Author Topic: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?  (Read 72247 times)

bmj

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #165 on: August 13, 2007, 01:49:02 AM »
Someone asks:
ust curious -- I read the Fox News release -- where did they get it wrong?

I comment:
It wasn't the online version. I caught an on-the-air version that overstated the situation to make it appear as if the ELCA had whole-heartedly approved ordination for gays and lesbians.

Maybe they interviewed someone like Emily Eastwood from LCNA who portrayed it in this way:

"Today this church moved one giant step from the punitive rejection of partnered LGBT ministers to the willing tolerance of them. We see this decision as interim. Full inclusion and acceptance is still down the road, but the dam of discrimination has been broken. This is a great day for LGBT clergy who will walk into their pulpits tomorrow knowing perhaps for the first time that this church values their gifts for ministry more than the policy that would exclude them. The church is on the road to acceptance. The end of exclusion is in sight. With this decision the voting members signaled a desire for policy change, but the need for two more years to bring more of the church along."

http://www.lcna.org/lcna_news/2007-08-11.shtm

TravisW

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 464
    • View Profile
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #166 on: August 13, 2007, 01:57:34 AM »
We are exposed. To not discipline opens the door for a good lawyer. That is how it relates to the ELCA action. They are telling Bishops not to discipline.
Were any of the situations where pay outs were made anywhere similar to a congregation having a homosexual clergy in a committed relationship?

In the nearly 20 years of the ELCA that bishops have been refraining and demonstrating restraint in disciplining congregations with homosexual clergy in committed relationships and against homosexual clergy in committed relationships, has there been any lawsuit filed against those congregations? bishops? synods?

This is outside of the GL issue itself.  It's the issue of a churchwide assembly recommending that bishops refrain, or use restraint, in applying discipline to pastors in open violation of stated church policy.  If this recommendation were made in any other context, it would still have the same potential legal ramifications.  As it stands, it doesn't look good when a recommendation is made to defy current policy rather than just changing the policy.  It begs the question, "what other policies are overlooked?"

Paula Murray

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #167 on: August 13, 2007, 01:59:22 AM »
Hate going here again, but we keep speaking as if homosexual unions are equivalent to marriage.  That whole chaste and committed thing is largely a run around.  Self report coming directly from gay couples indicate that true monogamy is extremely rare, on the order of 10 to 20 percent.  Multiple partners outside of the "union" is much more the rule than the exception.  Gay men by and large are not interested in mutual and committed relationships.  More recent research indicates that lesbian relationships are surprisingly violent.  Second, while the absolute numbers of gay men abusing boys is low, the rate is high, indicating that more gay men abuse male children than straight.

It is as if the arguments proposed here and at CWA have absolutely no relationship with the way these relationships are actually experienced.  On purpose, I suppose.  I speak as one who has spent lots of time with people and families living with the fall out from these sorts of relationships.  It is not funny; it is tragic.

Paula Murray

Riegel

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #168 on: August 13, 2007, 02:15:25 AM »
Well, I've read this entire topic.  It took me more than one hour.  I know this because my registration expired while I was doing it.  My guess is that it took me 90 minutes, but I'm a slow reader.  I have noticed in that time that we have strayed pretty far from Falk's initial question
Quote
To what extent do you address the '07 CWA in your congregation tomorrow morning?  Or your next newsletter... or next week... or whatever else.  With the potential of folks waking up to headlines of "Lutherans OK pastors in gay couples"... what, exactly, do you say?  Thanks in advance for your help... I'm 13 months into my first call, so any advice on points like this is appreciated!
Assuming the question is intended to serve those who speak with authority (i.e., holding an office in the church, e.g., the pastorate), we must remember that we are not only interpreters of God's Word but also interpreters of our brother's (and sisters') words and deeds.  When interpreting God's Word, we are to be faithful (which includes several other virtures).  When interpreting the words and actions of others, we are to be charitable per Decalogue 8.  I wonder, though, does an antinomy arises in cases such as the one we have before us?  When the words or actions of another does harm to yet another, are we not bound by Decalogue 5 (or other approprite Law of the Second Tablet)?  As I puzzle this through, I consider that it was Ambrose that argued that failure to use force to defend the innocent by those with the capacity to use force was a failure in Christian charity.  The force here is not the power of the sword, but it is the power of rhetoric, rhetoric in the political arena of the church.  Is there, in a sense, an equivalent of Just War Theory for these sorts of situations.  It seems to me that LCNA, Good Soil, etc. have been waging a sort of war in the life of the church.  It even appears to have some of the marks of assymetrical warfare.  Do the Traditionalists have a valid jus ad bellum?  I think so.  Indeed, I think the questions posed are church dividing (regardless of the claim of Recommendation #1 of CA2005).  Both sides can claim status confessionis with their own internal logic (irrespective of the truth of the premises).  So, what are the rules of the jus in bello?  Will there be any civility in the next two years?  Is it called for?  I hope.  I would hate to see us descend into rhetorical barbarism, feasting on each other's young.  Still, I am concerned.  Perhaps I've been reading too much Hobbes lately, but it does seem as a contract has been broken.  Too many of us were promised that the study process would be allowed to work itself out.  So, we accepted a cease fire and came to the negotiations table.  Now, on our flank, there is a rapport.  We can argue about how large or small the explosion was, but it still appears that the cease fire was broken.  This does not bode well.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 02:18:13 AM by Riegel »

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #169 on: August 13, 2007, 05:46:48 AM »
Upstream I wrote:
The ELCA press releases - and most of the secular media, except for Fox News - got it right. Pastor McCain's slander is not surprising, but it is slander nonetheless.

I comment:
It has been pointed out by our esteemed moderator - and I agree - that the word "slander" may have been excessive. I read Pastor McCain's comment as accusing church communications workers of lying and putting out information that skews the truth for "corporate" reasons. Pastor McCain contends the reference to "refrain" from disciplining too precedence over "restraint" of discipline, and he places different values on those words. I'm not sure I do. But I will not call his remark "slander."
I will say that the purpose of church communications, especially as practiced within the ELCA, is to tell the truth, even when the truth might be difficult for the church or its members to bear. And if those handling press relations for the church do not tell the truth, their credibility with the media - who pass on our information - is lost.

Gary Schnitkey

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #170 on: August 13, 2007, 08:10:38 AM »
Upstream I wrote:
The ELCA press releases - and most of the secular media, except for Fox News - got it right. Pastor McCain's slander is not surprising, but it is slander nonetheless.

I comment:
It has been pointed out by our esteemed moderator - and I agree - that the word "slander" may have been excessive. I read Pastor McCain's comment as accusing church communications workers of lying and putting out information that skews the truth for "corporate" reasons. Pastor McCain contends the reference to "refrain" from disciplining too precedence over "restraint" of discipline, and he places different values on those words. I'm not sure I do. But I will not call his remark "slander."
I will say that the purpose of church communications, especially as practiced within the ELCA, is to tell the truth, even when the truth might be difficult for the church or its members to bear. And if those handling press relations for the church do not tell the truth, their credibility with the media - who pass on our information - is lost.

I suspect that you outburst may have been because you -- like many of us, at least occasionally -- put our professions on a pedestal.

The purpose of press releases by any organization (whether a business or church) is to put the news in the best possible light for the corporate interests of that organization.  As you state, lies can not be told in press releases as there creditability will be called more into question.  And sometimes bad news is dealt with for damage control purposes.  Nevertheless, one should always read a press release with the understanding that it represents the optimistic take of the organization.

Gary Schnitkey

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #171 on: August 13, 2007, 08:34:46 AM »
When discussing the actions related to CWA and sexuality, I think it needs to go beyond the official proceedings of the conference in order to provide context.  The following facts need to be confirmed.  There are pastors who are in gay/lesbian relationships who are serving congregations in the ELCA.  It is against official policy for this to occur but at the 2007 CWA delegates voted to be lenient in discipline of these pastors.  Passage of leniency was by a comfortable margin.  It is likely that pastors in gay/lesbian relationships will continue to serve ELCA congregations.

My take is that the ELCA is on the road to more fully integrating gays/lesbians into the ELCA.  That obviously is open for debate but delegates at CWAs have shown no indications of turning around.  I think pastors need to be honest with parishioners and state that it is likely that the ELCA will continue to allow pastors in gay/lesbian relationships to serve.  Moreover, it is important to note that many in the ELCA do not view having homosexual sex as a sin.  If the parishioner needs to find another denomination because of these positions, then so be it.

At this point, honesty and fair assessments of the future are important.  Hopes of future dramatic changes in ELCA positions on sexuality towards a more traditional view should, in my opinion, by dashed.

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #172 on: August 13, 2007, 09:08:51 AM »
Gary Schnitkey writes:
The purpose of press releases by any organization (whether a business or church) is to put the news in the best possible light for the corporate interests of that organization.  As you state, lies can not be told in press releases as there creditability will be called more into question.  And sometimes bad news is dealt with for damage control purposes.  Nevertheless, one should always read a press release with the understanding that it represents the optimistic take of the organization.

I comment:
This may be true in much - but not all - of the corporate world; but it is not the prevailing view in ELCA circles, nor was it the prevailing view in ALC and LCA worlds. I was assistant director of news for the Lutheran Council/USA, English editor for the Lutheran World Federation, and director of news for the LCA. The goal was never "optimism," nor was it "damage control." The goal was to tell the truth. Most of us involved in the news operations of the churches come out of secular journalism, and our goal was to write the stories as if we were writing for the secular press. At least that's the way I approached it for all the years I was doing it; and I sense the same view exists in the ELCA today.
Those of us in this sort of work frequently had our rumps kicked by bishops and bureaucrats because of this. I never took it personally.

Maryland Brian

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #173 on: August 13, 2007, 07:25:37 PM »
Those of us in this sort of work frequently had our rumps kicked by bishops and bureaucrats because of this. I never took it personally.

Alas, perhaps we should indeed pine for the good old days. When I look at the Lutheran these days mostly what I find is warmed-over 70's era liberalism parading as religions news.  The world have moved on and people have a multiple ways for obtaining information and obviously they are doing so.  Certainly their subscription numbers make clear even the average Lutheran has had enough of such bent and broken reporting.

It will be interesting to see how the Lutheran reports the Assembly, especially when so many of us watched it "live" on streaming video.  In other words, the question asked for this topic is still on target because only a small percentage of members will be exposed to Lutheran or Chicago spin. The meanings will most likely be conveyed by what a pastor does or does not say given a majority of Americans don't believe the veracity of the popular media either.

MD Brian

krs1984

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #174 on: August 13, 2007, 07:53:05 PM »

We are exposed. To not discipline opens the door for a good lawyer. That is how it relates to the ELCA action. They are telling Bishops not to discipline. If I was a Bishop I would go to my synod council with my synod lawyer and tell them the truth about the liability issues. We are exposed especially now since we are not to 'discipline'.
I am with Brian maybe I will inform my council that I will still discipline to protect us. It is only common sense.
People don't even need proof to ruin the congregation or my ministry they only need to 'accuse'
[/size]

You asked how this relates to the current discussion
Please read what I wrote.
It relates because of the issue of rejecting discipline

Erma_S._Wolf

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #175 on: August 14, 2007, 02:43:24 AM »
I encourage ELCA pastors who disagree with these latest actions and the trajectory the ELCA is on to do some heartfelt soul-searching and begin to trace these events back to their origins.

Which, of course, are found in the third chapter of Genesis.

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #176 on: August 14, 2007, 04:13:30 AM »
Maryland Brian writes (re The Lutheran magazine):
Certainly their subscription numbers make clear even the average Lutheran has had enough of such bent and broken reporting.

I comment: (And full disclosure. I occasionally write for The Lutheran, most recently an article on the current study of sexuality.)

Well, studies related to the circulation of The Lutheran suggest that most of the decline is due to congregations dropping the "every home plan" for subscriptions and that they do so mostly for financial reasons. Add to this the general decline in subscriptions to almost everything and it is harder to say that the "average Lutheran" is mad at the magazine.

Mel Harris

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 726
    • View Profile
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #177 on: August 14, 2007, 04:52:57 AM »

Well, studies related to the circulation of The Lutheran suggest that most of the decline is due to congregations dropping the "every home plan" for subscriptions and that they do so mostly for financial reasons. Add to this the general decline in subscriptions to almost everything and it is harder to say that the "average Lutheran" is mad at the magazine.


It is likely true that many congregations dropped their every home plan for financial reasons.  They did not think that what they were getting was worth the cost in either funds or in upset members.  How much of that is because they saw a decreasing value in what they were receiving is certainly open to question.  I have, over the years, heard more than a few parish pastors say that they were glad that not many of their people were receiving The Lutheran; particularly when some stories were published.  You could argue that some congregational leaders did not want the members of their congregation to know all of the things that were going on in our ELCA.  I was asked, by the other pastors of my conference (ALC then), to write to the first feature editor of The Lutheran to express our deep concerns in response to the press release announcing his appointment to the position, in which he stated what kind of stories he intended to feature in the new publication.

Those who have told me that they have stopped subscribing as individuals have often stated that they tired (or even got sick) of reading what was in the publication.  How much of that is the result of editorial decisions, and how much of that is the result of actions of the leadership of the ELCA could be debated.  I know that one of the members of the congregation here stopped his subscription to The Lutheran some time ago, but continues to subscribe to the Lutheran Forum/Forum Letter package.

Mel Harris
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 05:36:22 AM by Mel Harris »

Maryland Brian

  • Guest
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #178 on: August 14, 2007, 07:58:10 AM »
Well, studies related to the circulation of The Lutheran suggest that most of the decline is due to congregations dropping the "every home plan" for subscriptions and that they do so mostly for financial reasons.

  ... are you saying it's not worth the paper it's printed on?  Even I wouldn't be that harsh...  However, when financial decisions must be made the average congregation is deciding The Lutheran is less important than most things in the budget.  If it was of value I'm sure they'd find a way to continue funding it.

It's pretty clear that print media is fading, but liberal leaning ones are not just fading, they're tanking.  In addition, the whole liberal political agenda in mainline churches is proving an extraordinarily ineffective way to do mission, but that's another topic.  Alas, our PB even bemoans his lack of invitations to the White House!

Back to the point I was making before we started talking about how the liberal bias of religious reporters is killing off their magazines; it's the local pastor who will shape how this story is heard in ELCA congregations - whether they say something or decide to ignore it.  The denomination no longer has a method of direct access to this church's membership.

MD Brian

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #179 on: August 14, 2007, 08:46:37 AM »
Well, studies related to the circulation of The Lutheran suggest that most of the decline is due to congregations dropping the "every home plan" for subscriptions and that they do so mostly for financial reasons.
..snip..

  The denomination no longer has a method of direct access to this church's membership.

MD Brian

WHich means they will just have to trust that "interdpendence" concept.

Keep the Faith

Peter
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams