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Topics - mariemeyer

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Your Turn / President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 07, 2021, 03:52:01 PM »
The link below includes President Matthew Harrison's July 9th letter to President Yoshida of the LCMS partner church in Japan.  The letter was of interest to me because several classmates, friends, teachers, professors and relatives have served as missionaries, pastors and DCEs in Japan since the founding of the LCMS partner church in Japan.   Marie Otten Meyer


Your Turn / ALPB president
« on: July 27, 2021, 05:16:56 PM »
Yesterday Bill and I received the July Forum Letter with news that David Benke  is the newly elected ALPB president.   We look forward to Pr. Benke leading the ALPB in the Evangelical Catholic perspective of our history.   

Sincere thanks to John Hannah for his leadership.

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / Tulsa Racial Massacre
« on: June 01, 2021, 04:22:45 PM »
Hannibal Johnson, a black lawyer in Tulsa, offered thoughts on the 100th 1921 Race Massacre in today's NYT.

"Like a wound left untreated, years of silence and neglect left the damage of the massacre to fester. Its effects linger.  Healing that history - owning an addressing it - is out present imperative...

"Learning this history is necessary if we are to advance toward racial reconciliation, but it is not sufficient. We must also build trust across racial groups...Like trust building, the larger project of racial reconciliation requires acknowledgement, apology and atonement.  Here, it's a work in progress."

"The city's efforts at reconciliation, while unquestionable incomplete, strike the right tone, one of inclusion and openness to new possibilities. Racial reconciliation requires trust among individuals and community constituents that define us. Tulsa is ot alone. Most communities have work to do - which mean that most of us have work to do, too."

Food for thought.  I did not know anything about the Tulsa massacre until I became acquainted with the Lutheran Human Relations Association.

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / God's regard
« on: March 25, 2021, 03:02:41 PM »
Reflections on the Magnificat prompted me to reread Luther's Magnificat Commentary, LW Vol 21 and the ALPB book, The Church, Selected Writings of Arthue Carl Piepkorn,Part III, Mary Archetype of the Church.

Luther writes, "In order properly to understand this sacred hymn of praise,  we need to bear in mind that the Blessed Virgin Mary is speaking on the basis of her own experience in which she was enlightened and instructed by the Holy Spirit...the Holy Spirit taught her this deep insight and wisdom, that God is the kind of Lord who doe nothing but exalt those of low degree...Just as God in the beginning of creation made the world  our of nothing, whence He is called the Creator and the Almighty, so His manner of work remains unchanged...

"She finds herself the Mother of God exalted above all mortals, and still remains so simple and that she does not think of any poor serving maid as beneath her....

Mary stated, For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.

Luther comments, "Hence she does not glory in her worthiness not yet in her unworthiness, but solely in the divine regard....They therefore do her an injustice who hold that she gloried, not indeed in her virginity, but in her humility.  She gloried neither in the one nor in the other, but only in the gracious regard of God. Hence the stress lies not on the word 'low estate,' but on the word regarded/ For not her humility, but God's regard is to be praised."

Piepkorn calls attention to how Mary, the Mother of God,  is the link that unites Christ and humanity, and that her fiat mihi is the response of all Christians to God's call to servanthood.

"She (Mary) is the symbol of the presence  of God among His people, the one who combines in her person the expectation of Israel and the entire mystery of the Church."

There is so much more in the writings of Luther and Lutheran scholars on God's regard for Mary and the work the Triune God accomplished in and through her. It is for this reason I ask why or how it is that the Lutheran scholars who worked on The Lutheran Study Bible disregarded the significance of Mary as the Bearer  of the Eternal Word.

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / Lessons Learned.
« on: March 19, 2021, 03:02:10 PM »
Husband Bill and I both appreciated Peter Speckhard's January 2021 article, "Lessons learned from my uncle."

The statement pertaining to readers of ALPB publications caught my attention. "But they at least care about many of the same things, speak the same theological language, and take each other seriously," 

During the years I served on the ALPB, including years as secretary of the Board, we were a community of understanding.  Our church bodies were not in fellowship, yet we shared a fellowship of respect and understanding, even when there were times of disagreement.

