Finding faith in the new progressive movement

Started by Donald_Kirchner, December 18, 2017, 09:21:32 AM

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Donald_Kirchner

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/17/lutheran-bishop-robert-alan-rimbo-it-is-often-in-darkest-moments-that-faith-is-rediscovered.html

"I think the best way to rekindle faith is to be in places where faith can find us. I'm not simply writing to invite you to a mosque or synagogue or church. I'm inviting you to places where people of faith gather and participate in the movement of progression and inclusion we are working hard to achieve...

There is a great commitment among leaders of various communities of faith to engage progressive advances at the grassroots level...

We find our faith and inspiration through these initiatives and we welcome all to join us in this progression."
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Team Hesse

I saw this one this morning also. I will be kind and simply state what a mess. I met Bishop Rimbo when I served on the ELCA Sexuality task Force. He has not changed one bit. He remains one of those peculiar creatures that haunt the the precincts of Higgins road in far too many numbers--an ex-LCMS'er of the radical Seminex type. Best just to keep one's distance.


Lou (incoming)

David Garner

Progressive Christians reaching out to secularists always reminds me of that scene in "Gran Torino" where Walt walks up on the guys harassing Sue and her romantic interest keeps calling them "bro."  Walt said "these guys don't want to be your 'bro' and I don't blame them."
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

James_Gale

I read the essay and am struggling to understand what in the world Bp. Rimbo is saying.  Is it that participation in progressive political action is the true path to salvation?  And that you might (but probably won't) somehow connect the politics to some religion or other?  Or to an amalgamation of all religions?

Dave Benke

I've heard pretty much the same message on the Pandora on my car radio from a Roman Catholic perspective.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Voelker


Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: Dave Benke on December 18, 2017, 11:17:53 AM
I've heard pretty much the same message on the Pandora on my car radio from a Roman Catholic perspective.

Dave Benke

Get premium, and you won't have to hear the ads.   ;)
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

David Garner

Quote from: James_Gale on December 18, 2017, 11:12:42 AM
I read the essay and am struggling to understand what in the world Bp. Rimbo is saying.  Is it that participation in progressive political action is the true path to salvation?  And that you might (but probably won't) somehow connect the politics to some religion or other?  Or to an amalgamation of all religions?

Indeed.

"However, in these tumultuous times faith can seem elusive amid a world left weary by politicized religion, divisive rhetoric, terrorism, skepticism, and an ever-growing distrust of leaders, icons and institutions.

Yet, it is often in the darkest most disorienting moments that faith can be rediscovered, and truly embraced. And it may – or may not – come from time spent in a house of worship.

I think the best way to rekindle faith is to be in places where faith can find us. I'm not simply writing to invite you to a mosque or synagogue or church. I'm inviting you to places where people of faith gather and participate in the movement of progression and inclusion we are working hard to achieve."

So he starts by suggesting that "people of faith gather and participate in the movement of progression and inclusion we are working hard to achieve."  But he also suggests that those people "may -- or may not . . . " be found in a church, or mosque, or synagogue.  So it's unclear what he's asking for here.  Is he suggesting people of faith who share progressive values are unwelcome in the progressive movement?  Is he saying that you don't have to come to our churches, mosques, synagogues, etc., in order to have this nebulous "faith" he suggests exists among progressives?  Is he trying to reach the "nones," but without actually having the "nones" do anything to be part of the movement of "people of faith" he references?  It's all very unclear.

He goes on:

"There is a great commitment among leaders of various communities of faith to engage progressive advances at the grassroots level, to promote tolerance, and to encourage people to flourish in a new and needed age of community. The amazing strides between Lutherans and Roman Catholics point to this."

I wonder how many faithful Roman Catholics would agree with this framing of the issue?  I've always found it odd that liberal Lutherans love to glom onto discussions with Roman Catholics as somehow providing evidence that their view is winning out, while simultaneously refusing the actual Roman Catholic faith as defined and promulgated by her bishops. 

