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Messages - Eileen Smith

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Your Turn / Re: NBW and Masterpiece Bakeshop
« on: January 26, 2020, 04:42:58 PM »
Since most in this tiny forum don’t even consider her a valid Lutheran Pastor, fussing about this seems exceedingly trivial.

The issue isn't what those on this Forum may or may not believe about the validity of Nadia Bolz-Weber's status as a Lutheran pastor; rather, it is that the ELCA ordained her and, with that, she is a valid Lutheran pastor.  Does it not lead one to wonder about the ELCA candidacy process?

Your Turn / Re: Impeachment Hearings
« on: January 25, 2020, 09:28:41 PM »
Do you truly believe that this president is “pro life,” and that by appointing judges He can radically alter the current situation concerning abortion?

To your first question: yes.  To your second question - sort of.  I don't believe Trump started off as a pro-life candidate in heart.  But I cannot forget that third debate when he relentlessly challenged Hillary Clinton on what an abortion actually is, how it's done, the pain a preborn child suffers and then he asked her if she could still support abortion and she unequivocally said, "yes."   I felt at that time a light went on for him.  The remarks may have been scripted talking points but as often happens when you actually hear the words you start to believe them and I am positive he did. 

If he got another 4 years and an opportunity to replace every pro-choice justice on the Court it wouldn't work.  I do think it's a help, however.  As well, his actions -- most especially this weekend -- gives voice not only to the preborn child but the whole pro-life movement.  We all know that in the picking and choosing of stories the media will present this weekend the crowds that rallied in Washington DC and throughout the country were largely ignored.... but they couldn't ignore Trump's presence.  That so many young men and women were part of this march was heartening.  Maybe the tide is turning away from the narcissist view of my  body my choice to the understanding that there's another body - another life for whom choice is being denied.  As I always state here, what will really turn the tide on abortion is the ability to see that life in the womb.  Science has always been on the forefront of the pro-choice movement.  When does life begin?  Tossing out offensive words like preborn child or child in the womb for more palatable words like zygote or fetus made it easier to consider taking that life.  But now it seems science is energizing the pro-life moment.  We know that these children feel pain, we can see them.  My niece showed us her child's sonogram at 6 weeks and one can already see a child - it wasn't a clump of cells.  And we know that it is never just a clump of cells, but a child, precious in God's sight.

Your Turn / Re: What's in a Name? Protestant Church Names
« on: January 20, 2020, 06:33:31 PM »
I suppose it is good that "ReDO is led and operated by a Pastor" and "ReDO performs the Word and Sacraments."

Your Turn / Herbert Chilstrom+
« on: January 20, 2020, 01:06:14 PM »
While I thought that many on this board are aware of this sad news, I am sharing it as I've not seen it posted yet.  As we give thanksgiving for his service and pray for his family, I hope those of you who knew and/or worked with Bishop Chilstrom might share some memories.  Coming into the ELCA as he was stepping down I admit to not knowing much about him.    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.

Dear Church,

With sadness I bring you the news that Presiding Bishop Emeritus Herbert W. Chilstrom died at home early this morning. His wife, Pastor Corinne Chilstrom; his son, Chris Holt; and family were with him.

Bishop Chilstrom was the first presiding bishop of the ELCA. Many of you knew him in those early days when the ELCA was just getting started – there was no furniture at the Lutheran Center, files were in boxes, phones were on the floor, and the skeleton staff worked on card tables and folding chairs. He was once told by a corporate executive sitting next to him on a plane that this was no way to start a corporation and it would never work. Thirty-three years later we are still here, entrusted with the ministry of the gospel and serving the neighbor.

I can’t imagine the uncertainty and chaos of those first months, but all I know we were filled with hope for this new church the Spirit had brought into being. And I know that Bishop Chilstrom served out of the conviction that it was God’s will to raise up an ELCA witness to the gospel, and with God, all things are possible.

I remember Bishop Chilstrom saying once that his mother told him: “Herb, you might be the only Bible some people read.” It was her way of telling him, and his way of telling us, that we are living witnesses to the grace of God.

Bishop Chilstrom chose “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart!” (ELW, 873) to be the sending hymn at his funeral. Verse five announces:
                      At last the march shall end;
                      The wearied ones shall rest;
                      The pilgrims find their home at last,
                      Jerusalem the blest.
                      Rejoice! Give thanks and sing!

Through tears, but in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, we rejoice.

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop

Your Turn / Re: Church Shooting
« on: December 31, 2019, 03:23:35 PM »
I have a question that David may be able to answer.  When one secures a gun license is there any sort of mandatory training?  Does one have to pass a test and, in the case of an armed guard, would s/he need situational training?  The one fear I've had about armed guards or members in a congregation carrying arms is friendly fire.

It depends on the jurisdiction.  In Georgia, there is no training requirement.  Honestly, I think that is a deficiency (and, for what it's worth, I don't think the 2nd Amendment protects a right to concealed carry of firearms, but I do think it is a good policy -- one that would be improved with mandatory marksmanship, safety and use of force training).

