Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 48051 times)

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #420 on: January 13, 2013, 08:17:55 AM »
Pastor Crandall writes:
Still being serious, you'll be pleased to know I registered for the Viet Nam draft in '73 as a Conscientious Objector.  (I'm not making this up!)
I comment:
I am only pleased if that was your sincere conscientious viewpoint. (Apparently it wasn't. And why would you be making it up anyway?)

Pastor Crandall writes:
I don't expect you to be nearly as pleased to hear that CTS proved to me from Scripture that I could serve in the military with a clear conscience, so I dropped out of the seminary just before vicarage and instead enlisted in the Navy.
I comment:
Guess you haven't exceeded your self-alloted ration of snark. Why would I not be pleased to hear that CTS taught you something that can be found in the Bible and the teachings of the Church, namely that Christian can indeed serve in the armed forces. If that was your call, why should I not be pleased?

Pastor Crandall:
I ended up serving a full 20 years, 16 of them as a chaplain and most of the 16 as a chaplain to the Marines. 
Me:
It looks like you graduated from seminary in 1990. Was that after your military service? Were you a chaplain before you were ordained LCMS? The years don't quite add up, but I might be looking at things in the wrong way.
Nonetheless, thank you for your service in the military and to our armed forces. Some of my current best friends are ex-Marines.
P.S. I don't know what any of this has to do with fiber in my diet.

Now as to the topic at hand.
Can we set aside this nonsense that says "The ELCA requires nothing"? Probably not.
Can we set aside this nonsense that attempts to define the ELCA totally by its social statements.
Can we set aside this nonsense that says the ELCA - congregations, synods, and church-wide agencies all together remember? - is just the prayer room for the Democratic party?

Charles,

THe claim that the ELCA requires nothing of its congregations was made in the pages of the Lutheran. It is false though congregations have gotten away with near total detachment in the past. The claim was made by someone who knew better than to say that. His plea was for those who are discontent to just stay and not pay attention to ELCA and they could just be fine. I have no idea why Lehmann published it without at least making a disclaimer which as the ELCA magazine would have been right meet and just plain a good idea. 
The article also engaged in the usual ad hominem talk that the debate on HSGT tends to disintegrate into.

Our statements social/ teaching/ etc actually do have a point. When one speaks or acts on behalf of the ELCA one is only on solid ground when one refers back to CWA decisions. So, if someone asked the headquarters in Chicago about a matter that we have a statement on they would immediately quote that statement. When LOGA goes to lobby they likewise use the statements to guide what they lobby for or against. I would say that in some respects and in some circles, what we say in our social statements does become our public face.

Politically, and at congregational level, the ELCA seems to be diverse right now. When we become socially active at national level where advocacy obviously replaces food pantry, it does seem that the solutions to problems are more aligned with the DNC than the GOP. If you want to clai that the GOP is just wrong about everything then so be it. But it does seem that what we do at that level is very liberal, the conservative content of our pews non with standing. Should majority rule on this? No, but maybe balance.
Peter Kruse

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

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #421 on: January 13, 2013, 08:39:48 AM »
Pastor Kruse writes:
 I have no idea why Lehmann published it without at least making a disclaimer which as the ELCA magazine would have been right meet and just plain a good idea. 

I comment:
That column is and always has been personal opinion. "Personal opinion." Personal opinion. Personal opinion.
It says "My View." "My View," the "my" referring to the writer of the article. Why is that so hard to understand?

Agreed that social statements become the background for some of our concerns as expressed legislatively. So what? You don't have to agree with that either.

What we agree on in the ELCA is our statement of faith and we have voluntarily agreed to conduct ourselves according to our governing documents. And one is required to be on board with regard to those things.

If one cannot do that for the sake of one's conscience; or if one concludes that an ELCA decision, for example, to let non-ordained persons preside at the Eucharist, is an offense of deal-breaking magnitude, then - as I have said a hundred times - one has a decision to make.

Some people have alleged that the decisions of 2009 were the deal-breakers. The writer of the "My View" article thinks a bunch of stuff was going on in the minds of people who left; those who left did make their decision based on their own reasons. Some were noble reasons; some, I suspect, were not. Why is it so terrible to recognize that?

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13369
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #422 on: January 13, 2013, 08:44:04 AM »
Pr. Austin, were some eho have left the ELCA sinners and left for ignoble reasons?  Yes.  Were those the only reasons people left?  Apparently Pr. Christian thought so, it would not have taken many words to qualify his blanket condemnation. Was it his right to express his blanket condemnation and so denigrate all who left; and the right of The Lutheran to publish that?  I believe that you have defended that right.  You have also complained on a number of occasions about intemperate remarks from those who have left.  Why is it so wrong for the one side to question the motives of the other but not the reverse?

I was not trying to say that my suggestion was the only reason people left, but another aspect of it. 

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #423 on: January 13, 2013, 09:05:23 AM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
Pr. Austin, were some eho have left the ELCA sinners and left for ignoble reasons?  Yes.
I comment:
Good. At least someone understands that.

Pastor Fienen writes:
Were those the only reasons people left?  Apparently Pr. Christian thought so, it would not have taken many words to qualify his blanket condemnation.
I comment:
Well, not so many words. And nowhere does he say he thinks as you say he thinks, thanks to the almighty qualifier, "might," which he uses.

Pastor Fienen:
Was it his right to express his blanket condemnation and so denigrate all who left; and the right of The Lutheran to publish that? 
Me:
No "blanket condemnation." You overstate things again. Yes, it is the right of the magazine to publish whatever the editor thinks should be published. It's called a free press.

Pastor Fienen:
I believe that you have defended that right.  You have also complained on a number of occasions about intemperate remarks from those who have left.  Why is it so wrong for the one side to question the motives of the other but not the reverse?
Me:
Because some have claimed that there were no ignoble reasons for leaving or that those who left are only poor, pious persecuted ones. Some weren't. Pastor Fienen, I personally know a few people who left because of bruised egos, a search to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, or because of long-standing gripes about this or that or some other thing over the past two decades. They took the exodus after 2009 as a convenient bus to board.

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #424 on: January 13, 2013, 09:26:25 AM »
Can anyone who says that the ELCA does require things of congregations list examples of more than one or two isolated examples of any congregation being disciplined for failing to meet the requirements of the ELCA?


As the author of the article that this thread is discussing stated, "A congregation will not be removed from the roster for lack of giving, lack of diversity in membership, lack of a youth ministry, lack of mission activity, lack of social work in its community, lack of Bible studies, wrong vestments or secular music on Sundays." He goes on to note, "It is possible to be removed if a congregation votes to disavow the constitution of the ELCA and the congregation's own documents of affiliation with the ELCA." So, what requirements does the ELCA have for congregations if there are no consequences or discipline for failing to meet the requirements?


As has been pointed out before, if there are no consequences or discipline for failing to meet a condition, then that condition is an expectation, not a requirement. In order for something to be required, it cannot be optional. What does the ELCA have that is a bona-fide (aka not merely empty words on paper) requirement that congregations must do in order to avoid consequences or discipline?


To the best of my knowledge, the ELCA kicked out one congregation for calling a homosexual pastor, but ignored dozens of others. And, they let the kicked out congregation come back in when the ELCA changed its rules, despite no indication of repentance or remorse from the congregation that ignored the ELCA rules that were in place at the time they were disciplined. If there are other instances of the ELCA enforcing a requirement, please share it with everyone.

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #425 on: January 13, 2013, 10:53:06 AM »
Actually, it was more than one congregation; but Mr. Erdner has been told that before.
And "discipline" does not always mean being "kicked out." Bishops and synod councils may have other ways of dealing with congregations that fail in adequate mission support or in other matters subject to discipline. We do not have any way of knowing how those ways are employed.
I personally know of pastors whose actions have caused bishops to refuse to consider them for calls. Before the howling begins, let it be known that such things happened before 2009.
The article - which I agree is in parts poorly worded - but it's his opinion, not mine; says A congregation will not be removed from the roster for lack of giving, lack of diversity in membership, lack of a youth ministry, lack of mission activity, lack of social work in its community, lack of Bible studies, wrong vestments or secular music on Sundays.
Except for "lack of giving," that is, mission support, none of those other things rise to the level of "official" discipline, at least the kind that might get a congregation "kicked out."
I am also rather certain that a pastor today who transgresses in such things as being a sexual predator or financial rapscallion will be "prosecuted" by the church as well as by civil authorities.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 10:57:58 AM by Charles_Austin »

Evangel

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 780
  • Rev. Mark Schimmel
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #426 on: January 13, 2013, 11:45:06 AM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

Why would my synod recommend that congregations adopt such policies?  Why would they allow them to pass synodical review before they are incorporated into the continuing resolutions of the congregation?

This is going back a few pages in this thread, but I have some new information to add.

I was at the SC LCMC gathering in Columbia yesterday and we had a visitor ... a layman from an ELCA congregation that is in the midst of the current process of voting their way out of the ELCA.  He mentioned that the bishop - as part of the new consultation process - asked them to write up a statement of their beliefs and concerns that they could eventually add to their constitution.  I was a bit surprised to read one of the items in their draft statement as being - for all practical purposes - what I reported above as having written years ago regarding forbidding the pastor from performing same sex unions/weddings.

I don't know if this particular congregation will have the votes to leave - but if they don't, one of the things that keeps them in the ELCA might well be the assurance that they have from adding such a restriction to their constitution.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
--
ACXXIII, "Your majesty will graciously take into account the fact that, in these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm."

vicarbob

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #427 on: January 13, 2013, 12:51:54 PM »
Help me out here, how does a congregation go about forbidding its pastor from officiating at same sex marriages......while the congregation can state that it is polity of that congregation not to same sex nuptials in the church, they can not tell a pastor , apart from use of the facility, not to officiate. Or am I missing something???
pax
Bob+

Evangel

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 780
  • Rev. Mark Schimmel
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #428 on: January 13, 2013, 01:09:41 PM »
QED, Bob.  The pastor is not an independent actor in regards to officiating at such public rites.  He or she is the pastor of a particular congregation solely due to the fact that he is under call to that congregation and he is therefore always a public face or ambassador of the congregation.  The congregation makes it clear by a bylaw or continuing resolution that their expectations and policies are for said pastor not to sully the reputation of the congregation by such participation, and that any such violation of the congregation's policies will be interpreted as an immediate and unconditional resignation of call.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
--
ACXXIII, "Your majesty will graciously take into account the fact that, in these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm."

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #429 on: January 13, 2013, 03:17:02 PM »
Pastor Schimmel is correct.
A congregation might say it will not allow its pastor to perform same-sex unions or use the church for such. I believe that is within our proper procedures and policies. Then a pastor would have to decide whether he or she accepts the call with that restriction on the ministry. I wouldn't, not necessarily for the sake of same-sex unions, but for the principle.
On some things given to the ordained, the congregation may not place restrictions, although some may try to do so or think they have already done so. I think any pastor who accepts a call to a congregation that tries to legislate or by-law the way he or she ministers is in for trouble.


Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13369
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #430 on: January 13, 2013, 03:22:37 PM »
Would it be acceptable for a congregation to ask a pastor before extending a call if he or she would be open to performing same-sex ceremonies?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #431 on: January 13, 2013, 03:23:24 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
Would it be acceptable for a congregation to ask a pastor before extending a call if he or she would be open to performing same-sex ceremonies?

I comment:
Yes.

Pastor Ted Crandall

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #432 on: January 13, 2013, 03:35:55 PM »
Pastor Crandall writes:
Still being serious, you'll be pleased to know I registered for the Viet Nam draft in '73 as a Conscientious Objector.  (I'm not making this up!)
I comment:
I am only pleased if that was your sincere conscientious viewpoint. (Apparently it wasn't. And why would you be making it up anyway?)

Oh, but it was my sincere conscientious viewpoint.  Why would you think otherwise? 

Quote
Pastor Crandall writes:
I don't expect you to be nearly as pleased to hear that CTS proved to me from Scripture that I could serve in the military with a clear conscience, so I dropped out of the seminary just before vicarage and instead enlisted in the Navy.
I comment:
Guess you haven't exceeded your self-alloted ration of snark. Why would I not be pleased to hear that CTS taught you something that can be found in the Bible and the teachings of the Church, namely that Christian can indeed serve in the armed forces. If that was your call, why should I not be pleased?

Snarky?  No!  Actually, I was trying to amuse you.  I thought you and I could have a moment of bonding when you understood that I have a strong liberal streak.

(This might be a good time for me to explain that I was alluding to fiber in the diet being good to keep one regular, as a remedy for irritability due to constipation.) 

Quote
Pastor Crandall:
I ended up serving a full 20 years, 16 of them as a chaplain and most of the 16 as a chaplain to the Marines. 
Me:
It looks like you graduated from seminary in 1990. Was that after your military service? Were you a chaplain before you were ordained LCMS? The years don't quite add up, but I might be looking at things in the wrong way.

I first enrolled at CTS in 1981, withdrew in 1983 to serve in the Navy, returned to CTS in 1988, served as vicar in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1989, and graduated in 1990.  After serving 2 years as a pastor in McCook, Nebraska, I was recruited back into the Navy, this time as a chaplain. 

Quote
Nonetheless, thank you for your service in the military and to our armed forces. Some of my current best friends are ex-Marines.

Thank you. 

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #433 on: January 13, 2013, 04:23:54 PM »
You write:
Still being serious, you'll be pleased to know I registered for the Viet Nam draft in '73 as a Conscientious Objector.
I comment:
You may have registered in 1973, but that was the year the draft ended, so the registration was a mere formality in case we needed to institute it again. (We never did.) And you were in college until 1978, which would have given you student deferment. (Draft boards at the time were required to give a man the category least likely to make him available for call-up; hence student deferment trumped C.O.)
Seminary 1981-1983, then military service, then seminary again. Got that.
I understand that you went back to the Navy in 1992 after a parish in McCook, Nebraska, and then did 20 years a chaplain. Got that.

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44433
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #434 on: January 13, 2013, 04:49:23 PM »
Actually, it was more than one congregation; but Mr. Erdner has been told that before.


Also, the reason the congregations were removed was for calling a non-rostered pastor. That is cause for the removal of any congregation regardless of the sexual orientation of the non-rostered pastor called. Removal in such a case does not require the disciplinary process spelled out in chapter 20 of the ELCA's constitution. It essentially becomes a decision of the bishop and then a vote of the synod council. The bishop may remove a congregation in this way who has called a non-rostered pastor. It is not a requirement that s/he has to remove them.

"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]