Author Topic: Solidarity and Unity  (Read 2495 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2020, 10:54:03 AM »
I do get it, Peter. You think I don’t, but I do. I get what you said. I get what you have done. I have read what you have written. I understand what you are saying.
Here’s a newsflash. That doesn’t mean I think you got it all right. And here’s another answer to what is sure come and is already hinted at in your response just upstream. It’s not because you are a conservative.
Sometimes, Peter, we progressives just think you conservatives are wrong. That you don’t get it.
Yes, some think you’re always wrong, but that’s not me.
Yes, some think conservatives are simply bat crap crazy, and sometimes you are, but not all the time.
It’s not fair for you to characterized my response by dismissing it simply because of how you think we progressives see you conservatives.
But carry-on. I don’t think we’re going to go anywhere with this particular line of discussion.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Missing NY/NJ and trips to Europe. I despise Daylight Savings Time which serves no purpose, disrupts my quotidian body clock and (I am reliably told) severely troubles cows and other huggable farm animals.

mariemeyer

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2020, 10:59:09 AM »
Thanks, Marie. I confess my experience with Steinke has largely been negative...again, I haven’t understood much of what he was saying, not sure of the systems he seems quite sure of. But could you tell me how YOU understand the words cited?


My classmate and friend, Pete Stienke (Concordia Bronxville '58), was given an honorary doctorate by the St. Louis Seminary.  He was introduced at the seminary graduation at which he was honored  by long time seminary professor Bruce Hartung.  Pete also had an earned doctorate and was highly regarded by persons in and beyond the LCMS. Sorry you did not understand him.

Not certain which of the words I cited you are asking me to clarify. 

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2020, 11:07:05 AM »
Marie,

I quoted the words that I was wondering about.

Steinke’s approach (it was being pushed by the District when I came to SID nearly 30 years ago) struck me as majoring in the minors by substituting sociological categories and lingo for theological and sin issues. It had a lot of proponents who pushed it as the way congregations could get beyond conflicts and divisions; I never saw that actually work, though. Now repentance, confession and forgiveness, on the other hand, that seems infinitely more helpful. A pastor friend at the time told the presenter: “We don’t speak the same language.” I knew what he meant right away.
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James

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2020, 11:16:36 AM »
Marie,

I quoted the words that I was wondering about.

Steinke’s approach (it was being pushed by the District when I came to SID nearly 30 years ago) struck me as majoring in the minors by substituting sociological categories and lingo for theological and sin issues. It had a lot of proponents who pushed it as the way congregations could get beyond conflicts and divisions; I never saw that actually work, though. Now repentance, confession and forgiveness, on the other hand, that seems infinitely more helpful. A pastor friend at the time told the presenter: “We don’t speak the same language.” I knew what he meant right away.
Bingo!!

This was exactly the observation my long time pastor ... Not only a were Rev Steinke’s presentations to his Winkel conferences sociological instead of theological, but more tragically his observations on the program calendar of far far too many of his Winkel conferences was similar.
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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2020, 11:29:34 AM »
Feelings are important, but our feelings are sometimes unconnected to facts.  So just what are the signs of systemic racism inside the LCMS?

On the petition site "A Call for Racial Justice Reform in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod" the following is also noted:
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) presides over 6,000 congregations with more than 2 million members, 778 elementary schools, 84 high schools, 8 colleges and 2 seminaries -- not to mention its many educational, missional and service efforts around the world. The signers of this statement are either members of the LCMS, have been educated by Lutheran teachers, encouraged by Missouri Synod pastors or have experienced the seemingly limitless generosity of the church body’s participants and organizations.

WE LOVE OUR CHURCH.

But we have a problem.

Despite presiding over the largest Protestant school system in America, the LCMS is our nation’s third-LEAST racially diverse religious body. Among the more tangible effects of our systemic issues: the Synod’s only Historically Black College has closed, black ministries have lost synodical funding, and no Black Lutherans are entering seminary this year.

