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Messages - exegete77

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1
Your Turn / Re: As November Is Not TOO Far Away...
« on: September 22, 2018, 12:31:51 AM »
P.S. The whole album from which it is taken is also a winner, conducted by J. Michael Thompson, whom I am honored to call a friend (Rich Shields would no doubt remember Jim).
Yes, indeed. It has been quite a few years. Thanks, Will, for bringing him to mind.

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Your Turn / Re: Hermeneutics
« on: December 23, 2016, 08:01:31 PM »
I had hermeneutics from Kiehl at CSL, then Grothe, Brighton, etc. for NT exegetical classes.

Voelz was my final STM advisor (exegesis). I teach hermeneutics for ALTS, using Voelz's approach. He looks at presuppositions and the differences between modern approaches and post-modern approaches to the text. He notes that no one can approach the text as a neutral observer (modern: advocates that such is possible; post-modern says every thing is reader-response, i.e. you bring your own meaning to the text and read it out from the text—too simplistic at this point). His position is what he calls soft-postmodern, namely that reality is objective, but observation is not. (There is more to this, but this sufficient for now)

One clear advantage is that he espoused that "meaning" of a text is unclear. For example, he speaks about narrative, in which "meaning" is used three different ways, leading to three different responses when someone asks "What does this text mean?"

1. What does the text say?

2. What does the signify?

3. What does the text tell us about author, audience, etc.?

By exploring these separately we have a more consistent (Scripture interprets Scripture; creedal presuppositions, etc.) way of interpreting narrative.

Many other insightful approaches from others gained over the past 35 years. Voelz's approach has been the mostly helpful. In teaching it, I have found students struggle with some of what is taught but about week 4 they begin to acknowledge that it is useful. Then they move forward.

Just my two pfennigs

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Your Turn / Re: The Church and Drug Addiction
« on: September 27, 2016, 01:53:20 PM »
Thank you for your ministry and your requests for help. As a pastor, I have found we have had people battle that in each of the congregations I have served. It is the "quiet" problem that many pastors and congregations either ignore or dismiss, or often struggle to minister with people and families. Many years ago I conducted a funeral for a women who had been in the drug scene for 15+ years. She finally came to a home Bible study I was leading, and she was clinging to any promise of God about forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life. Unfortunately six months later her ex-boyfriend drug kingpin had her murdered.

When I move to a new congregation I try to locate community services that will help. Unfortunately we currently live in an area in which the closest help is at least 50 miles away. The average age of meth addicts in our communities? Between 40-60.

As a parent of one who has been battling drug addiction for 31 years, I have a little experience in living in that reality as well. For 18 years we had heard nothing from him, but expected every phone call to be "the one." It was a lonely journey during these 31 years, but we were blessed by a few lay people who prayed with and for us no matter the circumstances. They were a true blessing in the darkest days.

So perhaps the request for help can be extended so that their will be pastoral/congregational care for family members as well. Just a thought.

Blessings on your ministry, Michael.

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Your Turn / Re: September 11 - redux
« on: September 09, 2016, 03:06:49 PM »
Open laptop; shut laptop - several times, yet still feel compelled to write.  I simply loathe making 9/11 into a political football.

Can we just, once, not politicize a tragic event in the history of our country.  Yes, perhaps this country has things to confess and yet that sounds a bit sanctimonious.  What is "this country?"  It's the people.  We all have sin to confess.  As does every person of every country in the world.  What was done on that day needs to be confessed before God. We cannot take the blame for demented men who would hijack a plane and fly into a building. 

It is healthy to look at what we've done around the world where consequences were not what we'd hoped for - as can be seen on another thread concerning Putin/Russia/the former Soviet states. That we also do much good is probably for another thread.   But on this day - this time of year - when we are carried back to the day of these tragic attacks can we simply remember those who went to work, or to school, or rushed in to save others only to lose their life and leave it there, saving the politicization of 9/11 for another time and place. 

My job in the days and months following was to tell stories.  I met with members of our synod who suffered loss and told their stories in synod publications.  One of those stories was about Erika and her infant daughter and toddler son.  Erika called me six months after the date at 6 a.m. and said, "They found a piece of Michael's bone, we're going to have a funeral."  Another story was of Dan Nigro, elevated to Chief of Department on the spot when Chief Peter Ganci was killed.  Dan, a member of one of our MNYS congregations, had at least one funeral to attend every day between December and April.   He was at these funerals in an official role and often spoke.  I'm sure there are pastors on this Forum who have presided over 300 funerals in their ministry - but think about doing that every day for five months.  There were still funerals after April, simply not every day.

Can one imagine what it was like to work in a trading room on 9/11?  I was buying cash and my turret went down when immediately there came the clanging of a news story - plane flew into World Trade Center.  Each year after that day, traders observed the moments of silence.  Can one imagine what it is like in a trading room where shouting is normal to have complete silence - no phones - people crying over lost colleagues? 

Can you imagine what it is like to be a chaplain who gave care and counsel to firefighters and police? Can one imagine a chaplain called up to duty once we went to war and cared for soldiers returning?  One of our MNYS pastors was called up and did just that, being with returning soldiers,men and women trying to find their way back into their families, the jobs. 

Today will be spent with a friend whose so died.  They never found him.  It took months before she would even consider a memorial.  It doesn't get easier for her. 

I probably could go on, but won't.  Except to say, please - let us have a time to remember.  As I'm writing this, I just received an email from a former colleague.  All she wrote was, "Ei, always think of you...why doesn't it get any easier."

 
Eileen, I seldom comment on here. But your post is one of the best ever. Thank you for this perspective, for all who have worked unseen and unnoticed in the trenches. Blessings to you, Dave Benke, Steve Unger, and many others who were there, cared, and still live with it.

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Your Turn / Re: Frivolous thread: Guitars
« on: July 08, 2016, 12:07:08 PM »
Here are a couple good pickers, one flattop picking, the other finger style

Wayne Henderson and Kruger Brothers

Wayne Henderson built his guitar and also for many top names in the guitar world.

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Your Turn / Re: Who Has A Relative Who Served In Military Combat?
« on: June 02, 2016, 10:30:21 PM »
My grandfather fought in WWI, my father was Army Air Corps in WWI, on Saipan. My uncle was a Marine and fought in Tarawa, Tinian, etc. One Japanese prisoner escaped and was coming into his tent while he was sleeping; he had found a large butcher knife. Another Marine came in as the knife was coming down and stopped the guy. Even in the 1960s my uncle could not handle someone who pulled a knife out of a kitchen drawer. My father-in-law fought in New Guinea, Philippines. He was also scheduled to be in the first wave into Japan. He did arrive just 2-3 days after the second bomb was dropped. Our neighbor (his daughter dated my younger brother) was a survivor of the Bataan Death March.

I served 9½ years in Navy, but not combat. Our son served in Army and was involved in Blackhawk Down, as well as some other, less publicized action. Now his son is in the Air Force.

Most of them never talked about what happened, not even our son.

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Your Turn / Re: Kenneth Bailey died
« on: May 25, 2016, 02:13:45 AM »
Yes, indeed. It was published in my second year at Sem, and was one of my first books. Still use it and refer to it.

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Your Turn / Kenneth Bailey died
« on: May 24, 2016, 10:04:14 PM »
https://shenango.org/bailey/

He was a doctoral student at CSL. I read several of his books and articles. Excellent work. God's comfort to his family.

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Your Turn / Re: Theological education crisis...
« on: May 21, 2016, 12:33:15 PM »

I do indeed remember, Rich. Have not forgotten and have been interested in your progress. I am 5 credits from having my MDiv through ILT. If Jesus doesn't return first and barring unforeseen circumstances I should finish before Christmas.

It wouldn't hurt to reconnect again about our mutual programs....and challenges.

Lou
I would like to do that. Right now I am tied up with our convention and major rescheduling for the next year’s courses. So maybe we can at least chat online sometime after mid July.

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Your Turn / Re: Theological education crisis...
« on: May 21, 2016, 11:57:31 AM »
ILT is experiencing many of the same kinds of things.


Lou
Lou, not sure if you remember me. We met about six years ago at a Retreat near Alexandria, MN. We talked already at that time about the issues, ILT faced, and we were beginning to face. Much has changed in the last few years.

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Your Turn / Re: Theological education crisis...
« on: May 20, 2016, 11:33:05 PM »

Now this is often how this type of change actually works in the corporate world.  Someone else smaller has started almost exactly what my thought experiment is.  And it is succeeding.  But my guess is that the AALC will run out of congregations for placement.  Like when the smaller company needs capital to expand its production.  A large firm would often come in at this point and acquire the company, replacing their internal failing model with the winning model.  Sometimes that smaller company had even been seeded at the start with talent from the larger firm because they know it would be strangled in the cradle inside the company, but it needed to be done.  If this works, watch the requests for colloquy into the LCMS from this program.  Or watch congregations move synods towards the model that can supply educated ministers for a realistic cost basis. 

Ask the next thought experiment.  Would an LCMS congregation and potential minister prefer the SMP answer, which is still awkward and costs more and doesn't give a real career path, or a roll of the dice on the AALC program and a colloquy?

You can weep and moan all you want about online ed.  And churches are not corporations.  But they are not immune from supply/demand cost/benefit.  Unless the M.Div. degree gets its cost under $20K total to the student, you can't really afford it.  I have to laugh at the idea of looking to the African seminaries to send people.  Not at their people which would be good, but that is just another way around the basic problem.  We are too busy building Rube Goldberg machines to protect legacy program revenue streams and desires to build the programs that meet the actual need.  So because we won't do that, we'll take the Africans who aren't encumbered by the legacy costs.

MBA tip.  If you find yourself building crazy programs to protect legacy methods, cannibalize yourself before someone else does it to you after much angst.  Maybe that is a dramatically simplified residential program.  But call me skeptical because I think that still puts extremely high hurdles and destroys too much value of the students embedded in home congregations and places of employment.
Indeed, Mark, that is why we also are encouraging our pastors to think outside the box, i.e. to plant new churches. Several of our classes provide a base for such new areas, and taught by professors/pastors who have done exactly that. One of our key elements is an ongoing mentoring program once the student graduates. Regarding other countries, it is interesting that inquiries have come from Uganda, Ghana, Norway, Great Britain, and Japan. So it doesn't seem to be all one way in interest.

Again, we have much to learn, think through, and change/adapt. But we want to form pastors for current and future work, wherever God opens doors. My only regret is that I wish I were 45 teaching the young men, rather than 67. My desire is to see this expand and grow, not for its own sake but for the Kingdom of God. But my body isn't quite the same as it was two decades ago. Hence, I think like I'm 45, but work at the pace of an old codger. How wonderful to even be a part of this.

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Your Turn / Re: Theological education crisis...
« on: May 20, 2016, 08:53:13 PM »
In The AALC, we faced the huge debts of seminary education, but from the perspective of a very small church body. We still send a few to CFWTS and CSL. By 2010, we couldn’t continue the old model. I was tasked with others to develop an online seminary (live video, everyone sees and hears everyone else). We have one man who has been teaching Greek and Latin for 20+ years. We now have six professors who usually teach one class per qtr (Four of them have doctorates, one with an STM, and one who is working on doctorate.)

We have 28 courses (exegetical, systematics, historical, and practical) plus the Greek requirement. Had there been an online option at the time I would have included that as a requirement as well. The cost is $400 per course per Qtr, which is still an investment for the student, but not overwhelming. Our congregations have been committed to make up the other costs with running the seminary (mostly the video costs and annual gathering). We have students all over the country, and we connect them with a local congregation (if possible).

The biggest challenge was getting used to live video. But now those who have been in classes for 2-3 quarters find that the fellowship is real and helpful to them.

We started with one student in 2010. Now we have 20+ with more joining in the fall; anticipate 50 students by 2018-2019. We even have international interest in our seminary. Several of our graduates are serving our congregations. Without the online seminary, our church body would die in 10 years.

Do we have all the answers? Absolutely not. We are still looking at various aspects of it. We are working to provide a theologically solid seminary education. It is different than residential education, but not wrong.

Rich Shields
President, American Lutheran Theological Seminary
The American Association of Lutheran Churches

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Your Turn / Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« on: December 20, 2015, 09:45:51 PM »
Some folks from Luther Seminary have created a four-year "Narrative Lectionary".


https://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_faqs.aspx

I visited the website and watched the video.  It was an interesting perspective.  Perhaps I am not understanding it properly, but it sounded rather confusing to me.  Is he advocating dropping the Gospel reading entirely? Surely I must be misunderstanding him if that is the case. I can see the importance of Old Testament readings.  He makes a good case for those.  But I cannot endorse dropping the Gospel readings or shortening them.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding him?
We switched to the Narrative Lectionary series 3½ years ago. It has worked well for us. At the time we only had one lesson for each Sunday. I set about adding to that so that every week we had Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel. Then another pastor worked with me to write the Prayers of the Day for all Sundays that matched with those readings. We have now completed all but the last quarter of the 4th year. It was a lot of work, but the dividend was worth it.

I was invited to write a summary of this for the Concordia Pulpit Resources that was just published this fall.

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Your Turn / Re: Frivolous thread: Guitars
« on: December 05, 2015, 12:29:31 PM »
I was saddend to learn that one of the two men who taught me to play guitar died recently. He was 89 years old. Lifelong friend and a great encouragement for me from 1962-1971 (when I graduated from college). He was a Christian friend as well. He is the man on the right side of this photo taken in 1946.

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Your Turn / Re: Why is the forum broken?
« on: October 26, 2015, 06:06:54 PM »
Still unable to see the forum correctly, only text lines, not easy to navigate or see. And still have to log in every time.

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