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Messages - Steven Tibbetts

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Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 17, 2006, 01:43:50 PM »
Sounds like good business practice to me. And perhaps they are carefully determining the numbers needed for the first press run.

The first press run of 70,000 is sold out.  AFP is preparing for a second run.


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 15, 2006, 08:53:35 PM »
I remember when I began the ordained ministry, ALC constitutions said something about using only approved liturgies of the church, which was the SBH. At the same time, congregations were encouraged to use the Contemporary Worship Series -- not yet approved by the Church. Isn't that sending a mixed message?

Brian, I was 11 or 12 when my congregation started using CW once a month.  There were no mixed messages.  Our pastor respected us enough to tell us that we were testing it out as part of the process leading to the SBH's successor.  Of course, I've known you long enough (and we've even met in person) to believe that you were (and are) wise enough to know that, too, even as a newly ordained pastor.  I trust you weren't as demeaning in instructing my cousin's Confirmation classes as you are here.


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 15, 2006, 12:07:38 AM »
Clearly, Brian, you are not comprehending what I am writing. 

I believe that this seemingly infinite variety that has suddenly become the ELCA's liturgical modus operandi ("suddenly" in the sense of being a 180% reversal of attitude in only one generation -- LBW was not, at least for us in the LCA and for those who bore the appelation "liturgist," one option among many, but the church's liturgy) is detrimental to the practice of the Christian Faith, particularly in a Lutheran context.

Listing all the possible options, counting the number of times "Father" can be used, admitting that some of the possible options are ones that you would never use, noting that some "thees and thous" have been restored in old hymns, etc. simply do not address what I have been saying.  It's a passing strange use of "dialogue" you practice here, and (for the moment at least) I've grown weary of your dancing. 


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 13, 2006, 10:49:03 PM »
Even though I have and will continue to defend the book, there are options I don't like and probably won't use and that's the benefit of having options. (I haver used setting 3 in LBW, but I know pastors and congregations who enjoy it.)

You know, Brian, options in musical settings -- something the Church has been doing since the Mass was set to music -- is not the same kind of "option" as altered liturgical texts.  So while you regularly use this comparison, I find it demeaning of the entire (attempt at) dialogue.

 :( spt+

Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 13, 2006, 02:26:10 AM »
Because, as with my observation about the Calendar of Lesser Festivals and Commemorations, we are more interested in ecumenical partnerships than we are with intra-Lutheran unity.

And taken a step further, Tom, only a particular set of ecumenical partnerships.  Clearly the ELW liturgies move in the opposite direction of the LBW, that is, worship with the Catholic Church.  The ELCA was born out of a long-cherished commitment to North American Lutheran unity.  The commitment of the Augsburg Confession is unity with Rome. 

Today's commitment?  Old-line/sideline/mainline liberal protestantism.

Kyrie eleison, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: Name(s) of God
« on: September 13, 2006, 02:13:11 AM »
I would agree that Jesus gives and adequate understanding of God, but it is not a complete understanding. God's ways and means are still far beyond our understanding. With Jesus we have a glimpse of God -- enough of a glimpse for our salvation, but not enough to give us complete understanding.

Very good, Brian.  You have stated the matter well.  Now, if we already have an adequate understanding of God from God himself, what is the purpose of seeking "complete" understanding?


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 12, 2006, 05:43:35 PM »
Not responding to your questions, but I note that LBW did have a second column for baptisms. In one column the minister says: NAME, I baptize you in the name of ...." In the other column, the minister says: NAME is baptized in the name of ...." I don't know the significance of these options, just that the second is not offered in ELW.

"I baptize you..." is the Western formula. "Name is baptized..." is the Eastern formula, and was introduced in LBW to bring further emphasis that the actor in Holy Baptism is God.  Some have taken it to mean, uh, downplaying the role of the pastor/priest in baptism, but given that the Orthodox generally have not recognized "emergency" baptism done by laymen, that would be importing a meaning that simply isn't there. 


Your Turn / Re: Name(s) of God
« on: September 12, 2006, 05:32:58 PM »
If God is beyond our understanding (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9,) then none of our language is adequate for understanding God.

Not adequate from whose perspective?  God seems to think the Incarnation is quite adequate for our understanding of him.  

The language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit conveys an understanding of the three persons, but indicates nothing about the "one God" part of the Trinity.

Only because you have taken "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" out of any context, letting the clause hang out there all by itself as if it were some sort of Platonic ideal.  Christian baptism and invocations done "in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" affirm the unity of the one Triune God by being in the "name" instead of the "names."

The language of the alternative opening: "Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God," has a greater emphasis on the "one God," but doesn't distinguish the three persons.

So, is this a good thing to emphasize -- the unity of God without distinguishing the three persons?

Would it be improper to begin the worship with: "In the name of the God who was, who is, and who is to come" from Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:8?

Since Jews and Muslims can use the same invocation, it would likely be less than helpful for Christian worship, especially when the point is not so much to expand our God language as it is to avoid the offense of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."  Meanwhile, the Christian tradition has been to conclude liturgical prayer with phrases like, "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end."  So your proposal doesn't actially expand anyone's understanding -- presuming such expansion is really a good thing in the first place.

