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Messages - Dave Benke

#1
Here is the petition in full:
In times of doubts and questionings, when our belief is perplexed by new learning, new thought, when our faith is strained by creeds, by doctrines, by mysteries beyond our understanding, give us the faithfulness of learners and the courage of believers in Thee; alike from stubborn rejection of new revelations, and from hasty assurance that we are wiser than our fathers,
Save us and help us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord.

While I recognize that it may be hard to think of creeds and doctrines as things that strain our faith, especially as one who grew up imbibing ideas like doctrine is life, I appreciate the point the litany and Thiselton together make, namely, that the issue might be us, not them. It is a recognition that we may be the ones hastily accepting or rejecting something, and because it might be an issue with us, we are forced to go back and review, rethink, reprocess, even and especially settled questions. For me, this speaks to how I understand my own confessional subscription. A quia confession is a vulnerable one, not because the confessions contain untruth, but because by confessing them as my own I am putting myself out there along with them, I am not just saying, here I stand, as much as I am saying, I stand, or fall, here. To stand within and beside a theological tradition does not extract us from going back and deepening or reshaping our theological commitments, even if those commitments don't change, they change us and the way we hold them. For me, work of that sort did not just affirm within me my own theological confession, it reminded me that others don't think like I do, and it forced me to ask something I should ask regularly, whether or not the issue of our fracture lies not within them, but within me. To borrow from Franzmann yet again, I think what this work did was force me to begin at home. I'm happy to chat more if that doesn't make sense.


Let me pick up this section of a response to John Hannah, Matthew.  Christian Century has re-branded itself in the last several years under the heading "Thoughtful, Independent, Progressive."  The ALPB is two of those three, being in aspiration and mission thoughtful and independent. 

A book review in the most recent issue caught my attention because of the author's commitment to explaining theology in a way that describes systematics beyond the propositional norm.  The book, by Kevin Hector, is entitled Christianity as a Way of Life. 

I am steeped in the propositional.  Through the years, I've seen the pitfalls of that thought-mode in daily pastoral ministry.  There "Christianity as a way of life" is the moving active paradigm for engagement. 

I've not forgotten the warning of a Latino LCMS pastor who left Lutheranism along the way.  His claim was that he was trained not to be a shepherd to and with the flock, but as a theological technocrat who could provide answers to any theological question on a point by point basis, whether or not the questions were being asked. 

The high point for me in propositional thinking and enterprise was a book I wrote for CPH in the early 1990s.  The assignment was to write for an "average Joe" on the topic of justification, without using technical theological language.  OK.  So my decision was specifically NOT to read the Lutheran systematicians but instead inductively to read the New Testament and design the chapters of the book to fit the themes in a structured process of investigation and determination with plenty of life examples, and so to elucidate justification.  When I finished, I went to Pieper's dogmatics to check on my alignment, having already written the book chapter by chapter.

To my amazement, the alignment and ordering of the chapters, and the topics contained in them, was exactly to the number and order the content of Pieper's dogmatics.  That absolutely blew me away.  The ordering of theology is, or was in that case, inherent in the norma normans.  As should be expected. All of which is great for the propositional systematic approach. 

In life, however, it is Hector's approach, more holistic and integrated into what is encountered daily by the folks I've been with for forty or more years, that makes up my daily pastoral walk.  There's a lot less proposing and a lot more listening that makes the pastoral vocation so rewarding for me at this age.  Because at the heart of it all is the great mystery of grace incarnate in God's Son and in the communion of saints through the forgiveness of sin and the bond of fellowship.  Which is always unfolding in new and bright unexpected ways.

Dave Benke

#2
Quote from: SomeoneWrites on Yesterday at 01:28:41 PMThis is one of the more interesting topics for me. 

First - my profs always just went
- Man is saved by God's determination
- Man is damned by man's determination
I don't remember any pastor saying much beyond that.
  with a notable exception,
the predestination controversy. 
https://www.lutheranlibrary.org/239-schodde-the-error-of-modern-missouri/
PLEASE NOTE, I just posted the first link I found in google.  I have no idea what position it takes.  I have no idea how accurate the link I posted is. 
What's funny  is, as interesting as I find predestination, I wasn't so much into that.  More about "why some and not others," how it works with monergism, 1 Tim 2:4 (God who desires all to be saved), and the 3rd article. 

It's also interesting (to me anyway) to reflect on Romans and how I heard it as a believer and as a non-believer.  Different denominations each give their own answer. 

My read is a bit more Calvinist+ if I'm assuming an omnipotent God.  God would be responsible for all of it.  Salvation, Damnation, etc.  Nothing can happen without God's permission.  The "if God can do x" plays a lot into my thoughts. 

Thanks for reading.

H. A. Allwardt.  I like that Walther is not named, just initialed - Dr. W.  Oddly enough, there were tons of politics back then, from what Allwardt writes.  The old Pfeifenraucher was on his political game.

A classmate of mine is an Allwardt from Michigan.  The family must have patched things up with the Waltherians somewhere along the way.

That was an interesting read, and gets well into the weeds of election/faith/Calvin-Pelagius and all of it. 

My own heart resonates to objective reconciliation as the starting point; "He died for all."  Reconciliation for the entire created order has been accomplished.  Thank you Jesus. Thank you Father.  Thank you Holy Spirit.  Thank you Three in One.

Along with John M., to initialize, I have a hard time "justifying" a fault line with twelve hundred year Muslim families who have somehow failed in their faith walk to get to Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Above my pay grade.

Dave Benke
#3
Quote from: Dan Fienen on Yesterday at 10:19:11 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on Yesterday at 09:42:27 AMDavid Brooks today on the topic of the thread: 
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/18/opinion/transgender-care-cass-report.html?login=smartlock&auth=login-smartlock

Dave Benke
He's going to get push back. I note that this was published in the NY Times, not noted for being knee jerk reactionary conservative. It is this kind of cautious evidence based examination that is needed, not blanket acceptance or rejection.





Agreed. 

A phrase jumped out at me - "epistemic humility." 

For New Yorkers, that's really tough to take in.  The brand new NY Mets Connect Jersey ads just popped with the epistemic thematic - If You Know New York, You Know.   https://www.mlb.com/mets/fans/city-connect?partnerId=zh-20240419-1240993-NYM-1-B&qid=28&utm_id=zh-20240419-1240993-NYM-1-B&bt_ee=KSPsskm%2BVYWd7ajl6JpjCWDB8lpLmiGeNGVhpQIAeoI%3D&bt_ts=1713535637089.
I'm getting the hat.  The train in view is the 7, only seen in this video in Queens headed to the Willets Point/Mets stop.

Dave Benke
#4
Your Turn / Re: Who are the Other Sheep?
Yesterday at 10:29:10 AM
Quote from: Weedon on Yesterday at 09:59:26 AMI'd say: "the natural knowledge of God is not salvific, absent Jesus, but it's valuable to understand the appreciation of the numinous running through our common human veins and humours." I mean, we do unreservedly confess: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things, it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith, Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." I don't like that anymore than the rest of you, I suspect, but it is the Christian faith.

We have an obligation to the exclusive claims of our faith.  They are exclusive faith claims. 
We have an obligation because of the exclusive claim God has made in loving the cosmos, which we believe, to be as expansive as possible in our articulation of those claims, "buttoning on" wherever possible to the claims of others to bring to light the love of God.  The depth of the Law's condemnations is never stronger than the victory of Divine love in Christ, or our faith would be in vain.

Dave Benke
#5
Your Turn / Re: Who are the Other Sheep?
Yesterday at 09:54:25 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on Yesterday at 06:35:26 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on Yesterday at 12:28:59 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 18, 2024, 10:10:47 PM
Quote from: John Mundinger on April 18, 2024, 06:00:15 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 18, 2024, 05:31:06 PMIsn't the point Everyone?  If the Third Race/Way set up between and beyond Jew and Gentile is Christianity and Jesus states clearly in John that God so loved the Cosmos, then the Shepherd is Designed Goodness for Us, Everyone, Cosmic Us, whether the Samaritan woman, the Syro-Phoenician, the Jailer at Philippi, or the 5-6 billion folks inhabiting the planet right now who would not know or have heard the Good Voice of the Shepherd, not so?

The message from the Messenger Shepherd is about Life, and that abundantly.

Dave Benke

I agree and that is the part that makes me wonder.  I believe that God loves all persons without distinction.  That would include all who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel from those whom our Lord commissioned to proclaim the Gospel.  Are those the sheep who are "not of this fold"?  Are they folks who have heard Jesus' voice directly because there was not way to hear Jesus' voice indirectly through the voices of those who bear witness to Jesus?



As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction/horror, which included intriguing posits of other worlds or ours in a different light.  In one an explorer exits his craft on a far-off planet, and instead of anyone meeting him, there's nobody there.  He walks into a village, asks what's happening that's so important, and the response is "there is a man who speaks with such authority and power and does such wondrous things that everyone in this part of the world follows him wherever he goes."  Of course, it's Jesus, come to save another world in the cosmos.

In the other one, monks in a monastery with updated systems are in a highly excited mode, and finally a monk bursts into the central cell and exclaims - "It has happened.  The Gospel has been spoken in every language and tongue that exists.  The end is here."  And it is.

These of course are thought exercises, seeking to unpack the deeper mysteries of the scope and scale of cosmic Divine love.  In the end, none of them can capture it - the depth of the riches of the Wisdom.

Dave Benke
In 1953 science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke published a short story "The Nine Billion Names of God." In it three hundred years ago a lamesary of Tibetan monks determined the there were about 9 billion names of God as written in a special alphabet that they devised. The world was created for the purpose of writing all these names out, and when they finished, in about15,000 years, the world would end. In the current day, they decided to apply modern computer technology to the task bought a computer (this was the 1950s remember) and had a special printer for their alphabet Co strutted and hired two western technicians to set it up. They figured it would take about100 days to finish. As the task neared completion, the technicians decided to leave early, fearful of what the monks might do if, upon completion, the world didn't end. As they were headed out, about the time they figured that the last page was being printed and pasted in their holy book, the men were looking up into the night sky and saw the stars quietly going out.

I knew a woman - a member of our congregation and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe - who was comfortable with a Lutheran understanding of Christianity and also comfortable with the Little Shell culture and ceremony.  She explained to me that it was two different ways of being in relationship with the same Creator.

I once, in a professional capacity, attended a meeting of the Inter Tribal Bison Council.  The meeting started with "prayer" - a presentation by an elder from the Blackfeet Tribe.  As he spoke, I listened.  Obviously, the "trappings" were very different.  But, I heard the man speaking about a relationship with the Creator that was not all that different from the relationship that I understand that I have with God every time I confess the Creed.

I wonder.

God has revealed Godself to me through the Christian Scriptures as the Good Shepherd - the God whose primary attribute is love.  I am not able to conclude that a loving God would dismiss as unbelievers peoples who live for several millennia without a written language, much less access to the Christian Scriptures.

Interesting observations, John.  I imagine you caught the Ken Burns PBS film The American Buffalo:  https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-american-buffalo

I get notifications from a group that allows downloads of academic publications.  Recently this one popped up (can't figure out how to do the link, so copied in full):

ACADEMIA Letters
Worship of the German Forest: An Historical Overview
Richard Hacken, Brigham Young University
For millennia, the German forest has been much more than a botanical phenomenon. In a 1983
interview, then-Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl says: "Mythology, Germans and the forest
– they all belong together."1 From the beginnings, the germination of the German Nation
involves the imagination of a people that mythologized, symbolized, anthropomorphized or
otherwise imagined their forest. Certainly, some of the thematic elements of the German
forest are also found in other cultures, or even universally. But this study directs attention to
those aspects of the "sacred forest" that seem typically German.
Woodlands provide potent and vivid symbols of life, death, regeneration, social process
and collective identity. Why has there been such a German preoccupation with its woods, even
to the point of worship? A portion of the answer lies in the Germanic victory over the Roman
army of occupation at the battle of the Teutoburger Wald (Teutoburg Forest, in present-day
North Rhine-Westphalia) in the year 9, C.E. It is a major turning point in history, as Rome
transforms, in the words of one historian, "from an empire to a limited liability company."2 It
leaves a major cultural (not to mention linguistic) divide between northern, Germanic Europe
and the Romanized south that would continue to appear throughout European history. The
victory also gives the woodland warriors, having overcome the greatest military power on
earth, a symbol of invincibility in the forest.
The sustenance of Germanic tribes focuses on their sacred common forests. In the melodramatic
but indicative words of one writer: "Then came a time of fulfillment when man
understood it was time to pray when the treetops rustled in the wind. That was the hour when
the German soul was born."3 The nobility of German man, he suggests, is rooted in the forest.
Those with reverence for trees among the Germanic tribes equate man with plant. Early
medicinal practices hold that a tree could remove or call back diseases; a specific living tree,
spiritually conjoined with a person, could serve as a Doppelgänger to share, forecast, or even
Academia Letters, January 2022
Corresponding Author: Richard Hacken, hacken@byu.edu
Citation: Hacken, R. (2022). Worship of the German Forest: An Historical Overview. Academia Letters,
Article 4643. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4643.
1
©2022 by the author — Open Access — Distributed under CC BY 4.0
determine that person's fate. Geographic differences (between Hessen, Baden, and other regions)
develop in the forms and functions of forest spirits and wood sprites. Some are imagined
to be anthropomorphic vegetation demons, such as the Rain Girl, the Wild Leaf Man, or
one of many May Tree totems, later attached to the May Pole as guarantors of tree-like health
and vitality. Hansel and Gretel, centuries before the Brothers Grimm, make mythological
appearances as stuffed effigies atop the May Tree.4
Another early tree custom that continues to this day is the German Richtfest or "Topping
Out" ceremony of placing a tree on the top beam of a newly completed housing structure.
What the buffalo hunt is to Native Americans, tree cutting is to early Germanic tribes; the
unused topmost part of the tree would be prayerfully attached atop the new shelter so the tree
spirit would not be homeless. German immigrants to North America bring the custom with
them, and now, ironically, it is mostly ironworkers who perform the "topping out" ritual on
iron and glass skyscrapers. A bloodier ritual is the practice of human sacrifice within the
limbs of trees, possibly patterned after the Teutonic god Wotan and designed to bring about
rebirth and sustenance.
Incipient forms of Christian worship in the first millennium are heavily dependent on
"heathen" remnants of tree symbolism. Even today, certain totemic elements found in or on
wooden crucifixes, wayside shrines, forest chapels and pilgrimage churches from Bavaria to
the Rhineland may indicate a relationship to earlier tree worship.5 Early Christian missionaries
are able to refer to German tree devotion during conversion: the Tree of Knowledge and the
Tree of Life are seen as central features in the Garden of Eden; Christ compares a just man to
a fruitful tree (Matthew 7:17) and curses an unfruitful tree (Matthew 3:10). It resonates in the
conversion process that Jesus had been a carpenter. Perhaps of top relevance for Germanic
converts is the crucifixion, the most important sacrifice on a tree in human history, and it
involves regeneration. Wooden splinters from the cross become sacred relics.
Efforts are made to "root out" heathen beliefs, literally. In the year 723 St. Boniface, the
so-called "Apostle of the Germans," fells the sacred Oak tree dedicated to Thor in Northern
Hessen.6 The people convert to Christianity when Thor fails to intervene, and Boniface uses
