Author Topic: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck  (Read 13124 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #90 on: August 06, 2007, 12:37:12 PM »
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.
I believe that every synod has to have their policy on sexual matters. It is the synods who are responsble for rostered persons, not the ELCA. (The courts declared that the ELCA was not liable in the one case I remember of a clergy molesting children, but the synods involved were liable.)

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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.

However, the preface to V&E by Bishop Herbert Chilstrom states: "This document should not be confused with 'Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline.' The latter is a juridical document that describes the grounds on which ordained ministers may be subject to discipline according to the practice of this church."

Under Sexual Matters D&E has:
The biblical understanding which this church affirms is that the normative setting for sexual intercourse is marriage. In keeping with this understanding, chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage are the norm. Adultery, promiscuity, the sexual abuse of another, or the misuse of counseling relationships for sexual favors constitutes conduct that is incompatible with the character of the ministerial office.

Practicing homosexual persons are precluded from the ordained ministry of this church.


The question is asked about how is the second paragraph about homosexuals related to the first paragraph? I note that there are no references to scriptures to any of these prohibitions. Does the preclusion (whatever that word means) of practicing homosexuals happen because they are not married? If so, what happens if more states allow them to be married? Is it assumed that "practicing homosexuals" are promiscuous and/or involved in sexual abusing the other? If so, the revisionists agree that such behaviors should be grounds for discipline, but those aren't the behaviors we expect to happen within a "committed relationship."

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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.
I think that you are trying to compare two different things. I think that the ELCA, like stated above, is very clear that we are against sexual abuse and misusing counseling relationships -- the kinds of behaviors that end up in the courts. All the "revisionists" I heard from are also against these as well as adultery and promiscuity. The area of disagreement is over homosexuals who are in a committed same-sex relationship.
"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 #91 on: August 06, 2007, 02:00:46 PM »
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.

The ELCA churchwide assembly has yet to pass any resolution or motion on this topic, one way or another.  The rule continues to be one created by the church council without any CWA approval or disapproval.  Additionally, it is worth pointing out that in 2005 neither an amendment that would have unambiguously supported the current church council passed rules nor an amendment that would have unambiguously changed them failed to pass on simple majority votes.  It would then be a stretch to say that the failure of the exceptions proposal is a clear statement of any kind, much less a statement for the current policy which was clearly presented to the assembly and rejected.  The only think clear is that the assembly could reach no decision.

Mark C.

Pr. Jerry

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #92 on: August 06, 2007, 02:20:07 PM »
The ELCA churchwide assembly has yet to pass any resolution or motion on this topic, one way or another.  The rule continues to be one created by the church council without any CWA approval or disapproval.  Additionally, it is worth pointing out that in 2005 neither an amendment that would have unambiguously supported the current church council passed rules nor an amendment that would have unambiguously changed them failed to pass on simple majority votes.  It would then be a stretch to say that the failure of the exceptions proposal is a clear statement of any kind, much less a statement for the current policy which was clearly presented to the assembly and rejected.  The only think clear is that the assembly could reach no decision.

 ???
Mark, that logic drives me nuts...  The assembly did reach a decision, and clear decisions at that.  They REJECTED (49--51%) the call to grant exceptions to V+E.  They also APPROVED a statement regarding pastoral care that, in it's process, DECLINED to bless sam-sex unions or provide rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  To say that they "could reach no decision" is just plain not true.

The same logic, sadly, is the same reason that some argue "I can do *** because no one said I can't."  So you have clergy blessing same-sex unions claiming that the CWA gave them authority to do so because it didn't explicitly say "not to," (ignoring that, historically no ever said that it was possible) and you have congregations calling and "ordaining" persons outside the call process because "I/we can." 

Such sophistry is wasted air.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #93 on: August 06, 2007, 02:41:58 PM »
They REJECTED (49--51%) the call to grant exceptions to V+E.
Yes, and it would have taken 2/3 majority to pass.

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They also APPROVED a statement regarding pastoral care that, in it's process, DECLINED to bless sam-sex unions or provide rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  To say that they "could reach no decision" is just plain not true.
No, it was made clear at the assembly that the bishop's statement was intentionally ambiguous. It does say that they are against the ELCA creating a service for blessing same-sex unions. However, it does not prohibit individual pastors from creating or officiating at such services.

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The same logic, sadly, is the same reason that some argue "I can do *** because no one said I can't."  So you have clergy blessing same-sex unions claiming that the CWA gave them authority to do so because it didn't explicitly say "not to," (ignoring that, historically no ever said that it was possible) and you have congregations calling and "ordaining" persons outside the call process because "I/we can." 

That's exactly right. The ELCA does not prohibit its clergy from blessing same-sex unions. There is no discipline for pastors who preside at such rites. However, the ELCA constitution does prohibit congregations from calling non-ELCA rostered clergy without the bishop's approval. The congregations who have done so, are subject to discipline. They can be, should the bishop bring a recommendation to the synod council, removed from the congregational roster of the ELCA.
"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 #94 on: August 06, 2007, 02:54:00 PM »
Mark, that logic drives me nuts...  The assembly did reach a decision, and clear decisions at that.  They REJECTED (49--51%) the call to grant exceptions to V+E.  They also APPROVED a statement regarding pastoral care that, in it's process, DECLINED to bless sam-sex unions or provide rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  To say that they "could reach no decision" is just plain not true.

No twisted logic here, Jerry.  The ELCA assembly declined to grant exceptions to the current policies for ordination regarding gay and lesbian candidates.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically change the policies of this church outright.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically repeat and endorse those policy as an action of the assembly.  That, to me, looks like an assembly that has not really decided what is best and cannot reach a decision with clarity.  They rejected all three options.

Mark C.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #95 on: August 06, 2007, 02:55:31 PM »
No twisted logic here, Jerry.  The ELCA assembly declined to grant exceptions to the current policies for ordination regarding gay and lesbian candidates.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically change the policies of this church outright.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically repeat and endorse those policy as an action of the assembly.  That, to me, looks like an assembly that has not really decided what is best and cannot reach a decision with clarity.  They rejected all three options.
Or they continued to support ambiguity as the best option for the ELCA at this time in our history.
"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]

Pr. Jerry

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #96 on: August 06, 2007, 03:04:45 PM »
Mark, that logic drives me nuts...  The assembly did reach a decision, and clear decisions at that.  They REJECTED (49--51%) the call to grant exceptions to V+E.  They also APPROVED a statement regarding pastoral care that, in it's process, DECLINED to bless sam-sex unions or provide rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  To say that they "could reach no decision" is just plain not true.

No twisted logic here, Jerry.  The ELCA assembly declined to grant exceptions to the current policies for ordination regarding gay and lesbian candidates.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically change the policies of this church outright.  The ELCA assembly also declined to specifically repeat and endorse those policy as an action of the assembly.  That, to me, looks like an assembly that has not really decided what is best and cannot reach a decision with clarity.  They rejected all three options.

I guess you just can't take "NO" as an answer?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


mchristi

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #97 on: August 06, 2007, 03:33:06 PM »
I guess you just can't take "NO" as an answer?

No, Jerry, I'm just recognizing that they said "no" to three different questions, including to proposals which were exactly opposite.  They said "no" to exceptions.  They said "no" to passing the current policy.  They said "no" to simply repealing it.

Can you not see that this creates a more complex reality than you are suggesting?  I can see that they said "no" to all three of those questions.  Can you? 

Deb_H.

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #98 on: August 06, 2007, 04:19:20 PM »

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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.
I think that you are trying to compare two different things. I think that the ELCA, like stated above, is very clear that we are against sexual abuse and misusing counseling relationships -- the kinds of behaviors that end up in the courts. All the "revisionists" I heard from are also against these as well as adultery and promiscuity. The area of disagreement is over homosexuals who are in a committed same-sex relationship.

You are technically correct.  I am comparing two different things.
1)  The discretionary non-enforcement of V&E towards gay practice, and
2)  the claimed mandatory enforcement of violations of V&E, which are abusive or mis-usive.

