Author Topic: Benne on Bolz-Weber  (Read 14285 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2018, 07:40:42 AM »
Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters).
If you totally reject the ELCA's position on same-gender marriage and acceptance of gays and lesbians....
If you are offended to the pious core of your being by her use of language...
If you are uneasy with the type of people that she speaks of and are in her congregation....
If you insist that at every time and in every place the Whole and Pure Doctrine/Practice of systematic theology be on the table...
If you are disturbed by the whole idea of a "celebrity pastor," especially a Lutheran one...
Then you will never, ever be able to hear or understand what she has to say about grace, about acceptance in the Body of Christ, about forgiveness, about the Gospel and about the Church.
I am not always comfortable with everything she says and wonder if some things she says might have come unmoored from whatever "orthodoxy" is.
I am old. I have learned to live with being uncomfortable because - as I have said before in this modest forum - I am uncomfortable with those whose theology seems welded to the first four centuries of Gospel life and locked into those times or welded to the writings of our friends in the Reformation era or locked into rigid interpretations of certain passages of scripture. I am uncomfortable with those whose Lutheranism is only ecumenical on their "Lutheran" terms or whose sense of mission ignores certain civil and world problems. Sometimes those people drive me crazy and make me think that their part of the Church has lost something essential. In weak moments, I would not want them speaking to a youth gathering.
But I am able to see Gospel, grace, Lutheranism (though not my particular "type"), and value in what they say.
That's one of the problems with this life - it just has too many "ifs" and "maybes". And sometimes it's too darned uncomfortable. 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 07:49:00 AM by Charles Austin »
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Gary Hatcher

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2018, 07:59:07 AM »
Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters).
If you totally reject the ELCA's position on same-gender marriage and acceptance of gays and lesbians....

Just reminder that the ELCA has voted in Assembly that its policy does include the understanding that same sex unions are not God pleasing and contrary to Scripture. Also, there are those in the ELCA, who are not departing, who regard this as the true understanding of Scripture.
Gary Hatcher STS,
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Garnavillo & McGregor, IA

Eileen Smith

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2018, 08:33:19 AM »
Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters).
If you totally reject the ELCA's position on same-gender marriage and acceptance of gays and lesbians....
If you are offended to the pious core of your being by her use of language...
If you are uneasy with the type of people that she speaks of and are in her congregation....
If you insist that at every time and in every place the Whole and Pure Doctrine/Practice of systematic theology be on the table...
If you are disturbed by the whole idea of a "celebrity pastor," especially a Lutheran one...
Then you will never, ever be able to hear or understand what she has to say about grace, about acceptance in the Body of Christ, about forgiveness, about the Gospel and about the Church.
I am not always comfortable with everything she says and wonder if some things she says might have come unmoored from whatever "orthodoxy" is.
I am old. I have learned to live with being uncomfortable because - as I have said before in this modest forum - I am uncomfortable with those whose theology seems welded to the first four centuries of Gospel life and locked into those times or welded to the writings of our friends in the Reformation era or locked into rigid interpretations of certain passages of scripture. I am uncomfortable with those whose Lutheranism is only ecumenical on their "Lutheran" terms or whose sense of mission ignores certain civil and world problems. Sometimes those people drive me crazy and make me think that their part of the Church has lost something essential. In weak moments, I would not want them speaking to a youth gathering.
But I am able to see Gospel, grace, Lutheranism (though not my particular "type"), and value in what they say.
That's one of the problems with this life - it just has too many "ifs" and "maybes". And sometimes it's too darned uncomfortable.

It is always difficult for me to disagree with you for several reasons, not the least of which you are one of the few people on this Forum that I've met and putting a face to a name really does lead to relationship; the second reason is that we are both ELCA and while you are able to celebrate your church body, I honestly mourn what was lost. 

