Author Topic: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community  (Read 217134 times)

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #750 on: February 07, 2013, 12:27:09 PM »
Wow, thanks LCMS87.  Powerful words from an atheist indeed.

What I have learned in the years since God brought me to faith is that people actually DO respect those of us in the church with convictions.  Those of us who stand for what we believe and refuse to shirk under the pressure to conform to the political correctness of our day offer something that others can't.  We don't pride ourselves on being wishy-washy and allow anything to go.  God's Word is all that goes.  People are drawn to that much more than some on here wish to admit.

I'm not one ordinarily given to boast, but I've been blessed to speak the Gospel to so many who wouldn't want to step foot in a church for various reasons, and they are always receptive to the sincerity and truthfulness that accompany my confession on behalf of Christ.  My confession is my church's confession, and it actually sells, even in this day of political correctness.  Word and Sacrament ministries provide opportunities for the hurting and lost to step out of the messed up world we find ourselves in every day . . . people WILL come if we are sincere and stay true to our beliefs.  In the LCMS, this means staying true to an unchanging Word that is both inerrant and infallible . . . the very Word of God Himself.  Not just a little bit of His Word, not simply some of His Word, but ALL of His Word.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 12:48:25 PM by Buckeye Deaconess »

Harry Edmon

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #751 on: February 07, 2013, 12:31:44 PM »
"You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and neglect the weightier matters of the Law: justice, and mercy, and peace."
The implications of your comment include:

1.  The LCMS does not practice justice, and mercy, and peace.
2.  The pastor's participation in the service was the best way to show justice, and mercy, and peace.
3.  The pastor had no proper opportunities to show justice, and mercy, and peace.

All three of these implications are incorrect.  I believe confusing people about the truth that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ alone shows neither justice, nor mercy, nor peace.   Which is not to say that I do not make mistakes in my witness that I need to ask God for forgiveness.   I'm glad and relieved that forgiveness is freely given by God when I ask for it.
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

D. Engebretson

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #752 on: February 07, 2013, 12:45:06 PM »
Honestly.  You are handed, on a silver platter, the perfect audio and visual to produce a beautiful, reverent, quality PR piece that could have introduced the LCMS to the non-church going American and invited him/her to come and learn more about the Lord of Life who even in the midst of such horrible tragedy is "making all things new." 

Instead, you make the pastor apologize for reading from the Bible and praying the Trinitarian benediction among non-LCMS folks. 

We really are determined to slam the door in the faces of people who don't know Jesus.  Unbelievable.
Why did he apologize? Nobody can make me apologize when I don't think I've done anything wrong, and nobody could force Pr. Morris to apologize. Was his apology a lie and he isn't really sorry? There are a couple of issues involved here, none of which have anything to do with one's proximity to non-LCMS folks. First, whether participation in these kinds of the services is a good idea or not, the place to discuss that is together in convention. Maybe we should rethink our policy on it. But the fact is we do have an agreed upon policy-- we don't participate in joint services led by people of differing faiths. Whether that is a salutary thing or not, it is what we agreed on. So if there is to be any trust in synod that so many people are clamoring for, the first thing we need to realize is that when we make an agreement, everyone has to be able to trust that we're all going to abide by it. But what we do instead, in many cases, is agree to something but insist on a discretion/exception clause that we take to mean that our agreement doesn't apply to us or mean anything at all. We vote for closed communion, practice open communion, and then get steamed when anyone objects and act like they're the problem and their objections bogus. We vote not to participate in joint services, do so anyway, and then get mad when anyone feels betrayed. If what Pr. Morris did in this circumstance was what we want LCMS pastors doing in these kinds of public tragedies, then the thing to do would be to refuse to participate, hold our own services and provide pastoral care apart, and then come to the convention and say, "We need to rethink our position on unionism. Look at the golden opportunity I had to squander because of our policies. It would have been much better had I been able to participate in the community service instead of inviting the community to come to the service we held at our church." Then people could argue both sides of that, a vote could be taken, and a new policy established, all with the trust of everyone that whatever the new policy was, we'd all abide by it. What I think is happening so often, be it Oprah's thing at Yankee Stadium or this time in Connecticut, is that people who disagree with the synodical stance on unionism but who think they'll never get the votes to overturn it simply ignore it and then use the ensuing controversy to belittle, mock, berate, and otherwise make to appear small and petty anyone who objects. Disagree with the policy, fine. Great. Make your case. I think you have a good one. I think there would be a fruitful discussion and possibly a new and more liberal policy. But all this wailing about the evil conservatives in synod is like complaining to the cop that yes, indeed you were speeding, but the speed limit is way too low. When you get pulled over is not the time to discuss the merits of the posted speed limit. It was voted on, it was posted, you knew what it was, you chose to drive faster. Take up your proposal for a better speed limit at a city council meeting, not at the time of getting pulled over. The cop is not the bad guy even if the speed limit is ludicrously low. And take up your objections to the synod's policy on unionism to the synod in convention, don't just start yelling at anyone who points out you're ignoring the agreed upon policy.

I think that you have put your finger on a real issue of importance, especially as it regards the idea of a synod as those who 'walk together.'  We talk much about trust, but if we can't mutually honor our own agreements as a church body the trust is weakened and what we do in convention ends up simply being a case of 'going through the motions.'  And that is where we are at in many situations.  The policies we have adopted are for too many simply words on a paper that have no relationship to real parish life and were made to be broken or modified or amended anyway.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

LutherMan

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #753 on: February 07, 2013, 12:45:29 PM »
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/07/group-reprimands-newtown-pastor-over-interfaith-vigil-after-school-massacre/

"The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is one of the smaller U.S. Lutheran groups. The denomination reprimanded another pastor in 2001 who was part of an interfaith vigil after the September 11 attacks."

Does the AP even bother with fact checking?

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #754 on: February 07, 2013, 12:46:02 PM »
Help me out, deaconess, and others.
Is it "bad publicity" when the Synod President acts to enforce what he believes is the Synod policy?
Is it "bad publicity" if a pastor admits that he erred and apologized for what he did?
Should you not be glad that, given the publicity surrounding the Newtown event, it is now clear that the Synod has taken steps to correct an error and make it clear what the truth really is?
Since the RNS story just appeared and apparently sparked other stories and will probably be printed in some newspapers around the country in the days ahead, there will probably be more discussion.
Plan what you will say. I will be interested in seeing more responses.
A couple of words of advice from someone who has spent years dealing with the press on "all sides," as reporter and as spokesman for a denomination.
1. Refusing to comment is not a good idea, although if you are a pastor out in West Overshoe, Idaho, you might get away with saying "Connecticut? Where's that?"
2. Saying "well, we do lots of other things and those other things are really good" won't get you anywhere.
3. Claiming it is a "private" matter won't help you.
4. Honesty and openness is always the best policy.

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #755 on: February 07, 2013, 12:48:02 PM »
THe piece you cite, "Lutherman," is from Fox News, not the AP. Facts are not their usual products.


LutherMan

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #756 on: February 07, 2013, 12:50:54 PM »
THe piece you cite, "Lutherman," is from Fox News, not the AP. Facts are not their usual products.
It is an AP story picked up by FNC...

Steverem

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #757 on: February 07, 2013, 12:54:20 PM »
THe piece you cite, "Lutherman," is from Fox News, not the AP. Facts are not their usual products.

Um, check the byline, pastor.  I know you have a built-in bias against Fox News, but in this case, they were just re-transmitting an AP story.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #758 on: February 07, 2013, 01:01:18 PM »
righting goes wrong
Harvey S. Mozolak

I tipped the glass
because my hand is less
steady than when I was young
and I was hurrying
to help with other things
somehow my errant fingers
knew the slip
and flew to catch the fall
but it was not a playful ball
a crystal goblet
used for finest wine
and I caught with less
than fit finesse
and more a chop
the central stem
that stood the fragile flute
for banquets and blessings
it snapped in several segments
one slashing my palm
the others crashing to the floor
and flooding it with sharp shards
and slippery almost invisible slivers
liquid with danger
my right
had been wrong-handed
and all that could be done
was suck and staunch   
the red radiating
discharge of duty fumbled and failed
and wounded
Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

LCMS87

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #759 on: February 07, 2013, 01:04:57 PM »
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/07/group-reprimands-newtown-pastor-over-interfaith-vigil-after-school-massacre/

"The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is one of the smaller U.S. Lutheran groups. The denomination reprimanded another pastor in 2001 who was part of an interfaith vigil after the September 11 attacks."

Does the AP even bother with fact checking?

The Washington Post story, written by Caleb Bell of the Religion News Service, linked above, has the following paragraph:

The St. Louis-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is the smaller of the two largest branches of Lutheranism in the U.S., with almost 2.3 million members. The more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has 4 million members.  (emphasis added)

Source criticism suggests that when the AP edited the story into a more abbreviated one, their reporter or an editor made this complex sentence, or one that was very much like it, into a simple but erroneous one.  Fox then ran with it.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 01:08:31 PM by LCMS87 »

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #760 on: February 07, 2013, 01:06:10 PM »
Help me out, deaconess, and others.

I have no idea why you picked me out of the line-up to ask such a question.  Honesty and openness is ALWAYS the best policy.  I don't deal with the media, nor do I have a direct line to Synod officials to advise them on such matters.

What is evident to me is that Pastor Morris continues to bear the brunt of this situation.  My heart breaks for the man today because I truly believe as I mentioned in comments right after the joint worship service, he knows not what he did.  As a new pastor in the LCMS, I doubt he could have foreseen the division his participation would bring to a church body that has committed itself to walking together.  That's why I wish he would have listened to the counsel provided him if what was said on this forum previously can be taken as factual.

Ultimately, the publicity will pass, and the LCMS will rally around its leadership for handling the situation in such a pastoral and private manner.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 01:08:26 PM by Buckeye Deaconess »

scott8

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #761 on: February 07, 2013, 01:44:41 PM »
Honestly.  You are handed, on a silver platter, the perfect audio and visual to produce a beautiful, reverent, quality PR piece that could have introduced the LCMS to the non-church going American and invited him/her to come and learn more about the Lord of Life who even in the midst of such horrible tragedy is "making all things new." 

Instead, you make the pastor apologize for reading from the Bible and praying the Trinitarian benediction among non-LCMS folks. 

We really are determined to slam the door in the faces of people who don't know Jesus.  Unbelievable.
Why did he apologize? Nobody can make me apologize when I don't think I've done anything wrong, and nobody could force Pr. Morris to apologize. Was his apology a lie and he isn't really sorry?

His apology was not for participating in joint worship (he did not think it was) but rather for the offence he could see he caused in those who did consider it joint worship (even though he did not regard it as such).  Here's the apology:

In the end, I believed my participation to be, not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy. Chaplains are expected to give faithful witness under circumstances which are less than ecclesiastically perfect, even as their fellow chaplains may proclaim a different witness. Thus, with a disclaimer at the outset (which I requested) having stated that participation did not mean endorsement of the other religions represented, I said I was sharing ďa final blessing of the hope which is ours through faith in Jesus Christ, using the words of St. John and St. PaulĒ, I then read from Revelation 21 and I prayed the Trinitarian benediction from Paulís letter to the Corinthians which we say as part of our Lutheran daily offices. I did not believe my participation to be an act of joint worship, but one of mercy and care to a community shocked and grieving an unspeakably horrific event. However, I recognize others in our church consider it to constitute joint worship and I understand why. I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology.

Dave Likeness

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #762 on: February 07, 2013, 01:49:30 PM »
It has been stated that the New England District
President gave Pastor Morris permission to
participate in this civic event.  In the chain of
command, did this District President consult with
the Synodical President?  If Pastor Morris had to
apologize, then why is the New England District
President not held accountable? 

Bottom line:  I am confused about the chain of
command who counseled with this pastor before
the event.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #763 on: February 07, 2013, 01:52:26 PM »
and it, his apology, does not sound like some dumb new pastor, but like he was trained as a theolgian and was struggling with pastoral care in very demanding situation... hey, we do it all the time and its just that our mistakes and God-given sucesses and God-given sucesses that get misudnerstood, do not make it onto the daily news...    Harvey Mozolak
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scott8

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Re: The Public Role of the Pastor In The Community
« Reply #764 on: February 07, 2013, 01:55:09 PM »
NBC...

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/07/16882169-lutheran-pastor-apologizes-for-taking-part-in-sandy-hook-service?lite

Read the comments.

I read a bunch of the comments.  They're like a lot of comments on other stories I've seen.  They don't lead one to great optimism concerning the future of our nation or the success of her schools.  Deep thinking and clear communication is rarely evidenced.

There was one comment, though, from someone who described himself as a atheist, that I found interesting.  I don't agree with everything, but he discerns much more than most commentators.  I particularly appreciate the final paragraph.  (I couldn't find a way to do so, or I'd have posted just a link.  Instead, here's the full comment.)

Rich-281385

As an atheist you might think I would side with every poster on this thread so far. But I don't. Morris didn't really apologize. It's one of those fake apologies where you apologize if anyone was offended, rather than apologize for your wrong (in his church's view) actions.

Morris could have stood on principle if he thought he was right and leave the church. He didn't. So either he agrees with the church's principle, or he's not of strong character. I'd bet it's the former.

The church wasn't saying that Morris could not lend aid to those devastated in the days after the killings, but rather that he cannot worship with different faiths. Presumably Morris could speak with and give comfort to those in the community without offering prayer. To me this is a little silly--maybe a lot silly--but it's HIS faith he violated, not mine.

I struggle with the common modern idea that each of us not part of an organization should be able to decide for them how they should act, which is beyond the simple and fair idea that if you don't like it, don't join it. Too many people want to impose on others their own reality, whatever that is. Frankly, given the state of the nation I'm not sure you people are the kinds of people we should be trying to emulate, not if your version of right and wrong, or of morality, is the scale on which we should be judged.

See, look at this another way...Say Morris had never participated in THAT service. Nothing was to prevent him from holding how own service. Nothing exists to prevent him from commemorating that tragic day, or from tending to those in need regardless of their faith. His offense, which to me makes no sense but to him does else he'd not have apologized, was simply to worship with other faiths.

I do love (sarcasm) the posts above that are prideful over the fact that they, in their churches, have absolutely no standards for who can or cannot take part in communion. If organized religion has any value beyond its more secular uses (schools, charity, etc) then it must be in making an effort to help people get right with God. So the idea you wouldn't care at all that someone is right with your God, and would casually offer thaty person communion with your God, bespeaks to me, almost, a disdain for your God himself. You have relegated God to a position of subjugation to you. How can this be?

No thanks in any event for all of this. I'll remain an atheist.

    4 votes

#1.32 - Thu Feb 7, 2013 10:34 AM EST


A great comment indeed.  Of course, what he's reacting against is a simple falling off the bus on the other side -- those commentators who were saying that there are no rules or concerns whatsoever.  Such an approach bears no resemblance to that which Pr. Morris actually took.

And also note the last line.