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Messages - Steverem

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1531
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Study: Recommendation on Ministry Policies
« on: February 20, 2009, 12:08:32 PM »
"Without falling into chaos"?  Is that what you call the current state of the UCC and TEC?
The chaos in TEC is fairly recent. They had been getting along pretty well with the local options (regarding female priests) until the election of Gene Robinson as a bishop.

Simply not true, Brian.  The Gene Robinson thing was the ripping off of an already festering scab.  The conflicts within the Episcopal Church go back decades, if not generations.  Perhaps due to their British heritage, they have done a better job at keeping a "stiff upper lip" and downplaying the issues, but the conflicts have been around for a long time.

And in regards to the United Church of Christ, there isn't a sizeable denomination that has lost members at the rate that the UCC has.  The UCC has lost close to 50 percent of its membership since its founding in 1962.  This has been exacerbated in recent years by its increasing political and social activism.

1532
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Study: Recommendation on Ministry Policies
« on: February 20, 2009, 11:40:07 AM »
     "Structured flexibility" is actually "Structured chaos."  I can't imagine recommending to any candidate, straight or gay, traditional or revisionist, married, single or in a "life-long committed monogamous relationship" that they enter the Russian Roulette experience that the ELCA candidacy process would become.  I think it is cruel to play games with those trying to navigate the system for being approved for ordination.  And that is what this would be, cruel. 

     I oppose the Recommendation on Ministry Policies on theological grounds.  But I think recommendation 4 would finally destroy any remaining vestige of unity and trust  (the watchword!) that we might still have left in the ELCA.

A similar type of "chaos" has been part of the UCC and the Episcopal Church for years. Some conference will accept and ordain practicing homosexuals and other conferences will not. Within the Episcopal Church, there were three diocese who would not accept or ordain female priests. These church bodies were able to live with such "local options" without falling into chaos.

"Without falling into chaos"?  Is that what you call the current state of the UCC and TEC?

And, it should be pointed out that the three Episcopal dioceses that were assured they would not be required to ordain female priests have been increasingly pressured to do just that.  Not coincidentally, I believe each of the three dioceses has either left the TEC en masse, or has begun the process.

1533
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 19, 2009, 04:38:40 PM »
For those of you more familiar with ELCA procedure, what will it take for these recommendations to be enacted?  The social statement requires 2/3 approval, while the actual recommendations are a simple majority, right?  Does the social statement need to be approved before the recommendations can come to a vote?

1534
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 19, 2009, 01:36:05 PM »
Thanks, guys.  It looks like they've got the link working now.

(And Don--thanks for calling me "young man"!)

1535
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 19, 2009, 01:24:30 PM »
Yes, go to the ELCA home page and go from there, follow the link mentioned earlier in this thread, or see the one i just posted after the ELCA Press Release.

Jeff 

Thanks, Don!  Jeff, I'm not seeing a link to the recommendation in your post.  Is it a separate document than the one Don mentions?

Unfortunately, I tried that link, but I keep getting a "Page Not Found" message.  Hmmm . . .

1536
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 19, 2009, 01:21:06 PM »
Thanks, Don!  Jeff, I'm not seeing a link to the recommendation in your post.  Is it a separate document than the one Don mentions?

1537
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 19, 2009, 01:05:45 PM »
What is the URL for the recommendations?

1538
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Sexuality Follies, Part Deux
« on: February 17, 2009, 09:51:28 AM »
Hey, I'm waiting around for this forum to bounce up into the "Your Turn" visible area.

I was wondering if anyone else was having this problem.  Any reason why this topic isn't showing in the "Your Turn" area?

1539
Your Turn / Re: Kieschnick to preach at Valpo today
« on: February 06, 2009, 01:27:19 PM »
  I think we were just told that it was unionism, not prayer fellowship or lector fellowship.  But I assume that maybe a Christian friend at an LCMS wedding can read one of the lessons (maybe) unless they are clergy of another group like ELCA or Baptist church.  All the graciousness, and I do not deny it was that... seems however to be on the side of laws, legalities, procedures and juridical arrangements and not on the side of hey, we wrote the prayers, they seem OK, God wrote the lesson, and just hearing your voice proclaim it is not going to throw the kingdom out of joint.  How would it look, what would it say, not prayer and scripture first, but the reader.  It almost seems like the reader, if they are clergy of another body, can ruin worship or at least make it suspect.      Harvey Mozolak

  For example, could an ELCA Lutheran (or a Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, etc.) be a lector or offer the prayer of the church? 


A non-Lutheran friend of mine was one of the readers at my LCMS wedding back in October.  He was preceded by a Lutheran laywoman, and proceeded by a Lutheran minister (in a non-clergy capacity).  No one objected in the least.

1540
Your Turn / Re: I can hardly wait!
« on: February 06, 2009, 01:22:00 PM »
I cannot endorse the use of the dismissive FB term since it is such a wide and "tarred" brush

It's no more of a wide and/or tarring brush than using "Protestant" to describe all denominations that aren't Roman Catholic or Orthodox. It's no more of a wide and tarring brush than using "Reformed" to describe all of the Calvinist/Zwinglian denominations. It's just a convenient shorthand that's easier to type than "Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Baptist, or Pentecostal". I would think that people who consistently use LCMS instead of typing out Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or ELCA instead of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America would see "FB" as being simply two letters instead of over 50 keystrokes.

