Responding to National Tragedy

February 14th, 2013 Post by

jonah Perhaps the best way to respond to a national tragedy – or any kind of tragedy, is with mourning, repentance, and faith.

One especially relevant biblical account is that of Luke 13. Here, Jesus is told of a situation, in which Pontius Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with their sacrifices. Jesus responded to this tragedy, saying: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:2-3; NKJV).

Jesus continued, by giving report of another, similar situation. There were some eighteen people in Jerusalem, who had been killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them. Jesus said: “Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:4-5, NKJV).

You will notice that in both cases, Jesus first points out the fact that everyone who died was a sinner. (You might contrast this with today, in which both public opinion and not a few religious figures bestow instant beatification upon victims of a tragedy, regardless of the faith that those victims professed.) Human mortality points to the fact of sin; as Saint Paul says: “The wages of sin is death” (Ro 6:23, NKJV).

Second, Jesus points out the fact that the survivors are all sinners, too. He directs them to turn from their sins in repentance lest “you all likewise perish”.

All of this might remind us of a situation in the Old Testament, at the time of Jonah the prophet. Jonah went to the Gentile city of Nineveh, proclaiming to them that the God of Israel was going to overthrow their city. The king of Nineveh and all the people of that city responded to Jonah’s preaching by mourning – with sackcloth, fasting, and ashes (Jonah 3). Nineveh’s king proclaimed: “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?” (Jonah 3:7-9).

In faith, we look for salvation to the only true God. We can hardly believe that God would have saved Nineveh, if they had cried out for salvation to all of their false gods. The worship of false gods is solidly condemned by God in the Scriptures. And situations in which the worship of the true God is mixed with the worship of false gods (see 2 Chronicles 33) are solidly condemned as being “evil”.

Instead, when we are faced with tragedy, the best response is to confess the truth: We are sinners, and there is only one God who can save us, and that God is the One who has made Himself known to us by His Son, Jesus. We do not make such a confession when we gather together in the kind of public forum, in which leaders from a variety of religions (Christian and non-Christian) each take his assigned part of a joint-worship service, or in the kind of situation in which each religious leader takes his turn standing up to pray to his own god. Such practices give the impression that it does not matter what you worship, or to whom you pray. Such practices suggest that it’s best to cover your bases and pray (with Manasseh; 2 Chronicles 33) to all the host of heaven, a practice which the true God considers to be very evil indeed (2 Chr 33:6).


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  1. sue wilson
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:30 | #1

    I know that you probably didn’t mean to convey this, but what I hear you saying is to concentrate on ourselves in times of tragedy, repent of our sin, pray that we are not visited by evil, and ignore the families who have lost loved ones through no action or cause of their own.

  2. February 14th, 2013 at 10:35 | #2

    @sue wilson #1
    Pr. Higgins most certainly does not endorse ignoring those hurt in tragedies.

  3. Martin R. Noland
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:06 | #3

    Dear Pastor Higgins,

    Thanks for your very thoughtful, biblical, and helpful post.

    I think you properly address what the CTCR 2004 “Guidelines for Participation in Civic Events” either did not address or did not address clearly. That is if and when you are in a situation where you are asked to comment on community or national tragedies, where people have died, the Biblical response is what Jesus said in Luke 13:2-5:

    Repent

    This means “change your mind and your heart.” To those who don’t accept the Trinity or Christ, it means believe what the church confesses in its Creed. To those who accept that formally, but maybe not seriously, it means “change your heart” to acknowledge that you are a sinner and that only Christ can save you from the consequences of sin, namely, death, Satan, and hell.

    If a pastor can’t or won’t tell the unbelieving or unchurched audience to “Repent” in these terms, then he shouldn’t participate in these events. This is what the CTCR 2004 document on this issue should have said or should have said clearly.

    That CTCR 2004 document was approved and adopted in the 2004 convention as Resolution 3-06A (see 2004 Convention Proceedings, p. 130-131), and it is the source of the present confusion and controversy.

    I don’t blame the pastor in Newtown for what he did. He followed the synod’s official position in 2004 Res. 3-06A, as far as I can tell from the reports in the media.

