12 February 2012

Call

My dear blog readers,

This past week, I received a call from The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod to serve as Synod's Director of Worship and Chaplain of the Synod’s International Center.  I beg your prayers for me, my family, and my beloved St. Paul’s as I consider this call.    

46 comments:

Pr. H. R. said...

Prayers do indeed ascend. Selfishly they are for you to STAY PUT.

The Lord's will be done!
+HRC

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

I echo Pr. Curtis' comment. Nevertheless, you have my prayers as you determine what is best for your family and your flock(s).

William Gleason said...

I re-echo Pastor Curtis' sentiments, probably even more selfishly!

One question occurred tp me: if you stay in the area, where will your home congregation be?

The will of the Lord be done.

BalaamsAss51 said...

Heard about this from Jim at church this morning. Will not bother telling you what you already know. Just a question - is your vocation to sheperd sheep or sheperd sheperds??? Love ya either way. Matt H

Pastor Harvey S. Mozolak said...

Well, Will, I will depart company and say that the call to LCMS hqtrs sounds very interesting... then again I am not LCMS and not a neighboring brother... but then you will, with God's grace have to reach the decision. Enjoy the struggle, prayer and thought... Harvey Mozolak

Darian Hybl said...

Pastor Weedon,

May God's Holy Spirit guide your congregation and you as you consider God's direction for your life and ministry! Walking in faith God will Bless His ministry through you to His people!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Darian L. Hybl

Robert said...

To paraphrase the blessed St. Paul (our patron, as you know), "If anyone aspires to the overseer's office, he needs his head checked."

Blessings on your decision.

Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

First, I've never understood the whole "reasoning" behind the call process. Calls are part of the whole problem of congregational polity. Congregations can then call whomever they wish and take good pastors from congregations which really need them. Too often, it looks nothing more than what you find out in the "world:" Someone taking a better job.

That said, I think it is a mistake for you to even consider leaving and you'll forgive me if I'm putting on my conspiracy theory shoes here. You are one of the few confessional pastors left in the LCMS and you repeatedly have stressed Lutheran identity being rooted in the confessions, that those are not something to deviate from. And you have shepherded your flock by applying that. Needless to say, I'm sure you have ruffled feathers in the LCMS hierarchy who want this "mission-oriented", "church-growth" BS to be the way of the future. That can't happen as long as their confessional pastors in the parishes proclaiming the Lutheran confessions and not giving in to what is hip and cool. This new position would take you away from being an obstacle.

A priest's job is to shepherd a flock. It is not to be a director or a consultant or a bureaucrat. You can do those on the side if the time permits, but the main job of the priest is to administer the sacraments and proclaim the word of God. When those become secondary or an "occasional" thing, then you have, IMHO, ceased to be a priest.

I believe you should stay. I'm sure you don't care about my opinion one way or the other, and I know that I have some serious misgivings about the whole call process, but for what it's worth, consider what I have said. Good luck.

Pr. Lehmann said...

Chris,

You don't know what you're talking about. The synod hierarchy wants Pr. Weedon to give the Synod what he has given to Saint Paul's. He hasn't ruffled their feathers AT ALL.

If you want to peddle conspiracy theories, learn the facts first.

And actually, I'm quite sure that Pr. Weedon does care about your opinion.

Donald V. Engebretson said...

Pr. Weedon,
May the Lord indeed guide you at this challenging juncture. Either way you would be a blessing to the Church!

John said...

We had a reception for new members at our church, this morning. One member made a comment, stating that the congregation, formed in the mid 1950's, has been blessed to have always been served by confessional pastors. This was most certainly not by accident. We would hate to see our beloved pastor leave, but we know, as a calling flock that we would again be blessed with a confessional pastor. We must understand that when a pastor accepts a new call, that is not only God's plan for him, but also His plan for his new call, as well as for the place that he is leaving. God's richest blessings, Rev. Weedon, as you consider this new call.

Terry Maher said...

Well I'll be dipped. I'm going to agree with Pastor Lehmann!

A priest's job is not to shepherd a flock, it is to offer sacrifice. We ain't got no priests and there ain't no sacrificing. A pastor's job is to shepherd a flock. Those we have.

Not to mention, if the object were to remove a confessional pastor from having any effect, calling him to be worship director and chaplain at Der Purpurpalast would be a strange way to do that indeed.

That said, not being a pastor I can only imagine what a pastor deals with in considering a call. It strikes me, though, that since both calls are divine, it's good either way, and not at all as if God is saying OK dude try to figure out which is really me. Either is pleasing to God.

And way better than some bleeding "bishop" telling you where you go, or rather, putting his name to what staffers proposed.

Rev. John Frahm said...

I don't want to sway Pastor Weedon either way, but since the balance of comments were in the staying category, one thing in favor of going to serve in St. Louis. A good preaching, catechesis, and chaplaincy for the workers of the LCMS at the International Center will help them remain focused on Christ and faithful to the word in what they produce for the rest of synod, not to mention it will be good for them personally. I think we need more chaplains for such institutions so that the law and gospel are clearly applied in season and out of season for the sake of our synod at large as well as the personal spiritual well being of those who serve in those positions. With that said, the chief place for an ordained man is in the parish, however, this does not rule out by any means the new call Pr. Weedon has received.

Al Bergstrazer said...

Lieber Bruder;
I will pray that God guides you in the consideration of where you will serve. I have read your blog for several years now and have always had the impression serving as a Pastor is a great joy to you. Wherever you are you will be a blessing.

Larry Luder said...

I guess it really boils down to if you are a parish priest or not. Looking in from the outside, it certainly appears your a darn good at what you are currently doing. Prayers for the parishioners under you care.

Larry Luder said...

I’m with Chris, in that the call process is perplexing in the LCMS. I agree that it does appear to look like taking on a better job, but I believe the bottom line is the question what is Rev Weedon’s vocation. It’s not like moving from one parish to another. I weighted though thoughts of stealing Sheep and stealing Shepherds as worldly notions and having nothing to do with where God gathers us and makes use of us. It was very painful for our community to see our learned and highly loved associated pastor leave to assume the office of Senior Pastor. It left a huge gaping hole to fill with the bar set so high on the vacancy. This leads to an interesting question. A pastor is call to be a parish priest through the congregation. Who or how does one calls one to be a Director or Worship/Chaplin?

Chris said...

Pr. Lehmann,

I've seen what the LCMS has done to confessional pastors so I'm not making things up. To curb the trend, those pastors were moved out of their parishes, sometimes forcibly. Second, from what I've seen described of this position it looks more like a bureaucratic position than one of a priest, which IS Fr. Weedon's calling.

Again, much of the problem has to do with the polity of the LCMS. Your district presidents are all pastors but they seldom perform those duties in front of the altar. How many Orthodox bishops do that? None. The LCMS has done a horrible job of combining priest and administrative positions when priest should be job #1 and the rest should be done as time permits. I can think of no higher calling than for someone to be a priest. St. John Chrysostom teaches that after the incarnation of Christ, the single greatest gift given to mankind is the priesthood.

Terry Maher said...

Chris, and apparently Larry too:

We ain't got no priests!

Brad said...

The Lord will guide and bless you, Bill. Rest secure in that strength and goodness which is His, and which has always attended you and those under your care. I will keep you in my prayers.

Larry Luder said...

Terry,

I did see you what you mention earlier about priests. Don’t we, in our offertory, prayerfully offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and in our lives continually offer the sacrifice of praise? I have seen the wisdom of your pen before and am sure we are talking about different things. There are reasons I use the vocabulary that I do in regards the priestly call office of Senior Pastor and the priestly calling office of Director of Worship and Chaplin. We indeed are all blessed even in Rev Weedon priestly calling of Husband and Father, as an Icon of the church. Luther is right in regards to vocation as a mask of God. One thing I know is that God will have his way with Rev Weedon and he will remain a blessing to the Church catholic. But since my pen is distracting and moving away from the requested prayers Rev Weedon is seeking, I will refrain.

Terry Maher said...

"Don’t we, in our offertory, prayerfully offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and in our lives continually offer the sacrifice of praise?"

Yes we do. That is the priesthood of all believers, something established by Christ. The "priesthood" as a clerical state is pure fiction.

Even in that fiction, a "priest" is not fully a priest. (Nothing ever is what it seems in the RCC or EO, but that's another story.) The priesthood of Christ is passed on fully in the "bishops", and only a bishop may administer all of the seven sacraments. A priest functions entirely under the authority of an "ordinary", who is a bishop, and it is under that authority that he may administer five of the seven sacraments; a priest may not confirm or ordain. So his priestly function depends entirely upon his ordinary the bishop of whom he is fact standing in place.

There is no such thing in the church of Christ; there are no "priests" of this kind in the church of Christ; our pastors are not priests.

Christopher Esget said...

I haven't done the research to back this up, but a pastor once suggested to me this theory: that the English word "priest" is derived from "presbyter" (often wrongly translated "elder"). I find it a very intriguing theory.

Just to derail this conversation further. ;)

Christopher Esget said...

Larry Luder, Chris, et al.,

Just as a congregation calls a man to be a parish pastor, so groupings of parishes can call a man to serve them all in a specialized capacity. Seminary professors would be a notable example, and if you want to carry the logic that only a parish pastor is legitimately called, you would then also need to argue that professors also are not serving in the office of the ministry. I doubt, though, that if Pr Weedon had been called to teach at a seminary we would be having this conversation.

A large organization is certainly going to have bureaucratic language in its documentation, but then again, if you were to look at my responsibilities on paper (I'm one of several pastors at my church w/parochial school) and my congregation's policy document, your eyes would glaze over at the rules, definitions, and job descriptions.

This particular position is not "cushy" - it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the benefits for Pr Weedon are greater in his parish. Unless one knows the facts of both positions's salary, benefits, etc., it is unseemly to speculate about which is more lucrative, and especially to assume that Pr Weedon will be unduly influenced by such things.

Pr. Weedon simply needs to decide where he is best suited to serve the church. We should put the best construction on everyone's motives and pray that the Lord's will is done.

Clair Vaux said...

Re Pastor Esget's comments re "presbyter" --

Adding to the derailment:

This word (etymologically "elder", from presbyteros , presbyter ) has taken the meaning of "sacerdos", from which no substantive has been formed in various modern languages (English, French, German).

This priesthood has two degrees: the first, total and complete, the second an incomplete participation of the first. The first belongs to the bishop. The second degree belongs to the priest ( presbyter ), who is also a sacerdos, but of the second rank; by his priestly ordination he receives the power to offer sacrifice (i.e. to celebrate the Eucharist), to forgive sins, to bless, to preach, to sanctify, and in a word to fulfil the non-reserved liturgical duties or priestly functions. In the exercise of these functions, however, he is subject to the authority of the bishop to whom he has promised canonical obedience; in certain cases even he requires not only authorization, but real jurisdiction, particularly to forgive sins and to take care of souls.


Christine

Christopher Esget said...

Where does that come from, Christine?

Clair Vaux said...

Pastor Esget, from:

http://www.catholic.org/

It's a website of orthodox Catholic material.

Christine

Terry Maher said...

Judas H, I just said that!

"Priest" depends entirely on "bishop".

This, btw, is the source of both the recognition by the RCC of EO sacraments, and the ruckus over Archbishop Lefevre's ordination of bishops. In both cases, the ordinations are sacramentally valid, but in the latter they are canonically illicit. Whereas in our (Lutheran) case they are both invalid and illicit. Thus the RC/EO thing is seen as a split within the church, whereas the Reformation is a split from the church, and thus also why they crapped their cassocks and sent Ratzinger to stomp on the SSPX after those ordinations, since these are real bishops but illicit ones.

In their eyes. We know the whole apparatus and its mechanics to be pure fiction.

We ain't got no priests. For that matter, neither does anybody else.

Christopher Esget said...

But, if "priest" means "presbyter," then we do. That was my only point.

Emommy said...

You are in our prayers, Pr. Weedon! (And could you still marry my sister and Chris in July no matter what? :))

Terry Maher said...

The problem is, "priest" is used to mean "presbyter", but "presbyter" does not mean "priest". Even the Catholic source cited admits that, and that the word has taken on -- through their misuse -- the meaning of sacerdos, which does mean priest.

Presbyter is no more a reference to priest in the RC/EO sense than it is to elder in the sense of the position I had when I was an elder.

We ain't got no priests.

Clair Vaux said...

Actually, I believe the quote from Catholic.org is saying that there is no actual equivalent for the word "priest" in modern languages and it is therefore a derivative. German uses the word "priester".

From an Eastern Orthodox point of view:

The word "priest" came about simply as an abreviation for the word "presbuteros."

The French shortened it to "prest" and then in English it became "priest." You would never know this reading modern English translations of the Bible which are very Protestantized. They would have you believe "priest" refers to Old Testament ministers. The word there, I believe is not at all the Greek "Presbuteros" but rather the Hebrew "Cohen."
Therefore, I was surprised to find out that Priest is actually a much more accurate word for the New Testament minister rather than the Old."



For what it's worth.

Christine

Christopher Esget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Esget said...

There is great confusion over language in our day, and I think it would be helpful in going back to a biblical way of speaking. This is why I find the term presbyter should be reserved for clergy, and if priest is derived therefrom, perhaps its not such a bad word to use. But the worst thing that can happen is to assume that since the Roman church uses terms a certain way, we must follow their definitions. Pastors must teach people the correct meanings of biblical and churchly words.

So yes, Terry, we do have priests (presbyters), and we ought not to have Elders (for a layman by definition cannot be a presbyter).

Pr. Lehmann said...

Chris,

While I agree with you, you're forgetting one very important thing.

Terry is REALLY old. Like older than Weedon old.

Terry Maher said...

To be really correct, we should call our pastors elders, and our elders something else. There is nothing in the Greek word from which "priest" loosely comes to denote anything whatever like what is meant by priest. We have presbyters in the NT sense, and they are our pastors, who are not priests in the English sense. So just call them pastors, and avoid all the confusion that has to be explained away, which comes not from following Roman usage, but is a situation created by their false doctrine on the matter.

Christopher Esget said...

One must be careful not to fall into the error of the opposite ditch. Why is it that everyone is a priest except the presbyter? (My favorite thing in the LCMS is that we call the part-time pastors with a side job "worker-priests." But don't you dare call the full-time pastor a priest! Gotta love Lutheranism...) The presbyter continually offers up the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, which is the NT priestly service. Probably the most common thing a pastor hears from his parishioners is, "Pastor, will you pray for me about _____?"

Whatever we call them, though, we should do away with the horrible term "Elder." ;)

Larry Luder said...

I doubt, though, that if Pr Weedon had been called to teach at a seminary we would be having this conversation.

Rev Esget,

You are right absolutely, 100% correct. Maybe I’m over reacting to the position that seems to me to a calling. I’m actually glad that the conversation continued and you worked you way to where you are at. Out of curiosity, I use word like the Eucharist and Mass also. Is that bothersome? Just so you know, I am Lutheran. I wouldn’t be one if I didn’t think Jesus was one too. The language I use is biblical and also found in the Book of Concord which we all subscribe to.

Terry Maher said...

PS. I'm 61. Oh, and we ain't got no priests. Some wannabes maybe, but no priests.

Terry Maher said...

PPS. Actually, for once we might benefit from Rome -- even they admit that in the NT the distinction between overseer and presbyter is not held with the exactness of the later distinction of bishop/priest, and that that is not strictly Biblical but came over time as presbyters came to be those who functioned in the stead of an overseer over larger areas.

Judas H Priest, OSB.

Larry Luder said...

Terry,

Wow, 61! You’re Ancient, at least in the eyes of my children. I’m 61 too.

Musing on vocation has led me to prayers for the unemployed and underemployed in addition to the ongoing prayers for the Holy Spirit to guide Rev Weedon in his prayerful considerations. For people in my area, opportunities are not as they once were and the choices the lay make is quite different than that of one who was been to called to be an overseer. There is some but little thought put in choosing between food on the table or not nowadays.

Joy and Peace

Christopher Esget said...

Terry, I think our problem is that you think the word "priest" absolutely carries with it the RCC meaning (correct me if I'm wrong), whereas I think it need not. Thus, I disagree entirely with your repeated statement, "We ain't got no priests." Witness the persistent talk in Lutheran circles about the "priesthood of all believers," etc. Ask any Lutheran if he believes in that, and I think the vast majority will say "yes." Thus clearly we have priests in some sense, and I would argue that pastors also serve a priestly function. (You'll even find this in standard discussions of liturgical posture by the minister: facing the altar he acts sacrificially, facing the people he acts sacramentally.)

When you say "Presbyter does not mean priest," you mean, it doesn't mean priest as you define it. I think your history of papism, and reaction against, is coloring your view. I don't mean that as an insult, by the way.

Our discussion can probably be boiled down to this: you get really nervous when you hear romanizing talk. I get really nervous when I hear perfectly Lutheran words and concepts tarnished by being branded Romish. That's probably something we'll never get past, but a healthy church is one that's willing to hear both sides of that discussion. FWIW.

Christopher Esget said...

@Larry Luder,

Thanks for your comments. I've enjoyed this discussion.

Every good wish in Christ,
Christopher

Terry Maher said...

The priesthood of all believers is exactly why "we ain't got no priests".

I am not James Joyce writing Ulysses here. "Priest", from Wictionary: A religious clergyman who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple.

Do we have such? Yes. Ought we call them that? No, because in our belief priesthood is not at all a matter of religious clergymen trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple. And because the Greek word which "priest" has come to translate carries no such meaning either.

Christopher Esget said...

Terry,

You continue to prove my point that you can only see this issue through the lens of a former papist. I doubt that will ever change, so I'm just going to drop it. Cheers.

Terry Maher said...

Something about the speaker that dismisses what he speaks from consideration. Ad hominem.

Do we believe priest is as it is defined? No.

Christopher Esget said...

Terry,

It's not ad hominem to suggest that a person's background and experiences influence his perceptions. I know that you are a bright man, but (and the fault is no doubt mine) you are not seeing my point at all. I have no wish to argue incessantly with you, as it doesn't seem healthy or productive. So allow me, once again, to try and gently step away.