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Messages - James_Gale

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1
Your Turn / Re: Conversion, In Between Space and Magazines
« on: June 01, 2021, 01:52:20 PM »
Well, here’s a good word from grumpy old me about this rather unusual idea. They vow they will not take any federal funds, even in student loans. That should have an impact on several things.

It does require extra exertions on the part of the school,  but that doesn't mean it won't work.  Just look at Hillsdale College and Grove City (I think)


I agree that a small number of schools can survive without accepting federal funds. I’m not sure, though, that Grove City or especially Hillsdale are all that relevant to the circumstances confronting the new Lutheran college or the Catholic school mentioned by Fr. Michael. Hillsdale’s endowment is particularly large, getting close to $1 billion. Its tuition is slightly under the national average for national liberal-arts colleges. It offers admission to less than 50% of applicants, suggesting a high level of selectivity. But how much demand is there among potential students and potential donors for a school like Hillsdale (Christian but not sectarian and open to those of other faiths, nationally prominent, classically conservative)?  Enough to support a few other schools (like Grove City) I suspect. But not many more.


In any event, the new Lutheran school and the Wyoming Catholic College don’t really aspire to do what Hillsdale does. They are committed first and foremost to their particular faiths. They will have a narrow appeal, limited to those of common faith who don’t care about gaining a prestigious credential of the sort that opens doors to high-level graduate programs or national employers. To succeed, schools like this almost always need long-term, substantial support from within the narrowly defined community within which the schools live. This support must include a reliable stream of interested students and of willing donors.

2
Your Turn / Re: Israel and Hamas
« on: May 21, 2021, 05:27:14 PM »
There is little mystery as to why the ADL is virulently anti-Trump while AIPAC is enthusiastic about him and his policies.  The former is become a very liberal activist group.  The latter tilts right. 

The two organizations describe themselves quite differently:
AIPAC
Quote
The mission of AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—is to strengthen and expand the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

We engage with and educate decision-makers about the bonds that unite the two countries, and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state remains safe, strong and secure.
ADL
Quote
ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

ADL's agenda is anti-Semitism. That's why I went to their site to see what was happening in the US on anti-Semitism.
AIPAC's focus is good relations between Israel and the US. Anti-Semitism is not on their main agenda.

Peace,
Michael


The ADL’s agenda goes way beyond its historic mission to combat anti-semitism. On its homepage, you can see its involvement in supporting gender-identity-based school sports/locker rooms and its opposition to the electoral college.

3
Your Turn / Re: Israel and Hamas
« on: May 21, 2021, 04:58:51 PM »
Not only does Goldberg make a powerful case, he made me rethink my understanding of structural racism in the US.


You might also consider John McWhorter’s perspective. He’s an African-American Columbia professor. Link

4
Your Turn / Re: Israel and Hamas
« on: May 21, 2021, 03:31:37 PM »
With antisemitic violence on the rise across America are we going to see a response from our legislators like they are with the rise of anti-Asian violence? Violence against Jews in America is not just disagreement with Israel.
Violence against Jews in America under the ex-President was part of a pattern of white supremacist hostility to people deemed not white enough. "Jews will not replace us," they chanted on the campus of the University of Virginia. The gunman in Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was apparently angry because they were welcoming too many immigrants.

The first obligation to respond lies with the Executive Branch, not legislators; this is a matter of the rule of law and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Peace,
Michael

Riiight...  The ex-President with the Jewish son-in-law and grandchildren is the focus of anti-Semitism in America...

Marshall Hahn
It is peculiar that he did so little to combat anti-Semitism; I don't know the explanation for that either.

Peace,
Michael

I just went to see what the Anti-Defamation League had to say about the ex-President's record in combatting anti-Semitism. I've never looked at their site before. I thought they would simply report the rise in anti-Semitic incidents already noted, but I did not expect this: https://www.adl.org/news/press-releases/adl-calls-for-president-trump-to-be-removed-from-office


There is little mystery as to why the ADL is virulently anti-Trump while AIPAC is enthusiastic about him and his policies.  The former is become a very liberal activist group.  The latter tilts right. 


But why are we making this conversation about Trump?  Why not simply call out anti-Jewish sentiment where we see it? 

5
Your Turn / Re: If not "function," then what?
« on: May 18, 2021, 10:34:43 AM »
In looking over the ALC constitution, there was this article:
"6.33. The status of the clergy differs from that of the laity only as to function."


The ALC clearly viewed ordination as a setting apart for function. This is what I remember being taught at seminary. That also raised the question if someone is not functioning as a pastor, i.e., word and sacrament ministry, should they remain on the clergy roster? An example would be those teaching in a college or seminary.


I don't know what might have been in the LCA constitution, but their understanding of clergy was a bit different than in the ALC. One example:


All LCA clergy were automatically voting members at synod and churchwide conventions by virtue of their office. In the ALC, clergy had to be elected by the congregation to be voting delegates. This meant that some clergy in specialized ministries would never be elected by the congregation to which they belonged. It also meant, as a friend did, he had the congregation elect two lay people, usually a husband and wife, and he as the pastor went as a visitor. He didn't have to attend meetings. He couldn't vote. He went for the fellowship with his friends.


What are other views of ordination besides the functional one?


Wasn't the purpose of that provision to make explicit the ALC's embrace of a functional view of ordination and to reject by implication any notion that ordination confers some sort of ontological transformation?

6
Your Turn / Re: Catholic Church rejects blessing same sex unions.
« on: May 11, 2021, 01:42:42 PM »
I find it interesting that the pastor of [size=78%]Wittenberg’s Stadtkirche is arguing that the German “Synodal Path,” which is connected in some way to the priests’ actions last weekend, is the wrong path for the Roman church. Here’s a link. [/size]

History is full of ironies.   ;D

Peace, JOHN


Isn’t that the truth! 

7
Your Turn / Re: Catholic Church rejects blessing same sex unions.
« on: May 11, 2021, 01:21:29 PM »
I find it interesting that the pastor of Wittenberg’s Stadtkirche is arguing that the German “Synodal Path,” which is connected in some way to the priests’ actions last weekend, is the wrong path for the Roman church. Here’s a link.

8
Your Turn / Re: Tribalism and Lutheran in the U.S.
« on: May 10, 2021, 07:29:24 PM »
You want it to be 1960, Mr. Gale. I told you why it can’t and why the quietism of the 1950s was wrong.


I do not want it to be 1960. I had yet even to be born. Pastors did, can, and should lead their people into consideration of moral issues. They should not publicly take sides in secular political battles over which Christians can legitimately differ. Churches today, including the ELCA, all too often put political tribalism over the Gospel. This is not good either for the country’s political culture or for the Church.

9
Your Turn / Re: Tribalism and Lutheran in the U.S.
« on: May 10, 2021, 06:11:44 PM »
Yes, Mr. Gale, in those years decades ago LCA clergy were generally quiet regarding social issues. THIS WAS WRONG, Because it meant that our voices, and the voice of the gospel was not heard as the nation struggled with such things as racism and inequality.
We learned how to speak up, and how to bring the voice of the church into the struggles. We learned that those struggles were not simply political, but were moral and conscience  struggles. We learned that from Gandhi, from Dr. King, from Bonhoeffer, from Cesar Chavez.
A few bold voices, from the LCA and from the LCMS, began to call us into those struggles.


Your comments are unresponsive to my post.

10
Your Turn / Re: Tribalism and Lutheran in the U.S.
« on: May 10, 2021, 04:16:24 PM »
https://unherd.com/2021/05/tribalism-has-come-to-the-west/

This is an excellent article, well worth the read.

A future issue of FL will be featuring an open letter from an ELCA pastor friend of mine, signed by many pastors and other leaders in the ELCA, who is spearheading an effort to get his rural Wisconsin county not to become a "2nd Amendment Sanctuary" county. I plan to write up something on the topic not so much as any kind of rebuttal or counterpoint but simply on the idea that even though we have the Confessions and live in the same country, and even though the nature of the 2nd Amendment and the form of our government is the same, I'd wager the division in his county over that proposal very closely mirrors the division between the ELCA and the LCMS.

Certainly, that seems to be the case, although the division extends to many other issues beyond guns.

It is not a virtue, though. The Lutherans may have lost their confessional way and hitched their wagon to political powers.

Peace, JOHN


I agree with you.  When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, my LCA pastors would never have involved themselves in public political activity.  To take sides publicly on issues upon which Christians may differ would distract from the Gospel, confuse the faithful, and weaken the church.  Many Lutheran pastors today seem to have rejected this perspective, much to the detriment of the church.

11
Your Turn / Re: Lutheranism the key to happiness?
« on: May 05, 2021, 08:24:06 PM »
Between  1820 and 1925 about 860,000 Norwegians emigrated to the United States.
They settled primarily in the Midwest in states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and
Illinois.

The Swedes and Finns acted similarly. They were coming from countries with awful weather and arriving in a country that was so huge that it included vast swaths of places with more pleasant climates.

Yet they went to places that replicated the cold, hard winters they came from.

What were they thinking?


The upper Midwest is blanketed by some of the nation’s most productive farmland. The immigrants included a large number of farmers. They knew what they were doing. (The winter homes in Sarasota came a couple generations later.)

But you have already ripped the past from your life. Why subject yourself to the same cruel winters you just escaped?


Many, I believe, weren’t that bothered by the winters. There simply wasn’t enough land to go around. The immigrants found in North America what they wanted but could not have at home. No other part of the country matched their experience and farming skills as well as the land they chose.


Some did go elsewhere, of course. But a critical mass did not.

12
Your Turn / Re: Lutheranism the key to happiness?
« on: May 05, 2021, 07:29:10 PM »
Between  1820 and 1925 about 860,000 Norwegians emigrated to the United States.
They settled primarily in the Midwest in states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and
Illinois.

The Swedes and Finns acted similarly. They were coming from countries with awful weather and arriving in a country that was so huge that it included vast swaths of places with more pleasant climates.

Yet they went to places that replicated the cold, hard winters they came from.

What were they thinking?


