Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 394798 times)

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4485 on: July 30, 2021, 10:43:33 AM »
Every day I hear updates on the "Delta Variant."  Every day the news sounds more dire.  Its ability to infect is greater.  Vaccinated people can be carriers. Breakthrough infections in the vaccinated are more likely. Hospitalizations are up.

And we are about to head into the fall season.  School. Masks are again the hot topic. And divisive as ever.  Yet on the outside it seems like we have largely to returned to life as normal.  Or as close to normal as we could get. The remote life we experienced last year this time will probably not be the norm.  We have seen that remote learning did not do so well in the majority of our schools. Businesses have changed and remote working is more the norm, but many are being recalled back to the office.  My son was one of them. 

It feels like we are in a kind of COVID Twilight Zone.  In a pandemic, but not, or sort of.  Vaccines are being pushed harder than ever. They are the gold standard for beating this thing, we are told. The Federal government is contemplating mandates of its employees.  Businesses are contemplating the same.  Yet my Pfizer vaccine is now rated at only 88% effective. It takes a hit with each variant.  Not bad, but not nearly as good as the day I got it.  And the company is saying some of us may need a booster.  But the CDC isn't quite on board. 

Our churches have largely relaxed many of their COVID protocols.  But come fall will we be encouraged to put many of them back?  My hymnals are back in the racks.  Tape is gone off the pews.  No one wears masks, with the one exception of the pastor and elder at the Sacrament (which is largely for optics at this point).  We are talking about resuming Sunday School after a 19 month hiatus.  We just had a voters meeting and decided that it was still too soon for the annual Harvest Dinner, especially with this nasty variant on the loose.  I sense that if cases tick upwards in my area life may shift back to where it was just months ago. 

A year ago it was tough.  But now the uncertainty and the vagueness may be just as difficult to handle.

Our VBS finished earlier this week.  First time we have had an on-site VBS in about 10 years (we had been going to our Lutheran camp for VBS those years, except for last year).  50-60 kids and more than a dozen adult teachers/helpers.  And, my wife informed me this morning, not a single mask.  By anyone.  Kids or adults.  We have had the "masks optional" thing for worship since May, I believe, and no one has worn a mask since the first week or two of that.   I am assuming we will resume Sunday school in the fall (our council has not made a final decision yet), and I expect the same will be the case then (no masks).  This Wednesday evening was the first service in which we went back to communion at the rail and passed the collection plates; nothing but positive reactions (although I announced that I would come down with communion for those who did not wish to come forward to the rail -- no takers; and we had a collection plate on a table in the narthex for those who did not want to touch the passing plate -- no one used it).  Yesterday we had our first funeral with a funeral lunch in over a year-and-a-half (I have had at least one funeral every week this summer).  I have been told by school staff that several of our parochial school parents have said they would pull their kids and home school them if we went back to masks in the fall.

Bottom line: at this time, I do not think we will be going back to where we were this past year.  Not unless something HUGE happens.  And even then it would be with quite a fight.


D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4486 on: July 30, 2021, 11:18:16 AM »
Every day I hear updates on the "Delta Variant."  Every day the news sounds more dire.  Its ability to infect is greater.  Vaccinated people can be carriers. Breakthrough infections in the vaccinated are more likely. Hospitalizations are up.

And we are about to head into the fall season.  School. Masks are again the hot topic. And divisive as ever.  Yet on the outside it seems like we have largely to returned to life as normal.  Or as close to normal as we could get. The remote life we experienced last year this time will probably not be the norm.  We have seen that remote learning did not do so well in the majority of our schools. Businesses have changed and remote working is more the norm, but many are being recalled back to the office.  My son was one of them. 

It feels like we are in a kind of COVID Twilight Zone.  In a pandemic, but not, or sort of.  Vaccines are being pushed harder than ever. They are the gold standard for beating this thing, we are told. The Federal government is contemplating mandates of its employees.  Businesses are contemplating the same.  Yet my Pfizer vaccine is now rated at only 88% effective. It takes a hit with each variant.  Not bad, but not nearly as good as the day I got it.  And the company is saying some of us may need a booster.  But the CDC isn't quite on board. 

