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Messages - racin_jason

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1
Your Turn / Re: David W. Preus
« on: August 02, 2021, 07:27:48 PM »
Dr. Preus was a regular presence at Luther Seminary when I attended in the 1990's, attending chapel and willing to engage students afterwards.

He was a great churchman whose ideas concerning the merger in 1988 did not get the traction they deserved, and he lived long enough to see some of his worst fears come to fruition, unfortunately.

He penned a short memoir, good reading for pastors, especially when he talks about parish ministry.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932688641/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

2
Your Turn / Stole without an Alb?
« on: October 29, 2019, 01:55:34 PM »
It has been out there for many years, but I don't recall this being discussed here: in the ELCA (at least) the practice of wearing a stole without an alb has greatly increased.

So the pastor comes out and leads the liturgy donning a suit and simply drapes his/her stole over the shoulders. Or over a t-shirt. Whatever.

I've heard one bishop in the ELCA bother speak out against the practice to deaf ears, apparently. Other ELCA bishops are embracing the practice wholeheartedly and we all know what that means: copious copying in congregations.

So yes, there are bigger problems facing the church than what we can hope is a temporary fashion trend. But am I the only one who is bugged by this practice? I mean, hey, it's one thing to be on a canoe trip with the youth and put the stole on for a service of Holy Communion. But on a regular Sunday morning, I say pick a lane and stick to it: Either alb AND stole OR just plain clothes.

Can anyone here give an argument against the practice? Or for it?

Meanwhile I will sit here curmudgeonly hoping I live long enough to see the trend reverse itself.





3
Insisting that everyone acknowledge that "some are" bigots and homophobes is simple a way to control the discussion. What if the discussion were about welfare policy and I refused to discuss it until everyone agreed that, while not everyone on welfare is the Welfare Queen, nevertheless "some are" and those some represent the topic of the discussion? I think people would suspect that all I was doing was insisting the discussion take place strictly on my terms.

The issue is not homophobia. The issue is the nature of sexual immorality and definition of marriage. Anyone who keeps insisting that we all acknowledge the existence of bigotry is simply trying to avoid that fact.

Hey if you are perceived as intolerant in the ELCA, you can leave and the ELCA will be better off for it, so says a submission to our official synod blog page. Your post is prescient, this blog just came out today:  https://www.elca-ses.org/blogdetail/what-is-a-tolerant-church-12884234

4
Racin_jason writes:
Because the wording of the memorial contained the word "sanctuary" which is so loaded for people to react to and altogether unhelpful, I did what any level-headed pastor would do ;) and simply didn't inform my congregation of the actions of churchwide.
Everything was quiet for two weeks until one Sunday two members asked me about the memorial, finding out about it from friends and/or family. Downplaying the authority of the memorial, I sent our synodical bishops' (bishop and bishop-elect) statement about the memorial and that satisfied their concerns.
I comment:
But do you see the folly of trying to keep the actions of our church hidden from parishioners rather than preparing them for the decisions and having the right way to explain them?

R_j:
Other colleagues in my city have not fared as well. Several have had members leave the church and one even had two council members resign from council and leave the church.
Me:
Tough things happen. If they left just over that decision, I wonder how committed they were in general.
And again, what might have happened if the pastor had prepared the people, discussed the issue and answered questions in advance? They would know they do not have to agree. Or do anything.

Certainly I could have prepared them...and certainly they could seek to be informed. But I've found that telling congregations what the national church does only creates angry people, people who leave or threaten to leave, which creates more work for me. No regrets.

Staging events that inform the congregation of synod and churchwide happenings generates a collective yawn. People don't care about what the national church does until it does something they don't like. Then they get mad. I don't know how to change that dynamic.

I will also note that the motion to become a "sanctuary denomination" came off the floor as an amendment...so preparing people has its limits.   


5
So in the church I serve,  I have had one household leave over the decision, or at least that is what they are saying though they haven't been to worship all that much for the last couple years.....so I file that under "there's the reason they say why they are leaving and then there's the real reason (whatever that might be)"

Over 95% of my congregants live in the church's zip code and 75 percent of our zip code voted for Trump in 2016.

Because the wording of the memorial contained the word "sanctuary" which is so loaded for people to react to and altogether unhelpful, I did what any level-headed pastor would do ;) and simply didn't inform my congregation of the actions of churchwide.

Everything was quiet for two weeks until one Sunday two members asked me about the memorial, finding out about it from friends and/or family. Downplaying the authority of the memorial, I sent our synodical bishops' (bishop and bishop-elect) statement about the memorial and that satisfied their concerns. 

Other colleagues in my city have not fared as well. Several have had members leave the church and one even had two council members resign from council and leave the church.




6
Since the triennial churchwide assembly in Milwaukee, there has been a lot of discussion at a congregational-level concerning the memorial that was passed declaring the ELCA a "sanctuary church body".

There is widespread confusion because though the declaration has zero authority over what individual congregations can or cannot do concerning immigrants and refugees, the headlines are causing those who support the rule of law in the nation to react and consider leaving the ELCA.

Fox News published a piece that did the ELCA no favors, having no one speak from the ELCA. You can watch that here
https://video.foxnews.com/v/6071684544001/#sp=show-clips

I'm curious if other pastors are having problems with this declaration similar to what I'm seeing in my conference and synod.

Here is the ELCA press release
​CHICAGO The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted Aug. 7 to approve a memorial that affirms the denomination's long-standing commitment to migrants and refugees and declares the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a sanctuary church body. The ELCA is the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body. 

As a sanctuary church, the ELCA publicly declares that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith. This declaration does not call for any person, congregation or synod to engage in illegal activity.

The ELCA has developed talking points to address what it means for this church to become a sanctuary denomination. In defining what this means for its congregations, the ELCA states that a sanctuary church will look different in the different contexts across the ELCA. The church cannot mandate or direct ELCA congregations and ministries to respond in certain ways.

The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly passed the strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO). Through the strategy, the ELCA invites its churches to become "welcoming congregations," which means to commit to spiritually and physically accompanying migrants in their communities, pray for migrant children and families, and advocate for a just and humane immigration system. More than 100 congregations and five synods across the ELCA identify as sanctuary. 

7
Your Turn / Re: Quote from PB attributed to Luther in ELCA Press Release
« on: August 12, 2019, 02:40:12 PM »
I would consider an official ELCA communication mis-attributing a quote of Luther as a serious matter.

And how hard is it to cite or footnote the source?

8
Your Turn / Re: Quote from PB attributed to Luther in ELCA Press Release
« on: August 12, 2019, 01:29:11 PM »
Okay, do we have a source on the Luther quote or not?

9
Your Turn / Re: Trustworthy Servants
« on: March 12, 2019, 10:39:43 AM »
Should anyone wonder what the all the hubbub is about from the rank-and-file pastors and deacons, one ELCA pastor (notable for his administering of the ELCA clergy Facebook page) has issued a public letter that lays out the issues and concerns relating to the document and the process from which it was generated.


https://www.patheos.com/blogs/clintschnekloth/2019/03/a-public-letter-to-my-conference-of-bishops-and-the-elca-church-council-concerning-trustworthy-stewards/?fbclid=IwAR3vdGoB4zIYIySh__xdFa7k0VntzBbmzVWO1FggOlS333lY6vbV8WSgUj0

Only 11 days for feedback? I have waited over 11 days to get a phone call returned from the ELCA headquarters in Chicago. Seriously. 

10
Your Turn / Re: Rev. Kenneth Siess
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:54:50 AM »
How is Dr. Siess's name pronounced? 

Rhymes with....?

11
Your Turn / Re: Immigration Laws
« on: August 16, 2018, 12:45:23 PM »
Recently I attended a seminar on immigration and detention centers hosted by a local episcopal church. There we covered how to become a US citizen and the challenges that are in the present day system. I will share a bit of what I learned that day on this forum

When a person seeks asylum in the United States, they are handcuffed and sent to a detention center. It is no crime to seek asylum, yet we treat it as it is a crime. 

To learn if there is an ICE detention center near you, you can search by state here: 
https://www.ice.gov/detention-facilities

The government contracts with for-profit companies to hold more than 72% of immigrants in detention. The two largest for-profit immigration prison companies are GEO and Core Civic (previously CCA). CCA spent $18 million on lobbying congress for DHS appropriations from 2004-2014.

Christians can visit residents, but it is of course an extensive process to get into the doors.

To see an example of what Christians in Georgia are doing to support those being detained, see here:
http://elrefugiostewart.org/

12
Your Turn / Re: "In defense of 'unfriendly' churches"
« on: July 26, 2018, 12:05:25 PM »
The author of the blog serves a church which is on the leading western edge of growth in the Twin Cities. The population within a 10 mile radius parish has likely nearly doubled since 1990.

With that in mind, I question the wisdom of penning anything that is in defense of unfriendly congregations.   

13
Your Turn / Re: Luther Sem to Pilot 2-yr MDiv.
« on: July 12, 2018, 12:34:12 PM »
Does anyone know which classes/academic content gets lost in the move from three years of coursework to two?

14
Your Turn / Re: 5-Year Pastoral Leadership Degree
« on: June 13, 2018, 12:29:56 PM »
It is becoming more and more clear that our denomination is relaxing some long-held standards for ordination. I readily admit to a "i had to do it so you should too" union mentality, but honestly, what is the synod to do with congregations that are too vital to suggest folding but not able to adequately compensate a fully-vested pastor?

In the ELCA, the door has been opened with the "Synodically Authoirized Minister" tag. This allows for a designated pastor-in-residence who can preside at communion and do most other pastorale duties regardless of formal education. Deacons who were set up to do "Word and Service" can and are drawn to "Word and Sacrament" ministry. They've gone through candidacy so the risks are low from the synod's point of view.

I haven't done a study of ordination standards in the last 200 years, but it is likely the requirements for ordination were less during the first hundred years of Lutheranism in the United States. After decades of adding layers of requirements, including education and psychological exams etc. it appears we are headed for a time when the standards will be more relaxed.

The demands of the congregation needing pulpits and altars filled will out-weigh any sort of objections the proponents of the Bacholors + Mdiv models might raise.

It's mostly under the radar now. As time goes, it will be less so. Things should get interesting.   

15
A critical issue facing synodical leaders is gaining the ability to guide congregations into a shared-clergy model.

Churches who once could afford their own full time pastor but now cannot, need to be coached into thinking differently.

From my limited perspective, bishops and their staffs have not been effective in doing so. Undoubtedly it is a complicated thing to do, getting congregations to agree all at the same time. Communication is difficult and many congregations operate under a widespread the assumption that they are fine and don't need to be yoked to any other church.

Pastors can help prepare their church by casting the vision and planting the seed for such an eventuality, but the real responsibility falls on the judicatories. If they can't support churches through such a transition, it becomes yet another troubling factor about the future of our parishes.   



 

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