Author Topic: Wednesday morning plenary  (Read 6908 times)

Norsk

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #30 on: August 18, 2011, 03:10:17 PM »
It is a curious statistic for Mr. Swartling to cite, because a much more direct measure of near term congregational viability is available, namely average baptized membership per congregation.  And on that metric, the "average congregation" of both the NALC and LCMC are larger/higher/more viable than the average congregation in the ELCA.  In the interest of transparency and honest dialogue, here is the information:

Average Baptized Membership per congregation:
ELCA: 428 (4,275,000 members, 9,995 congregations as of 12/31/10)
LCMC: 488+ (300,000+ members in 614 congregations in USA as of July IIRC)
NALC: 470 (101,164 members in 215 congregations as of August 12 which have reported parish info -- we don't have parish info on 35 congregations, most of which are mission starts; these will likely decrease the average, but not by more than 20 or 30 avg members per congregation)

Admittedly average baptized membership has a host of limitations in assessing parish viability, but it is certainly a more direct and immediate assessment of parish viability than the size of the communities in which the parishes are located.  The conclusion from the data, if one wished to draw one, is quite simply that the congregations which have left the ELCA to join the NALC or LCMC are on average larger and therefore more viable than the average ELCA congregation.

The above data is all publicly available and easy to compile, which makes it quite curious to me as to why Mr. Swartling would have cited the much more laborious to compile data about size of local community.

Ryan Schwarz
NALC Treasurer


DCharlton

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2011, 05:28:49 PM »
What I found interesting in some way though was the stat that "90%" of the ELCA membership had stayed. That means 10% (so far) have left.

And as Detective Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose would point out, that means that the ELCA has been literally decimated. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

LutherMan

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2011, 09:04:03 PM »

But these ELCA Lutherans are "my people," and I enjoy being among them.
I think a lot of you would, too; but not all of you.

So much for "full inclusion". At least you admit that there are some who would not "feel" comfortable in your group.


But because wouldn't "feel" comfortable doesn't mean that they aren't invited. Any of you LCMS folks could attend the daily worship at our CWA. You would be invited to share the sacrament with us. Many wouldn't.
Wow. I Didn't realize  Pr. & Deb Hesse were LCMS'ers these days...

Paul L. Knudson

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2011, 10:10:01 PM »
The noting of communities under 10,000 being a factor leading to not being viable is silly.  I was a pastor on the near northwest side of Chicago for thirteen years, 1970--1983.  Obviously Chicago is just a tad over 10,000.  Some years after I left the ELCA was so thrilled with the closing of eight churches to form one more viable one.  Since then a number of other congregations have closed.  Very few of the remaining congregations on the northwest side with which I am familiar are viable.  Some including the one I served have closed.  Others are mere shells with little ministry happening.  The size of the city is no barometer of viability.

NALC is actively working with their new mission starts and with those worshipping 120 or less to strengthen them for mission and ministry.  Time will tell on the results, but the ELCA is hardly in a better position on these matters.

Team Hesse

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #34 on: August 18, 2011, 11:23:54 PM »

But these ELCA Lutherans are "my people," and I enjoy being among them.
I think a lot of you would, too; but not all of you.

So much for "full inclusion". At least you admit that there are some who would not "feel" comfortable in your group.


But because wouldn't "feel" comfortable doesn't mean that they aren't invited. Any of you LCMS folks could attend the daily worship at our CWA. You would be invited to share the sacrament with us. Many wouldn't.
Wow. I Didn't realize  Pr. & Deb Hesse were LCMS'ers these days...
We didn't either --but thanks for the compliment.

Lou (rostered with the Augsburg Lutheran Churches and called to a congregation currently undecided in its affiliation)

Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2011, 02:59:04 AM »
Could you do me a favor and grab a mic and announce that you are "speaking by proxy" for a handicapped, female seminarian who is offended by the use of the word "handicapable" ??

Thanks!
Then, of course, there is the other oft-used by the ELCA PC term "Differently-abled." Aside from being myopic and astigmatic since I was 6 yrs. old and diagnosed with adult ADD at 32, I'm not what most folks would considered "handicapable" or "differently-abled."  If I was, it would be difficult to feel anything other than revulsion at the condescension dripping from those very adjectives.   

