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Messages - Dave Benke

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1
Because, Pastor Culler, the Bishop of San Francisco is widely known as a conservative who favors the Tridentine mass, who worked at the Vatican for a number of years and through his actions and writings as Bishop certainly deserves and probably appreciates the appellation “arch conservative.”
Bishop Gregory is not known for being identified with any particular faction.
Do people even read the stories? Or do you dismiss everything and pick it apart simply because of the source?


No I just like to point out that the words used often indicate some more than mere facts, but the position of the speaker/writer.  To call anyone an "arch" anything is very close to calling them a nasty name.  You know that as well as I do.  No one is ever called an arch liberal, at least in my experience.  It is a phrase used to denigrate and nothing else.

Luther, famously, is a Heresiarch.  That's Arch to the Max.

Dave Benke

Not since 2016, though, right? When The Vatican stated Luther was a "witness to the gospel".
Never heard them say the same about Marcion, Arius, or Mani....

Steps along the road to the lifting of the excommunication, which would extend, I guess, to the Heavenly Banquet. 

Dave Benke

2
Because, Pastor Culler, the Bishop of San Francisco is widely known as a conservative who favors the Tridentine mass, who worked at the Vatican for a number of years and through his actions and writings as Bishop certainly deserves and probably appreciates the appellation “arch conservative.”
Bishop Gregory is not known for being identified with any particular faction.
Do people even read the stories? Or do you dismiss everything and pick it apart simply because of the source?


No I just like to point out that the words used often indicate some more than mere facts, but the position of the speaker/writer.  To call anyone an "arch" anything is very close to calling them a nasty name.  You know that as well as I do.  No one is ever called an arch liberal, at least in my experience.  It is a phrase used to denigrate and nothing else.

Luther, famously, is a Heresiarch.  That's Arch to the Max.

Dave Benke

3
Your Turn / Re: Baseball and a Bad Night for Atheists
« on: Yesterday at 12:48:28 PM »
Beginning June 21, 2021, Major League Baseball will start to enforce its rule that a
pitcher may not apply a foreign substance to the baseball.  Spider Tack and other
sticky substances have helped MLB pitchers increase their spin rate as they deliver
the ball to the batter.  This illegal use has increased the strikeout rate of hitters and
made scoring runs more difficult.  The umpires will have the freedom to inspect the
pitcher's cap, glove, belt, and uniform.  Those pitchers caught will receive a 10 day
suspension.

Or they will quit using the sticky stuff and wreck their arms, so that the Rays lose the pennant race and the Red Sox sneak in:  https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/06/15/tyler-glasnow-foreign-substance-blames-mlb-ucl-tear

Dave Benke

Dave Benke

4
Your Turn / Re: 1620
« on: Yesterday at 08:44:04 AM »
What frustrates me more than our inability to convert practicing Hindus or whatever is when we fail to retain as active members the people we’ve raised in the faith. That’s where the culture/moral issues interact and intersect with evangelism.

The cultural/moral issues are definitely in play when it comes to interactions with folks of other religions in ways similar through the centuries and back to the first century.  The foods eaten, the ceremonies observed, the strata of people in authority who live in your own home, are all in play say in a mixed Hindu/Christian household.  Matt Staneck and I are in the 'hood of Little Guyana on the Brooklyn/Queens border, where Hindu/Sikh/Muslim/Christian might all be culturally observed religious forms in one extended family.  So what stays and what goes culturally?  Come to a house blessing and you can ask that question.

At the same time, the more secular or God-free the culture becomes in mainstream America, and the less people go to anyone's church - or mosque, or temple - the more folks there are out there who are dis-attached, and seeking wisdom for daily life, often hurting and wounded.  I don't think the way to go in when it comes to the dis-attached is to nail down moral positions as option one.  It's to listen, embrace, invite.  Good News.  The Great Physician.

Dave Benke

5
Your Turn / Re: The Southern Baptists at it again
« on: June 15, 2021, 05:36:58 PM »
We are a confessional church in an amorphous age. As such we could punch well above our weight.  As we are, we punch lighter than the PCA.

This is absolutely what I believe to be true.  I spent some time reading the "Making Disciples for Life" stuff.  What I liked was that they asked if it was worthwhile and to contribute if it wasn't.  This is good.  I haven't done that yet, but I don't actually think it's all that worthwhile.  Now - maybe that's simply illustrative at the national level that what they want to do and do well is not really headed toward congregations.  There's more energy at that level going toward societal issues and organizational issues.  You might think, Mark, that's a way to punch at and above our weight.  I don't think that many people care, so my answer is that should not be the priority approach. 

