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The Presiding Bishop's "Core" Convictions

by Paul R. Hinlicky — July 14, 2012

I promised that I would review Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson’s Reconciling Works Keynote Address that he gave on July 7. The text was made available by the Bishop’s Office to Pastor Daniel Ostercamp of Webster, SD, who made it available to me. I will leave to others the critical analysis of Hanson’s remarkably rosy picture of the ELCA. I will also ignore the several self-justifications of his own partisan (or insufficiently partisan!) leadership that pepper the address. The theological question I posed in my previous post was whether the bishop would nurture God’s people with the word of God’s law and gospel and whether he would speak as pastor of the whole, which in Lutheran understanding (see Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession) is what a bishop is supposed to do...

I promised that I would review Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson’s Reconciling Works Keynote Address that he gave on July 7. The text was made available by the Bishop’s Office to Pastor Daniel Ostercamp of Webster, SD, who made it available to me. You can read it for yourself here. I will leave to others the critical analysis of Hanson’s remarkably rosy picture of the ELCA. I will also ignore the several self-justifications of his own partisan (or insufficiently partisan!) leadership that pepper the address. The theological question I posed in my previous post was whether the bishop would nurture God’s people with the word of God’s law and gospel and whether he would speak as pastor of the whole, which in Lutheran understanding (see Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession) is what a bishop is supposed to do.

Hanson is certainly a preacher. If theology is only for preaching, I suppose that there is not much to complain about here. We can be certain that the audience loved it. He begins with a text—a great text, actually, if understood as the Apostle meant it, II Corinthians 5:14–21—on reconciliation (no doubt to connect with the LGBT lobby’s self-designation), which he claims will frame his “presence and presentation.” I summarize his address as follows. 1) Hanson reviews his relation as presiding bishop to “members of Reconciling Work,” acknowledging their experience of exclusion by power and privilege, thanking them for staying in the ELCA and for their “prophetic” work in it, and asking them patiently to continue on in spite of the recalcitrant. 2) Indeed, he then challenges one and all to belong to Christ, to reject drawing lines in the sand, and he quotes Luther on faith as a living, daring confidence in God’s grace to explain belonging to Christ as tearing down walls and giving up power and privilege. 3) He next extends this challenge to “building bridges of reconciliation with those who do not proclaim Jesus as savior” in a lengthy aside on interfaith dialogue. 4) He then returns to the various ministries of the ELCA because this “is who we are as the ELCA... a church whose unity is in this Jesus Christ who gathers us... [which] means we will define ourselves first on the basis of our relatedness to others and to God’s creation and not on the basis of our distinctiveness—that which sets us apart...” Finally 5) Hanson indulges in a dubious victory lap, claiming that no ecumenical relationships have been ruined (except with the LCMS), but on the contrary the ELCA is doing God’s work in desperate places like Haiti, curing Africa of malaria and sending its youth to New Orleans to help that hurricane-stricken city rebuild.

What’s not to like? How could we ever judge against a winsome preacher who manifestly loves Jesus and wants the church to be engaged in Jesus’ work of reconciliation and justice? To his credit, that is Hanson’s consistent vision. He is to be acknowledged as a principled person and a consistent leader. Let’s grant him that personally and even officially. Now let’s take a deeper look at the theology expressed in this address.

First, how does Hanson understand the problem traditionally identified as sin, the “trespasses” God was not counting when He reconciled the world in Christ, as per his chosen text of II Corinthians 5:14–21? He says repeatedly throughout this address that we live “in a culture and world that continues to fortify borders and erect barriers to protect and preserve power and privilege.” Second, then, Hanson’s understanding of reconciliation in the gospel flows directly out of this entirely horizontal understanding sin as social oppression, as he asks rhetorically: “Yet is it not the call of the Gospel to lay down our privilege? Aren’t we to be with all who are excluded, marginalized, shunned and shamed in order to engage in the work of reconciliation to which God calls us?” This understanding of the gospel as a call or summons is Hanson’s most profound conviction—quite literally, his “core” conviction: so he related in the address how he responded to this very question of “core,” that is, non-negotiable convictions at an interfaith symposium. So, third, here we get a depiction of “God” that accords with the foregoing “core,” Who, in Hanson’s words, “continuously and improvisationally is creating paths to us so that God might reveal the depths of God’s grace, God’s reconciling love and mercy for us and the whole creation.” So the Christian conviction that “we will never give away is the Good News that God is always giving God’s self away for the life of the world, showing God’s gracious and forgiving love for you and me and the whole creation.”

