Skip to comments.Bishop's Article: Northeastern Ohio Synod
Posted on 12/15/2009 6:56:36 PM PST by lightman
From NE Ohio December newsletter - Bishop's Article:
On December third we held a special meeting of the synod council, deans, committee chairs and synod staff to take a look at the projected $250,000-$400,000 deficit for fiscal year 2010-11. Since a $400,000 deficit is a jaw-dropping number to me, I wanted advice on how to carry out the ministry that we do together as a synod. The short-term solution is to reduce hours and compensation for the entire staff. Developing a long-term solution is going to take a lot more work.
I have had many people who are quick to point out that it is the actions of the churchwide assembly that got us into this mess. I know that members and congregations are withholding mission support. It is not always clear if this is principled or punitive. When I explained at a meeting with a congregation the effects of withholding support camps, colleges, seminaries, social service agencies all will suffer, not to mention synod and churchwide staff one person responded, Good. Maybe youll get the point.
Well, heres the point as I see it and it has little to do with sex or churchwide assemblies: Of course the actions of this summers assembly have exacerbated the current crisis, but they are not the cause. If we had never had a human sexuality study, if ministry policies remained the same, we would still get to where we are now. Maybe not as quickly, but inexorably. I am convinced that this is not a financial crisis, nor is it a membership recruitment crisis. It is a spiritual crisis. We have coasted in this church and its predecessors for generations. We cling to a nostalgic image of the church that we remember from our childhood. And since the average church-going Lutheran is twenty years older than the average U.S population, that childhood was a long time ago.
The world has changed. The church no longer has a place of privilege. Sunday mornings are no longer off limits. When planning new communities fewer places are allotted to religious institutions because they dont pay taxes and developers have determined that they dont add value to the community. Twenty- and thirty-somethings are absent from our pews. This reality didnt come about in the just the past four months.
What do we do? Compete with the mega-churches? Jettison the Lords Prayer and the Creed to be more accessible? Preach a health and wealth gospel that promises people their best life now? Rescind every action of every churchwide assembly since 1988?
In the beginning Advent was a penitential season. Only after centuries did it become a season of preparation and anticipation. For me, and especially this year, Advent is a time to cling more tightly to the gospel. When we read in Isaiah, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. We see the reality of our situation. On our own we are helpless and lost. We cannot effect our deliverance. We are, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, like prisoners who must wait for someone from the outside to unlock our cell. The death and resurrection of Jesus has done that. That is our core belief. That is the faith. It is Christ and Christ crucified that is the unshakable foundation of the church. And it is a matter of life and death. If we as the ELCA cannot recover some of the urgency of the faith, if we are unwilling to bet our lives on this gospel then no amount of programming or hand-wringing will make any difference. But if, with Gods help, we are able to shake off our spiritual lassitude there is no power on earth that can withstand the gospel.
The message printed here comes via ALPB forum http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2542
Contrast the depth of this Synodical Bishop’s Advent message with the drivel served up by Presiding Bishop Hanson, which I posted earlier this evening.
* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.
Marantha--Come, Lord Jesus!
Church in my home town voted to leave ELCA:
As my Grandmother used to say, “That’s a bunch of hooey”. That is regarding Bishop Hansen’s comments. Our giving to our Church has not wavered. We just designate it to stay in the congregation. We also sponsored two children in Haiti, and Bought a pig through Heifer International. I’m still giving, just more selectively.
A good start, but he needs a different verb: "We have drifted, intentionally so, from the Bible in this church because we have loved the praises of men more than the praise of God . . . ."
Elizabeth Eaton is that tyrannical pseudo-bishop who “enforced church discipline on schismatic congregations” by forbidding dual membership in LCMC and ELCA.
I hope that ALL the congregations involved did the right thing and left the ELCA!!!
Eaton comes out of the hyper-liberal “gay”/feminazi combination of Harvard Divinity School and University “Lutheran” “Church”, Cambridge, MA. It figures.
Our Orthodox (OCA) Bishop also called our diocese’s loss of membership and money over the years a “spiritual crisis”. He was right. But the real issue is all too many cradle Orthodox and lukewarm converts who have thrown away the inestimable treasure of Orthodoxy to join the morass of our society, and in some cases even to become Episcopalians. Meanwhile, so many others desire the treasure of Holy Orthodoxy, and become converts. Gospodi pomilui!
On a very happy note, one of our member who left the Orthodox Church to become Episcopalian returned! May many more do so. And our little congregation has many 20- and 30-somethings, including families with a growing number of young children. We have many teens as well. Thanks and praise to God!!
The REAL spiritual crisis in the ELCA is something else entirely, of course.
Rescind every action of every churchwide assembly since 1988?Why not?
Building on what you pointed out, if we are to cling more tightly to the Gospel, then let’s start with Matthew 19?
In that chapter it’s Jesus who points out that the foundation of the family unit is one man and one woman - period.
Set aside all other verses, NT and OT, and you have the direct word of Jesus Himself.
What part of the gospel, then, must we more closely cling? Just the bits we all vote we should embrace?