Author Topic: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010  (Read 23169 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2010, 02:15:29 PM »

If there was a single, well-thought out, basic structure assigned to all the synods, then there would be no problems of synod structure being broken.


Well, George, there isn't.

spt+

That is correct. I am suggesting a remedy to repair a problem. I thought that was clear. How is it helpful to comment about a suggested remedy to fix a problem that the remedy hasn't been used? Of course there isn't a single, well-thought out, basic structure assigned to all the synods. Why is there any need to repeat that fact in response to a suggestion that a change should be made to create a single, well-thought out, basic structure for all synods?

I'm pretty sure that the Commission on a New Lutheran Church looked at all kinds of options for our structure. I suspect that what they gave us was the best that they found (or least bad). Where you see "a problem," others see wide-open possibilities. What you suggest as a fix, is also seen as fraught with other problems.

Our synods are quite different from each other. The most obvious way is geographical. The Rocky Mountain Synod that covered Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, couldn't afford to have monthly meetings of committees -- if members were selected geographically. It was 350 miles for me to go to a synod meeting. The state of Wyoming was one conference -- we didn't even have monthly meetings. The conference I'm in now has weekly pericope studies, but I'm 180+ from most of the other congregations, I don't attend.

A structure that would work for the Minneapolis Area Synod or even the LaCrosse Area Synod, may not work in Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon Synods.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

revklak

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2010, 08:25:57 AM »

If there was a single, well-thought out, basic structure assigned to all the synods, then there would be no problems of synod structure being broken.


Well, George, there isn't.

spt+

That is correct. I am suggesting a remedy to repair a problem. I thought that was clear. How is it helpful to comment about a suggested remedy to fix a problem that the remedy hasn't been used? Of course there isn't a single, well-thought out, basic structure assigned to all the synods. Why is there any need to repeat that fact in response to a suggestion that a change should be made to create a single, well-thought out, basic structure for all synods?

I'm pretty sure that the Commission on a New Lutheran Church looked at all kinds of options for our structure. I suspect that what they gave us was the best that they found (or least bad). Where you see "a problem," others see wide-open possibilities. What you suggest as a fix, is also seen as fraught with other problems.

Our synods are quite different from each other. The most obvious way is geographical. The Rocky Mountain Synod that covered Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, couldn't afford to have monthly meetings of committees -- if members were selected geographically. It was 350 miles for me to go to a synod meeting. The state of Wyoming was one conference -- we didn't even have monthly meetings. The conference I'm in now has weekly pericope studies, but I'm 180+ from most of the other congregations, I don't attend.

A structure that would work for the Minneapolis Area Synod or even the LaCrosse Area Synod, may not work in Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon Synods.


On the other hand, the question must be begged: since whn should distance matter when it comes to collegiality and a sense of ministeriual support and reducing the 'lone-wolf' effect,,,

George Erdner

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2010, 08:47:30 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the Commission on a New Lutheran Church looked at all kinds of options for our structure. I suspect that what they gave us was the best that they found (or least bad). Where you see "a problem," others see wide-open possibilities. What you suggest as a fix, is also seen as fraught with other problems.

Our synods are quite different from each other. The most obvious way is geographical. The Rocky Mountain Synod that covered Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, couldn't afford to have monthly meetings of committees -- if members were selected geographically. It was 350 miles for me to go to a synod meeting. The state of Wyoming was one conference -- we didn't even have monthly meetings. The conference I'm in now has weekly pericope studies, but I'm 180+ from most of the other congregations, I don't attend.

A structure that would work for the Minneapolis Area Synod or even the LaCrosse Area Synod, may not work in Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon Synods.