This certainly is biblical language about God.

And Unitarians use biblical language for God.  Heck, Buddhists use biblical language for God, even though they don't believe in him. What this has to do with liturgical practices of Christian worship in a church of Western Catholic heritage -- and it is worth remembering that the  Presbyterian tradition developed because Calvinists believed Lutherans were not sufficiently reformed -- is beyond me.


Your Turn / Re: Name(s) of God
« on: September 10, 2006, 11:59:49 PM »
If it is expanding our understanding of what scriptures reveal to us about God, then most certainly we Christians should be doing that.

So Brian, in responding to my liturgical question, you add a whole new level of ambiguity.  That's a curious approach.

Is "expanding our understanding of what scriptures reveal to us about God" something Christians are to be doing?  (Christ seems to narrow, or at least particularize, our understanding.  So your "if" clause is not self-evident, leaving your "then" clause still hanging.  And leading the conversation further away from your original assertion.)  And if Christians ought to be expanding that understanding, are liturgical formulae a proper means to do so?


Your Turn / Name(s) of God
« on: September 10, 2006, 09:19:52 PM »
I would rather say that ELW offers an expansion of traditional Christian language.

Why, Brian, would Christians -- disciples of Jesus Christ, who points us to a very specific revelation of God -- want to do that in the common Liturgy?


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 08, 2006, 12:37:32 AM »
What would you suggest are better hymnals than ELW?
I should note that the most significant problems with the ELW are the liturgical texts, including the psalter.

I'd start with the LBW.  The LSB appears to be better, too.  And if the congregation I serve were in the market for a new worship book, I think we'd be checking out what is available from Roman Catholic publishers. 


Your Turn / Re: Review of Evangelical Lutheran Worship
« on: September 07, 2006, 11:14:13 PM »
Compared to the UCC hymnal, ELW shows great restraint and moderation in seeking to use more inclusive language.

Oh, this reminds me of some of those tests I took in high school.  "The New Century Hymnal is to Evangelical Lutheran Worship as Z is to X."  The problem is, if I identify any of the Zs and Xs that came to mind, the Moderator would send me to my room.  So I'll just note can always find a worse alternative.  That there are worse hymnals than ELW is hardly a reason to chose it.


Your Turn / Re: Clash of Civilizations! (or ?)
« on: September 07, 2006, 02:54:01 AM »
Brian asked 2 questions.  I answered only the first.  I do think it important to be clear that they are indeed 2 different questions, since it is all too easy for us to forget that there are indeed Arab Christians.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: Clash of Civilizations! (or ?)
« on: September 05, 2006, 06:03:44 PM »
A question that was raised in another forum was whether or not our God hears the prayers addressed to Allah?
Since our God is called Allah by Arabic-speaking Christians, that particular question can be easily answered: Yes. 


Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: September 01, 2006, 10:11:13 PM »
This comment posted in two forums here:

I appear to be the only one in this "discussion" operating from certain assumtions, namely;

Well, Charles, it rather hard to respond to this well when you post this comment on 2 completely different threads.  But it seems more appropriate to do so here than in the thread on the Archbishop of Canterbury.  So,

1. That the ELCA is not rushing headlong towards heterodoxy or heresy.

I don't know about the ELCA.  But I listen to and read what the Presiding Bishop and other leaders of the ELCA say about where they intend to lead the ELCA.  I am glad that, despite the PB's frenetic energy level, the ELCA is unable to "rush headlong" into anything.  That said, judging by the press releases, program initatives, and what comes out of our publishing house, the ELCA certainly has little interest in offering a distictly Lutheran voice.

2. That we do not have the final word from Scripture or from God yet on all matters of sexuality.
3. That disagreements on matters of sexuality are not necessarily divisive of fellowship.

Those statements are both stated vaguely and broadly enough that just about anyone could agree with them.  However, on matters of sexual immorality a New Testament precedent established by St. Paul himself (1 Cor. 5) is to break fellowship until the parties can be reconciled.   

4. That our ecumenical agreements were properly reached and are blessings to our fellowship with members of the Anglican, Reformed and Moravian communities.

I disagree.  This is in the case of both the agreements I find satisfactory and the ones I find unsatisfactory.

5. That we should honor our commitment as members of the ELCA to support the programs of our church.

Agreed.  Of course, I realize you do not mean to lockstep follow all of them, but that healthy critique can benefit and strengthen the ELCA.  If I thought this commitment wasn't an important one, I wouldn't be so concerned about what our church's programs said and did.

6. That our leaders take their calls seriously and we should respect them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And in agreeing with you, that is also a two-way street: brothers and sisters in Christ are going to disagree, sometimes strongly, on certain matters.   

7. That the purpose of discussion and dialogue is to find the common ground of the Gospel, not require uniformity in all matters of ethics, customs or church order.

I think you've set up a false dichotomy here.  I don't see anyone seeking to "require uniformity in all matter of ethics, customs or church order," though it is a nice way to dismiss those who disagree with you on particular matters.  On some matters, we in the ELCA no longer have common ground, in Christ or in anyone else.

I think I'll turn to other things.

You've been writing that on ALPB Forum Online for months.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Fraternally, Steven+

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