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Messages - FatherWilliam57

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Your Turn / Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« on: September 08, 2015, 04:37:04 PM »
The author of this "sermon" is Terri Lackey, who works for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.  However, this still does not explain how this "sermon" was selected for inclusion on the WELCA website...

Your Turn / Re: Stop Performing Weddings?
« on: September 03, 2015, 02:03:28 PM »
Just saw on the news that the Rowan County Clerk has been ordered to jail for contempt of court.  She worked as a deputy clerk for 27 years (under her mother), and was elected county clerk in November 2014.  She can only be removed by a vote of the state legislature (which does not meet again until January). 

Your Turn / Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« on: August 06, 2015, 11:06:37 PM »
So, does  one-on-one communication/evangelism "work"? When you're talking about reaching a few people, sure it works. When you're talking about reaching the thousand and thousands of people who need to hear God's Word, then, in that context, it doesn't work as well as it needs to.

1. We are called to be faithful, not successful (at least not the way the world defines the term).
2. We are called to plant seeds of the Gospel.  We are NOT responsible for the harvest.  It has been estimated that Billy Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.  And yet his own staff claims that only 3.2 million "accepted" Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  Venerable Fulton Sheen had up 30 million viewers per week, but I don't know that the Roman Church grew as a result of this during that time period.

Car companies spend millions of dollars on advertising.  When I bought a new car, two of my friends asked about it (how did I like it, did it handle well, etc.).  I took each of them for a ride, let them drive the car, and truthfully answered their questions.  They had seen the car advertisements, and no doubt that peaked their curiosity.  But it was through personal contact with me that "the deal was sealed."  They both eventually bought the same model car.  (Years ago, Rambler had it right:  "Ask the man who owns one.")

Could denominational offices do more to help out with evangelism?  Definitely.  But when it comes right down to it, the most effective evangelism strategy is the one employed by Philip when he said to his friend, Nathanael, "Come and see." 

Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 06, 2015, 12:08:08 AM »
Pastor Richman is a graduate of Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and Luther Seminary.  He was ordained by the ALC.  When the ELCA merger came about in 1987, his congregation (Emmaus Lutheran Church, Bloomington, MN) left the ALC and joined the AFLC. 

Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Bishop Comes Out at Youth Conference
« on: August 05, 2015, 01:31:55 PM »
But there's that contemporary/liturgical divide to overcome.

Even more insidious than any liturgical controversy, it seems to me, is the "worship" of "bricks and mortar."  Our Lord commanded us to make disciples and build one another up in the faith, not build him a lot of pretty buildings (some of which, if truth be told, really aren't all that pretty).  A building is not the Church, it is simply a tool of the Church.  And yet, the emotional attachment parishioners feel for "their building" has been the cross upon which many a pastor has been crucified...

Your Turn / Re: Adherence to a denominational legacy: what is involved?
« on: August 03, 2015, 09:15:54 PM »
Hello, George!

I have been doing interim work for the past year and a half (since I resigned from my last congregation).  Even before I began interim work, it was clearly understood in this synod (as you well know) that an interim is a "caretaker" of sorts until a new pastor is called.  Interims, normally, are not to change the routine of a congregation they serve (unless it is an "intentional" interim with certain goals to accomplish before the congregation can enter into the call process, generally when there has been conflict in the congregation).  A private conversation with the council president (or vice-president, if the interim pastor is the president) might be in order.  If the practice of the congregation is that baptized Christians are invited to commune, she has no business changing that unilaterally.  Then again, the synod you currently live in may not enforce such limitations on what an interim does.  However, the council president should be able to communicate with the synod office to clarify this.  Whatever you do, do not "fuss up" the congregation.  It almost never ends well when that happens.

I also agree with what Eileen was getting at.  Can you see your way clear to at least remain until there is a call vote on a new pastor?  There could be many other parishioners "biding their time" until the interim leaves.  Your vote, at the appropriate time, may be of importance to them...and the future of the congregation.  If you simply leave, you will have no voice in the selection of the next pastor.  If the congregation votes to call a pastor who agrees with what the interim is doing, at least you will know for sure that this is no longer the place for you and you can seek another congregation with a clear conscience.

I hope I'm not adding more fuel to the fire, but I found the following interesting:

Your Turn / Re: Liturgical Question Regarding the US Flag
« on: July 03, 2015, 11:16:51 AM »
This is quite a different approach. What if every flag of every nation where our denominations have missionaries were flown in our worship area as a reminder that we are connected with folks of those other nations?