On the other hand, the question must be begged: since whn should distance matter when it comes to collegiality and a sense of ministeriual support and reducing the 'lone-wolf' effect,,,

Granted, technology wasn't the same in 1988, though more was in place than some people realize. Today, there is little limit to what can be done through "virtual" meeting using conference calls and/or internet based technologies. At my last secular job, all of us state technical managers met weekly through a conference call. With e-mail, voice-mail, most phone companies now offering unlimited long distance calling, and other options for remote conferencing and communications, claiming that geographically spread out synods cannot function with the same sort of organizational structure as a foundation as more compact synods seems to be grasping at straws for a knee-jerk defense of the status quo.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2010, 09:53:58 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the Commission on a New Lutheran Church looked at all kinds of options for our structure. I suspect that what they gave us was the best that they found (or least bad). Where you see "a problem," others see wide-open possibilities. What you suggest as a fix, is also seen as fraught with other problems.

Our synods are quite different from each other. The most obvious way is geographical. The Rocky Mountain Synod that covered Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, couldn't afford to have monthly meetings of committees -- if members were selected geographically. It was 350 miles for me to go to a synod meeting. The state of Wyoming was one conference -- we didn't even have monthly meetings. The conference I'm in now has weekly pericope studies, but I'm 180+ from most of the other congregations, I don't attend.

A structure that would work for the Minneapolis Area Synod or even the LaCrosse Area Synod, may not work in Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon Synods.


On the other hand, the question must be begged: since whn should distance matter when it comes to collegiality and a sense of ministeriual support and reducing the 'lone-wolf' effect,,,

Granted, technology wasn't the same in 1988, though more was in place than some people realize. Today, there is little limit to what can be done through "virtual" meeting using conference calls and/or internet based technologies. At my last secular job, all of us state technical managers met weekly through a conference call. With e-mail, voice-mail, most phone companies now offering unlimited long distance calling, and other options for remote conferencing and communications, claiming that geographically spread out synods cannot function with the same sort of organizational structure as a foundation as more compact synods seems to be grasping at straws for a knee-jerk defense of the status quo.

The Presbyterian Church USA tried connected all their congregations electronically. They provided them with Presbynet subscription (part of ecunet) and the software to use it. It didn't work. Too many congregations didn't have and didn't want internet connection. This is the first congregation I've been at that has internet for the office computers. There are pastors and secretaries who like being computer illiterate. My uncle, a pastor, could see no reason why he would need a computer. He saw no way that it would help his ministry. Even at my congregation where we use computers, their software is a version behind what the secretary and I use at home -- and they don't have the funds to upgrade. So, for most of my work, I bring my laptop to the office.

The "church world" is not the same as the "business world." My nephew worked for Intel -- and he could do his work at home in his bathrobe. Whether he was in his cubicle at work or in his den at home, he was on a computer writing code or talking with folks around the world. I see very little of that happening in the "church world". Ecunet was an attempt back in the 90's, but it's in financial trouble and looking for a new platform -- possibly Google Groups.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2010, 10:31:06 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the Commission on a New Lutheran Church looked at all kinds of options for our structure. I suspect that what they gave us was the best that they found (or least bad). Where you see "a problem," others see wide-open possibilities. What you suggest as a fix, is also seen as fraught with other problems.

Our synods are quite different from each other. The most obvious way is geographical. The Rocky Mountain Synod that covered Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, couldn't afford to have monthly meetings of committees -- if members were selected geographically. It was 350 miles for me to go to a synod meeting. The state of Wyoming was one conference -- we didn't even have monthly meetings. The conference I'm in now has weekly pericope studies, but I'm 180+ from most of the other congregations, I don't attend.

A structure that would work for the Minneapolis Area Synod or even the LaCrosse Area Synod, may not work in Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon Synods.


On the other hand, the question must be begged: since whn should distance matter when it comes to collegiality and a sense of ministeriual support and reducing the 'lone-wolf' effect,,,

Granted, technology wasn't the same in 1988, though more was in place than some people realize. Today, there is little limit to what can be done through "virtual" meeting using conference calls and/or internet based technologies. At my last secular job, all of us state technical managers met weekly through a conference call. With e-mail, voice-mail, most phone companies now offering unlimited long distance calling, and other options for remote conferencing and communications, claiming that geographically spread out synods cannot function with the same sort of organizational structure as a foundation as more compact synods seems to be grasping at straws for a knee-jerk defense of the status quo.

The Presbyterian Church USA tried connected all their congregations electronically. They provided them with Presbynet subscription (part of ecunet) and the software to use it. It didn't work. Too many congregations didn't have and didn't want internet connection. This is the first congregation I've been at that has internet for the office computers. There are pastors and secretaries who like being computer illiterate. My uncle, a pastor, could see no reason why he would need a computer. He saw no way that it would help his ministry. Even at my congregation where we use computers, their software is a version behind what the secretary and I use at home -- and they don't have the funds to upgrade. So, for most of my work, I bring my laptop to the office.

The "church world" is not the same as the "business world." My nephew worked for Intel -- and he could do his work at home in his bathrobe. Whether he was in his cubicle at work or in his den at home, he was on a computer writing code or talking with folks around the world. I see very little of that happening in the "church world". Ecunet was an attempt back in the 90's, but it's in financial trouble and looking for a new platform -- possibly Google Groups.

I suggest you go and check out the Episcopal Church (TEC) and tell me how all those auto-cephalous dioceses have worked out, Brian.  It has led whole dioceses to secede from the denomination, it has led to the complete fragmentation of the denomination (with some dioceses doing "this" and other dioceses doing "that"), and leading the denomination to the brink of bankruptcy.

A German general in World War I once remarked that Germany was "shackeled to a corpse" by their treaties to the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire.  I suggest that the course of action that you propose (ie. giving "synods" more freedom and diversity is remarkably similar to the German situation in the First World War.  By shackling ourselves to the corpse of TEC, and trying to emulate their failed structure, we will only end up where they are.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Revbert

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2010, 12:17:55 PM »
Technology alone is not what unites the church. After all, there are not a large number of computers in the homes and rectories throughout Africa, yet the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and, yes, Lutherans are working pretty well there.

Community will exist where there is a priority placed on being community. Unfortunately, secular humanism devalues community over the "I" and "ME" that came into the forefront in the 80s and 90s.

Until we begin to recover the need--and it is a need--for community in our lives, the rest is pretty useless.

George Erdner

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2010, 01:13:18 PM »
Technology alone is not what unites the church. After all, there are not a large number of computers in the homes and rectories throughout Africa, yet the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and, yes, Lutherans are working pretty well there.

Community will exist where there is a priority placed on being community. Unfortunately, secular humanism devalues community over the "I" and "ME" that came into the forefront in the 80s and 90s.

Until we begin to recover the need--and it is a need--for community in our lives, the rest is pretty useless.

That is very true. And, it is beside the point. If we accept the need for community in our lives as workers in the church, toiling together in common mission, the next question are, "How do we organize and coordinate our efforts?", "How do we act as good stewards of our time and talents?", and other such issues. And that is where technology enters the picture in regards to being used as a tool for communication to enable good order. That's why Paul and the other Apostles wrote letters, as it was a technology that enabled them to communicate God's Word over long distances.

So, while technology might not unite us as a church, it can be a very useful tool for communications among and between those who are united in Christ.   

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2010, 01:33:58 PM »
Art Hebbeler writes:
Until we begin to recover the need--and it is a need--for community in our lives, the rest is pretty useless.

I muse:
But "community" is a word that needs to be filled out a bit, especially with regard to the church. Community in the church is not just with people like me; community in the Church is not just with people who agree with me; community in the Church is not just people who I am comfortable with.
Often the communities we seek are those groups where we can feel cozy, where we are not challenged, where we can bask in our comfortable "community-ness", speaking our code words, telling our "in"-jokes, and reminiscing about our good old days.
All kinds of organizations can do that.
But that is not the Church. The Church is that place that spans race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and - dare I say it? - even conventional notions about lifestyle and morality. (Peter's thing with unclean food, Paul's inclusiveness toward Gentiles, slave-free, men-women, Greeks, etc. etc. )
I suspect that this is not the community we "seek," but it is indeed the community into which we are called.

ptmccain

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2010, 01:35:30 PM »
And in some churches, apparently, dare I say it?

