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Topics - Steverem

Your Turn / WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
September 08, 2015, 09:54:45 AM
I've been blissfully away from this forum for the last 10 days or so, so my apologies if this has been posted elsewhere, but what thoughts do folks have about the following "ten-second sermon" that appeared on the Women of the ELCA's Facebook feed, based on on Mark 7:27 ("Jesus said, 'Let the childeren be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.'"):

"If our lord Jesus can make an error in judgment, we mere humans certainly will.  The problem is not in the mistake, the problem is in failing to acknowledge it.  Jesus said he was sorry by healing a precious daughter.  How will you say it?"

Your Turn / "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
July 27, 2015, 02:31:51 PM
Figured someone would see this article and post - might as well be me.

The Lutheran churches (yes, plural) are officially the whitest churches in the country.
Your Turn / Off Topic: "The Dadly Virtues"
May 12, 2015, 04:52:39 PM
A propos of nothing, really, but figured some of you father-types might appreciate this video of an event yesterday afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute in DC.  The panelists are contributors for a new book, The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You'll Ever Love.  They trade war stories about fatherhood and offer a few sage words on raising children.  Despite the conservative bona fides of the presenters, the conversation is largely nonpartisan*, and should bring a knowing smile to the faces of "bad" dads across the ideological spectrum.

*There is the moment where one presenter laments that he didn't steep his daughter in Marxist-Leninist thought from the get-go, just so that when she eventually goes to college, she will listen to her poli sci professor, roll her eyes and exclaim in derision, "You sound just like my dad!"
Your Turn / LCMS to Open New Office in DC
March 04, 2015, 10:53:48 AM
Had this article forwarded to me by our church's DCE.  I'd heard rumblings about a return of an LCMS governmental affairs office, but this is a little more definitive.

The article notes that the office will have three foci:  "(1) life, (2) marriage and especially (3) religious freedom."  Of course, those are three pretty big buckets, and can deal with a bunch of ancillary topics, but by-and-large, I think it's a pretty good working framework.

Anyone else have an opinion?  Encouraged?  Dubious?  Personally, I think the office would provide a valuable, unique, and hopefully winsome voice in Washington.  Having worked in DC dealing with these (and other) issues, I'm excited to hear that the LCMS will once again have a presence here.
Your Turn / Wonkette "Outs" Herself as a Christian
March 02, 2015, 02:54:07 PM
Not really a propos to anything, but I found this reflection by the notorious Beltway blogger "Wonkette" to be fascinating.  A few quibbles, to be sure, but much to ponder and take to heart as well.

Rod Dreher, I think, has a very nice reflection on the original column here.  Interested if anyone else here has a take on her comments.
Don't know if anyone here has heard much about this story, but it is big news in evangelical circles.

In an interview with Christianity Today, World Vision President Richard Stearns has announced that the humanitarian aid group will start hiring Christians in same-sex marriages.  Stearns claims that this is not an act of compromise, but rather of unity, acknowledging that Christians who support the ministry have different positions on the matter.

Stearns says this is a very narrow policy change.  While I don't think it is quite as broad as some of those responding to it do ("World Vision has endorsed gay marriage!"), I don't think it's as narrow as Stearns is spinning it, either.  Certainly, I think recent history would indicate that "unity" is not likely to be a by-product of the decision.  As Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention puts it, "Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom."  I think you could probably substitute "ELCA," "TEC," or "UCC" for "Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)" and the point would still stand.

The obvious point-counterpoints aside, what is the value of tailoring parachurch statements of faith to appeal to the broadest number of church bodies and (perhaps more to the point) individual Christians?  Would it be better for such an organization to claim a more specific theological and social position in the beginning, and then expect those taking part in the ministry to adhere to - or at least accept - those positions as representative of the ministry?  When dealing with non-denominational, parachurch groups, what issues rise to the level of non-negotiable?

My wife and I have both given to World Vision in the past, and while the current news wouldn't necessarily cause me to cease any future giving, it definitely makes me more willing to consider other avenues which more accurately reflect my theological beliefs.  And it does give me pause for other non-denominational, parachurch organizations that I continue to support.  I will definitely be keeping an eye on any position shifts from these groups in the future.
Here's a thought-provoking article from the eminently readable Rod Dreher.  Although it is superficially about the matter of same-sex marriage and how the church is responding to it, there is a deeper theme about the "emotivism" that is prevalent in churches of all traditions, and the need to train our younger members in a more systemic theology.  Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on it.
Your Turn / Jean Bethke Elshtain
August 12, 2013, 04:52:09 PM
Just noticed that Jean Bethke Elshtain passed away over the weekend.  I'm sure there are some here with more direct interaction with her, but in the few writings I read and the handful of public appearances I attended, she struck me as someone of great wisdom, insight, and winsomeness.  May God provide her friends and family with comfort and a Peace that passes all understanding.
Your Turn / LC-MS, ACNA, and "Brave New Church"
July 09, 2013, 11:07:39 AM
An interesting interview with the Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, Ecumenical Officer for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).  A couple highlights:

On ACNA's workings with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:


I am very encouraged by our Lutheran brothers and sisters in two different jurisdictions who've become very, very strong Christian friends with the Anglican Church in North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church. We have experienced nothing but true Christian charity and real cooperation around the essentials of the faith. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has been so kind. I've been time and again moved by how they have been willing to talk with Biblical Anglicans. They've not been known in the past for a lot of ecumenical activity, and mainly worked within some fairly narrow constraints of Lutheranism, but we have seen proper Biblical breadth in their dealings with us. They, along with all of us, recognize that at this point in history, the Christians that believe in the Bible and the historic catholic creeds, and in their case are coheirs of the Reformation, need to stand together as much as we can.

On the changing nature of ecumenism:


The ecumenism of liberalism became what I call the quest to create a kind of Huxley-ian, "Brave New Church," a one-world liberal church supporting some kind of one-world geo-political ideology. And for that reason a lot of conservatives have been reluctant to talk about ecumenical efforts. I understand this. But it's a new day for ecumenism among conservatives.  We've seen conservative breakaway groups among Lutherans, Presbyterians, and now Anglicans. Similar though not as developed efforts have even occurred among the Baptists, and the Methodists. Now all of these restored Biblical and conservative Christians in various branches of the Lord's Church are starting to talk to each other. Their desire is not geo-political but Gospel.
Your Turn / The State of the ELCIC
July 09, 2013, 10:29:47 AM
I had the following article forwarded to me from a friend.  In short, it says that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is hemorrhaging - it has lost almost half of its members it had at its founding in 1986 (262,000 to 139,000), a descent that accelerated following the decision in 2011 to allow individual churches to perform same-sex marriages.  And the future is not exactly rosy, either - the study (commissioned by the ELCIC Council of Bishops) estimates that another 64 congregations could leave the denomination or shut their doors by 2020.  (Fifty four congregations have already closed since '86.)

The numbers are sobering.  How does this decline parallel and/or differentiate from the ELCA's current track?  Does the ELCA have any obligation to their northern neighbors?  Is a similar decline evident in the Lutheran Church-Canada?  Anyone here have any experience with Lutheranism north of the border to provide any insight?
Your Turn / NCC Leaving the "God Box" in NYC
February 14, 2013, 10:38:43 AM
This is a pretty stunning turn of events - the National Council of Churches, which not much more than a decade ago had hundreds of staff members, is moving from their offices on Riverside Drive in New York City (referred to by many as the "God Box"), with the transitional general secretary moving to a single office in Washington.  The author of the article tells me that three senior staffers will remain in "satellite offices," and that it appears that all remaining staff members are being let go.

Any thoughts as to what this means for the future of ecumenism here in the United States? Polemics aside, I'd love to hear what people of varying ideological stripes think of this.  It definitely seems to signal a significant paradigm shift in inter-church relations.
Your Turn / Queen James Bible (Seriously)
December 13, 2012, 12:33:54 PM
Presented without comment, except to say, "Kyrie Eleison!"

(Be sure to check out the link to the editorial notes at the end of the entry.)
Your Turn / David Lose: Is the Bible True?
April 04, 2011, 03:23:30 PM
Submitted without comment in an attempt to solicit honest opinions.  Any thoughts on Lose and his theology in general, or this article in particular?
Here's an interesting article by Ted Olsen of Christianity Today.  It seems that Jim Wallis desire to escape the "polarities" of left and right has disipated now that he has the "political power and the ear of the White House."

And why raise this on a Lutheran message board?  Check out the speakers for Sojourners' anti-poverty conference this weekend.  Apparently the PB is also comfortable with such an identification.
Your Turn / What's Missing?
March 26, 2009, 05:32:46 PM
I just received the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Life e-newsletter for March.  Among the resources listed was this downloadable brochure entitled "Your Guide to Inter-Religious Life in the ELCA."  Admittedly, a three-fold brochure is not going to be the best place for in-depth discussion on the various theological and sociological issues facing Church and society, although a number are mentioned briefly (e.g., Middle East peace, homelessness, immigration, energy conservation, poverty, youth violence).  There is talk about building trust between faiths, learning about your non-Christian neighbors, and "deepening your faith life" (good things all).  I particularly like the thoroughly-Lutheran suggestion that church members organize "an inter-religious potluck to get to know one another."

Anyone want to guess what one word goes unspoken (or even hinted at)?
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