Author Topic: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly  (Read 5450 times)

D. Engebretson

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2018, 12:06:43 PM »
When there are cries for more inclusion in the Lutheran church, especially in terms of race, have such people considered the large Lutheran populations, for example, in many African nations, some of which outnumber the total Lutherans in this county of any race? There are about 80 million identified Lutherans in the world.  In terms of the percentage of Lutherans in a given population Namibia actually outranks the U.S.  There are easily at least 20 to 30 million Lutherans in Africa (over one third of the total Lutherans in the world), which is probably as much as 5 times the number in North America.  I'd say the Lutheran church, globally speaking, is pretty inclusive.

This is a fair assessment of global Lutheran reality.  So let's say those African nations are 95% African, with 5% non-African.  And the memberships there are roughly equal to the racial breakdown.  I don't know how/if that applies to say, South Africa, with its history of apartheid, and how the Lutheran groups there break down racially.  But in general, that's a good portrait of a globally racially diverse Lutheranism.

In this country, a clearer assessment might include a nice geographic overlay of the US, with Lutheran centers of population against the overall population composition.
In the overall, Lutherans are only around 4% non-white.  The country is far more diverse racially, of course, and the way the demographics break out, even the 73% currently considered "white" includes about 9% of those called "white" but who are Hispanic. 

So in total Lutherans look pretty much only like one segment of the population of the country. 
In specific there are islands of racial diversity in cities or selected areas of the country. 

In terms of population growth and Lutheran population, that's a Definite Downer.  The country has grown by a more than a third in population since 1970, and the Lutheran denominations have declined at the same time in gross number and lately it's steadily downhill.  Of course we're not alone, as so many denominations have suffered major losses (I'm thinking of Episcopalians and Methodists, but even the Southern Baptists have hit a wall.)

Dave Benke

Now this is not an argument against seeking greater participation from people of color in our churches, but I found this interesting regarding the ethnic makeup of our country:
German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock. The Economist, Feb. 5, 2018

The black or Afro-America percentage of our population in the US is over 17%.  Obviously that is not reflected in our predominantly white/Caucasian Lutheran denominations.  The question I would have is: Does something actively discourage this segment of our population from seeking out the Lutheran church?  I would venture to guess that the lower numbers are not always about strict ethnicity as it is about culture in general.  Some Afro-Americans will find their way into the Lutheran church, but historically they have been represented more heavily in other Christian traditions. 

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JMiller1

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2018, 12:13:26 PM »
The attempt to "diversify" the ELCA has, from the beginning, been an unqualified failure.
Many millions of dollars wasted on a futile effort. Ridiculous quotas which diminished us all. How long until quotas for gays, lesbians and queers?
Whether the initial goals were noble, and they may have been, is irrelevant. "Diversity" contributes to the ongoing Balkanization of our church.
 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2018, 12:18:45 PM »
When there are cries for more inclusion in the Lutheran church, especially in terms of race, have such people considered the large Lutheran populations, for example, in many African nations, some of which outnumber the total Lutherans in this county of any race? There are about 80 million identified Lutherans in the world.  In terms of the percentage of Lutherans in a given population Namibia actually outranks the U.S.  There are easily at least 20 to 30 million Lutherans in Africa (over one third of the total Lutherans in the world), which is probably as much as 5 times the number in North America.  I'd say the Lutheran church, globally speaking, is pretty inclusive.




This is a fair assessment of global Lutheran reality.  So let's say those African nations are 95% African, with 5% non-African.  And the memberships there are roughly equal to the racial breakdown.  I don't know how/if that applies to say, South Africa, with its history of apartheid, and how the Lutheran groups there break down racially.  But in general, that's a good portrait of a globally racially diverse Lutheranism.

In this country, a clearer assessment might include a nice geographic overlay of the US, with Lutheran centers of population against the overall population composition.
In the overall, Lutherans are only around 4% non-white.  The country is far more diverse racially, of course, and the way the demographics break out, even the 73% currently considered "white" includes about 9% of those called "white" but who are Hispanic. 

So in total Lutherans look pretty much only like one segment of the population of the country. 
In specific there are islands of racial diversity in cities or selected areas of the country. 

In terms of population growth and Lutheran population, that's a Definite Downer.  The country has grown by a more than a third in population since 1970, and the Lutheran denominations have declined at the same time in gross number and lately it's steadily downhill.  Of course we're not alone, as so many denominations have suffered major losses (I'm thinking of Episcopalians and Methodists, but even the Southern Baptists have hit a wall.)

Dave Benke

Now this is not an argument against seeking greater participation from people of color in our churches, but I found this interesting regarding the ethnic makeup of our country:
German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock. The Economist, Feb. 5, 2018

The black or Afro-America percentage of our population in the US is over 17%.  Obviously that is not reflected in our predominantly white/Caucasian Lutheran denominations.  The question I would have is: Does something actively discourage this segment of our population from seeking out the Lutheran church?  I would venture to guess that the lower numbers are not always about strict ethnicity as it is about culture in general.  Some Afro-Americans will find their way into the Lutheran church, but historically they have been represented more heavily in other Christian traditions.


The decolonizing folks would say that often unknowingly, we have discouraged folks from the other cultures from joining us.


Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Church argues that since God wants his kingdom to grow, we in declining churches need to look at what we are doing to hinder the growth God wants to give us.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 12:21:04 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2018, 12:22:25 PM »
If the ELCA were truly diverse, decolonizing, and "inclusive" it would not have been dismissive of the Bokuba Statement written by the Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania a few months prior to the 2009 CWA.

My recollection is that there were even some who insinuated that the Africans were unenlightened and deficient in their understanding of Scripture.
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Eileen Smith

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2018, 01:25:53 PM »
The attempt to "diversify" the ELCA has, from the beginning, been an unqualified failure.
Many millions of dollars wasted on a futile effort. Ridiculous quotas which diminished us all. How long until quotas for gays, lesbians and queers?
Whether the initial goals were noble, and they may have been, is irrelevant. "Diversity" contributes to the ongoing Balkanization of our church.

I wonder if in our church of quotas we have lost the reason for having a diversified church.  I'm not suggesting I know the reason, but I would think it has much to do with the changing landscape of our cities and towns.   Neighborhoods change.  When I was growing up in the Bronx many white families moved to the suburbs and black families moved in.   In Queens it was more Hispanic and Asian families that moved into our neighborhoods.  I would think the purpose of reaching these people is not to have a "diversified church" as much as it is simply to reach our neighbor, whomever that might be.  I do think Pastor Stoffregen is correct in stating that perhaps our Lutheran culture might be, however, unintentional, not what ____________ (fill in your community's population) are seeking.    Does this mean they remain unchurched (if, indeed, they are) or do we know if they find a community more in line with their background. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2018, 01:40:19 PM »
When there are cries for more inclusion in the Lutheran church, especially in terms of race, have such people considered the large Lutheran populations, for example, in many African nations, some of which outnumber the total Lutherans in this county of any race? There are about 80 million identified Lutherans in the world.  In terms of the percentage of Lutherans in a given population Namibia actually outranks the U.S.  There are easily at least 20 to 30 million Lutherans in Africa (over one third of the total Lutherans in the world), which is probably as much as 5 times the number in North America.  I'd say the Lutheran church, globally speaking, is pretty inclusive.

This is a fair assessment of global Lutheran reality.  So let's say those African nations are 95% African, with 5% non-African.  And the memberships there are roughly equal to the racial breakdown.  I don't know how/if that applies to say, South Africa, with its history of apartheid, and how the Lutheran groups there break down racially.  But in general, that's a good portrait of a globally racially diverse Lutheranism.

In this country, a clearer assessment might include a nice geographic overlay of the US, with Lutheran centers of population against the overall population composition.
In the overall, Lutherans are only around 4% non-white.  The country is far more diverse racially, of course, and the way the demographics break out, even the 73% currently considered "white" includes about 9% of those called "white" but who are Hispanic. 

So in total Lutherans look pretty much only like one segment of the population of the country. 
In specific there are islands of racial diversity in cities or selected areas of the country. 