The priority approach should always be Jesus, and always be Jesus in the Word, the Meal, and the communion of saints in the world as an operating force for the Prince of Peace in word and deed.  So one thing I'd do is to stop using The Confessions as a catchword that is almost meaningless to anyone outside The Confessional World, and start translating what's in The Confessions into words and practices that make everyday life in home, church and neighborhood a joyful and powerful reality.

I was pretty amazed at the amount of time spent by some in other parts of the synodical world on Weekly Confessional Study Groups.  Just re-reading and ossifying the confessional language into boxes and boxes of categories.  Accessibility to the grace of God in Jesus Christ is what we have.  And it's all we need.

Dave Benke

6
Your Turn / Re: 1620
« on: June 15, 2021, 05:24:25 PM »
I am simply stating what people have said to me about the things you've said from Beyond The Pale.  I could say ten but maybe it was twenty times in mixed Christian/Muslim home gatherings the imam or head Muslim would begin by telling me about what was done to them in the Crusades, and why the word Crusade was specifically offensive because the cross was made into a weapon.  And then asking me why I would agree that the cross, which I believe to be an instrument of death and redemption by the Son of God, when it became a weapon of death upon people whose lands were being ripped from them. 

For one.  Another thing that has happened to me is that in a multi-racial congregation, people who have been told that the phrase black lives matter may not be used in a Christian church have left that congregation and joined mine, where there are plenty of black lives that seem to matter. 

So these phrases are only signifiers for what people not of faith or of another faith or of our faith but not of an ideology are asking about Christianity.  They're not beginning with the data supporting the resurrection.  They're beginning with what they perceive to be moral and behavioral failures by people professing to follow Jesus. 

So what are the answers?  How do you peel that onion layer by layer?

I guess a question is how have you done that process of explanation/catechesis/conversation in bringing people of no faith or other faiths into your churches?

Dave Benke

7
Your Turn / Re: 1620
« on: June 15, 2021, 12:17:48 PM »
It is true, for example, that one explanation for the Empty Tomb that was offered was that the disciples stole the body. Should we consider that as an equally reasonable interpretation as that Jesus rose from the dead? When one considers how the disciples acted in the immediate aftermath of Jesus' arrest, their resources, the guard at the tomb, the plausibility of this account suffers greatly. Also we have the eye witnesses to the resurrected Jesus.

Who are "we?"  It's an old book steeped in patriarchy and used to enslave millions of people and oppress millions of others.  And the symbol of the cross, meant to be a sign of forgiveness, was for century on century used as the symbol for conquering colonial brutality, including the Crusades.  True truth means owning up to your own bad behavior.  Or doesn't it?

Dave Benke

8
Your Turn / Re: The Southern Baptists at it again
« on: June 15, 2021, 12:01:39 PM »
I always chuckle at the use of ultra- and arch- labels applied to the people one is trying to paint as too political, and the painting of one side's victories as the triumph of politicking and the other side's victories as the absence of such politicking.

How is Harrison not basically mainstream in the LCMS? What is so arch- and ultra- or uber- about him?

Harrison is no more ultra-conservative than Herman Otten, and as opposed to Otten (+), wears a chasuble to celebrate the Eucharist.  What Harrison has been is an ultra-church-political electee, as witnessed by pretty much all the boards, committees and commissions at the national level, and the Uber-successful United List, which has dominated the denomination's process for fifteen years.  This Uber-successful anonymous church-political party has had its way with the denomination.  Who are they?  What do they stand for?  I would say two primary things:  power and control. 

In the end it's not that big a deal, because the denomination is in declination, plain and simple, so there's less over which to have power, and less to control.

 In the Southern Baptist case, having gone down by 13% in membership in a couple of years even with their estimation of The Truth on their side, I believe they will at this convention double down on delivering the Truth in apologetic terms - they have a much stronger mission outreach central purpose than, for example, the Missouri Synod, which is primarily about The Truth composed as Confessional Doctrine.  So they'll take a counter-cultural approach in their choice of a leader, and make that the excuse for the dwindling of members - we're a Truth Agency here, and try to Build it Back Better through alignment with the conservative cultural forces - that's actually not a bad idea given their red state geographical core.

And I think that's the way it's been going and will continue to go in the Missouri Synod - doubling down in our case on basically the principles Mark Brown espouses - liturgical form, apologetic delivery of mission, and more uniform practices encouraged and mandated.  However, we're only 15% of the size of the Southern Baptists, so the decline will be felt more keenly, especially in the small to tiny congregations, will remove maybe 20% from the roster over the next decade.  The anticipated "right size" of the Missouri Synod has been estimated at 1.3 million.  I think it's around 800,000.   

