Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101621 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #135 on: December 29, 2011, 09:32:12 PM »
The problem with the big tent is that not all the acts can share the ring. The lion act and the miniature ponies don't belong in the same space, neither will the high wire act want to share the ring while the firewater is spouting it off below.

That is an ELCA problem and will be for a while to come. We want to be diverse. The problem is that diversity turns into  division in one simple action: assertion of one's position. If the liberal and the conservative merely live next to one another, there really is no problem. We have done that and are doing that in many things as is the LCMS. It becomes division and hostility when someone asserts that their view is "the right one." The implication being that the other side needs to convert.

As soon as either side asserts that diversity is nice but that their side is "right" diversity ends and division starts and all kinds of political bullying and other unsavory tactics will be pulled out. Once that starts, and it started in ELCA over 10 years ago, it is a goat rodeo to try to restore diversity think because the fighting mechanisms and habits of the factions will not just go away. 2009 was an attempt to create a framework to make a move to diversity happen. I am not so sure it can be done by such simple fiat. You cannot legislate humility and you cannot sign a cease fire agreement on behalf of a parties you do not represent.

BTW: You have to accept diversity as a value for any of this in the first place. No problem there.

So part of the bargain is to agree that no position can be held to be the right position, all positions are, if not equally likely, at least potentially right - a sort of assumed equality among positions?  I may like my position better than yours, but I can't say that what I believe is right if that would make your position wrong?  It seems to me that among other things it calls on everyone to hold their position kind of lightly and not actually argue for it for that would imply one position is right and the other one wrong.

How post-modern.

That still does not deal with the implied bias affirmed by some in the ELCA that while the traditionalist position will be tolerated, it will not be supported, while the revisionist position is supported, or at least informs the actual policy and workings of the ELCA.

Dan
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #136 on: December 29, 2011, 09:35:49 PM »
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?
You have the situation (which seems bizarre to me) in which individual pastors can declare that they are not in communion fellowship with other LCMS pastors. How does that foster "unity"?
Is there a place for "moderates" or even (O horrors!) "liberals" at LCMS colleges and seminaries? Or are they threatened with loss of tenure or other career-ending actions?
Can you say that you value the contributions of someone such as Dr. Becker who occasionally has posted here, or do you agree with those who seem to say he has no place in the LCMS?
Obviously no one here is going to do it; but I wonder if someone of "moderate" or "liberal" leanings in the LCMS might not have a memory bank load of incidents where his colleagues were hassled or black-listed by district presidents.
I am quite serious about the joy I feel that Erma has received a call and that Steven says he's staying in the ELCA, although our disagreements on some things are strong. (Our agreements on many other things are equally strong, I suspect.)
What will be your attitude towards an LCMS colleague who might favor ordination for women and even lobby for it within the Synod?
 

Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #137 on: December 29, 2011, 09:41:25 PM »
I'm still trying to figure out just what it should mean for conservatives this insistence that the ELCA has always been a moderate to liberal denomination, everyone should have been able to see that from the beginning, and realistically, that is not going to change. 
 
But what sould the implications of that be for conservatives who are members of the ELCA or are considering being members of the ELCA.  They are being told that they are not joining or belonging to a conservative denomination and they should not hope that is going to change.  Perhaps they should not even consider trying to change that.
 
Yet the ELCA has been insistent that they welcome conservatives, value their contribution to the conversation, and want them to be a part of the big tent.  Even so, Pr. Stoffregen (as I remember, I think it was a week or more ago and I do not have the reference at my finger tips) said specifically that positions that conservatives hold (especially on same sex issues but also on things like women's ordination, and I guess view of Scripture, but I digress) are not forbidden in the ELCA but they should not expect any support for their beliefs or any help to spread them.
 
Pr. Austin has been insistent that he hopes that all those who were disappointed by CWA '09 would remain in the ELCA, that their voices in the conversation are important.  He seems somewhat disparaging towards those who feel they must leave (he certainly wants them to stay), but wishes that if they must they would do so (abiding by all the rules) will all due haste and never speak about the ELCA again, except may to report how graciously they were treated.  If they stay, they should always be respectful toward the rest of the ELCA and the decision that were made and fulfill all obligations.  If they feel badly treated, and some probably have been, consider that they may have had a hand in causing their ill treatment by their disrespectful bahavior and their failure to fulfill their obligations.  He seems to want to assume unless proven otherwise that traditionalists have at least in part deserved what they have gotten.
 
