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Messages - Steven Tibbetts

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Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 31, 2006, 08:31:02 PM »
Just for the sake of discussion, since congregations have left the ELCA for many and various reasons, have any congregations joined the ELCA??

Yes, check the annual ELCA Yearbook for "Congregations Received."  While these are usually mission starts started by ELCA folk (and there are several ways that happens),  I know that about 10 years ago our Synod received an independent congregation that, with their minister, had discovered the Lutheran Confessions.  I don't recall the details, but at the end of a process for the minister and the congregation, he was ordained in the ELCA and a few weeks later the congregation was received and seated at the Synod Assembly. 

Pax, Steven+

Letters to the Editors / Re: Youth Confirmation ages in Luther's days?
« on: August 30, 2006, 01:59:51 AM »
When Luther taught confirmation in the Lutheran Church to young children, what was the typical age of when the kids started and age they were confirmed?

Luther didn't teach confirmation, and the establishment of an Evangelical rite of Confirmation in the Lutheran Churches seems to be product of 17th Century Pietism. 

You can find the following in Confirmation, Catechesis, and First Communion in the Lutheran Church, a study document received by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England in 2003:
Luther was much more concerned with catechesis, the instruction of all Christians, young and old, in the basics of the faith as detailed in his two catechisms. In his two revisions of the Communion liturgy Luther stresses the need for Christians to be instructed and examined in the faith before they are to commune. In Wittenberg this instruction took place through weekday preaching in the city church.  Three times a year Luther preached through the six chief parts of the catechism.  Parents were responsible for bringing their children (and servants) to these catechism services. Later, such instruction would also take place in day schools, under the supervision of a schoolmaster. Once the parents were satisfied that their children had learnt what was taught, they brought them to the pastor for examination, Confession, and Absolution, after which the children were permitted to commune....

In early Lutheranism, Confirmation as a separate liturgical rite simply ceased to exist in most places, inasmuch as it had no divine institu tion or promise of grace.  Catechesis, however, was clearly mandated by God (e.g., Deut. 6:6-9; Ps. 78:5-8; Mt. 28:20), and received great attention. The 16th-century Lutheran church orders are reluctant to specify an age at which this should take place. When they do speak of one, it ranges from 7 to 12 years old.  Although an initial, minimal amount of catechesis was required before ‘First Communion’, catechesis was understood to be a life-long process. As Christians regularly conversed with their pastor in private Confession and Absolution, he used the opportunity to continue examining their understanding of the faith.

(see < >)

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 28, 2006, 05:31:24 PM »
I would be thrilled if 17% of our congregation's income were spent on hunger relief.

I trust you and your family aren't hungry. ;)


Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 28, 2006, 05:29:46 PM »
Out of curiousity, does someone know how much money is dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel, narrowly construed, in other countries either through the sending of evangelistic missionaries or the development of the evangelistic capabilities of partner churches?

See the ELCA financial reports at < >.  Apart from the World Hunger Appeal, Global Missions accounted for about 19% of spending in 2005.  Including the Hunger money, it was about 28%.  As for "narrowly construed," I don't think one could get an easy answer for that, as the model is more to support indigenous missions than to send Americans to do it themselves.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 28, 2006, 05:15:31 PM »
In an earlier post you noted hunger funds comprise 17% of the total ELCA budget ($97 million) and then note that no monies from the current fund are used for hunger appeal. A bit of a contradiction?

Actually, Tim, with the Hunger Appeal's budget being part of the ELCA's budget (much like Social Security, Medicare, and the Highways are all part of the Federal Budget), it turns out that some Hunger funds are used to fund certain ELCA programs that probably ought to be paid for with general benevolences.  Granted the programs are hunger-related in some way, but they are programs of the ELCA, not the Hunger Appeal.  This is most visible in the ways the ELCA's advocacy efforts are funded.


Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 28, 2006, 05:04:28 PM »
I'm a little more tolerant with baptized infants who don't show up again. I give them five or six years.

I didn't way when to remove them.  ;)  But my practice has been much like yours.


Your Turn / Re: ELCA Membership Numbers
« on: August 26, 2006, 10:29:37 PM »
If the parents were not members prior to the childs baptisim, would this child be considered a "Member gained by Baptism"?


Of course, if the child does not show up again, he should be moved to the inactive roll.


Your Turn / Re: Service Book & Hymnal
« on: August 26, 2006, 10:10:04 PM »
Compared to the provisional liturgies that came out before LBW, the LBW is much closer to SBH.
As a user of the *Contemporary Worship* series for much of the '70s (I also have copies of the entire series), I'd have to respond, "Much closer than what, Brian?"  Yes, there were some of changes in the placement of a couple of things -- Confession returned to the beginning from after the Creed, restoration of the Kyrie, Prayer of the Day returned to after (rather than before) the Gloria, the responses to the Gospel  and the preferred place of the (expanded from SBH) Pax returned to after (rather than before) the Prayer of the Church.  Each of these, except for the Pax, put us in line with the Novus Ordo.  Yet the rest of the texts used are, it seems to me, in line with CW or modernized even more.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: Presbyterian Publishing House
« on: August 24, 2006, 12:24:41 AM »
I don't think anyone here (except for the colleague mentioned above who explained his situation in a Muslim land) should have anything to "fear" about posting.

FWIW, Charles, I don't think anyone here should have anything to fear about posting.  Alas, I know that, in some places within our Lutheran churches, some who fear unjust or capricious ecclesial repercussions for speaking their minds on-the-record do so because they have indeed witnessed others experience (or have themselves suffered) such ecclesial injustice and caprice.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: Presbyterian Publishing House
« on: August 22, 2006, 04:10:18 PM »
I was just suggesting that we forego the oftimes delicious tendency to muck about in someone else's church, point fingers and cry "Wolf!" when we see something afar that we don't like.

Granted, Charles, that neither you nor I thought it was particularly good thing to adopt, but it seems to me that the "mutual affirmation and admonition" of the "Formula of Agreement" puts us ELCAers in pretty good standing to "muck about" in the business of "someone else's church."  What the publishing house of the PCUSA publishes is no longer, for us, "something afar."  Of course, there are also the too-frequent awful books published by Augsburg Fortress publishes...

On the other hand, a look at the publicity for this book <> suggests that, Prof. Griffin's error is in accusing our gov't of being part of the conspiracy that brought about the terrorist attacks upon our territory.  This nonsensical assertion, which is a nice way to get attention, deflects from his other point about the American Empire. 

That is the discussion that our politicians and pundits ran away from in the 2002 election as everybody and his brother in both parties (except Sen. Wellstone and, more quietly, a couple of Republican Congresscritters -- but including the "liberal" media [I remember being appalled while listening to NPR, of all outlets, insistently banging the drums for War all through the autumn of '02]) campaigned for the invasion of Iraq.  It is the discussion that the continued focus on WMD, and the list of yesterday's casualties, and the race for Senator from Connecticut, fiercly avoids.

Of course, for us Lutheran the question is which kingdom -- that of the right hand or the left -- is this part of.  But Presbyterians don't make that sort of distinction.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Re: Presbyterian Publishing House
« on: August 19, 2006, 03:02:46 PM »
Turning Iraq into a free, open, pluralistic, civil-rights respecting, democracy would do wonders for the entire Middle East, which is a hotbed of all of the ideologies/psychologies/sociologies which led to 9/11.

Alas, if only those who convinced us to invade Iraq would demonstrate that they had even the slightest idea of how that might be accomplished... :(

Though it appears this new book has an even weaker grasp on reality.

Ad astra, Steven+
who thought from the beginning that invading Iraq was a terrible idea on so many levels

(although I know of no pastor who has willingly resigned because of a committed same-sex relationship),

James Bischoff, San Marcos, Cal, 1999, resigned from the roster after revealing his same-sex committed relationship.  How "voluntary" it truly was, I don't know.  But the Pacifica Synod Bishop got his resignation without filing charges or otherwise engaging the discipline process, so by the definitions you have been asserting for the last few years, it must have been voluntary since you keep telling us Bishops have no other options.

Pax, spt+

Selected Re-Prints / What kind of "ambiguity" is *this*?
« on: May 22, 2006, 09:50:17 PM »
Steven Tibbits writes:


Annoyed, Steven+

I ponder:
But doesn't "tradition" include huge amounts of "culture"? Surely we admit that the earliest days of the Church were shaped by the surrounding environment, in all its sociological aspects!

Charles, you have this backwards: Western culture includes huge amounts of Christian Tradition -- and the direction in which we describe this affect is very important, though you won't hear that distinction from many secularists any more.

Of course the early church was influenced in part by the surrounding environment.  But far more, the Church gradually, but dramatically, re-shaped the Greco-Roman culture that surrounded it.  

Pax, Steven+

Selected Re-Prints / "Prophetic witness and disciplinary restraint
« on: May 19, 2006, 01:49:37 AM »
Seems to me that putting "prophetic witness" with "disciplinary restraint" is an oxymoron.  At least if the Old Testament prophets are any indication of what "prophetic witness" is.

Kyrie eleison, Steven+

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