24 March 2009

To Rose or to Violet - that is the question

that seems (astonishingly) to have captured some corners of the Lutheran Blogosphere. Being an LSB man myself (that is, one who believes in allowing our official liturgy to put a check on Weedon's own personal preferences), I'd note that it is not a slam dunk either way. For, though the Altar Book ignores the use of rose for Gaudete and Laetare, it IS mentioned as an option in *The Altar Guild Manual* (see page 27).

My brothers, this is truly a "machts nichts" matter. The very manner in which the colors were employed across Church history (including centuries in Lutheran history) is anything but uniform. If your brother uses rose paraments and vestments upon Laetare and Gaudete, rejoice with him - and remember not to call them pink! If your brother retains violet (or in Advent, perhaps blue) paraments upon those days, rejoice with him! Surely THIS is the very definition of an adiaphoron? "And whatever you do in word and deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving glory to God through Him."


Elephantschild said...

I love seeing the rose paraments and vestments simply because they are beautiful. I love seeing the plain black for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as well. Blessed in the congregation who has the resources or in-house talent to acquire things of beauty for the Lord's house.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Amen, Pr. Weedon! This is adiaphoron. God bless our brothers, whether they use violet or rose.

On a related note, I am especially geeked for the coming of Holy Week. Due to the generosity of some of our members, we have purchased new crimson (or, scarlet) paraments for Holy Week (including a beautiful superfrontal) and new white paraments for Easter (also including a beautiful superfrontal), and we are about to order new green paraments for the Trinity season (superfrontal included). And, as if that weren't enough, another anonymous and very generous donor among us has purchased me a gorgeous new white chasuble, and I can't wait to break it in this Easter.

The only downfall about all of this is that it has become increasingly difficult for me to observe the Lenten fast, as I'm like a little kid waiting for Christmas to arrive! :)

Sorry for the intrusion, but I'm just too geeked not to share. :)

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Excellent point, Padre.

Once again there are two extremes: 1) the "anything goes" crowd that would play Formula Ten against Ap 24, for example, and ditch the vestments all together. And there are also 2) those who want to turn the rubrics of LSB into canon law in the vain hope that this will be the silver bullet that fixes our synodical discordia. In that way of thinking (which is the very definition of legalism)if the rose paraments aren't explicitly mentioned and sanctioned, then we have the green light to malign those who do as schismatic chancel prancers.

Unity is a good thing, of course, and we sure could use a lot more of it in this "if it feels good, do it" culture. But there is a good deal of wiggle room within that unity - as you point out. Just because the concept of adiaphora has been abused doesn't negate the fact that there are true matters of adiaphora. Rose paraments certainly fall into that category.

Past Elder said...

God bless me yes.

Even in Rome -- the real Rome, not merely Romed over -- rose for Gaudete and Laetare is permitted, not commanded! From that background and with that in mind, I find a controversy among Lutherans over wearing rose vestments as a sign of anything one way or the other, except that one wore rose vestments following a long established tradition, incredible!

X said...

pink, Pink, PINK!!!!

Rev. Larry Beane said...


Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

A machts nichts becomes a machts alles when the one who uses rose is attacked by those who do not.

William Weedon said...

Pastor Lehmann,

My point is that there ought have been no attack. Period. End of discussion. And if an attack is made, then the proper response is to kindly ask the brother who makes the attack if he has considered whether he's overreacting - rather than a counter attack.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear William:

Excellent point. I also think a lot of "attacks" are just people being snarky. That doesn't really rise to the occasion of something that is a matter of confession.

When our ancestors were dealing with the vestment controversy, they were under one of the interims. In other words, they were being physically oppressed, persecuted, and threatened. The Gospel itself was truly under attack.

Having a blogger say something negative isn't the kind of thing that turns an adiaphoron into a Formula Ten issue.

Otherwise, we could start a reality show called "Fun With Lutherans" in which we can make Lutherans do crazy things just by blogging silly assertions and watching the hilarity ensue, such as:

"Lutheran pastors may not preach with a milkbone biscuit balanced precariously across the bridges of their noses" or "Any Lutheran pastor who clucks like a chicken during the administration of Holy Baptism is anathema."

Of course, I'm open to anyone who would like to suggest to my congregation that Lutheran pastors ought not be paid like NBA basketball players (why, it would be our bounden duty to pay me like one of the Hornets, and who would I be to refuse such a noble confession of the faith - Oh, the suffering we must do for the gospel). ;-)

Sometimes the proper response is to react the way Justice Scalia did when Rep. Frank called him a "homophobe" - which is to say to ignore the slight.