I probably fit most of your points above.  Some explanation follows:

-  I suppose it was Michelle Obama who left us with the tag line of being offended to the core when she spoke of Trump's disrespect of women - yes, the same Michelle Obama who had a rapper to the White House to perform for her children (read the lyrics).   I am offended by her language.  I spent 20 years in a trading room.  Believe me, I've heard worse.  It was during this time that I went through the diakonia program and was set apart as a deacon.  My colleagues were aware of what I was doing and not only encouraged me but gave me a red stole.   I don't write this for bragging rights, but to share that this is a call I took - and still take - seriously.  I didn't fall into the language or off-color humor yet I maintained good relationships with my colleagues and was treated with great respect.  Why didn't I fall into this pattern of language?  Simply because my colleagues saw me as someone whom they would consider (for lack of better word) "religious."  I wanted to live up to that.  Nadia Bolz-Weber is a pastor of the church.  We expect more from her.  Whether the Epistles wee written 2000 years ago or yesterday they are still relevant and those who follow the call to the ordained ministry, on them is placed a higher degree of behavior ... not that they're better but they are shepherds, leading God's people.  Lead faithfully and act like a child of God.

-  Point 3 above is what offends me to the core more than her language.  Because she's bold in her language, because she is outspokenly in favor of not only same gender relationships but fluid genders, etc., because she is covered in tattoos, and because (perhaps) many of her congregation are just like her does not mean that those who criticize her are uncomfortable with people who are in her congregation.  We are not country bumpkins who have never seen a woman like Bolz-Weber, who have never heard such language, who have never seen a same-sex couple.  We are intelligent enough to make a differentiation, to see the fine line between behavior and people.  To say that one cannot interact with those whom they are leading unless they become like them in every way simply holds no water.   Leading and following are not synonymous.  Again, I can only speak to my own experiences of attending parishes in the inner city and in areas of Queens that would not be considered inner city, but close to it.  We had parolees in our congregation, we had a guy in prison who was allowed to come to his mother's funeral and then whisked back, we had homeless -- and all of these people were loved.   One wrote that when she got out of jail she felt that she would never get rid of the smell of prison.   But it was the love of the congregation that became like a perfume to her, erasing that smell of prison.   We were many nationalities, many cultures, all over the economic map as well as educational map - but none of that mattered.   People who lean more to the left need to delineate between behavior and the person. 

-  One of the beautiful aspects of the church is that we do have a faith that has been handed down through those whom God inspired -- those who put God's words into Scripture -- and the Spirit-led inspiration of the early church fathers who left us such a beautiful treasury of faith.  The Reformers carried on that tradition and left us with a gift of theology that we can see paralleling  the early writings of the church.  Whenever the writings of the Fathers or Reformers appear as the 4th reading in For All the Saints - well, it is a joy.  Just the other day an Advent prayer from the 16th century was so moving that I gave it out on small cards at our Advent Lessons & Carols service (with citation, I promise Pastor Schumacher!).  We may think we are wiser today, but we aren't.  We can conform Scripture to our liking, but that isn't faithfulness - or discipleship. 

I fear that Bolz-Weber is no longer the fringe of the ELCA but quickly becoming the mainstream.  She was not the only speaker at the youth gathering to raise eyebrows.  I, too, heard her years ago and she was far more moderate than she is today in both language and theology.  Perhaps her star status brought her to a new level of pastoral style.   T

Pr. Don Kirchner

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2018, 08:33:56 AM »
Though giving his take yesterday, Charles is compelled to do so again, seemingly in order to take shots at others. Again, Charles sets up the straw man and prooceeds to burn it, followed by the ad hominem tu quoque.

A fallacious two-fer, Charles. Again.

But, looking to the positive, it brought forth another excellent response from Ms. Smith, including specifically pointing out the straw man. We can rejoice in that!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 08:39:14 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Dave Benke

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2018, 08:47:10 AM »
Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters).
If you totally reject the ELCA's position on same-gender marriage and acceptance of gays and lesbians....
If you are offended to the pious core of your being by her use of language...
If you are uneasy with the type of people that she speaks of and are in her congregation....
If you insist that at every time and in every place the Whole and Pure Doctrine/Practice of systematic theology be on the table...
If you are disturbed by the whole idea of a "celebrity pastor," especially a Lutheran one...
Then you will never, ever be able to hear or understand what she has to say about grace, about acceptance in the Body of Christ, about forgiveness, about the Gospel and about the Church.
I am not always comfortable with everything she says and wonder if some things she says might have come unmoored from whatever "orthodoxy" is.
I am old. I have learned to live with being uncomfortable because - as I have said before in this modest forum - I am uncomfortable with those whose theology seems welded to the first four centuries of Gospel life and locked into those times or welded to the writings of our friends in the Reformation era or locked into rigid interpretations of certain passages of scripture. I am uncomfortable with those whose Lutheranism is only ecumenical on their "Lutheran" terms or whose sense of mission ignores certain civil and world problems. Sometimes those people drive me crazy and make me think that their part of the Church has lost something essential. In weak moments, I would not want them speaking to a youth gathering.
But I am able to see Gospel, grace, Lutheranism (though not my particular "type"), and value in what they say.
That's one of the problems with this life - it just has too many "ifs" and "maybes". And sometimes it's too darned uncomfortable.

It is always difficult for me to disagree with you for several reasons, not the least of which you are one of the few people on this Forum that I've met and putting a face to a name really does lead to relationship; the second reason is that we are both ELCA and while you are able to celebrate your church body, I honestly mourn what was lost. 

I probably fit most of your points above.  Some explanation follows:

-  I suppose it was Michelle Obama who left us with the tag line of being offended to the core when she spoke of Trump's disrespect of women - yes, the same Michelle Obama who had a rapper to the White House to perform for her children (read the lyrics).   I am offended by her language.  I spent 20 years in a trading room.  Believe me, I've heard worse.  It was during this time that I went through the diakonia program and was set apart as a deacon.  My colleagues were aware of what I was doing and not only encouraged me but gave me a red stole.   I don't write this for bragging rights, but to share that this is a call I took - and still take - seriously.  I didn't fall into the language or off-color humor yet I maintained good relationships with my colleagues and was treated with great respect.  Why didn't I fall into this pattern of language?  Simply because my colleagues saw me as someone whom they would consider (for lack of better word) "religious."  I wanted to live up to that.  Nadia Bolz-Weber is a pastor of the church.  We expect more from her.  Whether the Epistles wee written 2000 years ago or yesterday they are still relevant and those who follow the call to the ordained ministry, on them is placed a higher degree of behavior ... not that they're better but they are shepherds, leading God's people.  Lead faithfully and act like a child of God.

-  Point 3 above is what offends me to the core more than her language.  Because she's bold in her language, because she is outspokenly in favor of not only same gender relationships but fluid genders, etc., because she is covered in tattoos, and because (perhaps) many of her congregation are just like her does not mean that those who criticize her are uncomfortable with people who are in her congregation.  We are not country bumpkins who have never seen a woman like Bolz-Weber, who have never heard such language, who have never seen a same-sex couple.  We are intelligent enough to make a differentiation, to see the fine line between behavior and people.  To say that one cannot interact with those whom they are leading unless they become like them in every way simply holds no water.   Leading and following are not synonymous.  Again, I can only speak to my own experiences of attending parishes in the inner city and in areas of Queens that would not be considered inner city, but close to it.  We had parolees in our congregation, we had a guy in prison who was allowed to come to his mother's funeral and then whisked back, we had homeless -- and all of these people were loved.   One wrote that when she got out of jail she felt that she would never get rid of the smell of prison.   But it was the love of the congregation that became like a perfume to her, erasing that smell of prison.   We were many nationalities, many cultures, all over the economic map as well as educational map - but none of that mattered.   People who lean more to the left need to delineate between behavior and the person. 

-  One of the beautiful aspects of the church is that we do have a faith that has been handed down through those whom God inspired -- those who put God's words into Scripture -- and the Spirit-led inspiration of the early church fathers who left us such a beautiful treasury of faith.  The Reformers carried on that tradition and left us with a gift of theology that we can see paralleling  the early writings of the church.  Whenever the writings of the Fathers or Reformers appear as the 4th reading in For All the Saints - well, it is a joy.  Just the other day an Advent prayer from the 16th century was so moving that I gave it out on small cards at our Advent Lessons & Carols service (with citation, I promise Pastor Schumacher!).  We may think we are wiser today, but we aren't.  We can conform Scripture to our liking, but that isn't faithfulness - or discipleship. 

I fear that Bolz-Weber is no longer the fringe of the ELCA but quickly becoming the mainstream.  She was not the only speaker at the youth gathering to raise eyebrows.  I, too, heard her years ago and she was far more moderate than she is today in both language and theology.  Perhaps her star status brought her to a new level of pastoral style.   T

This is a great post, Eileen.  I was thinking about your years and mine in urban and multi-cultural and messy mission and ministry in reflecting on Nadia Bolz-Weber.  Language and attire do not create authenticity.  It comes from within.  On the verbal side what I distrust and what I find people distrust  is sloganeering, from any side of the aisle, because it replaces heart and soul with bromides or catch-phrases.  It's not about speaking after listening, but about speaking prior to listening then - here are the answers; what are your questions?  On the attire side while I don't believe a pastor has to wear a collar to be pastoral, and while I don't believe a tattoo is the devil's handiwork, I don't think it's a bad idea to wear a collar or culturally ignorant to be tattoo-free.   Christ in us, the hope of glory, is who we are and who we speak of and through and who we wear.

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2018, 08:47:49 AM »
Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters).
I agree with you.  In my view, though, describing the conscience-bound opinions of colleagues in ministry as a "Satanic lie" seems a wee bit more disrespectful than abbreviating a name.

Peace,
Jon

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2018, 09:35:15 AM »
"Here is my take on the current discussion about Pastor Bolz-Weber (who, BTW, I believe, has a name that deserves respect and should not be minimized to a set of letters)...."


Rev. Austin, this is particularly rich coming from you, who:

1) frequently misspells names here,
2) often attributes comments to the wrong writer,
3) consistently addresses one of our regular contributors as the Anonymous One despite his having a screen name,
4) regularly responds to other posts by beginning "someone writes...".

Charles Austin

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2018, 09:45:53 AM »
Yes, there are plenty of improper characterizations, prejudices, and over-statements flapping around discussions such as this one. Not one of them should be use to justify any other of them.
   I once sat with a group of recovering addicts and alcoholics, about half of them convicted felons and nearly all of them prominently tattooed and heard one guy - a biker - talk about the third step, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."  He spoke of finding a loving, forgiving God (unlike the God he had been taught about as a child), and about prayer as ways to begin and end a day. Folks here would not like the language he used (and recovery groups often discourage profane language), but there was a message of grace and a witness to faith in what he said. Furthermore, he had the "proof" of 11 years of sobriety and drug-free living to underline how this faith had changed his life.
   I cannot imagine that Fred and guys like him would have found a "faith that works" (another term in recovery programs) faced only with the kind of piety and theologizing that defines most of our Lutheran preaching and piety.
   A few years later, Fred was hit with a terrible form of cancer. I was privileged to be with him and his family the day he died and led his funeral (a fully "Lutheran" service in a Lutheran church). The crowed ranged from his preppy Connecticut brother to his biker and recovery friends. Yes, there were a couple of eulogies and yes, one included a couple of words not normally heard in church.
   (Sometimes, doggone it, I really miss the active ministry. But energies wane and time moves on.)
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

Charles Austin

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2018, 09:51:06 AM »
P.S. to Pastor Bohler:
Do you ever respond to actual content or do you remain fixed on your impression of the one posting? (Can you ever, even in eternity, forget that Bishop/Pastor Benke once did something that burned your biscuits?) I apologize for sometimes typing too rapidly and confusing posters that are so similar as to make differentiation difficult. A "screen name" is not a name, and sometimes it is possible to respond to a comment without specifying who said it.
But we digress.
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2018, 09:56:23 AM »
P.S. to Pastor Bohler:
Do you ever respond to actual content or do you remain fixed on your impression of the one posting? (Can you ever, even in eternity, forget that Bishop/Pastor Benke once did something that burned your biscuits?) I apologize for sometimes typing too rapidly and confusing posters that are so similar as to make differentiation difficult. A "screen name" is not a name, and sometimes it is possible to respond to a comment without specifying who said it.
But we digress.

Rev. Austin,

Where did I mention Dr. Benke in this thread?  When did I last mention Yankee Stadium on a post here?  Maybe you are the one who has a problem in that area...

Pr. Don Kirchner

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2018, 10:01:38 AM »
"[Charles] spoke to them only in [ad hominems and straw men]."
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 10:19:52 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2018, 10:08:31 AM »
P.S. to Pastor Bohler Charles Austin:
Do you ever respond to actual content or do you remain fixed on your impression of the one posting? (Can you ever, even in eternity, forget that [fill in name here] once did something that burned your biscuits?)....

Fixed it for you.
You're welcome.

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2018, 10:40:21 AM »
Interestingly, he says nothing about Jamie Bruesehoff & Rebekah Bruesehoff speaking at the youth gathering: a mother and her transgender daughter. The crowd often cheered during the speech about acceptance of transgender youth.

The article is titled "Celebrity Theologian." He is focusing on NBW. The other folks don't have quite the following and ELCA "rock star" status as NBW.


And yet, if she is so terrible, how did she get that status? Why do thousands buy her books? Why was her congregation growing in numbers when so many others are declining? Why are so many of her members the type of people who didn't "fit" into traditional congregations?

Quote

As I recall, Martin Luther was a bit crude with his language.

Yes. And if he jumped off a cliff, should she? Come to think of it, Luther translated the entire New Testament from Greek into German in 11 weeks with a  quill pen. If she can do that, then she can use crude language too. Otherwise, don't.


Why not? What's the sin in using crude language?

Quote
We also teach missionaries to learn the language of the people they are trying to reach. Nadia has been very intentional about the type of people she is reaching - and she speaks their language.

I spend every Friday in the Norfolk County Jail. If I used profanity in my preaching, the inmates would be horribly offended (even though they are quite fluent in it). They do not want me to talk that way. They expect me to be better than that in my language.


How do you know that they would be "horribly offended"? My hunch is that you would be offended. I'm one who almost never uses profanity in my speech. It isn't authentic speak for me. Conversely, a vice-principal at the high school told me that there are students for whom profanity is such a regular part of their speech, they don't even realize that they are saying those words.


A number of years ago, when I was in the Kansas City area ('82-'87), Unity had a "word for the day" bit on the radio. A neighboring pastor liked to say, "Sometimes the word for the day is 'shit'". Back in seminary, I titled a paper, "God damn him." It was on the word ἀνάθεμα, which, as used by Paul in Galatians and elsewhere, asks God to condemn people who are proclaiming a false gospel. To be condemned by God is to have God damn them. I think that it accurately expresses the meaning of that Greek word.


What command are folks breaking when they use such "four-letter words" in their speech?
"The church Ö 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]

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2018, 10:52:16 AM »
I fear that Bolz-Weber is no longer the fringe of the ELCA but quickly becoming the mainstream.  She was not the only speaker at the youth gathering to raise eyebrows.  I, too, heard her years ago and she was far more moderate than she is today in both language and theology.  Perhaps her star status brought her to a new level of pastoral style.   T


She included in her first speech to the youth gathering a few years ago a comment that her contract with the organizers included a statement about not using profanity. She didn't.
"The church Ö 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]

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Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2018, 10:53:52 AM »
Interestingly, he says nothing about Jamie Bruesehoff & Rebekah Bruesehoff speaking at the youth gathering: a mother and her transgender daughter. The crowd often cheered during the speech about acceptance of transgender youth.

The article is titled "Celebrity Theologian." He is focusing on NBW. The other folks don't have quite the following and ELCA "rock star" status as NBW.


And yet, if she is so terrible, how did she get that status? Why do thousands buy her books? Why was her congregation growing in numbers when so many others are declining? Why are so many of her members the type of people who didn't "fit" into traditional congregations?

I think that these are good questions that deserves some serious thought.  It falls into the same category as many other 'popular' clergy who write books and speak to large groups, such as Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen. Popularity is always a risky measure of faithfulness, and loss of followers/members not always a sign of unfaithfulness.  We are studying John in our weekly Bible class and have just begun chapter 6, an interesting commentary on this.  Many began to follow Jesus and then many left, offended by his claims.  Why didn't Jesus change or 'tone down' his message to keep them from leaving?
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI