Poll

I have the following in my Lutheran congregation:

Members who are of Black, Asian, or Hispanic, etc. descent.
9 (100%)
Only White people.
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Members' "Whiteness"  (Read 2164 times)

Dave Benke

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2022, 12:41:37 PM »
The LCMS has not been a model of church integration any more than has the ELCA. But we do have history of outreach to southern Black's. In 1915 a young Black educator named Rosa Young reached out to Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Institute for help in keeping the Rosebud Literary and Industrial School that she had founded for Black students open. Washington was unable to help her but suggested that she contact the LCMS. They responded and provided funding and a missionary to assist. It was part of LCMS Black outreach.

Agreed on both counts, Dan - the numbers of those African-Americans who used to be part of the LCMS used to be a far higher percentage of the total than the LCA/ALC.  Because, in my opinion, of the primary urgent call to mission.  Now that we've closed our HBC, Concordia Selma, and sought to close the Black Student Union at CUW-AA for ideological reasons, for two recent examples, it's pretty difficult on a wider church basis to see ourselves as the knights in shining armor. 

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Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2022, 02:50:52 PM »
I believe that as Lutherans we would be well advised to take joy in preaching the Gospel to all men of every ethnic group God brings in our path.  I do take objection to any notion that there is something inherently negative about being white or in a white congregation.  The current guilt trip being foisted on white people via the CRT scam and the 1619 Project/curricula is, itself racist and counter-productive to both our congregations and our culture.

Charles Austin

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2022, 03:22:16 PM »
If you are in an all white congregation in a neighborhood where many of the people around your church are not all white, perhaps there are some questions you should ask yourself.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2022, 03:31:13 PM »
I believe that as Lutherans we would be well advised to take joy in preaching the Gospel to all men of every ethnic group God brings in our path.  I do take objection to any notion that there is something inherently negative about being white or in a white congregation.  The current guilt trip being foisted on white people via the CRT scam and the 1619 Project/curricula is, itself racist and counter-productive to both our congregations and our culture.

However, there are differences, especially of ecumenic groups. Mark Alan Powell relates an experience he had:in Chasing the Eastern Star

… I remember a seminar I attended in college. A large African-American man had two big signs up front. One read, “Jesus Christ accepts you the way you are.” the other said, “Jesus Christ will change your life.” Both are biblical and both are good news, the speaker affirmed. “So why is it that you Lutherans equate the gospel with one sign and not the other? You say, ‘Jesus will change my life? Well, that’s nice, but the really good news is that he accepts me the way I am!’ You get so excited that Jesus will accept you as you are that, after a while, some of us begin to wonder whether this isn’t because you plan on staying the way you are – whether Jesus will change you or not. Now, where I come from, in the inner city, I know some folks who – if you tell them, ‘Jesus accepts you the way you are’ – will respond, ‘Well, that’s nice of him, but the fact is I don’t really like being the way I am. My life isn’t so good. It’s nice that Jesus loves me even though I’m poor and hungry and my life is a mess, but you know what some really good news would be?” Really good news would be if he’d change my life so that I don’t have to be this way.’” [p. 181]

I used this in my "notes" on Luke 17:11-19 the added my comments:

Salvation for these men meant that their lives were changed. It was not something they did for themselves, but it was a miracle that came from God. When, in our preaching, do we need to stress that God comes to change people? When do we need to stress that God loves them the way they are? Perhaps we always need to say that God loves them just the way they are, but that God won’t leave them just the way they are. God is continuing transforming (or, we might say, raising) them into something new.
"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]

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2022, 04:14:49 PM »
Salvation for these men meant that their lives were changed. It was not something they did for themselves, but it was a miracle that came from God. When, in our preaching, do we need to stress that God comes to change people? When do we need to stress that God loves them the way they are? Perhaps we always need to say that God loves them just the way they are, but that God won’t leave them just the way they are. God is continuing transforming (or, we might say, raising) them into something new.

