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Messages - Mike Bennett

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46
Your Turn / Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« on: November 30, 2010, 11:13:23 AM »
How does a lector exercise authority over others?

The lector simply reads what God says to us in the Bible - a link in a communications chain.  It is not the job of the lector to interpret or explain the messages he or she reads but to be a courier.


If the reader does not teach, then we should not call him a lector.

If the Scripture readings are not lessons, then we should not call them that.


This is an interesting question.  I've always been of the "lector simply reads what God says to us in the Bible" school

But based on

+ Involvement in competitive high school speech and in business presentations,

+ Preparing to read the lessons when I'm assigned, and

+ Listening painfully to the reading of people who have no clue how to read aloud what's on the printed page,

I don't think I really believe that any more.  The reader can read welll or poorly.  Reading well requires the reader to understand what (s)he thinks is being conveyed by the written word to apply appropriate cadence, emphasis, vocal tone, etc., and that in itself requires at least some rudimentary degree of interpretation of what's on the page.

Mike Bennett

47
Your Turn / Re: Some changes afoot
« on: November 28, 2010, 08:27:56 PM »
What if we started from scratch and everybody had to be anonymous?  It would force us to read what people are actually saying and evaluate arguments on their merits, rather than our personal opinions about the individual posters.


Iowakatie gets it.

Mike Bennett

48
Your lesson plans for teaching the Ten Commandments in catechim must be a stitch.

The original question was not about The Ten Commandments; just the commandments.

And as you wrote a few moments ago, "An Old Testament command is an Old Testament command. The divisions of covenant, cultural, cultic, moral commands is one moderns make as they discern which ones we can ignore and which ones are important to keep."

So your lesson plans for teaching the Ten Commandments in catechism must be a stitch.

Mike Bennett

49
Tim notes: Confusing covenant with a variety of other cultural laws. Astute exegesis.  :P

An Old Testament command is an Old Testament command. The divisions of covenant, cultural, cultic, moral commands is one moderns make as they discern which ones we can ignore and which ones are important to keep.

So "Have no other Gods" is only more timeless than "Only take enough manna for one day (except on Friday)" because moderns have decided it's more timeless.  Wow.

As I recall, the punishment for going after other gods and for collecting manna on the forbidden day were the same.

Your lesson plans for teaching the Ten Commandments in catechim must be a stitch.

Mike Bennett

50
Tim notes: Confusing covenant with a variety of other cultural laws. Astute exegesis.  :P

An Old Testament command is an Old Testament command. The divisions of covenant, cultural, cultic, moral commands is one moderns make as they discern which ones we can ignore and which ones are important to keep.

So "Have no other Gods" is only more timeless than "Only take enough manna for one day (except on Friday)" because moderns have decided it's more timeless.  Wow.

Mike Bennett

51

True Mike, but surely you remember when, after I asked Brian S. if Jesus was God. He stated "Not during his time on earth".


Actually, I didn't remember that.  I'll admit it's a prize-winner.

Please offer your explanation for these biblical passages about Jesus:

"He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." (Phl 2:6b)

"He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." (Phl 2:7)

This Sunday (for those using the Revised Common Lectionary) will hear:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Mt 24:36)


No.  I will not debate the divinity of Christ.  I spent one academic year in college doing that, with my roommate's Jehovah's Witness tutor.    The result was that I got muddy and he enjoyed himself.  Won't do it again.

Mike Bennett

52
And the arguments opposing the views of Pastor Stoffregen are equally predictable, repetitive and plowing the same soil. They have not been convincing in years of debate and are not likely to be convincing now.
Yes, those argument are predictable and old, because they are time-tested and proven.

I'm sure farmers of generations past could tell us the time-tested and proven horse breeds to use in plowing and harvesting their fields. Their arguments, as good as they are, are not really relevant to farmers who are now using motorized vehicles for their plowing and harvesting. Farmers in the first or even the 16th century had no idea of the farm issues and implements that farmers use and discuss today.


The Commandments are superseded by technological advances?  That's as arrogant a thing as I've read here for awhile, which is saying a lot.

We no longer stone people to death for capital crimes.

I was about to give you an honorable mention for not mentioning slavery or women's suffrage, but never mind now.

Mike Bennett

53

True Mike, but surely you remember when, after I asked Brian S. if Jesus was God. He stated "Not during his time on earth".


Actually, I didn't remember that.  I'll admit it's a prize-winner.

Mike Bennett

54

Within business, relying on the time-tested and proven ways of the past are certain to mean failure in the future. "Wrecked by success" is a phrase in one book I've read. "If it ain't broke, break it," is the title of another book.


In fact some past business practices are "time-tested and proven ways of the past" and continue to be such, while other past business practices need to be put aside.  Distinguishing one from the other requires wisdom.  Thinking that "If it ain't broke, break it" is wisdom is in fact foolishness (though you can make money writing a book with that title, because a greater fool will buy it).

Mike Bennett

55
And the arguments opposing the views of Pastor Stoffregen are equally predictable, repetitive and plowing the same soil. They have not been convincing in years of debate and are not likely to be convincing now.
Yes, those argument are predictable and old, because they are time-tested and proven.

I'm sure farmers of generations past could tell us the time-tested and proven horse breeds to use in plowing and harvesting their fields. Their arguments, as good as they are, are not really relevant to farmers who are now using motorized vehicles for their plowing and harvesting. Farmers in the first or even the 16th century had no idea of the farm issues and implements that farmers use and discuss today.


The Commandments are superseded by technological advances?  That's as arrogant a thing as I've read here for awhile, which is saying a lot.

Mike Bennett

56
Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

Pax, Steven+

Ahh, suppressing news reports.  Beautiful.

Mike Bennett

57

Tim posits: Just idle speculation, but Swartling's predeccessor did his job for years and years and rarely, if ever caused a ripple across the church. Swartling seems to have assumed (or been put into) an almost "attack dog" role in the current leadership cadre, and it's all constitutional legalisms. That certainly sends, at the very least, a very convoluted "mixed message" in light of the "gospel (sans law)" message that comes forth from other precincts of the leadership. Is this merely coincidence, is it being carefully orchestrated, is this a strategy formulated recently or have these conversations occurred since CWA 09, is it merely short-term thinking without reflecting on long-term ramifications, is it the old "good cop-bad cop" ploy, etc. etc. would seem to be honest questions. It is certainly interesting in terms of the timing.


For what it's worth, a set of facts and a set of first hand observations:

1. Two plain facts, of which each reader can make what (s)he finds reasonable:  (a) Secretary Ahlmen's education and prior experience were as a pastor; (b) Secretary Swartling's education and prior experience were as an attorney, with a specialty in litigation.  (This was well known by Voting Members at the 2007 CWA where Sec. Swartling was elected to replace the retiring Sec. Ahlman).

2.  An observation which I promise is trustworthy, but each reader can also make of it what (s)he finds reasonable:  At the 2007 CWA where Sec. Swartling was elected, I was a volunteer for the entire week, as a microphone page, so I was on the assembly floor 100% of the time.  (I live in suburban Chicago and have very odd taste in vacations).  I was interested in the Secretary election and paid close attention to it, as it seems like an important position.  In the ELCA the Secreatry (and many other positions) are filled by "modified ecclesiastical ballot," which means among other things that

a. The first ballot is a nominating ballot - i.e. any voting member can write any name (s)he wishes on the ballot, subject only to the person being qualified according to the rules for filling the position.
b. Subsequent ballots proceed according to a specific set of rules governing how many candidates are removed on each round (this is a sisnificant part of the "modified" terminology).
c. When a certain number of candidates remain (5 if memory serves) each candidate addresses the assembly for the first time.
d. After those speeches I believe 2/3 of the votes are required to elect a candidate, else the number of candidates is again reduced according to a fixed rule.
e. etc.

As the balloting proceded, Mr. Swartling was among the leaders but was not the leading vote getter.  Then came step c. above.  Mr. Swartling's speech was very well received by the voting members, and some other speeches not se well received, as evidenced by the results of the subsequent ballot, on which Mr. Swartling's vote increased sharply, and the previous front-runner's votes decreased sharply.

How Mr. Swartling came to be a candidate I can't say.  What backing he might have had from the "churchwide office establishment" I can't say.  How the Secretary's role in the years since 2007 might have been foreseen by folks more insightful than I, I can't say.  But what I can say from first hand observation is that he presented himself well as a candidate, and won the votes of ~1,000 voting members in open assembly.  I can also report based on both his speech and a brief one-on-one chat in the corridor, that Secretary Swartling has a likeable personal presence, which is always helpful in politics (church as well as civil).

Mike Bennett

58
Your Turn / Re: Baseball and a Bad Night for Atheists
« on: November 23, 2010, 03:20:23 PM »
90 things to love about Stan Musial, on the occasion of his upcoming 90th birthday:

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_12a02ef7-b9d3-5cec-91f8-843d44412f13.html

As an appetizer, here are the comments from pitchers:

11 Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax: "In my rookie year, I got my first chance to face Stan Musial. I also gave up my first home run. The two events are not unrelated."

42 Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine was once so frustrated by his inability to get The Man out that he wrote a song called "The Stan Musial Blues." Erskine was asked how to pitch to Musial: "I've had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third," he said.

48 Pitcher Don Newcombe: "I could have rolled the ball up there to Musial, and he would have pulled out a golf club and hit it out."

58 Preacher Roe on how to pitch to Musial: "I throw him four wide ones and try to pick him off first base."

Happy birthday, Stan.

Mike Bennett


59

Other see diversity as a gift from God, like different personalities in children, the wide variety of colors of flowers and leaves that change in the Fall (not that we see such leaves in Yuma).


I've wondered who the Druid is who wrote yesterday's "Sundays and Seasons" prayers.  Was it you?

Mike Bennett

60

There, in one sentence, is the crux of the problem.  "WE are still seeking to define what it means . . . " 

Where scripture is silent, we make decisions. While it speaks against same-gender sexual behaviors, none of those are within a committed relationship. They are more like committing adultery than like a sexual relationship within a marriage. As such, some of us believe that we are clear about what God means. (However, others come to different meanings from the same texts.)


Only a few westerners of our generation have "discovered" that Scripture is silent regarding same-gender sexual behaviors.  Christians (and Jews) of all other times and places have heard Scripture speaking loud and clear. 

Mike Bennett 

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