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.


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  • Dash1

    I’ve been, I think, a bit tough on the LCMS folks who’ve shown up here, and I want to make clear to those who are not LCMS that not all LCMS people adhere to the party lines presented in this thread. Many of my friends were deeply distressed at the angry letters received by Pastor Benke, the Missouri Synod pastor who participated in the post-9/11 service, from his co-religionists. (At least one of them, as reported by a very distressed friend of mine, accused him of being with the terrorists–“you are the terrorist” is my recollection of what the letter said.)

    Dave and reallyAimai, I cast my internets at your feet. However, I’d want to specify, really Aimai, that where you say “Lutheran,” you might specify which group. The ELCA Lutherans are quite different and cooperate happily with all manner of folk, and particularly enthusiastically with other Christians. I have very fond memories of the ELCA chaplain back when I was in college, for putting on a very traditional Easter service in Latin, because the Catholics weren’t doing it and, in the immortal words of Robert Earl Keen, “we all want(ed) one!”

  • reallyAimai

    I didn’t mean to paint with such a broad brush but really, after a while, no one cares whether its one Lutheran division vs another one. 

    I know there are deep divisions within the Lutheran community as indicated by an alphabet soup of splitterisms but I just can’t be bothered to distinguish them one from the other. Its the same problem that “Christians” as a whole have thanks to a refusal/inability to police the boundaries of their discourse by denouncing bad acts by other christians–the most you can ever get is a “no true scotsman” style argument that those other self professed christians are somehow, mistaken.  In a funny way its the flip side of the LCMS problem: they are afraid someone might mistake them for being as loving and inclusive as some other Chrstian community–g-d forbid!–so they take pains to distinguish themselves from other christians by calling every single community pagan haters.

    They shall know we are christians by our love, love, love? Apparently the LCMS anthem is just the opposite.

      I’d recommend that people who don’t want to be confused with the LCMS take a leaf from their book and start shrieking and shouting “apostate!” whenever LCMS get near them. Its really the only way to prevent confusion.  I’m sure I hope the entire SandyHook community and the (few) LCMS who live there have learned their lesson and won’t choose voluntarily to associate with LCMS anymore. Its pretty much the only defense they have against these people. WE can either all learn to live and love together or someone has to be cast out.

  • caryjamesbond

    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?

    Err, unless there was another Jewish guy in Palestine circa 33AD running around do miracles…….who else would they be referring to? 

    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?

    Honestly? Atheist here but- yeah. Islam never says that Muhammad is the son of God. Islam refers to him as a prophet. Plenty of prophets in the Christian tradition- and even the strictest Christian tradition still says that God speaks to us, which essentially makes everyone a prophet. 

    Your beef with Islam is that it says Jesus is not the son of God, but a prophet. However, in terms of who they’re summoning up with their prayers- same god. Unless you’re saying that the Yaweh of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There were several people at the time who various factions thought might be the Messiah, I understand. Pretty sure only one such individual went by Yeshua ben Maryam, though.

  • PPPadre

    Just so I’m clear…
    Son of God who is true God and true Man = Mere mortal who was only a prophet and not God in any way, shape or form.
    I don’t follow that logic.

    And also – 
    If the Muslims are invoking a god who cannot be Jesus, and Christians are invoking God who is Jesus, how is that invoking the same God? (Yahweh of the OT is not different than God of the NT, just more clearly revealed through Christ as God.)

  • Madhabmatics

    See, it’s like this PPPadre. Some people think your posts are really bad in general, and other people think that your posts are okay maybe, but both those people are talking about those same posts.

    “Jesus was a prophet” and “Jesus was a part of God” are both talking about Jesus. They are disagreeing, but they are still talking about the same person. The fact that you can’t understand that and are convinced that any disagreement means that both people are talking about two completely different things is… pretty weird.

    Muslims and Christians are invoking the same old testament God, the fact that they disagree about what he did after the Old Testament doesn’t magically mean the are worshipping two completely different things. In the normal world if people disagree about a historical event, we don’t say they are talking about different events, we say one group is right and the other wrong, or both are wrong, but “They aren’t talking about the same thing” is absolute nonsense.

  • Makabit

    Now, here comes the million-dollar question: am I then, as a Jew, praying to the God of the New Testament (I’m not going to waste time on my issues with your attempt to transliterate the name of God, moving right along.)? Or is my mental reservation that I do not believe in the divinity of Christ or the Trinity in fact preventing this from being the case? In that case, am I actually worshiping a completely different deity from that worshiped by the Missouri Synod Lutherans? But if that’s true, how can the God of the Old Testament be the God of the New Testament?

    Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and I will all sit over here and eat popcorn for a while.

  • PPPadre

    Jesus Himself says at Luke 10:16 “the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me.” So when one rejects Christ by denying His deity, s/he also then rejects the Father. Such a person would be worshiping an idol which looks remarkably like the God of the Old Testament but is not because this idol has a Messiah who has yet to come.

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob believed the Lord by faith in the Messiah who was to come. By faith they looked forward to the eternal inheritance that would be delivered to them because of this Messiah. “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:16)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, I’ma believe the local Jewish folks on the identity of the Jewish Messiah, not the local drop-by anti-Semitic Christian. The world still contains anti-Semitism (among other things), therefore the Messiah hasn’t come.

    One of them local Jewish folks has said multiple times that if Jesus turns out to have been the Messiah, said local Jewish folk expects his people to file a class-action suit against God for breach of contract.

  • PPPadre

    Whoa! Drop-by I will own because I’ve only recently come to this blog, but whence the Anti-Semitic?

  • EllieMurasaki

    The only Jews deserving of being treated like people, according to you, are the ones who have stopped being religiously Jewish, that is, the ones who think Jesus is Lord.

    That’s anti-Semitism.

    You gonna address my actual point with that comment?

  • PPPadre

    Whoa! Where did you get that I don’t think Jews deserve to be treated like people?

    And how is differing from a religious belief and stating that difference having an ethnic prejudicial hatred against a cultural group?

    And wasn’t the point of your comment just the assertion that Jews and Christians have differing views of the Messiah predicted in the OT? That was my point, too, so I didn’t think I needed to comment further.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I don’t think your dismissal of Judaism is materially different than your dismissal of every other religion/denomination, but I’ll tell you what does make me uncomfortable as a Jew: when you say that the God of the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament, yet the God worshiped by Jews is not the God worshiped by Christians. To rephrase Makabit’s (unanswered) question, am I then, as a Jew, not praying to the God of the Old Testament? What, pray tell, am I worshiping then?  I hope you can see why such a claim would be offensive.

  • PPPadre

    I have answered that question and was told that my answer was offensive, so for the sake of the community here I will not repeat it. If you want to know how I answered, I did not go back and edit or delete it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You expressed a belief I have always before seen used to justify not treating Jews like people. Forgive me for not reading your mind to discern that this time is different.

    If indeed it is. I’m not sold on that.

  • The_L1985

     Well, there was all that stuff you said about Jews being misguided and idolaters and that sort of thing.  Also, there was the comment to which I specifically replied, “That’s not quite anti-Semitic, but it’s treading awfully close,” after which you basically ignored my warning and said all that “misguided idolater” stuff.

  • The_L1985

     My boyfriend’s favorite reply is: “So all the world’s wars are over now?  What’s that?  We still have men fighting in Afghanistan?  Well, then the Messiah can’t have come yet, because there’s still violence in the world.

    That is what the Messiah is and means, according to the Hebrew Scriptures.  Christians choose to interpret what the Messiah is and means in a different way, in order to make Jesus fit into that role.

  • Makabit

    So you’ve hijacked my scriptures, my God, and my ancestors, and you call me an idolater, but you’re upset because there are Jews who say mean things about ‘messianic Jews’, ie, they call them idolaters?

    Kettle, please.

  • Lori


    Jesus Himself says at Luke 10:16 “the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who
    sent Me.” So when one rejects Christ by denying His deity, s/he also
    then rejects the Father.   

    I find it interesting that you quote this verse in the context of this discussion since it’s one that makes the Trinity a tough sell.

  • Lunch Meat

    Jesus Himself says at Luke 10:16 “the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me.” So when one rejects Christ by denying His deity, s/he also then rejects the Father.

    You’re reading your own interpretation into the text. Why does “not believing that Jesus was divine” = “rejecting him”? What proof do you have that that is what Jesus meant? Didn’t rejecting a prophet usually mean just not listening to him or accepting his teaching as true? Couldn’t one listen to Jesus and accept his teaching as true without believing he was divine? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I am saying you’re not reading the text literally.

  • PPPadre

    I think you are making a distinction without a difference, since Jesus’ teaching was that He was divine (John 10:30, John 11:27, Luke 4:41, Mark 8:29, etc.), to accept Jesus’ teaching is to accept that He is divine, to reject that He is divine is to reject His teaching.

