Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 29777 times)

Jim Lehmann

  • Guest
Yes, we have been down this road so very many times before.  That is why I seldom comment.  After a couple of years, I still have not reached the century mark.

That is why, on another thread, I suggested that after a person has commented a very limited number of times, they be prohibited from commenting again.  The responses become so very predictable.

Jim Lehmann
(I can list my name.  The ELCA has no hold on me any longer.)

Papster

  • Guest
I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?

But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push. So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals. It was the "right-thing" for them to support, but it was not the "right-thing" in the eyes of the majority (more than 50%) of the rest of the church. Now we are seeing the consequences.

It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 03:03:27 PM by Papster »

Maryland Brian

  • Guest

. Your statement above is incoherent-on the one hand, Pastor Hughes is not employing the nasty tactics you allege, but on the other hand, he is suggesting them. So is it OK to suggest these tactics, but not to employ them? Is he being responsible or not? Or is the last sentence in your quote above just to provide you with plausible deniability-something to hide behind when called out regarding your childish behavior?


  For what it's worth, I was being rhetorical.  Given the divisions the vote has created, how far should one go in holding together a congregation?  What price is worth it?  Ignoring the "vote" is dividing congregations.  Talking about the "vote" is dividing congregations.  Actually holding its own vote about what to do in response is dividing congregations.  So...

On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  So how about turning those two on their heads?  What if remaining unified as a congregation means ignoring the larger church?  That seems to be a scenario that pushes buttons.

G.Edward

  • Guest
Lutheranism has a history - a history we generally acclaim proudly - of "breaking" a certain kind of "unity." Started with Father Martin, didn't it? Continued as we broke with the "unity" of episcopal ordination. Sailed on as we changed the mass. Reached new heights as we made accommodations with secular governments, no longer under the control of the church. Continued again, as "mission" churches in far-flung parts of the world became independent.
We broke with a certain kind of "unity" when we decided to ordain women.
But - in all of these "breaks" in the so-called "unity" of the church, we did not set aside the creeds or the confessions or that doctrine by which the church allegedly "stands or falls."

All human constructions...the unity stands on Holy Scripture as discerned and handed down by the OHCAAC.  The disagreement is over repeated decisions by some - many of whom happen to be in prominent leadership positions in the ELCA - to read scripture whatever way suits their particular worldview and social perspective, and to throw out red herrings when the discussion goes against them.  As long as everyone with a different opinion keeps their mouth shut (and the cash flowing) we have "unity" in their narrow sense of the term.  It is certainly not unity in Christ!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 12:01:50 AM by Gregory Davidson »

Coach-Rev

  • Guest
Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #184 on: December 01, 2010, 05:01:30 PM »
Someone writes,

We've been here before. Many times. So if the ELCA is taking us "down a path that leads to destruction," you and the others who see this so clearly must then lead us out, if it is a matter of our souls and yours. If the ELCA is not "faithful to the Word of God," then you must take us someplace that is. That is why I respect many of those who have left, even as I regret the loss of their fellowship.

I respond,
When I see that respect genuinely demonstrated on your part, then will I believe you.  And if I led you, you've made it abundantly clear (many times before) that you will not follow.  This road we are on leads to a dead end.

Someone writes:
The "computer screen" is only a medium. It certainly does not "hide" this humble correspondent. Everyone here knows exactly who I am, where I come from, what I have done and where I live. And you?

I respond,
I don't recall branding those within the ELCA who are critical as cowards.  Once again you completely miss the point, the mark, and the target.  And while you and I may be on opposite sides, I have never once referred to YOU as a coward OR as disingenuous.  I await your apology.

A Catholic Lutheran

  • Guest
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart?  Would it not be salutary to aid those seeking to leave by leaving things the way they have been since the inception of the ELCA?

Just a puzzle...  Or maybe a rhetorical question.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Mike Bennett

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1031
    • View Profile
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart? 


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

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Pastor Orovitz writes:
But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push.
I comment:
Or maybe people who take their faith and participation in their church seriously enough to give up vacation time and family time to spend 12-15 hours a day for a week taking care of their church. Your assessment of the voting members of our assemblies is unfair. I have been at many and find remarkable church folk there.

Pastor Orovitz:
So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals.
Me:
"Suspicion" don't cut it. Not for a minute.

Pastor Orovitz:
It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Me:
I would not say that. But you may have a point. There are many who - in day-to-day church life - whiffle along and say "oh, the synod, who cares? Oh, the ELCA, who cares?" Pastors avoid bringing the ELCA into their congregations because they don't want criticisms. Then when something happens and their people read of it, there has been no preparation or involvement. There is considerable blame there.

A Catholic Lutheran

  • Guest
What is interesting is, if it is indeed time for traditionalists to "pack their bags and go...", then why would the ELCA make the restrictions more onerous for those seeking to depart? 


Property.

Oh I understand reality, Mike.  Trust me, as a man who has just survived a divorce, I understand the wrangling around money (which is what property is) and power.  

My observation is more around the passive-aggressive nature of the discourse which seems to say "Maybe it's time for you to go..." but "we're going to make it even more difficult for you to leave..."

It's actually kind of humorous...  In a sick sorta way.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Pastor Hughes writes:
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  

I comment:
No, that is not what I said and you know it.
I said if one's conscience absolutely prevented them from taking responsible part in the church body to which they belong, it may be time for them to leave.
Your caricature of my statement is as misleading as the allegations that all who oppose last year's decisions are homophobes.

Coach-Rev

  • Guest
Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #190 on: December 01, 2010, 05:32:51 PM »
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  So how about turning those two on their heads?  What if remaining unified as a congregation means ignoring the larger church?  That seems to be a scenario that pushes buttons.

And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.  I can see indeed why Rev. Lehmann doesn't waste a lot of time replying on this board or this thread.

I may have to join him in that sentiment.

jrubyaz

  • Guest
Let's put aside the makeup of CWA for the moment-although as a first hand voting member I agree it was not near the theological representation of the folks in the pews.

I spoke to my second cousin the other day who is a whizbang at Amazon doing worldwide business stuff for them. He said "what was the ELCA thinking? (this from a liberal who agreed!)  He ticked off these points, albeit putting it in business terms, but wise even in those terms...

1. Their "market" surveys showed a split to favoring no change on this....any decision was bound to po at least 50% of the people.

2. The "management", i.e. Bishops, et al, don't know their market or base..no pulse on the people.

3. If your biggest customers were leaving (whether size of church or volume of number leaving)..wouldn't you pick up the phone and call? Would the PB have been smart to call a bunch of churches together he knew were upset and say "I know you are mad, but let's talk? ) Businesses do this all the time

4. Why was there no plan for the "fallout"? Either they felt there would be none, or sorely misjudged.


Pretty smart stuff coming from a 20 something whizbang .




quote author=Charles_Austin link=topic=3490.msg191968#msg191968 date=1291241806]
Pastor Orovitz writes:
But who are these voting members? In the six parishes that I served in my full time ministry it was always like pulling teeth to get delegates (voting members) to attend a Synod Assembly. A lot of times it ended up being my wife. Then who gets elected to be voting members to the CWA from the synod assemblies? People who are anxious to attend synod assemblies and then be elected to be a voting member of the CWA who are there because they want to be there, and they probably have an agenda to push.
I comment:
Or maybe people who take their faith and participation in their church seriously enough to give up vacation time and family time to spend 12-15 hours a day for a week taking care of their church. Your assessment of the voting members of our assemblies is unfair. I have been at many and find remarkable church folk there.

Pastor Orovitz:
So what gets passed by the CWA probably does not in the end reflect the feelings of the church-at-large. It is my suspicion that RIC congregations and those friendly to LCNA and the "Good Soil" groups were disproportionately represented at the CWA and voting for the sexuality proposals.
Me:
"Suspicion" don't cut it. Not for a minute.

Pastor Orovitz:
It has been said that the members of the ELCA have brought this upon themselves. The refusal of many; good, wise, and faithful members to attend synod assemblies has let this happen. It has been said that they themselves are to blame for what has happened.
Me:
I would not say that. But you may have a point. There are many who - in day-to-day church life - whiffle along and say "oh, the synod, who cares? Oh, the ELCA, who cares?" Pastors avoid bringing the ELCA into their congregations because they don't want criticisms. Then when something happens and their people read of it, there has been no preparation or involvement. There is considerable blame there.

[/quote]

Maryland Brian

  • Guest
Pastor Hughes writes:
On the one hand Charles champions unity, but also says get out if you're not as tolerant as the rest of us.  

I comment:
No, that is not what I said and you know it.
I said if one's conscience absolutely prevented them from taking responsible part in the church body to which they belong, it may be time for them to leave.
Your caricature of my statement is as misleading as the allegations that all who oppose last year's decisions are homophobes.


 ::)


Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Someone writes (re my recent comments):
And on the other hand, he calls most of us here disingenuous and cowards.

I comment:
Totally, completely, absolutely untrue. Most of the people here are definitely not those things. You, "someone," are way too loose with your language.

Maryland Brian

  • Guest

3. If your biggest customers were leaving (whether size of church or volume of number leaving)..wouldn't you pick up the phone and call? Would the PB have been smart to call a bunch of churches together he knew were upset and say "I know you are mad, but let's talk? ) Businesses do this all the time


... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors.  If things were different, they wouldn't be the way they are.  The tilt point is fast approaching and IMHO,  haven't seen the bottom of the free fall.  Not by a long shot.