Author Topic: ELCA prays to "Mother God"  (Read 48141 times)

Steven W Bohler

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #75 on: May 03, 2020, 06:00:58 PM »
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....

RDPreus

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #76 on: May 03, 2020, 06:13:32 PM »
On Trinity Sunday, May 30, 1999, I was driving from Mayville, ND to East Grand Forks, Minnesota and I heard a sermon on KCNN from a pastor of a congregation of the ELCA in Grand Forks.  The preacher said that while we address God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it would also be appropriate to address God as Mother, Lover, and Friend. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #77 on: May 03, 2020, 06:14:16 PM »
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.
"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]

RDPreus

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #78 on: May 03, 2020, 06:18:23 PM »
God is Father and Church is Mother.  That's not so hard to understand, is it?

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #79 on: May 03, 2020, 06:22:00 PM »
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.
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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #80 on: May 03, 2020, 06:31:14 PM »
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.


You claimed it. I never bought it. I'm not even sure what "unitarian modalism" means. One God in three modes? God is the Father or the Son or the Spirit, but not all three at once? (Unitarians do not consider Jesus to be divine, but modalists do.)
"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 #81 on: May 03, 2020, 06:49:36 PM »
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.


You claimed it. I never bought it. I'm not even sure what "unitarian modalism" means. One God in three modes? God is the Father or the Son or the Spirit, but not all three at once? (Unitarians do not consider Jesus to be divine, but modalists do.)

I'm only responding to what you write here.  I'm not capable of reading your mind or seeing what is in your heart.  However, I am replying to the Brian Stoffregen who posts on this thread.  Perhaps "Brian Stoffregen" is a mask that you wear on ALPB Forum and the real Brian is the one behind the mask.  I don't know.  So let me address "Brian Stoffregen".

You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.

You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 07:14:25 PM by DCharlton »
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #82 on: May 03, 2020, 08:56:06 PM »
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.

So, "Mother God" is not to be worshipped?  Then why pray to her?  The problem was not simply that the golden calf was a graven image; it was that Aaron had "made" a new god -- even though he claimed it was the same one -- by changing God's revelation of Himself to Moses.  Those who use the "Mother God" prayer are making a new god, even though they might be claiming it is the same one -- they are changing God's self-revelation as Father to something THEY chose.  That is idolatry.

As to whether or not God hears such prayers -- or those offered to any other false gods -- sure, He hears them.  He hears everything.  But, as they are not addressed to Him, He does not acknowledge them.  Much like if a father hears someone else's kid in Walmart ask "Dad, give me a dollar" -- he would hear the request, but it is not meant for him, so he would not give the child the money. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #83 on: May 04, 2020, 02:49:29 AM »
You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.


I said that in the context of "all language is metaphor". Fr. Richard Rohr says the same thing. https://cac.org/all-language-is-metaphor-2017-01-11/


The words "my father" is not my father. It represents my father. So do the words, "Paul Stoffregen." Even those 14 letters on a page is his name, they are not my dad. Since they "represent" my dad, the words are metaphors.


If the words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not metaphor; what are they? Why wouldn't ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ τὸ ἁγιος πνεῦμα be more of whatever you want those words to be, since those are the words in the Bible? We know that Jesus used, "abba" in reference to God. If the words are God, we'd better use the same word Jesus used. If the words represent the truth about God, then we can translate the meaning of that word into many different languages.

Quote
You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors.


I do not deny that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is WHO GOD IS. I argue that these English words, like all words, accurately represent our Triune God, the words are not god. Thus are metaphors. It is the language we use to talk about the three persons of the Trinity. (In olden days it was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. At some point, it was decided that "ghost" was not a good word to represent the third person of the Trinity.) If we were speaking Spanish or Japanese or Korean or Finnish, we would use different words to represent the same truth about the Trinity.
"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 #84 on: May 04, 2020, 03:37:59 AM »
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.

So, "Mother God" is not to be worshipped?  Then why pray to her?  The problem was not simply that the golden calf was a graven image; it was that Aaron had "made" a new god -- even though he claimed it was the same one -- by changing God's revelation of Himself to Moses.  Those who use the "Mother God" prayer are making a new god, even though they might be claiming it is the same one -- they are changing God's self-revelation as Father to something THEY chose.  That is idolatry.


Where does it indicate that Aaron was trying to represent YHWH? It seems to me that the people had given up on Moses as the visible representative of YHWH who was leading out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He had been gone too long. They were impatient. They want "gods" (note the plural in most translations) who would lead them - a new representative of God. Note that they already had instructions about gold cherubim on the ark that designated God's seat (Exodus 25), which would be built later (Exodus 37). There was nothing wrong with having these gold symbols for God's presence among the people. Like the mercy seat on the Ark, bulls were often depicted as a pedestal for the divine in the ancient near east. The golden calf/bull was not a replacement for YHWH, but a replacement for Moses. It was the new link between the people and God. They got tired of waiting for Moses to return.


Later, Jeroboam, in contrast to the Cherubim in the temple in Jerusalem, created statues of bulls in the places of worship and sacrifice in the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:28-32). He used much the same phrase as in Exodus: "Here are your gods who brought you out from the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12:28). There is a theory that this event with two calves, where the plural was appropriate, was imbedded into the Exodus story, where the plural noun and verbs were used even though there was only one calf.


While the people and Aaron (and later Jeroboam) made use of a common myth of their time about a god resting on the back of a bull; I don't think that we can claim any American myths that involve gods and goddesses that are being adopted when a prayer is addressed to "Mother God." Such myths are not part of our culture.

Quote
As to whether or not God hears such prayers -- or those offered to any other false gods -- sure, He hears them.  He hears everything.  But, as they are not addressed to Him, He does not acknowledge them.  Much like if a father hears someone else's kid in Walmart ask "Dad, give me a dollar" -- he would hear the request, but it is not meant for him, so he would not give the child the money.


If I hear a child cry for help, I will respond, even when they are not my own. I have given money to strangers who asked for help.


If we believe that God created me and all that exists; how could God not be the creator of all people? There's no such thing as "someone else's creation".
"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]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #85 on: May 04, 2020, 09:44:27 AM »
Rev. Stoffregen,

You ask: "Where does it indicate that Aaron was trying to represent YHWH?"       

I answer: "...Then they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!'  So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow is a feast to Lord.'" (Exodus 32:4b-5)      The plural in v. 1 and 4 ("gods") that you mention is Elohim which is, of course, also used for Yahweh.  The fact that Aaron connects this golden calf with Yahweh in v. 5 (using the proper name) makes that identification between the idol and God even more clear.

For both the golden calf AND the "Mother God" prayer, the bottom line is, as I said before, people rejecting God's self-revelation for a god of their own making.  Idolatry.

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #86 on: May 04, 2020, 09:49:18 AM »
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?
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DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #87 on: May 04, 2020, 10:06:39 AM »
You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.

I said that in the context of "all language is metaphor". Fr. Richard Rohr says the same thing. https://cac.org/all-language-is-metaphor-2017-01-11/

Richard Rohr is a gnostic, so I wouldn't put much stock in what he says.

Quote
The words "my father" is not my father. It represents my father. So do the words, "Paul Stoffregen." Even those 14 letters on a page is his name, they are not my dad. Since they "represent" my dad, the words are metaphors.

If the words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not metaphor; what are they? Why wouldn't ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ τὸ ἁγιος πνεῦμα be more of whatever you want those words to be, since those are the words in the Bible? We know that Jesus used, "abba" in reference to God. If the words are God, we'd better use the same word Jesus used. If the words represent the truth about God, then we can translate the meaning of that word into many different languages.

Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person. 

Quote
Quote
You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors.

I do not deny that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is WHO GOD IS. I argue that these English words, like all words, accurately represent our Triune God, the words are not god. Thus are metaphors. It is the language we use to talk about the three persons of the Trinity. (In olden days it was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. At some point, it was decided that "ghost" was not a good word to represent the third person of the Trinity.) If we were speaking Spanish or Japanese or Korean or Finnish, we would use different words to represent the same truth about the Trinity.

I argue that persons reveal themselves through language.  It is only through language that another person can reveal him/herself to me.  Apart from language we can only know things, not persons. One way that we reveal ourselves to others is by saying, "Hello, my name is..." 

As a Christian, I believe that God is not a thing, but a person, or more accurately, three persons. God reveals Godself by speaking, through the Word.  God reveals Godself in the most personal manner possible through the Incarnate Word, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.  It is through the very words that Jesus spoke that God reveals Godself to us.  The words of Jesus do not present a barrier that we must overcome.  They are God's self revelation. 

The metaphorical theology that you espouse is based on the assumption that we only know God as an object, but not as a person.  Just as we do with a rock, a tree, a car or a pet, we give God names.  But God never speaks and gives us his/her/its name.  In a sense, we throw as many metaphors at God as we can, waiting to see what sticks.  In this view, God is like a multifaceted object.  Every time a metaphor is added, we gain a fuller picture of who God is to us. 

If your approach was correct, "trinity" would be a metaphor just like all the rest.  You would no more know that God is triune, than you would know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What you would be dealing with would be an unknown God to which you attached those metaphors that best expressed your own perception. 

That's one of the key flaws about your argument.  Apart from God's self disclosure through language, you would never know that God is Triune.  At best, you might know that you perceive God to be triune.  "Triune" would then be nothing more than your own preferred metaphor for God.  People who perceived God to be a monad, a duality, a quaternity, or hepternity, would have as much chance of being right as you would. 
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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #88 on: May 04, 2020, 10:09:16 AM »
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?
What is the point of trying to determine the precise amount of error or idolatry is permissible before the whole service is rendered idolatrous or unorthodox?

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #89 on: May 04, 2020, 10:16:09 AM »
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

As one making amends for a misreading of the original statement above, may I offer my (re)take on Mother God.  Is it idolatry?  Yes.  Idolatry isn't as simple as a word or phrase used in a "traditional" liturgy, it is the intent as well.  We set our needs above what God wills for us and cast aside his promises.  Yes, there are women who may find it difficult to pray to God the Father but does the church not lead them to understand that no matter the relationship with their earthy father or spouse, God protects and cares for them.  We are doing no favors to affirm language created with the express intent to superimpose the god that we wish to create over the God who created us.  Substituting language for something not intended shows a lack of trust in God's promises.

We seem to think that we are superior to those who first handed down the faith of the church and so we we might say, It's complicated.  Actually, it's not complicated at all.    Scripture is quite clear on who our Father is and through Whom we have access to our Father.