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Are Seminaries Putting Their Blue Days Behind Them?
The American Interest ^ | March 30. 2013 | Walter Russell Mead

Posted on 04/01/2013 9:23:05 AM PDT by JerseyanExile

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America’s mainline Protestant seminaries are in crisis, but so far they seem to be spending more energy dodging tough choices than preparing for the future. A recent article at Inside Higher Ed describes the enrollment collapse at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Luther is one of the most important Lutheran seminaries in the country, but its status wasn’t enough to insulate it from the forces upending seminaries everywhere. Enrollment fell off sharply, and the institution ”was running multimillion-dollar deficits, spending down its endowment and relying on loans.”

The seminary’s response? It’s making some painful cuts, letting go of some staff and reducing the number of degree programs it offers. Luther isn’t alone; seminaries all over the country are facing tough choices.

In many cases, survival has required selling off property or losing independence. More seminarians enroll later in life than in the past, meaning that seminaries often don’t need buildings filled with dorms and apartments. Others have worked to develop online programs, requiring less of a physical footprint, and selling or leasing their additional facilities.

These may be steps in the right direction, but they are baby steps at the beginning of a very long march. Higher ed is in trouble in every branch of learning, but the crisis facing seminaries is worse than that facing any other professional degree program. Seminaries, and especially those serving mainline Protestant denominations, have to change faster than law school or PhD programs if they want to survive. And selling some property or firing some staff, though sadly necessary in many cases, is just the start to a wrenching period of transformative change.

In effect, these churches are clinging to the ministry model that dominated mainline churches in the 20th century. Seminary leaders act as if the average seminary grad will still earn an average salary in an average church, that that salary can still support the loan payments that keep tuition levels high enough to support a traditional seminary, and that denominations or rich believers can and will make up the difference between tuition and cost. These assumptions are almost certainly false.

As noted before, the modern American church, especially among mainline Protestants, but also to some degree among Catholics and evangelicals, got mixed up in the blue social model. The clergy became a ‘profession’ like the others. People pursued careers in the ministry, complete with grievance procedures and pension programs. Denominations built up regional and national organizations that were staffed with professional staff. Progress was seen as replacing volunteers with certified, graduate educated professionals: Directors of Sacred Music and Directors of Christian Education. People built lots of buildings they couldn’t afford to maintain. From an organization perspective, denominational bureaucracies were like GM and IBM in the 1950s and 1960: hierarchical, growing every year, and offering employees jobs for life.

Neither Jesus nor any of the twelve apostles could get a job in any self-respecting mainline church in America today; none of them had a degree from an accredited seminary.

So part of America’s contemporary religious crisis has to do with the decline and fall of this blue model church, and any solutions to that crisis need to involve creative ways of transitioning to a post-blue era. More and more mainline Protestant ministers can expect to be part time or volunteer. The traditional denominations (each with a network of expensive seminaries and bureaucracies) will have to consolidate. Church bureaucrats will largely need to disappear.

This means that seminaries will have to change much more fundamentally than firing a few professors or selling off some dorms. Christianity is going to have to be more of a mission and less of a profession in the future. It may be that future ministers will learn the trade the way Peter learned from Jesus and Timothy from Paul: they watch the masters at work, and start their own pastoring careers under the supervision of someone they respect.

It’s not surprising that most seminaries and denominational bureaucracies would rather think about anything than the collapse of their business models. But rethinking the way the churches work is an essential part of the mission of Christian leaders today, and their failure to engage bespeaks a much broader failure to grasp the challenges of our times.

Pivoting off of the Inside Higher Ed piece, Rod Dreher asks about possible solutions to the wider troubles facing US seminaries. He writes:

What liberal Christians will say is, “Be more liberal!” What conservative Christians will say is, “Be more conservative!” Neither strategy seems suited to the nature of this crisis.

Dreher is completely right that the problems facing seminaries aren’t just theological. And it’s more than a question of budgets; penny-pinching won’t see them through the storm. It’s time for new leaders with vision and imagination to take the church beyond the blue. Since the colonial era, the genius of American Christianity has lain in the ability of new generations of Christian leaders to reinvent institutions, find an authentic theological stance and voice that appeals to each new generation, and put Christianity in the forefront of individual lives and social challenges from age to age.

