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Messages - Dave Benke

#31
Quote from: Rob Morris on June 05, 2024, 02:14:57 PMI know that there is much more to it than this, but it is striking that every leading voice that was raised noisily in criticism regarding the annotated large catechism has now been excommunicated.

I am not conspiratorially-minded, but for those who are, that fact shouts loudly.

I suspect that this, more than anything else, explains the high level of interest within the Gottesdienst circle.

As an out-of-office former supervisory oldster, I got into this thread because of what I take to be the substance of the issue, which is the process of reconciliation.  And I have been surprised at how much passion it raised within me for using the bylaw process. 

That being said, remembering that this had to do with the old online (Twitter?) battleground and the Large Catechism footnote, how many individuals have been excommunicated?  And I guess secondly, did the Large Catechism concerns get dealt with at the national LCMS convention, or is there some residue?

Dave Benke
#32
Your Turn / Re: Immigration Pays
June 05, 2024, 01:56:07 PM
Quote from: John Mundinger on June 05, 2024, 01:17:53 PMTwo points worth noting:

1.  The first paragraph is incorrect.  Our immigration system has been broken for a long time.  President Bush attempted comprehensive immigration reform.  His efforts failed largely due to lack of support from his own party.  That party has frustrated efforts ever since.

2.  The article details funds received by various faith-based NGO's.  There is nothing in the article to suggest that any of the NGO's misspent the money.

I bolded that last sentence, John.  The NGOs are actually UNDERfunded in terms of what's needed on the ground.  Having held a CEO position with an agency connected to Global Refuge through a specific program for unaccompanied minors, we were definitively a NOT for profit agency, running at or below the line in terms of caring for those kids.  The NFP world is in my opinion remarkable in this country for the basic lack of corruption.  What gets highlighted is the very small percentage of evildoers and manipulators. 

Global Refuge is one of those agencies that should be viewed by all Lutherans as its arm of mercy and justice for immigrants and refugees.  It is notable that
a) the LCMS used to send a small amount of national funding to LIRS and no longer does so
b) the LCMS used to receive a report in person from LIRS at its national conventions and accept it with a standing ovation

I don't know about ELCA support or reception of Global Refuge.  What I do know is that thousands of Missouri Synod Lutherans continue to support Global Refuge and believe in its mission and the way it carries that mission out daily.

Dave Benke
#33
Quote from: Jim Butler on June 05, 2024, 12:55:50 PM
Quote from: Steven W Bohler on June 05, 2024, 10:10:21 AM
Quote from: Jim Butler on June 05, 2024, 09:37:41 AM
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 07:58:44 AMRegarding the resignation, I listened to Pastor Lovett's interview on the Gottesdienst blog, and 1) he was very coherent and logical in his approach to this, and 2) he explained that he advised Mr. Turnipseed to resign his membership in the congregation precisely because there was no actual process where Mr. Turnipseed was being allowed to present his side and have witnesses present to attest to what happened.

Now, one can quibble I suppose with whether that is appropriate, but Pastor Lovett was very clear about this -- he was NOT saying "resign your membership and then I can receive you in good standing."  He was saying "resign your membership and then I can evaluate whether I can receive you in good standing in the same way as I would any other convert from a Christian denomination other than the LCMS." In that light, is it a little bit of sleight of hand?  Sure it is.  But then, if Pastor Lovett's account is to be believed, and at present I see no reason not to believe it, the congregation was flouting the rules with regard to Mr. Turnipseed.  No witnesses.  No opportunity to be heard.  It was "repent or else." 

I understand FAR better now where Pastor Lovett is coming from.  I agree with concerns about Mr. Turnipseed's affiliations, but I also think he has to be allowed to present his side fairly or this just turns into a witch hunt. Procedural objections run both ways. And if I felt I was being railroaded and found a "cute" way to get around it, I see no moral reason not to do that.  Everyone plays by the same rules or the end result is process becomes a sword instead of the shield it was meant to be.  It becomes "we don't have to follow the rules, and you're immoral for not following them."

