Sunday, May 29, 2005

Will Lutherans uphold stance on gay issues?

Shrimp here: me send out my legions to the many assemblies (OK I went to which you can too, interesting reading and if you turn it around 180 degrees--like they are trying to do with Bible--if they say bad it means good)to learn if Lutherans can uphold stance on gay issues.

Here are three assemblies three scenerios. First, all three recommendations could be defeated outright. That seems to happening in a little less than half of the synods. This comes from a local paper which could mean none of the five gay Lutheran political action groups had a representative down there.

"S.C. synod votes to oppose blessing of same-sex unions


Staff Writer

Clergy and laity from the S.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted this weekend to uphold the denomination’s stance on issues related to homosexuality.

The votes came during the synod’s annual assembly in Charleston and attended by more than 600 clergy and laity from around the state. They are the S.C. synod’s response to a report released in January by a national committee of clergy and laity from around the church.

The assembly voted to approve:

• A resolution that opposed allowing non-celibate gays and lesbians to be ordained. Current church policy permits gays and lesbians to be ordained if they take a vow of celibacy. The report released in January recommended the church “may refrain from disciplining” ministers with same-sex partners and those who approve their employment.

• A resolution that opposed the blessing of same-sex relationships and allowed for disciplining pastors and congregations who perform such ceremonies. Currently, the church does not permit the blessing of same-sex relationships.

“We’re saying to the assembly that we appreciate your compassion for persons in committed gay and lesbian relationships, that we know these persons, love and respect them, but we don’t as a synod wish to make exceptions as to ordination or the blessing of same-sex unions,” said Mel Amundson, assistant to the bishop.

Amundson said the overall climate of debate at the Charleston gathering was “amicable.”

“It seemed to be done in a way that respected differing opinions for the sake of the church and for pastoral concern,” he said.

The synod has more than 64,000 members statewide, with headquarters in Columbia. The Right Rev. David Donges, bishop, is its spiritual leader.

The resolutions were passed in anticipation of the denomination’s nationwide assembly to be held in Orlando, Fla., in August. There, clergy and laity elected as delegates will vote on whether to accept the recommendations of the January report."

South Carolinians good human people!

Next, NW Ohio, where we see the report of an intern (doesn't it do your heart good to know that our seminaries are turning out political activists who go to assemblies and send in reports to gay rights groups. Must make their profs really proud)

Now read this with an eye toward the future, how an intern speaks proudly about introducing doubt about th eauthority of Scripture--did he really say "eat the apple and you DIE? (the problem IS the seminaries, folks)

We'll let Jay tell his story:

The Northwestern Ohio Synod Assembly was held May 20-21 at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green,OH.]

My experience of the NWOS assembly was somewhat limited, as I went to an ordination celebration on Saturday and missed the entire floor debate. From what I heard, there were far more "progressive" (for lack of a better term) speakers at the mics than ever before, and the vote, although it still reflected the historic conservatism of this synod, showed an increase in the number of people who desire change.

As for the non-floor debate aspects, our group had a wonderful booth set up, with colorful materials from LC/NA, and we had lots of people stopping by to chat, and to pick up buttons with rainbow-colored ribbon on them.

There was also a booth entitled "A Pastoral examination of homosexuality" (or something like that). They were handing out essays by Pannenberg, W. Taylor, and poorly written articles about life expectancy and health risks for glbt people. One of the hosts of the table is a voting member to churchwide.

However, we collected the articles and are working on talking points-rebuttals to distribute for folks who have arranged to meet with CWA voting members. We are working on initiating relationships with many of the CWA folks, and since I will be in Orlando, I am hoping to invite them to journey faithfully with me through that event, meeting to debrief and attending goodsoil events.

Some hopeful moments: within 5 minutes of being there, I ran into my first CWA voting member. I invited him into conversation. He is from a rural congregation and describes himself as "undecided." Within 10 minutes of conversation, I had challenged him to address the question from a whole new angle--that of justice AS WELL as biblical theology--and he was intrigued. He agreed to meet with me for lunch. He says his congregation is quite conservative, but that he will "vote his conscience" and he "remains open to be convinced." A very similar conversation happened with two other voting members who are also "somewhat unconvinced" but open to meet with members from our group.

Another young man approached me because I was wearing a button, and he asked me how to vote. He was from a town of 250 and a very conservative congregation, but he felt it was wrong to discriminate, but he didn't understand the language of the resolution they were voting on. I told him I couldn't tell him "how to vote," but I helped him understand the language and the voting options, and thanked him for being open to change and courageous enough to vote his conscience even while sitting with the other voting members from his congregation. As we were finishing, he said, "The church is really changing, isn't it?" All I could say was, "I hope so."

Jay McDivitt, Intern
Messiah Lutheran
Toledo, OH

Remeber, I said, turn it around and it reads true. "Please Lord, let it be not so, let it be not so."

Now the third, a long report and my little shrimp eyes were getting cross-eyed between wherasses and be it resolveds, but the last short paragraph was telling, and this in my considered opinion is what we'll have in Orlando:

"Therefore, the RMS has failed to send any memorials to the Churchwide Assembly because none received 2/3 support. While this is disappointing, to see such a solid majority in favor of complete revision of V&E was very hopeful, and that hopefulness was evident amidst the disappointment. Clearly, more people than the authors of Resolution #8 expected are ready for change. Only a last-minute resolution eliminating the simple majority kept 7C from passing." -Pastor Michael Fick,
Denver CO

7C was, of course, a plea for sanity.

If anyone out there in human land is listening, turn it around. Anyone can go to the mike and request that motions have to be passed by two-thirds and if that passes, IT IS HARD TO GET TWO-THIRDS IN THIS POLARIZED CLIMATE.

Since the offensive "exceptions clause" for gay pastors needs two-thirds, it may well fail. That may even be Hanson's plan, a sort-of-leadership by default. He can run in two years telling the mainstream that he urged caution (there's a quote in one of the news releases from the March Madness he can use).

And that brings us to what next. Dump Hanson in 2007 or we will be stuck here for a decade. We need a bishop who will say "No, I am sorry" to Jeff Johnson and all those folks rather than create task forces to do their work.

Hopefully the new bishop could tunr an eye toward our seminaries and what they teach.

If you have time, go and read the Rocky Mountain report. They had Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. "Sheprovided theological reflection for the entire assembly, focusing on the how Lutherans are not fundamentalists when in comes to the Bible and describing instead a hermeneutic of hope centered in Christ’s redemptive activity. Her recent work on the book of Revelation informed much of this, but she also shared some personal experiences. One of the most powerful was a story of her mother’s illness and the wonderful Minneapolis parish pastor, who happened to be a lesbian in a committed relationship, who cared so well for her mother. Dr. Rossing was, as she has been in the past, well received by the Synod."

Nice of the bishop to arrange that, huh? Yes, that woould be the prophetess of LSTC the originatior of "the 1000 Lutheran Theologians support gay marriage statement," the same one who told a reporter that adiaphora was a Latin term.

Hey, I got to go, my little crustacean brain is pounding when I think how much work we have ahead. Go and pray that our LORD revise our seminaries rather than traditional Lutheran theology, or rather revise it back to Confessionalism.


Mwalimu Daudi said...

Shrimp, I think all of this is for nothing. No matter what the Churchwide Assembly votes, the ELCA leaders will simply do what they have planned to do all along - bless gay/lesbain marriages and ordain noncelibate gay/lesbian clergy. In these days the ELCA has no King, and each one will do what is right in their own eyes.

guile said...

nice, comfy place you got here :)..

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...