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Messages - Mike Bennett

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Your Turn / Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« on: July 11, 2007, 03:04:47 PM »
Mike Bennett writes:
 wtihout being censored by some operative on Higgins Road.

I comment:
And if we are to continually use the language of mistrust, suspicion and label our church leaders "operatives" rather than our chosen leaders (with whom we may disagree), then the discussion is doomed to fail. I tried to point out above how - in this forum - we talk about people, those seeking change, our church leaders; and apparently we are not talking to them. Nor are we likely to, so long as we label them such.

It is likely that such dialogue is impossible in this particular medium. But I still lament the fact that we post with such hostility rather than hopefulness.

And that's really it for me. I'm off to Argentina and Brazil.

I also don't want responsibility for fact-checking somebody's advocacy piece for myself.† †It's hard to imagine a more thankless task than that.† †I don't know why you consider "operative" to show hostility.† I also find it odd that a journalist's first instinct isn't to be sympathetic to freedom of expression by the advocates, rather than to find things to criticize in a brief statement advocating such freedom.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« on: July 11, 2007, 01:02:03 PM »

My point is that the materials from both sides should be subject to evaluation and fact-checking.

I disagree.† I think it's important for advocates to have their say, in their words, without being censored by some operative on Higgins Road.†

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Churchwide Elections
« on: July 09, 2007, 08:57:08 PM »

Debbie and I have enjoyed the Eglands hospitality several times; we live 120 miles apart out here in the PNW, and they were the ones who granted us sanctuary in their congregation when we were booted from our local ELCA congregation.

Lou Hesse

You were what?† Is there a brief summary account for those who've not heard it before?

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Does procreation matter?
« on: July 03, 2007, 04:32:38 PM »
I purchased JPII's Theology of the Body a while back, and it is like reading Ephraim Radner.† It is very dense reading, but if read slowly and without interruption, it is an excellent read

To get a synopsis, I recommend George Weigel's biography of JPII, where he covers the background of the lectures that were later published as noted above.

If you're really cheap (talking about me, not thee) you can find the 129 weekly audience sermons at

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: WordAlone
« on: July 03, 2007, 04:09:17 PM »
Just curious:† Have any ELCA Pastors requested "re-ordination" by one of the newly minted HE Bishops in the ELCA?

I'm sure somebody will have information on this.† I can only observe that such a request would be extremely weird, and I can't imagine that one would find a bishop who would do the deed.† You see, it really is true that CCM was for the purpose of reaching an ecumenical agreement, and not for the purpose of legitimizing something that had previously been other than legitimate.† Really.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: The Declining Mainline
« on: July 03, 2007, 10:52:01 AM »
I'm wondering how it is that a topic like this has been started, has had lively discussion, and is still not showing up at the top of the topics page on the "Your Turn" page?

Why are you wondering that?

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« on: April 30, 2007, 06:38:55 PM »
There are two discussions happening simultaneously here. Some people are trying clarify what the official RC teaching is as opposed to sterotypes about that teaching, while others are pointing out that the RC teaching is wrong. For the former, quotations from the RC catechism matter, but for the latter they don't matter one whit.

Actually Peter I disagree with your last statement. If one is arguing against the RC teaching and why it is wrong, then one must make sure that he or she clearly understands that teaching. Quotes from the RC Catechism can make sure that the position which some are attacking is the properly understood position of the RCC.

I'm reminded of a column written more than four years ago by Joseph Sobran commending the debating style of St. Thomas Aquinas.† Sobran wrote:

"Iíve just been reading some recent theological controversies, and how I wished St. Thomas could have stepped in to settle them. The disputes werefull of vigorous, thought-provoking arguments; but the arguments were also adulterated by overstatements, imprecision, and even personal accusations. The phrase odium theologicum sprang to mind. And in some cases the disputants hadnít taken the preliminary step of defining their terms.

"In other words, if youíre not careful, theological debates can become alarmingly similar to political journalism, where truth-seeking easily turns into mere partisan polemics, or just bickering with annoying people. The goal is victory over a humiliated opponent. This spirit is not necessarily charitable.

"The spirit of Aquinas is very different. He isnít merely charitable to his opponents; he is always on his opponentís side. That is, he wants to confront opposing arguments at their best, even if he has to reformulate them himself and make them purer, stronger, and more precise than their advocates have done.

"Aquinas has the rare quality of wanting to know all that can possibly besaid for the other side. He understands that you canít find good answers without good questions. The human mind needs both.

"There are no cheap shots or straw men in the Summa Theologica. Aquinas has no need of them; they would only corrupt what he is trying to do. When he debates the existence of God, he doesnít cast aspersions on wicked atheists; he simply tries to make the strongest case for atheism before he gives his reasons for rejecting them and for affirming Godís existence. Thinking is complicated enough, without being further complicated by personalities ó even oneís own personality."


How I wish what Sobran wished.

Mike Bennett

Following our recent (Metro Chicago Synod) Assembly, I fear for the first time the possibility of CWA 2005 by-passing the "local option" ruse and going straight to mandating the blessing of same sex unions and ordaining of homosexually active persons.  As I will be a voting member in August, I'll have only one vote out of the 1,000.  You see, in Chicago last weekend, two such resolutions were passed, one by more than 80%(!) and the other by somewhat less.  

Where is there prospect for such a synod as Russ Saltzman describes?  Every dissenting synod of which I'm presently aware exists primarily for at least of one of the sectarian reasons that he recommends we avoid (and I agree that we should avoid such reasons).  I fear that there will very soon be need for such a synod, and am hoping to hear of plans, at least, preliminary, for its formation.

Mike Bennett

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