Author Topic: Bickering  (Read 38797 times)

BHHughes

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #75 on: August 21, 2013, 01:25:57 PM »

Telling people that they ought to be divided while professing that we are one in the Body of Christ would seem to be the greater oxymoron.

One significant problem with organizing around divisions, as noted in the post that began this conversation, is that it is too easy to confront one another.  The resulting food fight becomes more important than reconciliation.  I think it would be more consistent with the faith that we all profess to gather on the same side of the table and confront the issues about which we disagree.

Exactly.  And thus at every synod convention now called assembly I've attended there are *always* divisive issues that come up for vote.  Always.  Structurally it sets the tone this is how we roll; we gather and have voting contests.  You can't design a church around contests and expect people not to be contested. Or something like that. So it spills out into little forums like this one.  Or flows into a local congregation that drives away younger generations and insures something like 5% of people ordained in their 20's end up retiring as active clergy.

I don't have a solution as I don't care to enter those on-going frays to leverage any potential influence.  I am one who believes this model has already brought my own denomination past the tipping point of viability. "He's dead Jim.  Let's beam up."  And just maybe that's what the Spirit has in mind.




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Re: Bickering
« Reply #76 on: August 21, 2013, 01:29:03 PM »

Pr. Charlton - I apologize if I made that post in a way that caused mis-understanding. 

The "no takers" was nothing more than a reference to the consistent rejection of my suggestion that we re-engage the difficult issues from the "third side".  Doing so would require that we first identify the common ground and build upon that.  I identified what I thought was important common ground.  Curiously, I used three words as I learned them from the Small Catechism in a complete sentence and even that sparked an argument.

But, as I explained above, those are loaded words.  There is a history in the ELCA of avoiding the name of God.  Many, myself included, believe that this constitutes abandonment of the Lutheran Confessions.  Unless a person is willing to make a confession of faith in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as the Ecumenical Creeds and the Augsburg Confession does, then I don't believe that we do have common ground.


That is not quite accurate. There have been some in the ELCA who avoid Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language for God; but avoidance is not ELCA policy or practice. Both the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds were used during the week of worship services at the CWA. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language was used in all but one liturgy; and that one used another biblical formula for the Trinity.

Is said that there is a history in the ELCA.  I did not say it was ELCA policy.  You acknowledge that "there have been some in the ELCA who avoid Father, Son and Holy Spirit language for God..."  Well, that means that there is a history of people doing so.

To be honest, there actually kind of is "policy" in the form of the "Language of Worship" section in Principles for Worship published in preparation of creating ELW. That document is solidly on the side of Metaphorical language as far as the naming of God is concerned. I do not believe that the name of God: "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" actually occurs in the document. I do remember that it claimed prevalent use of "Father" in the prayer of the church to be a recent (last 200 years) phenomenon though it did acknowledge that its origin was in the New Testament and on the lips of Jesus. As a document, it came down clearly that new metaphors needed to be discovered to express our ever deepening modern understanding of God.

So is there a official policy? No, but there was one for the worship book we published 7 years ago. That policy will keep on giving, much to the dismay of those of us whose theology considers the Trinitarian formula God's self disclosure.
Peter Kruse

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

John Mundinger

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #77 on: August 21, 2013, 01:32:04 PM »
Where is it written that we shouldn't be divided on political an social issues?

Pr. Charlton - you are responding to an argument that I did not make.  I did not say that we should not be divided within the church on political and social issues.  I am saying that we can do better than defining ourselves and framing the conversations by our divisions.



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Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #78 on: August 21, 2013, 01:38:46 PM »
To be honest, there actually kind of is "policy" in the form of the "Language of Worship" section in Principles for Worship published in preparation of creating ELW. That document is solidly on the side of Metaphorical language as far as the naming of God is concerned. I do not believe that the name of God: "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" actually occurs in the document. I do remember that it claimed prevalent use of "Father" in the prayer of the church to be a recent (last 200 years) phenomenon though it did acknowledge that its origin was in the New Testament and on the lips of Jesus. As a document, it came down clearly that new metaphors needed to be discovered to express our ever deepening modern understanding of God.

So is there a official policy? No, but there was one for the worship book we published 7 years ago. That policy will keep on giving, much to the dismay of those of us whose theology considers the Trinitarian formula God's self disclosure.


