It seems I had joined the 95% of the population that starts a blog but
only writes one posting. That was only a temporary setback. The "Pious
Pastor" is back. I'll need to have a more widespread distribution of
these comments to make this interesting.
The ELCA statement on the ordination of homosexual individuals in
committed relationships has finally hit "home" for me. A friend called
to ask if I had heard the news about a congregation I had served some
years ago. They have taken a congregational vote and decided to withdraw
from the ELCA in protest for that decision and for "heading in a
direction" that the congregation disapproved of. I suspect that the "L"
word is a part of the criticism.
I have only experienced successive mergers in my life with the Lutheran
Church. I watched seminex and the LCMS continue to "duke it out" and
rather took for granted that the ecumenical energy of the LCA and ELCA
constitutions held, not only for our desire for union with other
denominational expressions, but grew out of a sense of our own unity. No
more. Now it seems we have a "great church fight" of our own. Or at
least a "skirmish."
Knowing that sexuality is an organic force "beyond human comprehension,"
I've wanted the church to suspend judgement on such things until such a
time as our understanding is more complete. In the meantime it seems
right to give the "benefit of the doubt" to those who want to become
servants of Christ in this church. Might we be acting too quickly in
this regard? The church is for the ages and makes decisions on God's time.
We are usually so far behind the secular curve. We protest wars only
after they are well underway. We speak out on "climate change" without a
unifying voice or congregational disgust with the status quo. We miss
the boat when called to be irate about health care justice, prison
reform, treatment of prisoners of war, or other issues of the day. We
are silent about government gridlock. Nowhere does Jesus analysis of
Herod as a cunning fox, his commentary on politics as usual, prompt our
churches to social ministry or call for reform. Where would everyone go who
was unhappy with the "direction" of the church on all these other issues?