  • AnonymousSam

    So if I do not believe Jesus was divine, then I automatically reject “love your neighbor as yourself”? Jesus’s only reason for teaching was to convince everyone of his own importance?

  • PPPadre

    False equivalency. I did not say that if you reject Jesus as divine that you automatically reject all of His teaching. If you reject that Jesus was divine, you have rejected the foundation of and authority for all of His other teaching. You may still accept bits a pieces, or whole sections, of His teaching. But Lunch Meat had said that rejecting a prophet meant not listening to him or accepting his teaching as true. If you only accept part of His teaching, you have not accepted the whole of His teaching. To reject that He is divine is to reject His teaching – a portion of it to be sure, but His teaching nonetheless.

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

    To reject that He is divine is to reject His teaching – a portion of it to be sure, but His teaching nonetheless.

    It seems to me that on your account, the only person who can truthfully say “I do not reject His teaching” is a person who does not reject any part of it for any reason. If we reject any part of it, whether intentionally or through ignorance or confusion or whatever, then on your account the statement “I reject His teaching” is true of us… and therefore it follows on your view that we reject the prophet himself… and therefore it follows on your view that we reject God.

    Have I understood you correctly?

  • AnonymousSam

    That is… not correct. Just because someone is not divinity does not automatically render their ideas and arguments without a powerful foundation. To my perspective–not intended to give insult or criticize your faith–it’s a cop-out to say “He was divine, so I have to believe everything he said.” That’s akin to a youth saying “Of course my parents are right about everything — they’re my parents!”

    In my mind, to analyze what a person says, weigh its meanings and applications and decide that it rings of wisdom, is a more mature and ultimately more likely to be successful way of formulating morality.

    I think that’s likely to be the root of the problem here, if your faith teaches that you’re not allowed to come to the conclusion that any part of your teachings are invalid. You may see this as loving authoritarianism–God not allowing you to be led astray–but many of us here see it as arrested moral development.

  • Lunch Meat

    Ah, but John is the latest gospel, most susceptible to reinterpretations and interpolations. Wouldn’t we expect the gospels closest to the events that take place to be most accurate? The synoptic gospels say “son of God”, yes, but son of God doesn’t necessarily mean divine. People are called children of God all over the place.

  • The_L1985

     Ok.  If John’s wife talks about John as a husband, and his daughter talks about John as a daddy, does that mean they’re talking about totally different men named John?

    Or does it mean that they have different perspectives about the same man?

  • PPPadre

    Your analogy is flawed in that husband and father are not mutually exclusive. God and not God are mutually exclusive. For your analogy to hold, John’s wife would need to be talking about him as her husband and his daughter would have to be talking about him as her mother – or something along those lines.

  • EllieMurasaki

    For your analogy to hold, John’s wife would need to be talking about him as her husband and his daughter would have to be talking about him as her mother – or something along those lines.

    Not applicable if John’s a trans man.

    (I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here.)

  • Madhabmatics

     No one knows what points they are trying to make here because this is a bizarro land where two people talking about Jesus disagree on his hair color and that means that they believe in completely different Jesus’ and how do I know this chair I am sitting on is a single chair, what if some color blind person sees it and thinks it is a green chair and now there are fifteen chairs because every time someone perceives it differently that just means there are different chairs

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    I just want to say I love this post

  • PPPadre

    Yeah, that thought occurred to me as well, but I hit “Post” anyway.

  • The_L1985

    Your analogy is also flawed.  Here’s another example.  Alice says that John is an honest man.  Bob says that that’s not so; John is a liar.

    Both are talking about the same person, but they believe mutually-exclusive things about him. Does that mean that John has suddenly split into two people?

  • Madhabmatics

    Look, let me use a Christian analogy since you seem to have trouble discussing things otherwise.

    Two people are reading “The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare” by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, a catholic author. The first interprets the book as a theological work on the monstrosity of God being behind both good and evil. The second says “I think it’s just a solid magical realism story about cops and anarchists.”


    They disagree about it. This is normal. What is not normal is saying “wow your interpretation of the book is different, therefore you are talking about a completely separate and unrelated book.”

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

     The funny thing about this to me is that this sort of “if I talk about X differently I’m clearly talking about a different thing than X” stance is perfectly appropriate for cases where X is a symbol in our heads rather than an actual thing in the world with its own autonomous existence.

    So it would potentially be reasonable  for an atheist to argue that the God of the 21st-century Jews is a different entity from the God of the 16th-century Jews, or the 20th-century Roman Catholics, or whatever, since the atheist believes that those are all just symbols in our heads.

    It’s just weird to hear a theist make that argument.

    Though I suppose if I’m a theist whose understanding of God includes the belief that only my sect actually worships God, and what everyone else is doing is no more worshiping God  than what people who enjoyed the movie “Thor” are doing is, it kind of makes sense.

    On that account, “my God” refers to God, but “your God” refers to a symbol in your head, and they aren’t the same thing at all.

    (shakes head sadly)

  • Water_Bear

    Because they believe the same person was Jesus but not Christ. 

    Like, if I said, “PPPadre is such a great dude” and then you go “actually I’m a woman” I’m not suddenly talking about a different person. I identified you, but I was wrong about one of your characteristics (gender). Or if I thought Apple made iPhones which ran Android OS, I would be wrong about their nature but still correctly identify them. Savvy?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird


    Can I just point out, for the benefit of LCMS commenters here, that:
    – I am a Christian
    – I do not believe that “all paths” are equally valid
    – I believe that Jesus is the way/truth/life and no-one comes to the Father but through him
    – I think interfaith services are an excellent thing

    You don’t disapprove of interfaith services because you happen to believe that Jesus is the only way to God, unlike the rest of us hippie pagans who think all religions are the same. You disapprove of them because you’re basically jerks.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan
  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    You keep posting that link. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    (Or somebody. I’m not going back through all the pages to verify who keeps reposting it.)

  • Ben English

    Trust me, all the LCMS readers still poking around these comments: nobody is going to think you believe the same things as Sihks, Jews, Muslims, or other Christian sects just because you prayed with them at the memorial services of murdered children. The fact that your church would force a Pastor to apologize when he, in his Christian freedom, decided the best way to show love was to be there? That doesn’t make people say, Wow, you took a bold stand for Christ! No, it says, wow, those guys are Pharisaical assholes!

    And the fact that you don’t worry about syncretism when it comes to discriminating against people just makes your church leaders look outright evil. And, by extension, you, for defending them.

  • Madhabmatics

     The only people who think “Praying in a room with a bunch of people praying to different things” means “Syncretism” are people who are terrified that the Babylon Enigma One World Religion is a real true conspiracy that is going to happen

  • caryjamesbond

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

    Actually, as an atheist, I’m a big fan of Jesus. Free healthcare, free food, golden rule, love the poor, turn the other cheek…. great guy.  I’d love to hang out with him.  I can’t speak for everyone here, but I’m pretty sure everyone who hangs around slacktivist thinks Jesus was a pretty cool dude.

    Nor do I hate you.  There are people I hate.  Those are people I’d let fall off a bridge rather than reach out to help. You don’t even come close.

    What’s going on here isn’t about HATING THE JESUS vs. LOVING THE JESUS.  It’s a somewhat hairsplitting discussion about the nature of interfaith vigils and the prayers offered within. 

    Ironically enough, I’m pretty sure that if Jesus suddenly DID weigh in, given his statements about motes and beams and rescuing donkeys from wells on the sabbath, he wouldn’t agree with either group.  His comment would be a lot more along the lines of “WHY ARE YOU ALL WASTING YOUR TIME DOING THIS?? THERE ARE SICK PEOPLE TO HELP AND PRISONERS TO VISIT!” 

    However, in terms of this discussion, which is about the actions of this preacher, I suspect that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” is the most applicable quote.

  • Puppycats

    It seems that one important thing is being overlooked. Who are we to judge others by their demonination, or any spiritual beliefs. We are all ministers of God and we serve Him. I was raised lcms, but now my family has no demonination. We are happy and have never been closer to God. And we would pray with anyone who wants to pray

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan


    That is a horrible story. 

    OK – question for persons here who are Christian but think what the lcms pres. did was very bad and Pharisaical.

    what if Christian pastors, when asked to be at
    events like this (in the aftermath of horrible tragedies that break all
    of our hearts and make us cry out to God) say “I would
    love to, but understand I will say something like this: ‘Evil in the word… result of sin… Satan is happy… Jesus offers hope…. in fact He offers the only real hope – stg that no other religious teacher or religion can offer'”.

    Will he get invited?


  • Jim Roberts

     Possibly not. What does that have to do with a post hoc apology?

