Author Topic: The Battle Lines are Drawn  (Read 10637 times)

Bergs

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2007, 10:07:03 AM »
I comment:
I am not a voting member, (people who go to assemblies are not "delegates"), so I do not know. But I do know that newsletters, position papers, and other materials are widely circulated throughout the ELCA by Word Alone, Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans and other groups. And they hold rallies and workshops and conventions to promote their views. Some of this I find a little distasteful; but I do not consider it a horrendous wrong. We are all free to promote our views.

As for funding, what does it matter? I would like to see all activist organizations report the sources of their funding, just for the sake of full information. (Do we suspect that drug companies or other corporate behemoths have some stake in what the church does?  ;D) But that probably won't happen.

As I am also not a voting member, I do not know what materials are being sent.  If CORE or WAN are sending things to voting members, I am curious what is being sent out.  As the letter from Pastor Henning showcases, there is great emotional spin going on.  We are in agreement that some of this is distasteful but not a horrendous wrong. 

My point is that the materials from both sides should be subject to evaluation and fact-checking.

We would disagree on funding.  Where the funding comes from is incredibly important.  What if the ELCA were considering to support pro-choice legislation.  If materials were sent on either side, the funding source would be very important.  Given two well-oiled machines on the two different divides, there might be millions being spent that was funded by outsiders to influence internal ELCA policy.   

As for this issue we know that LCNA has been fund-raising outside of the ELCA.  On the other side, I would like to know if an organization like the IRD were getting involved.  Though they are free to fund-raise where they like, how much and who is giving to a cause gives an indication as to the motivations of those working for change or the status-quo. 

Take Pastor Henning's letter as an example.  If she did this on her own with no backing, that says a lot.  Here is a person who is so unhappy with the policies, she takes special effort to get the mailing list, write an emotional letter, pays for printing and mailing, and sends it to all delegates.  That is very impressive and the letter will be read in that context.  Here we find she writes on congregational letterhead so one can imply that the congregation is behind her. So we can imply that the congregation might have funded it and the letter has a different context.   But if we find that another organization found her (or she volunteered), had her write the letter, then did all the legwork to send it out, the letter is read in a different light.  "He who pays the piper calls the tunes." 

If the ELCA were considering a stem-cell policy, actually the drug companies might take an interest in the CWA. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

But let me tell Thee that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing.
The Grand Inquisitor

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2007, 10:16:32 AM »
Eric writes:
First, in respose ot what someone wrote a few posts back, I think a reasonable person must make a clear distiction between a reform group and "activists." Sure Lutheran CORE and LCNA both organize and as part of that solicit funds, but one is trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith and hold to policies that reflect it, where as the latter's sole purpose is to change a policy.

I comment:
You may say that only one of those groups is "trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith and the policies that reflect it." Others might say that both groups are "trying to keep the church to our received Christian faith," even though they advocate that some policies reflecting that faith should be changed. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2007, 10:20:18 AM »
Erma Wolf writes:
Why, Pastor Austin!  I had no idea you thought so highly of Lutheran CORE (et al)!  "Well-oiled political spin machine."  Granted, I would have preferred "dedicated (and humble) servants and protectors of Christian truth as revealed in Scripture and Lutheran Confessions", but the times being what they are, we'll take what recognition and credit we can get.

I clarify:
Well, I have no direct information as to how oiled CORE is or whether their spin has staying power. I have no problem with considering CORE people "dedicated (and humble) servants."
We have heard, if we listen carefully, others describe themselves in exactly the same way, even though they disagree with CORE on certain matters about what has been "revealed in Scripture and Lutheran Confessions."

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2007, 10:47:36 AM »
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are. Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.

Deb_H.