    President Harrison also followed the synod’s official position as described in its Constitution–and HE IS REQUIRED TO DO THAT by Constitution Articles IX.B.2 and IX.B.3. That is the LCMS President’s job, folks!

    I have said this many times over the years: When people adopt resolutions or bylaws, they have to think “How is this going to be used and work out in practice.” Some folks at the 2004 convention objected to the 2004 CTCR document and Res. 3-06A, but the crowd was swayed by the Floor Chairman and by others who wanted to push it through, in spite of the objections raised.

    This just proves what Luther said: “Councils of the church can err.” Hopefully the 2013 convention can undo the error of the 2004 convention in respect to the 2004 CTCR doctrine on “serial prayer.” Maybe the best thing to do is scrap the whole 2004 CTCR document and start over from scratch.

    If the 2013 convention doesn’t deal with this issue, we can expect to see more of the same controversies in the future. If the 2013 convention doesn’t deal with this issue, then we will need to get used to the media poking fun at the LCMS because we don’t know what we are doing, except that we (apparently) sure enjoy fighting about the same thing all the time.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  4. rev. david l. prentice jr.
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:08 | #4

    @sue wilson #1
    Hmmm, I “sort of agree” with you if you look at the content only, but I think Pastor Higgins is conveying, “look inward, make sure YOUR faith and Salvation is secure first”, then roll up the sleeves and “get out” to help those hurting, whether pagan, Christian, or whatever. Sometimes the best confession of Truth is helping out, sharing the Love of Christ.

  5. Rev. Weinkauf
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:33 | #5

    @rev. david l. prentice jr. #4
    “I think Pastor Higgins is conveying,”look inward, make sure YOUR faith and Salvation is secure first then…”

    I don’t believe he’s saying this at all. At least he shouldn’t. We don’t “look inward” to find faith, or assurance or comfort or anything noble or good. We see only our wretchedness and filth there. It is quite popular to “look within” to find faith and God, your salvation, peace, comfort when we hurt and it will never, ever satisfy. Neither do I see the pietistic ideal that “sometimes” (or anytime?) “the best confession of the Truth” is done by works of the Law. But simply, as Jesus declares, according to the Law we are all condemned sinners, and only by the Gospel (completely outside ourselves) do we ever have any true comfort, healing, life in His forgiveness and promise.

  6. “LC-MS Quotes”
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:01 | #6

    @ #3

    Henry Eggold: Once in awhile, on the basis of questions of clarification, if it’s a substantial point, we’ll say we weren’t clear enough in the document and we better rewrite this.
    Dale Hartmann: Has that happened?
    Henry Eggold: Yes, that has happened. And then we send out clarifications to the church on these particular points.
    Dale Hartmann: So you’re willing to reconsider?
    Henry Eggold: We sure are.

    Springfield Speaks
    with Dale W. Hartmann and Stephen Houser
    “Commission on Theology and Church Relations”
    Henry J. Eggold, Robert D. Preus, Howard W. Tepker
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    1975

  7. rev. david l. prentice jr.
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:21 | #7

    @Rev. Weinkauf #5
    Oh yes, but once again, words are words and we must be careful; we do look inward, that is LENT, and what we find inside us is sin and the like, and we cry out to the Father in Heaven for comfort, and He hears us at the cross by His Son’s death and resurrection. Common man, “use of the Law”, Walther, etc. We then go out, YES, LAW, as saved sinners to share the love of Christ that is in our hearts, saved by HIS blood. There is no “works righteousness:”, but working with the Holy Spirit in sharing the love of Christ. And sometimes the best time is in tragedy, to “get out” and share.

  8. rev. david l. prentice jr.
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:25 | #8

    In fact, I think this is one place where Lutheran Church Charities can speak the best on how to minister in a tragedy, a national disaster. I wonder if they would speak to all this?

  9. Brenda Higley
    February 14th, 2013 at 13:31 | #9

    I’ve been watching you all from a distance for the past few days after reading the article in the St. Louis paper last week, and I really don’t have any words other than I agree with the comment Sue stated above.

