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Messages - Michael Slusser

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1
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 26, 2021, 01:57:34 PM »
Perhaps we could look at Roman Catholic universities that attract a number of non-Catholics. A Jewish friend of our son went to Creighton U., a Jesuit school. He consulted me on some of his biblical classes. "We got an 'A'." As far as I know, there was no attempt to convert him. (If there was, it failed.)


What is it about their 197 schools in the U.S. that keeps them going strong with a diverse enrollment?


(A list of Catholic universities and colleges can be found here.)
According to https://www.highereddive.com/news/how-many-colleges-and-universities-have-closed-since-2016/539379/ eight Catholic colleges have closed their doors just since 2016. "Going strong" may be too hopeful a term.

Peace,
Michael

2
Your Turn / Re: R.I.P. Gerald Speckhard
« on: February 23, 2021, 05:02:35 PM »
You and his whole family have my sympathy and prayers.

Peace,
Michael

3
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 19, 2021, 10:45:29 AM »
Just a reflection from a man who served three times as the chaplain for the Convention of the LCMS. The worst moment I remember was the Selma discussion. The room had no resolution. There was a deep sense of hurt on the part of many. There was a deep sense of confusion on the part of others, and shame. And still there were those who used the issue, played to the moment, in an attempt to score embarrassment for the administration and thus only ended up hurting innocent people. It was just an awful afternoon.

One of the deaconesses approached me with the simple truth: we need confession and absolution, not the next order of business. She was correct, of course. And the chair, reading the room quite accurately, sent to me to not proceed with the planned devotion, which featured a jaunty hispanic song that would have fallen flat indeed.

I dumped the music and reached for the thing I thought most could participate in. I told them that we know what to do when Satan is trying his level best to pull us apart since we are not ignorant of his devices. We grab hold of our sisters and brothers and we run together under the holy blood of Jesus. And then I told them to just run with me, and I began: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They said Amen. I said: “Beloved in the Lord, let us draw near with a true heart...” and most of them recognized right away what this meant. I felt badly for those who did not. We prayed the old confession from DS 3 and then I was able to give the absolution.

No, this praying together and hearing the absolution did not get rid of the pain or make the clean up work the assembly needed to do go away: the absolution that is in Christ’s blood actually made it possible. I walked away from that afternoon convinced that anything and everything that goes wrong in a convention is when we feel free to wander away from the Blood; when we feel free to treat one another or speak to one another as other or use one another rather than living in what that blood has made us: sisters and brothers of the Son of God, bound together in the forgiveness of sins.

I remain quite grateful to the Deaconess who recognized what needed to happen and nudged me in the direction I needed to go.
Bravo!

Peace,
Michael

4
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 08:27:48 PM »
According to the Valpo Torch, the campaign to change the mascot was driven by two alumni:
Quote
The issue of whether the Crusader has reflected Valpo values has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It recently gained momentum in June 2020 when a Facebook group composed of alumni, students and faculty gained popularity.

The group entitled “The Coalition to Retire the Crusader” was spearheaded by alumni Mike Nevergall and Kevin York both of whom dedicated their time to organize the Valpo community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns.

“I mean I feel good about the direction of the university now, I feel like with the retirement of the crusader we can come together as an extended campus community and really unify around a new mascot that is more inclusive of the place that Valparaiso University is and what it really stands for,” York said.

These guys, whether one agrees with them or not, seem to have standing.
I don't know either of these men. Mike is a gift planning counselor at Gustavus and Board President for the VU Alumni Association. Kevin York heads up a communications firm. They both attended around the same time about 15 years ago. It would seem that experience and position gave them an opportunity to create momentum for this change.

Kevin York's firm has put out a press release for the Coalition. (I automatically distrust it when people call themselves a Coalition; too many sad experiences. But I've got to beware of generalizing my experiences.)
https://www.openpr.com/news/2234372/coalition-of-valparaiso-university-students-alumni-faculty

Peace,
Michael
From the article: “Not only does the Crusader mascot not align with the University’s mission and values, but by choosing to maintain the status quo, it is essentially saying that it can afford to alienate a certain percentage of its pool of prospective students and their families,” said Mike Nevergall, Immediate Past President of the VU Alumni Association and a Coalition leader. “In the hyper-competitive world of college admissions, that seems like a bad gamble.

Good thing the choice to change the mascot had no chance of alienating prospective students and their families.

More broadly speaking, the article gives the lie to the claim that this change was brought about by appropriation of the crusader image by hate groups. The people who were really animated to make this change find the crusader mascot offensive in itself, not because an otherwise okay symbol was appropriated by KKK types. It isn't a matter of honorably retiring a mascot that time has passed by. It is about officially declaring that mascot of symbol of bigotry.   
It sounds to me like it's a campaign driven by market forces as perceived. It's the way of the secular world. I see RC institutions omitting to say anything too Catholic because they've got it in their heads that it won't sell. This goes back 40 years; it isn't a product of today's political posturing.

Peace,
Michael

5
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 01:00:34 PM »
According to the Valpo Torch, the campaign to change the mascot was driven by two alumni:
Quote
The issue of whether the Crusader has reflected Valpo values has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It recently gained momentum in June 2020 when a Facebook group composed of alumni, students and faculty gained popularity.

The group entitled “The Coalition to Retire the Crusader” was spearheaded by alumni Mike Nevergall and Kevin York both of whom dedicated their time to organize the Valpo community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns.

“I mean I feel good about the direction of the university now, I feel like with the retirement of the crusader we can come together as an extended campus community and really unify around a new mascot that is more inclusive of the place that Valparaiso University is and what it really stands for,” York said.

These guys, whether one agrees with them or not, seem to have standing.
I don't know either of these men. Mike is a gift planning counselor at Gustavus and Board President for the VU Alumni Association. Kevin York heads up a communications firm. They both attended around the same time about 15 years ago. It would seem that experience and position gave them an opportunity to create momentum for this change.

Kevin York's firm has put out a press release for the Coalition. (I automatically distrust it when people call themselves a Coalition; too many sad experiences. But I've got to beware of generalizing my experiences.)
https://www.openpr.com/news/2234372/coalition-of-valparaiso-university-students-alumni-faculty

Peace,
Michael

6
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 18, 2021, 12:23:54 PM »
According to the Valpo Torch, the campaign to change the mascot was driven by two alumni:
Quote
The issue of whether the Crusader has reflected Valpo values has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It recently gained momentum in June 2020 when a Facebook group composed of alumni, students and faculty gained popularity.

The group entitled “The Coalition to Retire the Crusader” was spearheaded by alumni Mike Nevergall and Kevin York both of whom dedicated their time to organize the Valpo community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns.

“I mean I feel good about the direction of the university now, I feel like with the retirement of the crusader we can come together as an extended campus community and really unify around a new mascot that is more inclusive of the place that Valparaiso University is and what it really stands for,” York said.

These guys, whether one agrees with them or not, seem to have standing.

Peace,
Michael

7
Congratulations to CTS Fort Wayne. Those accreditations are valuable in numerous ways.

I was struck by President Rast's remark
Quote
Rast further noted, “CTSFW is planning for the future by assessing broad external influences and partnerships. In the coming years, CTSFW will engage the broader Synod to partner in the development of a plan for the future of pastoral and diaconal formation in the LCMS.”

He and President Egger will want to have some good conversations.

Peace,
Michael

8
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 18, 2021, 10:20:31 AM »
Today has been a “high touch” day at St. Paul’s, Hamel. Ashes imposed as normally. Despite a snowy morning, we had a good attendance for that first Divine Service. And not only did we have imposition of ashes, but the touch of our Savior in His body and blood. Two more Divine Services to go today!

So heartening to read!

The local press was full of stories about how the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg had adapted the ash ceremony to "parishioners socially distanced" who instead of receiving a mark on their forehead had ashes sprinkled over their bowed heads.

Sounds rather Old Testament, IMHO.
Ashes sprinkled on the head is, I've read and been told, a common practice in RC churches in Europe. It is recommended this year by the US RC bishops. Contactless.

The words remain the same "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" or " Repent, and believe in the Gospel."

It is a rather Old Testament ritual, isn't it? None the worse for that.

Peace,
Michael

9
Your Turn / Re: Dr. Stephan Stohlmann’s Passing
« on: February 17, 2021, 01:04:14 PM »
I noticed that obituary this morning in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/twincities/name/stephen-stohlmann-obituary?pid=197783384

I'm glad to hear of the blessings Dr. Stohlmann brought.

Peace,
Michael

10
Your Turn / Re: 90% (!) Vote to Delay LCMS Convention Cycle
« on: February 16, 2021, 08:01:43 PM »
FWIW the Greek Metropolis of Pittsburgh cancelled its annual Clergy-Laity Assembly last September and simply extended the terms of all incumbent Metropolis Council members by one year.

Parishes were directed to do the same.

