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Messages - Pilgrim

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Forum Blogs / Re: Episcopalians in Free Fall
« on: February 28, 2007, 03:55:15 PM »
Maryland Brian wrote: BTW, I don't think World Alone is the answer either.  Way too focused on US Lutheran dynamics.  As Mike Breen likes to say, "The post-modern earthquake has already happened and none of the old maps work."

Tim Christ reflects: Eric Swenson, upstream, mentioned Word Alone. The difficulty from where I sit and view life in the Lutheran Church, is that Word Alone is deeply representative of much of the Haugian Pietistic movement (and the upper midwestern perspective of the Church), which has been (and is) a blessing, up to a point, but as expressed by what I've read from Word Alone, it tends to be unduly focused upon the written and oral Word and thus fails to emphasize the sacramental Word sufficiently enough, as such is weaker on the catholicity of the Church.

Your Turn / Re: Gay Lutheran pastor removed over partner
« on: February 12, 2007, 11:26:24 AM »
Brian Stoffregen wrote: My point is that the church does not yet have a definition of "commited relationship". If an older heterosexual candidate is in a registered domestic partner relationship, should a candidacy committee certify her/him for ordination? What if the financial benefits from not being married, allows her/him to serve a small congregation who is unable to offer adequate pay? And the congregation is willing to call the candidate, knowing about the "committed relationship"?

I don't think that we have clear answers to such situations. Do we consider them married or not? What if they had a church service to bless their relationship -- the exact same liturgy as a marriage, but without the state's paper work?

Or, to use a different example, what if a candidate is in a common-law marriage -- they've been together long enough, for the state the live in, to be considered married -- even without the state license. Should such a candidate be eligible for call and ordination?

Tim Christ muses: Brian, this sounds like the heart of the issue is, "How do we have our cake and eat it too?" I want to be a Pastor but I don't want to pay the financial price of getting married vis-a-vis the is obvious to me that we change our theology to fix this for me! (Tongue firmly planted in cheek). What ever happened to sacrifical living...Brian Schmelling faced a choice, just like a single heterosexual might face a choice, just like a married heterosexual with a hot tootie in his office faces a choice. To paraphrase Bonnhoeffer, "When Christ bid a man (sic) he bid him come and die..." not "he bid him come and change the rules so that he's sexually fulfilled before he dies."

Your Turn / Re: Gay Lutheran pastor removed over partner
« on: February 09, 2007, 01:17:38 PM »
Brian Wrote: What the scriptures prohibit are promiscuity and abusive and exploitative relationships.

Tim Christ responds: I have always been appreciate of your work from the Greek and Hebrew, but as one who also takes seriously such work, the above statement, as correct as it is, is not the whole Scriptural story and I sincerely believe you must wrestle and come to grips with the possibility that your exegesis at precisely this point is more often resembles eisegesis.

I do appreciate the fairness given in terms of constitutional notation reagarding Holy Living. And given our current policies...that's precisely how the Church, up to this point, has chosen to define it.

Your Turn / Re: Myers-Briggs and other psychological tools
« on: January 17, 2007, 09:04:26 AM »
Peter wrote in another meeting the focus of which got shifted over here: I just don't think the world of psychology overlaps with the Gospel and the functioning of the pastoral office nearly as much as some people think it does.

Tim responds:
I'm not sure how far you wish to push that statement, and I'm a bit uncertain as to how well my response will be heard...but, having said that...for me it goes back to the first article of the Creed. God created the fallen, broken, shattered and dying...and so loved the world that incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection was necessary from God's point of view.

As a result of God's great love for the world (not just the people)...the world of psychology, engineering, biology, environmental stuides, sports medicine, talk radio, the brewmasters art(!), and Texas icehouses all overlap with the gospel and the functioning of the Pastoral office for me.