Not that there's any connection between Barney Frank and rose colored vestments, not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-)

Actually, I may be getting a rose chasuble in the near future myself, so let me be the first to add: "Real Men Wear Rose." ;-)

Was someone actually chastized about this issue? If so, maybe some folks just need to lighten up a bit.

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Chas:

I didn't see any of those exchanges, but that's really unfortunate.

I didn't mean to suggest in any way that you were being inappropriate. I have no doubts that you defended the Gospel well and with integrity, and it is indeed a sad thing that Lutherans *have* to defend the Gospel against other Lutherans.

Hopefully, there was some learning going on during the discussion.

Regarding the rose paraments, my wife and I were discussing what symbolism would go well with them. Maybe a Luther's Seal might be in order if there are that many folks who see it as a hint of Romanism.

I'm reminded of the website I ran across recently accusing a faithful Lutheran bishop in Norway of being a secret Jesuit because there are Jesuits who incorporate the IHS symbol, and (aha!) this Lutheran bishop's crook has the same IHS symbol on it. Connecting the dots...

Kyrie eleison!

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

But they are pink. That's the point. I think the most weird aspect of this conversation, which I heard about just today, is that we are trying to convince people that pink is Rose. That's silly.

And pink is for girls.

There, that settles it.

Rev. Paul Beisel said...

Well, the Church is "female," so...

Fr. Beane, the issue was not with the rose paraments per se, but that "getting all excited" about them and posting pictures of them was somehow being "arrogant" and having a "prideful" attitude. In the immortal words of Dr. Maier II, "I just don't see it."

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Chas:

I just went over to Higher Things, and what a disappointment. In this case, some of the spokesmen for HT are making it more worthy of being called Lower Things.

I guess I'm not too disappointed that we missed the deadline to go to the HT conference at San Antonio this summer. If this is the kind of "Lutheranism" that's being promoted these days, maybe we'll just sit this one out.

And for the record, "rose" is a specific hue of pink, just as "scarlet" is not simply "red." And there are some who think it unmanly for pastors to wear any vestments other than a suit and tie. But I say if a guy like Rev. Peter Cage (who is what, eight feet tall?) can wear lace and silk, who's gonna tell him to "get back in the closet" or whatever the HT folks were saying?

Having rose paraments for the two Sundays in which they are appropriate is a little like having scarlet paraments for Holy Week - they are nice to have, for they confess and teach about the church year. But they are also expensive - and are rightfully lower on the priority than having green, white/gold, red, and purple. A church can cover the whole year with these four - but it is nice to have black for the two days of the year when it is appropriate, and the same with rose and scarlet. However, I imagine a few pastors from Michigan would not want the scarlet chasuble - especially if they're sporting gray hairs.

The vitriol being displayed at HT over this issue suggests there is something personal going on, something seething under the surface that we're not seeing that makes men and women who otherwise understand Christian liberty turn into irrational pit bulls showing symptoms of Pietism.

But it is a shame, since this is supposed to be a vehicle for teaching young people. To quote President Bush: "Is our children learning?"

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Paul:

I'm with you. I saw Pr. Esget's post which was more self-depricating and humorous than anything else. I can't imagine anyone thinking Christopher is a Romanizer or trying to portray himself as better than anyone else. How about a little 8th commandment here?

Personally, I like it when our brethren in the ministry post pictures of their chancels when they, say get a new altar crucifix, or some such. 1) It is encouraging to others who hope their churches will become more liturgical and reverent, 2) It confesses that such liturgical piety and beauty are indeed Lutheran, 3) Such displays provide others with ideas for improving the dignity and appearance of their own sanctuaries.

It's terribly uncharitable to impugn someone's motives. My goodness, what's next? Shall we start accusing guys who excitedly post pictures of their newborns of being arrogant and prideful? Maybe we should accuse them of Romanizing tendencies while we're at it, after all, the Roman Catholics tend to have lots of children.


Anonymous said...

The Church has developed and protected the liturgy over time. The liturgy has edified the believers. But these happen in different ways.

It seems to me that the best attitude to take when encountering something seemingly odd in the liturgy (especially in our own heritage) is to say "Hmm; is there something to be learned here?" rather than to sit in judgment upon it. I've learned some interesting things from reflecting on various aspects of the Church's culture like these, aspects which seemed quirky or odd or strange at first.

The liturgy is capable of teaching us because of its content. Not everything ever called "liturgy" contains the divine content it ought to. However, both the primary aspect of God's action upon the Church and the secondary aspect of the Church's eucharistic sacrifice of praise through the ages contain many good things that we can learn. (And, by definition, things we learn are things that were previously strange to us.)

Sandra Ostapowich said...

