The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community

Started by Dave Benke, December 18, 2012, 06:39:16 AM

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John_Hannah

Quote from: swbohler on February 14, 2013, 04:19:58 PM
Dr. Benke,

I found your recent words to the press about President Harrison's handling of this matter much more disrepectful toward him than this proposed resolution.  Just my opinion.

Why? President Harrison himself recognized the truth that many in the synod have a different opinion when he says, "Others view participation as an opporutnity share Christ and to truly love a hurting comunity, which may not happen if we are not participating." That is exactly what Benke said so there's no reason to call his words disrespect for that would implicate Harrison also. I hope that you don't think Harrison was insincere or that his apology was a fake. He recognizes the real problem,  "We struggle with the tension between these two views."


Peace, JOHN



Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

I saw the following on facebook, a link from the OWN website.

"Currently in the Missouri Synod, our president is sorry that his admonishment of Newtown, Conn. Pastor Rob Morris became so widely known of through the press. This is the reality in which our LCMS church workers live. It is an atmosphere of threat and intimidation, where some are so inwardly focused that the compassion and love of Jesus Christ has been driven out."

I know a fair number of LCMS church workers and I don't think a single one of them considers him or herself to be living in an atmosphere of threat or intimidation from President Harrison or anyone else. But it is telling that this particular take on the matter, such as it is, comes from people who favor the ordination of women in the LCMS. It shows how utterly and shamelessly political the constant harping, the calls for resignation, impeachment, etc. really are. They don't like Harrison theologically, so they look for ways to weaken him politically, and they smell blood in the water when he as a leader apologizes. Had President Kieschnick apologized for bungling something (say, the hurt and confusion he was part of orchestrating with the Issues, Etc. debacle), OWN would be chastising anyone who brought the matter up again after the apology as lacking forgiveness and creating an atmosphere of threat and intimidation where compassion and love of Jesus Christ had been driven out.


Steverem

Quote from: Johannes Andreas Quenstedt on February 14, 2013, 04:22:18 PM

A better solution would be to formulate a series of approved LCMS prayers that contain standard written and verbal disclaimers that all sides can agree upon. Than that can be presented ahead of time to those civic officials who are inviting LCMS clergy to participate in a civic event that includes various religious leaders offering up prayers.


Would we really want that?  To me, that would sound like, "We are so sorry for the tragic events that have befallen your community.  In response, Pastor X will now read a canned prayer that has been thoroughly screened for doctrinal purity, with a series of disclaimers disavowing any perceived connections between Pastor X and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod with any other persons that might also be taking part in today's event."

Shouldn't we be able to trust our pastors (and those district presidents to whom they work directly) to craft a prayer that is both true to LCMS teachings and pastoral to those who might be in attendance?  If not, doesn't that speak more to our seminary training than anything else?

Donald_Kirchner

#1278
Quote from: Charles Henrickson on February 14, 2013, 04:33:20 PM
Quote from: pastormesser on February 14, 2013, 03:02:45 PM
I don't think the overture adopted by Pr. Henrickson's congregation and circuit forum is draconian at all. This issue is obviously one over which there is deep division in our synod and needs to be addressed. Is it draconian to suggest that we steer clear of participating in these events, when we know that it will cause offense and further divide us, until we have addressed this definitively, either through the Koinonia Project or more definitive guidelines or whatever? If we're all for working toward greater consensus and unity within our synod, shouldn't we be about the business of avoiding offense until that greater consensus and unity is reached?

Exactly, Pastor Messer. You have understood and explained the intent of the overture perfectly. You get a gold star for reading comprehension.

So, let's see... A 2004 CTCR majority allows participation in certain circumstances. President Harrison acknowledges that there are two views, that "We struggle with the tension between these two views."

And the suggestion is made that, pending a mutual understanding and possible resolution of the issue, we should forbid what, by defintion, is not now forbidden? Because a minority that goes through life continually offended by one thing or another might allege that they are offended?

A definition of "draconian" is a severe or harsh law. A quite fitting term, particularly in light of the offense that would be caused to those who hold that proclaiming Jesus Christ to a devestated and hurting community is exactly the thing to do in such a situation in the manner so admirably done by Pr. Morris.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PM
The overture is peremptory in that it references the Koinonia Project in the final whereas, and then in the Resolved eliminates the need for Koinonia Project dialog on the issue by finalizing a decision NOT to participate in events which are not proscribed by the denomination through resolution.  The specific purpose of the Koinonia Project is to arrive at conclusions in these controverted areas by means of dialog, and NOT through majority vote convention resolution.  Thus the overture is peremptory.
Dave, I think you're wrong here. As I understand the overture, it doesn't eliminate the need for the KP or finalize any decision. It essentially calls for a moratorium until the matter can be decided more clearly. "Unless and until the synod decides otherwise..."  It would be like calling for no more settlements to be built on disputed territory until the dispute can be worked out-- that doesn't eliminate the need for talks or finalize anything, but seeks to avoid as much controversy and discord as possible in the interim or avoid the matter being settled by default through action on the ground before the eventual agreement has a chance to actually shape behavior.

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: John_Hannah on February 14, 2013, 04:36:09 PM
Quote from: swbohler on February 14, 2013, 04:19:58 PM
Dr. Benke,

I found your recent words to the press about President Harrison's handling of this matter much more disrepectful toward him than this proposed resolution.  Just my opinion.

Why? President Harrison himself recognized the truth that many in the synod have a different opinion when he says, "Others view participation as an opporutnity share Christ and to truly love a hurting comunity, which may not happen if we are not participating." That is exactly what Benke said so there's no reason to call his words disrespect for that would implicate Harrison also. I hope that you don't think Harrison was insincere or that his apology was a fake. He recognizes the real problem,  "We struggle with the tension between these two views."


Peace, JOHN

Pr. Hannah,

Do not be diverted by the classic ad hominem response of Pr. Bohler.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

swbohler

Rev. Kirchner,

Yes, the majority of the CTCR felt there may be times when such participation is appropriate.  Under certain conditions.  But they declined to be specific.  At the same time, a minority of the CTCR -- and obviously a number of others in the LCMS -- disagree that such participation is ever appropriate.  Those are the two positions the CTCR and convention uphold: participation MAY be appropriate under certain nebulous, vague, unclear conditions (which the CTCR will not -- or cannot -- make more definite), or participation is NEVER appropriate.  Neither is a green light.  At best, position 1 is a yellow.  Now, I was taught that when approaching a yellow light you stopped, even though you MAY be able to go through, since that was the safest thing. 

swbohler

Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on February 14, 2013, 05:00:34 PM
Quote from: John_Hannah on February 14, 2013, 04:36:09 PM
Quote from: swbohler on February 14, 2013, 04:19:58 PM
Dr. Benke,

I found your recent words to the press about President Harrison's handling of this matter much more disrepectful toward him than this proposed resolution.  Just my opinion.

Why? President Harrison himself recognized the truth that many in the synod have a different opinion when he says, "Others view participation as an opporutnity share Christ and to truly love a hurting comunity, which may not happen if we are not participating." That is exactly what Benke said so there's no reason to call his words disrespect for that would implicate Harrison also. I hope that you don't think Harrison was insincere or that his apology was a fake. He recognizes the real problem,  "We struggle with the tension between these two views."


Peace, JOHN

Pr. Hannah,

Do not be diverted by the classic ad hominem response of Pr. Bohler.

Classic Kirchner. 

Charles Henrickson

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PM
Thanks for your response, Pastor Henrickson, on this Valentine's Day.

You're welcome, Pastor Benke, and I hope things are going well for you and the people of New York after the battering your region took from Superstorm Sandy and the recent snowstorm. I did my vicarage near NYC, in Greenwich CT, and I have fond memories of the area.

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PM
First, thanks for pointing me to the parish-based passage of the overture in question.

Yes, and not just one congregation, but our whole circuit, comprised of eleven congregations, adopted this overture.


Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PM
Secondly, people send me links to your site, and that's how I am directed to the information on it.

Fair enough. So you do read some of what is posted on steadfastlutherans (which is not "my site"), albeit on a selective, indirect basis.

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PMEspecially after the absolutely horrible comments forwarded to me which were printed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch by editor Rossow with regards to the children who were killed in Newtown, I am not interested in your website in the least.

I am curious as to how the Post-Dispatch writer got the comments he used, since the comment section from which those comments came was only up on the site for one night in December. And the comments used seemed "cherry-picked" in order to cast the site in as bad a light as possible. There certainly was not a representative, balanced sampling of comments. I don't know if writer Townsend had read those comments himself, during those few hours on a Sunday night in December, or if they were sent to him by someone else.

Further, the comments sections under BJS blog posts should be distinguished from the posts themselves. There are quite a lot of people posting comments there who have no connection to BJS, including a lot of ALPB posters. But as far as one comment made by Pastor Rossow--who is connected to steadfastlutherans, of course--you would have to take that up with him. I can tell you, though, that if you were to read many of the blog posts at steadfastlutherans, and even many of the comments under the posts, you would find much there that is edifying and with which you would agree. I post all of my sermons there, for example, and I trust you would hear the gospel in them.

I'll respond to the rest of your post in a little bit.
Charles Henrickson
Pastor, St. Matthew Lutheran Church (LCMS), Bonne Terre, Missouri: stmatthewbt.org

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: swbohler on February 14, 2013, 05:07:04 PM
Rev. Kirchner,

Yes, the majority of the CTCR felt there may be times when such participation is appropriate.  Under certain conditions.  But they declined to be specific.  At the same time, a minority of the CTCR -- and obviously a number of others in the LCMS -- disagree that such participation is ever appropriate.  Those are the two positions the CTCR and convention uphold: participation MAY be appropriate under certain nebulous, vague, unclear conditions (which the CTCR will not -- or cannot -- make more definite), or participation is NEVER appropriate.  Neither is a green light.  At best, position 1 is a yellow.  Now, I was taught that when approaching a yellow light you stopped, even though you MAY be able to go through, since that was the safest thing.

The appropriate analogy is that position 1 is a flashing yellow light, Pr. Bohler. Proceed with caution with which I agree.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Henrickson

Quote from: peter_speckhard on February 14, 2013, 04:54:51 PM
Dave, I think you're wrong here. As I understand the overture, it doesn't eliminate the need for the KP or finalize any decision. It essentially calls for a moratorium until the matter can be decided more clearly. "Unless and until the synod decides otherwise..."  It would be like calling for no more settlements to be built on disputed territory until the dispute can be worked out-- that doesn't eliminate the need for talks or finalize anything, but seeks to avoid as much controversy and discord as possible in the interim or avoid the matter being settled by default through action on the ground before the eventual agreement has a chance to actually shape behavior.

Bingo. Another gold star for reading comprehension.  ;)
Charles Henrickson
Pastor, St. Matthew Lutheran Church (LCMS), Bonne Terre, Missouri: stmatthewbt.org

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: Charles Henrickson on February 14, 2013, 05:09:47 PM
I am curious as to how the Post-Dispatch writer got the comments he used, since the comment section from which those comments came was only up on the site for one night in December. And the comments used seemed "cherry-picked" in order to cast the site in as bad a light as possible. There certainly was not a representative, balanced sampling of comments. I don't know if writer Townsend had read those comments himself, during those few hours on a Sunday night in December, or if they were sent to him by someone else.

I had commented on that thread at least a couple of times that night, in support of Pr. Morris, and Townsend had tried to contact me, stating that he'd read some blog postings of mine and wanted me to comment. But I was snorkling with sea turtles and stingrays at the time, so he left a voicemail message that I saw after the article was published.

At any rate, I don't know that the typical vulgarity of Tim Rossow that night could have been effectively balanced off.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dave Benke

Quote from: Charles Henrickson on February 14, 2013, 05:14:20 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on February 14, 2013, 04:54:51 PM
Dave, I think you're wrong here. As I understand the overture, it doesn't eliminate the need for the KP or finalize any decision. It essentially calls for a moratorium until the matter can be decided more clearly. "Unless and until the synod decides otherwise..."  It would be like calling for no more settlements to be built on disputed territory until the dispute can be worked out-- that doesn't eliminate the need for talks or finalize anything, but seeks to avoid as much controversy and discord as possible in the interim or avoid the matter being settled by default through action on the ground before the eventual agreement has a chance to actually shape behavior.

