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Messages - TravisW

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436
Your Turn / Re: Remembering Collective Shame
« on: October 18, 2008, 12:08:09 AM »
Reading the original article, it seems that it deals more with the modern West's view on abortion rather than directly discussing the ELCA's social statement concerning abortion.  So, in the context of the Left-hand Kingdom...Here's my take. 

I'm in favor of the reversal of Roe V. Wade.  I'm also not going to hold my breath.  I also think that the concept of "Freedom of Choice" is so firmly ingrained in the minds of my generation (x) that support for an abortion ban amendment gets less likely as the years go by.  I see banning abortion as being a "supply-side" approach to the issue.  If abortion is banned, women will still seek abortions (just like people continue to willingly commit any other crime).  With the "right to choice" tending to be firmly entrenched in the minds of those of childbearing age, I think it would become the medical equivalent to Prohibition.  That's where the second approach comes in.     

The more difficult approach is what I consider the "demand side".  There are things that we know reduce the numbers of abortions.  A strong economy helps (less abortions based on dollar and cent decisions).  Also, unwed mothers should be considered people who should be helped rather than viewed with disdain.  The adoption system should have the kinks worked out of it.  People need to work on understanding birth control and how it relates to sex and procreation.  As a member of a post-sexual-revolution generation, my personal observation is that people tend not to draw the conclusion that reproduction is the natural outcome of sex; which I think is ridiculous from any logical standpoint.  Rather, procreation is seen as something that happens when it is planned. 

The biggest challenge that I see, though, is changing the way people view human life.  The value of human life needs to be extended to all human lives, and this includes the lives of the unborn, the mentally retarded, the homeless, etc...  In our various congregations, I'd imagine that all of us in various ways try to inculcate this way of thinking.  However, it extends far beyond the extent of Lutheranism and Christianity; it's American Culture in general.  That's a big part of why it's such a difficult problem to fix.   

437
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 11, 2008, 03:46:33 PM »
Well, with that approach, we would all be paralyzed by "partisan" views and unable to take part in any public issue. No thanks.

Not really.  People can do what they will.  If they are being taught to love their neighbors as themselves, and it is being taken to heart, they will do so in the manner that they see fit.  For some, it may be voting for a particular candidate with a particular idea.  For others, it may be voting for a different candidate with a different idea.  

Is it better that the church enact a program of political proselytizing in an effort to create a voting bloc?  

438
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 11, 2008, 02:18:31 PM »
To TravisW:
What constitutes "partisan" when the church tackles social issues?
Is arguing for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions "partisan"?
How about arguing against such an amendment?
Is it "partisan" to favor legislation aimed at providing breakfasts for elementary school children? Or is it "partisan" if only one party in the district favors such legislation?
Is it "partisan" to suggest that we should bring all our troops home from Iraq?
The ELCA's social statement on education seeks more support for public education. Is that "partisan"?
Tough world, ain't it?  ;D ;D

All of the above are partisan.  What taking a directly partisan angle does is divert attention from other ways that we may serve our neighbor.  There are many ways that the poor can be fed and clothed; the unborn protected; good stewardship of our planet encouraged; and a just foreign policy pursued. 

439
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 11, 2008, 12:57:28 AM »
You said that you needed to hear how Christ died for you. I only wanted to point out the need to hear that Christ died for all, and that the care of those others is given to us. This inevitably takes us into the messy world, including the political world.

I agree that there is a certain degree of overlap between church and state, particularly with a representative government.  The government is tasked with defining certain moral principles for the purpose of upholding the best interests of the populace.  The church is obviously more directly and deeply involved with the moral affairs of society.  So, there is definitely that crossover.  That being said, I believe that the church can and should take firm stands on social issues; but I don't think this means that the church should necessarily take a partisan stand on those issues, or preach partisanship from the pulpit.  I guess by "politics" I meant something more along the lines of "partisan endorsement". 

440
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 10, 2008, 04:37:20 PM »
TravisW writes:
At least one day per week I need to hear about how I'm a sinner, how Christ died for me, how I am joined in His death and resurrection through the waters of baptism, and how I am saved by grace through faith.

I comment:
I need to hear that, too (and actually, more than one day per week). But I also need to hear how Christ died for others, and I need to hear how my being saved by grace through faith links me to those others - the saved and unsaved - and how my relationship with Christ's death and resurrection impels me, through every means at my disposal (including political ones) to seek their good.
Otherwise, I will languish in a me-and-my-Jesus fog that will make me feel good, but will not help me be a blessing to those others or share Christ with them.

Were you reading something into my post that wasn't there, or am I just not understanding how this post relates to churches promoting partisan rhetoric?  Please elucidate.

441
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 10, 2008, 02:20:07 AM »
"And TravisW was grieved in his heart that he had created the post which had spun the thread unto perdition." 

As far as tax-exempt status, it's nice that the church in and of itself doesn't have to render unto Caesar.  Also, I don't believe that politics needs to be preached from the pulpit.  There are enough pundits that I hear day in and day out.  At least one day per week I need to hear about how I'm a sinner, how Christ died for me, how I am joined in His death and resurrection through the waters of baptism, and how I am saved by grace through faith.  I don't hear enough of that.  I don't think I can hear enough of that.  The Law and Gospel message is timeless while politics are merely transitory. 

