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Messages - peter_speckhard

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1
Your Turn / The African Bonhoeffer
« on: February 24, 2021, 10:04:08 AM »
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2021/02/the-african-bonhoeffer/

This looks like an extremely interesting book, edited in part by alpb-affiliated Sarah Hinlicky-Wilson.

2
Your Turn / R.I.P. Gerald Speckhard
« on: February 23, 2021, 02:06:42 PM »
My father, a longtime VU professor, died late Saturday night after having had a stroke earlier this month. I'll be preaching at his funeral this Saturday.

 http://www.angelcrestinc.com/obituary_pages/obit_07.html

3
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 22, 2021, 03:54:39 PM »
If remote conventions become normal, we’re owning up to the fact that fellowship and informal talk/meetings are not an important part of conventions.

4
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 21, 2021, 07:59:51 AM »


Pastor Fienen, you always take my every word to a burn-down-the-house extreme. Please stop.
I've highlighted the irony for the sake of those who don't always get your wordsmithing whimsy.

5
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 20, 2021, 12:04:14 PM »
Some of this is like what to do with robo calls.  Usually in the Missouri Synod the thunder comes from the right.  So the overtures flow in to outlaw women lectors or mandate private confession and absolution etc. etc.   After a number of these, in some to many cases from the same congregations/pastors, the mind goes to robo calls and how to block them on your phone.  So if X congregation submits its 32nd overture on topics that have already been decided, they get blocked at the floor committee level.  That's it for them.  On convention floors, that's why that person or those people who rise to speak on everything get the convention groan.  They're blocked even when speaking, because nobody's listening.

In the convention management scenario, this comes through the prism of time.  We've spent half the convention listening to the same people opine on matters already settled.  Time to block, due to time wasting. 

The ideal would be to let everything go through to vote, just to say all 72 of those overtures were defeated, but at least heard.  As one who's completed his lifetime of convention service hours, I can recommend that all overtures come to vote, because I won't be there anyway.  No skin in the game.

Dave Benke
The thunder may come from the right. But the ignoring of it is the speciality of the left. If you look at the left (the folks who refer to themselves as moderates) they will always always always carve out a local exception or pastoral discretion application for themselves, such that literally nothing the synod votes on will get them to change whatever behavior the right is thundering about.

6
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 20, 2021, 10:02:05 AM »
(snip) My response was essentially, "So what? If it has no chance of passing, it will take a few minutes to vote it down, and at least the people who submitted it will know where things stand. And if it would be a disaster if it passed, people will surely vote it down. (snip)

I co-chaired the district floor committee last go-round and this was my attitude as well. Someone submitted it, it deserves a vote.

The challenge is that there is a responsibility that, should something be voted through, the floor committee has a bit of a responsibility for making sure the district (at least half of the voters not being clear on the synod or district constitution and bylaws) didn't just tie itself in a knot. I imagine the same holds true at the national level.

For instance, a few overtures advocated the district taking a position on topics where the national synod already had a published position. Were these to pass as resolutions, the district position would have been different from the national position. These overtures had to be changed, or our district would be in opposition to our synod. On these overtures (two or three), we had to do the dreaded: "Recommend for use the previously published study/resolution..." Which I am sure did not please those who had submitted them. If I recall correctly, we got back to the congregation in question (all had come from one proactive congregation) and told them that change would have take place in the form of a submitted resolution to the national convention and that they were welcome to submit them to the upcoming national convention. Which I am sure they felt was just kicking the can, but so be it.

For my own money, I would have been happy to let each overture-turned-resolution stand and be voted down, as each probably would have. But there was a responsibility to make sure the overture, if passed as a resolution, wouldn't violate our agreed-on structure/bylaws/etc.
But what if the intent was to challenge the LCMS position? In other words, have to district take it to synod? If the majority in a district disagree with the synod position, how should they express that if they are never allowed to vote on it?

7
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 19, 2021, 11:46:27 PM »


What I sense in the remarks being made is that there's a perceived effort by leaders to "kick it down the road" when it comes to controversial resolutions.  And inside that there's a feeling of manipulation.  I can say with the procedures and opportunities for interaction that exist in the process, I never felt I was manipulating - all precincts were heard from by the time the wordsmiths punched the anvil.  In some cases I think the kicking of the can down the road is practiced, as a way for other elected groups/commissions/committees to wrap their collective heads around the issue.  That's not a bad thing automatically, but it is a slow thing.

I don't doubt that you never felt like you were manipulating. You probably felt like you were leading, that is, taking wacky and unworkable overtures that were all over the map and getting them into some kind of form that could be reasonably voted on.

