Author Topic: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)  (Read 11030 times)

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #270 on: July 19, 2021, 10:15:24 PM »
When the Magi came to Jesus and took a knee before the infant (Mt 2:11), was that a sign of disrespect? When a leper knelt before Jesus (Mt 8:2) or the synagogue leader (Mt 9:18), were those signs of disrespect? I'm sure that in every movie I've seen when a new monarch is crowned, the people knelt in both respect and as a sign of subservience to the new ruler. Where did the people get the idea that kneeling was a sign of disrespect? It doesn't come from scriptures or movies.

I know that Pr. Kirchner responded to this, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around your comparison.  Do you seriously think that Colin Kaepernick 'took a knee' as an act of worship or respect? Really? It was, as everyone knows, a "knee of protest." Your comparison is waaaaaay off.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #271 on: July 19, 2021, 10:21:07 PM »
Quote
And, to another point of my post: What exactly does a church or community look like where we have supposedly moved beyond the racism that is still so deeply embedded in our current "system"?

I'm pretty sure that it doesn't look like most of our congregations that are all white. For the most part, we don't know what it would look like in our Lutheran congregations because it hasn't yet happened. We have tended to have our white congregations, and occasionally, we are developed Black Lutheran congregations. We visited one a few times when we lived in Denver. (It had a white pastor, a friend; but most of the members were black.) As the neighborhood changed, it became a Hispanic Lutheran congregation; but it no longer exists. A friend was the pastor of a Black Lutheran mission congregation in Kansas City. During the week the building was a dance studio. It became a worship space on Sunday. It has also closed.


There was recently a post on Facebook about a pastor who came to.a Lutheran congregation told that "his church was down the street." That usher didn't know that he was the guest preacher that Sunday. That got a talkin' to. For the most part, we have not created multi-cultural congregations...

We Lutherans had difficulties coming together as white, Northern European, Lutheran Christians. Is it any wonder we have difficulties reaching out  and bringing in people who aren't from northern European cultures?

My congregation is predominantly white.  I live in a rural area.  The "European" differences of a previous era have no meaning today. No one talks about it. You can't even tell by the names.  People of color are not prevalent in my area.  So is my church inherently "racist" because we are predominantly white? If we took CRT seriously and believed our church to be "systemically racist," what do you suggest we change?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11527
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #272 on: July 19, 2021, 10:23:30 PM »
When the Magi came to Jesus and took a knee before the infant (Mt 2:11), was that a sign of disrespect? When a leper knelt before Jesus (Mt 8:2) or the synagogue leader (Mt 9:18), were those signs of disrespect? I'm sure that in every movie I've seen when a new monarch is crowned, the people knelt in both respect and as a sign of subservience to the new ruler. Where did the people get the idea that kneeling was a sign of disrespect? It doesn't come from scriptures or movies.

I know that Pr. Kirchner responded to this, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around your comparison.  Do you seriously think that Colin Kaepernick 'took a knee' as an act of worship or respect? Really? It was, as everyone knows, a "knee of protest." Your comparison is waaaaaay off.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around much that Brian posts.  Yes, A footballer taking a knee is the equivalent of purposely sitting on your butt during the National Anthem. (Brian, they don't have chairs on the sidelines where they're standing.)
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43165
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #273 on: July 20, 2021, 01:45:01 AM »
Quote
And, to another point of my post: What exactly does a church or community look like where we have supposedly moved beyond the racism that is still so deeply embedded in our current "system"?

I'm pretty sure that it doesn't look like most of our congregations that are all white. For the most part, we don't know what it would look like in our Lutheran congregations because it hasn't yet happened. We have tended to have our white congregations, and occasionally, we are developed Black Lutheran congregations. We visited one a few times when we lived in Denver. (It had a white pastor, a friend; but most of the members were black.) As the neighborhood changed, it became a Hispanic Lutheran congregation; but it no longer exists. A friend was the pastor of a Black Lutheran mission congregation in Kansas City. During the week the building was a dance studio. It became a worship space on Sunday. It has also closed.


There was recently a post on Facebook about a pastor who came to.a Lutheran congregation told that "his church was down the street." That usher didn't know that he was the guest preacher that Sunday. That got a talkin' to. For the most part, we have not created multi-cultural congregations...

We Lutherans had difficulties coming together as white, Northern European, Lutheran Christians. Is it any wonder we have difficulties reaching out  and bringing in people who aren't from northern European cultures?

My congregation is predominantly white.  I live in a rural area.  The "European" differences of a previous era have no meaning today. No one talks about it. You can't even tell by the names.  People of color are not prevalent in my area.  So is my church inherently "racist" because we are predominantly white? If we took CRT seriously and believed our church to be "systemically racist," what do you suggest we change?

I've also served in rural areas. Even though there were few people of color, the comments I heard about Natives indicated racial prejudices. We weren't all that far from the Rosebud Reservation. A friend served near the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. She ran into racism all the time as she was trying to get Habitat homes built on the reservation. Where I served in Wyoming, they had the largest massacre of Chinese in the U.S. They also had two Roman Catholic parishes: one for the Slovaks, and one for the Italians. The bishop has combined them into one parish - but they aren't about to give up their two buildings. The divisions run deep.

An enlightening event for me was when the old Central District of the ALC held its convention at the Cherokee Nation's Capital in Tahlequah, OK. The nearby Oaks Indian Mission, in Oaks, OK, is a ministry of the ALC/ELCA. I had not heard about the Trail of Tears that brought the Cherokee from their homeland to Oklahoma. Just learning about the history of the Natives in our land is part of CRT.

If your rural congregation is near a reservation and/or if your synod has a Native ministry, take time to visit it and learn.

CRT isn't just about race, but hearing the stories of oppressed people because of gender or sexual orientation or religion, or national origins. I think one could even look at the disabled and what the community is doing to help or hinder their full participation in the community. A speaker at the rehab hospital where I did some work said that 10% of the people in the community are disabled; but we just don't see them because they don't are aren't able to get out.

A friend, a quadriplegic, who had been a patient and now worked there, talked about physical barriers; but that they aren't as bad as the attitudinal barriers.

One of the subtle things I learned in rural Nebraska is that there are differences between farmers and ranchers; and they don't like being called by the wrong title. Many of them also had prejudices against educated folks. They didn't trust any of the "experts" from the University. Generally, they didn't think much of city-folks, either, (which meant people living in Omaha). Although one farmer told me that the closest town to his farm was too big for him. It had a population of 65. 

One of the stated aims of CRT is: "to help students identify and critique the causes of social inequality in their own lives." That certainly could be done in our congregations, even those in rural communities.

Some observations and thoughts I had after visiting some churches and hearing a Native speaker on the Wind River Reservation is the differences in buildings. Their communities tend to be round. Ours tend to be square. They have round sweat lodges; we have square saunas. They tend to sit in a circle (where there is no head or foot, but all are equal). We tend to have rectangular tables where there is a head.

Generally, literate cultures use square/rectangular architecture because we tend to see in straight lines. Oral cultures tend to use circles, because we hear in more of a circular pattern.


I believe that one of the great issues in biblical studies is that the Christians at that time were the oppressed people. They were a minority. They were counter-cultural. They were practicing an illegal religion. They were seen as enemies of the state because they wouldn't worship the Greek/Roman gods and goddesses. They wouldn't worship the emperor as god and lord. We, especially as privileged white folks in our country, read the scriptures from a far different perspective than the first hearers.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 01:50:12 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

Coach-Rev

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 478
  • Rev. Jeff Cottingham, STS
    • View Profile
    • Trinity Lutheran Church
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #274 on: July 20, 2021, 10:12:14 AM »
I just finished THIS book, and it is well worth the read.  Check your Lutheranism at the door first, but then see the universal aspect of what he says to all mainline churches.

If I ever get it in the mail, I'll start THIS one next.
"The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." - Abraham Lincoln

blog:  http://coach-rev.blogspot.com/
photography:  https://jeffcottingham.smugmug.com/

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12587
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #275 on: July 20, 2021, 10:47:43 AM »
I've read the second book, 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project on Kindle. I found it to be a good read. It does not deny that racism has been a part of American history, but rather fights back against the bad and distorted history in the 1619 Project.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #276 on: July 20, 2021, 11:52:03 AM »
Quote
And, to another point of my post: What exactly does a church or community look like where we have supposedly moved beyond the racism that is still so deeply embedded in our current "system"?

I'm pretty sure that it doesn't look like most of our congregations that are all white. For the most part, we don't know what it would look like in our Lutheran congregations because it hasn't yet happened. We have tended to have our white congregations, and occasionally, we are developed Black Lutheran congregations. We visited one a few times when we lived in Denver. (It had a white pastor, a friend; but most of the members were black.) As the neighborhood changed, it became a Hispanic Lutheran congregation; but it no longer exists. A friend was the pastor of a Black Lutheran mission congregation in Kansas City. During the week the building was a dance studio. It became a worship space on Sunday. It has also closed.


There was recently a post on Facebook about a pastor who came to.a Lutheran congregation told that "his church was down the street." That usher didn't know that he was the guest preacher that Sunday. That got a talkin' to. For the most part, we have not created multi-cultural congregations...

We Lutherans had difficulties coming together as white, Northern European, Lutheran Christians. Is it any wonder we have difficulties reaching out  and bringing in people who aren't from northern European cultures?

My congregation is predominantly white.  I live in a rural area.  The "European" differences of a previous era have no meaning today. No one talks about it. You can't even tell by the names.  People of color are not prevalent in my area.  So is my church inherently "racist" because we are predominantly white? If we took CRT seriously and believed our church to be "systemically racist," what do you suggest we change?

I've also served in rural areas. Even though there were few people of color, the comments I heard about Natives indicated racial prejudices. We weren't all that far from the Rosebud Reservation. A friend served near the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. She ran into racism all the time as she was trying to get Habitat homes built on the reservation. Where I served in Wyoming, they had the largest massacre of Chinese in the U.S. They also had two Roman Catholic parishes: one for the Slovaks, and one for the Italians. The bishop has combined them into one parish - but they aren't about to give up their two buildings. The divisions run deep.

An enlightening event for me was when the old Central District of the ALC held its convention at the Cherokee Nation's Capital in Tahlequah, OK. The nearby Oaks Indian Mission, in Oaks, OK, is a ministry of the ALC/ELCA. I had not heard about the Trail of Tears that brought the Cherokee from their homeland to Oklahoma. Just learning about the history of the Natives in our land is part of CRT.

If your rural congregation is near a reservation and/or if your synod has a Native ministry, take time to visit it and learn.

CRT isn't just about race, but hearing the stories of oppressed people because of gender or sexual orientation or religion, or national origins. I think one could even look at the disabled and what the community is doing to help or hinder their full participation in the community. A speaker at the rehab hospital where I did some work said that 10% of the people in the community are disabled; but we just don't see them because they don't are aren't able to get out.

A friend, a quadriplegic, who had been a patient and now worked there, talked about physical barriers; but that they aren't as bad as the attitudinal barriers.

One of the subtle things I learned in rural Nebraska is that there are differences between farmers and ranchers; and they don't like being called by the wrong title. Many of them also had prejudices against educated folks. They didn't trust any of the "experts" from the University. Generally, they didn't think much of city-folks, either, (which meant people living in Omaha). Although one farmer told me that the closest town to his farm was too big for him. It had a population of 65. 

One of the stated aims of CRT is: "to help students identify and critique the causes of social inequality in their own lives." That certainly could be done in our congregations, even those in rural communities.

Some observations and thoughts I had after visiting some churches and hearing a Native speaker on the Wind River Reservation is the differences in buildings. Their communities tend to be round. Ours tend to be square. They have round sweat lodges; we have square saunas. They tend to sit in a circle (where there is no head or foot, but all are equal). We tend to have rectangular tables where there is a head.

Generally, literate cultures use square/rectangular architecture because we tend to see in straight lines. Oral cultures tend to use circles, because we hear in more of a circular pattern.


I believe that one of the great issues in biblical studies is that the Christians at that time were the oppressed people. They were a minority. They were counter-cultural. They were practicing an illegal religion. They were seen as enemies of the state because they wouldn't worship the Greek/Roman gods and goddesses. They wouldn't worship the emperor as god and lord. We, especially as privileged white folks in our country, read the scriptures from a far different perspective than the first hearers.

My church is within about 5 miles of the Menominee Indian Reservation. Lutheran outreach in this general area (which also includes the Stockbridge-Munsee tribal area) goes back quite a few years. I am not sure of the current status of this outreach at the moment. There is also a Catholic presence there, as well as other Christians. However, the Native American Church and other Native American religious practices are also part of the community. 

To date I don't know of any Native Americans that have become part of my congregation. Demographically, even though we are geographically close, the county in which my congregation exists is only .54% Native American.   

I don't consider my congregation "racist" simply for its lack of diversity.  It is a matter of demographics, not racial prejudism. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Steven W Bohler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3793
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #277 on: July 20, 2021, 12:13:16 PM »
Rev. Stoffregen,

Above you wrote about farmers/ranchers being prejudiced against “educated” people.  I have served in farming areas all of my ministry.  And virtually all the farmers in those places had at least some post-high school education.  I would guess close to, if not an actual, majority have college degrees.  Farming is big business, involving knowledge of chemistry, botany, zoology, economics, meteorology, mechanics, and more.  It is also extremely practical.  Perhaps the antipathy you described was not towards the education of those “experts” but rather their lack of farming experience and practical knowledge. 

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5368
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #278 on: July 20, 2021, 12:13:31 PM »
My church is within about 5 miles of the Menominee Indian Reservation. Lutheran outreach in this general area (which also includes the Stockbridge-Munsee tribal area) goes back quite a few years. I am not sure of the current status of this outreach at the moment. There is also a Catholic presence there, as well as other Christians. However, the Native American Church and other Native American religious practices are also part of the community. 

To date I don't know of any Native Americans that have become part of my congregation. Demographically, even though we are geographically close, the county in which my congregation exists is only .54% Native American.   

I don't consider my congregation "racist" simply for its lack of diversity.  It is a matter of demographics, not racial prejudism.

My father in law was the last resident pastor (1942-1952) to three congregations of the Stockbridge-Munsee (Mohichan) tribe. One of those was closed long ago. The original one was hanging by a thread the last time I visited there about three year ago. A third in Bowler seems to more or less flourish; it joined the AELC (ELCA now) long ago. The mission was begun by Presbyterians and included a school with a church. When they abandoned it in the early 1900s, the Wisconsin District accepted the invitation to come in.

My wife and her siblings all attended the one room school with members of the tribe. The Chief at the time had attend the federal school in Carlisle, PA with Jim Thorpe. His daughter was serving in the Navy at Pearl Harbor and died in the attack.

I do not believe that there is any Lutheran presence among the Menominee. I have driven past the large Roman Catholic Church on the reservation.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #279 on: July 20, 2021, 12:18:27 PM »
My church is within about 5 miles of the Menominee Indian Reservation. Lutheran outreach in this general area (which also includes the Stockbridge-Munsee tribal area) goes back quite a few years. I am not sure of the current status of this outreach at the moment. There is also a Catholic presence there, as well as other Christians. However, the Native American Church and other Native American religious practices are also part of the community. 

To date I don't know of any Native Americans that have become part of my congregation. Demographically, even though we are geographically close, the county in which my congregation exists is only .54% Native American.   

I don't consider my congregation "racist" simply for its lack of diversity.  It is a matter of demographics, not racial prejudism.

My father in law was the last resident pastor (1942-1952) to three congregations of the Stockbridge-Munsee (Mohichan) tribe. One of those was closed long ago. The original one was hanging by a thread the last time I visited there about three year ago. A third in Bowler seems to more or less flourish; it joined the AELC (ELCA now) long ago. The mission was begun by Presbyterians and included a school with a church. When they abandoned it in the early 1900s, the Wisconsin District accepted the invitation to come in.

My wife and her siblings all attended the one room school with members of the tribe. The Chief at the time had attend the federal school in Carlisle, PA with Jim Thorpe. His daughter was serving in the Navy at Pearl Harbor and died in the attack.

I do not believe that there is any Lutheran presence among the Menominee. I have driven past the large Roman Catholic Church on the reservation.

Peace, JOHN

Thank you!  Your are far more familiar with the ministry in this area.  I appreciate the update.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43165
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #280 on: July 20, 2021, 01:14:09 PM »
My church is within about 5 miles of the Menominee Indian Reservation. Lutheran outreach in this general area (which also includes the Stockbridge-Munsee tribal area) goes back quite a few years. I am not sure of the current status of this outreach at the moment. There is also a Catholic presence there, as well as other Christians. However, the Native American Church and other Native American religious practices are also part of the community. 

To date I don't know of any Native Americans that have become part of my congregation. Demographically, even though we are geographically close, the county in which my congregation exists is only .54% Native American.   

I don't consider my congregation "racist" simply for its lack of diversity.  It is a matter of demographics, not racial prejudism.


I don't think CRT is about getting more diverse people as members in our congregations. It's having our members learn from the experiences of those other people. How well do your members know the history of the Natives? Are they willing to look at the history of the area from the perspective of the first residents, rather than those who came from Europe? I think it's about learning from the "other" and respecting what they have to teach us. It's recognizing that our way (white, European-cultured, protestant) is not the only way of seeing the world.

"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]

pearson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2167
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #281 on: July 20, 2021, 01:21:15 PM »

I just finished THIS book, and it is well worth the read.  Check your Lutheranism at the door first, but then see the universal aspect of what he says to all mainline churches.

If I ever get it in the mail, I'll start THIS one next.


And after you get done with that one, you may want to take a look at Jonathan Rauch's The Constitution of Knowledge.  How (and where) do people get whatever they consider to be "knowledge" -- the genuine article?  Non-academic, and therefore, insightful stuff.

Tom Pearson

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12587
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #282 on: July 20, 2021, 01:39:29 PM »
Rev. Stoffregen,

Above you wrote about farmers/ranchers being prejudiced against “educated” people.  I have served in farming areas all of my ministry.  And virtually all the farmers in those places had at least some post-high school education.  I would guess close to, if not an actual, majority have college degrees.  Farming is big business, involving knowledge of chemistry, botany, zoology, economics, meteorology, mechanics, and more.  It is also extremely practical.  Perhaps the antipathy you described was not towards the education of those “experts” but rather their lack of farming experience and practical knowledge.
My observation from the decade I ministered in rural Nebraska was that there are no dumb farmers. As Steven pointed out, farming is a technical and sophisticated business. It also general has thin profit margins. The dumb farmers went out business long ago.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43165
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #283 on: July 20, 2021, 04:28:31 PM »
Rev. Stoffregen,

Above you wrote about farmers/ranchers being prejudiced against “educated” people.  I have served in farming areas all of my ministry.  And virtually all the farmers in those places had at least some post-high school education.  I would guess close to, if not an actual, majority have college degrees.  Farming is big business, involving knowledge of chemistry, botany, zoology, economics, meteorology, mechanics, and more.  It is also extremely practical.  Perhaps the antipathy you described was not towards the education of those “experts” but rather their lack of farming experience and practical knowledge.
My observation from the decade I ministered in rural Nebraska was that there are no dumb farmers. As Steven pointed out, farming is a technical and sophisticated business. It also general has thin profit margins. The dumb farmers went out business long ago.


I put "educated" in quotes. Generally, it referred to the professors from the university who hadn't farmed/ranched in years (if ever) who thought they were the experts in those professions. There are times, as one rancher illustrated, when a professor didn't know what he's talking about. The rancher and his father, had been doing something for years that the professor said couldn't be done.
"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]