Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The invitation to dialog. . .

Bizarro has it about perfect, don't you think?
Those who are of, well, shall we say, the more progressive wing of Christianity are always talking about talking.  Dialog is good.  Conversation is great.  We should always talk.  That is the line, anyway.  Yet those who want us to talk do not seem to want to listen.

I have heard it over and over again that the, well, shall we say, conservatives do not want to talk.  Actually, I think most conservatives are rather chatty.  They seem to welcome any and every opportunity to make their case for the faith once delivered to the saints and now preserved in creed, catechism, and confession.  They tend to talk all the time about what Scripture says, what the Confessions say, what the creed confesses, and what the Confessions confess.  But it seems that this is generally not what the more progressive wing wants to talk about. Perhaps that is the core and center of the problem.

It shows up here, for example.  If I post something about ceremonies in the Church, someone always reminds me that the Confessions do indeed allow for some diversity in ceremony.  And that is true.  But it never gets to the meat of the issue which is diversity in what -- ceremony, liturgy (or not), music, creed, etc...  Just throwing out the point about not requiring uniformity in ceremony does little to address those Lutherans who do not follow any real liturgy, whose worship is virtually synonymous with generic evangelicals, and whose music represents the playlist of popular contemporary Christian music.  As soon as you want to unpack what the Confessions say beyond the old saw about uniformity of ceremony not being necessary, the conversation seems to come to an end.  Let me contrast that with the conservatives (bad terms, I know) who seem to talk all the time about what this means and does not mean and even disagree about it without the dialog evolving into silence.

Perhaps that is the problem.  Most of us want to talk but we are not sure we want to listen.  For what it is worth, the side of things where I usually fall does not want to talk so much about opinions or feelings or even what works but they want to talk about what the Scriptures say, what our Confessions proclaim, what our creed confesses, what our tradition has bequeathed to us, and what is best to add to it.  I will admit that I don't want to listen to conversations that have no basis in Scripture, no connection to Confession, creed, or catechism, and no cause consistent with the catholic faith.  I fear that conversation is really a code word for convincing me to ignore what Scripture says, what our Confessions proclaim, what we learned from the catechism, what we confess in the creed, how we sing and speak in the liturgy, and what we sing in the great hymns of the faith.  Maybe I am a little touchy on this subject but I tend to think I am more right than wrong in this.  Of course, that does not mean all that much.  I have been more right than wrong about a lot of things and still way off base.  In the end, however, when we speak it ought to flow from and back to Scripture as the source and norm, Confession as faithful exposition of that Scripture, creed as summary of what Scripture says, catechism as instructional book of doctrine and Scripture, and liturgy as prayed Scripture.  If it doesn't, the talking, however nice, will be rather fruitless.


Anonymous said...

Luther finally told Zwingli at the Marburg Colloquy that 'we are of a different Spirit.' End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

It is simply a passive-aggressive attempt in fact to shut down substantial conversation and reach a decision.

"Let's keep talking" means actually, "I see you still hold to your stupid opinions, so because you won't change your mind and you keep telling me I'm wrong, we need to keep talking because eventually I will get my way. At which point, we will no longer discuss it since it is a settled issue."

Just look at the idiotic nonsense in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, they talked homosexuality to death, until the leftists got their way, now...no more talking is permitted. It is now the work of the Holy Spirit which cannot be doubted.

Anonymous said...

The ELCA is exhibit A for the method of talking until you get
your own way. The decision of 2009 was the result of years
and years of talking about homosexuality until everyone was
really confused about bound-consciences. The vote for gay and
lesbian marriages as well as homosexual pastors culminated in
a mass exodus of ELCA members and parishes.

Anonymous said...

“When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of the others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and then only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate the faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it.”

The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology
Charles Porterfield Krauth

Carl Vehse said...

Maybe they're dialoguing...

Pope Francis speaks with leftist Michael Moore at the end of the weekly general audience on October 17, 2018 at St. Peter's square in the Vatican.