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Topics - peter_speckhard

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Your Turn / Greta Thunberg receives honorary doctorate in THEOLOGY
« on: March 21, 2023, 09:10:32 AM »

Given that they divide up the many honorary doctorates they hand out, why on earth was it the theology department, as opposed to, say, the philosophy or geology (or drama) department, that chose to honor this "activist"? I think the answer is that climate science is as much religious dogma as science. 

Your Turn / Real life version of the book Children of Men?
« on: March 18, 2023, 09:07:08 AM »
This was the main headline on the CNN website for a while this morning.

Sexuality, marriage, procreation, family vocations-- these have all come to be seen a mere lifestyle choices in recent generations, with the consequence that people just start to live for themselves.

The articles always say that young people can't afford to have children. But they can. They just can't do so and maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

Your Turn / Humanities and Lutheran Classical Education
« on: March 08, 2023, 01:57:12 PM »

Ross Douthat has this column in the NYT that a friend forwarded to me. (It wasn't behind a paywall for me, hopefully true for you as well.) His thesis is that the decline of the Humanities came about for two reasons. First, the struggle for relevance in the tech age meant trying to keep up with the speed of social media and treating pop culture instead of great works as worthy of constant commentary. Second, the struggle for social relevance meant subsuming art and literature to a sociological agenda that humanities types could remain on the cutting edge of.

He talk about the need for what sounds to me like a Benedict Option approach of simply accepting subculture or counter-culture status. Basically, abandon both games of trying to keep up and go back to deep exploration of great art and literature despite its supposed irrelevance.My friends who forwarded the article (ELCA pastor) said it seemed very parallel to what the church needs to hear-- quit trying for relevance. The premise in both cases is that any future renaissance of church life and study of the humanities depends on survival in the present.

Good article, worth the read.  He also talks about the importance of the current resurgence in Classical Education, with memorization and recitation as part of the curriculum. The LCMS is ahead of the game on that one.

Your Turn / Radicalization
« on: February 16, 2023, 11:31:20 PM »

From the article about Britain's "Prevent" program seeking to nip radical right-wing terrorism in the bud. "There is also a reading list of historical texts which produce red flags to RICU. These include Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, as well as works by Thomas Carlyle and Adam Smith. Elsewhere RICU warns that radicalisation could occur from books by authors including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldous Huxley and Joseph Conrad."

This is why nobody who isn't a progressives takes the incessant jabber about white nationalism and right wing radicals seriously. It is because progressives, and the government agencies they run, simply identify things conservatives like and call that thing an example of radical extremism. 

Your Turn / Individualism and feminism
« on: February 05, 2023, 02:15:08 PM »
On another thread  the topic of the individualist culture in the United States came up in the context of how our beliefs and practices as Christians can be affected by cultural norms and movements. The context was a discussion of using women lectors in church and the degree to which doing so was simply going along with feminism and if so, whether or not it was a permissible example of practice being affected by culture.

I think women lectors make such a clear test case because both sides think the other side is hung up about nothing. Outsiders reading the discussion tend to think, "How is this even an issue? Why do they care? Who would waste time on such a discussion when so many other things are more important?" And those in the discussion think, on the one hand, "Why is it so important to you to have women lectors? Even if we concede it is adiaphora, how can it be so important to you that you insist on doing it when you know doing it really bothers some people?" And, on the other hand, "Really? The sex of the person reading aloud matters to you? How hung up  on nothing can a person get?" Allowing it or forbidding it are both purely symbolic of larger and deeper takes on things.

Two red herrings that always come up are that public reading of Scripture in worship is reserved for the pastor rather than the laity or that not having lay readers both sexes denies people the opportunity to use their God-given gifts. The former is a separate argument entirely, and the latter is simply not true. Not only is reading aloud something pretty much anyone can do, but the ability and opportunity to do it does not hinge on doing it in church. And since only a tiny fraction of those in attendance can read in the service anyway, it would be ludicrous to say anything hinges on being the lector. These two red herrings always come up, though, because the real issue is tougher and revolves around how to deal with the fact that the Bible treats men and women differently, but our culture refuses to. How best to navigate that fact is where both sides have a hard time defending their otherwise obviously correct (to them) positions.


Your Turn / 2nd Amendment and Lutheran Confessions
« on: February 05, 2023, 01:27:04 PM »
On a couple of other threads the topic of the individual right to bear arms and kill in defense of self and family came up. It seemed to play a big role in the ruckus about the CPH Large Catechism edition. So this thread can examine what seems like a somewhat peculiarly American phenomenon in light of the Lutheran Confessions generally.

It seems to me the best way to understand the 2nd Amendment is as a function of citizen-government. The underlying question then becomes whether there is a relationship between citizen government and Christianity.

Your Turn / 2023 LCMS Convention news, notes, and hard-hitting commentary
« on: February 03, 2023, 11:25:44 AM »
I was reminded by a friend that the convention was coming up (and since elections happen beforehand, the pregame show starts earlier), so this thread can cover elections, overtures, votes, politicking, and anything thereunto related.

I was nominated to be on the CTCR and I have no idea who else was nominated. So if you do know, feel free to start the muckraking against my opponents. 

Your Turn / New CPH Large Catechism
« on: January 25, 2023, 10:29:56 PM »
Apparently the Twitterverse is in full nonsense mode about this book. Not being on social media I only hear what people are saying second hand. This thread can discuss the brouhaha.