Tim Christ

Peter responded to Brian:
I don't agree with you on Myers Briggs-- I've only taken it, not administered it, but the guy who administered it to me did a fine job, and I'm pretty sure I understand the test and the reasoning behind it, and I don't doubt that I am INTP. I merely don't think it makes any difference concerning anything that matters...

Tim responds:
On this I must agree with Brian and disagree with you Peter. As one who has also taken (on numerous occasions) and been trained and has administered MBTI, it has been more than evident to me that as a tool (NOT a "test" as you referred to it), it can be extremely helpful. Self-understanding, for me at least, is indeed something that matters - and has a myriad of applications in terms of daily life, relationships and my functioning in the pastoral office and particularly in a leadership role in Christ's Church. Is it an end all, of course not? But a well equipped carpenter doesn't use a hammer for everything...a variety of tools are necessary. MBTI is a tool, extremely helpful in the right situation and for the right purpose. It is, of course, NOT Word of God. But I would daresay it is a gracious gift of God, not unlike Charles well-noted culinary skills!

Tim Christ

Your Turn / Re: Creed vs. Scriptures
« on: January 16, 2007, 08:45:08 AM »
Steven wrote:
So, keep up the fight, Eric.  And keep it up here.  A whole lot of people are reading this.

Richard added:
Amen, Steven.

I ditto:
As one who rarely writes (and still struggles with the proper technique to get quotes correct), I do read avidly and appreciate everyone's input.

Pr. Tim Christ

Brian wrote:
The truth of the gospel is that God loves them and offers them forgiveness and new life in Jesus -- even though they may be disabled for the rest of their lives. At bedsides and funerals and from the pulpit, I proclaim the Truth, but free it from cultural and assumed trappings that we have often added to the biblical witness to the truth.

I respond:
Please understand that I do not question your capability or ability or skill or heartfelt sincereity in the proclamation of the Word. Your second sentence above did strike me in such a way that I realized I could not say that..."I proclaim the truth, but free it from cultural and assumed trappings..." I do not honestly believe as sinner-saints, we can make that statement accurately this side of eternity. I do not believe that either you or I Brian, are able to be "free" from our cultural trappings. At best we struggle with them and by the power of the Holy Spirit seek to proclaim as free from them as possible...but our cultural trappings are like a second skin.

I recall having commented to Charles on one occasion, vis-a-vis being a reporter. I worked in the news medai for several years and I would contend that there is no such thing as non-biased. Everyone has a bias. The question is to what extent one is willing to be honest with self (if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves) and allow that honesty to be an asset in our reporting (or preaching, or communicating in this forum), rather than be in denial.

As I read the various postings herein, what I hear, as often as not, is as much culturally shaped as Biblically shaped. Neither bad nor good, please don't misunderstand. Simply there. We all, with St. Paul, see through a mirror dimly, if you will.

Tim Christ

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Draft Sexuality Report
« on: January 12, 2007, 10:25:32 AM »

Charles Austin wrote:
As noted above, in this forum I hear only hostility or suspicion for the ELCA and its policies, laments that we are abandoning the Lutheran Confessions, and attitudes suggesting that virtually all discussion on major issues of sexuality is hopeless because all matters under discussion are already closed, settled, decided and explained once for all. I do not hear a love for the church or our part of it, a desire to "live together" despite differences or a willingness to consider that what some here call the "orthodox" position might need some reinterpretation or re-thinking.

I muse:
I mostly lurk in these discussions, occasionally attempting to comment, and sometimes experiencing the aforementioned hostility you reference, Charles, even from you! And that's alright. For me the ultimate frustration is the difficult, and perhaps nearly impossible task for those of us raised in what has become such a visual culture, to communicate clearly iwith the written word sans the benefit of vocal inflection, facial and bodily cues and such.

I hear (because what one "hears" even in the written word, is largely a matter of choice) considerable love for the Church and our part of it in most of the posts in this forum. Explicitly, no. But the passions that are aroused would not be as intense, it seems to me, if such love, commitment and dedication were not present in those participating in this forum. The shape of that passion may be misguided, neglected or abused, but it is present. Or so it seems to me.