Marshall_Hahn

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2011, 09:48:14 AM »
What is the offense at being "-capped" anyway?  Is it an argument with Paul in I Corinthians 11?  Or is it a fear of not keeping current with one's protection money?  I don't get it.

Marshall Hahn

Dadoo

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2011, 10:45:40 AM »
The assembly is in the process of rising as I write. It struck me that just about all votes got done in 3 -1 numbers, usually favoring R&C. Thi s one however did not

Quote
A proposal to insert language saying that congregations “be invited to take up to two years to examine the changing religious environment of their communities in order that” (they can begin to develop unique mission plans). R&C recommends that the amendment be declined. The proposer, Paul Lutz, moved the proposal. There was a motion to amend the amendment, which struck some of the language (the part about changing religious environment). You know what they say about legislation and sausage. Another amendment was offered, to strike words “be invited”; motion approved 469-464. Motion on the amendment as amended was defeated by about 3 to 1, thereby rendering moot the last 20 minutes or so of debate and discussion. 

If I remember the matter from watching it on the screen, the language would have used a CWA to "tell" congregations what they would do in the next year instead of just inviting that they might participate, if it was not too much trouble, nice like . . .  I find the fate of the language amendment interesting. Half and Half between inviting and telling. What do we make of that?
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

iowakatie1981

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2011, 02:34:35 PM »
Could you do me a favor and grab a mic and announce that you are "speaking by proxy" for a handicapped, female seminarian who is offended by the use of the word "handicapable" ??

Thanks!
Then, of course, there is the other oft-used by the ELCA PC term "Differently-abled." Aside from being myopic and astigmatic since I was 6 yrs. old and diagnosed with adult ADD at 32, I'm not what most folks would considered "handicapable" or "differently-abled."  If I was, it would be difficult to feel anything other than revulsion at the condescension dripping from those very adjectives.

Precisely.  And here's the other thing that I've been exploring in my head.  It's one more nail in the coffin of "standards" and "normalcy", which, sadly, is what society (and the Church) relies upon to function effectively.   No one likes to be told that they are not normal.  Similarly, no one likes to be told that they are sinning by doing/not doing _______. 

So rather than say, "Hey, you know, people's eyes and ears are supposed to provide sight and hearing.  Grown men are supposed to be able to concentrate and focus on a task.  People are supposed to have two legs that work and lungs that adequately exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.  That is how God made us.  Although you may do an excellent job of managing the situation, individuals who do not have these abilities are lacking something, probably through no direct fault of their own, but simply because the world is a broken place, and we don't always have answers for why certain people are more broken than others.  However, you are still a good person and we love you and we will move heaven and earth to find a way to include you in what we do, all the while proclaiming that we have this treasure in clay jars", instead we say, "There is nothing wrong with you.  God loves you.  We love you.  We're not about to suggest that there is anything wrong with the fact that you can't see/hear/concentrate/walk/breathe.  In fact, we'll go out of our way to let you know that there's nothing wrong with you."

This is the same as trading, "Hey, what you did/didn't do just then is sinful.  It's wrong, and it's not how God intended us to live in relationship with him, or in relationship with others.  But good news - God has literally moved heaven and earth to offer forgiveness for your sins.  We can stop right here and now and do Confession and Absolution, and then go on to proclaim the new creation that you are in Christ" for "Don't worry about it - you're fine.  Everyone makes mistakes, but God loves you anyway."

The problem is that if nothing is ever "wrong" with us - if we pretend that being deaf/blind/mute/lame isn't "not how it's supposed to be", if we pretend that nothing is really sinful it's just "natural human error", then what is the point of having Jesus at all?  Did anyone ever notice that when people come to Jesus to be healed, he doesn't ever look at them and say, "You don't need to be healed.  You're just "differently-abled.  Handi-capable, even!  Rejoice!"  No.  He heals them.  Because people aren't supposed to be deaf or blind or lame.

And I haven't figured out where this comes from, societally, or within "this church."  Is it a political correctness, a desire not to offend, an unwillingness to confront the truth?  Is it a fear that God won't come through for us?  That we won't really be healed, that our sins won't actually be forgiven? 

I don't know what the answer is, but it needs to stop.  ESPECIALLY when it is people from the "normal" community using ridiculous words like that to describe me.  If somebody ever called me "handi-capable", I'd kick 'em in the grapes.   >:(

And then I'd very sweetly ask for forgiveness.   :-*

CSLewis2

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2011, 02:43:37 PM »
Could you do me a favor and grab a mic and announce that you are "speaking by proxy" for a handicapped, female seminarian who is offended by the use of the word "handicapable" ??

