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Messages - Michael Slusser

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16
Your Turn / Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« on: December 26, 2020, 09:42:39 AM »
The Song of the Three Young Men in the fiery furnace, Dan. 3:56-88 (in the Vulgate and RC Bibles) is in my New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha within what is called the Prayer of Azariah, verses 28-68. It is such a noble canticle that it is prescribed in our Liturgy of the Hours in Morning Prayer of Week 1 and all major feasts. I recommend it.

Merry Christmas, all, and peace,
Michael

17
Your Turn / Re: Concordia, Chicago Cuts Programs
« on: December 24, 2020, 01:55:37 PM »
CUC has long been known for its superior music program.  I encouraged my daughter toward CUC partly for that reason, even though I am an alumnus of CSP. They also are the only one in the Concordia Univ. System with an undergraduate deaconess program.  It is small, but vital.  I think that Dr. Dawn and his team are positioning the school for the future.  One can see cuts and panic.  I look at this and see some prudent trimming.
Prudent trimming is what I see also. I checked and they didn't award any associate degrees in anything last year. The fashion for how business majors are constructed and named is constantly changing, and what they are dropping may well be adjustments that don't really alter their faculty and resource needs much. I'm sorry to see the non-profit/church administration concentrations go--it's so good to have that preparation take place in a religious setting where students learn the why of church decision-making as well as the how.

Peace,
Michael

18
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« on: December 24, 2020, 12:22:56 PM »
... since that would almost certainly exclude the poor and be restricted to an elite,...

Father Slusser, why was it believed that greater commitment would lead to the exclusion of the poor?
Those who will swim against the tide, uphold a faith as individuals despite the lack of support from society around them, were thought to be unusual people, people trained to think things out for themselves. When every Christian is going to have to think things out for him or herself, we are no longer looking at a mass movement. No more Volkskirche. Without a faith that encompasses the masses and shapes society to confirm (or at least not undermine) Christian faith and morals, the educated will probably be more capable of recognizing the cognitive dissonance with the world around them and asserting the primacy of Christian faith. The scorn for the Volkskirche came from a belief that it is more easily subverted by anti-Christian values built into society. Maybe that feeling came from the experience of how easily the Third Reich was able dominate people in just a decade or two.

One of the anti-elite Catholic thinkers was Jean Daniélou, who left the Concilium group because of its apparent willingness to be content with a future church where the real Christians were just a little flock, a remnant, testifying to their faith in the midst of a world where they are ignored. He wrote a book, Prayer as a Political Problem, where he made some of his anti-elitist argument.

Father,

This is very helpful.  I am currently immersed in researching the writings of Paulo Freire, Gustav Gutierrez, and Pope Francis.  I am enjoying his most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. These men were/are certainly writing out of a very specific context and history, just like Ratzinger.  It’s fascinating to me how our personal histories and experiences really do effect how we do theology.  To me it’s just a reminder to remain open to what is being offered, there’s often something there for us to learn.  In other words, we need one another.

I know Tim began this thread with a concern for what was communicated by our leadership.  I must confess that reading through this recent encyclical I wish we in the LCMS could communicate in such a manner.  But, I suspect, I may be on my own or in the minority with that opinion.

Merry Christmas!

Peace,
Scott+
Thank you, Pr. Geminn, and a Merry Christmas to you as well!

Peace,
Michael

19
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« on: December 23, 2020, 09:46:30 AM »
... since that would almost certainly exclude the poor and be restricted to an elite,...

Father Slusser, why was it believed that greater commitment would lead to the exclusion of the poor?
Those who will swim against the tide, uphold a faith as individuals despite the lack of support from society around them, were thought to be unusual people, people trained to think things out for themselves. When every Christian is going to have to think things out for him or herself, we are no longer looking at a mass movement. No more Volkskirche. Without a faith that encompasses the masses and shapes society to confirm (or at least not undermine) Christian faith and morals, the educated will probably be more capable of recognizing the cognitive dissonance with the world around them and asserting the primacy of Christian faith. The scorn for the Volkskirche came from a belief that it is more easily subverted by anti-Christian values built into society. Maybe that feeling came from the experience of how easily the Third Reich was able dominate people in just a decade or two.

One of the anti-elite Catholic thinkers was Jean Daniélou, who left the Concilium group because of its apparent willingness to be content with a future church where the real Christians were just a little flock, a remnant, testifying to their faith in the midst of a world where they are ignored. He wrote a book, Prayer as a Political Problem, where he made some of his anti-elitist argument.

Peace,
Michael

20
Your Turn / Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« on: December 22, 2020, 11:06:11 PM »
I have long thought Ratzinger was quite prescient in what he spoke here in a radio broadcast from 1969(!!!):

“Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.

“The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain — to the renewal of the nineteenth century. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

“And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.
Yes. There was a dispute in those days in the RCC between those who believed that the future of the Church lay with a much smaller, more committed group, and those who believed that, since that would almost certainly exclude the poor and be restricted to an elite, such a "remnant" church must be the wrong direction. The former group gathered around the journal Concilium, the latter around Communio. The 1969 talk sounds as if at that point Ratzinger was inclined toward the Concilium party.

It seems to me as if Pope Francis has cast his lot with the church of the poor.

Peace,
Michael

21
Your Turn / Re: Original Sin (Western) and Ancestral Sin (Eastern)
« on: December 22, 2020, 09:59:35 AM »
The difference as I see it is between inherited guilt for Adam's sin and inherited consequences/effects of Adam's sin. Is Adam's sin the sin for which all the human beings who come after him are responsible, or do they only suffer the consequences, which include death and the ingrained tendency to sin?

The difference explains why Eastern Christians, whose reverence and high esteem for the grace-filled Holy Mother of God is second to none, have never felt the relevance, much less the need, of a doctrine of her Immaculate Conception: she does not need to be saved from inherited guilt of Adam. The West, convinced that not only all the effects of Adam's sin are inherited by his descendants but also his guilt, felt that she needed to be saved from that guilt as well.

Peace,
Michael

22
Your Turn / Re: The Babylon Bee stings again!
« on: December 03, 2020, 10:07:01 PM »

23
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« on: November 26, 2020, 12:21:14 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

24
Your Turn / Re: Rev. Paul T. McCain, RIP
« on: November 26, 2020, 12:16:00 PM »
May he rest in peace.

Peace,
Michael

25
Your Turn / Re: Rev. Jeff Walther, RIP
« on: November 26, 2020, 09:52:17 AM »
The passing of Reverend Walther was originally announced here.
Thanks. I missed that.
The Star-Tribune does not often favor an individual with a news obituary.

Peace,
Michael

26
Your Turn / Rev. Jeff Walther, RIP
« on: November 26, 2020, 09:31:37 AM »
https://www.startribune.com/lutheran-pastor-who-combined-his-loves-of-ministry-and-nature-dies-of-covid-19-complications-at-age-58/573200431/
Quote
The Rev. Jeff Walther was a man of God and a lover of nature — and for him, the two were inseparable.

Walther, of Esko, Minn., died Oct. 25 of COVID-19 complications at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. He was 58.
Does anyone know if he was related to THE Walther?
A priest-friend of mine worked for years in Pastor Walther's National Parks program.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and peace,
Michael

27
Your Turn / Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« on: November 20, 2020, 10:03:12 AM »
Who agreed to exclude the Apocrypha?

Whoever decided that the OT could include only books which were translated from the Hebrew.

Peace,
Michael

28
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: November 16, 2020, 09:30:00 AM »
Also confusing:

Quote
The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019, a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Italian city of Milan shows, signaling that it might have spread beyond China earlier than thought.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-timing/coronavirus-emerged-in-italy-earlier-than-thought-italian-study-shows-idUSKBN27V0KF

Peace,
Michael

29
Your Turn / Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« on: November 08, 2020, 09:31:24 AM »
Sorry if this has already been posted (I've been "away"); it contains what I think is an accurate interpretation of the often quoted words of Pope Francis:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/24/what-does-pope-francis-believe-about-same-sex-love/

Excerpts:
Quote
In context, especially listening to the rest of the clip, it seems the pope is discussing gay people’s family of origin, rebuking parents who reject their gay children.
Quote
And many Catholic priests and other leaders still assume that gay people’s biggest spiritual problem is lust, when in my experience the most common and deadly spiritual problem for gay Christians is despair.
Quote
Alongside some heterosexual Christians, we are rediscovering forms of non-sexual love. Anything the pope says on this topic is of great importance to us, and it’s especially important to understand it in context.

Peace,
Michael

30
Your Turn / Rev. Dr. David Schmiel, RIP
« on: November 08, 2020, 09:18:16 AM »
Last week a former President of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne was taken home to the Lord:
https://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/0000373495/?fullname=dr-reverend-david-g-schmiel

Peace,
Michael

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