Author Topic: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck  (Read 12169 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #75 on: August 05, 2007, 11:54:53 PM »
But supposing we don't see V&E enforced?
Or enforced as it often has been -- a bishop administering the discipline of private admonition and censure.
"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]

mchristi

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #76 on: August 06, 2007, 12:06:58 AM »
But supposing we don't see V&E enforced?
Or enforced as it often has been -- a bishop administering the discipline of private admonition and censure.

Or seeking and recieving a resignation from call and/or roster.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #77 on: August 06, 2007, 12:19:39 AM »
But supposing we don't see V&E enforced?
Or enforced as it often has been -- a bishop administering the discipline of private admonition and censure.

Or seeking and recieving a resignation from call and/or roster.
That is not one of the disciplinary actions listed in the ELCA Constitution -- but it is an action that happens. Going through the disciplinary process is expensive for both the synod and the defendent.
"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]

scott3

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #78 on: August 06, 2007, 12:24:44 AM »
Am I understanding this correctly? Do folks in the ELCA have to agree to live within Visions and Expectations to be ordained? If so, leaving aside the issue of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, isn't there a basic integrity issue at stake for those who go back on their word?

Mel Harris

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #79 on: August 06, 2007, 04:25:12 AM »

Am I understanding this correctly? Do folks in the ELCA have to agree to live within Visions and Expectations to be ordained? If so, leaving aside the issue of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, isn't there a basic integrity issue at stake for those who go back on their word?


You are making the mistake of taking words and promises seriously. And, by the way,

Quote

What is Integrity?

Integrity is a nonprofit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] Episcopalians and our straight friends. ...


http://www.integrityusa.org/WhatIsIntegrity/index.htm

As you might have noticed here on ALPB Forum Online, words mean different things to different people.  When you have some of the "Full Communion" partners that we have, you learn all kinds of new meanings for words.  It also looks like there will be a push at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly to change parts of Visions and Expectations, or at least ignore and not enforce them; so... even your question may soon be out of date.

Mel Harris

Charles_Austin

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #80 on: August 06, 2007, 07:02:59 AM »
There is some discussion over whether certain documents have juridical "standing." There are also different ways to approach what may appear to be "violations," even if it is not clear whether such things are the violations of ordination vows, of the constitutions of the ELCA, its synods, or congregations, or some other aspect of our common life.
Some take a juridical approach - a document says this, he or she says or does something else, out with them! Some say this requires a clearer understanding of what document or policy says or intends to accomplish, so we need a more official and detailed interpretation of the document.
Some take an approach that might be called "pastoral," though that does not seem to be the right word. Someone may appear to be in "violation," but those responsible for discipline believe that to exercise the discipline or apply the severest penalty - expulsion - would not seem to serve the mission of the Church, or that uncertainties about the "juridical" aspects mean that the penalties should be, if not withheld completely, at least suspended temporarily.
We in the ELCA do not all agree on every aspect of all the issues relating to sexuality. It would appear that in large parts of our church, people are seeking changes, while in other parts of our church, people believe that change would be wrong. Various "sides" of this discussion are using different methods, some juridical, some pastoral, some political, of advancing their concerns. It's messy sometimes, but it seems to be how we do things.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #81 on: August 06, 2007, 07:06:23 AM »
Eric opines:
I think that if the goodsoil amendments get to the floor and don't pass, we will be able to see V&E enforced.

I wonder:
But supposing we don't see V&E enforced?


