Author Topic: Thursday morning plenary part 2  (Read 5532 times)

Richard Johnson

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Thursday morning plenary part 2
« on: August 18, 2011, 10:46:46 AM »

Thursday morning plenary part 2

In a nice touch, we sang “God Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens” (“We, your children in your likeness, share inventive powers with you; great Creator, still creating, show us what we yet may do”) and then took up the social statement on genetics. Motion was made by Sec Swartling to adopt the social statement.

Report of the “Ad Hoc Committee” dealing with amendments proposed. There was a hiatus while an electronic issue was addressed. (Several synods are taking part in an experiment where each voting member was provided with an iPad, and all documents are distributed to them electronically; there seems to have been a glitch in that electronic distribution. And then it appeared that there was also a problem with the paper distribution, so time was taken to resolve all these issues.)

The first amendment substituted the word “unjustifiably” for “unduly,” modifying “endangering” in line 1198: “expand genetic research or technology while knowingly and unjustifiably endangering plant and animal species . . .”  The ad hoc committee agreed that this word change strengthens the “intent of the conviction” (whatever that means). A voting member who is a PhD in genetics disagreed, arguing that the change is actually inflammatory. The motion to change “unduly” to “unjustifiably” was defeated, 431-497.

The next amendment would shift some words in bullet points from one place to another. The author of the amendment tried to explain why he wanted to do this, but his explanation was incomprehensible to me. Apparently the upshot is that in the proposed document, the matter of “expanding genetic research or technology while knowingly and unduly endangering plant and animal species” is listed as something the ELCA “raises searching questions about” while the amendment would list it as something the ELCA “rejects.” Whatever the philosophical and philological issues involved, the amendment was defeated 206-761.

A third amendment, presented by Bradley Gee, the Ad Hoc Committee declined to endorse. Now this will get all you creationists going. The amendment is to amend the text, which currently reads “This church recognizes and embraces the theoretical frameworks on which the science of genetics rests,” and say instead “This church recognizes and embraces evolution as the scientifically valid framework on which the study of genetics rests.” The chair of the Ad Hoc Committee noted that the original language has been reviewed by a number of scientists, and no one has suggested that it be changed. Furthermore, “the topic of evolution deserves broader and more appropriate forums than this social statement was designed to provide.” Mr. Gee, however, moved the amendment despite the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendation. As he spoke to it, it became clear that his intent was, in fact, to endorse “evolution” as a scientific reality, and to take a swipe at “creation science.” One opponent, a geneticist, noted that it is not the church’s purpose to endorse a scientific paradigm. “The church did not endorse the Copernican paradigm, despite the wording of this morning’s opening hymn” (“Awake, my soul, and with the sun, thy daily stage of duty run.”) In the end, the motion to stick evolution into the statement was defeated, 51-934. So there you have it: “ELCA declines to endorse evolution by a 10-1 margin.” Now will the LCMS talk to us?

Discussion of the statement as a whole began. The first speaker opposed the statement because of inconsistency in its regard for human life, and offered some illustrations . . . which, as she went on, seemed to have an undertone of what she perceives to be the statement’s openness to abortion. The next speaker was a woman with a life-long genetic disease, who sees in the statement a word of hope for people like her. Debate then suspended for the orders of the day.

The report of the first common ballot was given; no ties, so all positions were elected.

Ecumenical partners were introduced. Grady Parsons, Stated Clerk of PCUSA, brought greetings on behalf of all the full communion partners. Other ecumenical guests were then introduced, quite a stream of them: NCC Gen. Sec., Catholic Diocese, RCA, CCTUSA, ELCIC, LWF Gen Sec, WCC rep, Episcopal Bp. NW TEX, pres. Moravian Church, Herb Mueller LCMS, Grady Parsons PCUSA, another Mennonite, United Ev. Church in Germany, Sec Gen Islamic Society of North America, UCC, AMEZion senior bishop, Disciples of Christ, Florida UMC bishop, AME Church.

Dr. Sayid Sayeed from Islamic Society was introduced to speak briefly. First time in history of ELCA we’ve been addressed by a member of the Islamic community. “I greet you in the words of Jesus: ‘Peace be with you.’” He was gracious and warm, thanking ELCA for its friendship in working on issues from Middle East peace to anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S. He was also warmly received.

Assembly in recess for worship.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

PTMcCain

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 10:52:07 AM »
"“ELCA declines to endorse evolution by a 10-1 margin.” Now will the LCMS talk to us?"

We love to talk to you, it's an evolutionary process, I think.

Kudos on the non-endorsement of the theory of evolution.

MRoot

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 01:50:21 PM »
There is no Orthodox ecumenical representative?
Michael Root

Richard Johnson

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 02:37:08 PM »
Apparently not. If I get a chance, I'll ask Don McCoid about it.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

James_Gale

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 03:11:52 PM »
Apparently not. If I get a chance, I'll ask Don McCoid about it.


As a quick aside, Bp. McCoid and Dr. Nestingen were both at the NALC convocation.  For those who don't know, they were two of the final three candidates for ELCA presiding bishop in 2001.  The third, of course, was Bp. Hanson, who won narrowly over Bp. McCoid.  I heard tell of several conversations in which Bp. McCoid expressed deep sorrow over the fracturing that has taken place over the last few years.  I'll always wonder whether he would have been able to lead the ELCA on a better course.


And by the way, orthodox representatives were present at the NALC convocation. 

Richard Johnson

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 09:21:08 PM »
Regarding Orthodox representation: Don McCoid says it was not for lack of invitation; has to do with some internal political and organizational issues relative to the Orthodox.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 09:26:27 PM »
Here's something else interesting. I chatted for a bit with Herb Mueller from the LCMS this afternoon. He tells me that he didn't know until he got here that he would not be bringing greetings to the assembly. He had prepared remarks (and he shared a copy with me) but they weren't called for. The plan is that they will be posted on the LCMS web site in a day or so.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

LutherMan

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2011, 09:28:23 PM »
Here's something else interesting. I chatted for a bit with Herb Mueller from the LCMS this afternoon. He tells me that he didn't know until he got here that he would not be bringing greetings to the assembly. He had prepared remarks (and he shared a copy with me) but they weren't called for. The plan is that they will be posted on the LCMS web site in a day or so.
Uh-Oh...

Charles_Austin

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2011, 07:25:02 AM »
I have been told that it was never intended for the LCMS visitor to bring comments to the whole assembly.

Scott6

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2011, 08:04:07 AM »
I have been told that it was never intended for the LCMS visitor to bring comments to the whole assembly.


Probably would have been good to make that known to the LCMS, eh?

Charles_Austin

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2011, 08:05:31 AM »
I do not know that they didn't. Might it be possible that the word was not passed on to your guy or that he misunderstood? It really doesn't matter much.

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2011, 08:16:35 AM »
I do not know that they didn't. Might it be possible that the word was not passed on to your guy or that he misunderstood? It really doesn't matter much.

Charles, I think you really speak the truth in your statement, not about whether there was some miscommunication on someone's part, but on the "It really doesn't matter much."

Why would the ELCA want to invite the LCMS to speak or even bring greetings?  And why would the LCMS want to invite the ELCA to do the same?  We in the LCMS have our District conventions next year.  I'm curious if the district I serve in will have someone from the ELCA there to greet us.  There was supposed to have been one in 2009, but there was a last minute emergency. 

The ELCA has moved so far away from the LCMS that when the ELCA representative greets us, I'm not sure they would say anything we would recognize.  What would it profit the LCMS to hear greetings from an ELCA representative?  I'm rather jaded about this, given what I've heard from the ELCA lately.  (Now if I could pick an ELCA pastor to greet us, then it might be different.  But the likelihood of that happening is Slim and none, and Slim just walked out the door. 

And the same is true on the obverse.  What benefit would the ELCA gain from listening to VP Mueller?  I think the answer would be none.  There would be a nice handshake, a few smiles, a smattering of applause from the delegates, but would they listen? 

The ELCA and the LCMS speak the same language yet we're both now operating with different dictionaries. 

This is sad.  But Charles, I thank you for stating the truth.  "It really doesn't matter much."

Jeremy   
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Gary Hatcher

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2011, 08:18:16 AM »
I do not know that they didn't. Might it be possible that the word was not passed on to your guy or that he misunderstood? It really doesn't matter much.
Yet it mattered enough to ask other denominations...
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 09:33:41 AM by Gary Hatcher »
Gary Hatcher STS,
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Garnavillo & McGregor, IA

Scott6

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2011, 08:25:25 AM »
I do not know that they didn't. Might it be possible that the word was not passed on to your guy or that he misunderstood? It really doesn't matter much.
Yet it matter enough to ask other denominations...


I was just thinking about spending the money to go there, not to mention how much fun it is to sit through debates about things like a genetics statement (though I hope he didn't do that much).

Coach-Rev

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 2
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2011, 08:26:24 AM »
I do not know that they didn't. Might it be possible that the word was not passed on to your guy or that he misunderstood? It really doesn't matter much.

Oh, it speaks volumes - but Charles will still dismiss it in cavalier fashion.  I find the statement, "it really doesn't matter much" to be the most arrogant, condescending thing yet from your fingers, Charles.  It says more about your loathing and hatred for all things LCMS, and it also speaks to the general attitude amongst those like him in the ELCA, "we tolerate all things, as long as you agree with us."  ::)