Theology can be debated; liberal, conservative, protestant, catholic, fundamentalist, modernist. There is much to be said for each of these positions, and the debates need to continue.

But there’s a much more critical difference: the difference between life and death. There is a lot of dead wood in American Christian institutions today, and the carters are coming to clear it away.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: catholic; christianschools; elca; highereducation; lutherans; priesthood; religiousleft; seminary; trends
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1 posted on 04/01/2013 9:23:05 AM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Catholic ping.


2 posted on 04/01/2013 9:27:01 AM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: lightman

Ping!


3 posted on 04/01/2013 9:27:21 AM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: JerseyanExile

They are going to make a lot more money from all the offerings the homosexuals are going to give them when they start going to church.


4 posted on 04/01/2013 9:28:28 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: JerseyanExile

dyslexia is not your friend;)

I swear I read the headline as ‘putting their blue dress days behind them’

LOL!!!!


5 posted on 04/01/2013 9:31:18 AM PDT by sodpoodle (Life is prickly - carry tweezers.)
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To: JerseyanExile

The problem is not liberal vs conservative. True Christianity is a force, philosophy and FAITH that cannot be pigeonholed.

The answer is to teach the truths of Christianity and that includes not only charity, but also living the life of a follower of Jesus Christ - which means a DAILY walk in conversion from sin into holiness.

Not an easy thing to do, but it is possible with humility and a strong prayer life and faith in God.

Churches which preach only social justice without the conversion process are no more that glorified social workers.


6 posted on 04/01/2013 9:32:13 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: JerseyanExile

With modern technology, you can teach seminary in a spare room of a church. Same for regular college classes.


7 posted on 04/01/2013 9:32:24 AM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: JerseyanExile
Christianity is going to have to be more of a mission and less of a profession in the future.

Exactly.

8 posted on 04/01/2013 9:54:21 AM PDT by marron
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To: JerseyanExile

Luther Seminary in St. Paul, mentioned in the article, is an ELCA seminary. Its problems are self imposed. It is hard to see how a believer in God and the Bible would choose to attend an ELCA seminary. It is also hard to see how someone who doesn’t believe in God and the Bible would wish to attend a seminary at all.


9 posted on 04/01/2013 10:12:14 AM PDT by jeannineinsd
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To: marron

Ahh, it makes me smile to see credentialism bite the dust.


10 posted on 04/01/2013 10:13:15 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas is a state of mind - Steinbeck)
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To: JerseyanExile

Too bad that these bureaucrats are often the ones pushing homosexuality and more subtly abortion against the will of the congregants. It would have been better if they downsized maybe 50 years ago. Someone once told me that entering seminary is the way some avoided the Vietnam draft. I have observed men and some women that appear to not even have the gift to be a pastor but probably not any other career either, graduates of seminary and shuffled off to small country churches. Never building, just maintaining or decreasing members. Many have been nice but wierd. ELCA is my reference. And yes this blue model put many requirements on the pay and benefits of pastors. When the money runs out, they are called somewhere else. Or worse.


11 posted on 04/01/2013 10:14:43 AM PDT by outinyellowdogcountry
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To: JerseyanExile; betty boop; marron; Alamo-Girl; little jeremiah; metmom; xzins; GodGunsGuts; ...
Are the problems confronting American seminaries merely theological? Or is the problem more systemic?

BEEP!

12 posted on 04/01/2013 10:17:05 AM PDT by YHAOS
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To: JerseyanExile

If Truth is simply whatever is being promoted most vigorously by politicians and the media at the time, what need do I have to go to a seminary, or what need is there for a minister to preach it?

Just turn on the TV and sit back.


13 posted on 04/01/2013 10:31:39 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: jeannineinsd; JerseyanExile

The two Missouri Synod seminaries in the US have a combined enrollment of 951.


14 posted on 04/01/2013 10:33:07 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: YHAOS
Christianity is going to have to be more of a mission and less of a profession . . .

I'm way off topic here and do not mean to hijack the thread, but just how did muzzie mosques pop up by the hundreds these past ten years? Do they out-evangelize all of the Christian denominations combined? Why is stinkin' islam ascendant?

15 posted on 04/01/2013 11:08:14 AM PDT by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...


