Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 96508 times)

Team Hesse

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #165 on: December 30, 2011, 11:42:20 AM »
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #166 on: December 30, 2011, 11:53:46 AM »
Pr. Krause, what keeps a family together?  It is their family ties, their relatedness and their love for each other.  Politics are not a part of the core of what it means to be family.  A family can simply avoid talking about politics without harm to "family" because that is not part of what makes it family.  You have perhaps known people for whom politics is a core identity issue.  For them to not talk politics is to deny an essential part of their identity.  For them to not talk politics in family is very hard - they usually can't avoid it.  "Love me, love my politics."  In my own family we usually try to avoid talking theology.  I am LCMS, my father, one brother and sister are now WELS, and my other brother is ELCA.  We have a core faith that we can agree on, but theology and church politics is a minefield.  But theology is not what makes us family.
 
What makes church?  Can we be church while avoiding talking theology?  Is that not part of the core of what makes us church?  Unless the unity comes simply from having a common pension plan, or a common worship book - believe what you want so long as your worship service looks right - common ethnicity or mutual friendships. 
 
This is perhaps part of why ELCA and LCMS has so trouble talking with each other, much less forming common bonds.  Confessionalism is a part of our core identity.  Yes, we are not perfectly theologically united.  Anyone who pretends that the LCMS is a perfect church is delusional.  Yes, we may well be too proud of our attempts at doctrinal unity and do not live up to our self-image of what we would like to think we are.  Is that so strange?  Is the ELCA perfectly united in your mutual respect for bound consciences and mutual bearing of burdens?  I do not think that the LCMS has a corner on the market of hubris.
 
It seems from what you say that part of the core identity of the ELCA lies in the bonds you feel for each other that transcend theological differences - that allow you to be "family" even if you have quite different theological commitments.
 

Let me stop here for a moment.

I am not sure what the defined bond right now is. I would hope it is not just feelings. I also do not think that the bonds we share are all that profound. I am sure many are being voiced by bishops and important people alike. That does not make them the true bonds tough. It could be merely inertia or indifference, to be honest. There was a scenario response in the LIFT process written by a former Lutheran College President that took the entire process to task for not realizing that the church acted more like a college faculty than a family or an organic unit of some sort. We act, he said, like the many little professors and department office in a college. Each perfectly happy to act on its own to a large extent; each involved in the other to the extent chosen by the particular professor or department; a tacit agreement between them that as long as some things were done, like teaching classes, all was well. If one takes that metaphor for a spin (No, George! Not you, you keep crashing with them when you do that ;D ) maybe the answer to what connects us really is: They let me do what I want and don't bother me over much while I do, so I keep going. Not very catholic, but it works I guess and it explains the many variations that exist in the ELCA.

Quote

Quote

This challenges the base assumption that we are just a happy family that will live through thick and thin and stick together in spite of our difference. We are not an organic whole. People can "check out," and do. They have done it before after all and all was well with them. Add to this this point: To some extent, memories of better places, Lutheran (ALC, LCA) and otherwise, make the idea of departing palatable even to Lutherans. 'The world will not end. It is just a corporate affiliation. We changed it once before. Why not now." And again the idea of this organic whole that the LIFT process held up is challenged. We are not this one happy family. A deep value and a grand dream, the a dream of a united Lutherandom on American shores, is being challenged.

Which brings me to the second point: People do not like it when their base assumptions are challenged and people do not like it when some reject the base assumption hard enough to walk away. Right now it is conservatives who are walking off so they are the ones that are raising the ire of those who want to think that we are just a one happy family. As conservatives walk off, their friends who chose to stay will be viewed with suspicion. That is what I think brings in the bias against conservatives you are trying to understand.

If an important part of your core identity is family that puts up with differing theology, part of our core identity is confessional unity.  It seems that you are family in spite of great theological differences, we are family because of our relative theological unity.  Your way of being church seems to many of us as alien as our way of being church must seem to many of you.
 
Essentially, it seems to me, that you consider your ties to each other as part of a church body are more important than the theological issues and that those who find the theological issues of great importance have betrayed the ELCA core identity and betrayed the family.
 
There is a basic incompatability here, which is why we have so much trouble talking to each other.  The LCMS admonishes the ELCA for what we see as departures from the core of Lutheran identity, and you hear it as an attack on your core identity of being Lutheran.  The ELCA admonishes the LCMS (less officially) to get over our obsession with some illusional ideal of confessional unity and come be family with them as they are with each other so that we can work and play together, and we hear it as an invitation to loose our identity and betray our commitment ultimately to God.  And neither can understand why the other is so upset.
 
