Author Topic: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?  (Read 138155 times)

scott3

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Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« on: March 04, 2007, 12:30:16 AM »
On another thread, there was considerable discussion about what it would take for folks who feel that the ELCA is no longer a satisfactory synodical / churchwide home to actually leave.  This thread intends to leave aside the many good reasons for staying in the ELCA such as: "This is my church and why should I be the one to leave?  I didn't change my doctrine!"  [Like I said, this is a very good and powerful argument] OR "No major official change has happened yet."

Would those same folks who no longer feel comfortable in the ELCA consider the LCMS, warts (which sometimes are so scary that they look like cancer) and all?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 12:36:19 AM by Scott Yakimow »

Mel Harris

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2007, 03:59:56 AM »

Would those same folks who no longer feel comfortable in the ELCA consider the LCMS, warts (which sometimes are so scary that they look like cancer) and all?


Yes.   I have considered joining the LC-MS.  Some days I think that may well be the best option for pastors like me.  Perhaps the bigger questions are...  Would the LC-MS accept me?   and   Would the LC-MS accept many congregations from the ELCA?  The way things seem to be going in the ELCA, we may find out before too long.

Mel Harris

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2007, 07:22:30 AM »
Well, did any read the warmly welcoming article (Benne’s recollections) in the very recent Luth Forum letter?  Problem is, some of us also have a history in LCMS and while you can duck and hide there too (like many feel forced to do in ELCA) as the winds of party-spirit huff and puff... it may be hard to stand up tall and speak with one voice there also in matters both of faith and practice.  Ecumenism means talking with the Wisconsin Synod if you are lucky and the restoration of a good Scriptural hermeneutic means tap dancing around literal 24 hour creation and pastoral practice involves being the least ostentatious with compassion.  You love the Lord by hating sin and maybe sinners is the temptation enough yield to, to be scary.  The worship wars are at least as pitched as they are in our ELCA.   That’s as I read what still is taking place...   Not that I have not learned to re-love my brothers and sisters in the LCMS in spite of scars they also have trouble forgetting.                  Harvey Mozolak
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scott3

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2007, 09:23:04 AM »
Well, did any read the warmly welcoming article (Benne’s recollections) in the very recent Luth Forum letter?  Problem is, some of us also have a history in LCMS and while you can duck and hide there too (like many feel forced to do in ELCA) as the winds of party-spirit huff and puff... it may be hard to stand up tall and speak with one voice there also in matters both of faith and practice.  Ecumenism means talking with the Wisconsin Synod if you are lucky and the restoration of a good Scriptural hermeneutic means tap dancing around literal 24 hour creation and pastoral practice involves being the least ostentatious with compassion.  You love the Lord by hating sin and maybe sinners is the temptation enough yield to, to be scary.  The worship wars are at least as pitched as they are in our ELCA.   That’s as I read what still is taking place...   Not that I have not learned to re-love my brothers and sisters in the LCMS in spite of scars they also have trouble forgetting.                  Harvey Mozolak

Harvey,

It was Benne's article that spurred my question.  I found his analysis interesting, and his experience at Ft. Wayne horrifying.  He was a speaker at a recent symposium at St. Louis, too, without hitch as I recall.

I have to say that quite a bit of what Benne said resonated with my fears of what the LCMS might be and also with my experience of the LCMS.  It resonated with my fears because I do see a significant group of folks concerned with any type of a reformulation of doctrine, as if Lutherans can only speak for all time using Aristotle.  It resonated with my experience of the LCMS because St. Louis is an exciting place to be -- spiritually and theologically -- where churchly / pastoral concerns do predominate.  I'm glad to hear that he found Ft. Wayne to be so, too.

But I do wonder whether that tension is good or bad.  I know it's unavoidable, in at least two senses.  The first is that it's there.  Those folks have been in the LCMS a while and are unlikely to change.  The second sense that it's unavoidable is that there has never been an "ideal" or "perfect" church.  We have been told that we'll have divisions, so it's sorta like "pick your poison".

Yet having folks who are always concerned with changing doctrine pulling at you can provide a salutary check on your own thoughts, to make sure that you are in continuity with the tradition -- something I believe is quite important.  The churchly folks do this, too, through their pastoral / practical concerns, and they do seem to do it in a more loving, irenic spirit (vast understatement) in addition to what I view as a higher level of theological astuteness.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 09:30:46 AM by Scott Yakimow »

scott3

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2007, 09:30:05 AM »

Would those same folks who no longer feel comfortable in the ELCA consider the LCMS, warts (which sometimes are so scary that they look like cancer) and all?


Yes.   I have considered joining the LC-MS.  Some days I think that may well be the best option for pastors like me.  Perhaps the bigger questions are...  Would the LC-MS accept me?   and   Would the LC-MS accept many congregations from the ELCA?  The way things seem to be going in the ELCA, we may find out before too long.

