Author Topic: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)  (Read 1641 times)

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2018, 09:00:08 AM »
Oh, I would disagree (remember I am not LCMS but know a few) and posit that there are LCMS pastors who are very open with who communes, would be happy with the ordination of women, quite open with views toward homosexuality and marriage, are extremely ecumenical ... they usually don't have much to do with national LCMS stuff and tend, of course, to be on the coasts or quietly nestled in parishes.  Now compared to some ELCA, of course they are not liberal but compared to what has recently been said and is almost always posted herein-- they are liberal wing of the LCMS.  Many were trained in the days before the walk out by those who walked out of the Seminary, like I am-- graduated in the 50's and 60's.

You write "Now compared to some ELCA, of course they are not liberal......" I guess I fail to see how they are different from the ELCA based upon your description of them.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2018, 09:11:55 AM »
Iíve pastored in the Nebraska and Central Illinois Districts and some of my colleagues in those districts were far more conservative than I.


Back in the 90s when I was in Nebraska my elders asked if we could institute lay readers and could women also read?  I and then we looked at the CTCR documents on womenís service in the church and seemed to us it was permissible so we started it.  A few weeks later I got a call from a pastor in a neighboring circuit, a couple of his members had attended my church and reported to him that I had women reading lessons.  Was that true and didnít I know that Synod in convention had forbidden that practice?  My response was yes and no I didnít know that.  (As it turned out Synod had not forbidden it but did not encourage it.). His next call was to my circuit counselor.


At the next Winkle I reported on that interaction and was pounced upon by a couple of my colleagues.  What ensued was several months of dueling papers.  I was never convinced that women lay readers was forbidden by the LCMS or Scripture and I didnít convince my opponents that it shouldnít be forbidden. 


Ultimately I submitted my final paper to the Concordia Journal and it was published.  I got letters.  Some supportive, some scathing.


I think that I can safely say that there have been some who consider me on the liberal side of the LCMS.  Personally, I consider myself a centrist.
The sort of thing you describe-- the dueling papers and phone calls and what-not-- doesn't bother me at all. What's wrong with that? Sometimes I think people let it get them down that anyone disagrees with them or cares enough about their position to take up the discussion.

I got a call out of the blue from a pastor several states away who took issue with an FL article I wrote recently. He left a message, I called him back, he asked me to explain myself, I did so, and he was satisfied. Again, what's wrong with that? Nothing. What is depressing is the idea of a church body in which everybody just does their own thing under the assumption that what they do is none of anyone's else's business, or in which nobody cares what goes on under the auspices of LCMS congregations as long as it isn't theirs.

Dave Benke

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2018, 09:29:43 AM »
Oh, I would disagree (remember I am not LCMS but know a few) and posit that there are LCMS pastors who are very open with who communes, would be happy with the ordination of women, quite open with views toward homosexuality and marriage, are extremely ecumenical ... they usually don't have much to do with national LCMS stuff and tend, of course, to be on the coasts or quietly nestled in parishes.  Now compared to some ELCA, of course they are not liberal but compared to what has recently been said and is almost always posted herein-- they are liberal wing of the LCMS.  Many were trained in the days before the walk out by those who walked out of the Seminary, like I am-- graduated in the 50's and 60's.

You write "Now compared to some ELCA, of course they are not liberal......" I guess I fail to see how they are different from the ELCA based upon your description of them.

Exactly.  This group as described has to be tiny.  And old.

Dave Benke

D. Engebretson

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2018, 09:36:17 AM »
I got a call out of the blue from a pastor several states away who took issue with an FL article I wrote recently. He left a message, I called him back, he asked me to explain myself, I did so, and he was satisfied. Again, what's wrong with that? Nothing. What is depressing is the idea of a church body in which everybody just does their own thing under the assumption that what they do is none of anyone's else's business, or in which nobody cares what goes on under the auspices of LCMS congregations as long as it isn't theirs.

Based on the discussion here I am probably labeled in some circles as right of center, although my district involvement would seem more centrist in practice.  But regardless of where you fall, communication is key.  Over the years I have disagreed with certain things written or passed and practiced in Synod.  For example, I was not comfortable with the decisions of the past convention that widened the role of women in parish offices (including president and elder).  So I wrote to my DP.  We dialoged back and forth.  No animus.  He even sent me to Arizona as one of the district pastoral representatives of the model theological conferences held at that time. I was able to keep my constitution as is and these provisions exist to this day.  I am still uncomfortable with the changes and I am one of those who has not utilized female lay readers.  For me the issues center on the nature of the pastoral office.  Although the CTCR has written on it and Synod has passed resolutions on it, I would still welcome future discussion and study. 

