Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 29867 times)

Papster

  • Guest
I avoid getting in conversations with you, because you seem to have a "knack" for reading into, or reading out of a statement things that were not meant to be implied. I suppose that is your gift as a journalist. I somewhat envy that gift at the same time I want to come back at you, one more time. So please let me add my "two cents."

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.
Quote

I agree with you. I always respected the people that were on the ballot for voting members. Many were far more qualified than I, and I was never elected. I had to take myself as a visitor to the last LCA Asembly in Milwaukee in 1987 and the Constituting Assembly of the ELCA in Columbus in 1988, at my own expense. But I was never that naive not to notice that those on the ballot were far more agenda orientated than I. As a pro-life advocate I saw how it went when I fought for a memorial to have a more pro-life position in the LCA Social Statement on Sex, Mariage, and Family.

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.
Quote

It is more than a suspicion. I was trying to be a good journalist and not insert an opinion. It has actually been my observation that has been affirmed by people who were voting members from my own synod.

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.


Thanks for recognizing my point. As for myself I was always in solid support of anything the LCA/ELCA was doing, and I worked hard to support it and promote it in my ministries. As a interim pastor trained by the Interim Ministry Network I am now having difficulty working at the #3 Developmental Task of Interim Ministry in a congregation which is to, "Strengthen the congregation's participation in and support of the ministry of their judicatory." I recently met with my Bishop and shared my ethical dilemma, because I no longer feel enthusiastic about doing that. I know your advice would be to just leave and be done with it, but I still feel the call to serve in "this church."

I don't know how this post is going to look, I was trying to get it formattted just right, but I may have failed.

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10214
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile

How about CA Art. IV -- Justification?  When the focus has changed to being "made right" by saving the planet, being politically left, etc., that is a huge problem.

And yet, scriptures talk about a new heaven and a new earth -- just as it talks about Christians being new creations. Paul writes: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the paints of childbirth until now." (Romans 8:19-22, boldface added)


And yet???  Seems to me that connecting our actions with the redemption of creation is not a very smart way to deflect Pr. Lehmann's commentary on false teachings running rampant in the ELCA.  Remember, your Fake Book is for playing the piano, not theologian.
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Coach-Rev

  • Guest
Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #198 on: December 01, 2010, 06:58:15 PM »
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.

This is but one place you used the word "disingenuous" AND "coward" referring to those within the  ELCA who are critical of it.  As one of those, I then take it as a personal accusation against me of being a coward.

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3490.msg191795#msg191795

You wish for us all to leave, but then you state that we must "lead" you down the right path?  You rail against the majority on here who are critical and yet stay, or worse are not even a part of the ELCA, insult them, and then claim that it wasn't aimed at "most people?"  I'm beyond stunned at the absolute contradictory direction this has gone.  I still await your apology.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 07:01:07 PM by Coach-Rev »

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10214
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors. 


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.

I put it that way because 1) I do the PREPARE-ENRICH communications exercise and with 95% of couples, the first attempt so clearly fails and yet neither he nor she recognize it until I point it out and 2) my Bishop has been on the road for a year-and-a-half visiting congregations and pastors yet remains completely baffled at what they're upset about.  Sure, the things he learned in Marriage and Family Counseling has soothed enough folks to prevent several 2/3rds votes, but that's not the same as understanding the problem.
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Pilgrim

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1634
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.

Tim reflects: And THAT, Pr. Orovitz, comes across the electronic medium as a very patronizing comment. On behalf of those of us still in the ELCA, perhaps we need to apologize for Charles.  :P
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Maryland Brian

  • Guest
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors. 


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.


 And a lot of that also has to do with timing.  Over a year later and the window is likely closed for those opportunities.  I think the proposed changes for leaving are another example of your insight.  It will now torque off another level of the church and drive the wedge deeper - if that's actually possible.

A Catholic Lutheran

  • Guest
... followed by clearing his calendar and spending the next three to six months on the road visiting conferences and clusters of pastors.  


