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Messages - TravisW

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451
Your Turn / Re: Is God a Liberal Democrat?
« on: August 04, 2008, 10:26:52 AM »
I agree.  Paying taxes is like paying my utility bill.  Regardless of whether my utility company gives some of its profits to some charity, I pay the bill.  What they do with the money has no bearing on whether or not I pay them. 

452
Your Turn / Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« on: July 31, 2008, 02:35:01 PM »
Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?
For the most part the traditional is tolerated. (I'm sure that exception to toleration can be found.)

The question is whether or not the traditionalists will find a way to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships. Most of those that I know, are very traditional in their theology and liturgical practices.

What does it mean to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships?  It seems to me that what you are asking of traditionalists is that they change their beliefs to match yours on the topic.  That may be good thing - I more than suspect you think it would - but recognize that you are asking that.  At the least you are asking traditionalists to conclude it doesn't matter and that what was once considered sin be so no longer.

Dan

I think there is some wiggle room in that word "tolerate".  Perhaps you're right and traditionalists are being asked to change their beliefs.  On the other hand, those who "tolerate" something are not necessarily asked to change their beliefs-- only their behavior. 

I am not quite convinced that we Christians are called by the scriptures to merely tolerate each other-- I believe Christ set that bar much higher in the command to love one another.  However, this side of the eschaton, sometimes toleration is a place to start -- or perhaps a midpoint.

Erik

I believe that love and tolerance are mutually exclusive in some circumstances. 

453
Your Turn / Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« on: July 31, 2008, 02:18:50 AM »
I have no theology nor statistics to add to this thread.  All I have is personal observation and my own opinions.  Take it for what it's worth.

As we are quite aware, the mainline Lutheran synods have experienced a massive decline since the 1960s.  This has followed the same trend as other mainline churches.  Why? 

The WWII and "silent generation" generally grew up in church.  As we all know, not all were ardent adherents to their respective faiths, but that was the status of American culture of the time.  That culture was consistent in America post-WWII.  (Europe post-WWII is a COMPLETELY different story)  American mainline churches offered a fairly balanced theology in the 1940s and 1950s.  It was easy to be a mainline Protestant Christian in America then.  Those who were not believers still attended church, because it was a cultural staple---that's what people did, and the theology was palatable to a degree. 

This started changing in the 1960's.  A different generation grew to adulthood.  This was a generation that valued personal experience over potential theological truth and cultural mores.  The buzz-phrase of the 70's, as far as I understand, commonly became about a personal relationship with God.  Within a relatively short timeframe, it became popular for people to "go fishing rather than to go to church." "It's better to think about God while fishing than think about fishing when in church".  Moreover, it became more common for people to just stop going to church altogether--that started to become an accepted cultural norm.  "Church is just a building". 

This has changed again with my generation (x).  Those whose parents were borderline believers are agnostics.  We are moving toward the post-WWII European paradigm.  Simple theists rarely attend church anymore---it is no longer a societal norm.  Those of devout belief wind up going to more conservative churches.  Why would they do that?  Because the mainline churches are completely behind the times, and are trying to keep up with the wrong audience.  What would have been a marginal Lutheran in the 1960s is now a non-practicing agnostic.  What would have been a devout Lutheran in the 1970s is now becoming a devout Evangelical.  As the mainline churches move left politically, and towards a liberal theology, their importance diminishes as those who are theologically liberal become non-practicing Universalists.

Since I'm Norwegian, cheap, and cynical; I tend to think that a lot of people are being strung along with a lot of hopes that will be dashed.  I tend to think that the mainline churches have tended to move left politically and theologically to avoid butting financial heads with the non-denoms and Evangelicals.  I tend to think that some shepherds are willing to let some sheep die so that the flock will, in some way, survive; rather than keeping solid watch for theological wolves.

...and that's a layman's opinion on mainline protestant churches.   

454
Your Turn / Re: Refrain and Restrain
« on: July 25, 2008, 10:11:30 PM »
Agreed, it's a matter of law.  And the purposes of the law are to curb sin and show us our need for forgiveness as found in Christ.  So by denying the law here, we are failing to curb sin and denying the need for forgiveness in Christ.  Indirectly, it is a denial of the Gospel.  If the law doesn't apply, there is no need for the Gospel.
What law are we denying? I do not believe that scriptures ever talks about same-sex behaviors within a committed, mutual loving, life-long relationship.

Brian, I think you are rebutting an argument from silence that you created with the addition of a few adjectives.  I'm actually considering that this may be a straw-man application of an argument from silence, which is the first one that I remember encountering.  In fact, I think I have considerably better scriptural support for taking a pretty girl from work as a second wife. 

Never mind, I don't need two gals mad at me.    ;)  Okay, back to lurking. 

455
Your Turn / Re: Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro
« on: July 15, 2008, 11:59:48 AM »
Anyone who's curious can find out what I wound up preaching last Sunday. Send me your e-mail address.

Peace,
Michael

travis.woyen@gmail.com

Thanks,
Travis

456
Your Turn / Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« on: July 11, 2008, 09:33:41 AM »
I personally have no contact with any CLB folks.  I've never even met one.  I'm told that one of the differences between the AFLC understanding of the congregaion and the CLB understanding is that they hold that the congregation should consist of sanctified saints only whereas we hold that the Church writ large is composed of the people of God who are known only to God, but the local congregation can and probably will have both believers and non believers in the body.  It's a little like the disagreements among New England congregationalists in the 17th and early 18th centuries.  Now this might be incorrect information since I have no firsthand knowledge, so take it for what it's worth.
Blessings
Terry


Pr. Culler, I'm certain that you're correct.  Prospective members to the congregation generally have to give some type of testimony before becoming official members.     