We all have Pr. Lovett's view. We've all heard Mr. T's explanations. You know what we haven't heard? The congregation's. Through this entire situation, the pastor and congregation in OK have not said a word.

It's very easy to accept Pr. L's/Mr' T's view when that's the only one you have. But one thing I learned in dealing with Dispute Resolution situations is that you rarely heard the truth, only perspectives. I was often amazed when reading statements from the person appealing a decision and the respondent how differently they could be seeing the same situation. It was easy to buy into one side's view until you heard the other side.

One other thing. I'm sure Pr. L (and everyone else who signed that letter/petition) would have no objection if they were dealing with a matter of church discipline and a pastor from another congregation not only got involved but brought the individual into church membership and publicly criticized them and the way they handled it.

More likely, they would be screaming bloody murder about it.

As I understand it, the situation was not in the Dispute Resolution procedure when Rev. Lovett and Mr. Turnipseed provided their side of the issue.  Meaning that the excommunicating pastor and congregation were free to give their version but chose not to do so.  Indeed, I am not sure they are even now in the formal Dispute Resolution procedure (I did not see that stated in Rev. Lovett's note announcing the upcoming efforts at resolution); it may simply be our erroneous assumption that that process is being used and not something more informal.

As to your last two paragraphs, if a congregation gave shaky grounds for excommunicating someone and asked the whole Church to support their action don't you think they (the Church at large) would have the right, even the duty, to make sure the excommunication was proper?  And as for your claim that Rev. Lovett and those who signed the Statement of Support "would scream bloody murder" if the roles were reversed, as you have asked Mr. Mundinger: where is your evidence for such a claim?

1) How do you come to the conclusion that the congregation "gave shaky grounds"? All we have is the final letter and Mr. T's side of the story. The only person from this congregation that we've heard from--Chris Schelp--described it as extremely trying and painful for the congregation. (If you recall, back when we discussed the Annotated Catechism, Mr. Schelp was the one who told just that "Turnipseed" really was the dude's last name and that Mr. T was a friend of his, yet he indicated that the congregation acted correctly.) So I think there is a lot more to this story that Mr. T and Pr. L are telling.

2) I did not "claim" that the signers would scream bloody murder; I said they would more than likely do so. Almost any pastor would be angry that another church and pastor--in the same church body no less--interfered in a matter of Church discipline, especially if the other congregation brought into membership the person they had excommunicated.

3) I am not saying that the church in OK handled this correctly. That's why we have the process of appeal. One of the excommunication cases I dealt with was overturned on appeal.



As was one I dealt with, Jim, to your point three. 

Dave Benke
#34
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 11:06:09 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on June 05, 2024, 10:59:40 AM
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 10:13:30 AM
Quote from: Jim Butler on June 05, 2024, 09:37:41 AM
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 07:58:44 AMRegarding the resignation, I listened to Pastor Lovett's interview on the Gottesdienst blog, and 1) he was very coherent and logical in his approach to this, and 2) he explained that he advised Mr. Turnipseed to resign his membership in the congregation precisely because there was no actual process where Mr. Turnipseed was being allowed to present his side and have witnesses present to attest to what happened.

Now, one can quibble I suppose with whether that is appropriate, but Pastor Lovett was very clear about this -- he was NOT saying "resign your membership and then I can receive you in good standing."  He was saying "resign your membership and then I can evaluate whether I can receive you in good standing in the same way as I would any other convert from a Christian denomination other than the LCMS." In that light, is it a little bit of sleight of hand?  Sure it is.  But then, if Pastor Lovett's account is to be believed, and at present I see no reason not to believe it, the congregation was flouting the rules with regard to Mr. Turnipseed.  No witnesses.  No opportunity to be heard.  It was "repent or else." 

