Author Topic: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010  (Read 23160 times)

dkeener

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #135 on: October 07, 2010, 07:55:51 AM »
I believe that Jesus had something to say about counting the costs before taking action.  So you count the cost or you don't. If you are in one group you are foolish and pay the price for your foolishness.  If you are in the other group - well you knew what would happen. In either case stop the whining about all those mean people who refuse to support your foolish and costly decisions.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 02:49:35 PM by dkeener »

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #136 on: October 07, 2010, 08:16:11 AM »
But I never whine about "all those mean people who refuse to support your foolish and costly decisions." The whining in this forum seems to be about all those "mean people" (or heretics or fools or dupes or Satanists) who made certain decisions.

GoCubsGo

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #137 on: October 07, 2010, 08:52:02 AM »
But I never whine about "all those mean people who refuse to support your foolish and costly decisions." The whining in this forum seems to be about all those "mean people" (or heretics or fools or dupes or Satanists) who made certain decisions.

Yes, decisions where they failed to calculate the costs and seemed to delude themselves into thinking that terms like "bound conscience" would keep everyone together.  (They are not "heretics or dupes or Satanists but they were clearly foolish.)  It seems strange to me to complain about the financial difficulties of the ELCA when everyone said that the changes proposed at CWA09 would cause a split.  Would you like some cheese with your "whine"?   ;D

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #138 on: October 07, 2010, 09:44:58 AM »
Just as there are consequences - many of them financial - for those who support the decisions of last August; there are consequences - many of them financial - for those who cannot support the decisions of last August.
Those of us in the ELCA have to come up with ways to cope with our financial loss. And there are difficult stories of jobs and salaries in peril.
Those who leave the ELCA have to come up with ways to cope with their financial loss and there are difficult stories of jobs and salaries in peril.
You don't have to be an accountant to understand that.


Agreed.  Those choosing to leave the ELCA cannot (and probably don't) expect the ELCA to continue to support their ministries.  When one knows the consequence before choosing the action, it doesn't make sense to complain when the consequence comes.  (I'm not sure that what the pastor in SD was doing.)  For the same reason, it doesn't make sense for some in the ELCA to complain about the "damage" caused by CORE, LCMC and NALC, or about the drop in giving.  They were all logical and predictable consequences of the bold new path chosen for the ELCA.
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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #139 on: October 07, 2010, 10:42:32 AM »
Just as there are consequences - many of them financial - for those who support the decisions of last August; there are consequences - many of them financial - for those who cannot support the decisions of last August.
Those of us in the ELCA have to come up with ways to cope with our financial loss. And there are difficult stories of jobs and salaries in peril.
Those who leave the ELCA have to come up with ways to cope with their financial loss and there are difficult stories of jobs and salaries in peril.
You don't have to be an accountant to understand that.


Actually, perhaps this belongs on the thread what are you doing some where, but let me speak plainly, those staying in ELCA in CORE, those leaving to LCMC, NALC in block, those going to other bodies, and the Lutheran bodies outside, are reacting to financial realities. Internally for the most part that means dealing wisely with increases in revenue. (for NALC starting at zero, self evidently means an increase, but others too) As ELCA pro forces pull back, or just drop out of ministries it means, stepping up and keeping them going. I would say LCMS especially will have to deal with that in leadership, (ex: LMI)

Let's be clear. The cascading drop of 18-20% and falling, is in the ELCA, and the consequences the rest of us are wrestling with is filling the void vacating by a sucking sound and whirlpools. And these were not of our own making, nor anything we wished for.  No this is not a philosophical, everyone has problems. The cause is well known, and everyone is looking at the elephant imploding with grief, because the challenge is great.

And we expect no help from the ELCA, no matter how big its budget, "used to be." This is a mess.

