Author Topic: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?  (Read 3449 times)

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12782
    • View Profile
Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« on: October 26, 2021, 04:15:57 PM »
Questions are raised periodically about the moderation of this Forum, whether the moderators (actually one in particular) should be a moderator because of his passionate support for certain positions, and whether certain sides of the Lutheran landscape have been made to feel unwelcome here.


I suggest that this could be discussed under certain questions.


Should the ALPB Forum Online be a safe space for controversial questions about which Lutherans have varying diametrically opposed opinions?


What would it mean for it to be safe space? What would it take to make it a safe space?


Can the moderators also be participants in the discussion?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12782
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2021, 04:17:12 PM »
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.
Can this ALPB on line forum function with such incompatible positions as whether or not Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position on abortion with advocates from both sides being represented?


What is the function of the ALPB on line forum? We here are not a church, nor is it a function of the forum to decide or take a position on what is and what is not Christian. This is a forum for discussion where people can state and advocate for the position that they take on a topic and also argue against contrary positions. It is the nature of discussion that people will disagree, even disagree vehemently and contradict each other. Unlike debate forums, no one will declare one side the winner and the other the loser of the debate.


My understanding of the role of a moderator on this forum is that the moderators are to enforce the rules that are agreed upon when one joins the forum and which may be restated or modified from time to time. It is not the role of the moderators to rule on whether or not a position is correct or who has the superior position or argument.


It is a feature of this forum that moderators may also participate in the discussions. Thus they may state positions that they hold as participants even if those positions are contradictory to the positions taken by other participants. As participants they need not be impartial. What they may not do is to use their position as moderator to favor their position or censure the on line behavior of those in opposition more harshly or strictly than they do that of those they agree with. It is a delicate balance to maintain.


I'm not going to try to assess how well Moderator Speckhard has maintained that balance of impartial moderating with  passionate participation. I will note, that there have been a number of participants in this forum that have opined that some positions not their own are incompatible with the Christian faith, the Lutheran faith, or even common humanity. Or that one or another of those they disagree with could not possibly be living in the same world they do and since they themselves live in reality, those they oppose must be in some way delusional. Seems to me that those who would question his conduct as a moderator should show how Peter has been biased in his moderating.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

David Garner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7528
    • View Profile
    • For He is Good and Loves Mankind
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2021, 04:38:45 PM »
I think this thread gives Pastor Austin's objections more seriousness than they deserve.

Everyone here knows if anyone poisons this forum, it's Pastor Austin.  Including Pastor Austin.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

RDPreus

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
    • View Profile
    • Christ For Us
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2021, 04:54:10 PM »
Based on what I have seen, I think the moderators do a good job here.  I very much appreciate Peter Speckhard's posts, not just because I agree with them, which I usually do, but because he writes well.  I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.  On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian.  This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.  I remember Francis Pieper's "felicitous inconsistency" where a person holds to an unchristian teaching but does not follow it to its logical conclusion.  Christians often hold to unchristian opinions.  It is no minor matter when one does.  But to say that someone holds to a position that cannot be tolerated in the church is not to judge him to be outside of the church.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 18129
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2021, 05:21:55 PM »
I would think an online forum would almost by definition be a safe space. What is even the theoretical danger?

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13991
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2021, 05:38:32 PM »
Pastor Preus:
I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.
Me:
And there are times, I suspect, when we do not disagree.

Pastor Preus:
On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian. This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.
Me:
Exactly, and thank you. But that is not the predominate vibe that hums through this forum. We as individuals and a denomination are denounced as un-Lutheran and worse. Brian and I both know people who have left the forum because of what is said about them and about our denomination. See the recent “resolution” posted by one participant who extends his condemnation to our ecumenical partners. The language concerning abortion is the worst, but language about our approach to scripture or sexuality is almost as bad, especially from certain LCMS posters, and from some who have left Lutheranism.
This is supposed to be an inter-Lutheran forum.  And one moderator dismisses more than half of American Lutheranism as unfit to be in this forum.
And Peter, “danger” is more than physical.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11787
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2021, 07:11:08 PM »
This is supposed to be an inter-Lutheran forum.  And one moderator dismisses more than half of American Lutheranism as unfit to be in this forum.

To quote you, Charles:

"This is another one of your silly overstated responses."
Don Kirchner

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

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 18129
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2021, 07:19:39 PM »
I don’t recall ever saying anyone was unfit for this forum, at least not for doctrinal reasons.

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11787
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2021, 08:00:12 PM »
I don’t recall ever saying anyone was unfit for this forum, at least not for doctrinal reasons.

Let's see... What would be the litmus test?

Peter has never stated that Brian is unfit for this forum for doctrinal reasons.

There you have it! Peter has never said that anyone was unfit for this forum for doctrinal reasons.
Don Kirchner

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

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
    • church history review
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2021, 10:14:27 PM »
The Forum Romanum was a marketplace that became known for the free sharing of ideas, which seems to be the purpose of the Lutheran Forum---at the discretion of those who sponsor it. Those who post here do so as guests.

The moderators seem to do a fine job and they must be pleasing those who put them in place. Otherwise, they would be removed, I should think.
I serve as administrator for www.churchhistoryreview.org.

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4065
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2021, 10:29:22 PM »
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43496
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2021, 02:48:26 AM »
Based on what I have seen, I think the moderators do a good job here.  I very much appreciate Peter Speckhard's posts, not just because I agree with them, which I usually do, but because he writes well.  I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.  On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian. This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.  I remember Francis Pieper's "felicitous inconsistency" where a person holds to an unchristian teaching but does not follow it to its logical conclusion.  Christians often hold to unchristian opinions.  It is no minor matter when one does.  But to say that someone holds to a position that cannot be tolerated in the church is not to judge him to be outside of the church.


Concerning the boldfaced sentence. For many of us, the "pro-choice" position is giving women the choice not to have an abortion, rather than turning that choice over to the government or insurance companies - which is taking away her choice.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43496
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2021, 02:54:24 AM »
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters. 
"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]

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13991
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2021, 05:14:03 AM »
The forum needs more diversity.
It needs more understanding and less “but you are just wrong!” Or un-Lutheran or un-Biblical, etc. etc.
It needs a broader spectrum of voices from the LCMS (although it is abundantly clear why moderate or liberal LCMS people do not feel safe here).
It needs more conservative voices from within the ELCA rather than from those who have left us.
It needs more female voices.
And we need some way to recognize and accept that the LCMS is broader than the loudest voices here, including Peter (and that the LCMS  includes many like Matt Becker, now no longer LCMS) and that there is more to the ELCA than Brian and this humble correspondent (although I still believe we represent the mainstream of our church body.)
ALPB’s noble inter-Lutheran history and mission should take top billing and gain support, not “resolutions” declaring the ELCA heretical, or repeated “O! How terrible!, He’s doing it again!” posts passing judgment on individuals.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

David Garner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7528
    • View Profile
    • For He is Good and Loves Mankind
Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2021, 06:52:22 AM »
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).