Mel Harris

Mel,

I honestly have no idea if you or your congregation would be accepted.  I know that there's a colloquy process.

Yet, for the purposes of this thread (which is NOT to entice folks to leave the ELCA -- see my comments in response to Charles on the Tutu thread), I'm wondering why you think that the LCMS would not accept you.  What have you seen in the LCMS that would make you think that?

janielou13

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2007, 01:01:21 PM »
For what it's worth,,,,,,, the smart move is for folks to get their act together as a group first, with an identity in the works, then petition to go into Mother Mo as a non-geographical district, or as a full intercommunion little synod, like that pietistic little group mentioned on another thread is currently doing.

Crass as it sounds, if the parishes are all self supporting and will cost the synod nothing and can actually make contributions, that helps - big time.  Also, useing the St Louis seminary in the meanwhile is smart as it will connect with what's left of what is non-seventeenth century didactic theology in the LCMS as well as the rank no-nothing fundamentalism.  Politically, St Louis is "THE' seminary in terms of sound preparation, culture, and being able to study and live in a wider world.  The library is first rate,,,,,, the one thing that survived the right wing protestant purge of the 70's.

Remember, the issue for all Lutherans is enculturation, the question is only in which direction..... ELCA appears to want to enter the great pan protestant blob on the liberal piscie wannabe end of things and for sure, no matter what happens at any of Mother Mo's triannual rebirths, they are heading into the lower middle class American evangelical end of of the self same blob.  In both groups, a core of Augsburg Catholics will persevere awaiting the next Confessional revival,,,,,,, alas,  there seems to be only one per century.

Some good comments so far on the thread,,,,,, rereading Piepkorn's 'Staying in Place' essay in the ALPB volume 'The Church' contains some good grist for the mill.


Richard Johnson

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2007, 05:57:13 PM »
Benne's article now posted under "Selected Reprints," for you slackers who still aren't subscribing to the print version of Forum Letter.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2007, 06:21:25 PM »
God bless the LCMS.   I think the question has already been answered since you are talking with the AALC.   Next the AFLC, LMS?  and maybe even (in some way) folks in associations like the LCMC?

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 06:48:16 PM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2007, 08:31:42 PM »
Benne's article now posted under "Selected Reprints," for you slackers who still aren't subscribing to the print version of Forum Letter.
As a recent new subscriber, let me say my subscription has already paid for itself.  As an ELCA lay person, it captured my feelings almost exactly.

(And darn it, it turns out I could have gotten this feeling for free!   ::) )
Sterling Spatz
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scott3

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2007, 08:36:14 PM »
Benne's article now posted under "Selected Reprints," for you slackers who still aren't subscribing to the print version of Forum Letter.
As a recent new subscriber, let me say my subscription has already paid for itself.  As an ELCA lay person, it captured my feelings almost exactly.

(And darn it, it turns out I could have gotten this feeling for free!   ::) )

The last two times, before I even received my first and second issues of the newsletter that I finally bucked up for, I could read the articles on the Forum.

Just a note.

scott3

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2007, 08:39:36 PM »
Granted that there haven't been a ton of responses yet as this thread is new, but I have noted that so far no one has mentioned the lack of women's ordination as a sticking point for entering the LCMS.

Why?

Is the lack of women's ordination a stumbling block for ELCA'ers looking elsewhere?  If so, why?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 08:41:35 PM by Scott Yakimow »

hansen

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2007, 09:15:29 PM »
1)  What percentage of LC-MS churches would you say are Evangelical Catholic types?

2)  Re:  a 6-Day creation, would this be an acceptable answer?:  "I don't know if a 'day' as stated in Genesis is a day as we understand it today.  Regardless, I don't see how it has any effect, one way or another, on our understanding of scripture or creation."

3)  It seems like all institutions have a tendency to move towards one extreme or another.  It's extremely difficult to be a true "moderate".

4)  I'm a lot nicer in person :)

dastorhaug

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2007, 09:19:25 PM »
Granted that there haven't been a ton of responses yet as this thread is new, but I have noted that so far no one has mentioned the lack of women's ordination as a sticking point for entering the LCMS.

Why?

Is the lack of women's ordination a stumbling block for ELCA'ers looking elsewhere?  If so, why?

It will take historians looking back (after the passage of a proper time) to clearly articulate an answer to that question.

Non the less from my perspective near ground zero today,  I believe that the real stumbling block in the ELCA is what I will call the new hermaneutics,  which simply displays itself most clearly over the matter of homosexuality.   For those who cannot accept such new hermaneutics,  and seek a return to traditional hermaneutics,   such individuals are also likely to reconsider the hermaneutics of what has led to ever increasing leniency on matters of divorce,  as well as women's ordination.  I say this based on various articles I have read,  including some in the Lutheran Forum.

