Author Topic: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?  (Read 31483 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #120 on: October 22, 2010, 11:26:29 AM »
Lutherans for Life is not a political organization like National Right to Life. We focus on how to minister to people affected by the reality of abortion. But the premise is that the reality of abortion is a tragedy and unjustifiable in light of the truth of the Christian faith. So we work with charities that give away diapers and formula to poor mothers. We work with counseling pregnant women (and men) about the value of every life. We work with those who have been deceived into approving, having, or paying for an abortion and now are overwhelmed with guilt and regret. And we seek to have human life protected by law. In short, and contra the snide and ill-informed comments upstream about loving babies vs. loving people, it is precisely because we love people of all ages and conditions that we do what we do, and we refuse to treat a baby in the womb as less human or less worthy of life than a two year old or a twenty year old. And we love the two year olds and twenty-year olds and hundred-and-two year-olds with real love, one that forgives rather than assuages the very real guilt of murder, one that serves concrete need with concrete help, one that does not demand that anyone justify their life with usefulness. That's why euthanasia and assisted-suicide, not just abortion, are part of the mission of Lutherans for Life.

In addition, their statements include the six-day creation and inerrancy of scripture -- beliefs that are not the norms in the ELCA -- although there are ELCA folks with those beliefs. Just based on those paragraphs, I would say that they are too LCMS for many ELCAers.
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ptmccain

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #121 on: October 22, 2010, 11:37:49 AM »
It was nothing but a mean-spirited, vile, cheap shot, from a man who said in the same post: "I have no first-hand experience with the ambiance or culture of LFL."

George Erdner

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #122 on: October 22, 2010, 12:20:05 PM »

And, yes, in writing all this I'll point fingers in our (as ELCAers in LFL) direction, too.  If we don't stand up to be counted we ought not complain too much when we think we're being ignored.  It's easy to go along for the ride with those few who do the hard work.  And it is not easy to stand up as a pro-life voice in the ELCA.  Maybe more of us ought to go to the Lutherans for Life website (it's been linked from the beginning on Pastor Zip's Lutheran Links) and let 'em know we're here.

Pax, Steven+

Steven, it is through your blog & links that I first found LFL.  I think it's not well publicized in ELCA circles.  If our LCMS brothers & sisters would talk with their ELCA neighbors once in a while they might find substantial support among the rank and file as well as a segment of pastors who don't even realize there is a Lutheran Pro-Life organization.

I think that is a totally correct and accurate statement. I think that the issues regarding attendance at each others' churches is a smoke screen. As long as it is not well publicized amongst Lutherans in denominations other than the LC-MS (and maybe also WELS), then relatively few Lutherans from the other denominations will even know about it. And, of those few who do know about it, then the misconceptions about the LC-MS will play a part in keeping some from joining.

For the life of me, I cannot understand any anti-abortion organization not devoting large amounts of their operating budget to mass publicity. The #1 single thing that will reduce or even stop abortions is large-scale, persuasive advertising. Hammer the message that "Abortion is wrong" often enough and loudly enough, and that will influence voters to elect legislators who'll pass laws to limit or even end abortion. Any anti-abortion group that hides its light under a bushel (I know, I used that allusion earlier) isn't do all it can do to fight abortion.

I see those goofy "COEXIST" bumper stickers all the time. "Lutherans For Life" bumper stickers should be just as ubiquitous. If that happened, then you would see a lot Lutherans from all denominations approaching Lutherans For Life.

George Erdner

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #123 on: October 22, 2010, 12:22:00 PM »
Who got to read that, aside from people who visit the LC-MS website? Where is that invitation published, aside from the LC-MS website?
YOU did, George.

No, I didn't. I saw the link and read the except, but I didn't follow the link.

ptmccain

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #124 on: October 22, 2010, 12:26:13 PM »
George, LFL has a massive publicity machine and regularly mails information out throughout The LCMS and the ELCA.

Is it really any surprise that, by and large, there are less ELCA pastors and congregations involved in Lutherans for Life than Lutherans from church bodies that do not condone abortion, and pay for it, for any reason, in their health plans up to twenty weeks?


Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #125 on: October 22, 2010, 01:17:20 PM »
Steven, it is through your blog & links that I first found LFL.  I think it's not well publicized in ELCA circles.  If our LCMS brothers & sisters would talk with their ELCA neighbors once in a while they might find substantial support among the rank and file as well as a segment of pastors who don't even realize there is a Lutheran Pro-Life organization.

(Let's note that this thread began 3 years ago.)  

As an ELCA congregation we receive materials from LFL 2-3 times a year -- in fact the promotion for Life Sunday 2011 (January 16) arrived in the mail this week.  And our chapter's mailings to congregations go to ELCA congregations, too.  Though at times that continued only because I was at the meetings and rather insisted -- for we rarely got any feedback one way or another from the local ELCA congregations, even from the couple of strongly pro-life pastors!

Like all mailings it has to go through the various filters -- Parish Secretary, Pastor(s), Social Ministry Committee, etc.  If any one of those is hostile to LFL, forget it.  Even many who are strongly pro-life will be gun shy about drawing too much attention.  You might say that there are many who are hostile to the possibility of raising a controversy, especially if they've not expressed a strong point-of-view on social issues.  Or at least who prefer to not open up the possibility of the kind of sniping we can count on getting here from a few ELCAers whenever this subject is raised.  

And if it does make it to a general announcement, we all know how well people pay attention to general announcements.  

The feedback our local LFL chapter has gotten from ELCA congregations over 15 years is esentially nil.  I think I'm the only ELCAer who has actually ever shown up for meetings.  (For many of our years, of them, I've been the only pastor who's showed up, except for the founding pastors inthe early years, one of whom moved, the other who has other priorities -- with the current pastoral advisor being a retired LCMS pastor who is able to attend the meetings more regularly than I.)   We are the only ELCA congregation that consistently participates in their general activities (and this is because I've been encouraged by the quiet LFL members in my congregation), though in the past a couple of others have joined in once or twice for one-time events.  

Pax, Steven+
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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #126 on: October 22, 2010, 01:21:55 PM »

I have no first-hand experience with the ambiance or culture of LFL, but apparently Pastor Tibbetts does and I trust his words.

It would have been easier to believe your "trust" if you hadn't immediately followed with:

Quote
I do not think I would find LFL a congenial way to express my opposition to abortion or to work for ways to reduce the number of abortions.


spt+
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kls

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #127 on: October 22, 2010, 01:28:19 PM »
If I might chime back in again as someone who is very passionate on this issue, there are really three ways that I see it by which Christians can get involved in pro-life work.

1.  Political - Right to Life organizations (national, state, local chapters); you lobby at the political level to effect change
2.  Informational - You collect and disseminate information on the subject.  LFL falls into this category.
3.  Counseling - You support or volunteer at a local pregnancy resource center or pro-life medical clinic to be the caring hands, feet and face of Jesus for women contemplating abortion (or seeking recovery from one)

Picketing an abortion clinic can fall in either 1 or 3, I suppose, but I prefer #3 to them all, personally.  Regardless of whether Lutherans for Life seems like an organization that you feel you could or couldn't get involved with, your local pregnancy center is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  They're the last line of defense against Satan and his deceptive tactics, so if you are pro-life, visit yours today and see first hand the good they're doing.  If you or someone you know needs help recovering from an abortion, Lutherans for Life sponsors a ministry that can help (Word of Hope), otherwise, they're typically more of an informational ministry.


George Erdner

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #128 on: October 22, 2010, 01:38:27 PM »
George, LFL has a massive publicity machine and regularly mails information out throughout The LCMS and the ELCA.