Peter goes on to write, "If the LCMS had been able to hold two such different, good, thoughtful, sincere men together in a visible fellowship, mein Gott, what a church it would have been.   If only....

This forum is not an ALPB publication, but we are a collection of unique men and women.  Conversation here is like taking a walk together or spending a few moments together.  I agree there can never be enough persons like Peter's uncles, or the men who founded the ALPB and created the American Lutheran now the Forum Letter and Lutheran Forum.

As a committed LCMS woman I ask, "What are the lessons we can learn from the founders of the ALPB?"   "What can we aspire to be so that the legacy of the ALPB continues in the future?"   

What is the "If only.....?

Marie Otten Meyer   


Your Turn / December Forum Letter
« on: December 01, 2020, 11:44:22 AM »
At the suggestion of the December Forum Letter Omnium gathering I watched the interview with Robert P. Jones ( I also appreciated that the comments and perspective of Concordia Bronxville Professor Dr. Kathryn Galchutt were included the issue.

Hopefully the interview with Robert Jones and Dr. Galchutt's perspective, based on her research, will call attention to the need to openly address the racism that continues to exist in our country.  I support her conclusion that it is possible to have concern for race relations in the church, including the LCMS, and society without necessarily subscribing to a Marxist world view.

As I watched the interview husband Bill was leading a circuit discussion of the CTCR report on Racism.  I am certain we will have an interesting discussion at lunch regarding how CTCR report was received by fellow LCMS pastors. Was there any expressed need to recognize that personal and social racism exists in our country?

My question,  "When and how are Christians in our day responsible to speak the truth regarding racism in the manner that the late LCMS pastor, the Rev. Andrew Schultze did  in his day?" 

Marie Meyer   

Your Turn / For All the Saints
« on: October 30, 2020, 02:08:06 PM »
Since the publication of For All the Saints my husband and I have read "A Prayer Book For and By the Church" for our morning devotions. Below is the the prayer that concluded our devotions this morning. I pray others will be blessed by this prayer even as it has blessed my day. 
Your sister in Christ, Marie Otten Meyer 

"Lord look with  mercy upon this company of your people, the church.  You have called us out of many lands and places to serve you in the ministry of your word. Teach us rightly to divide the word of truth. Grant that our love may grow in all knowledge and discernment.  Help us to walk worthily in the vocation wherewith we are called, forbearing one another in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.  Teach us to look not at his own things but at the things of the other, so that we may impart and receive from one another whatever gift of the spirit you have given to each.

"O Lord, bind us together in the  body of Christ that we may grow unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

"We pray, O Lord, for your church, that it may be healed of its divisions by your grace; that it may mediate with true charity, your love and  mercy to all men.  Strengthen every ministry of reconciliation therein with your Spirit. Grant that it may be a true community of grace in which the pride of race or nation is humbled, where the strong and mighty are brought to  judgment, and the meek and lowly are lifted up.  Make it more faithful to its Lord and more instant to meet the  needs of other men.  Amen"

Reinhold Niebuhr  (1892-1971)

Your Turn / Lutheran Forum
« on: October 23, 2020, 10:00:43 AM »
The Summer 2020 Lutheran Forum arrived in Bethel, CT yesterday.     From The Forum Notebook.....

“Events this summer have brought fresh attention to the injustices experienced by the Black community in America, and to the systemic, dehumanizing evils of racism and white supremacy. Across the globe, protesters, fed up with the status quo, have taken to the streets to demand change. And change must come; the future of our nation depends upon it.

"Beginning with this issue editorials, we hope to publish articles addressing pastoral and theological aspects of America’s struggle for racial equality. Stay tuned!”

Associate editor Matthew O. Staneck writes:  “Throughout the entire history of this country, Black Americans have found themselves on the receiving end of institutional fraud.”

Editor R. David Nelson quotes the late James Cone. “I was a theologian asking: what if anything is theology worth in the black struggle in America?"

Nelson continues “Cone’s question haunts the enterprise of theology again today as our nation, even the entire world this time, desperately seeks a better way forward following the death of yet another Black American at the hands of law enforcement officers. Does Christian theology have anything worthwhile to contribute to our public discourse during this season of reckoning over racism and white supremacy? Or has theology remained silent in the face of injustice, hiding behind the walls of its institutional ivory towers, that it has lost credibility with those fighting for dignity, freedom and equality.” 

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / Luther on Two Kingdoms.
« on: June 16, 2020, 12:18:15 PM »
In his article for First Things , The Lutheran Difference, church historian Mark Noll, referred to Luther's understanding of the two kingdom, The Kingdom of the Left and the Kingdom of the Right.

In doing some research I reviewed Heinrich Bornkam's, Luther's Word of Thought, Bermhard Lohse's, Martin Luther, An Introduction to His Life and Work, Werner Elert's The Christian Ethos and Martin Marty's essay,Luther on Ethics in Accents  in Luther's Theology(CPH,1967) on Luther's understanding of the two kingsdoms.

Lohse and others indicate that understanding Luther on the two kingdoms is problematic, yet significant. 

I offer one quote on which the above Lutheran's agree on the two kingdoms.

"In speaking of two 'kingdom' Luther is describing not only  the two realms of church and state, proclamation and law making, but also at the same time the two sets of relationships within the which the Christian lives. One the one hand there is his existence,  hi personal relationships to his fellow men, his witness for the gospel - in this realm the unconditional commandment of forgiveness, endurance and sacrifice prevails.  On the other hand, there is the common 'life together' of mankind in general in which the law must of  necessity set firm limits against evil; there the Christian must help to see that no one suffers injustice or becomes the victim of another."

There is  also agreement  in the above writers that God is God in both kingdoms and that God wills to work for good in both kingdoms.
In the kingdom of the left they are not to remain silent, but to be God's voice against injustice where and when ever it exists.   

In essence, God's work/activity is not limited to the spiritual the church.  The worldly kingdom is God's ruling and acting over spheres of activities entrusted to men and woman, in which the law operates.   Both are kingdoms are the rule of One God.   Different kinds of righteousness are operative in both spheres: one rightousness avails before in God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. In the other there is civil righteousness that is necessary for the fulfillment of God work in caring for humans in their temporal need.

In the Magnificat Commentary Luther directed the Christian Prince to civil righteousness in the Kingdom of the Left. 

I would add the names of  other Christians who used their voices for God work in the Kingdom of the Left...Bonhoeffer, Alan Paton, Oscar Romero, Martin Niemoeller, Dorothy Day, Howard Ward Beecher, F. Bodelschwingh and fellow LCMS Lutherans. Arthor Simon, Andrew Schultze, Karl Lutz and Joe Ellwanger (there are more). 

As I understand Luther on the two Kingdoms Christians are to use their voice for God's will for civil righteous in the kingdom of the left and for God's will that all in the Church acknowledge their righteous in Christ as God's gift of unmerited grace.

The issue here is how, when and where are Christians to use their voice for civil righteous.  I do not think being silent is an option.

Marie Meyer 

Your Turn / Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« on: June 08, 2020, 03:32:57 PM »
Racism and the Church,  Overcoming the Idolatry A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS (February 1994)

LCMS pastors may have a copy in their files. Is so, I hope they join a conversation on how Christians might confront individual, cultural and institutional racism today. If not, copies are available from Concordia Publishing House ($3).

From the CTCR Report Introduction
“Racism is at its core idolatry… It is a sin against the first commandment….It is to this malady of the human heart that we address ourselves in this report.”

The church’s response to racism is complicated because sociologists and anthropologists differ on the definition of racism and how certain facets of racism are played out in society and culture.

I.Racism and the Necessity of a Christian Response.
What is racism? “The theory that there is a certain causal link between inherited physical traits and certain traits of personality, intellect, or culture..."

Characteristics of racism:  1)the actions of one group adversely affect the lives of others….2)one group is in a position of power to enforce their influence on others and even to exploit them…3)it is paternalistic…4)includes a misuse of power… 4)  race is a distinct biological group -an inherited identity 5) there is “patterned dominance” that is neither a random nor an unpredictable relationship. 

“Since all are born into their respective groups (one does not chose to join or have the privilege of resigning,) racial privileges and liabilities  accrue to the individual regardless of his or her choice.”

Influence of culture on racism:  the totality of our culture transmits behavior patterns, beliefs, institutions, other products human work and thought characteristics of a community or population.

II. Racism as an Ideology
Racism is a belief system…"life squeezed into the idea and made to conform to its dictates”…as an ideology racism seeks to justify racial divisions and may even provide a rational to divide and/or govern society. 

"Racism is publicly spurned  and declared abhorrent in America.  ‘But racism as an ideological reality is, unfortunately, not dead. Quite the contrary racism in its variable forms shows up at every level of our life today, and it is precisely because it most often posses an ‘incognito character” that is so ominous.”

Racism manifests itself in the individual level.  “It is also possible to speak of institutional racism with respect to the way institutions operate (through their laws, customs, practices, procedures.”  Thus racism is manifested at individual, cultural and institutional levels.

II. Necessity of a Christian Response at All Levels
“We confront racism now because of the urgent need to assess where we as individuals and as a church body committed to putting into practice our Christian faith.”

“As a church body The Lutheran Church-Missouri has made numerous efforts over the years to deal with the evil of racism.  Since 1956 the Synod adopted resolutions, held conferences and created new structures and policies aimed at addressing the problem in our midst. The same can be said of numerous other church bodies. The question remains, however, whether such efforts  have effectively isolated the real causes of racism and applied the biblical solution. To underline the necessity and urgency of our present task, we consider the following… " 

The report then addressed a 1994 response... What needs to be be the response of the Christians today, June 8, 2020??? There were roadblock then??? What are the roadblocks today????

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / Christ, Bridegroom of the Church
« on: May 22, 2020, 02:57:04 PM »
This topic is not about the ordination of women. It seeks to address Paul’s understanding of the relationship of Christ, Head of the Church, to the Church as His One Body.  The particular text in question is Ephesians 5:32.  “This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the Church.” 

Paul begins Ephesians “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure. (Chapter 1:9).”    He then offers insights into the mystery of Christ three times in Chapter 3: 2-6.  In writing to the entire congregation Paul states he was called to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which was for ages past kept hidden in God, who created all things.
Paul prays for the Ephesians.  “For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

I understand that in the NT the term “mystery” is a reference to truths that are “hidden” to persons who do not know God as their God and Father, but visible to persons whose eyes of the heart have been enlightened to see Christ in the least likely place for God, our Creator and the Creator of the universe,  to be present.

Thus the question:  "When read in its entirety, what does Paul's letter to the congregation at Ephesus teach us about the reality that Christ, Head and Bridegroom of the Church, is not visible, but hidden in the weakness and suffering of His Bride, the Church? 

Your Turn / Mary, Mother of God
« on: December 27, 2019, 05:25:37 PM »
The celebration of the Incarnation prompt thoughts of the Mary, the Virgin Mother, whose son was True God and True Man.

The books I read included Luther's Magnificat Commentary  and the ALPB book The Church, Selected Writings of Arthur Carl Piepkorn Volume I. In reviewing Mary's Place within the People of God, Piepkorn calls attention to theologians who regard the virgin Mary as the link that unites Christ and humanity.  According to Jarislav Pelikan, Mary cannot be ignored because the birth of God the Son from her enables us to confess that Jesus the Christ was a true man, flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone.  Hans Asmussen states, "One does not have Jesus Christ without Mary."