If goodsoil fails, every member of the ELCA can go to their synodical bishop and say that the Assembly has spoken on this twice and it is clear what the rule is on sexual activity by clergy. Enforce the rule. Tell the ministerium that you will initiate disciplinary hearings or step down. Clergy who are not willing to abide by the promises they made can step down. That is the "creative solution" we can live with.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #82 on: August 06, 2007, 07:09:14 AM »
There is some discussion over whether certain documents have juridical "standing." There are also different ways to approach what may appear to be "violations," even if it is not clear whether such things are the violations of ordination vows, of the constitutions of the ELCA, its synods, or congregations, or some other aspect of our common life.
Some take a juridical approach - a document says this, he or she says or does something else, out with them! Some say this requires a clearer understanding of what document or policy says or intends to accomplish, so we need a more official and detailed interpretation of the document.
Some take an approach that might be called "pastoral," though that does not seem to be the right word. Someone may appear to be in "violation," but those responsible for discipline believe that to exercise the discipline or apply the severest penalty - expulsion - would not seem to serve the mission of the Church, or that uncertainties about the "juridical" aspects mean that the penalties should be, if not withheld completely, at least suspended temporarily.
We in the ELCA do not all agree on every aspect of all the issues relating to sexuality. It would appear that in large parts of our church, people are seeking changes, while in other parts of our church, people believe that change would be wrong. Various "sides" of this discussion are using different methods, some juridical, some pastoral, some political, of advancing their concerns. It's messy sometimes, but it seems to be how we do things.

Single clergy candidates were asked if they would not engage in sexual activity unless they marry. The whole idea that this is something to be parsed out is ludicrous.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #83 on: August 06, 2007, 07:20:30 AM »
Eric writes:
Single clergy candidates were asked if they would not engage in sexual activity unless they marry. The whole idea that this is something to be parsed out is ludicrous.

I comment:
Sexual activity? Would that be dating, holding hands, kissing, necking, or masturbation?

But that is not what is to be "parsed out." Those seeking change are asking whether people whose "sexual activity" - or at least certain aspects of it - takes place within the context of a committed, same-sex relationship can be ordained or continued on the ELCA clergy roster.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #84 on: August 06, 2007, 08:05:43 AM »
Eric writes:
Single clergy candidates were asked if they would not engage in sexual activity unless they marry. The whole idea that this is something to be parsed out is ludicrous.

I comment:
Sexual activity? Would that be dating, holding hands, kissing, necking, or masturbation?


Ephesians 5:4  Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk

Charles_Austin

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #85 on: August 06, 2007, 08:36:41 AM »
Eric posts:
Ephesians 5:4  Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk

I comment:
Do you refer to my post? There is no obscenity there. Neither is there silliness or vulgarity. You used the term "sexual activity," and since the issue of sexuality is complex and nuanced, portmanteau words and phrases are sometimes problematic. Hence my gentle - I thought - suggestion that we need to keep in mind the range of "sexual activity" as we talk.

Dadoo

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #86 on: August 06, 2007, 08:54:54 AM »
Am I understanding this correctly? Do folks in the ELCA have to agree to live within Visions and Expectations to be ordained? If so, leaving aside the issue of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, isn't there a basic integrity issue at stake for those who go back on their word?

Scott,

Visons and Expectations was written in the late 80's to clarify what the vows of ordination mean.  The sentence tht is going t be under heavy discussion this week in Chicago is out of the section that is to clarify the officiant's question: Will you crown your proclamation with a life of holy living?  [quote from memory- I can hear Brian heading for his iturgical resources even as I typem to give the current correct verbage]  At least I seem to remember this question..  Yes, during seminary and candidacy you are supposed to be made familiar with this document.  At Trinity in 89 the school took a day off and studied and discussed it. 

If your question is: Did these folks not know that this plege to chstity was going to made of them?  THe answer is: Yes, they did know.  Their argument now is that, like in the celbacy issue of the 16th century, to ask them to abstain from sex is against God's design and will and therefor should be released from this implication of the vow.  Hence the argument that "God made them this way."

Keep the Faith

Peter
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Erma_S._Wolf

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #87 on: August 06, 2007, 10:16:29 AM »
Am I understanding this correctly? Do folks in the ELCA have to agree to live within Visions and Expectations to be ordained? If so, leaving aside the issue of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, isn't there a basic integrity issue at stake for those who go back on their word?

To answer your question, the answer is yes, we do have to agree to live within Vision and Expectations in order to be ordained.  (One vision, many expectations!)  As I was already ordained when this document was produced, in my synod there was opportunity/requirement to study the document within pastor clusters in order to understand what it said and yes it applied to us folks too.  There are many things in it, not just the sexual morality stuff.  I think it is a well written piece and is helpful.  Of course, if one is looking for loopholes or is afraid that the document will be used as a weapon against pastors, then one will regard it accordingly.  Like anything, it can be abused. 