In the overall Kultur-Kampf, of course the Missouri Synod and Southern Baptist Convention are on the red/right side of the screen, and the ELCA is on the blue/left side of the screen.  They're neither uber or unter, just almost 100% predictable in statements and behaviors down to what eventually turns out to be regular political party affiliation at the 75% level.  Actually, I think the Missouri Synod would have closer to 80% Republicans, the ELCA probabably what?  65% Democrats, and the Southern Baptist Convention what?  70% Republicans? 

Dave Benke

9
Your Turn / Re: 1620
« on: June 15, 2021, 10:54:35 AM »
We need to preserve history as accounts of what has happened not just useful stories we tell ourselves since our faith is based not on cleverly devised myths (21 Peter 1:16) but what God actually has done for us. We also need to learn to deal with people (ourselves first of all) not as simply good guys and bad guys but as saints and sinners.

This encourages the study of Christian apologetics with an eye toward mission.  If you compute all the accumulated additions and corrections made to the deposit of the faith through two millenia, people today examine it and are led to the precise conclusion that the belief system is in fact a series of cleverly devised myths.  The Trinity, Real Presence, rites of inclusion and exclusion, the addition of basically a fourth person to the Trinity in Mary, priests being ontologically differentiated from laity - add or subtract a few thousand more - and it has the feel of cleverly devised myths.

The fact at the base of the cross which is a leap of faith is the soldier's simple statement, "Truly this is the Son of God."

The Roman Empire was built on a code of honor which did not involve the True God.  And until it crumbled, it worked.  One of the areas in today's culture that I watch closely has to do with repentance and forgiveness absent God.  Bad tweets are tweeted, then deleted, but not before the tweeter is outed as a Fill In the Blank proponent or opponent of Fill In the Blank, which has received cultural opprobrium or acclaim.  Now that bad tweeter having been caught apologizes.  But - what should be done?  Can she or he ever be included in the public sphere again?  Apology is not enough.  What are the consequences?  Unsure, but somebody is usually arbitrating that they be socially/culturally severe. 

And one reason, I would say the prime reason, is that there's no rite/sacrament of absolution.  God forgave my sin in Jesus' Name/I've been born again in Jesus' Name.  Does that actually change things, knowing that God has forgiven?  My answer is Yes it does.   And there begins a dialog with those who think of us Christians as clever myth-makers.

Dave Benke

10
Your Turn / Re: The Southern Baptists at it again
« on: June 15, 2021, 08:33:41 AM »
Pastor Gard, the conservatives themselves are using the “pirate“ imagery, therefore the use of “commandeer“ is appropriate. And if there is any single denomination that is more “political” than the LCMS, it is the Southern Baptist Convention. If you’re a reporter, you cover them the way you would cover a political party. Theological nuances ain’t worth 1 ounce of grape juice in that crowd.

The theory on internal church politics back in the day, 1980s/90s, was that there was a shared playbook between the Southern Baptists and Missouri Synod having to do with a building a doctrinally conservative to ultraconservative long-term future.  In each denomination there are different structures and therefore different strategies, but strategy one was the delegate selection process.  In the case of the Missouri Synod, that's the electoral circuit.  The very tight election in 1992 that put Al Barry into the presidency was an eye-opener on the effectiveness of the delegate selection strategy.  When Jerry Kieschnick won another very tight election after Barry's death in 2001, the ultra-conservative church-political movement forward was stymied, and other tactics were employed, up to and including members of the synodical elected leadership suing in the end themselves based on the very same area of concern - the electoral circuits.  In that case it was the exemption from the rubrics of circuit size, etc. by the president that became the focus.  Kieschnick was seen as having given the exemptions to gain votes (this was when the presidential election was held at the national convention by delegates).  The lawsuit went nowhere, but it did demonstrate at that time the intensity of the church-political focus on delegate selection.

Dave Benke

11
Your Turn / Re: The Southern Baptists at it again
« on: June 14, 2021, 04:18:55 PM »
For a better and clear picture, may I suggest David French: https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/character-is-destiny-for-the-southern?r=2jz7h&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copy

I liked this article for its inclusions and exclusions when it comes to the edge-players, right and left.  Thanks.

Dave Benke

12
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: June 12, 2021, 10:21:37 AM »
I looked up Dune Hawk on line and discovered that the Dune Hawk has become associated with House Atreides and Arrakis in fandom. That raises some ideas for logos.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e0/cc/d9/e0ccd973eaad57bde7dbea6efde006d8.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/87/Atreides_Hawk..svg/1280px-Atreides_Hawk..svg.png

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/6c/03/7c/6c037c04d09cf6a075bb7fd676f54278.png

https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/scale_super/11113/111130441/4665091-5813821678-39.jp.jpg

So, is Dune Hawk, given its House Atreides connections, just a crypto way of switching sides? Going from the Crusaders to the Jihadists or the Caliphs? (If you've read Dune, you'd get it.  Butlerian Jihad now!)

As long as Valpo wins.

Dave Benke

13
Your Turn / Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« on: June 12, 2021, 10:20:10 AM »
I have a D. Min. degree after an S.T.M.  The use of the academic protocols was ingrained in the way the D. Min. paper was written.  At the same time, the D. Min. wasn't an academic degree but a professional certification.  People called me "Doctor" for about a month, and then went back to Pastor B. 

At the next level of work/vocation, the term Doctor was used about half the time, the rest being President or Bishop, and by the end of that vocational period it was mostly Bishop.  And now back to Pastor, although when intros in person were being done pre-pandemic, a lot of our folks would say "this is our Pastor, Bishop David Benke."  Blame it on a Pentecostal neighborhood vibe where every third storefront is manned by a Bishop and Founder.  Or blame it on the bossa nova.

What turns out to be the great personal benefit of my D. Min. (New York Theological Seminary, 1983) was that it was the story/history/documentation of the Nehemiah Housing Plan and how local congregations and leaders worked with their denominations to bring it to pass practically and theologically, and how that manifested at the congregation and among the leaders I was (and still am) serving.

My successor, The Reverend Doctor Derek Lecakes, Bishop and President of The Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, was privileged to receive the final L.L.D. degree proffered by Concordia, Bronxville a few weeks ago.  Not a poseur, a closeur.

Dave Benke

14
Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 01:34:52 PM »

And the same applies to the angels, who are part of the created order.  Or are they not part of the created order in your opinion? 


I'm afraid I don't know enough to answer your question very well, Pr. Benke.  Does the phrase "the created order" refer to what happened immediately after "In the beginning?"  If so, then I suppose angels are not part of "the created order" (since, I'm guessing, they were around prior to what Genesis describes as happening immediately after "In the beginning").  But do angels have an ontological status as beings created by God prior to "In the beginning"?  That sounds plausible; but I don't really know.

My wife believes I am married to an angel.  I'll ask her.

Tom Pearson

With regard to your wife, if that's what she believes, I'd leave her alone.  Don't risk bursting that bubble.

With regard to angelic being timing in the creation, the sense is after day one (from a Roman Catholic source):

One of the most plausible theories claims that all the angels were created on the first day of creation and that the fall of Satan occurred when God separated the light from the dark.

St. Augustine explains part of this theory in City of God.

For when God said, “Let there be light, and there was light,” if we are justified in understanding in this light the creation of the angels, then certainly they were created partakers of the eternal light which is the unchangeable Wisdom of God, by which all things were made, and whom we call the only-begotten Son of God; so that they, being illumined by the Light that created them, might themselves become light and be called “Day,” in participation of that unchangeable Light and Day which is the Word of God, by whom both themselves and all else were made.


Sounds reasonable to me.  A day and night difference.  Which, at this time in Finland, is barely noticeable.

Dave Benke

15
Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 01:16:04 PM »
No physical presence?  Bodi-less?  Or body plus?  Or bodiless plus, ontological shape-shifting, meaning that's how we will be "as angels" - bodily resurrected, angelic in shape-shifting actualization.
Again, the relevant statements by Jesus say nothing whatsoever about our resurrected bodies, only that we will neither marry nor be given in marriage once we have received them.

The pertinent statement is "when the dead rise they will be as the angels in heaven."  The secondary phrase in the sentence applies to marriage.  The substance of the sentence is that the dead will be as the angels in heaven.  Embodied and enspirited angels.

Dave Benke

Outside of the enjoyment of speculative thought, this dialog is literally about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin - meaning that angels, who exist ontologically, have size or can change in size.  All steering of the topic back toward anthropological/human discussion fails to address "as the angels in heaven," which not insubstantially is the phrase of Our Lord.

And in the Time of Pandemic, once we have learned that a living thing, a CoronaVirus, squeezes 15,000 particles of itself onto the head of a pin, I would like a teensy angelic army zapping each one out of existence on that pinhead.  Or at least some Pfizer in the veins.

Dave Benke

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