Author Topic: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders  (Read 5146 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2007, 06:41:41 PM »
In that respect, how can we, in good conscience (captive to the Word of God), give acceptance or tolerance to a behavior that has not only no mandate for (or positive example of) but clear prohibition against?
Simply stated, some do not believe that scriptures prohibit mutual, caste, and faithful committed same-gender relationships. Thus they can be captive to the Word of God, and approve the recent resolutions.

I do not want to turn this into another discussion of homosexuality. I think that the more general question raised with Timothy's circumcision is what should determine our actions when they are adiaphora -- neither commanded nor prohibited by scriptures? Seeking to avoid the homosexual issue; we still have circumcision -- should baby boys be circumcised or not. How should parents decide. (I can guess how the kid would vote :)). Other discusions have talked about clerical collars -- on what basis should a pastor decide to wear one or not? What about vestments? What about going to a bar for a drink? I'm sure that many other illustrations can be brought up where our freedom in the gospel allows us to make different decisions depending on our personal preferences, the situations we're in, the witness we seek to make, 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]

ptmccain

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2007, 07:07:24 PM »
I suppose this as good a place as any to ask this.

I understand now that the ELCA will be refraining from disciplining persons in committed same sex relationships. I'm wondering therefore how this would apply to a Lutheran pastor in the ELCA who identifies him/herself as bisexual. Is it the ELCA's expectation that this person will commit him/herself to one or the other gender in a mutual, chaste and committed relationship? And not discipline this person for doing so for now? Or would the person who is a bisexual be permitted to life out that sexual identify with persons of the other gender? Would the homosexual lobby consider any restraint placed on the bisexual to be an imposition of an injustice, given that they are bisexual?

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2007, 07:07:48 PM »
Had we used this logic with the Ordination of Women, we would still have congregations that (blatantly) refuse to accept a woman as their Pastor.  Instead, it was right and salutary for the denomination to demand that congregations accept all the clergy as acceptable instead of being allowed to "pick-and-choose," who they would accept.

FWIW, Jerry, we still have ELCA congregations that refuse to accept a woman as Pastor.  They learn that they may have to wait even longer to receive a nomination (that changes some minds), but at least in some synods that choice is respected.

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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2007, 07:19:03 PM »
I'm wondering therefore how this would apply to a Lutheran pastor in the ELCA who identifies him/herself as bisexual.

Two weeks ago, Paul, my response would have been that the bi-sexual pastor makes a choice one way or the other for that life-long, mutual, chaste, and faithful committed relationship.

But last week on the CWA floor, a female pastor got up and told us that shortly after her marriage (to a man) and ordination, the hole in her life was finally filled by her recognition that she was bi-sexual.  She remains happily married to her husband with whom she has made her home.  She didn't describe any other, uh, arrangements. 

So, I don't know any more.

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ptmccain

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2007, 07:36:15 PM »
I heard from an ELCA friend today who told me that apparently one of the ELCA's non-rostered gay pastors serving an ELCA congregation is "partnered" with a man who manages a gay erotica site on the internet and a magazine devoted to the same subject. He included the link but I will not share it here since this is a "family channel" and ... well, it's just plainly gross. He then offered this observation:

Lutherans are so naive and trusting. Using a subjunctive describing an unreal situation, we could consider the following:  If the relationship between a non-rostered ELCA gay pastor and his partner were the same as a marriage between a man and a woman, would it be proper for the spouse of a pastor to be a porn writer? The hard fact is that the way glbtq persons present themselves is not very to the reality. The want to be seen as "normal" but promote and engage in activities which would be repulsive were they to come to light. They want the church's imprimatur of decency so they can undermine decency. The ELCA has allowed itself to be used. It will cause many to stumble. They might want to blur accountability, but there is One who will hold them accountable.

I think my friend raises a very good point. Your thoughts?
 

bmj

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2007, 07:45:33 PM »
I suppose this as good a place as any to ask this.

I understand now that the ELCA will be refraining from disciplining persons in committed same sex relationships. I'm wondering therefore how this would apply to a Lutheran pastor in the ELCA who identifies him/herself as bisexual. Is it the ELCA's expectation that this person will commit him/herself to one or the other gender in a mutual, chaste and committed relationship? And not discipline this person for doing so for now? Or would the person who is a bisexual be permitted to life out that sexual identify with persons of the other gender? Would the homosexual lobby consider any restraint placed on the bisexual to be an imposition of an injustice, given that they are bisexual?

This is a very good question, one which I have thought about many times while listening to these discussions.  Assuming those who argue for a change would require such a person to remain in an relationship that is "life long" and "committed", then it would be evident that this person would HAVE to remain celibate to one set of desires that "God had given them".  If that is the case, it is clear they were born with some desires which opposed the grace of God?

I would be very interested in hearing how someone would argue that an attraction to both sexes is good, God pleasing, and a gift.


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2007, 07:58:07 PM »
If the relationship between a non-rostered ELCA gay pastor and his partner were the same as a marriage between a man and a woman, would it be proper for the spouse of a pastor to be a porn writer?
My strong hunch, based on the The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective, First Draft of a Social Statement of 1993, the sexuality statement of 2009 will include strong language against pornography and the use of sex in advertising.

I know of pastors who have been asked to resign from their positions because they were addicted to porn. The case I'm most familiar with, the pastor was going to have to successfully go through counseling before the bishop would even consider placing his name for call in another congregation.

However, I suspect that a bishop may find it difficult to file charges against a pastor for something a spouse (or partner) is doing. Their jurisdiction only falls over rostered people and congregations. If the rostered person is not violating any of the expectations or is not falling outside the definitions and guidelines for disicpline; the bishop and then a discipline hearing committee may have a hard time making a charge stick.

In our polity, the discipline of lay people is the responsibility of the congregation council. I also note that the pastor in question is non-rostered, thus s/he does not fall under the authority of the bishop.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 07:59:41 PM 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]

Dave_Poedel

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2007, 08:37:52 PM »
If the relationship between a non-rostered ELCA gay pastor and his partner were the same as a marriage between a man and a woman, would it be proper for the spouse of a pastor to be a porn writer?
My strong hunch, based on the The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective, First Draft of a Social Statement of 1993, the sexuality statement of 2009 will include strong language against pornography and the use of sex in advertising.

I know of pastors who have been asked to resign from their positions because they were addicted to porn. The case I'm most familiar with, the pastor was going to have to successfully go through counseling before the bishop would even consider placing his name for call in another congregation.

However, I suspect that a bishop may find it difficult to file charges against a pastor for something a spouse (or partner) is doing. Their jurisdiction only falls over rostered people and congregations. If the rostered person is not violating any of the expectations or is not falling outside the definitions and guidelines for disicpline; the bishop and then a discipline hearing committee may have a hard time making a charge stick.

In our polity, the discipline of lay people is the responsibility of the congregation council. I also note that the pastor in question is non-rostered, thus s/he does not fall under the authority of the bishop.

However....is not the Bishop the Pastor of all of the souls in his/her Synod?  We are getting so legalistic here by arguing about whom the Bishop has authority over. Are we not losing the idea that the Bishop, especially under the symbolism of the historic episcopate, is the Pastor of each congregation along with the called Pastor of said congregations?  We have emasculated (OK, I know, women Bishops...) the Office to the point of being an advisory administrator.  Why bother with HE is there is no continuation of the Office of Bishop as practiced by all everywhere for all time?

ptmccain

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2007, 08:50:28 PM »
I believe the point would be that the Bible says a pastor is to be of good repute and one who manages his household well.

Wouldn't having a "spouse/partner" who is the editor of an on-line gay porn magazine be problematic for this Biblical expectation of a pastor?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2007, 09:36:45 PM »
However....is not the Bishop the Pastor of all of the souls in his/her Synod?
The phrase that is used is "Pastor to the pastors." (As such, I had my bishop at the time, come and baptized our children. He came to a congregation that wasn't celebrating an anniversary nor dealing with conflict, but to officiate at a baptism.)

Definition and Guidelines for Discipline includes sections on Ordained Ministers; Commissioned Teachers, Deacons or Deaconesses, and Congregations. Under congregations there are only three grounds for discipline:
a. Departing from the faith confessed by this church is grounds for discipline of a congregation of this church. A summary of the faith confessed by this church is found in Chapters 2 and 3 of this church's constitution.
b. Willfully disregarding or violating any of the criteria for recognition as congregations of this church is grounds for discipline of a congregation of this church. These criteria are set forth in 9.21. and 9.22. of this church's constitution.
c. Willfully disregarding or violating the provisions of the constitution or bylaws of this church is grounds for discipline of a congregation of this church.


There is nothing that permits a bishop or synod from disciplining a lay member of a congregation. The model constitution for congregation gives the authority for disciplining congregational members to the pastor with the congregational council.
"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: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2007, 09:39:15 PM »
Wouldn't having a "spouse/partner" who is the editor of an on-line gay porn magazine be problematic for this Biblical expectation of a pastor?
Probably, but it needs to be the congregation council who takes action against such a spouse; or complain to the bishop that the spouse is having a negative affect on the pastor's ability to do ministry in that place; then the bishop could step in.
"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]

ptmccain

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2007, 09:44:05 PM »
Probably? ???

Gladfelteri

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2007, 09:47:48 PM »
Dave Poedel:  is not the Bishop the Pastor of all of the souls in his/her Synod? 

Me:  Yes!

Dave Poedel:  We are getting so legalistic here by arguing about whom the Bishop has authority over. Are we not losing the idea that the Bishop, especially under the symbolism of the historic episcopate, is the Pastor of each congregation along with the called Pastor of said congregations? 

Me:  That is how it is supposed to be, but I doubt that model of polity would fly in American Lutheranism.

Dave Podel:  We have emasculated (OK, I know, women Bishops...) the Office to the point of being an advisory administrator.  Why bother with HE is there is no continuation of the Office of Bishop as practiced by all everywhere for all time?

Me:  That is a good question.  I would say there is no need to under those circumstances.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 09:52:57 PM by Irl Gladfelter »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2007, 10:11:10 PM »
I just remembered what Woody Allen said concerning being bisexual. "Well, it doubles your chances of getting a date for Saturday night."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Full inclusion through grace and standards for leaders
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2007, 11:32:04 PM »
Probably? ???
Well, if the spouse were making $500,000 and tithing to the church, they might consider that the good deed was enough to offset the bad occupation. Well, it could happen :)
"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]