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Messages - Keith Falk

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Your Turn / Re: David W. Preus
« on: August 04, 2021, 09:32:52 AM »
I have often wondered how the ELCA's trajectory might have been different had Bp. Preus been chosen as its first presiding bishop rather than Herb Chilstrom. I was a delegate to the constituting convention, and I later regretted that on the final ballot, I voted for Chilstrom rather than Preus.

I have wondered the same thing about both that election and about the election of Mark Hanson over Don McCoid.  (On the penultimate ballot, Jim Nestingen finished third and thus was eliminated.  The majority of his voters supported Hanson over McCoid on the final ballot.  I suspect that most of those Nestingen-Hanson voters came to regret their decision.  But Hanson, like Nestingen, was a Minnesotan.  And McCoid, from a far-off place where many Lutherans had never heard of lutefisk, may have looked a bit too enamored of high-church practice to Norwegian Lutherans suspicious of clerical (and especially episcopal) authority.)

On the other hand, the cultural forces that ultimately overwhelmed the ELCA were strongly embedded in the church's institutions.  We'll never know whether different leadership at the top could have moderated those forces.  Taking into account the the experiences in other so-called mainstream protestant bodies, I have my doubts.

Another historical "What if...?": What if Kent Knutson hadn't died so young?

Your Turn / Re: Book of Revelation
« on: July 10, 2021, 06:30:59 PM »
Revelation and the End of All Things by Craig Koester is an absolutely amazing resource. I used it in teaching Revelation in the congregation. Given how much rot is out there, it is helpful (written by a Lutheran) and also makes some great connections to hymns and the liturgy.

Your Turn / Re: Sermongate
« on: July 07, 2021, 09:20:33 AM »
And it isn't difficult to give credit...

"As i was doing sermon prep this week, I came upon these words from John Doe, who said things much more beautifully/clearly/eloquently than I. Doe wrote, '....'"

Your Turn / Re: Transgendered
« on: May 12, 2021, 11:37:41 AM »
Pastor Falk, some children are born with heart defects or other abnormalities of their body. We fix those as soon as the child can bear the surgery. Quite a lot of people are not "made" or "born" perfectly.
We don't say to the parents of a child with congenital heart valve dangers "Well, God made her that way, so we will leave it alone."


Your Turn / Re: Transgendered
« on: May 12, 2021, 11:22:14 AM »
I have contended for quite some time that - from a theological perspective - the "T" ought to be separate from LGBT.

Persons who are LGB tend to argue that they are how God made them to be, and thus should be celebrated/affirmed.

The starting point for T is that I am NOT the way I am supposed to be; there has been a misfire somewhere/how. In other words - an understanding of the brokenness of creation. At issue, then, is how do we best love/help/aid our neighbor.. but perhaps the starting point can lead to productive conversations.

Your Turn / Re: Seminary Education
« on: March 17, 2021, 11:30:50 AM »
Thanks Jim.  I didn't even know there was a Martin Luther University College.  Not that you would know, but is that a college or a seminary or a college with a divinity school?  I suppose if this list of seminary enrollment came from the ATS, then MLUC is a seminary. 

I, too, was surprised at the size of some of the ELCA schools.  The one I know best, which is hardly at all, is Trinity in Columbus OH, because I served in that city for five years and it was the closest Lutheran seminary to me.  I'd visit the bookstore a couple times a year, attended a concert there once.  Went to a Capital Univ. football game to see a church member play.  The thing that surprised me the most was that at some point between 2000-2005, the majority of faculty members were non-Lutheran.  I was so naive that I couldn't wrap my mind around that. 


I was at Trinity from 2002-2006. I am going off of memory, which probably isn't wise, but I think the majority were Lutheran.  Of those I remember:
NT - Lutheran - Taylor and Powell; Croy - I forget... maybe Methodist?
OT - Lutheran - Hutton and Nakamura; Shields - Presbyterian (I think)
Worship - Lutheran - W Huffman, then Keljo for a bit, then Schroeder some
Preaching - Lutheran - Langknecht
Theology - Lutheran - Luck, Root, T Huffman, C Peterson
Education - Lutheran - Hughes; can't remember the other main prof, she was Presbyterian, I think

I know there were other professors, some full-time, part-time, adjuncts, etc... but for a list by memory, I think most full-time faculty were Lutheran.

Your Turn / Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« on: January 10, 2021, 11:31:23 AM »
When Matt was first elected, the Main Nag was vetting the voters and counting the votes of the delegates ahead of the election. He told me the count was very close. That is how organized the effort was---down to the delegate for the presidential election. The networking is obviously very extensive, adding weight to their influence.
Who is the main nag?

If anonymity - per, evidently, conversations by the ALPB board and/or advisors - is no longer permitted on this forum, then that should go for references to the Main Nag (and still waiting for an apology, anything, ANYTHING about that article in Lutheran Forum and gan anim)

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: January 08, 2021, 04:53:14 PM »
The word from our top executive here is that we may know within a week when Minnesota moves to phase 1B. In phase 1B, those 75 and older with underlying conditions get vaccinated, then all those 75 and older. That would mean that all of us here in independent living at Trillium Woods would qualify for the vaccine. Beloved spouse and I qualify for the early crowd because we both have those sp-o-o-ky “underlying conditions.”

I'm in 1C - even though as a hospice worker for a company, we move in and out of various facilities (such as your own) on any given day. I really don't understand how/why MN is doing things so differently (or at least, it seems to be so) from other states.

Your Turn / Re: Civil unrest and Christian witness
« on: January 07, 2021, 08:48:17 PM »
Does moderator Peter Speckhard have authority to limit or remove Charles Austin's posts?

I regard Pr. Speckhard's posts as an expression of his political views.. In not a few instances they do not reflect mine.  The same is true for some of his theological posts. 

In many instances I agree with Charles.  At other times I have a slightly different take.  For the most part I think he represents the give and take which ALPB Founders intended for conversation among fellow Lutherans.

Marie Meyer

If Peter doesn't have the authority to limit or remove Charles Austin's posts (or any poster's posts!) then there is absolutely no point in having a moderator. 

Your Turn / Re: Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds
« on: January 01, 2021, 12:52:50 PM »
Is divorce "sinful and wrong"?  The way you phrase the question leaves open the possible answer of "no."  Yet a careful look at the gospels will show that our Lord did not approve of all divorce.  In fact, the right to a divorce, as he said, was because of our "hardness of heart."

Hardness of heart doesn't give one the right to a divorce; but it can make divorce necessary. Thus, Jesus indicates, that's why Moses gave a law allowing for divorce.

Is "pre-marital sex sinful and wrong." Again, the way you phrase the question leaves open the possible answer of "no." Yet is sex apart from marriage in accordance with the will of God? Our culture says that any sex, in or out of marriage, is good, as long as no one is hurt and it is consensual.  But that's not what I have come to understand from God's Word.  Nevertheless, many part of Christendom have gone with the culture's answer.

I'm afraid that we have let culture define what's in the Bible. The modern concept of marriage is foreign to the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Mary E. Shields (Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH) begins her article on "marriage" in the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible with:

The OT has very little to say about marriage as an institution. In fact, there is no word for marriage, nor are there separate words for husband and wife. The term usually used of the act of marriage is “to take” (laqakh le- לַקַח לְ–); normally a father takes a spouse for his daughter or son, or a man takes a wife for himself. The terms man (‘ish אִישׁ) and woman (‘ishahאִשָּׁה ) are used for husband and wife, respectively. The term bacal (בַּעַל), meaning “lord” or “master,” is sometimes used to describe the husband.

לָקַח carries the sense of "take possession of".

Men frequently had sex with women who were not their wives, i.e., slaves and concubines. There was no prohibition against that. If a man had sex (or even raped) a woman who was not a wife (or slave or concubine of a man) or engaged to a man (i.e., not another man's property,) it was not the crime of adultery.

I plan to do some more research, but I don't believe that the OT forbade sex with prostitutes; and where it does, it's connected with idolatry (pagan temple prostitutes) rather than morality. Jacob is not criticized for having sex with a woman he thought was a prostitute (Genesis 38). Rahab, a prostitute, becomes a model of doing what is right (Joshua 2, 6). Samson has sex with a prostitute with no divine repercussions (Judges 16).

Dr. Shields hasn't taught at Trinity in 12 years or so.  I don't know that you want to use Dr. Shields as your source in these parts... you can read more about her here

Your Turn / Re: Important announcement
« on: December 24, 2020, 07:21:55 PM »
I am sorry that we will miss the postings of people like SomeoneWrites.

I look forward to more rigorous moderating; perhaps the Board should enlist another person or two to help with the task.

And something for us to keep in mind (a point Pastor Butler has raised) - it isn't our sandbox. We don't set the rules. While I know I disagree with the change on anonymous posters (the last... 15? 16? 17? years of lurking then posting on ALPB has shown me that long-term, named/known posters have consistently behaved worse than anonymous ones), it isn't my call to make. These aren't my rules to enforce. I'm just along for the ride, and will adjust as needed.

Your Turn / Original Sin (Western) and Ancestral Sin (Eastern)
« on: December 21, 2020, 05:04:44 PM »
A philosophy professor friend of mine is working on his next manuscript, and is seeking some insight into the differences and similarities of Original Sin and Ancestral Sin.  Those are the categories he is currently working with, at any rate.  What are some insights you have?  And, just as importantly, what primary sources would you suggest he read?

Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 20, 2020, 11:46:18 AM »
What I say about the recent process of choosing the next president is, "We had an election." 

Maybe we did. Let's get rid of mass mail-in ballots next time.

Let's not have a worldwide pandemic next time.  ::)

Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 18, 2020, 07:28:01 PM »
Here are my questions at this stage of the game.
Why now, do some (and probably a lot) continue to press the "rigged election" case?
What is it about a Biden presidency that people find so terrible? Be specific.
Why does the coming administration strike terror into the hearts of the always-Trump crowd?
And what has the incumbent president really done for his "followers"? Are they better off financially? Are their social issues being resolved the the ways they wanted them resolved? What "American greatness" is better now after four years?
Are they satisfied that he pokes a stick into the eyes of people they don't like: the media, liberals, "socialists," Black Lives Matter activists, etc.?
I get the satisfaction with court appointees. But what else he done for his followers?
And why are they so active against a Biden administration, active enough to swallow oddball conspiracy theories and to pursue extraordinary (and illegal) means of overturning the Nov. 3 results?

What else has he done for his followers? Invoking and quoting James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid". Unemployment down, poverty reduced, Dow Jones up (so retirement accounts get the boost). Whether or not President Trump should get the credit, of course is up for debate - I tend to think the President is a lot like the head coach, who gets too much credit/blame for both wins/ups and losses/downs. But the reality is that the person on top gets the credit or blame.  Prior to the pandemic, the numbers were all good and improving - not to the degree President Trump claimed, but objectively better. A good economy will make re-election possible and a poor economy sinks it.

IMO - if COVID hadn't hit, President Trump would've been re-elected. If he had focused on the economy prior to COVID and how things seemed to be recovering prior to the election, and hit that point hard, over and over again, I think he might've been re-elected.

Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 06, 2020, 11:09:01 PM »
I don't think there was widespread fraud that would affect the outcome of presidential election. I think it is wise to do a post-game analysis of mail in voting - what can that hurt? I think the Trump has a right to exhaust any legal means to challenge the election; I don't think it is wise or good for the country, but I do think they have a right to do so.

I also will not think less of Republican officials who keep silent now.  Imagine if the church council belittled and went against the council president at every turn. How does that help anything?  Or, perhaps, a better analogy is a team sport - even if the team captain is doing unwise things, rather than air the team dirty laundry publicly, for the sake of the team, you go to the captain directly.  Other examples abound.

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