I understand FAR better now where Pastor Lovett is coming from.  I agree with concerns about Mr. Turnipseed's affiliations, but I also think he has to be allowed to present his side fairly or this just turns into a witch hunt. Procedural objections run both ways. And if I felt I was being railroaded and found a "cute" way to get around it, I see no moral reason not to do that.  Everyone plays by the same rules or the end result is process becomes a sword instead of the shield it was meant to be.  It becomes "we don't have to follow the rules, and you're immoral for not following them."

We all have Pr. Lovett's view. We've all heard Mr. T's explanations. You know what we haven't heard? The congregation's. Through this entire situation, the pastor and congregation in OK have not said a word.

It's very easy to accept Pr. L's/Mr' T's view when that's the only one you have. But one thing I learned in dealing with Dispute Resolution situations is that you rarely heard the truth, only perspectives. I was often amazed when reading statements from the person appealing a decision and the respondent how differently they could be seeing the same situation. It was easy to buy into one side's view until you heard the other side.

One other thing. I'm sure Pr. L (and everyone else who signed that letter/petition) would have no objection if they were dealing with a matter of church discipline and a pastor from another congregation not only got involved but brought the individual into church membership and publicly criticized them and the way they handled it.

More likely, they would be screaming bloody murder about it.

That's fair.  I guess where I'm coming from is having listened to what Pastor Lovett had to say, it seemed a reasonable recounting of events from his perspective. He says his DP was informed of every step he took.  The DP could certainly refute that, and perhaps the congregation through the dispute resolution process will show that Pastor Lovett isn't being truthful.

So if those things happen, obviously my perspective could likely change. But with the information we do have, I have a hard time charging him with meddling when he was being told "they won't let me defend myself" and his follow-up attempts with the pastor and parish bolstered that claim.  If he's lying about those things, then sure.  If he isn't, and I don't think anyone here has good reason to suggest he is, then I find it hard to fault him for how he's handled it.

Keep in mind, as I said above, I had some conflict about a year and a half ago with a former priest and bishop, so I do have some sympathy with concerns about being treated unfairly. I will also say, my new priest was utterly fearless in accepting us into his parish, allowing me to continue to serve as a reader, and not judging either us or our former priest in the process. Sometimes a soft landing spot is needed, and sometimes that happens even where you're willing to give the former pastor/parish the benefit of the doubt, as Pastor Lovett seemed to do in his interview.  As I also said above, my situation was different in that I wasn't under any disciplinary actions and in fact had the blessing of my former priest to attend elsewhere.  But notwithstanding that, the new priest could have said "I don't need these problems -- you need to go through the resolution process in your own Archdiocese," and him not doing that might be the only reason my wife still attends church. I'm not sure she could have borne the stress of going through months and months of appeals, etc.  And I say that having watched a friend of mine, who is a deacon and therefore needed an actual release letter (unlike me), go through that very process.  It was very trying on him and his family, and did a lot of needless damage.

The importance of having a system of procedures in cases of excommunication, transfer and reception is being written in capital letters in this series of exchanges on the topic.   First and foremost, there ARE procedures in normal and conflicted or sensitive circumstances.  The Church cares about pastors, congregations and congregants following a pattern of behavior.  That's Churchly and in terms of denominational church bodies, it's a sign of health, being certain to care for the sheep who are in the flock. 

Contact between Father Lovett and Father Braaten producing one hundred pastors to sign a nationally public letter of support on behalf of Father Lovett is not on the list of Churchly procedures.  That the public letter of support no longer appears is good.  The lesson to be learned is not to choose a public letter of clergy support as an option in these matters, but to follow the churchly procedures.

Dave Benke

That's probably right. And if Pastor Lovett sought out that publicity, that is something I would obviously not support.

Political people are gonna politic. That can't always be helped. What is important is the participants' actions.

Absolutely.  The timeline Jim Butler describes makes me think the reaction between Fathers Lovett and Braaten producing the nationwide public letter of support was very quick.  Quick reactivity is what ensues in controverted situations, which is why the Churchly process is not slow, but step by step.  Climate control is needed.  My own opinion is that climate control by all parties (slow to anger, etc.) and prayerful study of the issues works more significant outcomes.