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2007, 10:52:43 AM »
On the matter of "drawing battle lines," I also believe that is inappropriate terminology.  If the lines are drawn for fighting, you know you're not in church anymore anyway.  That is one of the problems with conciliar churchianity, where something beyond the local congregation and its understanding of scripture is considered authoritative.  Some Lutheran historians will argue the Reformation actually ended when Luther and Melanchthon initiated the Saxon visitation.  At that point, the Lutheran church became another top-down initiative to get those "poor dumb souls" out in the countryside to understand "what they actually believe."   In a congregation, you have to be more careful about your language and presentation than you do at an assembly, because you will be seeing those people every week.  At assembly, you state your convictions bluntly, "get a vote to go your way," and then go home.  That's not church.

At one of the ELCA sexuality task force meetings in Chicago I was involved in a conversation with one of the gay advocates during the lunch break.  I or someone else asked the question -- don't you worry about those folks who don't agree with you on the appropriateness of gay behaviors being excluded from congregations where they or their families have been members forever?  His response was interesting to me, because it showed that for all the talk about the importance of inclusion, gay people aren't that inclusive.  He said -- There are plenty of other churches for those people to go to.

One of the sessions we had at the task force was when we asked advocates for both sides of the question to come in and state their views and engage in question and answer format with us.  It was interesting the contrast between the two "sides."  The first day we had what we would call traditionalists.  They had given us their views in writing prior to the meeting and then we were free to ask questions of them and engage in conversation.  I asked the question -- What doubts do you have about the position you are taking?  Every one of the respondents admitted they had doubts and wrestled with the positions they had taken.

The next day the gay folks came in under the same format.  The difference was striking.  We had asked both groups for 5-6 people to represent their veiws.  The gay people insisted that 11 had to be present.  We had asked for written papers to be presented ahead of time and then we would ask questions and engage in conversation.  The gay people insisted first that they read their papers to us.  The conversation time, therefore, was deeply shortened.  I asked the same question -- What doubts do you have? -- and to a person, everyone said they had NO doubts whatsoever.  We are dealing with zealots here; there is no middle ground.

For those of you who will be voting members in Chicago, keep a cool head, remember Whose you are, and at the end of the day, if you can't take it anymore, remember there is life elsewhere.  It is well to remember the advice of Gamaliel to Saul of Tarsus:  If this is of God, it can't be stopped, if it is not, it can not survive.  It's not about battle.  And God's timeline for this may be different than ours.  Oddly enough, I believe this may result in a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit as faithful people move to house churches (or wherever) where they  can be faithful to Jesus Christ, unencumbered with the language of "battle" and "fight."

Lou

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2007, 10:57:23 AM »
Eric writes:
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

I comment:
But those things - scripture, creeds, confessions, constitutions - are expressed and understood through your words. So it matters what you say and how the proper juridical authorities adjudicate what you say as opposed to what others may say.

Eric again:
If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are.

Me again:
I make no case that would fully define any group; they do that themselves. I only note that   numerous groups seek change in how the ELCA does some things. They are "equal" in that sense; I make no qualitative judgement, but I do note that almost every group uses the language of "reform," whether they call themselves a reform group or not.

Eric again:
Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.

Me, finally:
Perhaps the above explanation will make it seem less "novel," though I suspect the view may be unique to me in this forum. "Calling" me on it? What is that?


JMOtterman

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2007, 10:59:19 AM »
Brian J. Bergs said: "He who pays the piper calls the tunes."

PJ says: Newsletter is from Good Soil but since it didn't say good soil on the envelope then I would speculate that this pastor sent it out on the church's dime.

Now, forensics suggests that the parchment with which the paper was used for the letter head was of a heavier stock, and that the finger prints that touched the actual paper could have been a person from Good Soil or just the secretary from the church, the parchment had a very earthy smell but alas this proves that nothing more can be deduced at this time as to whom paid the piper, now the tune seems to me to be too flat with a dissonance that even a Jazz artist might stray from; but that's my spin.