I don't know what the answer is.  How do you talk about what is important if you disagree fundementally over what is important.  Yelling at each other to get over yourself does not seem to work.
 
Dan

Thank you for the analysis of the LCMS ELCA relational problems. I have come to understand that I do not really understand the LCMS, as much as I cherish quite a few people in the LMCS as friends. FOr some reason, I have an easier time talking theology with many of you than I do with many of my own, but then, that is probably true for everyone who knows something about theology.
Peter Kruse

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

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #167 on: December 30, 2011, 11:56:19 AM »
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou

Structurally correct, BTW. If you have no call, you are not allowed to perform any of the duties normally associated with the office and an ELCA pastor at your own volition. If one did questions of respect for the integrity of a ministry that one is not called to (s14:14) could well arise, so one is best advised to just act like a layperson.
Peter Kruse

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

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #168 on: December 30, 2011, 12:50:11 PM »
Yes,  Lou, if Presiding Bishop Hanson said a person without a call is not on the ELCA clergy roster, he was wrong. If that is what he meant when he said a person without a call is not a pastor, he was wrong.

Bishop Hanson was not talking about roster status when I heard him speaking. He was talking about the fact that in the Lutheran understanding a person without a call is a layman. An understanding he was defending in that particular instance. You had to be there I suppose.

Lou

I wonder if the day will ever dawn when words with multiple meanings, like "call", will ever be used completely unambiguously.
 
We refer to someone receiving a "call" to go to seminary and enter the ministry. Then, after graduation and ordination, he might get a "call" to serve as a parish pastor, or to serve in some other ministry vocation. So when the word "call" is used, does it mean the "call" to enter the ministry or does it only mean a "call" to being a parish pastor?
 
In the past, there were discussions about the fact that if an ELCA pastor can't find a congregation that will "call" him before an arbitrary deadline, then his "call" to be a pastor is questioned and he's "removed from the roster", even though he remains a called pastor in the eyes of God.
 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #169 on: December 30, 2011, 12:56:18 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
"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]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #170 on: December 30, 2011, 01:37:11 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
For all your erudition, I do not think that you understand us.  Either that or you are so dismissive of us and what we find important that you consider our concerns unworthy of consideration or acknowledgement.  For all your praise of diversity, you seem totally unwilling to consider that there might be diversity in what some find important, and then to dismiss their concerns as not worthy of consideration.  I doubt that you mean it, and would deny saying so, but from my side your dismissiveness towards what many in the LCMS (and some in the ELCA) consider important even vital to our faith feels like contempt.
 
Dan
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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #171 on: December 30, 2011, 02:04:14 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.
For all your erudition, I do not think that you understand us.  Either that or you are so dismissive of us and what we find important that you consider our concerns unworthy of consideration or acknowledgement.  For all your praise of diversity, you seem totally unwilling to consider that there might be diversity in what some find important, and then to dismiss their concerns as not worthy of consideration.  I doubt that you mean it, and would deny saying so, but from my side your dismissiveness towards what many in the LCMS (and some in the ELCA) consider important even vital to our faith feels like contempt.
 
Dan

It appears Stoffregen has missed even more than you observed. God's "family" is nothing like human families. For one thing, if praying to "Our Father" meant we were all literally brothers and sisters, then the human race would have perished a long time ago, because marriage would also be incest! Since that is absurd, it can only mean that thinking of each other as parts of a "family" is metaphor, and not literally the case. And, when metaphors are used to describe situations, they often aren't so exact that they can be used as proof of nuances of meaning.
 
I'll stand by my earlier assertion that if one regards a denomination as a "family", then many of the other people in other congregations affiliated with the same denomination are little more than extremely distant cousins or in-laws.
 
 

readselerttoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #172 on: December 30, 2011, 02:28:41 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.



I have to agree.  The issue, imo, is not whether theological agreement or disagreement is the standard but simply Jesus' instructing us to pray "Our Father..." that Jesus views us as adopted children of God.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #173 on: December 30, 2011, 02:35:12 PM »
I have been on leave from call on three occasions. At no time, dealing with three different synods for supply preaching and interim ministries, did anyone ever suggest that I was anything but a full member of the ELCA clergy roster.
At no time did anyone suggest that I could not preach or preside. As a matter of fact, I was sought out to do so.
Someone will have to show me where anything says a pastor on leave from call is not allowed to perform pastoral duties.

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #174 on: December 30, 2011, 02:38:58 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.