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan

     Jim Roberts,

    I don’t think there is any chance (or very slim) a pastor wanting to say those things (feeling he must in order to be both loyal to Jesus and also must give persons real hope) will be invited to pray.  (also I think the pastor really did feel badly about causing some of his brothers to stumble, and he really does understand why persons were upset with him).   

    My wider point is that what Christians want to see rejected (if anything needs to be rejected!) is the message Christians bring in
    Christ’s name, as opposed to Christians being seen as rejecting “worse
    sinners” in their time of need (for hope) and not wanting to have
    anything to do with them – because *that* is most definitely not the
    case.”  Especially with the LCMS folks I know.

  • Jim Roberts

     I have no idea why you’re saying what you’re saying. For the record. What does this have to do with this situation?

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan


    My point is that if Christians go to these events to give hope – they know (yes, I know you may think we “know” no such thing!) in their heart of hearts that the only way to give persons real hope and comfort is to give them Jesus.  But how?  Jesus claims to be the only way to God, who alone gives us the hope that we need.  But that message may not be clear in the context of an event like this – where some persons will surely get the impression from the *interfaith* service that we all worship the same God.  

    But nobody wants them making that clear at an interfaith service – even if the pastor believes and knows that Jesus alone is the one who is real, true, gives joy, gives hope, and defeats all enemies (sin, death, devil)

    So its is better to stay home?  Well if you do, perhaps some will say you don’t care, which is totally false.  But if you go, you may give a confused witness. 

    That is why I say it is wise for a pastor should be willing to give a bold witness, and tell event organizers he is willing to come, but that he will say things that will probably offend some (as kindly and graciously as he may try to say it). 

    Then, if he is rejected, it is at least clear that he does not want to shun persons who really do need hope….

    and perhaps some more thoughtful folks will think twice before thinking that that is the case.

  • The_L1985

    “Jesus alone is the one who … gives joy, gives hope,”

    I’m sorry, but no.  Even when I was a Christian, I didn’t believe this.  When my grandfather had cancer, the news that it wasn’t highly advanced and they might be able to treat it gave me hope.  (It’s been well over a decade, and it’s never come back, so that hope was justified, knock wood.)

    Spending time with my dog and my boyfriend gives me great joy–the joy of sharing my time and my affection with them.

    Medication and psychiatric treatment have defeated my greatest enemy, clinical depression.  (Or at least made it bearable.)

  • Darkrose

    where some persons will surely get the impression from the *interfaith* service that we all worship the same God.  


    Seriously, can you introduce me to one person who saw Rev. Morris standing on stage with other religious leaders and praying and believes that he is no longer LCMS Christian? Because y’all keep saying that “people will think we believe all religions are equally valid” even as we point out that NO ONE THINKS THIS.

  • AnonymousSam

    So what you’re saying is that your faith teaches that the children of Sandy Hook elementary are in Hell now?

  • Jenny Islander

    I read what you wrote and I think of the people who use family funerals as an occasion to preach a “come to Jesus” message.  I read about these funeral sermons occasionally.  The concluding paragraph of the eyewitness account generally runs like this:

    Wow, what a jerk, trying to collect people for his church and telling the bereaved that their loved one was Hellbound.  What, does he have only one sermon in him?  Does he have any idea that he is actually at a funeral?  Does he think that playing the heroic champion of his god among us heathens is, like, his entire job?  Are we just extras in the movie in his head?  I will never go to that jerk’s church or any other church in his denomination, or possibly to any church ever.  Because if that’s how they act at funerals in that church/denomination/religion, I want nothing to do with it.I am also reminded of a verse by Dorothy Parker, about how cruel it is to hold out a lovely slice of perfectly baked, wholesome bread to somebody who is parched with thirst.Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.  Or shut up.

  • Madhabmatics

    yeah man “it’s your fault for not belonging to my denomination” is totally what people in a tragedy need to hear

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    “I would  love to, but understand I will say something like this:
    ‘Evil in the word… result of sin… Satan is happy… Jesus offers
    hope…. in fact He offers the only real hope – stg that no other
    religious teacher or religion can offer'”.

    Will he get invited?

    Personally, I wouldn’t invite him, because he clearly doesn’t understand that there are times when it’s appropriate to give a sermon, and times when it’s appropriate to grieve together, and this is one of the latter times.

    Unless you feel compelled to respond to every comment about the weather with remarks about Jesus being our only hope, I take it you’d understand that Jesus being our only hope is not an appropriate thing to say in every circumstance. Well, this is one of those circumstances. If your friend’s child dies tragically, wrapping your arms around them and saying “Satan is happy today” is HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE. And it does not become less inappropriate simply because 20 children are dead instead of one.

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

    Nathan — I’m not Christian, but to answer your question anyway: I hope not.

    Certainly, I would not invite such a pastor (Christian or otherwise) to a community event intended to support and comfort the grieving, and I would oppose someone else doing so.

    I would similarly oppose a Republican or Democratic participant who intended to say “Evil in the world… result of bad policy… my political party offers the only real hope – something that no other party can offer.”

    That said, if the hypothetical pastor in question really doesn’t have anything to offer the community in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy that isn’t divisively sectarian, I do endorse them choosing to stay home instead. (I mention this because there’s been apparent confusion elsewhere on this thread about what constitutes an insistence on people participating in such an event. I make no such insistence. I do, however, assert that a pastor capable of being part of a community has more to offer us than one who isn’t.)

  • AnonymousSam

    No, we’re not going to invite the Westboro Baptist Church to an interfaith vigil, and yes, it probably has something to do with the fact that they gleefully celebrate the fact that children were killed and would gloat about it the entire time. This is what they genuinely believe.

    Does that mean, however, their theology somehow absolves them of the fact that they are jerkasses practicing an intolerant and intolerable perversion of faith?

  • Fusina

     I would reply that he/she needs to not evangelize in the wake of a tragedy, unless he/she wants to be considered as irrelevant as a lot of people currently view Pat Robertson after his comments in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti.

    God doesn’t cause crap to happen. It does as a function of how the earth was created. The continents float like islands on a sea of molten rock, and sometimes they crash into one another and we get earthquakes. When the earthquakes happen in the ocean, we get tsunamis. Sometimes a storm over the ocean picks up so much moisture that it grows very big, then we get a hurricane. The earth is tilted on its axis so we get weather, likewise it spins, and we have the moon that creates tidal action. When we get floods and hurricanes and earthquakes, none of that is caused by God. Likewise, when some people who take their religion way to seriously go out and kill other people, that isn’t God either. We are here, and it is up to us whether we grow up and act mature or stay toddlers and blame everything on someone else while waiting for someone else to fix it. Fix it your own damn self, and stop whining about God.

    I really hate how the verse about “No man comes to the Father but through me” has been interpreted throughout the years.  I have no idea what Jesus meant there, and I don’t think anyone else is clued in either. To mis-quote one of my favorite characters, “You keep using that verse. I do not think that verse means what you think it means.”

  • Dash1


    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.

    You’re assuming an interfaith service = syncretism. They are two very different things.

    Look, participants included Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, United
    Methodist, Congregationalist/United Church of Christ, Lutheran,
    Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Community Church and probably some others.

    Nobody thinks any of them is giving a doctrinal inch. What people do think is that they care about the people of Newtown.

    Second, in trying to get the information about what other denominations had representatives participating, I used Google. It took me three pages to get past the hits about the LCMS pastor having to apologize for participating. THREE PAGES!

    Heck of a witness!

  • Ben English

    Taking a real stand for Christ would have been the minister refusing to apologize. It would have been saying, “Just because our beliefs are different doesn’t mean we can’t comfort each other in this time of loss. If you want me apologize for loving my neighbor as myself and putting their hurt above our petty religious disagreements, then fuck you. I’ll start my own church. It will have blackjack and hookers.” And accepting the consequences of doing the right thing instead of the religiously correct thing.

  • caryjamesbond

    Son of God who is true God and true Man = Mere mortal who was only a prophet and not God in any way, shape or form.

    No- Jesus of Nazareth born to the virgin Mary= Jesus of Nazareth born to the virgin Mary.  The disagreement is about his job description.  

    I, for example, am pretty sure there was a guy named Yeshua ben Yosef wandering around Palestine around 30 AD preaching some sort of Messianic message, and he was probably from Nazareth. In that sense, I believe in Jesus of Nazareth. I disagree with you about the magical parts. Islam disagrees with you about the DEGREE of the magical bits.

    If the Muslims are invoking a god who cannot be Jesus, and Christians are invoking God who is Jesus, how is that invoking the same God? 

    So you’re denying the Trinity?  Jesus is not a separate god, Jesus IS god. When Abraham prayed, he was invoking Jesus, functionally speaking as Jesus was part of God then. Islam still invokes that same God. (Yaweh, as a sort of catch-all term) Jesus is part of that God. 