It would appear that my blog post which was asking a sincere question, with a little snarky call for self-examination has overpowered by the comments and an ongoing ripple effect. That was not my intention. That is not reflective of Higher Things (and it is not too late to register for San Antonio), it is not what Higher Things teaches.

In an effort to at least explain what actually DID influence my post, as opposed to what many people have presumed and gossiped about it to be, I have written this post to hopefully at least explain where I was coming from.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Sandra:

First of all, I'm sorry to give out incorrect information wrt San Antonio. My youth director mentioned that it was too late to go this year - so maybe we got our wires crossed.

As far as your "snarky call to self-examination" - it would be helpful if you could be specific as to whom is in need of this self-examination with regard to rose vestments. If it isn't Petersen, then who?

A "call to self-examination" comes across as an accusation. In fact, it doesn't really mean "self" examination, but "somebody else" examination. It would be really helpful if you identified your target, and maybe even gave some explanation as to just what you think the sin is that's being committed. Red flags based on your past experiences is kind of tenuous grounds for some of the accusations that are being flung around in the comments of your post.

I think this lack of clarity is why the fracas erupted. Petersen and Esget (who also posted a picture of his congregation's new rose chasuble) are both really faithful pastors, and I don't find either one of them to be doing something sinister by wearing rose vestments. I agree with Pr. Beisel: "I just don't see it."

Pr. Borghardt's blog with Liberace and mentioning "the closet" comes across as particularly nasty. He even uses the word: "Repent" meaning someone is being called out for sinning with these vestments. Problem is, he doesn't say *to whom* this imperative is addressed. Is he calling Petersen to repent? Is it someone else? This kind of vagueness isn't helpful. Maybe that's why calling brother pastors to repentance is a matter of fraternal pastoral care, and is often best done in private consultation instead of with pictures of Liberace on a blog designed for children to be reading.

That's not the kind of blog I want our young people frequenting in the name of confessional Lutheranism.

But to each his own, and we're all free to voice our opinions and debate these issues. But in all candor, I'm far from impressed.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

An interesting quip from another HT blogger:

"Pastors are sinners! Just like you and me. They overlook their own sin but are quick to point out the sins of others.
They think of themselves as better than others a lot of the time. They can even rejoice so much in their vestments that they forget to rejoice in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Be they rose, or otherwise.)"

I never realized HT had such a view of their pastors. This is the kind of commentary I would expect from the official LCMS youth gathering.

Mark Buetow said...

Fr. Beane,

If you look carefully, you will note that every HT blog has a disclaimer that the content of the blog is not necessarily any official statement of Higher Things.

I would be good if you would stop lumping opinions in blogs hosted by HT with the organization itself lest you impugn an organization where you only meant to impugn an individual.

Pr. Buetow

William Weedon said...

Guys, the point of my blog post was NOT to invite further conversation on the original discussion; it was to suggest that such disagreements on such subjects are unworthy of causing ANY divisions among adherents to the Augustana. I'm deleting posts that I find to be furthering of ill-will and inviting all parties on the subject to take the whole to the foot of the cross and ponder if it is ought not be left under the sacred blood of the Lamb of God.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Mark:

I quoted the words of an HT blogger word for word. I don't happen to agree with him, and I believe his post (along with several other recent posts by HT bloggers) reflects poorly on HT - which is a shame, because I have been a long-time HT supporter and have been pleased to be published on HT-online a time or two. It's just my opinion.

I'll put the best construction on your comment and presume you misspoke by using the word "impugn."

I'm disappointed with several recent HT blog posts and the comments to those posts. And it seems I'm not the only one who is disappointed. I disagree with the direction the organization seems to be taking of late.

The citation of a disclaimer doesn't change that.

However, I do believe some faithful pastors have truly been impugned by having their motives called into question and being accused of serious public sins.

The things that have been written by HT bloggers isn't simply disagreement, or even disappointment, but outright accusations and condemnation. I just re-read the remarks I quoted, and those are horrific things to say about these men, absolutely disgusting. That is the definition of "impugn."

I think you're wrong, and I'm not going to be bullied into not defending the integrity of these men.

Anonymous said...

I just read through the comments on the HT blogs in question. The entire thing is utterly appalling. Indeed, if anything is adiaphoron, rose vestments is it. Given the tone, there simply must be something else going on among the people involved. But, really, quite a sickening display; it really turned my stomach.
Bethany Tanis

Past Elder said...

Well again folks, from someone who swam the Tiber, but out --

how can you have eight toes in the Tiber wearing rose vestments when "the Tiber" itself does not require rose vestments but rather allows them according to local custom on the two Sundays in question, to visually represent the hope of the penitential season in the texts of the day?

Oh, and rose is a mixture of red and blue (2 shots red, 1 shot blue) whereas pink is a mixture of red and white. Not the same.

Mason said...

For whatever it is worth, Rose, aka Pink (not to be confused with a street walker or white female rapper) used to be a color associated with masculinity. All who would reject this traditional association are obviously liberal deconstructionists. BTW, THIS IS NOT ENTIRELY SERIOUS.

Josh Osbun said...

Perhaps everyone just got tired of debating the usage of the color blue....

Sandra Ostapowich said...

"Rose" is just French for "Pink" anyway. ;)

And my church covers all the bases there. Our Advent wreath has 3 purple candles and one rose candle, and we have blue paraments.

Drives me nuts! Like when someone accidentally puts on navy blue socks with black pants, or a uniformed deaconess stands next to a pastor in his clerical. The CDA should've picked gray for deac uniforms for this reason!

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...


Have you ever had the rules for deaconess uniforms explained to you? They are nuts. They make Jaroslav Pelikan's Conduct of the Service sound like Creative Worship by comparison.

On your last paragraph, I am in absolute agreement.

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Brother Will,

Just to be clear, is it your position that the book written for members of a congregation's altar guild part is an authoritative source of rubrics? I'm puzzled everytime you cite the Altar Guild Manual. It kind of strikes me as akin to trying to use the Table Talk to prove doctrinal points.

Pinkishly yours,


Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

Well, being published by CPH does mean it's passed doctrinal review, right?

So clearly if there was a problem with rose (or if individual cups were the preferred option, etc.) then the doctrinal reviewers would have corrected it, right?

CPH doctrinal reviewers are probably about as close to a magisterium as we get in the LCMS.

Speaking of which, how's Walter "Jesus is never mentioned in 1st or 2nd Kings" A. Maier III coming on his commentary of said commentaries? I pray that whoever does DR on them thinks Jesus makes a few cameos in the OT.

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

er commentary of said books.

William Weedon said...

It bears a kind of secondary authority in my mind, since it was drawn up at the behest of the same Commission that gave us LSB and it was specifically retooled to match LSB.

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Will, you would have made a good canon lawyer.

: )

OK, I'll come clean. The reason I can't stand pink vestments is that pink always reminds me of the medicine I took as a little kid that always made me throw up, so there's no joy in pink for me.


Rev. Charles Lehmann said...


You know I love you, but I won't stand for such slanders against my friend.

(No matter how true they may be.)

WM Cwirla said...

"I just went over to Higher Things, and what a disappointment. In this case, some of the spokesmen for HT are making it more worthy of being called Lower Things."

Every blog on the Higher Things server has this disclaimer: "The views represented on this blog are strictly those of the author and not of Higher Things, nor does Higher Things necessarily endorse them."

In the same way, we do not hold congregations, districts, or the synod responsible for the polemical, satirical, political, liturgical, or just plain bonehead stupid antics of their pastors in the blogosphere.


Rev. Paul T. McCain said...


: )

Bill C.

Mega : )

Lutheran Lucciola said...

This is all my fault. I'm sorry about the mauve. I can't help but feel this is my fault.

OK, here's the good part!! If it wasn't for this fight/debate/grump-fest-of-the-week, I would have never have known about the rose tradition!

See? There's a cool thing. Now let's try to get through this Lent. We are almost there, Luthies!! Rock on.

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

Dear Sandra, Pr. Borghardt, and Pr. Cwirla,

It is not my place to question motives or to assign them when my sinful flesh decides that it doesn't like what it's reading.


I take you at your word. You did not mean to offend me or to attack my friend. I accept your apology and forgive you.

That there are reasons that seemed legitimate to me for taking what you wrote the way I did, but that doesn't matter. I disobeyed the 8th commandment. I should have accepted your word in the first place.

Please forgive me.


I also disbelieved what you yourself said, ignored your apology, and said hurtful things that I wish I never had.

Please forgive me.


I attacked Higher Things because of a conflict I had with two of its staff/board. I did this despite the fact that I have seen for myself the wonderful things that they do for the youth of the church.

Please forgive me.

To all,

I need to learn to defend my friends without yielding to sinful anger.

Please forgive me.

I've said more than enough, and this is all I'm going to say.

Rev. George Borghardt said...

Pr. Lehmann,

You are forgiven. Amen. Please forgive me too.

I see in myself the desire to push myself forward and take the focus off Christ and His forgiveness. It's something that I fight all the time. Does anyone else? I struggle with this sin when it comes to my vestments, my clerical, even with being a pastor. That's what I was trying to target - in myself more than anywhere else. I certainly didn't want to impugn my friends (Dave, Christopher, you, or anyone). I'm so sorry!