Going back further, when RIM was still active, I wrote to the author of one of their newsletter articles.  I disagreed with his conclusions.  His reaction was positive because of the way I engaged him.  I did not attack. 

Around this time or earlier I remember when Paul Bretscher came out with his book Christianity's Unknown Gospel.  I felt it was theologically heretical because of its inadequate teaching on God.  He was encouraged at the time to run his views by his "peers" in ministry and I actually wrote to him and expressed my disagreements.  I wrote directly to him to dialogue.  I did not publish anything I wrote. He eventually left the Synod. 

Going back further yet, to the very beginning of my ministry, we had a retired pastor who wrote a short paper defending open communion.  No one in the circuit seemed to want to do much about it, and with youthful enthusiasm I took that task upon myself writing a counter paper defended close(d) communion.  I presented it to my circuit and received a positive response.  But shortly after I presented the paper the author of the other paper lost his wife.  The funeral was to be held on the north end of my circuit, some miles away.  Because I wanted to show that my disagreement with his theology was in no way a personal attack on him (as well as to show brotherly support at a time of grief), I made the trip to the funeral. 

I think that politics today, inside and outside of the church, has a way of going from theological discussion and dialogue to personal attacks.  We don't have to surrender our convictions by being reasonable and kind. 

Now that doesn't mean that if the situation is serious enough we simply settle to "agree to disagree."  Our synod has a dispute resolution process lead by the DP.  It can and should be used for those situations where compromise is not possible and the truth is at stake.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2018, 09:47:23 AM »
some like I find myself, are certainly old (thanks for ageism) but tiny... 20 lbs more than should carry???  OK, but like the ELCA liberal, I think they are more (as a group) traditional on scripture all around and by liberal in the ELCA you have to deal with the few who might lean toward reported goddess junk and the like... perhaps the exception being, there are a fair number of traditionalists who waffle on universalism privately in allowing God to do what he wants to do....
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2018, 10:20:59 AM »

The sort of thing you describe-- the dueling papers and phone calls and what-not-- doesn't bother me at all. What's wrong with that? Sometimes I think people let it get them down that anyone disagrees with them or cares enough about their position to take up the discussion.

I got a call out of the blue from a pastor several states away who took issue with an FL article I wrote recently. He left a message, I called him back, he asked me to explain myself, I did so, and he was satisfied. Again, what's wrong with that? Nothing. What is depressing is the idea of a church body in which everybody just does their own thing under the assumption that what they do is none of anyone's else's business, or in which nobody cares what goes on under the auspices of LCMS congregations as long as it isn't theirs.

Oh, I'm not complaining, merely answering with an example your question as to why I said that some in the LCMS would consider me a liberal or on the left.  My ministry was never threatened.  I was a bit annoyed when upon investigation I found that at the then recent Synodical Convention a resolution was passed that did not forbid women lay readers (as the one pastor claimed) but urged caution if implementing such a practice and the pastor in question was listed as a delegate to the convention.  He should have known better.  But c'est la guerre.  Why should I complain, I ended up being published in the  St. Louis Sem journal!
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2018, 10:37:22 AM »
FWIW, in some ELCA circles, this humble correspondent is considered "conservative" or at least slightly so.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Church Politics (Breaking Norms?)
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2018, 10:42:33 AM »

This mini-discussion illustrates one reason that I have become annoyed at attempts by some posters here  to prove that Pr. Stoffregen, for example, violated some Christian principle in how he counseled a couple some years back about abortion.  (I've also rethought some of my own interactions on this forum with an eye to doing better in the future.)


This is not an appropriate forum to adjudicate accusation of pastoral or even theological malpractice.  We do not have the standing to bring charges, nor often the access to the necessary information to make informed judgements (as in the Pr. Stoffregen case), nor the authority to impose our judgment.


In my always oh so humble opinion  :o ;) a better use of this forum would be a discussion of what good counseling concerning abortion would look like, whether the pro-choice/pro-life position is incoherent or just what a consistent pro-life position should look like.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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