Author Topic: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010  (Read 23197 times)

James_Gale

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #180 on: October 08, 2010, 08:20:28 PM »


Yes, CWA09 left it up to individual consciences to decide what is true about this particular issue -- although that approach may also work on some other issues, too; but certainly not with every issue, e.g., the doctrines in our Confession of Faith.

Unless you're herchurch, for example.



Very, very few of us are.

(On the other hand, I've never been to a worship service at Ebenezer Lutheran in San Francisco. I have not read their constitutional confession of faith. I can't really judge what occurs there. However, I have been to worship services at Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley. I can judge what goes on there.  :))
One only needs to peruse or browse their website to find all sorts of heresies and apostasies going on.
They are a filthy and unLutheran group.

For example, herchurch.org tells us that "attention [should] be given to what does and does not liberate women and men from the effects of patriarchy.  If a biblical text, church teaching, or an interpretation of either does not liberate, then it either must not be true or has been misinterpreted."

Instead of understanding the Christian life through the lens of Scripture, Scripture is contorted to comport with an imposed socio-political perspective.

The web site includes many other gems.

jpetty

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #181 on: October 08, 2010, 09:33:13 PM »
...

I would agree that the ELCA is not bound by some traditional interpretations of scriptures. That's been part of our history since Luther's time. The marriage of priests,

Why do you keep using this false example?  Do you honestly not realize that this was a return to tradition, a reversal of a revision, that took place? Or, Heaven forbid, you simply keep using this example because you know that the common reader will not know that it is a return to Tradition and thus you hope that they might be convinced by your false example into thinking the Lutheran fathers would agree with the rest of what you are saying?

I don't think trying to paint Luther as a great traditionist will work.  He directly defied papal authority, which, at that time, had been "tradition" for seven or eight hundred years.  He threw a good bit of tradition overboard, and he did it on the basis of his own freedom of inquiry.

The Apostolic and Church Fathers are the authoritative sum and norm of Traditionalism, recent tradition is not Traditionalism.   Small “t” capital “T”, like church and Church.  The church tradition is not, Church Tradition.  Tradition can not be changed, it is now after the fact.  In as much as the Apostolic and Church fathers point to Christ, and the Book of Concord points to Christ, and I point at Christ and to them for explanation, we either accept them as authoritative or we do not.  In our church traditions we may not even be in compliance of Church Tradition, two different things.

The sum and norm of Tradition and Traditionalist is a completed event, the Traditionalists are dead now but alive in Christ, and alive in their writings, their co-author still our active inspiration, anyone that agrees with them is a Traditionalist too.  But anyone who disagrees with them ceases to be a Traditionalist, they may still be a traditionalist in their own sect but they have become revisionists.  It is impossible for Traditionalism to be revised or for us to modify it.  The influence of Scripture and the Church Fathers on our understanding may ebb and flow in its popularity, and it may even disappear and then reappear five hundred years later when the writings of the Apostolic and Church Fathers is viewed as authoritative and the Holy Spirit speaks through it to someone who rediscovers it, as was the case with Luther.  

It is a misunderstanding of Traditionalism to think it applies to our near history or only to our denominations etc.  And that misunderstanding is a fatal a flaw of revisionism, they are confused when they believe that we are allowed to revise Scripture and Tradition, Christ and Christ's words are eternal.


I can imagine the Pope saying that, but not Luther.

Mike Bennett

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #182 on: October 08, 2010, 10:12:03 PM »

It is a misunderstanding of Traditionalism to think it applies to our near history or only to our denominations etc.  And that misunderstanding is a fatal a flaw of revisionism, they are confused when they believe that we are allowed to revise Scripture and Tradition, Christ and Christ's words are eternal.


I can imagine the Pope saying that, but not Luther.

If I believed jpetty's version of Luther I'd swim the Tiber tomorrow.

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

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #183 on: October 09, 2010, 12:24:17 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.


Hard to do this, Charles, when these memorials are ruled out of order on the floor of the synod assemblies on the basis of Sec. Swartling's statements regarding the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly actions being in accord with the constitution of the ELCA.

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #184 on: October 09, 2010, 01:00:51 AM »
  I received this email from my South Dakota Synod office earlier today. 

"Prayers for our Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the ELCA Churchwide Office

Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod, has sent us a letter calling us to join together in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the ELCA Churchwide Office.  Please join us in prayer for all who are going to be affected by the coming changes. 

The letter reads:

I would like to invite you to pray in support of our staff at the churchwide offices and others who will be impacted by the coming redesign of our churchwide structure.

I have been to the churchwide building twice in the past month.  The sadness and anxiety in the building has been palpable.   We are working to right-size our churchwide expression and focus our ministry and mission on our highest priorities.  It is important and hard work.

On Friday (Oct. 8) I invite your prayers for the ELCA Church Council as they receive recommendations and make decisions that we hope will move forward the life of our church body.

Monday people inside the building will be notified if their positions will continue, be reshaped or if their positions will be lost in the redesign and refocusing of our shared work at a national level. 

I know that most people have not been to our churchwide offices nor know any of the people who will be impacted in this decision.  I personally know many.  Pastors, gifted leaders, faithful and dedicated support staff.  I am thinking of their faces and giving thanks for their faithful service in Christ’s name.

I do not know how the decisions will come out in the coming days but I do know that people have served faithfully for years will be impacted.  I know that over 70 positions have been brought to an end in the past year. I know that the decisions in the coming days will impact more of our sisters and brothers in Christ.
 
I found myself thinking of the folks in our churchwide expression this morning as I prayed this prayer.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
Thanks.                                               

Bishop Jon

For a list of the Churchwide Organization's Units and Offices, please visit the ELCA website."

Richard Johnson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #185 on: October 09, 2010, 02:18:19 AM »
 We are working to right-size our churchwide expression and focus our ministry and mission on our highest priorities.  It is important and hard work.


I shall certainly pray for them. But I will observe that apparently "right-size" is the new descriptor for what is happening in the ELCA.

FWiW, churchwide staff aren't the only ones suffering. Couple of weeks ago a letter went out from bishop of SW Washington Synod. Their financial situation is so dire that they are:
(1) Reducing mission support to ELCA and some partner organizations by $100,000
(2) Cutting bishop's salary by 10%
(3) Cutting two assistants to bishop to 80%
(4) Closing synod office one day per week.
(5) Freezing spending of synodical program boards except for mandatory items
(6) Taking a variety of other actions to reduce synod budget by $200,000.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

dschoelles

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #186 on: October 09, 2010, 02:47:52 AM »
When I look at the precipitous drop in giving (thanks Erma for the heads up:  
                       http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Treasurer/Financial-Reports/Current-Year-Financial-Reports.aspx)
When i hear about Lutheran radio ministries being cut,
When I hear of lay offs and downsizing of synod staffs,
When I hear about congregations losing members and financial support,
  I am struck at how this destructive the forced sexual agenda could not have occurred at a worse time for the ELCA.

We will witness a continuous decline in the Christian community in this country. The next 20 years will see Christianity become a minority religion in this country.
Since we can't pass our faith on to our kids very effectively, they will walk away to fully embrace secularism.

But while this social agenda has wreaked havoc in the ELCA, it serves as accelerant for the impact that the demographic bomb will have in the ELCA over the next ten years.
Significant numbers of faithful Lutherans who are supporting their ELCA congregations will go onto the church triumphant, but their numbers and their support will not replaced.

While this is sad for congregations, even more heartbreaking is the decreasing witness that a lost and lonely nation will need. Fewer Lutherans in the next decade when the mission need will be increasing.
Our only hope is that the LORD is pulling up in order to plant a new way of being a missional people of God.  
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 03:02:42 AM by dschoelles »

Maryland Brian

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #187 on: October 09, 2010, 06:39:27 AM »

Since we can't pass our faith on to our kids very effectively, they will walk away to fully embrace secularism.


For the secular organizations which funded this change, the collapse of the Church is of no matter.  Indeed, if the church can be removed as a player in moral formation, especially if it is viewed as a hinderance to their understanding of full  inclusion, then so it goes.  This has been on the table for at least the last ten years and is why so many of the outwardly focused, mission oriented congregations are leaving. Such a turn of events will only accelerate the decline as the people who know how to reach across the secular divide are going out the doors. Note: reaching across that divide is different than what the ELCA has done - sat down at the table of moral equivalence and pretended they were now relevant. So your insight is most certainly true.  Restructure doesn't begin to describe what's coming.

The ELCA leadership has played, in management language, the "useful idiot." to the whims and agendas of those outside the faith.  So yes, it's tragic when a support staff person has their life disrupted because someone in leadership was blind to where this was all heading.

Dadoo

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #188 on: October 09, 2010, 08:30:54 AM »
...

I would agree that the ELCA is not bound by some traditional interpretations of scriptures. That's been part of our history since Luther's time. The marriage of priests,

Why do you keep using this false example?  Do you honestly not realize that this was a return to tradition, a reversal of a revision, that took place? Or, Heaven forbid, you simply keep using this example because you know that the common reader will not know that it is a return to Tradition and thus you hope that they might be convinced by your false example into thinking the Lutheran fathers would agree with the rest of what you are saying?

Which tradition? Is the oldest practice always the "traditional" one? At some point in Christian history, the powers that be, determined among other things, that Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 7 that marriage meant that one had to devote some time and energy to the spouse -- and not totally to the Lord; meant that those taking vows to the Church meant that they had to be fully devoted to the Lord and his Church -- and could not be married. (I've heard some Roman Catholic priests talk about being "married" to the church. The Church in Luther's day had its interpretation of scripture and tradition. Luther had another interpretation.

Would you not agree that celebrating communion at least weekly (if not daily) is an older and longer lasting tradition than once a month communion? Would you not agree that celebrating first communion at one's baptism, regardless of age, as the Orthodox do, is an older tradition than waiting until confirmation or completing a class in 5th grade (or younger)? Yet, even though we can show that there are older traditions than what many are used to today, it certainly isn't easy to return to those traditions. The folks today are often convinced by their interpretation of scriptures and their own tradition (two or three generations) that what they are doing is the right way.

Just ask the folks in the pew to cross themselves at the appropriate times in the liturgy -- and point out that Luther himself told us to cross ourselves in the Small Catechism.

Staring that Luther was seeking to return to an older tradition doesn't make it any easier to fight the deeply held convictions and interpretations and practices of the folks of his day any more than it is for us to return to early church practices in our congregations. It is a battle of interpretations of scriptures and traditions. Celibacy for those taking vows to the church was the tradition in Luther's day based on an interpretation of scriptures.


Brian,

I am intrigued by your posts lately. What book on Luther and Luther's legacy are you reading right now? Maybe you could start a thread on the book and have a meeting of minds over it.
Peter Kruse

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A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #189 on: October 09, 2010, 08:50:10 AM »

It is a misunderstanding of Traditionalism to think it applies to our near history or only to our denominations etc.  And that misunderstanding is a fatal a flaw of revisionism, they are confused when they believe that we are allowed to revise Scripture and Tradition, Christ and Christ's words are eternal.


I can imagine the Pope saying that, but not Luther.

If I believed jpetty's version of Luther I'd swim the Tiber tomorrow.

Mike Bennett

I'm with you, Mike...

Over and over and over again, I find myself picking up my BoC and LW trying to figure out how the heck Brian, John, and I are reading the same guy...  And, though all three of us are WTS grads, I still can't quite fathom where they get this idea of "Luther as anti-moralistic revolutionary" from.

A while back I began a conversation with a RC Priest as a prelude to "swimming the Tiber."  The priest kept asking me questions of "What Lutherans believed..." about this and that.  I kept answering "Well, our 'official theology' says this, but..." Which led me to a real crisis of faith that has not yet been resolved.

The point of this, in regards to the thread topic, is that so long as the ELCA does not faithfully represent Luther and Lutherans, I think many are going to keep witholding their giving.  After all, how can you inspire people to give of themselves fully when you have to keep hedging your own bets.  Lutherans "officially" confess (as Brian will no doubt remind us, referring even to Article II of the ELCA's own constitution) that "Scripture alone is the norma normans of our corporate life," but we then officially (self-admittedly) adopt policies and beliefs that run counter to that norma normans, thereby nullifying the first clause.  Then, we trot out some cock-a-mamie explanation that tries to argue that it's all really quite subjective, that even though we admit that we have adopted something that runs counter to the norma normans that we still hold that Scripture is the "norming norm"...

What is not at all subjective is the budget crisis.  I might have to answer "Lutherans 'officially' believe this, but..." right now, but there is no denying what is happening on a Synod and Churchwide level.  

No, "if's, and's, or but's" about it.

You're not crazy, Mike, and niether am I.  The world has gone crazy around us.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 09:26:03 AM by A Catholic Lutheran »

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #190 on: October 09, 2010, 09:27:27 AM »
...

I would agree that the ELCA is not bound by some traditional interpretations of scriptures. That's been part of our history since Luther's time. The marriage of priests,

Why do you keep using this false example?  Do you honestly not realize that this was a return to tradition, a reversal of a revision, that took place? Or, Heaven forbid, you simply keep using this example because you know that the common reader will not know that it is a return to Tradition and thus you hope that they might be convinced by your false example into thinking the Lutheran fathers would agree with the rest of what you are saying?

Which tradition? Is the oldest practice always the "traditional" one? At some point in Christian history, the powers that be, determined among other things, that Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 7 that marriage meant that one had to devote some time and energy to the spouse -- and not totally to the Lord; meant that those taking vows to the Church meant that they had to be fully devoted to the Lord and his Church -- and could not be married. (I've heard some Roman Catholic priests talk about being "married" to the church. The Church in Luther's day had its interpretation of scripture and tradition. Luther had another interpretation.

