Author Topic: ELCA prays to "Mother God"  (Read 52185 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #420 on: May 17, 2020, 02:21:49 AM »
I'll ask Prs. Tibbetts and Charlton, in your experience in the ELCA  post CWA 2009 how has mutual respect and respect for bound conscience worked out?
Just ask the former president of United Lutheran Seminary how mutual respect and bound conscience worked for her. She was castigated for beliefs she held years before the 2009 decision.


I'm not sure how much of her troubles were her decades old beliefs, or the non-transparency about them. I don't believe that the students learned of it until after she was appointed. When I was visiting Wartburg Seminary they were looking for a new NT professor. One of them was at the campus while I was there and there was a Q & A with the students. I suspect that if there was such a thing at Union for Theresa Latini where she could have renounced her former beliefs and give her support towards LGBT folks at an RIC seminary, before she was appointed? /called? to her position, the outcome might have been different.
Interesting...my understanding is that she had renounced the problematic beliefs long before-hand ... if so, they should never have been an issue.


No, it shouldn't have. This is why I think that there were some other issues, such as the perception that they were hiding information from the students.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #421 on: May 17, 2020, 02:29:31 AM »
*In reviewing the Ministry Policy resolutions, "structured flexibility" is used in a resolve of the the forth resolution: "that this church, because of its commitment to respect the bound consciences of all, declare its intent to allow structured flexibility in decision-making regarding the approving or disapproving in candidacy and the extending or not extending of a call to rostered service of a person who is otherwise qualified and who is living or contemplates living in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship;"

As I see it, this "structure flexibility" was only in terms of the call and ordination of clergy who might enter or be in a PALMS relationship.


Yes.  You are correct.  And that structured flexibility was never implemented.  There is no "structured flexibility in the decision-making regarding the approving or disapproving in candidacy".   There could not have been, the ELCA cannot have more than one standard for its ordained clergy at a time.  There is no structured flexibility in decision-making at the synodical or churchwide.  The only structured flexibility is the structured flexibility that existed from the very beginning of the ELCA.  It has always been the case that a congregation cannot be forced to call a candidate.

What was the purpose of all of this talk about structured flexibility?  Was it a bad idea that proved impractical, or was it a ruse from the very beginning?  Remember that "structured flexibility" along with "bound conscience" was the key to selling the 2009 social statement and policy changes.   

What would "structured flexibility" look like? As I read the resolution, it would only have applied to synods. That's where candidates are approved and that's through whom calls are given. Are candidates asked about their conviction about homosexual relationships? Are they then deemed unfit if it is a position 1 or 2? As a clergy who has been through many call interviews, I was never asked about my convictions on that issue. It is not part of the paperwork that I filled out for the synod.


What I believe it meant back in 2009 is that homosexual candidates who were in a committed relationship and those who weren't but who were unwilling to promise to never enter one (according to Vision and Expectations at the time) could still be endorsed for ordination. Prior to 2009, they could not. In terms of candidates who were living under the expectations of the document (like traditionalists,) the resolution would make no difference.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 02:34:17 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #422 on: May 17, 2020, 10:03:54 AM »
We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)

Then,

Just because someone can do something, doesn't mean that they should be doing it. Anyone can read the words of institution, but in our church bodies, the ability to read isn't what qualifies one to fulfill that function in the church.




Yes, clergy are called by God.

Then,

Well, when I was seeking a Call in that synod ...



Yes, I know, Brian. Some sem prof told you that you should be able to argue both sides of an issue, and you thought that gives you license to talk out of both sides of your mouth. The key, Brian, to arguing both sides of an issue, which I do all the time in one of my professions, is that the argument has to be cogent.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 11:09:28 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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James J Eivan

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #423 on: May 17, 2020, 11:55:31 AM »
I'll ask Prs. Tibbetts and Charlton, in your experience in the ELCA  post CWA 2009 how has mutual respect and respect for bound conscience worked out?
Just ask the former president of United Lutheran Seminary how mutual respect and bound conscience worked for her. She was castigated for beliefs she held years before the 2009 decision.
I'm not sure how much of her troubles were her decades old beliefs, or the non-transparency about them. I don't believe that the students learned of it until after she was appointed. When I was visiting Wartburg Seminary they were looking for a new NT professor. One of them was at the campus while I was there and there was a Q & A with the students. I suspect that if there was such a thing at Union for Theresa Latini where she could have renounced her former beliefs and give her support towards LGBT folks at an RIC seminary, before she was appointed? /called? to her position, the outcome might have been different.
Interesting...my understanding is that she had renounced the problematic beliefs long before-hand ... if so, they should never have been an issue.
No, it shouldn't have. This is why I think that there were some other issues, such as the perception that they were hiding information from the students.
Given your propensity to argue all sides of an issue ... and then some, the thought that the tenure of a education institution's president is in the hands of students hopefully is laughable. 

