Bravo, Denny!

Today on Inside United: Realtime, Dennis Luker (who says to “call me Denny”, therefore the title is not intended as a slight or insult) posted the article “The Sacredness of the Sabbath Day”.  It is a further clarification on the “Sabbath” paper:

Unfortunately, the inaccurate documents now circulating in some areas only selectively quote from either the original letter or my October 15 letter—choosing to ignore the fact that both letters emphasize the sanctity and sacredness of the Sabbath day. This memo by me seeks to once again clarify the situation. The Sabbath letter was written to explain the background to a situation that had developed in Chile, but it has become a doctrinal issue in the minds of some.

It is obvious that the title could be taken two different ways and would have been clearer if it had stated: “Facts Concerning a Chilean Family’s Personal Sabbath Situation.” The family from Chile was hammered, slandered and vilified over a period of weeks on the Internet concerning how they had handled this situation with the observance of the Sabbath. The implication on the Internet was that the leadership of the Church had given approval of how they handled the family’s situation. Consequently, the leadership was likewise being attacked on this issue.

The letter was written to explain that once their decision was questioned, “given that the family has sought counsel and resolution from Church leaders, the specific issue will follow the traditionally accepted process.”

The Church for many decades has had to render judgments on Sabbath-keeping. The letter was hoping to clarify what happened, to demonstrate the sanctity of the Sabbath, and that an appeal had been made for a judgment in this situation. It was not a letter stating that anyone who has a business can keep it open on the Sabbath or Holy Days.

Furthermore, much to my delight, he posted several links to Sabbath booklets and articles at the end of the article.  OK, so maybe I won’t get the Dennis Luker Sabbath sermon I suggested earlier, but I’ll take this as a much more positive sign that the understanding is that clear communication is what is needed right now.  This has to be one of the clearest statements to come out from the UCG leadership in months.  I hope this trend continues!

Sorry for posting this here, Denny, but the moderators on your official blog seem to not care for much of anything I have to say, good — bad or indifferent.

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  1. Now he does this! I received a copy of the original "Sabbath paper" yesterday, for use in prayer and fasting. It looks like this study is going to expand a little more.

  2. I saw that letter also. I'm somewhat less enthusiastic about it than you but I agree it is a clear statement. There comes a time though when we either have to take them at their word or not. It appears this is probably as good as it's going to get. This whole issue has been one messed up pot of gulash and I doubt all my questions about it will ever be answered to my complete satisfaction. However I will not beat a dead horse.

    I guess from this point forward it is trust, but verify.


    I would like to think that Mr. Luker's post clarifies things, and I suppose I will come across as being picky, but if he really wants to clarify, I think he needs to state in a letter or a post something like this: "The teaching of the Church about employing people on the Sabbath is this. You cannot operate a business that employs people on the Sabbath, even if it is only part of the Sabbath for a few days a year, and even if it is required by law. If the law requires you to be open, then you cannot be in that business. That has been and continues to be the teaching of the Church."

    The problem with Mr. Luker's post is that UCG can make the change to liberalize the Sabbath by saying you can employ people on the Sabbath, and yet not call it a change in "doctrine". It would be a change in "policy", or a "clarification", or a change in "judgment", etc., but not "doctrine".

    If Mr. Luker could simply state the existing teaching on that point, then that would tend to show that he is not playing word games.

  4. While I pretty much agree that more could have been said, I'm not willing to be the one to continuously hold something over someone else's head if it seems they are moving in the right direction.

    For example: If my child finally cleans the room, am I going to get upset that the board games are put away with the stuffed animals? If a husband finally puts up hooks for the teacups, then is it profitable for the wife to continue nagging because he put up enough hooks for a set of 8 instead of 4?

    I would say that "trust but verify" applies at all times, BTW. I get 7 relevant results for "watch" and "pray" on, which indicates to me that we are to be watchful of more than just world events. We need to watch to ensure we are following God's way and are not being led astray.

    Besides, it is also a significant message because even the tenor has softened. I think the leadership of UCG may be finally realizing that just telling people to believe or act a certain way simply because they tell them to isn't going to win friends and influence people.

    People don't want to hear about love, they want to see it in action. People don't want to hear about how doctrine hasn't changed, they want to see and know that it hasn't changed from a practical standpoint.

    I think the members just want to see the rubber meet the road, and they want to see positive examples from their leaders. After all, that's what a leader does — influences people to achieve positive results.

  5. From what I'm seeing around the web, those who were skeptical are being skeptical still. Those who are loyal are being loyal still.

    NPR had an interesting story today about who can qualify to serve in Israel's army. The debate is over immigrants not being "Jewish enough." Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox branches of Judaism set the rules there, which can keep some people with U.S. Reform and Conservative Jewish backgrounds out.

    This admittedly goes back to things you posted a few days ago — but wow, how you can compare that situation to COG's in 2010. The Ultras want to tell the Orthodox what to do, saying we're at the precipice of disaster if it's not done.

    As a not-so-wise man named Rodney King once said: "Can we all get along?"

  6. Richard wrote: "From what I'm seeing around the web, those who were skeptical are being skeptical still. Those who are loyal are being loyal still."

    Isn't that the way of things?

    Can people own up to their own mistakes more and castigate others less?

    Can people forgive others more and hold themselves more accountable?

    Can those who rally behind one side or the other examine themselves and say they are truly doing it for the right reasons?

    You know, healing takes a miracle. How badly do we want it?

  7. Mr. Carmack, re: your comment response up there – quoted below –

    "For example: If my child finally cleans the room, am I going to get upset that the board games are put away with the stuffed animals? If a husband finally puts up hooks for the teacups, then is it profitable for the wife to continue nagging because he put up enough hooks for a set of 8 instead of 4?"

    I know you used those as examples – but I have a VERY serious problem with the example. The problem with this is that Mr. Luker is not a child or a husband. His current role transcends board games or tea service. His role is shepherding people's spiritual lives. At the end of the day, it is I alone who will stand before God and account for choice I've made and sins I've committed – and we'll have plenty to talk about. But Mr. Luker, and all the other elders, ministers, administration/etc at UCG will be standing there accounting for every bad choice they've made, sin committed, AND every bad choice and sin they've led the brethren to commit, as well.

    With all due respect to you AND Mr. Luker, HIS spiritual life is on the line, too, if he leads anybody into thinking that working on the Sabbath is a "gray area".

  8. @Anonymous: I don't disagree with you that they are very different things. Please take them as analogies — and analogies are like rubber bands in that if you stretch them too far then they break.

    I actually hesitated to use any example at all. At least someone hasn't yet accused me of calling Mr Luker a child. 🙂