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Messages - Richard Johnson

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1
Your Turn / Re: Clarification on Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline
« on: September 01, 2021, 08:39:25 AM »

   You in the LCMS talk of the "divine call." I get that, but I have sure known a lot of cases where, if God indeed had a hand in the process, it was grasping air.

In my former parish, after my predecessor retired, the call committee interviewed three candidates. The vote was split down the middle between two of them. The committee agreed to cast lots, with the proviso that if the person on whom the lot fell declined the call, they would, without further conversation, call the other. The first guy dithered for a while before turning it down. The other guy, by that time, had already accepted another call. So they started over with a whole new list of names, and they ended up with me. I served 29 years.

I had the opportunity later to know both of the candidates who turned down the call. Neither of them would have been a good fit for that congregation, IMO.

2
Your Turn / Re: Atheist Chaplains
« on: August 30, 2021, 09:15:12 PM »

Dictionaries (or is it Lexicons) dictate how people should use words (except for puns, when people purposely misuse words :) ).

That's not really correct. Dictionaries report how people actually use words. They are descriptive, not prescriptive.

3
Your Turn / Re: Heteroromantic
« on: August 29, 2021, 06:58:45 PM »
Peter writes, somewhat off topic but he is the moderator:
When you give the gift of the last word, you don’t announce it. Announcing the gift is itself a refusal to give the gift. And you have never, ever let anyone else have the last word. You threaten to leave, you say you’re done here, etc. etc. but you never just ignore a thread or let something stand without comment from you. You can’t even have no comment without posting, “No comment.”
I say:
Drives you nuts, doesn’t it?

No, Charles, it doesn't. You simply pride yourself at being the proverbial pain in the tuchus, whining to Dick whenever you demand that threads be closed down, want a post(s) deleted because you think you were treated without the respect you think you deserve,  demean those with whom you disagree, and continually call people stupid. And Dick appears to accommodate you.

It is what it is.

Actually, the percentage of posts deleted or threads closed because of a complaint from Charles is fairly small.

4

Meanwhile, the most active ELCA posters here are saying in regards to Pastor Bolz-Weber's new role either: "not much to see here" or "what's wrong with her message?"


Well, you can mark down this ELCA poster here as thoroughly embarrassed by the whole sorry mess.

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the Donald Trump of the ELCA, both with regard to her public persona and her pubic policies.

Yes, you read that right.

Tom Pearson

Like.

5
I've been posting on ALPB Forum Online for something like 14 years.  Many things have stayed the same.  One thing that has changed is the Brian and Charles used to represent the liberal ELCA position on things.  Today they represent the conservative ELCA position on things.   :-[

Now that's an indictment!

6
I follow your conviction of being faithful to my wife of 50 years. However, I don’t claim that such monogamous faithfulness is a biblical command.

Actually, if you subscribe to the Catechisms, then you do. But you're just proving the point I made upstream. Clearly, subscription to the Confessions has come to mean something entirely different in the ELCA world than in the LCMS world.


Catechisms are very helpful, but they are not scriptures. I have hundreds of biblical commentaries that are quite helpful, but they are not scriptures.

Clueless.

7
Reality, folks! Tell us, honestly, how many couples who have come to you for marriage are already living together?
How many singles do you know to be inclined to “hook up“ in sexual relationships outside of marriage?
Are they in your pews? Are they communing?

But that isn't really the issue. The issue is: what do we expect of our pastors, and do we take those expectations seriously? Couple who came to me for marriage generally had lots of characteristics or behaviors that would prohibit them from ordination (or would once upon a time). But have we now said, as to pastors' sexual relationships, "Oh, whatever; that horse has left the barn"?

8
Your Turn / Re: Heteroromantic
« on: August 22, 2021, 03:50:39 PM »
By the by, since identifying personal pronouns has become de rigueur my pronouns are er, ihn, seiner.

Mine are I, me, mine.

9
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 15, 2021, 09:25:37 PM »

The starting point must always be "there's a lot about God we don't know, don't understand, and cannot fathom."  There are many passages detailing that truth - God's ways are beyond our understanding. 



