Author Topic: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold  (Read 83326 times)

LCMS87

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #870 on: June 28, 2012, 11:43:10 AM »
And John, why did you not give the same benefit of that doubt to the people in charge in Missouri in the 1970s?

The difference is in the available evidence. In the case of the ULC, I can find no evidence of anything sinister and illegtimate. . . .

Peace, JOHN

Have you read all the evidence?  I could understand if you said, "I don't find compelling evidence of anything sinister and illegitimate . . ." or "I don't find evidence that convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt that anything sinister and illegitimate occurred."  I'd disagree with your conclusions if you said this, but people of good will can disagree.  To say you find no evidence of anything sinister and illegitimate, however, . . .

A majority of the delegates to the MNS convention disagreed with the explanation the BOD proposed.  Then they increased eightfold the funds the BOD recommended giving to ULC.  Sinister and illegitimate are strong words, but holding virtually entire BOD meetings in executive session again and again certainly raises questions.  It isn't a transparent way of operating.  Then there's closing a sale on the property very quickly after listing it, not accepting a larger offer for the property which, as it happens, would have made room for the chapel in the new building.  The best construction I can place on this is incompetence as stewards of the District's resources, but I'm not naive enough to believe that's the only explanation.     
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 11:45:11 AM by LCMS87 »

John_Hannah

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #871 on: June 28, 2012, 01:11:04 PM »

Have you read all the evidence?  I could understand if you said, "I don't find compelling evidence of anything sinister and illegitimate . . ." or "I don't find evidence that convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt that anything sinister and illegitimate occurred."  I'd disagree with your conclusions if you said this, but people of good will can disagree.


I'll go with that. Sounds better.

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Robert_C_Baker

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #872 on: June 28, 2012, 04:48:19 PM »
And John, why did you not give the same benefit of that doubt to the people in charge in Missouri in the 1970s?

The difference is in the available evidence. In the case of the ULC, I can find no evidence of anything sinister and illegtimate. . . .

Peace, JOHN

Have you read all the evidence?  I could understand if you said, "I don't find compelling evidence of anything sinister and illegitimate . . ." or "I don't find evidence that convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt that anything sinister and illegitimate occurred."  I'd disagree with your conclusions if you said this, but people of good will can disagree.  To say you find no evidence of anything sinister and illegitimate, however, . . .

A majority of the delegates to the MNS convention disagreed with the explanation the BOD proposed.  Then they increased eightfold the funds the BOD recommended giving to ULC.  Sinister and illegitimate are strong words, but holding virtually entire BOD meetings in executive session again and again certainly raises questions.  It isn't a transparent way of operating.  Then there's closing a sale on the property very quickly after listing it, not accepting a larger offer for the property which, as it happens, would have made room for the chapel in the new building.  The best construction I can place on this is incompetence as stewards of the District's resources, but I'm not naive enough to believe that's the only explanation.   

1) Holding meetings in executive session is no sin. In fact, the Synodical BOD does it all the time. As do districts, school boards, councils, governmental agencies, etc.
2) Closing a sale on a property very quickly after listing is not unusual. Typically, a buyer has already been secured, which appears to be the case here.
3) Not accepting a higher offer could pertain to a "gentleman's agreement" regarding point 2).

In fine, none of the reasons you have offered here offer substantial evidence for concluding that the Board operated in a sinister or illegitimate fashion. In fact, the transaction most likely was conducted according to law, to which we are duty-bound to uphold and obey.  The Bible endorses the right to hold and sell private property, including real property. Denying private property rights violates the seventh, ninth, and tenth commandments.

And I'm not seeing your claim that the Board's alleged incompetence is the best construction of things, especially when you've provided no evidence.




Charles_Austin

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #873 on: June 28, 2012, 04:55:51 PM »
Actually, in most places, "closed" meetings can only be held for matters regarding pending litigation, negotiation of contracts or personnel evaluation. The reason for the closed meeting must be announced in advance, and reports of actions taken at the closed meeting must be made public.
"Sunshine laws" in many states make it hard for public agencies to do business behind closed doors.
Maybe parts of the church do not have the kind of openness we require of our government. Back in LCA days, we had an "open meeting" policy that paralleled the "Sunshine laws."

sgehrke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #874 on: June 28, 2012, 05:43:08 PM »
Regarding the MNS politics of the ULC situation, my understanding is that the MNS confessionals running for office in the last election cycle emphasized their intent, if elected, to defund the Alley of its district support as Rev. Peters noted earlier.  However, they lost nearly all, if not in fact all, of the elections, leaving them with no voice on the current board.  It appears to me that the MNS Board took these electoral results as a mandate to move away from the MNS confessionals’ vision of  ministry to young people, ULC, and it gave them the transient political opportunity needed to accomplish their alternative vision.  I don't think this necessarily means that the Board was acting maliciously, but they certainly acted swiftly and aggressively to implement their vision before the MNS convention would have a chance to reverse it.  I am sure they felt that they were acting within their responsibility.  But if one reviews how the events of the past year unfolded, it is very hard to conclude that they acted with any care or concern for the congregation of ULC, even granting that they believed they were making a necessary tough financial decision.  The Save ULC site whose link was given earlier documents all of the public documents issued by the MNS Board about ULC, along with ULC’s response, so if one is interested in making up one’s own mind on this, one could review this information.