I was on a district floor committee once. I often disagreed with votes to put things in omnibus resolutions. When I objected, people on the committee would say that such and such an overture had no chance of passing or that it would be a disaster if it did. My response was essentially, "So what? If it has no chance of passing, it will take a few minutes to vote it down, and at least the people who submitted it will know where things stand. And if it would be a disaster if it passed, people will surely vote it down. In any event, these decisions we're making are simply giving the impression that we don't trust the voters to vote.

One such vote was an overture to hold two district conferences each year instead of one, the new one being specifically to study theological issues as opposed to district business. The DP was full square against the idea. It was tucked into an omnibus resolution. It got voted out of the omnibus resolution for separate consideration. Attempts were made to water it down. Those attempts failed. A voice vote was called. The DP declared the nays had it. A count was called for. It turned out the ayes had it. The point is that I don't think the DP (Aleigh Lutz, a great guy) thought he or the floor committee was being manipulative. But they were. They were using the process to try to get their way rather than the vote.

I think the misunderstanding is in your description. "All the precincts were heard from." That isn't the issue. They didn't want to be heard from, they wanted a vote on a specific resolution. They didn't see themselves as squeaky wheels raising issues and just wanting the district to be aware of their concerns. Assuring them they were heard from without letting the voters vote on their resolution just makes matters worse.

8
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 19, 2021, 01:48:27 PM »
I think what killed Ablaze! was the overt way it supported and celebrated those who were importing the trappings of Evangelicalism into the LCMS, and the way it tended to use traditional LCMS congregations as a foil. "Here's what we used to be," (audience groans at tired organ wheezing away as a handful of old people sleep in the pews). "But here is what we could be!" (Cheers the screen shows happy young people swaying to the praise band). A huge number of people were made to feel as though they were everything wrong with the state of the church. So much that was meant to be motivational just seemed to many people like piling law unto hurting people in dwindling congregations. That made the logo and campaign a political identifier in the worship wars and other controversies.

9
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 19, 2021, 09:54:37 AM »
FWIW, I have probably attended 100 national conventions of church bodies. As a reporter, I covered national conventions of Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans (ALC, LCA, LC-MS), Methodists, United Church of Christ, Baptists (Southern) and Reformed Church in America.
When I worked for the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. and the LCA, I worked in the newsrooms of the LCA, ALC, LC-MS (Yes, I worked for the LC-MS, under Vic Bryant), and the AELC. The Lutheran (later Living Lutheran) had me help with their coverage of eight or nine ELCA Assemblies.
It's easy to mock these gatherings, but it's wrong to do so.
Here's my quick, short list of what they do that is "good."
-They do the business of the church, making decisions about budgets, program priorities, building new programs, fixing old ones.
-They bring the "average pewsitter" into the life of the denomination, because delegates or voting members are people from the pews.
-They bring inspiration to those present - for there are as many visitors as delegates - through worship, preaching, special activities, and this strengthens them for work at home.
-They provide places where "connections" are made or preserved: people with similar interests; college and seminary graduates; people from outside the local judicatory, but from the same state or region; church executives and the "grass roots"; ecumenical partners.
-They expose delegates and visitors to voices and ideas that they might not hear or encounter elsewhere.
-They show the wider world that the denomination exists, what it cares about, how it works and who its leaders are.
-They give convention volunteers, often young people, a chance to experience the work of the Church on a different level.
-They can be a heck of a lot of fun.

I agree with this. I've attended one convention as a delegate-M'waukee. I was happy to attend and participate. I won't repeat what Charles said. But I will say that the seating chart isn't bad. I got to sit with some people I didn't know and met an internet friend face to face who was three seats down. The guy next to me was a lay delegate contemplating seminary and we had lots of time for conversation.

Plus Will Weedon bought me and Jim Butler a round of drinks at the ALPB party. Then at another gathering DP John Wille bought me a drink. He doesn't know me. We were just standing at the bar next to each other and he says, "I'll pay for his too." We shook hands.

Conventions aren't all bad.

Jeremy

The mingling is at the core of the convention experience.  Charles is on point with his list. 

I would add the vibe that goes through the big room by the third day or so.  By that time, we're all - guess what - conventioneers, veterans of convention rubrics and energy.  So Mr. X gets on the line at microphone 8, and an audible groan goes forth.  He's that guy, same speech on every issue delivered in the same way, always irritating, not just to a few, but by day three, to everybody.  And by then people are learning to understand the reason for The Behnken Rule, as a group of Mr. X's seeks to bring their own resolutions instead of the ones proposed by the floor committees.  As opposed to the Rule of Benedict, which was a real thing, the Rule of Behnken has to do with the procedure on substitute motions.  In line with the Rule of Benedict, the Rule of Behnken has proven durable.

 Insider trading tip - in mid-convention career as a District President, I would designate one delegate as my closer - Mariano Rivera, to Yankee fans.  He had one job, and that was to call the question.  Close debate. Wrap it up.  A four word speech - "I call the question."  When he got up after awhile, people standing on the edge would head back to their seats for the vote because The Closer was going to the mic.  That was fun to watch.  He made a lot of friends at the convention and was treated as a hero at the Atlantic District breakfasts.

And I stand in support of one of the Major Substitute Motions in the Missouri Synod - The Lutheran Fair.  All in favor - put some brats on the grill.  All opposed - no brats for you.

Dave Benke
If the floor committees didn't so consistently modify what they receive from congregations and districts into resolutions clearly at odds with the intent of the original overture, people wouldn't be so inclined to offer substitute motions, which are generally just the original motion before the floor committee changed it.

This is why nearly all the votes taken in convention pass overwhelmingly with 80+% of the vote, and virtually none of them actually make much difference, if any. Some district or circuit somewhere votes on and passes a resolution. Could be anything, really. Resolved that the synod direct CPH to publish some controversial book and send a copy to every member of synod. Okay. That may or may not be a stupid idea. But instead of letting the delegates decide, the floor committee changes it to "Resolved that the synod recommend the district presidents bear in mind the issues addressed by such and such a book when making decisions about those issues." That is, the floor committee votes it down on behalf of the delegates because they think it is a bad idea, then presents something to the voting delegates that makes zero difference. And everyone votes for it, and the guy who goes to the microphone to try and get his original resolution considered gets mocked for being a self-important obstructionist. If he would at least get the chance to see his pet resolution godown in flames, he'd feel like the conventions did what they're supposed to do.

The overtures identify points of conflict or disagreement that the circuit or district has identified and take a side on. The next step is to invite the synod in convention to make a decision. Instead, the synod kicks the can down the road by saying, in effect, "Yes indeed, that is a point of disagreement or conflict. We should really for a committee to take a look at that." Meanwhile the people who presented it are thinking, "We've already looked at it. The voters are here right now. They've had months to consider it. Let's decide. If we don't vote on it now, whe are we going to vote on it?" To which they get the answer, "We're voting on your resolution right now, just with some minor wording changes. We changed 'direct' to 'encourage.' We changed 'shall' to 'are encouraged to' and we changed 'x book' to 'various publications that deal with the issues addressed x book'. But other than that it is what you sent us, and this way it has a much better chance of passing without controversy."   

10
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 19, 2021, 08:54:54 AM »
FWIW, I have probably attended 100 national conventions of church bodies. As a reporter, I covered national conventions of Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans (ALC, LCA, LC-MS), Methodists, United Church of Christ, Baptists (Southern) and Reformed Church in America.
When I worked for the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. and the LCA, I worked in the newsrooms of the LCA, ALC, LC-MS (Yes, I worked for the LC-MS, under Vic Bryant), and the AELC. The Lutheran (later Living Lutheran) had me help with their coverage of eight or nine ELCA Assemblies.
It's easy to mock these gatherings, but it's wrong to do so.
Here's my quick, short list of what they do that is "good."
-They do the business of the church, making decisions about budgets, program priorities, building new programs, fixing old ones.
-They bring the "average pewsitter" into the life of the denomination, because delegates or voting members are people from the pews.
-They bring inspiration to those present - for there are as many visitors as delegates - through worship, preaching, special activities, and this strengthens them for work at home.
-They provide places where "connections" are made or preserved: people with similar interests; college and seminary graduates; people from outside the local judicatory, but from the same state or region; church executives and the "grass roots"; ecumenical partners.
-They expose delegates and visitors to voices and ideas that they might not hear or encounter elsewhere.
-They show the wider world that the denomination exists, what it cares about, how it works and who its leaders are.
-They give convention volunteers, often young people, a chance to experience the work of the Church on a different level.
-They can be a heck of a lot of fun.

I agree with this. I've attended one convention as a delegate-M'waukee. I was happy to attend and participate. I won't repeat what Charles said. But I will say that the seating chart isn't bad. I got to sit with some people I didn't know and met an internet friend face to face who was three seats down. The guy next to me was a lay delegate contemplating seminary and we had lots of time for conversation.

Plus Will Weedon bought me and Jim Butler a round of drinks at the ALPB party. Then at another gathering DP John Wille bought me a drink. He doesn't know me. We were just standing at the bar next to each other and he says, "I'll pay for his too." We shook hands.

Conventions aren't all bad.

Jeremy
Nothing is all bad. Everything is a list of pros and cons. If what was good about the convention was meeting some people having drinks, which is indeed a valuable thing (I hosted the ALPB party a couple of times), the congregations that receive assessments to pay for people to attend might not think it is the best stewardship. The battle is always between those who think of frugality as virtue and service to the church as an exercise in self-sacrifice. ("Why can't the area congregations just get host families to put up the delegates instead of spending this fortune on hotels and restaurants? Loehe's missionaries would have been embarrassed to be on church business in a place like this!") and those who think doing something we take seriously means doing it to the standards of serious things, and the worldly side of the church must function by the standards of the world. That's another reason I think a churchwide Lutheran Fare would work. Some people would attend with frugality and service on their mind, and others would attend with recreation and fellowship on their mind, but nobody would feel like they were having to subsidize choices they don't approve of.

11
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 07:05:05 PM »
Can we not let Charles’s ill-informed and mean-spirited trashing of the recently deceased Limbaugh sidetrack the thread, please?

12
Your Turn / Re: Remote ashes???
« on: February 18, 2021, 04:12:38 PM »
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?
Sure. But I think the admonition “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (or variation thereof depending on the translation) carries more weight when administered by someone else, and comes most appropriately from the one called to speak God’s Word to that person. How anyone thinks Covid might transmit thumb to forehead seems odd to me. And my associate made the point that it is highly ironic to take such precautions about one’s mortal life in that context.

13
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 02:00:20 PM »
According to the Valpo Torch, the campaign to change the mascot was driven by two alumni:
Quote
The issue of whether the Crusader has reflected Valpo values has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It recently gained momentum in June 2020 when a Facebook group composed of alumni, students and faculty gained popularity.

The group entitled “The Coalition to Retire the Crusader” was spearheaded by alumni Mike Nevergall and Kevin York both of whom dedicated their time to organize the Valpo community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns.

“I mean I feel good about the direction of the university now, I feel like with the retirement of the crusader we can come together as an extended campus community and really unify around a new mascot that is more inclusive of the place that Valparaiso University is and what it really stands for,” York said.

These guys, whether one agrees with them or not, seem to have standing.
I don't know either of these men. Mike is a gift planning counselor at Gustavus and Board President for the VU Alumni Association. Kevin York heads up a communications firm. They both attended around the same time about 15 years ago. It would seem that experience and position gave them an opportunity to create momentum for this change.

Kevin York's firm has put out a press release for the Coalition. (I automatically distrust it when people call themselves a Coalition; too many sad experiences. But I've got to beware of generalizing my experiences.)
https://www.openpr.com/news/2234372/coalition-of-valparaiso-university-students-alumni-faculty

Peace,
Michael
From the article: “Not only does the Crusader mascot not align with the University’s mission and values, but by choosing to maintain the status quo, it is essentially saying that it can afford to alienate a certain percentage of its pool of prospective students and their families,” said Mike Nevergall, Immediate Past President of the VU Alumni Association and a Coalition leader. “In the hyper-competitive world of college admissions, that seems like a bad gamble.

Good thing the choice to change the mascot had no chance of alienating prospective students and their families.

More broadly speaking, the article gives the lie to the claim that this change was brought about by appropriation of the crusader image by hate groups. The people who were really animated to make this change find the crusader mascot offensive in itself, not because an otherwise okay symbol was appropriated by KKK types. It isn't a matter of honorably retiring a mascot that time has passed by. It is about officially declaring that mascot of symbol of bigotry.   

14
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 12:58:52 PM »
One might conclude that the level of opposition to the change is covered in the comment of the person who said the change represented a “complete Islamic takeover“ of the school.
One might if one were stupid.


15
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 12:55:58 PM »
According to the Valpo Torch, the campaign to change the mascot was driven by two alumni:
Quote
The issue of whether the Crusader has reflected Valpo values has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It recently gained momentum in June 2020 when a Facebook group composed of alumni, students and faculty gained popularity.

The group entitled “The Coalition to Retire the Crusader” was spearheaded by alumni Mike Nevergall and Kevin York both of whom dedicated their time to organize the Valpo community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns.

“I mean I feel good about the direction of the university now, I feel like with the retirement of the crusader we can come together as an extended campus community and really unify around a new mascot that is more inclusive of the place that Valparaiso University is and what it really stands for,” York said.

These guys, whether one agrees with them or not, seem to have standing.

Peace,
Michael
That's the kind of thinking that plagues our culture. We weren't united before because I wasn't getting my way. Now that I got my way, I feel like we can all really unite and rally around this new thing.

Obviously, the coming together of the campus community, unifying and rallying around the new, more inclusive mascot can only happen by marginalizing everyone who doesn't rally around the change as somehow a problematic part of the "campus community." That's how it always works. My way is unifying. Your way is divisive.

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