Author Topic: Johnson Goes Ballistic  (Read 12323 times)

Richard Johnson

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Johnson Goes Ballistic
« on: July 31, 2007, 10:03:17 PM »
I often feel, shall we say, a little out of place when I am in gatherings with other pastors. I'm kind of used to this by now. One of the things about going to confirmation camp is that it gives an opportunity to visit with other pastors in a relaxed setting, where there are no resolutions to be debated and theological discussions tend to be limited to amused asides about the theology and musicality of some of the songs that the camp staff (college students all) teach our young teens. But hey, it's camp.

Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

I skipped the after-dinner game, muttered something about living in the wrong century, and went off into the trees to sing Evening Prayer at the top of my lungs. It calmed me down, just a bit.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

BeornBjornson

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2007, 11:03:10 PM »
Richard,
I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.
Ken Kimball

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2007, 11:26:26 PM »
Richard,
I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.
Ken Kimball

Likewise. 

Feeling a bit less like Elijah in the cave.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2007, 12:26:36 AM »
You guys are a bunch of fuddy-duddies. Just because the creed is one of the six chief parts of the catechism doesn't mean it should be part of confirmation class. We let the kids mix it up with all the parts. Just prior to confirmation we have them name two or three physical elements to which they personally attach God's grace and forgiveness so they aren't stuck with boring old bread and wine. It makes it more real, more relevant, and more personal to give the kids this kind of flexibility. And it makes first communion a hoot, as all the congregation oohs and ahs (and yes, sometimes laughs) at the creative and fun things the kids chose as their personal means of grace. And it isn't as though God couldn't work through the kids' choices, and why wouldn't He?   

Gladfelteri

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2007, 12:28:40 AM »
Richard, I find myself strangely (or perhaps not strangely) comforted by your reaction.  Thank you.  Ken Kimball
Likewise.    Feeling a bit less like Elijah in the cave. 
Ditto. 
Blessings,
Irl

Mel Harris

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2007, 03:51:16 AM »
I was surprised when our beloved moderator informed me, some months back, that numerous congregations in his neck of the woods were routinely and intentionally inviting the unbaptized to receive communion.  I guess I should not be surprised to hear that some reserve the use of the creeds for an occasional high holy day, but I am.  I hope that this was not a group preparing to go to the churchwide assembly.  Are there still any here who deny that there is more than one faith being taught in the ELCA?

Mel Harris   (truly a dinosaur)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2007, 05:24:57 AM »
I have no doubt that I would have reacted in exactly the same way as did our esteemed moderator. I have had confirmands write their own "what does this mean?" paragraphs regarding the Creed (and the other parts of the catechism), but they are - without exception - to learn the Creed, and it is what we use at the eucharist. (My predecessor here had the confirmands read their "explanations" to the congregation on Confirmation Sunday, but the kids always hated doing that and I didn't like the idea, so this year we didn't do it.)

Mel Harris

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2007, 05:30:01 AM »

One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday."


I just took a late night (actually very early morning) walk over to my office to check and found that the Apostles' Creed is part of the profession of faith in the Affirmation of Baptism rite in ELW.  I have no idea just what the confirmands will affirm if they will not use the creed on confirmation Sunday.  I must really be behind the times.

Mel Harris

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2007, 06:41:59 AM »
I believe, I think, in the creation of kool aide, ex nihilo from the pink dust, and the sharing of a pitcher of the deep red kind with a thick chocolate chip cookie and of faith in the cabin when falling, with your eyes closed, into the arms of my buddies and blindfolding walking along the creek with the older Counselor leading the way, all the smelly socks under the bed reminding me later in the week.   You can cross yourself or bow at the word FALLING, if you wish.  Harvey Mozolak
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gcnuss

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2007, 07:43:08 AM »
It would have been interesting to witness the "explosion" -- and to respond with a hearty "Amen."

ptmccain

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2007, 07:45:27 AM »
One wonders why pastors who do not regard the Apostles' Creed as important enough for children to memorize bother to be pastors at all.

Bergs

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2007, 09:49:54 AM »
Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

The fact that 2/3's of the pastors supported this nonsense or did not have a strong opinion is an indictment against ELCA (of course I am assuming this is not a LCMS camp) seminaries.  What are we teaching these pastors?  I suppose the logical end to this kind of thinking is have the children write their own Scriptures. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
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ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2007, 10:06:55 AM »
Tonight at dinner there were eight or nine pastors sitting at our table. The discussion across the table turned to the creeds. One pastor was explaining how at their church, they don't make the confirmands memorize the Apostles' Creed. "Once in a while we pull out the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, on high holy days. But we won't use it for confirmation Sunday." I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why is this? I asked. The reply was that the creeds have a hole in them big enough to drive a truck through (by which was meant that "there's nothing in there about Jesus's life, it just jumps from birth to death"), and what they do instead is have the confirmands (and maybe others, I was feeling a little dizzy and didn't quite follow it) "write their own creeds" which they then use in worship.

I, well, went ballistic. You could actually divide the table into about thirds--one third thought this pastor was terribly profound and progressive, one third were appalled, and one third didn't have a strong opinion, but got a great deal of glee out of my explosion.

The fact that 2/3's of the pastors supported this nonsense or did not have a strong opinion is an indictment against ELCA (of course I am assuming this is not a LCMS camp) seminaries.  What are we teaching these pastors?  I suppose the logical end to this kind of thinking is have the children write their own Scriptures. 

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Why is this surprising?  Its just another symptom of the post modern "interpretation" shell game that is used these days.   The hermeneutic of smoke and mirrors that is used on creeds, confessions, scripture and constitutions.   No authority of its own and only a matter of time until it is overturned in a vote some where.   

Sure you might say its a foundation of our faith but these people (like some on this list even) have been taught that such things may be outdated, ill informed, need to be reinterpreted by personal present experience.   Sure it may be in a church constitution but again that is just a simple  individual interpretation away from being nullified?

Why was the Apostles Creed such a mile stone when so much of the Christian faith has been tacitly denied already?

Rob Moskowitz

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 10:17:39 AM »
One wonders why pastors who do not regard the Apostles' Creed as important enough for children to memorize bother to be pastors at all.

Obviously because is they are in a system that teaches a different understanding of pastors than yours.  One where tacit vows to uphold interpretations routinely trumps any vow to uphold scriptures, confessions, constitutions, creeds ect.   You can see it routinely on this list.

For these folks they are only an official interpretation, special interest group or vote away from being the new self proclaimed (postmodern) orthodox.   

Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: August 01, 2007, 10:19:11 AM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

Pr. Jerry

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Re: Johnson Goes Ballistic
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2007, 11:03:25 AM »
This is my first post on this site, so I beg forgiveness ahead of time if I mess something up...

Much can, has, and should be said about what this says about the state of orthodox/confessional understanding in our denomination, but I think something equally interesting needs to be noted... 

Kinda sad, dontcha' think, that the ministerium is so fragmented that we feel so ill at ease among our colleagues?  I too feel amazingly lonely at Synod Assemblies, conference meetings, and even text study as I listen to my fellow pastors wax "progressive" about such issues.  I usually end up feeling more depressed than uplifted after spending any ammount of time around my colleagues.  Prayer and the Daily Offices are a good remedy for such feelings, but still...

I thank God, Richard, that you are indeed in the right century, when we need your most urgently.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS