Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 96438 times)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #210 on: January 01, 2012, 10:32:08 AM »
Pastor Cottingham writes:
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?
 
I comment:
I never said I was "falsely persecuted and ignored" by my bishop. I said I was told by more than one bishop that because of my views, I would probably not get a call in their synods. And I might have - at times - taken on the role of the young know-it-all firebrand out to reform the church and save the world, purifying and reforming both according to what I knew without a doubt was God's intention.
I went on to a varied career inside and outside of the church. It may even be that the Holy Spirit was at work in those bishops who didn't want me around way back there in the early 1970s.

amos

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #211 on: January 01, 2012, 02:23:03 PM »
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.   

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #212 on: January 01, 2012, 03:02:41 PM »
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.

Don Whitbeck

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #213 on: January 01, 2012, 04:16:15 PM »
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.

Thank you George, well stated!  Happy New Year!

Peace,

The Voice of God will NEVER Contradict the Word of God

amos

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #214 on: January 01, 2012, 06:37:27 PM »
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #215 on: January 01, 2012, 06:48:57 PM »
In reality, at some point "OUR" views about the ELCA (or any other group) are not all that important.  I doubt that our God is all that concerned about "our" personal views (either side of the various issues).  I honestly believe he is more concerned about the great commission that He gave to all of us and what we "ALL" are doing about that.

Can you be sure of that? Isn't the issue being characterised as "our" views actually our attempts to understand and communicate God's views? People seem to always leave a verse out of the Great Commission quote.
 
Matthew 28.16-20 
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we are to be teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded the Disciples, then doesn't getting correct what Jesus taught have some measure of importance? Why must so many, many participants in this forum, and other venues for Christian discussion, throw up their hands in despair over all discussions of nuances of meaning and revert to boiling the entire sum total of all of our theology into a bumper sticker slogan?
 
There are disagreements over how we understand what God's views are. It comes with the territory. But the big is is that what is being dismissed as "our" views are not "ours" because we invented them. We have claimed "our" views as "ours" because we believe that the Holy Spirit is answering our prayers for guidance when we read the Bible, and that we have discovered what God's views are and have adopted them as our own.
 
We might be wrong. Some of us MUST be wrong, since any time two people believe opposite things, one is right and the other is wrong. If anyone believes himself right, he cannot help but believe those who believe the opposite are wrong. If he doesn't believe that those who believe the opposite are wrong, then it is clear he doesn't believe that what he thinks is right. As long as someone who isn't sure about something is honest about not knowing, and admits he doesn't know something (or believe it with faith), that's fine. It's when people claim to believe something with faith and simultaneously assert that they might be wrong or that opposite beliefs could also be true. That is madness.
 
Our actions are important. Getting our actions right is important. And that means that getting our understandings of God's views right and adopting them as our own is important.


Jesus is clear that the most important command he has taught us is love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (He goes even further in Matthew 5 and commands us to love our neighbors.)


Also, with Jesus "right" and "wrong" get a bit muddled. Was it the right thing to put Jesus death? By most standards of justice the answer is "No". He had done nothing that deserved the penalty of death. It was a lynching. Yet, he predicted it would happen. He could have stopped it from happening. Wouldn't that have been the right thing to do -- to stop an unjust act? But he doesn't. If Jesus had not been crucified, we would have nothing to preach. There would not be the resurrection.


Divergent views do not always become right and wrong. Sometimes they are just different views. Sometimes one approach works with some people; but another approach is necessary for another group of people. Is there one right way of teaching math or English to students? I believe that the most effective teachers will use a variety of ways of teaching to try and reach all of the students.

"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]

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #216 on: January 01, 2012, 08:23:37 PM »
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!

When discussing something people are passionate about, the discussions can get passionate. If you want bland, vanilla, polite chit-chat, that can be found in fora where people discuss stamp collecting. The thing is, the line between "slamming" another denomination and disagreeing with a core principle that defines that denomination and makes it what it is is very, very fine.

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #217 on: January 02, 2012, 09:26:46 AM »
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.

Charles,

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation. DCharlton recalls in very recent pages what the characterization from our side, ELCA, has been of those who have departed: "Schismatic, unreasonable, benighted, etc."  Many anecdotes exist. They tell stories of ELCA officials, prominent members or vocal groups in clutches of clergy saying in effect: "Good riddance! They were defective anyhow." Stories from Iowa tell of long standing friendships with synodical leadership suddenly turning into consultation addresses that clearly state that the pastor has been disloyal, disingenuous, dishonest, intellectually deficient, is intentionally misleading the congregation, and that the representative is now here to educate the congregation properly. The lines that then follow are reported to be the "this is not church dividing," or "you will not have to call," or "the bible was really not at issue," bromides. Our pages attest to ire with bishops who did take this tack in consultation.  One the other side, I have seen my own bishop attacked in public for not putting up the nastiest fight possible to make congregations stay ELCA.

These are all anecdotes and need to be collected and assembled at some point. I am really hoping that will also bring to light positive, lucid arguments that are being recalled by those who heard them. My sense is that the reasons that do in the end allow an individual or a congregation to stay are intangible and attest to the complex tapestry of thought that individuals and sometimes congregations are certainly capable of, so it might be a difficult project. Yet, at the same time, we have recently expanded the consultation time that will be needed to depart the ELCA and we made changes in the methodology employed in the process. I am certain that the idea that it will keep more congregations ELCA is misguided if the argument made during those consultations is not considerably better than ad hominem attack against leadership or questions concerning the congregation's common sense. Such counter attacks merely drive the listeners deeper into their position. Creating a good rationale to remain is therefore not a bad next step after changing the methods of departure.

ANd should that rationale not be similar to how we attracted people to the ECLA in the first place? Yes, we attract them one at a time, I know, but should those arguments not be expandable? It has no doubt been noticed by everyone here that the ELCA has not exactly grown recently. To put it in different words: we weren't growing with the departed congregations in our fold, what gives us reason to think we will now grow without them? (NALC and LCMC can ask that question in modified form.) So I would think that being able to make a solid argument for staying ELCA is actually an investment in the future.
Peter Kruse

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

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #218 on: January 02, 2012, 11:06:47 AM »
My comment was not some kind of a "Can't we just all get along" kind of remark, and I agree with most of what you said George.  However, how often does almost every discussion on this board end up as either slamming the LCMS, or the ELCA, or those who of us who could no longer stay in the ELCA.

I am not interested in bumper sticker theology!  Of course there are issues we all care about  --- deeply --- but so often here --- the arguments are about personal alliances with one branch or another.  They range from John Eck style of cheer leading for a man made institution --- to outright hatred and sarcasm of anyone who does not agree with the one posting.   Since I am so dense, how does that move closer to the great commission?  Over the last few months I have read a whole lot more sarcasm and cheap shots than I have theological discussion. And that is my point!

When discussing something people are passionate about, the discussions can get passionate. If you want bland, vanilla, polite chit-chat, that can be found in fora where people discuss stamp collecting. The thing is, the line between "slamming" another denomination and disagreeing with a core principle that defines that denomination and makes it what it is is very, very fine.


I don't believe anyone's been disagreeing with the core principles of the denominations. No one has opposed the Bible being the Word of God. There are differences about whether that means it has to be inerrant or just inspired. No one has called for throwing out the Book of Concord or the Creeds or the Trinity or Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.


Those are the core principles that define our denominations, whether ELCA, LCMS, LCMC, NALC, TAALC.


The ELCA ordains qualified women and homosexuals in committed relationships which is different than some other denominations; but those are not core principles that define the ELCA. I don't believe I've ever preached a sermon about who can or who can't be ordained. I have preached many sermons about the Trinity and Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and the Bible as the inspired Word of God. We read from scriptures and recite one of the creeds every week. I have quoted from the Book of Concord in sermons. My preaching and teaching does not revolve around who can be ordained.


When critiques disagree with some of this issues that are peripheral to our core beliefs and treat them as the defining principles of the denomination -- that is probably slamming the denomination. It's true whether it's LCMS attacking the ELCA for ordaining women, or the ELCA attacking the LCMS because they do not ordain women. Neither practice is stated in our core confessions of faith.