I've not seen any evidence that the sale was financially necessary.  There have been occasional references from the board about unspecified impending major expenses, but I've never seen them stated explicitly.  Rather, they emphasized their desire to move away from ‘brick and mortar ministry’ and the sale of ULC and CLC in Mankato was a first step in implementing that vision (I've not heard if the convention ratified that vision or not).  ULC offered to take on the responsibility for any such expenses, but were not given a hearing before the board regarding their plan to do so.  It should not have been hard to document what those impending expenses were, and to have critiqued ULC’s plan for how they intended to fund them.  Rev. Speckhard provided one possible scenario about how the Board might have handled this.  If ULC's plan was unrealistic, again, it would not have been hard to document that and convey that to the district at large.  I’m sure not all would have agreed even in this case, but at least the decision making process would have been transparent and limited all this speculation about what was the Board's basis for their decision. Similarly, there has never been any reason given for the urgency about making the sale at this time (developers have long coveted the property) and not allowing the convention to make the decision as the pastors of the district voted in favor of last summer at their convention.  Unless one thinks the Board has no obligation to explain their decisions, these are all aspects of my belief that ULC was treated poorly and unfairly by the MNS Board.

I happen to be writing this from suburban Minneapolis at my brother-in-law's, where we traveled yesterday.  My wife and I discussed whether we should make the hour round trip to see the chapel one last time.  She made the point that the funeral has been held and the physical University Lutheran Chapel no longer exists – although we missed the funeral, we've mourned the loss, and we need to move on.  Rather than further rehashing how this sad affair came to be, as ULC alums we need to see what we can do to help them get re-established.  We are taking our son to St. Olaf tomorrow for a college visit, and if he were to attend there, we hope that he will be able to attend the new ULC as we attended the old one 25 years ago.
Steve

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #875 on: June 28, 2012, 06:18:26 PM »
Quote
he perception from a relatively recent grad was that the idea was to cut down a place where people learned how to think, and replace it with less of that and more thought-free indoctrination.   

Well, without languages, philosophy and a good liberal arts education in a churchly context, the sems don't have the luxury of counting on a certain foundation on which to build and some of the guys coming there need a remedial education in basic things (like the Bible)... I am not trying to demean them or to be snarky here but to speak honestly of the VAST difference in preparation between the great majority of guys coming to the Sem now and those who went through the System like Benke and I did a million years ago...
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #876 on: June 28, 2012, 07:16:14 PM »
Quote
he perception from a relatively recent grad was that the idea was to cut down a place where people learned how to think, and replace it with less of that and more thought-free indoctrination.   

Well, without languages, philosophy and a good liberal arts education in a churchly context, the sems don't have the luxury of counting on a certain foundation on which to build and some of the guys coming there need a remedial education in basic things (like the Bible)... I am not trying to demean them or to be snarky here but to speak honestly of the VAST difference in preparation between the great majority of guys coming to the Sem now and those who went through the System like Benke and I did a million years ago...

...as Benke and I did a million years ago.  ;)
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Dave Benke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #877 on: June 28, 2012, 08:33:19 PM »
Quote
he perception from a relatively recent grad was that the idea was to cut down a place where people learned how to think, and replace it with less of that and more thought-free indoctrination.   

Well, without languages, philosophy and a good liberal arts education in a churchly context, the sems don't have the luxury of counting on a certain foundation on which to build and some of the guys coming there need a remedial education in basic things (like the Bible)... I am not trying to demean them or to be snarky here but to speak honestly of the VAST difference in preparation between the great majority of guys coming to the Sem now and those who went through the System like Benke and I did a million years ago...

...as Benke and I did a million years ago.  ;)

Nice catch.   8)

What I have heard from seminary profs when speaking of their traditional students in recent years is that there can be no assumption of "critical thinking skills."  So here's the "catch."  Are they to be teaching critical thinking skills (however they might be defined) at the seminary?  Or are they to be teaching a body of knowledge/data? 

By way of response, I'll say that the amount of objective tests I took a the seminary from 68 through 73 (an extra year in OT) remains at zero.  Zero multiple choice, zero true-false, zero matching.  None of that.  Zero.  All discussion and writing of papers, or in exegetics, doing the exegesis of the passage(s) in question.  Symposia-style.  Because the ability to critically work through the topic/data/course was pretty much assumed, and the lectures led to through the material toward a dialog about the lectures. 

In other words, the M.Div. was treated as a graduate degree accomplished through symposia in the areas of study undertaken, with the classroom discussion and the papers the grounds for the ascertainment of mastery of the material. 

Academically, at least for me as a double concentrator in philosophy and Hebrew, the Senior College was tougher than the seminary; but the seminary was deeper (naturally)  in the field of theology and preparation for pastoral ministry.

Dave Benke
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peter_speckhard

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #878 on: June 28, 2012, 09:09:40 PM »
I think seminary is for a body of knowledge. If you haven't learned critical thinking skills in high school and college, you're not likely to turn the corner in seminary. By the same token, some younger pastors have been told that in dealing with the guys who were in seminary back in the day, you can't assume orthodoxy; they might have it or they might not. They were judged more on their ability to think than by what they actually thought (and taught). That's a big problem for a church, too. An orthodox pastor with poor critical thinking skills is inded a big problem. A heterodox pastor with great critical thinking skills is a much bigger problem.

Karl Hess

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #879 on: June 28, 2012, 10:05:07 PM »
An orthodox pastor with poor critical thinking skills is inded a big problem. A heterodox pastor with great critical thinking skills is a much bigger problem.

Of course, most of the pastors I've met who went through the system don't have great critical thinking skills, or much familiarity with orthodox Lutheran theology.

Which makes you wonder; if the system had not already started to fail long before seminex, how is it that so many of the pastors minted after, I don't know, the 40's or 50's seemed to have so little familiarity--or is it affection--for the theological treasures that should have been open to them if they actually knew the Latin and German that we didn't get prior to seminary?

It's a mystery to me.  Before I started working on German again, I was always reading Luther and Gerhard, etc.--as much as I could--in English.  Now that I am getting better at reading German it's like somebody gave me the combination to the vault at LCMS HQ where they keep all the gold. 

I do think the system was a better way to go than the seminaries are forced to do now.  But the solution to that is to renew the system, not close the seminaries and go back to training pastors in Craemer's log cabin. 
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Dave Benke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #880 on: June 29, 2012, 07:29:07 AM »
I think seminary is for a body of knowledge. If you haven't learned critical thinking skills in high school and college, you're not likely to turn the corner in seminary. By the same token, some younger pastors have been told that in dealing with the guys who were in seminary back in the day, you can't assume orthodoxy; they might have it or they might not. They were judged more on their ability to think than by what they actually thought (and taught). That's a big problem for a church, too. An orthodox pastor with poor critical thinking skills is inded a big problem. A heterodox pastor with great critical thinking skills is a much bigger problem.

a) who has told the younger pastors that orthodoxy cannot be assumed in the oldsters?  Maybe the oldsters are/were simply more mellow, or even pastoral, in the application of the doctrine, than the "young bucks." 

One of the great blessings of my own pastoral ministry was to be on the receiving end of the instruction that is called these days "life coaching" from a bunch of older brothers/"rabbis."  One of those formative rabbis for me was Richard John Neuhaus.  Another was Pr. George Sommermeyer.  Another was Pr. Clarence Roth.  Every kid-pastor had these out in the field.  If the kid-pastors are being/have been led to be suspicious of the oldsters, they are missing a huge opportunity for learning the art of the pastoral ministry. 

If they're learning the art online from their sem buddies, it can/could be a pooling of ignorance.  If they're still connecting to their sem profs, they're missing the "in situ" nature of their pastoral practice and back in the lab. 

b) to Karl's point, I see it as the swinging of a pendulum inside pastors and in the culture.  Pastors in the TCN Learning Communities are reading a lot of stuff for analysis and methodology, while others are in Confessional study groups reading the theological masters.  Both groups can and do view the others with not only suspicion but disdain.  One would call the other ivory tower study-bugs, the other would call the one unhinged method-ists.  I'd far rather read Elert than say Chuck Swindoll; however, by reading Swindoll through the Elertian lens, I've been rewarded.  (that may be a dated example - is Swindoll still alive?)

c) a blessing of SMP/DELTO in the Missouri Synod is that the trainees have an on-site mentor/rabbi throughout, as well as a cohort of buddies sharing their theological and practical insights.

d) the idea in my opinion is not to close seminaries, but to further open them.  SMP/DELTO has been an opening to seminary education that is enormously appreciated by the non-residential students and by the Church receiving these pastors.  In the case of the Atlantic District, many of the SMP/DELTO grads had their eyes opened to theological education through our ten-course diaconate.  Others had pastors who assisted them in studying the foundational Lutheran documents prior to consideration of pastoral formation and education.  In both cases, the theological is wed with pastoral practice from the get-go.