An interesting idea.  However, (1) this could become quite expensive and (2) I suppose I would see this more as an "object lesson" (a good one at that), but I think I would implement such a thing in a social room or auditorium, rather than the space set aside for the worship of God where the Cross (not the symbol of a geo-political system) is our true banner.  Just an opinion...

Your Turn / Re: Liturgical Question Regarding the US Flag
« on: July 02, 2015, 01:41:57 PM »
At my first parish, we eventually moved the flags from the sanctuary to the library.  I had a shut-in who was a WW2 war bride from Germany.  She told me how grateful she was when she heard of this action.  Then she told me how, as a young teenager, she remembered the Sunday the Nazi flags had been placed in her home congregation.  When she married and came here with her husband, the first Sunday they attended worship, she saw the flags at her new parish and it made her shudder.  For almost 50 years those flags disturbed her at worship, but she said nothing to anyone except her husband since she considered herself something of an "outsider" in that regard.  I never regretted the Council's decision to remove the flags after that.

Your Turn / Re: Liturgical Question Regarding the US Flag
« on: July 02, 2015, 01:35:37 PM »
Any time a veteran has been buried from the church, the coffin arrives with a flag on it; the funeral director removes it at the door of the church in order to place the funeral pall for the service.  After the recessional, the pall is removed and the flag placed back on the coffin.  At the graveside, I always have any military honors rendered before the commendation (including the presentation of the flag to the next of kin).  God gets the last word at a Christian funeral.

Your Turn / Strange Question: ELCA Congregational Packets
« on: June 16, 2015, 05:00:04 PM »
I got to thinking the other day about the resource packets that were sent to congregations every-other month in the early days of the ELCA.  (Remember the clear plastic baggies you had to rip open?)  On the cover page / mailing page, there was a logo with five interlocked circles.  Two were labeled "Worship" and "Christian Ed."  Anyone remember what these resource packets were called or what each of the five circles were labeled?  Just very curious for some reason...

Your Turn / Re: SBH Setting Two -- For Those Interested
« on: April 12, 2015, 01:15:49 AM »
If I'd grown up with SBH 1, I'd probably feel the same way.  My sense is that in SBH days, congregations tended to use one setting or the other and rarely if ever strayed to the other.  Is that others' experience?

I grew up in the Western Pennsylvania - West Virginia Synod of the LCA.  Before 1970, my home congregation used SBH1 exclusively.  In 1970 (with the arrival of a new pastor), we started using SBH2 for the Christmas and Easter cycles and SBH1 for the Pentecost Season.  We were also well versed in SBH Matins and Vespers.  Matins was often used as the basis for funeral services when the Eucharist was not celebrated (our pastor did not believe in celebrating ante-communion).  We also sang matins every day at Vacation Bible School...all day, two-week VBS; ah, the good old days!  Until the mid-70s, we still did Vespers on Sunday evenings.  (I wonder how many pastors would have coronaries if 100 people were to show up for Sunday vespers nowadays. More's the pity.  Very grateful I grew up where I did and when I did...)

Your Turn / Re: SBH Setting Two -- For Those Interested
« on: April 10, 2015, 11:24:42 PM »
SBH2 is still my all-time favorite setting.  The way it was butchered in LBW3 almost certainly guaranteed it would fall into disuse.  At least ELW5 restored some of the plainsong sensibility of SBH2, as opposed to the "metrical" adaptation of LBW3.  Would love to have SBH2 sung at my funeral, but I don't think there would be enough people left by then to pull it off (assuming my funeral is coming any time soon...).

The article Pastor Austin quoted from can be found here:

There are no footnotes to the article.  It would seem the article was based in part (if not mostly) on material gleaned from interviews...which is fine as long as that is understood.  I am still concerned, however; the conclusions drawn would seem to be based on "anecdotal evidence" as opposed to "empirical research," which could (note, "could") lead to unwarranted conclusions or sweeping generalizations.  Guess I'm just a Joe Friday kind of guy:  "The facts, m'am, just the facts."  (And yes, my BA is in Philosophy, specifically Language & Logic.  ;D)

Question for Pr. Austin (this is just part of my natural curiosity, not necessarily related to the current discussion):  At what point does a journalist believe he/she has crossed over from reporting a "news item" into an "opinion piece"?  Is there some "line" between the two which one tries desperately not to cross?  Or is that simply an editorial decision which is made after the author has filed their report?

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