Our churches have largely relaxed many of their COVID protocols.  But come fall will we be encouraged to put many of them back?  My hymnals are back in the racks.  Tape is gone off the pews.  No one wears masks, with the one exception of the pastor and elder at the Sacrament (which is largely for optics at this point).  We are talking about resuming Sunday School after a 19 month hiatus.  We just had a voters meeting and decided that it was still too soon for the annual Harvest Dinner, especially with this nasty variant on the loose.  I sense that if cases tick upwards in my area life may shift back to where it was just months ago. 

A year ago it was tough.  But now the uncertainty and the vagueness may be just as difficult to handle.

Our VBS finished earlier this week.  First time we have had an on-site VBS in about 10 years (we had been going to our Lutheran camp for VBS those years, except for last year).  50-60 kids and more than a dozen adult teachers/helpers.  And, my wife informed me this morning, not a single mask.  By anyone.  Kids or adults.  We have had the "masks optional" thing for worship since May, I believe, and no one has worn a mask since the first week or two of that.   I am assuming we will resume Sunday school in the fall (our council has not made a final decision yet), and I expect the same will be the case then (no masks).  This Wednesday evening was the first service in which we went back to communion at the rail and passed the collection plates; nothing but positive reactions (although I announced that I would come down with communion for those who did not wish to come forward to the rail -- no takers; and we had a collection plate on a table in the narthex for those who did not want to touch the passing plate -- no one used it).  Yesterday we had our first funeral with a funeral lunch in over a year-and-a-half (I have had at least one funeral every week this summer).  I have been told by school staff that several of our parochial school parents have said they would pull their kids and home school them if we went back to masks in the fall.

Bottom line: at this time, I do not think we will be going back to where we were this past year.  Not unless something HUGE happens.  And even then it would be with quite a fight.

I believe you are probably right.  After last year few if any have an appetite to return to the severe restrictions out of which we have just begun to emerge. 

I have not reinstated, yet, a return to the altar for Holy Communion.  It's next on my list.  However, I'm watching this Delta Variant to see if it takes off in my area.  I have at least one family, in particular, that is still quite wary, and I think that it might yet be more than they are ready for.

I suspect we are at a very different point now that vaccines are quite well used and widespread.  I think with threatened mandates and restrictions on the unvaccinated there will be, as there already is, an increase in the number of people seeing vaccination. 

I will be glad to be on the other side of this with the memories of 2020 far behind in the rear view mirror.  At the moment, as the printing on the side view mirrors of our cars reads: "Images are closer than they appear."
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4487 on: July 30, 2021, 12:12:24 PM »
Some questions that I have been pondering:

1. I understand that federal employees will be required to take the COVID vaccine.  Ought the government expand that requirement to those who receive Social Security or Medicare?  How about those who receive what we used to call welfare?  Can proof of vaccination be made a pre-requisite for receiving any government assistance?  If not, why not?

2. Rev. Austin has several times pointed out that schools require vaccinations (usually without any mention of exemptions allowed in virtually all of the states, but that is immaterial for this discussion).  And it seems to be an accepted position here that businesses can require COVID vaccination for employees and/or patrons.  So, can businesses require vaccination of other than COVID for their employees/patrons?  That is, can they require proof of measles vaccination before allowing one to shop in their store?  Proof of up-to-date tetanus vaccination as a condition of employment?  If not, why not?

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4488 on: July 30, 2021, 01:00:10 PM »
Some questions that I have been pondering:

1. I understand that federal employees will be required to take the COVID vaccine.  Ought the government expand that requirement to those who receive Social Security or Medicare?  How about those who receive what we used to call welfare?  Can proof of vaccination be made a pre-requisite for receiving any government assistance?  If not, why not?

2. Rev. Austin has several times pointed out that schools require vaccinations (usually without any mention of exemptions allowed in virtually all of the states, but that is immaterial for this discussion).  And it seems to be an accepted position here that businesses can require COVID vaccination for employees and/or patrons.  So, can businesses require vaccination of other than COVID for their employees/patrons?  That is, can they require proof of measles vaccination before allowing one to shop in their store?  Proof of up-to-date tetanus vaccination as a condition of employment?  If not, why not?

