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Messages - MaddogLutheran

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1
So these enlightened members of the Lambeth Conference from several countries in Africa are quite OK with the harsh punishments imposed upon Gay people in their countries? In Uganda for example it can be anywhere from seven years imprisonment to life. I am not impressed.
Is that really what that means? How did you discern that?

You do realize, for example, the Catholic Church in the United States has spoken out against abortion, even though it was until today "the law of the land".

2
At best there is a fine line between a gimmick and a scam.  The problem deciding in this case is that this particular one requires the complicity of others, so I'm reluctant to jump to a negative conclusion.  Not that bad actors can't drag otherwise good people down with them.  It's the age old question:  incompetence or malice?

3
One thing to bear in mind is that in some circumstances (not sure in this case), reported salary can affect retirement benefits. Making 90k but finding 40k of it yourself might mean church contributions to retirement at 90k, which is a lot different than if you had basically the same arrangement but reported the salary and contributed to retirement at 50k. Could be tax differences, too, depending on the situation.
Excellent point, this never occurred to me but should have.  Yes, the ELCA compensation system does operate this way, so perhaps this is a "gimmick" to allow for a larger retirement contribution, while perhaps at the same time minimizing health care cost, which I believe can have a salary percentage component.

4
Your Turn / Re: Roe v. Wade overturned?
« on: June 17, 2022, 10:24:53 AM »
Really didn't expect to see the biblical defense of antebellum American southern slavery here.  Maybe I should have (expected it), after the earlier conversation with uncertainty about the whether a zygote would want to be killed if you could ask it.  I also remain equally confused why Extinction Rebellion protesters, if they really believe that human overpopulation is an unsustainable blight on the planet, refuse to do the honorable thing and go first.

On second thought , let’s not go to Camelot. ‘Tis a silly place.  ???

5
Yes, that was my question too.  Or did identity politics enthusiasm cause the assembly to ignore her personal record?  (Sorry, I can't say "their" this time, because reading the story, it was downright confusing as to whether that pronoun was referencing the bishop or other plurals in paragraphs, synod or other groups.)

6
Your Turn / Re: Roe v. Wade overturned?
« on: June 13, 2022, 02:30:56 PM »
Oh, I expect them to get them done.  I just don't think they'll do it with 3 opinion days (potentially) remaining before the end of the month.  They'll either increase the number of days they release opinions in June or we'll go into early and maybe mid July.

Certainly so.  We shouldn't make the mistake as outside observers of assuming evenly distributed steps toward completion.  The progress we're seeing is not unlike the non-linear behavior of the Microsoft Windows progress bar when copying files.  You can be stuck at 80% complete for most of the time.

We have no idea how close they are on some of the most controversial cases, which will take the longest because they generate both internal give-and-take plus the likely volume of words in the eventual dialog between the majority opinion and the dissents.  That back and forth is why the biggest cases usually get released last.  Every time a new draft is submitted, others have a chance to respond.  So we get this recurring pattern of something like 2 cases two weeks ago, 3 last week, perhaps 7 this week, and maybe 10 the next.  But who knows, probably the justices don't even.

One thing that historically limited the number of opinions released on an "opinion day" was the opportunity to read dissents from the bench.  Since that has not resumed even with the court meeting in person, there really is nothing stopping them from releasing 10 on a single day, if they are all ready.

I certainly agree with David that its likely to go to mid-July, given that they are far behind on announced opinions versus prior years.  Much of what has been released to date have been the easy ones, lopsided majorities or minimal dissents.  As already mentioned SCOTUSblog is the best resource to find out what is left, as well as likely opinion authors and what that implies for the decision.  For you card counters out there, majority opinions are divided as evenly as possible per each oral argument sitting, so you can guess what cards are left in the deck waiting to be drawn based on what is already out on the table.  Plus they have a live chat half an hour before the announced opinion release time if this forum isn't enough for you.  You'll also get a lesson in what an R-number means.

7
Your Turn / Re: Roe v. Wade overturned?
« on: June 13, 2022, 11:31:47 AM »
That's what they're afraid of.  Not that abortion will be illegal, but that they cannot impose its unfettered legality in places that don't want it.  Notably, this is a national poll.  It's not enough for New York and California to allow infanticide.  They want to impose it on Georgia and Mississippi and Utah and Arizona and Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin (and roughly 19 others according to the Guttmacher Institute):
As I've noted several times, letting Georgia or Wisconsin have any tighter restrictions than NY or CA is oppressive to birthing people.  That's what they are afraid of.  I don't always like appeals to what the rest of the world does, but in this case, it's pretty clear who the outliers are, despite the apocalyptic rhetoric.