The problem is, as I told the director of the Division of Ministry at the time, that this nuance that parts of V&E are considered discretionary by the ELCA while other parts are considered mandatory, is lost on an insurance company which has to pay when the ELCA fails to enforce the mandatory portions of their policies.  Which is precisely what happened in the Jerald Thomas case.  Things which should have been recognized and enforced upon were missed by various authorities, costing the ELCA or their insurers a great deal of money. The comment that only synods are held liable is simply not true.  Chicago was on the edge of some serious payouts because things were missed or overlooked (by pastoral discretion) at all levels of the process.  Nobody wants to talk about this; nobody knows for sure just what the payouts were, and by whom they were paid.  Stinky.

I also told the director that the ELCA got lucky in the Thomas case, but the next time it happens, it (the ELCA) won't survive since it does not have the deep pockets of the Roman Catholic church.

Lou

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #99 on: August 06, 2007, 06:55:10 PM »
You are technically correct.  I am comparing two different things.
1) The discretionary non-enforcement of V&E towards gay practice, and
An interpretation of what has happened in the Sierra Pacific Synod, as it was told to me by a lay member of the synod's executive board is that they believed the bishops (over the years more than one has been involved) have acted in accordance with our policies. A practicing homosexual is subject to discipline. One of the disciplines available to a bishop (and the only one that can be done by the bishop,) is private censure and admonition. That has been done. Thus, according to this lay person, this synod council believes that the bishop has acted in conformity with ELCA policies.

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2)  the claimed mandatory enforcement of violations of V&E, which are abusive or mis-usive.

The problem is, as I told the director of the Division of Ministry at the time, that this nuance that parts of V&E are considered discretionary by the ELCA while other parts are considered mandatory, is lost on an insurance company which has to pay when the ELCA fails to enforce the mandatory portions of their policies.  Which is precisely what happened in the Jerald Thomas case.  Things which should have been recognized and enforced upon were missed by various authorities, costing the ELCA or their insurers a great deal of money. The comment that only synods are held liable is simply not true.  Chicago was on the edge of some serious payouts because things were missed or overlooked (by pastoral discretion) at all levels of the process.  Nobody wants to talk about this; nobody knows for sure just what the payouts were, and by whom they were paid.  Stinky.

I also told the director that the ELCA got lucky in the Thomas case, but the next time it happens, it (the ELCA) won't survive since it does not have the deep pockets of the Roman Catholic church.
As I understand it, the ELCA voluntarily had its insurance companies give compensation to victims in the Thomas case. The court ruled that the ELCA was not liable. We have a different structure than the Roman Catholic Church. I also note that in the RCC, it has been diocese (which relate to our synods,) who have been sued and are paying out millions; not the Vatican.
"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]

ptmccain

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #100 on: August 06, 2007, 07:39:18 PM »
"Private censure and admonition"

Hmmmm.....a slap on the wrist, and they are still permitted to serve as pastors.

So much for discipline.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #101 on: August 06, 2007, 07:43:09 PM »
Pastor McCain writes:
"Private censure and admonition"
Hmmmm.....a slap on the wrist, and they are still permitted to serve as pastors.
So much for discipline.

I observe:
It's not "so much for discipline." It's just that discipline is not always wielded with the bloodlust and violence of a member of the 14th Century Inquisition.

ptmccain

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #102 on: August 06, 2007, 08:05:19 PM »


NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 08:08:03 PM by ptmccain »

scott3

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #103 on: August 06, 2007, 08:07:40 PM »
I knew that you were that type!  Nice  flyer's hat, though (since you're the dude on the left, of course -- he's got the biggest cross so is probably most appropos for a 14th century murderous horde type).

ptmccain

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Re: Memorials Committee Tries to Avoid Trainwreck
« Reply #104 on: August 06, 2007, 08:11:08 PM »
The discipline of "private admonition and censure" of public and open sodomites is akin go the Comfy Chair used capably by the Monty Python Spanish Inquisitors.

Ximinez: So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put her in the Comfy Chair!

[They roughly push her into the Comfy Chair]

Ximinez [with a cruel leer]: Now -- you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven. [aside, to Biggles] Is that really all it is?
Biggles: Yes, lord.


Which is to say such "discipline" is a joke!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 08:19:31 PM by ptmccain »