We just dealt with exemptions for our oldest.  She is homeschooled, but she is doing dual enrollment at a local college.  She is also vaccinated.  She could have opted out of vaccination for a couple of reasons (religious and conscience based as I recall, and also if she were online only.

She has both COVID shots, which are not required, and 2 of the 3 recommended shots (meningitis I think).  Point being, we somehow manage to navigate this in public school settings without all the fuss and fanfare.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4489 on: July 30, 2021, 01:02:55 PM »
Some questions that I have been pondering:

1. I understand that federal employees will be required to take the COVID vaccine.  Ought the government expand that requirement to those who receive Social Security or Medicare?  How about those who receive what we used to call welfare?  Can proof of vaccination be made a pre-requisite for receiving any government assistance?  If not, why not?

2. Rev. Austin has several times pointed out that schools require vaccinations (usually without any mention of exemptions allowed in virtually all of the states, but that is immaterial for this discussion).  And it seems to be an accepted position here that businesses can require COVID vaccination for employees and/or patrons.  So, can businesses require vaccination of other than COVID for their employees/patrons?  That is, can they require proof of measles vaccination before allowing one to shop in their store?  Proof of up-to-date tetanus vaccination as a condition of employment?  If not, why not?

We just dealt with exemptions for our oldest.  She is homeschooled, but she is doing dual enrollment at a local college.  She is also vaccinated.  She could have opted out of vaccination for a couple of reasons (religious and conscience based as I recall, and also if she were online only.

She has both COVID shots, which are not required, and 2 of the 3 recommended shots (meningitis I think).  Point being, we somehow manage to navigate this in public school settings without all the fuss and fanfare.

I am not sure I understand how what you posted addresses any of the questions I posted. Could you perhaps explain a bit more?

jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4490 on: July 30, 2021, 04:23:36 PM »
The content of propaganda speeches can be true of false. Sometimes illustrations I used in sermons were a compilation of different people that I combined into one person. Sometimes my report of an event changed the sex of the person so that I wasn't betraying a confidence. (Never at a congregation or a town where the real person lived.) By changing such details to protect confidences, am I lying to you?

Why not be fully transparent? Why not say, "Several people have said something to me like" or "The following is a true story, but I'm changing some details to protect confidences"?  Or "I want to tell you a story about a pastor who dealt with a person who..." Right then, you are admitting it is a story.

But if you said, "I once dealt with a person who..." when it is in fact a compilation, or with many details changed, then yes, you are lying.

IIRC, that was one of the issues in Obama's "Audacity of Hope". He had compiled several people into one and had changed details of stories and was called out on it.

When a pastor proclaims that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it; but archeologist tell us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time; who is lying?

I don't think either is lying, but one is mistaken and that is the archaeologist. I wouldn't say a world about it.

Now, if you, as a preacher, stand before your congregation and proclaim "that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it" but you actually agree with the "archeologist [who tells] us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time" then yes, you are lying. You should be honest in your beliefs and tell your congregation straight up that you think archaeology has proved that the Bible is wrong and the story of Joshua and Jericho never happened.
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Dan Fienen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4491 on: July 30, 2021, 04:55:56 PM »
Honest archeologists do not claim an infallibility superior to that of the Bible. Honest archeologists state, this is what I find and these are the conclusions that I draw from it. Archeologists may be wrong. For years archeologists assured us that the story of Troy was just a story, there never was a Troy, until an obsessed amateur actually found Troy. Assured results of archeologists have later been found to be wrong.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4492 on: July 30, 2021, 05:00:42 PM »
The content of propaganda speeches can be true of false. Sometimes illustrations I used in sermons were a compilation of different people that I combined into one person. Sometimes my report of an event changed the sex of the person so that I wasn't betraying a confidence. (Never at a congregation or a town where the real person lived.) By changing such details to protect confidences, am I lying to you?

Why not be fully transparent? Why not say, "Several people have said something to me like" or "The following is a true story, but I'm changing some details to protect confidences"?  Or "I want to tell you a story about a pastor who dealt with a person who..." Right then, you are admitting it is a story.

But if you said, "I once dealt with a person who..." when it is in fact a compilation, or with many details changed, then yes, you are lying.

IIRC, that was one of the issues in Obama's "Audacity of Hope". He had compiled several people into one and had changed details of stories and was called out on it.

When a pastor proclaims that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it; but archeologist tell us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time; who is lying?

I don't think either is lying, but one is mistaken and that is the archaeologist. I wouldn't say a world about it.

Now, if you, as a preacher, stand before your congregation and proclaim "that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it" but you actually agree with the "archeologist [who tells] us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time" then yes, you are lying. You should be honest in your beliefs and tell your congregation straight up that you think archaeology has proved that the Bible is wrong and the story of Joshua and Jericho never happened.


Like propagandists, the purpose in speaking isn't primarily to convey facts, but to motivate people to do something. The events in Joshua happened about 1200 BC. They were written down (or at least compiled as the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuels, & Kings) nearly 600 years later. Some of the historical details may have been lost over the 6 centuries. In addition, the compiler's purpose was not primarily to teach history, but to motivate people in his present time to remain faithful to God.
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David Garner

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4493 on: July 30, 2021, 05:36:25 PM »
The content of propaganda speeches can be true of false. Sometimes illustrations I used in sermons were a compilation of different people that I combined into one person. Sometimes my report of an event changed the sex of the person so that I wasn't betraying a confidence. (Never at a congregation or a town where the real person lived.) By changing such details to protect confidences, am I lying to you?

Why not be fully transparent? Why not say, "Several people have said something to me like" or "The following is a true story, but I'm changing some details to protect confidences"?  Or "I want to tell you a story about a pastor who dealt with a person who..." Right then, you are admitting it is a story.

But if you said, "I once dealt with a person who..." when it is in fact a compilation, or with many details changed, then yes, you are lying.

IIRC, that was one of the issues in Obama's "Audacity of Hope". He had compiled several people into one and had changed details of stories and was called out on it.

When a pastor proclaims that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it; but archeologist tell us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time; who is lying?

I don't think either is lying, but one is mistaken and that is the archaeologist. I wouldn't say a world about it.

Now, if you, as a preacher, stand before your congregation and proclaim "that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it" but you actually agree with the "archeologist [who tells] us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time" then yes, you are lying. You should be honest in your beliefs and tell your congregation straight up that you think archaeology has proved that the Bible is wrong and the story of Joshua and Jericho never happened.


Like propagandists, the purpose in speaking isn't primarily to convey facts, but to motivate people to do something. The events in Joshua happened about 1200 BC. They were written down (or at least compiled as the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuels, & Kings) nearly 600 years later. Some of the historical details may have been lost over the 6 centuries. In addition, the compiler's purpose was not primarily to teach history, but to motivate people in his present time to remain faithful to God.

This is the worst "even Hitler could love a dog" reasoning I've seen in some time.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4494 on: July 30, 2021, 05:56:00 PM »
The content of propaganda speeches can be true of false. Sometimes illustrations I used in sermons were a compilation of different people that I combined into one person. Sometimes my report of an event changed the sex of the person so that I wasn't betraying a confidence. (Never at a congregation or a town where the real person lived.) By changing such details to protect confidences, am I lying to you?

Why not be fully transparent? Why not say, "Several people have said something to me like" or "The following is a true story, but I'm changing some details to protect confidences"?  Or "I want to tell you a story about a pastor who dealt with a person who..." Right then, you are admitting it is a story.

But if you said, "I once dealt with a person who..." when it is in fact a compilation, or with many details changed, then yes, you are lying.

IIRC, that was one of the issues in Obama's "Audacity of Hope". He had compiled several people into one and had changed details of stories and was called out on it.

When a pastor proclaims that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it; but archeologist tell us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time; who is lying?

I don't think either is lying, but one is mistaken and that is the archaeologist. I wouldn't say a world about it.

