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Fourth meeting of the sinoditalgutiim

The fourth meeting of the sinoditalgutiim was held on Wednesday 2022-03-30 from 12:30 to 17:00 in Tallinn. This was our last meeting since we needed to submit our report for the next day. Our instrumentum laboris was version 16 (released 2022-03-24) of our report: v16.pdf / v16.odt

See also Version 17 is out!

Feedback since version 16

Thanks again for the good work. I see the final meeting is tomorrow. I’ll not be able to attend, but I pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and God’s continuous grace upon us all.

Eesti kirjeldus on minu arvates täpne ja väga kasulik. See paneb sõnadesse palju seda, mida ise olen tundnud, mõelnud. Kogu tekst oma keelekasutuselt on kuidagi värskendav ja lahe lugemine.

“How would YOU answer to the third part of the fundamental question?” –> First that comes to mind though, is about women being priests. However, I don’t believe we are called to answer that question (as part of this Synod anyway). While it’s good to air our views in this respect, I don’t think it would serve any purpose to think like that. Again, just my opinion.

Mul tekkis pigem küsimus dokumendi kui terviku suhtes. Ma saan aru esimesest osast, kus defineeritakse mõisteid ja kirjeldatakse Eesti elu (Section 1, 2). Sellega olen täiesti nõus. Aga ma ei saa aru, kuidas soovitused (suggestions) lähtuvad just nimelt Eesti kogemusest. Kui Eestis on murekohaks kirik, mis kannab särki tagurpidi - ei oska inimestega rääkida, tekkib vastuolu talupojamõistusega, kummaline “maagiline” nägemus piiblist, moraliseerimine jne, siis miks on lahenduseks raamatukogu (Step 1: master teachings), dialoogiplatform (Step 2) ja poliitiline tegevus (Step 4)? Need ei ole ju seotud? Töö keelega (Step 3: Increase work with language regulators) on loogiline - pole sõnum arusaadav, siis töötame mõistete kallal endast targematega.

Probleemiks mulle tundub ikkagi Eestis olevat sõnumi sisu ja keel. Me ei suuda olla arusaadavad neile, kes seda üliväga vajavad (have a longing for God). Aga kuidas aitavad meid selles need sammud (v.a. Step 3)? Võib-olla on küsimus praegu minu mõistmatuses.

Võib-olla oleks võinud rääkida rohkem Eesti kontekstis loodushoiust, Laudate Si-st, armastusest loodu vastu, mis eestlastel kuidagi loomulikult tuleb.

Samuti tunduvad mulle üleminekud sektsioonide vahel kohati väga järsud, hüplevad. Eriti on see minu jaoks sektsioonides “Paradoxical Language” ja “Tell me the gospel in 60 seconds”. Miks need siin on? Arvan, et need on väga huvitavad ja väärtuslikud mõttekäigud, kuid miks nad on seal, kus nad on? Võib-olla tasuks “Tell me the gospel…” välja jätta. See teema on ka minu jaoks väga oluline, aga sisetunne ütleb, et ehk ei ole antud tekstis kohane.

Mulle eriti meeldisid need visioonid, mis esialgsetes draftides olid. Paljas paavst ja skisma vastand - kristlaste taasühinemine üheks, algsed nö vastandite kastid. Need on heas mõttes šokeerivad, nagu enne ütlesin. Uued nägemused raputavad meid, ajavad vaimulikust unest üles. Mulle näib, et taolised visioonid/nägemused ongi osa sellest, milleks Püha Vaim meid kutsub. Me peame julgema edasi minna, kuhu Vaim meid juhatab, mitte mugavates mõttemustrites lesima jääma. Mul on kahju, et need välja jäid, aga saan aru ka teoloogide vaatepunktist.

