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Topics - Michael Slusser

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Your Turn / RC Synod on the Family, October 4-25, 2015
« on: September 15, 2015, 11:47:53 AM »
While the media will be full of the Pope's visit to Cuba and the USA that starts Sunday, this Forum may have a longer-term interest in the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Oct. 4-25, on the theme, “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”. Today the full list of participants and staff was published by the Vatican Press Office, and we may find it a matter of interest to see the "Fraternal Delegates" from sister churches (if I find out what role "Fraternal Delegates" will have--aside from keeping Catholics more thoughtful by their presence--I'll let you know):


Ecumenical Patriarchate: His Eminence Stephanos, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Estonia, Estonia
Patriarchate of Moscow: His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Russian Federation
Serbian Patriarchate: His Eminence Andrej, Metropolitan of Austria-Switzerland, Austria
Orthodox Church of Romania: His Eminence Iosif, Metropolitan of Western Europe, France
Orthodox Church of Albania: Bishop Andon of Kruja, Albania
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria: His Eminence Bishoy, Metropolitan of Damietta, Kafr Elsheikh and Elbarari, Egypt
Syriac-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East:His Eminence Mar Youstinos Boulos, archbishop of Zahle and Bekaa, Lebanon

Anglican Communion: The Very Reverend Timothy Thornton, Bishop of Truro, Great Britain
World Lutheran Federation: The Very Reverend Ndanganeni Petrus Phaswana, bishop emeritus of the Evangelical Church in South Africa, South Africa
World Methodist Council: Rev. Dr. Tim MacQuiban, director of the ecumenical office of the Methodist Church in Rome, Italy
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): Rev. Dr. Robert K. Welsh, president of the Council of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), United States of America
World Baptist Alliance: Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of the Baptist Churches in the United States of America, United States of America
Ecumenical Council of Churches {I presume they mean the WCC}: Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann, Brazil
World Evangelical Alliance: The Very Reverend Thomas Schirrmacher, president of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, Germany.


Your Turn / Gustavus Adolphus gift for its Hall of Science
« on: August 19, 2015, 03:37:05 PM »
Someone found $25 million they weren't using for anything else and generously gave it to Gustavus Adolphus, an ELCA college in Saint Peter, MN, to help upgrade its science building. I know some Gusties read this Forum; as we say in Swedish, mazel tov!


Your Turn / Asking Pardon
« on: July 21, 2015, 09:54:07 AM »
A few years ago, on July 22, 2010, Lutherans (actually the assembly of the Lutheran World Federation) humbly asked pardon for Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists

Now Pope Francis has asked pardon for Catholic oppression of Waldensians:
On behalf of the Catholic Church, I need to ask you for forgiveness.  I need to ask you for forgiveness for the non-Christian, in some cases even inhuman, attitudes and actions that in our shared history Waldensians have suffered at the hands of Catholics.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!


Your Turn / Irish Marriage Referendum
« on: May 26, 2015, 11:14:17 AM »
By a margin of 1,201,607 to 734,300, The Republic of Ireland approved this amendment to its constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

One of the comments I have read makes very well some of the issues I have with the new amendment, and does so in a way which is as fair and open as it is firm. The comment is by Breda O'Brien on the website of the Irish Times:

A key element in O'Brien's criticism is the tie between same-sex marriage and surrogacy as the only way such couples can produce children that are (half) "their own."
Sure, reproductive technologies are used anyway, but before May 22nd, no one could say that the Irish people voted to affirm in our Constitution something that inevitably separates children from half their genetic heritage and one half of their relations.

This element has not been absent from discussions in our country, but neither has it been prominent and addressed by everyone.


News story on Pope Francis' welcome to the Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala:

Vatican City, 4 May 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience the Lutheran archbishop of Uppsala, Sweden, Antje Jackelen, who led a delegation to the Vatican from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. Francis greeted them cordially and commented that last year was the fiftieth anniversary of the Vatican Council II decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio”, which continues to be the key point of reference for the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church. “This document is an invitation to all Catholics to undertake the path of unity to overcome division between Christians, which is “not only openly opposed to the will of Christ, but is also a scandal to the world and damages the holiest of causes: the preaching of the Gospel to every creature”.