And just how well is that working for you?  Remember, between 2002 and 2008, I was in the narthex of around two dozen different ELCA churches a year. Many of them were churches with no pastor who had lay people taking care of business. I don't recall ever seing a Lutherans For Life brochure in any narthex literature stand.

Is it really any surprise that, by and large, there are less ELCA pastors and congregations involved in Lutherans for Life than Lutherans from church bodies that do not condone abortion, and pay for it, for any reason, in their health plans up to twenty weeks?


Considering how many ELCA pastors don't accept the BS that the ELCA puts out about abortion, I would be surprised if a large number of ELCA pastors didn't make that information available. You seem to be operating under the assumption that the clergy and pewsitters all follow the stuff that comes out of Higgins Road as if it actually meant something.

Russ Saltzman

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #129 on: October 22, 2010, 01:59:34 PM »
When I originally posted this inquiry way back in lo! 2007 I was a board member of Lutherans for Life. I was asked to join more or less because I was an ELCA pastor and there was interest in expanding the LFL membership to include more ELCA Lutherans. I think the numbers of then-current ELCA members I reported was way, way off, and I cannot say why. It is perhaps because, my impression, LFL doesn't keep track of Lutheran affiliations among the members very well. Or maybe I just got hold of the wrong statistical set.

I am no longer a board member. I wisely resigned a year into it . . . because I was a lousy board member. LFL deserved someone with a longer attention span, fewer family obligations at home, and a lively interest in being made to discuss things in a committee. On those grounds, I was uniquely unqualified.

However, the people I met through LFL were, first of all, pro-life, and second, Lutheran, and so far as I could tell, only incidentally Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. No one I ever met thought of LFL as a uniquely LCMS outfit. Nor do their hiring practices necessarily reflect that.

In 2009 I was one of the workshop leaders at the LFL national convention in St. Louis. The featured speaker for the evening was a Roman Catholic, and I shared a dinner table with four different kinds of Lutherans, by my count, including one of the LFL staffers, an ELCA lay woman. Several ELCA people attended my workshop.

I didn't meet any nuts, crazy people, or other assortments of unlikable sorts.

Bottom line for me, there is no other Lutheran organization for pro-life Lutherans.

I think - an opinion, but I hope a not uninformed opinion - the low number of ELCA members in Lutherans for Life reflects an ELCA denominational culture that ignores abortion and dismisses pro-life efforts as socially divisive. An ELCA member who tried to create an LFL congregational chapter would be unwelcome in most ELCA congregations. I doubt very much that any ELCA congregation would carry LFL pro-life inserts - or pro-life inserts of any sort - in Sunday's bulletin. But I do know of at least two that have carried Planned Parenthood materials.

The ELCA statement on abortion - which I once described as "theological road kill" - and the practice of the ELCA health plan in treating elective abortion as a reimbursable medical expense precludes the possibility of most ELCA pastors from doing anything publicly in the congregation to support, endorse, or encourage LFL membership. It prevents them from offering any public encouragement for any opposition to abortion.

(An aside, I am no longer a member of the health plan; I quit in the early 1990s when the ELCA church council forced the Board of Pensions into the business of paying for elective abortions. My private health insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City, will not pay for an elective abortion.)

My in-laws in South Carolina are the Roman Catholic diocesan representatives to Forty Days for Life. It is a heavily ecumenical outfit. There are no ELCA congregations participating, nor any ELCA Lutherans individually that I am aware of.

In 2002 at the Central States Synod assembly a number of us produced a resolution forming a task force to gather resource materials for women who might be seeking an alternative to abortion. We were attacked, viciously I think, from the floor by an array of people who each more or less suggested that even providing such material was a denial of a woman's right to choose. (The resolution passed, narrowly.)