Now, if you, as a preacher, stand before your congregation and proclaim "that the walls of Jericho fell just as Joshua records it" but you actually agree with the "archeologist [who tells] us that the walls fell 1000 years before Joshua came through the area and the city was unoccupied during Joshua's time" then yes, you are lying. You should be honest in your beliefs and tell your congregation straight up that you think archaeology has proved that the Bible is wrong and the story of Joshua and Jericho never happened.


Like propagandists, the purpose in speaking isn't primarily to convey facts, but to motivate people to do something. The events in Joshua happened about 1200 BC. They were written down (or at least compiled as the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuels, & Kings) nearly 600 years later. Some of the historical details may have been lost over the 6 centuries. In addition, the compiler's purpose was not primarily to teach history, but to motivate people in his present time to remain faithful to God.

I'm glad you think that. Yay for you. Take a bow.

But that isn't the question. The question is: did you tell your congregation this? Did you ever tell them, "Well, this story about Joshua and the walls of Jericho--it never happened. It's just propaganda that someone wrote 600 years after the fact"? If you didn't, you were lying.

That's not an issue for me. I believe that these books were either written when they took place (e.g. Deuteronomy) or shortly thereafter (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel and Kings). They relate actual, real, history and not propaganda. I can tell my congregation with confidence that this is not only history but also showing them how the Lord God works in and through history.

But you do you. Just be honest: "I am telling you is nothing but propaganda written by some Hebrews centuries after these events. They never really happened. I'm just trying to get you to do something. Now pay me."
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4495 on: July 30, 2021, 08:03:35 PM »
Pastor Butler writes:
 I believe that these books were either written when they took place (e.g. Deuteronomy) or shortly thereafter (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel and Kings). They relate actual, real, history and not propaganda. I can tell my congregation with confidence that this is not only history but also showing them how the Lord God works in and through history.
I comment:
Your premise will make scriptural discussions with you very difficult for people like me. The Bible contains history, but it is not a history book. It is not a science text, and it is not a book about astronomy or geology. If your premise is that it is history, that is, history as we know it today, then we have no common starting point.
OOOPS!! Major thread drift. Let’s get back on track.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4496 on: July 30, 2021, 10:07:01 PM »
Pastor Butler writes:
 I believe that these books were either written when they took place (e.g. Deuteronomy) or shortly thereafter (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel and Kings). They relate actual, real, history and not propaganda. I can tell my congregation with confidence that this is not only history but also showing them how the Lord God works in and through history.
I comment:
Your premise will make scriptural discussions with you very difficult for people like me. The Bible contains history, but it is not a history book. It is not a science text, and it is not a book about astronomy or geology. If your premise is that it is history, that is, history as we know it today, then we have no common starting point.
OOOPS!! Major thread drift. Let’s get back on track.

You can blame Brian S. for the thread drift. He was the one who brought up Joshua and Jericho.

Hey, you want to believe that the Old Testament is nothing but propaganda written to motivate people, be my guest. Just make sure you say that loudly and openly. If you are ever asked to read the OT lesson in worship, do not say "This is the Word of the Lord" but "This is made up propaganda. Hope it motivates you." And if you read John 5, please modify it to say, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; but really it's just made up propaganda."

If you think the OT is nothing but propaganda, then yes, it does make scriptural discussions difficult. You are right; there is no common starting point. It makes me sorry that you deny the clear Word of God, but if that's what you want to do, please be my guest.
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4497 on: July 30, 2021, 10:37:53 PM »
Don’t be intentionally dense. I did not say I believed everything in the Bible was “propaganda“ in the bad sense of that word. You leap to silly conclusions about what you think I believe.
If you believe the Bible is “history” written like those who write history today, we will have a hard time in dialogue.
Nor is the Bible a science text. For origins of the universe and pre-history of our world, I go to the astrophysicists and archaeologists.
(BTW I believe that God created all that exists.)
Now…. How about that virus?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4498 on: July 31, 2021, 03:06:19 PM »
Don’t be intentionally dense. I did not say I believed everything in the Bible was “propaganda“ in the bad sense of that word.