Dave Storhaug


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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2007, 09:50:11 PM »
As an ELCA lay person, considering the LCMS is one in respect a potentially easier decision -- since my denomination is not also my profession and source of income.  Like I said above, the Benne article resonated with me, because it summarizes my opinions of both bodies.  As a preface, I recognize neither body is a caricature of its worst tendencies (and I don't think Benne was implying that either).  I say this because my ultimate spiritual reluctance is summarized by what the article calls "literal six day creationism".  It's as much the Missouri response to people who disagree with it as the dogmatism. 

I am one who believes that the Genesis creation story describes the Big Bang -- and it fascinates me that a society that obviously had no knowledge of astronomy and physics could come up with metaphors that track the science, so 6 days need not be 24 hours -- Spirit inspired, without question.  So I would also disagree with any in the "historical critical" side who might say it's just a tall tale -- whether that is actually true of elements in the ECLA I have not expertise or incite, so I'm not accusing.  Also not trying to convince any creationist they are wrong, either.  While it may not be a valid distinction, I take the New Testament more "literally" than some of the more hard-to-fathom Old Testament -- my current pastor likes to say the Bible is not always literally true, but it is eternally true.

Point us, growing up LCA/ELCA, in a congregation and area that is not obviously off-the-rails, it is hard to justify swimming the Mississippi to belong to a body where this belief is not welcomed (whether or not it is persecuted).  I think this is the source of the longing for a third way, with the best of both sides.  Of course that would not be a utopia, and I suspect where our society is today, the ELCA-type problems would follow into a new body, all in the name of eliminating judgmental bigotry.  Reaching critical mass for a new body, be it just the orthodox remnants of the ELCA, sounds exceedingly difficult.  Guess that's why the innovators don't just leave, because it's hard to do.

It is comforting to know that Missouri is there, if the ELCA does turn into the UCC, and we have a Dunkirk evacuation situation.  The thing is, people can't seem to agree if the ELCA has passed the point of no return.  Some on this Forum have long-since left, others are staying to fight the good fight.  Perhaps my personal piety (right or wrong) allows me to separate myself from the ELCA-wide things I disagree with -- I think that is a skill many rank-and-file have, since we don't need to interact with the higher levels unless we go out of our way.  Having a single national body is a relatively recent development anyway (from an ELCA perspective) -- it's not like Episcopalian identity tied it in the Anglican Communion -- our identity is local and the Small Catechism.  Women's ordination doesn't figure into it for me -- I favor it, but I would not object belonging to a body that did not allow it.  I do feel for those orthodox women pastors, who have no choice to stay and fight if they want to continue in their call.  (Hope that doesn't sound patronizing.)  Did that answer the question?

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 10:11:09 PM by MaddogLutheran2 »
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Erma_S._Wolf

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2007, 10:01:51 PM »
   I will not leave the ELCA.  

   However, the Missouri Synod is tempting at times.  I grew up in Mother Mo, and have much good to say about her.  And I am grateful for the grounding in Scripture and theology I received, especially in the parochial school system.  It has served me well.  There are things about Missouri that I miss, and know I will not find again outside of her.  

   On the other hand, some (a few? it is hard for me to judge) Missouri Synod pastors have been incredibly, personally rude to me once they learn that I am a pastor in the ELCA.  (I mean, go-out-of-their-way to be rude.)  It has gone beyond having theological differences, in those instances.  I don't know where those guys have gotten it from.  But such behavior does not reflect well on the denomination, even if they are in the minority.

    Lack of women's ordination would not, per se, keep me from returning to Missouri.  But I don't think I would fit in.  While I am on the conservative end of the ELCA, I think I would be on the liberal end of Missouri, and would be doubly suspect since I am female.  My experience of how females who want to engage in theology are dealt with was mixed at best, and pretty negative at worst.  

     What I would like to see is for Missouri to stop fighting quite so much and be a strong voice for conservative, orthodox Lutheran Christianity.  Under President Barry (may he rest in peace), the ELCA could just discount everything Missouri said as being "well, they hate us anyhow no matter what we do, so who cares about what they think?"  At least under the current President it is not so easy for the powers that be in the ELCA to dismiss Missouri's opinion of the ELCA.  

     The ELCA needs Missouri, but not in order to call us heretics.  If Missouri's disaproval can be conveyed as sorrowing rather than as disdainful, if the ELCA can hear and see the concern Missouri has (should have) for us as fellow members of the body of Christ, if Missouri can approach the problems in the ELCA with calls for prayer for the ELCA, its leaders and congregations, and pray for God to bless the ELCA for the sake of the Kingdom, that would, I believe, be positive without and within our respective church bodies.  

     I can hope for that much, anyway.

Erma Wolf
ELCA pastor