Gregory Davidson suggests above that LCMS folks themselves start talking to ELCA people. That's not bad, but I am doubtful. I would like to hear of any one Lutherans for Life representative being allowed to introduce LFL to an ELCA council meeting.
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RevSteve

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #130 on: October 22, 2010, 02:07:33 PM »

OK maybe this is a stupid question but just how does one "join" Lutherans for Life? I have gone to the web-site and have not found anything about membership.
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #131 on: October 22, 2010, 02:28:41 PM »

No one I ever met thought of LFL as a uniquely LCMS outfit. Nor do their hiring practices necessarily reflect that.

Let me confirm this.  

Quote
I think - an opinion, but I hope a not uninformed opinion - the low number of ELCA members in Lutherans for Life reflects an ELCA denominational culture that ignores abortion and dismisses pro-life efforts as socially divisive. An ELCA member who tried to create an LFL congregational chapter would be unwelcome in most ELCA congregations. I doubt very much that any ELCA congregation would carry LFL pro-life inserts - or pro-life inserts of any sort - in Sunday's bulletin.

Spot on, Russ, regarding the "ELCA denominational culture."  However Zion, Peoria, is one ELCA congregation that does carry LFL bulletin inserts -- thanks to the Peoria Area Lutherans for Life who provide them to all the area Lutheran congregations 2-3 times a year.  We also have copies of the LFL brochure on stem cell research in the tract rack (along with brochures from the Women's Pregnancy Center in Peoria).  I am confident that, while there are likely not many, we are not unique.

And while our mid-'90s Central/Southern Illinois Synod Assembly discussions on abortion were the most disheartening things I had exerienced in the ELCA (until the last couple of years), let me find a copy of a resolution adopted a couple of years ago by the Northern Illinois Synod Assembly to post here.

Pax, Steven+  
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 02:33:11 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #132 on: October 22, 2010, 02:42:18 PM »

OK maybe this is a stupid question but just how does one "join" Lutherans for Life? I have gone to the web-site and have not found anything about membership.

Click the "give" links.  There is a http://www.lutheransforlife.org/membership/ page that you'll find from there that tells of membership benefits.  

And, yes, you might drop them an e-mail and tell them that "Join" ought to be a prominent word on the front page.  And in looking at the front page, it occurs to me that having CPH as the distributor of LFL materials is be a double-edged sword.

Pax, Steven+
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 06:29:22 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Richard Johnson

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Re: A Call for a Public Apology for Slanderous Remarks
« Reply #133 on: October 22, 2010, 03:01:59 PM »
I still do not consider LFL people "mean-spirited cranks," though I suspect some of them might be.

Charles, slapping a smiley face at the end of a brutal slander is not funny, whimsical or otherwise. So, spare us yet another, "My effort at whimsy failed" cop-out excuse.  Your comment is simply, and only, mean-spirited passive-aggresive behavior. You say: "I suspect some of them might be." On what basis do you "suspect" this? Either provide proof for your "suspicion" or withdraw it, and apologize for the remark.

Overreaction of the week award. I suspect some people in any given group might be mean-spirited cranks. I know I sat next to one on an airplane recently.
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #134 on: October 22, 2010, 03:03:45 PM »
ptmccain wrote:
Charles, slapping a smiley face at the end of a brutal slander is not funny, whimsical or otherwise. So, spare us yet another, "My effort at whimsy failed" cop-out excuse.  Your comment is simply, and only, mean-spirited passive-aggresive behavior. You say: "I suspect some of them might be." On what basis do you "suspect" this? Either provide proof for your "suspicion" or withdraw it, and apologize for the remark.

I respond:
For heaven's sake! I suspect this because there are a lot of mean-spirited cranks in the world and it is likely that some of them may have joined LFL. Lighten up. It's nowhere near a "brutal slander."
I say every chance that I get that the LC-MS is a Lutheran Church in which the Gospel is preached and the sacraments are administered; that it is a church with a lot of good ideas and some flaws.
I readily admit that there are some mean-spirited cranks in the ELCA, even as I suspect there may be some in the LC-MS. Do you?