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Switch to Forum Live View Fallout from the ELCA's 2009 CWA
6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 9:30PM #141
teilhard
Posts: 53,304

The supposed Good-Old-Days when EVERYBODY affiliated with a Congregation, DEARLY held and practiced an Orthodox Faith and participated in Worship and Sacred Text Study regularly and enthusiastically ... ??? Never was; never happened ...


It's no longer a "new" Book, but then and now I still find it **spot**on** --


Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, "Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong." (1989, Abingdon) ...


They refer to Churches as "Outposts of The Kingdom of God," and I agree with that "take" ...


May 23, 2012 -- 7:37PM, WannabeTheo wrote:


May 23, 2012 -- 12:07PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


I agree 100% that's why the Churches are emptying....




I don't.  There have been faction splitting arguments in the church from day one.  I doubt there was ever a time when Christians didn't find something to argue about, no matter how small the discrepancy may seem: think of the arguments over the filioque.


I believe churches are emptying for a more obvious reason: fewer people believe in the supernatural in general and life after death in particular.  Or, if they believe in such things, they believe they are mysteries and any religion claiming to have all the answers is just after your money.


I don't see this trend reversing.  It's no accident that the least scientifically literate populations also tend to be the most religious.  I realize that's a generalization, and not necesarily the case at an individual level, but it is the situation.  And barring the collapse of civilization, I expect scientific literacy to spread.


This is probably a subject for its own thread, but the question is: can religion in general and Christianity in particular survive alongside a scientific worldview?  I believe it can for certain individuals, myself for one, but I expect it to become more of a niche interest.  I expect the pews to continue emptying for a while longer.





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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 9:42PM #142
TOMinAZ
Posts: 76

To me, this obsession with counting the defections would be like an accountant sitting on the deck of the Titanic, tallying up the cost of the deck chairs sliding off the ship.


Look, those of us in the ELCA have painfully watched this process. Personally, starting in the 1990's with the first rough drafts of the general sexuality statement, and through all the revisions, hard feelings at congregational study groups, finger pointing, etc. I even helped congregations with a moral deliberation process, hoping to prevent screamfests. I watched otherwise quiet Christians stand up in meetings, and read out written statements about how this decision is hurting "my church". How dare "those people" stir things up in "this church my family have been members of since (pick a year or century). Then female ordination rears its head and the discussion is basically over, let the shouting or silent treatment begin.


It's almost always "them" destroying "our/my" church. Pick a side, both say the same things.


Here's an observation: when the tide rolls in, it will roll out again.


Let the LCMC and NALC brag about how many churches and people have joined their true form of pure Lutheranism. At some point, their growth will slow to a sputter, or reverse. Rearranging the numbers between the different tribes as people shuffle back and forth doesn't address the fundamental problem in this country, and all over Europe: we're a shrinking denomination, losing ground to reward-theology, health and wealth gospel, and large vocal types of pseudo-Christians making sure they make you afraid of someone else and discouraging critical thinking in the pews. Oh, and vote Republican, because GOP stands for God's Own Party.


Take the Catholic sex abuse scandal, add Westboro Baptist, sprinkle in Youtube videos about slapping little boys into manliness and rounding people up behind electric fences, throw in some Doomsday prophets, and what do you get? Hostile unchurched people who buy up books about atheism, making Dawkins a media darling. Church? What, that hypocritical bunch of infighting people who only turn outwards to condemn people? No sir.


Keeping count of our own shameful self-destruction doesn't really seem like a good use of time, otherwise spent actually reaching a hurting world. Let the dust settle, let people choose which church they want (notice I didn't say lead to by the Spirit), bind up some wounds, and show the world what a Christian community should be like.





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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 9:50PM #143
TOMinAZ
Posts: 76

This looks intriguing. Thanks for the reference.




May 23, 2012 -- 9:30PM, teilhard wrote:



Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, "Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong." (1989, Abingdon) ...


They refer to Churches as "Outposts of The Kingdom of God," and I agree with that "take" ...


May 23, 2012 -- 7:37PM, WannabeTheo wrote:


May 23, 2012 -- 12:07PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:





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6 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 9:52PM #144
teilhard
Posts: 53,304

Amen ... Very well put ...


May 23, 2012 -- 9:42PM, TOMinAZ wrote:


To me, this obsession with counting the defections would be like an accountant sitting on the deck of the Titanic, tallying up the cost of the deck chairs sliding off the ship.


Look, those of us in the ELCA have painfully watched this process. Personally, starting in the 1990's with the first rough drafts of the general sexuality statement, and through all the revisions, hard feelings at congregational study groups, finger pointing, etc. I even helped congregations with a moral deliberation process, hoping to prevent screamfests. I watched otherwise quiet Christians stand up in meetings, and read out written statements about how this decision is hurting "my church". How dare "those people" stir things up in "this church my family have been members of since (pick a year or century). Then female ordination rears its head and the discussion is basically over, let the shouting or silent treatment begin.


It's almost always "them" destroying "our/my" church. Pick a side, both say the same things.


Here's an observation: when the tide rolls in, it will roll out again.


Let the LCMC and NALC brag about how many churches and people have joined their true form of pure Lutheranism. At some point, their growth will slow to a sputter, or reverse. Rearranging the numbers between the different tribes as people shuffle back and forth doesn't address the fundamental problem in this country, and all over Europe: we're a shrinking denomination, losing ground to reward-theology, health and wealth gospel, and large vocal types of pseudo-Christians making sure they make you afraid of someone else and discouraging critical thinking in the pews. Oh, and vote Republican, because GOP stands for God's Own Party.


Take the Catholic sex abuse scandal, add Westboro Baptist, sprinkle in Youtube videos about slapping little boys into manliness and rounding people up behind electric fences, throw in some Doomsday prophets, and what do you get? Hostile unchurched people who buy up books about atheism, making Dawkins a media darling. Church? What, that hypocritical bunch of infighting people who only turn outwards to condemn people? No sir.


Keeping count of our own shameful self-destruction doesn't really seem like a good use of time, otherwise spent actually reaching a hurting world. Let the dust settle, let people choose which church they want (notice I didn't say lead to by the Spirit), bind up some wounds, and show the world what a Christian community should be like.









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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2012 - 10:57PM #145
teilhard
Posts: 53,304

The unseemly Bit of "Winners" rejoicing and "Losers" leaving ... is NOT helpful ...


My own Preference would be for a LONGER -- mutually RESPECTFUL -- Process of Arriving at a Consensus ... without Decisive-Divisive "Votes" ...


But TODAY'S Church is both historically IMPATIENT and too overly concerned with being "Right" ...

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5 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 12:25PM #146
TOMinAZ
Posts: 76

Precisely my feelings. To his credit, whether you like his leadership or not, when Hanson asked the delegates not to applaud when the results of the vote was taken, I took that as a sign that there really wasn't a winning side.


Nobody got exactly what they wanted. Nobody in a corporate entity like a national church body ever does.


The only people that would be interested in the tally of who's leaving would be the "losers", because they feel it proves the damage done due to the vote they decided they couldn't live with. To me, it smacks of spitefulness. It makes me wonder if anyone posted a video online of people dancing to "I told you so, I told you so"?




May 27, 2012 -- 10:57PM, teilhard wrote:


The unseemly Bit of "Winners" rejoicing and "Losers" leaving ... is NOT helpful ...


My own Preference would be for a LONGER -- mutually RESPECTFUL -- Process of Arriving at a Consensus ... without Decisive-Divisive "Votes" ...


But TODAY'S Church is both historically IMPATIENT and too overly concerned with being "Right" ...





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5 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2013 - 9:45AM #147
teilhard
Posts: 53,304


We've been *out*of*Touch* for a while now ...


What did you decide ... ???  


Did you leave The ELCA for another Lutheran Group, or did you stay ... ???


What's your "take" on The Lutherans in North America now, as of April, 2013 ... ???




May 8, 2012 -- 11:38PM, G_Erdner wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 11:34PM, teilhard wrote:


The ELCA has been losing Congregations and Members for a while for a variety of Reasons, most of them having to do with Americans' general Preferences in these Days for shallow narcissistic "Me and Jesus" Protestant Pablum and "Yeah !!! Rah!!!" Camp-Song "Worship" Experiences ...


