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Dave Miller
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Go, Chuck! Good thoughts...well said.
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That's what we're talkin' about today, Chuck. Make it plain! Yes, sir.
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Hey, thanks for the memories, Chuck! I was a student at LSTC in the early 70's, and took some classes at CTS. It's a glorious facility, as is the whole U of C campus. I remember the International House well...and Bonhoeffer House, where our Lutheran U of C students could gather. Also, The Medici, which had the best Chicago deep-dish pizza in town. I'm a bit sad that the UCC will be moving on...although the new campus looks equally glorious! I'm eager to read more of what you have to say about "just war" and "just peace." I'm reminded of the monument to the Manhattan Project, which is also on the U of C campus. Shalom!
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What they consider "family values" is often the opposite of what millions of Christians across the United States consider moral. Love it, Chuck! Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Wayne Oates' book The Psychology of Religion. Oates writes, "What many people call religion, Jesus called sin."
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Did a little Googling around today on the Rev. Dr. Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach. (Dove? Outreach??) He was purportedly the pastor of a freestanding church in Koln, Germany for more than a decade, until his flock asked him to leave. He was allegedly in hot water with the local government, just as he is in Clearwater. He was also reportedly fined 3,000 euros for misappropriating the title "doctor." I left a note for Pastor Jones on Dove's YouTube page, asking him to read Matt. 13:24-29 some time before Saturday (since Dove is "a New Testament church"). Could have left lots of other reading suggestions, but was trying to be succinct... I am delighted at the outcry across the Christian spectrum against Dove's incendiary plans. Who was it who said that when they start burning books, they inevitably end up burning people? I've often heard complaints that the Muslim community hasn't spoken out loudly enough against terrorism. Let's see how loudly the Christian community speaks out against it. So far, so good...
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I'm honored to say that I know every pastor pictured in that NYT article, and have been a guest in many of their homes. They are among the finest, brightest, and most dedicated pastors in the ELCA, and we are fortunate that they agreed to be restored to our "regular" clergy roster. The Spirit is enkindling us, indeed!
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Chuck, you're right on the money (err...the Cross) with this one. What Bauer is proposing sounds like "social Darwinism," which was the basis for the eugenics movement, so popular in the U.S. and Europe in the 1920s and 30s. The Methodists have already offered an official apology for succumbing to this scientific-sounding bullcrap. When I visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 2007, there was an exhibit on display entitled "Deadly Medicine." It documented the effect of social Darwinism and eugenics on early Nazi policy and propaganda. Here is a 1938 quotation from Goebbels, which echoed in a distorted way the Gospel of Matthew, the 25th chapter: "Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked...our objectives are entirely different. We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world." God forbid that we should return to this way of thinking!
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Pastor Jim, I appreciate your concern...I wanted/want a public option, too. But more than that, I want this discussion and dialog to continue. You say the Senate version allows insurance companies to "continue to raise premiums unabated." But the Faithful America analysis of the bill disputes that, saying it "curbs increases in premium costs." I'm especially encouraged that the bill "requir[es] insurance companies to spend 85 cents of every dollar they receive on care, instead of administration and profits." That cuts the overhead by more than half. (It's been estimated that 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care in this country goes to administrative overhead.) As a health care provider, I know that if insurance companies cut back on micromanaging everything I do and every decision I make, then I can also cut back on administrative staff whose job it is to interface with insurance bureaucrats all day long. That will actually reduce the cost of delivering health care, and result in a far greater percentage of the health care dollar spent on actually delivering health care to people. Pastor Jim, you wrote that "they should start over again next year." But they won't, they won't, they won't! Ask anyone who's familiar with the political process. Ask Chuck! There will be no stomach for it. The bills will never make it out of committee, because committees know that legislators will say, "What, that issue again?! It was a loser last year, and it'll be a loser again this year. Please don't waste our time with that. Obama's right when he says it will take at least another generation to bring this round to the floor of congress again. Please reconsider your stand on this, Pastor Jim.
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By the way...I just Googled "How popular is the 'public option'? and found that a majority in the U.S. favor it. See for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/y98aoge .
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Gosh, Donna...I'm wondering whether you could ask yourself where you got such intense feelings about a bill which you admittedly have not read. Do you have health insurance? If so, then what this bill will "force down your throat" is likely to be what you already have. If not, then what this bill will "force down your throat" is likely to be what it would "force down the throat" of Rev. Abrams' nephew and godson...namely...health care. In what version of the story of the Good Samaritan would Jesus lift up those who passed by on the other side of the road as models to be emulated?
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Chuck, I'm inclined to agree with you and with Rev. Olson. But here's something I don't understand. Would the passage of some sort of bill by the Senate--even without any sort of public option--force it into a committee to reconcile it with the House's bill? And if so, would there be a possibility that some sort of public option might make it into law? Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
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Congratulations, Chuck! Very inspiring...and impressive! Did Liz get to go too?
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As a health care provider, I can tell you that I'm absolutely fed up with the dominance of the insurance industry. I think health care consumers have little or no idea about how much of their care is directed by insurors, since most of it happens behind the scenes, out of their view. It takes a serious illness to bring that to light. As someone interviewed on NPR observed (paraphrasing): most people are satisfied with their insurance, because they don't have to use it much. It's like someone who's just bought a new car. They're satisfied with it until they drive it off the lot. I was delighted to see this insightful and hilarious clip recently on the Daily Show, which did a nice job of lampooning what the Democrats have been doing with "the public option": http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-30-2009/democratic-super-majority
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Congratulations on a job well done, Chuck. It sounds like you have served the people well, and have been well received and well loved. It is a bittersweet time for the congregation at Parkrose...but I, for one, am eager to follow you and your family to your next assignment. The Lord be with you!
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Hi, Bill. Thanks for pointing us to Wengert’s commentary. He was asked to speak so many times during the Assembly that he commented that it might just turn him into an extravert. (He regards himself as a lifelong introvert.) Many times, Wengert explained that the Lutheran (and to be sure, the CHRISTIAN...but at least the Lutheran) position is to recognize the bound conscience of the “other.” This, frankly, helped me recognize that those who were _opposed_ to the adoption of principles which recognize the freedom and responsibility of LGBTs were acting out of a conscience bound by their understanding of scripture, and could not simply be dismissed as intolerant bigots. At the same time, it asked those of that mindset to understand and accept that I, too, am acting out of a conscience bound by the scriptural obligation to love neighbor as self, blended with a different understanding of those same “clobber verses” of scripture. Beneath all that is the Lutheran (dare I say CHRISTIAN?) understanding that the key doctrine of the Christian faith, on which the Church stands or falls, is the justification of sinners by grace through faith, which has been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything hinges on this...and everything else is peripheral. To hinge justification or salvation on something else—or anything in addition to this—is to preach “another gospel,” as Paul said. To locate the "shibboleth" on a belief about the rightness or wrongness of LGBT behavior is to fall short of the mark––to miss the point. RichB, you said, “Do you love homosexuals at the expense of the social conservatives? How do you love everyone as we are commanded? Do you leave them in schism?” Of course we love social conservatives! I certainly hope we do not “leave them in schism.” Prior to the assembly I received letters from members of the ELCA who urged me to vote in a way which did not lead to schism. I responded to those letters by letting the writers know that whether the Assembly’s vote led to schism would likely be more up to them than up to me. Can we find our unity in Christ? Do we agree on the central doctrine of the Gospel? I hope so!
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"It is truly sad that a group of people whose namesake stood unmoveable on the statement "unless I am convinced by Scripture" could so easily take a path that disregards and denies Scripture." Thank you, Preacher DJ. The document recognizes the bound conscience of its readers. As you may understand, the "clobber passages" of scripture are capable of more than one understanding. I understand them in one way, and you (evidently) understand them in another. I do not agree that I am "disregarding and denying" scripture. Yet I can recognize your bound conscience. Can you--after considering the social statement which we approved--recognize mine? Thank you.
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Bill, thank you for your remarks about our ELCA churchwide assembly last week, and the resolutions we passed. I was honored to be there as a voting member, and proud of our denomination's respectful discussion of the issues and of our final vote. As you may know, the social statement needed a 2/3 "supermajority," and cleared the hurdle by a single vote. So each and every vote counted. I see that some posters, above, have questions about the social statement. I would urge them to follow your advice and read it. I think it is a magnificent document. Thanks again for bringing it to our attention.
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Bill, I like your words from Micah and from Jesus. Good to remember. I also try to keep Paul's words in mind when considering "the Truth." "Now we see through a glass darkly..." (Or "in a mirror, dimly." Same idea.)
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Yes, of course faith and science are compatible. I'm glad the UCC makes that clear! At the same time, I hafta note some degree of "enshrinement" of Darwin in this, the 200th year since his birth and the 150th year since the publication of "Origin." An example of this is to be found in the recent publication of "Darwin's Sacred Cause," which documents his fight against slavery...while ignoring or whitewashing his racism. The latter is obvious in many of Darwin's writings, but perhaps no clearer than in this passage from "Descent of Man": "Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . . At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." I hope we don't get to the point of needing to airbrush out Darwin's flaws in this anniversary year. (Apologies for the tardiness of this comment! I knew what I wanted to say when I read your post, Chuck, but had to look up the quote, and just now got round to it.)
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