Dave Benke
#35
Your Turn / Re: Immigration Pays
June 05, 2024, 11:03:14 AM
#36
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 10:13:30 AM
Quote from: Jim Butler on June 05, 2024, 09:37:41 AM
Quote from: David Garner on June 05, 2024, 07:58:44 AMRegarding the resignation, I listened to Pastor Lovett's interview on the Gottesdienst blog, and 1) he was very coherent and logical in his approach to this, and 2) he explained that he advised Mr. Turnipseed to resign his membership in the congregation precisely because there was no actual process where Mr. Turnipseed was being allowed to present his side and have witnesses present to attest to what happened.

Now, one can quibble I suppose with whether that is appropriate, but Pastor Lovett was very clear about this -- he was NOT saying "resign your membership and then I can receive you in good standing."  He was saying "resign your membership and then I can evaluate whether I can receive you in good standing in the same way as I would any other convert from a Christian denomination other than the LCMS." In that light, is it a little bit of sleight of hand?  Sure it is.  But then, if Pastor Lovett's account is to be believed, and at present I see no reason not to believe it, the congregation was flouting the rules with regard to Mr. Turnipseed.  No witnesses.  No opportunity to be heard.  It was "repent or else." 

I understand FAR better now where Pastor Lovett is coming from.  I agree with concerns about Mr. Turnipseed's affiliations, but I also think he has to be allowed to present his side fairly or this just turns into a witch hunt. Procedural objections run both ways. And if I felt I was being railroaded and found a "cute" way to get around it, I see no moral reason not to do that.  Everyone plays by the same rules or the end result is process becomes a sword instead of the shield it was meant to be.  It becomes "we don't have to follow the rules, and you're immoral for not following them."

We all have Pr. Lovett's view. We've all heard Mr. T's explanations. You know what we haven't heard? The congregation's. Through this entire situation, the pastor and congregation in OK have not said a word.

It's very easy to accept Pr. L's/Mr' T's view when that's the only one you have. But one thing I learned in dealing with Dispute Resolution situations is that you rarely heard the truth, only perspectives. I was often amazed when reading statements from the person appealing a decision and the respondent how differently they could be seeing the same situation. It was easy to buy into one side's view until you heard the other side.

One other thing. I'm sure Pr. L (and everyone else who signed that letter/petition) would have no objection if they were dealing with a matter of church discipline and a pastor from another congregation not only got involved but brought the individual into church membership and publicly criticized them and the way they handled it.

More likely, they would be screaming bloody murder about it.

That's fair.  I guess where I'm coming from is having listened to what Pastor Lovett had to say, it seemed a reasonable recounting of events from his perspective. He says his DP was informed of every step he took.  The DP could certainly refute that, and perhaps the congregation through the dispute resolution process will show that Pastor Lovett isn't being truthful.

So if those things happen, obviously my perspective could likely change. But with the information we do have, I have a hard time charging him with meddling when he was being told "they won't let me defend myself" and his follow-up attempts with the pastor and parish bolstered that claim.  If he's lying about those things, then sure.  If he isn't, and I don't think anyone here has good reason to suggest he is, then I find it hard to fault him for how he's handled it.

Keep in mind, as I said above, I had some conflict about a year and a half ago with a former priest and bishop, so I do have some sympathy with concerns about being treated unfairly. I will also say, my new priest was utterly fearless in accepting us into his parish, allowing me to continue to serve as a reader, and not judging either us or our former priest in the process. Sometimes a soft landing spot is needed, and sometimes that happens even where you're willing to give the former pastor/parish the benefit of the doubt, as Pastor Lovett seemed to do in his interview.  As I also said above, my situation was different in that I wasn't under any disciplinary actions and in fact had the blessing of my former priest to attend elsewhere.  But notwithstanding that, the new priest could have said "I don't need these problems -- you need to go through the resolution process in your own Archdiocese," and him not doing that might be the only reason my wife still attends church. I'm not sure she could have borne the stress of going through months and months of appeals, etc.  And I say that having watched a friend of mine, who is a deacon and therefore needed an actual release letter (unlike me), go through that very process.  It was very trying on him and his family, and did a lot of needless damage.

The importance of having a system of procedures in cases of excommunication, transfer and reception is being written in capital letters in this series of exchanges on the topic.   First and foremost, there ARE procedures in normal and conflicted or sensitive circumstances.  The Church cares about pastors, congregations and congregants following a pattern of behavior.  That's Churchly and in terms of denominational church bodies, it's a sign of health, being certain to care for the sheep who are in the flock. 

Contact between Father Lovett and Father Braaten producing one hundred pastors to sign a nationally public letter of support on behalf of Father Lovett is not on the list of Churchly procedures.  That the public letter of support no longer appears is good.  The lesson to be learned is not to choose a public letter of clergy support as an option in these matters, but to follow the churchly procedures.

Dave Benke
#37
Quote from: Rob Morris on June 04, 2024, 07:49:24 PMThe only thing that surprises me is that in between two pastors, two CVs, and two DPs, no one had managed to kick Dispute Resolution into action. Until, evidently, the Gottesdienst letter. So, from that standpoint, I don't see it as an end run. At least in practical effect, it simply turned up the heat for someone to finally engage the process.

My prayers now that the process shall be fruitful for all parties. If the process is faithfully followed, I expect to hear very little about it from this point forward, as adjudicating it in the press or social media is strictly verboten.

Edit - I see that Pastor Bohler has expressed some of the same sentiment. Our comments crossed in cyberspace.

That seems fairish. 

I would not advise this for the many and various casuistry issues, nor as a first line of action at least in the district in which I serve.  Because the turning up of the heat ends up turning off the Light. 

And my unasked-for opinion is that the easy-to-activate crew seems headquartered out of the Indiana seminary and is not representative of a cross-section, except to say that those who did not sign are not listed, which means - the rest of us?

Dave Benke

#38
This from my initial post on this topic:  I'm sorry to say but I'm taking from this that the many signatories and involvees want to do an end-run on an ecclesiastical dispute process that must and should remain inside the congregation.  A public letter of support is the last thing that makes evangelical sense.  It's an attempt to outgun and end run.

Now - having been by necessity specific, the general topic is whether the systems and structures in place lead over time to just results and at the deepest level to spiritual and fraternal reconciliation.  The Montana-based training in Reconciliation which has been around the LCMS for at least a quarter century is an excellent example of evangelical and catholic witness to the Gospel.  The Gottesdienst effort is not that and in fact sets up the (what I would call temporary) Pastor of the person excommunicated as the ecclesiastical supervisor, with the signatories as supporters of that non-supervisor as the authentic supervisor.


So - the public letter of support has now been removed at the instruction of Father Lovett, to whom the letter was sent.  He states, "I thought you'd like to know that those directly involved have begun the processes of coming to reconciliation, thanks be to God! In keeping with the Apostle's words that, "the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5), I think it best to direct ourselves to prayer that this endeavor be fruitful and that by His grace our Lord strengthen us all together (2 Timothy 2:1). If you think it helpful - and I think it might be so that everyone following this will know - you can post this in lieu of the statement of support"

OK then.  Father Braaten acceded to Father Lovett's wishes.  Now that it's out of online existence, what was the value of the statement of support?  Is it a way to do and be "Church?" 

More generally, what do we know?  We know that the ninety and nine signatories thought this was the way to be Church (Thesis 15).  We know that they have an idea of what should be legitimate congregational reasons for excommunication.

We know that they can put stuff together quickly.  And we know that there is a dependable group of folks to sign that stuff.  I received stats demonstrating that 75% of the signatories hail from one seminary, the one in Indiana, and only 14% from the other seminary, the one in Missouri.  That's remarkable, no?  And shows able networking and organization, extremely so.  But - is it Church?

Thus a local matter becomes a national matter becomes again a local matter.  To this date. 

Thoughts?

Dave Benke
#39
Your Turn / Re: Seminex Remembered
June 04, 2024, 06:45:18 PM
Thanks for this, Brian - I'm reading it through.  I was out the door a half year in advance, leaving St. Louis just after the Synodical Convention of 1973, propelled into the ministry. 

Dave Benke
#40
Your Turn / Re: White Privilege and Caitlin Clark
June 04, 2024, 12:08:32 PM
Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on June 04, 2024, 11:24:09 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on June 04, 2024, 10:56:41 AMThe sports gambling plague has really gone off the rails and is totally connected to data, including the same data mined for say managing a baseball game or pitching to a certain hitter.  I don't know how they can be disassociated.  Big bucks in all directions.

WRT Caitlin Clark, if and as her teammates protect her along the way this year, a lot of the rancor will move down the highway.  That, and adding another couple of top players, at least one.  Work in progress.

Dave Benke

Excellent point about the Indiana Fever supporting Caitlin Clark.  No one ever touched Wayne Gretzky or Brett Hull because the teams had enforcers on the roster.  For the Blues it was Tony Twist and Kelly Chase.  They played scant minutes but if someone on the other team took liberties with the Golden Brett or tried to take liberties with him, Tony Twist stepped on the ice to play left wing and knock the offender on the opposing team senseless if that player wasn't a chicken.  Sometimes they'd fight, sometimes they wouldn't.  The enforcers kept the game clean.  Players can enforce their own game to an extent. 

Jeremy 

Yes.  The Rangers had a guy named Rempe this year, and way way back it was the Plager brothers for the St. Louis Blues.  Hoops is a little different, of course, but it's basically the bigs taking care of their smaller or shorter siblings.  I do think the media gets into this awkwardly.  If the foul is to also rookie Angel Reese, who got absolutely leveled the other night, by another black player, it's not treated in the same way as the be-all and end-all of violent fouls.  Black on white is the trigger.  Anyway, take care of your teammates is the thing.

Dave Benke
#41
Your Turn / Re: White Privilege and Caitlin Clark
June 04, 2024, 10:56:41 AM
The sports gambling plague has really gone off the rails and is totally connected to data, including the same data mined for say managing a baseball game or pitching to a certain hitter.  I don't know how they can be disassociated.  Big bucks in all directions.

WRT Caitlin Clark, if and as her teammates protect her along the way this year, a lot of the rancor will move down the highway.  That, and adding another couple of top players, at least one.  Work in progress.

Dave Benke
#42
Your Turn / Re: White Privilege and Caitlin Clark
June 03, 2024, 03:19:07 PM
I'm a big fan of women's hoops, same as women's golf.  I'm also following the dollar bills in high school and college sports as the era of the NIL takes over and the Saudis go about their sportswashing billionaire boys club business.

Women's pro sports are on an upward trend, and there should be more money coming through the pipeline.  Outside of her amazing three-ball, Caitlin Clark's game is only on par with and maybe a little less than the veteran WNBA players white and black.  She can and should be picked on to prove her mettle.  She's pretty tough.  I think it's a good thing overall. 

Dave Benke
#43
Quote from: Rob Morris on June 03, 2024, 02:37:05 PMHave you listened to the podcast? The pastor explains all the efforts he made to try to encourage and engage that process. Efforts which he claims were rebuffed. He is very honest in saying, you only have my word for this, but I am glad to hear that more formal reconciliation has begun.

I have had to handle, as a pastor, one situation where a previous parish refused to grant peaceful release. It was being wielded as a weapon by the previous pastor, rather than a legitimate means for church discipline. The members in question were not under any discipline, and were free to attend and join wherever they wish. Their previous pastor took offense to that, and refused to grant peaceful release.

Obviously, quite different from the scenario here. I am only pointing out that when a pastor is expected to abide by another pastor's decision as regards church discipline, sometimes there aren't a whole lot of great options available.

What I noted in the Gottesblog theses was an attempt to quantify the validity of an excommunication.  Over the course of a long, long time of ecclesiastical supervision, these cases were numerous. 

This thing about using excommunication, including the "minor ban", as a pastoral weapon is really irritating, and speaks to the simple word sin.  It comes across to me as a combination of insecurity and faulty understanding of the office of the pastoral ministry.  It's where the ecclesiastical supervisor earns his keep.  When used.  Which in my case was often.  The other violation is to the local body of Christ.  Let's say the people not happy with the pastor are cornerstone members, and they've had enough and boogie down the road to you, a healthier parish and pastor.  What's best for the other body of Christ?  What happens in three years when the pastor leaves or retires?  Maybe the other pastor is just a grumpy and gloomy dude.  Somebody also has to help him become a warrior for the Gospel, not his own grumpiness.  Again, ecclesiastical supervision 202.

I'm having a kidney stone today, literally, and am in a lucid interval.  But as a lifetime kidney stone carrier and releaser through pain, I have no trouble with some days being better than others and some days having zero good things in them.  It's the overall pastoral heart that must be discerned with friends, colleagues and supervisors. 

Prayerfully, that's happening out there in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Dave Benke
#44
Quote from: RDPreus on June 03, 2024, 11:18:41 AMThis is good news!  Reconciliation is good.  Seeking it is always good to do.  Fighting for self-vindication is the fight of carnal pride.  It cannot be won, because we are all guilty sinners.  But to contend for Christian reconciliation is to mirror the love of God in Christ who reconciled the world unto himself. 

What's your evaluation of the Letter of Support campaign, RD?
It was an independent effort of Missouri Synod clergy, not say a circuit winkel or pastoral conference.  The letter was remitted in some form to Father Lovett, and since the reception of a member is to a congregation, presumably to Father Lovett's congregation.  Was it also remitted in some form to the Pastor and congregation in Oklahoma as part of its outreach?  Maybe better asked, were signatories informed of the types of remissions to be done with the letter?

Then, is there information about whether the letter of support was used by Father Lovett in his conversations with the Pastor in Oklahoma?  Is it the estimation of those who signed it that the letter was instrumental in accomplishing the next step toward reconcilation? 

Dave Benke
#45
This seems an endless trail leading down the path to nowhere.  This would not have happened in my opinion if Herb Mueller were with us.  Because it would take someone with a keen sense of the word "Churchly" to pull it off.  To state that the pastors involving themselves after signing a statement are now "The Church" is not only inaccurate in a confessional Lutheran church body with processes for dissent and reconciliation, but it cuts against the very existence of having those processes or for that matter having a denomination.  As opposed to the signatories, I recall the existence of the processes which are there.  It's not meddling to have an opinion to use the system.  It's having an opinion about the use of the system and its processes.

Invoke the process for the sake of the situation, tell all these extra signatory involvees to back off.  And keep the Wichita pastor out of it as well.

Put it back in the hands of the process outlined in bylaw 1.10.  And if it's not a natural fit, go to the Commission on Constitutional Matters for a reading and potential waiver.  Hello, District Presidents in Oklahoma and Kansas.  Anyone on the line?  Was the congregant who resigned aware of the potential for appeal inside the LCMS system?  Why or why not? 

What burns my bunions is not using a system designed for controverted situations when you have one. 

Maybe it's just an urban guy's perspective, but the congregant has headed 70 miles up the road (google) to find greener pastures.  That's like from my church to way out on the end of Long Island.  Not easy to imagine, but then ours are not Midwestern miles.  Very, very seldom will you find someone from East New York lounging on a beach in the Hamptons.  Or never.

Dave Benke
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