May 8, 2012 -- 11:25PM, G_Erdner wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 9:11PM, teilhard wrote:


It seems that "the Fall-Out" is no longer "falling" ...




Actually, the "fallout" continues. However, many of the congregations that remain in the ELCA have lost so many traditionalist members that there is no longer enough traditionalists remaining to muster a 2/3rds super-majority. When a congregation loses one-third to one-half of it's members, most of them traditionalists, that doesn't leave enough remaining in the greatly reduced congregation to carry out a successful vote to change affiliations.


Sadly, we won't know the extent of membership losses for years. When someone simply stops attending without a formal letter of resignation or transfer, it usually takes a few years for that person to be stricken from the membership roster. And, if someone starts attending another church most of the time, but still visits their old church at least once a year and takes communion and makes an offering, then they remain formally listed on the membership roster, even though they aren't truly a member any longer.


Go through the stats on the ELCA website for congregations. Look at a cross section of trend reports. Note how many congregations have had the exact same stats for years because they never send in new data. Note how many will suddenly report a huge loss of membership due to the category for "other statistical adjustments", meaning they finally got around to taking the names of the folks who hadn't been there in years off of the lists.


Those who wish to remain blind to reality can take false comfort in the fact that the loss of entire congregations has slowed. As long as you ignore the loss of individual members across the board, you can pretend that all is well in the ELCA.









That's another excellent way to deceive yourself into believing that the loss isn't about the 2009 CWA. The thing is, though the other Protestant denominations, like the LCMS, have been also losing members, the rate at which the ELCA's congregation is losing members is reliably estimated to be double that of all the others.


But if it makes you happy to remain in denial, I can't stop you. Cling to whatever lies make you feel better.


 








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5 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2013 - 11:57AM #148
G_Erdner
Posts: 172

Apr 13, 2013 -- 9:45AM, teilhard wrote:



We've been *out*of*Touch* for a while now ...


What did you decide ... ???  


Did you leave The ELCA for another Lutheran Group, or did you stay ... ???


What's your "take" on The Lutherans in North America now, as of April, 2013 ... ???





I am not staying in the ELCA. I am not leaving the ELCA. I have remained a member of the congregation I belong to, which is unfortunately yoked to the ELCA. However, I do nothing to support the ELCA. If I had an alternative congregation that I could join that was close enough to where I live that I could participate in its life and ministry, I would. There isn't such a congregation, so I have no where else to go. 


I would very much like to have the option of joining a congregation in the NALC or LCMC. Both seem to me to be denominations where the member churches preach the Gospel rightly and administer the sacraments properly. Neither of them have engaged in the sort of antinomian teachings or works righteousness that plagues the ELCA, nor in the overemphasis on Law that the LCMS or WELS engages in, with their closed communion practices. 


George Erdner

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2013 - 12:14PM #149
teilhard
Posts: 53,304

Blessings(+), Brother ...


Apr 13, 2013 -- 11:57AM, G_Erdner wrote:


Apr 13, 2013 -- 9:45AM, teilhard wrote:



We've been *out*of*Touch* for a while now ...


What did you decide ... ???  


Did you leave The ELCA for another Lutheran Group, or did you stay ... ???


What's your "take" on The Lutherans in North America now, as of April, 2013 ... ???





I am not staying in the ELCA. I am not leaving the ELCA. I have remained a member of the congregation I belong to, which is unfortunately yoked to the ELCA. However, I do nothing to support the ELCA. If I had an alternative congregation that I could join that was close enough to where I live that I could participate in its life and ministry, I would. There isn't such a congregation, so I have no where else to go. 


I would very much like to have the option of joining a congregation in the NALC or LCMC. Both seem to me to be denominations where the member churches preach the Gospel rightly and administer the sacraments properly. Neither of them have engaged in the sort of antinomian teachings or works righteousness that plagues the ELCA, nor in the overemphasis on Law that the LCMS or WELS engages in, with their closed communion practices. 


George Erdner





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