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Messages - Rev. Spaceman

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16
Your Turn / Re: What Is Your Favorite Christmas Carol?
« on: December 25, 2013, 12:30:16 AM »
That's a nice pietistic hymn. Is the tune decent? :-)

The tune is beautiful.  Google the Danish title and you can hear various people sing it.  By "Pietistic," I suppose what you mean is that the text is intensely personal.  Yes it is, as are many other beloved hymns, one of which is "Ah, Holy Jesus."

17
Your Turn / Re: What Is Your Favorite Christmas Carol?
« on: December 23, 2013, 04:45:47 PM »
O Holy Night was actually written by a Unitarian abolitionist.  That helps explain the line "chains shall he break for the slave is our brother."  I have nothing against abolitionism, of course, but I think one needs to think about the "theology" of the song: "Truly he taught us to love one another."  OK, but is that really the most significant aspect of Christ's work?  Under scrutiny, the song proclaims Christ as an example of benevolence (active good will toward the neighbor) and not as savior from sin and eternal death.  When sung properly, it can be beautiful, but I concur with the comment that I have never heard it sung as a congregational hymn.  And that's probably a good thing, as it doesn't seem to be meant for that purpose.

My favorite Christmas hymn is actually from the Scandinavian tradition, which has not been very well represented in the American context.  Hans Adolph Brorson wrote the following hymn "Mit Hjerte Alltid Vanker" (My Heart is Filled with Wonder), translated by Gracia Grindal:

"My heart is filled with wonder
to think how poor, forlorn
the manger was for Jesus
the night that he was born.
And yet it is my treasure
my hope, my faith, my light
I cannot ever leave you,
O blessed Christmas night!

A wonder unlike any
that I have ever known,
to think that God almighty
would leave his heavenly throne.
To sleep in this dark stable
without a kingly crown,
to think that God almighty
from heaven would come down.

This stable dark and dreary
shall be a palace rare!
Each day I'll learn to seek it
instead of earthly care.
Here I have found the flower,
the rose for which I've yearned.
When I remember Jesus
my heart within me burns!

18
Does anyone know what happened to David Barnhart's blog, the one where he keeps track of the congregations that have left the ELCA since August 2009?  He seems to have abruptly stopped posting in January of this year without any explanation.


I've been in touch with Pastor Barnhart about churches transferring affiliation, as well as several other people who forward both of us information on the topic. It appears that the exodus of congregations has slowed to such a trickle that it is no longer news. I have had minimal news this year myself, from any source. There is some, but not much. I think it's safe to say that the post 2009 CWA Exodus is over. What congregations leave the ELCA from now on appear to be just the normal attrition level of pre-2009 CWA times.


That's not to say that some new event might not trigger a renewal of the Exodus. I don't think it likely, but I do see it as possible.

That might be true (that the exodus has come to an end and won't start up again), but I'd still be interested in seeing which churches are departing.  There are some who haven't gotten around to discussing affiliation issues yet, but nonetheless have some opinions.  But I can understand that the work of keeping track of it all can be tedious.

19
Does anyone know what happened to David Barnhart's blog, the one where he keeps track of the congregations that have left the ELCA since August 2009?  He seems to have abruptly stopped posting in January of this year without any explanation.

20
Your Turn / Re: Advent Question
« on: November 25, 2013, 08:15:20 PM »
I tend to not think of Advent as a penitential season or one of "preparation."  Rather, in keeping with the focus of Lutheran preaching in the 16th century, the focus is on the ways that Christ comes to us, not on our preparations.  There was a helpful article in Lutheran Forum a while back about this.

http://www.lutheranforum.org/extras/LF2012-2_27-30_Haemig_Advents.pdf

21
Your Turn / Re: Proposal to establish an NALC Seminary
« on: July 19, 2013, 05:43:27 PM »
My sense in reading the taskforce proposal is that they are open to flexibility for the future.  I understand the disappointment of ILT folks, but let's now think creatively about how to include ILT in the NALC seminary plan for the future.  I think if a residential option were in place as well as the accredidation, it would be a much different story.  So the goal now should be to engage the relevant persons in conversation about how ILT could become one of the "houses of study" that the proposal discusses.  With a little effort and willingness to listen on all sides, I think that could happen.  I plan on bringing it up at the convocation this August.  At the same time, we should be grateful for the opportunity that Trinity in Ambridge has extended.  For me it's not either/or but both/and.

22
Your Turn / Re: Name A Seminary Professor Who Influenced Your Ministry
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:49:53 PM »
Craig Koester and Walter Sundberg.  And, though he was retired long before I started seminary, Roy Harrisville Jr. was influential if for no other reason than sheer entertainment!

23
Your Turn / Re: Reclaim's agenda...
« on: January 07, 2013, 08:42:56 PM »
Oliver Olson has always and in many places been a strong critic of the LBW, particularly with regard to the eucharistic prayers and the idea that the sacrament is a "celebration" and what he calls a "re-actualization" of the Supper.


