Author Topic: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)  (Read 31202 times)

Maryland Brian

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2007, 01:53:11 PM »

Can you tell me what it costs a synod to go through the disciplinary process?


  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?

Anyway, I really don't have much of a dog left in this fight. Given "what is", I'm emotionally already out the door and just sitting around wondering when my tush will follow.

MD Brian

janielou13

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2007, 02:38:11 PM »
Irl,,,,, one doesn't rebaptize LDS Mormons,,, one baptizes them.  Whatever they do in their Temples is an 'unding' as you well note.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2007, 02:43:22 PM »
Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching 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]

Eric_Swensson

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2007, 02:44:11 PM »
What's that, 12 per year?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #64 on: May 01, 2007, 02:54:13 PM »
What's that, 12 per year?

Oh no, lots more than that. Over past three years membership has increased from 64 to 115, and attendance from 30 to 50. Impressive, percentage-wise.

Of course, to qualify as "church growth," doesn't there have to be "church" as well as "growth"?
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #65 on: May 01, 2007, 02:56:29 PM »
What's that, 12 per year?
Actually from 2003-2005 there was an 80% increase in membership and 67% increase in worship attendance. (They didn't have new figures for 2006.)

In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.
"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]

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #66 on: May 01, 2007, 02:57:44 PM »
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website.  They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.

Sterling Spatz
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #67 on: May 01, 2007, 02:59:50 PM »
Brian, do I understand you correctly to be saying that you believe "HerChurch" is a faithful Lutheran congregation?
I believe that the gospel is proclaimed there -- this is speculation on my part. I've never been to one of their worship services. I've been introduced to the pastor once, but never had any theological conversations with her. There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical. (There have been some things that I wouldn't do.)
"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: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #68 on: May 01, 2007, 03:00:49 PM »
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website. They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.
Do you believe that women are created in the image of 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]

Richard Johnson

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #69 on: May 01, 2007, 03:17:02 PM »
There has been little on the website that I would say is anti-Christian or unbliblical.

Just what part of goddess worship do you find Christian or Biblical?

Well, there is Biblical precedent for it, I suppose. 2 Kings 11.33 comes to mind.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #70 on: May 01, 2007, 03:17:29 PM »
Others have chimed in upstream before I could reply, but in that vain, I would question whether this is the kind of growth the ELCA needs, if it based on the goddess stuff being peddled by their website.  They certainly seem more centered on imagining a feminine God than in the saving grace of Jesus.
Do you believe that women are created in the image of God?
Why would you ask that question?  Again, besides the point, as I did not raise that issue.  I don't think God (excluding the special case of Jesus' incarnation) has gender or sex (I use the terms interchangeable, though I recognize you have identified an academic distinction) as we humans know or understand it.   Why should I have to defend myself?  I'm not the one on the cutting edge of faith.

This congregation seems to appeal to people who want to imagine a God which conforms to their own idea of self, in a New-Age idolaterous sort of way.  Their website seems more focused on imaging a feminine God then His savings action through Jesus, or the need to be saved, for that matter.  If the only way you can make the Gospel palatable to some people is to sweeten it with the honey of a feminine-imagined god, then to me that's not preaching the Gospel in its purity.  Because the Gospel is not about gender identity.

But then, I have a long-standing pep peeve about people who inject secular gender agendas into Church ordering.  As the recent upstream web link demonstrated, the whole ELCA can be tarred with this stuff, so it is more than a local matter.

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 03:28:14 PM by MaddogLutheran2 »
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scott3

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #71 on: May 01, 2007, 03:26:02 PM »
Brian, do I understand you correctly to be saying that you believe "HerChurch" is a faithful Lutheran congregation?
I believe that the gospel is proclaimed there -- this is speculation on my part.

Well, at least you're only speculating about minor, unimportant things...  ::)

pilgrimpriest

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #72 on: May 01, 2007, 04:15:09 PM »
  Or ... right back at you ... what have been the costs of letting HerChurch and others do their thing?
Church growth. Ebenezer Lutheran was listed as one of top growing congregations in our synod. When so many smalleer congregations are declining it is growing in membership. They have found their "target" and are reaching them.

And topless ushers might reach a "target" too, but at what cost to their souls?

Fr. Bob

peter_speckhard

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #73 on: May 01, 2007, 04:31:05 PM »

In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.
This is only true if getting media coverage is considered "doing something". Some little dying country parish has a Bible study where they study the Bible. They influence people. Another little urban parish has a get together where the extol Ashera. They influence the same number, except that everyone knows they did it. Furthermore, influence means more than getting people to change. Getting them not to change, fighting decadence, building people up the faith they have received is also influence.

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2) (March, 2005)
« Reply #74 on: May 01, 2007, 04:33:42 PM »
Brian Stoffregen wrote: Actually from 2003-2005 there was an 80% increase in membership and 67% increase in worship attendance. (They didn't have new figures for 2006.)

Tim Christ simply checked the ELCA trends (which included 2006, so lack of figures indicates lack of reporting does it not?): This is Baptized membership. Noting that 1998 to 2000 was obviously an interesting time in this congregation's history (particularly if one desires to trumpet church growth)...and might inform a perspective on the present.

1980 664
1982 668
1984 674
1986 688
1988 684
1990 672
1992 672
1994 657
1996 669
1998 667
2000 84
2002 64
2003 64
2004 85
2006 115


Brian Stoffregen wrote: In addition, do you know of any other congregation with only 115 baptized members that has had such an impact? I don't recall any other meeting in this forum that's been devoted to one congregation. Even if you believe the influence is a negative one, they are influencing many others -- which is more than most of our congregations are doing.

Tim Christ honestly and truly wonders: Brian, I've followed your exegetical work and gifts, and have appreciated (whether in agreement or disagreement) your posts for a long time now. With tongue only partially in cheek, is your intention irony with that last statement or is your cheese truly sliding off your cracker?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 04:42:34 PM by Richard Johnson »
Pr. Tim Christ, STS