Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 46904 times)

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #555 on: January 19, 2013, 05:50:10 PM »
You know as well as I do, Pastor Cottingham, that it was the form of your "protest," not the protest itself that was ruled out of order. But there is no point in trying to unwrap that here.
And you also know that even if something went awry in your synod, there are 64 others, not to mention the Church-wide Assembly itself.
I do not call one apparently inept action at one synod any "serious effort" to overturn the decisions.

Charles, you say you respect me.

Yet every single time we have described the events we experienced in the Central/Southern Illinois Synod, you have ignored our testimony and recast it into (first) non-existence and (then) into solo incompetence. I was there. Pastor Cottingham was there. Not only at the Synod Assembly, but in the Bishop's office weeks beforehand. At least 2 other pastors of our synod testified on this forum. You were not there.  And, apart from us here, you don't know anyone who was there.  Nor have you read any other reports of what happened.

Neither were you in the S. Carolina, S. Ohio, NE Iowa, or WV/WM Synods, where other attempts to discern a synod's 'bound conscience' were made. In three of those synods descriptions of at least some of their efforts were described by participants on this very forum. And here we are, over three years later and you render your judgement: "nothing."

I am not sure when you concluded that it was meet, right, and salutary for the ELCA to include clergy in gay relationships.  I am not sure when you concluded that the Church's traditional teaching on sex, family, and marriage needed to be changed. I do know that you got your knickers in quite a twist prior to the 2009 CWA when someone on this forum put you in the camp of the gay advocates.  And I know that since the 2009 CWA, you have defended the rightness of its actions, and consistently treated those of us who dare to speak aloud of their wrongness -- whether we have departed the ELCA or stayed -- with utter contempt.

Pastor Christian and the subject title are incorrect: the ELCA does not require "nothing." The ELCA requires that you fit inside a tight little narrative, where everyone gets along fine and, when we do have discussions where everyone does not agree, they are held in 2 minute snippets. And if it didn't get fully reported in The Lutheran or by an ELCA News Service (which has been reduced to about 3 press releases every 2 weeks), it did not happen. 

Or, after a quarter-century of ELCA angst on the place of practicing gay clergy, we find another well-placed ELCA ("a community of moral deliberation") person cluelessly (at least that's the impression he creates) scratching his head and wondering why some of us are unhappy.  And Pastor Austin simply dismissing something that doesn't fit within his narrative.

"Nothing" indeed.

Tibbetts+
who has offered a response online to "My View" at The Lutheran's website.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 05:59:00 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #556 on: January 19, 2013, 10:41:20 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote. So it feels like a slap in the face for all our efforts to respect and continue to welcome the "traditionalists" in our church when the can no longer stand to be with us. (Granted, there were perhaps more than a few who were not so respectful and welcoming.)

Where are these spaces, Brian?  I'm serious, for I would really like to find one of them.

But I can't help but contrast your aassertion above with the action of the 2009 CWA, which was to "find a way" for those disagreed with the earlier teaching.

But I appreciate your recognition that, having found a way for the revisionists, there are now only a few spaces available for traditionalists in the ELCA.  If only someone could show us where they are....
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 10:44:12 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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scott8

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #557 on: January 19, 2013, 11:30:33 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote. So it feels like a slap in the face for all our efforts to respect and continue to welcome the "traditionalists" in our church when the can no longer stand to be with us. (Granted, there were perhaps more than a few who were not so respectful and welcoming.)

Where are these spaces, Brian?  I'm serious, for I would really like to find one of them.

Given that MLK Day is coming up, somehow the phrase "separate but equal" is ringing in my head.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #558 on: January 20, 2013, 10:05:39 AM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote. So it feels like a slap in the face for all our efforts to respect and continue to welcome the "traditionalists" in our church when the can no longer stand to be with us. (Granted, there were perhaps more than a few who were not so respectful and welcoming.)

Where are these spaces, Brian?  I'm serious, for I would really like to find one of them.

But I can't help but contrast your aassertion above with the action of the 2009 CWA, which was to "find a way" for those disagreed with the earlier teaching.

But I appreciate your recognition that, having found a way for the revisionists, there are now only a few spaces available for traditionalists in the ELCA.  If only someone could show us where they are....


I note that you have not been kicked out of the ELCA, your synod or your congregation for maintaining a traditionalist position. If there were no "spaces," you wouldn't be here. I'm not saying that we've done as much as we could to create open, welcoming, and affirming spaces for traditionalists; but neither have we forced them to leave.
"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]

George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #559 on: January 20, 2013, 10:16:14 AM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote. So it feels like a slap in the face for all our efforts to respect and continue to welcome the "traditionalists" in our church when the can no longer stand to be with us. (Granted, there were perhaps more than a few who were not so respectful and welcoming.)

Where are these spaces, Brian?  I'm serious, for I would really like to find one of them.

Given that MLK Day is coming up, somehow the phrase "separate but equal" is ringing in my head.


That's a good description of being permitted to remain on the official membership lists or clergy roster, and yet be so marginalized and ignored as to not truly be present. I'm astonished that there are some who'll pretend that simply being allowed to do little more than hang around, so long as you sit back, shut up, and accept things as they are is considered being provided a "space". Yes, the ELCA has a "space" for traditionalists. That space is at the back of the bus. It's at the back table near the kitchen door. It's in the balcony. It's off to the side, where the revisionists can make themselves feel good about being tolerant, but not where the traditionalists can bother anyone.


Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #560 on: January 20, 2013, 10:30:25 AM »
Yes, the ELCA has a "space" for traditionalists. That space is at the back of the bus. It's at the back table near the kitchen door. It's in the balcony. It's off to the side, where the revisionists can make themselves feel good about being tolerant, but not where the traditionalists can bother anyone.

George - I'm curious whether the "traditionalists" were told to sit at the back of the bus or if that is the seat in which they chose to sit, even though other seats are still vacant?

MaddogLutheran

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #561 on: January 20, 2013, 12:47:01 PM »
Yes, the ELCA has a "space" for traditionalists. That space is at the back of the bus. It's at the back table near the kitchen door. It's in the balcony. It's off to the side, where the revisionists can make themselves feel good about being tolerant, but not where the traditionalists can bother anyone.

George - I'm curious whether the "traditionalists" were told to sit at the back of the bus or if that is the seat in which they chose to sit, even though other seats are still vacant?
I'm not George, but I will mention that as subsequently officially interpreted (by the ELCA secretary, and others), the exercise of "bound conscience" was prohibited at any level of the ELCA beyond the congregation, and by that I mean a congregation with a current traditionalist voting membership majority.  The fallout/consequences of this were discussed extensively on the Forum contemporaneously (search for it).  For example, one could not sit on an ordination candidacy committee and hold to the traditional (pre-CWA09) understanding of sexual norms for the pastoral office (and by that I mean pass judgment/reject candidates applying that standard).

Make of that what you will.  Any value "bound conscience" might have had institutionally was negated by this pronouncement.  If the shoe fits...

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« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 01:06:19 PM by MaddogLutheran »
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George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #562 on: January 20, 2013, 01:15:18 PM »
Yes, the ELCA has a "space" for traditionalists. That space is at the back of the bus. It's at the back table near the kitchen door. It's in the balcony. It's off to the side, where the revisionists can make themselves feel good about being tolerant, but not where the traditionalists can bother anyone.

George - I'm curious whether the "traditionalists" were told to sit at the back of the bus or if that is the seat in which they chose to sit, even though other seats are still vacant?
I'm not George, but I will mention that as subsequently officially interpreted (by the ELCA secretary, and others), the exercise of "bound conscience" was prohibited at any level of the ELCA beyond the congregation, and by that I mean a congregation with a current traditionalist voting membership majority.  The fallout/consequences of this were discussed extensively on the Forum contemporaneously (search for it).  For example, one could not sit on an ordination candidacy committee and hold to the traditional (pre-CWA09) understanding of sexual norms for the pastoral office (and by that I mean pass judgment/reject candidates applying that standard).

Make of that what you will.  Any value "bound conscience" might have had institutionally was negated by this pronouncement.  If the shoe fits...

Sterling Spatz


Indeed! And everyone should bear in mind the old adage about the volume level of actions compared to the volume of mere words.

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #563 on: January 20, 2013, 01:27:40 PM »
Yes, the ELCA has a "space" for traditionalists. That space is at the back of the bus. It's at the back table near the kitchen door. It's in the balcony. It's off to the side, where the revisionists can make themselves feel good about being tolerant, but not where the traditionalists can bother anyone.

George - I'm curious whether the "traditionalists" were told to sit at the back of the bus or if that is the seat in which they chose to sit, even though other seats are still vacant?

Two things happened simultaneously that have made respect for bound conscience difficult to implement:

1.  Even prior to the passage of HSGT, the policy recommendations that accompanied it were altered so that "bound conscience" could only exercised at the congregational level.  Uniformity of policy was to be the rule at the synodical and churchwide levels.  Soon after, congregations were assured that they would never be forced to call a pastor they didn't want to call.  This rendered "bound conscience" meaningless because the synod never has had the power to force a congregation to call a pastor.  "Bound conscience" came mean simply that what has been the case since 1988 is still the case.

2.  Many congregations began to leave the ELCA.  Any traditionalist that was vocal was suspected of being "one of them" and shouted down.  In their attacks on those departing, loyalists often failed to distinguish between departers and dissenters.  This was true in my own case.
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Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #564 on: January 20, 2013, 02:05:12 PM »
...congregations were assured that they would never be forced to call a pastor they didn't want to call.  This rendered "bound conscience" meaningless because the synod never has had the power to force a congregation to call a pastor.  "Bound conscience" came mean simply that what has been the case since 1988 is still the case.

There is an impression from here that a congregation in the ELCA that refuses to call a lady will be vacant for a very long time -- and any congregation that refuses to call a homosexual will soon find itself simlarly tricked. 

Can we put that rumor to rest? 

George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #565 on: January 20, 2013, 02:22:09 PM »
Soon after, congregations were assured that they would never be forced to call a pastor they didn't want to call.  This rendered "bound conscience" meaningless because the synod never has had the power to force a congregation to call a pastor.  "Bound conscience" came mean simply that what has been the case since 1988 is still the case.




It is true that a synod cannot force a congregation to call a homosexual pastor, or a female pastor for that matter. However, a synod can fail to submit for consideration anyone other than a homosexual or a woman. An ELCA congregation can, in theory, extend a call to any pastor on the ELCA roster, but in actual practice, calls have to go through the synod office.


The other side of the coin also applies. A pastor seeking a call must rely on the bishop's office to submit his name to congregations for consideration. I don't think there's a technical rule against a pastor who is between calls mentioning to the call committee of a congregation without a pastor that he's is in a position to consider a call. But from what I've heard from pastors, taking that path is a quick route to finding oneself never submitted anywhere until one is removed from the roster for not having had a call.


I don't think anyone can honestly ignore the considerable power of "influence" that synod bishops have available, should they choose to exercise it. They have that power over congregations and over pastors, even if it isn't expressly spelled out in so many words.


And now, I suppose I should sit back and wait for someone to "correct" me by pointing out that the influential authority bishops have isn't expressly spelled out in so many words, so that means that it doesn't exist.


George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #566 on: January 20, 2013, 02:22:58 PM »
...congregations were assured that they would never be forced to call a pastor they didn't want to call.  This rendered "bound conscience" meaningless because the synod never has had the power to force a congregation to call a pastor.  "Bound conscience" came mean simply that what has been the case since 1988 is still the case.

There is an impression from here that a congregation in the ELCA that refuses to call a lady will be vacant for a very long time -- and any congregation that refuses to call a homosexual will soon find itself simlarly tricked. 

Can we put that rumor to rest?


Some might try, but given that the rumor is true, it will be almost impossible to dispel.


Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #567 on: January 20, 2013, 02:36:25 PM »
...congregations were assured that they would never be forced to call a pastor they didn't want to call.  This rendered "bound conscience" meaningless because the synod never has had the power to force a congregation to call a pastor.  "Bound conscience" came mean simply that what has been the case since 1988 is still the case.

There is an impression from here that a congregation in the ELCA that refuses to call a lady will be vacant for a very long time -- and any congregation that refuses to call a homosexual will soon find itself simlarly tricked. 

Can we put that rumor to rest?


Some might try, but given that the rumor is true, it will be almost impossible to dispel.

George - can you provide specific examples that demonstrate that the rumor is true?

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #568 on: January 20, 2013, 03:06:31 PM »
Please.  No.  This has been discussed too many times.
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George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #569 on: January 20, 2013, 03:21:08 PM »
Please.  No.  This has been discussed too many times.


What has been discussed too many times?