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Messages - Rev. Spaceman

Your Turn / Re: Yeago at ILT?
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. 
Your Turn / Re: Yesterday...
November 24, 2012, 01:23:36 AM
Quote from: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2012, 11:19:47 PM
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!
Your Turn / Re: Yesterday...
November 23, 2012, 08:51:12 PM
Quote from: RogerMartim on November 23, 2012, 08:03:28 PM 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:
Your Turn / Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
September 19, 2012, 02:58:07 PM
Quote from: Dave Likeness on September 19, 2012, 01:56:35 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.


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).
Quote from: amy schifrin on September 07, 2012, 11:39:04 AM
I am an Evangelical Catholic serving a Lutheran parish. This essay was written and published in a collection of essays through through ALPB while I was serving under the auspices of the ELCA. It was reprinted with permission through a Benedictine University this last year while I've been serving through the auspices of the NALC. Portions of it will soon be made available again through The United Methodist's Pro-life group called Lifewatch. While some denominations have official statements, it's easy to see that individuals within many denominations will differ with the official "position." I'd like to also recommend an excellent book which I have recently read, A LOVE FOR LIFE, by Dennis Di Mauro (Wipf&Stock), which does include over 20 current denominational statements on abortion.

Here's the link to the essay. I hope you find it helpful.

Excellent piece.  I am deeply moved.
Quote from: PastorsGausmann on August 22, 2012, 05:12:20 PM
Sorry to stay on topic, but I was just wondering about the altar and pulpit fellowship expectations between members of LWF. One of my NALC friends indicated that this was the source of disagreement at the NALC meeting over whether or not the NALC should seek to join the LWF.  From what I gather the debate was civil and well settled but the issue of entering into altar and pulpit fellowship with the more liberal side of the LWF membership raised some trepidation, how was that settled? Also how are the relationships within NALC between the more high church and the low church folks (forgive the simplicity but you know what I mean?

My sense is that various pieties within the NALC are coexisting well, and I truly hope that remains the case.  I have made so many new friends over the last couple of years, most of whom represent a different piety than my own.  As someone who values historical Pietism as a part of the Lutheran heritage (though I'm not overly "low church" in terms of worship style), I value the contributions of those more "high church" minded-folks and evangelical catholics.  I might not agree with some of them at every point, nor they with me, but at the end of the day, we recognize one another as Trinitarian, Lutheran Christians, and there is a lot we can learn from one another.  Our differences are in the realm of practice more so than doctrine.  My sense is that the NALC so far has been an environment where such differences are not viewed as a negative thing, but rather as an expression of acceptible diversity.  I am very happy being a part of the NALC.

Yes, I think the debate on the LWF resolution was respectful.  And even though I support it, I can understand where the other side is coming from.  As I have said elsewhere, if demands are made on the NALC that violate our convictions, I will be the first to advocate for removing ourselves from the Federation.
Quote from: TravisW on May 14, 2012, 05:49:44 PM

Anyway, differences between the Synod congregations and Hauge congregations were very noticeable for some decades after the 1917 merger.  Looking through church yearbooks, you can see early "Synod" years where the pastor wore full vestments, often with a ruff.  Some years later, you see the vestments get simpler and simpler until it got to a point where many pastors were simply wearing suits.  The "low church" mentality was part of the Haugean DNA spreading even into formerly non-Haugean congregations.

I would argue that what you see in yearbooks doesn't necessarily reflect the use of vestments in parish practice.  In some cases it might, but as I mentioned in a previous post, if anything, the practices of the Hauge Synod were pretty much lost after 1917.  Of course, it's a complex issue, with a lot of "cross-breeding" between the different pieties. 
Quote from: TravisW on May 14, 2012, 10:50:22 PM
Quote from: Bergs on May 14, 2012, 10:15:44 PM
Are the Lutheran Brethren considered more "Haugean" than other Lutheran groups.  My wife's family is real big on the Lutheran Brethren and I know that family (all Norwegian immigrants from the Nordfjord area) was wooed into the Lutheran Brethren by some itinerant pastors in about 1920.