Throughout its history, our church body has made efforts toward racial equality, but it has also been an impediment, and at times, a hostile opponent to those causes. Just as often, our cultural divides have been exacerbated by the church's silence when we have failed to speak for the suffering -- even for those within our very own congregations and schools (The Black Clergy Caucus of the LCMS released a statement that gives further context on these matters).


While we refuse to closet past transgressions, we are not here to relentlessly flog ourselves nor our leaders. Driven by fervent hope, we faithfully believe the people of the LCMS have the opportunity, capacity and influence to lead the Church and nation in taking actions for equality, justice, and reconciliation.

With all this in mind, the signers of this statement humbly:

    CONFESS that our thoughts, words, and deeds have created, deepened, and sustained the lasting wounds of racial prejudice, inequality, and injustice -- by what we have done and by what we have left undone, we repent.
    DECLARE an intent to, by God’s grace, dismantle the systems of racism within our congregations, communities, and church body. Our work for racial equality does not end with this statement, but rather begins. We will aim to honor the humanity of our black and brown neighbors by listening, learning, and moving towards faithful action in the decision making process of our church, city and Synod, inviting the accountability of fellowship when we fall short.
    PLEDGE SUPPORT, in word, deed, and resources, to RAISE UP future black leaders, as well as seeking out opportunities to ELEVATE & AMPLIFY current Black Lutheran voices (donating to The Institute of Black Lutheran Studies & Center for Social Justice is a great place to start).

We do not expect the deep wounds of racial divide to be healed overnight. We do believe, however, that it is reasonable and necessary for us to take immediate, visible, bold action. The lives of our congregants, the future of our communities, and the survival of our church body depend on it.

It’s time.


Emphasis added.
https://www.change.org/p/the-members-of-the-lutheran-church-missouri-synod-a-call-for-racial-justice-reform-in-the-lutheran-church-missouri-synod

There are a lot of words here, but very in the way of facts proving "systemic racism".  To say that there are no Black incoming students to the seminary is a fact, but it is insufficient to prove racism.  My fear is that all sorts of institutions are being pushed to a position somewhat like Luther's frequent confessions while in the monastery.  Where there is racism is should always be shot down, particularly in the Church.  But simply asserting racism undermines the very goal of rooting it out by making people think it is all a fraud.  Do I believe there are racists who are Lutherans?  Of course I do, I'd be a fool not to.  Do I believe Lutheranism is filled with closet racists?  No. I don't, nor will I until someone proves it.
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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2020, 12:40:22 PM »
Feelings are important, but our feelings are sometimes unconnected to facts.  So just what are the signs of systemic racism inside the LCMS?

On the petition site "A Call for Racial Justice Reform in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod" the following is also noted:
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) presides over 6,000 congregations with more than 2 million members, 778 elementary schools, 84 high schools, 8 colleges and 2 seminaries -- not to mention its many educational, missional and service efforts around the world. The signers of this statement are either members of the LCMS, have been educated by Lutheran teachers, encouraged by Missouri Synod pastors or have experienced the seemingly limitless generosity of the church body’s participants and organizations.

WE LOVE OUR CHURCH.

But we have a problem.

Despite presiding over the largest Protestant school system in America, the LCMS is our nation’s third-LEAST racially diverse religious body. Among the more tangible effects of our systemic issues: the Synod’s only Historically Black College has closed, black ministries have lost synodical funding, and no Black Lutherans are entering seminary this year.

Throughout its history, our church body has made efforts toward racial equality, but it has also been an impediment, and at times, a hostile opponent to those causes. Just as often, our cultural divides have been exacerbated by the church's silence when we have failed to speak for the suffering -- even for those within our very own congregations and schools (The Black Clergy Caucus of the LCMS released a statement that gives further context on these matters).


While we refuse to closet past transgressions, we are not here to relentlessly flog ourselves nor our leaders. Driven by fervent hope, we faithfully believe the people of the LCMS have the opportunity, capacity and influence to lead the Church and nation in taking actions for equality, justice, and reconciliation.

With all this in mind, the signers of this statement humbly:

    CONFESS that our thoughts, words, and deeds have created, deepened, and sustained the lasting wounds of racial prejudice, inequality, and injustice -- by what we have done and by what we have left undone, we repent.
    DECLARE an intent to, by God’s grace, dismantle the systems of racism within our congregations, communities, and church body. Our work for racial equality does not end with this statement, but rather begins. We will aim to honor the humanity of our black and brown neighbors by listening, learning, and moving towards faithful action in the decision making process of our church, city and Synod, inviting the accountability of fellowship when we fall short.
    PLEDGE SUPPORT, in word, deed, and resources, to RAISE UP future black leaders, as well as seeking out opportunities to ELEVATE & AMPLIFY current Black Lutheran voices (donating to The Institute of Black Lutheran Studies & Center for Social Justice is a great place to start).

We do not expect the deep wounds of racial divide to be healed overnight. We do believe, however, that it is reasonable and necessary for us to take immediate, visible, bold action. The lives of our congregants, the future of our communities, and the survival of our church body depend on it.

It’s time.


Emphasis added.
https://www.change.org/p/the-members-of-the-lutheran-church-missouri-synod-a-call-for-racial-justice-reform-in-the-lutheran-church-missouri-synod

There are a lot of words here, but very in the way of facts proving "systemic racism".  To say that there are no Black incoming students to the seminary is a fact, but it is insufficient to prove racism.  My fear is that all sorts of institutions are being pushed to a position somewhat like Luther's frequent confessions while in the monastery.  Where there is racism is should always be shot down, particularly in the Church.  But simply asserting racism undermines the very goal of rooting it out by making people think it is all a fraud.  Do I believe there are racists who are Lutherans?  Of course I do, I'd be a fool not to.  Do I believe Lutheranism is filled with closet racists?  No. I don't, nor will I until someone proves it.

I share your frustration, in part, because I think that too often intentions are assigned to circumstances that may not always fit.  It is a cause-and-effect that may be miscalculated.  "If there are no incoming students in this year's seminary class, therefore we have a case of racism."  In other words, racism exists beneath the reason there are no incoming students of a certain race. But is that the case?  Have we heard from potential black students who decided not to enter the seminary this year because of an evidence of racism on campus?  Or is it the fact that because the overall institution is racist - that is, it either does not value blacks sufficiently, or it creates impediments that make it difficult for these students to enroll and succeed? Or is "racism" simply are inability or unwillingness to see the 'system' through the eyes of black people in such a way that we can modify or restructure it to accommodate their unique needs?  As to Selma, I'm afraid that base motives were assigned to those in leadership within Synod as to say that they did not care enough to do enough for this historical black college. Personally, I feel that assessment, if actually asserted, is unfair.  Whether all the efforts were were sufficiently "transparent" may be a debatable point, but I think that it lacked any racist intent.
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

peter_speckhard

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2020, 12:40:52 PM »
I do get it, Peter. You think I don’t, but I do. I get what you said. I get what you have done. I have read what you have written. I understand what you are saying.
Here’s a newsflash. That doesn’t mean I think you got it all right. And here’s another answer to what is sure come and is already hinted at in your response just upstream. It’s not because you are a conservative.
Sometimes, Peter, we progressives just think you conservatives are wrong. That you don’t get it.
Yes, some think you’re always wrong, but that’s not me.
Yes, some think conservatives are simply bat crap crazy, and sometimes you are, but not all the time.
It’s not fair for you to characterized my response by dismissing it simply because of how you think we progressives see you conservatives.
But carry-on. I don’t think we’re going to go anywhere with this particular line of discussion.
Charles, the thing is, you didn't disagree with me, at least not in your post. You didn't say, "No, there is in fact systemic racism in your synod and congregation that you can't see, and here it is..." Instead, you suggested I converse with people. A lot. You did indeed write, "Rather than simply declaring that racism in your system doesn’t exist," which proves that no matter how much think you get it, you don't. If you did read the article you did not comprehend it. Of course I have talked with lots of people. Of course I know many who disagree and many who don't. The fact that you could even come up with the response below shows your assumptions-- that I arrived at my conclusions for lack of genuine conversation and listening. Which is nonsense.

Charles wrote: "Peter, I modestly suggest that you talk, for hours and hours and hours with people who have experienced systemic racism. Learn how they see it. Learn some nuances in approach and thinking and experience that you may not have. Rather than simply declaring that racism in your system doesn’t exist, listen to them and see if they agree with you. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. But you would benefit from long conversation. Listen to them. And listen to people outside your particular systems. See how they understand similar systems elsewhere. Then ask the questions about your systems that they have asked about theirs."

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2020, 01:45:20 PM »
Marie,

I quoted the words that I was wondering about.

Steinke’s approach (it was being pushed by the District when I came to SID nearly 30 years ago) struck me as majoring in the minors by substituting sociological categories and lingo for theological and sin issues. It had a lot of proponents who pushed it as the way congregations could get beyond conflicts and divisions; I never saw that actually work, though. Now repentance, confession and forgiveness, on the other hand, that seems infinitely more helpful. A pastor friend at the time told the presenter: “We don’t speak the same language.” I knew what he meant right away.


I would say that repentance, confession, and forgiveness are key elements in systems theory; but they will emphasize that it's needed between people, not just between the sinner and God.


One of systems approaches is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Practically speaking, what a congregation is, is more than the individual members. The way they relate to each other, the different roles they play with each other, the way the community handles anxiety is more than just what the individuals do.


The apostle Paul presents a good picture of the systems approach by talking about the church as a body with many different parts. The differences of the parts are essential to a healthy body; but they need to be connected to and working together for the whole body. That tension between being self-differentiated (i.e., different from others) and being connected to each other is a key element of system's approach. I see it being very much in line with Paul's approach to congregational life. He called for the removal of a troublesome member, not just because they were sinning (that can be forgiven,) but because one's behavior was detrimental to the health of the whole body. That's also one way to interpret Jesus words' about a part of the body causing the body to sin, cut it off - remove it from the body for the health of the whole body.

Steinke uses the analogy of a body. A healthy body knows what "is me" and what "is not me." Antibodies attack the cells that are "not me." Sickness happens when the division between "me" and "not me" becomes blurred or doesn't exist. They can allow "not me" cells to grow and become detrimental to the body.  The antibodies can attack cells that are "me".

Systems theory can help people understanding that loving self is as important as loving others. Without the love and care for self, loving others can become unhealthy co-dependency. Again, I see these as strongly biblical concepts.

While Ed Friedman uses the phrase "non-anxious presence," he admits that at the most, the best people achieve that perhaps 80% of the time. At a workshop on systems in congregation, Speed Lees, stated that the only times he is non-anxious is when he's asleep or on drugs. He prefers, "non-reactive presence." When we let other people determine our actions, we are enmesh - and it doesn't matter if one does everything the other wants or rebels and does the opposite of everything the other wants - both are indications of enmeshment - being controlled by the other person.


I've attached a chart of the "Basic Systems Continuum." I think it's helpful for understanding (1) loving neighbor and loving self; and (2) loving God and being a person who is loved by God.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2020, 03:11:44 PM »
D. H. Olson pioneered the Circumplex Model of family therapy. In it family functioning is examined in relationship to two variables, cohesion and flexibility. In each dimension, individuals and families that fall on the extremes of the dimension are often to one extent or another dysfunctional. Families that are too cohesive can become enmeshed and undifferentiated. They can also be very reactive in that what one is feeling is simply transferred to everyone else in the system. A lack of cohesion can result in detachment with little emotional involvement or investment in the others in the family.

Similarly, those families that are so flexible as to become chaotic often lack structure to effectively deal with the exigencies of life. Children raised in such an atmosphere also have trouble developing stable personalities and self-discipline. A lack of flexibility, on the other hand, typically leads to rigidity and an over reliance on rule keeping.

An awareness of the effects of varying levels of cohesion and flexibility, of where one fits comfortably on such a scale, as well as significant others fosters an increased ability to work together for workable solutions. Our needs for flexibility and cohesion can change over time and circumstance, and the flexibility to accept and adjust to those changes and to communicate those needs and receive such communication from others is quite valuable.

We could apply this circumplex model to the contemporary societal and political scene. Conservatives are notorious for a lack of flexibility and demanding high degrees of loyalty with little room for dissent. But Progressives have become increasingly rigid in their demands and also showing a lack of tolerance for dissent from their ideals. The "cancel culture" and demands that all embrace the ideals and programmatic goals of the Black Lives Matter movement or be deemed irredeemably racist and enemy of all the is good a decent. The insistence that a lack of willingness to admit to systemic racism is itself clear evidence of racism show a similar lack of flexibility in thinking.

One characteristic posited in the circumplex model is that at times of stress there will be tendency either to revert to earlier tendencies (one would, for example, tend to revert to handling issues as one's family of origin did) and/or become less flexible and demand more coherence. Our nation is being stressed. People on all sides of the political, sociological, cultural, or ideological divides are if anything becoming more rigid in their ideals and in their demands, and less tolerant of dissent of any kind.  All of which makes coming together as communities even harder.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 06:17:52 PM by Dan Fienen »
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mariemeyer

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2020, 03:48:03 PM »
 Peter writes..".I think people insist on the word "systemic" in order to absolve themselves of any need for evidence for their accusations and to accuse everyone in general rather than anyone in particular. They generally claim, falsely, that anyone who rejects this idea of systemic racism really is minimizing historical racism or denying that racism is real.....

"In the quote from Christianity today, I've bolded an aspect of the problem. Black pastors do not have a common message any more than white pastors have a common message. A common message unites people (and divides them from others) truly. A common race (as popularly understood in terms of skin color) unites and divides them falsely. The CT article simply reinforces the idea that people have some relevant solidarity with other people of their same skin color. They don't, as least not among Christians. There can be no "we, your brothers" unless those pronouns are grouping people by skin color. The sense of "we" that the Gospel dissolves is instead being asserted and solidified. That is the problem; such groupings are unBiblical. They are emphatically NOT like Biblical subsets of humanity, like family or the church."



Marie responds....Daniel Harrell, editor in chief of Christianity Today makes reference to I Cor 12:20-27. He goes on to apply the text to systems that possess properties individual members of any system cannot possess on their own. For example, neither Peter nor I can be a congregation, a family, a community or a church body alone. So also, no one can be a USA citizen alone.

Systems are made up of many individual human units. No matter how good or strong any system is, it is subject to entropy.  Consider how congregations decline, church bodies break up, governments fail to resolve differences between parties, economies recess and families fall apart.  To overcome entropy i.e. disorder or decline, even systems that make progress toward reconciliation or unity in the midst of disorder, something basic in the system has to change. According to the editor, the repercussions of past systemic racism continues to be a barrier for unity among whites and blacks within our country and among Christians. 

Editor Daniel Harrell writes, "Centuries of structural and institutional policies discriminated against black citizens, sanctioning inadequate education, substandard health care and creating disparity that restricted access to fair wages and decent housing. 

The four essays address how "Christians across the country have taken up calls for racial justice with new momentum.  But the movement treads familiar territory in Atlanta, the urban center home to the highest concentration of Black Christians in America. Black Leaders have mobilized through churches for generations."   The stated goal of the CT articles is to explore how and why black and white Christian leaders  can and must work together for unity in faith among Christians.  According to the writers, black and white Christians are  also called to be spokespersons for unity within our nation.   

"Inspired and burdened by their history, generations of African American faithful take up the work of becoming a beloved community....To understand Atlanta, you must look to the deep history of black suffering and the indomitable will and gospel hope of its African America Community...Black Christians have long looked to God as the divine Deliverer, Redeemer, Healer and judge in the face of the absurd reality of racism."
 
I think Peter and I will agree that our country is neither a united nor a healthy community. I am persuaded that divisions exists among us, including  the disparity among blacks and whites in health care, education, housing and wages.  Individual whites may claim, "I regard black people as brother and sister"...or" I have black friends." According to the CTCR report on racism, whites must consider whether words without action perpetuate the divisions and disparities that exist in our nation.  Significantly, several black leaders mentioned in the CT articles confess to their prejudice toward whites. They recognize that looking back on the history of blacks in America fosters animosity towards white.

Editor Daniel Harrell continues, "The whole remains greater than the sum of its parts. For systemic change to happen the entire system must be addressed."       

In all systems, family, congregation, synod or nation, the need for change has to be recognized from within. Outside help is often needed to  identify the needed change and to assist to the hard work of achieving systemic change. Black and white need each other so that we can see ourselves through the eyes of the other. Maintaining the energy to avoid reverting to old habits requires the commitment to mutual understanding, for mutual care and mutual trust for one another.

A careful read of lead CT editorial and the four articles prompt me to question the claim that "Black pastors do not have a common message any more than white pastors have a common message. A common message unites people (and divides them from others) truly. A common race (as popularly understood in terms of skin color) unites and divides them falsely."

What I read in all the articles is that black and white clergy, along with black and white lay persons, are called to mutual repentance.  Together, we need to come before God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, asking for guidance and power in overcoming existing differences among black and white Christians in our common calling to the Great Commission, "Go and Make Disciples," and the Great Commandment, "Love One Another as I have loved you." In the Church we, black and white, are totally dependent upon the Living God's work in our hearts, minds, spirit and will to be God's beloved son and daughters.  Together Christians are called to speak up for and work towards unity among black and whites in our country.  Here laws are necessary to overcome past systemic divisions that hinder present mutual respect, care, understanding  within our nation.  Here also Christians need the power of God to boldly proclaim the saving Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Truly, this is message of black and whites pastors.

Marie Meyer   

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2020, 06:20:36 PM »
I have always thought Circumples were a type of round, Orange-flavored candy sold along the Gulf Coast. I guess I was wrong.
A typo which I have fixed. The link in the post does work. Sorry about that.
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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2020, 06:37:22 PM »
D. H. Olson pioneered the Circumplex Model of family therapy. In it family functioning is examined in relationship to two variables, cohesion and flexibility. In each dimension, individuals and families that fall on the extremes of the dimension are often to one extent or another dysfunctional. Families that are too cohesive can become enmeshed and undifferentiated. They can also be very reactive in that what one is feeling is simply transferred to everyone else in the system. A lack of cohesion can result in detachment with little emotional involvement or investment in the others in the family.

Similarly, those families that are so flexible as to become chaotic often lack structure to effectively deal with the exigencies of life. Children raised in such an atmosphere also have trouble developing stable personalities and self-discipline. A lack of flexibility, on the other hand, typically leads to rigidity and an over reliance on rule keeping.

An awareness of the effects of varying levels of cohesion and flexibility, of where one fits comfortably on such a scale, as well as significant others fosters an increased ability to work together for workable solutions. Our needs for flexibility and cohesion can change over time and circumstance, and the flexibility to accept and adjust to those changes and to communicate those needs and receive such communication from others is quite valuable.

We could apply this circumplex model to the contemporary societal and political scene. Conservatives are notorious for a lack of flexibility and demanding high degrees of loyalty with little room for dissent. But Progressives have become increasingly rigid in their demands and also showing a lack of tolerance for dissent from their ideals. The "cancel culture" and demands that all embrace the ideals and programmatic goals of the Black Lives Matter movement or be deemed irredeemably racist and enemy of all the is good a decent. The insistence that a lack of willingness to admit to systemic racism is itself clear evidence of racism show a similar lack of flexibility in thinking.

One characteristic posited in the circumplex model is that at times of stress there will be tendency either to revert to earlier tendencies (one would, for example, tend to revert to handling issues as one's family of origin did) and/or become less flexible and demand more coherence. Our nation is being stressed. People on all sides of the political, sociological, cultural, or ideological divides are if anything becoming more rigid in their ideals and in their demands, and less tolerant of dissent of any kind.  All of which makes coming together as communities even harder.


I believe that another key part of this model is that, even though the site uses "balance" for "flexible," "structured," "separated," and "connected," health is about managing one's life within those ranges - not getting stuck with "flexible" nor "structured". At times in particular situations, one needs to be flexible. At other times, in other situations, one needs to be structured. The same is true with "connected" and "separated." Managing one's life within those ranges means not getting stuck in either side, but discerning which way one needs to be for the given situation.
"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]

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2020, 06:41:07 PM »

A careful read of lead CT editorial and the four articles prompt me to question the claim that "Black pastors do not have a common message any more than white pastors have a common message. A common message unites people (and divides them from others) truly. A common race (as popularly understood in terms of skin color) unites and divides them falsely."

On what basis do you question it? What message to black pastors have in common with each other that they don't have in common with me? If we're talking about in the LCMS, we all have the same message regardless of race. If we expand to pastors generally, a black pastor doesn't speak for other black pastors any more than I speak for other white pastors. I suppose if you question it based on the idea that all pastors, black or white, have the same message, then I would agree, but that would eliminate the distinction on which the Black Clergy Caucus is founded. The question of solidarity and unity is whether black clergy have solidarity with each other in a way they don't have solidarity with white clergy. My thesis is that they do in a false sense, not in a Gospel sense. The Christian faith recognizes no solidarity based on race. It does recognize solidarity based on family and household.

If I have a common message with someone, I am united with that person regardless of race. If I have a different message, I am divided from that person regardless of race. Skin color is not a message. I don't think any white person speaks for me by virtue of being white, and I think it is demeaning to black people to think that some black person speaks for them by virtue of being black.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2020, 07:05:00 PM »
While not specifically about race, this anecdote from Mark Allen Powell illustrate some cultural differences (that certainly could be related to race) in the message that we proclaim.


… I remember a seminar I attended in college. A large African-American man had two big signs up front. One read, “Jesus Christ accepts you the way you are.” the other said, “Jesus Christ will change your life.” Both are biblical and both are good news, the speaker affirmed. “So why is it that you Lutherans equate the gospel with one sign and not the other? You say, ‘Jesus will change my life? Well, that’s nice, but the really good news is that he accepts me the way I am!’ You get so excited that Jesus will accept you as you are that, after a while, some of us begin to wonder whether this isn’t because you plan on staying the way you are – whether Jesus will change you or not. Now, where I come from, in the inner city, I know some folks who – if you tell them, ‘Jesus accepts you the way you are’ – will respond, ‘Well, that’s nice of him, but the fact is I don’t really like being the way I am. My life isn’t so good. It’s nice that Jesus loves me even though I’m poor and hungry and my life is a mess, but you know what some really good news would be?” Really good news would be if he’d change my life so that I don’t have to be this way.’” [Chasing the Eastern Star, p. 181, italics in original]
"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]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #44 on: October 19, 2020, 07:38:08 PM »
For a number of years now a favorite saying of mine has been, "God loves you just the way you are but loves you too much to leave you just the way you are."
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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