That document states clearly in Principle 24

Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity.


There is no other language for use in Holy Baptism.


In regards to a point you bring up, it states:


Background L-9D
 Our addressing God as Father is rooted primarily in the New Testament and in the confessions and piety of the church. Our use of this form of address is related in part to Jesus’ invitation to join him in praying to God in this way. This form of address has become more prevalent in the last two centuries, sometimes overshadowing other ways of addressing God.

There is nothing in the document that discourages the use of "Father" for God. It encourages us to also use other terms and phrases that are found in scriptures.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 01:44:02 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

Dadoo

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #79 on: August 21, 2013, 01:46:01 PM »
To be honest, there actually kind of is "policy" in the form of the "Language of Worship" section in Principles for Worship published in preparation of creating ELW. That document is solidly on the side of Metaphorical language as far as the naming of God is concerned. I do not believe that the name of God: "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" actually occurs in the document. I do remember that it claimed prevalent use of "Father" in the prayer of the church to be a recent (last 200 years) phenomenon though it did acknowledge that its origin was in the New Testament and on the lips of Jesus. As a document, it came down clearly that new metaphors needed to be discovered to express our ever deepening modern understanding of God.

So is there a official policy? No, but there was one for the worship book we published 7 years ago. That policy will keep on giving, much to the dismay of those of us whose theology considers the Trinitarian formula God's self disclosure.


That document states clearly in Principle 24

Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity.


There is no other language for use in Holy Baptism.


In regards to a point you bring up, it states:


Background L-9D
 Our addressing God as Father is rooted primarily in the New Testament and in the confessions and piety of the church. Our use of this form of address is related in part to Jesus’ invitation to join him in praying to God in this way. This form of address has become more prevalent in the last two centuries, sometimes overshadowing other ways of addressing God.

There is nothing in the document that discourages the use of "Father" for God. It encourages us to also use other terms and phrases that are found in scriptures.

That is a quote, not from "Principle . . " but from Use of the Means of Grace which is an Appendix to "Principles . . "
Peter Kruse

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

BHHughes

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #80 on: August 21, 2013, 01:48:28 PM »

Pr. Charlton - you are responding to an argument that I did not make.  I did not say that we should not be divided within the church on political and social issues.  I am saying that we can do better than defining ourselves and framing the conversations by our divisions.

Will be distant from a computer the rest of the day so won't be able to respond until maybe tomorrow.

As per doing better: "If things were different, they wouldn't be the way they are."  I'm not sure how you would reduce the division when this church is structured to create and/or exacerbate it.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #81 on: August 21, 2013, 01:50:04 PM »
To be honest, there actually kind of is "policy" in the form of the "Language of Worship" section in Principles for Worship published in preparation of creating ELW. That document is solidly on the side of Metaphorical language as far as the naming of God is concerned. I do not believe that the name of God: "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" actually occurs in the document. I do remember that it claimed prevalent use of "Father" in the prayer of the church to be a recent (last 200 years) phenomenon though it did acknowledge that its origin was in the New Testament and on the lips of Jesus. As a document, it came down clearly that new metaphors needed to be discovered to express our ever deepening modern understanding of God.

So is there a official policy? No, but there was one for the worship book we published 7 years ago. That policy will keep on giving, much to the dismay of those of us whose theology considers the Trinitarian formula God's self disclosure.


That document states clearly in Principle 24

Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity.


There is no other language for use in Holy Baptism.


In regards to a point you bring up, it states:


Background L-9D
 Our addressing God as Father is rooted primarily in the New Testament and in the confessions and piety of the church. Our use of this form of address is related in part to Jesus’ invitation to join him in praying to God in this way. This form of address has become more prevalent in the last two centuries, sometimes overshadowing other ways of addressing God.

There is nothing in the document that discourages the use of "Father" for God. It encourages us to also use other terms and phrases that are found in scriptures.

That is a quote, not from "Principle . . " but from Use of the Means of Grace which is an Appendix to "Principles . . "


You are right. I just searched the pdf file of "Principles for Worship" without realizing it included the appendix. However, "The Use of the Means of Grace" has official standing. "Principles for Worship" was prepared for "provisional use."
"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]

John Mundinger

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #82 on: August 21, 2013, 01:50:48 PM »
Exactly.  And thus at every synod convention now called assembly I've attended there are *always* divisive issues that come up for vote.  Always.  Structurally it sets the tone this is how we roll; we gather and have voting contests.  You can't design a church around contests and expect people not to be contested.

