Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101404 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #480 on: March 08, 2012, 11:50:16 PM »
My guess?  Take a hundred people who either don't want to be part of a church or were "churched" but are now no longer, and you will get a hundred various mixes of reasons.  Several themes will recur, but each will have their own individual mix of reasons.  Those reasons may even in some cases be the real reasons, or close to it.  People lie to those who ask personal questions, people even lie to themselves.


Are you claiming that the answer, "The church was no longer important to us" is really a lie?
"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 #481 on: March 09, 2012, 02:47:45 AM »
Pastor Charlton writes:
Does Charles_Austin believe that constitutes a statistically valid survey of opinion in the ELCA?

I comment:
Ninety percent of the people I see each week have nothing to do with the ELCA, and a lot of them have nothing to do with the "church." Often, if there is the slightest opening - and that is rare - my mission is to try to show them that the "church" is not what they think it is.
You don't have to believe me, but I'll say it anyway. None of them are not in "church" because they think it is too liberal.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #482 on: March 09, 2012, 07:19:56 AM »
The loss of members Church in this country does indeed have many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that society now believes you can be a socially acceptable person even if you don't attend church.  The fact of the matter is that many of those who no long attend never really believed in the first place.  Their loss is not the unmitigated disaster people seem to feel.  The church is for the elect, not the merely "good". 

That said, it would be silly to look at the membership trends and deny that the so-call mainline churches have lost more members at faster rates than other denominations.  I saw some recent numbers on the UMC indicating that their losses in the US are accelerating and the average age of their members is pushing Medicare levels.  In fact, if you look at the numbers of all the denominations with whom the ELCA has fellowship, you will find that they are the leaders of the collapsing membership.  Something is wrong there and pretending it isn't is silly.

Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured.  It's a complex subject but it is not beyond analysis and the analysis would seem to be something like this: There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #483 on: March 09, 2012, 07:55:07 AM »
Pastor Culler writes:
The fact of the matter is that many of those who no long attend never really believed in the first place.  Their loss is not the unmitigated disaster people seem to feel.  The church is for the elect, not the merely "good". 

I muse:
I find this a little cold-hearted. And it indicates how seriously we failed to teach people what being "in church" really meant.

Pastor Culler writes:
Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured. .... There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.

I comment:
Again, this does not track. If people have left off church participation because it is now "socially acceptable" to stay home on Sunday morning, then what is going on in those churches would seem to have little to do with why they left. And some studies from the Pew and Barna researchers suggest that a good bit of the decline might be because churches are seen as too "conservative" or unwilling to change.

Coach-Rev

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #484 on: March 09, 2012, 08:07:45 AM »
Brian, this shows how out touch the ELCA is with the common pew people. As well, people were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.  After, CWA 2009, and the decree comes into effect, the plug was pulled, and the water started to drain out of the ELCA, and still is.

The Leadership wasn't interested in what we believed, what we felt, or why money was with held from the ELCA before and after the fact.

To make this type of comment just show you how out of touch you and HQ, and the Bishops have been over the past few decades.  I really find your comment disingenuous, to say the least.  :o ::)


A comprehensive study was done by Presbyterians on membership losses before 2009. Their conclusion was what I stated. Our denominations were losing members before 2009. If the ELCA and LCMS and WELS are loosing members at about the same rate, it cannot be attributed to being liberal or conservative.

All that shows is that in spite of what those left behind in the ELCA might claim, the reason people have left is NOT just about sex.  This is, of course, the argument that has been presented time and time again by those who HAVE left, but is dismissed by those who remain and support the ELCA (or the PCUSA or whatever denom you wish to choose), and is not worth re-hashing here again.

Quote
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world. A friend's daughter returned to the church because of the 2009 vote. I doubt that she is the only one.

I thought we were called to stand apart from the world? Do I really need to quote Scripture on that repeated emphasis, such as in places like Romans 12:1-2 - "Do not conform to the patterns of the world, but be transformed..." ??  Your statement speaks volumes about the fundamental rift that exists today within Christendom.

Chuck Sampson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #485 on: March 09, 2012, 08:47:41 AM »
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."

Does Charles_Austin believe that constitutes a statistically valid survey of opinion in the ELCA?
Only if it fits his template . . .

D. Engebretson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #486 on: March 09, 2012, 08:50:37 AM »
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

The church is not called to line itself up with the "secular world."  It is called to proclaim the Word of God regardless of what the "secular world" thinks.  I'm concerned about where this line of reasoning would ultimately take the church. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #487 on: March 09, 2012, 09:11:47 AM »
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.

Keith Falk

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #488 on: March 09, 2012, 09:21:57 AM »
Someone writes:
The major issue in the loss of church members regardless of where the denomination is on the liberal-conservative spectrum is that people today just aren't interested in religion. From studies I read years ago, most of the people who are not attending church are not staying away because of what a church did or didn't do, what a church believes or doesn't believe, but because church is just not a priority in their lives. Many other things are more important.

Then this someone writes:
People were leaving before CWA2009, because they saw what was coming and they had no voice in it.
I comment:
Well, which is it, "confessional Lutheran"? First you say people don't care, then you say people left because they "saw what was coming" and "had no voice." But if they didn't care, why would it matter to them whether they had voice or not. So which is it?
    Do some serious research on what people think about churches today or at least talk to some of the non-churched or those who want to be "spiritual" but not "religious" before making such sweeping and inaccurate statements.
Charles, you now see the problem when people do NOT use the quote function.  The "Someone" (who, if one were to use literary criticim in looking through and/or remembering posters of the past, can be discerned) was quoting Brian's paragraph.  He did not use the quote function; he typed, "Brian:" then proceeded to copy what Brian had typed earlier, then the "Someone" began his own thoughts.
If folks used the quote function, not only would it remove unneccessary commentary and the chance to passively-aggressively insult someone by not using their name, then the chance for mistaken understandings is less likely to happen.
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

Ken Kimball

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #489 on: March 09, 2012, 09:33:15 AM »
Pastor Culler writes:
Losses directly attached to certain church decisions are not losses to the Church at large but losses to particular denominations.  They can be isolated and measured. .... There has been a general decline in church membership due to social changes that have been at work for over 40 years.  Mainline churches have led this decline, especially as their members have joined other denominations for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is dismay at the tearing of the fabric of orthodox teaching in those same denominations.

I comment:
Again, this does not track. If people have left off church participation because it is now "socially acceptable" to stay home on Sunday morning, then what is going on in those churches would seem to have little to do with why they left. And some studies from the Pew and Barna researchers suggest that a good bit of the decline might be because churches are seen as too "conservative" or unwilling to change.
  Then, Pr. Austin, the ELCA should be seeing a big uptick in new members or at least in retention of members because it certainly has demonstrated its willingness to change and shed its conservative baggage.  How's that working out? 
Ken

James Gustafson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #490 on: March 09, 2012, 09:40:36 AM »
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.

Your premise is flawed on at least two levels.  One, we are not smarter today, as individuals, then we were in the past.  You are thinking of technological knowledge but technological knowledge itself has long been ruled out as a meaningful barometer of intelligence, intelligence tests today purposely and vigorously attempt to remove such advantages from test results.  One quick example would be to point out how it seems grand-children quickly adapt to the newest technological gadgets of the day and their elders are left dumbfounded.   And yet, the technological knowledge of the youth in no way anticipates a meaningful long term outcome over that of their parents or grandparents.  e.g., A professor of theoretical physics may never understand how to reset the GPS reader in his grandchild's iPad, but the grand child may never have the mental skill set required competently pass an auto-repair course at the local technical college.  Now stretch that out over centuries and you see why technological knowledge can not be the measuring tool we use to evaluate the "IQ" of our ancestors.  Rather, problem solving and the ability to view topics from diverse angles and perspectives reveals far more and produces a much more reliable result.

Two, from a Christian theological perspective, your premise that the world is trustworthy because God gave it to us and loves those in it is flawed because it runs directly contrary to what Christ said about the world and a worldly out look. 

D. Engebretson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #491 on: March 09, 2012, 09:49:15 AM »
Being "in tune" with the "secular world" seems to frighten some people. I do not understand why. This is the world that God has given us; and the people in it are God's creation and those who need to hear the Gospel. The world that God has given us - today - also includes the knowledge we have gained through science, technology, psychology and numerous other things.
For heaven's sake, can we not admit that those worthies of past centuries did not have some of this knowledge? So, yes, indeed, I say without reservation, we are smarter than they were. But we all reach God in the same way, through Christ, and God reaches us in the same way as previously, sometimes directly, more often by the workings of this wonderful world that is God's creation.
Personally, I believe it is an insult to God to act as if our "modern" knowledge is somehow intrinsically corrupt or will inevitably erode faith.
Our ancestors in the faith were not "ignorant rubes," many of them were the smart people of their time. blessed by God with their intelligence and dedication.
But I do not want Martin Luther's doctor at my bedside.
Why do we fear the secular world? Or, if it is so fearful, why not become hermits or monastics? I don't see many people going that route.

I think there is a difference here that I failed to communicate in my last post.  I am not "afraid" of modern knowledge.  I studied the sciences and other 'secular' disciplines in college just like many. As one who spent part of my academic years in psychology, I respect the many findings in that field as well, and have undoubtedly applied some of it in my daily ministry. Of course, I also recognize their limitations, as you have as well, and do not take the discoveries of any era as absolute truth.  However, when we talk about the "thinking of the secular world," as Pr. Stroffregen phrased it, we are talking about more than just the collective information gained by formal learning.  We are also talking about the attitudes, opinions and social customs of the world and our own culture.  It was to these that I was addressing my remarks.  Even Paul informs us not to be conformed to the general thinking and behavior of the world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds.  In this sense the church often becomes 'counter-cultural.'  We do not follow the world's trends simply because a majority adopt them.  We speak the truth in love, recognizing that we must judge some of the culturally driven behaviors that result in actions and beliefs outside of God's will.  Now, within that realm I realize you and I disagree with what constitutes God's will, especially when it comes to areas such as human sexuality.  But my point is that I am not running scared from science and the revealed knowledge of the left kingdom.  I am critiquing the social trends and opinions with the revealed Word of God. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #492 on: March 09, 2012, 10:35:50 AM »
Both Mr. Gustafson and Pastor Engebretson, it seems to me, go to great lengths to avoid saying they don't trust "modern" knowledge or find that it threatens their faith.
They are not, I think, "fundamentalists" in the narrow sense; but I don't know how they reconcile the Bible's "geology" and "astronomy" with what we know from that dread "modern" science.

Pilgrim

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #493 on: March 09, 2012, 10:40:33 AM »
Well, not everyone lies, Pastor Fienen. I sit with people every week who often tell me personal things, and have no reason to assume they are lying. And believe me, most of them are not mad at the church for being "too liberal."

Tim opines: To quote that fine 21st century fictional theologian, Dr. Gregory House, "Everyone lies." Which is certainly in keeping with the outcomes of Genesis 3. Sometimes the world might just get the theology more accurate than the church!  ;)
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Pilgrim

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #494 on: March 09, 2012, 10:43:48 AM »
I believe that the ELCA is quite in tune with the thinking of the secular world.

Tim notes: THAT is one of the saddest statements I've ever read on this board, from anyone. It speaks untold volumes. :( :( :( :(
Pr. Tim Christ, STS