Brian J. Bergs.
Minneapolis, MN

Yes, there's a whole lot more Haugean influence in the LB than in most other Lutheran denominations.  There's some in the Free Lutherans too, but not to quite the same extent.  The most overtly "Haugean" synod remaining in the USA is the Eielsen Synod.  Well, "remaining" -  I think there's one Eielsen congregation left.

If I'm not mistaken, I think the last Eielsen Synod congregation closed in 1997, though I think that there are still a couple of families that identify with it, if that counts as a "congregation."
After the 1917 merger and beyond, the leadership had to address questions of how to honor the different traditions that converged to form the NLCA (later the ELC).  There were varying degrees of formality in worship, with even some of the United Church pastors rejecting the use of clerical vestments.  The Hauge Synod pretty much frowned on such a thing.  They also rejected the use of the typical order of worship of the Church of Norway in favor of "free prayer" during worship.  Once the agreement was made for Hauge's Synod to join the 1917 merger, there was a provision stating that the principles of "Hauge style" worship would continue to be taught in seminary.  But even so, most congregations eventually abandoned that practice in favor of more formality in worship.  The practice of preachers wearing only frock coats rather than the full clerical outfit died out for the most part as well.

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren, like all other Norwegian Lutheran bodies to varying degrees, does identify with the tradition of the Haugean revival and its interpretations in America.  The big thing about the COLB that separated them from other bodies, even the Lutheran Free Church, was their understanding of "membership."  Inactive members couldn't vote or have Communion.  They were out to make higher demands on "members."
Quote from: grabau on May 09, 2012, 05:28:54 PM

the Norwegians not of Norske Synod did not affirm BoC. grabau

Interestingly, one of the prececessor bodies (the smallest one) of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 1890, the Norwegian Augustana Synod, did formally subscribe to the entire BoC.  However, you are right that the subsequent Norwegian denominations did not see the need for a formal subscription to the entire BoC.  This doesn't mean that they didn't value it, however.
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2012, 11:42:09 AM
Quote from: wgross on May 09, 2012, 11:33:27 AM
My grandmother, who was a member of a heavily Norwegian congregation in Minneapolis, told me during the 1960s that when a man and woman with a Finnish surname introduced themselves to the pastor after a service one Sunday, the pastor told them, perhaps curtly, that "the Finnish church is down the street." Apparently some members of the congregation reproved the pastor for this. In his defense, he explained that he had made clear that they were quite welcome in his parish, but that he thought that they might like to know that there was a Finnish church nearby since they might feel  more at home there. I suppose that it all depends on how he said it, and I wasn't there. I don't think that the pastor was necessarily unwelcoming, but I've always thought that this was an amusing example of the intense ethnicity of American Lutheranism until relatively recent times.

Finns are a different group altogether. Their language is not related to the Scandinavian languages. I was told by an elderly couple - one was Finnish - that there was a time in Wyoming history that their marriage was considered illegal because Finns were not considered Caucasians, thus it was a forbidden, mixed marriage. He didn't say which nationality the Finns were considered. (My guess is Mongoloid.)

Yes, the Finnish language is quite different, and some linguists even believe it is related to Hungarian.  But there is a considerable minority in Finland that does speak Swedish as a primary language and many more that speak Swedish as a second language.  So, it is a bit of an open question whether Finland can be considered "Scandinavian."  Finnish immigration to the US was a bit later than the other nordic countries as well.  Quite a few Finns in the US came out of the Laestadian revival, which became "Apostolic Lutheranism" in the US.
Quote from: LTSwede on May 08, 2012, 10:13:29 PM
Quote from: Rev. Spaceman on May 07, 2012, 07:07:49 PMThere was a strong desire among the Swedish American Lutherans to distance themselves from the State Church of Sweden.

Where to start...
As a proud swedish american born here, with ties to the U.P. of Michigan (logging, mining for 2 generations), yet still have 1st cousins/Aunts/Uncles relatives in Sweden (a most convoluted tale), ordained in Vasteras in the Church of Sweden. I can speak to this topic.

I am also married to a 100% norwegian lass from Minnesota with ties to North Dakota and the whole Norwegian issue (and yes her father is even an old ALC Pastor).

My sense is that most Swedes (and Norwegians) came for economic reasons.  They were not fleeing from religious persecution (of course exceptions such as Bishop Hill).  They were not trying "to distance themselves" from a state church.  The "church" for most of them was a great solace of religion, language, and culture.  Whether on the prairies or in the logging camps they sought an anchor of faith.  Yes it had strains of "pietism", Selma Lagerlof, Laestadius (or Hauge for the norwegians), et al - but so did the Church of Sweden at that time.  Most of the immigrants came from the south and west of Sweden which to this day would be considered more "low church" than other parts.  My grandparents church in Varmland was a "new" church from the late 1800's that replaced the old medieval church.  It is a pretty non-descript church (still beautiful) that would fit into a New England scene.  The Church(s) where I was ordained in Vastmanland and served had medieval gothic structures with triptychs, multiple altars, ornate fonts, high mass, chasubles/copes etc.  Even to this day the Church of Sweden has some diversity of liturgy, theology, and history within the various Diocese.

As to language, I find that I can understand some Norwegians better than I can understand the southern Swedes (Skane in particular -its almost a Danish dialect "porridge in the throat" they say).  My family is from Varmland on the Norwegian border, which is also a unique dialect - they called my grandmothers Swedish "fattigmans Svensk" or poor mans Swedish.

LTSwede, I want to clarify that in making that comment about "distancing themselves from the Church of Sweden," I was not referring to immigrants.  I think you're right that most Swedes, like most other immigrants, came in search of a better way of life in NA.  My comment referred more broadly to the life of the Augustana Synod throughout its history.  It wasn't always clear-cut; there were some who longed for a connection with the Church of Sweden, but on the whole, the Augustana Synod tended to shy away from anything that would suggest that it was simply the American "arm" of the Church of Sweden.
Quote from: James_Gale on May 08, 2012, 05:02:49 PM
Quote from: Mike in Maryland on May 08, 2012, 03:51:57 PM
George's post is generally correct, but with one addendum.  Most of the Swedish immigrant congregations that became Episcopalian did so before the American Revolution, when the Church of England was indeed the official church of the colonies, at least from England's point of view.  Other churches, the Puritans in New England, for example, served as established churches in their territories, and colonies like Pennsylvania and Rhode Island had no formally established church.

Good point.  The Swedes who came to North America before the Revolution are in a very different category from those -- mostly from SmÃ¥land, as I understand it -- who came to the US in the mid- to late-19th century.  The latter group included those who formed the Augustana Synod.  As Pr. Spaceman has pointed out, the relationship between Augustana and the Church of Sweden was not simple.  While individual opinions must of varied, Augustana as a body seemed intent on staking out its independence while at the same time yearning for some kind of special relationship with the "mother church."  Theological and political issues played a role.  But the biggest concern seemed to relate to efforts by the Church of Sweden to "share" the episcopacy with Augustana.  Augustana's resistance, as much as anything, seemed driven by a strong desire not to be seen as being somehow under the Church of Sweden.

I appreciate Pr. Spaceman's contributions here.  I don't know how relevant any of this is to today.  But I find it all quite interesting, all the same.

For what it's worth, the Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College includes a bishop from the Church of Sweden.  The King and Queen will be visiting the College in the fall.  So somehow or other, the relationships have persisted.

My thinking is that this history is really very relevant today as we think about mergers, different pieties.  The vestiges of these things can be seen today in many places.  For a long time, merger was seen as the destiny of American Lutherans.  In some cases, mergers are certainly practical.  But with every merger, some things are lost.  For example, with the 1917 merger of the Norwegian bodies, although attempts were made to preserve the Haugean worship tradition, the Haugean worship tradition was pretty much lost in the shuffle.
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 08, 2012, 02:57:01 PM
Archbishop Nathan Soderblom (of Uppsala) visited an group of Augustana congregations here in the Bronx in the 1920s. That would indicate a degree of solidarity between the Augustana Synod and the Church of Sweden.