I have little doubt that in wide swaths of the ELCA this sappy and at the same time legalistic preaching prevails. Stacked up against classic Lutheran confessional “core” convictions, however, consider the following three objections to the three points above. First, sin as a problem with God, as in Romans 1–3 (note—the source from which all of Luther’s theology sprang), is not even on the horizon. Second, Hanson’s good news operates as law: a summons to engage in God’s supposed work, which is the earthly Jesus’ supposed inclusiveness, not His Messianic bearing of the sin of the whole world as our representative on the cross under the wrath of God; this is a divine work of reconciliation with God by God that, of course, is Christ’s alone and ours only passively and by faith and repentance. As I pointed out three years ago, we go from this gospel, which is a gift to the sinner, to inclusion of all who repent and believe. If, however, we reverse the order and try to move from universal inclusion back to Jesus and His cross, we will have to take offense at the cross, both Jesus’ and the one laid on the believer by His Spirit, namely lifelong repentance from sin and separation from the culture of this dying epoch. Third, Hanson’s kenotic God performs a strange disappearing act, making no claims for His own glory or name but yielding to whatever theological improvisations activist churchmen need in order to get folks on board with the latest cause.

Hanson could really give up power and privilege by humbly joining the audience at the CORE theological conference at Golden Valley, Minnesota, in August, thus exhibiting a heretofore invisible will to reconciliation with the droves of confessional Lutherans whom his leadership has marginalized and excluded. He doesn’t need a written invitation or a platform. He needs to listen to voices really other than his own rather than the echo chamber he experienced in Washington, DC, on July 7.

Paul R. Hinlicky is the Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

Bishops

Posted by Nicholas Hopman at July 14, 2012 20:22
What?
The archbishop of the ELCA speaking at a Reconciling in Christ event and supporting their agenda?
This came out of left field?
I can hardly believe this happened.

I take these sentences: “Hanson is certainly a preacher. If theology is only for preaching, I suppose that there is not much to complain about here.” as a swipe at Gerhard Forde. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Of course the remainder of your post proves that you don’t actually believe the swipe. As you point out, Hanson is no preacher. He is a gifted communicator but not a preacher of Christ. Forde never wrote a book titled, Theology is for Public Speaking. It was, Theology is for Proclamation, i.e. proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.

Perhaps instead of crying over spilled milk, i.e. lamenting that the ELCA is run by a liberal (shocking), we should do something profitable. Like examining how the ELCA was lost and using the lessons for the way forward. Perhaps instead of joining the ELCA’s ubiquitous and tiresome request for “dialog” by asking an unrepentant bishop to waste our time at a Core meeting, we should take a look at false steps taken by those who now claim to be a part of the solution.

For instance the most shocking thing to me is that Bishop Hanson is a member of the Historic Episcopate and yet he cannot distinguish Law and Gospel. I thought the Historic Episcopate was a symbol of the unity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church? Surely a symbol must have some sort of effect or what’s the point of a symbol? But somehow the Episcopate has not saved Hanson or the ELCA. It’s a shame that all the work you “Evangelical” Catholics put into CCM didn’t do any good.

As von Ranke said, “wie ist es eigentlich gewesen?” CCM put the ELCA in full communion with the loony bin known as the Episcopal Church, to say nothing of its violation of the Formula of Concord (X) and AC (VII). This was the conservative’s latch ditch effort to save the ELCA for confessional theology? Partner with the Episcopalians? And now we’re supposed to still pathetically think things can somehow be changed for the better if only we can get ELCA bishops to come to Core meetings?

What ELCA bishop has unequivocally condemned the CWA? Of the very few who have reservations and fewer who opposed the decision, who has called for status confessionis instead of dialog and unity?

No doubt sin and human frailty play the largest role in the complete lack of opposition to the CWA (and of course the vast majority of bishops support the CWA, anything done in the late 90’s in the ELCA was probably too late anyways, there are no easy solutions, there is no piece of paper like CCM to sign that will save us), but for 10 years CCM told the bishops that they were a symbol of church unity. And that is exactly what the few sane bishops have become. “There must be unity at all costs,” i.e. the church is a democracy and after the votes are in we must agree to live together with the results.

Aside from its devastating theological effects (to the proclamation of Christ alone as the unity of the church), unity at all costs is the effect that CCM had on the ELCA. Church history, wie es eigentlich gewesen ist. Another dogma of the Forde school.


A swipe?

Posted by Paul Hinlicky at July 15, 2012 11:11
I think not. A passing criticism of brothers and sisters, but not nearly as mean-spirited in intention as you take it.
I am not a "conservative." Even as I more or less describe my kind of confessional Lutheranism as "evangelical catholic," I means something just like what you affirm when you lift up "Christ alone" as the unity of the church. That is to say, not Roman Catholic but gospel catholic. But I am weary of party labels.
As to bishops, there are true ones and false ones according to AC 28, I have no other position and never have had a different one. Just because Hanson is a symbol of the historic succession from the apostles, his deviant theology must be called out and corrected. A symbol, as CCM repeatedly affirmed, is a sign and not a guarantee and in my "critical dogmatics" it is the task of theologians to test church practice with evangelical doctrine. For the same reason, I am not joking when I call upon him to attend the CORE theological conference. As long as I am a member of the ELCA and one of its "teaching theologians" I have to proceed in good faith and summon the presiding bishop to public humility and repentance. Do I have any hope that he will do so? Very little, humanly speaking. But it is a matter of public witness.
As to Gerhard Forde, the theologian who wrote Where God Meets Man is one with whom I am in 100% accord. Where I do not agree with Forde is on his doctrine of the atonement as nothing but the contemporay action of killing and making alive. Forde rejected Luther's joyful exchange as "mythological," whereas I take it as the indispensabile Christological backbone of the proclamation of justification.
Hanson's kind of sweet talking is an unfortunate but all too real deformation of what Forde meant when he said theology is for preaching, just as the claim to unite behind a CWA vote in the name of the unity of a denomination is an unfortunate but all too real deformation of what the symbol of historical succession in the doctrine of the gospel intends to express.
Theology is certaintly for the proclamation of Jesus Christ as law and as gospel. What other interpretation can you make in good faith to the analysis presented of Hanson's address? Theology is not only for this. It is also for the glory of God, the Creator of all. It is therefore also for dialogue and dispute with other religions. As an academic discipline it is also in dialogue and dispute with other disciplines. The weakness of the Forde school on the theology of creation, as it seems to me, corresponds to its weakness on the doctrine of the atonement. I point this out not as the representative of some monolithic school of evangelical catholics, but simply as my own reading of him and his students. And I point this out in the spirit of self-criticism of my own "evangelical catholic" school, whose hopes for CCM have been utterly disappointed, just as you claim.
Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist -- the dogma comes from the historical positivism of von Ranke, and is increasingly abandoned on account of the insight that facts are always selected and then connected to form a narrative in the creative synthesis of the history writer. No one is entitled to their own facts, but neither can appeal to facts alone give the connections between them. The making of connections is interpretation. So this is not a "dogma" but a "dogmatism" if one thinks that one can say a fact like, "Adolph Hitler was legally appointed Chancellor of Germany under a democratic constitution," wie es eigentlich gewesen ist, when the statement of bald fact gives an entirely misleading impression.
Thanks for writing. If you can get a handle on your indignation, we might have a fruitful exchange. Peace, Paul

True and false bishops

Posted by Robert Saler at July 17, 2012 15:57
By way of (idiosyncratically) supporting/addending Dr. Hinlicky's point: numerous Roman Catholic theologians - including Newman, if I recall correctly - have made the point that the fact that the church has survived so many bad teachers/bishops/popes is in fact evidence that the Holy Spirit works to sustain the magisterium in truth across time, if not in any given historical instance.

In other words: the fact that the papacy has lived through so many bad popes is evidence that the Spirit is supporting the office, and the OHCA church that the office serves.

Would the same apply to bishops, I wonder? Under what conditions? These are the sort of ecclesiological questions that I find interesting.

"in other contexts"

Posted by Robert Saler at July 17, 2012 16:01
And by "bishops" here I mean those not necessarily serving in the Roman Catholic context - for instance, Lutheran bishops.

Pope

Posted by Nick Hopman at July 17, 2012 19:43
Someone still calls himself the Pope to this day. Therefore, we have proof that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the church.

This is an interesting theological claim. It's also a very creative reading of church history, if in any way shape or form one believes that the work of the Holy Spirit is to justify by faith alone in Christ alone (ACV). Then the question would have to be: "where in the last 500 years (to use a conservative number) has the Papacy ever proclaimed the Gospel?"
But I suppose mentioning the church's actual history would just make me a Rankian positivist constructing a self-righteous self-justifying "narrative." I suppose there cannot be any judgment as to whether or not churches, or individuals in offices have properly proclaimed the Gospel in the past. We cannot possibly use scripture as the plumb line. Oh wait, now we've arrived at agreement with Bishop Hanson. But then again who knows if Jesus even existed, maybe that was just the apostles carefully chosen narrative.
I believe Luther had something to say to Erasmus at the beginning of The Bondage of the Will concerning skepticism that holds true whether or not the skepticism is pre- or post-modern.

Succession

Posted by Hopman at July 17, 2012 20:23
Thanks for the reply. (My attempt to get past my indignation because everyone knows that the correct party in a debate is the one who smiles the most at the one with whom he’s disagreeing. Bishop Hanson has learned this well.)

On Forde: “A passing criticism of brothers and sisters” that was totally irrelevant to the subject matter. Claiming that Forde was somehow trying to exclude dialogue from the theological task is a bit ridiculous. What about all those rounds of dialog with the representatives of Mr. Saler’s beloved Pope (sorry for referencing church history, maybe Forde just imagined he was at the dialogues while actually spending his time in a alternative quantum universe reading Heisenberg and learning to renounce the historical task as totally uncertain).

“Just because Hanson is a symbol of the historic succession from the apostles, his deviant theology must be called out and corrected.”

I would think that he should be corrected for deviant theology because it contradicts the Word of God. His deviant theology is the typical legalism (if a slightly new form of the law) of the practitioners of historic succession (ah, history again, sorry).

“A symbol, as CCM repeatedly affirmed, is a sign and not a guarantee.”
I’m well aware of this claim. I’m just glad that now you’re emphasizing the insufficient nature of the Episcopate. Its insufficiency was an under-developed part of the pro-CCM thesis in the 90’s. But there I go again trying to do some church history and post-modernist dogma reminds us that historical facts are insufficient to be used in debate.

Succession is quite the scheme. Talk about how great it is, and then when it utterly fails, cover it with insufficiency.

Forde’s and Nestingen’s student Paulson describes the happy exchange in absolute physical terms straight out of Luther’s Galatians Lectures in his new book. He has mentioned that Forde never quiet delved deeply into the subject. As far as calling it “mythological” you might be correct, but I would like to see a reference.

But these are all secondary to main point:
To summarize your statement: Succession is insufficient and in the ELCA the Historic Episcopate was a total and utter failure.
No?

?

Posted by Robert Saler at July 18, 2012 03:21
Mr. Hopman, at what point did I speak of "my beloved pope?" I thought I was doing precisely what you suggest is helpful - interjecting some voices from "church history."

Meanwhile, the claim that God preserves the magisterium from damnable error is in fact central to Roman Catholic ecclesiology - that said, I am neither Roman nor "evangelical" Catholic in my own theology. I just think -as I tend to do - that Newman's shadow hangs long over these ecclesiological debates, particularly as they touch on the question of authority.

Sorry

Posted by Nick Hopman at July 25, 2012 02:39
Dear Mr. Saler,

I apologize. You began your post: “By way of (idiosyncratically) supporting/addending Dr. Hinlicky's point.”
The word “supporting” confused me, as well as your wondering if the Spirit was with bishops as Neumann claims with the Pope.
Sorry for not understanding your point.


Paulson and the Joyful Exchange

Posted by Paul Hinlicky at July 24, 2012 16:53
Yes, I was very encouranged to see Paulson's embrace of Luther's joyful exchange in his recent book and I lifted it up for praise in the lengthy review I wrote of the book for the International Journal of Systematic Theology, which I believe will be coming out in the Winter. But you should understand that this is an evolution beyond Forde, from the influence of another one of Paulson's teacher's, Robert Bertram.

Paulson

Posted by Hopman at July 25, 2012 01:20
I'll ask Paulson about this tomorrow and get back to you.

you missed a part...

Posted by Peter at July 18, 2012 04:09
Speaking of improvisations, here is some of the text from Bp Hanson's speech about improvising, which also captures that core Christological value you imply is absent from the speech:

"But our rebellious, sinful ways continued. God thought, “What do I do now?” Ah,God had yet one more improvisational move. “I will become one of them, bend low and meet them in their humanity.” Yes, in Jesus embracing the outcast, sitting at tables with sinners, engaging in public conversation about faith with a woman of Samaria, challenging religious and political authorities’ exclusive ways of power, Jesus embodied
God’s love and mercy. And we crucified him. Ah, but God did not stop improvising. God raised Jesus from the dead.
And now this improvisational God has claimed me in the waters of baptism. God has called you and me and joins us and leads us to be God’s reconciling presence in the
world, proclaiming the Good News, serving our neighbor, striving for justice and peace."

If you'd written Bp Hanson's speech and anyone else had written what you've written here, there'd be a long and indignant reply about how that person missed what you were saying because technically you were careful to only imply what you meant instead of directly saying it.

I'm also not sure criticism is the best way to get a Presiding Bishop to come to your conference. Or... if criticism is a good means of getting theologians/bishops places, does that mean you couldn't resist going to any theological conference I name?

Hanson's Christology

Posted by Paul Hinlicky at July 24, 2012 17:01
I am glad that you lifted up Hanson's account of Christology. Did I deny that Hanson has a Christology? I think I affirmed that personally and officially he loves Jesus. Now for someone so evidently proud of the Seminex tradition, you might realize that an orthodox Christology can be used as law rather than gospel, which is exactly what the Preus bullies did in those days. My critique of Hanson is exacly parallel. Hanson uses Christology as law, not promise, to demand and extort behavior rather than to console the stricken and gift contrite sinners. He uses Christology to reinforce a purely horizontal understanding of sin, where the victims need no forgiveness since they are innocent. So Hanson could be a good political Barthian (forgive me, Karl), but not a confessional Lutheran.
By the way, I had Hanson's speech to Reconciling Works linked to my blog so that readers to see for themselves.

A Gracious Evaluation

Posted by Pr. Dan Biles at July 18, 2012 06:29
Your evaluation of Hanson's address, and him, is quite generous. More than I would have been. I have seen his act, and am not charmed.

Pope, apostolic succession ...

Posted by Jason Loh at July 18, 2012 11:14
"In other words: the fact that the papacy has lived through so many bad popes is evidence that the Spirit is supporting the office, and the OHCA church that the office serves."

Or it could even be proof that the papacy ("seat") and individual popes (though not all) is Antichrist. In other words, the institution of the papacy & magisterium are self-reinforcing, self-referencing (as a matter of fact) ... by way of imposition of the Law backed by both the spiritual and temporal swords, not least canon law and of course the Tridentine decrees as examples ... Forde makes the point that for Lutherans, the highest authority is in the oral and sacramental proclamation of the Word that sets bound sinners free ... the appeal to the apostolicity and catholicity of the church (continuation) "overlaps" or "coincides" or identical with the appeal to proclamation *as* tradition. There is no higher appeal than the proclamation of the Gospel in Word and Sacraments (which at the same time therefore provides for its ecumenical appeal as per the AC) ...

Question begging

Posted by Paul Hinlicky at July 24, 2012 17:10
I certainly agree with the contention that the proclamation of the gospel by word and sacrament is the highest authority in the life of the church, because here Jesus Christ is present to reign by his promises. But this truth does not answer the question of how we will test the preachers (spirits) to see whether they are of God. To do this testing, at a minimum we need critical theology, and further, a consensus on the doctrine of the gospel (which is what Lutheran confessionalism used to be), and further, a modus operandi, a way of recognizing regularly called and supervised preachers. The papacy evolved de jure humano to meet such needs, and whether or not we concur in the Roman claim for the papacy, we will have to have some way of fulfilling these needs unless we want to leave church life utterly unorganized, each preacher and congregation for themselves. This latter is no more Lutheran than papalism. AC 28 envisions an evangelical episcopacy.

Testing the Spirits

Posted by Pr. Dan Biles at July 24, 2012 18:06
What is needed is nothing new; it is St. Iranaeus' three-legged stool, which he used as a test against the gnostics of his time to preserve the "apostolic" faithfulness of the Church:

1) Authoritative writings - the canon of Scripture (not in PC translation, I might add).

2) Authoritative doctrine - the "regula fidei," (rule of faith - i.e., creeds and liturgy, since liturgy is prayed doctrine. Also not in PC form).

3) Authoritative teachers whose teaching is in succession with and faithful to the apostolic witness.

The actions of CWA represent a break with all three of these tests. It was a rejection of apostolicity (as in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church).

Addendum

Posted by Pr. Dan Biles at July 24, 2012 18:09
That is CWA 2009 I was referring to.

You can beg, but Forde already answered this question

Posted by Nick Hopman at July 25, 2012 01:18
You once again imply that theology is for proclamation means Forde is trying to stop second order theological reflection. This is mistaken. He says repeatedly that the theological task is reflecting on past proclamation and preparing for future proclamation. This implies some form of messy structure, e.g. the one CCM made into an idol. AC28 desires to keep the episcopacy because it existed at the time and Lutherans keep things the same when possible to avoid works-righteousness. Imposing a heteronymous episcopacy on Lutherans who (thank God) have escaped it is precisely the opposite of AC28.

I'm still waiting for your self-serving narrative on how the "historic" episcopate has helped the ELCA.

Also how is it misleading to say Hitler came to power legally? Do we have to white-wash history to make democracy look good like we have to white-wash church history to make the episcopacy seem functional?

not just a "lobby"

Posted by Tim Fisher at July 24, 2012 16:03
As a member of the staff of ReconcilingWorks (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America), I would just like to point out that our organization is more than just a "lobby" group. We are also a worshipping community. Each day during our biennial assembly, we gather to worship and receive communion. We also feature bible studies.

But not less than a lobby

Posted by Paul Hinlicky at July 24, 2012 17:14
Well, I am glad always to learn that the Bible is being studied and that the Lord whom we know from the Scriptures is worshipped. But I take it that you agree that your organization is not less than a lobby which (as the newsrelease about Hanson's coming in July stated) aims to change the culture of the ELCA towards the full embrace of GLBT persons, so that no question can be raised theologically about these sexual orientations as a tragic consequence of universal sinfulness, as the Apostle teaches in Romans 1:18ff. Thank you for the clarification.

core convictions

Posted by Tim Fisher at July 24, 2012 21:45
Professor Hinlicky,

To say that we are working so that "no question can be raised theologically about . . . sexual orientation" is, I feel, an unwarranted conclusion. I sense that a lot rides on that word "can."

To the contrary, ReconcilingWorks does not work against the free sharing of ideas and concerns as conscience, bound to the Word of God, may be so moved. What you assert here about our mission is quite different than how we see our mission.

Sure, we are working for change. We hope to be an instrument of God's intention, both for the culture of the ELCA and of the world, an instrument through which the love of Christ is made known to all. We work in the confidence that we are with Christ and in Christ, the one through whom hearts and minds are transformed.

Apparently you find it useful to use the word "lobby" as if it is some sort of guilty confession, allowing for the negative connotations typically associated with that word. Of course, in a sense, all Christians are lobbyists for Christ, although the more traditional word for that is "evangelist."

Here is the aim of our lobby, our core convictions: We center our work on the good news of Jesus Christ, our redeemer, who taught us by his words and work the way of love, joy, justice, reconciliation, and grace. Our lobby is compelled by the call of God in our lives to witness to the reconciling love of Jesus and to work for justice.

We believe that in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, God reconciled us to our creator. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Our work is to build relationships in love and grace, speaking the truth, so that we may come to new or renewed understanding as the Body of Christ, overcoming estrangement, discord and division on the basis of real or perceived differences.

I am confident that you have the same hope for your own mission, both as an individual and as a member of your own organizations and associations, and I presume you are working in good faith through your vocation to also be such an instrument of change.

Grace and peace,


Tim Fisher
Minneapolis, MN

It's not the way you say it--it's the way you really mean it that tells me what we be

Posted by Mick Lee at July 26, 2012 12:33
Let's put it this way: If I reject your version of a "new or renewed understanding as the Body of Christ" as bogus and I were nominated for the ELCA Church Council, I doubt very much ReconcilingWorks would be very "welcoming".
What am I saying? If I reject your specifications for "overcoming estrangement, discord and division", I wouldn't get into the nominating process to begin with.
In the name of diversity, I or anyone like me would be excluded.

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