The ELCA Requires Nothing

Started by DCharlton, January 01, 2013, 09:22:19 PM

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Coach-Rev

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2013, 10:05:23 PM
Once again, it is necessary that I point out that nearly every word of that statement is wrong. Plans for the merger took shape over a 10-year period. Synods were involved. Congregations and their pastors were involved. Thousands of pages of documents were provided across the ALC, LCA and AELC. The merger had to be approved by at least two national conventions of the merging church bodies; and the final plans approved at a constituting convention.
To say that "the leadership decided for us" is absurd, no matter how many times. Mr. Erdner tries to say it.
Again... criticize the ELCA if you wish; object to how it does things; but for the sake of Aunt Gertie's goats, stop saying that no one knew what was going on and that it was suddenly foisted upon unsuspecting members. That it utter, total nonsense.
But perhaps I speak too harshly. Sensible people here know that.

Once again, I  must point out that just because Charles utters it does not necessarily make it so.  I was a very active member of the LCA back in the 80's, was at the LSM national gathering in 1987, and learned of the merger 4 days before it actually took place.  It was NOT discussed either in my home congregation nor on the college campus ministry where I was attending and whom I was representing at the gathering.

My discussions with others demonstrate that George's assessment is far more accurate than Mr. Austin's dispute.  Perhaps Charles needs to identify that he is reacting more out of his distaste of George rather than on fact and reality.

Charles_Austin

Pastor Crandall writes:
I was rising to your challenge:  "I challenge anyone who thinks our seminary professors have denied the essential tenets of Christianity to have the guts to step forward and bring charges."

I comment:
Takes no guts to do it from your outsider perspective, Pastor Crandall. I am asking those in the ELCA who think things are wrong to act on what they say they believe.

Pastor Cottingham writes:
I was a very active member of the LCA back in the 80's, was at the LSM national gathering in 1987, and learned of the merger 4 days before it actually took place.  It was NOT discussed either in my home congregation nor on the college campus ministry where I was attending and whom I was representing at the gathering.

I comment:
Then your pastors were derelict in their duties and should be ashamed of themselves. And do you mean to tell me you were a "very active member of the LCA" but never read the magazine, attended a synod event or read the local newspapers? Really?

Pastor Cottingham:
My discussions with others demonstrate that George's assessment is far more accurate than Mr. Austin's dispute.

Me:
If that were true, the merger would not have happened. Although we did learn after the merger that there were some pastors and congregations, predominantly former ALC, who never ever, even before the merger, gave a churchmouse whisker for anything outside their congregation. Such folk are, I believe, a bigger drain on the mission of the church than any rampaging liberals.

As for my reactions, I shall try to refrain; but when willful ignorance and just plain stupidity malign great church leaders who had nothing but concern for the church and its mission at heart, it is hard to remain silent.

Johan Bergfest

Quote from: Coach-Rev on January 03, 2013, 09:42:45 AM
Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2013, 10:05:23 PM
Once again, it is necessary that I point out that nearly every word of that statement is wrong. Plans for the merger took shape over a 10-year period. Synods were involved.

Once again, I  must point out that just because Charles utters it does not necessarily make it so....  It was NOT discussed either in my home congregation nor on the college campus ministry where I was attending and whom I was representing at the gathering.

I suspect that George's, Charles' and Coach-Rev's memory is correct, as each experienced the merger.  I also find it curious that George and Coach-Rev experienced it so differently than did Charles.  If my memory is correct, those of us sitting in LCMS pews - at least those of us who cared about Lutheran issues beyond the Synod - were well aware that the merger was in progress.

James S. Rustad

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2013, 10:05:23 PM
Once again, it is necessary that I point out that nearly every word of that statement is wrong. Plans for the merger took shape over a 10-year period. Synods were involved. Congregations and their pastors were involved. Thousands of pages of documents were provided across the ALC, LCA and AELC. The merger had to be approved by at least two national conventions of the merging church bodies; and the final plans approved at a constituting convention.
To say that "the leadership decided for us" is absurd, no matter how many times. Mr. Erdner tries to say it.

I was an member of a congregation of a predecessor body.  I attended church fairly regularly during that period.  I heard nothing about the impending merger until after the fact.

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 02, 2013, 10:05:23 PM
But perhaps I speak too harshly. Sensible people here know that.

A sensible person would not speak so harshly then.
"Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem." -Thomas Jefferson

Dadoo

#34
For some of us the column was not very civil. Yet, Lehman reminded us of the need to be civil in the previous issue in his editor's comment http://www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=11103 One wonders if that is not something that ought written to him about.

Also from The Lutheran's website

Quote
My View guidelines

"My View" is an edgy opinion column written by our readers that appears on the "Letters to the editor" page of each issue of the magazine. We welcome "My View" column submissions on controversial and major issues facing the church and/or society.

Material for "My View" should be no longer than 400 words and should focus on a single topic. The "My View" column is not the place to respond to articles or letters. Use the "Letters to the Editor" page for that.

These reader viewpoints do not necessarily reflect the views of The Lutheran or the positions of the ELCA. However, the magazine wishes to represent the continuum of views that exist in the ELCA.

When does "edgy" step over the line? Is this My view one of those places? WHat is "edgy" anyway?
Peter Kruse

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

James S. Rustad

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 03, 2013, 04:30:11 AM
The negotiations were front page stories in dozens of newspapers throughout the country, and especially in the midwest and states like Pennsylvania where Lutherans are dense.

I live in the midwest (Wisconsin).  I read at least one newspaper every day.  I have done so since years before the merger.  The first article I saw about the merger was a front page story in one of the Milwaukee papers announcing that Milwaukee had lost the headquarters of the new ELCA to Chicago.  Several additional stories appeared after this with local and state politicians blaming the ELCA for this move.

I guess I can be generous and allow that I did see "front page stories...especially in the midwest" -- but only after the fact.
"Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem." -Thomas Jefferson

DCharlton

#36
I remember the merger.  I was in my earlier 20's at he time.  Here in Florida, where Lutherans are few and far between, the idea of a merger made sense.  In many towns, whether you were ALC, LCA or LCMS depended on who was willing to sponsor a new church.  You didn't get to pick which kind of Lutheran you were, since there was usually only one church in town.  For instance, my mother came from a ULCA background, but was glad when the ALC sponsored a mission in Kissimmee.  She no longer had to drive 20 miles to attend a Lutheran church in Orlando.  So being having a closer relationship with the LCA church in the next town made sense. 

I was concerned about the proposed structure of the new national church.  Too bureaucratic and hierarchical for my ALC tastes.  But still, I was hopeful about it. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Dan Fienen

#37
Apparently different people, congregations, and perhaps regions experienced the merger in different ways.  Coverage of the merger process was full in some congregations apparently ignored in others.  There is absolutely no way that news can be spread to everyone at a level they would  desire or to include everyone in the decision making that will satisfy everyone.  Things just don't work out  that perfectly.  Were mistakes made?  Undoubtedly, on national, regional and local levels. Nothing done by humans is perfect.  I really doubt that there was  a vast conspiracy to sneak a merger through without people noticing.  That is just not credible.  Putting such a merger together requires too much work by too many people to pull it off in secret.  Also, news did get out, even if not everyone got as much news  as they would have liked.

Mistakes no doubt were made along the road to merger.  But could the talk of sneaking it by the people in the pew be toned down to something reasonable.  If a pastor did not care to inform his people for some reason, that is not the denomination's fault.

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Coach-Rev

It also does not merit the accusation of "willful ignorance" and "plain stupidity" against those whose experience was such that the merger did not get presented until just prior or just after the ink dried on the merger documents. 

But alas, I've come to expect such things from certain quarters here... 

Richard Johnson

ALC congregations had to vote on the merger, and in my experience, far from the heartland of Lutheranism, it was widely discussed in the run-up to the vote.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

Richard writes:
ALC congregations had to vote on the merger, and in my experience, far from the heartland of Lutheranism, it was widely discussed in the run-up to the vote.

I comment:
I was trying to drop that shoe, but was away from home for 8 days. Now I've found that reshuffling of the basement library due to water damage means I can't find my copies of the merger history books to verify information.
But I believe historian Richard is correct. ALC congregations did have individual votes on whether to agree to the merger.
Someone please inform Mr. Erdner.

Dadoo

Quote from: Richard Johnson on January 03, 2013, 04:11:39 PM
ALC congregations had to vote on the merger, and in my experience, far from the heartland of Lutheranism, it was widely discussed in the run-up to the vote.

Did not congregation also have to vote to join the new church?
Peter Kruse

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

Charles_Austin

Pastor Kruse writes:
Did not congregation also have to vote to join the new church?

I comment:
Not sure about that. I do have the memoirs of David Preus and Herbert Chilstrom at hand and both speak of the ways congregations were given a say in the merger process.

George Erdner

Quote from: Dadoo on January 03, 2013, 09:21:37 AM
When ELCA was formed, all the ducks were not in a row. But, everyone knew we could not work out every little detail and still have anyone left awake to vote for it. So, things were left to be carried into tomorrow by assuming good will in each other and trusting that we believed and did things about the same way anyway so things would work themselves out. That is why, I believe, there are not heavy consequences tied to every foreseen infraction and that is why not every future infraction was anticipated. Bishops (seminary presidents and respected district leaders) and commonly held values were going to win the day.


My concern is not so much that the groundwork for the merger was flawed, and resulted in an excessively flawed system. It was, as you said, based on setting a deadline and when the deadline came, whatever was done was done. My issue was with the perception we pewsitters in the LCA had that it was going to happen, come hell or high water, and nothing we did or didn't do made the slightest bit of difference. I think I mentioned before the term "buy in". There was virtually nothing done to get the LCA pewsitters to "buy in" on the merger, to make us feel like it wasn't something that was imposed on us whether we wanted it or not.


As for the reason why none of the expectations of the ELCA are requirements, I don't disagree with you about why it is what it is. My main concern is that it is what it is, and what it is should have been changed early in the life of the ELCA. After all, one of the biggest slams against the ELCA isn't that there aren't consequences and penalties written into the operational documents. It is that what is written isn't enforced. The laxness of enforcing policies cannot be blamed on the haste with which the merger happened. That can only be blamed on the leaders who ignored the rules.

Team Hesse

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 03, 2013, 05:26:11 PM
Richard writes:
ALC congregations had to vote on the merger, and in my experience, far from the heartland of Lutheranism, it was widely discussed in the run-up to the vote.

I comment:
I was trying to drop that shoe, but was away from home for 8 days. Now I've found that reshuffling of the basement library due to water damage means I can't find my copies of the merger history books to verify information.
But I believe historian Richard is correct. ALC congregations did have individual votes on whether to agree to the merger.



This is consistent with what I was told about the congregation in Moses Lake before we joined. We were told that it was an old ALC congregation which had voted against the merger but when the merger was approved had voted to "go along" with the will of the denomination. I was under the impression there had been full discussion of the ramifications of the decisions prior to both votes. I was LCMS at the time and living three hundred miles away. I have no reason to doubt the witness of those who informed me of those events.


At the time we made the jump from LCMS to this old ALC congregation in Moses Lake (1990) there was not a great deal of difference between what we had been used to and what we changed to. That is no longer true.


Lou

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