With all of that, what place is there within the ELCA for conservatives or traditionalists?  They will always be at best a tolerated minority existing on the sufferance of the majority.  The "Liberals" can expect their positions to be supported and celebrated by the ELCA, the "Conservatives" with get whatever support that they can provide for themselves.  Can they expect Sunday School material, Bible Study material, teaching at the colleges and seminaries of the ELCA to support their viewpoint or offer it as a viable position?  They are wanted, but it seems to me told to then sit on the sidelines.
 
It seems to me a bit confusing.  On the one hand the traditionalists are told that they are desired to be a part of the whole but implicitly told that while they are wanted and can join in the conversation, to never expect their beliefs to be a part of the ELCA ethos when their beliefs differ from that of the liberal majority.
 
Pr. Austin despairs of meaningful theological diaglog with the LCMS.  What is the LCMS offered by the ELCA but an opportunity to be a part of a larger church that will never embrace what we believe and will allow us in only if we will play nice and not upset the majority.  We are told, the ELCA will never be LCMS so why don't you stop being LCMS and become ELCA.  Our beliefs are apparently respected, but why don't you drop them or allow them to be strange personal opinions so that you can join us and support our causes. Why would we?  Would the ELCA be willing to do that to be closer to the LCMS?  I doubt it.
 
Dan
FWIW, I've gone from being a conservative in the ELCA to a liberal (or moderate) in an LCMS congregation. After two years, I still feel more welcome here, and am relieved the conflict is over for us. But no, I felt that there was no longer a place for tradionalists in our ELCA congregation or synod; maybe they said they wanted our "voice", but they refused to actually "listen" to it.  We have found a place of refuge, and it is in an LCMS congregation.  There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees. If you had told me this would happen five years ago, I'd have laughed at the idea that we'd be in an LCMS congregation and loving it. Of course, I didn't think CWA 2009 would actually happen, either.
Kurt
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #138 on: December 29, 2011, 09:47:23 PM »
Kurt Weinelt writes:
There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees.
 
I comment:
If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #139 on: December 29, 2011, 09:50:16 PM »
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?
You have the situation (which seems bizarre to me) in which individual pastors can declare that they are not in communion fellowship with other LCMS pastors. How does that foster "unity"?
Is there a place for "moderates" or even (O horrors!) "liberals" at LCMS colleges and seminaries? Or are they threatened with loss of tenure or other career-ending actions?
Can you say that you value the contributions of someone such as Dr. Becker who occasionally has posted here, or do you agree with those who seem to say he has no place in the LCMS?
Obviously no one here is going to do it; but I wonder if someone of "moderate" or "liberal" leanings in the LCMS might not have a memory bank load of incidents where his colleagues were hassled or black-listed by district presidents.
I am quite serious about the joy I feel that Erma has received a call and that Steven says he's staying in the ELCA, although our disagreements on some things are strong. (Our agreements on many other things are equally strong, I suspect.)
What will be your attitude towards an LCMS colleague who might favor ordination for women and even lobby for it within the Synod?

This is one area in which we disagree.  You see having a theologically diverse membership as a cardinal virtue in a church body, that the more diverse theological positions that you can count as members, the better the church.  So for you to still have Erma and Steven within the ELCA is a gold star in your book, as sign that the ELCA is doing good things, even if their position has minimal influence and is not supported but only tolerated. 

By the by, I in no way doubt your joy for Erma in her call and Steven in his determination to stick in the ELCA, nor do I look for any ulterior mootive in that.  They are genuinely nice people, something some of us can only aspire to emulate.  Besides, the more traditionalists that you can keep around the more it affirms the essential virtue of the ELCA. 

I am interested in your insistance that we should have moderates and liberals teaching in our colleges and seminaries.  Does that mean that traditionalists are well represented on your faculties?  Or do you just expect more diversity there from us than from your own institutions?

Since we do not meet your standards for diversity of theology and thought, does that mean that we do not meet your standards for a good church body?  Well, that is nothing new.  You have made it quite clear on numerous occasions that we do not measure up to your standards.  Why should that matter to us any more than our opinion of you matter to you?

Dan
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DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #140 on: December 29, 2011, 09:53:45 PM »
Turn your musings around and apply them to your own denomination, Pastor Fienen. What role is there for moderates in the LCMS? Are they allowed to discuss such things as open communion and a greater role for women, including ordination? Are they allowed to discuss support for current abortion laws? Are they allowed to advocate for ecumenical relations with other denominations that would include altar fellowship?
Are they respected? Do district presidents find calls for them?

Charles,

Turn your musings around and apply them to our denomination:

1.  Substantiate your claim that ELCA seminaries are open to "all views".
2.  Tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.
3.  Tell us whether anyone who did not favor women's ordination, open communion, historical criticism or a woman's right to choose would be repsected.  Would synodical bishops find calls for them?

The truth is that the LCMS and the ELCA are open to some ideas and closed to others.  And while partisans in the LCMS may be more agressive in their attacks on dissidents, I would argue that there is an equal amount of conflict in the ELCA.  It just that antagonists in the ELCA favor passive-aggression.  The end result is often the same.

David
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 10:04:48 PM by DCharlton »
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #141 on: December 29, 2011, 10:00:29 PM »
Kurt Weinelt writes:
There are two former ELCA pastors (now retired), and a several ELCA pastors' widows at our LCMS congregation, plus all the rest of us ELCA refugees.
 
I comment:
If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.
I will not quibble over the proper terminology for ELCA pastors, now retired who have joined an LCMS church.  For one thing, we have not been told when they left the ELCA, before or after retirement.  I would assume that they have joined the congregation so finding them at the communion rail should give no one angst.  If they have not joined, then I might be curious as to why they communing, something the Kurt did not specify.

Why the astonishment that someone who once served in the ELCA ministerium would end up in an LCMS congregation and be welcomed?  Does being an ELCA pastor leave an indelible mark that forever marks them as ELCA so that they cannot decide to join another church?  Is it just too astonishing that an LCMS church in good standing could unbend enough and get over being so petty as to allow someone who has been an ELCA pastor to join?

Dan
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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #142 on: December 29, 2011, 10:04:09 PM »
2.  Tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.

When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.
 

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #143 on: December 29, 2011, 10:05:24 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
This is one area in which we disagree.  You see having a theologically diverse membership as a cardinal virtue in a church body, that the more diverse theological positions that you can count as members, the better the church.
I comment:
That is a typical, simplistic overstatement. "Cardinal virtue"? No. Realistic? Yes. We do not all think alike on everything. It doesn't bother me that some ELCAers will not commune with Presbyterians. But it bothers me that they want to insist that I should not.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
 So for you to still have Erma and Steven within the ELCA is a gold star in your book, as sign that the ELCA is doing good things, even if their position has minimal influence and is not supported but only tolerated.
I comment:
For that matter, my own positions on some things have no support at all. Our value within our church family doesn't depend on how much influence we have.
 
Pastor Fienen writes: 
By the by, I in no way doubt your joy for Erma in her call and Steven in his determination to stick in the ELCA, nor do I look for any ulterior mootive in that.  They are genuinely nice people, something some of us can only aspire to emulate.  Besides, the more traditionalists that you can keep around the more it affirms the essential virtue of the ELCA. 
I comment:
So you do doubt my joy and see an "ulterior motive"? Your view of the "essential virtue" of the ELCA is warped indeed. And it is not my view.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
I am interested in your insistance that we should have moderates and liberals teaching in our colleges and seminaries.  Does that mean that traditionalists are well represented on your faculties?  Or do you just expect more diversity there from us than from your own institutions?
I comment:
I do no such thing. It is not my place to say who you should have teaching in your seminaries. I only asked what would happen if some moderates or liberals were able to sneak through the screening process or if someone got infected with liberalism after being hired at a college or seminary.
 
Pastor Fienen writes:
Since we do not meet your standards for diversity of theology and thought, does that mean that we do not meet your standards for a good church body?  Well, that is nothing new.  You have made it quite clear on numerous occasions that we do not measure up to your standards.
I comment (for the quadrillionth time):
In my opinion the LCMS is a fine Lutheran church body in which the Gospel is preached, the sacraments administered and in which people find their vocations as pastors and lay persons. It holds to some things that I find repugnant and it does some things that I don't like very much. So what? I know some LCMS people that I like very much. And I know some that I don't like very much. Ditto for the ELCA.
 