My nearly five year old grandson: "Mom, why did God make up the coronavirus? Was it because there were too many people in the world? Or was it to kill the bad guys? Maybe he was trying to kill the bad guys, but accidentally got some good guys, too."

10
Your Turn / Re: President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 15, 2021, 06:35:53 AM »
where I am hymn dictator

In my ministry, I always reserved that role to myself . . .  ;D

11
Your Turn / Re: President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 13, 2021, 12:31:57 PM »

The idea of communing children before confirmation - a long tradition among Lutherans - was changed when we started studying early church history - that even infants received first communion after baptism.

Well, thank goodness we finally started studying early church history.

12
Your Turn / Re: President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 12, 2021, 08:54:26 AM »
What position has the ELCA taken that is out of step with the non-Christian community because it is in step with non-mainline Christians?

Not a lot, but one that comes to mind is the ELCA position on physician-assisted death:
"We oppose the legalization of physician-assisted death, which would allow the private killing of one person by another.  Public control and regulation of such actions would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.  The potential for abuse, especially of people who are most vulnerable, would be substantially increased."

Even there, though, the justification for the position (opposing physician-assisted death) is couched in utilitarian terms, rather than theological or moral ones. And it wouldn't surprise me if this position, now 30 years old, will eventually end up in the ash heap of seriously Christian counter-cultural positions, now given up for the sake of conformity to the culture (but neatly disguised, of course, as "changing views based on deeper reflection and changing realities").


And yet, our Pastoral Care book, (which I don't have with me at the moment,) has a rite for when life-support is ended and death will be eminent. (I have used it.)


We have made a subtle distinction between a physician helping people do something to end their lives, e.g., turning a lever to bring life-ending (and pain-ending) chemicals into their IV; and a physician unhooking a machine that is keeping patients alive so that death will occur.

Not the same thing at all. Distinction not at all subtle.

13
Your Turn / Re: President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 11, 2021, 01:17:57 PM »
What position has the ELCA taken that is out of step with the non-Christian community because it is in step with non-mainline Christians?

Not a lot, but one that comes to mind is the ELCA position on physician-assisted death:
"We oppose the legalization of physician-assisted death, which would allow the private killing of one person by another.  Public control and regulation of such actions would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.  The potential for abuse, especially of people who are most vulnerable, would be substantially increased."

Even there, though, the justification for the position (opposing physician-assisted death) is couched in utilitarian terms, rather than theological or moral ones. And it wouldn't surprise me if this position, now 30 years old, will eventually end up in the ash heap of seriously Christian counter-cultural positions, now given up for the sake of conformity to the culture (but neatly disguised, of course, as "changing views based on deeper reflection and changing realities").

14
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Mission at Valpo
« on: August 08, 2021, 01:32:24 PM »
If you could be doing your job without being called and ordained, then your job isn’t really filling the pastoral office. Just ordaining someone or giving them a pro forma call satisfies some of the arbitrary demands of church organization but ultimately doesn’t change anything.


There are tax issues for the ordained, that non-ordained do not have. That's one reason some folks seek the online ordinations.

If they are seeking online ordination for tax issues, I hope they are prepared to spend a lot more money on legal fees than they would if they just paid their taxes.

15
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: August 07, 2021, 04:17:08 PM »
The distinction is mirrored by the use of the word Pastor as opposed to Reverend.  The former is a title reflecting a call, the second an honorific.  When one is no longer serving a congregation the word Pastor is no longer appropriate and the honorific may be used.  It all depends on the relationship of the man to the congregation. (btw, i cringe whenever I hear clergy referred to as "a" reverend)

But, as has been noted before in these precincts, that usage is not at all universal in American Lutheranism. Most Lutherans in America do not tie the title "pastor" to a person serving a congregation.

I agree, however, that "a reverend" is cringeworthy. But then I also cringe at "Rev. Joe Smith." It should be "The Rev. Joe Smith" or "The Rev. Mr. Smith." But that's a grammatical point rather than a theological one. I cringe at congressional hearings where the nameplate of a witness says something like "Hon. Smith."

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