Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 29817 times)

Chuck Sampson

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The official way we determine what the "wider church" wishes is through votes at churchwide assemblies. If there was such a majority of folks out there who opposed those decisions, why weren't they voting members?

Tim notes: After I got through laughing, I only had one question, "How long have you been involved in life on this planet and in the church?"  :D

I believe that my answer to both is "longer than you."
Limitations on the number of daily posts looks better all the time . . .

Steven Tibbetts

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I've been thinking lately about the ELCA departures compared to TEC.


One of the differences is that organized departures from the Episcopal Church began in 1977 with the ordination of women and the new Book of Common Prayer (finally adopted in 1979).  

Another is that the changes in ordination practice (whether it be women or gays) and the acceptance of "progressive" ideology happened fairly gradually, whereas in the ELCA it seems to be more of a churchwide imposition.  Look, for example, at the seminary systems between the churches.  For all their differences, the ELCA seminaries are pretty homogenous in progressive theology and have been for over a generation.  Meanwhile, TEC seminaries still include Trinity (evangelical and generally traditionalist) and Nashotah House (Anglo-Catholic and generally traditionalist).  Or notice that even today there are TEC Bishops who publicly disagree on the matters that divide them, whereas the ELCA bishops continue to publicly portray a united front.

It is worth noting that the Episcopal Church has existed as "an institution" since 1789, while the ELCA goes all the way back to 1988.  That produces a rather different sort of loyalty in our churches, and that along side an historically more, uh, relaxed sense of theological unity among Episcopalians/Anglicans than among historic groups of Lutherans.

That's three factors -- note that they do not necessarily complement each other -- off the top of my head.  (I've been following the Episcopalians and those separating from them for some 20 years.)  

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Steven Tibbetts

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To channel the late Janis Joplin, "Prophetic's just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'"   ;D

Actually, you're channeling Kris Kristofferson -- raised Lutheran!

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totaliter vivens

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A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict. But if one has strong convictions, this is not sufficient reason to leave.

Dissent is neither popular nor rewarding in the conventional sense. If your position is in the electoral minority, do not expect plum calls, committee appointments, or winning elections. The only way around this reality is to be unfailing in integrity, charity, and the willingness to work with your opponents whenever possible.

There is no escaping the reality that the Church is in God’s time. He will ultimately decide whether the ELCA flourishes or fails. I doubt any of us really likes being that dependent and not even the most faithful see other than the dim reflection of His Mercy.

I can’t stand some of my sisters and brothers in the faith. God brought us together and I must live with that.

The desert is not fun, yet it is the place where faithfulness is tested and the Providence of God revealed.

We all whine too much.

SPS

jramnes

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It is not fair to blame the people who are committed enough (or have a particular agenda) so that they will attend synod and churchwide assemblies as voting members. I have told people directly who complain about what the voting members did to make themselves available to be a voting member at the next CWA.  I don't know of anyone who has taken up that challenge. If "traditionalists" are not willing to use the process we have in place, they shouldn't blame those who do use it.
I cannot believe the fool I have been. Here for all these years, I thought the church (in the sense of the ELCA) was guided by people who were attempting to interpret God's will for us, and now it comes out that the real guidance the agenda of people who are motivated enough to have the ELCA pay their way to the CWA.

C'mon, Brian, surely you didn't mean it to come out that way-that a certain group of people is "using" the process to get their way. Or perhaps you did?

jramnes

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A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict. But if one has strong convictions, this is not sufficient reason to leave.

Dissent is neither popular nor rewarding in the conventional sense. If your position is in the electoral minority, do not expect plum calls, committee appointments, or winning elections. The only way around this reality is to be unfailing in integrity, charity, and the willingness to work with your opponents whenever possible.

There is no escaping the reality that the Church is in God’s time. He will ultimately decide whether the ELCA flourishes or fails. I doubt any of us really likes being that dependent and not even the most faithful see other than the dim reflection of His Mercy.

I can’t stand some of my sisters and brothers in the faith. God brought us together and I must live with that.

The desert is not fun, yet it is the place where faithfulness is tested and the Providence of God revealed.

We all whine too much.

SPS

Thank you.

Steven Tibbetts

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Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.

There is a difference between subtle nuances on a continuum of black through grays into white, and the gray of fog and whispy shadows.  As for who here is unable to deal with subtle nuances, your posts are about as subtly nuanced as a grove of trees in a fog bank.  Two years living at PLTS on Grizzley Peak [OUCH!] prepared me well for your posts and your metaphors.

kyrie eleison, spt+  
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 07:42:11 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Ken Kimball

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A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken

Dan Fienen

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Because many folks here are unable to deal with the subtle nuances that some of us have in our posts. Or, in other words, they are unable to see shades of gray from their black and white world. Those who see gray have no problems with Charles's posts.


Well, golly gee wiz, I thought that an M.Div from an accredited Seminary and an M.A. in Humanities with a major in Philosphy of Religion might have given me a little pollish or the ability to follow a reasonable argument.  But I guess that I have been found out.  As one who is traditional in my theology, I am a hick with no appreciation of subtlety who is either too ignorant or too stupid (or both) to understand such a refined scholar as Brian or Charles.

Reminds me of the time that I was patronized by the wife of a pastor in town who with her high school education and frequent attendance at feminist seminars of course knew way more than I did.  I think what upset her most, was that I was also better at cross stitch than she was.