8
Your Turn / Re: Roe v. Wade overturned?
« on: June 13, 2022, 11:28:54 AM »
If you look at the calendar on the Court's website https://www.supremecourt.gov/, this Wednesday is so far the last opinion release day.  They'll add more, obviously -- they aren't going to announce 24 opinions this Wednesday.  But it's a good way to keep up with what's coming and what's left.

I believe in 2020 the last opinion day was July 8, which is the latest of recent memory.  The historical urgency for getting it done by June's end was that the justices have travel plans during the summer months, and the exchange of information to finalize opinions/dissents was an in office activity.  A hard deadline focuses the mind.

The pandemic freed them up from that by necessitating new ways to work remotely.  Theoretically a justice could still participate from the road, but nobody likes to work on vacation.  (Not the travel is precisely vacation, often its conferences and speaking tours.  Last night I watched on Youtube a talk Justice Scalia gave at the UK Cambridge Union in early September 2012.)

9
Your Turn / Re: Roe v. Wade overturned?
« on: June 10, 2022, 03:54:33 PM »
At National Review's website, the blog "Bench Memos" has a posting by Ed Whelan, commenting on the Wall Street Journal's house editorial about "The Contradition of Abortion Polling".  I believe the editorial itself is behind the Journal's paywall (unless they've unlocked it to gain eyeballs).  Below I quote Whelan, the italiczed sections are him quote the editorial:

The real contradiction in the polling is Roe, which has become a totem that doesn’t reflect the underlying policy views. Fifty-five percent of Americans tell Gallup that abortion should be generally illegal in the second trimester. Yet a majority say the Supreme Court should keep Roe. That circle can’t be squared, and it probably reflects that many Americans don’t realize what Roe really allows.

In short, “whatever people tell pollsters about Roe as precedent, they can’t get the policy they seem to want until Roe goes and the political debate opens up.”

The editorial also points out how radical the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act (the bill in Congress being pushed by pro-abortion legislators) is:

That bill guarantees abortion access through viability, and through all nine months if a health provider deems the pregnancy a “health” risk…. It also protects sex-selective abortions and undercuts state laws that require parental involvement for minors.

Indeed, that bill is even more extreme—indeed, barbaric—than WSJ’s brief summary suggests.

The Supreme Court’s role, of course, is to get the Constitution right, not to be swayed by the political winds. But anyone who is a confident judge of those winds is fooling himself. As the editorial observes, “How the politics shakes out depends on how the debate and policies go in the states.” And, of course, in the coming election campaigns.

https://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/excellent-wsj-house-editorial-on-abortion-polling/


This does a great job of summarizing that  public opinion supporting Roe is meaningless and mostly bogus.  The public misunderstands the legal implications of Roe because of its companion case Doe (and subsequently Casey).  The abortion policy they want, unrestricted in the first trimester, heavily restricted in the second, almost absolutely prohibited in the third, is not the actual current precedent.

I've made this point before here, to little effect, while at the same time tried to point out how radical mainstream Democratic Party dogma on this has become, out of step both with the American public and much of the Western world which those progressives look to longingly as more enlightened.

By all means, let's have more naming calling from the usual suspects here about how regressively Neanderthal the anti-abortion people are.  Ignore the barbarity behind the curtain.  Both pro and anti have similar views about anything short of victory for their position, but the pro-abortion side certainly fears the ballot box, because it is an absolute certainty that some states will prohibit abortion, and that is unthinkably oppressive misogyny.

As the old saying goes, we will have to repeal Roe to find out whether people really want Roe.

10
No denying we share commonality with many DEI principles, but the supporting reasoning behind that and how the ends can be achieved are wildly divergent.

This again makes my point.  By teaching what the Church has always taught about the universality of the reconciling act of God in Christ Jesus for the cosmos God loves, congregants understand theologically and practically the inclusive nature of God's mission.  When those taught and coached along the way meet those with a different underlying agenda, they're equipped to engage in potentially productive conversation.

Several people have subsequently replied to this, including this one more recently:
Good summation Peter. The proponents of DEI in the world do not have the Christian understanding of those terms in mind. And the Christian definition of those terms are not welcomed by DEI proponents in the world.

My original objection to your comments was not about dialog, it was your criticism of the reasons others like us are reluctant to engage with DEI advocates:

Has this really been a discussion?  How about the Bible?  Even on this little board, any time I've said the Bible is clearly theologically in favor from none other than the Divine perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion the immediate accusation is that those are terms captive to Marxism and progressivism and cannot be used as authoritative.  Even though they're in the Bible.

I'm sorry, this is tendentious, bordering on bad faith.  On this little board, the objection to "diversity, equity, and inclusion" is that the secular definitions too often ARE Marxist in origin and context, and have little similarity to their historic usage by the Church.  If we let others define the terms of discussion, we lose before we start.