Tim Christ 

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Head: Challenging Time to Be a Lutheran Christian
« on: December 11, 2006, 11:16:29 AM »
Brian J. Bergs

Bishop Mark Hanson is optimistic that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can overcome declining numbers, other challenges.
Pamela Miller, Star Tribune

Q Anything you'd like to say specifically to Minnesota Lutherans?

A I think the larger ELCA looks to Minnesota with a sense of expectation, that it asks what Minnesotans can do to lead and teach by virtue of their numerical strength. They're looked to for new ways to preserve small-town and rural churches that go beyond preservation and nostalgia.

For someone living in Texas, and who has lived in other locales over the years, it has been my experience that no one here is looking to Minnesota with anything remotely approaching a sense of expectation for much of anything! That's like looking to Europe for leadership! The bus has left. The world has moved south and as amusing as Ole and Lena are, the culture is different down here! <g,d,r>

Tim Christ

Selected Re-Prints / Re: The Atlanta Situation (November 2006)
« on: December 04, 2006, 12:07:06 PM »
Charles Austin wrote: It is wrong to assume that the bishop is automatically a confessor for every pastor. Perhaps he/she should be confessor to none of them. We can't have the office as romantically "pure" and theologically neat as we might wish.

There is no doubt of your accuracy here Charles, and that is the rub. The failure of the ELCA (and to some extent in various ways the PCB's, to clearly delinate our ecclesiology vis-a-vis the Kingdom of the Right and the Kingdom of the Left, has left us in many tenous positions, whether as Bishops or Pastors. Could the Bishop be automatically a confressor for the Pastors? Certainly...but is that Bishop, or we as the Church, willing to pay the price such a commitment would exact in a world where the church is often getting its feet tangled up in both Kingdoms and often unsure of where it is standing. Word and Sacrament, Pastoral Care...those are our callings. CYA is another Kingdom entirely...but in our present climate and under our current strutural ecclesiology, is unavoidable. More's the pity, really.

Tim Christ

Forum Blogs / Re: Being "in Communion"
« on: November 08, 2006, 10:39:56 AM »

A couple of questions: what is the result of forgiveness? Is it not unity? With God and one another? What is integral to unity? It is not the gift of absolution wherein God declares that He will not allow our sin to determine His stance towards us? It strikes me that you're seeking to divide where division makes either side much less than the whole. And we haven't even touched on justification, reconciliation, salvation, etc. which are certainly apart of the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection delievered to us in the Holy meal. One of the blessings of Lutheranism, as I understand it, a desire to celebrate rather than explain the mysteries of the faith.

Pr. Tim Christ

Forum Blogs / Re: Being "in Communion"
« on: November 07, 2006, 06:29:53 PM »
I have been away and just read through all the posts on the aforementioned thread. Fascinating to follow the give and take. FWIW, I have always understood that the effacacy and validity of the sacraments are found in the Word and promise of Christ (together with bread, wine & water) thus whether they are spoken by St. Peter or Balaam's ass is irrelevent.

Concerning communing the unbaptized, AC XIII seems clear and applicable, and on the occasions where the presider is uncertain (and I have certainly found myself in that position many times, particularly at large funerals or weddings) the purpose as given there is to awaken and strenghen faith...and whom am I to suggest that God cannot awaken faith in an unbaptized person who receives?

Concerning the personal decision as to whether or not to commune in a given setting, the criteria which have seemd most applicable for me is not my need (however great that might be) but rather the objective command to love neighbor as self and thus accord the ecclesial realities of the congregation in which I find myself to be of greater importance, as an act of love towards brothers and sisters in Christ, even if not currently in visible 'fellowship".

As I said, for what it's I enjoy the discussion.

Pr. Tim Christ

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 28, 2006, 12:14:06 PM »
Brian Wrote:

It is also noted that no monies from the ELCA's Current Fund are used to support the Hunger Appeal.

I query:

In an earlier post you noted hunger funds comprise 17% of the total ELCA budget ($97 million) and then note that no monies from the current fund are used for hunger appeal. A bit of a contradiction?

My understanding was that the Hunger Appeal was separate. As such, could it be that the monies used for direct social action from the general fund might well be smaller than the 17% which you cited in an earlier post...perhaps more in line with what most of experience in the congregational setting?

Not critizing, but do desire to keep some accuracy in the discussion.

And on a separate point, Charles earlier talked about ending a thread on press releases. I'm certain Charles has probably written more press release than Moses, but IMHO one simple thing is true about any and all press releases. They all have bias, and that bias is to make the organization releasing the informaion look as good as possible given whatever information is being released. It is the nature of the animal. Whether a local congregation is releasing infrormation to the local paper in a one-horse town or the ELCA is releasing information to a potential nationwide audience or the LWF is releasing information to a world wide audience, the wording, phrasing and intent of a press release is to be honest, yes, but to be honest in the best possible light of the organization.

When I worked in media, press releases were never consider to be "lies" or intentionally "dishonest" but the underlying assumption was also that there were not the "whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God!" That sort of transparency, of either individuals or organizations is unlikely this side of the Kingdom. Remember we're dealing with sanctified but still scheming sinners!!!

Pr. Tim Christ

Your Turn / Re: Presbyterian Publishing House
« on: August 23, 2006, 10:07:23 AM »

I respond:

I don't buy it. I simply do not understand why one is not willing to own up to who they and what opinions they hold  in public discussion.


I've been hearing you repeat this ad nauseum for quite some time (in other forums as well). It has been my observation that most of the folks don't mind being identified, privately and safely, in a meeting such as this. And I've covered school boards and city councils, etc. as well. The privacy issues of the internet and the public forum of publically elected officials are apples and oranges. It would seem to me that you really need to relax just a tad on this one. Responsibility for one's opinions, certainly, and that point is well taken...but many of us are here with nom de pixel's as a result of the insecurity of much of this information system. As the young folks put it, a "chill pill" is in order!

Pr. Tim Christ, aka, The Pilgrim

ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2005 / Re: Interim Eucharistic Sharing
« on: August 18, 2005, 07:54:54 AM »
Years ago, in a joint seminary class with the Pontifical College Josephinum, Methesco (Methodist School of Theology of Ohio) and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the foucs was the WCC Faith and Order book, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. One of the things that so impacted me occurred during our discussions of various topics as the class progressed. The seminarians at the Josephinum had obviously been through Canon Law and all faithfully shared the RC party line (I do NOT mean that pejoratively). I was accutely aware that as we Trinity folk shared our reflections we were constantly checking visual signals with one another, feeling deeply that what we said could not be just our opinion, but must be faithful to our confessions and traditions. In short, we were speaking for a great cloud of witnesses! Enroute back to the sem we talked long about this wonderful overarching sense and responsibility that had become more clear for us in that environment than ever before. On the other hand, our Methodist brothers and sisters were, quite literally, all over the map. So much so that, at one point, someone remarked only half jokingly, that it seemed that one could be a practicing Budhist and still be a Methodist pastor! The professor from Methesco missed the irony and responded sincerely, "Well, I suppose that is entirely possible."

Having been raised in Ohio, educated in Iowa and Ohio and lived in Illinois before finding my way to the promised land (Texas, sic!), I've noted additionally that there is an extraordinary difference between the Methodism with which I grew up, and the Methodism of my colleagues here in the south. Many of the Methodist pastors I meet could easily be described as Baptists who happen to "Christin" children.

My fear is that our doctrine of the real presense is simply being marginalized away for the sake of being "nice", that great Lutheran malady.

Just sharing.

Pr. Tim Christ

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