    QED: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are invoking the same deity. 

    (As a completely outsider? The Abrahamic religions are HILARIOUS.  “NUH UH! My slightly different interpretation of the same magical sky wizard that you invoke makes us TOTALLY DIFFERENT.”)

  • PPPadre

    QED? Nothing of the kind.

    First of all: Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary (Christianity) ≠ Jesus of Nazareth born to the not-so-virgin Mary (Islam).

    The claim is of the same historical person, but what is claimed about him is entirely different. It’s not the same person being confessed.
    Christianity – God is Jesus (or, more precisely, Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity who is entirely God and not merely part of God).Islam – God is NOT Jesus.The difference is not simply about job description, it is about the very nature, substance and being of who Jesus was.Can’t be both.Q.E.D. different deities.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus’s mom had sex in order to make Jesus. Any other claim is contrary to historical fact, unless you want to assert that in vitro existed back then and was available to the peasantry, and contrary to the Bible, since both Jesus genealogies in the Gospels are genealogies of Joseph, not Mary.

  • The_L1985

     So two groups are claiming different things about the same person.  One group, the Christians, says that this person is God.

    The other group, the Muslims, says that the exact same person is an important prophet, but not divine.

    That is not two groups talking about two separate people.  That is two groups who believe different things about the exact same person.

  • PPPadre

    But when the different things that are said are ontological claims, the person they are describing is a different being altogether.

    I am not, nor have I ever been, making the claim that Christian is talking about Jesus of 419 South 3rd in Nazareth and Islam is talking about Jesus of 914 East Main in Nazareth (so to speak).

  • The_L1985

     I am beginning to wonder if you’re not some sort of very clever bit of programming, and if this isn’t all just a very clever reverse-Turing Test of “find the robot.”

    Because I can see where your sentences make grammatical sense, but the logic just isn’t there…

  • Madhabmatics

     It’s the claims that are different, not the God or the Jesus. Saying “That’s a different God” is different than “That’s a different claim about God” which is you are are getting mad clowned about this issue.

  • Madhabmatics

    Seriously your inability to realize that “We disagree about Jesus” is not “There are multiple Jesus'” says a lot about your seminary.

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

    “First of all: Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary (Christianity) ≠
    Jesus of Nazareth born to the not-so-virgin Mary (Islam).”

    I’m pretty sure there isn’t a Jesus of Nazareth born to the not-so-virgin Mary in Islam.  (There is a Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary in Islam, though.)

  • PPPadre

    Oops! Wires crossed in the brain. I apologize for the mischaracterization. Some Arianism was leaking across the boundary in my brain and I confused it for Islam on this particular issue.

    I recant, apologize, retract, all of the above and whatever other synonyms you want to throw in there.

  • Darkrose

    You know, I really don’t think the word syncretism means what the LCMS seems to think it means. 

  • Makabit

    When the LCMS uses a word, it means just what they choose it to mean–neither more nor less.

  • Madhabmatics

    I think this conversation is hilarious because, like, we have a TON of things that invalidate our prayers. If we don’t perform wudhu right, if a dog is in the room, if we fart on someone, so I am familiar with debates on when and where and how to pray

    but “your prayer is invalid and heathenous if it occurs after another dude prays, a prayer which you did not take part in and were silent through because you are not a member of his or her faith” is not generally considered one of those things. I see the “someone farted we have to start over” thing WAY more than I see “interfaith services are trying to taint us”

  • Makabit

    As Bernard Lewis points out, what Judaism and Islam have in common is legalism, so yeah, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and been told that the sleeves are too short, and the fiber content needs to be checked for shatnez.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan


    Thank you for helping me make my point.  The fact is, that I might be able to offer someone comfort by my mere presence – and even silence and tears.  But if I am going to speak of God and what he has to say about all this, the *only hope* I know is in Jesus Christ.  All other hope would be false hope.


  • The_L1985

     Please read my response to your other post re: love, hope, and joy, and explain to me how the hope in the doctors’ ability to treat my grandfather’s lung cancer (hope which was clearly justified, as he is still walking around very much alive about 12-13 years later) was false.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The hope wasn’t false, it just came from JEEZUS. Not from the doctors’ skill or the doctors’ knowledge or pure luck. JEEZUS.

  • Lori


    The fact is, that I might be able to offer someone comfort by my mere
    presence – and even silence and tears.  But if I am going to speak of
    God and what he has to say about all this, the *only hope* I know is in
    Jesus Christ.  All other hope would be false hope.  

    For the love of all that is decent please never, ever offer a grieving person your version of hope. Just stick with the silence and tears. So much better for all concerned.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/ Nathan

    Another place on Patheos where this incident is being discussed:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/lutheran-crisis-deja-vu/

  • Ruby

    The healing that started at the vigil has been cut off. That thread of love and compassion that people were tieing into has been snipped. If these Lutherans are so narcissistic to think their dogma is more important than the healing of broken families then they don’t deserve tax exempt status because they are not a religion – they are a cult.

  • Water_Bear

    We don’t get to restrict fair application of the law only to “friendly” religions or “mainstream” religions or old religions. That includes redistricting the word religion so that we can weasel out of our 14th amendment obligations.

    Don’t get me wrong; churches need to pay their damn taxes, and it’s a disgrace we let them get away with that. But as long as we have those stupid laws on the books we have to apply them equally to everyone, from Anglicans to Zoroastrians, no matter how dickish they are.

  • Isabel C.

    So the impression I’m getting here is either:

    a) Y’all are a bunch of assholes, or
    b) Your god is.

    I’m not really seeing a third option.

    And if you basically worship Cthulhu with a beard, just have the balls to admit it, guys.

  • Madhabmatics

    Seriously you are even admitting that they are both talking about the “historical jesus” (whatever content that meaningless phrase has) which means that you know that they are both talking about something they agree exists, but disagreeing on the details

    you are literally only arguing with this because you don’t want to be associated with muslims even in a meta-religious sense

  • The_L1985

    I’m beginning to wonder if there’s any non-Christian religion PPPadre doesn’t hate.  I’m guessing not.  I’m not sure even non-Lutheran Christians are a safe bet at this point.

  • Madhabmatics

    help I know how to use firefox but THIS firefox has the colors inverted which means it is 100% a different webrowser, how do I refresh the page

  • Madhabmatics

    oh god i took off my glasses and now there are two earths

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

    Oh god I can’t stop laughing. 

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

     “I felt a headache coming on, but a headache powder is one thing I do not take. I did once – and you all went away. I miss you dreadfully!”

  • Madhabmatics

    Someone once asked me how to get to the Empire State Building, but they were using a different map so I told them I couldn’t help since he was in a different New York City

  • The_L1985

    Oh gods, my sides have split!

    You may stop winning the thread multiple-times-over at any time, good sir.

  • The_L1985

    I also can’t help laughing at all the LCMS folks complaining about “paganism” in this thread, especially in the light of the sort of information that pocm.info has so painstakingly compiled.

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

    Incidentally, if we’re going to play the things-closest-in-time-to-the-source-are-most-trustworthy game, that wouldn’t be the gospels, that would be the letters of Paul. 

    And Paul makes it pretty clear that he’s still worshiping the same God he did as a Pharisee — that he’s worshiping the God of the Jews.  

    Unless he doesn’t count as Christian?

  • Nathaniel

    Many people in this thread seem to operating under the impression that non LCMS folk just don’t get the complexities of their beliefs.

    It could be we understand your beliefs. And we still think you’re jerks.

  • Nathaniel

    Oh man, just read the comments from this link: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/lutheran-crisis-deja-vu/

    Whoever posted that link, if you wanted to convince skeptics that your church doesn’t invite assholery, its probably best to check to make sure there aren’t any commentators who think that the pastor involved should have told people that those kids killed were in hell because they didn’t worship the right god.

    Cause that sort of shit ain’t considered kosher for a memorial service. And if you can’t see why, then there’s not really much to say.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Well, this thread certainly exploded overnight.

    Gumboots on…

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m only halfway through and I’ve resorted to skimming. This is a pretty tiresome thread, you guys, but I’m sticking with it in anticipation of something good. Don’t let me down!

  • AnonymousSam

    If nothing else, I offer you greater feelings of kinship than prior to seeing Catholicism lumped in with “and all other sorts which lead to paganism and which obviously pray to a completely different, fake God, unlike our version of Christianity.”

    So there’s that, I guess? Not much to offer, being liked more by contrast, but it’s all I’ve got. I don’t envy you if your eyes were caught by the words levied toward Catholicism. Same goes for… pretty much everyone, considering that when one religion claims to be the one true way to Heaven, that does tend to create a neat and not so very small niche consisting of everybody else.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Hey, thanks Sam, that’s a nice thing to say.

    I wasn’t actually bothered by the reference to Catholicism here. Some two-bit congregation I’d never heard of lumping us in with everyone else who thinks the wrong thing…water off a duck’s back; besides which I’ve been asigned to the side I’d prefer to be on anyway.

    Side note: People like to say that the core of Catholicism is believing in the authority of the Pope, or the doctrine of transubstantiation, or the communion of saints. But from the inside I think the biggest thing about being Catholic is that we don’t splinter off into new denominations every time we disagree. A fraction of Catholics say they believe and fully support every single line of church teaching, but I reckon most of us just decide to disagree with the things we disagree with and get on with our lives. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that you’ll end up in a denomination of one if you have to split from anyone you disagree with, and communion is more important than 100% doctrinal purity. I suspect the real essence of Catholicism, in practice, is anti-schismatic.

    Anyway, thanks. A greater sense of kinship is awesome, and I’m honoured to be on the receiving end of it from you :)

  • AnonymousSam

    Honored? That comes as something of a surprise. It had seemed, at least at one time, that we didn’t get along very well. I know I said hasty, poorly thought out things about Christianity, Catholicism and religion at large which seemed to bother you. I apologize sincerely for that. I was still healing from the wounds religious bigotry and the collapse of my faith had left me.

    It might be the evolution of my beliefs, but I’ve been finding–and it comes as a genuine surprise, a somewhat uncomfortable one for being unfamiliar and strange–that I value the companionship of people here, and that it bothers me when people generalize or insult them. If this thread has served a positive purpose, it at least includes having revealed to me that somehow I’ve come to form attachments to people. This is kind of a new thing for me.

    I realize this reads off like something a person assembled in a factory would say, but it’s really hard to articulate my emotional states, and I’m feeling weird and self-conscious now and shut up Sam shut up shut up shut up

  • Mark Z.

    I realize this reads off like something a person assembled in a factory would say,

    It’s a perfectly legitimate observation, and you don’t have to be ashamed of it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    We may have disagreed on some things in the past, but rest assured I don’t hold it against you. If I did for a brief period, I don’t remember doing so and certainly don’t any more.

    Now that you mention it I remember the type of comments you’re referring to–they did bug me, even though I accept where they were coming from. I haven’t held any grudge over them (seems like it was ages ago) but thanks anyway for the apology; that was decent of you.

    More recently, I appreciate your ongoing contribution here and I know I’m not alone in feeling that.

    I’ll stop in a sec lest I increase your feeling of self-consciousness, but I just wanted to also note that someone having difficulty articulating emotions doesn’t come across as weird to me at all. You’re doing fine.


  • AnonymousSam

    Too late! *Blushyface*

    As I’ve said before, it’s hard for me to describe my emotions because I lack a model for comparison. Having APD doesn’t just mean I have no conscience by fiat; it means that even when I think about how another person feels (which can take a conscious effort on a bad day), I don’t always understand what it is they’re feeling. I can analyze and read people–and constantly have to–but I’m prone to taking surface expressions and assuming that’s the depth of their emotional state. if I don’t stop and really think about it, asking me how someone else feels will generally get you a confused look and a one word answer: “Good?” “Bad?”

    That’s part of why I’m a bookworm, since books are one of the few places where emotions are described without reservation. The problem with that is that I can never be sure when the author was embellishing their writing to increase the emotional impact on the reader. My own emotional development was almost certainly stunted, but it’s still problematic to read a description of someone “at a loss for words, her breath catching with every labored exhale, on the verge of tears as a miraculous transformation shot through her mind and body to reveal a new understanding of the depths of her love for him” — and my own romantic feelings for my significant other can be chalked up as “Yeah, it’s really, um, happy-making!” (Typically followed by toppling over, kicking and flailing, pitching a fit because of how grossly inadequate that sounds.)

    Even worse when I write something and sit and stare at it, trying to decide whether it’s really the meaning I intend it to have, or if I’m just borrowing from poetically inspired texts. I mean, as of late, I keep getting surprised by how much I care when people I know are degraded in some way, but it hasn’t been feeling like an abstract “this is part of my world so I ought to be concerned by it” sort of thing, it’s actually been feeling as if it relates to me specifically somehow. The only ways I have of describing it come from my understanding of empathy. That’s really strange and not at all comfortable for me. I don’t do empathy! It’s always sounded somewhat mystical and prone to having as many drawbacks as advantages to me, like telepathic powers. I have no idea if that’s what I’m feeling now or if I can trace it to a more egocentric cause, such as “I’ve subconsciously taken people in as my flock and an attack on them is a metaphorical attack on myself.”

    Darn you people, making me all discombobulated.

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

    *e-hugs for AnonymousSam* :)

  • Lori

    even when I think about how another person feels (which can take a
    conscious effort on a bad day), I don’t always understand what it is
    they’re feeling. I can analyze and read people–and constantly have
    to–but I’m prone to taking surface expressions and assuming that’s the
    depth of their emotional state. 

    I think this is a far more common experience than you assume.


     if I don’t stop and really think about
    it, asking me how someone else feels will generally get you a confused
    look and a one word answer: “Good?” “Bad?” 

    I’m not convinced this is as unusual as you think it is either.

    One thing that comes to mind is the way people react to and interpret movies or TV. A huge amount of debate is generated by people’s varying understandings of the meanings of facial expressions, other body language and tone of voice. You don’t have to participate in these conversations for very long before realizing that a lot of folks either pay no attention to subtle cues or lack the ability to understand them.

    I’ll use Zero Dark Thirty as an example because I just saw that. I have seen more than one person who either has no idea why Maya is crying in the final scene or comes up with an explanation that is not what I’m pretty sure that scene was meant to convey. I also know plenty of people who could not do  a simple compare and contrast between the two scenes involving the interpreter interacting between a group of Americans and a group of Pakistanis.

    Reading people and empathizing with them does not come easily or naturally to many people. I don’t say that to minimize the difficulty that you have. I just wish you understood that you’re not nearly as odd or alone as you seem to believe that you are. I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the main difference I see between you and many others in this regard is that you try harder.

  • AnonymousSam

    Perhaps not, but it’s part of the problem that I have so much difficulty understanding that. Everyone else either seems to have it together, or their confusion seems exaggerated for effect. I often feel like I’m stuck living in high school, always assuming I’m in the unpopular kids group, looking in on the cliques. It comes as a genuine surprise to learn otherwise, and I have trouble accepting it.

    Annnnd now my self-consciousness is acting up, so I’m just going to thank you all for letting me blather and go hide now until the topic swings back to trying to make ground on the religious perspective that there can be no common ground whatsoever between religions with extremely similar themes and icons.

  • PatBannon

    Man, everyone* goes through life convinced that everyone else has things better figured out than they do. Each of us is privy to our own internal emotions, doubts, fears, nightmares, etc, but we can’t see those aspects of others so we reflexively assume they’re not so plagued. As you/if you gain more experience with and understanding of empathy, the illusion of “everyone has it all together but me” fades.


    ** But Of Course There Are Obvious Exceptions. Scott Adams may be a misogynist and a stuffed shirt, but some of the vernacular he’s invented is useful.

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

    AnonymousSam, have you gotten a second opinion on that APD diagnosis? I ask because I’ve read about a lot of high-functioning autistic people being misdiagnosed with APD. 

  • AnonymousSam

    I haven’t been able to afford treatment in a long time, so no, but I didn’t used to be this well functioning. If you had known me (or worse, known the way my mind worked) throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I don’t think it would be open for debate. I was also a classic Conduct Disorder case, to the point where my school isolated me from other children.

    Pretty much, I’ve written out a lot of the major negatives in APD, but I used to have them all and I still have to consciously deal with others, such as impulsivity control. They’re not gone, but I’ve made long term goals that require me to work through every day if I ever want to see them accomplished, so I don’t have lapses as often as I would if I was just taking everything day by day.

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

    If you had known me (or worse, known the way my mind worked) throughout my teenage years and early twenties

    Personality disorders are not supposed to be diagnosed in teenagers or young adults (under 25), because then pretty much everyone would be diagnosed with a personality disorder. Almost all teenagers in particular would be diagnosed with some combination of Narcissistic, Borderline, and Antisocial disorders. Also, teenage years tend to be the toughest for people with autism. (And a lot of people generally.) 

    The way you talk about interacting with other people and figuring out how they’re feeling, and particularly the fact that you do seem to feel empathy for others (even if it’s in a slightly different way than some other people might) and care about not being a jerk — I dunno, it doesn’t sound like APD to me. The way you phrase things does feel very much like many autistic people I’ve talked to. 

    Then again, I’m wary of personality disorder diagnoses generally. I think there are unquestionably people who have some of the disorders, but I also see them used as a hammer to attempt to beat people into whatever semblance of normality the times call for.  The way they are diagnosed leans on sexism, racism, and classism quite thoroughly. A boy who likes having lots of sex? Normal. A girl who likes having lots of sex? Borderline. Stuff like that. 

  • AnonymousSam

    Or, for that matter, homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder/transgender and transsexuality related conditions. The DSM is often called the Bible of psychological definitions. I think there’s truth to that — it definitely is a collection of materials collected by multiple authors, voted and agreed upon by a council of educated peers, and every now and then, it’s laughably wrong.

    One of the things about APD is that it’s categorized by how the patient acts. “Willful violation of the rights of others” is one of the defining traits. What happens if a person stops violating others’ rights? Do they stop having APD? As I’ve said before, I’ve never actually really heard of anyone being in my shoes. I’ve heard of people who were “behaving” so that they didn’t go (/back) to jail, but no one who’d really reformed. Personality disorders aren’t supposed to be “cureable” per se, just trained out of the person’s behavior (again, focusing on the way they act) and then watched for with vigilance with the assumption that those behaviors will pop up again whenever the person stops being dilligent.

    It’s quite probable that I shouldn’t have been diagnosed that way, and it’s possible that it’s changed since then, since, yes, personalities continue developing into adulthood and I wasn’t yet an adult. I can’t afford to go to a clinician (much less several times at a few hundred dollars an hour!) for a new evaluation, but I’d be curious to know what he or she would think now. The last time I talked to a psychiatrist outside of a clinical environment, she seemed to think I had Attachment Disorder instead. <.<

  • Lori


    The last time I talked to a psychiatrist outside of a clinical
    environment, she seemed to think I had Attachment Disorder instead.

    Not to go too far down the internet diagnosis road, and allowing for the fact that my information is not up-to-date with current research, AD sounds more reasonable to me than APD. People with APD aren’t known for working as hard as you do at either figuring out what’s going on with other people or not going off the rails and hurting people.

    I’m sorry that the best healthcare system in the world (TM) doesn’t make it possible for you to see someone for a more updated evaluation.

  • AnonymousSam

    I could see the resemblance as well, but the diagnosis for attachment disorder requires a history of neglect, and my parents were pretty good to me when I was young. It also seems to only be a diagnosis in children, less often in adolescents and adults, to the point that Wikipedia has no information at all about how it manifests in adults. Although I may often come across as very young at times… well, let’s just say I can remember the original commercials for Chicken McNuggets. ^^;

    Internet diagnosis is bad, self-diagnosis is worse. I don’t even really like speculating, since it’s so easy for the mind to convince itself of things, but I’ve been quite convinced for a long time that my sociopathy was a real thing. It’s just that in recent years, it’s been something I’ve tried to deal with, rather than just living with it. Who knows, though? Maybe sociopathy and APD aren’t synonymous and I have one without the other. I could bear that.

  • PatBannon

    Speaking as a person who has struggled for his whole life with connecting emotionally to people and learning the mechanics and the value of companionship, my heart goes out to you.

    Heh. That sentence is kind of internally contradictory, isn’t it.

  • AnonymousSam

    I do the same thing! I always have to stop myself from adding qualifiers and hedging to phrases like “I sympathize with you” and “I know exactly how you feel.” These phrases are part of the common rhetoric, people expect to hear them and know what they mean. That they’re not 100% accurate when I say them, well… that’s not the fault of the words or of the recipients.

  • PatBannon

    Two things spring to mind when I read this.

    1. Effective communication is heavily dependent on the sender understanding how the receiver will interpret the message. By omitting your qualifiers and leaving the standard phrases intact, you communicate your general message (guesstimate: “I too have undergone such an experience as yourself and thus have an understanding of your current difficulty”) properly, where I believe leaving the qualifiers in place would obfuscate your message while still not properly conveying your intended message.

    2. Polite society is built on a million billion harmless white lies, the oil that lubricates all us human gears grinding together every day. 

  • PatBannon

    And that first paragraph obfuscates my message by not having any coherent meaning. To think I started off talking about effective communication…

  • AnonymousSam

    I understood it. ^^ FWIW, my reasoning for using truncated messages is much the same. I would rather be internally inaccurate than fail to convey the message I want.

  • PatBannon

    Mmhmm. The entire point of communication is to convey a certain message – the specific words I use to do so are less important than the end result.

    I have this argument with my father, an engineer, all the time. He has a vast vocabulary and always uses the most precise language possible – but he often fails to consider that his audience might value, say, vernacular over technical precision.

  • PatBannon

    Your perspective is an interesting one. If you’d be interested in discussing it further (and other things, I guess), send me a line at gthunder (at) ufl (dot) edu.

  • AnonymousSam

    If I ever set up a secondary e-mail account, I shall do just that. My primary e-mails are all utilized by the same company whose absurdly restrictive network policies require me to use pseudonyms here. (Getting a second e-mail is easy, remembering to check it on the other hand… may have to see if my e-mail provider can let me check and send e-mails from a different address.)

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

    Try a webmail-based provider? Yahoo, etc?

  • AnonymousSam

    Like I said, easy to do, hard to remember. :p But I’ll try. I went with a Yahoo account so I could use it for an instant messenging device as well, in case anyone wants that. Hopefully Yahoo is smart enough to notify me when I get -email, so I can just leave it open in the background.


  • jamesprobis

    If being hated by the world is Christ-like, every single gay person in America  is far, far more Christ-like than any American Christian can claim to be. I don’t see politicians running for office by proclaiming how much they hate Christians, I don’t see Christians being beaten and tied to fenceposts to die, I don’t see Christians being denied fundamental equality.

    If y’all want to play that game you need to stop spewing your vile hatred of others.

  • Jenny Islander

    I never really understood why my old ELCA pastor/youth group leader (small congregation) counseled us kids to treat any LCMS people we happened to meet as the “weaker brother.”

    Now I do.

  • Darkrose

    So, PPP, I was wondering…what’s your goal here? I’m honestly not sure there’s anything you could say that would make those of us not affiliated with the LCMS feel that insisting the pastor apologize wasn’t a jerk move. I got the feeling that you’e not looking for approval, which is fine, but then why are you still trying to convince us that we’re judgting you unfairly? Shouldn’t you just be shaking the dust from your shoes and moving on?

    And just to be clear, I’m not trying to convince you that you’re wrong, either. Arguing on the internet is just a form of recreation for me. I blame the Jesuits.

  • reallyAimai

    I carefully read through the entire thread and I’d like to raise another objection to the Pastor’s conviction that he (alone in the universe) grasps the meaning of Jesus’s supposed saying that “The only way…is through me…” or that we must “say Jesus’s name” in a certain way in order to be saved.

    I agree with others who have attempted to show the pastor that he is, in fact, prioritizing and interpreting his texts in a way that is far from “literal” and that requires a whole lot of ducking and weaving but I take him at his word that he thinks he isn’t.  Even so it is impossible to know when and how in a person’s life they have correctly accepted the challenge of Jesus’s supposed statement.  At baptism? At church on Sunday? When quizzed by strangers? At death? To Jesus’s face on judgment day?

    Its pretty clear from the pastor’s statements that being saved, in LCMS parlance, is a highly contingent and fragile thing–dependent not only on the individual’s speech and actions at a single point in time but constantly in need of correction from the community. The individual doesn’t actually have a firm and private and distinct relationship with Jesus as savior–he needs the correction of the LCMS elders to keep him from deviating.  Otherwise the pastor who prayed with th emourners would simply (as in many other denomenations) said “I did right as god gave me to see the light. fuck off, haters.”

    No man knows the day and hour of his death–never more true than discussing the murders of those children in NewTowne. There’s been a whole lot of blood and ink spilled on whether and when Jesus’s divinity must be understood or believed in for an individual to be considered saved. I know it smacks of syncretism for the poor LCMS’s but god’s time is not our time, is it? How would we know whether those who died weren’t offered another chance—or hell, another lifetime–to get it right (if right it is).  Did they have to say it out loud for it to be meanignful? Did they have to say it in English, or aramaic? Do you see how absurd this legalistic fixation on the form, not the content, is?

    There’s no point arguing with an authoritarian follower (in the Altemeyerian sense of Authoritarian) because it is extremely important to them that authority be capricious and cruel andstill respected. The more you argue that a good god does things that are good and that is why we love him (if we do) and that god by definition must be more merciful and more loving than man the more they argue back that bad things happen all the time and that seeing those bad things as evidence of god’s failings would be disrespectful.  This is an incredibly old argument in monotheism and for the bitter enders and the dominators the answer is this: We must adore and fear a god who is worse than/crueler than a human because what god does is moral. Our job is just to reconcile ourselves to his cruelty becaue we are so low and he is so high.  The rest of us? We try to find a way that god is more merciful and loving than the asshole down the street or we reject parts of god (or assertions about god) that are immoral because we have an inborn knowledge and love of humanity and morality that exists over and above petty religious pseudo ethics.