According to Piepkorn, Mary, the virgin who gave birth to the Son of God by the power of God the Holy Spirit without a human husband, is the gateway through which God himself entered our world.  She is the "representative of humanity."  Piepkorn goes on to state that Mary is "the symbol of the presence of God among His people, the one who combines in her person all the expectation of  Israel and the entire Mystery of the Church. She is the handmaiden of the Lord who lives by faith, the first herald if the Gospel in her visitation of St. Elizabeth, when, like the Church, she bears within her womb the word and body of the Lord."

"A Lutheran would see the analogy between the Mother of God and the Church as nowhere better typified than in the use of The Magnificat as the vespers canticle. In this place the Magnficat has become more than a memorial ; the words that the Gospel attributes to our Lord's Mother have been wholly appropriated as the prayer of His Bride.  What the mother of the Savior said of herself expresses the faith of the Church that is the mother of us all."

Clearly, the Son of God became True Man from the virgin Mary's place in God's order of creation. The question comes to mind, how can LCMS theologians claim that God's order of creation is an immutable that moves downward from God to Christ to man to woman when God the Son became human from a woman without a human man between God the Son and the woman, Mary.

 Luther's Magnificat Commentary states that Mary knew and rightly understand God's order. When and where God works from within creation and the Church, God works as God from those who are least or who are of low regard according to human reason. She turned from who she was as the instrument of God the Son becoming Man to magnify God.

Might God's work of the Incarnation, God becoming Man from a woman, prompt rethinking that the claim that God's order for God's work in creation and within the Church proceeds downward from God the Father to God the Son to man and to woman?

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / Bishop Eaton on Israeli civilian settlements
« on: November 20, 2019, 03:14:06 PM »
Presiding bishop statement on Israeli civilian settlements
11/19/2019 4:10:00 PM

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is very disturbed by the November 18 announcement by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo that the Administration unwisely is changing current U.S. policy by stating that the “establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”

Our church has consistently called for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, the cessation of all settlement activities and withdrawal from settlements on Palestinian territory to the 1967 boundaries, a negotiated, final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and the establishment of and international support for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. We will continue to work with ecumenical and inter-religious partners who share these commitments. In the long term, we wish to see Israelis and Palestinians co-existing in justice and peace, as citizens of viable and secure Israeli and Palestinian states.

The Administration’s announcement makes the realization of these outcomes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more difficult and distant, rather than advancing the cause of peace. The announcement, like earlier ones on the conflict, gives no evidence of having been developed in consultation with those who will be most adversely affected by this policy, namely the Palestinians in the occupied territory.  Instead, it will give a “green light” to further settlement activity and a worsening of the conditions of occupation, including intensified military and police measures and the further diversion of natural and other resources that benefit only settlers.   

By reverting to the policy of the Reagan Administration, the new policy ignores facts that have been created on the ground since 1989 (from a settler population then of close to 200,000 to an estimated more than 700,000 at present in the West Bank and East Jerusalem). It also discredits international law such as various provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention -- to which Israel is a party --  about the obligations of an occupying power as well as the prevailing international consensus about settlements, most recently articulated in Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016 (to which all UN member states are bound according to the UN Charter).     

Our distress with this announcement is primarily its impact on the daily life of Palestinians, especially our sisters and brothers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, but also their Christian and Muslim neighbors. We are also concerned with policy changes that further distance the United States from the prevailing international consensus on the path toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including respecting human rights standards and international law.

God’s peace,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Your Turn / Larry Rinehart's LF article - Is Faith....?
« on: October 25, 2019, 11:09:43 AM »
Forum ON LINE Luther scholars:

I seek comments/reflections on the article Is Faith a Metaphysiccal Relation?  as it appeared in the Lutheran Forum of Summer 2019.

I need help in understanding Larry Rinehart's conclusion"By way of summary". 

Thanks to Luther scholars for any assistance that offer.

Marie Meyer

Your Turn / The Body of Christ
« on: September 14, 2019, 02:43:21 PM »
The following was recently posted on the Daystar Journal and is currently the subject of discussion by persons affiliated with Daystar.  The writer, the late Pr. Howard Patten, served as an LCMS District President. The author offers an understanding of the Lord's Supper that merits consideration.

Marie Meyer

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