PJ

 

 


Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2007, 11:01:14 AM »
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"? The catchy tune? Lou, I say this as a brother who really likes you (OK?) but are you aware that you are on your own time table. We are headed into a fight. Why should anyone be saying otherwise (I think I know your answer, but I will argue against it). The people who are not ready to walk away from their congregations in the ELCA are going to go ahead and keep using the fight language through the assembly and many are looking beyond this one to 2009.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2007, 11:05:09 AM »
Eric writes:
Double piffle. It doesn't matter what I say but what the Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions and in the case of the ELCA, what the constitution says.

I comment:
But those things - scripture, creeds, confessions, constitutions - are expressed and understood through your words. So it matters what you say and how the proper juridical authorities adjudicate what you say as opposed to what others may say.

Eric again:
If you want to make a case that "the others" (and if you mean LCNA, say it) are somehow eqivocal to reform groups, make it. All you have done so far is say there are.

Me again:
I make no case that would fully define any group; they do that themselves. I only note that   numerous groups seek change in how the ELCA does some things. They are "equal" in that sense; I make no qualitative judgement, but I do note that almost every group uses the language of "reform," whether they call themselves a reform group or not.

Eric again:
Frankly, it is a novel perception, unique to you on this forum, I am calling you on it.

Me, finally:
Perhaps the above explanation will make it seem less "novel," though I suspect the view may be unique to me in this forum. "Calling" me on it? What is that?



You seem to know what "I call you on it" means. To be clear it means make your case (which I also said). And you have not. So what if one groups says they are about reform? Reform is what it is. Historians know what it is. Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2007, 11:14:18 AM »
Eric writes:
Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.

I comment:
And here we go again, alas! Look, Eric, there is no one here from those advocating change to make their case, and I am not a partisan, so I cannot and will not do so. But I do report to you that for those seeking to include gay and lesbian people fully in the ministry of the church, this is not a "secular agenda." It stems from how they see their being as Christians and, in the case of some, their vocation to be called and ordained pastors. Surely, if you have been around any of the dialogue, you have heard this. You may call it "secular," you may call it "anti-reform." They do not.


JMOtterman

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2007, 11:28:16 AM »
On the matter of "drawing battle lines," I also believe that is inappropriate terminology.

Lou,

Just because it's a battle doesn't mean its going to be a fight.  Although as to inappropriate terminology was it inappropriate terminology that Paul used in Ephesians 6: 10-20?  The Battle Lines are stated quite clearly by the good soil people in the Q and A section of what their intent is for the next few years, they have read the Art of War and are using it as a means by which to confound those who think they will just go away.  Who is the idealist when you think that battle might not need to take place?  The battle is going to happen.  Can a person battle as a Lutheran Christian i.e. matter of conscience and belief and still love his/her enemy?  Yes.  Do you believe that the good soil people love you so much that they are willing to die for you?  I don't know.  I think they would sacrifice the entire church for their agenda.  Thus, the battle lines have been drawn not be me but by the good christian folks from good soil.
 
PJ
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 11:29:53 AM by JMOtterman »

Deb_H.

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2007, 11:34:55 AM »
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

Because it's about God's fight, not ours.

You know I have great respect and love for you, Eric, but I wonder what all this "fighting" does to the faith life of the children of pastors and faithful lay people.  I know if I was a child growing up in a home where my family always seemed to be at war over things in the church, it would be difficult for me to be a faithful church person as an adult.  My younger brother is not a church person and I argue that it is because of my mother's authoritarian stance about matters of church impacting upon his sensitive personality.  When Debbie and I were young parents, we left the LCMS congregation in Moses Lake precisely because we did not want our children to grow up with a negative attitude about church.  (That congregation was always fighting about the liberal spin that LCMS was falling into, if you can imagine such a thing.)  Our three grown children are all faithful church people today. 

Whether the two are related or not, I do not know, but I do know it is hard on kids to be raised in a home where the main topic of discussion is conflict.

As to my timeline or God's timeline, who can know?  Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

Lou

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2007, 11:36:43 AM »
Eric writes:
Clearly, trying to bring a secualr agenda into the church is not reform. It is anti-reform.