One who just doesn't know any better.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Erma S. Wolf

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A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken

You may be right, Ken, in terms of whether ELCA recognition and conversation matters to you.  But it may matter to those of us remaining in the ELCA, as dissenters and loyal opposition.  And I think it matters, not because of what it might give to you and others in the NALC or LCMC, but of what it could give to the ELCA. 

But it is in God's hands.  And Christ has won the last battle already.  That I can be assured of.

Mel Harris

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Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.


I agree with Pastor Kimball.  I doubt that many who are leaving expect that the ELCA will acknowledge their existence or engage them in meaningful conversation.


Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism.


While the ELCA may be the largest Lutheran church body in the United States for some time yet, it seems likely that before very many years there will be more Lutherans in this country who are not in the ELCA than are in it.


If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.


WordAlone and Lutheran CORE seem to have decided that the odds were against them having much influence upon the ELCA or upon others by working through the ELCA; therefore they have now focused their efforts on other ways of assisting Lutherans to remain faithful, whether or not they remain in the ELCA.


If one thinks that the ELCA has been insensitive or harsh to those disagreeing with its policies and activities, you haven’t even scratched the surface yet of the pain the ELCA cogs can inflict.


I do agree that, as time goes on, it is likely to get more difficult for those who remain in the ELCA, unless they fully support the new policies and teachings of the ELCA.

Mel Harris

hillwilliam

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A few blunt opinions based on nothing but my own observations and experience…

Individuals and congregations who feel compelled to leave the ELCA for any Lutheran Church body other than the LCMS are probably taking a trip into oblivion. After you have left, you will cease to exist to the ELCA. I think it unlikely that the ELCA will have meaningful conversation with any new Lutheran body.

Like it or not, the ELCA will continue to be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and will continue to be perceived as the public face of Lutheranism. If one wishes to influence that public witness in any way, leaving the ELCA is not an option.

 
Respectfully disagree Pr. Sabin.   Not really concerned about not existing to the ELCA or meaningful conversation with the ELCA as a body.  Looking forward to that actually.  Paint Creek has been here 160 years and in terms of church bodies has seen 'em come and seen 'em go.  We'll still be here when the ELCA is just a footnote.  And I have to tell you--as you know Iowa--the ELCA is disintegrating here, even in your old synod.  Unless you're really raking 'em in out n California...

I'll wager you a steak dinner that in five years, Nov 2015, the ELCA will not be the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.  More likely that it will have folded in with TEC and UCC.   

Ken

You may be right, Ken, in terms of whether ELCA recognition and conversation matters to you.  But it may matter to those of us remaining in the ELCA, as dissenters and loyal opposition.  And I think it matters, not because of what it might give to you and others in the NALC or LCMC, but of what it could give to the ELCA. 

But it is in God's hands.  And Christ has won the last battle already.  That I can be assured of.

If those who remain as dissenters and loyal opposition can stop this wholesale reinterpretation of the Augsburg Confession, the works of Luther, and the Loci Communes (not to mention the Bible) then they should be listed among the greatest Lutherans in reformation history. May God bless their witness.

Unfortunately, the merging of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC seems like a much more likely future for mainline denominations walking in lockstep with folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar. That may be a very large denomination but it won't be Lutheran.

totaliter vivens

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Unfortunately, the merging of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC seems like a much more likely future for mainline denominations walking in lockstep with folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar. That may be a very large denomination but it won't be Lutheran.


Tempting though it is to deal in worst case scenarios because it makes us seem so heroic, I cannot envisage a merger of the ELCA, TEC, and UCC. After the experience of the formation of the ELCA, structural unity has, I think left a bad taste in the mouths of American Lutherans likely to last a generation or two. These days, full communion is the preferred though by no means unproblematic approach.


I understand Ken’s and Mel’s perspectives, and have great respect for them personally. As I said, my observations were highly personal and subjective. The most painful and frustrating part of my 12-year “internal exile” in the ELCA was the shrinking of my pastoral world to the confines of my parish. At the point that any of us “holes up” in the parish we lose something essential to our understanding of Church, ministry, and mission.

SPS

ptmccain

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There is absolutely no theological reason why there should not be a merger. The reasons for maintaining separate corporate structures is not theological, but is merely institutional self-preservation. The ELCA has already "merged," where it counts and genuinely matters, with the United Church of Christ. The rapidly dwindling membership numbers in the ELCA, the UCC, the ECUSA, and the PCUSA will lead, inevitably, to a physical/structural merger in the next ten to twenty years.

While those who wish to remain in the ELCA and "fight the good fight" are demonstrating admirable courage and care for their immediate flock, I believe the better pastoral decision is to lead the sheep to safe pastures where there can be more assurance of an orthodox Christianity, which the ELCA continues to distance itself from.

Mel Harris

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The most painful and frustrating part of my 12-year “internal exile” in the ELCA was the shrinking of my pastoral world to the confines of my parish. At the point that any of us “holes up” in the parish we lose something essential to our understanding of Church, ministry, and mission.


From what I have seen, those who are "holed up" in their parish are staying in the ELCA, keeping quiet and trying to keep themselves and their congregations off the radar.  Others are finding colleagues and church fellowship and cooperation in reform or renewal groups and/or in another church body.

Mel Harris