457
Your Turn / Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« on: July 10, 2008, 11:59:51 PM »
My family attended the CLB for a few years in the mid-80s, jumped ship for about 10 years, and again attend there.  My oldest brother went to their High School (Hillcrest Lutheran Academy) in Fergus Falls, and he worships at an LB church in Moorhead.  There is some variance in practice, to be certain.  At least in my hometown (Maddock, ND), the church has always been more involved with the Evangelical Free congregation in Esmond than with any local Lutheran congregation (even the one on the other side of the parking lot).  As is common in the Hauge-derived churches, it's extremely low church.  They're very strong on foreign missions and the inerrancy of scripture.  While I believe that they subscribe to the unaltered Augsburg Confession, they don't tend to emphasize sacraments very much.  Insofar as ecumenicism is concerned, my impression is that they are somewhat cloistered when it comes to other Lutheran congregations.  One potential weakness that I have seen is a predisposition toward what I call "Lutheran Baptist" theology (basically, decision theology) which once again undermines the Lutheran understanding of salvation and the sacraments.  In that sense, they can be something of a paradox. 

Bear in mind, this is just based on my experience with one small congregation.  There's a great deal of congregational autonomy in the CLB, so my experience may not (and is very likely not) indicative of the practices of their synod as a whole.  That being said, I think if they made an ecumenical move toward the ELCA, the devil would probably start shopping for hockey skates. 

458
Your Turn / Re: "Visions" of parishioners
« on: October 16, 2007, 02:49:36 PM »
K, I would personally bring it up if I started seeing it pullling people's attention away from Law, Gospel, and the Sacraments.  That being said, I personally think that most of the modern charismatic movement is a distracting load of bunk.

459
That doesn't touch the concept that homosexual behavior is a sin.  Essentially, it's still asking the conservative end of the spectrum to move left. 
Are heterosexual sexual behaviors sin?

In Marriage, no.  The people involved are sinners, but that particular action is not intrinsically sin. 

The difference is; in order to bring any sort of consensus to the issue, people who believe that the act of a person having sex with another of the same gender is sin, must be led to believe that it's only sin in some circumstances.  There's your paradigm shift.  This is the mountain that many, myself included, cannot climb. 

To address BMJ's statement; I definitely agree.  If the Holy Spirit is leading this, why did he wait until secular western culture had already largely accepted the concept of same-sex union before saying "Hey Church, c'mon over here!  Oh, hey homosexuals, sorry for the last couple thousand odd years of oppression.  My bad." 

460
so the only options remaining are for the traditionalists to change their minds or for the church to simply have two mutually-exclusive teachings on sexual morality.
Or, one can look at it as creating one teaching on sexual morality -- sexual behaviors are to take place within a mutual, chaste, faithful, life-long committed relationship.

That doesn't touch the concept that homosexual behavior is a sin.  Essentially, it's still asking the conservative end of the spectrum to move left. 

461
We are exposed. To not discipline opens the door for a good lawyer. That is how it relates to the ELCA action. They are telling Bishops not to discipline.
Were any of the situations where pay outs were made anywhere similar to a congregation having a homosexual clergy in a committed relationship?

In the nearly 20 years of the ELCA that bishops have been refraining and demonstrating restraint in disciplining congregations with homosexual clergy in committed relationships and against homosexual clergy in committed relationships, has there been any lawsuit filed against those congregations? bishops? synods?

This is outside of the GL issue itself.  It's the issue of a churchwide assembly recommending that bishops refrain, or use restraint, in applying discipline to pastors in open violation of stated church policy.  If this recommendation were made in any other context, it would still have the same potential legal ramifications.  As it stands, it doesn't look good when a recommendation is made to defy current policy rather than just changing the policy.  It begs the question, "what other policies are overlooked?"

462
My hunch is that your hunch is correct. 

463
Maybe.  It also may come across as something like:  the bishops are being urged not to enforce present regulations in anticipation that they will be changed at the next CWA.  (That does make some administrative sense, actually, if they are likley to change.) 
I note that in the history of the ELCA, only two congregations have been expelled for calling non-rostered clergy, and only three clergy have been through the disciplinary hearing and removed from the roster for being "practicing homosexuals."

Since there are many more congregations who have called non-rostered clergy and many other practicing homosexuals either on the roster or off who are serving congregations, it would seem that bishops have already refrained from or demonstrated restraint in disciplining these offenses.

It's true that this recommendation basically reflects reality in the ELCA.  However, it puts pen to paper, which does change things a little bit.  In fact, I'll say that we'll never see that position move to a more conservative viewpoint.  

I've been involved with the ELCA since 1992, and it seems to me that there was a sexuality study going on then.  In fact, my entire memory of the ELCA thus far basically consists of "sexuality study" and "ecumenical agreement".  I think as long as we are considering the reality of the situation, we need to consider the reality of the ELCA.  Debates over sexuality are merely a symptom of the main problem, which is that as a synod we don't agree on how we view Scripture.  The fact of the matter is that there are two diametrically opposed views that continually clash.  

The ELCA has a brain tumor, but we've been treating the same headache for 15 (or more) years.  

464
ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2007 / Re: Sexuality Debate: Still No Decision
« on: August 10, 2007, 08:49:48 PM »
Jim-

Some lady yesterday used this imagery of the rabbit in her discussions favoring the substitution.  She said that in some African ( I think it was African) thought they speak of the Holy Spirit not in terms of the dove but of the Rabbit.  This imagery suggests (she said) that we need to be attentave to where the rabbit pops up and speeds along...something to that effect.  Don't worry about not getting it, I don't get it either.  

Wow, I was going to lurk and read a while longer, but I have to comment on that remarkably bad metaphor.  I always thought that the Holy Spirit came to us, not that he was a rabbit that we chase like a bunch of Elmer Fudds. 


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