People have been very clear about why engagement with DEI is problematic.  There has also been clarity that while in the abstract the Church historically does hold similar principles, they have much different origins than the secular DEI.  It is not irrational that people should have objections because of this.

It's not that people are absolutely unwilling to dialog.  Maybe some are, I'm not necessarily.  But you seem to be suggesting "you people say DEI, we also say DEI, what's the big deal let's make common cause based on that".  No, just no.  That's what everyone is trying to tell you.  And I was disappointed in your original comment that you can't seem to respect other people inside the Church who have legitimate objections there.  The prior post by Pastor Speckhard (which I believe I quoted previously) nailed that.  I prefer to leave it to others formally educated to speak to such things.

I think your personal experience with the BIPOC community is admirable.  What many of us have been trying to highlight is that the official secular, HR-endorsed DEI movement is not really authentic to the actual people in that community, even though some of the language might appeal to them.  That's by design, and not even necessarily a bad thing.  But DEI at its core is a progressive white construct (not that there aren't also BIPOC academics on the inside), ironically from those of privilege, trying to remake the world according to their design with them in charge.  If anything, the SPS schism highlights this.


11
This:
Interesting that I never read any great theologians in the history of the church using the phrase "diversity, equity, and inclusion" or any equivalent way of lumping those things together. Why not let the secular, neo-Marxist sociological movement have what is obviously their phrase rather than use their phrase while constantly trying to explain that what we mean by it is not what they mean by it?

And also this:
Correct.  DEI makes claims for itself and imposes on others to become DEI.  Christian orthodoxy says that Person (Three Persons one God, to say it another way) gives DEI as a benefit because of a h cross and resurrection, ascension and the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit.  No claims are made but gifts are given for others instead.

The latter mirrors what I said to Pastor Benke, objecting to his criticism of others who object to the DEI Marxist framing.  It's not just a problem because of its Marxist presumptions (which are legion), but also because its essentially works righteousness.  I was already thinking of my congregation's mission statement even before I read what George wrote above.  "Through baptism our worth is a divine gift, not a human achievement."

Being against Diversity-Equity-Inclusion is like being against Mom and apple pie.  I assume that's not an accident.  The objection from many here is that its foundation, when you actually listen to what they are saying,  is both alien and hostile to tenets of Christianity.  The original sin is white privilege, for which those of us in that category can never fully atone and achieve absolution, merely pay endless open-ended indulgences.  A theologian of the cross calls a thing what it actually is.  No denying we share commonality with many DEI principles, but the supporting reasoning behind that and how the ends can be achieved are wildly divergent.

12
Has this really been a discussion?  How about the Bible?  Even on this little board, any time I've said the Bible is clearly theologically in favor from none other than the Divine perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion the immediate accusation is that those are terms captive to Marxism and progressivism and cannot be used as authoritative.  Even though they're in the Bible.

I'm sorry, this is tendentious, bordering on bad faith.  On this little board, the objection to "diversity, equity, and inclusion" is that the secular definitions too often ARE Marxist in origin and context, and have little similarity to their historic usage by the Church.  If we let others define the terms of discussion, we lose before we start.

The primary problem with the Church of Woke, versus the Good News of Jesus, is that if one is declared a sinner there (white privileged) there is no hope of forgiveness.  Only an endless purchase of indulgences (acquiescing to any/every activist demand of time and treasure) to provide temporal relief for that offense, until the last payment expires.  Whereas in the Church of Jesus Christ, our sins our completely absolved merely for the asking, through no merit of our own.  CRT is trying to build the kingdom that Judas Iscariot wanted from Jesus.  No thanks.  Our Lord was pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion, but it didn't look like what the Zealots thought it should be.

You're making my point.   Who says we "let others define the terms of discussion?"  What we do is to use the terms, Biblical terms, as we know them to be true.  What does "lose before we start" even mean?  I have often brought this phrase forward - Evangelical Christians make exclusive claims in an expansive way.  Our claims are exclusive.  But if they fail even to engage, then in fact they come from a position of scarcity and insecurity.   I'm not on the defensive when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion as a Christian.  I'm making, stating and living my case.
 Why not engage using these terms?   Not to do so is weak tea. 

I disagree with you on this completely.

Dave Benke

I was objecting to your characterization of how such a discussion has been rejected on this board, for the particular reasons I identified.  Your indignation at the lack of interest in such discussion, attributing it Marx-ophobia, is what I called tendentious.  People have been very clear about why they object, because of imposed rules of engagement.  It too often becomes "when did you stop beating your wife? you bigoted misogynists".  That said, I don't automatically agree with anyone who yell "woke unclean anathema", but that's beyond my comment here.

I certainly don't mind engaging in such a discussion with the broader culture while resisting definitions alien to the Church.  I'm insisting we need to understand the forces arrayed against that, both outside and inside the Church.  I'm not interested in any back door alliances with those special interests in pursuit of partisan political goals.  Which is what too often the ELCA does.  You yourself noted the lack of any churchiness in too many of that church's communications.  The temptation is real.  Not interested in the constant frame of things to favor "marginalized voices", even as there certainly are those.  I've seen that movie, currently playing on this thread, its the non-binary autistic versus the Latinx.  At the end of the day, we are all beggars.

My kingdom is not of this world is really a thing.  So is the good news of the Kingdom of God is for all people and you can be part of it right now in this life.  Even if you're a white English speaking man like myself, no questions asked.

13
Has this really been a discussion?  How about the Bible?  Even on this little board, any time I've said the Bible is clearly theologically in favor from none other than the Divine perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion the immediate accusation is that those are terms captive to Marxism and progressivism and cannot be used as authoritative.  Even though they're in the Bible.

I'm sorry, this is tendentious, bordering on bad faith.  On this little board, the objection to "diversity, equity, and inclusion" is that the secular definitions too often ARE Marxist in origin and context, and have little similarity to their historic usage by the Church.  If we let others define the terms of discussion, we lose before we start.

The primary problem with the Church of Woke, versus the Good News of Jesus, is that if one is declared a sinner there (white privileged) there is no hope of forgiveness.  Only an endless purchase of indulgences (acquiescing to any/every activist demand of time and treasure) to provide temporal relief for that offense, until the last payment expires.  Whereas in the Church of Jesus Christ, our sins our completely absolved merely for the asking, through no merit of our own.  CRT is trying to build the kingdom that Judas Iscariot wanted from Jesus.  No thanks.  Our Lord was pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion, but it didn't look like what the Zealots thought it should be.

14
During my time in wider church work, we labored hard and long to end the "status call" malarkey.  There was basically no ecclesiastical supervision in those circumstances, for one.  For two, it was viewed and used as a way to stay on the "active" roster without being "active" in the way the denomination chose and I guess still chooses to consider appropriate activity.  I think it's connected to the purported Waltherian position that only pastors serving a congregation are "active."  Thirdly, this was a response to a massive overload of the rostering system.  So we would have three to five hundred names come up at each Council of Presidents meeting for "extension" as rostered workers which was done on an annual basis.  Each DP would read this list of people who had filled out their extension of candidacy for another year, who had for decades been AAL agents, let's say.   

Anyway, we did a couple of things - one was an extended extension, for six years for those who really were not headed back to a congregation.  And the other was to put workers on active status who were actually trying to become active workers. 

The underlying issue has always been the one-and-only-authentic-ordained-worker-as-parish pastor way of looking at the ordained ministry. 

The particulars of this issue have vexed me for some time.  I can appreciate the "status" which results from maintaining membership on the roster.  However, if such a person has no interest in availing themselves to the obligations of the office (preaching and/or presiding), what's the point, beyond vanity?

OTOH, someone ordained but serving in a non-congregational role, but does have interest and periodically preaches and/or presides, there is nothing wrong with maintaining roster status.  All institutions have weaknesses, and it seems like the above described is one, lacking the ability or will to discern the difference.

My personal defense of ELCA synod bishops lacking a particular altar/pulpit is predicated on the presumption that they are "on tour" for much of the year, making the rounds visiting numerous congregations and preaching/presiding.  (Maybe I'm naive and this doesn't happen like I perceived it once did.)  Electing a pastor to the office of bishop gives him/her/they a place at every congregation's altar and pulpit in the synod.  I realize doing just that is something of an anathema in some quarters of the Missouri Synod (and a few ELCA too obvioulsy).  But the job performance we expect of ELCA bishops would mean neglecting a home congregation.  It's why Catholic and some Episcopal cathedral churches have presbyter vicars, and large archdiocese suffragan bishops to share the visitation load.

15
Your Turn / Re: Colossians 3:15
« on: June 07, 2022, 12:41:33 PM »
"What struck me about this is that it is not doctrine, or teachings, or grace, or faith, that should be the "umpire" of our hearts, but "peace.""

Perhaps you are setting up a false antithesis here.  Doctrine, grace, and faith are all inextricably bound to peace.

Pastor Stoffregen's statement itself is dogmatic.  That is, it prescribes what one ought to believe.

That's always the irony of the "doctrine is not important" doctrine.
Of course, there is no absolute truth after all.   ::)

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