Author Topic: Quite a discussion going on at LQ called "Unionism at Fort Wayne Seminary?"  (Read 17284 times)

pastorg1@aol.com

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Pastor Wolf,

I know a police sargeant who, when she first joined the California Highway Patrol, was called a "Chipette."

I said, "Think what would happen if I joined as a chaplain; I'd be a Chipmonk."

Ho.

Pete Garrison
Pete Garrison

Richard Johnson

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The question is will I be cordial when I speak with female pastor?  Of course.  But should that cordial behavior inhibit speach?  No . 

You just don't seem to get it, Revd. Impolite speech is not cordial behavior. In this forum, you are in the presence of women who are ordained in their church body. You are, in fact, speaking with female pastors. You are in fact not being cordial. It is entirely possible to have a strongly held opinion about something without resorting to ridicule and sarcasm when speaking with others who do not agree with you. And that is especially true if the ridicule and sarcasm is hurtful to those involved in the conversation. Exhorting someone to be polite and charitable in their speech is not the same thing as inhibiting speech.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Maryland Brian

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:29-32

peter_speckhard

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Bear in mind also that this is a two-way street. There is such a thing as passive-aggressive politeness. A woman pastor in a setting where many are opposed to the ordination of women can, without saying anything overtly confrontational, simply put herself forward through assumptions in such a way that people who object to women's ordination feel they are being forced to the margins of the group by going along with it or being tagged with the label of bull-in-a-china-shop lout if the say anything. There seems (sometimes at least) to be very little sensitivity to how awkward such meetings can be for someone who genuinely doesn't believe in women's ordination and thinks it overtly disobedient to God's Word. Of course, it is just as awkward for the woman pastor-- she would feel marginalized if she in any way acknowledged something different about her standing as a member of the clergy in the group due to her gender. Since it is a delicate situation, it calls for diplomacy on both sides, not merely a demand that those who oppose women's ordination in every way pretend that they don't in the presence of a woman pastor. Factor in the solidarity that some people feel with those who really are being formally and institutionally marginalized in Lutheran churches overseas for opposing women's ordination and it becomes clear why some people have a hard time playing nice to the satisfaction of those who find their objections misguided or minor. To some conservatives, a woman pastor does not merely represent something alien or uncomfortable, like a black family in an all-white neighborhood. Rather, to these people she represents something immoral (and oppressive) no matter how nice and pastoral she might be. If a family contains striking union workers and members of management at the same company, a family get-together will likely be awkward no matter how you slice it. If the striking union worker struggling to pay his bills is invited to a big party at his brother-in-law the executive's house, and the food is sumptuous, who is responsible for the stiff and perhaps icy conversation between the two, the executive who offers a smile and a hearty handshake and a "no hard feelings" demeanor (while holding all the cards, so to speak) as though that niceness in itself is not confrontational, or the union worker who simply offers straighforward confrontation in the form of snide comments like "how many people did you have to fire to afford this new addition to your house?" I would say that the union worker will almost certainly get chided for his rudeness, but the fault lies also in part with the executive who failed to project a certain attitude, not so much of apology (though that is what the worker might have liked) but at least of deference and respect. Similarly (and again, given the solidarity that some feel for pastors overseas who are losing their positions, reputations, and livelihoods for standing firm on this issue) a pastor who opposes women's ordination being confronted with a warm and hearty "no hard feelings" welcome by a woman pastor finds it pretty tough to take-- her clergy collar itself is like the executive's big new house; it seems to some people almost like a personal insult even though it obviously isn't-- and if he can't help himself but be a little harsh or rude, he certainly ought not be excused for it, but there also ought to be a lot of understanding for his actions rather than just total criticism of him as though the problem were all on one side.

Elsewhere in this forum a member commented that he felt so betrayed and wronged by the LCMS that he will never again set foot on a Concordia campus. Apparently to do so for him would feel like capitulating to a wrong, or at least having to refight an old battle. There is a symbolic power of sorts (and also spiritual danger) in such an attitude and gesture of rejection, even though many people who know and love the Concordias might be offended that someone would think them so awful as to be worthy of such treatment. Many people who have fought the wars over women's ordination and won them at great price or lost them outright feel in the presence of a woman pastor the same way this man would feel walking onto the Concordia campus. One way to deal with those feeelings would be to vow never to meet with a woman pastor. Not a very good option, and probably not logistically possible anyway; pastors do not stay in one place like the Concordia campus does. So what can they do? What gesture is available that doesn't immediately ruin all dialogue by giving grave offense, but still expresses some sort of symbolic resistance or disapproval?

Charles_Austin

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So where does this end up, Peter? Are women pastors to be treated with respect or not?

Jim Butler

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1) I was on LutherQuest for some time. (Check the archives; you'll find posts by me.) I quit because I figured out that there was no such thing as fruitful dialog on those pages; they shoot first and ask questions later. If you are looking for a careful, nuanced discussion about the STS retreat and how it interacts with LCMS fellowship issues--it's not going to be there. Indeed, many go way beyond the actual teaching of the LCMS (and many participants are WELS, ELS, and other micro synods and independents). It's also often insulting in demeanor. So please, take whatever you read there with a huge grain of salt and do not assume that this is mainstream LCMS thinking. (For many on LQ, the WELS and ELS are not conservative enough, so what does that tell you?)

2) I doubt seriously that anyone in the LCMS actually hates the STS folks nor would most assume that you are liars of any sort. Some of us are supportive of what you are attempting to do. My guess is that 3/4 of the pastors of the LCMS have never heard of the STS (let alone the Society of St. Polycarp). Again, please do not take LQ as representative of LCMS as a whole (no more than taking JesusFirst or Daystar as representative of the LCMS as a whole). As I see it, the STS did try to listen to the concerns of CTSFW and tried to meet those concerns. I personally appreciate this.

3) On the issue as to whether or not the LCMS thinks the ELCA is "Lutheran enough," I remember a discussion I had with the former ELCA New England Synod bishop. He asked me if I thought the ELCA was an orthodox Lutheran church. I said, that, as I understood the orthodox Lutheran faith, the answer would be no. However, as he understood the orthodox Lutheran faith, the LCMS would not be "Lutheran enough" either. The LCMS understanding of Lutheranism tells us to reject agreements with the Reformed; the ELCA's understanding moves it to sign these agreements. The LCMS understanding caused us to reject the JDDJ; the ELCA's understanding led them to sign it. The LCMS understanding leads us to reject the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy; the ELCA's understanding is leading them to accept it. Let's be honest: on an official level, the ELCA and LCMS have two different understandings of what it means to be Lutheran and neither is truly "Lutheran enough" for the other.

4) As to women pastors, while I do not accept the ordination of women, I do not see any reason not to refer to them as "pastor." While the treatment of our brother pastors overseas is a travesty, I don't think Pr. Erma Wolfe or any other female pastor in the ELCA is responsible for that treatment. So long as those who support the ordination of women treat me with respect (and do not attempt to require me to agree with them on this point) I will treat them with respect. That is, in my mind, one of the strengths of denominations--we can each go as we believe the Lord teaches on a given matter. Such division is sad at times, but it is also a reality.

Hope these comments add to the discussion in a positive way.


The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

peter_speckhard

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So where does this end up, Peter? Are women pastors to be treated with respect or not?
Yes they are. I often meet with women pastors and treat them with respect.
The point of my post, though, was to show that it ends up being a trickier question than the one you pose. The rudeness of one may stem from the passive-aggressive politeness of the other. The call for respect from the one may dishonor the legitimate feelings and symbolic loyalties of the other. A person can vow never to set foot on the Concordia campus again, and that may or may not be wise, but at least it is in his power to do it and it carries some symbolic significance. The questions I ended my post with were not rhetorical devices but genuine questions. When women pastors and pastors who oppose women's ordination meet, what gesture of non-compliance is available to the latter? What concession ought be asked of the former? Say, for instance, a conservative LCMS pastor Bob Smith meets a pastor Jane Doe. If he tries to be very respectful of her person without acknowledging the legitimacy of her position, can he say, "I'm very pleased to meet you, Ms. Doe," or would that mode of address be taken as disrespectful merely because it fails to take into account her position? I would say, yes, that is disrespectful. But it ought not be ruled out of bounds until somebody puts forward an exmaple of what wouldn't be disrespectful that also doesn't simply demand the pretense of capitulation on Pastor Smith's part. It is easy to say that someone who uses the word "priestess" just doesn't get it, and that may be true in some cases. But what I'm looking for is some evidence that those who, perhaps rightly, criticize that word nevertheless "get it" when it comes to why someone would use it. It isn't always because they are rude or obtuse or socially inept people. It is because the situation is a lot more complicated than the question "should women pastors be treated with respect" makes it out to be. That's why I think the analogy of the person who vowed never to set foot on the Concordia campus again is particularly applicable to this discussion. The people who agree with the gesture need to be sensitive to those who love and support Concordia. The people who disagree with that gesture ought not simply tell the person to grow up unless they can demonstrate that they at least understand and sympathize with the motivation behind the gesture. And both sides ought to acknowledge that bringing such a person and Concordia together requires a lot more than simple politeness and respect.

Richard Johnson

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Hope these comments add to the discussion in a positive way.

Indeed they do. Thanks for them.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Peter writes:
Yes they are. I often meet with women pastors and treat them with respect.

I comment:
Good. And you acknowledge that they are clergy, even though you think it is wrong for them to be such. I thought it was otherwise.

navyman

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Many of us LCMS pastors do not "despise" any individual ELCA pastor. What we do actually abhor is the false teaching that has the ELCA in a vice-like death grip. And to that extent, we must not, and can not ever, concede that the ELCA is a genuinelly Lutheran Church. That there are Lutherans in the ELCA is indisputable and as I've said here often before, and will repeat here again, all LCMS pastors who love Christ and His Word share a genuine concern for all ELCA pastors and members alike who are striving to be faithful to God's Word, who have, and continue, to stand in protest over against the formal and official doctrinal positions of the ELCA that are, and remain, contrary to Sacred Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

As for what happened at CTS Fort Wayne. Seminary officials there are responsible for whatever decisions or agreements or understandings were in place at the time of the STS meeting there. And I'm sure appropriate conversations will continue over what happened , but LutherQuest is no more a responsible forum for trying to "figure all this out" anymore than this forum is.

As for LutherQuest. It is not a LCMS forum. It has a cast of characters on it every bit as, let us say, "colorful," as any found here, on the other end of the spectrum no doubt, but colorful in their own right.





concede that the ELCA is a genuinelly Lutheran Church, Yes, and the LC MS, is not the only real Lutheran church that doesn't consider is genuinely Lutheran either.

Don Whitbeck

navyman

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I think that most pastors that I know would not appreciate being referred to as a "priestess."

John Dornheim

Take it up with C.S. Lewis

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP

It wasn't he who I had in mind. I suspect he'd be more cordial, though.

John Dornheim


But we do support feminist theology don't w?  Just look at the new LBW, we have more then one way of saying something other then Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  As well, many reference to TEC worship practice!  This why our congregation refused to purchase them.  We don't believe in it, or what ELCA HQ pushes down to the congregations, as truth!

Don Whitbeck

LutherMan

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I called several ELCA parishes awhile back to inquire about buying or acquiring hymnals from pre-predecessor bodies of ELCA (ie: The Hymnal-Augustana Synod & Hymnal For Church and Home-Danish Synods) and both women pastors from different parishes graciously invited me to come and pick one up for my collection.  

The former Augustana parish pastor invited me into her office for coffee and a discussion since I was new to the neighborhood and recently relocated to the Midwest from the Left Coast.  When she found I was LCMS and had joined an LCMS parish 3 1/2 miles from home (her parish is 4 blks from my home) her demeanor became defensive and she asked me point blank if I agreed with Missouri's position re: women pastors and I answered in the affirmative as politely as I could.  It would have been a more cordial visit if she hadn't immediately launched into that topic upon discovering I was LCMS, IMO.  I do appreciate the hymnal she gave me...

navyman

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So where does this end up, Peter? Are women pastors to be treated with respect or not?

I would say yes they should be treated with respect for the office they hold, just like a cop, a firefighter, and etc.  However, one doesn't have to agree with the teaching of it, or the acceptance of it.  I'm more concern about the false theology and doctrine of feminists, gods, and a false christ, and false holy spirit, and the teaching of it in a Christian Church!

After all Christ called him Father, not mother earth, or mother some thing else.  God's spirit, is male, because God the Father is male, like Christ was male.

The ELCA seems to accept both!  Just another reason to say we are anything but orthodox.

Don Whitbeck

Richard Johnson

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her demeanor became defensive and she asked me point blank if I agreed with Missouri's position re: women pastors

I would agree that in that circumstance, it was a rude question for her to ask. Thank you for answering politely.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

LutherMan

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Mr. Whitbeck, I am curious why you remain in an ELCA parish since it appears your beliefs differ so diametrically from ELCA's doctrine and practices.  Care to explain?