Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Warming Up

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?

1 comment:

  1. Despite my frequent and consistent attendance in church, my devotion to the worship music team, and my willingness to accept leadership positions in the church, I remain a man of multiple religious personalities: a follower of Jesus who is sometimes hesitant (even loathe) to call himself a Christian; an agnostic who thinks he'll never know enough to understand or be comfortable with his faith; and one who prays daily and feels an ever more urgent calling to intercessory prayer. The Pious Pastor has pinpointed the main reason, I think, for my hesitancy and ambivalence: our churches seldom respond in ways that demonstrate their spoken creeds or their obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Yet I do not call out my friends and fellow church members. I believe that most people's politics or prejudices govern their religious lives, and I sit complacent in that cynicism. So I am part of the problem, not the solution. I can see no reason for not ordaining gays or allowing them to marry. The unseen sins of those in ministry are often far worse and more insidious than those of gays in a committed relation who, with all their hearts, want to serve God. Why do I not tackle this problem within my own church? Thank you, pious pastor, for blogging once more. jw