The decree “expresses a profound respect and appreciation for those brothers and sisters separated from us, to whom in daily coexistence we at times risk giving little consideration. In reality, they are not perceived as adversaries or as competitors, but instead acknowledged for what they are: brothers and sisters in faith. Catholics and Lutherans must seek and promote unity in dioceses, in parishes, in communities throughout the world”, the Pope emphasised, mentioning the recent document “From conflict to communion. The Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017”, published by the Lutheran-Catholic Commission for Unity. “We sincerely hope that this initiative may encourage, with God's help and collaboration between Him and among us, the achievement of further steps on the path of unity”.

The call to unity also implies “a pressing exhortation to joint commitment at the charitable level, in favour of all those who suffer in the world as a result of poverty and violence, and have a special need for our mercy; the witness of our persecuted brothers and sisters in particular drives us to grow in fraternal communion. The question of the dignity of human life, always to be respected, is of urgent relevance, as are issues regarding the family, marriage and sexuality, that may not be set aside or ignored for fear of jeopardising the ecumenical consensus already received. It would be a pity if new confessional differences were to be consolidated with regard to these important questions”.

Francis concluded his address by giving thanks first to the Swedish Lutheran Church, “for the welcome given to so many South American migrants in the times of the dictatorships, a fraternal welcome that has enabled families to grow”, and secondly, to Jackelen, “for the delicacy that you, dear sister, have had in appointing my dear friend, the pastor Anders Root: I have shared with him the chair in spiritual theology and he has helped me greatly in spiritual life”.

Note that he addresses the archbishop as "dear sister."


Your Turn / Pope on Man and Woman
« on: April 15, 2015, 08:30:52 PM »
I guess we'll be hearing Pope Francis speak in the next few weeks on a topic widely discussed in this Forum:
Jorge Mario Bergoglio said he wished to dedicate today’s and next week’s General Audience to the subject of the difference and complementarity between man and woman. This theme is part of a series of catecheses on the family. Two Audiences will follow on the subject of marriage.

An official English translation of today's Wednesday audience has not yet been posted. An unofficial one is available from ZENIT:


Your Turn / A clash between state law and religious values in Utah
« on: March 31, 2015, 02:13:56 PM »
Utah has passed legislation re-authorizing the use of the firing squad when execution by lethal injection is not available. Bishop John C. Wester, the RC bishop of Salt Lake City, has protested the decision:

 Bishop Wester begins, I am very disappointed to see Governor Herbert sign HB11 Death Penalty Procedure
Amendments approving firing squads as a method of execution in Utah when no lethal injection
drugs are available. It seems as if our government leaders have substituted state legislation for
the law of God. They argue that, because executions are lawful, they are then moral.


Your Turn / Female Islamic Theologians
« on: March 11, 2015, 09:00:00 PM »
"The moment of female Islamic theologians has come, they are an antidote to extremists" says an article today in Vatican Insider. I can't help asking myself, what are the chances that Muslim men will allow themselves to be taught about the Qur'an by women? Still, it makes me think when I read,

“Of the 6000 verses contained in the Quran, less than 10 can be interpreted as justifications of violence. And yet there are those who take advantage of the ignorance of faithful, twisting these few lines to persuade them to perform evil actions.” ISIS (and the thousand other forms of Islamist extremism that exist) should therefore also be fought with the weapons of theology and culture."
     Iranian theologian Shahrzad Houshmand strongly believes this and presents her ideas in an interview with Chiara Zappa, titled “Il Corano riletto dalle donne” (“The Quran: A women’s reintepretation”) and published in the latest issue of Italian monthly missionary magazine “Mondo e Missione”.


Your Turn / 22 Maps of Religious Membership in the US
« on: March 01, 2015, 04:28:34 PM »

While you may be generally familiar with this data already, I find that seeing it on maps of the US, with percentages by state indicate, makes a difference. Data for Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists and Hindus are also new to me.


Your Turn / Pope Francis' performance review (from The Onion)
« on: February 06, 2015, 10:00:39 PM »
Over on Pray, Tell the editor has provided a link to The Onion, aka Not-Charlie-Hebdo, which has published an article,37935/

Check in for some non-Lutheran-levity (toth to Dave Likeness).


