing his/her own creed.  Some good may come of it.  Writing one’s own creed would force a person to think about their faith in a different way than reciting a standard creed.  It is another teaching method.

For your information, I am not much of a believer in post-modernism.  But it has been articulate by a number of intelligent people and there is a grain of truth to its suppositions.  It certainly is not necessarily evil, although its implications may not be good. Post-modernism will lead to a totally different orientation than more traditional/orthodox approaches, as can be seen in the ELCA today.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: djbaer on August 06, 2007, 11:04:37 AM
Amen to all that has been said affirming Richard's ballistic response. Would that others in the ELCA would defend its teaching.

I so often wish that the ELCA read the other parts of "Vision and Expectations."  There is some great material there regarding faithfulness to creeds and confessions.

Here are a couple examples:

It is essential for an ordained minister to be able to understand and faithfully interpret the Scriptures and the Christian tradition. In this question the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America asks that its ordained ministers assume responsibility for upholding this church’s doctrinal tradition through faithful preaching and teaching. All who have been ordained and who serve as pastors in this church are expected to accept and adhere to the Confession of Faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. . . .


The ecumenical creeds are to be taught as true declarations of the faith of this church. The Lutheran Confessions are to be acknowledged as true witnesses and faithful expositions of the Holy Scriptures.

In identifying specific documents as normative for preaching and teaching, this church expects its ordained ministers to understand that the faith of the Church is corporate, not individualistic; catholic, not sectarian; orthodox, not heretical. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America expects that its ordained ministers teach nothing “that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church” (Conclusion to the Augsburg Confession).


You can read all of V & E at http://www.elca.org/assembly/votingmatters/VisionandExpectations.pdf
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 06, 2007, 01:48:03 PM
If you are post-modern, an enunciation of what is common in belief is not important.

Why?  (This question is getting at what it supposedly means to be "post-modern")

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Gary Schnitkey on August 07, 2007, 07:53:10 AM
If you are post-modern, an enunciation of what is common in belief is not important.

Why?  (This question is getting at what it supposedly means to be "post-modern")

Mark C.

Post-modern does not posit a strict reality, only in perceptions of what is.  Each person will have his/her own perception, with language, society, and a person's experiences play a role in that perception.  I suppose hallmarks of post-modernism are its tolerance, acceptance, and non-judgment of other viewpoints. 

In a post-modern world, a creed could serve as a consensus of people's viewpoints but there would be nothing stable to that consensus.  It could change as people change their minds or as other people join the group. 

I simply have hard time seeing the usefulness of a creed in a post-modern world.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on August 07, 2007, 01:44:56 PM
Gary Schnitkey writes: "I simply have hard time seeing the usefulness of a creed in a post-modern world."

I write:

I think you are joking, yes?

Creeds were developed as, and are still needed for, bulwarks against heretical threats to the Scriptural truth revealed to us in, with, and through Christ. The Athanasian Creed puts it well in its summation: "This is the catholic faith. One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully."

A post-modern, even if he thinks reality is relative, must still deal with the reality "extra nos," or he risks being run over by cars, plummeting off cliffs, or disregarding God's will to his peril. Creeds are the crosswalks, cliff fences, and warnings for our souls.

What I find exciting as an evangelist in the epicenter of post-modernism (SF Bay Area), is to insert my Christian self into secular settings and continue to bear witness to the love of God in their post-modern midst: police chaplain, airport emergency response coordinator, local character teaching writing classes (favorite author- surprise!- St. John), high-school library helper (in clerics- of course!), surfer, ((Jesus decal on the board) - and even risking the wrath of my own congregation by confessing said creed,( LBW page 54-) once a year on Holy Trinity Sunday.

Yikes.

Pete (Reality Bites) Garrison
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 07, 2007, 02:33:34 PM

Creeds were developed as, and are still needed for, bulwarks against heretical threats to the Scriptural truth revealed to us in, with, and through Christ. The Athanasian Creed puts it well in its summation: "This is the catholic faith. One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully."


Pete (Reality Bites) Garrison


Oh Bites,
You're so last-millenium.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 07, 2007, 02:40:53 PM
Thank you for your response, Gary.  It might be a good challenge for many of use, well, all of us, to look at the post-modern world and also find what is good about it.  Like it or not, we have moved into one, and we are certainly going to have to find ways to preach to post-modern people, be church with post-modern people, and reach out to post-modern people.  Actually, there is no future about it.  They are already in our churches.

I simply have hard time seeing the usefulness of a creed in a post-modern world.

I see a good deal of usefulness in the Creeds.  Not just any creed but in our specific and central Creeds: Apostles' and Nicene.  They can form a lens through which we can see the world.  Like the canon-within-the-canon, it forms a "useful bias" (to use a phrase one of my sem profs used for the canon-within-the-canon concept) through which to see the rest of the world.    It forms a center around which our beliefs, understandings, theology, actions, and world-view can concentrate.  In fact, it seems to me that in a post-modern world, the Creeds, or evean a creed, become all the more important.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 07, 2007, 03:53:24 PM
Thank you for your response, Gary.  It might be a good challenge for many of use, well, all of us, to look at the post-modern world and also find what is good about it.  Like it or not, we have moved into one, and we are certainly going to have to find ways to preach to post-modern people, be church with post-modern people, and reach out to post-modern people.  Actually, there is no future about it.  They are already in our churches.

I simply have hard time seeing the usefulness of a creed in a post-modern world.

I see a good deal of usefulness in the Creeds.  Not just any creed but in our specific and central Creeds: Apostles' and Nicene.  They can form a lens through which we can see the world.  Like the canon-within-the-canon, it forms a "useful bias" (to use a phrase one of my sem profs used for the canon-within-the-canon concept) through which to see the rest of the world.    It forms a center around which our beliefs, understandings, theology, actions, and world-view can concentrate.  In fact, it seems to me that in a post-modern world, the Creeds, or evean a creed, become all the more important.

Mark C.

It seems to me that if one looks at the world through one of the various lenses of modern arrogance, often lumped together as post modernism, then one would logically have no use for the historic creeds of the church.  Likewise, if one looks at the world through the lens of the historic creeds of the church, then one would have no use for post modern thinking.

I do not think that the world can be post modern, although it can be looked at through that lens (or those lenses).  I do think that we can reach out with the gospel to people who have a post modern world view, but I do not think that they can come to our faith and continue to have a post modern view of the world.

The mutually exclusive nature of post modernism and the historic faith expressed in the creeds, and therefore the impossibility of reasoned discussion between the two, seems to be what was behind our beloved moderator going ballistic at that table of pastors at the camp.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 07, 2007, 06:27:28 PM
It seems to me that if one looks at the world through one of the various lenses of modern arrogance, often lumped together as post modernism, then one would logically have no use for the historic creeds of the church.  Likewise, if one looks at the world through the lens of the historic creeds of the church, then one would have no use for post modern thinking.

This illustrates one of the problems with the term "postmodern."  It gets used in a variety of different ways by different people.  I don't see "various lenses of modern arrogance," which seems to me to say the particular content of those lenses, as defining postmodernism.  Rather postmodernism is, to me, a matter how one organizes the world in thought and behavior, and our relationship with the physical world, the social world, and the world of ideas.  It might, then, apply to all sorts of lenses, including any number you might describe as being one of "modern arrogance" but also the lens of the historic creeds of the Christian church.

Quote
I do not think that the world can be post modern, although it can be looked at through that lens (or those lenses).  I do think that we can reach out with the gospel to people who have a post modern world view, but I do not think that they can come to our faith and continue to have a post modern view of the world.

The physical world, the creation, is not bound to any particular era or the way we look at it.  On the other hand, when I speak of a postmodern world, I speak of a social and cultural situation.  That can most certainly be postmodern.  And for large portions of society (including a good many Christians, even those in our congregations) it already is.

The challenge for the church will be to reach out to people who are postmodern and make the Gospel make sense to them.  That will mean looking for what is good and useful and using it while also being critical so that particular lenses can be separated out when they are not helpful or even problematic for the communication of the Gospel.  How we tell stories and understand narratives, might be one topic to consider with this question.  In some ways, I think postmodernism makes classic Christian theology more accessible while leaving behind a Christianity that incorporates so much of post-enlightenment modernism.  It's a matter of separating the deep and important content of Christian theology and faith from some of the forms and trappings it has taken on in the last 2-3 centuries, sometimes to its detriment.

Quote
The mutually exclusive nature of post modernism and the historic faith expressed in the creeds, and therefore the impossibility of reasoned discussion between the two, seems to be what was behind our beloved moderator going ballistic at that table of pastors at the camp.

I don't see that postmodernism and historic faith are mutually exclusive by nature.  That statement, it seems to me, is possible either because postmodernism is misunderstood (or thought to be a particular set of ideas rather than a more "meta" matter about an outlook on the world and one's life), or because the differences between the historic faith of the church and the various layers that have accumulated on top of it are not clearly discerned.  (Although that discerning is often very difficult to do and not always clear.)

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: Mel Harris on August 07, 2007, 08:06:16 PM
I agree that one of the problems with the term "postmodern"  is that it gets used in a variety of different ways by different people.  The self-proclaimed post modern thought that I have read seems to simply be some of the worst features of modernism pushed toward extremes in the hope of being novel.  Apparently, Mark C. is working with a very different definition of the term "post modern" than I have seen before.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 07, 2007, 09:37:34 PM
Mel,

If you read the self-proclaimed "postmodern" philosophers, I would agree with you.  They are hyper-modernist pushing to the extremes of that.  It's a label that they put on a school of thought.

I think of postmodern more phenomenologically, maybe even a bit generationally.  I think of it as a culture that is after modernism, as a time when we move on from Enlightenment thinking for any number of reasons.  I look to culture and media; changes in how we view the world scientifically, historically, globally in the last century; self-understanding of how one's life and community fit together; how people connect and understand narratives, and so forth.  One essay that has been somewhat influential in this is "How the World Lost It's Story" by Robert Jenson (First Things, October 1993, http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=5168).  I don't agree with all of his assessment, but he does at least begin to get at something here.

To engage postmodernity, and even search for ways to proclaim the Gospel to postmodern people and within a postmodern society, should not require us to embrace all that it might mean, culturally or philosophically.  But it does mean that we should be mindful that there is often a difference between how older and younger generations think of their world.  This is not all good, most certainly.  But neither is it all unfortunate.  There are, I believe, opportunities.  We can help install a Christian lens.  We don't have to be caught up in notions of a "Christian" world, of Christendom, which has certainly been used to justify many sins.  I also think it opens us up to leaving behind some of the unfortunate trappings of the Enlightenment upon Christian theology (and even Lutheran theology) while also opening up dormant connections to other eras (while still remaining historically aware).  I think it represents an opportunity for classical theology brought into the context of a postmodern world, with more openness to the spiritual realities of the world, not just the rational ones.  It could be an opportunity to renew Christian theology by seeking to express classical theology in postmodern language instead of dryly repeating shibboleths that last the impact they once carried.  This isn't going to always create satisfactory results, and we should be always putting it to the test.  But I also think that if we are to proclaim the Gospel to the world we have now, we are going to have to take a good look and see what we can make faithful use of in our proclamation and in our lives of discipleship in Christ.  Indeed, this is something Christians have always needed to do in one way or another in every era we have moved into.

Mark C. Christianson
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: ptmccain on August 07, 2007, 09:42:29 PM
Mark C. thanks for your thoughtful posts.

You wrote:
It could be an opportunity to renew Christian theology by seeking to express classical theology in postmodern language instead of dryly repeating shibboleths that last the impact they once carried.

Can you give me a few concrete examples of classical theology expresed in postmodern language, and/as opposed to dry repetitions of shibboleths.

Thanks,
PTM
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: mchristi on August 07, 2007, 10:51:12 PM
Can you give me a few concrete examples of classical theology expresed in postmodern language, and/as opposed to dry repetitions of shibboleths.

I hesitate to give particular formulae because that is kind of the point, formulae don't necessarily work.  I think I'm using "language" here more broadly than just words and sentences.  It has more to do with using verbal and visual imagery, telling stories and parables (and possibly in certain ways), and so forth.  Part of what I mean about repeating shibboleths is that certain words and phrases that have been in long use don't have the meaning that they once did.  For one thing, words like "salvation" and "faith" and even "sin" may need to be explored in ways that many have not needed to do.  That old Lutheran question, "What does this mean?," needs to be asked again while also going deep into our theology and tradition.  For example, with salvation we might need to be more particular about thinking not only what ways can we speak of this and think of this without the word "salvation" (although I would never say we should not use it, either), but also questions such as "to what purpose" and "why should we care about it."

More importantly, what I mean by my comment about repeating shibboleths is being more concerned about expressing ideas and seeing that they take on real meaning that reaches deep into our very being, than with using traditional language to express it.  Please note carefully, this is not an argument for abandoning that traditional language, but rather on our focus for concern and our ability to communicate the meaning.  Keep the Creeds and the catechism, make them a center, and talk about them with the emphasis on finding deep meaning in and around them.  And even more importantly, do this in and around the Scriptures.

Some particular classical theological concepts I think would be fruitful to explore in "postmodern language" is the theology of the cross (in particular how it is that we know Christ foremost through his joining us in our human predicament,  becoming a curse for us in St. Paul's language, to have compassion on us (note compassion is literally "suffering with") not so much to remove us from suffering but to be with us as we move through it, as does Christ on the cross; the idea of union with Christ (see, for example, Luther in the Freedom of a Christian but also the work of theologian John Zizioulas in "Being as Communion" on trinitarian theology, the notion of a person, and what all this means about our relationship with Christ); valuing the "christus victor" idea along with Christ as sacrifice for sin; our being justified in Christ and our being in bondage to sin.  These are not shibboleths in themselves, but they easily become so when we assume that they hold meaning for those who hear them in proclamation or in teaching.  Sometimes we need to break out of modern, Enlightenment habits here.  We need to renew our efforts, engage our imaginations, and explore these topics to make them hold real meaning again.

I am certain that some of the people who were sharing the table with Richard when he went ballistic would say some things very similar.  I can understand that this will cause some concern and skepticism.  But it seems to me that many of the people like those who sparked off Richard actually go in a hypermodern direction.  They cut off a fixed anchor and set themselves (and others) adrift.  What they don't find, then, is that what they cut loose is actually a center with some real and powerful gravity to it.  The difference in metaphor is, I think, important.

I don't know how well I answered your question, Paul, but as I noted above.  In some ways this is a big theological and ministry project or program, needing much to consider and many faithful people to pursue it.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
Post by: S-B on August 12, 2007, 10:22:47 PM
For a faithful, biblical editing of the Apostles Creed see Dr. Harry Wendt's course, "An Apostles' Creed for the New Millennium"

First article adds "and Owner of the heavens and the earth" following the affirmation of God the Father as Creator.

Second article does include material on the life of Jesus, summarizing his journey by saying that He lived "as a Servant without limit"

Third article names the battle of the Spirit, waged against Satan, the demonic, and the sinful, deathly powers- how it is only by the Spirit's power these are defeated.

Of course, this Crossways course is not actually trying to re-write the ancient creed, but to draw out its meaning.

Perhaps this is what some faithful, orthodox believers are attempted to do.

See www.crossways.org

Peace, Tim S-B