That might help.  But he'd also have to listen and then demonstrate that he has actually heard.  Not the parenting tricks he successfully employed at the last Orlando CWA, but actually listening.  And to the point where it led to some change on his part.

I put it that way because 1) I do the PREPARE-ENRICH communications exercise and with 95% of couples, the first attempt so clearly fails and yet neither he nor she recognize it until I point it out and 2) my Bishop has been on the road for a year-and-a-half visiting congregations and pastors yet remains completely baffled at what they're upset about.  Sure, the things he learned in Marriage and Family Counseling has soothed enough folks to prevent several 2/3rds votes, but that's not the same as understanding the problem.

I think the other thing that weighs against the PB (or many Synodical Bishops) calling and wanting to "talk" (I'll use the word expansively here, like "communicate") with those who are upset is that, for many, the time of "talking" has past.  We have been talked "at," talked "to," and talked "about" regarding this issue for the better part of twenty years.  Many traditionalists I know were actually glad to see the issue settled at the CWA in 2009 because the prevailing view was that if it didn't happen in 2009, then it would be 2011.  If not 2011, then 2013. And, as Rogers and Hammerstien might say, "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera..."

My ex-wife called last weekend wanting "to discuss" something with me...  My response was, "What exactly is there left to 'discuss'?"  My counsel to my Synodical Bishop is to "stop" discussing the issue and simply listen as non-anxiously as possible.  Yes, this goes to Steven's point, but my extended point is that if PB Hanson called some of those congregations who were taking votes, it might actually hurt more than less.  I found the PB's letter at the time of the NALC convocation to be deeply hurtful, what I think he should have done is simply kept his peace on the matter.  Not everything needs a response or an action.

Which, to get back to the point of the thread, is what the Churchwide Council ought to be thinking about.  Changing standards at this moment will only steepen the descent....  In pilot talk, we're in a stall condition.  The harder you pull back on the nose of the aircraft, the quicker you are going to fall out of the sky.  Let the nose down, regain airspeed, fly away.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 08:36:04 PM by A Catholic Lutheran »

ptmccain

  • Guest
Talk, talk, talk.

Reminds me of the old saying, "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

 ;D

Paul L. Knudson

  • Guest
I agree that the time has past.  There is just too much evidence that not only the presiding bishop but the others also are much more into issues of how to use power effectively from their point of view.

An illustration of how far apart we are is found in the favorite book read by my bishop (I have not yet asked to be removed from the SD roster) while on sabbatical.  He was taken by Phyllis Tickle's book, "The Great Emergence:  How Christianity Is Changing and Why."  A friend also sees this as a very important book.  I have read and reread it, and find it a theological disaster.  It is a symbol of the great difference in the leadership of the Roman Catholic hierarchy today and our own.  Allen in his book, "The Future Church:  Tend Trends Facing the Roman Catholic Church," speaks of the pope and bishops being predominantly Evangelical Catholic.  By this he identifies them as having a predominant disposition to lift up the uniqueness and importance of the Great Tradition.  Tickle sees that as hopelessly stuck in a period 500 years ago.  Our leadership would please Tickle as they are seeing a new paradigm emerging that is moving away from the authority of the Book to one bringing many factors to bear.  Her view is indeed convincing many that it is past time to leave the Reformation era behind us.  A new day is dawning and the Emergent Church gets it.  We so called traditionalists need to be kept around much like ballast on a ship, unseen and just kind of there to keep the ship afloat.  This role, however, is so problematic today that the predominant voices will be what some of us call the revisionist camp. 

I recognize and Allen in his book knows this also that there are dangers in our focus on the distinct identity coming out of the Reformation era and now within RCs.  We can withdraw from engaging a fast changing world and debate fine points of theology endlessly.  That, however, does not negate the faith once delivered and still the heart of the faith.

djbaer

  • Guest
Paul:

I had the same response to the e-mail message from Bishop Zellmer after his sabbatical.  

Prior to the 2009 CWA votes, I would have thought Zellmer to be a traditional Lutheran who would uphold and even do battle for the Lutheran solas -- including sola Scriptura.