Thanks!
Then, of course, there is the other oft-used by the ELCA PC term "Differently-abled." Aside from being myopic and astigmatic since I was 6 yrs. old and diagnosed with adult ADD at 32, I'm not what most folks would considered "handicapable" or "differently-abled."  If I was, it would be difficult to feel anything other than revulsion at the condescension dripping from those very adjectives.

Precisely.  And here's the other thing that I've been exploring in my head.  It's one more nail in the coffin of "standards" and "normalcy", which, sadly, is what society (and the Church) relies upon to function effectively.   No one likes to be told that they are not normal.  Similarly, no one likes to be told that they are sinning by doing/not doing _______. 

So rather than say, "Hey, you know, people's eyes and ears are supposed to provide sight and hearing.  Grown men are supposed to be able to concentrate and focus on a task.  People are supposed to have two legs that work and lungs that adequately exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.  That is how God made us.  Although you may do an excellent job of managing the situation, individuals who do not have these abilities are lacking something, probably through no direct fault of their own, but simply because the world is a broken place, and we don't always have answers for why certain people are more broken than others.  However, you are still a good person and we love you and we will move heaven and earth to find a way to include you in what we do, all the while proclaiming that we have this treasure in clay jars", instead we say, "There is nothing wrong with you.  God loves you.  We love you.  We're not about to suggest that there is anything wrong with the fact that you can't see/hear/concentrate/walk/breathe.  In fact, we'll go out of our way to let you know that there's nothing wrong with you."

This is the same as trading, "Hey, what you did/didn't do just then is sinful.  It's wrong, and it's not how God intended us to live in relationship with him, or in relationship with others.  But good news - God has literally moved heaven and earth to offer forgiveness for your sins.  We can stop right here and now and do Confession and Absolution, and then go on to proclaim the new creation that you are in Christ" for "Don't worry about it - you're fine.  Everyone makes mistakes, but God loves you anyway."

The problem is that if nothing is ever "wrong" with us - if we pretend that being deaf/blind/mute/lame isn't "not how it's supposed to be", if we pretend that nothing is really sinful it's just "natural human error", then what is the point of having Jesus at all?  Did anyone ever notice that when people come to Jesus to be healed, he doesn't ever look at them and say, "You don't need to be healed.  You're just "differently-abled.  Handi-capable, even!  Rejoice!"  No.  He heals them.  Because people aren't supposed to be deaf or blind or lame.

And I haven't figured out where this comes from, societally, or within "this church."  Is it a political correctness, a desire not to offend, an unwillingness to confront the truth?  Is it a fear that God won't come through for us?  That we won't really be healed, that our sins won't actually be forgiven? 

I don't know what the answer is, but it needs to stop.  ESPECIALLY when it is people from the "normal" community using ridiculous words like that to describe me.  If somebody ever called me "handi-capable", I'd kick 'em in the grapes.   >:(

And then I'd very sweetly ask for forgiveness.   :-*

It is interesting that when people came to our Lord Jesus with folks who were blind, lame, epileptic, deaf, possess or demon tormented, he never said to these people: "I wish you would appreciate your differentness!" No, instead he healed, expelled, and saved. That should caution us all in being to cavalier about what is going on with people. There is such a thing and a sinful nature to the creation, therefore even the creative process can be tampered with in the womb and birth defects can occur. Can God bring good from it? You bet. Can he heal? You bet. Does he call these handicaps "good?" Not in the sense that this was his perfect will for anyone in the beginning. He can work good through them, but that is not how he originally intended things to be. I say these things as a man who was born with birth defects (not the least of them being original sin). God has done great things, but that doesn't mean the birth defects or handicaps were God's good created intention for humanity. In the end, he will heal them all if not in this life then the next.

I guess what I am saying is that no matter what the handicap might be, God will love us and use us for the good of his kingdom. Those handicaps are something to be overcome by the Spirit and the Word. I don't think they are something to be "celebrated" as if it is something God has created as a good thing for people. If so, why do we bother trying to put an end to so many things that cause handicaps and keep them from happening in the first place.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 02:47:05 PM by CSLewis2 »