Author Topic: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?  (Read 18941 times)

mj4

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Julio

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #106 on: July 12, 2020, 07:50:17 PM »
From the Symbol of our faith:

“....Creator of all things, visible and invisible....”
Maybe there are notes/records on why the necessity to further elaborate on ‘all’ ... because ‘all’ is pretty much all inclusive.

Gracias,

Julio

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #107 on: July 12, 2020, 08:15:49 PM »
COL 1:16

readselerttoo

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #108 on: July 12, 2020, 09:58:32 PM »
Thank you, Mark. That was very finely stated.

Scott, I, for one, wonder where you find magic in the Gottesdienst post. I hear faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!” Job 13:15. There’s no assertion that there’s no danger in the gathering; there is an assertion that, well, as the Abitenae martyr put it when challenged for why they disobeyed and still gathered: “Sine dominico non possumus.”

Will,

To answer your question about it being “magical” there are a couple of things that I was thinking of.  For one, things like plagues or pandemics were much more laden with metaphysical meaning in the ancient world.  This isn’t to say that no such meaning is at work currently in what is going on but scientific advancement has opened our eyes to many things that they were simply unaware of.  This connects to what Charles Taylor refers to as the enchanted/disenchanted age distinction.  We live in a disenchanted age, but the ancients lived in an enchanted one is which spirits and the existence of God were simply a given.  The world was embedded with meaning, not so much anymore.  When our authoritative ancient documents are used in the way that they are above I get apprehensive because they seemingly pit science against faith in a way that I don’t think is helpful.  Thus, my reference to “magical” thinking.   It’s very black and white, at least that’s how I read it.  There’s also the element of Romans 13, too.  I can understand the apprehension and suspicion of governmental authority, especially after the protests and especially in places like Illinois and my own state of NY.  But as Matt Staneck pointed out above Gottesdienst is also a particular brand of right-wing that I think tends to confuse civil liberties with freedom in Christ.  I also think of the brilliant insights of Jesuit Bernard Lonergan, I’ve mentioned and written about him recently.  He notes that one of the problems with an overemphasis on the objectivity of truth is that we can easily be lulled into thinking that we need not think too much.  As an example, we can take bible verses and simply use them without regard for the actual concrete situations and lives around us.  Sort of like, “this is true because God said so” no more, no less.  I think he comes down too hard on people, I think everyone has been struggling hard with what to do and how to do it.  I don’t think it is as simple as faith in the resurrection versus not having faith in the resurrection.  I think we are all trying the best that we can and in many ways seeking to be as faithful as possible.  Modernity, in its own way, has simply increased that burden and, at times, made it harder to navigate.  At the same time, this isn’t to say that we haven’t sought be connected, to share God’s Word, to preach and to teach.  That’s still being done, which the author does not mention at all.  As far as I know churches have certainly not given up and closed up shop.  Quite the opposite. 

I hope that makes sense.

Peace,
Scott+

I, by no means, am a Luddite.  I agree with science when its claims and solutions stay within the boundaries of its method.  But Christian faith calls us finally to put away all hope in other matters and methods (repentance) and turn to the only unique One (ie. Jesus Christ) for trust and hope in his promises of salvation.  It is Christ's person, words and work which rescue and save from the unknown.  Finally it is not a both/and but an either/or to which Christians are called.   We are not called to trust in both science and faith but to trust Christ alone.  In the Last Court on the Last Day God will call each of us to account for our sin and for the hope that is in us.  The man who addressed Jesus with these words: "I believe.  Help my unbelief."  were words of desperation pointed to the right person and in the right direction.  Jesus didn't use science to save.  Jesus himself cast the demon out of the man's son in Mark 9.

But to be clear I wasn’t intending to create such a dichotomy nor do I think I did in what I wrote.  Rather bear in mind that what started this specific conversation was the Gottesdienst post.  My point was to bear witness to the fact that we human beings of the 21st century are seeking the best ways to be faithful in such a time.  Of seeking to be faithful to our Lord while also being wise and prudent in such a way that is loving and respectful of our neighbors.  Just like the ancients we are seeking the best way to be faithful given the myriad of factors before us.  I believe that the post shared frames the issue in a poor and unhelpful way.  It sets up a false dichotomy i.e. going food shopping but not going for the Lord’s Supper.  Did you know that many of us have had our food delivered?  Also, because I am in Westchester, we are currently communing our people, I just visited someone on Friday for the first time in months, but we are doing so cautiously.  Thinking in terms of the Markan Jesus, which you reference, I think of the places where he bumps up against the seeming literalism of his opponents who often placed awful burdens on the people.  I think this article does something similar without realizing it.  Whether its healing the leper who technically should’ve been healed by a priest, or his forgiving of the paralytic’s sins, or his breaking bread with sinners and tax collectors, or his healing on the Sabbath which was wrong because one was to remember the sabbath day and keep it holy, or his disciples eating food on the Sabbath and his seemingly anarchic response that the Sabbath is made for man and not vice versa. “I believe, help my unbelief” is about much more than receiving the Lord’s body and blood.  This, again, goes back to my reference to Lonergan who notes that a problem is treating the objectivity of truth as so objective that it does not account for the concrete and the particular.   If one does not account for that and grapple with it, you get things like the Gottesdienst article.
 
I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. 

Peace,
Scott+

I can understand the local pastoral stance that needs to be taken here.  Yet objectivity of truth applied to Jesus certainly does not deny the concrete or the particular even in the local context.  Jesus is always there for the suffering person ("I am with you always...") and so that in faith in the right direction to the right Person (turning away from alien words to the Word who gives life in the concrete moment) becomes comfort because the one who calls for help directed to the right Person finds their Savior in His Word of Promise which is contradistinctive from science's words which finally cannot save.  I come to these conclusions because I have personally witnessed the Savior taking over where the scientific hopes and claims end.  I have witnessed on death beds the serenity which comes from being received by the Savior (Christ Jesus).  "Death no longer has dominion over Him."  I take St. Paul very concretely here.  It is time for the church to pay less attention to science and more on Christ's words.  (Also, Galatians 2:19-21)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #109 on: July 13, 2020, 02:09:22 AM »
Since the article of the creed is about the one God, could the words mean that the one God is creator of all things, that, the one God is seen and unseen. A double appositive: “creator of all things,” and “visible and invisible.”?
On the other hand, an appositive usually refers to the noun immediately preceding. In this case that would be “things.”

Well, I will have to go with Jaroslav of blessed memory, for whom visible and invisible related to all things created.


That is also the understanding of the English Language Liturgical Consultation. Their comments on "seen and unseen."


"This refers to 'heaven and earth' (that is, the whole created universe) in the previous line and not to some further acts of creation. While the reference thus includes the angels, it does not preclude the notion that further creative processes may be part of the divine plan. A comma has been introduced after 'is' for greater clarity, to indicate that what follows is an expansion of 'all that is.'" (Praying Together, p. 24)


I note that in the older translations (used in SBH and TLH) there was no comma: "And of all things visible and invisible."
"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]

Dave Benke

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #110 on: July 13, 2020, 09:36:41 AM »
To the thread question - "will we ever be?" - as addressed to Lutheran churches: 

In the time of COVID19 cleansing, while pecking through the contents of a bookcase, I happened upon the volume "The Lutherans of New York, 1648-1918" by George U. Wenner.  I'm about to hand it off, when handing is available, to John Hannah for the historical society.  At the end of the engaging book, there are various lists including the list of churches with memberships in the five boroughs of New York City as of roughly the end of WWI, or as we now know it, the time of the first great pandemic. 

At that time there were approximately 150,000 Lutherans in the five boroughs, with a light dusting in Queens, which still had lots of farmland.  Wenner states that the issue isn't how wonderfully Lutherans had made it in New York, although there were "a hundredfold" more in 1918 than fifty years prior.  It's how many second and third generation children were lost due to language issues, particularly among the Scandinavians, who would not adapt to English.  But - looking at the records, here's the standout stat - Sunday Schools.  St. Peter's, where I remain all these years, had a nice 973 soul parish in the developing neighborhood of Cypress Hills under their already beloved pastor, the now-sainted Rev. Dr. Arthur Brunn.  Sunday School enrollment at St. Peter's in the undercroft was 378.  Three hundred seventy eight in Sunday School.  The other St. Peter's on Bedford Avenue, now closed, had 1391 in Sunday School.  And Harlem Lutheran on 126th Street, which I think is still there, had 1120; Salem in Brooklyn, Norwegian in outreach, numbered 867.  The totals for the five boroughs numbered 42,000 Sunday School students.

Then - a) the Spanish Flu   b) Hitler   c) WWII d) Suburbs.  None of these were anticipated by Pr. Wenner, who optimistically felt Lutherans, if they stuck with their knitting and stopped the back door losses, could outnumber the Catholics at some point.  How could he have known? 

It's possible that there are not  378 Lutheran Sunday School students in all five boroughs at this time, much less 1391.

The answer I come up from this little walk down memory lane with Pr. Wenner to "will we ever be" is "No."

Dave Benke

Weedon

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #111 on: July 13, 2020, 09:52:47 AM »
Bishop,

You left off the horrible storm that took the lives of so many of those young Lutherans...

Oops. It was a fire, not a storm (getting old!) and it was BEFORE 1918. So the number in 1918 would have been even higher had that tragedy not struck!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS_General_Slocum
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 10:10:26 AM by Weedon »

D. Engebretson

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #112 on: July 13, 2020, 09:56:31 AM »
Pr. Benke,

Very interesting look back in history.  And I believe that from a historical perspective the answer to the question often is "no."  History is a flowing river and we never dip our feet in the same, identical river twice.  The water is always changing. How critical, then, to remember the simple words of Hebrews that Jesus is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:87). The most  critical part remains unchanged.   
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #113 on: July 13, 2020, 11:07:32 AM »
Bishop,

You left off the horrible storm that took the lives of so many of those young Lutherans...

Oops. It was a fire, not a storm (getting old!) and it was BEFORE 1918. So the number in 1918 would have been even higher had that tragedy not struck!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS_General_Slocum

I just thought of that on a drive over to church this morning - the Slocum Disaster in 1904.  I'd like to know whether Wenner wrote about that at the time.  I attended the 100th anniversary, held Trinity Lutheran, the church that used to be in Lutheran Cemetery (now renamed All Faiths once Niedersteins Hotel and Restaurant where the Lutherans stayed and ate for funerals had been turned into an Arby's).  There most of the 1300 kids and moms on the Sunday School excursion were buried.  I have an autograph of the last survivor, a girl of 3 who was still alive in 2004, meaning over 100 years of age.  The grand-daughter of one of the firemen who took the little bodies and laid them out on a pier on the East River spoke about her grand-dads life after being part of that event.  It absolutely demolished in membership one of the German Lutheran congregations on the lower East Side which had organized the event, designed to take a nice boat ride up the East River to Whitestone, Queens, where one of the German parks was located.  They never made it, caught in the swirling waters while the boat burned, with useless life jackets filled with sawdust.

Imagine Wenner, who had been on the East Side of Manhattan for fifty years when he wrote about both the dramatic increase as well as the problems holding onto the second and third generation, popping in 100 years later as the majority of the congregations he lists have less than 50 in worship or more likely have long since closed their doors.  I say that as a Lutheran leader who has been in NYC for going on fifty years, and dealing with what we're dealing with now.  I can't foresee Christmas 2020 in terms of how we'll be getting together, much less what Lutheran presence there might be in NYC 100 years from now.  At the present rate of extinction, there might be a dozen Lutheran congregations in all of NYC in 2120, if statistics are an indicator.  Will the national Lutheran denominations survive for another century, if there is by God's grace another century?

On the upside, Christianity is going to make it!

Dave Benke

Michael Slusser

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #114 on: July 13, 2020, 11:12:09 AM »
I really appreciate this look back in history!  :)

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #115 on: July 13, 2020, 11:30:49 AM »
That Norwegian Lutheran church in Brooklyn, Salem, a few years ago, I believe, was turned over to a Palestinian Lutheran congregation, and is now Salaam Lutheran Church.

That is correct.
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #116 on: July 13, 2020, 11:49:45 AM »
I really appreciate this look back in history!  :)

Peace,
Michael

It struck me as timely by accident, Fr. Slusser, written a century ago, giving us hindsight for second guessing.  I'm going to find some of Wenner's quotes.  John Hannah remembered for me that Wenner's church, Christ Lutheran, was directly across the street of RJN's home on 19th Street in Manhattan. 

Just now I have uncovered something new, and Col. Hannah will like it.  It's a copy of the Service Prayer Book authorized by the Army and Navy Commission of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States given by Pastors Arthur H. Brunn and L. Meyer to a member of St. Peter's in 1942.  Signed in red ink by J. W. Behnken.  A book of Prayers and Hymns/Songs for our soldiers.  Think of that date, 1942.  The LCMS history in Military Chaplaincy really took wings in WWII, against the grain of some in the denomination, including those who were isolationists because of their many relatives back in Germany.  This is the result of that effort. Right at the beginning is a chapter called "Your Promise to God - Do You Remember It?"  It refers, of course, to the confirmation vow.

For those who think we LCMS folks never held the "evangelical" platform, here is the back page:
+      My Decision    +
Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ died for me:

I ACCEPT HIM AS MY SAVIOR;

I BELIEVE HE HAS BLOTTED OUT MY SIN;

I WILL ACKNOWLEDGE HIM BEFORE OTHERS;

AND TRUST HIM DAY BY DAY.

_____________


If, by the grace of God, you have made the above decision, put your own name (instead of "whosoever" in St. John 3:16), and sign it on the blank line below:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that _____________________________, who believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Dave Benke



John_Hannah

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #117 on: July 13, 2020, 12:24:27 PM »
I really appreciate this look back in history!  :)

Peace,
Michael

It struck me as timely by accident, Fr. Slusser, written a century ago, giving us hindsight for second guessing.  I'm going to find some of Wenner's quotes.  John Hannah remembered for me that Wenner's church, Christ Lutheran, was directly across the street of RJN's home on 19th Street in Manhattan. 

Just now I have uncovered something new, and Col. Hannah will like it.  It's a copy of the Service Prayer Book authorized by the Army and Navy Commission of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States given by Pastors Arthur H. Brunn and L. Meyer to a member of St. Peter's in 1942.  Signed in red ink by J. W. Behnken.  A book of Prayers and Hymns/Songs for our soldiers.  Think of that date, 1942.  The LCMS history in Military Chaplaincy really took wings in WWII, against the grain of some in the denomination, including those who were isolationists because of their many relatives back in Germany.  This is the result of that effort. Right at the beginning is a chapter called "Your Promise to God - Do You Remember It?"  It refers, of course, to the confirmation vow.

For those who think we LCMS folks never held the "evangelical" platform, here is the back page:
+      My Decision    +
Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ died for me:

I ACCEPT HIM AS MY SAVIOR;

I BELIEVE HE HAS BLOTTED OUT MY SIN;

I WILL ACKNOWLEDGE HIM BEFORE OTHERS;

AND TRUST HIM DAY BY DAY.

_____________


If, by the grace of God, you have made the above decision, put your own name (instead of "whosoever" in St. John 3:16), and sign it on the blank line below:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that _____________________________, who believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Dave Benke

A great find, Bishop. I believe that we (the Missouri Synod) solidified our American legitimacy through the chaplaincies of our pastors in WW II. Foremost of many such pastors was Piepkorn whose career advanced the most rapidly. We were universally known to be well educated, faithful to duty, respectful of all soldiers regardless of rank, and full of common sense and integrity. What became true for Missouri was also the case for each of the other Midwestern synods shedding their respective ethnicity.

Resistance to the chaplaincy was not only about isolationism and pro-German sympathy, it was also the dread fear of unionism. Piepkorn's request for endorsement was delayed by President Pfotenhauer for that very reason. The 1935 Synodical Convention decided against the anti-unionism fear and set up the Army and Navy Commission which produced the book you found. Thus, Piepkorn was able to proceed and be commissioned as a Reserve Army Chaplain (First Lieutenant) in 1936.    :)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #118 on: July 13, 2020, 12:28:19 PM »
Since we are in a fine historical note, let us not forget the book “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.” By Tim Townsend. The chaplain is Henry Gerecke, an LCMS pastor who was an army chaplain assigned to minister to the defendants.
A terrific story.

Indeed. A great story of pastoral care with integrity and without regard for status, politics, or national citizenship.   :)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

D. Engebretson

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Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #119 on: July 13, 2020, 02:19:14 PM »
Since we are in a fine historical note, let us not forget the book “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.” By Tim Townsend. The chaplain is Henry Gerecke, an LCMS pastor who was an army chaplain assigned to minister to the defendants.
A terrific story.

Indeed. A great story of pastoral care with integrity and without regard for status, politics, or national citizenship.   :)

Peace, JOHN

I read this, as well, when it came out.  I was surprised by the hate mail this man received because he dared minister to what others considered unregenerate monsters. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI