Author Topic: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?  (Read 74034 times)

ptmccain

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #120 on: August 12, 2007, 08:12:37 AM »
More than 500 people at the Chicago voted in favor of the "restraint of discipline" action

I notice that the ELCA press release on this vote also offers this kind of spin as the party line: namely, that this was merely a "restraint of discipline action." But of course that is not true. It was an action calling for bishops to refrain from disciplining ... or exercise restraint of discipline. There is no denying this was much more than merely saying, "Now when you discipline ... please show a bit of restraint." It is a good thing that there was live streaming video of the convention and this ALPB forum available so the truth of what was said and done at the CWA can actually be known. It would be a shame to have to rely on church press releases for information.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2007, 10:26:32 AM by ptmccain »

Keith Falk

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #121 on: August 12, 2007, 08:46:36 AM »
And speaking of discussion: Fewer congregations than expected seem to be taking part in the current study aimed at helping the sexuality task force. So if people feel their voices aren't reaching the right place, at times it is their own fault. 

Perhaps it is because congregations spoke during the last study (Part 2) which showed they did NOT want to go down the path of ordaining or blessing of same-sex unions... and yet, those memorials and motions kept popping up at synod assemblies and this year at the CWA.  Why bother to participate if your voice is going to be ignored?
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

Deb_H.

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #122 on: August 12, 2007, 08:47:04 AM »
Fewer congregations than expected seem to be taking part in the current study aimed at helping the sexuality task force. So if people feel their voices aren't reaching the right place, at times it is their own fault. 

OR
They feel they've already spoken and it's clear nobody cares to listen to what they've said.  After a while one realizes that the only thing one gets when beating one's head against a wall is a full-time headache.

Lou Hesse

Gladfelteri

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #123 on: August 12, 2007, 08:56:35 AM »
I think as long as we are considering the reality of the situation, we need to consider the reality of the ELCA.  Debates over sexuality are merely a symptom of the main problem, which is that as a synod we don't agree on how we view Scripture.  The fact of the matter is that there are two diametrically opposed views that continually clash.
Didn't + + Mark Hansen admit as much when he noted that there were two hermeneutics being used in the ELCA?  And can't it be argued that "Book of Faith:  Lutherans Read the Bible" is more or less intended to gradually remove one of those hermeneutics?

Richard Johnson

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #124 on: August 12, 2007, 09:37:29 AM »
and it is interesting to note that one synodical bishop who was a staunch and vocal opponent of change, was turned out of office by the synod assembly. 

And what is your evidence that the two issues have anything to do with each other? I know many people in the synod to which you refer, and the general story that I hear is that this election turned on very local issues (read: how well congregations thought the bishop's office was tending to their parochial concerns, particularly in regard to call processes), and that the new bishop is unlikely to be strikingly different in his approach to these issues.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #125 on: August 12, 2007, 09:44:44 AM »
I don't view any comments on this ALPB forum as gloating.   For a report on the real gloating,  check out the Associated Press website,  where you will find the excerpt below:
Quote
"This is huge," said Phil Soucy of Lutherans Concerned/North America, which lobbies on behalf of gays and lesbians. "More than half of the people in the Churchwide Assembly have said don't punish anyone for what is a simple violation of the policy, where the offense is simply that they have a partner."
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LUTHERANS_GAYS?SITE=NYWNE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
fleur-de-lis

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #126 on: August 12, 2007, 09:47:11 AM »
From a WordAlone email received today

NEWS RELEASE: ELCA assembly slips practicing gays in back door to pulpit‎
While the churchwide assembly of the Evangelical LutheranChurch of America shut the front door for now on allowingministers in same-sex relationships to serve thedenomination, they essentially told them to go to the backdoor and come in.

The assembly, meeting in Chicago this week, voted to refermost resolutions on homosexual behavior and ordinationstandards to a task force on human sexuality that ispreparing a social statement for the 2009 churchwide assembly, thus taking the resolutions out of considerationat this assembly. More significantly, the assembly closedthe front door when it defeated a resolution that wouldhave changed the standards, allowing practicing homosexuals to become lay ministers and be ordained.

But the assembly opened the back door when it voted 538 to431 to urge bishops, synods and the presiding bishop torefrain from disciplining pastors or lay ministers incommitted same-sex relationships. This resolution wasrecommended by a discipline committee that defrocked a practicing homosexual but delayed enforcement until afterthe assembly and made clear its opinion that the standards needed loosening. Twenty-one synod assemblies had approvedresolutions recommended by that discipline committee this spring.

"Some synodical bishops will use this as an excuse toordain people in same-sex relationships and to certify layministers even though the 'Vision and Expectations' and'Definitions and Guidelines' on ministry haven't changed.It's deceptive and lacks integrity," said Pastor Paull Spring, who is chair of Lutheran CORE, which along withWordAlone is working to renew and reform the ELCA.

WordAlone Network President Jaynan Clark Egland added: "Idon't know as a Christian, as a pastor and as a parent what really would be worse--a church with no Biblical standards to govern our ministry or standards we don't intend toenforce. To refrain from discipline in the home is bad parenting, but we're about to do so in Christ's Church."  

"Isn't this really a local option? Talk about introducingeven more chaos to the ELCA's roster. Some bishops alreadyare allowing people in same-sex relationships to serve.More may join them. But not all will look the other way andstill may discipline. This leaves the ELCA withinconsistent patterns of discipline and standards, andpossibly increases the church's liability in legal casesinvolving sexual impropriety," Egland said.

"The assembly spoke against making any change now by referring the main resolution on ordaining practicing homosexuals to the human sexuality study task force. It's a shame they opened this door allowing ordinations of persons in same-sex relationships," Spring commented.

The campaign to get homosexual behavior before the assembly prior to consideration of the social statement in 2009 seems to have started with an Atlanta, Ga., pastor's confession to his bishop that he, a known homosexual, had a"committed relationship" with another man. A discipline hearing was scheduled and held in early February.

The hearing committee ruled that the pastor was inviolation of current ELCA standards and should be removed from the denomination's clergy roster, but delayed his removal until Aug. 15, after the assembly. The disciplinecommittee also questioned the appropriateness and constitutionality of present ordination standards.

That committee also asked the ELCA's 65 synods to pass resolutions requesting the 2007 assembly to begin the process to change the standards to allow for non-celibate clergy and lay ministers. In addition the committee askedthe synod assemblies to consider other resolutions for thechurchwide assembly to go easy in the meantime ondisciplining any ministers serving the church who are inhomosexual relationships.  Both sides appealed the ruling.

In July, the appeals committee ruled that Brad Schmeling, the Atlanta pastor, should have been removed from the roster in February and removed him effective with theirfindings. The appeals group also chastised the discipline committee for overstepping its bounds by delaying thepastor's removal, for commenting on the standards and for asking this year's assembly to approve changing them.

About an hour before the assembly ended, when more than 400 voting members had departed, the assembly approved by amargin of 318 to 309 a motion that calls for ELCA bishops to discuss their accountability to the "adopted policies,practices and procedures" of the ELCA. The motion furtherdirects the bishops to bring to the 2009 assembly adocument that clarifies the lines of accountability.  Perhaps the assembly realized it had voted for chaos earlier in the day by urging bishops not to uphold standards.

But let me tell Thee that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing.
The Grand Inquisitor

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #127 on: August 12, 2007, 10:25:38 AM »
How about also putting it in proper context,  such as:
de jure church policy hasn't changed,  but de facto practice has been authorized to be "any thing goes";
and/or
it doesn't make any sense to continue to study whether to close the gate,  when the horse is already out of the barn

Neither our policy nor practice has been or will be "anything goes". During the past decade or more when many bishops refrained from disciplining or demonstrated restraint in disciplining homosexuals in committed relationships, there were many clergy who were disciplined. Many resigned from the roster rather than go through the disciplinary process, where they knew they would lose. The resolution that was approved is quite clear that "anything goes" is not what it's talking about; but persons who are "otherwise-qualified" and "who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship."

This is not asking for refrain or restraint when clergy are promisuous, molesting children, embezzling funds, etc.
"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

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #128 on: August 12, 2007, 10:31:54 AM »
I notice that the ELCA press release on this vote also offers this kind of spin as the party line: namely, that this was merely a "restraint of discipline action." But of course that is not true. It was an action calling for bishops to refrain from disciplining ... or exercise restraint of discipline. There is no denying this was much more than merely saying, "Now when you discipline ... please show a bit of restraint." It is a good thing that there was live streaming video of the convention and this ALPB forum available so the truth of what was said and done at the CWA can actually be known. It would be a shame to have to rely on church press releases for information.
You are right that there is refrain or restraint in the resolution. It is also true that these have been options available to bishops from the beginning. Seeking the removal of congregations who have called non-authorized pastors or filing charges that would remove non-compliant clergy are may rubrics in the ELCA Constitution and Bylaws. They are actions that a bishop may do. Bishops are not mandated that they have to impose discipline or that they have to seek removal in such cases.
"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

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #129 on: August 12, 2007, 10:33:57 AM »
I think as long as we are considering the reality of the situation, we need to consider the reality of the ELCA.  Debates over sexuality are merely a symptom of the main problem, which is that as a synod we don't agree on how we view Scripture.  The fact of the matter is that there are two diametrically opposed views that continually clash.
Didn't + + Mark Hansen admit as much when he noted that there were two hermeneutics being used in the ELCA?  And can't it be argued that "Book of Faith:  Lutherans Read the Bible" is more or less intended to gradually remove one of those hermeneutics?
Is there a Lutheran way of reading the Bible that is different than the "fundamentalists" way? If so, shouldn't Lutherans concentrate on the Lutheran way?
"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]

scott3

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #130 on: August 12, 2007, 11:27:51 AM »
I think as long as we are considering the reality of the situation, we need to consider the reality of the ELCA.  Debates over sexuality are merely a symptom of the main problem, which is that as a synod we don't agree on how we view Scripture.  The fact of the matter is that there are two diametrically opposed views that continually clash.
Didn't + + Mark Hansen admit as much when he noted that there were two hermeneutics being used in the ELCA?  And can't it be argued that "Book of Faith:  Lutherans Read the Bible" is more or less intended to gradually remove one of those hermeneutics?
Is there a Lutheran way of reading the Bible that is different than the "fundamentalists" way? If so, shouldn't Lutherans concentrate on the Lutheran way?

So, I'm guessing that you are identifying your approach as the "Lutheran" way and discounting other approaches as "fundamentalist", or is that not what you intended to communicate?

John_Hannah

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #131 on: August 12, 2007, 01:14:44 PM »
Some thoughts from one who was there:  ...

-  Some of you from the LCMS appear to me to be gloating over the infidelity of the ELCA.  Please understand how painfully this is received.  Many orthodox ELCA members, including myself, spent the past week working 18 hours a day at the assembly to try to keep the ELCA from stepping into the abyss.  We are exhausted.  Whether our efforts bore any fruit will be determined in the fullness of time.  We simply seek to remain faithful.  I am somewhat surprised that a word or two of encouragement is not what seems in order to the LCMS folks here.  Perhaps you are unable to offer it, and that is your choice.  But as someone who has been a member of the LCMS and greatly respects that church body, it is a disappointment.

Ryan Schwarz
Steering Committee
Lutheran CORE

No gloating here! I and many other LCMS understand full well that you and many other ELCA colleagues are working overtime to remain faithful and keep the ELCA faithful. I have the utmost respect for you and for what you are doing. I pray that it does not come to the point where have to look for membership elsewhere (like the LCMS). If so, all of you will be received warmly by myself.

JOHN HANNAH, Pastor, Trinity (LCMS), Bronx
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Maryland Brian

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #132 on: August 12, 2007, 01:42:31 PM »

They feel they've already spoken and it's clear nobody cares to listen to what they've said.  After a while one realizes that the only thing one gets when beating one's head against a wall is a full-time headache.

Lou Hesse

  And we've been left with a 2.5 million dollar headache ...  I personally believe God will hold this church accountable for that waste of financial resources.  In the next 24 hours another 30,000 children will die from hunger and/or disease from polluted drinking water.  For all the "justice" language I heard bandied about this week, I nowhere find Adam and Steve's relationship as something God demands we address as a justice concern.  Now that I'm over the shock of yesterday I'm moving into anger.  Not so much about the vote, but the continuous waste of resources of time, talent and treasure demanded by the advocates.

As I say, I believe God will hold this church accountable for our mis-use of these resources and his hand, IMHO, will come against it (the ELCA).

MD Brian

Maryland Brian

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #133 on: August 12, 2007, 01:45:13 PM »
From a WordAlone email received today

NEWS RELEASE: ELCA assembly slips practicing gays in back door...


Was this image intentional or just an amazing coincidence that takes my mind to places it didn't need to go this afternoon?

MD Brian

Norsk

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #134 on: August 12, 2007, 01:57:40 PM »
MD Brian,
It was completely unintentional.  Perhaps an unfortunate choice of words (we have no desire to be inflammatory or crude, certainly), but totally unintentional.  I speak as one who helped with the release.
Ryan Schwarz