TV
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Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #140 on: October 07, 2010, 11:13:10 AM »
Again, for the gazillionth time, has anyone heard me "whining" or "complaining" about the financial state of our church body? I accept it for what it is and began a thread of discussion here to talk about that.
What you will hear me criticize is people in the ELCA who refuse to support its ministries as we have agreed to do, people who engage in name-calling and mean-spirited bashing, and people who are willfully ignorant about being responsible partners in the ELCA's Gospel mission.
Beloved Spouse signed us up as members of the ACLU. I like much of what the ACLU does, though I am very critical of their views on religion and have told them so. So our membership continues, and I am happy to support most of what they stand for even though I really really don't like some of their positions.
And to tell the truth, it annoys me to have those outside the ELCA leading the whine and Jesus party about how "bad" things are in the ELCA. But I've said that before, too.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 11:18:51 AM by Charles_Austin »

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #141 on: October 07, 2010, 11:31:52 AM »
And to tell the truth, it annoys me to have those outside the ELCA leading the whine and Jesus party about how "bad" things are in the ELCA. But I've said that before, too.
Most of "those outside the ELCA" have family, friends and loved ones still in the ELCA.  We are concerned about their salvation given current unbiblical teachings going on in your church body.  It is our Christian obligation to speak against the willful sin ELCA has endorsed.

jmiller

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #142 on: October 07, 2010, 11:38:24 AM »

  Or maybe it is just another case of, as Janis said, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." 


Janis sang it, but good ol' Lutheran boy Kris Kristofferson said (wrote) it.  Apropos, eh? ;)

Now hold that thought up against Luther at the Diet of Worms...

I am trying.
Luther's followers volunteered to be part of the movement and he and they understood the possible consequences.
I never signed up for this revolution.
Nor did my congregation.
So who is our PB to fritter it all away for the sake of modernity?

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #143 on: October 07, 2010, 09:40:46 PM »
Again, for the gazillionth time, has anyone heard me "whining" or "complaining" about the financial state of our church body? I accept it for what it is and began a thread of discussion here to talk about that.
What you will hear me criticize is people in the ELCA who refuse to support its ministries as we have agreed to do, people who engage in name-calling and mean-spirited bashing, and people who are willfully ignorant about being responsible partners in the ELCA's Gospel mission.
Beloved Spouse signed us up as members of the ACLU. I like much of what the ACLU does, though I am very critical of their views on religion and have told them so. So our membership continues, and I am happy to support most of what they stand for even though I really really don't like some of their positions.
And to tell the truth, it annoys me to have those outside the ELCA leading the whine and Jesus party about how "bad" things are in the ELCA. But I've said that before, too.

I agree with the general thrust of your post, but there are two phrases that need to be clarified.  

1.  When you say "support its ministries as we have agreed to do," the question would be, "How have we agreed to support the ELCA?"  Have we agreed to support the ELCA even when we believe its actions contradict its own confession of faith?  Or would support mean refusing to enable and applaud self destructive behavior?  In the same way, we could ask whether being a patriot means defending the constitution or supporting the president no matter what.

2.  A similar question arises over the phrase "being responsilbe partners in the ELCA's Gospel mission."  When you say the ELCA's Gospel Mission, do you mean whatever the ELCA undertakes, or that part of the ELCA's activities that actually have to do with preaching the Gospel of redemption in Jesus Christ?  I know of few people who don't want to support the ELCA's Gospel Mission, it is its non-Gospel mission that folks are reluctant to support and fund.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 09:42:29 PM by DCharlton »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #144 on: October 07, 2010, 10:27:09 PM »
dcharlton asks:
1.  When you say "support its ministries as we have agreed to do," the question would be, "How have we agreed to support the ELCA?"  Have we agreed to support the ELCA even when we believe its actions contradict its own confession of faith?  Or would support mean refusing to enable and applaud self destructive behavior?  In the same way, we could ask whether being a patriot means defending the constitution or supporting the president no matter what.

I respond:
We have agreed, whether by ordination or installation into our calls, to be supportive of the ELCA as "public ministers" of that church body. This has been explained many times and is in our constitutions.
It is certainly not agreed among us that ELCA "actions contradict its own confession of faith" and until that is adjudicated, it is not "legally" true. It is only your opinion.
(This parallels those who say that certain things in the U.S. are "unconstitutional" or "contradict what our nation is supposed to be." We have agreed-upon ways of determining whether those allegations are actually true. And those who thought social security was unconstitutional lost that argument.)
We do not support "the president no matter what," but we are bound by the laws of our nation, no matter what. I strongly object to the amount of my tax money that goes to militarism. But I am not allowed to withhold my taxes because of that, or be free of penalty if I do.

dcharlton asks:
2.  A similar question arises over the phrase "being responsilbe partners in the ELCA's Gospel mission."  When you say the ELCA's Gospel Mission, do you mean whatever the ELCA undertakes, or that part of the ELCA's activities that actually have to do with preaching the Gospel of redemption in Jesus Christ?  I know of few people who don't want to support the ELCA's Gospel Mission, it is its non-Gospel mission that folks are reluctant to support and fund.
I comment:
You posit a distinction that is hard to make or define. Is a pension fund for church workers "Gospel Mission"? Is furniture for church offices "Gospel Mission"? How about costs of assemblies or membership in ecumenical organizations? Perhaps it would be better if I said we are to be "responsible partners in the ELCA," for I contend that this means sending - through our synod and the ELCA - the fair share of mission support from our congregation.
I am not allowed to say: "Oh, that program of the ELCA is o.k., because it is really Gospel, and that one isn't." And yes, this may mean that some of that goes for things we might not like - just like my taxes.
In your congregation, is fixing the furnace, paying the insurance premium or the contract for the copier "Gospel Mission"? Maybe not directly, but could your congregation function if it did not do those things? And what about the crabby old coot who doesn't want to spend $300 to send kids to the national youth gathering? Should he withhold his offering because he doesn't like that budget item?

John Theiss

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #145 on: October 07, 2010, 11:20:39 PM »
Pastor Austin, I believe that your first response example of constitutionality is flawed in that God does not speak to the Constitution of the US or any other country (at least not directly or by name) whereas Christians do believe that God does speak directly to a number of moral issues.  When a church body chooses a direction in policy which many of its members believe to be against what God has said on those moral issues, those members may believe that their responsibility is to obey God rather than "man".  Specifically, pastors may believe that faithfulness to their God and their ordination vows require them to oppose what their "bound conscience" can only view as a sinful policy decision.  Unless of course you are of the opinion that your church body always speaks for God and therefore all decisions it makes will always be equal to God's will.

Also, by your logic there should never have been any opposition to the previous stance of the ELCA, as to do so was to not be supportive of the ELCA as public ministers. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #146 on: October 08, 2010, 06:48:13 AM »
Pastor Theiss writes:
Unless of course you are of the opinion that your church body always speaks for God and therefore all decisions it makes will always be equal to God's will.

I respond:
No, I do not believe that. But I believe that it is quite possible that God speaks through our church bodies (and our preaching.) And - in this flawed world - I have no way of "being" Church except by belonging to a fellowship of believers, being a part of the Body of Christ and exercising my call within that part of the Body of Christ. If that part of the body goes so far astray that I cannot in conscience continue to do this, then I must leave. I don't like some things the ELCA does. But for me, none of them rise to this level.

Pastor Theiss writes:
Also, by your logic there should never have been any opposition to the previous stance of the ELCA, as to do so was to not be supportive of the ELCA as public ministers.  

I comment:
No. Most of those who opposed the previous policies of the ELCA did what our fellowship in the ELCA allows us to do: they studied, prayed, worked with other ELCA members, held conferences, witnessed, proposed memorials and resolutions, and most of them did not say our bishops were "false leaders". They did this until they were able to convince the church to change its policies and approach to their issue.
Preemptive strike: I have always said that those "irregular ordinations" were wrong and that those taking part should have been disciplined. Many were. And those taking part were willing to risk disapproval, discipline or even loss of their salary for the sake of their convictions.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 06:55:52 AM by Charles_Austin »

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #147 on: October 08, 2010, 09:24:39 AM »
dcharlton asks:
1.  When you say "support its ministries as we have agreed to do," the question would be, "How have we agreed to support the ELCA?"  Have we agreed to support the ELCA even when we believe its actions contradict its own confession of faith?  Or would support mean refusing to enable and applaud self destructive behavior?  In the same way, we could ask whether being a patriot means defending the constitution or supporting the president no matter what.