Brian was the one who used the word "propaganda." That was what I focused on in my reply to him, to which you replied. (BTW, I never realized there was a good sense of that word.) Don't blame me for using his wording.

You leap to silly conclusions about what you think I believe.

No, I just want you to be honest with what you believe. You have a habit of hiding it. For example, you take offense at being told you call people "idiots" but refuse to say the difference is between an "idiot" and someone who is "Bad, not smart, unreasonable, and lacking concern for others."

If you believe the Bible is “history” written like those who write history today, we will have a hard time in dialogue.

Why would you put the word "history" in scare quotes?

If you don't think the historical books reflect real history, fine. But just be honest about that and the implications of that. You cannot say that the crossing of the Red Sea was a type of baptism and resurrection because there was no crossing. Jesus is not the true manna because there was no manna. Contra Paul in 1 Cor 10, the Hebrew Scriptures are not examples for us, because none of it ever happened.

I don't care what you believe. It's a free country; believe anything you like. Just be completely honest about it when you preach. Let people know that they can't have any confidence in the Scriptures because it's just a bunch of ahistorical, made up stories.

Nor is the Bible a science text. For origins of the universe and pre-history of our world, I go to the astrophysicists and archaeologists.
(BTW I believe that God created all that exists.)
Now…. How about that virus?

Glad you believe that. What you do not realize is that you have no reason to believe that. 

What you, and Brian, seem not to realize is that your view of Scripture undercut everything you want to proclaim. If the Scriptures are not historical, then they are meaningless. Any idea who drilled that into my head? One Horace Hummel--yep the guy you said was one of your favorite professors. He was my professor back in 1981 at CSL. He told us that when he thought through the implications of the higher critical view of Scripture, he rejected it and became a believer in--and a teacher of--an inerrant Scripture.

The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Dan Fienen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #4499 on: July 31, 2021, 04:00:42 PM »
The Bible contains a great deal of material couched in a number of genres. It contains poetry, figurative speech, simile and metaphor, parables, and history. Each genre has its own uses and significance. It is very important to interpret each passage according to its genre and context. To take literally something that is intended poetically or figuratively can mislead as badly as taking figuratively that intended as literal. Take this illustration of the literal image of the beloved in Song of Solomon:



https://imgur.com/O56BsZq


Not lovely but grotesque.


I suggest a slightly different take on the Law/Gospel duality. Law tells us what we should do, think, or feel. The Gospel tells us what God has done for us and what that means for us. The Law can easily be taught by ahistorical stories, fables, or parables. Gospel, since it recounts what others have done for us, must be rooted in historical fact, although the implication can be illustrated by fable or parable. The Law tells us that we are to be like the ant not the grasshopper, the king who forgives his embezzling servant not the unforgiving servant, the Samaritan who is neighborly not the Scribe and Levite who are not neighborly. It matters little if at all if any of those parables are rooted in historical events, they are illustrative of principle by which we are to guide our lives and our actions. The closest that those parables can come to Gospel is as a mundane illustration of the heavenly actions that God has taken. If God has not done that it just becomes a story that perhaps moves us to act with courage or compassion.


Would it make any sense for people to tell each other caught up in a tragic hurricane or wild fire to take heart and be encouraged because Superman will save the day like he has so many other times in so many places? If the story of God saving His people or Jesus dying and rising again are just stories, parables to illustrate something or encourage us, then the Gospel becomes just another Superman story and leaves it up to us to take heart and be courageous because no matter how much you believe, Superman ain't coming to save the day and Tinkerbell will not sprinkle her fairy dust no matter how much you clap or believe.


If the Gospel is not just nice stories to encourage us to save ourselves by engendering good thoughts and feelings, and acting accordingly, then they must be stories about actual events whereby God acted within our reality. In parables all we have is Law unless the parable points beyond itself to historical actions of God for us to which we then respond as the parable suggests. We are to be like the forgiving servant who responded to his kings generosity in forgiving him by forgiving others, not because in the story the king was forgiving and acted to forgive, but because the story illustrated the reality to which it points, that God actually acted to forgive us much.


« Last Edit: July 31, 2021, 04:08:25 PM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS