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Messages - Mbecker

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1
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 03:47:43 PM »
Small potatoes…there’s no dissent allowed in LCMS…you get digitally excoriated for it. It’s why LCMS is so quiet, it’s the deafening roar of apathy,

Amen!

People ought to study what has been happening in LCMS congregations in Alaska and other nether parts of the NW hinterland, re: theological education of local individuals who are serving small, rural congregations (w/o a regular M.Div.). My friend and former Concordia colleague, Bob Schmidt, has written quite a bit about this issue. But his has been a voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Check out his writings on church and ministry at: http://thedaystarjournal.com/category/article/author/robert-schmidt/

M. Becker

2
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 03:40:42 PM »
The reality is that openness to dissent on an ongoing, indefinite basis is not a sign of health for a church body. Freedom to question must correlate with willingness to accept answers once the church body has considered it. You don't get to just endless ask the same question and then pretend that the fact that you have a question means your personal, private answer is what is functional for you as you do things in the name of that church body.

How else has the LCMS changed its "official positions" over time? Answer: ongoing, indefinite dissent (formal and less so) over many decades. Again, the point is not "accepting answers once the church body has considered it." The church body has been wrong (ot at least it has come to positions that are contrary to ones that it had taken earlier in its all-too-human history). The only way to correct error or outdated positions is by dissenting, making counter-arguments, making better arguments, offering better persuading, returning again and again to the Scriptures and the norma normata. I'm by no means the only person in the LCMS's brief history to have questioned its historic positions on women's suffrage, the ordination of women, and six-day creationism.

The ELCA has its own set of issues, to be sure, but so far no one has tried to give me the boot for using and upholding the revealed name of God, for teaching and confessing AC IX, X, XIII, and the other articles of faith, and for publishing essays and books in which I teach and defend those articles. When I have spoken at ELCA synods or gatherings of predominantly ELCA clergy, no one has angrily, verbally attacked me or my teaching, but a few of the younger ELCA clergy have let me know privately that they disagree with my defense of these traditional lines of thinking. I enjoy those respectful "give-and-take" moments. The aim is fraternal-sororal encouragment and mutual consolation, not a juridical process of expelling people from an already dwindling church body.

Later this year I will be publishing the American Edition of Edmund Schlink's 804-page "Ecumenical Dogmatics," which focuses on the "basic features" of the church's dogma. "Six-day creationism" is not among those features, nor is the gender/sex of those called into the holy ministry. But he does spend several pages defending the revealed name of God, the centrality of baptism (the next book in the AE is his little book on baptism), and the other articles of faith that most all churches believe and teach. There was a time in the synod's history when Schlink's theology was widely accepted as mainstream confessional-Lutheran theology. CPH even published that little book of his on baptism, and CPH still publishes a reprint of the Fortress edition of his study of the Lutheran Confessions. However, given your views, Peter (which are indeed widely shared by the top leadership in the LCMS today), Schlink himself would be ineligible to serve as a pastor or professor in the LCMS, were he alive today. For example, he took knowledge from the natural sciences seriously, and incorporated that knowledge into his presentation of the doctrine of God the Creator, and he took the ecumenical witness to the practice of women's ordination seriously (as it had been discussed in the WCC), even if he also acknowledged that that practice did divide the Roman and Eastern churches from most of the Western Protestant churches (a difference that he himself did not think ought to be church-dividing, given the emphasis in the AC on the functionality of the Predigtamt vis-a-vis word and sacrament, over against those who stress the ontology/status of those who are called to carry out the duties of that Amt).

Matt Becker

3
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 01:59:20 PM »

Peter,
The way you are framing the charges that were leveled against me indicates that you share the same presuppositions as my accusers, namely, that a theological argument in favor of the ordination of women rises to the level of heresy, and that a theological argument against six-day creationism rises to the level of heresy.

No, i'm framing the question this way: Do you belong on an official list of people who teach what the LCMS teaches? I would say no, if we're both being honest, you do not belong on such a list. Whether what the LCMS teaches is correct or not is a separate issue.

First let us establish-- what you teach is not what the LCMS teaches. The LCMS, rightly or wrongly, says the Scriptures prohibit the ordination of women and therefore is cannot be tolerated in faithful Christian congregations. You, rightly or wrongly, say the Scriptures properly understood do no such thing and people should feel free to disagree on the matter. The positions aren't the same, nor can they coexist. To say they can coexist is simply to impose the latter interpretation on the former. Pledging to teach according to the Scriptures was part of your ordination vow, and the LCMS clergy roster is comprised of people the LCMS is convinced do just that. You think the LCMS wrong and the ELCA is correct on these matters of dispute. Fair enough. Basic honesty by all involved would say you belong on the roster of people who teach what the ELCA teaches, not a roster of people who teach what the LCMS teaches.

There was a time in the LCMS's history--so I have experienced, so I have been told, and so I have seen in published records--when synodical theologians could respectfully dissent from "synodical positions," provided they presented the synodical position fairly and accurately. For example, when I was a student at Concordia-Portland (1980-84), the president of the institution and several theology professors made it clear to students that they had disagreed with the synod's position regarding women's suffrage and were open to discussing the issue of the ordination of women. A few of those professors, including the sainted Dr. Reinisch (Greek, NT), were convinced that the scriptures do not prohibit the ordination of women. Later, these same professors made it clear that they agreed with my theological argument in favor of the ordination of women. They also agreed with my basic criticism of six-day creationism. Other synodical officials in the NW made it clear to me that they agreed with the basic argument I was making on both issues. A former synodical president, who taught at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis for many years, and was head of the CTCR, etc. before being elected synodical president, whom I got to know pretty well late in his life, also told me that he came to the conclusion, after years of study and reflection, that the scriptures do not clearly prohibit the ordination of women to the pastoral office. He also told me that during his early years of teaching, there was always room for dissent among the ranks of professors, provided the "synodical position" was clearly and respectfully presented. While he disagreed with me about my views on six-day creationism, he told me that in his many decades of service in the LCMS he knew of many LCMS professors and students (who later became pastors in the LCMS) who did not accept six-day creationism.

Another main reason why I was always exonerated in those cases is that I was able to show/prove that I had always respectfully and accurately presented "the synodical position" (based on published convention resolutions), when I then proceeded to dissent from those positions.

Today there is no room for dissent in the LCMS. There really hasn't been much room for theological exploration, theological "give-and-take," since the early '70s. For many years before that, however, there had been such room, e.g., at the parish level, the Winkel level, and in other synodical settings, including Concordia classrooms.

There used to be much more "free space" in the LCMS than is the case today. There is more "free space" for theological exploration in the Eastern churches and in the Roman Church than in the contemporary LCMS. Whatever "free space" there is, is getting smaller and smaller by the minute, or so it seems to this former insider who is now an outsider.

Matt Becker

4
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 01:37:28 PM »
So I was correct in saying that you taught contrary to the synodical position.  It's just that you don't feel bound to do so.  Even though that is what the synod has determined is a requirement for its members.

No, that is not what the adjudicatories concluded, in every case. In each case, the conclusion was: the accused is exonerated. In other words, what my accusers had accused me of advocating, in every case, was found to be deficient and inaccurate. Stated positively, what I had been teaching, and the way I had been teaching such teaching, was found to be consistent with my ordination vows and in alignment with the expectation of the synod that its members teach in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions (as a normative exposition of those Scriptures). The "satans" (= "accusers") can howl all they want, but them thar's the facts.

Matt Becker

Not quite every case.  The last one was not allowed to complete its course, as you resigned before it could finish.  Regardless, your teaching on a multitude of subjects is well-known and documented.  And is at odds with the teaching of the LCMS.

I didn't resign. I simply refused to appeal my suspension. The DP who removed me from the clergy roster made it clear to me that he did not think I was guilty of advocating false doctrine. He pleaded with me to appeal his decision, but I told him that I had already been found not guilty years earlier when I went through a four-year process that addressed the exact same accusation/topic. I did not want to put my family through that ordeal again.

So yes, in every case I was deemed "not guilty" by the appropriate adjudicating authorities. The NWD DP was in a hard spot, though, given the pressure he was experiencing from other DPs and esp. the synodical president. So he felt he had to follow procedure, given that it was a fellow dp who had leveled the charge against me.

Not too long ago I had breakfast with my former DP. He reiterated to me then that he did not think I was guilty of advocating false doctrine of any kind. He had hoped I would have appealed his decision. He was convinced that if I had done so, the matter would have ended the same way that the earlier case had ended, since it dealt with the exact same charge. He understood my reasons for not going through that multi-year process again. It has been nice these past few years just to focus on my scholarship and not have to worry about having to address distracting accusations of one kind or another.

Matt Becker

So, your position is that your DP removed you even though he was convinced you were innocent?  I was aware that some groups hold that Pontius Pilate became a believer and some even consider him a saint, but this is the first I heard that he was actually elected a district president of the LCMS!

Feel free to talk to him. Many people in the NW District are aware of what the DP has told me on more than one occasion, including during the phone call in which he asked me to appeal his decision. The point is: he, the district president before him, the district president before him, and the district president before him (four NW dps in a row)--all of whom have known me and are very familiar with my confession of faith, my teaching, and my theological work (I worked closely with the two previous dps when I served as secretary of the district)--concluded and told me personally that they did not think my theological essays had risen to the level of "false teaching that is not to be tolerated in the church of God." One of those dps is now among the saints triumphant. The other three are still living and still are in contact with yours truly. I look forward to seeing at least two of them in May when I will be serving as the theological presenter at the spring retreat of a chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity (in which I am also a member).

Matt Becker

5
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 12:11:36 PM »
This is the sort of cat and mouse game that makes having a church body with actual teachings so tedious to maintain. Dr. Becker, you obviously believe, teach, and confess that the Scriptures do not prohibit women from being ordained to the pastoral office, that the LCMS is wrong about the historicity of Genesis and literal Creationism, etc. You know it, everybody else in this forum knows it, you say it all the time, and the people who filed charges against you (whoever they were) also knew it. Please do not insult everyone's intelligence by claiming that the people accusing you of holding those positions are acting unjustly toward you. They aren't. They're simply observing the truth that there are discrepancies between your teachings and the official teachings of the LCMS.

You determined, like Paul Bretscher, to stay in the LCMS anyway and attempt to reform it from within because you were right and the LCMS was wrong. All your "you can't prove that" defenses are evasions of the question. In your opinion, what should the LCMS do about ordained LCMS preachers and teachings who publicly contradict the teachings of the LCMS? Removing them from the LCMS clergy roster and allowing their names to go on a clergy roster that aligns with that they actually teach seems like a perfectly reasonable solution to me.

You are responsible for the long, protracted, bitter charges and defenses because you consistently demanded proof that you were teaching things that everyone knew you were teaching; it was a waste of time. Then you turned the hearing into debates about whether the LCMS positions really are the LCMS positions, or whether the LCMS positions really align with the Scriptures and Confessions. Formal charges against someone are not really the proper place to determine those things. You could have amicably departed the LCMS for the ELCA many years ago, long before you engaged in a lengthy, multi-chapter struggle that ended up in the same place. You chose that path, not the LCMS. Or again, if you disagree, what do you think the LCMS should do when someone on the clergy roster contradicts the teachings of the LCMS?

Peter,
The way you are framing the charges that were leveled against me indicates that you share the same presuppositions as my accusers, namely, that a theological argument in favor of the ordination of women rises to the level of heresy, and that a theological argument against six-day creationism rises to the level of heresy.

The only matters that I "obviously believe, teach, and confess" are the articles of faith that are exhibited in the Niceano-Constantinopolitanum and the Apostolicum and that are normatively set forth in the Augustana and the other norma normata of the churches that subscribe to that confession. I do not "believe, teach, and confess" the ordination of women to the pastoral office. What a strange notion! Nor do I "believe, teach, and confess" a particular worldview (e.g., six-day creationism or theistic evolution or some other ideological worldview) when it comes to believing, teaching, and confessing dogma about the Creator or the doctrine of creation. I believe, teach, and confess that the triune God has made me and all creatures... (and so on).

Supporting the ordination of women and criticizing six-day creationism are important theological actions, but they do not rise to the level of establishing the articles of faith that are to be "believed, taught, and confessed." There ought to be room in the church for faithful disagreement about these issues without turning them into sine qua non articles of faith. If six-day creationism and the non-support of women's ordination were sine qua non articles of faith, then I would think the Roman Church and the Eastern churches would be disciplining those theologians in their church bodies who favor the ordination of women or who are critical of six-day creationism. Last time I checked, Roman theologians can make a theoretical argument in favor of the practice of ordaining women to the priesthood without being brought up on charges that could lead to formal disciplinary action being taken against them. I have interacted with many Roman theologians over the years, including my Doktorvater at the U. of Chicago, who have made theological arguments in favor of the ordination of women and who accept the basic consensus about the natural history of the planet (i.e., who reject six-day creationism)--and they've never been accused of undermining the basic articles of the faith or have ever been brought up on charges relating to these two issues.

Apparently, it is only the little LCMS and similar church bodies that think these matters (i.e., non-support for the ordination of women, total acceptance of six-day creationism) are sine qua non articles of faith. I would simply say in response to this mistaken view that there is an important distinction that ought to be maintained, namely, between theological exploration/argumentation, on the one hand, and believing, teaching, and confessing the established articles of faith, on the other. To be sure, they are related, but they are not the same. There needs to be greater room for dissent against these peripheral, but important matters that do not rise to the level of principal dogma or the well-established articles of faith.

Matt Becker

6
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 11:40:38 AM »
So I was correct in saying that you taught contrary to the synodical position.  It's just that you don't feel bound to do so.  Even though that is what the synod has determined is a requirement for its members.

No, that is not what the adjudicatories concluded, in every case. In each case, the conclusion was: the accused is exonerated. In other words, what my accusers had accused me of advocating, in every case, was found to be deficient and inaccurate. Stated positively, what I had been teaching, and the way I had been teaching such teaching, was found to be consistent with my ordination vows and in alignment with the expectation of the synod that its members teach in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions (as a normative exposition of those Scriptures). The "satans" (= "accusers") can howl all they want, but them thar's the facts.

Matt Becker

Not quite every case.  The last one was not allowed to complete its course, as you resigned before it could finish.  Regardless, your teaching on a multitude of subjects is well-known and documented.  And is at odds with the teaching of the LCMS.

I didn't resign. I simply refused to appeal my suspension. The DP who removed me from the clergy roster made it clear to me that he did not think I was guilty of advocating false doctrine. He pleaded with me to appeal his decision, but I told him that I had already been found not guilty years earlier when I went through a four-year process that addressed the exact same accusation/topic. I did not want to put my family through that ordeal again.

So yes, in every case I was deemed "not guilty" by the appropriate adjudicating authorities. The NWD DP was in a hard spot, though, given the pressure he was experiencing from other DPs and esp. the synodical president. So he felt he had to follow procedure, given that it was a fellow dp who had leveled the charge against me.

Not too long ago I had breakfast with my former DP. He reiterated to me then that he did not think I was guilty of advocating false doctrine of any kind. He had hoped I would have appealed his decision. He was convinced that if I had done so, the matter would have ended the same way that the earlier case had ended, since it dealt with the exact same charge. He understood my reasons for not going through that multi-year process again. It has been nice these past few years just to focus on my scholarship and not have to worry about having to address distracting accusations of one kind or another.

Matt Becker

7
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 26, 2022, 02:18:03 AM »
So I was correct in saying that you taught contrary to the synodical position.  It's just that you don't feel bound to do so.  Even though that is what the synod has determined is a requirement for its members.

No, that is not what the adjudicatories concluded, in every case. In each case, the conclusion was: the accused is exonerated. In other words, what my accusers had accused me of advocating, in every case, was found to be deficient and inaccurate. Stated positively, what I had been teaching, and the way I had been teaching such teaching, was found to be consistent with my ordination vows and in alignment with the expectation of the synod that its members teach in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions (as a normative exposition of those Scriptures). The "satans" (= "accusers") can howl all they want, but them thar's the facts.

Matt Becker

8
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 25, 2022, 07:28:20 PM »
You openly and repeatedly taught contrary to the synodical position on things like evolution, women's ordination, homosexuality, and so on.  Is that not true?