Blogs are not the place to do these sorts of things. Humor is not the tool. There are too many subtexts and pet topics. I'm simply going to stick to posting sermons and occasional updates on my Sophia. She's walking now! Not bad for my bump on a log!

I would have Jesus drown this in the waters of my baptism and plead forgiveness for the whole thing. Yours, mine, all of it. I pray that you guys will too.

In Christ,

Pastor Borghardt

"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom." (Isa. 66:10)

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Well, at least nobody has taken to wearing lime green or day-glow orange vestments.

But I am led to wonder as this thing winds down, when next will we have a chancel fashion show on Facebook or elsewhere and when will the next blog war break out over pretty clothes and the men who wear them?

It gives one furiously to think.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

I believe the proper name for the color of opening hunting weekend is not "day-glo" but "blaze".

Rev. Larry Beane said...

It's nice to see everyone making peace, and it is great to see that this is all a great big misunderstanding, that there was never the intent to call Pr. Petersen nor Pr. Esget to repentance and that they were not the targets of Sandra's and George's calls to repentance over their use of rose vestments. It is nice to see faithful pastors vindicated after being placed under some cloud of suspicion. But I have to admit, I'm still confused as to whom is being called to repentance here. After all, there are not all that many LCMS pastors whose congregations even have rose vestments for Laetare. I know of three (the two mentioned, and Pr. Punke, who ordained me). Obviously, there are more - but it isn't a huge pool of men we're talking about here. Clearly, some LCMS pastor(s) is/are being chastised pretty harshly here. Sandra and George aren't talking about a mannequin in an Almy catalogue.

For example, Sandra specifically mentions the following criticisms that she felt needed to be made publicly regarding pastors in her post:

1) adopting a "clearly Roman tradition,"
2) "only" finding "real joy" in Laetare by "getting to wear those fancy-schmancy rose vestments"
3) "trying to show that [they] are Lutheraner-than-thou by the size of [their] vestment collection,"
4) Not giving a clear confession of Jesus and "joy in what He has suffered for us and our salvation" but instead "demonstrating... liturgical purity and correctness."

I just don't know any pastors who fit this rather cartoonish stereotype.

These are indeed rather serious charges being made against specific Lutheran pastors, which, of course, do not include Pastors Esget and Petersen. But it would be helpful if Sandra would either be specific in her calls to repentance, or maybe better yet, contact the pastor privately instead of on a blog intended for Lutheran young people who are already inundated with a religious culture of anti-clericalism).

George's response is even more perplexing here:

His list of transgressions of this unknown pastor or pastors includes:

1) Pride and "playing dress up."
2) "arrogance,"
3) "magnifying [themselves] and not Christ!
4) Adopting the following attitude: "Look at me! I'm wearing rose! I call it 'rose.' I'm a real Lutheran. You and your violet are not!"
5) The "greater sin" of being called to repentance "by a woman."

And, George explicitly includes the imperative: "Repent." Of course, imperatives work best when it is obvious who the "implied you" is.

So, unless George and Sandra are going to clarify the man or men whom they are calling to repentance (again, now that we have their word that this has nothing to do with Esget and Petersen), any of the small number of pastors who wear rose vestments are going to remain under a cloud of suspicion.

And that's the part that I still find troubling.

Past Elder said...

Any of you guys so worried about going Roman actually been there?

I have, came from there, and third time, you ain't gonna swim the Tiber doing something that's an option once you get there anyway, not a command. Judas in a dalmatic.

If you wanna rumble you can bring it to my blog; I've been downrange a long damn time. No time limit, no DQ, and best construction means solid info from your forward team to put some metal on target.

Unknown said...

I saw the new paraments and vestments the day they were posted and the only thoughts I had were that they were very well done and how nice it was to have been able to enjoy them. I saw nothing prideful or odd about them being in a Lutheran church or on the internet.

Anonymous said...

1) adopting a "clearly Roman tradition,"

Having also swum back out of the Tiber I have to hang with PE on this one. It is very much an option in the Catholic tradition.

Liturgical colors do not make one Roman. Would that it were that simple.


Rev. Paul T. McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Larry, just an observation, a "general" observation, as it were.

Seems to me that you have blogged quite a bit of "scuttlebutt" in days gone by.

Perhaps you should walk away from this conversation if all you are after is a pound of flesh.

Some men look pretty in pink, others don't.

I think everyone ought to give this whole incredibly stupid topic a rest.

Good grief.

WM Cwirla said...

I attacked Higher Things because of a conflict I had with two of its staff/board.

Though neither HT nor I have any dog in this hunt, I accept your apology on behalf of Higher Things and forgive you for involving HT in this private tete-a-tete.


Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Paul:

This is *William's* blog, not yours, and it is actually up to *William* to decide if the conversations here are out of line, or should continue, or are merely to extract a pound of flesh.

