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Messages - Eileen Smith

Your Turn / Re: Trinity Sunday
June 08, 2020, 04:35:03 PM
John Reumann+ wrote an article a number of years ago on this subject.  He came down on the side of seeing our pets in heaven.  I wish I had saved it as it was so poignant. 
Your Turn / Re: The End of the NYT
June 08, 2020, 04:31:45 PM
I'll admit that I'm willing to pay if only for David Brooks.  I always look forward to his columns.
Your Turn / Re: Candace Owens video. Thoughts?
June 06, 2020, 09:23:54 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on June 05, 2020, 10:16:00 PM
Eileen, I hope that you will join me in prayers that saner, cooler, more soulful heads will prevail at the higher levels of our government so that what is good, noble and hopeful about our great country will not be further damaged. We still have checks and balances - protections against misuse of presidential authority - in place. People who do have souls, are compassionate and live in the real world are out there and up there. May they speak and may they prevail.

Amen!  I am certainly with you in prayer. 
Your Turn / Re: Candace Owens video. Thoughts?
June 05, 2020, 07:18:23 PM
Quote from: Coach-Rev on June 05, 2020, 05:37:23 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on June 05, 2020, 03:59:56 PM
Yeah, That video is a brilliant example of civil dialogue. Not.

There ARE important factors mentioned here, despite the source (that is indeed a biased one).

"'When black people kill black people, they don't come out and do this crap,' she said. 'The only time they do this crap is when a white person does it.'  Ninety-four percent of black homicide victims from 1976 to 2005 were killed by other African-Americans, the National Review reported last year.

Over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, 84 people were wounded by gun violence and 24 of them died, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Yumga attempted to point out facts like these but was met with willful ignorance and combativeness."

Way to so casually dismiss an opinion contrary to your own.  Way to meet her perspective with willful ignorance and combativeness, Charles.

I found Candace's video one of not really comprehending what is happening in America and what has gone on for years.  There are points I'd quibble with but primarily all I can see is the hopelessness of blacks.  Spending most of my life in the Bronx and Queens I saw neighborhoods decline and I don't believe for a moment it was lack of upkeep (as some have thought to put out there) but day after day after day of living in a world of no hope.  This builds and builds until it simply overflows and we're seeing that played out.

The more important video is the one of a retired (doesn't matter - active or retired) law enforcement officer killing another human being in such a brutal way that I can't even write about it without tears.  There are no adjectives.  Reprehensible, deplorable - there are none that captures this act and the other officers who chose to watch.  AND, perhaps most importantly, not simply blacks who saw it but young blacks who see this as the way their lives will play out.  So they loot a store - what does it matter - they have no hope in our legal system.

Are there, as alleged, people protesting for reasons other than this senseless death; that is, do some have another agenda?  That may be, but it doesn't negate from the issue that a man suffered a death he should not have endured by people whom he should be able to trust.

I have been unable to discuss this death even with family and friends who may agree with me.  I may not comment again on this thread as some things are just too difficult to ponder.  But I will state this and it comes with an apology of sorts.  For almost four years I have read Pastor Austin's assessment of Trump and while I might not like Trump I didn't see him as one to be feared.  I am prepared to say that I agree with Pastor Austin.  This man is soulless.  He has little touch with reality and in the reality of the world he lives in there is absolutely no compassion or even the smallest attempt at understanding others.  His handing of COVID convinced me that he is not equipped to lead this country in a crisis and these past few days have convinced me that what I simply put down to ego is rather megalomania and that he is, indeed, dangerous.

Quote from: Michael Slusser on June 01, 2020, 10:58:38 AM
A priest friend of mine finally got me to read a reflection by another priest friend of mine, who came from Milwaukee but now teaches in the Bronx at Fordham, Fr. Bryan Massingale:
It's a longish essay, but it addresses many of the questions and concerns that have been raised on this Forum as well as in the media. He speaks to what people can do--including the churches, especially the RCC--and includes the essential role of prayer.
     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."


On a personal note thank you for posting this, Father Slusser.  To say that the year 2020 has been disastrous is an understatement.  But for me this murder of an innocent man in such a horrific manner goes beyond anything we've seen.  I read this thread each day, I want to contribute, but not only do I have a lack of wisdom, I have become devoid of emotion.  I am so agitated since this killing that I cannot have trouble focusing on anything.  And yet I have no words.  This essay allowed me to feel and while the feelings are very painful I am relieved. I am relieved to feel pain and relieved to feel anger.  It will be difficult to grow into these feelings as the days progress but it will place me in fervent prayer for George Floyd, his family, and those who suffer injustice.  Thank you.

