Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 94185 times)

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #195 on: December 31, 2011, 12:31:13 PM »
The thing is, I am not aware of any on the traditionalist side who argued that it wasn't the case.  As I recall, it was the Presiding Bishop and others who in the aftermath of CWA 2009 chided traditionalists for allowing matters of the Left Hand Realm to divide the ELCA.  It is primarily the pro-HSGT partisans who insist that things like policy and guidlines for rostered leaders ought not be considered a big deal.


Only one sentence in V&E that was consider both unjust and a non sequitur within the paragraph. And, in some ways, they considered the details of our policies and guidelines an even bigger deal than the "traditionalists," because the language of disciplinary actions repeated uses the word "may". According to the details of our documents, no bishop was required to seek the removal of pastors from the roster because they had failed to meet an expectation in V&E.

I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #196 on: December 31, 2011, 12:47:53 PM »
As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

Brian,

It is clear that the ELCA does not consider having a common Father a sufficient basis for unity.  It does not even consider having a common Father a necessary basis for unity.  Many who refuse to use the prayer Our Lord taught us to pray are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.  And yet, I'm sure that if I refused to pray with those who will not pray the Our Father, but pray to another god, I would be called the schismatic.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #197 on: December 31, 2011, 01:03:34 PM »
As I recall, this sub-thread began with the question of what is our unity. I said that it begins with having a common Father. That is not all that is involved in uniting a group of people in a family or a congregation or a denomination. There is an old saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." My hunch is that when factions within a congregation no longer gather to pray together, the unity given them by God is eroding.

Brian,

It is clear that the ELCA does not consider having a common Father a sufficient basis for unity.  It does not even consider having a common Father a necessary basis for unity.  Many who refuse to use the prayer Our Lord taught us to pray are considered members in good standing of the ELCA.  And yet, I'm sure that if I refused to pray with those who will not pray the Our Father, but pray to another god, I would be called the schismatic.

I'm a little confused. I've read this a few times in this thread. Who are the "many" who refuse to pray the Lord's Prayer? I've never heard of that before, except possibly for the apostates and heretics at "herchurch" that the ELCA embraces with open arms.
 

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #198 on: December 31, 2011, 01:26:36 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44630
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #199 on: December 31, 2011, 01:50:17 PM »
I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.


I don't see the ELCA has having any affairs. They haven't turned to other gods (although some claim that about one congregation in San Francisco, but they aren't using ELCA materials).


A husband must be faithful the vows and the rules of marriage, he must remain faithful to his wife. Within those rules there are many "may" clauses, he may be the one who takes out the garbage, changes the oil in the cars, mows the grass, has an every Friday night date night with his wife, etc.


There are rules within the ELCA that congregations and clergy and bishops must follow, e.g., 2/3 majority vote of those present to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. If those rules are not followed precisely, the bishop declares that the congregation remains part of the ELCA. (I've heard of cases where bishops have helped congregations to properly follow these rules so that there are no misunderstandings about what must be done to leave the ELCA.)


There are also many "may" rules -- especially in terms of disciplining congregations and clergy. Congregations are not to call non-rostered pastors without permission of the bishop. When they do act contrary to this rule, the bishop may call for the removal of the congregation, which only requires a vote of the synod council -- not the whole disciplinary hearing process (see 9.23.). In nearly every case, bishops opted not to discipline congregations who had called ECP ordained clergy who were not on the ELCA roster. Prior to 2009, there were very few rostered homosexual clergy in committed relationships. Most of those in the news, e.g., Jeff Johnson and Anita Hill, were not on the ELCA clergy roster prior to 2009. They were not subject to disciplinary actions by a synod bishop.
"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]

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3055
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #200 on: December 31, 2011, 02:09:47 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."
Peter Kruse

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

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #201 on: December 31, 2011, 02:22:01 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3055
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #202 on: December 31, 2011, 02:35:01 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.

Oh dear . . . . !  :o


(Maybe you could take steps to make sure no one mistakes your attribution of the quote for a signature?)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 02:37:40 PM by Dadoo »
Peter Kruse

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

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #203 on: December 31, 2011, 03:42:08 PM »
To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order.

That sentence is so spot-on correct that I have adopted it as my forum post tagline.

Oh dear . . . . !  :o


(Maybe you could take steps to make sure no one mistakes your attribution of the quote for a signature?)

Done!

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44630
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #204 on: December 31, 2011, 04:04:41 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

It actually is not. To be honest, I regret that I used the image/ metaphor of family and applied it to the ELCA. I should know after all these years that we tend to take metaphors and drive them of the highest cliff possible in short order. Brian wasted no time doing so. (Good thing, BTW. I was getting worried about him before Christmas. His posts sounded "off" somehow. He is back to normal and I am glad to see it.)

On a really pragmatic and deadly realist plain, this is not an issue at all unless one wants it to be. A congregation can leave the ELCA. Marriage metaphors really do not apply there. We have a process to do this and as long as the landing spot the congregation is proposing is Lutheran, the rest is pretty much mechanics. Which makes the situation in Eau Claire simple as well. The vote failed, a constitutional crisis arises when the congregation none the less goes through with their intent to join the proposed destination denomination. Now what? Some who really wanted the congregation to stay ELCA sued, to what end we can only wonder. The congregation still considers itself ELCA at some level - the president made that statement to a member of the consultation committee in parting by her own reporting. The fact that they bothered to show up in the first place suggests that they remain aware of their affiliation.

But, at some point in April, and we read all about it here, there was a vote and a fallout from it. Fights and intrigue were reported. The question that continues to remain is this: What do you say to a congregation that has decided to vote to leave? Surely we can do better than: "Well, the issue is not church dividing there fore you should not leave . . ."  Erma reports that proposing a way of the cross plea is a hard sell. So what does one say?

Come on all you aspiring bishops! You know you are out there trying to keep your heads down avoiding leaving a paper trail: Now is your chance. Tell us what you would say to reason with a congregation that has said: "Enough! We are leaving for the LCMC."


I still think the marriage analogy works. A man wants to marry another woman, but he can't until he's been legally divorced from his wife. The congregation wants to affiliate with another denomination. They can't until they have legally separated from their present denomination -- something they did not do. As pastors, when we hear that a marriage is falling apart, we counsel or refer the couple to counseling to try and preserve the marriage.
"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]

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #205 on: December 31, 2011, 04:24:41 PM »
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #206 on: December 31, 2011, 07:17:16 PM »
Once again, we confuse "unitiy" in the faith, with the more earthly matter of unity and responsibility within the ELCA.
It is that second unity that seems to trouble people. "Unity" in the faith does not mean that one who wants to be a membe of the ELCA or an ordained pastor in the ELCA may neglect or refuse the earthly requirements of those things. If one is expelled from the ELCA or leaves the ELCA, that unity in the faith may continue. But the lesser unity within the ELCA does not.
Someone who leaves the ELCA to become a Mormon or an evangelical sectarian no longer shares a unity in the faith with those of us in the ELCA. Those who leave fo another church body, no longer share the unity and fellowship of the ELCA in the same way as before.
Why is it so hard to keep those things distinct and to understand them?

Who is we?  I certainly don't confuse the two.  I allege that in their attempts to justify the 2009 policy changes and talk people into staying in the ELCA, that our leaders did that.  I criticize ELCA spokespersons for making a claim that they know doesn't stand up.  They made the claim that unity in faith is sufficient for denominational unity.  They criticized those leaving for allowing matters of the left hand realm to divide the ELCA.  They should have been able to make the distinction that you make above, but failed to do so.  Were they careless or disingenuous?  I don't know.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 07:50:06 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #207 on: December 31, 2011, 07:31:06 PM »
I think this fits the analogy of the philandering husband lecturing his estranged wife on fidelity.  When he was busy having affairs, he understood the vows to say that he "may" be faithful.  After his wife left him, he interpreted them to say that she was "required" to remain with him.


