Author Topic: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues  (Read 3139 times)

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2021, 06:49:06 PM »
And off we go into the stratosphere!

Brian, try to focus. There were seven deacons, the number of completion.
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Tom Eckstein

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2021, 07:15:51 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

Even though I think very strong arguments can be made for why women should NOT be ordained into the pastoral office, I've always thought that equating teaching theology in a university classroom with the function of the pastoral office is a category mistake.  Both my children attended CSP and were taught by Dr. Rhoda Schuler (among others).  Even though I agree with the LCMS that women should not be ordained into the pastoral office, I never thought that Dr. Schuler was in violation of that by teaching theology at CSP.

Also, my daughter wrote a paper for her "honor's class" under Dr. Schuler and in this paper my daughter articulated the biblical, theological and historical reasons women should NOT be ordained into the pastoral office.  She got an "A"!  Dr. Schuler has encouraged her to pursue a PhD in theology.  My daughter is currently getting her Deaconess degree at CTSFW.  However, as many single female students at CTSFW, my daughter married a seminarian and will be going on with him to his first call next spring.  I don't know when or how she will have time to get a PhD, but she is a very sharp theologian and would be a good teacher at any Concordia University.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 07:23:34 PM by Tom Eckstein »
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2021, 07:19:55 PM »
And off we go into the stratosphere!

Brian, try to focus. There were seven deacons, the number of completion.

And one tenth of the Apostles of the Seventy.
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2021, 07:57:21 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

Even though I think very strong arguments can be made for why women should NOT be ordained into the pastoral office, I've always thought that equating teaching theology in a university classroom with the function of the pastoral office is a category mistake.  Both my children attended CSP and were taught by Dr. Rhoda Schuler (among others).  Even though I agree with the LCMS that women should not be ordained into the pastoral office, I never thought that Dr. Schuler was in violation of that by teaching theology at CSP.

Also, my daughter wrote a paper for her "honor's class" under Dr. Schuler and in this paper my daughter articulated the biblical, theological and historical reasons women should NOT be ordained into the pastoral office.  She got an "A"!  Dr. Schuler has encouraged her to pursue a PhD in theology.  My daughter is currently getting her Deaconess degree at CTSFW.  However, as many single female students at CTSFW, my daughter married a seminarian and will be going on with him to his first call next spring.  I don't know when or how she will have time to get a PhD, but she is a very sharp theologian and would be a good teacher at any Concordia University.

Super narrative and conclusion, Tom.  I like the concept of a "category mistake,"  and will pray for your daughter that her diaconal vocation might bring opportunity for theological teaching. I was told by somebody in the know that at one time one of the three/four women mentioned above was such a great communicator of the Gospel that when it was determined that she would bring a chapel talk at one of our Concordias, they changed the category of that chapel offering to "family devotion." 

Dave Benke

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2021, 08:27:57 PM »
Please refer to my final post regarding the late Marva Dawn.

Thank you.

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2021, 11:28:55 PM »
Everybody should read Adam Bede and pay close attention to Dinah all the way through. 

But if time is short, here's what I don't get. A lot of people are or would make good theologians. A lot of places have zero problem with women teaching theology. What is the benefit of causing offense in the few places where a woman teaching theology might cause offense?

What is lost if this hypothetical female theology teacher decides, I'm not going to make trouble for these brothers and sisters in Christ who would be troubled by my teaching here. I will send my resume where it won't make trouble.?

Maybe that particular position was the only one that was really available to her: then it is a professional loss to her. She can count it that way and still obtain Christ. An act of personal sacrifice like this is normally commended among Christians. The high and complex level of achievement we're imagining for her suggests she won't end up eating dog food. (Another way of saying this is that no one has a right to teach theology at all, and less at a particular place, simply because s/he is good at it. Everyone does have a duty not to give needless offense.)

This imaginary person would have taught in a unique way that would have benefitted students in a unique way, but that is true of any person. One person holds a position to the exclusion of all other people, each of whom has unquantifiable strengths for the task. The measurable loss again accrues to the individual teacher rather than the students/institution. I think it is the individual's duty to accept the loss to herself in the interest a multitude of neighbors since, again, she has other options. The neighbors do not have other options if ecclesiastical communities that accommodate this type of conscience and piety cease to exist.

I don't think anyone can seriously argue that we need to have women teaching theology for social reasons; ie, that students won't respect female intellect until they hear a lady Greeking out on Pauline syntax. Every other department has women teaching in it, and the number of pastors who can't do math is staggering.

I think the last remaining argument is to say that it's an absolute wrong to have a policy against and/or take offense at a woman teaching. Even if proponents of this argument are correct, since women with credentials, interest, and skills for teaching theology have other options, why not allow the bold sinners their place to sin boldly, poor things, and commend them to the mercy of our Lord? Missionary zeal to bulldoze protection of a conviction that is based in a defensible interpretation of Scripture, has colossal historical precedent (for a variety of reasons), and is strongly cultural seems plain mean.

(Can't promise to get involved. This post is born of procrastination.)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2021, 02:38:36 AM »
And off we go into the stratosphere!

Brian, try to focus. There were seven deacons, the number of completion.


Yes, my mistake. How many deaconesses were there?
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Norman Teigen

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2021, 03:41:02 AM »
The larger  concerns in this topic of conversation are:  What factors, institutional, cultural, theological have to be dealt with in making sense of this diversity of opinion?  What is meant by teaching?  What is Ordination?  How do larger social understandings fit in?  Is there one way of thinking about these things? Is knowledge on the topic  available and comprehensible to all or is it known only to the initiated?  [ Personal note:  I had never heard of Marva Dawn until her death.  On theological questions I have been told that I do not understand because I have had no formal theological education.]
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2021, 05:04:56 AM »
Norman Teigen writes:
Personal note:  I had never heard of Marva Dawn until her death.  On theological questions I have been told that I do not understand because I have had no formal theological education.
I comment:
I had rarely heard of Marva Dawn. But she was a considerable presence outside the places where I usually hang out.
And every discipline likes to "protect" or "use" its assumed expertise by telling others they are unable to understand certain things. Sometimes this is true, but not nearly as often as the guardians of the disciplines say it is.
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2021, 07:02:44 AM »
I have fond memories of presentations by Dr. Dawn at several synod assemblies and also, I believe, at an ELCA Churchwide ( or it could have been an ELCW Convention, I am old), and I have found value in her writings. I really enjoyed “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down,” as well as “The Sabbath.”

This thread is a great reminder of why I don’t read or post much here anymore.

Mother’s Day blessings to those who celebrate.

Donna
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2021, 08:13:54 AM »
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly is a very interesting read. She makes a persuasive case for keeping the pattern of the Sabbath in a Gospel/third use of the law kind of way. As I remember it (been a while since I read it) one point she makes is that the day of rest as a gift does not stop being a gift after it is fulfilled in Christ, but in Christian freedom we too often throw it away. She recommends making a personal discipline of Sabbath keeping but with Christian freedom to determine what is restful and which day to keep it.

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2021, 11:23:48 AM »
This thread is a great reminder of why I don’t read or post much here anymore.

Indeed.  Along with nearly every other thread on here for me...
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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2021, 11:29:51 AM »
I have fond memories of presentations by Dr. Dawn at several synod assemblies and also, I believe, at an ELCA Churchwide ( or it could have been an ELCW Convention, I am old), and I have found value in her writings. I really enjoyed “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down,” as well as “The Sabbath.”

This thread is a great reminder of why I don’t read or post much here anymore.

Mother’s Day blessings to those who celebrate.

Donna

Thanks for the Mother's Day blessing. I eagerly look forward to two new great-grandchild this summer. From my perspective as an LCMS woman I understand why the "sniping at each other over gender issues" turns you and others off.

Sadly, it is not possible for an LCMS woman to ask that we  not discuss the ordination of woman.  I, and other woman who were educated in the LCMS before Genesis two was interpreted to reveal God's will for a pre-fall order of creation legal structure where woman is subordinate to man, are asking to redefine the issue of woman in the church in terms of God's rightful place in the life of woman and man.  

Beginning in 1955 the LCMS adopted the concept of two orders in the Church, the order of creation and the order of redemption.  Since then layer upon layer of studies and reports were added to the claim that Genesis two reveals that God, for the sake of order in creation, designated the man as "the more responsible party" (see The Lutheran Study Bible, p.17).   Since the man had no means of procreation God created woman as man's helper. According to TLSB (p.17) the designation of woman as "helper" implies no inferiority, "but it does reinforce the order of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:20 states, "the man gave names. Sign that Adam exercised authority over animals as God's steward of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:23 she shall be called Woman. "First name Adam gave to his wife. Like the name of Adam ('adam), the name of his wife ishshah is a classification. In his role as God's steward, Adam gives a name to this category of beings, just as he has given names to the rest of God's creation."   

Here, Genesis  2 is used to claim that woman and man belong to two different categories of being. Previously, LCMS  writings limited the order of creation to man and woman having different God given purposes, man being the primary steward of creation and woman being the one to help man accomplish his God given purpose. Today, the Bible is used to claim the difference  between man and woman is ontological.

Thus, the questions, "Does God relate to man and woman according to their common human nature or is does God relate to man and woman as two distinct categories of being? Is there  a difference in how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are a living presence in the life of baptized men and women. What does it mean to "Let God be God" in the life of man and woman. according their male and female sexuality?'

Marie Meyer

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2021, 01:45:31 PM »
I have fond memories of presentations by Dr. Dawn at several synod assemblies and also, I believe, at an ELCA Churchwide ( or it could have been an ELCW Convention, I am old), and I have found value in her writings. I really enjoyed “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down,” as well as “The Sabbath.”

This thread is a great reminder of why I don’t read or post much here anymore.

Mother’s Day blessings to those who celebrate.

Donna

Thanks for the Mother's Day blessing. I eagerly look forward to two new great-grandchild this summer. From my perspective as an LCMS woman I understand why the "sniping at each other over gender issues" turns you and others off.

Sadly, it is not possible for an LCMS woman to ask that we  not discuss the ordination of woman.  I, and other woman who were educated in the LCMS before Genesis two was interpreted to reveal God's will for a pre-fall order of creation legal structure where woman is subordinate to man, are asking to redefine the issue of woman in the church in terms of God's rightful place in the life of woman and man.  

Beginning in 1955 the LCMS adopted the concept of two orders in the Church, the order of creation and the order of redemption.  Since then layer upon layer of studies and reports were added to the claim that Genesis two reveals that God, for the sake of order in creation, designated the man as "the more responsible party" (see The Lutheran Study Bible, p.17).   Since the man had no means of procreation God created woman as man's helper. According to TLSB (p.17) the designation of woman as "helper" implies no inferiority, "but it does reinforce the order of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:20 states, "the man gave names. Sign that Adam exercised authority over animals as God's steward of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:23 she shall be called Woman. "First name Adam gave to his wife. Like the name of Adam ('adam), the name of his wife ishshah is a classification. In his role as God's steward, Adam gives a name to this category of beings, just as he has given names to the rest of God's creation."   

Here, Genesis  2 is used to claim that woman and man belong to two different categories of being. Previously, LCMS  writings limited the order of creation to man and woman having different God given purposes, man being the primary steward of creation and woman being the one to help man accomplish his God given purpose. Today, the Bible is used to claim the difference  between man and woman is ontological.

Thus, the questions, "Does God relate to man and woman according to their common human nature or is does God relate to man and woman as two distinct categories of being? Is there  a difference in how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are a living presence in the life of baptized men and women. What does it mean to "Let God be God" in the life of man and woman. according their male and female sexuality?'

Marie Meyer

I had not heard this specific argumentation, being an avid non-user of TLSB.   "This category of beings" not only seems to me to separate the man off from the woman ontologically, but also doesn't this put the woman into the same category ontologically as the animals?  So there are males, who give names, and then there is that which is named by the namer - living creatures, premiere of which kingdom is woman, since she is ordered directly from the man.  In the same way as the domesticated animals are the male's property, the women is counted among those items of property.  See the final commandment for the order:  Wife, Human Servant/Slaves by gender beginning with male, Domesticated Animals ox and donkey, all Other Property.

Dave Benke

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Re: A Thread for Sniping at Each Other over Gender Issues
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2021, 03:10:56 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.

I am glad to hear this. Yet another objection which has recently arisen against the Divine Order of Creation of the Sexes is the following:

Beginning in 1955 the LCMS adopted the concept of two orders in the Church, the order of creation and the order of redemption.  Since then layer upon layer of studies and reports were added to the claim that Genesis two reveals that God, for the sake of order in creation, designated the man as "the more responsible party" (see The Lutheran Study Bible, p.17).   Since the man had no means of procreation God created woman as man's helper. According to TLSB (p.17) the designation of woman as "helper" implies no inferiority, "but it does reinforce the order of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:20 states, "the man gave names. Sign that Adam exercised authority over animals as God's steward of creation."

TLSB note on Gen. 2:23 she shall be called Woman. "First name Adam gave to his wife. Like the name of Adam ('adam), the name of his wife ishshah is a classification. In his role as God's steward, Adam gives a name to this category of beings, just as he has given names to the rest of God's creation."   

Here, Genesis  2 is used to claim that woman and man belong to two different categories of being. Previously, LCMS  writings limited the order of creation to man and woman having different God given purposes, man being the primary steward of creation and woman being the one to help man accomplish his God given purpose. Today, the Bible is used to claim the difference  between man and woman is ontological.

Thus, the questions, "Does God relate to man and woman according to their common human nature or is does God relate to man and woman as two distinct categories of being? Is there  a difference in how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are a living presence in the life of baptized men and women. What does it mean to "Let God be God" in the life of man and woman. according their male and female sexuality?'
And also,
I had not heard this specific argumentation, being an avid non-user of TLSB.   "This category of beings" not only seems to me to separate the man off from the woman ontologically, but also doesn't this put the woman into the same category ontologically as the animals?  So there are males, who give names, and then there is that which is named by the namer - living creatures, premiere of which kingdom is woman, since she is ordered directly from the man.  In the same way as the domesticated animals are the male's property, the women is counted among those items of property.  See the final commandment for the order:  Wife, Human Servant/Slaves by gender beginning with male, Domesticated Animals ox and donkey, all Other Property.

Dave Benke
The question is, how can you REFUTE the objection that the TLSB note on Gen. 2:20 & 23, by teaching that men and women belong to two different categories of being "not only seems to separate the man off from the woman ontologically, but also seems to put the woman into the same category ontologically as the animals; so there are males, who give names, and then there is that which is named by the namer - living creatures, premiere of which kingdom is woman, since she is ordered directly from the man; and so in the same way as the domesticated animals are the male's property, the women is counted among those items of property; and that the 10th commandment teaches the order: Wife, Human Servant/Slaves by gender beginning with male, Domesticated Animals ox and donkey, all Other Property"?