the wood to construct a chapel. After felling a second sacred Oak at Geismar, Boniface points
to a fir tree at its roots and compares the latter to Christ – humble, overcoming seasonal death,
and pointing toward heaven. This is one plausible origin for the Christmas Tannenbaum tradition.
The religious impulse carries over into early German literature. The medieval duality
between traits of the forest and demands of the court is found in the Arthurian epic of Parsifal,
written in Middle High German by Wolfram von Eschenbach (whose family name includes
the word for ash trees). The epic is later set to opera by Richard Wagner. Parsifal, raised
Academia Letters, January 2022
Corresponding Author: Richard Hacken, hacken@byu.edu
Citation: Hacken, R. (2022). Worship of the German Forest: An Historical Overview. Academia Letters,
Article 4643. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4643.
2
©2022 by the author — Open Access — Distributed under CC BY 4.0
by his mother in a secluded forest to keep him ignorant of the ways of chivalry that had led
to his father's death, leaves the forest in fool's clothing. Nonetheless, his innate qualities
of compassion and spirituality guide him through a long series of adventures and seeming
coincidences that lead to his recognition as the new king of the Grail. Magical guidance over
the life and development of a young Parsifal become the type of enchantment that would later
appear in fairy tales.7
The Northern Renaissance forges strong parallels between the German people, scattered
as they are, and their forest. Eight centuries after St. Boniface, Luther is said to have added
candles to the fir tree at Christmas time, reminiscent of stars shining through the tree by night.
Then the Tannenbaum makes its way into other countries, where neither Boniface nor Luther
presumably could have imagined that the Christmas tree would ever be constructed of plastic
or lit with electricity.
In art it becomes natural that woodcuts and wood carvings should be prime media used to
portray the sacred. Albrecht Dürer, considered the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance,
makes a series of woodcuts of the "Holy Family" that feature as backdrop – rather than the
unknown Holy Land – German trees, German houses and German forests. The genre of the
landscape is jolted around 1510 when Albrecht Altdorfer turns the dense German forest itself
into a grand protagonist that stands in clear contrast to stylized Italian art of the day. In "St.
George in the Wood," the title character, dwarfed by the vaulted tabernacle of green growth,
seems in conversation rather than combat with a miniaturized dragon. But the woodland is
the true hero of the piece, conventionalized somewhat to provide sacredness, but also providing
staggering, twisting heights of naturalistic foliage to suggest wild grandeur and natural
nobility.8
In the Baroque period, during and after the prolonged devastation of the Thirty Years'
War, contemplation often turns inward and upward toward personal and spiritual pursuits
rather than national ones. One example is seen in a verse by the Baroque hymn writer, Paul
Gerhardt, as he addresses God:
Make room for your spirit in me That for you I become a great tree, Sinking my
roots deep in the earth. Allow me, solely for your praise Within your garden to
raise Myself from sapling in rebirth.9
Two centuries later, Joseph von Eichendorff, whose family name means "oak village," is
a Romantic whose poetry has often been set to music as folksongs:
I stand in forested shadows As on the margins of life; The land becomes darkening
meadows, The river a ribbon of silver. From far off, bells are ringing And their
Academia Letters, January 2022
Corresponding Author: Richard Hacken, hacken@byu.edu
Citation: Hacken, R. (2022). Worship of the German Forest: An Historical Overview. Academia Letters,
Article 4643. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4643.
3
©2022 by the author — Open Access — Distributed under CC BY 4.0
sound carries into the woods; A deer lifts its head in alarm And quickly falls back
asleep. But the forest stirs the treetops In a dream of solid rock, For the Lord is
passing across the peaks To bless the silent land.10
Romantic composers, such as Schumann in his "Forest Scenes" collection, successfully
unite music with poetry. The philosopher Kant, with his recently rendered suspicions of rationality
and the centrality of feeling over reasoning is a key Romantic contribution to the
imagined German forest. This leads from the sacred forest into the 19th century fairy-tale
concept of an "enchanted" forest.
The sense of holiness and enchantment increasingly takes on psychological, sociological,
nationalistic and ecological overtones. The latter elements dominate from the 19th century to
the present. However, the German people still hold the forest–as diminished and secularized
as it has become–for a place of spiritual refreshment, for a location of personal reconnection
as originally understood in the word "religion."




The natural knowledge of God is not salvific, absent Jesus, to Christians, but it's valuable to understand the appreciation of the numinous running through our common human veins and humours.

Dave Benke
#7
Your Turn / Re: Who are the Other Sheep?
Yesterday at 09:40:54 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on Yesterday at 12:28:59 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 18, 2024, 10:10:47 PM
Quote from: John Mundinger on April 18, 2024, 06:00:15 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 18, 2024, 05:31:06 PMIsn't the point Everyone?  If the Third Race/Way set up between and beyond Jew and Gentile is Christianity and Jesus states clearly in John that God so loved the Cosmos, then the Shepherd is Designed Goodness for Us, Everyone, Cosmic Us, whether the Samaritan woman, the Syro-Phoenician, the Jailer at Philippi, or the 5-6 billion folks inhabiting the planet right now who would not know or have heard the Good Voice of the Shepherd, not so?

The message from the Messenger Shepherd is about Life, and that abundantly.

Dave Benke

I agree and that is the part that makes me wonder.  I believe that God loves all persons without distinction.  That would include all who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel from those whom our Lord commissioned to proclaim the Gospel.  Are those the sheep who are "not of this fold"?  Are they folks who have heard Jesus' voice directly because there was not way to hear Jesus' voice indirectly through the voices of those who bear witness to Jesus?



As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction/horror, which included intriguing posits of other worlds or ours in a different light.  In one an explorer exits his craft on a far-off planet, and instead of anyone meeting him, there's nobody there.  He walks into a village, asks what's happening that's so important, and the response is "there is a man who speaks with such authority and power and does such wondrous things that everyone in this part of the world follows him wherever he goes."  Of course, it's Jesus, come to save another world in the cosmos.

In the other one, monks in a monastery with updated systems are in a highly excited mode, and finally a monk bursts into the central cell and exclaims - "It has happened.  The Gospel has been spoken in every language and tongue that exists.  The end is here."  And it is.

These of course are thought exercises, seeking to unpack the deeper mysteries of the scope and scale of cosmic Divine love.  In the end, none of them can capture it - the depth of the riches of the Wisdom.

Dave Benke
In 1953 science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke published a short story "The Nine Billion Names of God." In it three hundred years ago a lamesary of Tibetan monks determined the there were about 9 billion names of God as written in a special alphabet that they devised. The world was created for the purpose of writing all these names out, and when they finished, in about15,000 years, the world would end. In the current day, they decided to apply modern computer technology to the task bought a computer (this was the 1950s remember) and had a special printer for their alphabet Co strutted and hired two western technicians to set it up. They figured it would take about100 days to finish. As the task neared completion, the technicians decided to leave early, fearful of what the monks might do if, upon completion, the world didn't end. As they were headed out, about the time they figured that the last page was being printed and pasted in their holy book, the men were looking up into the night sky and saw the stars quietly going out.

Yes!  That's the story I was remembering.  What I remember about reading Arthur C. Clarke is
a) We had zero dollars for book purchase, so I was a denizen of the Public Library in Milwaukee on 35th and Villard. 
b) I was a voracious reader, and read this when I was probably 12
c) I read somewhat for the experience of reading - in science fiction, you don't kind of know the outcome because it's a Brave New World, so to speak.  So the payoff is in the experience of living through the direction the writer takes.
d) That particular story had that great close - the men looking up into the sky watching the stars quietly going out.
That got to me - not with a bang but a whimper and yet a wonderful conclusion somehow.

Thanks for the memories.

Dave Benke
#8
Your Turn / Re: Who are the Other Sheep?
April 18, 2024, 10:10:47 PM
Quote from: John Mundinger on April 18, 2024, 06:00:15 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 18, 2024, 05:31:06 PMIsn't the point Everyone?  If the Third Race/Way set up between and beyond Jew and Gentile is Christianity and Jesus states clearly in John that God so loved the Cosmos, then the Shepherd is Designed Goodness for Us, Everyone, Cosmic Us, whether the Samaritan woman, the Syro-Phoenician, the Jailer at Philippi, or the 5-6 billion folks inhabiting the planet right now who would not know or have heard the Good Voice of the Shepherd, not so?