The phrase "homosexuality, and so on" speaks volumes here. (I identified the sole issues that were ever a matter of a formal charge against me. And in every case I was exonerated. Not guilty as originally charged. Since the last case, which I chose not to appeal, dealt with the same issue about which I had already been exonerated in an earlier case, I'm fairly confident I would have been exonerated in that one, too, if I had chosen to appeal that suspension.)

One the more persuasive points in my defense, in each case, was the fact that my ordination vow did not include the phrase "teach in accord with the synodical position." The "synodical position," whatever that phrase might mean, has undoubtedly changed on a whole host of issues over time. The articles of the faith, as these are identified and set forth in the norma normata, were never in question in any of my cases.

To insist that "the synodical position" is the norm for the teaching of LCMS pastors and teachers makes an all-too-human institution and its convention decisions into the norm of church teaching. It is to make a human institution into an idol.

So I'll stick with the norma normans, the norma normata, and "persuading" (C. F. W. Walther).

Matt Becker

9
Your Turn / Re: Prayer service for Concordia University-Wisconsin
« on: February 25, 2022, 05:47:33 PM »
The heavy-handedness and trashing of reputations doesn't seem to be going in one direction here, either. Prof. Becker publicly challenged LCMS teachings, leaders, and the overall direction of the synod, but he was never treated as abruptly as Prof. Schulz seems to be being treated. As we lament the whole tone and escalation of a disagreement that might have been more professionally and pastorally handled, I don't think we ought to blame one side and excuse the other, at least until we know a lot more. Assuming that Prof. Schulz and those who support him are the bad faith actors here is rushing to judgment.

I suppose the phrase "as abruptly" is about right. I suffered from the opposite extreme: a long, drawn out process, involving multiple overlapping entities of oversight and adjudication. During my decade-long tenure on Concordia-Portland's faculty, I was subject to several charges, all resulting from people rushing to judgment about something I had written. The person would file a formal charge, and I would have to go through the various processes of adjudication (internal to the college/BOR and internal to the district/synod, also involving the district board on which I served for a majority of those years). In those days, the process amounted to triple jeopardy for the accused, favoring the accuser. After months and months of adjudication (in one case, almost four years), my teaching and actions were always exonerated. But then someone else would bring up another charge (the last case was nearly identical to one that I had suffered through years earlier), and the process would start all over. It was a toxic system, going all the way to the top, where it was concentrated, and I'm glad I'm out of it. (BTW, members of the FW seminary faculty were also heavily involved in coaching at least two of my accusers and one person who sat on one of the review panels.)

There was trust at the local level, which is probably the main reason I was always exonerated. People knew me, interacted with me, worshiped with me, witnessed my words and actions in the classroom, in faculty meetings, and in the district offices to which I had been elected and re-elected. Local and regional pastors and officials had known my family for decades (and me since at least the mid-1970s--I served on the district youth board during high school), and they were willing to engage me in fraternal, conversational "give-and-take" about the important issues I was trying responsibly to address in my essays and teaching, e.g., ordination of women, science and theology, the nature of biblical prophecy.

And yes, there's no question that the cases I endured were minor skirmishes in the "culture wars" that the current LCMS national leadership has been fighting.

I'll be interested to see what happens at CU-W.

Matt Becker

10
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 21, 2022, 07:32:28 PM »
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of someone reading the news devotionally or during their devotions. Is that a common practice? I don’t think I would find it edifying. I do read articles from a variety of sources most days, but I don’t think of it in devotional terms.

Peter,
I don't believe petitionary prayer is meant to be edifying for the one praying, but I do receive a measure of peace when I lift up hurting, troubled people--and troubled situations--to Almighty God through prayers and petitions. And it is not only petitionary prayer that arises from reading the news. There are moments of joy and gratitude that surface, further occasions for prayer, when reading about stories that have elements of grace and joy in them.

The point of "praying the news" is to pray for others, to pray for complicated situations that only God can seemingly solve/resolve, to pray for peace, for healing, for civic justice, for repentance, and to offer prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude when the occasion warrants it. "Praying the news" is nothing other than petitionary prayer and adoration of the divine in view of people and situations that come to one's attention through the news. Surely you have been praying for a peaceful outcome in eastern Ukraine? Have you not been praying for an end to the covid crisis? For the health and recovery of all those who are sick? For healthcare workers? And when you get to the obituaries, don't you want to thank God our Creator and Redeemer for the life of an extraordinary person who has made a positive impact in one way or another?

I wish more people would adopt the monastic practice of praying for the world's deep needs and problems. Reading the news helps me to focus on what needs prayerful attention beyond my neighborhood and congregation. That's what I do most mornings when I read the NYT, the WSJ, and the NWIT, not to mention NBC, PBS, and CNN.

Matt Becker

11
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 21, 2022, 07:16:44 PM »

After a lot of pressure, the GOP-led legislature in my state recently walked back its own efforts at censorship:
https://www.lpheralddispatch.com/indiana-lawmakers-step-back-curricula-transparency-bill/article_132343dc-81d8-5863-877a-a22e56d74d55.html

The bill in question was primarily directed at transparency. What they "walked back" was the degree to which classroom materials had to be available to parents and the potential recourse and consequences should teachers ignore the law. What books were supposed to be censored? The legislature agrees with the public that CRT should not be the lens by which anything is taught. That is a different issue than censorship of books. What is telling is that the unions actually oppose even ensuring that parents know what is being taught.

And again, per another thread, rules about boys playing in girls' sports is a party-line vote, with the Dems calling it hateful toward trans people to say that boys who identity as girls don't get to play on the girls' teams.

Peter,
As I understand it, the original bill would have prohibited the purchase of classroom and library materials that containt certain concepts that the bill's authors and supporters find objectionable. The list of concepts that were to have been outlawed in Indiana's schools (primary, secondary, and postsecondary) is repeated a few times in the original bill. The bill was not only about prohibiting the teaching of certain concepts (e.g., "critical race theory"); it was also about placing further restrictions on what could be included in school curricula and library holdings.

https://iga.in.gov/static-documents/8/5/9/f/859f4618/SB0167.01.INTR.pdf

Matt Becker

12
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 21, 2022, 01:01:27 PM »
The FOX national personalities cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Unlike, say, Chris Cuomo. He only assaulted women. And Brian Williams, who lied about many of his exploits. And Jeff Zucker, who promoted his mistress. And Jeffrey Toobin, who openly masturbated on a Zoom call. Not to mention Dan Rather with his "fake but accurate" memos from GW Bush's National Guard service.

Cuomo, Williams, Zucker, and Rather were disciplined when their unethical behavior was confirmed. Cuomo, Zucker, and (eventually) Rather lost their jobs as a result of their conduct, while Williams was suspended and then re-assigned. All four are no longer working in journalism, as far as I know. Certainly, Cuomo, Williams, and Rather are no longer reporting. Williams, Zucker, and Rather are retired. So these individuals are beside the point. What is not beside the point, and what is actually quite important to underscore, is how the news organizations themselves disciplined these individuals. Serious consequences resulted from the unethical behavior of these reporters.

Toobin was caught masturbating on a Zoom call because he was technically incompetent that day (i.e., he forgot to turn off his camera). That Toobin was caught masturbating privately on a Zoom call is irrelevant to whether his public legal analysis is accurate and persuasive.

How many FOX personalities have lost their jobs for misrepresenting facts? See https://www.politicususa.com/2015/02/06/fact-checker-finds-60-fox-news-statements-false-lie.html

And if you want to see contemporary examples of GOP efforts at censorship, just investigate the recent GOP-led efforts to ban books in schools,
You mean like the Seattle school board which banned "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Just how many GOP members do you think are on that school board? Or are you talking about the Massachusetts school board that banned "Huckleberry Finn"? Because the GOP just rules this commonwealth.