...even Biblical notions about lifestyle and morality.

Chuck Sampson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2010, 03:50:53 PM »
Art Hebbeler writes:
Until we begin to recover the need--and it is a need--for community in our lives, the rest is pretty useless.

I muse:
But "community" is a word that needs to be filled out a bit, especially with regard to the church. Community in the church is not just with people like me; community in the Church is not just with people who agree with me; community in the Church is not just people who I am comfortable with.
Often the communities we seek are those groups where we can feel cozy, where we are not challenged, where we can bask in our comfortable "community-ness", speaking our code words, telling our "in"-jokes, and reminiscing about our good old days.
All kinds of organizations can do that.
But that is not the Church. The Church is that place that spans race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and - dare I say it? - even conventional notions about lifestyle and morality. (Peter's thing with unclean food, Paul's inclusiveness toward Gentiles, slave-free, men-women, Greeks, etc. etc. )
I suspect that this is not the community we "seek," but it is indeed the community into which we are called.

Charles' post-ban posts have taken on the nature of self-parody--something like the final stages of the career of Howard Cosell. 8)

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2010, 04:53:51 PM »
Ah, the dreaded ad hominem. So it now appears that Sampson and McCain are vowing for the title of snarkmeister. McCain currently leading.
And if you don't see the seriousness in my comments about community, I really wonder about...

Revbert

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2010, 05:07:54 PM »
George:

I don't get you at all on this one.  I never suggested that technology was not of use in building community. I just said it wasn't the only thing.

Charles:

I think you are reading too much into this one. I'm speaking of the very basic use of community--not community as religious community, family, or neighborhood.  I think we have lost the very basic idea of life together. Putting one's self first and not giving a damn (thank you, Rhett) about anything else. From my POV, the "needs of the one outweigh the needs of the few, or the many."

In short, I fear we've lost that idea of community (and not in the "it takes a village" sense) at its most basic meaning.  Church community is a whole different animal.

Art

Mike Bennett

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2010, 05:48:06 PM »

I use my real name, which means something since I am the only person in America named George Erdner. If I had the same name as 992 other people, then using my real name is nothing really to brag about, is it?
  

I don't get it.  A simple web search turns up more than one person in America named George Erdner. 

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Maryland Brian

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2010, 06:22:15 PM »

But that is not the Church. The Church is that place that spans race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and - dare I say it? - even conventional notions about lifestyle and morality.

 ... except for all those pesky things Paul said about immorality - such as "Cut it out!"  That's the simpler, easier to  understand version.

George Erdner

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2010, 07:00:35 PM »

I use my real name, which means something since I am the only person in America named George Erdner. If I had the same name as 992 other people, then using my real name is nothing really to brag about, is it?
  

I don't get it.  A simple web search turns up more than one person in America named George Erdner. 

Mike Bennett

According to the How Many of Me website, I am the only George Erdner currently alive in the US.

Google turned up a few other George Erdner, including my late father, George S. Erdner, my late grand-father, George Henry Erdner, and other dead George Erdners. It also turned up Edward George Erdner, but that having George as a middle name doesn't really count. Yahoo shows no other living George Erdners. Neither does Bing. If you did find any other living George Erdners in America, please let me know. I'd be interested in contacting them.

On the other hand, the participant in here who brags about always using his real name shares the same name with 992 people, according to that same website.

I discovered this after that individual stalked me on Facebook to continue to "correct" me despite his banishment. In attempting to find his account, I got over 500 hits on his name. At least 200 of them were the exact same first and last names.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having a common name. But, if one is going to brag about not using a pseudonym, one should probably make it a practice of at least including one's middle initial. Better yet, don't brag!