After all of these months of defending the ELCA's 2009 actions, it seems he has bought into all of the ELCA's revisionist arguments.  He now sees the ELCA on the cutting edge of the great changes God is bringing.  At the 2010 synod assembly, his sermon attacked the traditionalists as the pharisees in John's Gospel investigating the healing of the blind man.  Telling us again and again the the earth has shifted and we need to acknowledge the new thing God is doing in Jesus.

I wonder if I misunderstood where Zellmer stood or if he has changed his views so drastically.

I haven't read Tickel's book that Zellmer loves so much, but a quick look at the reviews on Amazon confirms that he is recommending that synod pastors read affirms his new-found beliefs and the ELCA's move away from traditional Christian teaching.

I grieve over what has happened to him and how it seems to be spreading across our synod.  Today's e-mail from the bishop only confirms why it is time to move on.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 10:36:54 PM by David Baer »

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10214
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile
Yes, this goes to Steven's point, but my extended point is that if PB Hanson called some of those congregations who were taking votes, it might actually hurt more than less.  


Well, let me confess here that the goal for further listening and talking would be to 1) for the Presiding Bishop (and synodical Bishops) to acknowledge his culpability (yes, mea maxima culpa) and 2) repent himself and lead the appropriate expressions of the ELCA into repentance with even more determination than he lead us into error.  Or if he is still unable or unwilling to do so, at the very least he could be convinced that peaceful accomodation is preferable to Swartling's Jacobin hardball.

kyrie eleison, spt+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Someone writes:
You wish for us all to leave, but then you state that we must "lead" you down the right path?
I comment:
No, I do not wish for people to leave and have said so many times. You are new here, so perhaps you have not noticed that.
You are the one who raised the issue of where we are being "led." In your opinion we are being led to our destruction; those are your words. So I say: Lead us somewhere else. No guarantees that I or others will follow; but if you want us to go a different direction, get out in front and show us what it is.

I wrote upstream:
I hope, Pastor Orovitz, that you find a place where you can appropriately and responsibly serve the ELCA.

And Pastor Christ writes:
And THAT, Pr. Orovitz, comes across the electronic medium as a very patronizing comment. On behalf of those of us still in the ELCA, perhaps we need to apologize for Charles.
I ask (in utter amazement):
Say what? I say I hope he finds a place to minister in the ELCA and you call it "patronizing"! On what grounds? What is wrong with you people? Are we yet again in one of those full-moon cycles where something is automatically wrong, mean, un-yada yada yada simply because I or Pastor Stoffregen say it?
Good grief!!!

G.Edward

  • 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


They just need more time to be heard, so that those who think they want to depart can understand and come around to a more enlightened view of the world... ::)

Paul L. Knudson

  • Guest
David, thanks for the response.  Since I wrote my post I spent a half hour going back over Tickle's book.  I have literally read it several times.  Paul Rohde wanted me to read it.  I have massive parts of it underlined.  It is hard to imagine what a bubble Tickle and those she is sucking in are living in.  She contends that the Emergent Church, spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew and responsive to the notion that particularity and exclusive truth claims are foolhardy today, is growing "exponentially."  I would like to see where this is happening.  In the face of severe persecution upwards of 100 million Christians are now in China.  South Korea in a relatively short period of time has risen to a very large portion of its population being Christian.  You could go on to Africa and you would be hard pressed to defend any notion that growth in these places grows out of a live and let live walking away from conversion of the lost so that we can all live together in peace.

Tickle speaks of the "hegemony" (the pride of place, the power) that fossilized reformation era protestants still want to believe is theirs to have.  Now pride of place is emerging in this new expression.  It is theologically bankrupt. It is really something that Zellmer would be enamored by it.  And bishops are to be guardians of the faith?  Better find a new era of a ministerium that can discern truth from nonsense.  When will we all see that power, hegemony, is made perfect in weakness.  Strength is in God alone

Thanks for your leadership in the reconfigurataion of Lutheranism.  Your journalistic gifts are helpful to say the least.