In terms of population growth and Lutheran population, that's a Definite Downer.  The country has grown by a more than a third in population since 1970, and the Lutheran denominations have declined at the same time in gross number and lately it's steadily downhill.  Of course we're not alone, as so many denominations have suffered major losses (I'm thinking of Episcopalians and Methodists, but even the Southern Baptists have hit a wall.)

Dave Benke

Now this is not an argument against seeking greater participation from people of color in our churches, but I found this interesting regarding the ethnic makeup of our country:
German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock. The Economist, Feb. 5, 2018

The black or Afro-America percentage of our population in the US is over 17%.  Obviously that is not reflected in our predominantly white/Caucasian Lutheran denominations.  The question I would have is: Does something actively discourage this segment of our population from seeking out the Lutheran church?  I would venture to guess that the lower numbers are not always about strict ethnicity as it is about culture in general.  Some Afro-Americans will find their way into the Lutheran church, but historically they have been represented more heavily in other Christian traditions.

Certainly we claim that German heritage.  Of course, many "Germans" were here before there was a country called Germany.  And if you include the German-speaking enclaves in Europe, the German-Americans have the historic upper hand.  Losing those two doggone wars was not helpful, though.  The street on which St. Peter's is located was called "Dresden Street" until the end of the first world war.  Then it became Highland Place, Kaiser Bill being in the tank.  Up to and after WWII of course it got far worse.  And you have the Missouri Synod, the laggard in learning English, being basically told by the President of the US to get with the program, or risk being considered Fifth Columnists. 

Anyway, you ask a good question.

It should be noted that the Missouri Synod back in the day had a very strong mission outreach to blacks in the Southern US, across what's called the Black Belt, with over 40000 African-American Missouri Synod Lutherans at the peak of that mission work and influence.  For that reason, an extraordinarily sad chapter is now being written as the conclusion of that mission work is the closing and selling of Concordia, Selma. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2018, 01:47:48 PM »
If the ELCA were truly diverse, decolonizing, and "inclusive" it would not have been dismissive of the Bokuba Statement written by the Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania a few months prior to the 2009 CWA.

My recollection is that there were even some who insinuated that the Africans were unenlightened and deficient in their understanding of Scripture.

The Bokuba Statement http://elct.org/news/2004.05.001.html was published in 2004 but the Dodoma Statement from 2010 responded to "some churches--especially in Europe and America." http://elct.org/news/2010.04.004.html The reflections by the bishops of the ELCT on globalization are fascinating reading. 

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2018, 02:15:30 PM »
It is also true that we are the whitest church in America - even with our commitment to greater inclusivity since our inception.

These observations from Stephen L. Carter may be relevant here:

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-21/criticism-of-christians-and-chick-fil-a-has-troubling-roots 

The gist of it is that "traditionalist" Christians in America -- at least in terms of some of the hot-button social issues -- are disproportionately black Christians.  "In short, if you find Christian traditionalism creepy, it’s black people you’re talking about."  The corollary is that a commitment to greater inclusivity is likely to fail unless it includes genuine respect for traditionalist views.

Peace,
Jon

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2018, 02:17:22 PM »
Thomas Shelly writes:
If the ELCA were truly diverse, decolonizing, and "inclusive" it would not have been dismissive of the Bokuba Statement written by the Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania a few months prior to the 2009 CWA.
I comment:
What do you mean by “dismissive“? The Bukoba statement was present at the 2009 assembly.  It was, I believe, cited in the debate at that assembly.

Thomas Shelly:
My recollection is that there were even some who insinuated that the Africans were unenlightened and deficient in their understanding of Scripture.
Me:
And what do you base that recollection? And if they suggest that we are deficient in our understanding of Scripture, it is logical that we might turn that argument around and point it in the other direction.

Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2018, 02:57:10 PM »
Pastor Austin,

For the umpteenth time:  My surname has two "e"s and two "l"s, just like the English poet's.

I expect better from an English major and journalist.   The fact that you repeated your error with each quote leads me to believe that this was intentional.

Proofread a/o grow up.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 02:58:42 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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Charles Austin

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2018, 03:18:43 PM »
J. Thomas Shelley writes:
For the umpteenth time:  My surname has two "e"s and two "l"s, just like the English poet's.
I expect better from an English major and journalist.   The fact that you repeated your error with each quote leads me to believe that this was intentional.

I sigh:
My deepest deepest deepest apologies. But you’re not the English poet. And reporters have editors to keep an eye on and fix such things. As I have said 1 million times, in this modest forum I am not a journalist and I have no editors.
My error was not intentional. But your dodging of my questions is.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2018, 03:23:02 PM »
When there are cries for more inclusion in the Lutheran church, especially in terms of race, have such people considered the large Lutheran populations, for example, in many African nations, some of which outnumber the total Lutherans in this county of any race? There are about 80 million identified Lutherans in the world.  In terms of the percentage of Lutherans in a given population Namibia actually outranks the U.S.  There are easily at least 20 to 30 million Lutherans in Africa (over one third of the total Lutherans in the world), which is probably as much as 5 times the number in North America.  I'd say the Lutheran church, globally speaking, is pretty inclusive.

This is a fair assessment of global Lutheran reality.  So let's say those African nations are 95% African, with 5% non-African.  And the memberships there are roughly equal to the racial breakdown.  I don't know how/if that applies to say, South Africa, with its history of apartheid, and how the Lutheran groups there break down racially.  But in general, that's a good portrait of a globally racially diverse Lutheranism.

In this country, a clearer assessment might include a nice geographic overlay of the US, with Lutheran centers of population against the overall population composition.
In the overall, Lutherans are only around 4% non-white.  The country is far more diverse racially, of course, and the way the demographics break out, even the 73% currently considered "white" includes about 9% of those called "white" but who are Hispanic. 

So in total Lutherans look pretty much only like one segment of the population of the country. 
In specific there are islands of racial diversity in cities or selected areas of the country. 

In terms of population growth and Lutheran population, that's a Definite Downer.  The country has grown by a more than a third in population since 1970, and the Lutheran denominations have declined at the same time in gross number and lately it's steadily downhill.  Of course we're not alone, as so many denominations have suffered major losses (I'm thinking of Episcopalians and Methodists, but even the Southern Baptists have hit a wall.)

Dave Benke

Yet, where the vast majority of Lutherans live in the US, the racial make-up of the general population is less diverse than other areas of the country.  For instance, the racial make-up of Polk County Minnesota (where I live) is 94% white.  So, is it surprising that the Lutheran churches of Polk County Minnesota are almost entirely white?  I would reckon the same formula would apply in MANY cities/counties in the rural Midwest.  I realize that where you live, Dr. Benke, it is a different story.  But then, Lutherans are a small minority there too.

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2018, 03:30:00 PM »
J. Thomas Shelley writes:
For the umpteenth time:  My surname has two "e"s and two "l"s, just like the English poet's.
I expect better from an English major and journalist.   The fact that you repeated your error with each quote leads me to believe that this was intentional.

I sigh:
My deepest deepest deepest apologies. But you’re not the English poet. And reporters have editors to keep an eye on and fix such things. As I have said 1 million times, in this modest forum I am not a journalist and I have no editors.
My error was not intentional. But your dodging of my questions is.

I have learned that my great-great-grandmother was an Austin. Eliza Ellen Austin. Uh oh....... :) I suppose that I have to spell it correctly.

Charles Austin

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2018, 03:41:11 PM »
I’m not the one who complained about the spelling of a name, and I would not do that.
I suspect that your great great was in this country before my people arrived.
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gan ainm

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Re: Breaking News from SW Texas Synod assembly
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2018, 03:47:59 PM »
The teaching in my congregation, based on Scripture, is that we are one in Christ.  We receive His body and blood weekly and it is in each of us.  Thus, we focus on unity in Christ, not on diversity of outward appearances.  We are blessed to have a variety of ethnic groups in our congregation who all can celebrate unity in humanness as well as unity in Christ.  It is harder to quibble over "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" differences when we realize Jesus is in the other person.  Who am I to pick a fight with Jesus?  As I've said before, my experiences in both the workplace and in my former congregations indicate the more one focuses on diversity/inclusiveness/multiculturalism and the like, the less of it there is in reality.