I was actually referring to words and actions by Glenn Youngkin (e.g., Toni M., Critical Race Theory) and similar GOP-led efforts across the country (e.g., even attempting to ban certain words and phrases from use in schools):
https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/map-where-critical-race-theory-is-under-attack/2021/06
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/574567-woke-multiculturalism-equity-wisconsin-gop-proposes-banning-words-from

After a lot of pressure, the GOP-led legislature in my state recently walked back its own efforts at censorship:
https://www.lpheralddispatch.com/indiana-lawmakers-step-back-curricula-transparency-bill/article_132343dc-81d8-5863-877a-a22e56d74d55.html

not to mention the former records and archival material that the most recent GOP president has tried to keep secret from the American public (e.g., ripping up official documents, trying to flush others down the toilet, etc., etc.).
Well, you're right about that. What he should have done was put those documents down his pants and inside his socks like Sandy Berger did with the Clinton documents (at the Clintons' request). That would have been OK. But flushing them, well, that's going too far.

Let's see, I found non-FOX news personalities that probably should not trusted. I found non-GOP school boards that are banning books. I easily remembered a non-Trump administration that dumped classified documents (actually stealing them from the National Archives).

But then, I'm not a "voting Democrat." I'm a voting independent. From what I can tell, a majority of the complaining depends on whose ox is getting gored.

Well, the former president couldn't get 15 boxes of classified material into his pants, but he did make sure they were brought to his home in Florida. The Justice Dept. is investigating.

What Berger did was wrong. He admitted what he did was wrong. He pled guilty.

I'm waiting to see how the former president will be pleading in the coming months.

Matt Becker

13
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 18, 2022, 10:51:13 AM »
I have read the WSJ, off and on, for almost 40 years. I had a print subscription to it years ago, but gave it up when I decided to read that newspaper gratis in my university's library. I have made it a regular practice of reading it there. Maybe not "daily," but certainly several times a week. When I do read it, regularly, several times a week, I pray for people and situations that seem to need intercession. I have been doing that practice for more than a decade. It's a simple as that. (I'm pretty sure I have referred to this practice in earlier posts, long before this recent thread. Maybe Scott can do the research on that and get back to us. I encourage him to take up the practice of "praying the news," as I like to call it.)

I recently took out a digital subscription to the WSJ. $4/month. Seemed like a good deal. Same as the NYT.

M. Becker

;)

As you said: "it. (I don't subscribe to the WSJ, but I do try to read articles from it that friends forward to me.)""

Had I known weeks ago, when I sent you that private message, that weeks later you would make it public here to accuse me of lying and to call me to repent, I would have added additional information in it to make clear to you that I have in fact read the WSJ fairly regularly, along with a dozen or so other journals and magazines, when I get my coffee at Grinders, in the lower level of the library, after classes on most days of the week, and that I have not relied solely on friends forwarding me articles from it. (What I wrote privately to you then was true: I didn't then have a subscription, and I welcomed WSJ articles that friends had shared with me. Usually I had read some of them, but others I had missed or had merely scanned.) One does not need a subscription to read or scan the WSJ in our library, while enjoying a cup of coffee and a donut.

If you had contacted me privately, I could have also then made clear that until I got my subscription, I didn't read it as often as I do the NYT, but now that I have a digital subscription, I read it religiously. (What I posted here recently is also true: I read the NYT and the WSJ daily during my morning devotions.) You then could have rejoiced that I was getting news from a source you find more trustworthy than the Times.

Matt Becker


14
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 17, 2022, 10:38:37 PM »
In the interest of full disclosure, here's the entirety my most recent direct messages with Dr. Becker.  I did not initiate the communication, and as you can see, I did not continue to propagate it but rather was (and am) content to be the public posts evaluated on its own merits.  We haven't been in direct contact for a long while before his DM, but here it is and what follows...

Scott,
It seems strange to me that you would allow to stand the earlier post you posted in the Forum, which contained falsehoods and misleading statements that were later pointed out, without offering any correction or apology in that thread. You just skip over that problem and, instead, simply search for another, more reputable editorial to support the point you wanted to make. THAT failure to correct and apologize for forwarding public error on the internet is a serious problem in American culture today. It is NOT generally a problem for reputable, mainstream media (which does not include FOX, it needs to be said plainly). Reputable media routinely, almost daily, prints apologies for errors, and it corrects their mistakes. Letters to the editor help to keep the press honest, as do other actions. Such correction is part of the nature of responsible journalism.