I'm not sure that it is correct to say that the church was designed around contests.  However, the governance process does tend to invite it. 

Personally, I would like to start a food fight over a proposal to burn Robert and his rules at the stake.  ;)  I say that only half in jest.  Resolutions etc. come to the floor and they get either an up or down vote.  Necessarily, that procedure assumes that one answer is correct and the other answer, necessarily, must be wrong.  However, the issues in question, especially when there is significant dispute, are more complex than that and there is no easy way to serve up a third, fourth or fifth option.  A viable alternative, without dispensing with Robert's Rules, would be to agree to refer those difficult issues to a collaborative group and keep them there until they can come to the floor for perfunctory approval.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

John Mundinger

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #83 on: August 21, 2013, 01:55:12 PM »

Pr. Charlton - you are responding to an argument that I did not make.  I did not say that we should not be divided within the church on political and social issues.  I am saying that we can do better than defining ourselves and framing the conversations by our divisions.

Will be distant from a computer the rest of the day so won't be able to respond until maybe tomorrow.

As per doing better: "If things were different, they wouldn't be the way they are."  I'm not sure how you would reduce the division when this church is structured to create and/or exacerbate it.

I don't think it is fair to lay that on the church.  Lay it on the church members.  That is the way that we, as sinners, are wired.  The church did not create the divisions, we did.  We are simul justus et peccator and, given the opportunity, we default to peccator.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

DCharlton

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #84 on: August 21, 2013, 02:00:34 PM »
Using that same kind of argument, I can say that there's a history of open communion in the LCMS. I expect that LCMS folks will challenge me on that language. Those who practice open communion are acting contrary to LCMS policy. Those in the ELCA who refuse Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language are acting contrary to our policy.

There are dissidents in both denominations. They do not set policy. They do not define the denomination. They are not the norm.

And you would be right.  There is a history of such things.  I don't see what your point is in challenging me on that. 
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Re: Bickering
« Reply #85 on: August 21, 2013, 02:03:41 PM »
Speaking from my tiny but lively church here: when we use Robert's Rules of Order, it is a clear sign there is a power-struggle going on. We haven't used them but once in decades. The person who conjured up the rules during a council meeting later had to leave the country, foisted on her own petard zeitgeist.

How to hear the vox populi as well as the vox Dei? Sign-up sheets.

(Also protects the pastor from the passive-aggressive advice, "We (You) should do this!")

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DCharlton

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #86 on: August 21, 2013, 02:11:38 PM »
Where is it written that we shouldn't be divided on political an social issues?

Pr. Charlton - you are responding to an argument that I did not make.  I did not say that we should not be divided within the church on political and social issues.  I am saying that we can do better than defining ourselves and framing the conversations by our divisions.

Apparently you found the rest of my post convincing?  Or are you just ignoring the rest of my question? 

You seem to me to be suggesting that "what we have in common" provides a basis for establishing some "third way".  My question is "third way to what?" If we already have confessional unity, what is the "third way" leading us toward?  Agreement or compromise on divisive political and social issues?  Why is that necessary or even desirable?   
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 02:15:19 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

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Dadoo

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #87 on: August 21, 2013, 02:11:53 PM »
To be honest, there actually kind of is "policy" in the form of the "Language of Worship" section in Principles for Worship published in preparation of creating ELW. That document is solidly on the side of Metaphorical language as far as the naming of God is concerned. I do not believe that the name of God: "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" actually occurs in the document. I do remember that it claimed prevalent use of "Father" in the prayer of the church to be a recent (last 200 years) phenomenon though it did acknowledge that its origin was in the New Testament and on the lips of Jesus. As a document, it came down clearly that new metaphors needed to be discovered to express our ever deepening modern understanding of God.

So is there a official policy? No, but there was one for the worship book we published 7 years ago. That policy will keep on giving, much to the dismay of those of us whose theology considers the Trinitarian formula God's self disclosure.


That document states clearly in Principle 24

Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity.


There is no other language for use in Holy Baptism.


In regards to a point you bring up, it states:


Background L-9D
 Our addressing God as Father is rooted primarily in the New Testament and in the confessions and piety of the church. Our use of this form of address is related in part to Jesus’ invitation to join him in praying to God in this way. This form of address has become more prevalent in the last two centuries, sometimes overshadowing other ways of addressing God.

There is nothing in the document that discourages the use of "Father" for God. It encourages us to also use other terms and phrases that are found in scriptures.

That is a quote, not from "Principle . . " but from Use of the Means of Grace which is an Appendix to "Principles . . "


You are right. I just searched the pdf file of "Principles for Worship" without realizing it included the appendix. However, "The Use of the Means of Grace" has official standing. "Principles for Worship" was prepared for "provisional use."

Being the guiding principle for ELW it is pro forma a policy, even if it was in use only for the 4 years that ELW was under development. ELW, developed under Principle's boundaries produced a worship book that is theologically questionable to those who do not subscribe to the Metaphorical Language theology as it does not treat Father Son and Holy Spirit as a proper name. ( if it did so the whole metaphorical language argument would go out the window and ELW would have to undergo heavy revision.)

So, John wrote:

Quote

There have been some in the ELCA who avoid Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language for God; but avoidance is not ELCA policy or practice.


I would pose that it is, as far as ELW and S&S texts are used, therefore suggesting more than "some" who do so, ELCA practice to avoid using Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so much that "Principles . . " might just as well be policy.
Peter Kruse

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John Mundinger

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #88 on: August 21, 2013, 02:55:55 PM »
Apparently you found the rest of my post convincing?  Or are you just ignoring the rest of my question? 

I chose a pass because I saw it as a mix of apples and oranges.  My concern in this conversation is about divisions within the Body of Christ.  The rest of your post seemed to concern divisions beyond the Body and, thus, I chose not to engage it.

You seem to me to be suggesting that "what we have in common" provides a basis for establishing some "third way".  My question is "third way to what?" If we already have confessional unity, what is the "third way" leading us toward?  Agreement or compromise on divisive political and social issues?  Why is that necessary or even desirable?

We may have confessional unity, but we often do not behave as though we do.  I'm not talking talking about a third way - I am talking about the "third side" (short hand for the concepts presented in a book with the same title).  Most disagreements take the shape of a two-sided argument in which both parties assume that they are right and, necessarily, the other party must be wrong.  In such disputes, I think both sides are wrong and the better outcome is the third side.  But, how do you find the third side if nobody is putting it on the table?  To begin with, identify and build on common ground.  Secondly, treat one another with respect - as I have suggested, confront the disagreement and not the person with whom you disagree.

It seems to me that with Christianity and, especially among Lutherans, our basic confession is not really in dispute, even when some folks would characterize it as such.  Rather, the matters in dispute are related more to differences about how we - as individuals, as congregations and as denominations - live out of that confession in the secular world.  We might not agree.  We might not be able to develop the third side.  But, at a minimum, we ought to be able to relate with one another in a manner that does not violate the confession we share.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

BHHughes

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Re: Bickering
« Reply #89 on: August 21, 2013, 03:19:34 PM »

Pr. Charlton - you are responding to an argument that I did not make.  I did not say that we should not be divided within the church on political and social issues.  I am saying that we can do better than defining ourselves and framing the conversations by our divisions.

Will be distant from a computer the rest of the day so won't be able to respond until maybe tomorrow.

As per doing better: "If things were different, they wouldn't be the way they are."  I'm not sure how you would reduce the division when this church is structured to create and/or exacerbate it.

I don't think it is fair to lay that on the church.  Lay it on the church members.  That is the way that we, as sinners, are wired.  The church did not create the divisions, we did.  We are simul justus et peccator and, given the opportunity, we default to peccator.

Twenty-five years of divisive votes at synodical assemblies and bi-yearly divisive votes at national assemblies: "Oh, so this is the way to do church."  Or more accurately, the group that designed the structure of the ELCA insured it would be embedded in the DNA. Look at how this it was raised in this thread. After every national assembly there are always positive testimonials from the winners. We've seen them again this time round. And I'm sure the losers go home wondering if they should remain. Eventually the continuous votes will run out of losers or the continuing pool of winners will be too small to maintain the institutional edifice.