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Messages - D. Engebretson

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Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: Yesterday at 01:01:05 PM »
Then here’s A question, Pastor Engebretson.
Will it be necessary to pass some laws to either get the fools currently refusing vaccinations to take the shots, or at least to restrict their activities so they don’t injure themselves or others?
We require children to be vaccinated before they can enter public schools. Why can’t we require these “children” to take the vaccinations?

As far as I know the state has never "required" vaccinations of the population in general.* I received my vaccination back in February, partly as a way to gain entry to my elderly members in assisted care facilities, partly as protection for myself, and partly as protection of my members. 

A number of medical people have refused the vaccination.  Some have lost their jobs over it.  Some of my members, not many, do not want to get the vaccine, and a couple of those work in the healthcare industry.  Part of this is not just a refusal, but a desire to wait for 'full' approval.  Some of it is undoubtedly informed by things they know about the health industry and medicine. Some are hesitant about the emergency status of the CDC's authorization.  Some people wanted to see what the side effects would be. Such as for pregnant women. For the vast majority of us there have been little to none.  But for some the effects have been significant.  Some of my members who had already contracted COVID-19 and recovered had a much harder time with the vaccine.  One person I know, who has recovered and now has antibodies, sees no sense in taking the vaccine. 

At some businesses like Walmart they do not require the workers to be vaccinated, but do require those not vaccinated to wear masks. Since we have been told by the CDC that masks are effective in protecting others, apparently even businesses feel that their workers without the vaccine pose little danger to the rest of the store.  Or should they believe otherwise?

I know you have used the word "fool" before of those unwilling to be vaccinated.  I don't know if you would tell your own concerned members (if you were yet serving a parish) that they are fools for not being vaccinated.  I will not. I respect their concerns, and realize that all Americans must make an informed decision about such matters that directly impact their lives and health, not just the lives and health of others.

*As a side note: In the 80s AIDS was a very serious health concern. At the time few drugs were available to treat the disease effectively.  We now have more, and the life expectancy has increased for those infected. As far as I know the state has never mandated that those who engage in risky behavior (e.g. unprotected sex) take certain precautions or take certain medicines. They are left to make those decisions on their own. I suspect if we did mandate such measures we would be accused of unfairly targeting certain groups of people in a minority status.   

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: Yesterday at 11:59:09 AM »
You can't. But the virus is more than just politics in general.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: Yesterday at 10:42:09 AM »
I don't think the thread should necessarily be shut down.  I just wonder why our discussion is not on the subject thread and instead drifted again into politics.  And it wasn't just critical of a Democratic slogan, but took obvious swipes at the previous administration.  But I'm not looking for another political tussle.  I just thought the thread was about the news on the coronavirus. 

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: Yesterday at 08:48:30 AM »
Just wondering if this is something about "coronavirus news".  In fact, the whole last page of posts seem to be going in another direction, with only one post addressing issues associated with the virus.  Perhaps after 258 pages of posts this thread has reached its natural end?

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 23, 2021, 06:16:52 PM »
Why don't we just articulate those functions of the pastoral office that are unique to it and then we'll know what not to debate.  Unless, someone claims there are no specific functions unique to the OHM.

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 23, 2021, 09:16:54 AM »
Unfortunately, I guess, for those of you here who are midwesterners, the instances of pastors refusing to let others tend, pray, and visit are all from the midwest/upper midwest, and were brought to me by those in leadership in that part of the country.  The tendency came through as (to borrow a phrase from back in the day) hypo-Euro, which being translated is pastors with a belief in the authority of the pastoral office that edges into authoritarianism/elitism.  Herr Pastor on steroids.  And there was/is a strong contingent of those in that part of the world.  Maybe they've all retired in the intervening five years since I'm out of that loop, but then they would have taken early retirement, since they were, in my hearing, younger/newer in ministry.

My entire ministry has been in the midwestern region of our Synod.  While I don't deny that such issues exist, I have always felt that the caricature of the "hypo-euro" thing was way overplayed, especially in the pages of a certain tabloid out of Missouri.  I don't think that a high view of the office necessarily translates into a narrow view of the role of laity in the overall care of their fellow Christians. At least that's not my predominate impression from this little corner of our church body.