That being said, I understand the point of the above editorial from the WSJ. Thank you for sharing it. (I don't subscribe to the WSJ, but I do try to read articles from it that friends forward to me.) When people forward or pass on misinformation to others, and then when it becomes clear to them that they have done so, they should own up to their (perhaps inadvertent) collusion, apologize, and correct the record. Those who bear the name of Christ have the responsibility to do so. (Another example: asserting that Pres. Biden has never apologized for his own egregiously false statements about the circumstances of his wife's death, when in fact he has done so.) We who are baptized should own up to our sins and mistakes, confess them, and not fear such acknowledgment, for we also know that Christ's sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to cover our sins and errors and failings.

Edmund Schlink: The two main actions of the demonic are lying and murdering.

Matt

Here's my response:

It's mostly because I figured that folks can see that your response was purely based on partisan politics and is predictable. That didn't need any comment. If you don't get this, then you are not understanding the majority of folks in America. Bubbles are not good, and perhaps you may want to consider if you are in one.

Also, that I rarely post on ALPB nowadays and don't have much interest in a back-and-forth.

Have a good night, Matt.

Scott

And again:

Oh, and also Peter had already sufficiently responded to you immediately after your post (I don't check that frequently anymore), so there was no need. If you get it, you get it. If not, well...

Sincerely,

Scott

Point being, once again, that Matt apparently now has a very recent practice of reading/praying the WSJ (and to be honest, I'm not sure what it means to "read/pray" something), which is fine. But it really seems both new and opportunistic.  If it's not true that this is an adopted practice since Feb 2, well, then, let Schlink's statement stand -- lying and murdering are the two demonic actions. Repentance is required.

I have read the WSJ, off and on, for almost 40 years. I had a print subscription to it years ago, but gave it up when I decided to read that newspaper gratis in my university's library. I have made it a regular practice of reading it there. Maybe not "daily," but certainly several times a week. When I do read it, regularly, several times a week, I pray for people and situations that seem to need intercession. I have been doing that practice for more than a decade. It's a simple as that. (I'm pretty sure I have referred to this practice in earlier posts, long before this recent thread. Maybe Scott can do the research on that and get back to us. I encourage him to take up the practice of "praying the news," as I like to call it.)

I recently took out a digital subscription to the WSJ. $4/month. Seemed like a good deal. Same as the NYT.

M. Becker

15
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Pastor Distrusts His Local Newspaper Reporting
« on: February 17, 2022, 09:37:31 PM »
to
I'm sticking with my daily routine of reading/praying the NYT and the WSJ...

Curious, do you have a subscription to WSJ such that this can be your established "daily routine"?

What a strange question. Why do I need a subscription to the WSJ to be able to read it daily? (You do realize, right, that my office is just down the hall from a library, which gets a hard copy of the WSJ every day?)

But since you want to know, yes, I do have a digital subscription, which comes in handy on the weekends, when I'm not on campus.

M. Becker

Really?  Hrm. 

Here's what you DM'd me on a separate topic: "That being said, I understand the point of the above editorial from the WSJ. Thank you for sharing it. (I don't subscribe to the WSJ, but I do try to read articles from it that friends forward to me.)"

I only bring it up because on the same DM, you also said: "Edmund Schlink: The two main actions of the demonic are lying and murdering."

I figured that you might want to amend your statements.

Ok. So amended: I do have a digital subscription. I also read the WSJ in the library. And I welcome articles that others forward to me, which I may have overlooked in my scanning.

M. Becker

Wait. So the amendment is that you lied? And that you do have a subscription and that you read it regardless of whether or not people forward articles to you? And that your regular practice is to read/pray those articles?

No, the amendment is that I took out a WSJ digital subscription since I posted that post. My regular practice is to read/pray all the news articles I read each day.

M. Becker

Wow. Glad to see that my posts encouraged you to get such a subscription since Feb 2. I'm sure that that's what happened.

Good to know that this is now a regular practice of your reading/praying.

Yes, Scott, you have such an influence on my life, I want you to know. Good to know, too, that you are so well-informed about the motivations for the decisions I make in my life. Are you omniscient? Feel free to share in public any further inferences and accusations (e.g., lying) that you want to make about me in light of the messages I have sent you privately vis-a-vis what you read from me here in this forum.

Blessings!
M.

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