In this he is not alone. When the supper is seen as our action towards God or a once again re-sacrificing of Jesus--(a sacrifice that was completed, once for all, "it is finished") then it is indeed proper to ask what in the name of Gertie's goats is going on here.


Reclaim has its problems. The absolution comes across as conditional and needs to be modified IMO, and the exhortation places the emphasis wrongly making it difficult for my Norwegian member to commune (he believes he is not worthy). The funeral service is also more consistent with Lutheran Pietism than Orthodoxy.


Ahh, worship wars.....


Lou

Lou, as I mentioned, Sundbeg's book deals with how the two keyed absolution has a long history in Lutheran worship as well as the exhortation to examine oneself before communion. Also, most recent scholarship downplays the differences between "orthodoxy" and "pietism." The danger of subjectivism is a real danger that needs to be guarded against, but every liturgical option carries its own set of dangers, ssuch as in " cheap grace."


I had a conversation a month ago with Dr Rast on our mutual acquaintance with Steve Paulson. He mentioned that at one LQ meeting he and Steve had a rather contentious interchange with Skip Sundberg and Gracia Grindal about whether the absolution is conditional or unconditional. I will continue to side with Rast and Paulson that the absolution is a comfort to sinners only when it is proclaimed unconditionally. And that is my main complaint about the "two-keyed" approach to the absolution and exhortation as found in Reclaim--they throw us back upon ourselves--Am I repentant enough? Am I sorry enough? The comfort of the Gospel depends on God--not my attitude about it.


Lou

Lou,

Luther himself and other Lutheran Reformers included the two keyed absolution and exhortation to Communion in their liturgical orders.  This was also the practice in most of American Lutheranism until fairly recently.  Read Sundberg's book.  I'm not saying that we should just blindly accept what has been done in the past, but the fact that Luther and his colleagues used such devices as the two key absolution and the exhortation to Communion ought to at least give one pause before tossing it out the window.  For Luther, the binding key helped to ensure that people would receive the absolution with the proper gratitude.  How can one fully understand the meaning of the absolution without understanding the threatening dangers of our sins?  Throwing back on ourselves?  Well, as I have said, I am aware of the possible danger of subjectivism.  But the gospel does get applied in my life and yours, in our circumstances, and rightly causes introspection. 

24
Your Turn / Re: Reclaim's agenda...
« on: January 05, 2013, 04:19:39 PM »
Oliver Olson has always and in many places been a strong critic of the LBW, particularly with regard to the eucharistic prayers and the idea that the sacrament is a "celebration" and what he calls a "re-actualization" of the Supper.


In this he is not alone. When the supper is seen as our action towards God or a once again re-sacrificing of Jesus--(a sacrifice that was completed, once for all, "it is finished") then it is indeed proper to ask what in the name of Gertie's goats is going on here.


Reclaim has its problems. The absolution comes across as conditional and needs to be modified IMO, and the exhortation places the emphasis wrongly making it difficult for my Norwegian member to commune (he believes he is not worthy). The funeral service is also more consistent with Lutheran Pietism than Orthodoxy.


Ahh, worship wars.....


Lou

Lou, as I mentioned, Sundbeg's book deals with how the two keyed absolution has a long history in Lutheran worship as well as the exhortation to examine oneself before communion. Also, most recent scholarship downplays the differences between "orthodoxy" and "pietism." The danger of subjectivism is a real danger that needs to be guarded against, but every liturgical option carries its own set of dangers, ssuch as in " cheap grace."

25
Your Turn / Re: Reclaim's agenda...
« on: January 04, 2013, 11:53:29 PM »
I am actually new to the board of directors of ReClaim Resources. Hence, I agree with their vision of worship. I know this is a sensitive topic for many, and I really dont want to get caught up in a big debate here. But i will simply clarify afew things about their/our "agenda." The guiding principle is that worship should be based on the sinful human need for repentance rather than a celebratory eucharistic piety. Hence, there is a two keyed absolution as well as exhortation before communion. As someone noted, there is also concern for getting the direction straight in worship, that all parts of the service proclaim the word of God. Also, there is the concern that in lbw/elw resources, the assumption seems to be that everyone in attdndance in worship is a baptized and believing Christian. While that might be ideal, it is not realistic. Many of the funerals I have been called upon to conduct, the person wsa not baptized. So, the focus of the service, while not denying the importance of baptism theologically, instead seeks to proclaim the gospel to those in attendance, not assuming they are. Hristians, encouraging them to respond in faith to what has been proclaimed. I dont see it as a regrwssion at all. Having used some of the resources, I have found them to be very helpful. A good summary of the principles under which ReClaim operates can be found in Walter Sundberg's book "Worship as Repentance." I commend it to you. I am NALC, by the way, as well as LCMC, and although I might have some differences of opinion about some of these issues with others, I dont regard their views as heretical, and I have to say that I still appreciate the contributions of those of differing pieties. Peace.