The message from the Messenger Shepherd is about Life, and that abundantly.

Dave Benke

I agree and that is the part that makes me wonder.  I believe that God loves all persons without distinction.  That would include all who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel from those whom our Lord commissioned to proclaim the Gospel.  Are those the sheep who are "not of this fold"?  Are they folks who have heard Jesus' voice directly because there was not way to hear Jesus' voice indirectly through the voices of those who bear witness to Jesus?



As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction/horror, which included intriguing posits of other worlds or ours in a different light.  In one an explorer exits his craft on a far-off planet, and instead of anyone meeting him, there's nobody there.  He walks into a village, asks what's happening that's so important, and the response is "there is a man who speaks with such authority and power and does such wondrous things that everyone in this part of the world follows him wherever he goes."  Of course, it's Jesus, come to save another world in the cosmos.

In the other one, monks in a monastery with updated systems are in a highly excited mode, and finally a monk bursts into the central cell and exclaims - "It has happened.  The Gospel has been spoken in every language and tongue that exists.  The end is here."  And it is.

These of course are thought exercises, seeking to unpack the deeper mysteries of the scope and scale of cosmic Divine love.  In the end, none of them can capture it - the depth of the riches of the Wisdom.

Dave Benke
#9
Your Turn / Re: Who are the Other Sheep?
April 18, 2024, 05:31:06 PM
It's healthy to think through the way the world was, to Jews, divided.  By "race," or "ethnicity", there were two groups.  Jews and everyone else.  Goy, Goyim.  Genesis 12:3 initiates that division and its purpose when it says Abraham will be a goy gadol, great nation, and all the families of the earth will be blessed in Abraham.  The Greek for Goyim is Ethne, and it's not until the latin comes to the fore with "gens, gentis, gentilis" that we get Gentiles. 

In contemporary terms, this is Othering at its finest. "Gentiles" became pagans, became heathen in the old-timey English way so that they were always Other.   "You heathen - don't eat with your fingers."  You non-Jew, you're not kosher.

Isn't the point Everyone?  If the Third Race/Way set up between and beyond Jew and Gentile is Christianity and Jesus states clearly in John that God so loved the Cosmos, then the Shepherd is Designed Goodness for Us, Everyone, Cosmic Us, whether the Samaritan woman, the Syro-Phoenician, the Jailer at Philippi, or the 5-6 billion folks inhabiting the planet right now who would not know or have heard the Good Voice of the Shepherd, not so? 

The message from the Messenger Shepherd is about Life, and that abundantly.

Dave Benke

#10
Your Turn / Re: Toward A Genuine Understanding
April 17, 2024, 09:51:56 AM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on April 17, 2024, 08:57:19 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on April 16, 2024, 05:16:36 PMI have read parts of your dissertation.  Too be honest, it is too much to try to digest in a single sitting.

A PhD dissertation that can be digested in a single sitting is probably not worth digesting!

And some are simply indigestible. 8)

Dave Benke
#11
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
April 16, 2024, 08:33:00 AM
In this case, we'll see.  Once again the shot across the bow by someone or ones in Wisconsin to put an end to a program that from what's been stated makes sense is being countered, I'm sure, by folks in Michigan.  What is logical to think is that it will add urgency to an expedited de-coupling.

Dave Benke
#12
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
April 15, 2024, 09:20:13 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on April 15, 2024, 01:55:31 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on April 15, 2024, 01:25:20 PM"Seems punitive" is based on the facts of the opening salvo in February, the original debacle which for all intents and purposes continues to roll out.  Again as before, performed by email.  Again, shutting something down which had not been on the agenda to shut down (even more so this time as after tremendous pressure the first time stopped the effective closure of Ann Arbor to the point of saying all would remain stable going forward, until - it isn't).  Again forcing great pressure to be placed on the whole CUWAA system from the Ann Arbor side.  Again there's no indication that CUW is closing, or closing programs. 

In this instance again what seems punitive is the closure of a program that seems to have (according to Scott) student sufficiency to be self-supporting and now is effectively shut off from recruitment.

The first time was a debacle that took the complete energizing of the Michigan base of support to put the question squarely to the CUWAA board on "de-coupling"  while keeping Ann Arbor on the track based on the Strategic Plan unanimously adopted a week before the initial emails of effective closure went out in February.  I suspect the same will take place this time. 

A remaining question is what kind of hit the enrollment at CUW has taken in the "wokeism" controversy and presidential selection mess.  What are the trends at CUW that parallel Ann Arbor?

Dave Benke
I have no idea about those remaining questions. If things didn't seem different than they were, there would be no question to answer. I simply think it is an extremely serious thing even to mention it among the plausible possibilities worth considering.

Of course it is.  I don't know whether you watched those Ann Arbor Town Halls in February.  It was very clear from speaker after speaker that they were convinced Ann Arbor was being singled out for closure.  This feels to the same folks at Ann Arbor like the same basic refrain on the second verse, closure of a program that was successful.   

Why did the Michigan District have organized itself in basically thirty seconds in February to put together a plan to de-couple from CUW and run it right into the Board of Regents meeting? 

Dave Benke
#13
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
April 15, 2024, 01:25:20 PM
"Seems punitive" is based on the facts of the opening salvo in February, the original debacle which for all intents and purposes continues to roll out.  Again as before, performed by email.  Again, shutting something down which had not been on the agenda to shut down (even more so this time as after tremendous pressure the first time stopped the effective closure of Ann Arbor to the point of saying all would remain stable going forward, until - it isn't).  Again forcing great pressure to be placed on the whole CUWAA system from the Ann Arbor side.  Again there's no indication that CUW is closing, or closing programs. 

In this instance again what seems punitive is the closure of a program that seems to have (according to Scott) student sufficiency to be self-supporting and now is effectively shut off from recruitment.

The first time was a debacle that took the complete energizing of the Michigan base of support to put the question squarely to the CUWAA board on "de-coupling"  while keeping Ann Arbor on the track based on the Strategic Plan unanimously adopted a week before the initial emails of effective closure went out in February.  I suspect the same will take place this time. 

A remaining question is what kind of hit the enrollment at CUW has taken in the "wokeism" controversy and presidential selection mess.  What are the trends at CUW that parallel Ann Arbor?

Dave Benke
#14
Quote from: JoshuaMc on April 14, 2024, 09:53:59 PM
Quote"American"? I'm not getting where that comment is coming from. Pre-enlightenment, yes. But not "American."


Will, I guess I'm trying to say that I've encountered proponents of literalism who feel rooted in the American anti-modernist movement from the last century. I think of Robert Preus signing the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy with the likes of John MacArthur (I serve close to the Master's University so his soteriological perfidy comes to mind!)

At any rate, I can understand the urge to repristinate a form of literalism from the age of the confessors (though I'm not sure it's possible) but I can't understand Lutherans who have imported American Protestant concerns about the Bible.

Hopefully this doesn't make things even murkier!


Josh


This is a legitimate concern of the ultra-confessionalist posture.  The god inerrancy has gotten top billing for a long, long time.  Parsing the pages of our forum, the result becomes teaching which is not Law and Gospel, but Law and gospel or Law and Law.  Although the gospel is presented pro forma, the point again and again is Law.  That's a natural outgrowth of the hyper-focus on inerrancy as opposed to biblical authority.  It's anti-Waltherian in our little corner of the world.  Because Walther's whole point in Law and Gospel is that Gospel must be victorious in preaching and teaching over Law. 

Dave Benke
#15
I bring this article to the dialog.  It's by Ted Peters, and it's a review of the Scandinavian Lutheran theologians Regin Prenter (Creation and Redemption) and the more contemporary Niels Henrik Gregersen, entitled "The eye of faith and the eye of science."  Stimulating:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325885204_The_eye_of_faith_and_the_eye_of_science_Regin_Prenter_and_Niels_Henrik_Gregersen_on_God's_creation

I don't know him, but if he were willing, he'd be a more than worthy participant on this subject.  This is one of his life's vocational trajectories.

Dave Benke

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