The upper Midwest is blanketed by some of the nation’s most productive farmland. The immigrants included a large number of farmers. They knew what they were doing. (The winter homes in Sarasota came a couple generations later.)

13
Your Turn / Re: Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents
« on: April 30, 2021, 02:10:31 PM »
Mr. Gale write (about the 1619 project, I think):
This is as Orwellian as it comes. As the Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”  It’s not about truth. It’s about power.

I muse:
There is in these circles, I believe, a certain paranoia about "Orwellian" things. I just ask: if the information presented in the 1619 project is true, how does presenting it "control" the past? Do people contend that the history of slavery as presented there is not true?
   And as for "power," whose power, and for what purpose?
   Right now there are massive efforts underway to diminish the power of the vote, especially in minority areas, by making it more difficult to vote. This is a clear attempt by one party to take power away from the people.
   No one can "control the past" if the history is complete, accurate and honestly presented.
   Grabbing the allegedly fearsome "Orwellian" phrases doesn't help.
   You want to debunk the information in the 1619 Project? Have at it. Otherwise, you're just slinging mud.
   And Pastor Engebretson, no, no and no. We do not "critique the past by the standards under which it was lived and experienced." To do so would find slavery acceptable, deny women the vote and use the "standards" of other things we now find deplorable.
   We critique the past by the standards that should have been applied then, had they not caved in to the slave holders, compromised the equality they supposedly sought, and continued policies we now find atrocious, and indeed, fought a civil war to overcome.
   In discussing the recent biography of Thomas Jefferson, I was giving the lord of Monticello considerable leeway and saying that he was incapable of imagining a world without the kind of slavery and master-slave relationships that existed through his lifetime. Others convinced me that I was wrong; he could have imagined a more equitable world and should have sought it for society and practiced it in his own life.


Ms. Hannah-Jones posted the quoted post in direct response to statements by a number of historians criticizing the 1619 Project for misstating history.  She doesn’t contest this charge. Instead, she wants to influence the future by changing societal memory of the past, interjecting falsehoods.

14
Your Turn / Re: Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents
« on: April 30, 2021, 10:14:17 AM »
Peter writes:
Yes, the founders were white from a specific culture and had an interest in preserving and extended that culture, and committed terrible things in doing so.
I comment:
Thank you. We agree.

Peter:
Slavery and oppression were an important facet of the story.
Me:
As long a you say “important facet,” we agree.

Peter:
Why is it that any time someone says that you take them to mean slavery was no big deal or that racism didn’t or doesn’t exist?
Me:
Because there is a tendency to dismiss or downplay  realities and mythologize our past.

Peter:
Why isn’t it enough for you to acknowledge racism without making the whole story about nothing but racism?
Me:
See above. Our foundation as a country and our heritage was white, male, moneyed, Protestant supremacy and nationalism. We evolved into something better, more open, more intentionally inclusive. I am glad you acknowledge the truths of our history. We are still working at being better than “important” facets of our past.
So we agree that the 1619 Project, Caste, and the antiracist movement deliberately overstate their case when they say slavery was the country or that white supremacy was why America was founded in order to counter those who would understate the problem. We agree that the antiracist telling is as false as the racist telling, just in the other direction and focusing on the evil rather than the good. Good. That is progress in this discussion.

I think your generation probably did grow up with a romanticized view of America. I don't think mine did. I know my children are not.

If one focused on the Protestant aspect of your intersectional list that make up the caste system rather than race, one could write a book like Caste about how religious minorities were treated. But one would have to admit that it is no longer so. Somehow, the President, Speaker of the House, Senate majority leader, and generally hovering near a majority of the SCOTUS is Catholic, and non-Christians like Jews and Mormons freely rise as far as they want and nobody cares. The issue has basically gone away. The question becomes how do we do the same thing on the topic of race, which is something immediately visible? I think insisting on not categorizing people by race is the best way forward. The antiracist movement thinks calcifying the classification as opposing groups and then insisting that each group get what is coming to it is the best way forward. I find that route inherently unjust because it can only function by treating people according the racial group they are identified with.   


Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of the 1619 Project, tweeted this last summer:



“I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not a history. It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is the past.”

This is as Orwellian as it comes. As the Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”  It’s not about truth. It’s about power.



15
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: April 29, 2021, 03:30:36 PM »
And sometimes it can be “pastoral“, if we have to use that word, to say clearly “you’re wrong, ““you’re out of line,” or even “you are being incredibly foolish.“
In addition to being “pastoral,“ which always seems to me to have a mushy context, at times we are called to be prophetic and to proclaim the truth, sometimes that truth being more than “Jesus is Lord.”  People in this modest forum are not very “Pastor,” in the usual use of that word, towards those who are fervently, and even piously “pro choice.”

In a speech on leadership by Ed Friedman at a synod theological convocation, he stated that what actual shepherds (from where we get "pastor") do is not to coddle the sheep, but to hit them in the ass with their rod to make them go where they're supposed to go.


I’m not sure that that is the wisest way for a pastor to describe his interactions with his parishioners.  While middle-school boys might laugh, middle-aged women would certainly not.

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