Author Topic: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies  (Read 6727 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #105 on: October 26, 2021, 08:16:05 AM »
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
You seem more depressed than anyone else in the thread. I guess not caring about "right doctrine" isn't the upper it is advertised to be.


“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”
― Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition: The 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

Pretty much the same can be said of "right doctrine." When it's just holding on to the faith of our ancestors; it's not very exciting. When it informs us about how to talk about our experiences with God today, it can't help but be a life-giving and faith affirming topic.
The entire confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees re hand washing consists of Jesus sharply distinguishing between right doctrine as revealed in Scripture and human traditions, and the latter must only serve but never usurp the former.

What is God doing in your life lately that doesn’t conform to right doctrine? Oh wait, never mind.

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #106 on: October 26, 2021, 08:22:59 AM »
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #107 on: October 26, 2021, 08:34:38 AM »
Speaking of long pastorates, can anyone beat this one?    ;D

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Rob Morris

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #108 on: October 26, 2021, 09:15:26 AM »
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.


John_Hannah

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #109 on: October 26, 2021, 09:37:36 AM »
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.

Thanks, Rob. Great story about the reporter and good advice about news interviews.

I do think that this parish is likely stronger in its allegiance to God than one might find in protestant parishes. Roman Catholic people generally do better at that. There will be "bumps" ahead for his successor but not likely disarray.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #110 on: October 26, 2021, 10:31:55 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival? 

peter_speckhard

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #111 on: October 26, 2021, 10:49:11 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity. The big outlier is liberal Protestantism, which actively works against whatever united witness the rest of us might present. The young women interviewed in the article I posted on another thread who prefer to be sterilized would all reject Christianity as taught among any of those kinds of Christians, but could easily blend in to a liberal Protestant denomination.

What you're talking about requires leadership, and leadership requires decision-making, and decisions by definition involve a cutting away of some possibilities in favor of others. To me, the big decision that is hanging out there and ripening is what to do about the irreconcilable rift between liberal Protestants and all other Christians.   

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #112 on: October 26, 2021, 11:02:27 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
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Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

peter_speckhard

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #113 on: October 26, 2021, 11:19:04 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.

Mark Brown

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #114 on: October 26, 2021, 11:22:27 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity. The big outlier is liberal Protestantism, which actively works against whatever united witness the rest of us might present. The young women interviewed in the article I posted on another thread who prefer to be sterilized would all reject Christianity as taught among any of those kinds of Christians, but could easily blend in to a liberal Protestant denomination.

What you're talking about requires leadership, and leadership requires decision-making, and decisions by definition involve a cutting away of some possibilities in favor of others. To me, the big decision that is hanging out there and ripening is what to do about the irreconcilable rift between liberal Protestants and all other Christians.   

Whereas the teaching of the ELCA and its ecumenical partners has long departed from the truth.

Whereas the call to repentance has long been extended to admit false teaching and return to the truth

Whereas these calls to repentance have been met with increased insistence that they are without sin in their teaching and strengthening their false teaching

Whereas St. Paul says "you must remove the evil person from among you (1 Cor 5:13)" and whereas Jesus says when they ignore the church to "let them be as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:17)"

Resolved that the LCMS holds the ELCA and its ecumenical partners to be heretical bodies that the lampstand has been removed from.

Resolved that the LCMS would say to all who remain within this body that now is the time to flee (Matt 24:16).

Resolved that the LCMS would teach the souls committed to its care that there are false shepherds who do not enter by the door, but the sheep hear the voice (John 10).

That would be leadership and a clear cutting away.

Charles Austin

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #115 on: October 26, 2021, 11:26:35 AM »
And so long, Peter, as you and your cohort consider progressive Christians as the enemy, the polarization will continue. So long as evangelicals let the right-fringe be their public face and keep on kicking the crap out of moderate conservatives, they will not be able to start even a modest cooperation with other Christians. So long as every political issue gets welded to the abortion question, dialogue and cooperation will be very difficult.
Can your people, pray, study scripture and work with partnered gay clergy if the issue is immigration reform or care for the elderly? Can your people pray and work with those hanging on the "new look" at our nation's racial history if the issue is voting rights or fair housing practices?
Meanwhile, the progressive Christians, or dare I say the moderate progressives, have to do the same for the far left of their ranks, the people for whom gender issues, government organization, and denunciation of their enemies become their only sermon topics. (I wrote here, last year, I think, my disgust at a zoom gathering for my seminary alma-mater where every speaker had to first of all state his approval of the "new" sexualities and every participant in the discussions was someone who made it clear he or she or they spoke from a "gay," "lesbian," "queer," etc etc. perspective.)
You and your allies, Peter, do not have to embrace Nadia Bolz-Weber and all her writings, but you do need to embrace those of us progressives who find some - not all - of her work helpful. You don't have to approve of married gay pastors, but if you're going to work with us at all, you will have to be ready to work with some of them. And if your church body puts a hyper-LCMS loyalist on the board of LIRS, I'd sit alongside that person and work to help immigrants. Would he sit beside me?
I'm willing to say, if necessary, where I think Pastor Bolz-Weber goes off the beam; but others have to be equally critical of the Falwell kid (nothing like his father, really) and the "independent" (which means un-churched and un-monitored) Christians seeking favor in high places. Yes, there are home-schoolers who are racist, own up to that.
(And as I write this, I see that Mark Brown has a resolution describing my entire church body and our ecumenical partners as heretical and unworthy of any cooperation at all. I guess I should really weep for the dismal future of Lutheranism. If it goes on this way, it will not survive our children's generation.)
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #116 on: October 26, 2021, 11:26:46 AM »
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.

Of course.  And yet.  The evangelicalist right does not consider Roman Catholics to be Christian.  They're too connected to Church and not enough to their experience of conversion at a specific day and time in their acceptance of Jesus, hence - not Christian.  They are connected to Christ through Baptism, the Eucharist, and the fellowship of believers.  Sort of Schmalkaldic in that sense.  Having dealt with a bundle of churches that have gone through a long pastorate, the issue is whether the people were connected to Jesus all along.  My own hunch is that this congregation in Texas will be fine, because of the connection to the parish where they receive the Eucharist and baptize their kids.  And, not insubstantially, because they're Texanos, which means they have a deep and profound connection to the Catholic Church (and the Virgin of Guadalupe). 

So what do we say to that?  The priest was faithful, was loved, held them together.  I think they'll go on. 

The danger in my opinion is the topic of the thread - future pastors and their formation.  In this case, a 50 year old priest should be a mature practitioner and again, I think they'll be fine.  I don't know about the rest of the Roman Catholic concerns in this area, some of which I think have to do with the paucity of ordinations.  But among Protestants, the question is whether the next person will have any game whatsoever, or will be an ideologue mandating or excusing X, Y or Z and/or being unavailable to be with people.  In other words, is the next generation up trustworthy or simply worthy?  In that regard, I think Fr. Urriza was available to God's people. 

To be fair, of course it's all about Jesus.  I think the key determinant for oldsters including me is not whether you've lost a step.  That's pretty much inevitable.  It's a host of other determinatives including whether Jesus is the center (we actually have a Caribbean beat song called "Jesus, be the Centre/the wind beneath these sails, etc.") , how the work of ministry is distributed, whether the message and the personal availability are there, whether there's a team formed or in formation.  I think of Augustine, who was this supercharged figure in church history.  Where he ended up was where he wanted to be, in his parish baptizing, teaching, preaching, welcoming to the Eucharist until the end.  A full-fledged parish operation is tough anyway, and tougher with the results of aging.  But other options, and other models inside the full-fledged option, are going to be utilized.  In my opinion, one of the "problems" in Protestantism in general and among Lutherans is that the pastors who have retired from full-fledged duty are clustered in warm spots, and not so much around in say, New England or New York.  So we're spread thinner than we would be with a retired corps who could help.  You may not know for instance that John Nunes is the vacancy pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Brooklyn.  Available and capable.  And not even 60!

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #117 on: October 26, 2021, 11:32:52 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.

I think a way through this impasse might be for symposia at the seminaries involving cross-Lutheran connections on some topic of theological importance - Christology (from SW's post), for instance, and then opening it up to the way the theology spins into practice from either the same perspective or the differing perspectives presented.  That would take a bit of courage for the seminaries, I guess, but don't go to the level of denominational hierarchy and structure, which seem to get lost in the ether quickly.

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #118 on: October 26, 2021, 11:39:02 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.
You spoke of a number of elements of Christianity that could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. What would they need to do in order to fulfill that "could show"? PrTim15 described it, and you said "Count me in." I'd like to see you follow through on that. Apparently you think the churches can work together without ecumenism, without talking together, without actively encouraging each other in the Faith. It's ecumenism, or it's back to our silos.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #119 on: October 26, 2021, 11:43:52 AM »
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.
You spoke of a number of elements of Christianity that could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. What would they need to do in order to fulfill that "could show"? PrTim15 described it, and you said "Count me in." I'd like to see you follow through on that. Apparently you think the churches can work together without ecumenism, without talking together, without actively encouraging each other in the Faith. It's ecumenism, or it's back to our silos.

Peace,
Michael

Agreed.  The Protestant alternative is, and maybe will be in a far more pervasive way, congregationalism.  As denominations show their uselessness, congregations will re-align or more likely dis-align.   Why not talk it through at a level beyond local?

Dave Benke