Author Topic: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage  (Read 6271 times)

GoCubsGo

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2011, 02:24:36 PM »
When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination.
We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination.  

I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

Pax, Steven+
These are the same leaders who demand denominational loyalty when it suits them (demanding no dual rostering of pastors or congregations) but didn't demand that same loyalty when it doesn't (overlooking those who willfully violated the pre CWA09 V+E standards).

Personally, I'm ready to chuck the whole thing...

amos

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2011, 03:06:15 PM »
Charles "Orthodox" is a self-chosen term not in the ELCA lexicon."

However it is certainly not a new term and I agree "orthodox" is not a term in the ELCA lexicon --- it is a term that is not wanted nor accepted in the ELCA.  So much for the false concept of inclusiveness!

For several years, I have been deeply concerned about the direction we have taken.  More and more, ignoring Holy Scripture, rejecting the apostolic faith, putting man's wisdom above God's wisdom, adapting the cultural and "Aristotle" type thinking that Luther also fought with the academics during the reformation.  After much prayer and discernment I finally made a very very difficult decision. I applied to and was accepted into the ordained ministry of the North American Lutheran Church.

This was not done out of spite, hatred of the ELCA, or in any sense of thumbing my nose at the ELCA.  And it was not done in response to the decisions made in 2009.  It was a much broader combination of events, decisions, existing practice and policies made by what used to be my church. I breaks my heart that after years of attempting to find another way I was given no other choice.

As an interim pastor I have kept membership in my home congregation that has (so far) stayed with the ELCA.  My family has been actively involved in this congregation for five generations.  I was baptized, confirmed here and I have buried my grand parents, aunts and uncles and both my father and mother in this congregation  I love the congregation and the people who worship there, I grew up with most of them. They are my friends and relatives. So the decision to leave was not made on a whim.  There was no other choice and remain true to the faith that I have been taught from childhood.

This is the point that I have been trying to make for some time.  Today in the ELCA those who do not march in lock step with with the progressives are viewed as stupid, narrow minded, unenlightened, ignorant and not wanted.  What you refuse to acknowledge is the very real damage that is being done to Christian folks across this nation by the trends and policies of a very human centered denomination that puts automatic compliance and monetary contributions above the word of God.  You yourself and repeatedly asked if we should not sanction pastors who's congregation cut back on their monetary support of the ELCA.  When did we get to the point that money was more important than salvation?  When did we get to the point that the whole concept of Salvation by grace is irrelevant. My decision was not made in arrogance but with a deeply broken heart.  

To the readers of this forum please forgive me for saying what is in my heart, I am in my late 60's, a life long Lutheran, and have served in the ministry for over 20+ years.  This has been one of the most difficult decision of my life but I take comfort that it was made based on my faith in Jesus Christ that I can not, and will not, turn my back on. May God grant me the wisdom, strength, and courage to serve my new church in His Holy Name.



Charles_Austin

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2011, 03:37:59 PM »
Steven writes:
Charles, I have just re-read the ordinations rites in LBW and SBH -- that would be as Coach-Rev, amos, you, and I were ordained.  And what you assert here simply is not anywhere to be found.  We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination.
I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

I comment:
Steven, you guys with your airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic view of ministry refuse to accept the reality of the earthbound church. O.k., let's stipulate that we are ordained into this ethereal "ministry." Now... when it comes to exercising that ministry, we agree to be subject to - can you bear it? - the context of a denomination. The LCA did not ordain me and then hurl me "out there." It said, and I agreed, that I was a pastor of the LCA, subject to its discipline. I didn't write my own confession of faith, polity or "rules" for my ministry.
I return to the defrockings of the Western Pennsylvania Synod in the 1980s. Asked if the guys bounced from the LCA were "still pastors," I told the press; "if they want to function as pastors, I suppose they are; but they are no longer pastors of the LCA."
That is what I am talking about. I do not "march in lock step" with every single decision the ELCA makes or every single thing it does; but when it comes to the exercise of my ordained ministry, I am an "ELCA pastor" subject to its rules governing its pastors. I suspect "amos" disapproved of those pastors who were in same-gender partnerships in apparent violation of ELCA policies. How does he respond if those people said "their" ministry answered to something "higher" than a church body?
"Amos" says he is in his 60s and has been a pastor for 20+ years. I hit 70 this year and have been a pastor 44 years. I value my ordained ministry. I believe it is indeed a ministry in the Church catholic. But I am obligated to exercise it under the authorization of and with responsibilities to the ELCA. And so are you.
"Amos," apparently having left the ELCA is not. I guess we should wish him well for he says he has not been happy in our fellowship. Now his ministry is under the auspices of the NALC. I hope - for his sake and the sake of the NALC  - he takes that seriously.

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2011, 03:48:31 PM »
When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination. We are not freelance, independent clergy, but clergy within a certain context. Such were our ordination and installation pledges.


Charles, I have just re-read the ordinations rites in LBW and SBH -- that would be as Coach-Rev, amos, you, and I were ordained.  And what you assert here simply is not anywhere to be found.  We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination. 