I respond:
We have agreed, whether by ordination or installation into our calls, to be supportive of the ELCA as "public ministers" of that church body. This has been explained many times and is in our constitutions.
It is certainly not agreed among us that ELCA "actions contradict its own confession of faith" and until that is adjudicated, it is not "legally" true. It is only your opinion.
(This parallels those who say that certain things in the U.S. are "unconstitutional" or "contradict what our nation is supposed to be." We have agreed-upon ways of determining whether those allegations are actually true. And those who thought social security was unconstitutional lost that argument.)
We do not support "the president no matter what," but we are bound by the laws of our nation, no matter what. I strongly object to the amount of my tax money that goes to militarism. But I am not allowed to withhold my taxes because of that, or be free of penalty if I do.

dcharlton asks:
2.  A similar question arises over the phrase "being responsilbe partners in the ELCA's Gospel mission."  When you say the ELCA's Gospel Mission, do you mean whatever the ELCA undertakes, or that part of the ELCA's activities that actually have to do with preaching the Gospel of redemption in Jesus Christ?  I know of few people who don't want to support the ELCA's Gospel Mission, it is its non-Gospel mission that folks are reluctant to support and fund.
I comment:
You posit a distinction that is hard to make or define. Is a pension fund for church workers "Gospel Mission"? Is furniture for church offices "Gospel Mission"? How about costs of assemblies or membership in ecumenical organizations? Perhaps it would be better if I said we are to be "responsible partners in the ELCA," for I contend that this means sending - through our synod and the ELCA - the fair share of mission support from our congregation.
I am not allowed to say: "Oh, that program of the ELCA is o.k., because it is really Gospel, and that one isn't." And yes, this may mean that some of that goes for things we might not like - just like my taxes.
In your congregation, is fixing the furnace, paying the insurance premium or the contract for the copier "Gospel Mission"? Maybe not directly, but could your congregation function if it did not do those things? And what about the crabby old coot who doesn't want to spend $300 to send kids to the national youth gathering? Should he withhold his offering because he doesn't like that budget item?


Wow Charles.  I just assumed that you didn't mean what you seemed to mean.  But it appears that you did.  I just cannot accept your authoritarian interpretation of my ordination and installation vows.  Of course I should abide by the policies of the ELCA or be prepared to face discipline.  And of course I am expected to urge my congregation to financially support the ministries of the ELCA.  However, as an ordained ministers and a part of body of Christ, the most important part kind of support I can give the ELCA is to urge it to abide by its confesson of faith and do my best to see that it does. 

Now to the question about pension funds, boilers, and youth gatherings, the answer is NO.  They are not what I would call Gospel Mission.  A person who opposes one of them or declines to contribute to them is not an enemy of the Gospel.  They are not undermining the proclamation of the Gospel.  They are not apostates.  Many would like to make that connection.  Many unscrupulous pastors have made that insinuation whenever their congregants have not supported a pet project.  Still it is false. 

Refusing to abide by the policies of the ELCA and withholding benevolence is the kind of passive agreesive approach that I don't want to take.  Instead, I have been and hope to continue the kind of engagement with the ELCA that forces me to speak plainly when I think it has violated its own policies and its confession of faith.  In the same manner, when I choose not to participate in a particular program, I will say why and make no bones about it.  However, I will not adopt the party line when I think it is false.  And I will not drown myself in an attempt to save the ELCA.* 

*When I was a life guard, the first thing they taught us was that you cannot rescue a person if you let yourself get drowned in the process.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 10:04:44 AM by DCharlton »
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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #148 on: October 08, 2010, 10:54:10 AM »

It is certainly not agreed among us that ELCA "actions contradict its own confession of faith" and until that is adjudicated, it is not "legally" true.

One of the structural problems of the ELCA is that there IS no way to adjudicate it, other than a ruling from David Swartling.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #149 on: October 08, 2010, 10:56:28 AM »
Yes, there is a way.
Memorial: Resolved, that in its actions at the ELCA Church-wide Assembly in 2009, the assembly acted contrary to the confession of faith of this church.