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Messages - Robert Johnson

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706
Your Turn / Re: State budget battles
« on: March 02, 2011, 10:34:31 AM »
Robert Johnson writes:
Bad teachers are overpaid, but cannot be fired and they make just as much as good teachers.  

I comment:
A vast overstatement. "Bad" teachers quite often do not get tenure (in systems where that is granted.) "Bad" teachers do get fired (or do not have their contracts renewed).

Google: NYC "rubber rooms".

707
Your Turn / Re: State budget battles
« on: March 02, 2011, 01:15:07 AM »
12 hours a day, plus 5 on saturday and sunday = 70 hours a week.

My wife works in our local high school as an aide for special education students.  Every week she has to cover for some teacher or another who has blown off their responsibilities to her students and has not prepared any material for them.  (This *is* part of their job.)  Nothing happens to the teachers who fail to perform.  She has also spent many hours in class with her students watching movies as a substitute for actual education (the movies are not educational; they are just ways to pass the time).

Good teachers are underpaid.  Bad teachers are overpaid, but cannot be fired and they make just as much as good teachers. 

708
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:
First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.
Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.
Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.

I agree that it's divisive. But when it's that close, I have to wonder why anyone called for a vote in the first place.

It's probably a bad tactic from a political point of view, but maybe it exposes a fundamental truth about the congregation that is going to have to be dealt with.  Or is it better to proceed blindly, pretending everything is okay, without knowing?

709
Your Turn / Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« on: February 21, 2011, 02:06:52 AM »
Reiner before he died said, "They sounded better in German."

I assume they must, because some of the English translations of the old hymns are about as awkward as any lyric could be.

710
Your Turn / Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« on: February 06, 2011, 02:30:04 AM »
And now (and this is the part that’s gonna get me sent to Reeducation Camp), here’s something else.  Sunday morning worship services are about more than teaching theology – via the liturgy, the sermon, or the hymns.  Sunday morning is also a time for people to actually, you know, worship.  It is a time for people to express praise and love and gratitude and adoration – and frustration and lack of understanding and fear and trust-and-hope-nonetheless – to God, the Lover of our souls.  If we are so hung up on using only hymns that are dissertation-ready because of their theological perfection and educational value, but that fail to actually touch people’s hearts, allow them to connect with God and express themselves, then we will end up with congregations either a) full of people who can “sign off” on the Nicene Creed but might never know what it feels like to say, “I love you, God,” or b) empty because everyone has gone to a place where they are actually allowed to worship and say what’s on their hearts. 

If I had the ability to write as well as you do, I would have written this.  Well done.  I'll head off to camp with you.

I'm old; I am a classically trained amateur musician.  But...  I don't care that a 16th century hymn is theologically perfect; if it's a slow 6-verse dirge through some oddball irregular beat with lyrics that don't even remotely scan to English as it is spoken, my mind is wandering long before it has reached the halfway point.  I have no idea what to say to my adult children (who attend church only on request to please us, so we don't ask them all that often) to tell them how much they should appreciate these theological gems, because I can't do it myself.  [Aside: is it a theological mandate to insist on singing all the verses of every hymn, no matter how long it takes?  Do we not have an understanding of attention span?]

I am NOT a fan of vapid choruses that repeat the same phrase endlessly, or pop music that is barely recognizable as a hymn.  But I'm saying that the response to music is more emotional than intellectual (even Bach!) and if our music largely or entirely does not connect emotionally with the people who need it, there may be a problem that is not solvable by telling people that they don't think right about music. 

711
Your Turn / Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« on: February 05, 2011, 10:13:17 PM »

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

I think this is an important point, and I would like to add that it is not only non-denominational churches that do this.  My sister belongs to a Free Methodist church; it's large and has multiple activities just about every night.  For a large number of people, church activity fellowship is the most important part of their social life.

712
Your Turn / Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« on: February 01, 2011, 02:10:12 AM »
When Paul spoke, did he always speak for God like an OT Prophet or Prophetess? Is it possible that his association with the party of the Pharisees colored his pronouncements just as associations with the Democratic or Republican parties color theological positions in America? Should his words carry the same weight as those of Jesus? Which one is God?

An absolutely central question: is Paul equal to God?

713
Your Turn / Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« on: January 28, 2011, 06:28:14 PM »
What makes some uncomfortable, as Deaconess Schave, Pr. Yakimow (before it disappeared) and I have tried to point out, is the misuse of anecdotal evidence to prove a generalized point.

What evidence could there possibly be for such behavior other than anecdotal?  Surely you aren't suggesting they made it up?

714
Your Turn / Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« on: January 25, 2011, 12:48:26 AM »
I was unaware that unconditional acceptance of the Holocaust was part of the Christian faith. 

What do you mean by unconditional?

Denial that the Holocaust occurred does put you in a group of people who cannot be trusted on any other matter, in my opinion.

If you're willing to tell that big a lie on that topic, what lie won't you tell?

715
"And the ministry of other parts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" does not indicate the method of transmitting that support.  Sending money directly to the local camp, college, or seminary fulfills its meaning.

Plus, all of the money goes to the camp, college, or seminary.  None of it is scraped off for administrative overhead.

716
Your Turn / Re: Pr. Otten to Speak at CU-W
« on: January 13, 2011, 10:36:33 PM »
For me, at least, part of the issue is the total loss of touch with reality.  My understanding is that Eisenhower ordered tons of pictures taken, and ordered our troops and locals tour the camps for precisely this reason -- that he anticipated that some would deny that such a thing could have and did take place.

This breaks me out of lurking mode.  My uncle landed in France and fought eastward into Germany through VE day.  There aren't all that many of those guys left now, but virtually all of them were eyewitnesses to one aspect or another of the Holocaust even if they weren't the troops who liberated camps.  My uncle would use very unpleasant language to describe anybody who denies what he saw with his own eyes. The absurdity of contradicting what was seen by thousands of people, some still alive, means that I would not be interested in Otten's opinion on anything.

717
Your Turn / Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« on: January 13, 2011, 07:21:55 PM »
 Having been confirmed and assenting to the full and complete statements of belief found in the (Lutheran) Rite of Affirmation of Baptism, I was slightly appalled at being put on hold for 8 weeks to prove my bona fides.

If you don't mind, would you elaborate on the 8 weeks' hold?  What was the purpose of the delay?

718
Your Turn / Re: Freedom for the Forum!
« on: January 03, 2011, 12:26:07 PM »
Is there any possibility of allowing users to ignore topics or specific posters? 

In other online forums I have used, the ability to tune out some of the noise makes them far less annoying.

719
Your Turn / Re: Does your congregation have a Christmas Day service?
« on: December 25, 2010, 06:17:56 PM »
First, can we agree that worshiping Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day is product of Northern European Culture?

The Swedish Julotta services I went to as a kid were early (6AM?) Christmas morning.

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