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The Day of the Vote

This day, God willing, will change the face of our Lutheran Church.  Our national convention votes on the ordination of women again.  In previous votes it has been close but in the reign of President Semmler, convention delegates were harangued to be very careful with the threat of schism.  This time around, under Bishop John Henderson, the conversation and Bible studies have been lengthy and open.  The last two days have seen round tables discussion and the debate.  The vote happens today.

We pray that women will be accepted as the pastoral leaders that they already are.  We pray when women’s ordination is rolled out that very quickly they will be accepted by those who struggle with the idea of women as pastors.  We do know that in other churches most of that resistance has faded away, especially in times of grief, when people have experienced the pastoral care that women provide.

The vote will happen any time in the next few hours.  Pray for us.

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Posted by on October 3, 2015 in theology

 

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Prayer Vigil for Women’s Ordination at St Stephen’s

PRAYER-VIGILSt Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 152 Wakefield Street, Adelaide, has a prayer vigil on the day of the debate on women’s ordination (Friday 2nd October, 2015).  Sorry for the late notice.  It will be held from 9am until 7pm.  Consider joining the vigil to pray for our Church, for our women, for our leadership and for delegates from around Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to St Stephen’s Working Party on Women’s Ordination for organising the day.

Further news, (thanks, Jeff): Doctor Andrew Pfeiffer has been elected Assistant Bishop.  The politics of that is interesting.  Doctor Pfeiffer went to Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN, USA (a seminary of the Lutheran Church – MIssouri Synod), to study for his doctorate.  Ever since, he has strongly opposed women’s ordination.  While at this stage he does not exercise much influence on this matter, in our opinion it is not healthy to sit too close to the LC-MS, which has removed clergy from their role of pastors for publicly supporting the ordination of women. Matthew Becker example  (Type “LCMS” into the search field of this blog – top right – for more on LCMS.)

Then there’s this official tweet today: “ requested that CTICR study the scriptural and theological understanding of subordination and the role of male headship in marriage”.  Sigh!  Male headship?  Are we really that out of touch with our world?   What a huge waste of energy!   CTICR studies its subject matter in fine detail and there will be months and months of discussion and debate.  It would seem more appropriate to be discussing how the LCA might offer leadership against the obscenity of The Coalition and Labor’s common platform of stopping the boats, or on climate change.

Synod has agreed to commit more resources to keeping children safe – a good initiative against domestic violence!   We understand that some people are maintaining that it’s still okay to hit children.  Ah, well!  Change comes slowly, but you knew that, especially if you are a woman in the LCA.

The #lcasynod Twitter feed today has mostly been official updates.  If you are at Synod your perspectives via Twitter would be appreciated.  Just include the following: “#lcasynod”  (without the quotation marks)

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in politics

 

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LCA Synod kicks off

twitter

The LCA Synod has begun in Rochedale, Qld.  We have just checked the Twitter feed and found only a little activity. The two main hashtags are #lcasynod and #wherelovecomestolife  It seems that the only live-feed from the convention is from worship services. This is difficult to understand. In these days of connectivity it would have been very helpful for the nation to be able to observe the key discussions and debates.

If you are at the convention those of us at home would all appreciate it if you would share your experiences via Twitter.  These may include information on the events, quotes from speakers and developments on the women’s ordination discussion and debate.  We understand at the moment that the only vote on the matter may be in regards to getting a consensus on Scriptural interpretation.  This seems to imply that Bishop John Henderson has decided that a vote would still be too divisive.  Correct us if we are wrong.  *** ADDITION*** (1st Oct, 2015) Jeff, in comments below, indicates that this is incorrect.  In his comment he also indicates that there may be a move from the floor asserting the debate on WO is unconstitutional.  Pastor John will give his understanding if the issue is raised. (Thanks, Jeff.)

For those of you who are present in Rochedale may the Holy Spirit guide your deliberations.

We wait with bated breath in hope for something constructive to come from our national convention.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in politics

 

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Stephen Colbert on Women Priests

Stephen Colbert, as reported in Sojourners

Stephen Colbert, as reported in Sojourners

Link  This life-long Catholic shares the impact of hearing an Anglican female priest declare, “This is my body”.  It is an insight into why women priests and pastors are an important and necessary element of our church future.

Most of us acknowledge that the world church and our LCA are flawed and human institutions.  We are capable of sin. A democratic vote, doctrines and documents of union are capable of embodying sin. Our exegesis, hermeneutics, theologians, seminars, Bible studies and conventions are all potentially less than ideal.  We are always a journeying people on our way to another time, restorying our faith in a changing culture.  We can only do our best with the information we have from day-to-day.  We have no other choice. Remaining static is not an option. Some days we will excel in serving Christ, other days we will go in other directions.  It should come as no surprise that some of our decisions will need to be revisited in order to be more faithful to the will of God.

May the discussion on women’s ordination at Rochedale, Qld embrace our changing Church and envision the blessings that the sharing of service will bring to us all.

We need to make this call this time around.  It will not always be easy, but ministry never has been.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2015 in pastoral

 

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Free But Not Free

What if women’s ordination gets up at the coming LCA National Convention in Rochedale?

After the celebrations the next phase will be the delay before ordination.

To our knowledge there has been negligible preparation for a positive vote.  Bishop Henderson however has issued a warning that it will take some time for the LCA to prepare for WO – despite the generations of discussion.  Despite a potential positive vote women will still be in the wilderness, presumably for a number of years.

The delay will be akin to the granting of freedom to British slaves in 1833.  It took five extra years until 1838 for for “enslaved men, women, and children in the British Empire to finally became fully free after a period of forced apprenticeship following the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.” link  Despite it being a huge moral victory, 46 000 British slave owners, mainly in the West Indies, still had to be paid off for losing their slaves. link   Why is it that the oppressed are forced to pay for the institutions’ lethargy in facing issues of justice?

Ironically, the ELCA this year celebrates 45 years of women’s ordination.  Other protestant churches have also been ordaining women for many years.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in history, women's ordination

 

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The fragile of stance of fundamentalism

While this site has been in support of women’s ordination we cannot remain silent on how the LCA currently treats LGBTQs. The Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions has been studying the issue for some years, which indicates that there are plenty of nuances and Biblical threads to unravel. Choosing particular verses from Scripture will surely find evidence that homosexuality is wrong but then there’s plenty of other texts of terror in there as well.  We need time to work out how to decipher such texts.

We have had ample time to consider women’s ordination and we see that a few verses condemning women to servitude are not the key theme for women at all in the Bible.  In fact there is a very strong narrative of women providing pastoral and prophetic leadership in New Testament days.

Kim Davis, the USA official who refused to grant marriage licences to gay couples, uses Scripture passages to justify her stance, although she is currently serving time in prison for her refusal to enact USA law. The following old West Wing clip shows the shaky ground we are on when throwing Scripture verses around.  A thorough exegesis is required on any delicate matter.  What verses do you choose to use?  What verses do you choose to ignore?

The video has been re-badged as an answer to Kim Davis thinking.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in theology

 

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LC-MS Removes Rev. Dr. (and Prof) Matthew Becker From Its Role of Pastors

Prof Matthew Becker, Valparaiso University

Prof Matthew Becker, Valparaiso University

By now, many have heard the sad news that as of July 15 the Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker will be removed from the roster of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Rev. Becker has been an LCMS pastor for twenty six years, and is currently a Professor at Valparaiso University after having also served several years in the Concordia University System. Rev. Becker has consistently and faithfully spoken out against increasingly narrow interpretations of scripture which in recent years have been embraced by synodical officials as mandatory for any who would consider themselves to be Christian.    Ordain Women Now – an organisation within the LCMS (Read more for further detail)  Read here for Matt Becker’s record of the event.

The expulsion of Matthew Becker is an attempt to homogenise the LC-MS so that it speaks with one narrow theological voice.  However, in these changing multi-cultural and diverse societies it is just not realistic to expect that our theology will be as one.  It is realistic, however, to expect that in our journeying together our theology will grow closer.

We believe that a church should be stable and loving enough to hold differences of theology lightly, and that diversity will bring strength, not weakness.

Joining a church is not a statement that we agree with every theological stance that it may take. Rather, it is a statement that we are willing to journey together as we engage with Christ in our lives and what that might mean for our interaction with society and those around us.

The expulsion of Matthew Becker, rather than being an act of healing, is an act of self-destruction which will most likely lead to further expulsions and departures from the LC-MS.  In the end, the Gospel is not about law, it is about love and forgiving one another in Christ.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in politics

 

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