I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

We pick it up from the fact that we cannot go into a Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church or numerous other congregations and consecrate the elements. It is actually pretty arrogant of us to assume that our ordination qualifies one to be a pastor in any and all Christian Church bodies.
"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]

Charles_Austin

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2011, 04:08:52 PM »
P.S. When I preach and preside outside the parish - in a nursing home, or on board ship, or anywhere else - I do so as a pastor of the ELCA, and the worship service is under the auspices of the ELCA. I make that clear when I do so.

Coach-Rev

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2011, 12:02:39 AM »
Well then, by all means, Charles, begin the process to bring me under disciplinary action, for crying out loud.  What for?  Because I object to the directions that this church has decided to take, in departing from the historic faith?  If not that, what then?   Otherwise recognize that what Amos said is correct, that such decisions are not made out of vengeance or mean-spiritedness, but rather out of the extreme sadness over a denomination that has forsaken its own heritage, roots, and faith. 
It was so refreshing to hear reports of those pastors who attended the Ethiopian (Mekane Yesus) global mission event last week, talking about how overjoyed the Ethiopian Lutherans are that there are still people who oppose the ELCA's directions.  But that goes over like the proverbial "fart in church" since the whole concept of respecting the bound conscience was a sham from the start, utilized only for the leadership of the ELCA to get what it wanted:  namely, cultural accommodation. 
I say "thank God" that the African churches are strategizing on how they are going to come back to re-evangelize those who first brought them the Gospel. 

And now if you will excuse me, I'm going to return to lurking.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2011, 02:31:31 AM »

Steven, you guys with your airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic view of ministry refuse to accept the reality of the earthbound church.

Yes, Charles, it is "airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic" of me to take the words of the Rite of Ordination at face value.  How nave or ethereal of me to believe the words spoken in a liturgical rite mean what they say about the actions within that liturgy.

As for my acceptance of "the reality of the earthbound church," my problem isn't accepting it.  I'm a parish pastor, Charles; before that I was lay leader in my home congregation.  I've been active in the ELCA's debates from the very beginning.  I have been publicly saying for nearly two years:

[F]rom the moment I first read it, I have consistently pointed to the early footnote in Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust that includes this sentence:
            Broken promises and betrayed trust through lies, exploitation, and manipulative behavior
            are exposed, not just as an individual failing, but as an attack on the foundations of our
            lives as social beings.


 That describes the ELCA today.


My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.

The again, maybe I shouldn't be.  When the DMS pastors were defrocked, you couldn't even bring yourself to report that it really meant something.  

Christe eleison, Steven+
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:39:07 AM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2011, 04:40:07 AM »
Coach-rev writes:
Well then, by all means, Charles, begin the process to bring me under disciplinary action, for crying out loud.  What for?  Because I object to the directions that this church has decided to take, in departing from the historic faith?  If not that, what then?   Otherwise recognize that what Amos said is correct, that such decisions are not made out of vengeance or mean-spiritedness, but rather out of the extreme sadness over a denomination that has forsaken its own heritage, roots, and faith.
I comment:
Take another breath and try to relax. I understand the reasons some decide to leave. I understand how difficult the decision might have been. You do not seem to understand the implications of deciding to stay. And you seem to enjoy your "victim" status way too much.

Steven writes:
My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.
I comment:
One more time. No, the "earthbound church" is not all we have. But it is the flawed, human institution in which I am a pastor. Within ELCA and LCMS Lutheranism I cannot simply declare myself a pastor (or a bishop) and operate however I feel called to operate. I cannot step into any pulpit or before any altar in the "Church catholic" and exercise my ministry without the endorsement of the earthbound entity overseeing that pulpit and altar.

Steven writes:
When the DMS pastors were defrocked, you couldn't even bring yourself to report that it really meant something.
I respond:
To the contrary. I reported at the time and since that it "meant" that the actions of two pastors so departed from the practice and polity of the ELCA and so disrupted and destroyed congregations and relationships among faithful people that they no longer had the authority to exercise the office of the Holy Ministry as pastors of the LCA. It meant that the LCA found their actions destructive and reprehensible and in violation of their installation promises. What else could be said?
There is nothing wrong with disagreeing about an ELCA social statement, they are neither doctrine, nor are they essential to our salvation. This recent social statement - more than any of the others - makes that clear. But if someone says "this social statement means that the ELCA is no longer Lutheran, no longer Christian, and no longer preaches the Gospel so I'm not supporting the ELCA any more," then - as I have said frequently - decisions must be made.
Note to all: I have always considered Steven a responsible critic of the ELCA and its policies. He tells us he "threatens" to stay in the ELCA and I think that is good, because I believe he will do so in the right manner. I have a different view of some others who declare us heterodox, heretical, apostate or worse, and yet still want to have their names on our rosters.

GoCubsGo

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2011, 11:42:53 AM »
P.S. When I preach and preside outside the parish - in a nursing home, or on board ship, or anywhere else - I do so as a pastor of the ELCA, and the worship service is under the auspices of the ELCA. I make that clear when I do so.


Really?  Even when you commune Roman Catholics in the hospital you inform them that you are an ELCA pastor?  (Would that it had been so...) ::) >:(

DCharlton

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2011, 12:18:17 PM »
I have a different view of some others who declare us heterodox, heretical, apostate or worse, and yet still want to have their names on our rosters.

Saying bad things about the ELCA: "Decisions must be made."  Saying bad things about the Canon, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions: Differences of opinion.  Failing to promote and support the ministries of the ELCA: "Decisions must be made."  Failing to promote and support the confession of faith of the ELCA: Whatever.

David Charlton  

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DCharlton

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2011, 12:31:34 PM »
My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.   Or perhaps it's like a parent whose teenager would rather play video games than go out and get a job.   "The life of the imagination is important, but as one grows up, one learns to distinguish reality from fantasy." 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 12:36:34 PM by DCharlton »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2011, 01:51:55 PM »
Pastor Copeck (he of long memory and apparently long grudge) writes re my functioning as an ELCA pastor:
Really?  Even when you commune Roman Catholics in the hospital you inform them that you are an ELCA pastor?  (Would that it had been so...)
I comment:
Pastor Copeck refers to an incident I cited years ago when - in the ICU of a New York hospital - a Polish family saw my collar and literally dragged me to the bed of their dying relative. They spoke virtually no English, but knew German. I did not consider that a time to go into details of the Reformation, but, using German, I anointed the dying relative and communed him and the family. If Pastor Copeck or anyone else finds fault with that, they are welcome to report me to my bishop.
As for the eucharists I have led on board ship and elsewhere, I state clearly that I am a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. On board a ship in the Yangtze River in China, about 25 Roman Catholics and seven or eight Protestants didn't run from that. Instead, two Roman Catholics volunteered as lector an communion assistant and everyone communed.
Again, if Pastor Copeck or anyone else has a problem with that, report me.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2011, 02:03:23 PM »
dcharlton writes:
Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.

I comment:
One more time, ye gods and little fishes! one more time!!!
I DO NOT CONSIDER LOYALTY TO THE ELCA ITSELF AS ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. I DO NOT. I DO NOT. I DO NOT.
But I do believe that members of the ELCA and public ministers of the ELCA have certain obligations and responsibilities.
If you feel that your "loyalty to canon, creed and confession" means that you cannot in good conscience fulfill your obligations to the ELCA, or any church body that ordained you and oversees your public ministry, then - once again - decisions must be made. And if you believe that membership in the ELCA violates your (apparently personal and unmediated) call from God and your loyalty to "canon creed and confession," then why do you want to continue in our fellowship?
Some of you guys howled like wounded coyotes because pastors went around policies to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians or perform same-gender union. The people who did that also appealed to their conscience and their "higher" call. BTW, they were wrong, too. Why do you find it offensive that I point out our obligations to our church body? I just don't get it.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:09:03 PM by Charles_Austin »

Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2011, 02:08:03 PM »
Okay Charles, now you're engaging in "Decision" theology ;)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 03:40:29 PM by Rev. Kevin Scheuller »

DCharlton

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Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2011, 02:15:45 PM »
dcharlton writes:
Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.

I comment:
One more time, ye gods and little fishes! one more time!!!
I DO NOT CONSIDER LOYALTY TO THE ELCA ITSELF AS ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. I DO NOT. I DO NOT. I DO NOT.
But I do believe that members of the ELCA and public ministers of the ELCA have certain obligations and responsibilities.
If you feel that your "loyalty to canon, creed and confession" means that you cannot in good conscience fulfill your obligations to the ELCA, or any church body that ordained you and oversees your public ministry, then - once again - decisions must be made. And if you believe that membership in the ELCA violates your (apparently personal and unmediated) call from God and your loyalty to "canon creed and confession," then why do you want to continue in our fellowship?

Likewise, if your(the generic you, not Charles specifically) loyalty to materialism, universalism, Marxism, feminism or anything else means that you cannot in good conscience preach and teach in accordance with Scripture, Creed and Confessions, then DECISIONS OUGHT TO BE MADE, BUT SELDOM ARE.   Furthermore, anyone who cannot or will not preach and teach in accordance with Scripture, Creed and Confessions HAS ALREADY failed to fulfill his/her obligations to the ELCA, regardless of how much money his/her congregation gives, and regardless of how much of an ELCA booster s/he is.  Again, decisions OUGHT to be made, but have not, and probably never will be.  You, Charles, and the ELCA demand a level of integrity from those to your right that you refuse to demand from those on your left.  

Please note:  I don't disagree that I have decisions to make if I cannot fulfill my obligations.  To this point, it has become more difficlut, but not impossible.  It's just the IRONY of being being lectured about tthe importance of my vows of installation by those who take vows of ordination so lightly.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:40:06 PM by DCharlton »
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