On a more practical point, it is a time for a president to meet with the nation - come into our homes in a presidential speech rather than a COVID rant.  But that would only be true had we had a president that was not a megalomaniac.  At a time such as this, do we really want to risk having a wild-card 'calm the nation' speech?  Some argue Trump is racist others argue he's not.  I won't take a side except to say that he has allowed racism to proliferate with his words and actions.  Rather than calm I fear he would incite.  A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time. 

Your Turn / Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
May 25, 2020, 08:45:48 PM
I, too, watched the concert from Washington as Joe and I did every year.  It was difficult without Joe next to me.  Much like the Hannah family we would stand to sing the National Anthem and stood for Taps.  We enjoyed the Armed Services medley and sang along - standing, of course, for the Marines. 

Of the members of my family who served in the military "only" one was killed in Vietnam - one too many.  I thought it appropriate, given the current circumstances, to honor the front line people this year and it was done tastefully and without great fanfare.  But I hope we return to the nature of the day:  honoring those who died in service to our country. 

Perhaps we do need more songs to be composed to recognize the many ways people have served.  My husband rarely talked of his service and my dad never talked of his service in the Battles of Tarawa and Saipan.  Men and women who join the military do deserve a special observance be it on Veterans Day or a day such as this, Memorial Day. 

No one is excluded yet not everyone is included.  And, quite honestly, that is okay.  We are all called to serve God's children in some way yet not all in the same way.  When I die bishops most likely will not come to the funeral as they would for a deceased pastor.  It doesn't make me less than, simply different than.  Just as military honors are given to those service men and women    does not make them better than, simply different than.   

Your Turn / Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
May 25, 2020, 08:22:34 PM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on May 25, 2020, 04:05:13 PM

A heartfelt YouTube video . The music is John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan. The pictures are U. S. military cemeteries around the world with the number intered.

Another YouTube video based on the British patriotic hymn "I Vow to Thee My Country" and adapted for the United States.

May I add to this:
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
May 21, 2020, 06:16:34 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on May 21, 2020, 05:44:42 PM
BTW, One might wonder whether the Catholics and the LCMS are using this tragic situation to make some "points" about the alleged "threats" to religion they see taking place or taking a chance to get in some swipes at a liberal governor or to position themselves on what they see as the "right" side of a political dust-up.
What role did the Beckett people have in bringing the LCMS into this particular strategy?
We have many many examples of how churches are serving their people during the current situation that do not require violating civil standards for safety.

This comment may pass blithely by without a nod or (unless I skipped some of the conversation on this thread) may open a bit of a can of worms.  I think in making such a remark we, in the ELCA, should first look at our own log.  With great respect of Bishop Eaton I will say that I am disappointed that this pandemic has been used to bring up the list of "isms."  My own Bishop, Tracie Bartholomew, has done the same.  Is it true that this pandemic has hit areas of poverty harder than other areas of the country - the data supports that.  Looking at a quick description of racism, "Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person's social and moral traits are predetermined...."  In speaking with some pastors and deacons this week on the subject it was offered that the pandemic has hit the black community hard (very true) as well as Latino, Hispanic, etc.  But these are not the only people living in poverty.  There are many white people who have lived in poverty for generations, not able to pull themselves out.  I'd go as far to say that to suggest only those in poverty are non-whites is a form of racism.  We are, in a sense, labeling them and while trying to help those in poverty we are creating chasms.  To use a pandemic that has brought so many deaths not only in this country but globally to continue this rhetoric is no better than suggesting that a church body may see the hope for the end of the church.  I fully acknowledge that racism exists.  But to overlook many white people who do live in poverty to make a point gets us no where except to further the distance in races.  Could we simply not acknowledge that sadly this pandemic has been more prevalent among those in poverty -- and those in nursing/assisted facility housing -- than in other demographics. 
Your Turn / Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
May 20, 2020, 05:56:57 PM
Quote from: D. Engebretson on May 20, 2020, 09:37:54 AM
The Feast of the Ascension, in Lutheran circles, is unfortunately not widely celebrated, as it probably once was.  Although, in a small way I have noticed that it had an impact on our forefathers based on traditional altar art and statuary.  Even though my church has not yet opened for 'in-person' worship (our first service scheduled for May 31), I will have a live streamed Ascension Day service of the Word tomorrow night.  I have noted in my circuit over the years that I seem to be the last one still holding on to this honored festival.  Admittedly, it does not have the 'pull' of the more well known festival times.  However, it is still a high point of the Easter season and should not be overlooked, especially this year.  For having observed the passion and suffering of our Lord, then His glorious resurrection, now we see Him assume his rightful place at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us.  Victory, not defeat. 