  • WeAreAllBeggers

    The level of ignorance and inaccuracy found in this article is sadly typical of Americal Civil Religion. The LCMS stands on solid Christian doctrine which cannot be disproved from Holy Scripture. Only in the minds of those being fooled by the lies of Satan does the LCMS deserve to be accused of any wrong doing in this matter. Pastor Morris was wrong according not only to The LCMS, but according to Holy Scripture. Maybe this can help those who do not understand to better do so: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=26940

  • Lunch Meat

    The LCMS stands on solid Christian doctrine which cannot be disproved from Holy Scripture.

    Which verse? The only citation in your link is John 14:6, which doesn’t say anything about praying or worshiping with those of different beliefs.

  • WeAreAllBeggers

    In 2 Corinthians you can read:

    14Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial?b Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
    17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
    and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
    18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

  • Lunch Meat

    What does “yoked” mean? “No partnership, no fellowship, no portion, no agreement”…That verse sounds to me like you should not even be talking to us. Shouldn’t you go out and make your own city all by yourself? Why are you in our midst at all? Certainly you should not be filing a lawsuit together with other churches.

  • WeAreAllBeggers

    You asked for scripture in support of my position and I gave it. If you reject the clear teaching of Holy Scripture, God’s Word I can’t help you.

  • Lunch Meat

    Implied in my question was “scripture that you don’t have to twist and reinterpret to get where you’re going.” If you can’t see that 2 Corinthians in no way “clearly” implies that filing lawsuits together is great and awesome but praying together is evil, I can’t help you.

  • WeAreAllBeggers

    The lie of the Devil never really changes does it? “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say…”

  • Lunch Meat

    Are you in Ephesus right now? If not, you’re violating the clear teaching of 1 Timothy 1:3. Satan has clearly deceived you.

  • Tricksterson

    Yup, we’re allowed tyo quote Scripture.  It’s in Da Rulz

  • Lori

    So you are never allowed to ask what the Bible actually means. Whatever you hear first is “the truth”, which must never, ever be questioned? Also, how do you decide that other Christians are wrong and say so without implicitly asking “Did God actually say…?”

    I can’t decide whether which is more shallow, your faith or your intellectual rigger.

  • AnonymousSam

    Someone quoted a joke a few pages back that I feel is relevant to this way of thinking.

    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!”
    “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
    He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”
    He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?”
    He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?”
    He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?”
    He said, “Baptist!” I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?”
    He said, “Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?”
    He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?”
    He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!”

    I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off.

  • Makabit

    I’ll tell you one thing God did not actually say. God did not actually say that crafty serpent was the Devil. You’re arguing from within your own tradition there, but it is not a literal interpretation of scripture. (Me, I like the midrash that contends that the whole episode is an attempt to kill off Adam so that the snake can get the girl.)

    I am curious, though, about how this works. How can any theology exist if you don’t ask what God actually said, or meant by that? As Lori said, do you simply have to accept the first explanation anyone gives you, out of faith, and stick to it?

    Or is this, as I suspect, simply a silencing technique, whereby anyone considering a different interpretation from the one you intend to end up with is being mislead by the Devil and should be quiet?

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

     The way I normally see this justified is that those with the correct interpretation arrive at it through the inspired grace of God, and are called to share it, while everyone else should be silent until they in turn receive inspiration… which they will know they have received when they finally see the obvious truth of the correct interpretation, and not before.

    Which is… um… well, self-contained, anyway.

  • Lunch Meat

    As Lori said, do you simply have to accept the first explanation anyone gives you, out of faith, and stick to it?

    No, we have to accept the first explanation anyone gave “WeAreAllBeggers”. The rest of our religious communities can’t be trusted.

  • reallyAimai

    You can’t help us anyway. You aren’t god. Your interpretation of scripture isn’t definitive. Its as temporary and as much a guesttimate as mine. No one asked for your “help.” Perhaps that will clarify things for you?

  • David Starner

    “What accord has Christ with Belial?” Apparently if you’re putting yourself in the shoes of Christ, and everyone else in the shoes of Belial, you’re telling us that he can agree with Belial on Prop 8, but not on comforting the grieving.

  • reallyAimai

    We get it “WeAreAllBeggers” (sic) but we reserve the right to despise you and your sad little bunch of LCMS tight asses for it. I read the piece and it was filled with contempt for everyone–from the reporters to the public at large–that’s ok, the author is entitled to imagine that the world is waiting to read a detailed defense of a tiny doctrinal fantasy rather than to see the actual good works and loving gestures of the LCMS community. They are wrong–the LCMS will long be remembered as the people who were so frightened of an angry, jealous, god that they were unable to function generously in civil society at a communal ceremony of mourning.  We eagerly await the LCMS’s rulings on shopping for bread in a store that sells stuff to Muslims, or walking in the street near other places of worship.

    I think what boggles my mind the most about the entire discussion is how transparently, childishly, fearfully, selfish it all is.  Jesus preached a lot of stuff–eternal life and “heaven” were not the goal of what he said, serving and loving others was the focus of most of his preaching.  YOu guys seem to think that Jesus’s sole focus was on saving you, individually, regardles of your contributions to the world. Here are two possibilities: the pastor acted in good faith and from good intentions and he was “wrong” doctrinally speaking? What does Jesus do? You can only go by what Jesus did during his life? Are there more examples of Jesus forgiving people and moving on than there are of Jesus smiting people? You choose the Jesus you want–you may call it the “real” one but its obviously just one of many possible Jesuses based on the same scripture.

    Faith not works. Words not deeds.  Jesus called people to do a lot of stuff but selfishly withdraw from the world and spitefully rebuke mourners for their failures was never one of them. Give your cloak–remember that one? The Good Samaritan, remember that one? “Many there are who will call lord…lord…” remember that one? “Lord, when saw we you an hungered?” remember that one.  For all you know Jesus was among the mourners at Newtowne memorial, just as he said he would be among the “least of these” that you were choosing to serve, or not to serve. Big missed opportunity, bro.

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

    Something that just struck me:

    Pastor Morris was wrong according not only to The LCMS, but according to Holy Scripture.

    And by implication all the other Christians there were also wrong? Since they’re working off the same scripture, after all.

  • WeAreAllBeggers

    Yes, you are correct. They were all wrong.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    What “American Civil Religion”?  Is that the annual human sacrifice to our Beloved Corporate Overlords?

  • Dash1

    “WeAreAllBeggars”: I’m calling troll on that one. It’s just that bit too stereotyped.
    Thanks for playing, though. (I really did like the bit where it closes with the required reading–nice touch and very close to authentic.)

  • cyllan

    I do want to take a moment to tell PPPadre that I appreciate that (I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume) he thinks that his church should not be interfering in civil institutions such as who gets the right to marry whom.  I hope that he pushes forward on this issue within his church and that his faith gives him the strength to face down those who would argue with him.

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

    So after skimming the comments, it seems that yes, this is in fact real.  A denomination actually thinks that one of their pastors taking part in a service to give comfort to a grieving community was a Bad Thing because practitioners of other religions were also there to give comfort to a grieving community.

    That’s apparently a thing.


  • Jenny Islander

    WeAreAllBeggers, since you quoted Paul’s accusatory speech to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 6) as if you thought it was relevant to the argument, I would like you to answer two questions:

    First, how is a group of clergypersons of different religions and denominations thereof all offering their prayers for comfort to their respective deities and only to their respective deities, while happening to be in the same place at the same time, being “yoked together with unbelievers?” 

    Second, how is a group of clergypersons who espouse contradictory and occasionally mutually anathematizing faiths co-signing a declaration of common intent to support the second-class status of their fellow citizens not being “yoked together with unbelievers?”

    If the issue is that being within 50 feet of a known Buddhist without telling him that he’s Hellbound will somehow lead people to think that you’re syncretists, you just go about twitching your robes aside when you see prostrated people groaning in anguish, okay?   Nobody’s gonna stop you.  But if you don’t want the public sphere pointing out what a colossal act of Pharisiacal jerkitude that is, try doing it without announcing to the world that you are not like us sinners. 

  • Madhabmatics

    ahhh yes this is only a problem because of TRAITORS who are SECRET SECULARISTS and evil

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

    Nothing more evil and backstabbing than a secularist, amirite?

  • Madhabmatics

     “Yet each lutheran kills the thing he loves
    By people reading a public blog that we are just too lazy to make private let this be heard
    Some do it with a bitter look
    Some with a flattering word
    The coward does it by emailing the SECULAR MEDIA
    The brave man with a sword”

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

    Made me laugh so hard.  Thank you.  :)

  • PPPadre

    I used the adjective “secular” to distinguish from religious media, not to accuse anyone of being a secret secularist. I could have used the term “mainstream media” as well, but that has come to have certain baggage associated with it that I did not want to imply. I suppose I could have used the term “national media outlets,” but then you probably would have accused me of blaming everything on nationalists.
    (Please read that last sentence with tongue firmly planted in cheek and not as snark.)

  • AnonymousSam

    I don’t feel as though a private reprimand for doing the right thing would be any better. So long as I perceive it to have been a good, godly action for the pastor to have done, any reprimand whatsoever appears to me as unjust.

  • cyllan

    If the statement was posted to a public-but-generally-only-accessed-by-the-ingroup website, then I can see it being viewed by that in-group as a private matter.  It is a naive view, but there are a whole lot of people on the internet who don’t understand that you never transmit anything in electronic form that isn’t something you consider to be public information.

    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?

    On this, it depends. I would feel completely within my rights to offer snark on the apology and the nature of the offense if it were being conducted outside my open window.  I might even do so on a public blog post. If I thought one (or both) of the arguing couple was hanging their ass out in public, I would almost certainly comment on it.

  • Isabel C.

     Yes, this.

    One of the stories I like to tell at parties is that of my ex-roommate Brendan and his girlfriend, who I will call the Emo Zombie because of the following:

    It’s Wednesday night at 3 AM. I wake up to the sound of slamming doors and shouting. He’s at least making an effort to keep it down, she (perhaps not knowing he has roommates) is not. As I lie there debating whether it’s worth the aggro to get up and tell them to either shut up or take it to Broadway, the girl slams something again and then yells, I swear to God:

    “How many times must you stab me in the heart, Brendan?”

    I a) dissolved into giggles, b) heroically suppressed the urge to yell “if it takes more than one, there’s something wrong!”, and c) have been retelling this story whenever I think it relevant or amusing, in a variety of environments, for the last six years.

    If Emo Zombie didn’t want this broadcast, perhaps she should’ve thought about her environments.

    I trust people can take the analogy from here? 

  • Dash1

    Just as a contrast, I think the way the Plymouth Brethren would have handled it, if they had
    a similar issue (not that they have pastors), would have been to rely on Matthew 18:15: anyone offended would have communicated directly with Morris. If there was concern among many people and many assemblies, his elders would, I believe, have asked Morris to write a letter that could be sent
    to the correspondent of any assembly that expressed concern about his
    behavior. The letter would be read out in the assembly at the Breaking
    of Bread, a service at which it is expected that no one not of the
    Assemblies would be present.

    This would actually be easier to do in the LCMS, since it would keep the apology within the group and it would also bring it to the attention of LCMS members who might not otherwise be checking for it on the internet.

    I’m not just talking through my hat here. There really was a similar case. An explanation was issued, which satisfied those who were concerned. You’ve never heard of it unless you are Plymouth Brethren, and most Brethren haven’t even heard of it. Why? Because nobody put it on the internet.

    (If there are other Plymouth Brethren reading, my apologies for the use of the term “Plymouth Brethren.” It’s just that, if I used the term “assemblies,” those who are of Luther (I Cor. 1:12, 3:4) would probably not be able to identify who I was talking about. One must adjust.)

  • Rev. K. Hess

    Are you talking about closed or open assemblies?

  • Rev. K. Hess

    Regardless, don’t pat yourselves on the back too much.  If the press were to get wind of Plymouth Brethren doctrine and practice–and if there were enough Brethren for anyone to care–you guys would get strung up even quicker than us.  To begin with, we don’t require women to wear doilies on their heads.  That right there is enough for the PBs to be tried, convicted, and hanged after five minutes of media attention.  And my suspicion is that few Plymouth Brethren would be thrilled with an elder of the church praying at an interreligious (or interdenominational) prayer service.  So instead of bragging, pay attention ot the signs of the times and think about what’s coming down the pike for you if this is what happens to the LCMS.

    With love from the grandson of a CMML missionary.

  • Makabit

    Wearing a doily on your head is not offensive to anyone, except maybe Philip Treacy.

    Now, who are YOU? How many of these unapologetic apologists are there? How many Missouri Synod Lutherans are there all told? I never heard of this group until yesterday, and now I feel like I must have met half of them already.

  • Dash1

    I’m puzzled as to how you got “bragging” out of what I wrote. I was providing a specific example of how a similar instance had been handled. There’s much to criticize in Brethren practices.

    And my suspicion is that few Plymouth Brethren would be thrilled with an
    elder of the church praying at an interreligious (or
    interdenominational) prayer service.

    Well actually, interdenominational happens a lot. The Brethren aren’t big enough (and are split into factions, as you noted, in any case) NOT to interact with other denominations unless they simply refuse to interact outside of their little group at all. (See my previous message about the Tight Exclusive assembly in that small town I mentioned.) And as for interreligious services, the Brethren, like the LCMS military chaplains, must assist in religious services for any service member.

  • Dash1

     Good question. I’m delighted to see that someone who uses the title “Rev.” has enough knowledge of the Assemblies to ask. Well, the really Closed–wouldn’t be letting anybody know their business anyway. (I’m thinking now of a fairly small town with two assemblies in it. One is Exclusive Open, but the other is Exclusive Tight and the second one has absolutely no contact with the first one. The second one also doesn’t post the hours of their Breaking of Bread/Communion service, because if you don’t already know, you shouldn’t go. As I said earlier in another context, “Heck of a witness!”)

    The particular example I’m thinking of–and I just thought of a couple of others–involved people who interacted with multiple assemblies and who were, as you could guess from the fact that the issue was raised at all, in some sense serving as a representative of the assemblies in contexts outside the assemblies themselves.

  • jamesprobis

    The problem isn’t that the rest of us *know about* you demanding a groveling apology for the oh so heinous sin of commiserating with the suffering.

  • smrnda

    I can’t see why I’m bothering to post after so many, but o well.

    I’m not a Christian. I’m not a Lutheran, yet from growing up in the US I’m very aware that every single Christian sect has diverse beliefs and thinks that any number of other Christian sects are heretical, or possibly pagan. I know that Protestants often recoil at Catholics praying to Saints and equate it with idolatry, and that there are frequent disputes over infant baptism, the true nature of original sin, predestination versus ‘free will,’ whether or not it is theologically necessary to take a literal interpretation of Genesis, and whether or not people can divorce and remarry without sinning, whether certain ‘gifts of the spirit’ like speaking in tongues goes on at present, and the distinctions between pre, post and a millenialism, all courtesy of Scofeld, and all sorts of other issues. Ever notice that non-Christians actually know quite a bit about Christianity?

    To outsiders, it looks like a ridiculous pissing contest over doctrinal trivialities that seem pretty irrelevant, and in spite of the one thing that would be decent PR, to put aside this differences and act out of love for others (wasn’t that what Jesus taught?) it seems the priority is always given the pissing contest.

  • AnonymousSam

    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!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw


    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 is, of course, how President Obama can be an Atheist Muslim who wants to impose a secular society governed by Sharia law. (I wish that was a joke.)

  • KalleOskar

    It’s too bad that Missouri has chosen the road of tribalism. The LCMS pastor’s comments are evidence of how far this has gone. Self-righteous tribalism. Of course the LCMS pastors are free to pray with other denominational leaders, so long as they are “close.” Which means Wisconsin Synod. Everyone else is heretical. Sad.

    LCMS led Lutherans in liturgical renewal. But they needed to keep the rest of us out. The organist at our little ELCA church also plays for an LCMS church. The pastor there believes that we ELCA Lutherans don’t treat Bible as Word of God – we do, but we don’t understand it in the Scholastic tradition of the post-Solid Declaration Waltherists. And he thought we don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Sacrament. We do, but again, we are likely to understand that real presence in a number of ambiguous ways. Even while we affirm, we allow for a broader understanding. 

    Too bad that the pain of the world has to be prayed for by LCMS alone. It’s such a burden for them to bear. But the rest of us can’t be trusted with it.

  • Darkrose

    Wow…that was a real apology, too. Good on President Harrison for that, and hopefully the apology for trying to take away people’s civil rights will come.

  • ngoth02

    Separation of Church and State.  This is important on sooo many levels.  A concept on which our great country was founded; that our founding fathers found so important.  I fear the separation is becoming increasingly blurred, muddy.

  • Patrick Garin

    I was raised a lutheran(ELCA), and I think the Missouri synod is just another branch of the right wing baptist-evangelical crap that we have to put up with due to freedom of speech, so shut your pie holes you high and mighty morons!!!