Then there is this:

"There is a strong desire and willingness to work on welcoming all people in a spirit of generous hospitality. As a Lutheran I can say that many of my tribe are engaged in ministry with the LGBTQ communities. In our own Synod here in Metropolitan New York, we are working to address the systemic racism which is America's original sin. We are strongly speaking out in opposition to the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia all around us. We are engaged with faithful people in our own country and around the world in addressing the abuses of power we see every day.   We find our faith and inspiration through these initiatives and we welcome all to join us in this progression."

I don't think anyone would find that particularly objectionable in a vacuum.  I think Christians ought to be about ministering to gays and lesbians.  We ought to be about stopping systemic racism.  But what is left unsaid here is important -- HOW do we do those things?  Do we do so as Christians, that is, as the Church has always done?  Or are we being asked to set aside the faith to embrace secular progressive values and policies that can, and often do, end up undermining the Church?

Then, there is the cognitive dissonance found in this comment:

"There are local congregations in which people of faith are welcoming people of all races and nations, one of the great gifts of the amazing communities in which we live."

And yet, the ELCA is comprised mostly of white baby boomers, a majority of whom are women.  Racially, it is among the least diverse Christian organizations in our country.  Less than 5% of the people in the ELCA are people of any color that isn't white.  Nearly 90% are third generation or greater Americans, meaning they also are not reaching immigrants in any significant way. Over 3 quarters of the ELCA do not have children under 18.  Nearly 70% believe morality is situational, that is, relative.  Nearly half seldom or never read the Scriptures. 

So yes.  There are local congregations in which people of faith are welcoming people of all races and nations.  And I assume that all of the ELCA's congregations are so "welcoming."  The question is, then, why aren't those people actually joining your congregations?  Because you're still a bunch of old white people, mostly women, without young kids. 

I'd suggest this is demonstrable in my comment above -- yes, you're welcoming.  But they don't want to be your friends.  Why?  Because they (rightly, IMHO) think you're pandering to them.  People want authenticity. 

Take that a step further.  The Roman Catholic Church, cited by Bishop Rimbo, is less than 60% white.  Hispanics are the 2nd largest demographic, followed by African Americans, who comprise about 3%.  The Orthodox Church is over 80% white, but we have 8% African Americans, 6% Latino and 3% Asian.  None of these are up to American demographic standards -- all of those groups are more widely represented in the general population (with the exception of Latino Roman Catholics, who are over-represented compared to the general population), but both of those communions are beating the pants off the ELCA, which prides itself on inclusiveness.  I'd suggest this is because both of those communions are truer to their actual faith.  They aren't trying to be "inclusive."  They're trying to be faithful.  And people appreciate faithfulness.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

John_Hannah

Was there not a time in our history when a Republican could be completely at home in the ELCA (or its predecessors) and a Democrat could be at home in the LCMS? 
Was there not a time when we checked our politics somewhere in the narthex? 
Wasn't any Lutheran church a sanctuary from party polarization?

Sad that we have lost it.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

David Garner

Quote from: John_Hannah on December 18, 2017, 11:54:37 AM
Was there not a time in our history when a Republican could be completely at home in the ELCA (or its predecessors) and a Democrat could be at home in the LCMS? 
Was there not a time when we checked our politics somewhere in the narthex? 
Wasn't any Lutheran church a sanctuary from party polarization?

Sad that we have lost it.

Peace, JOHN

I agree with this for the most part.  One of the nicest things about our current parish is we have people of all political stripes, and while we might disagree on politics, we do not anathematize each other over politics.

Everyone is still considered a Christian in good standing.  And beyond our parish, that includes people ranging from near net-confederate libertarians to actual communists.  So long as they are faithful to the Church first (meaning, neither Ayn Rand's nor Karl Marx's atheistic views are going to fit), we don't tend to view people as "less Christian" based on their political views.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

James_Gale

Quote from: John_Hannah on December 18, 2017, 11:54:37 AM
Was there not a time in our history when a Republican could be completely at home in the ELCA (or its predecessors) and a Democrat could be at home in the LCMS? 
Was there not a time when we checked our politics somewhere in the narthex? 
Wasn't any Lutheran church a sanctuary from party polarization?

Sad that we have lost it.

Peace, JOHN


I agree completely.


