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Messages - passerby

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We don't have a "police problem" in this country vis-ŕ-vis race but a racial problem caused by a sense of helplessness among people who have seen every possibility of bettering themselves disappearing along with the good jobs that did not require a 4 year degree.  Racial animosity, IMO, exists largely because economic and cultural elites care little for the welfare of the whole community.  Thus we have President Trump as a response to some and riots as a response from others.
There was an interesting interview on NPR with a criminologist at Bowling Green State U, who said that there is a police subculture of fear toward black men and boys, even among officers of color. The interviewer didn't pursue that response but I would argue that there is also a subculture of fear and resistance (and some hostility) toward police in many black neighborhoods that can lead to conflict. Some of this fear is valid, given past experiences, but one can easily see how both communities' fears toward each other can feed on each other. This is a problem that can't be solved anytime soon, especially during a crisis like this.
Here is an interesting article on  this seemingly intractable conflict by black Christian sociologist George Yancey:

I'd say Rod Dreher has it about right this time with this pox on both sides article:

Your Turn / Re: Impeachment Hearings
« on: February 08, 2020, 10:32:37 PM »
A while back Pr. Speckhard said he's never seen anything concrete about President Trump's career racism. This piece from The Atlantic does a nice job collecting examples throughout the decades:

BTW, I don't call Trump a racist as a shorthand to call his voters/supporters racist. I call Trump a racist because he is one. I very much doubt anyone on this board who supports him is a racist. Again, I understand that a great number of people who vote for him do so because their conscience is convicted that he is the best person to turn the tide against abortion. My concern is with those who cheerlead him in all things.

M. Staneck
The article makes tremendous leaps. In 1973, people running real estate development for Trump’s firm engaged in informal redlining, ergo Trump is a racist?

Given that I’ve never seen Trump do anything racist, and given that he disavows racism, and given that all Republican candidates in my lifetime have been decried as racists by publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and online places like Vox, and those claims have been bogus, what I would need in order to be convinced that Trump is a long time racist is evidence that Trump was was widely criticized for being racist in the decades before he became a Republican. Did President Clinton consider Trump to be a racist? Why it why not? Did Mike Bloomberg ever complain about Trump’s racism? Trump has been a public figure for many decades, and in my circles was generally ridiculed for his greed, opulence, immorality, crass showmanship, and self-absorption. By I never heard a word from anyone about his racism until he ran for president with an R after his name.

Sometimes it is hard not to read you as being contrarian on purpose.  But then again maybe you have a point.  For the heck of it I looked up the definition of racist which according to is: a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that one's own racial group is superior or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.  It seems to me that the article shared proves as much concerning the latter but it is not something I want to spend my time arguing over. 

But this reminded me of something Ice-T said when asked about whether he thought Trump was a white supremacist which I think was rather succinct.  Ice-T said that it isn't so much that he's a white supremacist as a supremacist, that he simply believes he's better than/ above everyone. 

A very important point highlighted in the article was that both Trump and Guiliani are very much products of the era of New York from which they came.  I think that's a lot of it when it comes to understanding Trump.  He's a New Yorker and he speaks and acts accordingly.  That doesn't always translate well, especially with those of a more politically correct bend.   I believe I've mentioned this before but there's something about Trump that I find very easy to understand.  I think that's because I grew up around men who spoke like him and have that edge which is borne out of growing up in NYC in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  A lot of these men saw both their neighborhoods fall apart and the decline of NYC take place right before their very eyes.  What resulted was a real gritty period in NYC's history.  Traces of that period still abound, particularly in the baby boomer generation that grew up in NYC.  I'd venture a guess that a strong majority of that demographic voted for Trump in 2016. 


Yes, you are right. You don't hear these sentiment in the city proper as much anymore as in its suburbs, where most of the people who grew up in the city now live. Anyway, for every Giuliani and Trump, there were Moynihans, Careys and even Cuomo (the father not the son) who managed to be civil, Christian, and rise above parochialism.

Your Turn / St. Lydia's
« on: November 17, 2019, 07:12:11 PM »
It seem that St. Lydia's in New York, the pioneer of "dinner churches" is going through turmoil. The pastor suddenly resigned from the  ELCA church, which had received Episcopal Church support, citing financial and theological reasons, facing opposition from a group of members.
What's striking is that this liberal Lutheran pastor tried to establish what she calls a "queer Christian ministry," but, according to her public letter, still faced theological obstacles: She writes: "As a theologian, I think the beliefs we hold are at the heart of the reason we gather. As your pastor, I wanted us to engage with and discover the liberating potential of the language and symbols of Christianity: faith in Christ, sin and forgiveness, theology of the cross, etc. However, many of you have found these things to be too harmful and would prefer that we avoid them altogether. I believe the mission of the church is first and foremost to share God’s redeeming love, which heals our brokenness and frees us to serve one another. But for some of you, hearing me say that “God loves you” has felt like an erasure of your pain and suffering, and has made you feel unsafe in my presence. I hope you will be able to find another pastor who is able to share this good news with you."
I don't know if St. Lydia's is representative of other dinner and alternative churches in the ELCA, but it casts a disturbing light on what and who may be driving this phenomenon.