Pastor Fienen:
Why should that matter to us any more than our opinion of you matter to you?
Me:
It don't "matter" at all. (But w-a-a-y deep down, I might want you to like me a little bit.  ;D ;) )

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #144 on: December 29, 2011, 10:07:01 PM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #145 on: December 29, 2011, 10:09:56 PM »
Charles,

Would you be kind enough to answer my questions:

1.  Can you substantiate your claim that ELCA seminaries are open to "all views".
2.  Can you tell us whether an open discussion of women's ordination, open communion, or abortion would be permitted to happen at an ELCA seminary or an ELCA synod assembly.
3.  Can you tell us whether anyone who did not favor women's ordination, open communion, historical criticism or a woman's right to choose would be repsected.  Would synodical bishops find calls for them?

Thanks.

David

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DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #146 on: December 29, 2011, 10:13:27 PM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.

Are you suggesting that in the LCMS moderate or liberal opinions could not be expressed out loud?  What means does the LCMS have from preventing people from speaking out loud?  Do they literally muzzle moderates and liberals?  Do they put bark collars on them?

If your claim is that the ELCA open to all views because it has not developed a means of preventing people from speaking out loud, then you have lowered the bar considerably.
David Charlton  

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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #147 on: December 29, 2011, 10:56:27 PM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
When at a small group meeting at the Southeastern Synod Assembly last year, someone attempted to equate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals with ordaining women, and I suggested that maybe the Missouri Synod and others were right, and we shouldn't have done that. There was no room in the discussion for that opinion to be expressed aloud.

I muse:
But according to your own testimony, that opinion was indeed "expressed aloud." The fact that no one leaped on your bandwagon is irrelevant.

Are you suggesting that in the LCMS moderate or liberal opinions could not be expressed out loud?  What means does the LCMS have from preventing people from speaking out loud?  Do they literally muzzle moderates and liberals?  Do they put bark collars on them?

If your claim is that the ELCA open to all views because it has not developed a means of preventing people from speaking out loud, then you have lowered the bar considerably.

The "no room for discussion" comment meant that no sooner had I broached the subject, I was immediately declared "out of order" and told to sit down and shut up. It wasn't just that no one agreed. No one was willing to listen to any explanation. All speakers were granted the floor for a set period of time to make their statements. My time was cut short as soon as I started saying something that didn't fit the ELCA's narrow range of broad diversity of opinion.
 
But I am not surprised that Austin would twist what I said in the worst possible way, even though he hasn't a clue what he's talking about. He wasn't there.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #148 on: December 29, 2011, 11:20:46 PM »

If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

If they are members of LCMS congregations, they are subject to being removed from the ELCA roster.  Historically, ELCA bishops tended to (using a popular phrase from other contexts) "err on the side of grace" and do nothing about it.  Since 2009, however, our bishops have been much stronger about enforcing the constitutional provision that those on ELCA rosters be members of ELCA congregations, and have been removing retired pastors (and, I presume, AIMs, etc.) from the rosters.

As an aside that may actually relate to this topic, anyone else find it, uh, funny that since "grace" was adopted as the official policy of the ELCA (regarding the same-sex activity of its rostered leaders) its practice has been dramatically curtailed...

spt+
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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #149 on: December 29, 2011, 11:32:26 PM »

If they are retired, they are not "former ELCA pastors," that is, they may still be on the roster as retired (unless they have formally resigned the ELCA ministerium.) You probably shouldn't talk about this too much, lest your congregation get in trouble for accepting members of the ELCA at its altar rail.

If they are members of LCMS congregations, they are subject to being removed from the ELCA roster.  Historically, ELCA bishops tended to (using a popular phrase from other contexts) "err on the side of grace" and do nothing about it.  Since 2009, however, our bishops have been much stronger about enforcing the constitutional provision that those on ELCA rosters be members of ELCA congregations, and have been removing retired pastors (and, I presume, AIMs, etc.) from the rosters.

As an aside that may actually relate to this topic, anyone else find it, uh, funny that since "grace" was adopted as the official policy of the ELCA (regarding the same-sex activity of its rostered leaders) its practice has been dramatically curtailed...

spt+

Along those same lines, when anyone cease to be something that they used to be, then the word "former" can be used to accurately describe them. For example, if someone was a coach in the NBA and then took a position as a coach at an NCAA school, he'd be accurately described as a "former NBA coach". Likewise, if someone used to be an ELCA pastor, but no longer was one, then the term "former ELCA pastor" is exactly correct. The are still pastors, but the are no longer "ELCA pastors".