I grew up in an Augustana/LCA/ELCA congregation.  The pastors there would have considered it ministerial malpractice to bring their secular politics into their ministry.  If you knew them well, you knew how they generally voted.  But from the congregation's perspective, it was beside the point.  We counted among our members politically active people from across the spectrum, all very happy with our pastoral leadership.  None was singled out for praise or spared the convicting sting of the law because  of his or her political views. 

JMiller1

Gee, a bishop wrote an article about faith and it took him 12 whole sentences before he mentioned gays. And can we please have a break from liberal hyperbole, "We are strongly speaking out in opposition to the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia all around us." Really? I have traveled to NYC several times recently and I didn't notice either one. In fact, the only anti-Semitism I have seen recently came from the pen of our presiding bishop. And given the plummeting number of worshipers in this bishop's synod, I doubt they are doing anything "strongly."

DCharlton

#12
Quote from: David Garner on December 18, 2017, 11:40:44 AM
Take that a step further.  The Roman Catholic Church, cited by Bishop Rimbo, is less than 60% white.  Hispanics are the 2nd largest demographic, followed by African Americans, who comprise about 3%.  The Orthodox Church is over 80% white, but we have 8% African Americans, 6% Latino and 3% Asian.  None of these are up to American demographic standards -- all of those groups are more widely represented in the general population (with the exception of Latino Roman Catholics, who are over-represented compared to the general population), but both of those communions are beating the pants off the ELCA, which prides itself on inclusiveness.

Don't forget the Southern Baptist Convention, which is also more ethnically diverse than the ELCA.

QuoteI'd suggest this is because both of those communions are truer to their actual faith.  They aren't trying to be "inclusive."  They're trying to be faithful.  And people appreciate faithfulness.

In my limited experience, the thing that the coveted demographics are looking for most in a church is not the church's political stance.  It is the church's spiritual stance.  Does this church believe in the Word and live according to the Word?  Do the people know and love Jesus?  Does it believe in the power of prayer and does it expect miracles?  Does it believe in the power of the Spirit to transform lives?  Is the power of the Spirit in evidence?

Even if they agree with your politics, they will take a pass if the above characteristics are missing.  That, in my opinion, is why the SBC has a better record in reaching African Americans, Hispanics and other coveted demographics. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

David Garner

Quote from: DCharlton on December 18, 2017, 12:26:34 PM
Quote from: David Garner on December 18, 2017, 11:40:44 AM
Take that a step further.  The Roman Catholic Church, cited by Bishop Rimbo, is less than 60% white.  Hispanics are the 2nd largest demographic, followed by African Americans, who comprise about 3%.  The Orthodox Church is over 80% white, but we have 8% African Americans, 6% Latino and 3% Asian.  None of these are up to American demographic standards -- all of those groups are more widely represented in the general population (with the exception of Latino Roman Catholics, who are over-represented compared to the general population), but both of those communions are beating the pants off the ELCA, which prides itself on inclusiveness.

Don't forget the Southern Baptist Convention, which is also more ethnically diverse than the ELCA.

QuoteI'd suggest this is because both of those communions are truer to their actual faith.  They aren't trying to be "inclusive."  They're trying to be faithful.  And people appreciate faithfulness.

In my limited experience, the thing that the coveted demographics are looking for most in a church is not the church's political stance.  It is the church's spiritual stance.  Does this church believe in the Word and live according to the Word?  Do the people know and love Jesus?  Does it believe in the power of prayer and does it expect miracles?  Does it believe in the power of the Spirit to transform lives?  Is the power of the Spirit in evidence. 

Even if they agree with your politics, they will take a pass if the above characteristics are missing.

Exactly.  People either want to be Christians or they do not.

Those who do not will not be swayed by your politics.  Those who will won't be swayed by your politics either -- they'll be moved by your faithfulness to the Truth.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Dave Benke

Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on December 18, 2017, 11:21:31 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke on December 18, 2017, 11:17:53 AM
I've heard pretty much the same message on the Pandora on my car radio from a Roman Catholic perspective.

Dave Benke

Get premium, and you won't have to hear the ads.   ;)

Sirius-ly, I'm already paying for Sirius, basically to be able to hear the Packers broadcasts by the two old dudes who do that for the Packers.  However, I like Pandora a lot, so maybe a little box from Santa will appear under the tree with a password to Pandora.  And thus Pandora's box is opened.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

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