Peace, JOHN

John, I noted this in one of my posts.  And although it is true that Archbishop Soderblom visited the United States in the 1920s, his visit and the content of his preaching were heavily criticized by many within the Augustana Synod.  At least one commentator in the Augustana Synod's periodical accused Soderblom of essentially promoting Unitarianism.  He presented the president of the Augustana Synod with a pectoral cross as a sign of friendship, and it was accepted, but it was accepted with reservations, including a statement that the acceptance of the gift did not imply a recognition that the Augustana Synod was somehow under the jurisdiction of the State Church of Sweden.

The Augustana Synod had a somewhat complex relationship with the Church of Sweden over the years.  There was a sense of shared Swedish heritage expressed among many, yet there was reluctance to affirm that tie too closely, as the Church of Sweden, like Soderblom, were viewed as too liberal.
Quote from: Bergs on May 08, 2012, 02:14:54 PM
In my little hometown located in the middle of Minnesota there were 567 residents (in the 1960 census, 599 in 1970) and 3 Lutheran churches - the Swedish, the Norwegian, and the German (Missouri Synod).  At one time there was also a Danish Lutheran Church which had not survived by the time I arrived and no one told me much about it except where it had been located.  There was also a Methodist, Free Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Church of the Open Bible congregation.

In reviewing the history of the Swedish and the Norwegian Lutheran church they had considered forming a single Lutheran parish in 1887 when the town was just forming.  But the record shows they were not able to put it together.  The Norwegian Lutheran church I was a member of there had strong Haugean roots which may explain a whole lot.  Perhaps it was a language thing.  However I am told that depending on dialect, Norwegians and Swedes can reasonably understand each other. 

In the 1950's both congregations were without a called pastor at the same time and they again tried to merge (there had been a bit of "inter-racial" marriage during the intervening years).  Again it failed though no one I talked to could remember why.  By then both congregations were having all services in English so language was not a barrier.  Up until 1946, there was still 1 service per month being performed in Norwegian.

The two parishes finally merged in the 1980's given the very trying economic times (remember the rural bank crisis) and changing demographics.  Even then it took another 10 years of wrangling before they were able to settle the "which building" question when they built a new church (a financially well-off member stepped up and led a capital campaign with a very generous gift, darn those rich people anyway).

My only recollection of the differences fits with other stories above.  In the former ALC (Norwegian Lutheran Church) the pastor was unable to be a congregational officer and when seeking out a new pastor, several candidates would be interviewed.  In 1984 I joined an LCA (Swedish Lutheran Church) in Minneapolis as given the upcoming merger ALC vs LCA made no difference.  To my surprise the senior pastor also served as President of the congregation which was allowed at this LCA congregation.  Serving on a call committee about 5 years later the more seasoned members of the congregation told me they were surprised to get more than one candidate as in the old days of the LCA/Augustana Synod the bishop recommended a candidate and there was no discussion.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Brian, Swedes and Norwegians can indeed understand each other for the most part.  The Scandinavian languages are pretty much the same in the grand scheme of things.  But there are slight differences, especially in the written forms of the languages.  There are also somewhat different cultural traditions in the respective countries.  There could have been any number of reasons why the two congregations wouldn't have wanted to merge at that point.  At that time, there were still emigrants from both countries arriving.  This kept alive the hope that the unique linguistic and cultural traditions needed to be maintained.  How would official records be kept in a unified congregation?  In which language?  As you note, there were likely issues of piety/worship involved in the mix.  Some Norwegians, especially those most closely related to the State Church of Norway, might have had an easier time fitting in with the Swedes.  Though some Swedes also could identify with a "low church" style as well.
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