I share the concern about friendly fire, which is why I think a security team that trains together is paramount.  You can't just have a bunch of random yahoos shooting in an occupied dwelling with no understanding of how the dynamics of a gunfight work.  I would, at a minimum, require a 3-day class, regular training, and successful completion of the Air Marshal TPC before I would trust people to such a role.  For what it's worth, it sounds like this church's program is a model for others.

Thanks, David.  I agree with all you've written.

Your Turn / Re: Church Shooting
« on: December 31, 2019, 02:33:45 PM »
We've had a few discussions on guns related to churches on this Forum; however, i don't think I've ever commented as it is not an area in which I have expertise as I've never been in a situation where it is necessitated.  I do think it is very difficult, if not impossible to predict how one would react should a shooter enter a church in which we are worshipping.  Humans have a basic instinct toward life; death is the last enemy we will meet.

A rough analogy is my own battle with cancer.  I have been on various treatments for 9 years - continuously moving from one to the next.  My sister recently asked me to consider going off treatment.  At this point, I am not ready to do so.  She simply doesn't understand my position.  She sees the therapy as evil but I see it as necessarily to fight an evil.  She has never been in my situation and doesn't understand why I (and countless others) are willing to go through treatment.  As humans, we want life.   I shudder to think of some of our ushers armed (and I know that at least two of them have gun licenses), but if a shooter were to enter our church I believe I would be very grateful should they act in as did the gentlemen who took action.  Evil came into this church and he saved lives.  Some may think that his actions, as well, were evil but others may see what he did as necessary.   As is said, "You had to be there."

Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim -- whether one has a relationship with God (or god) or not it is human nature to preserve life (setting aside those afflicted with emotional diseases that would make them prone to suicide).   Going back to where I started, the question of armed members/guards in a church is difficult to answer unless one has been in such a situation where it was necessitated.

I have a question that David may be able to answer.  When one secures a gun license is there any sort of mandatory training?  Does one have to pass a test and, in the case of an armed guard, would s/he need situational training?  The one fear I've had about armed guards or members in a congregation carrying arms is friendly fire. 

Forum Blogs / Re: Roving liturgy report
« on: December 26, 2019, 07:53:30 PM »
At least one mega LCMS congregation in town has ceased having a a Christmas Day service (unless you count the midnight communion service).😩

Is the church really ceding Christmas Day to the secular world’s materialistic holiday celebration?

Ringing in from NJ - yes.

Your Turn / Re: New study on abortion
« on: December 17, 2019, 08:25:50 AM »
Secular Pro-Life is an organization that is unlike those awful Catholics or knuckle dragging Evangelicals. They are secular. Their position in favor of life and opposition to abortion is not rooted in faith. So this article is interesting. And gives lie to an article of faith held by two members of the ELCA who post here.

Nope, I found nothing in the article that speaks against anything I've said. Sex education and proper use of contraceptives for those who are sexually active, will reduce unwanted pregnancies and the need for abortions. It may be true that with more restrictive abortion laws, people will be more inclined to properly use contraceptives; but that doesn't change the idea that proper use of contraceptives will reduce abortions.

I can agree with the findings that when abortion is an easily obtainable option, women may be less inclined to use contraceptives or use them carelessly and improperly.

Your first paragraph allows one to believe that you think abortion is yet another form of birth control.   While the ELCA has not stated this outright, it would seem that many see it that way.

To your last statement I would change it to women and men may be less inclined......

Your Turn / Re: Sharp Decline In LCMS Members From 2010 to 2018
« on: December 07, 2019, 07:13:22 PM »
People love that tradition

This is off thread, but there's a thing on Instagram called HipDict, which is a sort of collaborative definition board, which refines various entries defining words or terms and comes up with the winner.  Here's tradition:

"Peer pressure from dead people."

Dave Benke

I remember when we were becoming Orthodox, I was telling our current priest how I didn't feel our (WELS) parish had any appreciation at all for the departed saints, and specifically that I as a Lutheran revered the saints and while we did not believe in requesting their intercession, I also believed they do in fact intercede for us and watch over us and care for us.  I based this mostly on the Book of Concord and my readings of Revelation.  I then told him the story I've told here before about the parishioner who said the saints in heaven "don't know what we're doing here on earth," and how the pastor nodded and said "yeah, yeah."

My humble priest responded:  "why wouldn't they? They aren't dead."

Great response!  I have the same doctrinal perspective.  While the old Lutheran way of my childhood was to put the beatdown on the Catholics for praying to the saints and to Mary, I have zero doubt that the saints including Mary are interceding for us with watchful care.  Although I don't have my handy-dandy Luther quote book handy, I'm pretty sure the "founder" had the same opinion.  What we're saying, then, to the hipdict. crew is that ours are in point of fact living traditions.  Our peer pressure, such as it is, comes from saints alive, which makes us appropriately stewards of the mysteries.

Dave Benke

I, too, as a Lutheran revere the saints and see nothing wrong with a belief that they do intercede for us.  A story I've shared here several times is a memory of a seminar I attended at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Manhattan.  Robert Jenson was the speaker and shared similar thoughts of counting on the intercession of the saints.   While on a break I questioned him to be certain I understood him correctly and his response was succinct:  "If you have friends in high places, use them."

Your Turn / Re: Leonard Klein +
« on: December 07, 2019, 09:12:00 AM »
I spoke last night with the daughter of Mary Cooke.  Mary served as secretary to Fr. Leonard Klein when he was at Trinity Long Island City.  She shared many memories but the overall message was of a man who exuded kindness, love, and generosity - one whom her mother greatly loved and respected.

Your Turn / Re: Sharp Decline In LCMS Members From 2010 to 2018
« on: December 07, 2019, 09:09:58 AM »
In my personal observation it does not seem that the role of women has played a significant role in either the growth or decline of church membership. Some women will care deeply about how involved they are allowed to be in the work and leadership of the church, and will take umbrage when they find out that certain areas are limited to "men only." As a district secretary I have the responsibility of reviewing congregational constitutions when they are presented to the district for approval.  I have actually been somewhat surprised by the number of constitutions in my district that still have male only limits on offices such as president, vice president and elder. My church elected not to change our constitution and kept those limits in place, as permitted.  Since the synod approved involvement of women in these offices, precluding the fact that they would engage in pastoral acts, congregations were free to change their documents accordingly. As one who has been involved in the district for a while now we don't hear of significant losses tied to the role of women in leadership positions.

I suspect, based here only on local observation, that the 2009 decision by the ELCA regarding same-sex coupled clergy may have created more direct losses from membership in individual churches.  But again, that is local observation, not an examination of national trends.

From where I view the church women seem generally content with their role in the congregation.  For a number of years prior to my arrival they had male-only suffrage.  That was actually a somewhat contentious issue when it was changed.  We lost some people at that time to the neighboring ELCA church, but the church actually did change to mixed suffrage and it has remained to this day.  Women are quite active in my church in a variety of ways and don't seem to feel left out of either the overall work or leadership, even with the few limitations still in place. I wonder if some of this isn't regional where the north and midwest tilting more conservative in this issue and the coastal areas more liberal.  Just a thought.

I don't think one can compare the losses that the LCMS may or may not have suffered due to roles limited to men only to the losses incurred by the ELCA in 2009.  The position of the LCMS has not changed at all as the ordination of men only and I suspect the average pew sitter may not even realize that congregations are now permitted to change their constitutions to allow women in the role of president, vp, etc.  What the ELCA did was far more dramatic in a decision that reversed the teaching of the church catholic. 

Your Turn / Re: Leonard Klein +
« on: December 04, 2019, 08:27:17 PM »
I am so sad to read this.  What a gift he was to the church.  May he rest in God's peace and may our Lord grant strength and peace to Christa and their family.  I'm sharing this with some of the people I knew when at Trinity Long Island City.  Truly, such a loss.

Your Turn / Re: Church Politics (Not Lutheran)
« on: November 23, 2019, 10:58:18 AM »
Reading the quote from Gaudete et Exsultate, it is very difficult to find fault or disagree. But the document and the article seems to present a situation of choice where one needs to move away from these essential RC teachings on abortion and homosexuality to embrace other important issues of justice. 

Perhaps +John Cardinal O'Connor offers us a middle ground.  Cardinal O'Connor certainty taught Roman Catholic doctrine on the sanctity of life (at both ends of life) and on homosexual relationships.  He butted heads more than a few times with Mayor Koch on the latter issue.  Yet he never excluded those who may have had an abortion or who were active in a homosexual lifestyle - he was welcoming while, at the same time, held to his RC teachings.   During the HIV/AIDS epidemic the homosexual community saw a disproportionate of risk [of disease], Cardinal O'Connor opened a wing of what was St. Claire's hospital in NYC to treat HIV/AIDS patients; moreover, he volunteered there doing what might seem to some the menial tasks - washing and feeding the patients.  He practiced care of the poor and afflicted while still keeping to the teachings of his church.  His actions spoke to God's love - not human judgment.   

Your Turn / Re: "Blue" Christmas Service resources?
« on: November 22, 2019, 02:23:09 PM »
Several years ago my Pastor mentioned this idea of a blue Christmas in his sermon.  He spoke against it - but not in an over-bearing way.  His point was that the community of the church is precisely where we bring our joy - bring ur grief.  He felt it almost artificial (my word, can't remember his) that we separate out congregation members who have suffered a loss, perhaps in that year or another.  We carry one another.  I do agree.

Some time later, I spoke with a dear friend who suffered the loss of a 17 year old to cancer and then a 3 year old to meningitis.  Her pastor was going to have a blue Christmas service and she said she wouldn't go.  Painful as it is to hear the traditional hymns of Christmas, often tugging at emotional memories, she didn't want to be separated out from the congregation.  Yes, Pastor Hannah, another OSL graduate. 


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