I comment:
And here we go again, alas! Look, Eric, there is no one here from those advocating change to make their case, and I am not a partisan, so I cannot and will not do so. But I do report to you that for those seeking to include gay and lesbian people fully in the ministry of the church, this is not a "secular agenda." It stems from how they see their being as Christians and, in the case of some, their vocation to be called and ordained pastors. Surely, if you have been around any of the dialogue, you have heard this. You may call it "secular," you may call it "anti-reform." They do not.



As Carl Braaten said to the reporter in 2005 "It doesn't come from Scripture, it doesn't come from tradition, it has to come from culture.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2007, 11:45:03 AM »
So, why do we keep singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

Because it's about God's fight, not ours.

You know I have great respect and love for you, Eric, but I wonder what all this "fighting" does to the faith life of the children of pastors and faithful lay people.  I know if I was a child growing up in a home where my family always seemed to be at war over things in the church, it would be difficult for me to be a faithful church person as an adult.  My younger brother is not a church person and I argue that it is because of my mother's authoritarian stance about matters of church impacting upon his sensitive personality.  When Debbie and I were young parents, we left the LCMS congregation in Moses Lake precisely because we did not want our children to grow up with a negative attitude about church.  (That congregation was always fighting about the liberal spin that LCMS was falling into, if you can imagine such a thing.)  Our three grown children are all faithful church people today. 

Whether the two are related or not, I do not know, but I do know it is hard on kids to be raised in a home where the main topic of discussion is conflict.

As to my timeline or God's timeline, who can know?  Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

Lou

Thanks, Lou. I worry about those things ans many others which helps put things in perspective (like someone saying that WAN and LCNA are both reform groups). You are right that it is God's battle. It is also mainly a spiritual battle. People get burnt.  I didn't mean to say that you are not on God's timeline. And I do know that there are very good reasons why people leave and its too bad that more people cannot understand that God has planted many new churches in just this way. We keep that in tension with His need for unity tough. Also, the pastors in this froum do not have the same considerations, that is, we cannot just go, there are a lot of forms to be filled out first :-\
.
Thank God my sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

Maryland Brian

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Re: The Battle Lines are Drawn
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2007, 12:24:22 PM »
Although as to inappropriate terminology was it inappropriate terminology that Paul used in Ephesians 6: 10-20?  The Battle Lines are stated quite clearly by the good soil people in the Q and A section of what their intent is for the next few years, they have read the Art of War and are using it as a means by which to confound those who think they will just go away. 

  Yes, it's a fight.  It's not even a contest.  It's a level five conflict for the advocates (using Alban Institute's scale for such things) which denotes a jihad - a war where winning is so important that both sides may be taken out in the conflict.  Look at the home congregation of Good Soil's face to world; Jeff Johnson.  My sources in Bay Area tell me he's down to less than 20/Sunday in worship.  That's certainly a signal as to their ultimate agenda .... and it has nothing to do with the Gospel or reaching people for Christ.

So the question becomes, is this fight worth it for the orthodox?  As Lou has pointed out, if we step up into it all we'll probably do is create the same outcomes in our congregations as the advocates; the fight will send the next generation off into the ranks of the unchurched.

So you can go to the national assembly and cast your vote against change ... but does anyone here think that will have any impact at all on 1) seminary faculty, 2) Lutheran Youth Organization, 3) our campus ministries, 4) ECP and their candidates, 5) certain out-of-control synods  and.... 6) a particular congregation in Atlanta currently being led by a defrocked pastor?

Their aim is to change or kill the church.  You fight their conflict as they've defined it and they'll still win because they already have a grip on most of the institutional expression of this church.  All you'll do is kill your congregation in the process.... hence they win again.

Why are you folks losing sleep over this?  Go after the Lost in your community.  I think heaven will rejoice over that.  And sit back and grieve the collapse of the ELCA along the same lines as TEC and PCUSA.  But don't fight their conflict, not the way they want it.

Maryland Brian