Your Turn / Posthumous book from Benedict
« on: January 24, 2023, 03:22:42 PM »

Hmmm. This can't be good. I know RJN took a lot of criticism along with many conservative Catholics in the U.S. for saying basically the same thing. To me, it seems disappointing that Benedict would accuse various bishops of just watching the slide rather than doing anything about it when that was exactly what he chose to do. The clergy sex abuse scandal rendered the RC church impotent because any denunciation of perversion invited a brutal counter-attack. RJN noted that the clergy sex abuse scandal was actually an almost entirely (not entirely, but in large part) a clergy homosexual scandal perpetrated by men on younger men and boys. But the suggestion that sexual perversion in general breeds more sexual perversion was considered too taboo to bring up in a setting where large percentages of the current and future clergy were compromised by such relationship.

Your Turn / Theology of transgenderism
« on: January 23, 2023, 09:11:28 PM »

If we all had to identity an official spokesperson for mainline Protestantism, I think Serene Jones, the long time president of Union Theological Seminary, would be a safe choice. Her article in Newsweek linked above, I would submit, offers a generally accepted view of the issue among progressive clergy and churches. At the very least we can all agree that she is by no means a minor voice, nor is she offering a fringe view of the matter, nor is she writing in some quirky theological forum and being taken out of context.

I think she displays a staggering lack of interest, even, in the theological ramifications of transgenderism, and limits herself, in effect, to saying that Jesus said to be nice and conservatives are being mean. She uses scare quotes around the word "Christian" when describing conservative Christians working against the trans movement. She clearly sees it as a church-divisive issue.

The issue clearly matters. But it hasn't been fleshed out theologically because I think both sides see the issue as obvious. So I would like this thread to look at the theological ramifications of either side using Scripture, Confessions, Church history, or whatever theological authorities one might call upon to provide people with a more comprehensive view of what exactly is at stake for either side of this church-dividing issue (and I think both sides do view it as divisive of fellowship).   

Your Turn / Esolen in Touchstone on marriage as vocation
« on: January 03, 2023, 09:11:29 AM »
The January/February issue of Touchstone features an article by the always perceptive and incisive Anthony Esolen called Marriage Fading. While his diagnosis is for the whole of American/Western culture, since he is a Catholic he uses statistics from the RC Church in America. From the article:

In 1970, there were more than 426,300 Catholic marriages in a the U.S., then a country of 205.1 million. In 2021, there were 97,200 Catholic marriages, in a country of 329.5 million people. Put those two statistics together and you have a collapse of 86 percent.

And that does not capture the whole of the problem. It understates it considerably. It passes by the 40 percent of American children born out of wedlock, with all the terrible pathologies that go along with fatherlessness. It passes by the 40 percent of marriages that end in divorce. It passes by the fact that in America people are marrying later than ever before-- the median age standing at about 29 years.

The article says a big part of the problem is that the church and society don't do enough to support (and in fact often militate against) the idea of marriage as a vocation.

Your Turn / Hymn selection
« on: December 09, 2022, 10:15:23 AM »
Starting a new thread to take over for the discussion of hymn selection on the forum hiatus thread.

One of the issues I had as a missionary-at-large for a start up congregation that wanted to do all contemporary worship was that the parents had been formed by traditional worship and didn't like it, or at least thought it would be an impediment to mission outreach. They seemed to take that formation for granted, though, as though their children were going to learn it by osmosis (the way they had as small children without even knowing they were learning it). I would always ask them things like, "If someone is raised in a Lutheran congregation, grows up, moves away, and joins another Lutheran congregation, is it reasonable and desirable to expect that they know, say, A Mighty Fortress? How about (x,y,z great hymns)? If so, when are they going to learn them? How will the associations be formed?" 

Your Turn / Church/School social media policy
« on: December 08, 2022, 03:41:50 PM »
We decided to establish a social media policy for St. Paul's. Please feel free to recommend changes or to share your own policy.

Pastors, teachers, and other called or employed leaders of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School should not engage in personal social media posting, sharing, or commenting on controversial matters of politics and culture from private accounts recognizable as belonging to leaders of St. Paul's. Even if the content of such posts is true, the social media context inherently lacks the nuance and boundaries necessary for pastoral admonition and persuasion.

Your Turn / Forum hiatus
« on: December 07, 2022, 09:21:36 AM »
Apologies that the forum was down for a while. ALPB is revamping its web presence and something about the changeover from one hosting service to another messed everything up. But it appears we're back as of yesterday, hopefully with smooth sailing from here on out.

Two requests: first, we have no way of contacting many of the regular lurkers and users that we're up and running again, so if you personally know of anyone who might have given up trying to log on, please give them the heads up that we're up and running again.

Second, let's all allow the unexpected hiatus to yield some benefit by letting old arguments die and focusing on discussions of church, theology, and Lutheran-related life.

Your Turn / A Guidebook for Progressive Christians
« on: November 28, 2022, 10:58:39 AM »
A well-known online presence and ELCA pastor (and acquaintance of mine) Clint Schneckloth came up with the interesting idea during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is every November) of publishing a few thousand words every day on the topic of Progressive Christianity, with the goal of turning the month's efforts into a Guidebook for Progressive Christians. I've been reading each installment as they get emailed out. Clint is a voracious reader and expresses his ideas clearly. He and virtually never agree on anything, but I might ask him for permission to share parts of his efforts here. This thread can be for the topic of a how-to guide for progressive church leaders.

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