Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 29804 times)

Maryland Brian

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I just don't have a feeling that anyone on the "pro-change" party really has a sense that a sin has been committed, and hence needs to be repented of.  Remember, contrition is a key part of confession and lack of contrition is valid grounds for the witholding of absolution.


  And perhaps the greater sin is an unwillingness to own the role they've played in fracturing the church...

hillwilliam

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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.

I have made an attempt to see what all the excitement surrounding the emergent church was and found a book entitled "Why We're not Emergent" by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck that was very helpful from the viewpoint of a traditionalist. From this book and other materials I've read, it seems that nobody can definitively say what the emergent church is other than that it is emerging. Tickle's contention that the Emergent Church is spiritually led by the Jesus Seminar crew may be true for some few self-styled "emergent's", and they are all self-styled, but it is not the case for most of them.  

Her reference to the "hegemony" that fossilized reformation era protestants is hardly a new thought since Malanchton warned against turning the Eucharist into a "trafficking of priests". The emergent answer to that fossilization is to not have either a Eucharist or a Priest. The power of the emergent movement is in allowing the individual to work their way through a faith journey without external requirements. That is also it's weakness.

The PB, Bp Zellner, and Ms Tickle are, once again, woefully behind the curve concerning the significance of the Emergent Movement. While the Jesus Seminar may be one faction claiming the Emergent church, the term is so malleable the there could just as easily be a orthodox emergent movement in the not too distant future. That possibility is one of the ideas that I gleaned from "Why We're not Emergent".
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 11:25:31 AM by hillwilliam »

A Catholic Lutheran

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I just don't have a feeling that anyone on the "pro-change" party really has a sense that a sin has been committed, and hence needs to be repented of.  Remember, contrition is a key part of confession and lack of contrition is valid grounds for the witholding of absolution.


  And perhaps the greater sin is an unwillingness to own the role they've played in fracturing the church...

Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Maryland Brian

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Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.


  That was/is to be expected and was predicted pre-assembly action.  It's what happened in TEC before they really started to fall apart.  With most of the traditionalists gone, TEC now has to deal with the reality of their continuing rapid decline as a church.  They can't blame the haters anymore, it's all on them.

A Catholic Lutheran

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Well, and again I don't have any sense that they think that they have played "a role" in the fracturing of the church.  They have (judging by the rhetoric and the statements of the ELCA) placed the blame of "rupturing" the ELCA primarily upon the traditionalists.


  That was/is to be expected and was predicted pre-assembly action.  It's what happened in TEC before they really started to fall apart.  With most of the traditionalists gone, TEC now has to deal with the reality of their continuing rapid decline as a church.  They can't blame the haters anymore, it's all on them.

Yet, if my experience with my ex-wife is any indication, there is always a way to place blame on someone else.  Scapegoating is a powerful psychological phenomenon, and once you have driven off the poor goat, people seem to find a way to keep placing the blame on the same goat, even at a distance.

If you look at the TEC, for example (who are several years "ahead" of us in the conflict process), I still hear anger at the "traditionalists," even though they've gone, at "robbing" the denomination of diocese's and resources.  I would guess, for the near term at least, you will continue to hear the blame for the ELCA's trevails placed primarily on the necks of those "stiff-necked" traditionalists who "took their ball and went home."  (Don't believe me?  Look at the "Letters" page of the current issue of The Lutheran.)  We have yet to deal with the nostalgia of the not so long ago days when the ELCA had "over 5,000,000 members" and a whole bunch more congregations. 

Things should be interesting at the 2011 Synod assemblies when, on a local level, several synods will meet with substantially fewer folks in the room.  My understanding is that in places like NE Iowa Synod, La Crosse Area Synod, and couple of others, there will be such a drop in congregations and delegates that the room's/spaces needed will be substantially smaller or the room will seem almost too big.

Watch and wait...  I think the realization of what has really happened will come with these Synod Assemblies.  But I would still guess that the (primary) blame will be leveled at those who have gone, not those who have repeatedly forced the action.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

racin_jason

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

We've had more churches leave the ELCA than TEC, right?

What about even when we account for proportion?  

The reason pose the question is that perhaps those who advocated change in the ELCA anticipated a reaction (departure-wise) gauged on what happened in TEC post Gene Robinson. Sure they suffered some atrophy, but the levels were perceived as "manageable".

Then along come CWA09 quickly followed by a CORE convention with LCMC in the mix along then NALC and suddenly you've got enough Lutherans who are worked up into a lather that that Higgins Road realizes they have a real problem on their hand.

They underestimated the reaction. Hence these new procedures. Granted they do clear up some questionable practices (immediate re-voting) but are clearly geared toward making it more difficult to leave the ELCA.

Between the fact that in TEC churches can't take their property with them, along with the fact that the denominational-slide is much further along hence they are less spiritually vital than the ELCA leads me to conclude TEC was a poor choice to use as a canary in the coal mine.  

BTW, Can anyone affirm the changes proposed in this thread are anything beyond hearsay? I didn't see anything in the ELCA news-service.
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Paul L. Knudson

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I may have not spoken quite as clearly as I should have.  Phyllis Tickle speaks very favorably of the impact of folks like Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others within the Jesus Seminar.  You are right, Gary, that it is very hard to pin down what marks the Emergent Church movement.  I have read mostly McLaren, and he surely is charting a most unusual course for the Church's future.

Tickle wrestles with the question of authority, which all have to face.  She goes with the usual critique of those who speak of the Word's authority.  Ten interpreters all see a passage differently.  The only conclusion is that this blows holes in any notion of the authority of Scriptures.

As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.

ptmccain

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That's an interesting last name she has.
 ;D

Brian Stoffregen

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BTW I have passels of friends and colleagues who seek me out, laugh at my jokes, share most of my concerns, read what I write and think that I'm a reasonable decent guy.

  Then how do you account for the fact that a large passel of folks here have very different opinions, other than the "What's wrong with you people?" approach to self examination?

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.

Quote
As your posts continue to make clear you are a supporter of the ELCA and the changes, what does it mean so many here receive you the same way; dismissive and "unhearing?"  

It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me." He couldn't fathom that I had heard him and understood his argument, but still did not agree with him. (I told him what I thought his argument was, and he agreed that I understood it.)
"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]

Pilgrim

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It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

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? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?
"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]

Steverem

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It was true with CCM and with the sexuality stuff: there are those who believe, no matter what others might say, that if the church doesn't agree with them, then they were not heard. As one writer told me, "If you really heard me and understood my argument, you would have to agree with me."

Tim wonders: Is this how you account for the ELCA's decision to move forward towards CWA '09 in spite of the viewpoint of the whole church on more than one occasion? The quoted you use, modified slightly, "If the traditionalists really heard us and understood our arguments, they would have to agree with us."

But of course, maybe the wider church "did" hear. They just said "no". And now we are where we are.

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? Every synod I've been in, any member of any congregation has the right to try and be a voting member to the churchwide assembly.

A pastor at my home church shared that some of the older members were complaining about all the young, new members who were serving on council. The pastor asked if they would be willing to serve. "No, I don't want be on council, but I don't like the church being run by all those new folks."

Quote
It may be true that Biblically, prophets are usually the minority, but there is ample evidence that even "prophets" can get it woefully wrong if they are "listening" to the wrong source.

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

I've always found it odd how some in the church are quick to identify their revisionist positions as "prophetic."  Seems to me that the price paid by those in the Bible who claimed to be prophets but were later found out as false was pretty severe.

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

Maryland Brian

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As I said, I was shocked by her notion that the Emergent Church in its multiple forms was clearly the wave of the future and that it was growing "exponentially" in numbers and its pride of place.  If anyone can verify that assertion, please let me know, and I will stand corrected.

 A few months back John Ortberg posted on his blog that speakers at a recent church planter conference said no one is talking about the Emerging Church movement.  As a church expansion effort it is viewed as dead by those who are effetively growing congregations with younger generations.  Agree or disagree with him, Ortberg represents a stream of the prevailing church within Presybeterian circles.

Coach-Rev

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Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #238 on: December 02, 2010, 02:49:40 PM »

And how do you tell if a prophet got it wrong; or if you have it wrong?

If it bears up against against scrutiny using Scripture and Scriptural tradition, that's how.

Maryland Brian

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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.


Oh please.  One hallmark of his posts is a near complete lack of biblical or theological support for his assertions. They are mostly personal opinions bluntly and sarcastically authored and sent. And if called on them, they get worse.