Missouri-Synod Lutherans: Interfaith action against gay people is fine, but not prayers for slain children

Christ the King Lutheran Church is in Newtown, Conn. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Morris, prayed at the vigil the Sunday after the massacre at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary school in December.

That’s a no-no in Christ the King’s denomination, the break-away “conservative” Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod does not allow its members to participate in interfaith prayer vigils. And for the LCMS, “interfaith” means anything involving anyone who is not part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Caleb Bell reports for RNS:

A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., has apologized after being reprimanded for participating in an interfaith vigil following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

… Morris’ church is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the denomination’s constitution prohibits ministers from participating in services with members of different faiths.

It’s not the first time a Missouri Synod pastor has been reprimanded for joining an interfaith prayer service; a New York pastor also was suspended for participating in an interfaith service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk calls this “ridiculous religiosity,” and quotes from the Reuters report:

Earlier this month, the president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, wrote a letter to church members saying he had requested an apology from Morris for his participation in “joint worship with other religions.”

“There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don’t matter in the end,” Harrison wrote.

“There will be times in this crazy world when, for what we believe are all the right reasons, we may step over the scriptural line,” he wrote.

So, OK then, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod wants to avoid any appearance of squishiness about its core beliefs that might come from joint worship or joint prayer or standing alongside members of other denominations or other faiths. It doesn’t even matter if a community like Newtown or New York is united in grief from a grave tragedy. What matters most is that the LCMS never give the impression that it can co-operate with what are, in their view, false denominations and false religions.

No co-operation. No appearance of comity and partnership. No coming together or working together in any way that might blur these essential differences.

Got it?

OK, that was Wednesday’s news. Here’s the news from Tuesday: “Mormons, other religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8.”

And who would those other groups be?

Other groups whose names are on the brief are the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; the Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance of North America; and Truth in Action Ministries.

So praying for the victims of tragedy with other members of the community is forbidden. But interfaith coalitions are just fine when it comes to kicking LGBT people.

This isn’t hypocrisy. It’s just that the people in church charge of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod hate gays way more than they love the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook.

Update: LCMS president Matthew Harrison has apologized:

As president of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, I take responsibility for this debacle. I handled it poorly, multiplying the challenges. I increased the pain of a hurting community. I humbly offer my apologies to the congregation, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Newtown, Conn.; to Pastor Morris; and to the Newtown community. I also apologize to the membership of our great church body for embarrassment due to the media coverage.

That’s a forthright, proper apology. I hope that the leaders of the LCMS, NAE, SBC, LDS, Orthodox union and Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance are just as genuine when, someday soon, they offer their apologies for that amicus brief against the rights of same-sex couples in California. And, yes, that day will come.

 

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Talking to Republican friends at the Trumpian crossroads
'Moral tribalism' and translating the d-word
'What became of the Christian intellectuals?'
That time when a terrorist attack struck the Olympic Games
  • P J Evans

    It kind of makes me want to send all the LCMS ministers who believe this crap to Missouri. Give them a county to live in, but don’t allow them to spread their narrow-minded church outside it.

  • Becca Stareyes

    That’s hardly fair to the good people of Missouri though.  

  • Lutheran

    Missouri Synod churches are all over the United States.

  • Revraddatz

    This author makes me laugh. Go LCMS. They have fortitude and stand on Scripture. Maybe the ELCA could learn a lesson. They are heterodox and on the way to being pagan.

  • Lunch Meat

    Go LCMS. They have fortitude and stand on Scripture.

    Like the one that says “Weep with those who weep, unless they disagree with you on certain christological, soteriological, and eschatological issues?”

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    There’s a scripture that says members of LCMS can’t pray with members of other faiths?

    Who woulda thunk?

  • Diverlca

    Oh man…we’re so pagan in the ELCA.  I mean this Sunday, we read from our Pagan Bible…I believe it was Pagan Luke–something about Pagan Jesus nearly being thrown off the cliff by his Orthodox neighbors.  And then we prayed some pagan prayers to our Pagan God the Father.  After that, I believe it was a Pagan feast of bread and wine.  I believe there was a Pagan Apostles Creed slipped in somewhere.  Man, sure beats that LCMS church down the street.  I mean, its not like some small denomination formed out of the German-American Pietistic movement in nineteenth-century Midwest would have a monopoly on the truth right?

  • Justsayinhere

    Don’t forget that official Pagan Trinity doctrine that everybody outside of the ELCA seems to claim isn’t actually official ELCA doctrine.  They’re wrong – the Pagan Trinity is just as real and alive in the ELCA church as Pagan Jell-O Salad and Pagan Coffee in ELCA fellowship halls.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3ZS3JQWB6DMT4X22IT4J3Z6DJY VB501

    When I was in the ELCA, they invited agnostic university professors to teach us in the Bible class.   We are not called to be popular–in fact, we are told that the world will hate us. 

  • Nathaniel

     Have you ever considered the world will hate you because your denomination is run by assholes?

  • Lunch Meat

    The world hates serial killers. Therefore serial killers are Christlike?

  • reallyAimai

    “We are told that the world will hate us” is exactly what makes you sound like you come from some kind of paranoid, end times, Koresh or Jim Jones style cult.  You do realize that telling your followers that they will be “hated” by normal people is one of the first ways in which abusive husbands and cult leaders begin the process of isolating their prey, don’t you? Prayer, fasting, isolation, withdrawal from school and social events–these are all common forms of brain washing.  Scripture aside your community sounds like it has more in common with Scientology or the Moonies than Christianity or Judaism.  

  • Pat

    I agree, I think it is a cult like church, I know some of them and they are as right winged as they come. They hate everybody!!!

  • John (not McCain)

    So happy to learn that I won’t be spending eternity around filth like you.  Now if I could only get y’all out of my country…

  • The_L1985

     Did you read the whole article?

    Also, as an actual Pagan, I assure you that the ELCA, as a church that believes in the Trinity (with the implication that other gods do not exist), and that Jesus is God and Savior, is not Pagan.  They are Christian.

    Just because they aren’t like your branch of the Lutheran church, does not keep them from being Christian.  “Heterodox” always looks different to different denominations; your synod’s refusal to believe in transubstantiation is considered heterodox to the Roman Catholic Church (this was, in fact, one of the main issues that caused Martin Luther to form the Lutheran church in the first place).

  • Barry_D

     Please have a friend read and explain the article to you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Goodwin/28602067 Jess Goodwin

    Oh, hush. You people have been saying this since the days of Flacius and Melanchthon. Grow up already.

  • Justsayinhere

    “on the way to being pagan.”

    Yup, typical “us not them” LCMS logic right there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

    This isn’t real, right?  I mean, no denomination that actually worships any kind of god worth worshiping could really be so callous towards their fellow man as to reprimand a pastor for taking part in a multi-faith prayer vigil after a tragedy, right?  Nobody could possibly demand that a pastor apologize for standing with the families of slain children in their moment of grief, right?

    The anti-gay thing I can picture, because they’re small-minded bigots.  But they wouldn’t actually put their hatred of Teh Gays ahead of a devastated community of grieving parents, right?

    Right?

  • H. Rasmussen

     Matt, considering that the Lutheran Synod I grew up in (Wisconsin Synod, as conservative as Missouri Synod) told me I was not to have “fellowship” with family members who were members of a different synod of Lutheranism from us (and yet, another conservative one, which I can’t remember)? Nothing really surprises me.

  • Justsayinhere

    (Wisconsin Synod, as conservative as Missouri Synod)  Far more conservative, actually, and even more conservative than most fundamentalists on a lot of random things.

  • H. Rasmussen

     Thanks, justsayinhere, after I switched churches (and was subsequently informed that I would only be welcome back in my Wisconsin Synod church if I had a discussion with the pastor about how I had “sinned”) I kinda washed my hands of the whole thing, so my scorecard on “who is the most conservative group” is a bit out of date. :)

  • icecreamassassin

    Don’t worry – all of these kind of news stories that you hear about are merely concoctions of Andy Kaufman in an attempt to generate the loudest “WHA?” in history.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Why is it surprising that people who believe one terrible, despicable thing also believe other terrible, despicable things? MUCH more terrible things have been, and are, committed in the name of Jesus Christ (and Kali and the Buddha and Allah and this goes on forever and is not just religions) than simply not praying with grieving parents. 

  • Darkrose

    From the Blade link: The brief concludes: “The people of California violated no one’s civil rights when they adopted Proposition 8. Their twice- expressed preference for the traditional definition of marriage over an untested rival conception was thoroughly rational. It is therefore thoroughly constitutional.”

    In other words: “Prop 8 is constitutional because people voted for it. Also, because of reasons.”

    It’s sad that I have to worry that this court might take this seriously.

  • Pastorfiene

    If I signed my Muslim neighbor’s petition to keep a strip club from opening across the street, but wouldn’t worship with him at his mosque, I’m sure you wouldn’t say this is hypocritical, since supporting people on a social issue and worshipping with them are two different things. This is no different than what the LCMS is doing on these two issues.

    Also, we’re not a “break away” group. I know research is harder than ad hominems, but it’s at least worth an effort.

  • Lunch Meat

    It may have been held at a church, but it certainly wasn’t a traditional worship service. Would you go to a Muslim neighbor’s funeral after relying on his/her support on social issues? If not, you may not be a hypocrite, but I would say you’re kind of a jerk.

    Anyway, Fred didn’t say it was hypocritical:

    This isn’t hypocrisy. It’s just that the people in church of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod hate gays way more than they love the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook.

  • Hans Fiene

     Yeah, I get it.  It’s a clever line, except that it’s not true.  It’s utterly foolish to say that you have to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil in order to love the children of Sandy Hook, just as it’s utterly foolish to say that you hate people for believing that some of their actions are sinful.

  • Lunch Meat

    It’s utterly foolish to say that you have to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil in order to love the children of Sandy Hook, just as it’s utterly foolish to say that you hate people for believing that some of their actions are sinful.

    No one said they had to participate. The point is just that participating in political action is apparently a higher priority for them than comforting the grieving, given that they’re willing to work with those of different beliefs for one and not for the other.

    Your second point is a clear strawman. No one said that believing something is sinful=hating them. But if I believed heterosexuality was sinful and tried to outlaw marriage between people of opposite sexes, what would you call that? If I campaigned to ensure heterosexuals could not serve in the military, keep their jobs without pretending to be gay, or adopt children, what would you call that? If I started saying that heterosexuals should be locked up in concentration camps, that they were all pedophiles, that we had to be afraid of the straight agenda coming for our children, that they were all freaks, perverted abominations who are going to hell, what would you call that? If you have never participated in those things or anything like them toward gay people, congratulations, I don’t necessarily think you’re hateful. The LCMS has done some of those things, and I consider that hateful.

  • Darkrose

    I accept that you probably do not, personally hate GBLT* people. Unfortunately, when you attempt to use secular law as a weapon to enforce your belief that we should be second-class citizens in a country where your religion is not established, it doesn’t matter to me that you don’t personally hate me.

    If you’re standing on my neck, it doesn’t matter whether you personally hate me personally. From my point of view, all that matters is that you stop standing on my neck.

  • AnonymousSam

    “Have to” have an interfaith, no. You don’t need to have an interfaith vigil for anything. How you express grief is a personal matter. Reprimanding somebody for having the audacity to offend God by being in a building with members of another faith, and then suddenly being just fine with being part of a group of other faiths, however– can you explain why one is Not Okay and the other is Just Dandy?

    The message it seems to send is certainly not one I would want associated with my church. If you can come together to promote one thing (regardless of what I or anyone else feels about that subject), I don’t see why coming together to grieve should be taboo.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (shrug) How much you love the children of Sandy Hook, and how you choose to express that, is your business. If you don’t want to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil, don’t. But if you also choose to censure individuals who do express their love that way, I will think less of you, and I will oppose you.

    Similarly, how much you hate or don’t hate people some of whose actions are sinful is your business. If you want to participate in an interfaith condemnation of their loving relationships, that’s your business as well. But if you also choose to participate in legal action to deny them civil equality, I will think less of you, and I will oppose you.

  • reallyAimai

    You don’t “have to participate in interfaith prayer vigil” but lets turn it around. Suppose the pastor–who had memebers of his own community killed–was NOT invited because it was understood that his membership/his leadership would not permit him to show his face in a group setting where he couldn’t be the only religious leader acknowledged and his wasn’t the only god aknowledged? Wouldn’t his (and his communities) reaction to be shriek “bigotry! shunning!” and demand “equal time?” Wouldn’t he and his community feel excluded?Wouldn’t the Jews and Muslims and Pagan Lutherans all be rightfully accused of isolating and disrespecting the community as a whole by trying to divide it along sectarian lines?  

    You can think what you like about the primacy of your triune god over others but the community as a whole consisted of more than one worshipper of more than one god. If you want to be part of the community you have to mourn with that community. If you want to demonstrate that you are not part of that loving, grieving, growing, changing community then by all means hang back and refuse to show your face.  

    In reality the end result is less public exposure for your community and less knowledge of you and your imaginary good works.  When people say “tell me about the Lutheran Synod” the community at Sandy Hook will say “they are the guys who won’t show up unless they can lead the parade. They are the people who are so fearful that god hates them and everyone else that they can’t imagine that god was right there with us, mourning with us.”

  • Scott P.

    Nobody is saying that you have to participate in the interfaith prayer vigil. What they are saying is that once a member of your denomination does participate, chastising them for doing so seems insensitive and small-minded.

  • Baby_Raptor

    How is calling your group a breakaway group an insult or attack? It may well be inaccurate, but inaccuracy alone does not equal insult. 

    I know thinking is harder than just getting offended, but it’s at least worth the effort. And it makes you look a lot better than the typical Christianist “They disagree with me, so ATTACK!” attitude. 
    Also, peoples’ rights and the bigotry required to want to deny them aren’t a “social issue.” It’s a matter of basic decency. But your group isn’t exactly batting perfect on those, either. 

  • The_L1985

    Are you really going to equate “saying prayers of MY religion in close physical proximity to people of other religions, who are saying their own prayers” to “saying the prayers of another person’s religion, that is not my own, along with that other person?”  Because there’s a world of difference between the two.

    Is this really a hill worth dying on?

  • Fearless Reprobate

    Praying together hardly constitutes worshiping together. If it did, prayer and worship would not be considered two separate and distinct activities. As to terminology, I’d consider “breakaway” much kinder than “apostate” myself, but unless the Missouri-Synod predates both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, it  did in fact break away from another denomination at some point. I’d be hard-pressed to call the term “ad hominem.” Both descriptors may apply;  which term might be the more judicious would depend on the beholder. Just ask Rome. (And while you wait for a response, you might want to review Jesus’ words: “He who is not against me is for me.”)

  • Peasles

    Completely different. Not even close to a valid comparison.

    Article VI Condition of Membership: “Condition for acquiring and holding membership…renunciation of every unionism.” Every. Unionism.

  • Makabit

    What’s a ‘unionism’? Does this have to do with unions, or the Union, or marriage, or…?

  • PastorDave

    It’s a good thing we worship a God in Jesus Christ who never sat down with people who held different beliefs, ate with known sinners, hung out with actual prostitutes and touched the unclean. We wouldn’t want to get our message confused now, would we?

    Wait, what?

  • Pastormesser

    Yes, because the Gospels are full of all those occasions when Jesus added His prayers and blessings to the prayers and blessings of unbelievers. Remember that time when the Jews who rejected Him held that interfaith prayer vigil with the Romans and the Greeks and the Samaritans and the Egyptians, and Jesus was like, “This is cool. We all call Me by different names, but it’s all good. Here, let me add my blessings to this service.”

    Wait, what?

  • P J Evans

     Well, Petercertainly was given that message. If y’all don’t get that part of it, fine, it’s your afterlife, but  you don’t get to inflict your views on anyone else in this world without being held to account.

  • Pastormesser

     Peter was certainly given what message? You lost me.

  • Lunch Meat

    You mean like the one where Jesus told the Samaritan woman that it was just fine that she disagreed with the “orthodox” people about where to worship, because true worship is in spirit and God knows who the true worshipers are?

  • Pastormesser

     Are you suggesting that Jesus’ message to the Samaritan woman was that it’s okay to worship with those who worship other gods?

  • PastorDave

    Nice straw man.

  • Pastormesser

     By, “Nice straw man,” you’re referring to the article upon which we’re all commenting, right? ‘Cause it’s chock full of straw men, for sure.

  • PastorDave

     Nope, just your extracanonical argument.

    I do have a serious question for you. Have you ever been to an interfaith service? If you have, I am curious to hear your thoughts about what took place from your perspective.

  • reallyAimai

    Why do you care? I mean, by definition people who read things that “people who detest our god” think can’t matter. They don’t matter to you when they are unbelievers. They may matter to you when they acknowledge their error and your righteousness. But as far as I can tell from looking at history your imagined community of the pure is getting smaller and smaller so that’s not likely to happen. Why are you arguing with this post or this essay. As far as you and your religious group are concerned we are literally “lost souls” and neither you nor your g-d care about converting us or having us as members. You seem confused about the nature and role of evangelism here–instead of spreading the good news about love and salvation you are spreading what I call “punch in the eye” christianity–a christianity of spite and anger. Do you really expect to change anyone’s mind with your bitter words and meanspirited accusations? Its not in the bible (your bible) but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You can look it up.

  • The_L1985

     No, he’s referring to YOUR characterization of non-Christians and gay people.

    Because you know, we all just love when you endorse laws that would treat us worse than straight Christians.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    My Lutheran church taught me these things when I was a child. Drilled them. Particularly the Golden Rule — I would stay awake at night obsessing over how to follow it, because it was by far the most important thing ever. Apparently yours doesn’t bother. Not that that’s in any way unique to your church — but do you really think standing with Mormons is the way you wanna go? The Lutheran Church has survived longer than any other Protestant denomination, but I don’t see your denomination of it surviving very much longer if you keep sticking to dogma over human beings.

  • http://twitter.com/johnfraiser johnfraiser

    I’m sure that we could put you in a room with some people that you wouldn’t worship with either. Having standards for who you will worship with and who you won’t doesn’t make you a bigot. Saying a prayer at an interfaith worship service where every god/God is set along aside one another as equal choices in the cafeteria of faith isn’t the only way to care for people who were affected through the tragedy in Newtown. Furthermore, cooperation on social issues isn’t the same as cooperation on the worship of different gods. This is a simple point. You really should be able to see it.

  • Lunch Meat

    Furthermore, cooperation on social issues isn’t the same as cooperation on the worship of different gods. This is a simple point. You really should be able to see it.

    Of course they’re not the same thing. Clearly, trying to take away people’s civil rights is much more important than grieving with the grieving.

    Do you also go up to every person in your church service or bible study and interrogate them to make sure they agree with you on everything before bowing your head with them?

  • http://twitter.com/johnfraiser johnfraiser

    Actually, yes. I’m sure you would see it as interrogation, but I do ask people who visit my church what they believe. But even if I didn’t, I am at best ignorant of their confession which would not at all parallel a situation where I know the confession of, say, a Muslim and he openly leads people in the worship of his false god at a joint service. Having someone quietly attending your service whose confession you don’t know is nothing like sharing together in leading a worship service to different gods. So I don’t really see your point.

  • The_L1985

     …This wasn’t “cooperation on the worship of different gods,” because the Christians were saying Christian prayers, the Muslims were saying Muslim prayers, etc.  I have yet to see any such interfaith vigil in which the Christians were saying the Muslim prayers, and the Jewish prayers, etc.

    This was “people of different faiths mourning children, each in the form to which he/she is accustomed.”  That is not at all the same thing as “people of different faiths each going to each other’s place of worship and participating actively in those forms of worship.”

    BTW, “Allah” is the same god as the god of the Jews and of the Christians; Muslims just have very different beliefs regarding original sin, the fall of Adam, the nature of evil, and the status of Jesus.  From my view, y’all are all worshiping the same guy, just in different ways.