442
Your Turn / Re: More proof Law/Gospel is only way to go
« on: September 09, 2008, 02:52:45 PM »
It really depends on how far the left-hand kingdom wants to go with its legislation.  Granted, it's a hypothetical situation, but such a time could come that preaching certain aspects of law could qualify in some ways as "hate speech". It's not just a question of the church encroachin on the govt, but also the degree to which the govt decides to legislate morality. 

443
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« on: August 29, 2008, 09:38:31 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

But wouldn't that cut into the carbon fees ELCA pays?

Nope, we just charge the membership more.  It's just a mandatory tithe, sort of like the church tax in Norway. 

444
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« on: August 29, 2008, 09:31:38 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

445
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« on: August 28, 2008, 04:56:42 PM »
Or as a slang reference to the posterior.

"They knocked him on his can for contributing to thread drift". 

446
Your Turn / Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« on: August 25, 2008, 03:06:12 PM »
I greatly prefer the first ad to the second, personally.  While institutionalized charity is a fine thing, promoting it does little to improve the membership numbers or involvement in an organization that is based around a particular philosophy or ideology.  Just ask most North American Freemasons.   

447
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« on: August 16, 2008, 11:54:51 PM »
Wow, it's nice to see that my "pablum" comment has been taken entirely beyond the scope and context of the entire rest of my post, which has remained unreferenced in any other manner or form. 

The whole point of the post was about member retention (or lack thereof), not about getting new people in the doors.  What I referenced as my experience directly relates to my experience.  Many don't share that, and I'm glad to hear that they don't. 

The issue that I see isn't just "why aren't new people joining", it's a combination of that and "why aren't our members staying?"  It can't all be them dying off.  If we don't at least identify the issues leading to the attrition in our numbers, we're just shooting in the dark as to what will remedy them (if, indeed, they can be remedied). 

448
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« on: August 15, 2008, 11:40:52 PM »
I'm no statistician.  But, do these numbers reflect more of a problem with outreach or a problem with keeping sheep in our pasture?  I can't imagine that Lutherans are dying off that quickly, so some are apparently leaving.  I think Rev. Stoffregen is correct about a cultural change.  More and more people are going on a "me and Jesus" paradigm.  That goes across American Christians in general.  Another thing that I'm going to throw out there is the relation between church and ethnicity.  It's a working theory, and you all may not agree (if you all did, I'd probably have a heart attack  ;)).  It is, in part, based on the study of Norwegian-Americans made by Dr. Odd Lovoll

100 years ago, the Lutheran faith was so firmly entrenched in the ethnic identities of new Americans that churches became centers not only for expressions of unity in faith, but also unity in culture.  Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Germans, Icelanders, Finns, were (and are) to varying degrees distributed in pockets across the United States, and have assimilated to varying degrees at varying rates.  In the United States Lutheran unity between these groups only goes back some 50-75 years.  As time carries us further away from the 19th and early 20th century bolus of Lutheran immigration, descendants of these immigrant groups are losing their personal attachment to their ethnic identity.  One aspect of ethnic identity is how an ethnic group expresses its faith.  As the sense of ethnic identity wanes, so wanes the sense of personal attachment to the traditional faith of that ethnicity. 

(Here's where the seat-of-my-pants, subjective, non-researched opinion piece starts)
Another thing that doesn't seem to help us in the ELCA is the sheer amount of controversy that has existed in the Synod for at least the past 15 years.  The internal debates over ecumenical agreements, sexuality, various political issues, etc., tend to tire out Joe Pewsitter.  Also, (here's a point from personal experience) there seems to be a lot of pablum coming from ELCA pulpits these days.  Perhaps I'm the last Lutheran masochist out there who wants the Law to cut the old creature right across the neck, but at least around here there seem to be a lot of pastors whose main goal is to be entirely inoffensive.  The resulting sermons remind me of the following:
 
"Now the sermon today is taken from a magazine that I found..that I found in a hedge.  Now, uh, lipstick colors this season are in the frosted pink area, and nail colors to match.  And, uh, this reminds me rather of our Lord Jesus..." Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

If you seek spiritual depth; no contemporary music, liturgical mastery, or marketing campaign can overcome consistently trite speech from the pulpit. 


449
Your Turn / Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« on: August 07, 2008, 03:23:18 PM »
"He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety". 

Wow, talk about a 7-year itch.   :o

450
Your Turn / Re: ELW at one year: responses from the field
« on: August 04, 2008, 10:21:51 PM »
If memory serves, the guitar edition of the ELW only has chords for the hymns. One must purchase another edition to obtain guitar parts for the liturgy.
Yes, it is just for the hymns. The regular accompaniment edition for the liturgies contains chords for some of the settings. I don't believe that a separate guitar edition for the liturgies is planned.

Q.  How do you get a guitar player to stop playing? 

A.  Put sheet music in front of him. 

Now, back to your regularly scheduled thread. 

TravisW (guitar player for the past two decades)

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