    I do want to tell you that it’s been a very eye opening experience for this baptized and confirmed Lutheran woman as I’ve witness all of this controversy unfold in our synod the past couple of weeks. Just a suggestion that you can take or leave: maybe at your convention next week, instead of continuing to talk about Pastor Morris and how wrong he was for attending the Newtown prayer vigil, maybe you can discuss the horrible problem of gun violence and how we can all figure out how to minister and reach out to the type of person that would take an assault rifle and blow 20 first graders to bits in their own classroom. That would probably be time better spent, especially since all of you just keep saying the same things to each other over and over again. Just my humble opinion.

    Lastly, I’m curious how many of the Pastors here held prayer services and invited the community to your own churches to help people process this horrible tragedy?

    Thanks

    -Brenda Higley
    Seattle, WA

  10. T Rossow
    February 14th, 2013 at 13:51 | #10

    Hi Brenda,

    Thanks for your comments.

    We here in the Chicago suburbs did not hold a special service because the need was not that intense here but we mentioned it in our sermons several times in the last few weeks.

    After the 9/11 tragedy we did have a special service and opened it to the community. we just did not invite other clergy to participate because that would have muddled the Gospel.

    Concerning gun control, that is not really the mission of the church. The church’s mission is not to change the world. As Jesus said, we are in the world but not of it. Our mission is to preach his word of law and Gospel and administer his sacraments. I have my own personal political opinions about gun control but they are simply personal and would only muddle the Gospel were I to start preaching them. I am charged with preaching God’s word.

    BTW – I am convinced that the regular preaching of God’s word does move people to be more loving and less violent.

  11. “LC-MS Quotes”
    February 14th, 2013 at 14:43 | #11

    @ #3

    Robert Preus: We’re pretty fond of these documents. We think they’re good. But the point is that they’re sent out to engage the entire church in study. And we feel that they’re successful.
    Dale Hartmann: So they are not a pronouncement in any way, shape, or form.
    Robert Preus: No. And they’re not probably ever going to be one. We don’t even wish to see that goal.

    Springfield Speaks
    with Dale W. Hartmann and Stephen Houser
    “Commission on Theology and Church Relations”
    Henry J. Eggold, Robert D. Preus, Howard W. Tepker
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    1975

  12. John Rixe
    February 14th, 2013 at 15:01 | #12

    “Just a suggestion that you can take or leave: maybe at your convention next week, instead of continuing to talk about Pastor Morris and how wrong he was for attending the Newtown prayer vigil, maybe you can discuss the horrible problem of gun violence and how we can all figure out how to minister and reach out to the type of person that would take an assault rifle and blow 20 first graders to bits in their own classroom. That would probably be time better spent, especially since all of you just keep saying the same things to each other over and over again. ”

    I don’t think Brenda was talking about gun control. She was talking about ministering to people involved in gun violence. How do you reach them with the regular preaching of God’s word?

    @comment 10

  13. T Rossow
    February 14th, 2013 at 15:03 | #13

    Like I do to anybody else – with law and gospel and the Lord’s Supper.

  14. Rev. Clint K. Poppe
    February 14th, 2013 at 15:52 | #14

    Pastor Noland,

    I generally agree with what you write, but I could not disagree more with this statement regarding what you see as “the source of the present confusion and controversy.” This issue is not about CTCR Reports or resolutions or even the LCMS Constitution. God’s Word is clear that we are not to join in worship with those who deny the One True God.

    We have some in the LCMS who do not believe that syncretisim is sin in every case. We have some who believe that the “mission of the church” trumps God’s demand for pure teaching. We have some who are seemingly more concerned about what others think of us rather than what God says.

    Luther teaches us that “A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” (Thesis 21, Heidelburg Disputation)

    At the 2003 Walther Conference, Kurt Marquart said “Our tragedy is that this absolute priority of divine truth has become displaced in our synodical life. By what? By organizational concerns. Our disease is, you might say, ‘bureaucratitis.'” I believe Dr. Marquart was a true theologian of the cross.

    In Christ, Clint

  15. T Rossow
    February 14th, 2013 at 16:27 | #15

    Clint,

    I agree whole-heartedly. The problem here is that we have someone who sinned. There are no politics when the well being of a sinner is involved and the upholding of the truth of the Gospel.

