Yes, we are still trying to find the answers to questons that have long been settled. In today's synod one of the front-burner issues is the role of women in the life and work of the church. The group, which I referenced in yesterday's post, Voices-Vision, has been an active movement in conjunction with the Day-Star Network, to push for greater involvement of women at all levels of the church. The last convention in 04, in disregard for issues raised even by our own professors, went ahead and opened the involvement of women at all levels on the congregational level. Although, caution was given about elders, especially those who assist at the altar. Nevertheless, I suspect that many congregations have disregarded this and went ahead and opened all offices, seemingly with Synod's blessing.
In the latest issue of the Reporter, which is the offical paper for 'professional church workers' in the LCMS, a front-page article entones: "CTCR seeks top issues for next man-woman talks." Appaently, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) has assembled a pannel of eight men and nine women to reflect and write about how they view certain aspects of the role of women in Synod today. The issues that will be discussed and 'prioritized' at the next consultation meeting, will include considerations of Sripture interpretation, the impact of the 'new creation' in Jesus Christ, influence of culture, instances of chauvinism or intimitation, defining key terms like 'headship' and 'equality,' the meaning of 'our embodiment as men and women,' order of creation, roles of husband and wife, and variable contexts (such as home, church, or academia."
The nature of these consultations appears quite subjective, looking more for feelings and personal perspectives than a review of good, solid scholarship and biblical study. This certainly has its place. Dialogue is good, especially if you want to find out how the rank-and-file are interpreting what the church teaches. But what I am afraid of now is that we will talk this "to death" until we get the answer some are looking for: the eventual ordination of women to the office of the public ministry. For that is the only thing left to change, as far as I can tell.
Theology should always be discussed and even debated. But I fear that our church has adopted the stance, for now, that if people don't particularly care for what the church teaches on a given subject, then we should get together, talk it out, and then change it to meet current needs. This is dangerous, and I caution all to watch as this trend maybecome more and more evident.