Ascensiontide is part of an 'enthronement festival' where the coronation of Christ is celebrated, and by extension, for those 'in Christ,' the enthronement of God's people as well.  John Chrysostom declared that "our very enthroned today high above all cherubim." The Collect of the Day reflects this when we pray: "so we may also in heart and mind ascend and continually dwell there with Him..."

These themes are brought out in such hymns as "Up Through the Ranks of Angels by Jaroslav Vajda  (LSB #491) or "On Christ's Ascension I Now Build" (LSB #492) or "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing" (LSB #493) or "See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph" (LSB #494) or "Look, Ye Saints, the Sight is Glorious" (LSB #495). With the Ascension we anticipate our Lord's return in glory and the final resurrection where death is swallowed up forever.  We celebrate the sign of His conquering and triumph over sin and death and Satan. What an appropriate festival for this time of crisis so full of sickness and death!  Instead of looking only to our present suffering, we are called to look heavenward in faithful anticipation of what we know is yet to come. We look to the heavens not in sadness, but in joy: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

As a festival of the church it was celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter already by the fourth century.  St. Augustine claimed that it was at his time celebrated "all over the world."

To our list of hymns I'll add "Hail Thee Festival Day" v 2 with 1 sung at Easter and 3 on Pentecost. 

I'd be interested to know why we have effectively lost the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.  Is it that services are held on a Thursday?  Something else?   Some congregations I know have joint services but I don't know of any churches around here other than Roman Catholic that commemorate this feast.
I wonder if we are all speaking the same language in our discussion on joy.  I think of joy and/or happiness as something that touches us in this world.  It's not a bad thing - it comes from God's hand.  But it is fleeting. A trip to a restaurant  or a special trip creates memories that may remain but even these memories dull over time and do not give us long-term joy. 

For God's people I think a better term is contentment.  Are we content with what God has given us?   Contentment is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes to us in baptism.  It is the peace that we cannot understand and yet we knowingly possess it.

I do not disregard the toll that isolation is taking on people across our country and this world.   I often feel it myself.  By the third month of this year we were in lock down and just preceding that lockdown my husband died.  I am very blessed in that I have family, a church family, my husband's church family, and friends who have been wonderful to me.  Yet there are difficult days - days that seem very long and lonely.  But I am grateful to God that even on my more difficult days I still feel content.  Happiness or joyfulness is not the same as contentment.  I may be very sad and yet I feel content with the life God has given me, the gifts he has shared with me.   Contentment allows that "I wish" is eased out of our vocabulary because we already have.

Your Turn / Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
May 04, 2020, 10:16:09 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on May 04, 2020, 09:49:18 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term "Mother God." Supposing in that service, is the "traditional" liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there's that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

As one making amends for a misreading of the original statement above, may I offer my (re)take on Mother God.  Is it idolatry?  Yes.  Idolatry isn't as simple as a word or phrase used in a "traditional" liturgy, it is the intent as well.  We set our needs above what God wills for us and cast aside his promises.  Yes, there are women who may find it difficult to pray to God the Father but does the church not lead them to understand that no matter the relationship with their earthy father or spouse, God protects and cares for them.  We are doing no favors to affirm language created with the express intent to superimpose the god that we wish to create over the God who created us.  Substituting language for something not intended shows a lack of trust in God's promises.

We seem to think that we are superior to those who first handed down the faith of the church and so we we might say, It's complicated.  Actually, it's not complicated at all.    Scripture is quite clear on who our Father is and through Whom we have access to our Father.   
Your Turn / Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
May 01, 2020, 09:39:24 PM
Quote from: Weedon on May 01, 2020, 08:11:12 PM
Eileen, I'm confused by your comments. The prayer didn't say Mother of God, but Mother God.

Thanks for your pointing this out.  It may just seem an excuse but in these days of essential procedures I've had eye surgery put on hold.  Reading is no longer as interesting as I don't always catch words. 

In describing God I appreciate Pr. Stoffregen's comments but it does change my view on prayer.  Thanks again!
Your Turn / Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
May 01, 2020, 07:32:56 PM
Quote from: readselerttoo on May 01, 2020, 06:22:44 PM
Absolutely am sure that this is an attempt to please a segment of the general population which "prays" to the god of the Enlightenment.  But can this be missional?  No.  It is foolish.

Imo, of course!

The only appeal to the segment of the population which believes and expresses itself this way is for the Christian church to draw its line as a Christian church and put forward Jesus Christ is the Savior.  Then it would pastorally move folks from their place toward the sacrament of Holy Baptism and if so baptized already, then steer them into talking about being and living within the Body of Christ.  Then one could talk about how Jesus' Father is our kind and loving Father:   A unique relationship open to all.

The point being that this unique relationship is a one-off (one of a kind) not needing the aspects of a woman's kindness to counter any past hurtful encounters with a bad dad.  Not denigrating a woman's kindness here but actually accentuating a type of unique kindness surrounding and including a woman's kindness but driving the character of kindness further and deeper than any human, male or female, can offer or express.

Just use the resources of Holy Scripture and we need not have to either reference or make apology on a sociological or psychological level.  Scripture presents unique ways to express God's love and kindness when we emphasize the uniqueness, qualitatively different aspect of Jesus' relationship to His Father in heaven.  Resorting to analogy from sociology or psychology steers folk away from what the scriptures actually say and confess who God is.  Imo

I am surprised by these comments.  I know there is concern that a high Mariology might point away from Jesus but I think it does the opposite.  Mary points the way to Jesus for us, giving all glory to her son.  Some of the very beautiful icons show Mary's hand extended in love pointing the way to the Father; that is, through her son.

I pray to Mary daily.  She is the mother of the church.  I find the Hail Mary a most beautiful intercessory prayers. 

I think by now people know me well enough that I don't jump on to all that the ELCA says and does but here I find a beautiful way of praying and a beautiful way of teaching children to pray.  I see nothing untoward about it.

I wonder if there is a link I'm missing that gives more information.
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
May 01, 2020, 12:21:46 PM
Quote from: mariemeyer on May 01, 2020, 10:25:40 AM

Brooks article was the first Bill and I read this morning. Speaking as a seamstress, the worst part of sewing is having to rip put stitches.  The seams are never quite as smooth.  Better to sew or weave carefully and not have to rip seams.   

What might the Brooks article say to the Christians who post here?  Are we rippers or weavers?

Marie Meyer

Like you, Brooks article are always my first stop when reading the Times.  Two things struck me about this article.   To your question, although perhaps rhetorical, are we both - at times rippers and at time weavers.  I find that the last few months have produced more rippers than sewers given the circumstances we are living under.  We are rippers of those politicians, for example, that we have no tolerance for; in fact that intolerance has grown. 

The one piece of the article that was difficult to read was that we're not disagreeing, we are hating..  It is difficult at best to consider ourselves people who hate.  It goes against the depths of our faith.  "Not I Lord." And yet as one listens to the rhetoric one cannot deny the truth of his statement an I am grateful for his rays of hope. But I do agree that this sense of hatred is a mirage.

I have wondered how the pandemic has affected members of this forum, especially those called and entrusted with the spiritual care of their members, clergy who cannot visit members or console one dying in a hospital, or hold a church service.  As one who gives care how difficult is it to receive -- to ask -- for care?

I digressed as I'm brought back to the statement, "we're not disagreeing, we are hating."  Have our relationships been affected in any negative way?  Have we turned more into sewers than weavers on this forum?  I have found the rhetoric ramped up at times that I need to take mental health breaks. 

This will not 'end' one day and the next day all will be well.  We will live with the fallout for years.  My young niece who lives alone in Queens NY had Covid.  She was in isolation.  It was a fairly mild case but for her it was difficult. She would call during the night, "Aunt Eileen I'm scared. What if I can't breathe and I'm alone?"  It will take this young girl quite some time to work through her fears and her feelings are globally amplified. 

I pray we think of the stories - of those who died, of those putting their lives on the line, of those volunteering in very creative ways, those donating and that this inspires us to be sewers - for isn't that what we're called to do?

Thanks for posting, Marie.
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
April 18, 2020, 09:22:56 AM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on April 17, 2020, 03:30:22 PM
Quote from: DeHall1 on April 17, 2020, 03:17:40 PM
Quote from: Steven W Bohler on April 17, 2020, 02:40:18 PM

Why would NYC account for about 40% of all US COVID 19 deaths, according to the CDC (Table 5)?  Is there something unique about the population, the geography, climate, preparedness, something else?  Or is it just a coincidence?  I mean the entire state of California (with a population much greater than that of NYC or even the metro NYC area) has only 452 deaths -- less than 1/10 that of NYC alone.  Is the warmer climate of California helping them with the virus?  Did California do something NYC did not?  Or is it all just chance (if a Christian can be allowed such an expression)?

I think it's a valid question.  IIRC, San Francisco has pretty much the same number of direct flights from Wuhan, China per month as New York.   You'd think the numbers would be similar.
One explanation is the spread of the disease via mass transit before the full lockdown. New Yorkers use subways far more than residents of any other city, and the virus probably came to New York sooner due to international air traffic. So that city got hit first, before much was known, and the virus also spread the fastest there.

And then there's the mayor of NYC in restaurants filmed throughout the city insisting was well and encouraging people to go out to eat.   ::)
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