Kokkuvõttes üritan öelda seda, et kuigi see “sinodaalse kiriku” loomise idee on minu arust hea, siis selle õpetustesse ei tohiks juba esimesest hetkest peale kirjutada vastuolusid katoliku kiriku õpetustega. Katoliiklased, kes selle uue kiriku loomisel juhtivat rolli peaksid mängima (eesotsas paavstiga) on ju ennekõike katoliku kiriku liikmed ja alles sellele lisaks “sinodaalse kiriku” liikmed (tähtsuste prioriteet). “Sinodaalse kiriku” “põhiõpetustes” tuleks sellistes konfliktsetes kohtades (konfessioonide võrdsus; nende õpetuste võrdne õigsus; traditsiooni ja õpetusameti roll) kasutada üldisemat sõnastust või mõnikord üldse mitte neid kirja panna.

Although Estonian young people are well-educated, they are poorly informed about theology and assume that Christians are all fundamentalists. If they too are to be evangelised or at least communicated with, there must be intelligent honesty, if only on a private and personal level. At least in the foreign language library in Tallinn, you can read the works of Richard Dawkins and other ‘new atheists’, but not any intelligent theology. Presumably the selection is made by ‘experts’, who don’t know that academic theology exists, or that Dawkins uses some of it in his works. I’m not advocating that preachers should preach biblical criticism in Estonia, but they should be sufficiently familiar with academic theology to discuss their faith with educated young people.

Mulle tundub, et punkt (34) (Sexual education) ei lisa liiga palju juurde. Please include in (34) the whole quote in order to differentiate between ‘orientation’ and ‘practice’. I’m pretty sure they intended to make this distinction (although its not much comfort to gays) ‘On October 16, 2008, the member churches of EKN adopted a common position on the issue of homosexuality. They recognized that the scriptural tradition could not be reinterpreted in a positive way to homosexual practice. According to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin …’

Regarding (40): Jah, kindlasti on selliseid eestlaseid ja kindlasti on ka igasugu teistsuguseid :) Ma lihtsalt eriti ei usu üldistustesse :)

I’m not happy with (43) and would like ‘Another cause … principles‘ to be deleted. Francis was not talking specifically about Estonia, but the quotation gives the impression that Estonia is particularly to be described in that way, rather than secular countries in general. (I feel that the soul of the Estonian people is still in the country, rather than in the ‘Telliskivi start-up’ hipsters. Its impossible to guess what the pre-Christian animist religion in Estonia was like, but I think that an argument could be made that the human graduation from a ‘spirit-filled’ world to the ‘sky-god’ model may have began the process of ‘edging God out’ of the universe that has ushered in our secular mindset. Remember that Jesus lived in a cultural context where good and spirits abounded.) My advice: delete all from ‘One of them … principles’. If you don’t wan’t to omit ‘ Our worry is: can a people survive when it ignores the Gospel?’ change ‘survive‘ to ‘thrive’. To survive is a very low bar to achieve. At the end of the document you aim for ‘happiness.’

Lisaks juurde omalt poolt, et (47) - “Why loving your enemies would lead to peace” on mul omal käel tuntud kogemus. Rääkisin seda ükskord ühele targale ja empaatilisele inimesele, kes siiski ei suutnud naeru kinni hoida selle jutu peale.

I might add to (48) although you don’t have to, ‘The church in its Russian and German forms was a colonial enterprise. It was associated with a Baltic-German ruling class. It is regarded as a branch of personal therapy, rather than transforming human community. In its Lutheran and Opus Dei form, it appears to target the intelligentsia. The orthodox and lutheran churches, although not the Catholic Church, made necessary compromises with soviet power.

My understanding of 58 is to the contrary, that is, that we can all consent to all of these propositions, because they are part of the Christian tradition derived from scripture, and the tradition holds paradoxical beliefs together, because we will be judged on our love of neighbour, rather than our beliefs. Since our individual point of view is partial, and Christians like to occupy the ‘moral high ground’, we tend to opt for one side of the table, rather than the other. However, if we’re honest, we are able to grandstand self-righteously for our personal point-of-view, precisely because we know that there is a balancing view within the tradition. The contrary view has been preserved for us by our forbears in the faith, and sometimes buried ‘like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid’ until the time is right for it be brought back into the light.

(59) in English, ‘gets angry’ raises a theological problem about God’s impassibility. In English, we find a way out by using an archaic word ‘wrath’. I would replace ‘He gets angry… become better’ with ‘Although our failure to trust him fully and the harm we cause to others offends his wrath, God constantly helps us to become better.’

About section 3 (60 ff): I’m concerned if these suggestions were were inspired by the summaries of all the synod meetings held, or if they are your own personal opinions? The word “should” is used a lot of times in this section and to me it doesn’t correlate with a “suggestion”. Using “should” implies that we know what’s better. It’s important for me that that section does not entail one person’s opinion, but perhaps reflect the message received from the Synod meetings. All other aspects are fine by me and this is my personal feedback. I’ll continue praying for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and for God’s grace to abide with us all. (Luc: Yes, section 3 might need a full rewrite. These are originally my answers to the question “What would you change in the global church if you were to decide?” I haven’t heard any direct answer to this question from anybody (except one contributor who answered “change everything you want, only do not change the teachings of the church”, and with “teachings” he meant the official teachings of the catholic church). I have no problem with removing them, the final decision is to be done on Wednesday.

Saan aru (60), et “sinodaalse kiriku” õpetused oleksid liikmeskirikutele soovituslikud, mitte siduvad, seega katoliku kiriku õpetused jääksid samamoodi kehtima nagu praegugi. Samas tundub, et tinglikult mõistetakse hukka see, kui mõni konfessioon üritab oma liikmeid enda juures hoida. Minu arust on loogiline, et (vähemalt osad) konfessioonid, sh katoliku kirik, ei soosi seda, kui nende liikmed teistesse konfessioonidesse siirduvad ning ei pea teiste konfessioonide õpetusi sama õigeks kui enda omi. Siin tekib juba otsene konflikt “sinodaalse kiriku” õpetuse vahel ja katoliku kiriku õpetuse vahel.

“Changing denomination should not be seen as “betrayal”, it would just be an individual preference for a given institution.” Mulle tundub, et konfessioonide elu on nii keeruline, et sellist lihtsustust on mul endal raske teha, kuigi see visioon ise on lootusandev.

Punktis (61) öeldakse justkui, et kõik õpetused peale piibli on teisejärgulised ja mitte tingimata õiged. Siin on justkui konflikt “sinodaalse kiriku” ja katoliku kiriku vahel. Kui katoliku kirik õpetab, et piibel, kiriku traditsioon ja kiriku õpetusameti seisukohad on võrdse tähtsusega, siis see punkt ütleb, et piibel on teistest tähtsam ja teised võivad üleüldse valed olla. Siin tekib juba teine otsene konflikt “sinodaalse kiriku” õpetuse vahel ja katoliku kiriku õpetuse vahel.

(63) change ‘dogms’ to ‘dogmas’. Replace ‘deprecation’ with some better word. I don’t understand your meaning.

In (64) replace ‘censure’ with ‘censor’.

(74) Replace ‘sünodaalne kirik’ with the approved estonian translation. Replace ‘should be sacraments of him’ with ‘should be sacramental of him’.

(75) I would delete reference to ‘heart-based faith’ as it sounds too subjective for the conclusion of a document that is designed to guide the whole ‘Body of Christ’, and creates another unnecessary dichotomy. In the womb, we all know oneness and love: we don’t need to have it explained until we step into this world of division. You need to reward those who’ve read through your document with a positive crescendo as your conclusion. Avoid the negative. Always encourage.

Here’s a suggested form of words for (75)

‘The doctrinal teachings of the Church provide, like the guidelines given by a mother to her growing children, a safe place, where children grow in understanding, maturity, responsibility, and trust that the world is created by God, who loves the world so much, that he sent his only-begotten Son. As her children first knew that their mother loved them wordlessly within the womb, and in childhood they experienced that love within the family, the Church and the school, so through the scriptures and the sacraments, God brings to the growing minds of the faithful, what they already know - the sacred heartbeat of God at the centre of the universe, that from their beginning, set their own hearts on fire.’

In (79) Replace ‘a rich’ with ‘the rich’.

Feedback from a young Estonian

Mõningad mõtted, mis tekkisid lugedes teie kirja paavstile

1. Eestlased ei vaja jumalat, meil on vaja spirituaalsust, mille puhul toimib paremini (tänu kliima aktivismi ja umbusu levimisele) paganlus (maausk).

2. Ateistid ei kritiseeri kiriku ideaali, kuna me teame, et te ei saavuta seda kunagi. Seetõttu on mõistlikum kritiseerida seda, mida me näeme praegu juhtumas, ehk kasutades teie sõnu, kritiseerida tagurpidi olevat mantlit ema selja, selle asemel et kritiseerida selle mantli sobivust siis, kui se tal õigesti seljas oleks.

3. Asjad, mida on loetletud punktis 48 on küll ateistide poolt tihti välja toodud kriitikad, kuid keskmist inimest ei huvita enamus või üksi nendest.

4. Üks põhjus, miks Eestlased (eriti noored) kirikut ei taha tunnistada on kiriku näiline põimumine teatud poliitiliste ideoloogiatega (konservatiivsus ja traditsionalism). Kuna tänapäeva noor arvab, et keskmine kirikus käija on xenofoobne homode põlastaja, arvatekse, et sellised on ka kiriku enda vaated. Vanematel on kas põlastus kiriku vastu tänu kogemustele või eelarvamustele.

5. Väljapakutud lahendused ei ole küll halvad, kuid ma kaldun arvama, et need ei tööta eestlaste puhul.

Ideas for the conclusion

(1) As the authors of this document [after having meditated, discussed and prayed on the topic of synodality] we declare:

(2) The Roman Catholic church, with other sister churches, is already on the synodal journey, sensing with them, one heart burning within them when they allow the risen Christ to renew their understanding of the scriptures. There are however a few fundamental changes to apply before this can happen.

(3) It is natural and good that Christians are split into several denominations, each of which interprets, understands and explains the bible their way. Each visible church institution has their own and specific style to constantly invent new words to spread the Word. This has always been and should always remain.

  • Ma ei ole küll nõus sellega, et nii paljude eri konfessioonide olemasolu on midagi head ja lausa vajalikku. See on muidugi ajalooline fakt, et kirikust on sajandite jooksul palju konfessioone eraldunud, kuid see pole tingimata hea. Piibli järgi Kristus tahtis, et tema järgijad oleksid üks. Ma pole küll teoloog, et seda kuidagi sügavalt analüüsida oskaksin, et pigem tõlgendan seda nii, et üks ja ühtne kirik oleks kõige parem. Samuti on see minu teada ka katoliku kiriku seisukoht. Kiriku tuhandeteks konfessioonideks jagunemist võiks pigem pidada tragöödiaks. Siit tuleb juba kolmas otsene konflikt “sinodaalse kiriku” õpetuse vahel ja katoliku kiriku õpetuse vahel. Samas peab ütlema, et kuigi senine jagunemine on tragöödia, siis kõik katsed lõhesid ületada ja suuremat ühtsust saavutada on igati head ja tervitatavad, nagu ka sinodi raport mõista annab. Lisaks mainitule annab see punkt taas mõista, et kõigi konfessioonide tõlgendused on võrdselt õiged, mis katoliku kiriku (ja ilmselt paljude teiste konfessioonide) seisukohalt ei vasta tõele.

(4) In the digital age there is no way to avoid defining your identity, your mission and your rules in a legally binding way and using plain language.

(5) As a synodal church, we must create the legal entity that represents, embraces, unites and guides us all, respecting and fostering our diversity. Only an independent entity can lead the huge communities of all Christian communities.

(6) This entity must not have any power or wealth in the visible world.

(7) It does not need these things because God cares for it and makes it grow. It must stand on a raised position so that every denomination can see it, like the director of a compound choir on a song festival.

(8) It must be reliable like the compass that gives orientation to the captain, who then decides sovereignly how to navigate the ship through the cliffs of reality.

(9) We do not claim to have fully described these changes. Our suggestions are only a humble attempt, to be integrated with those of other parts of the world-wide church.