  • Alex

    Wow. No sweeping, disgusting generalizations here, especially in the last sentence. The LCMS has 2.3 million people. We don’t hate gays and we love and grieve for the children of Sandy Hook. In fact, one of the children that was murdered was a LCMS member, and the pastor in question and his peers in the LCMS helped the grieving parents, hosted her funeral, and prayed with the parents when they learned the worst. You should be ashamed of that last sentence. It’s shoddy, biased journalism and it makes a sweeping statement that is totally untrue.

  • Darkrose

    Okay, let’s take it out of the realm of generalization:

    Alex, if your church doesn’t hate me, why are you trying to make my life miserable? 
    Not “gays”. Me. Nancy from Sacramento, who celebrated my 4th anniversary with my wonderful wife this past September, because we were lucky enough to get in before Prop 8 passed. By supporting Prop 8, your church is attempting to do harm to me by invalidating my marriage. By supporting DOMA, your church is actively doing demonstrable harm to me by enshrining my second-class citizen status into law

    So why does your church want to hurt me?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wow. No reading comprehension here. The article clearly talked about one group and the man they reprimanded. 

    Also, denying people rights simply because you happen to think that they’re bad IS hate. Your interpretation of your religious book saying so doesn’t negate that. You cannot love someone and at the same time seek to treat them as subhuman. 

  • reallyaimai

    Well, if they prayed with the parents of amember of their own community, and that was noble and good, what does it mean when they refused to pray with members of another community? Isn’t that, by definition, not noble and not good? I have a passing familiarity with Jesus and as far as I recall most stories about him reveal him eating with people not members of his community and prosletizing to people not members of his community. In fact that’s Paul’s whole shtick: don’t refuse to interact with people who are not like you.

    Let me conclude by offering you the wise words of a muslim taxi driver I was tallking to after a code pink protest at the White House. He said (aand I’m not making this up) “You aren’t muslim now but you could choose to become muslim tomorrow–should I frown at you today and smile at you tomorrow? No. I must smile at you today and smile at you tomorrow.”

  • Stev84

    You also love to lie. But like you most Christians you probably just have a fucked up, oxymoronic definition of “love”

  • The_L1985

    Dude.  NOT COOL.  Fred, a lot of the commenters here, and my whole extended family are Christian.  Fuck off.

  • Justsayinhere

    They’re technically talking about LCMS, the institution, not LCMS, the people/members.  Big difference there.  (though I agree it’d be better to have more of a separation in discussions of all denominations)

  • Darkrose

    This is one of those things where I scratch my head and wonder if anyone realizes what this looks like to people outside of their bubble. I’m pretty sure no one was asking this pastor to recite the Shahadah or dance around the Maypole. The message was, “As a community, we’re horrified by what has happened here, and we’re expressing our concern for the victims together.” When I hear that being part of this was apparently considered a Bad Thing, I immediately think that someone–not the pastor in question–has lost sight of the fact that 26 people, including 5 and 6 year old children were killed. How could doctrinal purity be more important than a gesture of comfort and love to the families of the victims? If these Christians are going to act less like Jesus and more like the people he railed against, why should I take anything they have to say seriously?

  • Darkrose

    “This is cool. We all call Me by different names, but it’s all good. Here, let me add my blessings to this service.”

    So saying, “I understand that you’re hurting because your six-year-old daughter is dead, and I grieve with you” really means “I totally agree with everything you believe”? Good to know.

  • Pastormesser

    So, if we refuse to worship and pray with, and bless the prayers of, those who call upon different gods, we cannot show mercy, compassion, and love to those who are grieving after a horrific tragedy? Seems odd, especially given the fact that the LCMS is one of the most merciful, compassionate, and loving church bodies in our country, always there on the scene to assist hurting people when tragedies occur – not only at home, but abroad. I guess that’s all for naught if we refuse to join in worship with those who detest the God we serve. Interesting stuff, that.

  • Darkrose

    Again: was everyone reciting “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet” part of the service? Was everyone required to take off their clothes and dance skyclad around the Maypole? Was there Mass, and was Communion served? Did they sit shiva for the dead?

    Or were people standing in front of a crowd expressing general sentiments of sympathy and compassion and sorrow?

    It’s great that your denomination does wonderful things. But if you can’t tell the difference between praying with and praying to in the face of an even that shocked even the most cynical among us, then sorry, but all I’m hearing is the sound of brass and tinkling cymbals.

  • Pastormesser

    Dear Darkrose,

    It’s not that I, or my church body, can’t tell the difference between praying with and to, it’s that the world can’t tell the difference. I think that’s been proven in spades by the comments on all the various articles about this today. Pr. Morris certainly doesn’t believe that he was praying to the same god as the Jew, Muslim, or Baha’i clergy that evening. He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that. The public watches a service like that and has the American Civil Religion that dominates our age reinforced in them. Most people commenting about this around the interwebs are not mad because we can’t tell the difference between praying with and to; they are mad because they thought it was a nice service where clergy of different denominations and religions prayed to their different understandings of the “One God” we all believe in, whatever we call him, her, or it, and how dare anyone question that! They are mad because we dare to believe that we don’t all pray to the same God, and that we confess that there is only one, true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Read the comments. That’s why they’re mad. And, that’s why we can’t participate in services like this without giving the impression that what they believe is true, namely that we all worship the same god, just by different names and in different ways.

  • Darkrose

    He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that. 

    Oh! In other words, “We’re smart enough to know what’s going on, but no one else is.” Gotcha.

    The public watches a service like that and has the American Civil Religion that dominates our age reinforced in them.

    Wait, did Nicky Coast Range already start the Enigma Babylon One World Faith? I’m so out of the loop!

  • Pastormesser

    Never mind. I’ll just go find some homosexual people to hate and some slain children to not care about now. Have a nice night.

  • Darkrose

    I assume you agree with your denominations stance on Prop 8, so you’re good on the first one. 

  • reallyaimai

    Apparently. Should be easy.

  • http://feygelegoy.myopenid.com/ FeygeleGoy.com

    Never mind. I’ll just go find some homosexual people to hate and some slain children to not care about now. Have a nice night.

    I have a neon sign that says, “I’m a martyr for having the one correct religion, you sick sinners.” It goes well with a spotlight. Don’t break it if I lend it to you.

  • P J Evans

     Heck, here I thought the American Civil Religion was $$$$$.

  • Lunch Meat

    Most people commenting about this around the interwebs are not mad because we can’t tell the difference between praying with and to; they are mad because they thought it was a nice service where clergy of different denominations and religions prayed to their different understandings of the “One God” we all believe in, whatever we call him, her, or it, and how dare anyone question that! They are mad because we dare to believe that we don’t all pray to the same God, and that we confess that there is only one, true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    Could you please provide quotes demonstrating that? Because I fully understand I worship a different God than many of my friends, and so does Fred. You’ve greatly misunderstood if you think that’s what he was saying. The problem here, as I see it, is that Mr. Harrison was more concerned about doctrinal purity than an outpouring of love, against which there is no law. Jesus was always more concerned with how people loved than with what they believed. And Paul said that if he knew everything, if he even knew the languages of angels, but didn’t have love, he was nothing. But Mr. Harrison thinks it’s only okay to show God’s love and give spiritual comfort to the grieving if he’s not doing it with anyone who disagrees with him about God?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Pr. Morris certainly doesn’t believe that he was praying to the same god as the Jew, Muslim, or Baha’i clergy that evening. He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that.

    Incidentally, you’re right.  The world DOESN’T know that.  At least, it’s news to me that the Christian and Jewish Gods aren’t the same God.  Do the LCMS Bibles omit the Old Testament because it’s about the wrong God?  Since Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish, doesn’t it make it kind of tricky to be a Christian but to worship a different God than the one that Jesus did?

    (I’m pretty sure it’s news to Muslims that they’re not worshiping the same God as Jews and Christians, too, but I digress.)

  • The_L1985

    As someone who actually worships several different gods, none of which are the God of Abraham, I always watch people seeing the gathering of people to worship the God of Abraham via different religions, and referring to it as “worship of many gods,” with wry amusement.

    Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Baha’i are all Abrahamic religions.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    As
    someone who actually worships several different gods, none of which are
    the God of Abraham, I always watch people seeing the gathering of
    people to worship the God of Abraham via different religions, and
    referring to it as “worship of many gods,” with wry amusement.

    Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Baha’i are all Abrahamic religions.

    It does the rich history of those religions a bit of a disservice to assert without qualification that the abrahamic religions all worship “the same god”.  Many of the folks who subscribe to each of those religions — most in some — would say that the other abrahamic religions worship a fiction sort of loosely based on the God they worship.

  • The_L1985

     But members of each religion, if asked whether they, personally, worshiped the God of Abraham, would all answer “Yes, I do.”

    My picture of Thor the Thunderer is probably different from an Asatruar’s view of Thor, and from Marvel’s view of Thor, and from an actual 10-century Viking’s view of Thor, but does that mean we’re not all talking about Thor Odinsson?  (Wait, does this mean I’m getting back into that semantic argument with PPPadre again?)

  • Madhabmatics

     No, because your perception of PPPadre’s posts is different than anyone elses because of the resolution of your monitor, therefore you and I are actually arguing with two different PPPadre’s

  • The_L1985

     If your religion did not prohibit the consumption of alcohol, I’d buy you a drink.

  • Tricksterson

    You could always by him a whatever his beverage of choice is.

  • Madhabmatics

    did you know Heineken owns a non-alcoholic malt drink company in lebanon? If any of you ever get a chance to try Peach Laziza take it, it is delicious.

  • PPPadre

    (Wait, does this mean I’m getting back into that semantic argument with PPPadre again?)

    I’ll pass.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     “It does the rich history of those religions a bit of a disservice to
    assert without qualification that the abrahamic religions all worship
    “the same god”. ”

    This whole conversation inspired me to start another attempt to read “A History of God” last night and while I’m only two chapters in, it appears that in that sense, any given Abrahamic religion isn’t worshipping the same God across time, either.

    But all the Abrahamic religions would say they were worshiping the same God as Abraham did (almost by definition, I would think) even though historically, it’s apparently not even clear if Abraham’s El was originally Yahweh at all as opposed to the Canaanite god El (father of Ba’al).  Apparently  at some points Yahweh had a wife, Ashera, too.

    It seems like if we can talk about any single Abrahamic religion having a “God” across that religion’s own history starting from Abraham, we can say the same thing across the different Abrahamic religions.  I mean, all of them have different beliefs about the nature of God, but none of them are polytheistic and married.  So the differences across religions don’t seem as different as the differences across time.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I mean, all of them have different beliefs about the nature of God, but none of them are polytheistic and married.

    In their modern practice, no, but don’t forget, just to complicate the matter worse, that the ancient Israelites weren’t really what we’d call monotheistic, but henotheistic: they worshipped only one god, but did not deny that other gods existed or even that those other gods might be deserving of worship from other folks. To them, Yahweh was not “the one and only true God and all others are false gods”; He was “Our god, the only one we worship, on account of he doesn’t like it when we worship the other similarly powerful gods who our neighbors worship”

  • The_L1985

    “He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that.”

    How the FUCK does the world not know that?  I’m pretty sure everyone in the United States knows what the First Commandment is, given that it’s damn near everywhere, including courthouses and several big-name Hollywood movies, one of which (The Ten Commandments) is shown on network TV every single year and has been around since 1956.  We all know that y’all aren’t allowed to worship other gods.  In fact, I’ve had to leave my own Pagan services early, because my Jewish boyfriend felt that he would be betraying his faith if he took part in the ritual, and didn’t feel comfortable sitting it out while still in the room.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Prost/100002434484052 Tony Prost

     “Pr. Morris certainly doesn’t believe that he was praying to the same god as the Jew, Muslim, or Baha’i clergy that evening.”

    How many gods are there?

  • Makabit

    Pr. Morris certainly doesn’t believe that he was praying to the same god as the Jew, Muslim, or Baha’i clergy that evening.

    Are you of the opinion that there is more than one, then?

  • Justsayinhere

    So in other words how *other people view your congregation*  is more important than any single positive thing that happened that night due to the LCMS clergy being there.  Good, got it.

  • Darkrose

    Except that now they see that “how other people view your congregation” is as “petty, legalistic jerks”, they seem to be upset. So it’s kind of a lose-lose.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    They are mad because we dare to believe that we don’t all pray to the same God

    Wait, there’s now a branch of Lutheranism that believes there exists more than one god? 

    Yeah, I know what you meant. And it’s pinging my blasphemy meter like crazy. (I’ve been trying to get said meter uninstalled, but it still exists.) No wonder you separated from the mainline Lutheran church.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How hard is that to comprehend? Have fun with that neo-medieval Catholicism you’ve got going there.

  • Michael Moran

    Isn’t it a long ago decided heresy to say that the God of the Old Testament is a different God from the God of the New Testament

  • Forestchilde

    “But, the world doesn’t know that.”  Oh, so you are more worried about what the world thinks than what you know is in your heart? What the world thinks is more important the supporting your fellow humans in time of grief and mourning?  Nice. WWJD?

  • John (not McCain)

    I will do quite well without the “mercy” and “compassion” provided by the drooling troglodytes of the LCMS, or the imaginary jackass they worship.

  • Vermic

    I guess that’s all for naught if we refuse to join in worship with those who detest the God we serve. Interesting stuff, that.

    You can say that the other prayer-vigil participants “detest” the LCMS God; but the fact is, on that day in December they stood side by side in shared love and grief with your Rev. Morris, and didn’t regard it as a mistake or anything they needed to apologize for afterwards.  Which is more than the LCMS is capable of, apparently.

  • Makabit

    I guess that’s all for naught if we refuse to join in worship with those who detest the God we serve. Interesting stuff, that.

    I’m not a Christian, and I am not going to wade in to the question of whether it was theologically appropriate for this pastor to do as he did, although my own tradition would tend to say he made the right call.

    However, who at that service do you imagine ‘detesting’ God? That’s a pretty serious charge to level at someone on the grounds that they’re not the right sort of Lutheran.

  • Hexep

    Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaw turf wars. 

    I see all of this as ultimately curative – the worse it gets, the more people will shake their old habits and leave these churches, becoming disenchanted with this lifestyle and embracing a newer, better one.

    You know how it is – people don’t go to the doctor until they get properly sick. Well, this illness has to develop before it reaches critical mass.

  • Tricksterson

    Sunday! Sunday!  Giant Monster Trucks!

  • Carstonio

    Apparently this church sees real pistols are less dangerous than sex pistols.

  • stardreamer42

     Never mind the bollocks…

    (Well, someone had to say it.)

  • Carstonio

    Heh. The phrase apparently meant “never mind the bullshit,” and that seemed vague and elliptical. I wonder if it was an ironic nod to Malcolm McLaren’s strategy of manufacturing outrages for publicity.

  • The_L1985

     God save the Queen?

  • Magic_Cracker

    AND her fascist regime.

  • Will

    Just some facts: The man who made the statement, President Harrison knows something about caring for the wounded. He served for 9 years as the head of Lutheran World Relief, which brought 14 million to relief efforts in Asia after the tsunami, Haiti after the earthquakes, and after Hurricane Katrina. He was on the ground for all of them. He has seen and relieved more and cared for more people suffering than any commenter on here can claim. So before you throw out claims of heartlessness, do your research.

  • P J Evans

     He needs to spend some more time reading Jesus’s teachings then, because he clearly missed some important parts. ‘Love your neighbor as your self’ comes in here. If it’s wrong to participate in an inter-faith vigil for murdered children, what else does he think is wrong?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.place.96 Jessica Place

    Acting humanely towards one group of people doesn’t excuse the act of placing another group of people outside of the bounds of moral obligation. Should Christians help victims of natural disaster? Yes. Should Christians do everything in their power to support grieving parents? Yes. Should Christians work towards the just and humane treatment of all people? Yes. Jesus didn’t give us boundaries when it comes to who we should love or live or worship with–on the contrary, the heart of his message decimated these boundaries. Nothing–not theological divides or sexual orientation or, as you point out, geography, should be a barrier to love.

  • Baby_Raptor

    That has absolutely nothing to do with his actions here. Past potentially good actions do not negate current bad ones. You’re just trying to defend the guy. 

  • reallyaimai

    If he did all that with an attitude that the suffering and sorrow of unbelievers was not worthy of love and ministry and care then, yes, we’ve all done our research. Parading around the world doling out other people’s money is easy–apparently standing nonjudgmentally and reverentially by while people of other faiths mourn their dead is too difficult.

  • Sep154

    Check your facts, Will. No idiot from the Missouri Synod would ever be allowed head of Lutheran World Relief.

  • Guest

    It’s things like this that make me glad I left the Missouri Synod.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    I always find it interesting to see which topics will cause the troops to rally for the battle of the comments section.  Sometimes it’s predicable, but sometimes it’s not the ones you expect.  This wasn’t one I expected.

  • JustoneK

    Poor Fred’s gotten e-famous lately.

  • Virtue Ethic

    Agreed.  I actually do think that some of the criticism here is valid.  There is a world of difference between signing on to a legal argument and praying together.  It’s easy to say that it’s just mutual grieving, but, not knowing what the service was like, I would tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the Church sticking by its principles.  

    Think back a few weeks to the post on the Rabbi’s reaction to being asked to participate in interfaith services and the difficulties and challenges he faced dealing with Jesus-centric Christian prayers.  Although he participated, it’s not hard to imagine a setting where he, or a particular rabbinical organization he subscribed to, might choose pre-emptively not to participate.  As an extreme example, one would hardly be surprised if a Rabbi were chastised for eating non-Kosher food simply because it was served as part of an inter-faith service the Rabbi participated in.   

    There’s an argument to be made, by those more familiar with scripture and interfaith services, that the Synod’s policy is simply bad theology or bad policy.  But simply contrasting it with their support on the Prop. 8 brief proves little.  

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    It’s interesting to watch people unwittingly support Fred’s point while imagining they are refuting his point.

  • Fusina

    Until I was fourteen I attended an LCMS church. The youth group, was a nasty bunch of brats who had a very firm pecking order. I was at the bottom. The girl one rung above me refused to have anything to do with me.

    An example of what these people were like. The youth group went on a retreat. There were two tents for the girls. One slept 8 adults, the other slept 6. I was placed in the 8 person tent, as my parents had lent it for the retreat. All the other girls slept in the other tent, and there were, IIRC, fifteen girls in the youth group. 

    Another example: Another retreat. Everyone was gathered in a room discussing stuff. I had gone in hoping to be accepted. When I left, the kids applauded me.

    This is what they did for the hurting and weak in that particular LCMS church. Tell me, are they the same today?

  • Revjacobsen

    Still today, kids can be quite cruel and other kids, parents, Pastors and leaders need to correct such things. I’m sorry no one did that for you. We do try. I’m sorry no one stepped up to “defend and speak well of [you]”. That’s something we believe in doing. Sometimes as a Pastor I’ve seen some bad treatment of people who aren’t part of the “in crowd” in youth group interactions (even worse than some of the adults – though maybe not the adults in this comment section). I don’t think this is limited to the LCMS, and I do think we struggle against that sort of thing.

  • Fusina

     No one ever did anything about it. And one of the worst offenders was a deacon’s son. And I got the same crap at school. I currently have trouble with the PTSD I contracted as a result of years of being bullied by my parents, the kids at that church, and the kids at school. What else do you do to find refuge when you have none. And if your church youth group has an “in-crowd” that can be identified, you have a problem with your youth. And probably with your adults as well, where do you think the little brats learn it. I spent a lot of parental time teaching my kids that there is no good reason for treating someone poorly. Being the underdog gave me compassion for those whom society rejects, the fat, the poor, the gay, the darker skinned, to the point that I wholly support things that will lift them up to the level that white skinned males already have. I rejoiced when Maryland passed the gay marriage law. And I continue to pray that God will make it the law of the land. I do have a bible verse that I think speaks to this subject,

    1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God.

    Also, for those who think that we should be concerned with what others are doing with regard to cleaning up their lives, there is a whole speech regarding splinters and specks and logs. Spend more time getting yourself right with God (if that is your thing) and less time being concerned with what your neighbor does and with whom.

  • Revjacobsen

    Sometimes the “In crowd” joins in the youth group (The group itself doesn’t have an “in crowd”). We try to help everyone in our church to learn to treat all other people with respect. In a world where parents will even traumatize their own children by bullying them loving compassion is something we all need to work on all the time.

    As an LCMS pastor I don’t want homosexuals treated poorly, nor do I think my denomination wants that. I don’t want to be called a “troll” though just because I happen to believe in a Triune God and that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven by which men must be saved.

    Like Paul on Mars Hill, I’m happy to discuss my beliefs with those who don’t share them. Like most citizens I would like to live in a country whose laws show loving care for all while also encouraging us to make good moral decisions. I believe the Bible, as God’s Word, is a great source for making moral decisions.

  • Fusina

    Oh, no, I assure you, these were all kids whose parents were members of the church. And I likewise assure you, as someone who was on the outside, there bloody well was an in group. I am not making an observation of the group at your church, just the one that I had to deal with. That said, you might want to do some surreptitious observation. Is there a kid that tends to sit in a corner and read a book? Get him/her alone and ask about stuff. If you can gain their trust, you might get an education about those for whom Christ has great concern.

    If you don’t want homosexuals treated poorly, why do you, and others like you, insist that civil law must align with religious law?

    And my Dad has maintained for years that one cannot legislate morality. And have you read any of the Quran? There is some awesome stuff for making moral decisions in there. Likewise, in the Buddhist writings. And in many other religious books. God is bigger than one book.

  • Chrissl

    I admit to being confused. One of the basic elements of the Christian faith is that there is only one God. Christians believe that the one God has three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but God is still one God, because there *is* only one God, right?

    So how could Muslims, Jews, etc. be praying to a different God if there *is* only one?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Because Moon God. That’s Jack Chick’s answer, at any rate.

  • Makabit

    Because Moon God. That’s Jack Chick’s answer, at any rate.

    Jack Chick also has something of an obsession with Semiramis and her son, who he believes to be the original for Mary, and all them other pagan goddesses flyin’ around everywhere.

    But Jack Chick is very, very weird.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Because Moon God. That’s Jack Chick’s answer, at any rate.

    Whenever an islamophobe mentions “Allah, the moon-god of islam,” my brain replaces it with “Moon-Star of Limbo”

  • Madhabmatics

     

    lil nerd humor there

  • Mark Z.

    You are acutely full of win today.

    Edit: Though, come to think of it, that’s also an excellent study in exactly what we’ve been talking about, i.e. how one guy can become a dozen different religious figures depending on which tradition you follow.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    My best guess is that many religious people buy into the idea from D&D and fantasy, that gods only have as much power as they have worship.  So no, there isn’t just one god, because by not worshipping correctly they are manifesting the existence other gods. 

    Whoever swapped out their Bible pages with DM Manual pages must be hooting in the afterlife right now. 

  • Darkrose

    Impossible…and yet, it would explain so much!

  • phranckeaufile

    Or maybe they think they live on Discworld and Yahweh has to compete with Om.

  • Jessica_R

    Jesus what’s with the influx of trolls lately? Do we need to spray again? 

  • P J Evans

     Someone noticed some of Fred’s posts and decided that coming over and trying to trash the place was better than trying to understand Fred’s point. And thereby made Fred’s point absolutely clear.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     It appears that someone, somewhere, has activated the Missouri-Synod Lutheran Internet Blog Defense Network.  Which is interesting, because I didn’t actually realize there was one.  I learn something new every day!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     They are infesting the Owen Strahan thread as well. 

  • SisterCoyote

     Actually, I wouldn’t call them trolls. This mostly looks like honest disagreement, not rabid rage-stirring. I disagree with most of them, but I don’t think any of them are trolling.

  • Jessica_R

    I guess, but still, I don’t have to polite about, “You don’t understand, it’s very important to me to make sure my penis feels good about my correct religion and wag my finger at some weakling who was being nice to parents of dead kids by being in the same building with some crazy moon people worshipers or whatever it is the pagans do.” Just because you’ve got the right to be jackass doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to call you on it.

  • SisterCoyote

    Oh, I wasn’t trying to say you have to be polite. Despite my usual jumping-in-to-whine-about-mean-comments sorts of behavior, I’m not a fan of dictating tone or whatever. Just splitting hairs on the semantics, really. I personally do prefer to keep my comments polite, if the other party isn’t a foaming hatemonger or a poe, but different people have different standards for that line, which is understandable and so on.

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    Good faith discussion doesn’t start with “This author makes me laugh,” unless, of course, you’re talking about actual, intentional comedy. When posts contain that kind of playground mockery (especially when that’s all they contain), I lock up my billy goats and start checking under bridges.

  • PPPadre

    Why is it that the only acceptable way to “grieve with the grieving” is to stand in a spotlight and pretend that my beliefs are equally valid with beliefs that are mutually exclusive of each other? Why do our prayers for slain children have to be on the street corner where we can be seen by all rather than in our prayer closets (Matthew 6:5-6)? Is not love better served by avoiding the cacophony of contradictory “comfort” offered in a “come-one-come-all” and actually walking with the grieving one-on-one (the way the LCMS has done in every disaster to which she has responded)? Or is love better served by generating photo-ops that are more show than substance?
    As for me and my house, we would rather be reviled by the world for “unlovingly” absenting ourselves from the confusing din so that we can hold hands and pray with the grieving in the private quiet of their grief.

  • AnonymousSam

    Without decompressing the negativity packed within that post, I simply ask two simple questions.

    1) If someone chooses to do this, should he or she be reprimanded for doing so?

    2) If grief, prayer and religious presence should be kept private, why not religious views as they relate to politics and law?

  • PPPadre

    Please do decompress the so-called negativity of the post. Compared to the original article, that post was sweetness and light. (OK – THAT comment was snarky and negative.)

    1.) None of the parties involved have described this as a reprimand. It was a fraternal discussion between peers after which the one recognized that his snap decision was ill-advised. Only reporters and bloggers with their own “all-religions-are-basically-the-same” or “organized-religions-are-bad” axes to grind have called this a reprimand (or some outlets have used the term censure).
    2.) When religious views are supported by natural law and judicial precedent, it is perfectly acceptable for religious groups to cite those in the public square in defense of their practice. Court proceedings are inherently public and cannot be conducted in private. Unlike prayer or counseling or consoling, there is no other option other than public action with regard to the law.

  • AnonymousSam

    Validity is a concept I could write diatribes about. The context is almost meaningless, whether used to attack another faith or used in question of one’s own. It simply isn’t necessary. As far as I’m concerned, what you believe and what I believe are irrelevant as long as we’re human enough to recognize that we’re all in this together. When validity becomes a concern, tribalism reigns and boundaries are drawn between people. This causes nothing but harm.

    1) The specific term was not used, but it was a reprimand. The pastor was told that what he did was wrong. He was asked to apologize. That is a reprimand. More pointedly, he may yet face repercussions for what he did, because it is seen as that significant of an infraction. If you don’t believe he has been chastised for this…

    2) I don’t know what you mean by “natural law,” but judicial precedent is a concept which can do more harm than good. Nothing when done to harm another person should ever be done simply because it is traditional. Slavery was, at one time, utterly lawful. Women gaining the right to vote was an uphill battle against over a century of precedence. African Americans being segregated from Caucasians was enforced by law and upheld in courts. Each of them caused harm and yet were repeatedly affirmed in courts and public forum because of longstanding tradition. In order to gain progress, we must never stop asking ourselves when causing harm is necessary.

  • PPPadre

    1) So any post-mortem discussing whether a given action was appropriate or not is a reprimand? If that is your working definition, then yes, he should be reprimanded. Any public action that reflects upon the larger group is subject to post-mortem evaluation, including the possibility that such action was incorrect.

    2) Your question was not on the merits of the position but why religious groups could make public appeals in politics and law. Since the basis for the appeal is secular authority which can be commonly confessed without assertion of religious truth, groups of varying religious confession can join in their confession of said secular truth/argument.

  • AnonymousSam

    I disagree utterly with your position, but I accept your logic.

  • PPPadre

    While I would have hoped that my logic would have led to us agreeing, that doesn’t always happen. But then again, if we all agreed, then we couldn’t be tolerant.

  • The_L1985

    1. Nobody believes that all religions are the same.  I’ve been a member of both Christianity and Paganism; I know damned well how different they actually are.

    2. “Natural law” isn’t an actual thing.  It is simply an excuse to say “my opinions regarding morality are the right ones, because Science” without actually using science.  Also, there is both biblical and judicial precedent for keeping other human beings as property, but I’m sure you would agree with me that that is monstrous.

  • OrcHard

    *”Natural law” isn’t an actual thing.  It is simply an excuse to say “my opinions regarding morality are the right ones, because Science” without actually using science.  Also, there is both biblical and judicial precedent for keeping other human beings as property, but I’m sure you would agree with me that that is monstrous.*

    YES, thank you. We owe Aquinas a debt of extended middle fingers for this ridiculous trope.

    Here’s how you Natural Law:
    1.) Statement 1
    2.) Word-associated Statement 2
    3.) Word-associated Statement 3
    4.) Conclusion That Just So Happens to *Always* Line Up Perfectly With Catholic Theology (So Much So That a Cynical Observer Might Think It Was an A Priori Assumption and The Whole Foregoing Exercise Was After-The-Fact Rationalizing)

    Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough: Aquinas just took then-current Catholic doctrine, then strung together a chain of statements that grammatically supplied all the necessary words to form said doctrine, then wrote them in reverse order and published them in a nice leather cover embossed “Summa”.

  • CoolHandLNC

    Every time I hear Natural Law invoked, I think of the Simpson’s episode wherein Lisa invents a perpetual motion machine and Homer scolds her: “young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”. If it is so natural, how can there be disagreement and why does it need to be enforced?

    I don’t actually question the existence of Natural Law, only purported knowledge of its content. It always seems to exactly match whatever the speaker learned before they were 12, even when it doesn’t match what other people learned before they were 12 or, for that matter, observable reality.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    You don’t have to stand in a spotlight, or on a street corner.
    You don’t have to pretend to consider others’ beliefs “valid.”
    You can stay in your prayer closet if you want.
    Or you can walk with the grieving one-on-one, if you have the sort of relationship with them that justifies being with them in their private quiet.

    All of that said, no, love is not necessarily better served by being kept in a closet. Sometimes, love is better served by coming together in community with others.

    Nobody is obligated to be a part of that, but neither are they justified in condemning it.

  • PPPadre

    Dave – I agree with much of what you say. But I think you are replying to more than what I was saying in my comment.
    I did not say that love was, of necessity, better served by being kept in a closet. Sometimes love IS better served by coming together in community with others. But notice that word – commUNITY. Love is served when the gathering is one of unity. If the gathering is, as I specified in my comment, a cacophony of contradictory messages regarding a multiplicity of deities, does that really help the situation? If you are rushing your wife to the emergency room, which is more helpful – to encounter a single person who points you in one direction or a group of people who point half a dozen different directions? Even though it might be somewhat helpful if all half dozen directions were in some way in the general direction of the ER, it is not helpful at all, and even dangerous, if some of the directions actually point you away from the hospital altogether. A major underlying presupposition in many of the comments negative toward the LCMS is that all religions lead to the same God. That is not a presupposition that the LCMS shares – indeed, she rejects (even condemns) it, just as she is condemned by those who disagree with her.

     A lot of the comments here and elsewhere are condemning the LCMS for holding a doctrine that says we ought not participate in joint worship services that place half-truth (heterodoxy) or falsehood (heresy) on par with truth. These comments certainly give the feel that we should be “obligated to be a part of that.” These comments also imply, as does the article at the top of these comments, that unless you’ve participated in this interfaith service, then you are not caring for those in the community and you are not praying for these slain children and their families – regardless of how much private praying, hand holding, counseling or consoling you have done. You haven’t actually done anything for the community unless you have done it jointly, in the spotlight, on the street corner for everyone to see. Again, pretty much leaves the impression that, according to these oh, so wise, denizens of the interwebs, we ARE obligated to participate.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Love is served when the gathering is one of unity.

    Yes.

    And when I join a group of others in a common grief and a common desire to find meaning and mutual support in that grief, we can find unity in that shared purpose, and love can be served by such a gathering, and we can create a community, and that can be entirely praiseworthy.

    And when the Rev. Robert Morris chooses to do this, I support him in so doing.

    And if I choose instead not to join that group in those common human impulses, I give up an opportunity to find unity in that shared purpose, and to serve love, and to create community. Which is fine; I’m not obligated to seize every opportunity to do those things, especially if I use the time to avail myself of better opportunities to do those things, or of more valuable things I can do instead. For example, if I say “No, I won’t be part of this common expression of grief and support; I will instead work personally with the grieving families and that is more valuable,” and I have the sort of relationship with those families that supports such personal work, that can be entirely praiseworthy.

    But if I censure and condemn the Rev. Morris for choosing to join others in seeking unity and community and love and shared purpose, not because there were other more important responsibilities that he left neglected to do so, but because I assert it’s actively harmful for him to do so… well, that’s a different claim.

    And if I justify that claim based on theological beliefs about the nature of God, if I decide that preserving theological purity is more important than seeking unity and community and love and shared purpose… well, I don’t endorse that at all. In fact, I condemn it.

     

    A lot of the comments here and elsewhere are condemning the LCMS for
    holding a doctrine that says we ought not participate in joint worship
    services that place half-truth (heterodoxy) or falsehood (heresy) on par
    with truth.

    As I said above, I condemn this as well, because it treats theological purity as a higher priority than joining others in seeking unity and community and love and shared purpose, and that’s both false and pernicious. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

    These comments also imply, as does the article at the top of these
    comments, that unless you’ve participated in this interfaith service,
    then you are not caring for those in the community [..] regardless of how much private praying, hand holding, counseling or consoling you have done

    As I said above, I don’t endorse what you assert is implied here. Giving up one opportunity to care for the community in order to pursue a better opportunity to do so is entirely praiseworthy. And as I said above, if you condemn Rev. Morris for neglecting those better opportunities to care for the community while he participates in this interfaith gathering, that can be legitimate.

  • Susan

    The pastor asking for an apology was upset about the outfits of the other participants. I read the letter.

  • Kadh2000

     Here are the responses from the LCMS President on the vigil and the pastor’s mistake. His two reasons were, quoting from the letter, “Nevertheless, the presence of prayers and religious readings, as well as
    the fact that other clergy were vested for their participation, led me
    to conclude that this was in fact joint worship with other religions (as
    previously defined by the Synod)”.  So, his concern about their outfits was that other clergy were wearing vestments. 

    He defends the denomination’s reasons with 1) Romans 16:17 (violation of scripture on joint worship) “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions
    and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught;
    avoid them.”  2) 1 Corinthians 8 (even though he thought he was doing something right) “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” and 3 “I most sincerely desire to avoid deep and public contention in the Synod. Our mission is too vital, our fellowship too fragile for a drawn out controversy.”

    Since the LCMS believes in biblical inerrancy, and their constitution forbids what the Newtown pastor did, the denomination received an apology from the pastor for his actions.  Their president accepted the apology.

    Here’s the lineup of that vigil service:
    ¶This is the program for tonight’s interfaith service that is to begin shortly at Newtown High School, as announced by the White House. President Obama is scheduled to speak toward the end:
    ¶*Welcome by Matthew Crebbin, senior minister of the Newtown Congregational Church.
    ¶*Psalm 46 by Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel.
    ¶*Prayer for those we lost by Rev. Mel Kawakami, senior minister of Newtown United Methodist.
    ¶*Psalm 23 by the Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepard, rector of Trinity Episcopal.
    ¶*Prayer for the children by the Rev. Jim Solomon, pastor of the New Hope Community Church.
    ¶*Reading of the Koran and a prayer by Jason Graves and Muadh Bhavnagarwala of the Al Hedaya Islamic Center.
    ¶*Prayers for the emergency responders by the Rev. Jane Sibley, minister at Newtown United Methodist.
    ¶*Reading and a prayer from the Baha’i tradition by Dr. John Woodall, leader of Baha’i Faith Community.
    ¶*Prayer for counselors and caregivers by the Rev. Leo McIlrath, chaplain at the Lutheran Home of Southbury.
    ¶*Scripture: Romans 8 by the Rev. Pastor Jack Tanner, minister and elder of the Newtown Christian Church.
    ¶*First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra
    ¶*Conn. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
    ¶*President Barack Obama
    ¶*Prayer for our community by the Rev. Msgr Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church.
    ¶*Blessing by the Rev. Rob Mossis, vicar of Christ the King Lutheran Church
    ¶*Closing music by Fiona Smith Sutherland.

    Within the context of their denomination, the LCMS acted correctly. 

    The pastor did a good thing, and he thought it was the right thing, by participating in the vigil.  I believe it was the right thing.  This does beg the question “Is the LCMS right?”  They clearly believe they are.  The question to be asked about this in isolation is are their limits wrong? 

    Next, regarding their defense of Proposition 8.  No prayers involved, no vestments, not a religious service, so not against their rules for their own behavior.  Once again, they clearly believe they’re right.  (I did read their entire brief… it’s not worth quoting at least in part because we’re not all lawyers.)  Prop 8 just defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  It’s worth noting this is the only direct mention of marriage in the CA constitution.

    I’m not going to quote sources on why I disagree on both of these things.  They simply don’t pass the smell test.  Take the Bible out of it, take the law books out of it.  Does it sound right?  Absolutely not.  Put them back in.  Are we now harming some people despite the goal of the Bible to bring us closer to God and the goal of the law to allow us to exercise our individual freedoms as long as those freedoms don’t harm someone else?  Absolutely.

    ok…way too long.

  • The_L1985

    I am not seeing a single religious person in that entire list who does not worship the God of Abraham.

  • Scott P.

    “Next, regarding their defense of Proposition 8.  No prayers involved, no
    vestments, not a religious service, so not against their rules for
    their own behavior.”

    Given that the Mormons wear special religious clothing 24/7, does that not count as vestments?

  • Jessica_R

    I’m impressed by the sheer unmitigated gall to gasbag that praying with Methodists for dead kids is a gross violation of your personal beliefs and religious freedom while throwing in with the Mormons on a legal action to stop marriage equality is hunky dory. You are a remarkably horrible person. Really. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

    I ‘m not sure why people would want to pray to the Missouri-Synod Lutherans’ bigoted jerk of a  deity, so it’s just as well that they forbid for themselves interfaith prayer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

    Why would Christians object to  “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet” itself? I thought that Christians believed that there is no god but the God. Agree and/or disagree with Mohammed (or, as I do, with some of Mohammed’s religious descendants), Mohammed was certainly a prophet for the one God.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Well, I guess you could object to “There is no God but the God” on the grounds that are actually Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well, but that seems like it would be agreeing with the view of (at least some) Muslims that Christianity is a polytheistic religion, which it seems like most Christians would be loath to do.

  • PPPadre

    Most Christians (at least that I know) do not accept the premise that “Mohammed was certainly a prophet for the one God” because he denied that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, or that God is Triune at all. Thus the God for which Mohammed prophesies is a different God than the Christian God, even though both say that it is the God of Abraham. They can’t both be right.

  • P J Evans

    Muslims believe that Jesus was a major prophet.
    That makes them more inclusive than LCMS, to my way of thinking.

  • PPPadre

    And if in my way of thinking, EM radiation traveling with a wavelength of 650nm was purple, that might make me more inclusive but it wouldn’t make me correct.

    If Muslims do not accept Jesus for what he was born as (Son of God=True God and True Man), are they really accepting him, or are they just accepting their own limited social construct of him (Son of God=prophet)?

  • Lunch Meat

    If Muslims do not accept Jesus for what he was born as (Son of God=True
    God and True Man), are they really accepting him, or are they just accepting their own limited social construct of him (Son of
    God=prophet)?

    Were you there when Jesus is born? Did you see the heavens open and hear God say “This is my Son, who is True God and True Man”? Sure, the Bible purports to be an eyewitness account (though it don’t say those words either), but you’re still trusting something that was written ~2000 years ago, by someone you don’t know, to someone you don’t know, in a language you don’t know. Who are you to say you’re not accepting your own limited social construct of Jesus? Who are you to say definitively that Matthew, Luke, Paul and the rest were right and Mohammed was wrong? You weren’t there for either of them.

  • PPPadre

    I believe the testimony given by the Holy Spirit through Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and whoever wrote Hebrews. While I cannot convince you purely by logic to do the same, let me ask you this: which is more likely a more reliable account – that which was written within 100 years of an event (the New Testament) or that which was written 700+ later (the Koran)? (By the way, the New Testament is not written in a language I do not know – they are kind of sticklers about that at the Seminary that we learn Hebrew and Greek.)

    While I cannot logic you into belief one way or the other, I do at least hope to be able to logic you to this conclusion – the Jesus of Islam and the Jesus of Christianity are not the same. It exceeds the limits of logic to say that Christianity and Islam are professing the same God when the one accepts Jesus as a person of the Godhead and the other flatly rejects any such notion. Such was the thesis of the post to which I replied about 4 generations of replies ago – that a Christian shouldn’t object to the Muslim Shahada since it is invoking the same God of Abraham.

  • Madhabmatics

     I’m cool following the Quran, thanks

  • Jim Roberts

     I’ve never understood this idea that, “My book is older than your book and is therefore the superior.” Maybe it’s all the D&D I’ve played that’s burned me out on edition wars.

    (And, should it matter, I’m cool with you following the Quran.)

  • Launcifer

    Hell, imagine how I feel: my school was founded before this lot broke away. Does that kind of logic mean I get to argue that my education was somehow superior to their entire belief system?

  • Jim Roberts

     Well, in this case, the answer’s clearly, “yes,” but I take your point.

  • Launcifer

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you, there: just being flippant. In all seriousness, though, it’s always boggled my mind quite how an accident of history can somehow make one text more valid than the other when they might both (all?) be making some pretty astonishing – and largely unsupported – assertions concerning the very nature of reality.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’ve never understood this idea that, “My book is older than your book and is therefore the superior.”

    And the only people who have the slightest case there worship Ishtar. Even Jews can’t deploy that argument safely; Christians most certainly cannot.

  • The_L1985

    Now that’s not fair.  The stories of Ishtar aren’t just the oldest known religious writings; they’re the oldest known writings of any sort in existence.

    That would be like me arguing with an NBA player about who is taller, and you pointing out the existence of giraffes.  Even an NBA player can’t compete with a giraffe.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’ve never understood this idea that, “My book is older than your book and is therefore the superior.” Maybe it’s all the D&D I’ve played that’s burned me out on edition wars.
    (And, should it matter, I’m cool with you following the Quran.)

    +1.

    Also, does the Qu’ran have authorship controversies the way most of the Bible does, or is it generally accepted that the historical Muhammad wrote it all? Or scribed it all, I don’t want to argue that point, I want to argue that the historical Paul didn’t write all the letters attributed to him and therefore anybody who’s basing a biblical argument on one of the not-written-by-the-historical-Paul letters is basing their argument on a flat-out lie. Seems to me that if the Qu’ran contains nothing where the author attributed the sura’s authorship to someone better known than the author, then the Qu’ran is a more truthful source than the Bible.

  • PPPadre

    Actually, I have seen some secondary source articles indicating that the same historical critical hermeneutics that would tell you there are 27 Obadiahs (the book is 21 verses long, but scholars think 27 different people wrote it?!?) are also questioning authorship of the various suras of the Koran. I have not seen primary journal material (Koranic exegesis is not my primary field of study so I don’t get those journals), so I cannot give you links here. But that particular pillar is being attacked by secular scholarship, as well.

  • PPPadre

    I didn’t say my book was older, I said it was closer to the events described. Yes, this happens to make it older, but that only works up to the point in history that the event described takes place.

    Why doesn’t this idea make sense to you? If I want to know about George Washington, you’re going to put a bit more reliance on newspaper accounts from the 18th century than you would a book of family tales written by his step-great, great, great, great grandson in the 20th century, wouldn’t you? (Now a 21st century biography that relies heavily upon 18th century source documents is a different matter altogether…)

  • Jim Roberts

     Considering that I disagree strongly with the dates you give for when the gospels are written, it’s probably best that I simply refrain from commenting. That said, when it comes to ancient history, you really should trust ANY sources. Incidentally, I do believe that the synoptic gospels do a better job of portraying who Christ is than any other source we have.

  • PPPadre

    But do you date the Gospels (or all of the New Testament, really) earlier than 700? I mean, there is pretty strong manuscript evidence for the existence of everything in the NT prior to 300. I am OK with an “order of magnitude” discussion here. It’s not which is oldest, but which is closer to the events described – and regardless of the dating that you use, the NT manuscripts are closer to the events of Jesus’ life.

  • The_L1985

    More importantly:  Do you date the Gospels as being written closer to the life of Jesus than the Qu’ran was to the life of Mohammed?  Because to me, it’s not just “which book was here first” that implies greater historical certainty, but “which book was written closer to the lifetime of the person it’s primarily about.”

    By that metric, Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner beats the Gospels, and the Qu’ran beats both.

  • Madhabmatics

    I generally don’t like to argue about the validity of the Quran because it stinks too much of apologism to me (I really get annoyed at the “look the quran has science stuff in it” reposts) but we actually have this problem, but it’s not about the Quran, it’s about the Hadith.

    Because the actual stuff about the Prophet was oral history up until people decided to collect it, Hadith are all “Yo I heard from my grandpa who heard from his grandpa who hung out with Abu Hurrairah that he was at a party with the Prophet and the prophet said…”

    Of course, the problem with that is it’s a gigantic, contradictory, intergenerational game of telephone that is so jumbled that we had to develop an academic discipline to shift through and guess at which are legit and which were made up by people trying to get away with stuff.

  • PPPadre

    My reference was to the fact that the NT books were written closer to the lifetime of Jesus then the Koran was, and so the NT is a better historical source about the life of Jesus than the Koran. (I can also say the same for Genesis and the life of Abraham.)

    Not having read Witchcraft Today, I have no clue what it has to say about Jesus (or Abraham), but I would not trust it much if it contradicted documents and testimony which dated closer in time to Jesus.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Witchcraft Today isn’t a source of information on Jesus, dipshit, it’s a source of information on Gardnerian Wicca.

  • PPPadre

    It was brought up in a discussion about texts revealing things to us about Jesus. I gathered from the title that it was primarily about Wicca, but given the context of the discussion, I presumed that it had something to say about Jesus, as well. Pardon me for presuming there was a logical connection to bringing up the book in the conversation we were having.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The logical connection is that Gardner’s book is a better source about Wicca than the Gospels are about Jesus, and the Qu’ran a better source about Muhammad than either of the above about their respective subjects.

  • The_L1985

     What Ellie said.  The point isn’t “what these books have to say about Jesus specifically,” but “what these books have to say about their respective subject matter.”

  • The_L1985

    Actually, Witchcraft Today isn’t about Jesus at all.  However, it was written by Gerald Gardner about his direct religious experiences, and was written only 20-30 years after he, personally, had those experiences.

    Every surviving copy of the Gospels we’ve ever found has dated to no earlier than the 2nd century, putting them about 100 years after the events therein, at a time when all eyewitnesses were dead; furthermore, we have no way of verifying that the Gospels were actually written by the people whose names are on them, seeing as how what we would now term literary forgery was exceedingly common at that time.

    Therefore, I’m more likely to trust what Gerald Gardner says about the New Forest Coven, than I am to trust what the book of John says about Jesus.

    Similarly, because the Qu’ran was compiled (and older copies were burned, implying that there were older copies) within a couple decades of Mohammed’s death, I would also trust the Qu’ran to be more accurate about Mohammed than the Gospels are about Jesus.

    Trusting the Gospels wholeheartedly about Jesus is exactly like trusting Robert Lewis Stevenson’s rhyming account as a good historical source on Paul Revere. Well, except for the fact that we know that Stevenson wrote said poem.

  • The_L1985

    Shit.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  LONGFELLOW!! How the fuck did I get that confused? I used to have this poem memorized!

  • Mark Z.

    So do you believe in the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels, or the Jesus of the Gospel of John?

  • reallyAimai

    Nevertheless the Koran would, of course, be a better account of Jesus–because more contemporary–than anything the Lutheran Synod has put out. By your own logic.  That which happened in 700 AD being closer than that which happened in 1850 whatever.  

  • Dash1

    You have two things going on here: closeness to the events and genre. It’s best not to mix them.

    Newspaper accounts can be highly unreliable, and if the family tale in question is based on Uncle George’s cousin’s diary, the latter might actually be in some respects more accurate.

    Also, just in general, about things written down at the time rather than deduced later by historians looking at a variety of sources and applying critical methods–I have a Mr. Richard Plantagenet on line 2.

  • Water_Bear

    Except that the Koran was actually written fairly close to the time Muhammad was running around conquering people (still not within his lifetime, but…). Not to mention that, in terms of historicity, Muhammad managed to leave some records that he existed which weren’t written by his followers centuries after the fact. 

    Also, think about it; if it had been written 700 years later, there couldn’t be a Koran from before the fourteenth century (AKA, towards the end of the Crusades). Anyone with even a little bit of historical knowledge knows that the Rashidun Caliphs were burning libraries because “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them” in the seventh century.

  • PPPadre

    But do you agree that it is illogical to say that the Jesus of the New Testament and the Jesus of the Quran are the same? That it is illogical to say that the Shahada is an invocation of the Triune God of Christianity because both say that this is the God of Abraham?

  • Madhabmatics

     No, that’s silly.  I had a friend who was a youth pastor who had this problem in perception as well – except with him, he was convinced that Jewish people weren’t worshiping the same God.

    Being wrong about details doesn’t mean you are talking about completely different things. If I am talking with a friend about Lord of the Flies and it’s pretty productive, but then one of us misremembers a scene or mistakes a living character for a dead one, we don’t go “Well obviously we are not talking about the same book.” We are talking about the same book, it’s just that one of us is wrong.

    Likewise, when a Christian, a Jewish Person, or a Muslim says “Yes, the God who blessed Solomon was pretty rad” the fact that they disagree about the nature of the God doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about the God who blessed Solomon.

    It’s obvious that the shahada isn’t invoking a triune God (especially since it is basically the start of  a repudiation of the trinity) but it is invoking the God that blessed Abraham, which is the same God that an invocation of a Christian prayer is invoking. It’s just that we are having a “quarrelsome, manly friendship” (as Chesterton would put it) about some of the details of That God Who Was Cool To Abraham.

    (Note: This is why Muslims don’t say “Christians and Jews worship a different God.” We don’t think you do, we think you are mistaken about some things about him. I don’t recall many Jewish people saying “Muslims worship an entirely different God” either.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I don’t recall many Jewish people saying “Muslims worship an entirely different God” either.

    Dunno about “many”, but it’s not unheard of. I grew up around a lot of Jews who would say more or less this. I always thought this not only silly (as you point out), but deeply inconsistent with believing in a God that’s significantly more complicated than, say, a small town.

    I mean, a God has to be pretty simple before a mere mortal mind is capable of understanding it well enough to state its boundaries definitively.

    PPPadre’s version doesn’t seem noticeably more sensible.

  • PPPadre

    Not to be too contentious, but I have been told in rather harsh words by a Muslim that my “polytheistic” God was a different deity than Allah.

    And while I cannot speak for Jewish opinions about Muslims, the invectives of idolatry hurled against Christ-believing Jews by Jews who claim the God of the Old Testament have made my nose hairs curl!

  • Madhabmatics

     Then they were straight up wrong, because the Quran itself acknowledges that Christians worship the same God but are wrong about the deets. Seriously, is this your defense of the idea that if any details differ than the participants of a discussion are discussing completely different things? That some random dude told you, in contradiction to the Quran, that Christians aren’t worshipping God?

  • Makabit

    And while I cannot speak for Jewish opinions about Muslims, the invectives of idolatry hurled against Christ-believing Jews by Jews who claim the God of the Old Testament have made my nose hairs curl!

    Yeah, I’ll pretend to be sorry about your nose hairs if you’ll pretend to be sorry about the rather unfortunate history of Jews who become Christians being used as a weapon against their people and against Judaism.

    To offer one prominent opinion, Maimonides considered Christianity to be idolatry. Islam he considered to be monotheistic, and hence a proper religion, this in large part leading to his decision to stay in Egypt, rather than take a job at the French court. Sucks when people think they can judge your faith based on the standards of their own, don’t it?

  • The_L1985

    Careful there, buddy.  You’re not actually expressing antisemitic sentiments there, but you’re treading awfully close.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    But do you agree that it is illogical to say that the Jesus of the New Testament and the Jesus of the Quran are the same? That it is illogical to say that the Shahada is an invocation of the Triune God of Christianity because both say that this is the God of Abraham?

    There is a sense in which the Thomas Jefferson of David Barton and the Thomas Jefferson of Jon Meacham are not the same Thomas Jefferson, but I think it would be going a bit far to say the two authors are writing about two guys with different DNA and fingerprints.

  • The_L1985

     No.  Because both books are talking about Jesus of Nazareth, and both books consider Jesus to have been born of the virgin Mary.  So they are, in fact, talking about the same Jewish guy.

  • The_L1985

     Ooh!  And I forgot to mention that since a good chunk of the Quran was written when Mohammed was actually still alive, it’s closer to being a direct eyewitness account than, say, the Gospel of Luke.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh? I know nothing about Qu’ran authorship; what are the approximate dates and common theories about it?

  • The_L1985

     Well, seeing as the various Arab tribes went from warring with each other to a unified people in a surprisingly short time, around the time Mohammed was allegedly seeing his visions of Gabriel, I see no point in denying that Mohammed existed, nor that he started a new religion.

    According to Wikipedia: “Muslims believe the Quran to be verbally revealed through angel Gabriel (Jibril) from God to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately 23 years beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.”

    “Once the Qur’an was compiled, due to the unanimity of the sources, Muslims agree that the Qur’an we see today was canonized by Uthman ibn Affan (653-656). Upon the canonization of the Qur’an, Uthman ordered the burning of all personal copies of the Qur’an.

    “Due to this order by Uthman, it has become difficult for scholars to
    look at the different manuscripts from before the canonization because
    no manuscripts remain and all that is left is varying accounts from
    different historians. Even though Uthman canonized the written Qur’an
    during his reign in 653-656, small diacritical variations still remained
    in the written Qur’an, which can be seen in the early manuscripts of
    the Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    So basically we have no way of knowing whether it was just Muhammad or a collection of people who say it was just Muhammad.

    I hate people who destroy books. I really do. It’s okay, sort of, if there’s lots of other copies available such that an identical and better-condition copy can be acquired, but other than that? No.

  • Darkrose

    So, going back to my original question about the Shahada, was it recited at this event? Was Rev. Morris obliged to recite it? Were all at the gathering baptized according to the Book of Common Prayer, and if so, which version? I’m still really confused about when reciting a prayer while in the company of those who believe differently meant committing to worship like them.

    As a former Episcopalian, I probably wouldn’t have counted as Christian to you, but I did read the Bible, and I seem to remember many instances is the Gospels where Jesus comforted the grieving. I’m also fairly sure that he didn’t do a check to make sure all those he spoke with were appropriately circumcised or had made the proper sacrifices at the Temple. In fact, I think he had some pretty harsh words for those who put adherence to the letter of the Law above abiding by the spirit of the Law.

    To those of us who aren’t LCMS, it seems very strange to have a Christian denomination defending the exact behavior that Christ was talking about when he said, “Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees!”

  • The_L1985

     And Gerald Gardner wrote of his experiences with the New Forest Coven within 20-30 years of doing so, whereas the oldest copy of any Gospel we’ve yet found dates to the 2nd century, making it 100 years before anyone apparently wrote it down.  Scholars estimate that Mark was written in 70 CE, sure, but we’ve never actually found a copy of Mark that’s that old.  And even then, we’re talking about a 40-year gap between the apparent date of the Resurrection and the date of writing, which is a long time.  Granted, all the apostles except Matthew* would have had to learn how to read first before being able to write anything down, but that’s still a lot longer than it takes to learn how to read and write.

    Does that make Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner automatically more reliable than the Gospels?  Because by your logic, it appears that it does.

    * As a tax collector, I’d think literacy would be a necessary skill for Matthew.  However, the other apostles appear to have come from professions in which reading was unnecessary at that time.  Literacy was very rare in the 1st century.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m most of the way through Bart Ehrman’s Forged. The four gospels in the Bible? All anonymous. The names attached are later attributions. They’re not forgeries (like the letters by “Paul” instead of Paul are forgeries) because their authors didn’t say they were by somebody else, but they’re not written by the people whose names are on them, either.

  • The_L1985

    I know this, but I’m not so sure that PPPadre does.  I’m taking baby steps here.

    Also, yay Ehrman!  I read Jesus, Interrupted and found it quite thought-provoking.

  • Lunch Meat

    While I cannot convince you purely by logic to do the same, let me ask you this: which is more likely a more reliable account – that which was written within 100 years of an event (the New Testament) or that which was written 700+ later (the Koran)?

    I too believe the testimony of the Bible. But I have no way of proving it to be true. Also, the Godhood of Jesus is not a physical matter, not something that can be proven. Simply based on what he did, it makes as much sense to interpret him as being the son of God as it does to interpret him as being a prophet. As an analogy, Christians have reinterpreted the Jewish scripture, why do you believe what the NT says about God and not the Torah (and yes, they are contradictory in places)? Isn’t the older one necessarily more trustworthy?

    (By the way, the New Testament is not written in a language I do not know – they are kind of sticklers about that at the Seminary that we learn Hebrew and Greek.)

    You cannot be nearly as certain about the meaning of the words in the Bible as you are about the meaning of the words you’re writing right now. Even for the places where the actual meaning of the word isn’t completely ambiguous, there’s context we can have no clue about.

    While I cannot logic you into belief one way or the other, I do at least hope to be able to logic you to this conclusion – the Jesus of Islam and the Jesus of Christianity are not the same.

    I never said they are. I do not believe they are. But you said that you are accepting Jesus as he was born and Muslims are not. My point is you cannot prove that, and to at least some degree you believe that because you have chosen to believe that or because it makes sense to you. People of other religions do the same. All I am asking for is a little assumption of good faith.

  • Mark Z.

    Thus the God for which Mohammed prophesies is a different God than the Christian God, even though both say that it is the God of Abraham. They can’t both be right.

    Isn’t the point of the Trinity that if I say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, and you say that God is One, then we are both right?

  • PPPadre

    The point of the Trinity is to say both that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God AND that God is one. If I only say the first in denial of the second, I am a polytheist and denying the God of Abraham. If I only say the second in denial of the first, I am a unitarian and denying the God of Abraham. If I say both, then I am confessing the God of Abraham over against whatever God is being confessed by those who would only confess the half-truth of either/or but not both.

    When a Muslim proclaims the Shahada, elliptically included in that confession is the rejection and condemnation of the Trinity as a polytheistic heresy. The one-ness of Allah is a denial of the Trinity (both Muslim and Christian scholars I have read on the subject agree on this – it is not a point of contention).

  • Mark Z.

    The point of the Trinity is to say both that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God AND that God is one. If I only say the first in denial of the second, I am a polytheist and denying the God of Abraham. If I only say the second in denial of the first, I am a unitarian and denying the God of Abraham.

    Wait, so Abraham believed in the Trinity now? I’m confused.

    When a Muslim proclaims the Shahada, elliptically included in that confession is the rejection and condemnation of the Trinity as a polytheistic heresy.

    What about when a Jew proclaims the Shema?

    What about when Jesus proclaimed the Shema?* Did he believe in the Trinity? Because he spent a lot of time in Jewish worship services, denying the God of Abraham with all those other God-of-Abraham-deniers.

    * Mark 12:29, though I’m sure that wasn’t the only time.

  • PPPadre

    Abraham believed in the God who would later more clearly reveal Himself to be Triune. There are some inklings in the Old Testament which point to God being Triune, but they are not quite so clear without the hindsight of the revelation of the New Testament.

    When modern, non-Messianic Jews proclaim the Shema, they do so in denial of the divinity of Christ – a denial of the Trinity. Since the Trinity is the God of the Old Testament and not some new God, to deny the Trinity is to deny the God of Abraham. Modern messianic Jews who accept the Trinity are able to proclaim the Shema because their ellipsis would be something along the lines of “There is no God but One (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).” Jesus is pretty clear about that when He says, “the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

    And yes, Jesus believed in the Trinity because He is the Trinity. What support do you have that while Jesus was in the synagogue He was denying the God of Abraham?

    I probably should have made myself clearer in my statement, “If I only say the first in denial of the second, I am a polytheist and denying the God of Abraham. If I only say the second in denial of the first, I am a unitarian and denying the God of Abraham.” I probably should have said, “If I limit myself to the first for the purpose of denying the second… If I limit myself to the second for the purpose of denying the first…” for that is what I meant. Please forgive me for my previous use of ambiguous syntax to denote purpose.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There are some inklings in the Old Testament which point to God being Triune, but they are not quite so clear without the hindsight of the revelation of the New Testament.

    Oh, we’re going to the “Jews don’t understand their own holy text” argument. How about you fuck right the fuck off and take that fucking argument with you.

  • Mark Z.

    Abraham believed in the God who would later more clearly reveal Himself to be Triune.

    Right, and he will LATER more clearly reveal himself to be twenty persons arranged on the facets of an icosahedron. Therefore, by failing to believe in the Icosahedrity, you deny the God of Abraham. Repent, heretic!

    The fact that Abraham himself wouldn’t know what the hell I’m talking about is irrelevant. We can freely reinterpret Abraham’s God by whatever later theological innovations come along (Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, Lutheranism), and then not only claim continuity with Abraham, but claim that we’re the only ones in continuity with Abraham.

  • Madhabmatics

     Hey that’s not fair. We also claim continuity with Alexander the Great and Akhenaton (sometimes!)

  • Mark Z.

    …and I realize five minutes later that a deity in the shape of an icosahedron would be awesome for a D&D cleric, because he could make a Knowledge (Theology) roll to know the game mechanics.

  • The_L1985

    “There are some inklings in the Old Testament which point to God being
    Triune, but they are not quite so clear without the hindsight of the
    revelation of the New Testament.”

    Or, more accurately, the OT doesn’t say a damn thing about Trinity, nor does the NT, so it was retconned in during the first few centuries CE in order to make Jesus be God without actually practicing polytheism.  That’s like saying that the character Piccolo from DragonBall Z was always a good guy, and that all his villainy in the first DragonBall series was just pointing to him actually being a good guy all along.

    In fact, there’s more evidence for Piccolo being good, because at the end of DragonBall, Goku uses the magic of the DragonBalls to wish Piccolo into being a good person from then on.  The concept of three persons in one god is not stated explicitly at any point in the entire Bible.

  • JustoneK

    As much as I love you for this sort of comparison, I do think the main distinctions are we know the single author of DragonBall, we know all the details of its production into multiple media and translations, and we can find out what every member involved thought of the story, the characters, and the interactions.

    We don’t have nearly enough of that (at least not as freely accessible) on the Bible, and none of us can get a direct literal Word of God to clarify things.  I would like to see wherein the first reference to the Holy Trinity comes up in Christianity, as I don’t remember it anywhere on the older Jewish traditions (the little I know of).  You would think it would point more directly to that tying in of other deities/aspects to get those pagans converted.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, and your argument just makes it even more clear that we have more concrete evidence for Piccolo’s changing character in the DragonBall series then we do for the Trinity in the Bible.  Thank you! :)

  • Lunch Meat

    There are some inklings in the Old Testament which point to God being Triune, but they are not quite so clear without the hindsight of the revelation of the New Testament.

    Sorry, I can’t find “trinity” in my concordance. Can you please point me to a verse (that has not been shown to be a later interpolation) that defines the trinity?

    And yes, Jesus believed in the Trinity because He is the Trinity.

    “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

  • The_L1985

     ” If I only say the second in denial of the first, I am a unitarian and denying the God of Abraham.”

    I’m sooo very happy to hear that you don’t think that Unitarian Christians (like Isaac Newton, for instance) are Christians.  Good to hear that you, and only you, are clearly the final arbiter on who is and is not a Christian.

  • Madhabmatics

     You wouldn’t believe how many converts we get because people straight up tell them that Unitarians aren’t Christian

  • PPPadre

    Um, I used a lower case “u” – not mentioning a particular denomination but the teaching that the Trinity does not exist and that Jesus wasn’t God.

    And I’m not the one that drew the line at Christian = Trinitarian. I’m not the arbiter of that (although it does makes sense to me).

  • LoneWolf343

    Damn, the White Knights are out in force for this one.

  • caryjamesbond

    Oh man, this is hilarious.  I’m serious- this is the funniest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen.

    “Well, you see, we sat down in the year of Our Lord whateverthefuck and decided that our little church rules would prohibit praying with other people.  Ergo, for the TEMERITY to pray in the general vicinity of a Jew, a Muslim, and a Baha’i, you have transgressed the nearly two hundred year old agreement laid down by some church fathers who thought of them over sunday tea.  APOLOGIZE, HERITIC! THOU HAST BROKEN THE SLIGHTLY AGED COVENANT OF OUR NOBLE SPLINTER FROM A SPLINTER OF A SPLINTER SECT!”

    *yawn*

    No one cares about your dumbass little rules. No one cares about the exact interpretation of Paragraph 20, line 8 in book VI of the 1863 Covent of the Southwest Missouri/Northwest Oklahoma Lutheran Brotherhood.  Your guy went and invoked spectral powers of comfort along with everyone else, in what was a largely symbolic gesture of brotherhood because, well, thats what decent people do.   No one cares about your sect, your rules, or your theology.

    What they care about, and what they’ll remember, is that when your guy tried to bring a little spiritual comfort to a devastated, broken community, you yelled at him.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3ZS3JQWB6DMT4X22IT4J3Z6DJY VB501

    Have YOU even read Pastor Harrison’s response?  Pastor Morris was NOT yelled at!  Actually, this is none of your business.

  • Lori

    If the LCMS didn’t want other people commenting on  its business then it shouldn’t have chided one of its pastors into feeling the need to issue a public apology.  Once that happened it pretty much became everyone’s business.  Don’t like it? Next time keep your nasty, unloving business to yourselves.

  • Makabit

    This. If the pastor had been quietly told, “Don’t do that next time, if, God forbid, there is ever a next time. Just issue a statement that the community is praying for the victims, and be somewhere else,” no one would ever have known or cared.

    However, the point was, apparently, to let the rest of us know that the prayers prayed by their pastor had, in fact, been meant for others, and the heathen should give them back.

    Can’t help but think of the Canaanite lady who told Jesus off.

  • PPPadre

    How is a letter addressed to the members of a church body, posted on the modern equivalent of a house organ (denominational blog), a public apology that makes this “everyone’s business?”

    We tried to keep this to ourselves. No press releases were issued. Some have speculated that certain political forces within the denomination (yes, nasty, backstabbing politics exist inside of church denominations just as assuredly as they do inside of any organization composed of flawed, sinful, human beings) who seek to unseat the current president contacted representatives of the press to create a public scandal.

    By whatever means it came to the attention of the press, it was not because the denomination was shouting it from the rooftops. We were trying to keep it to ourselves.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So you put something in print which in theory anyone can read and you expect non-members to magically disregard that?

    Sounds like a person who’s making a loud speech in public and then bellowing at a heckler, “Hey, you weren’t invited to this conversation!”

  • P J Evans

     Y’know. requiring someone to apologize in public makes it a public matter. Think about that the next time you decide to discipline someone for doing exactly what Jesus would do.

  • PPPadre

    Remind me again how apologizing to a well defined and specified group of people makes this a public matter? Yes, for ease of access, the apology was posted on a non-confidential, non-password protected website almost entirely trafficked by those who are in that well defined and specified group of people – that probably wasn’t the wisest decision in the world, but this was an apology to those in our church body – not anyone else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

    One of the cardinal rules of internet use is that you never put anything online that you aren’t comfortable with the whole world knowing, because once it’s there you have no control over who sees it.  Once something is online, it is by definition public, no matter how specifically targeted it was intended to be.

    If you’re upset that the world knows that your denomination made a pastor apologize for giving comfort to the bereaved just because there were people from outside the Tribe were also giving comfort, then the pastor never should have put it online.

    The letter is public, and that means that even us Outsiders can see it and voice our opinions.

  • Lori

    Were you not aware that other people can see your “house organ”? Does the LCMS not understand the internet any better than it understands human interaction?

  • PPPadre

    If a man takes his wife out to dinner and they get a cozy booth in a corner of the restaurant, and they speaks sweet nothings to each other, are their statements stripped of their intimate nature because other people can see them or might overhear them?

    If a couple is reconciling after a row, but the girlfriend makes the boyfriend stand in the hallway of the apartment building (where anyone could see or overhear) as he offers his apology to her, is she forcing him to make a public apology? Or are they having a private conversation in a public place? If someone stopped by and joined in the conversation, would they not (rightly) ask this interloper to mind his/her own business and move along?I will own that posting them to the house organ rather than an e-mail blast to each congregation and rostered church worker was not the wisest choice in the world. I do not, however, concede that this was intended to be a public matter that makes it everyone’s business.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    You are comparing apples and orangutans. Thereby making yourself look incredibly ignorant and silly.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Your analogy fits better like this:

    If a man takes his wife out to dinner they get a cozy booth in the corner of the restaurant, and he berates her for participating in a simple show of solidarity with a community whose children were massacred, and his admonishment is overheard by a few waiters and nearby diners, are they out of line for saying to each other, “God, what are arsehole”?

  • Dash1

    To take the case of the couple in the restaurant, I suspect if they had sex in the booth, you might object on the grounds that, while their activity was intended for each other, they were doing it in a place where they did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    This is why people who are talking about things that they don’t want other people to overhear tend not to do so in public restaurants. (Many a movie scene to the contrary notwithstanding.)

    Same thing with the couple in the hallway. If the guy yells at the woman, “Don’t you dare flush my stash!” and she yells back that she plans to smoke it herself, I think they’d be a bit naive if they didn’t anticipate a visit from the cops. Oddly enough, people sometimes are that naive.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I made the analogy to someone making a speech, which is more in line with what a house organ does. In theory, a speech can be made behind closed doors, but yell loud enough and it’ll be heard widely.

    The point is, your Interwebs house organ is like holding a speech in a big ol’ drafty barn with loudspeakers to amplify the speaker’s voice and then being all buttmad because people you think are outsiders can hear you and comment on the contents of the speech thereof.

  • P J Evans

     y’know, most of us don’t say the really personal, private stuff in public. And we try hard not to notice when other people do it.
    But when you make a big thing out of How Private It Is And How Dare Anyone Notice What We Say And Do IN PUBLIC  – you’re already on the wrong side.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Wait a second…so reading something on a blog is nasty and backstabbing? 

    Are you for real?

  • PPPadre

    That is not what I wrote. I wrote that the politics could be (or “are,” since these adjectives were used without a specific verb – but I meant to imply “could be”) nasty and backstabbing.

    While the house organ is not closed and confidential, it is something that reporters don’t generally peruse.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    So rather than accept that your public blog is, yanno, public, you just turn on each other if anyone outside your super secret squirrel core group reads what you write?

    That’s one way of doing things, I suppose.

  • PPPadre

    Well, in the articles by these reporters (who, again, aren’t the typical readership for the blog), there were several quotes from individuals who have been known for their strong and overt politicking (often using the secular media as a tool), yet no quotes from anyone else (other than the documents on the blog). It does make one wonder if there is a connection.

  • Darkrose

    Okay, if you think it’s not our business, why are you here for a third day in a row engaging us on the topic? Call me crazy, but coming in to refute every point made by us heathens really isn’t adding credibility to the “we don’t care what you think and it’s not your business anyway” line.

  • Makabit

    Well, in the articles by these reporters (who, again, aren’t the typical readership for the blog), there were several quotes from individuals who have been known for their strong and overt politicking (often using the secular media as a tool), yet no quotes from anyone else (other than the documents on the blog). It does make one wonder if there is a connection.

    Free tip, dude. While I find your theology and psychology sufficiently interesting to keep this conversation going even after you explained that I’m an idolater because I don’t interpret the Torah given at Sinai to my ancestors in the light of your subsequent reinterpretations, I do NOT find the question of who was responsible for tipping off the ‘secular media’ of your sordid internal affairs remotely entertaining, and I’m reasonably sure that no one else here will either.

    Like
    Reply

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    …I do NOT find the question of who was responsible for tipping off the ‘secular media’ of your sordid internal affairs remotely entertaining, and I’m reasonably sure that no one else here will either.

    But if they don’t find out which evil backstabber alerted the secular media to the existence of a public blog, how will they know whom to shame in perpetuity?

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    Free tip, dude. While I find your theology and psychology sufficiently interesting to keep this conversation going even after you explained that I’m an idolater because I don’t interpret the Torah given at Sinai to my ancestors in the light of your subsequent reinterpretations, I do NOT find the question of who was responsible for tipping off the ‘secular media’ of your sordid internal affairs remotely entertaining, and I’m reasonably sure that no one else here will either.

    It’s funny how the people who are so willing to tell you how you are misinterpreting your own scriptures aren’t willing to accept the same kind of critique of their scriptures coming from Muslims.

  • Madhabmatics

     do you only know lazy reporters or something

    “man a reporter would never think to check this public record of the doings of a denomination, what do they think they will find there – news?”

  • PPPadre

    Not lazy – just prioritizing and otherwise engaged, like checking the public records of the Roman Catholics or the Southern Baptists or the Mormons – groups much larger than ours.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Wait a second…so reading something on a blog is nasty and backstabbing?

    I’ve seen this a few times. The last time I saw this accusation was a couple years ago. It amuses me to compare and contrast the person who made the accusation then with the person making it now — on the outside, they appear to be VERY different people. But they’re both whiny, holier-than-thou, can-dish-it-out-but-can’t-take it jerks.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Yeah, not the first time I’ve seen the “argument” that reading something on a public blog is an act of treachery.  It’s always funny, though.

  • Beroli

     There’s this thing called private email. Also, password-locked or simply accessible-only-to-members posts.

    Y’might want to look into them. You know, if there’s any sincerity at all to this “we were trying to keep it to ourselves” tosh, rather than LCMS having wanted to call their straying flock members to task publically, just not wanting now to deal with any negative results of so doing.

  • Makabit

    That’s nice. It didn’t work out, mind. Probably because of the, you know, Internet.

  • Makabit

    True enough, this is none of my business, nor any skin off my back. Aside from the guy who called me an idolater, none of the Missouri Synod Defense squad has offended me, nor do any of you owe any of us anything, not even an explanation.

    However, you did show up, in rather large numbers to vent your anger at being criticized, even though you all seem braced for the world hating you. You still want to tell us off, and more than that, you want us to admit you did right.

    Probably not going to happen. You made a PR blunder, and your theology doesn’t seem to convince many other Christians, let alone anyone else. If you’re really content to be hated by the world, call off the apologists. If you need something else from us, like understanding, that’s gonna have to be mutual. You’re going to need to understand why people reacted so poorly to this.

  • Matri

    You’re going to need to understand why people reacted so poorly to this.

    This particular step is, like empathy & compassion, a wholly alien concept the likes of which is incomprehensible to christianists.

  • Darkrose

    So if it’s not our business and you don’t care what we think, why are y’all coming over and telling us to “Leave the LCMS alooooooooone!”

  • smrnda

    If this decision was taken because the Missouri Synod has to make sure that outsiders know that they do not worship the same god as all the rest of these people, you’re saying this choice has been taken to send a statement to the outsiders of the faith. Given that most of the outsiders of this faith seem to think this makes the Synod authorities look like jerks, it doesn’t appear to have sent a very positive statement and doesn’t seem likely to make anyone decide ‘wow, those folks at the Missouri Synod must be serving the right god, better go join.’ I mean, I thought part of the goal of all Christian denominations was recruitment, right?

    Hey, it’s their call to make, but it seems like a bad PR move.

  • David

    Which Gospel will it be?

    And then Jesus went up into Sandy Hook where the people were mourning a great loss.  And he…a) comforted them saying…b) turned away saying…

  • Dash1

    I’m going to support the Missouri Synod here.

    Now, true enough, there are interfaith services all the time (college campuses and the military chaplaincy are two examples), and somehow no one assumes the Orthodox rabbi is telling Jewish service members that, hey lobster is back ON the menu!!, or that the Buddhist chaplain has changed his mind about the existence of god(s) or indeed that the Baptist chaplain has doubts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

    But I have over the years known many Missouri Synod folks–in fact, many are good friends–but Lord have mercy, is the MS ever focused on their own Doctrinal Correctness! Fred had a post about “look at the moon, not the finger,” but when you get that focused on you and your very own separateness from “those people who are not Doctrinally Correct, as we are,” you turn “I’m the finger pointing at the moon” into “Look what a fine finger I am and how well I point!”

    As I said, I support the Missouri Synod in this. With the attitude I’ve seen–and it’s been well displayed here as well–they’re doing the grieving people a service by staying away.  So good on ya, Missouri Synod, say I. Your absence is a true witness of just exactly who you are and what kind of God you worship, and the rest of us do notice it. Which is what you were looking for, so mission accomplished.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I will only pray with members of the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Prost/100002434484052 Tony Prost

    “I will only pray with members of the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism!”

    I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like the rest of men!

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    When you said the pastor apologized, for a second I hoped that he was apologizing FOR the hate-spreading Missouri Synod.  Would be a better world were that true.

  • OrcHard

    I have never felt more justified in my total atheism. I love that the Evangelutherwhateveritis church is doing this: It makes it SO much easier for me to hate them. Keep on snarling and bickering and turf-snatching and terrain-marking with each other, lonely fools–I will be laughing ALL the way.

  • OrcHard

    Oh and proof-texts! Cite more proof-texts! Get on the coke-bottle glasses and the green eye shades and REALLY dig into that dusty shit! Quote me tenditious readings and explain how things written by Iron Agers TOTALLY applies to me in the year 2013. Oh and throw in a bit of oblique Godwinism too: Don’t *say* “you’re Hitler” but do it sort of sideways with a bit of insinuation like “So you believe there s no will but the will to power?” Yeah, that it’s. SNNNNNNNIFFFFFFF. *Snort* *Snort* Aw yeaaaaahhh . . . that is some primo stuff . . .

  • Carstonio

    No co-operation. No appearance of comity and partnership. No coming together or working together in any way that might blur these essential
    differences.

    With that attitude, they might as well set up their own society on an island or a distant planet. No other religions to contaminate their purity, at least until the inevitable breakaway sects arise among their own number.

  • OrcHard

    *”He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that.”*

    This is a fun New Thing among conservatives/Christians: Every since the election, there’s been this very new-vintage strand of “most people are stupid sheep” thinking going on.

    And I have to say: How the might have fallen. Because I can remember some VERY smug people lecturing me about the details of my ‘permanent minority’ status in the winter and spring of 2005. How the Democratic party might as well just pack it in. How liberals in America were JUST like Sunnis in Iraq [remember when people gave a shit about Iraq?], refusing to accept our minority status, how America was a center-right (or heck, just RIGHT-wing) country and the true, red-blooded heartlanders would always deliver America from our heathen coastal evils?

    Wow. A different age it was, mon amis.

  • OrcHard

    /mightY have fallen

  • FullMetalMarmotte

    Nice… did someone just said that the point is what other people might think if they saw us praying with other faiths? Well, if you really just care for what the other think of your faith, Jesus had some pretty hard words for you AND your reaction just made you look like a … connard… Can we call it epic fail?

  • Pastormg

    Having read many of the comments on here, the point is being proven in the comments. 

    Some people acknowledge that they believe in their gods, even though the Bible says there is but One – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they believe there is no problem with having their gods.  

    Others say they believe in the One true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but simply in “their ways.”  Ah, there’s the rub, isn’t it.  From this, the only thing that can be concluded is that each individual may believe what “they want” about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and everything will be good.  If this were the case, then we could simply throw “true teaching” (doctrine) out the window, and call everything “love,” which is exactly what is happening on many of these posts.  So much for “speaking the truth in love,” which is what the Bible teaches.  Yes, “doctrine and love” are two unbreakable strands in the one true Christian faith.

    So, the Rev. President Harrison is being insulted, mocked, and ridiculed for “speaking the truth in love.”  Sad, of course, but not surprising, since this has been going on for, let’s see…….thousands and thousands of years in Christianity.  And, the ridicule, insulting, and mocking is going on as if this were merely something which came out of the synod’s vacuum, rather than something which arose through the synod from the Scripture. 

    “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”  John 15:18   

  • Lunch Meat

    Some people acknowledge that they believe in their gods, even though the
    Bible says there is but One – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they
    believe there is no problem with having their gods.

    You make it sounds like this is a strange thing. Why would they care what the Bible says if they believe in different gods or no gods?

    Others say they believe in the One true God – Father, Son, and Holy
    Spirit, but simply in “their ways.”  Ah, there’s the rub, isn’t it. 
    From this, the only thing that can be concluded is that each individual
    may believe what “they want” about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
    and everything will be good.

    By believing in the NT and not the Koran or the book of Mormon, aren’t you believing in God in “your way” that “you want”? Why did you choose not to follow the Koran or the book of Mormon? Why did you choose to reject the Torah as law? If you have been convinced that the NT is complete, inerrant truth, why assume that other people are just picking out what they want to believe because they like it? Because it scares you to think that other people have been sincerely, convictingly persuaded of the truth of something you think is wrong?

    Same question about why you interpret scripture the way you do. If you don’t take every single word literally, and I doubt you do, unless you’ve obeyed Paul’s injunction to “stay in Ephesus,” then you must have an interpretive framework for determining what’s an authoritative instruction and what isn’t. Why assume that yours is intellectually honest and logically rigorous but other Christians are just throwing true teaching out the window? Because it scares you to think that other people sincerely interpret the Bible differently, and therefore your interpretation is not as obviously true as you thought?

    And, the ridicule, insulting, and mocking is going on as if this were
    merely something which came out of the synod’s vacuum, rather than
    something which arose through the synod from the Scripture.

    What scripture says “You must not ever pray in the same place as someone who is praying to other gods or praying to the one God in a different way”? Didn’t Jesus and the apostles preach in the synagogues? Do you think they never prayed there?

  • The_L1985

     ” even though the Bible says there is but One”

    Here’s the thing: if you’re not a Christian, then the Bible isn’t special to you, it’s just another book.  So why would someone who doesn’t think the Bible is special or important trust the Bible that there is only one god?

  • Lori

     

    “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”  John 15:18     

    If I had a dollar for every time some Christian has quoted this verse in response to being called on their crap I’d have a lot fewer financial problems. It’s always the same.

    -I’m acting like a colossal horse’s behind. People have noticed and are commenting on it, and many of them are rather angry about my behavior.

    -That’s the same as being hated.

    -People hated Jesus.

    -Check it, I’m just like Jesus. Because being called a colossal horse’s behind is totally the same as being executed.

    -Yeah me for being so Christ-like. I am a super Christian. John said so. You can look it up.

    People desperately need to retire this line of “reasoning”.

  • Hexep

    I think some posts got pulled, or something; I’m reading this now and it seems like there are a lot of replies, but there aren’t any Replies? Like I’m missing half the conversation.

    You know, 800 years ago, a few Nestorian Christian priests saved the lives of lots (and lots) of their flock by convincing Genghis Khan (or was it Odegai?) that Christians were nice people, who believed in the fundamental potential for goodness of the human race and in the brotherhood of all peoples beneath the majesty of Tengri, the Eternal Blue Sky, that is the same everywhere. It is for that reason that they were welcomed into the Palace of the Golden Family, and many high officials in the Empire were Christians. Many great Khans had Christian mothers.

    That would never happen today. Congratulations, Christians of the 21st Century – you can no longer talk your way out from under the hooves of Temujin. Stomp stomp stomp.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    The biggest threat to Christianity is Christians.

  • jfinish

    This author does not understand the reasoning behind the stand the LCMS takes.  First the LCMS is not a “Break away” church.  It was established in 1847, use a simple Google search.  The LCMS also cooperated with other churches, faiths, organizations governments, etc. all over the world, including in Sandy Hook.  The LCMS is only opposed to joint worship, which includes prayer and the reading of scripture.  This is only because the LCMS does not believe that “all roads lead to heave”, they believe salvation only comes through Christ.  Please do the slightest bit of research before spouting your hate.
     

  • FullMétalMarmotte

     Yeay, 1847 ! Directly from Peter, on his way to Rome, he made a small detour…

  • jfinish

    You are right, Lutheran broke away from the Catholic church during the reformation. Is that what the author is referring to?

  • Owen

    Luther broke from Rome. Rome broke with the Orthodox…

    And the people who formed the LCMS had broken from their respective landeskirchen in Germany. Quite a number left Prussia and Saxony because they disagreed with the policies and practices of the Lutheran churches there.

    They were not much different from the Puritans who left England (breaking with the CoE as well) to travel to America to practice as they wanted, or rather not have to be around other ‘Christians’ who did things a bit differently or didn’t check all the boxes in the vital theological purity checklist.

  • jfinish

    There is little comparison to puritans, but you are right. The author, however, is implying to LCMS is a breakaway from “mainstream Lutheranism” like some sort of sect, which is not true.

  • JustoneK

    The implication I had gotten is that this breakaway was literally lined out as such by this church.

  • Scott P.

    If it was established in 1857, then by definition it is a breakaway church, as Christianity is far older than that.

  • Scott P.

    1847 blargh.

  • jfinish

    The church body was established in 1847, Lutheranism broke from Catholicism during the reformation. I don’t think the author was referring to the reformation when he called the LCMS a “break away” church. By your rational, every denomination, including Roman Catholicism is a “break away Church”.

  • Dash1

     

    The LCMS is only opposed to joint worship, which includes prayer and the reading of scripture.

    OK, wait. When we go out to dinner or tea with some friends of our, an LCMS couple, which we do pretty regularly, you’re telling me we can’t have anyone at the table say grace, since not all members of the party are praying to the same deity (or perhaps not all members are even praying)?

    Or what? Are we obliged to contact his congregation and say that he was participating in a joint worship?

    Somehow, I bet you’re going to find a way that that doesn’t count.

  • jfinish

    Do you consider a table prayer to be a joint worship service? I believe this is a little different than an LCMS pastor saying, “May the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” when speaking to Muslims and Jews in a joint service. The LCMS does not practice syncretism. Read this to better understand: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/02/explaining-opposition-to-syncretism-in-a-syncretized-world/

  • Dash1

     I was responding to the comment about joint worship (and yes, I take a table prayer to be an act of worship, and I believe my LCMS friends do as well). A formal service was not specified.

    But let me respond to your question. I don’t know how many interfaith events you’ve attended, but the one thing a chaplain/pastor/priest/faith representative would not say in such a context  is “May the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” since not all present believe in the Holy Spirit, nor would the chaplain/etc. be in a position to either wish or confer (depending on his/her role) the Holy Spirit upon all present.

    May I suggest, with respect, that you seriously consider attending a few interfaith prayer vigils/services–not as a participant, but as a simple observer. You would, I think, find them not quite what you are expecting. It is understood that many faiths are present, and that the job of the chaplains/etc. is to represent his/her faith in the face of tragedy (or simply at the gathering).

  • jfinish

    I havebeen referring to the service in Newtown, which was a formal service. May I suggest that you become familiar with this particular joint worship where Pastor Morris pronounced the benediction at this gathering of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sihks and Ba’hai, saying, “the communion of the holy Spirit BE WITH YOU ALL.”

  • Jim Roberts

     . . . isn’t that kind of a good idea? That we hope that the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with all people? I mean, he’s not invoking a magic spell that blesses people, his offering them what he considers his hope, which seems perfectly appropriate for a memorial service.

  • jfinish

    As Christian we do not have, “the communion of the Holy Spirit” with Muslims, Jews and Sihks. This is not the same as delivering the Gospel to non Christians, it is syncretism, inferring, “all paths lead to heaven”.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So basically you’re only willing to say ‘this person is my sibling in spirit’ if that person is [an acceptable flavor of] Christian. Anything else, the person is inferior and cannot have any spiritual kinship with you.
    I find myself much more fond of the belief that everybody’s my sibling in spirit, everyone deserves the love and respect I’m required to give my siblings. I’m not required to like any of my siblings, mind, but like doesn’t have much to do with respect or love.

  • jfinish

    I am not saying that any person is inferior to anyone else, and this has nothing to do with respecting other religions. I am saying the LCMS believes there is only one path to salvation, through Christ. I am aware that this is not a popular view among those who believe all religions are the same and lead to the same place, but this is not what the LCMS believes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am not saying that any person is inferior to anyone else, and this has nothing to do with respecting other religions.

    But it certainly seems to have something to do with respecting other people, in particular the ones you treat as inferior due to belonging to a different religion.

  • jfinish

    And how are they being treated as inferior?

  • EllieMurasaki

    jfinish now: And how are they being treated as inferior?

    jfinish earlier: As Christian we do not have, “the communion of the Holy Spirit” with Muslims, Jews and Sihks. This is not the same as delivering the Gospel to non Christians, it is syncretism, inferring, “all paths lead to heaven”.

    That’s how.

  • jfinish

    Why dont you ask members of these religions if they are in “the communion of the Holy Spirit” with Christians, see what they say. Additionally, you are basically stating that your syncretized view of religion is superior to the views that Lutherans and Catholics hold.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, actually, I’m saying that Deird–my email notif of her comment is right below the notif for the comment I’m replying to–that Deird gets the ‘being Christian without being disrespectful to people who aren’t’ thing RIGHT.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    You’ve already said you don’t speak for all Lutherans; please don’t try to speak for me (Catholic) either.

  • jfinish

    I don’t speak for you. Your pope does that.

  • The_L1985

     By the gods, if you’d said that in the presence of me or my (Catholic) father, you’d have a black eye.  Quit acting so damned smug.

  • jfinish

    Okay so now you are Catholic? The Pope does speak for the Roman Catholic church, does he not? And I am quite sure I would not fear you or your catholic father.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The Pope speaks for the Church hierarchy. The Church hierarchy is in many ways not the Church. Or so I have been given to understand by many Catholics around here who disagree vehemently with the Catholic Church hierarchy.

  • The_L1985

     I was raised Catholic.  My father still is; I am not.  I’m surprised you are incapable of understanding that some people change religions over the course of their lifetime, and some of those people were raised Christian.

  • jfinish

    This is very easy for me to understand. I am just wondering why you take so much issue with my statement about the Pope. It was not even intended to be insulting. Roman Catholicism is very hierarchical and it all leads up to him.

  • The_L1985

    Because you said it in such a way as to imply that lay Catholics are somehow incapable of speaking for themselves, and need to hide behind the pope’s skirts.  Like I said, quit saying things in that damned smug way, and you won’t get people interpreting it as smugness.

  • Makabit

    Oh, dude.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Actually we’re allowed to disagree with the pope. It’s called “informed conscience” – look it up.

  • The_L1985

    Well, you lot keep implying that we’re not Christian because we either hate Jesus (I really have nothing against the man, and am tired of hearing you insist otherwise), don’t understand a faith that most of us were born and raised in, and that we somehow don’t see how your form of paternalistic condescension is completely different from Captain Hammer’s condescending show of pretend-compassion for the homeless in the movie Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

    Quite a lot of conservative Christians are also trying to pass abortion laws that don’t respect the beliefs of other religions.  See also Lisa Brown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGS9vo1avVg

    A lot of conservative Christians are also trying to pass laws against same-sex marriage, despite the fact that other religions–and even liberal branches of Christianity itself–are highly opposed to such laws.

    Members of my religion have had worship ceremonies broken up by the police; they have had custody of their children taken away solely because of their religion; they have lost their jobs solely because of their religion; they have only ever seen their religion on television in horribly-stereotyped, over-simplistic, demeaning caricature; they have been denied a day off on their religious holidays, in businesses that are closed on Christian religious holidays by default. Members of my religion were not even invited to the interfaith mourning ritual mentioned in the original article.

    And you really don’t see how members of other religions are being treated as inferior in the US?  Do you need a map to find your own hindparts when you use the toilet, too?

  • jfinish

    Personally I believe that state has no business defining marriage, or taking a position on any moral issue. I think the intermingling of church and state is this country is a major problem.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Personally I believe that state has no business defining marriage, or taking a position on any moral issue. I think the intermingling of church and state is this country is a major problem.

    So when the LCMS filed a brief in support of Proposition 8 to ban marriage in California for all but a select (however numerous) group, you think they were wrong?

  • jfinish

    Yes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So why are you over here arguing with us over whether the LCMS are jerks re interfaith services instead of over there arguing with the LCMS over whether the LCMS was right to be, and whether the LCMS should continue to be, jerks re Prop 8?

  • jfinish

    I debate many topics with many people. The LCMS is not a homogenous group, though they tend to be more conservative and centered in the Midwest.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So why are you over here arguing with us over whether the LCMS are jerks re interfaith services instead of over there arguing with the LCMS over whether the LCMS was right to be, and whether the LCMS should continue to be, jerks re Prop 8?

  • jfinish

    I am not a spokes person for the LCMS, I am commenting on the issue of joint worship as it applies to the our theology.

  • Makabit

    So, are you in favor of having no laws relating to marriage at all, and marriage having no secular status whatsoever? No more social security benefits going to surviving partners, no special status relating to spouses testifying in court, no nothin’?

  • jfinish

    I believe those who choose to marry should have the support of the law, I just don’t think the state should define marriage based on religious special interests. I believe in separation of church and state.

  • P J Evans

    I just don’t think the state should define marriage based on religious special interests

    So you’re going to try to convince LCMS to drop its particpation in the appeal of Prop8? Because that’s all about defining marriage ‘based on religious special interests’. And as such, IMO, it’s violating the 1st Amendment.

  • jfinish

    I don’t agree that the LCMS should lobby congress with regard to marriage or other social issues. I think they should conduct marriages according to their own beliefs, and let other groups, be they religious or not, conduct marriages according to their own standards.

  • Darkrose

    So you disagree with the decision of the LCMS to sign the amicus brief in support of Prop 8?

  • jfinish

    Yes.

  • Darkrose

    Thank you for replying.

  • Makabit

    What would that look like? The examples of ‘state defining marriage based on religious special interests’ that I can think of are banning same sex marriage and polygamy. What are others?

  • jfinish

    So long as marriage is not used for fraud and is victimless, I don’t really care.

  • Jim Roberts

     I’ve been on the opposite side of my church on an issue like this before, and for me, at least, it wasn’t easy. Stay strong, and well-done.

  • The_L1985

     Which is why you’re trying to argue that your denomination simultaneously
    1) censuring a priest for praying in the presence of Jews and Muslims, and
    2) standing alongside Mormons and other non-LCMS folks WRT treating gay people like second-class citizens by denying them the right to marry for sectarian religious reasons

    is not a contradiction, and is, apparently, a good thing in your eyes.

  • jfinish

    the Pastor agreed to the bylaws and standards of practice established by the LCMS. His participation in the service was a violation of this. His involvement in the worship service is strictly an internal issue and reflects freedom of religion. The LCMS lobbying congress to define marriage based on its theology is an overstep and a violation of the separation of church and state.

  • Darkrose

    Within the context of this service, who, exactly, among the speakers expressed that thought? 

  • PatBannon

    For the love of the Deity, for the love of fuck, for the FUCK OF FUCK, NOBODY BELIEVES ALL RELIGIONS ARE THE SAME.

    Has anyone else here ever heard anyone say that? Real people, not straw men?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Has anyone else here ever heard anyone say that? Real people, not straw men?

    I know some atheists who believe this… that is, who believe that all religions are essentially mechanisms whereby individuals formalize a set of arbitrary assertions about the universe and then invoke various social mechanisms to induce others to conform to those assertions, and that this is what’s most important about them.

  • Madhabmatics

     BTW, I liked that awesome post you made earlier but I just wanted to post and say that it was a really, really great post. I could only give it one like though :(

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Thanks!
    I have no idea which post you mean, though.
    (“I wrote lots of awesome posts!” he says humbly…) :-)

  • Water_Bear

    Yeah, but even then they aren’t the same. Like, for example, Unitarian Universalists are not about to hop on a plane to Guyana and build a jungle compound full of delicious sugary beverages. The arbitrary assertions and mechanisms of control are vastly different even between sects of the same religion.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    That doesn’t mean they think all religions are the same. Every building has pretty much the same kind of foundation; that does not mean they are the same buildings. 

    (I’m an atheist who does not think what the atheists you’re talking about think — unless said religion gets wedded to the state.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (nods) That’s absolutely true. My claim is not that they’re right — they aren’t — but that they exist.

  • PatBannon

    Hmm…if I may make a hairsplitting semantical argument, I would say that the  atheists you cite are saying that all religions are equivalent, in that they’re all different incarnations of the same basic concept as you described, but not that they are all the same, which implies total or near-total uniformity.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Um… well, OK.

    If I may make a pragmatic reply, to defend the initial claim that nobody says all religions are the same on the basis of such a hairsplitting semantical argument is to render the claim utterly trivial. I mean, OK, on that account of sameness it’s true that nobody says all religions are the same, but so what?

    I prefer to assume the original poster was making a non-trivial (though slightly over-reaching) claim. It seems more respectful.

  • PatBannon

    I think that the claim is not trivial, because someone in PPPadre’s (or whoever I originally quoted, can’t be arsed to go look) position legitimately does believe that others believe (perhaps all others who aren’t LCMS) that all religions are equivalent and the same. Such people truly believe, as far as I can tell, that anyone who doesn’t hew to legalistic distancing from other faiths believes that all religions are step-by-step identical, and all the seeming contradictions are just

    1. Window dressing and vain rituals that don’t really mean anything, or
    2. Deliberate attempts to obfuscate the fact that they’re all secretly worshipping Satan, or whoever.

    The claim would be trivial if it were being made by a person with a non-deranged viewpoint of the world. Sadly, it isn’t and it isn’t.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (shrug) OK.

    FWIW: Anyone who believes that “all religions are step-by-step identical” — that Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics meet in the same buildings and utter their prayers in the same language, for example, or that Muslims and Wiccans celebrate the same holidays on the same calendar — does not know enough about religion to be included in any conversation worth having about it. Anyone whose attention is primarily focused on arguing that those hypothetical people are wrong about religion similarly is not involved in a conversation worth having. They may be performing a valuable remedial service, in which case they are perhaps praiseworthy, but the conversation itself is just silly.

    If you’re right that this was the nature of the conversation I inadvertently responded to, I apologize for interrupting it and I apologetically back out of it now. I had thought the OP meant something different.

  • PatBannon

    It’s more or less just the ultimate statement of tribalism. “There’s Us, the true believers, and Them — everyone else. It doesn’t matter what They are, because what They are is wrong. Good thing We’re not like Them!”

    This, more or less, is what I’m referring to. I don’t think I’m reaching too far in ascribing such a mentality to people who stubbornly insist that taking place in an interfaith mourning vigil is the equivalent to syncretism and a dilution (and/or betrayal) one’s faith. And of course we’ve seen several of these people so far, including the guy I originally responded to.

    As for the substantive differences, that’s what my numbered allegations were meant to address. In the eyes of the anti-“syncretism” crowd, the different holy days and different rituals and different physical worship buildings among any religion that isn’t theirs are all either pointless frippery or intentional smoke and mirrors. Or possibly both.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I agree that people who treat interfaith action as a dilution or
    betrayal of their faith are essentially being driven by tribalism, and
    that this includes some of the folks on this thread.

    I agree that many of these people consider the differences between different religions irrelevant.

    Indeed, that’s what I meant in the first place when I responded to the claim that nobody considers all
    religions the same by observing that I know people who seem to do
    just that. You corrected me by saying that “the same” is not the same as equivalent, and that we’re talking about the former and not the latter. I apologized for misunderstanding the context.

    I infer from
    the way you’re interacting with me that I’m still saying something, or that you infer I think something, that you consider
    both false and important enough to correct. I’m not exactly sure what that “something” is.

    For my own part, I’m content to drop the subject here.

  • PatBannon

    Basically…I picture PPPadre and the others seeing this interfaith vigil, and every single gathering that has representatives from more than one religion on stage (without an RTC clearly dominant) as the EBOWF unveiling from Tribulation Force, with all the respect towards and understanding of other religions that that implies.

  • Makabit

    Yes, but they usually either hate all religions equally, or are wearing upwards of six pounds of silver jewelry when they make the statement.

  • jfinish

    Yes. Great comment, though.

  • Jim Roberts

     Okay, but that’s not at all how that invocation reads, to me. I mean, that I’m aware of, no man can force you to have that, so the pastor’s saying, “I really hope you all have the communion of the Holy Spirit.”

    The concern that lead to the apology is how the pastor’s actions would be interpreted by the world – I’m telling you, as someone “of the world,” so far as Lutheranism’s concerned, that I see nothing disquieting or syncretic in that, and that be reacting as though it is, this branch of Lutherans has made themselves appear to be jerks.

  • jfinish

    I am aware that the world sees the LCMS are jerks. This is because most do not fully understand our position. Read this article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/02/explaining-opposition-to-syncretism-in-a-syncretized-world/

  • Darkrose

    I’m pretty sure I understand your position: adherence to the letter of the law is more important than abiding by its spirit. Y’all have made that abundantly clear.

  • jfinish

    Clearly you don’t understand our position

  • Darkrose

    No, I don’t. I’m actually trying to, but please realize that for someone who isn’t a member of your denomination, it’s like trying to make 2+2 equal 37.659: it doesn’t parse. 

    I keep getting stuck on the “what would Jesus do?” question. In the Gospels, when a grieving parent came to him, Jesus said, “Go home; your daughter is alive”, not “Are you Jewish?” To me, it looks like when Rev. Morris was asked to participate in a ceremony for a community grieving after a horrific event, he did the Christ-like thing, which he’s not being chastised for. Further, the objections sound exactly like the behavior Jesus condemned in Matthew 23 when he said “For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” So from my point of view as a non-LCMS person, your position is the antithesis of Christ-like. It simply doesn’t make sense to me.

  • jfinish

    Lutherans have no problem inviting non Lutherans or non Christians to a worship service, they have no problem reaching out to communities with the gospel, or being chaplain to communities facing tragedy. In fact, we do this all the time, including in Newtown. We are only opposed to worshiping in a manner and setting that suggests that we do not believe that salvation can only come through Christ. We believe that this is what syncretism does.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which means opposition to worship with people whose beliefs you disagree with.

    You’re allowed to disagree with them. You’re allowed not to worship with them. You are even allowed to criticize those of your number who offer a friendly hand and a shoulder to cry on to them. But, and this point is crucial, when you do that last, you’re not allowed to say that you are not being a jerk by so doing.

  • Ben English

    Of course, it’s still fair to discriminate against gay people arm in arm with those Mormon heretics. I for one am happy to live in a world where ecumenical compassion is heretical but ecumenical oppression is A-Okay!

  • jfinish

    Its not okay for an LCMS Pastor to join in worship with the LDS.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But it is okay for an LCMS pastor to join the LDS in oppression of Teh Ghey?

  • Ben English

     Oh, absolutely. You can’t have those heretical scumbags polluting your minds with ideas about Jesus and Satan being brothers, which is the obvious and logical result of any interfaith prayer vigil and in no way represents a paranoid fear about religious purity.

    On the other hand, since the only surefire way to get to heaven is to oppress homosexuals, it’s okay to cosign Proposition 8 with them.

  • Darkrose

    I went and read the article that’s been linked a couple of times in this thread, and this bit stood out:

    See, the world embraces syncretism. The general idea is, it goes without saying, that all religions are good and valid and different paths to understanding the same truth. If you don’t ascribe to that notion, you are probably a bad guy.

    As I said last night, this argument against participating in interfaith services strikes me as confusing praying with someone and praying to their deity. 

    To bring it back to the point of Fred’s original post, defining “syncretism” as “acknowledging that not everyone in this country shares the same beliefs” makes the logic chain collapse even further. Since the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits the establishment of religion, by your definition, that’s syncretism, right? When “God” is invoked in government, there’s no asterisk stating which god is being referenced–that would, in fact, be unconstitional. And yet, the LCMS is appealing to the Supreme Court–part of the government–and they’re doing so to assert that overturning Prop 8 would violate their freedom of religion…and that of Mormons…and Catholics…and Orthodox Jews…

    It really does kind of look like you’re willing to bend the rules on acknowledging the validity of other faiths (but not all) when you feel that the issue is important. And…it’s kind of sad to think that keeping people like me from getting married and making sure my partner doesn’t get my Social Security benefits when I die is more important than coming together to grieve with people who have lost loved ones.

  • jfinish

    What you are calling syncretism is secularism. And I will not defend the LCMS for being involved in such politics, I believe that is wrong.

  • Jim Roberts

     No, I won’t. It’s not my job to realize a Christian’s not a jerk because of reasons that I have to read and have explained to me. It’s simply not. The trick, you see, is for the Christian not be a jerk.

  • jfinish

    Then you are simply being as judgmental and self righteous you assume the LCMS Christian to be.

  • Jim Roberts

     No, see, I’m being “the world,” here. Play acting. And you believe they’re judgmental and self-righteous, right? So I refuse to be educated in Christianity by anything other than what I see from God’s followers. And this? Not impressive.

    (I did read the article you linked to and, while I think I understand your church’s position, I choose to always let mercy overrule my judgement. We Jameses are like that, though.)

  • jfinish

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

  • Jim Roberts

     Aaaand there it is – the poor. lonely LCMS being discriminated against and hated on.

    “This community that just lost 27 kids to horrific violence doesn’t understand the importance of pastor not giving the wrong magic incantation to the pagans and unbelievers? Clearly, we’re the victims here.”

  • jfinish

    Are you part of this community, Jim? Or are you just a person behind a key board writing hateful words? Why don’t you consider all the loving and compassionate things the LCMS and its members have done for the community of Newtown, and stop spouting hate because of your inability to understand our theology when it comes to syncretism.

  • Jim Roberts

     Because, as I’ve repeated, no one gives a tinker’s cuss about your theology when it comes to syncretism when their in grief. And by “no one,” I include God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in that. The night he died – the very night he died – he broke bread -worshipped – with a bunch of fisherman, an anarchist, a tax collector, and the man who would late betray him.

    My words are not hateful, they are angry. They’re the words of someone who’s sick and tired of watching people put theology before doing what’s right, who’s tired of watching people make the simple testament of Christ into a list of rules that applies to other people, who’s bloody well pissed off that anyone would say, “I’m sorry I prayed,” when they prayed with the intent of bringing healing and spreading God’s love.

    You say that the world will hate you for following God – that is not what has happened here. The LCMS failed to be true witnesses to the message of Christ, and the world – the lost and fallen world – noticed it. The world doesn’t read theological positions, it reads Christians.

  • Lori

     

     Why don’t you consider all the loving and compassionate things the LCMS
    and its members have done for the community of Newtown,

    So the LCMS believes in works righteousness? I didn’t think you guys went in for that.

    As for why people aren’t looking at all the good the LCMS has done for the community, have you considered that it’s because that’s not what you’re calling attention to? An LCMS pastor felt it necessary to express public regret for participating in an inter-faith service for grieving people. In the future, if you don’t want people to focus on your jerkitude you may want to consider not shining a spotlight on it.

    I realize that you aren’t really down with the Jews, but they have a saying you might want to look into—“a shande far di goyim”. Rough translation: a disgrace in front of the Gentiles. It’s one Jew saying to another, “You’re making us look bad.”

    This is entire incident is the LCMS creating a shande far pretty much everyone who isn’t LCMS. That’s the thing you don’t seem to understand. You did this to yourselves.

    and stop
    spouting hate because of your inability to understand our theology when
    it comes to syncretism. 

    Noticing that you’re behaving like a jerk & saying so =/= hate

    I think we all understand your theology on syncretism pretty well. What we don’t understand is your belief that your theology on syncretism is more important than comforting the grieving, showing love, participating in community and not disgracing the cause of the Christ you claim to worship by showing your hind end in public.

  • Makabit

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
    OK, this does kind of ring to me like the guy who’s going to jail who points out that Dr. King and Gandhi ALSO went to jail, but neglects to mention that he himself is going because of credit card fraud. I’m fairly sure that verse doesn’t mean “Any time people are mad at you you must be doing good.”

  • The_L1985

     They also tend to ignore the “because of Me” in the Beatitudes.

    If the reason you’re being persecuted is in fact your Christian faith, sure.  But if the reason you’re being persecuted is because you’re using the Bible as a club to beat other people with, then no, you really aren’t bringing blessings down upon yourself; you’re just being a jerk.

  • AnonymousSam

    That’s not to say that hatred is a sign that you’re doing something right.

    Fight against injustice and the unjust will hate you. Commit injustice and and the inverse happens.

  • Lunch Meat

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

    This is pretty much the worst verse to quote out of context. Know why? Because just as you feel hated by us, QUILTBAG people feel hated by you. So if being hated is the only requirement for being like Christ, then we can all sit back in smug self-righteousness and feel perfect. Quote this verse as many times as you want, and I’ll quote it right back at you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     “Then you are simply being as judgmental and self righteous you assume the LCMS Christian to be.”

    Ooo, and now we’ve closed the circle and come back around to Fred’s recent post on the subject of “If you don’t tolerate my intolerance, then you’re intolerant!”  Score!

  • Jim Roberts

     Yep. We’ve run out of logical arguments, so, back to the classics.

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    “I am aware that the world sees the LCMS are jerks. This is because most do not fully understand our position. Read this article:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/g…”

    That article may be wonderful, but people don’t judge Christians based on single statements of faith. They judge us by our actions, and in this case the actions of the LCMS are kinda deplorable.

    It’s a problem that’s shared by nearly every denomination of the Church. We act like a hate group, or allow others to act like a hate group on our behalf. Then we cry foul when the world sees us as hateful, vindictive bigots. We’re insisting on grace when we don’t show any grace ourselves.

  • jfinish

    I am guessing you did not read the article, it was is not a statement of faith. What “actions” are you referring to?

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    I did read the article. It has some interesting, nuanced points. But it doesn’t change the basic problem. When we act like jerks, the world sees us as jerks. And they…quite rightly…call us jerks. We may have reasonable, nuanced, doctrinally sound reasons for acting that way, but we’ve already burned our bridges. And who wants to listen to a jerk justify his own bad behavior?

  • The_L1985

    Actions like forcing a minister to apologize for participating in an act of mourning for elementary-school-aged victims of violence, perhaps?

  • jfinish

    he was not forced, and participating in the act of mourning is not the issue.

  • The_L1985

     Then why are you making such a big deal out of it if it’s not an issue?

  • jfinish

    I have been simply trying to explain the reasoning behind the LCMS position to not participate in joint worship, amidst the public outcry that such a position is unloving and unchristian.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Have you been listening when we say there’s a difference between ‘interfaith service’ and ‘joint worship’?

  • jfinish

    Yes, but when an LCMS Pastor delivers the benediction at an “interfaith service” we will consider it to be “joint worship”. Though I admit it is a complicated issue and there are many in the LCMS, including this pastor, who do not consider it a joint worship service. It doesn’t offend me personally that he participated, but I have many family and friends who have reason to take issue with this, and I do not like to see them called “bigots” and “heartless” and whatever else by people who do not understand where they are coming from.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I do not like to see [people coming from a place that requires isolation from out-group members and treating out-group members with less respect than that due in-group members] called “bigots” and “heartless” and whatever else by people who do not understand where they are coming from.

    And I don’t like you taking issue with the labels we apply to your church and not with the reasons we apply those labels.

  • jfinish

    I do take issue with your reasoning, as it quite clear in my arguments.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, your issue with our reasoning is that we misunderstand yours, not that we might actually have a point about it being problematic in your church’s view to offer comfort to the mourning and not problematic to offer a knife in the back to the already wounded.

  • jfinish

    My issue is that you label us as putting a knife in the back of those in mourning, when in fact this is a simplistic view that does not consider the context. Why dont you look into the things that the LCMS actually did in response the Sandy Hook to assist a community in mourning.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s possible to help with one hand and hurt with the other.

  • The_L1985

     “My issue is that you label us as putting a knife in the back of those in mourning,”

    Gee, maybe because that’s exactly what it looks like?

    If I see someone with another, nearby person’s wallet in his hand, and he says “This isn’t what it looks like,” he may very well be returning a lost wallet.  But that doesn’t keep it from looking like he’s picking pockets.

  • jfinish

    exactly. You need more information to say his is guilty and have him thrown in jail.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, but the further information I’m getting, in the form of LCMS members insisting that it’s somehow pagan for one of their priests to say Christian prayers in a vigil for the deceased, is that the LCMS is guilty as charged.

    You’d make a very good Southern Baptist, sir.  Those are the only other people I’ve heard this sort of asinine argument about prayer from.

  • jfinish

    Your catholic friends make that “asinine” argument about worship all the time

  • Lori

     

    My issue is that you label us as putting a knife in the back of those in
    mourning, when in fact this is a simplistic view that does not consider
    the context.    

    There is no context that makes “I was wrong to grieve with you” an acceptable thing to say to a community in deep mourning after a staggering tragedy.  If there was a context which made that acceptable (which, again, there is not), “I was wrong to grieve with you because it could lead to misunderstanding of a theological point that no one actually misunderstands” is certainly not it. 

     

    Why dont you look into the things that the LCMS actually
    did in response the Sandy Hook to assist a community in mourning.   

    This is part of the LCMS response to Sandy Hook. It’s clear that you don’t like that, but it’s true.

  • jfinish

    Grieving is not the issue, and never did he apologize for grieving.

  • The_L1985

     Clearly not.  He’s got the Humpty Dumpty thing going on again.

  • The_L1985

     Well, yes, that position is unloving.  Apologizing for being in a gathering to mourn dead children makes it look like you think it was wrong to mourn dead children.  Which is, in fact, an unloving position in the extreme.

  • jfinish

    Well I believe your perception is rooted in a basic misunderstanding of the theology. The position is not unloving, it may seem unloving, but that does not make it so. Peace.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The position is not unloving, it may seem unloving, but that does not make it so.

    So it only seems that your lot have backstabbed the people grieving over Sandy Hook, it isn’t actually so, even though the people grieving are hurt by your lot’s insistence that one of your lot was wrong to comfort them?

    Bullshit.

  • The_L1985

    1 Corinthians 13:4-13:

    “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When
    I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I
    reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
    From one of the seven epistles that we can actually be fairly certain was written by Paul.  If love is kind, then that which is unkind cannot be love.  Apologizing for standing in solidarity with those who mourn, simply because they weren’t all Christians, is unkind.  QED.

  • Darkrose

    The position is not unloving, it may seem unloving

    And that’s kind of the problem. 

    For you, it makes perfect sense. 

    For anyone not LCMS…it’s probably going to be more difficult to explain why it’s not heartless to make a man who probably knew some of the victims or their families–it’s not that big of a town–apologize for participating in an event acknowledging the grief of the entire community. From the outside, it looks like you’re saying that it was wrong for him to attempt to comfort his neighbors. 

    And worst of all, you’re trying to argue that it was wrong for Rev. Morris to attempt to comfort his neighbors because of what people might think.

    I don’t think there’s a way to explain that to someone outside of your context that doesn’t sound like “2+2 = frog”.

  • Makabit

    But it is.  

    It may not be deliberately hostile, although I cannot understand why, given that the ‘damage’ was already done, the church did not reprove its pastor quietly and without involving outsiders. But it is an approach that clearly, and with no apology, prioritizes the theological purity of the church, and making that purity clear to people who have no reason to care about it, above showing love to the mourners of the community.

    Now, I’m not gonna say that showing love is always more important, or that everything should be sacrificed to it. But you can’t decide that theology is more important than comforting the bereaved, and then get upset if people say that’s not a loving thing to do. It’s just not.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    it may seem unloving, but that does not make it so

    Actually it does make it so. Loving is not about how awesome the lover is. It’s about how awesome the beloved is. Your position is like that of a lover who does not bother to satisfy their supposedly-beloved, rolls over and goes to sleep after satisfying themselves, then claims it just seems like they’re unloving and it’s the supposedly-beloved’s fault for not understanding this.

    Love is what you do, and what the person you claim to love thinks about it is far more important than what you think about it. You cannot withhold rights and be loving. You cannot refuse to grieve with someone and be loving of them. What you are doing is not love. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Well, I wouldn’t say that ANY act perceived as unloving by the beloved is of necessity unloving.

    To take an extreme example, once my cat slipped out the front door and tried to evade capture by hiding under a neighbor’s car, where she sat in a puddle of motor oil.  I consider washing the motor oil off her butt before she poisoned herself trying to lick it off a loving act, but I assure you, she didn’t see it the same way! :-)

    What I would say is that insisting that your behavior is loving, despite the fact that the beloved thinks it isn’t, means insisting that you know better than the beloved how they should best be loved.  That’s one thing when you’re talking about cats (or, I’d argue, small children or people who are not, at a particular moment, of sound mind) but it’s patronizing as hell when you’re talking about another adult of sound mind.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    insisting that you know better than the beloved how they should best be loved[…] it’s patronizing as hell when you’re talking about another adult of sound mind.

    Hasn’t that ship sailed, though, by the time I’ve posited that the Creator of the Universe has preferences about how I live my life, and I and my coreligionists know what those preferences are, and outsiders don’t? I would not expect someone who genuinely believes that to balk at behaving in ways others think unloving.

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    That feels an awful lot like a false equivalence. Either that or you can’t tell the difference between a cat and a human being.

  • Tricksterson

    Meow

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    Mea maxima meow.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How so? I’m reading B as it’s okay to assume the lover knows how to love the beloved better than the beloved knows such if the beloved is a pet, a child, or someone otherwise not presently capable of knowing their own mind, but if the beloved is a compos mentis adult human then the lover’s being a jerk.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    To take an extreme example, once my cat slipped out the front door and tried to evade capture by hiding under a neighbor’s car, where she sat in a puddle of motor oil.  I consider washing the motor oil off her butt before she poisoned herself trying to lick it off a loving act, but I assure you, she didn’t see it the same way! :-)

    Having been in a similar situation vis a vis a cat, I imagine that you, like me, didn’t try to argue it into seeing the bath as a loving act, and instead tried to comfort it with more mutually recognized loving acts. Although I don’t know, maybe you did lecture the cat at length at how wrong it was not to see your actions as loving and how you were the real victim.

  • Fusina

     Having been in a similar situation vis a vis a cat, I imagine that you,
    like me, didn’t try to argue it into seeing the bath as a loving act,
    and instead tried to comfort it with more mutually recognized loving
    acts. Although I don’t know, maybe you did lecture the cat at length at
    how wrong it was not to see your actions as loving and how you were the
    real victim.

    In my case, I get the bath done as quickly as possibly, wrap soggy kitty in layers of towels and blankets, and feed many kitty treats to the poor maltreated soul. And at least the last time I had to wash our nasty rat bastard of a cat, he just crouched in the bottom of the tub and yowled pathetically while I washed him. Considering that if you displease him he is quick to smack people who get to close to him, this is quite cooperative on his part.

  • The_L1985

     Oh, I understand, all right.  I’ve heard more than enough Sister Bertha Better-Than-You to last me a lifetime, and most of it wasn’t from you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    MISSISSIPPI SQUIRREL!

  • jfinish

    Thank you for proving my point.

  • The_L1985

     I said “most of it wasn’t.”  I didn’t say you hadn’t given some glaring examples of it.

  • Darkrose

    So had he said, “the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all–some restrictions apply; void where prohibited; not valid for Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Episcopalians, Mormons, Methodists, Presbyterians, and those filthy ELCA heretics who totally don’t deserver the communion of the Holy Spirit”…that would have been okay?

  • jfinish

    Had he not delivered the benediction and proclaimed, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)he would have received much less push back from his peers in the LCMS. But then he would have looked like a jerk to everyone at the worship service. So it would have been better for him not to participate in the joint service.

  • Jim Roberts

    It would have been better for who, exactly? Because the only one I’m seeing who benefits from this is the LCMS, which leads me to believe you’re unfamiliar with what the service’s purpose actually was.

  • Darkrose

    I’m not actually seeing how the LCMS benefits from this. It’s hard to make “Pastor apologizes for participating in Sandy Hook vigil” look good.

  • Jim Roberts

     Yeah, but they get to pat themselves on the back for not being unorthodox, and being persecuted is awesome for some Christians, particularly if you can claim it’s unjust persecution.

  • P J Evans

     You’re going to be surprised when you die, and discover that She doesn’t care about that petty stuff.

  • The_L1985

     I hate to tell you this, but that’s not what the word “syncretism” means.  I think the word you’re looking for is “pluralism.”

  • jfinish

    Please explain…

  • EllieMurasaki

    Pluralism is coexisting peacefully with other religions. Syncretism is yoinking bits of other religions for your own, such as the Dec 25 date of and evergreen wreaths at Christmas and the eggs and bunnies at Easter.

  • jfinish

    Syncretism applies to both practice and theology, which is why we choose not to participate in joint worship. Pluralism applies to coexistence, which is not a problem for most who embrace a secular culture.

  • Madhabmatics

    I think where everyone is tripping up is that everyone but you realizes that “Speaking for your faith at an event where lots of people are representing their beliefs” is not “joint worship” in any sense of the word

    if a dude prays in the same room as me it doesn’t magically taint me with heathen prayers

  • The_L1985

     Syncretism: The act of incorporating things from other religions into your practice.  (I have listed TONS of examples in this very thread, in a numbered list.)

    Pluralism: The belief that all religions and forms of spirituality lead to the Divine.

    As the existence of Christmas trees, Easter bunnies, and priestly vestments shows, you can easily have one without the other.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    As Christian we do not have, “the communion of the Holy Spirit” with Muslims, Jews and Sihks.

    Have you actually read the New Testament? I’m not kidding, because WHAT. 

  • Makabit

    “As Christian we do not have, “the communion of the Holy Spirit” with Muslims, Jews and Sihks.”
    What is this, a country club?

  • AnonymousSam

    Agreed. That smacks of the same logic that wishing someone a Merry Christmas is somehow extremely offensive to Jews, and likewise, if someone says Happy Holidays, they must be evil communist atheists out to destroy Christmas.

  • Dash1

     Thank you for the correction. I am frankly surprised to hear that. One of the characteristics of the interfaith services with which I am familiar is that the various speakers and officiants tend to avoid that sort of thing, e.g., calling down faith-specific blessings on those present. So my question now is whether he was expressing that as a wish for the participants or as an act whereby he conveyed a blessing onto the group as a whole.

    If it was a wish, I think it was a mistake to say that at a service consisting of those who might not desire what he means by “the communion of the Holy Spirit,” much as I would not say to a grieving Jewish friend, “May the love of Jesus bring you comfort.”

    However, if we take the utterance as an act of blessing performed by him in his status as pastor (present subjunctive as imperative), then I think it was at least equally problematic to use it that way, as many of those present may not desire that as a blessing, just as a Lutheran might appreciate the good wishes behind a blessing conferred by a Roman Catholic priest or a Pagan, but prefer not to be obliged to be on the receiving end of it.

  • The_L1985

     Yes.  The priest at a Catholic church says the same thing (I remember hearing, on several occasions, the opening benediction expressed as “The peace of Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”) every week at Mass, too.

    But here’s the thing.  I’m a Wiccan.  As a condition of staying at my parents’ house (I couldn’t afford to move out just yet), every Sunday until I moved out, I had to go to Mass with them.  Even after converting to Wicca.  Does that mean that the priest was somehow evil or wrong for continuing to use that benediction while my Pagan ass was in those pews?  Because that is exactly what you seem to be implying from where I’m standing.

  • jfinish

    I would assume that your Priest would prefer you not take communion.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Well, yes, Catholics don’t want nonCatholics taking communion, while Protestants (all the ones I’ve been in their churches anyway) don’t care as long as the communion-taker is Christian. Both views are exclusive; Catholics are worse.

    What’s your point?

  • The_L1985

     True.  But does that invalidate his benediction?  Your previous comments lead me to believe that it does, somehow.

  • jfinish

    I don’t know the answer to that. I am sure your Priest would not want offer the benediction at a service where other faiths are worshiping. Unless he is Reformed Catholic.

  • The_L1985

    ….Reformed…Catholic…?  I know the two words by themselves, and I’ve seen “Reformed” tacked on to the names of denominations before, but somehow the phrase “Reformed Catholic” just doesn’t parse.

    He is Roman Catholic.  As in the denomination that’s been around in Europe since the Nicene Creed, and has since spread around the world. The one that believes that letting other kinds of Christian take part in the Eucharist at their church is somehow blasphemy.

  • jfinish

    Reformed Catholic is quite small, and is basically protestant. They are not really Catholic.

  • The_L1985

     Ah.  No, he wasn’t.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Does that mean that the priest was somehow evil or wrong for continuing to use that benediction while my Pagan ass was in those pews?

    We’re at the point in the liturgical year where we’re welcoming new converts who’ll finish their conversion at Easter (and being a college church, we get a fair number each year). None of them are Catholic yet, obviously – but the priest doesn’t tag a “except for all the catechumens who aren’t Catholic yet” on any of the blessings.

  • The_L1985

     Which, much as I hate to say it, makes my former affiliation a more welcoming Christian denomination than the LCMS seems to be.

    I didn’t think I’d be able to make that kind of favorable blanket statement about the Catholic Church in comparison to anyone short of Westboro Baptist.

  • The_L1985

    “The LCMS does not practice syncretism.”

    Actual, historical forms of syncretism between Christianity and actual, non-Christian, really-truly-Pagan religions:

    1. Pretending that the birth of Jesus fell on December 25.  (This was to encourage conversion from followers of the Persian god Mithras, whose birthday was celebrated on December 25, and of the Religio Romana, which held a week -long celebration called Saturnalia near the time of the winter solstice.)

    2. Every single Christmas decoration and aspect of Christmas that isn’t a hymn or a Nativity scene.  (Holly, trees, Yule Logs, bright lights, feasting–all are from Yule or another, similar Pagan holiday.  In fact, our current image of Santa Claus is actually a blend between St. Nicholas of Myrna and common depictions of Odin with his fur suit and sleigh.  It’s probably a coincidence that the number of reindeer matches the number of legs on Odin’s horse, Sleipnir, but I find it an amusing one, and the rest are NOT coincidences.)

    3. Bunnies, dyed eggs, and baby chicks at Easter.  (All 3 seem to have been related to pre-Christian fertility rites celebrated in the spring.)

    4. The use of liturgical robes, frankincense, candles, and an altar, all of which are practices shared by every single religion ever to be practiced in Europe and the Middle East.

    5. That passage in Revelation about Jesus being “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  That is copied word-for-word from hymns worshiping the Roman emperor Domitian.  Granted, it’s as a subversion, implying that Jesus will replace all earthly rulers, but it still happened.

    6. The symbolic partaking of bread and wine are also identical to religious practices from the Mediterranean region, most of which pre-date Christianity by several centuries.

    So if the LCMS practices any of those, then yes, the LCMS does practice syncretism, because all religions are syncretic.  It’s unavoidable.

  • JustoneK

    nuh uh, the KJV (the original true version) was written only 50 years after Jesus’ death, and it was totally accurate.

  • Makabit

    “May the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” when speaking to Muslims and Jews in a joint service. The LCMS does not practice syncretism.

    You don’t want the communion of the Holy Spirit to be with me?

  • The_L1985

     “First the LCMS is not a “Break away” church.  It was established in 1847, use a simple Google search.”

    And the original Lutheran church was organized in 1526, which means that the LCMS did, in fact, break away from the rest of the Lutheran denomination in 1847.  And Luther and his followers broke away from the Catholic church in 1526.  I don’t see how stating that fact is an insult.

  • jfinish

    His attempt is to present the LCMS as though they are a sect of mainstream Lutheranism, such as the Westboro Baptist, when in fact the LCMS is as pure a form of Lutheranism as will be found in the US, according to the Book of Concord. The LCMS has never broken away from Lutheranism. He was not referring to the reformation.

  • The_L1985

     The Westboro Baptist isn’t a sect of mainstream anything.

    Also, most Christians nowadays use the words “sect” and “denomination” interchangeably.  Do you mean it as a synyonym for “cult,” instead?  Because I don’t think it’s a cult, but it certainly did break away from the rest of the Lutherans.

    As for purity, I refuse to take sides on that little issue.  Purity of faith is in the eye of the beholder.

  • jfinish

    “Also, most Christians nowadays use the word ‘sect’ and ‘denomination’ interchangeably” This is not true. Please explain to me how the LCMS broke away from the rest of Lutherans.

  • The_L1985

     By forming their own synod in 1847, over 300 years after Lutheranism came into being.  I thought this was obvious from the definitions of “Lutheran,” “after,” and “formed their own synod,” but apparently either it isn’t or you need things explained to you VERY SLOWLY.

  • Lori

    First the LCMS is not a “Break away” church.  It was established in 1847,  

    What does the date of establishment have to do with whether or not it’s a break away church? “Break away” doesn’t mean “new” or even “newish”.

     

    This is only because the LCMS does not believe that “all roads lead to heave”, 

    It certainly appears that all the LCMS’ roads lead to heave*. At least that’s the effect they’re having on me.

    *I don’t know if this is some weird family thing or if other people use it too, but in my mom’s family “heave” is a way of saying “throw up”, as in “I think I’m going to heave.”

  • jfinish

    Wow. You are really sharp. Good job spotting a typo.

  • FullMétalMarmotte

    (…) No co-operation. No appearance of comity and partnership. No coming
    together or working together in any way that might blur these essential differences (…)

    HEAR THAT YOU HERETICS ? This is the doctrine, this is the (almost) holy words from (almost) the bible !

    NO COOPERATION (except when it comes to hating “fags” of course)

    A pretty bunch of hypocrites

    PS : sorry for the f. word, had to use their language.

  • Carstonio

    Before Fred posted this, I didn’t know that the Missouri Synod was a real thing, because on Cheers the division sounded like a fictional construct…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMjQAO5nV6M

  • JustoneK

    Priority one:  oppose any and all abortion by any means necessary, even if it means bending rules
    Priority fifteen:  support grieving people, but toe the line

  • Nathaniel

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”
    He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in
    God?”
    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He
    said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said,
    “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I
    said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said,
    “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or
    Northern Liberal Baptist?”
    He said, “Northern Conservative
    Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes
    Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said,
    “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”
    Northern
    Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern
    Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said,
    “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I
    said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

    An oldie but goodie.
     

  • AnonymousSam

    You know, it’s been many, many years since I actually heard someone utter words to the effect of “Yes, but everyone else is just a deluded pagan. Their version of Jesus doesn’t look a thing like mine! Therefore my faith is the only real one and everyone else’s is made of lies and heresy.”

    Small wonder the president is so intent on avoiding division. By having drawn lines between the entire church and everyone else, all they really have is this affect of unity. And yes, I call that a flimsy facade, if the mere act of having offered prayers in support of grieving parents actually constitutes a threat to the church.

    I do see parallels between this and the evangelical gatekeeping incident. Someone is unable to tolerate questions, even when those questions are as benign as “Do we not share the same grief?”

  • Jim Roberts

    This just makes me sad.

    So, in order that “the world” will know that this particular branch of the Lutheran church has the REAL Secret Bible Decoder Ring, a pastor apologizes for grieving with a group of people. I mean, really, that’s what the man did. I heard his prayer and it was moving and heartfelt and, damn it, necessary. That’s was a pastor does. He prays. Doesn’t matter if he’s in a room of goddamned pagan werewolf Buddhists*, he prays. To God. On behalf of people, sure, in the presence of them sometimes, that they can take some comfort and solace from it, but he prays. It’s a job skill.

    The pastor apologizes, so that we all know how special you Lutherans are.

    The message “the world” receives is, “Your grief is less important that our doctrinal purity.” Well played, guys, well played. The applause you give yourselves for this is your reward in full.

    * Not that there’s anything wrong with goddamned pagan werewolf Buddhists. Some of my best friends are goddamned pagan werewolf Buddhists.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Wait, are we talking goddamned pagan werewolf Therevada Buddhists or Mahayana Buddhist?

    Pure Land or Zen?

    Soto Zen or Rinzai Zen?

  • The_L1985

     If the post didn’t already win the Internet, your footnote would have done so all by itself. *applauds*

  • caryjamesbond

    Shorter PPPadre:

    “Ya see, what its really all about is the legalism.  We’ve spent a long time studying the words of Jesus, and we think that what he really cares about is obsessively following the rules, regardless of outside circumstance.  To you pagan heathen Jesus haters who just don’t understand how wise those Missourians of 1847 truly were, making someone apologize for praying in the general vicinity of a Jew seems crass, shockingly insensitive, and pharisaical in the extreme.

     However, we feel comfortable saying that Jesus is proud of our actions.  Of the two actions, praying at an interfaith service, and demanding an apology for that prayer, we’re sure that the high-handed demand for an apology is the one that is REALLY being the salt and light that Jesus demanded of us.”

    Also- Missourians in 1847 were busy killing each other in border raids over whether a person could legally own another person. I’d be a little wary of taking their “wisdom” too much to heart.

  • PPPadre

    Since that summary bears no resemblance to anything I wrote, I have no idea why you placed my name over it and I will make no further comment with regard to it other than to request that you edit your comment to remove that fallacious summary of what you erroneously through someone had written.

    However, your lower comment has made a factual error that needs to be addressed. You seem to have confused the residents of the State of Missouri (some of whom were indeed busy killing each other in border raids over whether a person could legally own another person) and members of (what was then called (in translation)) the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States (who were, with one voice, petitioning the US government to end the dehumanizing abomination of slavery as it was practiced in the US).

    Come to think of it, given the errors top and bottom in your comment, perhaps it would just be best if you removed it, altogether.

  • Kadh2000

    I think it all boils down to “Biblical Inerrancy”.  Once you start accepting that, you hem yourself into a narrow band of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.  Then you also have the problem of so many different denominations saying the Bible is inerrant.  At the best, almost all of them have to be wrong.  If they were all right, there should be no difference between any religions that accept the Bible as inerrant.   By that logic, all of us who aren’t Christian or don’t believe in Biblical Inerrancy if we are Christian, are wrong.  So also are every other religion than yours, the LCMS in this case.   When you get to defining things that way, you have the Newtown thing and the CA Proposition 8 thing.  You’ve made yourself so small you can’t do the right thing because it isn’t the ‘correct’ thing.

  • reallyAimai

    Talking to these guys reminds me of the pointlessness of talking to anyone in a cult or anyone who is, basically, schizophrenic.  The more you push back on their interpretation of the world, the more uncomfortable they become, and the more they harden their hearts. The very fact tha tyou disagree with them becomes a badge of honor. When he started quoting (some version) of John and insisting that we “hate” him and by implication that we do so precisely because he and his community are Jesus like then we have seen the closing of an interpretive circle. Its the same circle, by the way, that the Phelps clan used to keep their children in bondage.  The more you take seriously what these people say, and try to reason with them lovingly and generously, the angrier an dmore spiteful and fearful they become. Its a defensive mechanism brought about by tghe fact that they, obviously, can’t prove that their interpretation of some scripture is correct. If g-d actually existed the way a tree or the sun exisgts and would come down and settle the dispute we could all shut up shop.  But the fact of the matter is–and the letter of attack and dismissal describes it that way–the Lutheran faith and community is “fragile.” Even being seen in the company of (tax collectors, whores, romans) and other faiths is enough to destroy them.

    Those of us with a more robust faith in a more loving god or gods wouldn’t even be able to grasp how very serious it is to the Lutherans that they worship in isolation and they reject the company of strangers.  Its the source of their paranoia, though. Not scripture which, of course, has pointed plenty of us in an entirely different direction, but paranoia and a child’s fear that some other child will be as loved and cherished by g-d as they seek to be.  To point back to scripture, though (theirs, at any rate) what of the story of the prodigal son or the worker of the 11th hour? Are not these people who, by lutheran lights, should have been ignored and rejected? G-d didn’t ignore and reject them. He welcomed them. Even in the wrong clothes and at the wrong time.

  • Jim Roberts

     Aaaand we’re done here. reallyAimai, your Internet has been packaged up and prepared for shipping.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    how very serious it is to the Lutherans that they worship in isolation and they reject the company of strangers

    *This branch* of Lutherans. The branch of the Lutheran church I was raised in never brought this up because it did not care, so long as you weren’t actually worshiping a Catholic icon or something. They would have considered this branch’s dogma of not praying when other people are — well, like I wrote, it was pinging my blasphemy meter like crazy. The idea that God will ever excuse you for not following the Golden Rule, let alone require you to not follow the Golden Rule, is completely wonky. Also the idea that God cannot see into your heart to see to whom you are praying.

    This isn’t about God or faith. It’s about Us vs. Them, separation rather than love, and that was not the Lutheranism I was raised in.

  • AnonymousSam

    Thank you for articulating what I could not. I’ve been struggling to formulate how I would explain why this is the antithesis to my beliefs. It’s like Calvanism as seen through the eyes of children competing to become class president– “It’s not just that we’re better than everyone else, but they have to know we know it, too! Otherwise, someone might think that we think we’re all the same!”

    … No, we didn’t get that impression at all. Congratulations. I guess.

  • Jim Roberts

    “Love is served when the gathering is one of unity.”

    What utter tosh.

    You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  • caryjamesbond

    PPPadre- you have repeatedly, and loudly defended those who censured Rev. Morris. 

    It’s FINE if your particular sect doesn’t show up. The Amish didn’t send a rep to the gathering, but I have no doubt they prayed for the victims.  The difference is that IF your guy DOES go, “praying over the bodies of murdered children” isn’t really cause for censure. For you to come to the conclusion that somehow, Rev. Morris was acting incorrectly in being part of the prayer vigil would require you to walk through EXACTLY the thought process I described.

    The actions taken by this group, their articles of faith, and your defense of those actions and beliefs are a statement not just of propriety or personal desire, but a statement about the preferences and desires of Jesus.  You are stating, in so many words, that Jesus would have disagreed with this pastors actons, and found them wrong. You’re saying that Jesus would have preferred this pastor abid by a legalistic interpretation of some few of his statements. 

    What is more, you’re stating that Jesus would have found this particular legalistic violation as something to be apologized for. 

    In other words- you’re arguing for the Pharisees. Is that REALLY where you want to stand?

    However- you are correct. The original founders of the Missouri Synod were anti-slavery, at a time when that could be dangerous, and should be commended for that stance.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X