Since the Metropolis Assembly occurs in late September there has been no determination made about this year's at this time.
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Archdiocesan Synod planned for 2021 has been delayed a year. I'm sure other things have also been postponed. It makes sense: we stopped public congregational worship on March 22, 2020. It's as if we've got a year older while treading water.

Peace,
Michael

11
Your Turn / Re: Valpo mascot task force
« on: February 11, 2021, 08:54:20 PM »
Available mascots:
Hornets - Concordia, Selma
Cavaliers - Concordia, Portland
Clippers - Concordia, Bronxville

Others not yet available:
Cougars/Charlie T. Cougar - Concordia Chicago
Eagles - Concordia Irvine
(Here I interject that one of my parishioners has me watching a live you tube cam that is high above Big Bear in SoCal, where you can see a pair of bald eagles, with mom watching a newly laid egg - https://youtu.be/5zuZTsvnub0 - fascinating, and proof of the appropriate mascot name)
Golden Bears - Concordia St.Paul
Olaf Lion - St. Olaf.  Here's their motto, which may be something Scandinavian - Fram! Fram! Kristmenn, Krossmenn (Nynorsk)
- this being translated is "Forward, Forward, Christ men, Cross men!"  They apparently have no women's sports at St. Olaf, which is a shame.  Or maybe the motto is a Norwegian dating strategy.  Who can say?  Vikings, whaddayagonnadowithem?

What this does indicate is the variety of mascot names out there in Lutheran circles.

Dave Benke
Not to be forgotten: the Concordia (Moorhead MN, ELCA) Cobbers. Let's find someone offended by that, apart from the players' grandparents perhaps.

Peace,
Michael

12
Your Turn / Re: De-Classifying the Classics
« on: February 08, 2021, 05:14:17 PM »
When I was newly arrived in Oxford, I wandered through Christ Church Meadow and reflected on how the golden buildings along its north edge were endowed with wealth extracted from people's pain: from the Enclosure Acts, the East India Company, the child labor in the coal mines and the mills and factories, the exploitation of colonial peoples.

My reflections concluded, probably self-servingly, that I could still study theology there, but only if I did my very best, honest work.

There is no innocence to be found. We have to cultivate the virtues appropriate to our sinful state.

Peace,
Michael

13
Your Turn / Re: One Man's Story - leaving his denomination.
« on: February 06, 2021, 08:17:06 PM »
At the top of the long mirror in the sacristy of the chapel here where I live is a small notice, made on one of those tape label devices, that reads
10 MINUTE LIMIT, PLEASE
I noticed it after about five years here. ;D

Peace,
Michael

14
Your Turn / Re: One Man's Story - leaving his denomination.
« on: February 06, 2021, 02:18:30 PM »
Coincidentally, Pope Francis was speaking to a meeting of a church movement today when he said this:
Quote
This attitude of openness and dialogue will help you to avoid any self-absorption, which is always a sin, it is a temptation to look in the mirror. No, this is bad. Only to comb your hair in the morning and nothing more! This avoidance of all self-absorption, which never comes from the good spirit, is our hope for the whole Church: to beware of self-centredness, which always leads to defending the institution to the detriment of individuals, and which can also lead to justifying or covering up forms of abuse. We have experienced this with much pain, we have discovered it in recent years. Self-absorption prevents us from seeing mistakes and shortcomings, it hampers progress, and it prevents an open review of institutional procedures and styles of governance. Instead, it is better to be courageous and to face problems with parrhesia and truth, always following the indications of the Church, which is Mother, the true Mother, and responding to the demands of justice and charity. Self-celebration does no good service to the charism. No. Rather, it is a matter of welcoming each day with wonder - don't forget wonder always indicates the presence of God - the freely-given gift you have received by meeting your ideal of life and, with God's help, trying to correspond to it with faith, humility and courage, like the Virgin Mary after the Annunciation.
Self-centeredness, about which Mr. Krause complained, is a besetting flaw in churches, and perhaps in all organizations.

Peace,
Michael

15
Your Turn / Re: Evangelical Catholicism
« on: January 31, 2021, 03:53:51 PM »
Would there be any way to purchase a single copy of this issue of Lutheran Forum?

I think all copies rest in a storage locker in John Hannah's basement.  He's the guy to get the ball rolling!

Dave Benke

Sorry, but my basement is full of saw dust from my many woodworking projects. You may get single copies of Lutheran Forum (as available) at <alpb.org> or

Ms. Donna Roche
ALPB
PO Box 327
Delhi, NY 13753

 ;D  Peace, JOHN
Are annual subscriptions still being offered?  ;D ;D ;D

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