I don't see the ELCA has having any affairs. They haven't turned to other gods (although some claim that about one congregation in San Francisco, but they aren't using ELCA materials).


A husband must be faithful the vows and the rules of marriage, he must remain faithful to his wife. Within those rules there are many "may" clauses, he may be the one who takes out the garbage, changes the oil in the cars, mows the grass, has an every Friday night date night with his wife, etc.


There are rules within the ELCA that congregations and clergy and bishops must follow, e.g., 2/3 majority vote of those present to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. If those rules are not followed precisely, the bishop declares that the congregation remains part of the ELCA. (I've heard of cases where bishops have helped congregations to properly follow these rules so that there are no misunderstandings about what must be done to leave the ELCA.)


There are also many "may" rules -- especially in terms of disciplining congregations and clergy. Congregations are not to call non-rostered pastors without permission of the bishop. When they do act contrary to this rule, the bishop may call for the removal of the congregation, which only requires a vote of the synod council -- not the whole disciplinary hearing process (see 9.23.). In nearly every case, bishops opted not to discipline congregations who had called ECP ordained clergy who were not on the ELCA roster. Prior to 2009, there were very few rostered homosexual clergy in committed relationships. Most of those in the news, e.g., Jeff Johnson and Anita Hill, were not on the ELCA clergy roster prior to 2009. They were not subject to disciplinary actions by a synod bishop.

It sounds like more of the self-justification and blame shifting of the philanderer.  I have dealt with many husbands who felt they never really violated their marriage vows.  Sure, they violated the spirit of their vows, but not the letter.  Not really. 

If a husband had the attitude that you have, I would advise his estranged wife not to reconcile with him.  He thinks he did nothing wrong, and will do the same as soon as she returns to him.

Likewise, although I am staying in the ELCA, I have no illusions that all of its leaders will abide by the spirit of HSGT.  They might refrain from violating the letter, but like you, many feel free to violate the spirit of those policies, as long as there are "mays" that give them wiggle room.  If a bishop decides that "traditonalists" will not serve in his/her synod, they will do so with impunity.  If a bishop wants to pressure a congregation into calling a pastor in a same gender relationship, he/she will go right ahead.  Hopefully the next generation of ELCA bishops will have a different attitude toward their duties than some did prior to 2009. 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 07:53:10 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Coach-Rev

  • Guest
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #208 on: December 31, 2011, 07:34:42 PM »
that all those who disagree with the ELCA are beleaguered, falsely persecuted and unjustly ignored by bishops. (When the real reason may be that they are whining and complaining people who poison the atmosphere of a congregation and or a synod and use their ideology as a cover for incompetence.)

Gone three days and I see more sputum from the resident mouthpiece again.  So when you were falsely persecuted and ignored by your Bishop, was it also that the real reason was your incessant whining and complaining and poisoning the atmosphere of your congregation and synod and using your liberal ideology as a cover for your incompetence?   >:(

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #209 on: December 31, 2011, 07:41:31 PM »
At this point, I am no longer interested in trying to "make" anyone stay in the ELCA. First of all, I can't do it. If they do not agree with my reasons for staying, I probably can't convince them. Then, once that "decision" - even semi-undecided - is made, I favor letting the process go forward. If the final decision to leave is made, they should go. If the decision to stay is made, some others might decide to go, and then I say: "Go."
I would rather focus on what the ELCA is, rather than on what the LCA, ALC or AELC (or LCMS or ULCA, or Augustana) were.
I support those who responsibly work for change or who learn how to stay even if they don't agree with everything. I'm getting fed up with those who can't get over the idea that their views did not prevail.

Fortunatley, I don't need to look to you for reasons to stay in the ELCA.  Most of the ELCA pastors I deal with have moved beyond the lame tropes that characterized the attempt to hold things together in 2009-2010.  I argue with you and Brian because you insist on recycling them. 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 07:48:09 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?