Your Turn / Re: Tax exemption
« on: October 12, 2019, 12:48:03 PM »
It doesn’t matter what you walk back. In an atmosphere of stark divisions and suspicions, it is the the projection of basic sympathies that sticks with people. Beto and the Dems, regardless of what specific policies they propose, view traditional Christians as “them,” about whom something may or may not have to be done in Washington.
Yes, what this does is just increase the mistrust already legion in this country. Conservative Christians already distrust claims about inclusiveness and social justice from the left, while progressives see any Christian protest about infringements against religious freedom as just a subtext for hatred and the denial of other human rights.

Your Turn / Tax exemption
« on: October 11, 2019, 10:13:37 AM »
I’m sure left Democrats have expressed the sentiment about denying churches/religious groups tax exemption over gay marriage, but it is chilling that it is made in a campaign and that it receives such a warm welcome by commenters:

Your Turn / Herrens Veje
« on: June 22, 2019, 09:17:54 PM »
Has anyone else caught the Netflix series Herrens Veje (Rider of the Storm, I recall)? It is about the trials and tribulations of a Church of Denmark pastor and his family, starring Lars Mikkelsen. It was well done, if over done; the series seems to cram every modern dilemma and issue into its episodes-- Islam, atheism, charismatic renewal, gay rights, adultery, sanctuary and immigration, homelessness, Eastern religion, alcoholism, drug addiction, church mergers, abortion-- I'm surprised they stopped short of clerical sexual abuse.
 It was disconcerting to see the power that the state wields on the church in this series. The bishop acts more like a government functionary or corporate manager than a pastor of pastors. Infringements that seem to be pastoral in nature are handled by public authorities. When the pastor baptizes his grandson against his mother's wishes, he is caught on a hidden camera and brought up on charges. It all made me cherish the American denominational system even more.

Your Turn / Re: Bolz-Weber and the Sexual Reformation
« on: February 12, 2019, 08:52:28 AM »
Pastor Charlton writes:
Isn't it also reasonable to conclude that Pastor Bolz-Weber's bishop approves of her rejection of HSGT along with her choice to violate V&E?  Finally, if that is so, what is the status of HSGT and V&E as official policy in the ELCA? 

I comment:
   That is obvious, Pastor Charlton. The "status" of our social statements and policies go immediately into the dumpster, hauled off to the recycling factory, are ground into sludge and fed to pigs just because one pastor or one bishop or one congregation appears to "get away" with putting an interpretation on those worthy documents which some consider crazier than Mad King Ludwig after ingesting tainted sauerkraut and whiffing pot in the Gotterdamerung room at Neuschwanstein.
   You see, that's how we get our social statements changed. We get a pastor to be prominent and a bishop to comply. And - bingo! - the social statment no longer has "status" or is no longer "official policy."
    ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
This thread has become too bogged down in denominational policy; returning to theological and ethical concerns that I started it with, here is an interesting review of Bolz-Weber's book from Christianity Today:

Your Turn / Re: Bolz-Weber and the Sexual Reformation
« on: February 09, 2019, 08:09:10 PM »
If I read the article correctly, Pastor Bolz-Weber's bishop, the one who granted her a leave from call, endorses her reformation, calling it "long over due."  It seem likely that the same bishop knows that Pastor Bolz-Weber was in violation of V&E, if not before, at least after reading this article.  That she what she teaches contradicts ELCA social statements and that she lives in violation of ELCA policy seems not to be a problem.

I was taken aback by her statements on abortion. Okay, she had one when she was younger, but it seems she then makes an excuse for it. I'm asking where does the "sin" in both "sinner and saint" come into the picture? She doesn't address it as sin and I presume she would do the same for others asking her about their abortions. The same can be said for other kinds of sex outside of marriage. I can understand all her concern about shame and judgmentalism and its affects on people, but people may also need "healing" from these same practices. But, as the article concludes, I guess if it is considered "good sex," it's okay? 

Your Turn / Re: Bolz-Weber and the Sexual Reformation
« on: February 09, 2019, 02:55:23 PM »
On second thought, I think Bolz-Weber's appeal has been her preaching on justification with less of a political angle than what might be found on the religious left. But her ideas on sexual ethics, especially abortion, seem more from a religious left playbook.

Your Turn / Bolz-Weber and the Sexual Reformation
« on: February 09, 2019, 02:37:08 PM »
Not sure if Nadia Bolz-Weber has been discussed much in the Forum but thought members will be interested in this article on her new book from The New Yorker:
Since the reporter is fairly reliable, from reading this article (admittedly, not Weber's book), I'm wondering why Weber has become a favorite of some evangelicals; one of her speaking engagements to promote the book is at a prominent evangelical Episcopal church in NY. It must be her hipster appearance and preaching style, since she seems to be saying pretty much what left Lutherans have for decades on sexuality, abortion, etc. Am I missing anything?

Your Turn / Re: Sayonara To Dr. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson
« on: August 30, 2018, 11:45:47 AM »
I've had the pleasure of working with Sarah the past several years as an associate editor and she is even better behind the scenes. Personally, I know my writing has been made sharper, clearer, and more daring under her tutelage. There is no replacing Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, so I do not think the ALPB board will try. I'm excited to see what's next for Lutheran Forum!

M. Staneck

Thanks for this.  I have appreciated the depth of field in selection of authors and topics/themes.  Working (blessedly) without a Doctrinal Review Commission, what is revealed is the lively and
 inherently engaging nature of Lutheran theology and theologians in a time of tumult where much of what passes for conversation is either conceding to the spirit of the age or just stringing together quotes from the long-deceased.

Dave Benke
Yes, good Lutheran theology, but Sarah was good at soliciting writers who looked at Lutheran culture and church life. Such realities don’t always line up with theologians’ pronouncements— for better or worse.

Your Turn / Re: Sayonara To Dr. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson
« on: August 28, 2018, 03:55:27 AM »
She was one of the best editors of LF at least since Glenn Stone. Although evangelical catholic, Hinlicky drew on other parts of American and world Lutheranism— and beyond. I enjoyed her articles on Lutheran-Pentecostal relations. She opened up the LF to the arts and culture. Sad to see her go.

Your Turn / Re: The end of the catholic church?
« on: August 17, 2018, 12:05:45 PM »
Yet I haven't sensed that people are ready to walk.   I think we need to realize that the Catholic church is not quite like the Lutheran church or Protestant church bodies where mobility is a bit more ordinary.  Will some stop attending church - giving offerings, most likely.   Will even faithful Catholics be turned off - some, but I don't think we'll see our own doors swell with the numbers of Catholics leaving the church.

This is a very important point.  I think it's easy for a lot of Christians in this country to assume Catholics can just pick another church.  The reality is, there is a very real "to whom shall we go?" problem here.  To come to the Orthodox Church, they have to renounce the papacy.  To go to a Protestant communion, they have to renounce the episcopacy.  They can join the sedevacantists, but then they're basically in schism.

That is not to say no one will leave.  Certainly quite a lot of people will leave.  It is to say that the most well catechized and serious Catholics will have a much harder time doing so.  And as an Orthodox Christian who really believes in what we teach, I sympathize greatly with that.  I don't know what I'd do if our church were involved in these sorts of things. 

The Church of Christ has seen worse than this, and that is important to consider.  Our shared history is not without turbulence.  Those who understand that history will not be as quick to suggest the demise of the Roman Catholic Church.  She has seen as bad as this, perhaps worse, already.

It may be the case that ex-Catholics will be a lot like ex-Mormons. Studies have found that when Mormons leave their church, they tend not to join another one. There are also reports that ex-Mormons rate high in atheism. The distinctive nature of both churchs--proclaiming it the true church with its structures woven closely into their beliefs-- makes it less likely that the "apostates" will seek an alternative church.

Your Turn / Re: The end of the catholic church?
« on: August 17, 2018, 11:58:26 AM »
To add to my brief and quick comments upstream, I note first of all that pedophilia is not a "gay disease."
And then I note that it has been said that many who were uncertain of, frightened by or otherwise threatened by their sexuality at times fled to celibacy as a means of escaping their "difficulties." That didn't always work.
The damage to the church will be done as we learn more and more about the systemic coverup and protection of those who did wrong.
The situation of former Cardinal McCarrick is one of the more astonishing examples. When he was archbishop in Newark, NJ, I interviewed him a couple of times, and it was clear he was to rise even higher, which he did as Cardinal-Archbishop of Washington, D.C. McCarrick's persona was such that he was able to raise huge amounts of money from big donors, glad-hand all types of people and fit in with the elite and glitterati.
If, as has been suggested now, his misdeeds were known or strongly suspected and he still advanced in the hierarchy... well, wow!
Cardinal Law of Boston, perpetrator of the massive cover-up there left Boston for a cushy job in Rome.
Who's next and what will happen to them?
As for the comment from the deaconess just upstream, I have watched clergy misdeed scandals for a lot of years, and have been an "insider" LCA Lutheran who knew about some that made news and some didn't. I dispute the comment that "this is everywhere." If "this" means the sexual abuse currently under discussion, it is not "everywhere" among us.
I know of about five sexual abuse of children incidents among LCA/ELCA Lutheran clergy, and all pastors involved were - I believe - disciplined and removed from ordained ministry. I know of one where, though the charges of misconduct involving a teenage girl seemed credible, there was some "deal" and he was not removed from ministry.
Way back in time - 40 years, maybe 50 - a divorce could cost a pastor his ministry and the conditions of the divorce didn't matter. He was out.
But we digress. The Roman Catholic part of the Church faces some very serious times.

Here is a counterview:

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