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George Erdner

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #881 on: June 29, 2012, 07:37:06 AM »
Can anyone truly be a good and effective pastor without both acquiring a sufficient body of knowledge and also acquiring a sufficient level of critical thinking skills? Why so much blather over treating those two things like they were an either/or situation?

Dave Benke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #882 on: June 29, 2012, 07:40:42 AM »
Can anyone truly be a good and effective pastor without both acquiring a sufficient body of knowledge and also acquiring a sufficient level of critical thinking skills? Why so much blather over treating those two things like they were an either/or situation?

Because blather is what we do when we lack knowledge and/or critical thinking skills in the necessary dosage.

Dave Benke
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Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #883 on: June 29, 2012, 10:18:12 AM »
b) to Karl's point, I see it as the swinging of a pendulum inside pastors and in the culture.  Pastors in the TCN Learning Communities are reading a lot of stuff for analysis and methodology, while others are in Confessional study groups reading the theological masters.  Both groups can and do view the others with not only suspicion but disdain.  One would call the other ivory tower study-bugs, the other would call the one unhinged method-ists.  I'd far rather read Elert than say Chuck Swindoll; however, by reading Swindoll through the Elertian lens, I've been rewarded.  (that may be a dated example - is Swindoll still alive?)

c) a blessing of SMP/DELTO in the Missouri Synod is that the trainees have an on-site mentor/rabbi throughout, as well as a cohort of buddies sharing their theological and practical insights.

d) the idea in my opinion is not to close seminaries, but to further open them.  SMP/DELTO has been an opening to seminary education that is enormously appreciated by the non-residential students and by the Church receiving these pastors.  In the case of the Atlantic District, many of the SMP/DELTO grads had their eyes opened to theological education through our ten-course diaconate.  Others had pastors who assisted them in studying the foundational Lutheran documents prior to consideration of pastoral formation and education.  In both cases, the theological is wed with pastoral practice from the get-go.

If any reform or tightening of SMP is done at the synodical convention next year, I hope that part of it is making the educational requirements (languages, theology, homiletics, practical ministry, etc) for the SMP program more consistent with those of the seminary program.

Then we should be able to deal head-on with questions about the differences between distance education and on-site seminary education without concerns about disparity in the material studied and expected to be learned and digested sidetracking that discussion.

Mike

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #884 on: June 29, 2012, 10:32:41 AM »
b) to Karl's point, I see it as the swinging of a pendulum inside pastors and in the culture.  Pastors in the TCN Learning Communities are reading a lot of stuff for analysis and methodology, while others are in Confessional study groups reading the theological masters.  Both groups can and do view the others with not only suspicion but disdain.  One would call the other ivory tower study-bugs, the other would call the one unhinged method-ists.  I'd far rather read Elert than say Chuck Swindoll; however, by reading Swindoll through the Elertian lens, I've been rewarded.  (that may be a dated example - is Swindoll still alive?)

c) a blessing of SMP/DELTO in the Missouri Synod is that the trainees have an on-site mentor/rabbi throughout, as well as a cohort of buddies sharing their theological and practical insights.

d) the idea in my opinion is not to close seminaries, but to further open them.  SMP/DELTO has been an opening to seminary education that is enormously appreciated by the non-residential students and by the Church receiving these pastors.  In the case of the Atlantic District, many of the SMP/DELTO grads had their eyes opened to theological education through our ten-course diaconate.  Others had pastors who assisted them in studying the foundational Lutheran documents prior to consideration of pastoral formation and education.  In both cases, the theological is wed with pastoral practice from the get-go.

If any reform or tightening of SMP is done at the synodical convention next year, I hope that part of it is making the educational requirements (languages, theology, homiletics, practical ministry, etc) for the SMP program more consistent with those of the seminary program.

Then we should be able to deal head-on with questions about the differences between distance education and on-site seminary education without concerns about disparity in the material studied and expected to be learned and digested sidetracking that discussion.

Mike

It's not a bad thought, but as someone expressed upriver on some thread, most of what happens these days with biblical languages is that the student learns just enough to be dangerous. 

In the old "system," we had German, Latin and Greek in High School abundantly (3 yrs, 4 yrs, 1 yr), then Greek intensively in Jr. College (Walter A. Maier Jr. for me)  along with the German and Latin, and then Hebrew along with the Greek, the Latin and the German in Senior College.  Amo, amas, amat, dude!   I also had Aramaic and Ugaritic in Sr. College, and then Akkadian at the seminary along with more Ugaritic and of course Hebrew and Greek in the context of exegetics.

You'd think I would remember more of it, actually.  My brain went to Spanish about three years after ordination and intensivity in the 'hood and at La Escuela Berlitz.

Dave Benke
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