There's a lot going on here, bordering on a word salad trying to deal with an uncomfortable challenge to your orthodoxy.  I will simply point out that this sounds suspiciously like the third use of the law, which some have disparaged as legalism.   Perhaps more fodder for the proposition that antinomianism invariably ends up back at the law.  :-\
« Last Edit: October 04, 2022, 04:16:20 PM by MaddogLutheran »
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2022, 04:19:59 PM »
Racism is wrong and cannot be justified. But, there may be other reasons for congregations to not be as racially mixed as their neighborhoods. Rather than a matter of prejudice or an unwillingness to treat those of other races with Christian love, it could also be cultural incompatibility. People of differing ethnic backgrounds have different cultural tastes that are also reflected in their preferred worship styles.


A couple of weekends ago I was in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and attended a concert of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Of those who attended that concert, I really suspect that the audience present did not accurately reflect the ethnic and especially the cultural makeup of the Twin Cities. If you were to classify the population of the Twin Cities according to preferred music styles, the percentage of the population whose preferred music style would be Classical would be a small percentage. Rock or Country would appeal to a much higher percentage. Yet the audience at the concert was overwhelmingly made up of those who prefer Classical music, far more than their portion of the general population. Why? Prejudice against those who prefer Rock or Country? No, not really. They just don't care to attend concerts of music they don't like. Personally, I have attended many concerts over the years, but the closest that I've ever come to attending a Rock concert was going to see John Denver one time.


Different groups prefer different styles of worship music, degrees of formality of order of worship, preaching style. Attending worship at a church whose style they are comfortable with would be a natural choice. Any suggestions on how to craft worship services that will appeal to wildly different tastes in worship style? This as well as overcoming sinful prejudice is a barrier to a truly integrated church.
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Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2022, 04:27:28 PM »
Dan,
 Haven't you gotten the latest CRT memo?  Classical Music is considered racists in itself.  https://newmusicusa.org/nmbx/its-time-to-let-classical-music-die/

Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2022, 05:27:35 PM »
Here's the deal.  The Church really needs to stop thinking so much about race.  Every last one of our congregations is surrounded by a community, the vast majority of which does not attend our congregation.  Take Pagosa Springs, Colorado, for example.  We are surrounded by a large majority of white people.  There might be about 15% Hispanic folks (who are descendants of the Spanish Conquistadores...so don't call them Mexicans.  They don't like it!). So, we must ask, why are those white people staying away from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pagosa?  Well, I'm reasonably certain it's not racism as most of the folks who don't attend happen to be white.

Here's my take on why the vast majority of the people in our communities don't attend our congregation.  They don't believe what we teach and don't want any part of it or are ignorant of what we teach and prefer it that way.  I'd be willing to bet my last dollar the same is true for every community you live in and your congregation in that community.  Ethnicity has almost nothing to do with it. Does our Savior, Pagosa have its share of the Hispanic folks?  Yes, we do and through intermarriage that number is growing among us.  Great!

Now let's suppose you live in some community that is predominantly black ethnically.  Or predominantly Hispanic.  It really doesn't matter.  You have the same question to ask your congregation?  Why are the vast majority of people in our community not attending our church?  The answer is the same as above. 

I certainly don't know when the Lord plans to return to this sorry place and take us all home...the sooner the better in my book.  What I do know is that whatever part of the Last Days we are in is now about 2,000 years closer than it used to be.  And what do we know (from Scripture) about the last times?  It is a time of a great falling away, lots of apostasy, persecution of the Church, etc.  It's not a pretty picture.  Yet the Lord is faithful to His Church.

Our job is not to cater to any ethnic group, but to every ethnic group.  Our mission is to preach and teach the pure doctrine of Holy Scripture and to administer Christ's Sacraments in accord with His institution.  That's how we make disciples. That's all we have and that's all we need!

Yet, what do we constantly hear from our District Presidents or Bishops at our conventions?  At least in the districts in which I've served in the LCMS we get report after report about the progress (or lack thereof) regarding every non-white ethnic group we got in the area.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love the fact that the Gospel reaches every ethnic group including the white people.  The reality is that we are not doing that well with white people either!

We really need to stop this foolishness of trying to judge the effectiveness of the Gospel by taking headcount of how many non-white people are in our congregations. 

pearson

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2022, 05:39:01 PM »

Salvation for these men meant that their lives were changed. It was not something they did for themselves, but it was a miracle that came from God. When, in our preaching, do we need to stress that God comes to change people? When do we need to stress that God loves them the way they are? Perhaps we always need to say that God loves them just the way they are, but that God won’t leave them just the way they are. God is continuing transforming (or, we might say, raising) them into something new.