To be fair, I think it is a more wide brush, and I think it foments a continuing confusion for many outside the church concerning these terms.  Baptists and Pentecostals are nothing alike.  At all.  Modern evangelicalism is in many ways a response to the perceived problems of fundamentalism (read Carl F. H. Henry's The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism for some of the history on that).Yet, I think we can all think of examples where some or all of these terms are used interchangably--even among religion reporters and public officials who should know better.

In some ways, this confusion can be used as a theological "sleight of hand" to earn political points.  When former NCC head Bob Edgar claims he is opposed to "fundamentalism of all sorts," he is implicitly linking "Islamic fundamentalism" (a nonsensical term) to a specific theological strain of American Protestantism.  The inferrence is that the same extremes that exist in Wahabism exist in the core of the conservative Southern Baptist church down the street.  It is an absurd (and obscene) argument, but one that is given life because of the confusion in terms. (In Edgar's case, I believe it to be an intentional clouding of the meaning for political purposes.)

1541
Your Turn / Re: Average attendance
« on: February 04, 2009, 11:40:48 AM »
At my previous job, I was tasked with compiling membership numbers for an assortment of denominations for purposes of comparing and contrasting.  Obviously, this was a difficult task, as each denomination has its own criteria for membership.  Some counted those who attended x number of Sundays as members, while others required members to be baptised, confirmed, and attending services x number of times a year. I ended up using the Yearbook of American and Candadian Churches' entry of "active members" as a baseline, but even that was complicated by the fact that there is no standard schedule for census taking.  Some churches count members annually, while others might do it once a decade--if that.  I learned to be suspicious when (as was the case with some of the historically-black denominations) the number appeared to be rounded to the nearest million (and I would guess it was rounded up).

Then there is the issue of the various church mergers.  For instance, to track ELCA membership back to 1960, one must combine the attendance records of the ALC and LCA, and then add the AELC to the mix when it was established.  Obviously, each of these bodies had their own accounting processes that may or may not have matched those of their brethren.  And of course, it is not unheard of for a church body to change its own accounting practices from time to time.

The main goal of the exercise was to indicate the rate of decline or increase of members over the last half-century, which is fairly discernable by using these numbers.  Comparisons between the denominations are somewhat less scientific.

(For what it's worth, the data I compiled is available at http://216.235.203.12/NETCOMMUNITY/Document.Doc?id=10)

1542
Your Turn / Re: Close(d) Communion: Confessional Stance?
« on: January 30, 2009, 04:03:17 PM »
Seems to me the obvious solution is for our brothers and sisters in the ELCA to "cross the Mississippi" and become members of the LCMS.  They would be freed from the alienation that comes from being denied the eucharist due to closed communion, but would still be welcomed to the table when attending services with their ELCA friends and family.  That way everyone will be happy, right?   ;D

1543
Your Turn / Re: Average attendance
« on: January 30, 2009, 12:58:00 PM »
When I was shooting Christians for a living . . .

You didn't previously go by the name of "Saul," did you George?  ;)

1544
Your Turn / Re: Close(d) Communion: Confessional Stance?
« on: January 30, 2009, 10:17:28 AM »
Peter writes:
Charles, Scott just said that worthiness is not the issue, common confession is. If you can commune in an LCMS church without bringing any divisions that they (not you, but they) consider church-dividing, then by all means, do so.

I ask:
Then are you giving me (or any member of the ELCA) permission to receive the sacrament in LC-MS parishes that do not find open communion divisive?

Congratulations on the promotion, Peter!  I didn't realize you are now the person in charge of granting admission to the Lord's Table for all of the LCMS.  Pretty impressive.

I trust new business cards will be forthcoming?

1545
Your Turn / Re: Rick Warren to Deliver Inaugural Invocation
« on: January 20, 2009, 05:08:41 PM »
I'd like to see the entire prayer, but thanks for that snippet.

Go to http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2009/01/rev-lowery-inauguration-benedi.html for a transcript of the benediction.

I don't interpret his words to be racial bias so much as continuing the fight to bless all Americans. I didn't hear him blaming all our problems on the white man which is what the knee jerk politically correct crowd do.


  You must not have ever attended an ELCA racism seminar.  Only Anglos can be racist.  It's part of the mantra.  And in this case, it's up to the Anglos to do what is right...

You're right Brian, I didn't attend a ELCA racism seminar and wouldn't if I had the opportunity. From what I have seen they are among the prime practitioners of the knee jerk political correctness I find so arrogant and self righteous.

I have heard pc spokesmen make such ludicrous statements as 'a black man can't be prejudiced'. I can only wonder how this natural part of the makeup of every human being was left out of blacks. Does that make them more than human or less?

All of my black friends, acquaintances and adversaries have given every indication of being fully human and capable of every human response that I am capable of. So, while I can see how the good Rev Lowery's remarks could be taken as racism, I prefer to see them as the vindication of his hope for our collective future.


I am all for taking the positive spin on this, but previous statements by Rev. Lowrey (such as saying that conservatives, if they could, would make God "male, white [and] racist") make me a little suspicious.  Nonetheless, in the spirit of the day, I will grant the good reverend the benefit of the doubt.

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