26
Your Turn / Re: Leading ELCA Theologian: Paulson or Wengert?
« on: December 18, 2012, 07:31:24 PM »
Jim Nestingen is no longer in the ELCA


The ELCA webpage still lists him on the ELCA clergy roster.
I thought he was in the NALC...

Nestingen did officially join the NALC, but for some reason is still listed on the ELCA roster.  Likely he never formally resigned from the roster and they haven't gotten around to removing him.  Same thing happened with Paull Spring, I believe.  I know of another retired professor who has joined the NALC and has not officially resigned from the ELCA roster.  Lots of things in flux right now, and it will take time for it to get all straightened out.

27
Your Turn / Re: Yeago at ILT?
« on: November 30, 2012, 12:43:31 AM »
I don't know anything specific about Yeago being at ILT, just that many of the professors they have teaching there are essentially adjunct.  They have a list of "permanent faculty," but that does not mean that it is a full time job.  They might teach a course every semester or so.  I also taught a lay course there last semester in order to get some teaching experience. 

28
Your Turn / Re: Yesterday...
« on: November 24, 2012, 01:23:36 AM »
Lutherans have rarely been "unified," and are probably more unified now than when we needed a church for the Germans, another one for the Swedes, one for the Finns, one for the Danes (maybe two), and at least two for the Norwegians (each Norwegian needs a church that they can say they would never go to).
And we began unifying, hence the "old" ALC, The ALC, the LCA and now the ELCA.We don't have the "unity" thing quite right yet.

Actually, at one point, there were as many as five different Norwegian Lutheran denominations!

29
Your Turn / Re: Yesterday...
« on: November 23, 2012, 08:51:12 PM »
...my sister and I were traveling through Southeastern Minnesota. We had our Tom Turkey dinner at my sister-in-law's. Then we went to my brother's farm for pumpkin and minced meat pies. Of a distance of some 30-35 miles and through small towns, we passed by a lot of Lutheran churches and we tried to note whether they are ELCA or LCMS. In many small towns both are across the street from one another. Passing by St. John's, I noted that it was ELCA and and she said, "No, it's LCMC." I guess my eyes weren't quick enough. My sister asked me what was LCMC. I couldn't tell her.

What a sad state of affairs that the Lutheran Church is dividing into so many acronyms that can't be kept track of. I am assuming much of it is the divide that has mostly to do with one's political and even progressive sexual views, especially those views that have to do with homosexuality. Rather than discussion, we wallow in an alphabet soup of maddening acronyms.

This really isn't anything new.  For some time now Lutherans in the USA have had two major-sized denominational bodies, but there have been a number of smaller bodies as well.  Back in the 1950s, there were about as many Lutheran denominations as there are today but with the numbers of Lutherans more evenly divided among the various groups.  That division had a lot to do with different ethnic backgrounds, but it also had to do with honest doctrinal differences. 

I think you are right that differing views on sexuality are largely responsible for the most recent division among Lutherans, but there's more to it than that.  Many believe that the sexuality debate is just a part of a larger disagreement on more fundamental issues, such as the nature of the gospel itself (acceptance/"inclusivity" vs. repentance/redemption).

As far as "discussion," that has been tried, the result of which was a recognition by many that they were really speaking different languages of faith. 

As for LCMC, you can find information here: www.lcmc.net
For NALC, www.thenalc.org

30
Your Turn / Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« on: September 19, 2012, 02:58:07 PM »
I appreciate all the input to my question.  It seems
professional degrees such as M.Div and D.Min are
not on the same level as academic degrees lilke
STM or PH.D   This explains why a D.Min could only
teach in the Practical Department at our Seminaries.
This has concerned me that a D.Min could be on the
Seminary faculty.

My other concern has been the motivation for getting
an D.Min.  I have heard parish pastors tell me they
wanted a D.Min so they could go up on the District
Salary guidelines.  I felt that was poor motivation.
If you get a D.Min because you want to improve your
ministry in the parish that is a different story.

Dave,

As Charles said, I think the value of doing a DMin has to do with your personal motivation.  There are quite a few DMin programs that really have a reputation for enhancing a pastor's skills in a particular area.  I have always heard good things about Luther Seminary's DMin in preaching.  With a DMin in that area, for example, you might be able to do some adjunct teaching work at some point, but it's not likely that it will be a fast track to a teaching career.  I think it's meant more for personal enrichment and for "bringing together" what you know as a pastor so that your work can be more effective.

A "down side" about these kinds of degrees is that they do tend to take a lot of work while one is doing ministry.  One person told me that "it is too much on my plate."  At Luther, for example, you have to spend three weeks on campus for three summers in a row in addition to the work you need to accomplish throughout the year.  Another thing is that the degree can be expensive.  I think that Luther's DMin program is a total of 10K, payable in increments.  No financial aid from the institution is available. 

Also be aware that religious degrees like a DMin have a reputation for being fraudulent.  So, you want to make sure that the degree program you are looking at is legitimate (accredited).

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