"Change"; "transforming"; "new."  What does any of this actually mean?  In themselves, these are mute gestures, not meaningful terms in a living discourse.  So what are we taking about?  That I stop being "me"?  That I get a "new attitude"?  As it stands, Mark Allen  Powell notwithstanding, this stuff won't preach.

Tom Pearson

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2022, 06:07:00 PM »

Salvation for these men meant that their lives were changed. It was not something they did for themselves, but it was a miracle that came from God. When, in our preaching, do we need to stress that God comes to change people? When do we need to stress that God loves them the way they are? Perhaps we always need to say that God loves them just the way they are, but that God won’t leave them just the way they are. God is continuing transforming (or, we might say, raising) them into something new.


"Change"; "transforming"; "new."  What does any of this actually mean?  In themselves, these are mute gestures, not meaningful terms in a living discourse.  So what are we taking about?  That I stop being "me"?  That I get a "new attitude"?  As it stands, Mark Allen  Powell notwithstanding, this stuff won't preach.


Having worked in an alcoholic rehab hospital, I saw lives changed.
Having worked in a regular rehab hospital (most clients were recovering from strokes), I saw lives changed.


Change happens when the clients trust the process. Going through the 12-steps. Attending meetings. Making use of one's sponsor, etc, for those in recovery. The boring repetition of menial tasks. The struggles to move a leg. The physical exercises the therapist gives for those in physical therapy. I know the seemingly easy repetitions the therapist had me doing, greatly helped my shoulder.


Why was there so much emphasis in the early church for daily devotions. Even Luther wrote out morning, evening, and meal-time devotions. It's a process by which we are changed.
"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 Benke

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2022, 07:54:40 PM »

Salvation for these men meant that their lives were changed. It was not something they did for themselves, but it was a miracle that came from God. When, in our preaching, do we need to stress that God comes to change people? When do we need to stress that God loves them the way they are? Perhaps we always need to say that God loves them just the way they are, but that God won’t leave them just the way they are. God is continuing transforming (or, we might say, raising) them into something new.


"Change"; "transforming"; "new."  What does any of this actually mean?  In themselves, these are mute gestures, not meaningful terms in a living discourse.  So what are we taking about?  That I stop being "me"?  That I get a "new attitude"?  As it stands, Mark Allen  Powell notwithstanding, this stuff won't preach.

Tom Pearson

Kaine Ktisis - new creation.  Behold, I make all things new.  Romans 12:2 do not be conformed but be transformed.  These are Scriptural terms applied to people.

Dave Benke
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pearson

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2022, 08:39:01 PM »

Kaine Ktisis - new creation.  Behold, I make all things new.  Romans 12:2 do not be conformed but be transformed.  These are Scriptural terms applied to people.


Of course.  But what do these motifs actually refer to?  If I am a “new creation,” what happened to the original creation?  If I am to be transformed, does that mean I am no longer Tom Pearson?  Put that way, it all sounds absurd.  But reading the texts in a straightforward manner, that is surely what they suggest.  In other words, what was there before is no longer there.  That may work well when we are talking about Christ’s transition from death to resurrection (and ours); but I can’t see how it works when we are talking about my created identity, and with the continuous narrative of my God-given life.  How does this stuff actually preach?  (I’m asking a genuine question here, because I have no answer).

Tom Pearson

Dave Benke

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2022, 09:58:38 PM »

Kaine Ktisis - new creation.  Behold, I make all things new.  Romans 12:2 do not be conformed but be transformed.  These are Scriptural terms applied to people.


Of course.  But what do these motifs actually refer to?  If I am a “new creation,” what happened to the original creation?  If I am to be transformed, does that mean I am no longer Tom Pearson?  Put that way, it all sounds absurd.  But reading the texts in a straightforward manner, that is surely what they suggest.  In other words, what was there before is no longer there.  That may work well when we are talking about Christ’s transition from death to resurrection (and ours); but I can’t see how it works when we are talking about my created identity, and with the continuous narrative of my God-given life.  How does this stuff actually preach?  (I’m asking a genuine question here, because I have no answer).

Tom Pearson

The "original creation" remains - "even now/not yet" or "flesh/spirit" in the Pauline terminology.  And yet at the same time, good Lutheran, we have the assurance of salvation propter Christum.  We are then "stewards of the mysteries."  The riches of the mystery is Christ in you/us all, the hope of glory.  And with Christ, of course, the Father and the Holy Spirit through baptism - the mystical union of God with the believer.  So the "new creation" is ontological.  Our lives ARE hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3). 

What remains is daily baptismal repentance, forgiveness and renewal, which does not eliminate sin and flesh, but allows the unfolding of God toward our eternal destiny in and through us. 

If nothing changes, then we're the most miserable of humanity.   If transformative change does not bend beneath the cross, it becomes a theology of glory and pride.

Dave Benke
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2022, 01:50:42 AM »

Kaine Ktisis - new creation.  Behold, I make all things new.  Romans 12:2 do not be conformed but be transformed.  These are Scriptural terms applied to people.


Of course.  But what do these motifs actually refer to?  If I am a “new creation,” what happened to the original creation?  If I am to be transformed, does that mean I am no longer Tom Pearson?  Put that way, it all sounds absurd.  But reading the texts in a straightforward manner, that is surely what they suggest.  In other words, what was there before is no longer there.  That may work well when we are talking about Christ’s transition from death to resurrection (and ours); but I can’t see how it works when we are talking about my created identity, and with the continuous narrative of my God-given life.  How does this stuff actually preach?  (I’m asking a genuine question here, because I have no answer).

1. There is a sense that the language of "born from above" in John 3 means that the old identity of Brian is gone and a new one is given. In the first century, people were born into their status, e.g., peasant, royalty, etc. Seldom could they change. Being born from above meant a whole new status. In some cultures, when adults are baptized, they take on new names.

2. An independent study I did on discipleship centered on Ephesians 4. Verse 13 uses the image of "mature adults" and "fully grown." in contrast to "infants" in verse 14. We are "to grow into Christ (v. 15). Then it talks about the body (the community of believers) growing, building itself up "with love as each one does their part." I concluded that the growth that happens in Christians is about their relationships with other people. There's nothing we can do to improve God's relationship to us. God has done it all. We can learn and grow and change in regards to our relationship with other people.


I make a comparison between the DNA that I was given at conception and the faith given at baptism. They do not change throughout out lives; but I have gone through many changes over my 70+ years in my body, my knowledge, my wisdom, etc. while keeping that same DNA. My faith - and the differences in makes in my life - has also gone through many changes from the time I was baptized. My knowledge continually grows. A key concept that grabbed me a few years ago is that the real question is not what you believe, but what difference it makes in your life that you believe? That, I now believe, is the essence of faith - not so much the "what," as I thought in my younger days, i.e., knowing the right stuff and considering it true; but "the difference" or "how one's convictions  about the truth affect one's day-to-day living.


In my notes on Luke 17:1-10, I ask, "Why do the apostles make the request, 'Increase our faith?'" Does that imply that one can have less or more faith? I suggested, within the immediate context, more faith could be related to standing up to temptations to sin. More faith could reduce the times we might cause others to sin. More faith might empower us to stand up agains those who have sinned against us. More faith could make us more forgiving of those who had wronged us. "Perhaps moving mulberry trees (or mountains as in Mark and Matthew) into the sea is an easier act of faith than moving us to 'rebuke' and 'forgive' people who have sinned against us, to confront sin and forgive it rather than always being nice."
« Last Edit: October 05, 2022, 01:57:07 AM 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]

Charles Austin

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Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2022, 04:32:27 AM »
Pastor Fienen:
Different groups prefer different styles of worship music, degrees of formality of order of worship, preaching style. Attending worship at a church whose style they are comfortable with would be a natural choice. Any suggestions on how to craft worship services that will appeal to wildly different tastes in worship style? This as well as overcoming sinful prejudice is a barrier to a truly integrated church.
Me:
So the focus, the governing principle of congregational life is worship style?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.