Would you not agree that celebrating communion at least weekly (if not daily) is an older and longer lasting tradition than once a month communion? Would you not agree that celebrating first communion at one's baptism, regardless of age, as the Orthodox do, is an older tradition than waiting until confirmation or completing a class in 5th grade (or younger)? Yet, even though we can show that there are older traditions than what many are used to today, it certainly isn't easy to return to those traditions. The folks today are often convinced by their interpretation of scriptures and their own tradition (two or three generations) that what they are doing is the right way.

Just ask the folks in the pew to cross themselves at the appropriate times in the liturgy -- and point out that Luther himself told us to cross ourselves in the Small Catechism.

Staring that Luther was seeking to return to an older tradition doesn't make it any easier to fight the deeply held convictions and interpretations and practices of the folks of his day any more than it is for us to return to early church practices in our congregations. It is a battle of interpretations of scriptures and traditions. Celibacy for those taking vows to the church was the tradition in Luther's day based on an interpretation of scriptures.


Brian,

I am intrigued by your posts lately. What book on Luther and Luther's legacy are you reading right now? Maybe you could start a thread on the book and have a meeting of minds over it.

Such a topic has been launched over on the thread "Celebrity Deathmatch: Luther vs. Luther in the "Your Turn" folder.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #191 on: October 09, 2010, 10:53:18 AM »
Over and over and over again, I find myself picking up my BoC and LW trying to figure out how the heck Brian, John, and I are reading the same guy...  And, though all three of us are WTS grads, I still can't quite fathom where they get this idea of "Luther as anti-moralistic revolutionary" from.

When I was at Wartburg it was clearly stated by our theology profs that they wanted us to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. They intentionally did not try to create uniform, cookie cutter shaped theologies among their students. There was clearly different theological nuances among the faculty and among the students. For example, we had a faculty member state that he didn't believe that there were personal demons and another one who had participated in exorcisms while a missionary in Africa.

At no point has anyone said that Luther was "anti-moralistic revolutionary." What Luther did is to give us the proper uses of the Law, with the clear admonition that obeying the law (or living morally) does not save us. Such obedience does not make us righteous before God. This does not mean that we then refuse to obey the law or begin living immorally. It means that our reasons for obedience and living morally have to be something other than for winning brownie points with God or for climbing up a ladder to heaven. For me, personal morality falls under the first use of the Law (others may put it under a third use). We are commanded to live moral lives for the sake of our neighbors. That, as I recall from reading, The Ethics of Martin Luther, summarizes his approach to ethics -- it's for the sake of the neighbor; not for winning God's good pleasure. First of all, none of our moral deeds are good enough. They are tainted by sin. Secondly, as Paul states, quoting Habakkuk, "the righteous (those who do right) shall live by faith." It is faith that makes us righteous before God, not moral actions. (Moral actions can make us righteous before others. )
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 10:55:59 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
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jpetty

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #192 on: October 09, 2010, 11:00:58 AM »

It is a misunderstanding of Traditionalism to think it applies to our near history or only to our denominations etc.  And that misunderstanding is a fatal a flaw of revisionism, they are confused when they believe that we are allowed to revise Scripture and Tradition, Christ and Christ's words are eternal.


I can imagine the Pope saying that, but not Luther.

If I believed jpetty's version of Luther I'd swim the Tiber tomorrow.

Mike Bennett

But since you believe Luther was a Roman Catholic Traditionalist, this enables you to be "more Catholic than the Pope" by staying in the Lutheran church.


Paul L. Knudson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #193 on: October 09, 2010, 01:41:36 PM »
I do not remember where the video on freshman orientation is linked on this online forum.  Because one of our members was so upset by it, I finally watched one of the two.  It is so pathetic to think a so called church college could allow such a production.  There is no semblance of attachment or remembrance of anything remotely shaped by faith or the Scriptures in this presentation.  Great laughter is in the background.  We know the world is shaped by this nonsense, but this was beyond the pale.

You want to know why the ELCA is facing a fiscal crisis.  This is one big long on the fire, beyond sad.


Maryland Brian

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #194 on: October 09, 2010, 02:02:01 PM »
I do not remember where the video on freshman orientation is linked on this online forum.  Because one of our members was so upset by it, I finally watched one of the two.  It is so pathetic to think a so called church college could allow such a production.  There is no semblance of attachment or remembrance of anything remotely shaped by faith or the Scriptures in this presentation.  Great laughter is in the background.  We know the world is shaped by this nonsense, but this was beyond the pale.

You want to know why the ELCA is facing a fiscal crisis.  This is one big long on the fire, beyond sad.



It seems to be going viral on Facebook as I see it everywhere.