This issue was discussed by forum participants in real-time when it occurred ... I don't think there was much credence given at that time to a student mutiny as the cause ... perhaps the students are being used as smoke screen to obfuscate the actual reason for the removal of the president.

It would be helpful for forum participants with a bit more objective view of this situation to share additional information and knowledge concerning the sudden removal of this short term seminary president.

Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #424 on: May 17, 2020, 12:24:47 PM »
I don't see much point - except for the chance to go "Nyaa !Nyaa! Nyaaa!!!" at the ELCA - to rehash the selection of our seminary president, but I note just a few things.
The proposed seminary president had a "past" which was not fully disclosed to all the interested parties, especially the students.
When that information came out - and what fool thought it wouldn't? - the chance to fully reveal and explain a change-of-mind or rejection of former views was not handled well.
Blame? Plenty to go around. The candidate. The selection committee. The board. Those handling communications with constituencies. Students. Board members.
In an ideal, agreeable and more gentle world, the "past" might not have been a big deal. In today's world, given the subject and the handling of the matter, it was.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

James J Eivan

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #425 on: May 17, 2020, 12:41:25 PM »
I don't see much point - except for the chance to go "Nyaa !Nyaa! Nyaaa!!!" at the ELCA - to rehash the selection of our seminary president, but I note just a few things.
The proposed seminary president had a "past" which was not fully disclosed to all the interested parties, especially the students.
When that information came out - and what fool thought it wouldn't? - the chance to fully reveal and explain a change-of-mind or rejection of former views was not handled well.
Blame? Plenty to go around. The candidate. The selection committee. The board. Those handling communications with constituencies. Students. Board members.
In an ideal, agreeable and more gentle world, the "past" might not have been a big deal. In today's world, given the subject and the handling of the matter, it was.
Rev Fienen's post directly related ...and directly speaks to the issue of the president 's removal.  Had she never espoused the beliefs she had prior to 2009, she would still hold the presidency today.


By the way ... so far the only Nyaa Maya has come from you  :-[

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #426 on: May 17, 2020, 01:58:20 PM »

What would "structured flexibility" look like? As I read the resolution, it would only have applied to synods. That's where candidates are approved and that's through whom calls are given. Are candidates asked about their conviction about homosexual relationships? Are they then deemed unfit if it is a position 1 or 2? As a clergy who has been through many call interviews, I was never asked about my convictions on that issue. It is not part of the paperwork that I filled out for the synod.

What would "structured flexibility" have looked like?  I wasn't my idea, how would I know?  One of the reasons that I opposed the 2009 decisions was that I thought "structured flexibility" made no sense.  As it turned out, just like "bound conscience", no one really took the time to figure out what it meant.  Also as it turned out, the ideas of "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" were tossed aside as soon as the policy changes were in place.  It makes one wonder whether they were ever anything more than slogans designed to sway the vote. 

Quote
What I believe it meant back in 2009 is that homosexual candidates who were in a committed relationship and those who weren't but who were unwilling to promise to never enter one (according to Vision and Expectations at the time) could still be endorsed for ordination. Prior to 2009, they could not. In terms of candidates who were living under the expectations of the document (like  traditionalists,) the resolution would make no difference.

Right.  And in that decision there was no flexibility.  It was a complete change of policy.  There was no compromise and no middle ground.  Before CWA 2009, we had one policy.  After CWA 2009 we had another policy.  All of the talk about "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" never materialized.  My argument has always been, back as far as the first proposal for structured flexibility in 2005 was that it could not work. 

So, to repeat myself, the 2009 decisions were binary decision.  Either a) keep the old policy of prohibiting partnered homosexuals from being ordained, or b) permit what was once prohibited.  All of your talk about non-binary decisions, along with "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" is an attempt to obfuscate.  Its fundamentally dishonest and unworthy of an ordained pastor.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #427 on: May 17, 2020, 02:29:30 PM »

What would "structured flexibility" look like? As I read the resolution, it would only have applied to synods. That's where candidates are approved and that's through whom calls are given. Are candidates asked about their conviction about homosexual relationships? Are they then deemed unfit if it is a position 1 or 2? As a clergy who has been through many call interviews, I was never asked about my convictions on that issue. It is not part of the paperwork that I filled out for the synod.

What would "structured flexibility" have looked like?  I wasn't my idea, how would I know?  One of the reasons that I opposed the 2009 decisions was that I thought "structured flexibility" made no sense.  As it turned out, just like "bound conscience", no one really took the time to figure out what it meant.  Also as it turned out, the ideas of "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" were tossed aside as soon as the policy changes were in place.  It makes one wonder whether they were ever anything more than slogans designed to sway the vote.
 


As I mentioned earlier, you just wrote about "bound conscience." We knew/know well what that meant. We described four different "bound consciences" in our Statement. The "bound consciences" wasn't the issue (nor the problem); but respect for bound consciences. I think we know what "respect" means. Many people on all four sides just didn't do it.

Quote
Quote
What I believe it meant back in 2009 is that homosexual candidates who were in a committed relationship and those who weren't but who were unwilling to promise to never enter one (according to Vision and Expectations at the time) could still be endorsed for ordination. Prior to 2009, they could not. In terms of candidates who were living under the expectations of the document (like  traditionalists,) the resolution would make no difference.

Right.  And in that decision there was no flexibility.  It was a complete change of policy.  There was no compromise and no middle ground.  Before CWA 2009, we had one policy.  After CWA 2009 we had another policy.  All of the talk about "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" never materialized.  My argument has always been, back as far as the first proposal for structured flexibility in 2005 was that it could not work. 


Nope. Same policy. Those who are single are to be celibate. Those who are married and homosexuals in a PALMS relationship are to be faithful to their partners. The differences was moving homosexual relationships under the category of committed relationship like marriage.

Quote
So, to repeat myself, the 2009 decisions were binary decision.  Either a) keep the old policy of prohibiting partnered homosexuals from being ordained, or b) permit what was once prohibited.  All of your talk about non-binary decisions, along with "structured flexibility" and "bound conscience" is an attempt to obfuscate.  Its fundamentally dishonest and unworthy of an ordained pastor.


But there was sort of a middle ground. I have clergy friends, who before 2009, were living in committed relationships with same-sex partners who were on the ELCA roster. One told her candidacy committee that, even though she was single at the time, she couldn't promise not to fall in love and enter into a relationship. She was endorsed anyway. (Many others who made the same statement were not endorsed.) Another one had been a single pastor for many years, then fell in love with a same-sex partner; but his bishop and synod council did not remove him from the roster. A layman I know, a member of the synod executive committee said that they understood the discipline to include private admonition and censure by the bishop. The bishop had done that. It was enough.


In that synod there were also a few congregations served by non-rostered clergy. Some were never or irregularly ordained and a couple of clergy had been removed from the roster through the disciplinary process. Again, the bishop and synod council did not seek to remove the congregations from the ELCA roster which they could have done.


Early on in this discussion, two congregations were removed, St. Francis and First United, both in San Francisco. They continued to do ministry and participate in conference and synod events as if nothing had changed - including sending benevolence to the synod that had ousted them. In terms of discipline, it had no affect.


Since the language of our constitutional discipline section often uses "may," there is a lot of middle ground. The bishop may do this or he may not.


It's like the police officers who have pulled me over for a traffic violation: they can give me ticket; they can give me a written warning; or they can give me a verbal warning. I've received all three. In addition, I've also had some just pass me going the other way and motion for me to slow down - without pulling me over. In all the cases I had violated the law. A binary issue: violated or not violated; but the response to the violation by the legal authorities had a lot a variations. The same was true with carrying out the discipline of Vision and Expectations. It was not binary.
"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]

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #428 on: May 17, 2020, 02:41:37 PM »
Nope. Same policy. Those who are single are to be celibate. Those who are married and homosexuals in a PALMS relationship are to be faithful to their partners. The differences was moving homosexual relationships under the category of committed relationship like marriage.

You're just engaging in more obfuscation.  The ELCA changed its policy on ordained partnered homosexuals.  It was a complete policy change.  There was no compromise and no middle ground.  It was either/or.   All of the talk about "bound conscience" and "structured flexibility" was a smoke screen to confuse the issue.  Most of the people who voted for HSGT thought they were voting for some kind of compromise. 

Let me ask you this, if the ELCA had voted for a policy change, rather than for the "compromise" that was HSGT, how would  things have been any different? 
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #429 on: May 17, 2020, 02:45:07 PM »
I'll ask Prs. Tibbetts and Charlton, in your experience in the ELCA  post CWA 2009 how has mutual respect and respect for bound conscience worked out?

This was the Churchwide Assembly's actual action regarding your question:

Quote from: Ministry Recommendation #4
RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America call upon its members to commit themselves to respect the bound consciences of those with whom they disagree regarding decisions on the call and rostering of individuals in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, in this church and with churches ecumenically and globally; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this church, because of its commitment to respect the bound consciences of all, declare its intent to allow structured flexibility in decision-making regarding the approving or disapproving in candidacy and the extending or not extending of a call to rostered service of a person who is otherwise qualified and who is living or contemplates living in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America make provision in its policies to eliminate the prohibition of rostered service by members who are in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America make provision in its policies to recognize the conviction of members who believe that this church should not call or roster people in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the appropriate churchwide unit(s) be directed to develop, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops, and the Church Council be directed to approve, appropriate guidelines for a process by which congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization could hold people publicly accountable in their relationships who are in or contemplate being in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships and who seek to be on the rosters of this church; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Committee on Appeals be directed to develop, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops, and the Church Council be directed to approve, appropriate amendments to “Definition and Guidelines for Discipline” and the Vocation and Education program unit be directed to draft, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops, and the Church Council is directed to approve, appropriate amendments to the “Vision and Expectations” documents and the Candidacy Manual to accomplish the intent of this resolution; and be it further

RESOLVED, that additional policies be developed, as necessary, so that those whom this church holds responsible for making decisions about fitness for rostered ministry in general and for call to a particular specific ELCA ministry may discern, and have guidance in discerning, the fitness for ministry of a member living in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that this church continue to trust its established processes and those to whom it has given the responsibility to discern who should and should not be rostered or called to public ministry in this church.


The Assembly's vote to approve was 667-307.  It might have been interesting if Churchwide leadership had actually tried this. 
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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #430 on: May 17, 2020, 03:10:47 PM »

Let me ask you this, if the ELCA had voted for a policy change, rather than for the "compromise" that was HSGT, how would  things have been any different?


As a voting member at the 2009 CWA is Minneapolis, we were indeed beng invited to vote on implementing a proposed substantial policy change (and not simply acknowledging "acceptable differences within the membership of our church"); and most of us knew it.

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #431 on: May 17, 2020, 03:18:28 PM »

Let me ask you this, if the ELCA had voted for a policy change, rather than for the "compromise" that was HSGT, how would  things have been any different?


As a voting member at the 2009 CWA is Minneapolis, we were indeed beng invited to vote on implementing a proposed substantial policy change (and not simply acknowledging "acceptable differences within the membership of our church"); and most of us knew it.

Tom Pearson

Did most people think that the proposed substantial policy change represented a compromise?  If so, in what way was it a compromise? 
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pearson

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #432 on: May 17, 2020, 03:25:15 PM »

Did most people think that the proposed substantial policy change represented a compromise?  If so, in what way was it a compromise?


Well, I suppose we would need a clearer definition of "compromise" relative to this particular case.  I suspect most folks in Minneapolis in 2009 understood that the proposal represented a muddle.

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #433 on: May 17, 2020, 03:34:53 PM »

Did most people think that the proposed substantial policy change represented a compromise?  If so, in what way was it a compromise?


Well, I suppose we would need a clearer definition of "compromise" relative to this particular case.  I suspect most folks in Minneapolis in 2009 understood that the proposal represented a muddle.

Tom Pearson

I was wondering about the definition of "substantial", whether you meant it in the more common sense of "significant" or "considerable", or whether you meant it in the strict sense of changing the substance of a thing.   ;) 

In my synod, and in the mailings I received, the policy change was presented again and again as a compromise that meant there were no winners or losers. I was asked by my synod to explain what happened at CWA 2009 as a compromise.  Therefore, I was to tell my people that those who favored the policy changes were open to compromise, while those who opposed it were opposed to compromise. 

My question to Brian was whether there was a substantial difference between the "compromise" and having chosen instead to simply vote in of full acceptance of the ordination of partnered homosexuals.  I don't see a substantial difference. 
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Dave Likeness

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #434 on: May 17, 2020, 03:37:15 PM »
The ELCA as a denomination must be doing something wrong........

Membership at his founding in 1987........5.2 million members
Membership in the year of 2018..............3.3 million members

The urge to merge the ALC and LCA  cannot be sugarcoated,
it was not a smart  move.   Some have called the ELCA a disaster
since 2009.  Yet, in 2008,  only 37% of the ELCA clergy approved
of same-sex marriage.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 03:48:49 PM by Dave Likeness »