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9 minutes ago, thormas said:

What does this even mean? Do you know? Why do you see a difference between divine 'command' and human compassion?

Again with the moralism and legalism, catch words - but no attempt to respond from the heart. There is no moralism or legalism in my words, nor is there anything but love grounded in relationships with others (if not concrete what are they?).

 

I have no issue with you or anyone not being, as you indicated earlier, a PhD in religion (there are probably none here) but I did expect someone who willingly came to this (or any such) site and presented opinion in a debate and dialogue section, to be able to elaborate on that opinion or belief to some degree and not simply trot out the same catch words again and again and again. 

 

Divine Command Theory is like what conservative Muslims, Orthodox Jews, or conservative Reformed Christians think of morality.   God just hands people a list of do's and don'ts and you'ld better conform to them.   No consideration is given to the concrete circumstances of individuals.   It's a kind of moral absolutism or fundamentalism.

 

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Divine Command Theory is like what conservative Muslims, Orthodox Jews, or conservative Reformed Christians think of morality.   God just hands people a list of do's and don'ts and you'ld better conform to them.   No consideration is given to the concrete circumstances of individuals.   It's a kind of moral absolutism or fundamentalism.

Fine, but no one here, including me, is advocating Divine Command Theory (is this really a thing?) or anything close to it.

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Lutherans aren't opposed to  love.  I think you have misunderstood what I am saying if that is what you have taken away from our conversation.

Prostitution may not measure up to some peoples ideals but many people marry for more ignoble reasons than a prostitute has for selling her body.  So really, who are we to judge?

Actually, I never said anything close to that. I am, and have been, trying to get some clarification and explanation of what you, a representative of Lutheranism, has been saying is Lutheran belief/practice. However, by your definition, it must be possible for some individual Lutherans to oppose love because you said,  "it's ultimately up to the individual ....... to judge matters of ethical importance." So, technically, one could judge matters and oppose love. Or, is it not up to the individual?

No, it is not that prostitution may not measure up to some people's ideals, it is that prostitution, the treatment, giving, selling, buying of another human being for one's self, knowing that other person is not valued in her/himself but as a thing to be used and is interchangeable with another 'thing'-  is not loving; it is ignoring both the commandments of loving God and loving the other, your neighbor, wherever, whoever, whenever they are. 

Don't conflate it by dodging to another topic, address it in itself. We have already said there are different reasons for both the prostitute and the client and those reasons differ greatly. However, we can still say the idea, the action, the concrete reality of prostitution is wrong. Can't you?  The reasons are one thing but although the reasons may mitigate blameworthiness, it does not change the reality that the concrete act of prostitution (as defined above) is................wrong; it is not an act of love, it is not an act of compassion concern for another human being. Do you think it is? Does Lutheranism think it is? Is it up to the individual? 

We all know some people marry for ignoble reasons and that some of those reasons are more ignoble than some reason for prostitution. That does not change the reality of prostitution. 

 

 

Who are we to judge? We are the ones who supposedly follow the Christ and make important to us what was important to him: Love - as expressed in the two great commandments, as portrayed in parables, as preached, as signified in his miracles, as lived in his life, as evident on his cross, as held up and lived by his first followers in the aftermath of the resurrection. 

Who are we? We are (to be) the ones in whom love becomes grounded: If love of neighbor is not embodied, not incarnated in us - how will love ever become "grounded in concrete relationships with others."  And what is to be done if another does not understand (or misunderstands) Love and does not live it with (concrete) others? Are we to do nothing? Did the man, Jesus, do nothing? 

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5 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Jesus accepted people. 

Some Christians want to have hierarchies of sinners, or a certain invariant standard for who is and is not properly repentant, and that's just not how how my church generally does things.

We agree.  Acceptance always.  No hierarchy of sin.

But acceptance does not equate to approval or to labeling sin as righteousness.  And for each individual,  an effort is expected to admit to sin and decrease its incidence and severity.

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55 minutes ago, thormas said:

Actually, I never said anything close to that. I am, and have been, trying to get some clarification and explanation of what you, a representative of Lutheranism, has been saying is Lutheran belief/practice. However, by your definition, it must be possible for some individual Lutherans to oppose love because you said,  "it's ultimately up to the individual ....... to judge matters of ethical importance." So, technically, one could judge matters and oppose love. Or, is it not up to the individual?

No, it is not that prostitution may not measure up to some people's ideals, it is that prostitution, the treatment, giving, selling, buying of another human being for one's self, knowing that other person is not valued in her/himself but as a thing to be used and is interchangeable with another 'thing'-  is not loving; it is ignoring both the commandments of loving God and loving the other, your neighbor, wherever, whoever, whenever they are. 

Don't conflate it by dodging to another topic, address it in itself. We have already said there are different reasons for both the prostitute and the client and those reasons differ greatly. However, we can still say the idea, the action, the concrete reality of prostitution is wrong. Can't you?  The reasons are one thing but although the reasons may mitigate blameworthiness, it does not change the reality that the concrete act of prostitution (as defined above) is................wrong; it is not an act of love, it is not an act of compassion concern for another human being. Do you think it is? Does Lutheranism think it is? Is it up to the individual? 

We all know some people marry for ignoble reasons and that some of those reasons are more ignoble than some reason for prostitution. That does not change the reality of prostitution. 

 

 

Who are we to judge? We are the ones who supposedly follow the Christ and make important to us what was important to him: Love - as expressed in the two great commandments, as portrayed in parables, as preached, as signified in his miracles, as lived in his life, as evident on his cross, as held up and lived by his first followers in the aftermath of the resurrection. 

Who are we? We are (to be) the ones in whom love becomes grounded: If love of neighbor is not embodied, not incarnated in us - how will love ever become "grounded in concrete relationships with others."  And what is to be done if another does not understand (or misunderstands) Love and does not live it with (concrete) others? Are we to do nothing? Did the man, Jesus, do nothing? 

Perhaps you did not read that essay by Pr. Ed Knudson, he made it clear that the Lutheran view of the individual conscience is not that it is autonomous, as in liberal accounts of ethics, but that it is in relationship with God and the Church.  Still, moral agency does rest with the individual, that's how it works.  We are all individually responsible as human beings before God for our lives.

The principal way love is expressed in the Lutheran tradition is in our sacramentalism and our Eucharistic spirituality.  This is how God shows love for us, by imparting to us grace through the power of the Word.   We ought to love each other as a result, but our standing before God is not dependent on our ability to love in kind, nor will we be able to perfectly actualize God's love in this life.

Edited by FireDragon76

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26 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

Perhaps you did not read that essay by Pr. Ed Knudson, he made it clear that the Lutheran view of the individual conscience is not that it is autonomous, as in liberal accounts of ethics, but that it is in relationship with God and the Church.  Still, moral agency does rest with the individual, that's how it works.  We are all individually responsible as human beings before God for our lives.

The principal way love is expressed in the Lutheran tradition is in our sacramentalism and our Eucharistic spirituality.  This is how God shows love for us, by imparting to us grace through the power of the Word. We ought to love each other as a result, but our standing before God is not dependent on our ability to love in kind, nor will we be able to perfectly actualize God's love in this life

 

No FD76 I am relying on you to explain Lutheranism - I have some of the video posts from you and others saved but my reading list is full for now. Thus, it is on you.

Regardless, you have now offered more info and in response to the question, "who are we to judge" it appears, at least in part, the Lutheran community is. If the Church see or hears of one running a prostitution ring in town or turning tricks in the community room, apparently the Church, as it is in relationship with the individual, would make a judgment and 'say' something, probably even pass judgment and say this is not acceptable in our community or before God. Sure the individual bears responsibility (or blameworthiness)  as in most churches and human situations but the Lutheran Church will weigh in. Thanks you!

I thought you said, 'love becomes grounded in relationships with concrete others.' So this is done in the sacraments and the Eucharist but that is in community, isn't it expressed in the world also? And if this is how God shows his love for Lutherans, how do Lutherans show/express their love of God and neighbor: isn't it in community and in the world? 

Standing before God is not dependent on one's ability to love (like God loves?) in kind but it calls for us to love, love more, love again, love continually and not be selfish (i.e. sin). And, no one is talking about perfect actualization, just living the (2) commandments and truly loving - this seems to be our responsibilities as human beings before God.

Love and forgiveness must be accepted: the Prodigal was forgiven and loved but he had to do something; he had to 'turn' and return to share the live of the Father (and this from Jesus). 

56 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

our standing before God is not dependent on our ability to love in kind, nor will we be able to perfectly actualize God's love in this life.

Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is not a question of whether or not we are loved or forgiven, we are; we are forgiven by God, no pre-conditions and it is pure grace. And no, because we, as the Prodigal, must turn, accept that love and forgiveness and share the life of the Father by loving (in kind if not degree). It is not a pre-condition, it is because we are loved, that we, in turn, can love and as such we (can) 'stand before God' as sons and daughters that share his life (again as in the Prodigal).

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

 If the Church see or hears of one running a prostitution ring in town or turning tricks in the community room, apparently the Church, as it is in relationship with the individual, would make a judgment and 'say' something, probably even pass judgment and say this is not acceptable in our community or before God.

This is a pastoral issue and it's ultimately up to the congregation.  However, most of us would be reluctant to excommunicate or ostracize anyone merely because they don't live up to our ideals.   We would primarily be concerned about exploitation more than issues of moral impurity.  

Prostitution is legal in Germany, BTW, an historically Lutheran country, so this may not be an academic issue there at all.

 

 

Edited by FireDragon76

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28 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

This is a pastoral issue and it's ultimately up to the congregation.  However, most of us would be reluctant to excommunicate or ostracize anyone merely because they don't live up to our ideals.   We would primarily be concerned about exploitation more than issues of moral impurity.  

Prostitution is legal in Germany, BTW, an historically Lutheran country, so this may not be an academic issue there at all.

FD76,

Who said anything about excommunication or ostracizing another?  Dodge ball anyone?  The point was that the Lutherans, hopefully, would act, that they would do...........something. And it's not about your ideals, it is the commandment (or if you prefer) the way of Jesus who Lutherans supposedly profess and follow. I actually can't believe that a Christian would prevaricate on this or similar issues. 

But you would be concerned about exploitation, well that is what prostitution involves so .............the concern would have to include the vehicle (i.e. prostitution) by which another is exploited or, simply, the lack of love for your neighbor via the vehicle (i.e. prostitution). But again you go to moral purity while I am simply talking about love of neighbor. 

Prostitution is legal in Germany, so Lutherans and Christians should bow to the state? What in the name of God was legal or condoned by the 'state' under Hitler? And people, who bowed to what was legal or acceptable then, were considered cowards and sympathizers. Prostitution (defined/discussed above), simply because it is legal in some places, is no longer a concern for the Lutheran, especially in Luther's home? It was also legal or acceptable to stone people in the time of Jesus: did he just say to the crowd, "it's legal, I don't want to ostracize anyone with a stone in their hand" or did he, knowing it was wrong, go against the norm, the legal, the expected and accepted and say, "he who is without sin..................?" 

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8 hours ago, thormas said:

FD76,

Who said anything about excommunication or ostracizing another?  Dodge ball anyone?  The point was that the Lutherans, hopefully, would act, that they would do...........something. And it's not about your ideals, it is the commandment (or if you prefer) the way of Jesus who Lutherans supposedly profess and follow. I actually can't believe that a Christian would prevaricate on this or similar issues. 

But you would be concerned about exploitation, well that is what prostitution involves so .............the concern would have to include the vehicle (i.e. prostitution) by which another is exploited or, simply, the lack of love for your neighbor via the vehicle (i.e. prostitution). But again you go to moral purity while I am simply talking about love of neighbor. 

Prostitution is legal in Germany, so Lutherans and Christians should bow to the state? What in the name of God was legal or condoned by the 'state' under Hitler? And people, who bowed to what was legal or acceptable then, were considered cowards and sympathizers. Prostitution (defined/discussed above), simply because it is legal in some places, is no longer a concern for the Lutheran, especially in Luther's home? It was also legal or acceptable to stone people in the time of Jesus: did he just say to the crowd, "it's legal, I don't want to ostracize anyone with a stone in their hand" or did he, knowing it was wrong, go against the norm, the legal, the expected and accepted and say, "he who is without sin..................?" 

I don't believe all forms of sex work would necessarily involve degradation or exploitation.  Have you heard of sexual surrogacy, for instance?  You are making sweeping judgments on things I don't think you have much knowledge of.

Prostitution is a concern for us.  Officially, our church takes somewhat conservative stances on this issue in its social statements.  However, ultimately the individual's moral agency on these matters is what counts.  Our social statements are meant to be persuasive, not coercive.  

I believe you simply don't understand the Lutheran way of doing things, so I give up debating this with you.  You seem to have a real problem with a non-legalistic approach to Christian ethics.

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

I don't believe all forms of sex work would necessarily involve degradation or exploitation.  Have you heard of sexual surrogacy, for instance?  You are making sweeping judgments on things I don't think you have much knowledge of.

Prostitution is a concern for us.  Officially, our church takes somewhat conservative stances on this issue in its social statements.  However, ultimately the individual's moral agency on these matters is what counts.  Our social statements are meant to be persuasive, not coercive.  

I believe you simply don't understand the Lutheran way of doing things, so I give up debating this with you.  You seem to have a real problem with a non-legalistic approach to Christian ethics.

FD76,

You really have to be more thoughtful and also read more carefully. Once again, you dodge and move to a new topic, now it's surrogacy - really? As should be obvious and from you own words, the point is exploitation of another (or self) and this, an expression of human self-centeredness, is present in prostitution, in some marriages for all the ignoble reasons you imagine and many other interactions. So, if we are talking about self-centeredness or (the original and only) sin, it is a sweeping, far-reaching reality. 

Now, surrogacy: so if someone hangs a sign outside their door, I would be suspect - however, it this falls under medical or psychological need and one even gets a referral from a doctor - we seem to have moved from exploitation to care (perhaps). However, if the 'patients' motives are suspect or the 'provider'' has his or her own issues we might be moving back to exploitation. Even you must recognize this. 

Finally we get somewhere: the church, your church, the Lutheran Church, the Christian church, is against certain actions (ex. prostitution, stealing, killing, adultery, etc.) and they look to individual moral agency - well, welcome to Christianity. As has been discussed, there are many reasons to engage in prostitution or solicit a prostitute - however, as the action by definition, exploits or uses another, it is simply a wrong action. As in our previous example, if a young woman, the only support for her child, no family or societal help, turns tricks or becomes a high class escort, we might be able to understand what drive her, however the reality still exists that 'mutual exploitation' is her and his (all the men and women who meet her) choice and something other than compassionate concern for our neighbor is unleashed and affirmed in the world: human selfishness is unleashed and given power in the world. Then, the issue is culpability for the action: I would still regard the moral responsibility of this woman to be 'less' than the pimp who lures, rapes, drugs and forces women into prostitution and engages with them, wouldn't you? However, the actions of both (to different degrees) affirms the exploitation of others.

 And your church doesn't take a conservative stance, it takes a stance based in love, in its Christ. And in all this, I have never advocated for coercive action by a Christian community (actually you are the one to introduce excommunication and ostracizing members), I have just been trying to get at what you seem to say about Lutheranism. If you can't see the whole picture, your naïveté (citing German legal prostitution and calling it 'sex work') provides support for the further exploitation of others in the world. Bravo Christian. 

I wonder if Christ would land in Germany today, see that prostitution is legal and turn on his heel and say, "we're good here, what's the next country on the itinerary?" Or perhaps, rather than saying "sin no more" he would simply say, "no problem, it's legal." What do you think, FD?

 

I have been worried about the same thing about you: that you simply don't understand your own Lutheran church and rather than engage in a constructive discussion, you keep falling back on catch words with the continuing inability to explain what they mean. I actually have no problem with what you continually term as non-legalistic Christian ethics and have never been a legalist; I have simply been pressing you to explain what you say your profess.

Oh well, it was worth a shot. I wish you well.

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49 minutes ago, thormas said:

FD76,

You really have to be more thoughtful and also read more carefully. Once again, you dodge and move to a new topic, now it's surrogacy - really? As should be obvious and from you own words, the point is exploitation of another (or self) and this, an expression of human self-centeredness, is present in prostitution, in some marriages for all the ignoble reasons you imagine and many other interactions. So, if we are talking about self-centeredness or (the original and only) sin, it is a sweeping, far-reaching reality. 

Now, surrogacy: so if someone hangs a sign outside their door, I would be suspect - however, it this falls under medical or psychological need and one even gets a referral from a doctor - we seem to have moved from exploitation to care (perhaps). However, if the 'patients' motives are suspect or the 'provider'' has his or her own issues we might be moving back to exploitation. Even you must recognize this.

I think that's just soft-peddaled judgmental, puritanical, and narrow attitudes.  You may cloak your ethos in the language of love, but you'ld consign a great deal of humanism to the scrapheap just because it doesn't measure up to a medievalist religious vision of the world.

I frankly don't care what most other Christians believe about sexual ethics.  Most Christian sexual ethics is far too much about controlling other peoples naughty bits and falls far short of a real ethic of love that doesn't denigrate pleasure or the human body.  Sexual repression is not healthy.  Realistic teaching and instruction on sex is healthy.

 

 

 

Edited by FireDragon76

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I think this thread has run its course and is getting a little too personal  with references to the individual rather than the subject matter. Therefore I am closing the thread to further replies.

JosephM (as Admin)

THREAD CLOSED

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