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Messages - passerby

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Your Turn / Re: Reaction in ELCA churches to CWA
« on: August 24, 2009, 01:03:41 PM »
I attended two churches in the NY Metro Synod. One, Our Redeemer, Seaford, only made a passing reference to the decsion, and the pastor invited those with questions to talk to him personally. The other, St. Luke, Farmingdale, was far more forthright. The pastor's sermon was based on the decision, stating that it went against catholic tradition. He then declared that him and the assistant pastor are out of communion with the ELCA, though he was not sure what the implications of that would be for the congregation.

Your Turn / Re: LCMS reaction
« on: August 24, 2009, 12:43:47 PM »
I returned to Lutheranism as a college student in the early 80s and to this Lutheran New Yorker, it seems now like it was an enchanted time. The LCA and the ALC were relatively orthodox and had good relations with the LCMS through the Lutheran Council.

The ALC may possibly have been "relatively orthodox" in those days, but the LCA/ULCA/General Synod have never been orthodox.   And the LCMS was more liberal & heterodox than we are now during LCUSA days.

I'm speaking of relatively orthodox in relation to the situation today. The LCA under Crumley was theologically serious and can't be compared with the ELCA under Hanson. Yes, the LCMS was more liberal than today, but I would categorize it as less ideological (on the right) just as the LCA and ALC was less ideological (on the left). This less ideological certainty permitted a cooperative nature that is history today; a congregation could be LCMS and AELC, the LCMS could at least partially cooperate in the Lutheran Council, etc. But such moderation is out of style on all fronts today.

Your Turn / Re: LCMS reaction
« on: August 23, 2009, 08:59:11 PM »
I ask:
You would really disrupt hundreds of social service agencies, serving tens of thousands of people, employing thousands of people and beloved by tens of thousands of congregations and individuals throughout the country? You would do that just because you do not think the ELCA is "safe"?
Actions have consequences and fallout.  It wasn't The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod that voted this week to abandon the traditional Christian understanding of homosexuality as sinful behavior.   

In reading these posts, it just hit home that a whole era in American Lutheranism is ending. Sure this has been true for 20 years, but now it seems that even unofficial and social ministry unity between Lutheranism is ending. To this moderate ELCAer the Lutheran future looks bad. I returned to Lutheranism as a college student in the early 80s and to this Lutheran New Yorker, it seems now like it was an enchanted time. The LCA and the ALC were relatively orthodox and had good relations with the LCMS through the Lutheran Council. We knew there were gay pastors, but we minded our business and they didn't make a big deal of proclaiming it from the rooftops. There were great theologians in all the bodies and people had enough lives of their own  not to spend endless hours harping on minors. Maybe it was all a facade, but pre-ELCA American Lutheranism (and even New York Lutheranism) was not a bad thing.
 Now we have everyone at each other's throat, a denomination that equates being social progressive and inclusive with Christianity, church decline all around (in the LCMS as well as a ELCA), and the passing of the guard of theologians/church leaders who appealed to a broad middle--Lazareth, Marshall, Forde, Forrell (though thankfully still alive)--with few replacements in sight. Lutheranism was appealing back then because it was a middle ground between the liberal mainline and conservative evangelicalism. Maybe it was all just a delusion or the fading of an ethnicity that was able to house such moderation without loss of identity. Anyway, all this is a reason to mourn, since it's not coming back again.

Your Turn / Re: LCMS reaction
« on: August 23, 2009, 08:33:00 PM »
As an aside, a prediction: within 10 years the ELCA will no longer recognize "bound consciences." Acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy will be required of all pastors and AIM.

This will no doubt be the case.

My guess is that in much less than 10 years, all who would object to a homosexual pastor will have left the ELCA. They won't need to change policies, they'll just chase away the dissenters.

It will probably happen when a gay pastor is voted bishop. That's when any conscience clause will become more difficult. An active lesbian was just elected bishop of Stockholm so I give it a few years. In a gay friendly synod like the Metro New York Synod it will probably happen sooner than we think.

Your Turn / Re: Thank God, it's (for all intents and purposes) over.
« on: August 23, 2009, 08:07:38 PM »
Unitarianism with vestments?   tb

That's about the size of it.
Or as Peter Berger said, Methodists who drink beer, but then again, even Methodists turned down the gay rights initiative

Hanson's and others' talk of getting along and bearing each others' burden would be funny if it wasn't so sad. The polite smiles can just as easily bare teeth if these ideologues' positions are challenged in an open forum. The gay rights agenda doesn't stand alone but is part of a whole constellation of positions--inclusive language and radical feminism, political progressivism that mocks two-kingdom teachings, and multiculturalism. In other words, it's an ideology (yes, there may be gay rights advocates who are not ideologues, but they seem rare in the ELCA leadership if not the pastorate). The ELCA's replacing of theology with ideology is the main problem and the reason why we just all can't get along.

ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2009 / You Win Barbara!
« on: August 20, 2009, 10:47:49 PM »
It's fitting that Barbara Lundblad is the preacher for this event. I remember her as a proponent of a Lutheran progressvist-radical  vision who was on the margins of the LCA in the 1980s.
 Then she became a member of the commission of the 70 and seems to have worked her way into the mainstream. Much of what she did as a more marginal activist prefigured what is happening today. In campus ministry she was using inclusive language before most. I recall she handed out a brochure of an event at the church she was pastoring which presented different visions of the family--gay-lesbian, co-habiting, etc. She held up East Germany as the model of progressive Christian politics.
Judging from her writings and activism at Union Seminary, she has not changed  much, but the church has indeed "caught up" with her progressivism. She hasn't been hesitant to break church rules--her officiating at a gay union to the chargrin of her bishop, her coming out at the last CWA. Maybe she will be PB in a few years. In whatever  new establishment post she takes, I wonder if she will be as tolerant of dissenters as her church has been of her.  

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