And do you swallow the absurdities of Fox News....

I watch Good Morning America (ABC) in the morning and then switch briefly to the cable news networks (FOX, CNN, MSNBC).  I think it's fair to say that all of the networks appear polarized in the political realm.  As I watch the more left-leaning networks I notice they don't hide their continued disdain for anything related to Trump, and even seem rather obsessed over the past in their 'current' reporting.  In turn they appear to avoid any real criticism of the current administration, regardless of apparent problems and mistakes.  I think that if we are going to attack and criticize one network we need to recognize that all of them have issues. 

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 22, 2021, 01:27:36 PM »
God has indeed made male and female different and that difference factors into any individual's particular vocations.

I have been following the thread and I suspect that this sentence may be the point of difference in the recent ongoing back-and-forth discussion about male and female.  While I think that all may agree that there are "differences" between the genders (although the extent and specificity of those differences would no doubt be debated), that those differences factor into a "particular" vocation, I would suspect, is a sticking point.  I wonder if we all simply said that all vocations are free of gender considerations, the debate would end.  But then again, I may still be missing something....

How is what this organization does fundamentally different than, say, this:

I went to their website out of curiosity:

I haven't explored everything on the site, but I listened to the intro video and I didn't hear any one candidate or political party mentioned or promoted.

Is it 'partisan' to ask Christian people to be engaged in the political process of voting?

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 19, 2021, 10:10:25 AM »
Tell me what purpose that served, other than to preserve your particular kind of loyalty to your church body. Did the Anglicans themselves advise you not to receive?

No, they did not tell me to not to receive.  I chose not to.  For me it was a question of honesty and integrity.  And it was not simply to "preserve...loyalty" to my church body.  As much as I liked the Anglicans, especially the Anglo-Catholics, our confession was not the same. For them not an issue.  For me it was. 

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 19, 2021, 09:10:57 AM »
When I was studying at Nashotah House (a seminary of the TEC) they would celebrate the Sacrament each day.  I faithfully attended chapel during my summer and winter intensives, but chose not to commune.  Even at my graduation, which was held at a local chapel in the context of a divine service, I did not commune, although I did go forward, with hands and arms crossed, to receive a "blessing," as to not make things overly awkward (since my graduation attire consisted of cassock, surplice, and tippet, rendering me in appearance no different than other clergy that day).  In all cases this was accepted and I did receive any negative feedback.  Somewhat surprisingly I was the only one that seemed not to be communing, even though there were others studying there from church bodies outside of the TEC.  I did so partly out of my commitment to uphold our fellowship practice in the LCMS, but also because I realized that as much as I liked and respected the Anglicans with whom I studied, and among whom I briefly lived, I knew that there were, in my estimation as a LCMS pastor, serious issues of fellowship between our two church bodies.  As a guest in their midst I did not speak out on those differences, and to this day I retain a good relationship with the people of Nashotah and a couple of folks from my study time with whom I still have some contact.   

Your Turn / Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« on: June 18, 2021, 09:36:08 AM »
This week has demonstrated to me that we now live in a kind of two world reality.  Almost all of the people in church attend without masks.  Many, of course, are of the older crowd, so they have all been vaccinated, and I suspect many others have as well. I think the un-vaccinated are in a small minority.  The tape separating every other pew  for the sake of 'social distancing' has just been removed.  I still mask for consecration and distribution of the Sacrament, but that is one of the few obvious remaining reminders of how COVID-19 impacted our church on Sunday morning.  A few other things remain changed, probably permanently, like the familiar 'passing the plate' (changed, in part, already before the pandemic when we introduced online giving) and the so-called 'sharing of the peace' or greeting at the beginning (hand shaking remains somewhat rare).  As I am out in the community I also see normalcy. All the major retailers have dropped mask requirements. People mill around and shop much like they did pre-pandemic.  I met with my adult children on Memorial Day indoors without masks, and we finally braved going to restaurants in the last few weeks, again without masks.  There is a relief in coming back to a reality I so missed and took for granted.

On the other hand, as Pr. Austin observed, that reality does not exist within our hospitals.  I visited two parishoners on Monday in two different cities.  I had to mask, was temperature checked, and was quizzed about possible symptoms.  What struck me, especially on the second visit at my local hospital, was the feeling of 'emptiness' in the halls.  Patients are limited to one family member during the week.  No more. No exceptions, even for spouses.  The only 'exception' is clergy. After I came home I then realized the 'two world reality' we now live in, which also includes, to some degree, the assisted living centers.  And it may explain, in some part, the partial reluctance of those working in the medical world to fully engage the outside world.  I wondered what it must be like working inside a virtually isolated world that still lives with strict pandemic protocols for 8 hours or more, where all you see are your fellow masked workers and sick people, with a few healthy ones here and there.  What a contrast. And, I might add, my area, as well as that of my state, has a very low rate of COVID-19 infections. 

I don't know how long this dichotomy will last, but I suspect it will be until they are no longer talking about the pandemic every day on the news, with commentary on 'variants' currently working their way through the population.  My guess, is it could be as long as another year. 

I also realize that this event has forever changed our world and the way we live.  I am pleased that many 'normal' activities are returning.  But just under the surface for some seems to be a permanent sense of fear and foreboding.  Of course, the crisis filled the news every day for over a year.  Not a morning goes by that it is still not a part of the regular reporting.  Even when the danger is not acute in our local areas we are reminded that places far away like Japan and India are in crisis.  It feels like what it must have been like in the 60s and 70s when reporting on the Vietnam War brought warfare into our living rooms as never before.  No longer did you go to the local theater to see the 'news reels.' If you watched the daily news you had regular, ongoing exposure to war. 

As to the politics and civil unrest mentioned, that, too, has been colored by regular media reporting.  Yes, there are problem areas, but most of our communities are relatively safe and free of violent, angry protests.  I look around my own area and I do not see what I see every day on the news.  I suspect it is that way for others as well.  Now I am not arguing that we should be uninformed.  But a steady diet of an assault of such news instills within the heart a restless sense of fear and foreboding that is not healthy.  I cannot live with such fear all the time.  It eventually impacts faith and hope.  As a first responder I know the necessity of facing crises and tragedies.  I have been part of many debriefings that involved injury, death and destruction.  But to remain mentally healthy I cannot live in that world 24/7.  I must walk away and return back to the world that is not severely broken.  Otherwise I lose balance and I cannot respond with needed perspective in times of high stress.

I hope that we find a way to deal with this lingering fear that cripples some lives unnecessarily.  It is not healthy for our society as a whole.

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 17, 2021, 08:51:44 AM »
Before the woman, God formed all the animals to see if they would be perfect helpers for the human.

The way this sentence is constructed it means that God formed all the animals with (or for) the purpose of seeing if they would be perfect helpers for the human. If that is your intent, where in the language of Genesis is that supported?

After God decided that it wasn't good for the man to be alone and "I will make a helper fit for him.῾ God then forms all the animals and brings them to the man who calls the name of each animal. Then the narrator tells us, "a helper fit for Adam was not found." It sure sounds to me that God was presenting all the animals to Adam so that he might find a helper fit for him. At least in English translations, v. 21 begins with "So," a word that designates a result. (It is a וְ in Hebrew, which is often not translated, or translated with "and," but it can also mean, "so.") So as a result of Adam not finding a proper helper among the animals God presented to him, God puts Adam to sleep to build another human from his side. Adam will also call the name of his wife, "Eve" in 3:20 - the same words used earlier with Adam naming the animals.

(Interestingly, at least to me, in the LXX, it gives her name in verse 20 as Zoe (Ζωή) but else where, e.g., 4:1, she is called Eve (Εὕα).)

A clarification: Your original sentence implied that the animals were created for the purpose of finding a helper for man.  Your reply shifts to their presentation before Adam and their naming. 

Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 16, 2021, 01:03:14 PM »
Before the woman, God formed all the animals to see if they would be perfect helpers for the human.

The way this sentence is constructed it means that God formed all the animals with (or for) the purpose of seeing if they would be perfect helpers for the human. If that is your intent, where in the language of Genesis is that supported?

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