Your Turn / AG Eric Holder pulls Fed hands back from people's property
« on: January 16, 2015, 07:56:51 PM »
Unless his successor reverses his decision, Attorney General Holder's decision to stop the Federal program that allowed the seizure of private property without warrants or court proceedings, when the property was deemed associated with people involved in criminal activity, will leave people's private property less vulnerable to Federal seizure.

That sounds good to me, but am I maybe missing something?


Your Turn / RCC turns south, sparking sales of world atlases
« on: January 04, 2015, 03:48:15 PM »
The 15 newly named cardinals are IMO the most emphatic statement yet that Pope Francis is turning the RCC southward:
Here, the names of the designates in the order of their entrance into the College. First, the 15 cardinals-designate able to enter a Conclave:

    Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, 62, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.
    Archbishop Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, 66, Patriarch of Lisbon
    Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel CM, 66, of Addis Ababa
    Archbishop John Atcherley Dew, 66, of Wellington
    Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli, 75, of Ancona-Osimo (Italy)
    Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Văn Nhon, 76, of Hànôi
    Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda, 75, of Morelia (Mexico)
    Archbishop Charles Maung Bo SDB, 66, of Yangon (Myanmar)
    Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, 65, of Bangkok
    Archbishop Francesco Montenegro, 68, of Agrigento (Italy)
    Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet SDB, 55, of Montevideo (Uruguay)
    Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, 72, of Valladolid (Spain)
    Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán OAR, 70, of David (Panamá)
    Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, 65, of Santiago de Cape Verde
    Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi, 53, of Tonga

Peace, and happy New Year.

Your Turn / A pastor transition in the LCMC makes news
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:40:42 AM »
This morning's Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story on the announced retirement of the pastor of Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Lakeville, a large young suburb of the Twin Cities. It has been affiliated with (might one say "in"?) the LCMC since 2010. Its history starts with
Pastor Bill Bohline knocked on 3000-4000 doors as Pastor-Developer of Hosanna!

Questions that occur to me besides the ones in the newspaper article are
1. Can the LCMC provide any support pastorally for a transition in a congregation so much larger than its average?
2. Since Hosanna! recently opened a second site, does that mean that it doesn't disciple people into the Lutheran faith more widely constructed (so that they would join congregations near them, LCMC or not), but only into itself?
3. Will the Bible and the Confessions be a principal focus of the congregation's leadership in the time of transition, in other words, how can we become even more faithfully Lutheran with our new pastor?
4. How does one avoid a personality cult of the first pastor--or should one?


Your Turn / John the Baptist risen from the dead
« on: December 12, 2014, 11:26:53 AM »
In the early Advent Sundays this year we’re getting a lot of St. John the Baptist in the Gospels. A full account of John the Baptist would include the remarkable way in which people thought it likely, or at least possible, that he had risen from the dead, and that Jesus was he:
   Matt. 14.2, where Herod says, “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead.” To this one may compare Luke 9.7: “. . . he [Herod] was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead.” Most pointed is Mark 6.14-16: “Some said, John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him [Jesus]. But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old. But when Herod heard of it he said, John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

These are echoed in another dialogue:
   Matt. 16.14: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
   Mark 8.27-28: “Who do men say that I am? And they told him, John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
   Luke 9.18-19: “. . . he asked them, who do the people say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old Prophets has risen.”

We are told that John was still alive in prison when Jesus began to preach (Mark 1.14). Both John's quick turnaround in these passages and the apparently widespread belief in resurrection from the dead are striking.

Has this come up in Bible study for any of you? I’m reluctant to raise the issue in a homily.


What Mel Harris has started deserves its own thread:
        George Conger has an article on Anglican Ink entitled Anglicans invited to round two of Vatican's fight on the family.  It looks like the Vatican will be listening to some other Christians and some of other religions.  Here is the english version of the web site for this event.  (There is a pull down menu to read the web site in other languages.)  If ALPB wants to send someone to cover this event, the instructions to apply for temporary media accreditation are posted here.

        I look forward to reading about this event.

                Mel Harris
« Last Edit: Today at 03:32:48 AM by Mel Harris »


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