Author Topic: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues  (Read 3148 times)

Dan Fienen

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A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« on: May 08, 2021, 12:14:58 PM »
The memorial thread for Marva Dawn has devolved into rehashing complaints and defenses of LCMS hiring practices. Perhaps that essential task could be continued here and the Marva Dawn memorial thread reserved for tributes to or memories of Marva Dawn. Since church gender issues have been hashed and rehashed interminably with little new being said and little chance that anyone's mind being changed there seems little left but sniping and name calling in that topic. Hardly a fit tribute for Marva.
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Dave Benke

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2021, 01:17:34 PM »
Nice title, Dan.  I'll try not to live up to it.

Rhoda Schuler, a former parishioner of my brother Bob in St. Paul, MN, is one of a very, very small group of women who teach/have taught theology or been affiliated with the theology department in the LCMS University system.  Another is Dr. Elizabeth Goodine, who spent four years on faculty at Concordia, Bronxville in the earlier 2000s.  Another was Patra (Pfotenhauer) Mueller, a second cousin of mine, who served in some theological capacity at Concordia, Irvine, and is now family life minister at a parish in Seattle.

All of them, and Marva Dawn (+), operate at a level of theological acumen at the top level, as their books, theses, and academic credentials demonstrate.  They would be or have been excellent role models for women entering called positions as theologians of the church.  That is possibly still a dynamic in play. Except the positions they held or were allowed to hold were not called positions in the Missouri Synod.  The same logic applies, not by the way, to a woman becoming the President of one of our remaining colleges/universities. 

What is that logic?  The logic begins and ends with public teaching.  Public teaching, the logic claims, belongs to the pastoral office.  Except when exceptions are made for again, a very few non-ordained Presidents of Colleges (Ralph Schultz comes to mind from a past era).  Professorially, other non-ordained men have served admirably.  So - if non-pastorally-ordained people are allowed to serve in certain functions, what about women? 

It seems to me the logic proceeds down to the level raised on this board, that for a woman to speak in the public assembly is to engage in public teaching.  So no reading of lessons, and, for some, no singing of solos (which have a teaching component!).  No teaching in the congregation beyond Sunday School up to middle school.  I find all of this to be a deteriorated form of logic, harmful to the Body of Christ and the gifts of all its members being used for the edification of the entire Body.

Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod allows the ordination of women to the pastoral office.  However, you can go to any RC University theology roster and there will be a good number of women listed teaching theology.   What's the difference?  I think it has to do with the doctrines surrounding ecclesiology, and in particular the sacrament of ordination, its auspices and biblical origination.  For Roman Catholics, the supervisory capacity of the priest, bishop, cardinal and pope - all male - is sufficient to ensure sound teaching and therefore opens the opportunity to women to teach Catholic theology.  The Missouri Synod's more Scriptural anchor (the apostles' teaching), runs, as in all Protestant traditions, the danger of becoming biblicist and fundamentalist, an exercise in proof-texting.  The text being proved is one - Let a woman keep silent.  And that's where we're stuck.  How do we know that?  The women serving as deaconesses in the Concordia Deaconess Conference, (LCMS) are to sign a pledge that they will not read the Scriptures during a Divine Service.   They are to keep silent, less they be perceived through the reading of Scripture to be publicly teaching.  Secondly, many (I don't know how many) rostered members and layfolks would not receive the Lord's Meal at a congregation if a woman read a non-Gospel lesson.  Because the command to silence would have been broken.

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2021, 01:30:36 PM »
Nice title, Dan.  I'll try not to live up to it.

Rhoda Schuler, a former parishioner of my brother Bob in St. Paul, MN, is one of a very, very small group of women who teach/have taught theology or been affiliated with the theology department in the LCMS University system.  Another is Dr. Elizabeth Goodine, who spent four years on faculty at Concordia, Bronxville in the earlier 2000s.  Another was Patra (Pfotenhauer) Mueller, a second cousin of mine, who served in some theological capacity at Concordia, Irvine, and is now family life minister at a parish in Seattle.

All of them, and Marva Dawn (+), operate at a level of theological acumen at the top level, as their books, theses, and academic credentials demonstrate.  They would be or have been excellent role models for women entering called positions as theologians of the church.  That is possibly still a dynamic in play. Except the positions they held or were allowed to hold were not called positions in the Missouri Synod.  The same logic applies, not by the way, to a woman becoming the President of one of our remaining colleges/universities. 

What is that logic?  The logic begins and ends with public teaching.  Public teaching, the logic claims, belongs to the pastoral office.  Except when exceptions are made for again, a very few non-ordained Presidents of Colleges (Ralph Schultz comes to mind from a past era).  Professorially, other non-ordained men have served admirably.  So - if non-pastorally-ordained people are allowed to serve in certain functions, what about women? 

It seems to me the logic proceeds down to the level raised on this board, that for a woman to speak in the public assembly is to engage in public teaching.  So no reading of lessons, and, for some, no singing of solos (which have a teaching component!).  No teaching in the congregation beyond Sunday School up to middle school.  I find all of this to be a deteriorated form of logic, harmful to the Body of Christ and the gifts of all its members being used for the edification of the entire Body.

Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod allows the ordination of women to the pastoral office.  However, you can go to any RC University theology roster and there will be a good number of women listed teaching theology.   What's the difference?  I think it has to do with the doctrines surrounding ecclesiology, and in particular the sacrament of ordination, its auspices and biblical origination.  For Roman Catholics, the supervisory capacity of the priest, bishop, cardinal and pope - all male - is sufficient to ensure sound teaching and therefore opens the opportunity to women to teach Catholic theology.  The Missouri Synod's more Scriptural anchor (the apostles' teaching), runs, as in all Protestant traditions, the danger of becoming biblicist and fundamentalist, an exercise in proof-texting.  The text being proved is one - Let a woman keep silent.  And that's where we're stuck.  How do we know that?  The women serving as deaconesses in the Concordia Deaconess Conference, (LCMS) are to sign a pledge that they will not read the Scriptures during a Divine Service.   They are to keep silent, less they be perceived through the reading of Scripture to be publicly teaching.  Secondly, many (I don't know how many) rostered members and layfolks would not receive the Lord's Meal at a congregation if a woman read a non-Gospel lesson.  Because the command to silence would have been broken.

Dave Benke

DAVE,

Thanks for the detailed clarification. Good to know that there have been some exceptions and that at least three women have taught. The prohibition seems not to be absolute and may, in fact, be changing for the better. What do you think?    ;D

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2021, 01:36:21 PM »
Nice title, Dan.  I'll try not to live up to it.

Rhoda Schuler, a former parishioner of my brother Bob in St. Paul, MN, is one of a very, very small group of women who teach/have taught theology or been affiliated with the theology department in the LCMS University system.  Another is Dr. Elizabeth Goodine, who spent four years on faculty at Concordia, Bronxville in the earlier 2000s.  Another was Patra (Pfotenhauer) Mueller, a second cousin of mine, who served in some theological capacity at Concordia, Irvine, and is now family life minister at a parish in Seattle.

All of them, and Marva Dawn (+), operate at a level of theological acumen at the top level, as their books, theses, and academic credentials demonstrate.  They would be or have been excellent role models for women entering called positions as theologians of the church.  That is possibly still a dynamic in play. Except the positions they held or were allowed to hold were not called positions in the Missouri Synod.  The same logic applies, not by the way, to a woman becoming the President of one of our remaining colleges/universities. 

What is that logic?  The logic begins and ends with public teaching.  Public teaching, the logic claims, belongs to the pastoral office.  Except when exceptions are made for again, a very few non-ordained Presidents of Colleges (Ralph Schultz comes to mind from a past era).  Professorially, other non-ordained men have served admirably.  So - if non-pastorally-ordained people are allowed to serve in certain functions, what about women? 

It seems to me the logic proceeds down to the level raised on this board, that for a woman to speak in the public assembly is to engage in public teaching.  So no reading of lessons, and, for some, no singing of solos (which have a teaching component!).  No teaching in the congregation beyond Sunday School up to middle school.  I find all of this to be a deteriorated form of logic, harmful to the Body of Christ and the gifts of all its members being used for the edification of the entire Body.

Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod allows the ordination of women to the pastoral office.  However, you can go to any RC University theology roster and there will be a good number of women listed teaching theology.   What's the difference?  I think it has to do with the doctrines surrounding ecclesiology, and in particular the sacrament of ordination, its auspices and biblical origination.  For Roman Catholics, the supervisory capacity of the priest, bishop, cardinal and pope - all male - is sufficient to ensure sound teaching and therefore opens the opportunity to women to teach Catholic theology.  The Missouri Synod's more Scriptural anchor (the apostles' teaching), runs, as in all Protestant traditions, the danger of becoming biblicist and fundamentalist, an exercise in proof-texting.  The text being proved is one - Let a woman keep silent.  And that's where we're stuck.  How do we know that?  The women serving as deaconesses in the Concordia Deaconess Conference, (LCMS) are to sign a pledge that they will not read the Scriptures during a Divine Service.   They are to keep silent, less they be perceived through the reading of Scripture to be publicly teaching.  Secondly, many (I don't know how many) rostered members and layfolks would not receive the Lord's Meal at a congregation if a woman read a non-Gospel lesson.  Because the command to silence would have been broken.

Dave Benke

DAVE,

Thanks for the detailed clarification. Good to know that there have been some exceptions and that at least three women have taught. The prohibition seems not to be absolute and may, in fact, be changing for the better. What do you think?    ;D

Peace, JOHN

One woman is dead, one is contracted but already retired (emerita), one, also of retirement age, is teaching at a Roman Catholic institution, and the other is teaching in a parish setting.  Marie Meyer is over 65 (barely), and you and I are long in the tooth. 

Change and decay in all around I see.  But - where there's life, there's hope, no?

Dave Benke

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2021, 01:43:14 PM »
As a district secretary I have the responsibility of reviewing all constitutions of the district that are new or revised, which I then present to the BOD for approval.  Doing so has made me aware that we live in a bifurcated church body when it comes to the role and work of women.  The Synod's guidelines, which reflect the various resolutions passed over the years as synodical conventions, make allowances for quite a difference in practice regarding the role of women in the church.

For example the guidelines state that "a paragraph may be included to make clear the extent to which women are permitted to vote and/or hold office in the congregation."  So we allow for congregations that have women's suffrage (which I suspect a majority of our churches do; all that I have served in my 33+ years in two districts have) and we allow for those who say that male only suffrage is the rule.  Likewise with offices.  Some churches, including one I worked with some years ago as a circuit counselor/visitor, had a woman president.  The language in my constitution does not allow for this.  In the case of positions such as that of the elder, language is usually inserted that allows them to hold this office as long as it "does not call upon them to carry out the specific  functions of the pastoral office (preaching in or serving as the leader of the public worship service, the public administration of the sacraments, the public exercise of church discipline)." 

There is an obvious tension here, and I know that we haven't resolved it, nor will we in my lifetime.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2021, 01:56:53 PM »
The topic of lay people reading some of the lessons in the worship service and women as lay people being included in that has despite the widespread acceptance of that practice, or perhaps because of its widespread acceptance, been hotly discussed. At the 1989 Synodical Convention, Resolution 3-14, "To Address Appropriate roles for Women and Men in Worship" was adopted. That resolution stated in part, "That the congregation of the Synod proceed with care and sensitivity in making decisions permitting the lay reading of the Scriptures, recognizing decisions in this regard lie in the area of Christian judgment."


An article in the October 1995 Concordia Journal from St. Louis, "Lay Readers in Public Worship," further examined the topic. (I have copies of the article that I could email if contacted.) The article examined such topics as the silence enjoined on women keeping in mind that in the Pauleen Epistles it was mentioned that women did participate in worship including publicly praying and prophesying. It concluded that women participating in the public reading of the Scripture lessons does not place them the pastoral office, nor need it be a threat to what we understand about that office.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2021, 01:58:37 PM »
As a district secretary I have the responsibility of reviewing all constitutions of the district that are new or revised, which I then present to the BOD for approval.  Doing so has made me aware that we live in a bifurcated church body when it comes to the role and work of women.  The Synod's guidelines, which reflect the various resolutions passed over the years as synodical conventions, make allowances for quite a difference in practice regarding the role of women in the church.

For example the guidelines state that "a paragraph may be included to make clear the extent to which women are permitted to vote and/or hold office in the congregation."  So we allow for congregations that have women's suffrage (which I suspect a majority of our churches do; all that I have served in my 33+ years in two districts have) and we allow for those who say that male only suffrage is the rule.  Likewise with offices.  Some churches, including one I worked with some years ago as a circuit counselor/visitor, had a woman president.  The language in my constitution does not allow for this.  In the case of positions such as that of the elder, language is usually inserted that allows them to hold this office as long as it "does not call upon them to carry out the specific  functions of the pastoral office (preaching in or serving as the leader of the public worship service, the public administration of the sacraments, the public exercise of church discipline)." 

There is an obvious tension here, and I know that we haven't resolved it, nor will we in my lifetime.


There is also a tension between whether God's word against women having authority should just apply to the church (women can't vote on church matters) or in the world, too, (woman shouldn't vote in any civil elections).
"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: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2021, 02:01:44 PM »
The topic of lay people reading some of the lessons in the worship service and women as lay people being included in that has despite the widespread acceptance of that practice, or perhaps because of its widespread acceptance, been hotly discussed. At the 1989 Synodical Convention, Resolution 3-14, "To Address Appropriate roles for Women and Men in Worship" was adopted. That resolution stated in part, "That the congregation of the Synod proceed with care and sensitivity in making decisions permitting the lay reading of the Scriptures, recognizing decisions in this regard lie in the area of Christian judgment."


An article in the October 1995 Concordia Journal from St. Louis, "Lay Readers in Public Worship," further examined the topic. (I have copies of the article that I could email if contacted.) The article examined such topics as the silence enjoined on women keeping in mind that in the Pauleen Epistles it was mentioned that women did participate in worship including publicly praying and prophesying. It concluded that women participating in the public reading of the Scripture lessons does not place them the pastoral office, nor need it be a threat to what we understand about that office.


It seems to me, having served on committees who planned them, that this becomes a much greater issue for worship services at District or national conventions. I don't know about your District conventions, but our synod assemblies always included at least one eucharist. There will be readers. We are encouraged (almost mandated) to show diversity in our selection of worship assistants.
"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: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2021, 02:08:03 PM »
And quotas do such a good job of increasing diversity. After years of efforts and quotas the ELCA is the second least racially diverse church body in the US, barely beating out the LCMS for that spot on the diversity scale.
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2021, 02:17:50 PM »
Pastor Fienen:
And quotas do such a good job of increasing diversity. After years of efforts and quotas the ELCA is the second least racially diverse church body in the US, barely beating out the LCMS for that spot on the diversity scale.
Me:
Quotas have nothing to do with membership or composition of congregations. Quotas were intended to make sure there are more minorities on decision making bodies.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2021, 04:37:35 PM »
The LCMS has male pastors and female deaconesses. This fits with patterns in Scripture. I believe these are good distinctions especially at a time when the world is introducing ever more strange and confusing ideas. I hope the distinctions stay.
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2021, 05:58:28 PM »
The LCMS has male pastors and female deaconesses. This fits with patterns in Scripture. I believe these are good distinctions especially at a time when the world is introducing ever more strange and confusing ideas. I hope the distinctions stay.


Actually, the first six deacons were all male.


Who do you consider the biblical female deaconesses?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2021, 06:13:06 PM »
Oh, okay, if someone needs to snipe…

The term is sex, not gender, Dan.

Beam is a good base bourbon, for manhattans, etc. If one wants to enjoy a very good straight bourbon without breaking the bank, Evan Williams Single Barrel is among the good choices. If you’re up for excellent bourbon, as my southern Georgia friend said the first time he brought it into our lodge on our fishing trip on Lake of the Woods, a bottle of 4 Roses Single Barrel, “This is the good stuff, It is. Single Barrel, not Small Batch, which is popular in the stores.

Oh yeah, the snipe…

Jack Daniels is the most overrated booze in the US.

Rolf,

I recall years ago attending a District convention in Fargo-Moorhead. David and I had a room, and your brother, Daniel, was there too, and He and some others came over for a drink. I gave him a scotch on the rocks. As he finished it, he said, “This is good scotch. What is it?” I told him, “Johnnie Walker Black (12 year). Would you like another? He did. Ingratiating myself to the LCMS VP.  😉
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 09:29:49 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2021, 06:20:45 PM »
The LCMS has male pastors and female deaconesses. This fits with patterns in Scripture. I believe these are good distinctions especially at a time when the world is introducing ever more strange and confusing ideas. I hope the distinctions stay.

Actually, the first six deacons were all male.


 Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas,

I count seven.
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2021, 06:31:55 PM »
The LCMS has male pastors and female deaconesses. This fits with patterns in Scripture. I believe these are good distinctions especially at a time when the world is introducing ever more strange and confusing ideas. I hope the distinctions stay.

Actually, the first six deacons were all male.


 Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas,

I count seven.


Seven there were; but from what we read, Stephen never really did the work of a deacon.
"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]