Erma_S._Wolf

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #88 on: August 06, 2007, 10:30:27 AM »
Some take a juridical approach - a document says this, he or she says or does something else, out with them! Some say this requires a clearer understanding of what document or policy says or intends to accomplish, so we need a more official and detailed interpretation of the document.
Some take an approach that might be called "pastoral," though that does not seem to be the right word. Someone may appear to be in "violation," but those responsible for discipline believe that to exercise the discipline or apply the severest penalty - expulsion - would not seem to serve the mission of the Church, or that uncertainties about the "juridical" aspects mean that the penalties should be, if not withheld completely, at least suspended temporarily.

I think we might agree that the disciplinary approach used often depends on the type of offense, and how it is discovered.  A pastor coming forward to a bishop and "confessing" and asking for help, showing signs of remorse, repentence, etc., would I think be dealt with differently than when the situation is reported, sometimes on the pages of the newspaper, and there is denial, even defiance, by the rostered individual.  Of course, some offenses would be of a nature that repentence could not assure, and should not assure, that an individual could continue in the rostered ministry.  Most of the time those offenses are sexual, but not always.  I think a rostered individual who confessed to grievous financial malfeasance, such as embezzeling funds or cheating members of the congregation out of inheritances, etc. would be asked to resign. 

It is the synodical bishops who are on the front lines in these matters.  I have heard, and readily believe, that those types of disciplinary matters are the most difficult professionally and personally for the bishops.  And I know, especially when there is more than one of these situations taking place at a time, that it is extremely draining on these men and women.  No one should stand for election as a bishop who has not given this matter of discipline a great deal of serious thought.  If that person does not think that he or she would have the fortitude to go forward with discipline of a pastor that they were close personal friends with, then they should not serve in that office.  Their gifts are elsewhere. 

Another reason why prayer for those who serve in these offices of oversight should be a daily observance for all of us.

Erma Wolf

Deb_H.

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #89 on: August 06, 2007, 10:36:00 AM »
Am I understanding this correctly?  Do folks in the ELCA have to agree to live within Visions and Expectations to be ordained?  If so, leaving aside the issue of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, isn't there a basic integrity issue at stake for those who go back on their word?

Scott,

Visons and Expectations was written in the late 80's to clarify what the vows of ordination mean.  The sentence tht is going t be under heavy discussion this week in Chicago is out of the section that is to clarify the officiant's question: Will you crown your proclamation with a life of holy living?  [quote from memory- I can hear Brian heading for his iturgical resources even as I typem to give the current correct verbage]  At least I seem to remember this question..  Yes, during seminary and candidacy you are supposed to be made familiar with this document.  At Trinity in 89 the school took a day off and studied and discussed it. 

If your question is: Did these folks not know that this plege to chstity was going to made of them?  THe answer is: Yes, they did know.  Their argument now is that, like in the celbacy issue of the 16th century, to ask them to abstain from sex is against God's design and will and therefor should be released from this implication of the vow.  Hence the argument that "God made them this way."

Keep the Faith

Peter

One other piece of the V&E problem that is essentially the crux of the arguement is just how much it is meant to be "enforced."  It is an expectation, where most ELCA people that I have talked to consider it policy.  There is a difference.  V&E was never passed as policy by a churchwide assembly; and the attempt to do so was rejected by the Orlando assembly in 2005. 
It's not policy, even though Phil Harris' office (in particular) will demand it be considered policy for the sake of insurance coverage.  This was much discussed as part of the discussion around the Jerald Thomas lawsuits in TX at one Sexuality Task Force meeting.  The ELCA has to have policy on sexual matters to obtain insurance coverage, but the fact of the matter is they can't get such policy approved by the churchwide assembly.  So, with smoke and mirrors, the bishops and the attorney's office have declared V&E to be 'sort of' policy, in lieu of action from the assembly.  It would be interesting to know, if this actually got into the courts, if that would be sufficient for the insurance companies --  ie, "we have policy, but the bishops have discretion in enforcement of said policies."  Kind of like requiring smoke detectors in a home for insurance coverage, but intentionally leaving the batteries out so they don't make noise at inappropriate times, and then expecting the insurance company to pay willingly after a fire.

Lou