Author Topic: The Church's Response to Government and Governing  (Read 9656 times)

RDPreus

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #150 on: January 18, 2021, 02:55:01 PM »
Is anyone familiar with the argument that the word "indivisible" in the Pledge was written against Southern sentiment of the day that still thought that states had the right to secede from the Union?  I don't know where I heard this or if there is any validity to it. 

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #151 on: January 18, 2021, 03:39:11 PM »
Pentecostals appear to struggle with the idea of the 'hidden God.'  They purport to see Him clearly revealed in the perceived glory of a political victory (defined as the victory of only one candidate from one party), but fail to recognize Him behind suffering and setbacks and even the presence of evil. They want to witness His presence in the Kingdom of the Left, but somehow miss the greater clarity of His promised presence in the one place He assures us: His Word and sacraments. We recognize that God works through many First Article areas, but we do not pretend to always perceive it or fully understand it.  As pastors and theologians, however, we do know where to find God and hear God.  Pentecostals would benefit, in this sense, with a bit of reorienting of their theological perspectives.

Good words, Don.  Remember that toward life's end, Luther's most fierce debates and opponents were with those on what I guess you'd call his right - the iconoclasts, those who had ingested the Holy Spirit feathers and all, etc.  At the theological level, the issue was the law basis of the belief system.  In that regard, the term that comes to mind is the "false comfort" of the law.  False though it may be and/or end up being, the law does provide comfort. Stay with the rules provided, stay within the system, and you'll be secure. 

In that sense, an outlier is the attachment to schemes to capture the government, all of which contain a lot of mixing and interaction with people who have mixed motives.  So some are now pulling back. 

Dave Benke

I think the "feathers and all" statement comes from Luther's reaction to the Zwickau Prophets, which would have been in the 1520s. They emphasized the immediate revelation and influence of the Holy Spirit. The combatants for Luther's later years were from within the Lutheran Church, namely the Antinomians contending with Philip Melanchthon. Both sides of that debate wanted Luther's support. Luther ended up supporting Philip but after Luther's death arose the Philippists, a group that had to be addressed by the Formula of Concord.
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John_Hannah

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #152 on: January 18, 2021, 03:40:43 PM »
Is anyone familiar with the argument that the word "indivisible" in the Pledge was written against Southern sentiment of the day that still thought that states had the right to secede from the Union?  I don't know where I heard this or if there is any validity to it.

I have always thought that the reason. I don't believe I heard or learned it from anything or anyone. But then there has not been any other serious attempt to divide.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #153 on: January 18, 2021, 03:42:37 PM »
Is anyone familiar with the argument that the word "indivisible" in the Pledge was written against Southern sentiment of the day that still thought that states had the right to secede from the Union?  I don't know where I heard this or if there is any validity to it.


Yes, it was related to the civil war. See the quote from Bellamy I offered in post #146.
"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: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #154 on: January 18, 2021, 04:04:56 PM »
Is anyone familiar with the argument that the word "indivisible" in the Pledge was written against Southern sentiment of the day that still thought that states had the right to secede from the Union?  I don't know where I heard this or if there is any validity to it.


Yes, it was related to the civil war. See the quote from Bellamy I offered in post #146.

Thank you.

Rev Geminn

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #155 on: January 18, 2021, 05:46:54 PM »
On my way to church yesterday morining. About 7:45 am, I had a local FM station on. (Later in the morning it broadcasts a local LCMS congregation's service and The Lutheran Hour.) The program "Christian Perspective" was being broadcast. 🙄 Some nut job preacher ranting on and on, telling listeners time after time to NOT take the vaccine, that there are permanent negative side effects, that he's seen videos of people shaking uncontrollably after getting the vaccine, telling the listeners to make sure they have enough food and supplies for the coming onslaught... And then closed with a prayer! A Christian perspective?!!   :o

And then there's this:

https://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/opinion/columns/6840579-McFeely-Alexandria-pastors-lies-are-chilling-and-dangerous-and-nothing-less

Things are getting a bit weird up in these parts.

I was surprised recently by similar reactions from a pastoral colleague.  Part of what surprises me is that I thought we had a more educated ministerium that might be less susceptible to latching on to stories and rumors and half-baked theories.  I realize that there have been negative reactions with some who have received the vaccine.  But statistically I also realize that a certain small percentage of the population will react to any number of vaccines at any given time.  I would hope that Lutheran clergy, especially, would be more reasoned and level-headed on average in how they publicly react to things like the pandemic, as well as the evolving political landscape.

I recently got together with a few other pastors from the circuit. I simply asked them to identify themselves by name each time they spoke and to speak clearly into my left shoulder where I got the Moderna shot. It wasn't too disruptive.

Seriously, though, the draw and seduction of conspiracy theories knows no denominational lines. I saw plenty of it after Sandy Hook, from Lutheran and non-Lutheran alike. At its fullest, it is an idolatry all its own.

I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #156 on: January 18, 2021, 06:01:30 PM »
OK this is kind of geeky.  But in my second year of prep school in Milwaukee, we were taught English by a biology professor who really only knew from taxonomic organization - so we spent the entire term diagramming sentences.  Which is very cool, actually, in understanding how words get put together.  Useful for preachers.  I like writing in long sentences with all kinds of meandering.  But preaching is for short sentences.  Subject/object/verb.  Boom, boom, boom.  Unless you're telling a story in the sermon, in which case all bets are off.

This takes us to the Pledge of Allegiance, which is a diagrammer's late nite challenge.  Check this out:  http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/diagrams2/pledge.htm.

The pledge is to the flag and to that for which it stands - the republic.  What is the republic? 
One nation
Under God
Indivisible
With (for all) liberty and justice. 

I had only assumed that last component.  We're not saying justice is for all, but not liberty, are we?  So the diagram has to put "for all" in front of liberty and justice.  Unless some ne'er do well thinks that our republic stands for justice for all, but not liberty for all.

Dave Benke

D. Engebretson

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #157 on: January 18, 2021, 06:05:20 PM »
Since Bush 43 the White House has had a faith-based advisor.  Although Biden has not made a formal choice in this as he fleshes out his cabinet choice, it will be interesting to see who that person might be and how it will help in his relations with the broad faith community, especially Evangelicals who supported Trump. 

This article, from November, gives some leading contenders:
https://religionnews.com/2020/11/08/joe-bidens-faith-advisors/

This article, only 10 days old, focuses more on one potential candidate, Josh Dickson:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2021/01/08/biden-religious-advisor-josh-dickson/

I fully expect Biden to reach out to a broad variety of religious groups, which should not be surprising.  What I'm curious to see is how he will build bridges to the right side of the spectrum (Christian and otherwise), especially in light of the abortion question and even more pressing his prior promise to shepherd through the Equality Act.  Biden, as is well known, has clashed with his Catholic church over his personal support of abortion and LGBTQ rights.  Dickson has stressed a different tactic: "During the 2020 campaign, Dickson focused his outreach by highlighting Biden’s policy positions on issues such as immigration, systemic racism and climate change that have broad support among faith leaders, including many evangelicals." Dickson has bona fide credentials within the conservative/evangelical community; however, his current affiliation is with a Denver-based church that is clearly LGBT-inclusive and affirming and his is truly a progressive now.

At the end of the article it is clear that Biden's relationship with conservative Christians is not a given, and will require work despite a liberalizing trend even within the Evangelical community:
Looking ahead, observers expect hot-button issues to reemerge, including the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions. Biden was a long supporter of the Hyde Amendment but changed his position in 2019 after Democratic outcry.

And Biden has vowed to pass the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. Several conservative religious groups oppose the legislation because they fear it could infringe on their religious liberties.

Dickson said he knows there will be divisions between Democrats and conservative religious voters on issues like abortion and LGBT rights, but is hoping the new administration can find common ground on refugees, systemic racism, poverty and tackling the coronavirus.

“The president-elect talks about healing divisions in America. That doesn’t happen by him winning the election,” Dickson said. “There’s going to be a lot of work done.” 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

peter_speckhard

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #158 on: January 18, 2021, 06:12:31 PM »
OK this is kind of geeky.  But in my second year of prep school in Milwaukee, we were taught English by a biology professor who really only knew from taxonomic organization - so we spent the entire term diagramming sentences.  Which is very cool, actually, in understanding how words get put together.  Useful for preachers.  I like writing in long sentences with all kinds of meandering.  But preaching is for short sentences.  Subject/object/verb.  Boom, boom, boom.  Unless you're telling a story in the sermon, in which case all bets are off.

This takes us to the Pledge of Allegiance, which is a diagrammer's late nite challenge.  Check this out:  http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/diagrams2/pledge.htm.

The pledge is to the flag and to that for which it stands - the republic.  What is the republic? 
One nation
Under God
Indivisible
With (for all) liberty and justice. 

I had only assumed that last component.  We're not saying justice is for all, but not liberty, are we?  So the diagram has to put "for all" in front of liberty and justice.  Unless some ne'er do well thinks that our republic stands for justice for all, but not liberty for all.

Dave Benke
Some tangentially related lore. RJN’s mother, my grandmother, who taught me to play scrabble for blood, considered correct grammar to be as indispensable as liberty and justice. One time when my mom called her in tears to commiserate about a genuinely terrible time my rebellious brother was going through in his late teens, Grandma Neuhaus responded, “It’s because he never learned to diagram sentences.”

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #159 on: January 18, 2021, 09:45:50 PM »
OK this is kind of geeky.  But in my second year of prep school in Milwaukee, we were taught English by a biology professor who really only knew from taxonomic organization - so we spent the entire term diagramming sentences.  Which is very cool, actually, in understanding how words get put together.  Useful for preachers.  I like writing in long sentences with all kinds of meandering.  But preaching is for short sentences.  Subject/object/verb.  Boom, boom, boom.  Unless you're telling a story in the sermon, in which case all bets are off.

This takes us to the Pledge of Allegiance, which is a diagrammer's late nite challenge.  Check this out:  http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/diagrams2/pledge.htm.

The pledge is to the flag and to that for which it stands - the republic.  What is the republic? 
One nation
Under God
Indivisible
With (for all) liberty and justice. 

I had only assumed that last component.  We're not saying justice is for all, but not liberty, are we?  So the diagram has to put "for all" in front of liberty and justice.  Unless some ne'er do well thinks that our republic stands for justice for all, but not liberty for all.

Dave Benke
Some tangentially related lore. RJN’s mother, my grandmother, who taught me to play scrabble for blood, considered correct grammar to be as indispensable as liberty and justice. One time when my mom called her in tears to commiserate about a genuinely terrible time my rebellious brother was going through in his late teens, Grandma Neuhaus responded, “It’s because he never learned to diagram sentences.”

Yes!! Absolutely priceless.

 "What we have here.....is a failure to communicate."  A sentence, to be a sentence, needs a beginning, a middle and an end.  The same applies to a paragraph.  The same applies to a story, or a sermon.  There's plenty of room for creativity inside that framework.  Stay within the framework.

Dave Benke

Rob Morris

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #160 on: January 18, 2021, 11:38:08 PM »
I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

I agree. Lack of trust in media outlets plays a significant role, indeed. My own reminder of that recently was when the headlines started rolling in about the Trump rally in DC becoming an invasion of the Capitol building. Where was I supposed to go to get an un-slanted view of the plain facts on the ground? CNN? New York Times? Fox News? Where?

In fairness to the media, though, with the advent of social media, nothing has time to be vetted and double-checked. Again, my own window on this reality: I was in the firehouse just outside Sandy Hook School with family members awaiting news of their children on 12/14. When I exited briefly to receive a phone call was when I realized the firehouse was surrounded (just beyond the cordon) by hordes of newsmedia. I could have been on any news channel or spoken with any major news source I chose to make a comment to... and I could have said absolutely anything I wanted to say... and it would have gone out as "Sources on-site say..." And it would have gone out to the world whether I was telling the truth or not. By the time there was any chance to double-check it, other new stories would have been written quoting other sources. I get the feeling that a retraction used to be a real thing and the threat of one threatened a reporter's livelihood. No longer... not if my experiences (this and many others in the wake of 12/14) are indicative.

In some ways, though, the media reality is only part of what feeds the conspiracy theory beast. I think an even bigger factor is powerlessness. When we feel powerless to affect something then we look for more manageable explanations. Especially if that something is something that we believe threatens us or which in itself frightens or shocks us. So, sticking with 12/14, I would rather not live in a world where a crazed young man killed 20 children and 6 educators for no discernable reason. I would rather live in a world where that was all pretend, just a trick by the government to take away my freedom. And then those aren't parents grieving the brutal loss of a child, they would just be actors pretending. And now I wouldn't be powerless in the face of such evil, but I would actually have the power... because they didn't fool me, they didn't pull the wool over my eyes. I know the truth and I'm nobody's fool.

It's seductive. And it is devastating. As I have pointed out: I have extended family members that aren't sure 12/14 really happened... and I did two of the funerals myself.

In the end, it is the draw of personal power in the face of powerlessness. It is the need to be god, all-knowing and powerful. And that's why I call it idolatry.

Given what I have seen of conspiracy theories' appeal, and given what I have seen of pentecostalism's belief in direct revelation, it doesn't surprise me that things like QAnon and movements like the New Apostolic Reformation are becoming powerful traveling companions within Christianity.

The question shifts to how faithful Christians can or should counteract it...

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #161 on: January 19, 2021, 08:38:58 AM »
Many conservative Christians who voted for Trump and other Republicans who supported him realize that there are issues they are concerned about that will not go away with the passing of one administration to the next.  A blanket denunciation of everything connected with Trump and that administration ignores some truly legitimate concerns of conservative Christians. There are now calls to "deprogram" Trump supporters, calling them members of a "cult." That is not the road to unity Biden is calling for as he begins.  It seems that the call for "unity" for some means a complete renunciation of all that came before and an embracing of all that is now arriving. Unity does not mean erasing the past.  As I noted in a previous post some serious issues remain to be addressed for Christians, in particular.  Equality is a loaded word when tied to law and applied without context or consideration. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #162 on: January 19, 2021, 09:12:24 AM »
Every inauguration includes a clergyperson to offer a prayer.  Tomorrow will be no different. 

Here is a rundown on the two men selected by Biden:
https://www.vox.com/2021/1/18/22236861/biden-inauguration-prayer-clergy-odonovan-beaman

One is a tie to Biden's Catholic roots, although a strained tie as he is at odds with one of his church's primary ethical denunciations.  The second one a sign of intent to deal with issues of racism, a key theme in his campaign. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #163 on: January 19, 2021, 09:13:05 AM »
I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

I agree. Lack of trust in media outlets plays a significant role, indeed. My own reminder of that recently was when the headlines started rolling in about the Trump rally in DC becoming an invasion of the Capitol building. Where was I supposed to go to get an un-slanted view of the plain facts on the ground? CNN? New York Times? Fox News? Where?

In fairness to the media, though, with the advent of social media, nothing has time to be vetted and double-checked. Again, my own window on this reality: I was in the firehouse just outside Sandy Hook School with family members awaiting news of their children on 12/14. When I exited briefly to receive a phone call was when I realized the firehouse was surrounded (just beyond the cordon) by hordes of newsmedia. I could have been on any news channel or spoken with any major news source I chose to make a comment to... and I could have said absolutely anything I wanted to say... and it would have gone out as "Sources on-site say..." And it would have gone out to the world whether I was telling the truth or not. By the time there was any chance to double-check it, other new stories would have been written quoting other sources. I get the feeling that a retraction used to be a real thing and the threat of one threatened a reporter's livelihood. No longer... not if my experiences (this and many others in the wake of 12/14) are indicative.

In some ways, though, the media reality is only part of what feeds the conspiracy theory beast. I think an even bigger factor is powerlessness. When we feel powerless to affect something then we look for more manageable explanations. Especially if that something is something that we believe threatens us or which in itself frightens or shocks us. So, sticking with 12/14, I would rather not live in a world where a crazed young man killed 20 children and 6 educators for no discernable reason. I would rather live in a world where that was all pretend, just a trick by the government to take away my freedom. And then those aren't parents grieving the brutal loss of a child, they would just be actors pretending. And now I wouldn't be powerless in the face of such evil, but I would actually have the power... because they didn't fool me, they didn't pull the wool over my eyes. I know the truth and I'm nobody's fool.

It's seductive. And it is devastating. As I have pointed out: I have extended family members that aren't sure 12/14 really happened... and I did two of the funerals myself.

In the end, it is the draw of personal power in the face of powerlessness. It is the need to be god, all-knowing and powerful. And that's why I call it idolatry.

Given what I have seen of conspiracy theories' appeal, and given what I have seen of pentecostalism's belief in direct revelation, it doesn't surprise me that things like QAnon and movements like the New Apostolic Reformation are becoming powerful traveling companions within Christianity.

The question shifts to how faithful Christians can or should counteract it...

It's an important question.  Because a lot of people don't have much in common with or much contact with the religious folks who make up a good deal of the 38% of the populace that are "the base" for Trumpism, those religious folks are seen simply as dupes.  Of course, in some sense they are.  But the connection you make concerning direct revelation is an important one that can lead to authentic dialog. 

I appreciated the way the biblical narrative was used to support the Trumpocracy.  Cyrus, the Persian ruler, was cited as an example of how a pagan could be used by God to free the people to such a degree that he's called Moshiach - messiah.  Ergo God was using Trump, a man obviously possessed of pagan characteristics, to accomplish his will in freeing the country for millions whose way of life was endangered, whose views were not heard, whose plight was not addressed. 

And maybe that's a way in.  Direct revelation also has to do with specific biblical passages and contexts.  And the fundamental passages and contexts should begin and end, for Christians, with Jesus.  An encouragement to return to the words and deeds of Jesus as the source for revelation could, in my opinion, lead to more productive conversation about issues from the cherishing of life in Jesus' ministry to the "least of these", to non-violence as the authentic means of protest, to the inherent dignity of every human being in Jesus' life and ministry, to the simple statements that "my kingdom is not of this world." 

In other words, if evangelical and catholic Christians made better efforts to engage from the core of our beliefs, audiences/hearers on the left and the right would at least be stuck with the quandry of ignoring the teachings and life of the One they claim to follow for the specious dreams they've embraced.  And maybe, because the Gospel is powerful, be chastened and challenged to change.

Dave Benke

Norman Teigen

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #164 on: January 19, 2021, 09:13:35 AM »
Yes, Pastor, it is a time for healing.  I believe that American voters need to stop and think about  what has been going both in the recent past and in the distant past.   It is a matter of principles.   It is also a matter of determining how history operates.  It requires study and reflection.   On the day before the Inauguration,  I feel a deep sense of relief.  A good place to start is the Preamble to the Constitution.
Norman Teigen