    By-laws cannot stop us from treating sin as sin. If they do, we are obeying man instead of God.

  16. #4 Kitty
    February 14th, 2013 at 17:26 | #16

    @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #14

    We have some in the LCMS who do not believe that syncretisim is sin in every case.

    Is this true? For example, is it a sin for Muslim clergy to indulge in syncretistic worship with Hindu clergy?
    Answer: Obviously not.

    Ok, Is it a sin for a Baptist preacher to indulge in syncretistic worship with a Pentacostal preacher?
    If so, why? Note: Both of the above mentioned Christian denominations have profoundly flawed theologies. They don’t even recognize the sacraments! So, why does it even matter?

    My position is that the sin of syncretism is unique in that it only applies denominations holding to letter- perfect confessions of faith. In other words, syncretism only applies to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

  17. Brenda Higley
    February 14th, 2013 at 20:08 | #17

    Thanks for your response, Mr. Rossow.

    The need was not “intense” enough after Sandy Hook for a service? Seriously? Other than after 9/11, I can’t remember a more intense time of national grief. If the LCMS takes the position that we shouldn’t be attending or participating in community services with other denominations or other faiths, then it seems to be me it would be a priority that we hold our own services. How do you know the need was not intense enough? Was that a group decision made by LCMS pastors in your area, or did you just decide on your own? Twenty precious children were violently slaughtered in their classroom right before Christmas. Pretty much everyone but Satan himself was intensely grieving and services were taking place all over this country. In light of this current controversy, I would really love to know how many LCMS churches held services. Hopefully someone at the St. Louis paper is working on that.

    Interesting that you would jump to “gun control.” I have my own opinions on that as well, but Mr. Rixe was correct. I was making the point that we need to do more to reach out and help people in our communities – we can’t wait for them to come into our churches to hear the Gospel preached. Pastors and LCMS members need to be reaching out to their neighbors and friends who are suffering – get to know them, invite them to church, extend a hand in friendship. Not enough of that is going on. Pastors need to be discussing how best to shepherd their flocks so that this is getting done. This is the work that our Lord expects us to be doing in the world while we are here!

    That is one of the things that has been eye opening to me — how very concerned the LCMS is with politics. Maybe you are right that our Lord doesn’t expect us to change the world, but he does want us to help and influence the world in all of our own vocations. Speaking out and renouncing violence, like the ELCA did in its public prayer and statement, was something the LCMS should have done, too. But I’m sure Pastor Harrison was afraid his members would think he was talking about gun control so he didn’t say it.

    As you can tell, I’m really disappointed in the LCMS leadership on a number of different levels. As I said, this has been eye opening for me. I love my own Pastor and my LCMS congregation, but on a national level, I am embarrassed as you and your colleagues continue to argue over whether or not Pastor Morris sinned. There is so much more Jesus would have us be doing right now. I hope all of the Pastors in the LCMS can help us through this, but there is so much divisiveness and arguing and debating about who’s sinned and who’s the best confessional Lutheran that I highly doubt it’s possible. Time will tell and may God help us.

    Thank you for publishing my critical comments. I wondered if my posts would make it out of moderation.

    Blessed Lent to all,

    -Brenda Higley
    Seattle, WA

  18. February 14th, 2013 at 20:55 | #18

    Brenda,

    We publish all comments. We have a very liberal comment policy.

    Did your church have a speical vigil service dedicated to the Newtown tragedy? We had no one in our parish ask for such a thing. I attribute that mostly to the fact that we preach Christ crucified here every week and our people have learned how to deal with tragedy using the rich doctrine that we teach here. As I mentioned, we talked about in the regular services/sermonms for the last few weeks as it fit the texts.

    To your point about the foolishness of arguing doctrine. I would ask you to read the epistles of Paul and note how many times he talks about right doctrine and how many times he talks about growing in knowledge. Right doctrine is one of the major emphases in the Bible.

    I can appreciate that you are frustrated with the Missouri Synod but please allow me to give you some food for thought.

    The Newtown Vigil Service marks a great line demarcation for the church. It is not about pastors squabbling over who sinned more. It is about the question of worshipping together with those who worship false gods, the Muslims, the Jews and the Baha’i. There are those who say it is OK to bend the knee with pagans in exceptinoal situtuations and those who say that is never allowable to worship alongside someone who is serving a false god.

    The constitution of our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, based on the teachings of the Old Testament prophets, St. Paul and all of Scripture, has stated clearly that we are not to join in with the rites and ceremonies of the false teaching Christians and those who worship false gods. Have you seen the video? Pastor Morris did esactly that.

    You are a reasonable person. I hope you will consider this perspective on this important matter. I hope and pray that you will side with those who see that our jealous God does not want us joining in worship of gods who are no gods at all.

    Thanks for listening. We welcome your comments even when they do not agree with our position.

  19. Jim Hamilton
    February 14th, 2013 at 20:59 | #19

    @Brenda Higley #17

    Brenda, confessional Lutheran doctrine forbids unionism and syncretism, even when something really awful happens (as it always will). Sometimes our doctrine doesn’t “make sense” to the world, but so what? Our doctrine is based completely on God’s infallible Word and is not subject to modification.

  20. Brenda Higley
    February 14th, 2013 at 21:53 | #20

    Thanks for you comments, gentlemen.

    Mr. Rossow, that’s exactly my point — no, my LCMS church didn’t have a special service, but I attended a lovely community service at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Seattle. In hindsight, especially after learning all about our LCMS constitution, I wish I would have asked my Pastor about having our own service as a way to reach out to the community. (My term expired on 12/31/12, but at the time of Newtown, I was the outreach deacon on our church council.)

    And reinforcing my point even more, you mentioned that no one in your parish asked for such a service because they hear the preaching of Christ crucified every week and know how to deal with tragedy. What are others in your community, outside of your parish, supposed to do? Would you have them attend that community services where folks are praying to false Gods? For you or any LCMS pastor to take this strict of a position and then not to have opened up your own churches — well what kind of impression does that leave now as you are making these arguments? If your church sanctuary was dark, while the non-denominational church down the street was full of people praying, how can you even criticize when you offered no alternative? Many people of ALL faiths, Christian or not, needed pastoral care after that horrific event — especially people that don’t hear the sermons we are blessed to hear in our LCMS churches. And as we know, God uses all things for good – “the good” in this horrific awful tragedy could have been having people out looking for hope in Christ Jesus.

    I appreciate what you say about doctrine and what the bible says. The bible also has a lot to say about showing love and kindness to ALL people who are suffering. It also has a lot to say about protecting the meek and vulnerable, but I’m not going to go down the gun control road here, as I know it would not be well received. We had a conservative pastor in our State capitol preaching that the bible says we all need to be armed to the teeth, quoting all kinds of verses about picking up our swords and such. You see, people can pick and choose verses and emphasize those portions of the bible that make whatever case that suits them. It really rubs people the wrong way.

    Which leads me to Mr. Hamilton; I don’t expect everything that we believe and do to “make sense” to everyone, but I don’t think it serves our Lord well at all when we act like hypocrites.

    Anyway, I hope you see at least some of the points I’ve tried to make. Thank you.

    -Brenda Higley

  21. February 14th, 2013 at 22:43 | #21

    Brenda,

    I think I do understand your points.

    I am a little startled by your point that a church is not loving if it did not have a community service for the Newtown tragedy. I live in a high density suburban area of western Chicago and I do not know of a single church (Lutheran and otherwise) that had a special service for this. Does that mean my church and all those other churches are unloving?

    I also have to ask you, do you really think it is a loving thing to do at a joint service such as the one in Newtown, to tell the community that all the children are in heaven whether they beleived in Christ or not? That is what most of the speakers at Newtown preached, including President Obama.

    The doctrine at the Newtown vigil was very unbiblical and deceptive.

    Did you watch the video?

  22. Brenda Higley
    February 15th, 2013 at 00:09 | #22

    Honestly, Pastor, I have only watched parts of the video and I didn’t even do that until this controversy exploded. As the mother of a first grader I was too devastated to watch any TV coverage for several days after the Sandy Hook shooting. Besides I do not find comfort in those types of events for reasons that I don’t need to explain to you.

    But I think where we disagree is that you are calling the Newtown event “worship.” I didn’t see it as a worship service at all. By definition it wasn’t worship for at the very start of the event it was announced there were many different faiths in attendance. This was a community event held to give comfort to all, no matter what their faith. How can worship even occur in such a setting? I know you disagree. I think this is where we have our work cut out for us.

    Moving forward as the LCMS church in a positive way requires us to resolve this big divide. What is the proper way for the LCMS to respond in times of tragedy? I know the answer is not to just stay home and not engage with hurting people. I believe that Pastor Morris was right to be there. He lost two children in his congregation. Two of his little ones were slaughtered in cold blood right before Christmas. How could he refuse? You and I have very different opinions on that. Granted I am not clergy and hopefully faithful pastors on both sides of the issue will come together in prayer and study and figure out what is right for us going forward.

    As far as LCMS churches not having a service, I didn’t use the word unloving. I know LCMS members were devastated by this just like I was. But with all due respect I’m bewildered that you and others in our synod can so vehemently protest participating in these community vigils yet not even have the thought cross your mind to offer an alternative. If the LCMS truly cared about all the people flocking to pray to false Gods to the point where we mention it in our constitution, then why wouldn’t we at least open our doors up and hold a service? At the very least, open up our doors for prayer?

    By the way, I think it’s sad that in a city the size of Chicago not one church held a special service to grieve the loss of first graders and teachers murdered so violently in their school. That is just very sad to me. Not to mentioned a complete squandering of an opportunity to share the gospel with people who desperately need it.

    My prayers will be with the pastors and leaders in the synod as we try to move past this sad time in our church.

    Thanks for talking with me.

    Brenda

  23. February 15th, 2013 at 04:39 | #23

    Brenda Higley :This was a community event held to give comfort to all, no matter what their faith.

    Giving comfort to people by offering them false hope in a god who cannot save them is really no comfort at all. Encouraging them to trust in “one of the above” gods is unconscionable for a Christian, when we know only one God loved us enough to give his Child for us, only One loved us enough to lay down his life for us, his friends.

  24. Rev. Clint K. Poppe
    February 15th, 2013 at 08:10 | #24

    @#4 Kitty #16

    Syncretism (as referred to in the LCMS Constitution) is when a believer joins together in worship with an unbeliever. God tells us what He thinks of that practice throughout Scripture, especially in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

    In Christ, Clint

  25. Brenda Higley
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:19 | #25

    Yes, Pastors Crandall and Poppe, those points have been mentioned several times.

    You guys certainly know how to stick to your talking points.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

    -Brenda

  26. Jason
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:32 | #26

    @Brenda Higley #25

    Realize what you call talking points we call “this is what we bleieve, tach and confess.” It is part of who we are, and we take it seriously. So we will talk about it a lot.

    We do care about others, and we care about them enough to not want to blow sunshine up theier butts. We wan tto give them good an dappropriate comfort and aid, not mere lip service. It is also not easy. We don’t want to take the easy way and get past things, skim over them, or be superficial in our care. That is what we would view as hypocritical: saying shallow niceties and not following through with real care.

    Thank you for listening to our perspective. We hope all can learn from this discussion.

  27. Brenda Higley
    February 15th, 2013 at 10:05 | #27

    I hear you, Jason. It is frustrating, though, when I make valid points and people respond with the same points already made. We won’t get anywhere in mending our divisions.

    I’m not the only one that feels this way – there are a lot of other people in the LCMS who feel the way I do.

    Thanks,

    -Brenda

  28. February 15th, 2013 at 11:10 | #28

    Brenda Higley :I hear you, Jason. It is frustrating, though, when I make valid points and people respond with the same points already made. We won’t get anywhere in mending our divisions.
    I’m not the only one that feels this way – there are a lot of other people in the LCMS who feel the way I do.
    Thanks,
    -Brenda

    Brenda,

    You apparently keep making valid points about your precious feelings and you just dismissed as “talking points” the Word of God. Any pastor worth his salt says the same thing as what God says in His Word.

  29. rev. david l. prentice jr.
    February 15th, 2013 at 11:19 | #29

    @Brenda Higley #27
    Brenda, many do understand your points, your frustrations. Many Pastors have not dealt with problems of this nature, they have not been in the trenches, many have not had to “get out” into the lousy world in a disaster, of any nature to comfort, even comfort the hurting non-believer. Yes, many of us have a differing view of what makes worship, even the CTCR documents leave us scratching our heads on these “civic” events. Stay steadfast Brenda.

  30. #4 Kitty
    February 15th, 2013 at 11:47 | #30

    @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #24
    Thank you Pastor Poppe.

  31. Jim Hamilton
    February 15th, 2013 at 11:56 | #31

    Brenda, if every person on earth were in favor of syncretism, it would still be contrary to God’s Word and absolutely wrong. Holy doctrine is not determined by your personal feelings. Of course, holy doctrine is apparently just “talking points” if it doesn’t line up with your opinion. Also, there is no true “comfort” to be had from an interfaith service. Temporary emotional salves do not deliver the forgiveness of sins and salvation. In fact, interfaith services make justification less likely because they give the impression that there are many ways to heaven.

  32. Brenda Higley
    February 15th, 2013 at 18:42 | #32

    Pastor Crandall, my “precious feelings”? You do not even know me so please do not judge me. I came to a website of pastors to have a discussion about a very controversial issue in our synod. Rather than engage in that discussion, most everyone continued to say the same things over and over to me while ignoring the things I wrote. That’s what it means to stick to “talking points.” I have never in my life dismissed the word of God.

    By the way, the word of God has a lot to say about humility as well.

  33. Brenda Higley
    February 15th, 2013 at 18:45 | #33

    Rev. Prentice, thanks for your gracious response to me. I will continue to study and pray and discuss this issue with my own pastor and other members of my congregation.

    I was urged not to come here and now I know why. To those of you who have read my posts and treated me with kindness, thank you.

    Brenda

  34. John Rixe
    February 15th, 2013 at 19:33 | #34

    “Honestly, Pastor, I have only watched parts of the video and I didn’t even do that until this controversy exploded”

    Pr Morris only spoke for 2 minutes. Here it is again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnfitW7ihwU&sns=em

    Thanks for your comments and good questions, Brenda

  35. Carl H
    February 16th, 2013 at 06:58 | #35

    From the main post:
    “Instead, when we are faced with tragedy, the best response is to confess the truth….”

    What God says:
    “…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
    Psalm 50:15 ESV

  36. February 16th, 2013 at 18:12 | #36

    http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/newtown-controversy-could-be-agenda-item-at-lutheran-meeting-here/article_2fb678ce-5074-5b9a-9c2c-f74068d0e4e2.html

    Tim Townsend, President Benke, and “Deep Throat” are at it again:

    “Harrison’s successful candidacy in 2010 — buoyed by strong support from the synod’s conservative wing — exposed a longstanding political rift within the denomination. Harrison’s handling of the Newtown vigil reawakened those divisions, just in time for election season.”

    “Benke, the Atlantic district president, comes to the meeting with a unique tie to the Newtown incident. In 2001, he was suspended — and later reinstated — after taking part in an interfaith prayer vigil at Yankee Stadium in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.”

    “We have specific opinions on Christian behavior in the civil arena,” Benke told the Post-Dispatch. “New York City is very pluralistic, so we’re used to it, but for most it’s not seen every day.”

    “One former district president who asked that his name not be used said it was likely that the regional leaders would demand more information… According to the synod’s bylaws, admonishment of a pastor falls to the pastor’s district president, not the president of the synod. It’s likely, according to the former district president, that the rest of the church’s regional leaders will ask for Harrison’s assurance that he did not preempt Yeadon’s authority by publicly chastising Morris himself.”

    That anyone would be so thoughtless (or hateful) that they would inflict further pain on the suffering folks of Newtown in their determination to discredit President Harrison by publicizing comments removed from the internet is unconscionable.

  37. rev. david l. prentice jr.
    February 18th, 2013 at 15:52 | #37

    @Brenda Higley #33
    You are welcome. Stay steadfast in your faith and keep on with the study and keep talking with your Pastor.

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