Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Uppity Vicar Encounters Rev. Daystar

The following is a real exchange that happened to a young Lutheran vicar. The speaker came to the church promoting an ecumenical mercy group. Names are withheld to protect my butt, but not the innocent. I still insist on the Gospel ALL preaching and as a called and ordained servant of Christ, I will not tolerate anything else. Think of this when the Daystar thugs try to influence your vote this July in Houston.

{Dear Sir}
I wanted to let you know that I was affirmed through my High School Bible Study by your speech at our congregation. When I asked them what they thought of your presentation, the resounding answer was that there was no mention of God, Christ or the Gospel. While this is not good for your speech, it was very good that my High School students recognized this in a sermon and missed it.


The Uppity Vicar

Dear Uppity Vicar:

I am at a loss for words! What do you mean you "were affirmed through
"my" high school Bible study by your speech at our congregation." UV -
I have no intention of engaging you in some frivolous conversation on e-mail.
Were you evaluating a speech rather than listening to a homily? Where were
these young people when I referenced to the poverty of God in Christ Jesus? "Though
He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might
become rich? " Where were they and you as a matter of fact when I said you only
see Jesus in the eyes of the poor?

Come back to me, dear friend. I have no idea what you have in mind by this kind of
adolescent comment. I regret your high schoolers were not in my educational
forum to ask questions and see a brilliant DVD on the ministry of Jesus to the poor.
UV, If I am missing the point of your post, inform me so. I am put off by this kind
conversation and more and more have grave concerns about what is happening in
theological education to produce this kind of non-professional judgment on a speaker.

If you want to call me and explain what in the world you mean or have in mind, do so.

With serious disappointment,

The Dear Sir, Ph. D., Pastor Emeritus

Dear Sir,
Please accept my humble apologies, sincerely. It was indeed wrong of me to criticize in such an adolescent manner. I respect the work of your mission, but honestly sir, and with true humility, the proclamation of the gospel was simply not there.

Again, I beg your forgiveness for my immaturity. It was out of line.


The Uppity Vicar

Dear Uppity Vicar:

I have received your e-mail re: "Sermon Affirmation" posted
February 06, 2006 8:42 PM in which you expressed "humble
apologies and in the same three sentence paragraph added:
"but honestly sir, and with true humility, the proclamation of the
gospel was simply not there."

Furthermore you added in a two sentence paragraph, "Again,
I beg your forgiveness for my immaturity. It was out of line."

UV, I want to follow up this correspondence for the sake of
learning and common decency and order in the life of the
church. It is not a proper or good posture to begin in anyway
defensively. That just digs a deeper hole of misunderstanding.
I need to understand what prompted this response from you,
how it ever became a matter of discussion with the youth
[I assume Bible class] of the congregation, if you brought
this up or some disgruntled teen asked a question about
the morning sermon.

I was disappointed when 65 persons who stopped for breakfast
after the early service left before my hour presentation with
video and conversation. 12 adults remained and expressed
gratitude for the added emphasis on dealing with issue of
abject poverty in the western hemisphere. The video was
repleat with gospel references to the action of the Christian
Life, references aplenty to Matthew 25 and the final judgment.

But even more important, UV, is the greater concern I have
for someone [and I do not know whom] who called the
{Social Gospel} headquarters and complained that I
had preached about a "generic" God. UV, do you know
anything about this telephone call? If you do, I would
appreciate your response[s].

When I introduced the homily reference was made to the
problems Paul was having with the church in Corinth - do
you remember that? "I do not say this as a command,
but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the
earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of
our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for
your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you
might become rich."

The gospel is proclaimed in deed and in truth. This
issues of abject poverty require such a stretch for
wealthy Christians, one speaks the gospel in the
actions of love and care for the poor. Remember - you
only see Jesus in the eyes of the poor. . .

What is of concern for me, is talking behind one back,
what is loveless is stirring a pot when there may be
misunderstanding. What hurts and cuts to the center of the
heart is what has been going on in the synod for more than
four decades, these kinds of accusations and often
it results in lovelessness and professional lynchings.

Uppity Vicar, I have preached for 44 years, over 2000 times, beginning
as a prepie, student at the seminary, a vicarage in [a salt water district][many] years ago, and years and years as a professor
and pastor of the church and NEVER have I been accused of
what you have written. O, yes, I have preached some lousy,
bad, poorly constructed, misunderstood, I'm sure, sermons.
We all do. No one is perfect and there is never a perfect

Remember, dear young vicar, when you are young and ambitious
and often critical of others - you probably approach every
preaching situation wanting to preach a good sermon. That's
great! I have taught communications and homiletics for more
than 40 years. But Uppity Vicar, as you mature and grow into the
demands of ministry you will need to think about preaching a
sermon that does some good! That's what we are called to

As I gave my examples of caring for the poor, I was walking
in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus didn't preach as much as he
taught, he didn't lecture as much as the loved, and forgave
healed and ate with the street people of his world .

Please be careful, not to judge people, to create kangaroo
courts to denigrate others. If you are having difficulty with
someone, go first to that person for clarification and

I feel violated by someone, UV. I pray it was not you and I
have no evidence it was and cannot accuse you of that
unkind act. But if you know of anyone that did this to me
please direct that person to me. That is step one in
solvng a spiritual problem for the well-being of both parties.

I remember my vicarage very well. My bishop made it very
clear to me that I made no decisions that were not his. I was
a student preparng for pastoral ministry. The grace of my
supervisor was this that if I did make a mistake he took
responsibility for it, and then helped me to grow in ways that
avoided doing the same thing wrong twice.

I write as one who had the responsibility of placing thousands
of Lutheran students into parish ministries world wide and
pray that the continuation of your year of internship will be a blessing
to you as you await that special calling wherever it my be. As I
lecture in the University classroom during this spring semester,
I am aware of how things have changed in our beloved synod.
The classroom is filled with those who have no active faith, is
represented by students pregnant out of wedlock, and the list
could go on. There is never a moment when the gospel message
is not worked out in word and deed.

Thanks for reading this rather lengthy transmittal. I pray that you
will receive it with grace and in the spirit of Christian love.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Dear Sir, Pastor Emeritus