Author Topic: Metzler on Abortion  (Read 3324 times)

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12214
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2019, 09:03:22 PM »
Sometimes there is a tail wagging the dog in terms of a church-related institution’s need to perpetuate itself. Public money allows doors to stay open that would otherwise close, but at the expense of the reasons the doors were opened in the first place. Why not just have Lutherans teach in public schools, thereby making relationships and establishing inroads in the community? Is that the same thing as being a Lutheran school teacher? Both are Lutheran and both are school teachers. But us it fundamentally the same activity, the same vocation?

Having Lutheran schools that do not or cannot teach Lutheranism but can do all the good things schools do and in so doing can serve the neighbor and hopefully witness for the church to the community, well, why Lutheran schools and not Lutheran garbage and recycling pickup, Lutheran bus and cab services, etc.? It seems like the same principle.   

I think in a lot of cases a combination of nostalgia, pre-existing buildings, and a lack of money informs  the ministry. The stated ministry purpose, though, has been retro-fitted to the existing operation rather than the operation arising from a deliberated upon ministry goal. Which may be the only option other than folding up shop. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not the same thing as a Lutheran school ministry in which the purpose informs the operation, And the latter, where possible, is preferable.

A question that accompanies your post is Lutheran vocation in the public sphere; the person who's done a tremendous job with this although not Lutheran is Tim Keller.  He teaches parish mission off this model.  There are others that do the theology, but Keller is an avid congregation-based vocationalist in that sense.  Interesting article on universities, many of them evangelical Christian, which train/form toward not job/career, but vocation in Sunday's NYTimes. 

As to the rest, in my specific case we could keep the doors open without a pre-school, and many of my urban colleagues in NY have given over facilities to charter schools or rented their now-closed Lutheran schools to the Department of Education.  And with that option comes a really fine infusion of income with which to do mission and ministry.  It is, I think, harder to get close to the families when the school leadership is not connected.  In some charter schools in Arizona and other places, run through folks from the Wisconsin Synod, the idea is for the congregation to do the before/after school wraparound programs so it's Jesus in the Afternoon, and have the values-based charter, albeit without religion, teaching family values during the school day.

Our niche in Brooklyn has been early learning, and the percentage of families reached through the school for baptism/Sunday School/membership has not been lessened significantly from the days when we had the religious instruction.  I will say, certainly, that that was better.  We have some West Indian staff who know how to get those kids memorizing the Bible at age 5, and/or read long passages at the same age. 

 But this is by no means some kind of cultural cave-in, as GAinm infers.  In fact, because of the way we do our thing, the pretty large public school system of NYC - OK, the largest in the country -  has sent staff from other public schools to our place to observe and be mentored.

A true thread topic which we tried awhile ago, given the debilitation and economic pressures on Lutheran Grade and High Schools, (and of course to religious schools in general and the Roman Catholic schools in particular) would be how to discern the best way to continue Lutheran education over the next decade.  Schools that had 200 students now have 58, and so on.  This almost never has to do with loss of the Christian educational mission.  It almost always has to do with financial pressures and budget demands.  And leadership. 

Dave Benke

 

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12242
    • View Profile
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2019, 10:10:58 PM »
I am a firm disbeliever in one size fits all solutions.  Whenever or however one acts cooperatively with the governmental educational establishment there will be trade offs.  Each situation entails its own trade offs, and benefits and losses must be reckoned.  What works in one place may not be considered worth it somewhere else.


Many fine Lutheran teachers teach in public schools, some synodically trained.  The serve their students and community with honor, dedication and often distinction.  They are a blessing to their students.  There are distinct advantages to being able to do so in a parochial setting, but that is not always practical.

Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5256
    • View Profile
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2019, 07:52:47 AM »
Yesterday, the Archdiocese of New York announced that it will be closing seven of its parochial schools at the end of this school year. Five are in the city ((three boroughs) and two in the suburbs. Cardinal Dolan said that it is not something he wants to do but it is simply not possible to keep them going. Money necessary for salaries and building maintanence is not available.

Often that has been and is the case for our Lutheran schools. It is not always possible to keep them going. To close is not to say that they were not valuable.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13059
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2019, 08:18:40 AM »
And to make certain modifications to satisfy the civil realm in order to keep certain programs functioning is not bowing to Caesar or paying off an idol. If, in order to serve people, witness to the Gospel, make contact with those in need, you need to take a cross off the wall, I do not see that as a problem. No one can take the cross out of the witness provided.
Furthermore, those architectural things can in many cases be negotiated and need not be as “rough” as some claim.
And locations vary. Over-active or anti-religious civil officials might be legalistic; but not all are that way. (I think of the idiot school principal who said a teacher could not have a Bible on her desk.) Seems to me it would be better to be flexible, make some friends and see what can happen.
OTOH, as I have said many times; if you want to have a wall-to-wall religious, event-to-event pious, prayer-required, chapel-service every day program; you will probably have to do it without public funds.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12242
    • View Profile
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2019, 08:39:32 AM »
Flexibility and accommodation are key.  As Pr. Austin indicated that cuts both ways.  While some religious people are uncompromising, so are some civil authorities.  While Christians should not try to co-opt public moneys and public programs to fund Gospel mission, neither should secularists try to force religionists out of public life.  We are a secular nation, not an atheistic nation.


If we are to be a pluralistic society that means respect and reasonable accommodation for a variety of faiths, creeds and ideologies, not just those that are easily compatible with my own beliefs.  All too often of late the tendency has been to follow the trend of current power politics, whoever has the power bends or breaks everyone who gets in the way of establishing their ideal society.  Freedom is for those who are reasonable and only those are reasonable who see things my way.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 08:44:51 AM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12214
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2019, 09:28:17 AM »
Here's a short article on the decline of Catholic private schools:  https://qz.com/1330582/the-great-decline-of-catholic-private-schools-in-the-us/

Economics are the driving force.  I am a product of Lutheran education, spending twenty one consecutive years from first grade through a graduate seminary year in the arms of Mother Church.  My mom was a Lutheran school teacher; my cousins, uncles and aunts were or are Lutheran educators; I've served as the chair of a Concordia University Board of Regents. 

It should be stated that the LCMS and WELS have historically held Lutheran education as a primary aspect of nurture and mission as opposed to the ALC/LCA and eventually ELCA.  Creative educators have gone on to lead other areas of innovation in education in our country, both at the charter school and university level.  Grand Canyon University and Phoenix University were founded by Missouri Synod educators. 

The depreciation of facilities due to lack of proper maintenance - pretty much always financially determined, the cost of paying teachers a living wage, and the decline and aging of congregational membership and decreased budgets have all brought our Lutheran system to a position similar to that of the Roman Catholic schools. 

As stated in the article, the schools that are making it are attached to places where there are dollars - more suburban or exurban, less diverse in population, with more middle class incomes to support tuition and congregational offerings.

As Dan stated, one size does not fit all.  As one who presided over the closing of a half dozen Lutheran grade schools, mostly urban, while our heritage and core mission is to provide Christian instruction and education to the young, and while our vision for that has remained pure, our ability to carry it out has been waning for a long, long time.  I have a more recent memory of a wealthy Roman Catholic who gave $4 million to keep a school going in Brooklyn.  It has closed - $4 million was not enough.  Collaborative partnerships are going to play a great role in the continuation of Lutheran education - the give and take on values and witness must inform those partnerships.

Dave Benke

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4394
    • View Profile
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2019, 10:06:42 AM »
I do not live in a highly populated or wealthy area - small town of less than 9,000.  However, our local Lutheran school is growing.  This is due, in part to two things.  First, Wisconsin, under its last governor, passed a school voucher system, allowing many to switch from public to private without a lot of financial burden (especially aimed at lower income families). Secondly, the consolidation happening with our outlying rural schools is causing many families to go to smaller schools with less of the problems the bigger public ones have.  The growth in our Lutheran school is significant enough that a building plan to expand is currently being investigated. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5256
    • View Profile
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2019, 10:24:58 AM »
I do not live in a highly populated or wealthy area - small town of less than 9,000.  However, our local Lutheran school is growing.  This is due, in part to two things.  First, Wisconsin, under its last governor, passed a school voucher system, allowing many to switch from public to private without a lot of financial burden (especially aimed at lower income families). Secondly, the consolidation happening with our outlying rural schools is causing many families to go to smaller schools with less of the problems the bigger public ones have.  The growth in our Lutheran school is significant enough that a building plan to expand is currently being investigated.

Good for you. We could have kept our schools in the city open if our state had a voucher system like Wisconsin.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12214
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Metzler on Abortion
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2019, 11:36:41 AM »
I do not live in a highly populated or wealthy area - small town of less than 9,000.  However, our local Lutheran school is growing.  This is due, in part to two things.  First, Wisconsin, under its last governor, passed a school voucher system, allowing many to switch from public to private without a lot of financial burden (especially aimed at lower income families). Secondly, the consolidation happening with our outlying rural schools is causing many families to go to smaller schools with less of the problems the bigger public ones have.  The growth in our Lutheran school is significant enough that a building plan to expand is currently being investigated.

Great, Don!  Your first point, echoed by John, is that a voucher system, which means government subsidy, is the reason you're growing.  My sister and mom both went to Milwaukee Lutheran.  The student body there now comes predominantly through the voucher system, and the Lutheran churches of Milwaukee are not a primary or maybe even secondary source of students. 

Of course, Wisconsin is relatively speaking a hotbed of Lutheranism with both the Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod having major influence.  Your congregations are larger, especially outside the City of Milwaukee, and people would know what a Lutheran is (not the case in, say, New York City).  This, then, is a collaborative effort between you, the community and the state of Wisconsin, and a good one in terms of you being allowed to continue your spiritual mission unencumbered. 

Dave Benke