I have to agree.  The issue, imo, is not whether theological agreement or disagreement is the standard but simply Jesus' instructing us to pray "Our Father..." that Jesus views us as adopted children of God.

Where do you get "adopted"? And where do you see the relationship being literally "children"? And what does that imply about our relationships with other people? Is everyone brother and sister? Are there no parents, grand-parents, uncles and aunts, cousins, or any other sort of relatives? And if all of humanity is one single family, how does one explain considering congregations or denominations as families? If all of humanity is already one single family, how does moving between congregations and/or denominations have any implication of "family" being broken or breached?
 
Please note, I'm not suggesting losing the metaphor of "family". I'm only saying to acknowledge that it is a metaphor, and not something that can be extrapolated to "prove" relationships exist that really don't. It is one thing to accept that the relationship between human and God is like that of a child and a parent, as in "it is similar to". That doesn't mean it's identical. There will never come a time when as children, we're obliged to care for God in His old age, or bury him when He dies. That's part of a human parent/child relationship. It is not part of the God/human relationship. 
 
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 02:49:12 PM by George H. Erdner »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #175 on: December 30, 2011, 02:41:42 PM »
How can we pray "our Father" together unless we consider ourselves a family? Children of the same father. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Does anyone other than Mr. Erdner really want to remove this long-standing Christian imagery?

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #176 on: December 30, 2011, 02:48:03 PM »
We most certainly are family, not because of theological agreement, but because we pray, "Our Father ." My brothers and if I had sisters would be family because we call Paul Stoffregen "our father". Theologies are something we create. Adoption into God's family is something God has done for all of us.

Most certainly! So why is so much fuzz being made about a congregation wanting to get her pastors from different church body or about them sending their support to somewhere else? Why bother them about these technicalities? They pray to the same father after . . .

 ;D
Peter Kruse

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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #177 on: December 30, 2011, 04:43:19 PM »
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #178 on: December 30, 2011, 06:03:04 PM »
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.

Charles,

The issue is not blurred at all. The family image is applicable to the church just fine. Even Bonnhoefer used the image in his famous writings on ecclesiology though he used "Traditional patriarchal family" as his sociological archetype for the Holy catholic and apostolic church. 

But, and we both know this, the issue at hand in Eau Claire is not whether the Fatherhood of God is respected or whether Grace Eau Claire prays to God the Father. The issue at hand is whether they are in compliance with the ELCA, the Northwest Wisconsin Synod, the Grace Lutheran Church constitutions and the non profit laws of the state of Wisconsin. The lovely flight into the "we are all family because we pray to God the Father line was not my diversion, by the way. I find  humor in Brian deploying it, don't you? That is why I chose to include a  ;D with my reply. I hope you did not defeat those and missed out on the intent of my post.

But, While we are at it: Those who would use seventh article reductionism need to explain at some time why they have a constitution in their congregation and how it is the Gospel, since, if it is not, it would be an add on to the church that the seventh article forbids. Let us face it, we have a very earth bound structure that we use to organize ourselves by, in our case that would be the ELCA constitutional system. Beyond us are are others that likewise share the prayer to the Father but have other constitutional and corporate realities. They and we have reasons to remain under the tutelage of those constitutions or to doubt and bemoan our presence under their strictures. What holds us together as ELCA, note what I say here: As ELCA, is not praying to God the Father.

Before anyone howls: Grace seems to not have be sued or been put under the bishop's angry eye for not praying the Lord's Prayer correctly. They are in trouble with the ELCA and the synod for not following the very earthly legal structure that makes up the ELCA. They for some reason no longer see a reason to be ELCA and want out. Let us also ask the question: What keeps you ELCA? I asked that about a page ago. with cautions and disclaimers and I invite you look them up if you chose. Erma attempted a short reply there as did George who thought that the letters on the door are irrelevant to most people. Then we got off on retired pastors and esoteric other stuff.

So: Why be ELCA or LCMS or NALC? insert letters at your own speed. But what make for a corporate denomination that you want to be or remain part of?
Peter Kruse

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

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #179 on: December 30, 2011, 06:14:11 PM »
Pastor Kruse, you continue to blur the spiritual and temporal in ways that are silly, but serve your purpose. The issue at hand is not the extent of the family, but whether the family image should be used at all.
That's churlish of you Charles.  It is clear from a cursory reading of the posts today that the language of family that Pastor Kruse was using had to do with the temporal entity called "the ELCA and its predecessor church bodies".  Our friend Pastor Stoffregen made a tangential point about the Church as a spiritual reality.  You then took advantage of that tangent to further obfuscate. Heal thyself.
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