Bingo. Another gold star for reading comprehension.  ;)

My "bingo" back to both of you is that the Synodical President specifically states that the tension is deep on this issue between the two points of view that he articulates, which have been articulated right here on this board on this day. 

Why would either of you want to have resolution to the issue in this way, which only discourages and really prevents any further dialog on a controverted issue by settling it through majority vote?  Put the shoe on the other foot - would you feel dialog would be honored on this issue if it were mandated that LC-MS Pastors seek to speak and involve themselves in every interfaith event possible? 

I can understand the point of view of Pastor Henrickson, the ostensible author of the overture.  He's held his position staunchly for a long time.  On the other hand, I don't know why you, Peter, as one who "moderates," would be opting for an immoderate conclusion to this most important issue. 

As President Harrison stated it eloquently, "Others view participation as an opportunity to share Christ and to truly love a hurting comunity, which may not happen if we are not participating.  We struggle with the tension between these two views." 

3 on the I - Bingo!

As to the "source" for the Post-Dispatch, I have no clue; however, there is no way to defend the comment of Pastor Rossow. 

Dave Benke

It's OK to Pray

Charles Henrickson

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 14, 2013, 03:59:21 PM
Finally, I want to back away from the word "draconian" with regard to the submission written by you and affirmed by your congregation.  Better descriptors are "peremptory," "disrespectful" and "ill-advised."

The overture is peremptory in that it references the Koinonia Project in the final whereas, and then in the Resolved eliminates the need for Koinonia Project dialog on the issue by finalizing a decision NOT to participate in events which are not proscribed by the denomination through resolution.  The specific purpose of the Koinonia Project is to arrive at conclusions in these controverted areas by means of dialog, and NOT through majority vote convention resolution.  Thus the overture is peremptory.

Thomas Messer and Peter Speckhard have explained the overture as well as I can--and I'm the guy who wrote it! Please see their posts on the subject, for they have stated it well.

But now I'll add to what they said. The overture does not do away with the Koinonia Project by any means. It does not "finalize" anything. What it does is to have us refrain from the admittedly offense-causing participation in interfaith services WHILE THE KOINONIA PROJECT IS GOING ON. It's an "in the meantime" overture. If, through the study of Article VI of the Constitution and the ongoing dialogue of the Koinonia Project, you are able to persuade people all across the Synod that participation in interfaith prayer services is OK and not in conflict with Scripture, Confessions, and the Constitution--well, then you will have succeeded, Pastor Benke, and the Synod will adopt that position EXPLICITLY. But until that time, let's refrain from causing further offense and division in our Synod, until you have made that persuasive of a case.
Charles Henrickson
Pastor, St. Matthew Lutheran Church (LCMS), Bonne Terre, Missouri: stmatthewbt.org

mariemeyer

Quote from: swbohler on February 14, 2013, 03:31:18 PM
Rev. Kirchner,

Why would the community notice he was not there?  Were all the other clergy in the community involved?  And if they HAD noticed, that would have given him an opportunity to explain why he could not participate (whether the community would have accepted that explanation is another question).

The above reflects an unawareness of what happened in Newtown.  The parents of all children in the first  class rooms were gathered in one place to await word about their child.  Were they among the children who survived or who were now dead?  It took several hours to reunite parents and children.

Several hours passed before 20 families were left. By that time Pr. Morris and the religious leaders of those 20 families had spent hours in the fire house. Although it was not yet possible to identify all bodies due to the nature of their wounds, the govenor decided he had to tell those 20 parents that there were no more living children.

The pastors of the community were among the first responders. Newtown is not that big a town that the pastors would not know each other.  They spent hours together as the families waited word of their child. Pr. Morris was with at least one family.  The next day the clergy spent time with families and each other to discuss how to deal with a tragedy that impacted upon the entire community.    It was no secret that P. Morris was among the first to arrive at the fire house and that he stayed there the entire time.   

Would the community not have noticed if he were not at the civic vigil?  You have got to be kidding.

Pr. Morris clearly explained the position of our church to the Newtown clergy. It was he who asked that it be stated that this was neither a joint worship  service or a time to  deal with the differences that exist between persons of different faiths.

One cannot discount the nature of that horrible day for the families, the community and all first responders. Might this not have been a time for mercy and compassion toward all who were impacted by this tragedy.

Marie

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