Now, I too have been lampooned by Scuttlebutt (and by several other satirical blogs out there), but unlike some people, I can take a joke. And there is indeed much to lampoon and joke about when it comes to our "men in pink." Pr. Esget's self-deprecating humor about the whole thing is a good example.

However, what was posted by George and Sandra were specific and serious accusations against a pastor (or pastors), actually accusing them of some sins that may even disqualify these men from the ministry, and calling them to "repent" - all on a blog intended for Lutheran young people.

So, I guess I didn't see that as satire, a joke, or just being silly. Calling people to repent is never a joke. Pointing out the foibles of our synod and taking the wind out of some public figures is certainly a different story.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of discernment as a reader to see the difference.

You and I have had some pretty heated disagreements, and we are by no means on friendly terms with one another. Which is fine - some people just don't get along. But I have never used my personal differences with you as a pretext to make veiled accusations of sin or to call you to repentance. And to my knowledge, neither have you. I fully accept you as a brother in the ministry and in the Body of Christ - my personal feelings have no bearing on that reality - and in fact, they are *my* problem and no-one else's.

It is simply my opinion that George and Sandra, by making these public accusations against someone in such a small demographic (LCMS pastors who wear rose vestments), they are inviting speculation against any of the small number of men in this category. And I just don't believe that this is a good way to call folks to repentance.

Others are, of course, free to disagree. And as long as William approves, others are free to express their opinions here on Weedon's Blog.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

However, what was posted by George and Sandra were specific and serious accusations against a pastor (or pastors), actually accusing them of some sins that may even disqualify these men from the ministry, and calling them to "repent" - all on a blog intended for Lutheran young people.

Pr. Beane,

Have you read the actual posts, with sentences in context? Have you read the subsequent posts on both of our blogs? I don't know of anything that any specific LCMS pastors were accused of, much less anything that rises to the level of sins that disqualify a man for the OHM.

By your repeated comments, it appears to me that you have not read all the information available. If you have, it might be worthwhile to re-read what is out there rather than rehash the same arguments that have been dispelled. Here are the links, just in case.

Madre's Missives
Bloghardt's Reflector

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

So, Larry, are you willing to state here that you are not General Scuttlebutt, the dearly departed blogger?

Yes/no will suffice.

Time to put up or.....

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

By the way, Larry, here's a little tip from me to you, when it comes to blog comments: less is more. Edit yourself and you'll be more effective. Seriously, guy, chop your word count in half, it will do wonders for you.


WM Cwirla said...

I miss General Scuttlebutt.
He didn't let me into his private club. :-(

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Sandra:

Yes, I did read your posts, and if you scroll up a bit (I realize there are a lot of comments) in these comments, I quoted from both yours and George's.

Do you think a man whose "only real joy" is in wearing "fancy" vestments, and who "demonstrates liturgical purity and correctness" over and against a confession of Jesus is fit for the ministry? Or George's comments: "Pride... playing dress up... arrogance... magnifying [themselves] and not Christ!" and accusing brother pastors of not being "real Lutherans" if they wear violet for Lent? How well does this harmonize with St. Paul in 1 Tim 3, for example? Isn't the last charge a clear violation of the Formula of Concord? Isn't breaking our confessions the kind of thing that can get a man defrocked?

I mean, are there really pastors teaching such doctrine? Like I said, the number of pastors whose congregations have rose vestments is pretty small. There is a reason people immediately started pointing fingers at Petersen and Esget - and like I said, I'm gratified that you have clarified that these men were not on your minds when you wrote your posts. I'm pleased that they have been vindicated. I think it would be a shame for any pastor to be tainted with such accusations simply because he wears rose vestments.

That's why I think your posts were not such a great idea. It's one thing to call pastors to repentance, another to narrow it down to a very small list of them and let them all be accused by association.

Again, there are many points of view here. Neither you nor HT has any obligation to make me happy. And I have no obligation to be happy with what I read from your blogs. We're free to disagree, and I disagree with you.

WM Cwirla said...

Neither you nor HT has any obligation to make me happy.

"The views represented on this blog are strictly those of the author and not of Higher Things, nor does Higher Things necessarily endorse them."

Sandra Ostapowich said...

As I have stated repeatedly now, the issue was not rose vestments or the wearing of them per se. Both Pr. Borghardt and I have stated that we both support the use of rose and have no disdain whatsoever for pastors who have and wear rose vestments. What concerned us is this attitude we (and others) have noticed regarding some practices and traditions.

The observance of Laetare with rose chasubules merely provided a timely occasion to bring it up. It could've just as easily been about any number of uncommonly-used practices out there. The use of rose vestments is a pretty unique practice of which relatively few congregations make use (largely due to expense rather than necessarily being opposed to it).

Perhaps you missed the qualifying statements surrounding the quotes cherry-picked from the posts, which question whether this was the case and leaving room that perhaps (and hopefully) it was not.

Whether or not there are pastors out there who are actively or intentionally teaching this, there are young people who are learning it. Those of us in positions of leadership (whether by office or not) to these younger people to take a look at ourselves and make sure that this is not the case when we are talking about the salutary use of our traditions.

You said that you read the original posts, did you read the subsequent ones on both of our blogs?

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Yes, I did, Sandra. And I have no doubt that you're being sincere. I just think you're wrong on this.

I'm sorry, but I'm only being honest. I disagree with you and with George. I don't know what more I can say, but if there really is a single Lutheran pastor anywhere who is teaching that it is un-Lutheran to wear violet at Lent, or whose only joy at Laetare is wearing a rose chasuble - I'd like to meet him.

I just disagree that this is a real issue in the LCMS. And I don't think I'm the only person who holds this opinion. And disclaimers or not, it is a reflection on HT. But having said that, I do suspect other writers and leaders of HT would disagree with you. I don't mean to suggest that HT is monolithic.

I mean no disrespect to you or George. But I still disagree, and I'm still disappointed.

I hope this clarifies my position.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

Pr. Beane,

What kind of response would you like? We have both apologized, repeatedly. What more would you like us to say?

And you are welcome to think I'm wrong. I'm a big girl, I won't cry if we don't agree on everything. I bet if we talked long enough we'd find all sorts of things we disagree on!

"...if there really is a single Lutheran pastor anywhere who is teaching that it is un-Lutheran to wear violet at Lent, or whose only joy at Laetare is wearing a rose chasuble - I'd like to meet him."

It might not be taught that violet in Lent is "un-Lutheran", but is it that impossible that the impression might be given that rose is "more Lutheran" than violet, or at least "better"?

And once AGAIN, no one in particular was being singled out, nor were the pastors who do wear rose. Nor was the wearing of rose vestments even the point. Does anyone ever do or say anything resembling this attitude? Even just a little bit? Is it so wrong to even ask the question and suggest that it might not be a bad idea to check? Are pastors exempt from the temptations (and gasp, sins) of vanity and pride?

I'm not sure what we're disagreeing over here, because the above paragraph is my point and has been all along. And I don't think you'd disagree with what I've written above...would you?

WM Cwirla said...

And disclaimers or not, it is a reflection on HT.

It is a reflection on HT only if one engages in the all too common fallacy of guilt by association. I'm rather surprised that one who subscribes to the "rule of law" in matters of politics should not take the literal sense of a disclaimer more seriously.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear William:

If this is a matter of "guilt" - maybe you should take it up with your colleagues.

And I didn't realize the Lord's Kingdom was about the "Rule of Law" (in fact, I thought that kind of appeal to legalism was generally frowned upon.

Look, I'm not a fan of HT any more. This incident had cooled my unqualified support of HT. Am I breaking some kind of law, rule, regulation, synodical precept, or international treaty not to be in the HT fan club?

Somehow, I think HT and George and Sandra can survive. Why is it so important to you what I think? Who cares?

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...


So, Larry, are you willing to state here that you are not General Scuttlebutt, the dearly departed blogger?

Yes/no will suffice.

Time to put up or.....

[cue sound of crickets chirping]

WM Cwirla said...

Am I breaking some kind of law, rule, regulation, synodical precept, or international treaty not to be in the HT fan club?

Nah. You're simply judging am organization by the actions of two individuals contrary to the disclaimer on their blogs. It's disappointing that you seem intent on escalating this childish little blog war beyond the bounds of the people involved.

I'm done.

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

Pr. Cwirla, Pr. Borghardt, or Sandra can correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that there are dozens of employees of Higher Things. Just think of all the different facets of the organization.

The magazine, the conferences, the regional retreats, myHT, etc.

I applied the posts to the whole organization too, and that was a mistake. Even if it were to change my opinion of Sandra and George (and it really hasn't), it would be wrong for me to apply my view of the two of them to the whole organization.

The disclaimer is a helpful thing to have on the blogs. Do I think that it will necessarily disconnect the organization from the blog posts? No, not entirely. We're sinful and we're going to draw whatever conclusions our flesh wants us to draw.

But that doesn't make it right or fair to HT to do so.

I don't think that anybody is saying that anybody is required to be a fan of HT, but if you're going to cool on the whole organization, well, I'd advise you not to do it on the basis of two people.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Paul:

It may come as a shock to you that not everyone feels the need to kow-tow to you, or answer your ridiculous accusations.

I've heard some rather unsavory rumors about you, but I don't repeat them here or anywhere else. In fact, you will continue to hear "crickets" from me, and I'm sorry I tried to engage you fraternally at all. That was a mistake.

William Weedon said...

My brothers,

Can you tell it's Lent? Does not the devil work doubly hard to focus our attention away from where our Lord and the Holy Church would draw it? My plea to one and all: let the blood of the Lamb of God cover over all sins and draw them not forth again. We live only from His constant, unending forgiveness, and so we are called to live in constant, unending forgiveness to one another. Christ's peace to you all!

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Charles:

Your point is well taken. But it really would have more traction if there were some debate about the issue among the various HT spokesmen and those that present the "public face" of the organization instead of a kind of "circling the wagons."

That being said, you have a very good point and I appreciate your remarks.

Dear William:

You are right, and I appreciate your gentle and pastoral nudge to refocus my attention upon Christ.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

I'm confused. You would like to see more HT debate on what issue, exactly?

WM Cwirla said...

It is the official policy of Higher Things to follow the liturgical rubrics of our synodically approved hymnals for the sake of liturgical peace and harmony. The appointed color for the 4th Sunday of Lent is violet (LSB, p. x).

There is nothing to debate.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

I have disparaged the use of rose vestments and those who wear them. I have failed to keep my personal sense of humor and cynicism in check and have hurt others with it. In so doing, I have harmed the reputation of Higher Things and those of my friends in it.

I'm sorry.

Also posted publicly on my blog.

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Larry Beane said...

"It is the official policy of Higher Things to follow the liturgical rubrics of our synodically approved hymnals for the sake of liturgical peace and harmony. The appointed color for the 4th Sunday of Lent is violet (LSB, p. x)."

Dear William:

Great! Well that's all settled.

But then again, I think we might need a regional hymnal to regulate things like crawfish on Fridays during Lent and the use of the subtropical second person plural pronoun ("y'all") in the Pax Domini. And then there's western Louisiana where English is still a second language. Maybe LHF has a translation project to get hymnals and catechisms in Cajun-Francais?

And, as I have often complained, the Pastoral Care Companion has nothing in it for the blessing of roadkill, shotguns, fishing camps, or frozen daiquiris; no prayers to divert hurricanes (we have to borrow those from Pat Robertson), or imprecatory Psalms to be read in the presence of the Army Corps of Engineers. And where *are* the rubrics governing jazz funerals?

Can you just imagine if we were the Lutheran Church - *Lousiana* Synod?

Rev. George Borghardt said...

I wanted to take a second again and apologize for the offense that I caused...

My posts, while intending to be funny, were way over the top. I'm very very very sorry. The sharpness of the Law that I preach in my sermons does not work in blogging.

I'm going to apologize again specifically to Pastor Petersen. I'm sorry for very immature comments and any slanderous remarks that I have made in the past. My humor again has come off as punkish. I'm sorry. Please, forgive me. If there can be a gift in all of this, it can be found in our reconcilation. Your forgiveness can bring all of this to an end, Dave. Please forgive me.

It was never my intention to harm Higher Things at all. For this, I'm very very sorry.

In Christ,

Pastor Borghardt

WM Cwirla said...

Larry - Sorry, but I'm not following any of that last comment.

In an earlier comment, you said: "But it really would have more traction if there were some debate about the issue among the various HT spokesmen and those that present the "public face" of the organization instead of a kind of "circling the wagons."

My point in response to that comment was that there was nothing for us in Higher Things to discuss concerning rose/pink/purple/violet in Lent since our policy is to abide by the stated rubrics in our hymnals because we all come from a variety of practices. Local customs are of no concern to Higher Things as an organization.

You'll have to ask Landon Reed about roadkill. He's the expert on that.

Over and out.

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

So, Pastor Cwirla, does this mean you won't be wearing your special chausable you've told me so much about?


Josh Osbun said...

If I may add my measly two cents concerning the association between Higher Things and the bloggers Ms. Ostapowich and Rev. Borghardt:

Even though they run their blogs through Higher Things and even though they are both Higher Things contributors, I for one never considered what they wrote to be reflections upon Higher Things...

...that is until Rev. Buetow came onto Pr. Petersen's blog and defended the two articles, signing his post as the Higher Things Internet Services Executive. At that moment Higher Things accepted responsibility for the content of those blog posts.


If "the views represented on [these] blog[s] are strictly those of the author[s] and not of Higher Things, nor does Higher Things necessarily endorse them," then the Higher Things Internet Services Executive had no business formally endorsing and defending their content, unless Higher Things was actually considering those views to be their own views and those opinions to be their own opinions.