"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

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #219 on: January 02, 2012, 11:12:38 AM »
I still contend that if one looks at NALC and LCMC, they will "see" the ELCA, except for a couple of things, primarily the refusal to ordain non-celibate homosexuals.
Those denominations, I believe, represent a particular part of the ELCA and do not depart from the core of the ELCA.
There are those who will say that by the decisions of 2009, the ELCA "abandoned the Bible" or leaped off the ship of state that is orthodox Christianity. I still contend that this view erroneously defines Christendom and Lutheranism by a particular interpretation of scripture or a particular sexual ethic.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #220 on: January 02, 2012, 11:15:45 AM »
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.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.
"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]

Team Hesse

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #221 on: January 02, 2012, 11:25:41 AM »
I still contend that this view erroneously defines Christendom and Lutheranism by a particular interpretation of scripture or a particular sexual ethic.

Or, in some cases, a different understanding of justification.

Lou

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #222 on: January 02, 2012, 11:53:48 AM »
The LCMC's website listing of all of their congregations now includes the date when they joined the LCMC. I've bounced that against my database and found 72 ELCA congregations that were welcomed into the LCMC before they left the ELCA. Some joined after a first vote but before their second. But many of them were months or even years before they left. There were 30 congregations that left the ELCA after the 2009 CWA that had joined the LCMC before the CWA, ten of them prior to 2005!
 
It also occurs to me that when organizations divide, they are embarking on a diverging path. It is only natural that they should appear very similar at first, with further changes happening over time. I doubt if the very first Lutheran congregations in Germany were as different from Roman Catholic congregations in the first few years of the Reformation as they became in the fullness of time. If anyone is too short-sighted to recognize the different directions that the LCMC and NALC are taking, and to extrapolate where they are likely to end up in a few generations, I suggest they make a more diligent attempt at research and contemplation.
 
The way that the leadership of the NALC and LCMC look at scripture appears very different from the way that the ELCA looks at it. The ELCA's leadership seems to attempt to determine what outcome they want, then they comb through scripture to find some way to interpret it to match that outcome. That's explains their obsession with "relationships". By recasting the issue from one of activities to one of emotions and feelings, they are able to twist the interpretation of scripture to support the outcome they wanted.
 
At this point in history, there is one particular issue where that sort of fuzzy logic has become a point of contention. Who knows what future issues might next be distorted by that particular lens? Might the commandment "Thou Shall Not Steal" be interpreted to mean that it is only stealing if one takes the property of another that the other deserves to have? Might we not see an interpretation that those who hoard more than their "fair share" are not the true owners of the property they claim as theirs, and so it is not stealing to take it from them? Might we not see an interpretation that since all observation is subjective, and no one can be sure of what they see, all witness regarding anyone else is "false", and therefore no one may any witness against anyone?
 
Who knows? This is speculation on the future. The examples I used are only illustrations. The point is not whether those particular illustrations are likely to come to pass. The point is that once one accepts the practice of "creative interpretation" to achieve a desired outcome, then that practice can be adapted to achieving other outcomes.
 
 
 

Dadoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #223 on: January 02, 2012, 12:20:48 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.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.

As I said: there will be anecdotes on both sides.
Peter Kruse

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

Don Whitbeck

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #224 on: January 02, 2012, 12:32:49 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.

I hope someone will journal all the stories, from both sides of the fence, of congregations embarking on and traveling the perilous road to departure or fracture into an injured ELCA and LCMS/ NALC mission congregation.


A catalogue of anecdotes about how the ELCA's open position has brought people into our church could also be made. A pastor told me that the 2009 brought her daughter back into the church. She is not homosexual, but works in a field that includes many homosexuals. Our vote showed her that her friends are fully accepted in our church.


Another pastor told me how a newspaper article about her as a lesbian in the pulpit caused a young homosexual to call her rather than commit suicide. He believed that God and the world had condemned him because he was gay. Hearing a little about her story gave him hope.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.


I'm sure that there are many other stories about salvation happening because of our open policy and having gays and lesbians in our pulpits.

Really, Brian, and may I ask where is the New Life that Jesus has asked for when a person becomes a new person in Christ?

To me its more about acceptance then anything else, and nothing more.  Your promise of full savation while living in the same _NONE SIN _ isn't what Luther believe in is it? Or for that matter the Teaching of Christ?

« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 08:39:13 PM by Confessional Lutheran »
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