Lutheran (EL C S*A) Ping!

* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

16 posted on 04/01/2013 11:17:24 AM PDT by lightman (If the Patriarchate of the East held a state like the Vatican I would apply for political asylum.)
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To: blueunicorn6

Those homosexual offerings you speak of are good for maybe a generation. Since gays do not reproduce, the homosexual “family” does not grow. No first communion, bible school, kids at church camp, youth ministries, etc.

There are significantly fewer activities, and therefore money in the embracing of the homosexual lifestyle for churches. Yet embrace they do. In the name of enlightenment and tolerance.

How many families exit the church when they see the elevation of lifestyles that even 15 years ago were considered perverse?

What parent wants their children in that environment? Moreover, who trusts their kids away at church camp for a week with flamers who, “just love kids?”

The ELCA has lost their ever loving minds. And they’ve lost hundreds of churches to prove it.


17 posted on 04/01/2013 11:32:33 AM PDT by Bshaw (A nefarious deceit is upon us all!)
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To: Gumdrop

In a post-Christian culture, why would someone attend a seminary to prepare to proclaim something neither he/she nor they think is anything more than a fable?

What is the advertisement? Attend our “Dupe the Masses” school? “Fables R Us”?


18 posted on 04/01/2013 11:44:07 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Jacquerie
just how did muzzie mosques pop up by the hundreds these past ten years? Do they out-evangelize all of the Christian denominations combined?

You have to remember that Christianity also has a phenomenal church growth in the US, much more so than Islam. The difference is that it is occurring in quasi-denominations ("Word of Faith," e.g.) and non-denominations, where the seminary experience is a few years all the way down to no years. Moreover, if all the people in all the storefront churches, online churches, and home churches were going to steeple churches, there would be no issue here--and once you add in all the megachurches, Islam doesn't have a chance here.

19 posted on 04/01/2013 12:10:20 PM PDT by chajin ("There is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12)
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To: Jacquerie
Hi Jacquerie! Good to hear from you again.

It’s how muzzie “outreach” works (for over 1400 years now) where outright conquest is not “practical.” They infiltrate an area, and expand it as their numbers grow. Then they demand that they be governed by Sharia law for their own little group, followed by a demand for local “autonomy” and eventually for their own enforcement mechanisms, with all “outside” influence eliminated (including no competing religions - no “proselytizing,” of course, with death the punishment for an infraction).

Progressive politics will not mix with Sharia, of course, but Sharia means the dismantling, and eventual destruction of the America you and I know and love. Because Progressivism means to destroy America, Progressives will tolerate the behavior of Islamic lunatics as long as it aids in the destruction of America, under the belief that they can eventually bring Sharia under their control. The inevitable conflict will be interesting.

I will probably miss the bloody outcome. I view that prospect with mixed emotions. ( ^8 }

20 posted on 04/01/2013 12:38:15 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: NYer; lightman

Universities are having the same issues. To much infrastructure and overhead.

We are going to have an education crash beyond what the article talks about.


21 posted on 04/01/2013 12:48:14 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: YHAOS
Money quote:

Because Progressivism means to destroy America, Progressives will tolerate the behavior of Islamic lunatics as long as it aids in the destruction of America, . . .

That says it all.

22 posted on 04/01/2013 1:59:34 PM PDT by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: YHAOS

Are the problems confronting American seminaries merely theological? Or is the problem more systemic?


Good Question... should make a good conversation....

[ screed ]
Since most of the christian world are bible worshipers.. much like many Jews are Talmud worshipers.. there’s even some that are church worshipers.. Idolatry has assumed many strange morphing’s of variation..

Jesus never really said read the bible.. or other Jewish lore.. since most couldn’t read anyway and if they could there were few written objects to read.. almost no bibles.. and the Talmud such as it was, was for Rabbi’s to fight over..

Jesus as I read him from available lore (if true) said; go to the Holy Spirit to receive all that you need to know.. So once so-called christians in later centurys started worshiping the bible this Idolatry start a long decapitation of Christianity..

To the extent most christians do NOT have an invisible friend(Holy Spirit)... to get their answers from.. and worship at the shrine of the bible.. and more or less pray to the ceiling fan.. That can get old.. After all what do they even need the Holy Spirit for.. heck they have the bible..

What do you think.?.. is the Holy Spirit a doofus?...
I propose “he” is not.. and gets much entertainment from christians attempts to marginalize “HIM” and resort to bible or church worship....
[ /screed ]


23 posted on 04/01/2013 2:00:14 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: YHAOS

Systemic.


24 posted on 04/01/2013 2:38:42 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Jacquerie
That says it all.

I don't know that I would go that far, but . . . it's all I have to say.

Thanks for the support.

25 posted on 04/01/2013 3:21:00 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: hosepipe
go to the Holy Spirit to receive all that you need to know..

I always looked to the Holy Spirit to guide me in understanding what Holy Scripture had to say, but . . . pay me no attention. I am far too simple-minded to be relied upon for counsel.

26 posted on 04/01/2013 3:29:18 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: 1010RD
Systemic.

I would say so, yes.

27 posted on 04/01/2013 3:31:09 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: YHAOS

I always looked to the Holy Spirit to guide me in understanding what Holy Scripture had to say, but . . . pay me no attention. I am far too simple-minded to be relied upon for counsel.


Even the simple minded can be saved from perdition it seems..
The smart ones are limited to their Sheep Pens..

Although it is interesting to watch “them” fence over minutia..
Bend and weave and parry, make mock assaults at each other ... its like “ rastling’ “...
Costumes, hats and everything.. even comb-overs..


28 posted on 04/01/2013 3:54:53 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: YHAOS
Seriously, that says it all.

David Horowitz' book, Unholy Alliance, the Left and Radical Islam can be summarized as just that. The Left supports murderous barbarians as long as they oppose the great Satan, these United States.

29 posted on 04/01/2013 4:46:08 PM PDT by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: YHAOS

Thanks for the ping!


30 posted on 04/01/2013 8:56:46 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: YHAOS; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe
Neither Jesus nor any of the twelve apostles could get a job in any self-respecting mainline church in America today; none of them had a degree from an accredited seminary.

Dear brother in Christ, to answer your question, "Are the problems confronting American seminaries merely theological? Or is the problem more systemic?": I'd say "more systemic."

And not just in the seminaries; but in the churches themselves. It seems to me a "careerist attitude" is increasingly common today, as if being the pastor of a flock could in any sense ever be "a job," entailing concerns about promotion, mediation of grievances, pay, pensions, etc.

Thanks so much for the ping, dear YHAOS!

31 posted on 04/02/2013 10:16:13 AM PDT by betty boop (We are led to believe a lie when we see with, and not through the eye. — William Blake)
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To: Jacquerie
....”how did muzzie mosques pop up by the hundreds these past ten years”.....

These are the recruitment/training centers,...basically the bases for the stealth Jihad Islamification of our country...invited in and bargained with, by those who have the power to strike such bargains.

...and we won't know what hit us until it's too late.

32 posted on 04/02/2013 11:37:56 AM PDT by caww
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To: betty boop
I would say that “more systemic” is correct, betty.

. . . not just in the seminaries; but in the churches themselves.

What happens in the seminaries rears its ugly head in the churches. Just as in education generally (or the lack of education), so does it generally rear its ugly head in society.

It seems to me a "careerist attitude" is increasingly common today

It once was referred to as a “calling.” Just as politicians once answered the “call” to serve their community in one governmental function or another, as a way to “pay back” for the benefits of a benevolent government designed to minister to the legitimate needs of the governed. When people come to regard politics as a “career,” then we may be sure that government for the people, at their consent, is being supplanted by a tyranny managed by a “ruling class.”

Thanks for the comeback.

33 posted on 04/02/2013 11:39:38 AM PDT by YHAOS
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To: YHAOS; Alamo-Girl
When people come to regard politics [or religious ministry] as a “career,” then we may be sure that government for the people, at their consent, is being supplanted by a tyranny managed by a “ruling class.”

Oh, so very TRUE, dear brother in Christ!

When a "calling" is reduced to a "career," then something ineffable, the consciousness of something vastly important, has already been lost.

The loss of this "ineffable" reduces man to the status of an animal, or worse, to the status of a machine.

Thank you so very much, dear brother YHAOS, for writing!

34 posted on 04/02/2013 11:58:14 AM PDT by betty boop (We are led to believe a lie when we see with, and not through the eye. — William Blake)
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To: betty boop; YHAOS; Alamo-Girl

betty: The loss of this “ineffable” reduces man to the status of an animal, or worse, to the status of a machine.

Spirited: Dying seminaries and dying churches point to the loss of faith in the living God and Christian Truth which had sustained our souls and culture.

Death of faith means no heaven above and no hell below. And this is nihilism.

Nihilism is the logical assumption if the God of Revelation does not exist. If there is no heaven above and no hell below, then neither does man’s soul/spirit exist.

Nihilism is spiritual, moral, and intellectual suicide, it is the absolute abyss.

For over two hundred years, nihilist philosophies have been working their way through our culture, embedding themselves, often unconsciously, within our psyches. This means that not only is the way we see ourselves and America colored by nihilism, but to the degree that our minds have been polluted are we immobilized by apathy, the spiritual emptiness that says in reaction to our peculiarly twisted, degraded culture, “Why bother?’

The strangely twisted atmosphere of our age is the “death of God” made tangible and it is Nietzsche who describes our meaningless, disordered, ugly, atonal, brutal, upside-down climate of nothingness:

“We have killed him (God), you and I! ...But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? ...Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray...through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? ...Does not night come on continually, darker and darker?” (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 108)

Such is the theater of the absurd in which there is neither up nor down, male nor female, right nor wrong, true nor false, normal nor abnormal because the living God is dead, and while America and the West drift aimlessly in “infinite nothingness” nihilism progressively dissolves the foundation of soul, mind, worth, morality, family, and individual liberty.

America and the West are swirling ever downward in a spiraling vortex issuing into the abyss.....hell.


35 posted on 04/02/2013 12:50:29 PM PDT by spirited irish
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To: betty boop; YHAOS; spirited irish
When a "calling" is reduced to a "career," then something ineffable, the consciousness of something vastly important, has already been lost.

The loss of this "ineffable" reduces man to the status of an animal, or worse, to the status of a machine.

Indeed.

But I am not troubled. With the notable exception of Paul, the Apostles Jesus called were not educated men. He taught them personally. Likewise, He taught Paul personally (Galatians 1).

Indeed, the educated men - the Pharisees - evidently thought Jesus was beneath them.

So I'm not concerned for even if every single seminary put out 100% Pharisee-like people who had the appearance of faith but denied the power thereof - God's will cannot be thwarted. Just like in the Communist countries where Christianity was banned, His people - ordinary uneducated Christians - keep talking about Him. We can't and won't stop.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: - John 10:27

To God be the glory, not man, never man.

36 posted on 04/02/2013 9:49:40 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: YHAOS

“”When people come to regard politics as a “career,” then we may be sure that government for the people, at their consent, is being supplanted by a tyranny managed by a “ruling class.””

The ruling class in this system was able to control because of a pluralistic system with no set rules about morality.

We are close to the point where “WE THE PEOPLE” mentality approve of abortion,gay marriage and every other moral atrocity.

You ought to realize that a country based on “We the people” was flawed from the start, because there was never any set rules DEFINING morality laid as a foundation in the first place.

It has only took a few hundred years to make “We The People” immoral majorities willing to accept all evil


37 posted on 04/09/2013 8:39:11 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi
You ought to realize that a country based on “We the people” was flawed from the start, because there was never any set rules DEFINING morality laid as a foundation in the first place.

There was foundation laid in the first place. It is to be found in a document containing (among others) these words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~ That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ~ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Doubtless, you recognize the above to come from our Declaration of Independence. The men who put their names to that document and to the constitution that followed (and many another who joined them in agreement) did subscribe to a morality which they have defended for over 400 years.

Those men (and women) did themselves declare Judeo-Christian values to be the foundation of the Revolutionary Act, and of the document they created and have ever since defended.

A few remarks in support from a few of them for the record:
“The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.”
. . . . . John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 20 June, 1815, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh Editor, in 19 volumes.

“But where says some is the king of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”
. . . . . Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

“. . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
. . . . . George Washington, Farewell Address, 17 September, 1796, para 27 (see the complete paragraph for a more thorough exposition of this thought).

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
. . . . . Benjamin Franklin, 1787, when he was 81, from a speech given at the Constitutional Convention.

I told you before. I tell you again: “And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity (emphasis mine), in which all those sects were united; and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all these young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”
. . . . . John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, dated June 28, 1813, Ibid.

Even those of a later time understood that it is the Judeo-Christian Tradition which is the foundation and wellspring of our liberty:
“A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.”
. . . . . Calvin Coolidge, “The Inspiration of the Declaration,” Speech at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1926.

“Oh, we are weary pilgrims; to this wilderness we bring
A Church without a bishop, a State without a King.”
. . . . . anonymous poem, The Puritans’ Mistake, published by Oliver Ditson in 1844

I understand that there are a certain number of people who have declared the whole “American Experiment” to be simply a “Protestant Botch” (see Is America Just a Protestant Botch?, this forum).

Rather than standing off at a distance and peppering this thread with criticisms, perhaps you can advance and defend an alternative?

38 posted on 04/10/2013 1:16:47 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: stfassisi; YHAOS
You ought to realize that a country based on “We the people” was flawed from the start, . . .

Hmmm, what framework of government other than a republic was appropriate for us?

39 posted on 04/10/2013 1:56:29 PM PDT by Jacquerie (How few were left who had seen the republic! - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: YHAOS

Anything, anyone, whether church, republic, family or individual, once separated from God is certain to implode or simply go toxic.

We have traditionally defended the notion of a separation of church and state as necessary to the health of both. But separation of God and state, God and citizen, past a certain point is fatal if what you aspire to is anything more than a thugocracy.

It is unlikely that a government will be any better than the people it governs. If the people are godless, then the government that rules them can be depended upon to be just as godless.


40 posted on 04/10/2013 4:45:42 PM PDT by marron
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To: marron
"anyone, whether church, republic, family or individual, once separated from God is certain to implode or simply go toxic.

Your summation covers the subject very well marron, save I would take some small exception to the Court's use of "separation." There are those who will take (with malice, we must think) that word as an invitation to drive religion generally, but the Judeo-Christian Tradition particularly, entirely from the public common, when the obvious intent was to place entirely the onus on the State to make no law "respecting an establishment of religion," followed immediately by a "Free Exercise Clause," as a reinforcement of the point. Even without the First Amendment the Constitution offered no authority to regulate religious thinking, nor the regulation of thought on any subject, for that matter.

Thanks for the comeback.

41 posted on 04/10/2013 5:27:04 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: little jeremiah

BEEP!


42 posted on 04/10/2013 5:47:37 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: YHAOS

I don’t see much difference between the american liberal who holds up Obama , Clinton and Carter as divinely inspiresd and the american conservative that holds up Washington , Jefferson and Madison as divinely inspired. Niether can or did build a political or moral system of anything great that will stand the test of time.

Proclaiming something as self evident truth and Liberty in pursuit of happiness with no set laws of dogma that can’t be changed only can lead to, for example.. A gay person saying they have a right to marriage in pursuit of happiness and a pornographer saying his happiness is the ability and free right to be protected by law to produce pornography for his happiness

You can show speeches of men who spoke about Christian values, but they did not have the backbone to define them into something that could never change. Thus, we are we we are today because of their weakness

These ff’s did not share a united faith, they had many different beliefs with different set of moral beliefs about things like slavery and many other things.

We are less than one generation away from complete moral failure where the next group of WE THE PEOPLE will accept every moral atrocity there can possible be.

This experiment has failed!

The only moral truths that can’t be changed exist in Catholic/Orthodox churches - The Church Fathers are the real hero’s to be looked up to for a better society , not Jefferson, Clinton, Obama, Washington

Separation of Church and State was the death blow to this country


43 posted on 04/10/2013 7:57:34 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: Jacquerie
Hmmm, what framework of government other than a republic was appropriate for us?

A country that could never have the ability to allow or abortion, pornography etc...

A country that makes such things punishable by prison

44 posted on 04/10/2013 8:04:11 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

The States and localities did prohibit them prior to 1973. Only an authoritarian government of force could impose them.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3005522/posts


45 posted on 04/11/2013 3:23:39 AM PDT by Jacquerie (How few were left who had seen the republic! - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Jacquerie

It’s better to have individual states decide, but if you live in a liberal state like NY(where I live) you still end up having moral atrocities forced in your face.

Even worse, is a crazy system where the US supreme court gets to play God and decide right and wrong and what they believe is freedom

From the words of the late Blessed Bishop Fulton Sheen...

“The State Becomes a nurse only in those civilizations in which citizens have lost a knowledge of Divine Truth and love. Sick of constantly making choices that never perfect or bring peace to their hearts and souls, they surrender their choice to a dictator. Communism is the tragedy of freedom. A false liberalism, which leaves a man free to choose anything without a standard of right and wrong, eventually produces a chaos. Along comes communism to organize that chaos.”-Bishop Fulton Sheen


46 posted on 04/11/2013 5:49:52 AM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: Jacquerie

More from The Late Bishop Sheen -who saw the moral demise we now live in

“What Nietzsche once said as an individual has become true of a world power: “Evil, be thou my good.” By becoming indifferent to the hard, fast line which divides justice from injustice, right from wrong, the Western world has ceased to be militant about those political virtues

When all these evidences of a broken dream are upon us, some try to drug the public conscience by telling them that Progress is still with us provided: First, we get rid of God; second, we preserve the right to climb into any bed; and third, that we be allowed to make money by pornography.”

-†- Fulton J. Sheen D.D., Ph. D., ‘Bishop Sheen Writes’;November 1975.


47 posted on 04/11/2013 6:49:37 AM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: hosepipe

The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Bible - it is the Word of God. If you could succeed in declaring the Bible null and void you would also succeed in eliminating Christianity imho.

Your argument is completely senseless, every belief system has founding documents. The more profound ones provide more and more depth and nuance of meanings throughout one’s life.

Jesus first act at age 12 was to show the leading ‘expert’ theologians more profound understanding of the Old Testament than any of them had ever dared dream.


48 posted on 04/11/2013 6:52:42 AM PDT by BrandtMichaels
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To: stfassisi; betty boop
Separation of Church and State was the death blow to this country

I do not wish to misunderstand what you say, or, as they say, “put words in your mouth.” So is it your assertion that you see no material difference between the phrase “Separation of Church and State,” and the Constitutional phrase, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”?

This experiment has failed!

I take it that by this, you refer to what has widely been termed “The Great American Experiment.” Strangely enough it is 0bama that would agree with you on this assertion. And we must assume Clinton and Carter as well, although I am not aware of a statement declaring so from either of these worthies as categorical as 0bama’s flat statement in his Osawatomie, Kansas speech of 7 December (of all days) 2011, that the “Great American Experiment” of free markets has never worked. Jefferson, or none of the others I mentioned (Adams, Washington, Franklin, Coolidge, even Paine, or many another) would agree with 0bama, but apparently you do. It’s true that 0bama has simply declared that this government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed has never worked ~ he has not called it a “Protestant botch.” But then, I can’t say that you have either (see Is America Just a Protestant Botch?, Crisis Magazine, or a discussion is to be found in Free Republic), 12/16/2011).

We are all familiar with the “failures” of the government our Founding Fathers put in place (God knows, they have been discussed enough), both real and fabricated. Likewise, we are also familiar with the manifold failures of various Socialist governmental systems or of various Theocracies that now exist or have in the past existed.

The only moral truths that can’t be changed exist in Catholic/Orthodox churches - The Church Fathers are the real hero’s to be looked up to for a better society . . .

Fine. I’ve not before enjoyed a discussion with you, but I’ve had the privilege of perusing very interesting and valuable conversations between you and boop, so I know that you are a serious-minded Poster, interested in pursuing only matters of importance. But, I asked you a question (see #38, this thread), can you “advance and defend an alternative?

I’m waiting.

49 posted on 04/11/2013 12:15:13 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: BrandtMichaels

The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Bible - it is the Word of God. If you could succeed in declaring the Bible null and void you would also succeed in eliminating Christianity imho.


I see you’re a Bible worshipper.. different strokes for different folks I guess..
Remove the bible or even the authority of the bible and it removes your God..

I know many others with a very small God.. some even worship their church..
I do not deny “them” the freedom to worship pretty much anything.. and most do..

However being the scissorbill that I am,,,,, I grade them.. and You..


50 posted on 04/11/2013 2:04:58 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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