Author Topic: We Must Learn to Be a Minority  (Read 10372 times)

Russ Saltzman

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We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« on: August 29, 2013, 11:25:54 AM »
Up today at First Things web site.

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/08/we-must-learn-to-be-a-minority

It starts out as a review of Jody's Bottum's Commonweal piece, "A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage." Turns out, that isn't what Jody is saying at all. But he does want Catholics - and by extension traditional Christians - to back out of the debate.

That's where I've come to as well. However, as long as we're backing out of things, we need to consider other things as well.

I ended up talking about Christians retreating from the public square. (I expect the ghost of Neuhaus to show up and slap me around a bit.)

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.
Russell E Saltzman
former editor, Forum Letter
former columnist, www.firstthings.com
essayist, https://aleteia.org/author/russell-e-saltzman/
email: russell.e.saltzman@gmail.com
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Norman Teigen

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 11:34:49 AM »
How is Caesar doing that?  It seems to many of us that it is the religious element that would impose its doctrines and teachings into law.  This is a First Things idea and I am not buying into it.
Norman Teigen

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 11:41:47 AM »
Pr. Saltzmann, a nice piece with good things to chew on.

I especially liked your last sentence in the initial post about giving up Caesar's gifts because what Caesar gives with the right hand, Caesar snatches back with the left and with 20% added to it. 

And it reminded me of Luther's words: "And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone, he's judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him." 

I'm not saying anything about the "public square" issue.  I take my place in the public square, primarily in regards to the infanticide and genocide that is being perpetrated in this country.  WRT marriage I encourage myself and the congregation to speak positively and realistically about marriage.  Whether that takes place in the public square or the public house, it doesn't make a different to me.

Anyway, thanks for writing and sharing.

Jeremy 
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

BHHughes

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 11:46:44 AM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:48:57 AM by BHHughes »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 11:53:47 AM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.


It seems to me that without the position papers created and approved by a church body, what will guide its members as they witness in the public square? As they minister in their daily life? Are they each to be "Lone Rangers" doing and saying whatever they personally believe is the Christian response?
"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]

readselerttoo

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 12:46:33 PM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.


It seems to me that without the position papers created and approved by a church body, what will guide its members as they witness in the public square? As they minister in their daily life? Are they each to be "Lone Rangers" doing and saying whatever they personally believe is the Christian response?

Careful...your theocracy is showing!

pearson

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 12:51:31 PM »

How is Caesar doing that?  It seems to many of us that it is the religious element that would impose its doctrines and teachings into law.  This is a First Things idea and I am not buying into it.


So where does the normative element -- the element that defines and directs "law" -- come from?

Tom Pearson

BHHughes

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 01:08:53 PM »

Careful...your theocracy is showing!

Naa ... institutional hubris that assumes denominationally produced white papers carry authority. I think Russ has nailed this one. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 01:18:38 PM »
friend Russ is right, but...  Doggone it, I hate it when I can't think of the but...

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 02:15:50 PM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.


It seems to me that without the position papers created and approved by a church body, what will guide its members as they witness in the public square? As they minister in their daily life? Are they each to be "Lone Rangers" doing and saying whatever they personally believe is the Christian response?

Careful...your theocracy is showing!


As it should in the church. We are to be ruled by God.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 02:17:35 PM »

Careful...your theocracy is showing!

Naa ... institutional hubris that assumes denominationally produced white papers carry authority. I think Russ has nailed this one.


Even the Bible has no authority except for those who give it authority in their lives.
"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]

readselerttoo

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 05:54:37 PM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.


It seems to me that without the position papers created and approved by a church body, what will guide its members as they witness in the public square? As they minister in their daily life? Are they each to be "Lone Rangers" doing and saying whatever they personally believe is the Christian response?

Careful...your theocracy is showing!


As it should in the church. We are to be ruled by God.


Which God are you talking about?  (hint:  testing for Barthian influences here...)

readselerttoo

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 05:56:31 PM »

Careful...your theocracy is showing!

Naa ... institutional hubris that assumes denominationally produced white papers carry authority. I think Russ has nailed this one.


Even the Bible has no authority except for those who give it authority in their lives.


Is there any vis major (higher authority) in your book other than the humanly ascribed?

readselerttoo

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 06:06:11 PM »
Pr. Saltzmann, a nice piece with good things to chew on.

I especially liked your last sentence in the initial post about giving up Caesar's gifts because what Caesar gives with the right hand, Caesar snatches back with the left and with 20% added to it. 

And it reminded me of Luther's words: "And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone, he's judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him." 

I'm not saying anything about the "public square" issue.  I take my place in the public square, primarily in regards to the infanticide and genocide that is being perpetrated in this country.  WRT marriage I encourage myself and the congregation to speak positively and realistically about marriage.  Whether that takes place in the public square or the public house, it doesn't make a different to me.

Anyway, thanks for writing and sharing.

Jeremy


Actually Caesar's gifts are retributive period.  Just like they are divinely appointed.  So in many ways we can't say that God isn't gone from the public square, because the proper God, the terrible God of history, the One who addresses all sinners as the awful Judge, as the One who directs our tragic fate, is the proper God of the public square.  Why is this so hard to fathom?

Even some within Nazi Germany were certainly aware of this terrible God through whom through Jesus' death on the cross for sinners, for those who are judged within their history and within history in general, are face-to-face with the very act which brought down the wall of hostility.  That is why in our situation in America we need to proclaim as self-identified Christians what is going on within history as Christ's death addressed it along with its lingering effects for forgiven sinners even now, today.  It's part of our missional heritage.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 06:12:20 PM by readselerttoo »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: We Must Learn to Be a Minority
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 07:18:41 PM »

It does not - as some of the comments seems to think - mean retreating from public life. I do mean to suggest we surrender Caesar's gifts because, in today's climate, Caesar is being urged to take them away in any case.

Two quick responses: 

!) Yes, institutionally it's silly for a denomination to keep writing and publishing position papers on public issues. It hasn't the legitimate authority (and hasn't had it for several generations, but that doesn't seem to sink in) to be taken seriously in the public arena and communicates to a younger generation the church is just another social institution with a political agenda - left or right.

2) It will reframe what we mean by ministry in daily life.  I have members highly placed in the federal government.  What will their vocation mean to them as they bring Christ onto Caesar's territory when that territory is openly hostile? It will force the issue of creating discipling culture as theirs will be a difficult mission field.


It seems to me that without the position papers created and approved by a church body, what will guide its members as they witness in the public square? As they minister in their daily life? Are they each to be "Lone Rangers" doing and saying whatever they personally believe is the Christian response?

Careful...your theocracy is showing!


As it should in the church. We are to be ruled by God.


Which God are you talking about?  (hint:  testing for Barthian influences here...)


The One with the capital G. Others I spell god.
"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]