Thursday, June 30, 2005

Canadian Church willing to walk away

TORONTO -- The Anglican Church of Canada says it's trying to work with the larger international church on the issue of blessing same-sex unions, but is willing to walk away from the Anglican Communion.

North American churches are increasingly sitting on the opposite ideological side from their counterparts in the developing world on same-sex blessings and ordination of women, and many say it could lead to a rift in the church in as few as three years.

"The language that continues to be used consistently is that of 'full repentance,' " for seeming to support the blessing of same-sex unions, said Ven. Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the Primate of Canada, leader of the country's Anglicans.

The greater world church "wants us to admit that we've made a horrible mistake -- say we've been bad children -- go to the corner and promise never to do it again."

Archdeacon Feheley was at the University of Toronto on Tuesday to deliver a speech on behalf of the Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, who was ill.

The Anglican Church of Canada wants the communion to recognize the same-sex debate as an internal issue, but has met censure and disrespect from the increasingly powerful group of churches from much of Africa and South America, called the Global South. The U.S. Episcopal Church has also been shunned for consecrating an openly gay man as bishop. In Canada, the Vancouver diocese of New Westminster has approved the blessing of same-sex unions.

Read the rest?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Support the work of Solid Rock

Synod Assembly Results. Almost all synods have completed their synod assemblies now. The results look very hopeful from our perspective. Recommendation #3, on ordaining certain non-celibate gays and lesbians, has done poorly throughout much of the country. In the synods for which results are known, Recommendation #3 was supported in 16 synod assemblies and rejected in 25. Most synods supporting it were on the west coast, northeast, and Milwaukee/Chicago/Minneapolis area. It’s noteworthy that some synods strongly supporting change, such as Northeast Penn and Southeast Penn, had great difficulty reaching the 2/3 mark in straw votes on Recommendation #3. Northeast Penn barely made 2/3, while Southeast Penn fell just short. This is important because the Churchwide Assembly must pass Recommendation #3 by a 2/3 vote. That means that the synods that strongly support the change must provide support that is well over 2/3 in order to make up for those synods that oppose change.

The following synods rejected Recommendation #3 at their 2005 synod assemblies: Northwestern Minnesota, Eastern North Dakota, Southwestern Minnesota, Northeastern Minnesota, Northern Texas Northern Louisiana, Northeastern Ohio, Florida Bahamas, Western Iowa, South Carolina, Southern Ohio, Southwestern Texas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast, Northwest Wisconsin, Western North Dakota, South Dakota, Southeastern Synod, Virginia, Indiana-Kentucky, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Lower Susquehanna, Northeastern Iowa, Allegheny, and Upper Susquehanna. For the best list of which we are aware, go to the WordAlone website under Churchwide Assembly, which gives a fairly good idea of what’s happened. Again, remember that results from many synods are simply not known, while many others did not vote in a way that directly impacted Recommendation #3.

"Solid Rock Goals. In the time between now and Orlando, Solid Rock Lutherans is trying to accomplish several important goals. One goal is to establish a national media presence. This vote at Orlando is a critical vote not just for ELCA Lutherans but for the Christian church as a whole. We want the media to cover it properly as the major event it is.

"We also want to establish clearly what is going on. The three Recommendations from the Church Council are masterpieces of obfuscation. None of them really means what it says. Recommendation #3, for example, claims that it is continuing V&E (Vision and Expectations), when in fact it is completely overturning V&E. It is important that we help Voting Members see through this smokescreen. Similarly, Recommendation #2 sounds as if it intends to continue the Conference of Bishops position against the blessing of same-sex unions, when it is actually designed to achieve the opposite. In fact, Recommendation #2 provides complete and total “Local Option” for the blessing of same-sex unions by any pastor or congregation that wants to."

Support Solid Rock. Go to their web site and give them financial support as well as seeing what they are doing and how you can help their grass roots work. The church you save may be your own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ya'll Get One of These in the Mail?

Did you receive a padded envelope with the following return address:

FAITHFULNESS REQUIRES MORE
Rev. Paul A. Tidemann
St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church
100 Oxford Street N
St. Paul, MN 55104

It includes a cover letter from Tidemann and 3 DVD's. Two of them are DVD releases of the videos (VHS) sent to the voting members at the two previous assemblies:
"Call to Witness" and "This Obedience." The third is the new one for this year: "The ELCA in Dialogue: We Need to Talk." Tidemann says that this one "was very recently produced and features Lutheran LGBT persons who live in rural North Dakota and Minnesota, their family members, and their pastors."

Tidemann says in his letter:
"I hope you will stand with me in Orlando in supporting legislation that will remove the current policy, which unfairly penalizes people of a particular sexual orientation. I believe that our church should admit into its regular candidacy process all qualified persons, including LGBT people in covenanted same-gender relationships, and enforce no unique restrictions or requirements against them. A
complicated process of required exceptions for an entire class of people is unprecedented, unwarranted and unjust.The ELCA Church Council urges in one of its resolutions that the church 'live together faithfully.' Living together faithfully
requires us to take the necessary steps to create a safer church. The current policies and practices of our church undermine the very capacity to engage in mutual dialogue. Faithfulness requires a change in the policies of discrimination and exclusion. Faithfulness requires that provision be made for those congregations, bishops and synods that are now ready to welcome fully the gifts of LGBT people.
Faithfulness requires that the policies of discrimination be set aside. If you are like me and know LBGT people, you are aware that the environment in our church is anything but neutral for openly LBGT people, their children and their families. As persons denied full participation in the ELCA since its inception, LGBT families hear the language of 'welcome' as empty rhetoric when combined with policies
that demean their humanity and minimize their relationships. Dialogue cannot be faithful or mutually respectful when there is no equity among participants, and when those most affected by proposed legislative changes are regularly excluded from important conversations and decision-making."

What do you think?

Ya'll Be Careful!

Allstate terminates manager over homosexuality column
On own time, man posted anti-'gay' article insurance giant says didn't reflect its values

By Ron Strom
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

A former manager with Allstate has sued the insurance giant, alleging the company, which financially supports homosexual advocacy groups, fired him solely because he wrote a column posted on several websites that was critical of same-sex marriage and espoused his Christian beliefs.

J. Matt Barber was a manager in Allstate's Corporate Security Division, its investigative arm, at the Fortune 100 company's headquarters in Northbrook, Ill. Besides working for the insurance provider, Barber was and is a professional heavyweight boxer, a jazz drummer and a Web commentator. His columns have appeared on TheConservativeVoice.com, MensNewsDaily.com and others.

Though the column in question was written and posted in December, it wasn't until Jan. 31 that Barber was called into a meeting with two human resources officials, one of whom Barber says "slapped down" a printed copy of the column in front of him and asked if he had written it.

Barmen Time?

Shrimp here: Have you any evidence of pastors being asked to sign statements that they would not leave the ELCA over what happens in August? I know of one conference where that happened and want to know if there are others.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What part of upheaval do they not understand?

"The assembly of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA recently endorsed the recommendation at a meeting in Reading. Other recommendations in the proposal call for unity and for the church to continue to oppose the blessing of homosexual unions, but allow pastors to minister to gay and lesbian Lutherans.

The Rev. Catherine Ziel, executive associate of the Rev. David R. Strobel, bishop of the synod, said about two-thirds of the 750 delegates at the assembly supported the gay clergy proposal.

She said the synod council, which includes the leadership of the district, recently came out in favor of the proposal in an informal session.

Predictably, Lutheran clergy in the area have differing opinions on the proposal.

'Too overwhelming'

"I just believe it's an issue that the church should not be involved in," said the Rev. David Searing, who became pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Scranton in March. "The controversy is too overwhelming. We will not have accomplished any good by pursuing this."

The Rev. George Mathews, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Clarks Summit, said he could see both sides of the issue, but his conservative leanings prevailed.

"I would appreciate the church maintaining a position that does not violate our historical standards of ordination," the Rev. Mathews said.

"I think the problem becomes one of perspective," he explained. "What is the church's mission? What is its image?"

The issue of gay pastors has been a church topic since the Rev. Albert Wagaman became a minister 36 years ago, he said.

"I guess it's a breakthrough into a wider understanding of who can be part of the church," said the Rev. Wagaman, pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Archbald. "I think it's not good enough."

The proposal signals progress regardless of its fate, said the Rev. Kenneth Buckwalter, pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Honesdale.

"I do believe the document is a step forward in terms of addressing homosexuality and the church's position on it," the Rev. Buckwalter said. "I would say it is part of the path toward the inclusion of all people."

An ELCA document on human sexuality is expected in 2007 and the church should have awaited that result before addressing the gay clergy issue, said the Rev. David Heckler, pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hawley.

"Personally, I voted against it," the Rev. Heckler said. "I'm uneasy about it."

He also said there is serious concern within his congregation about it.

"The vast majority of folks in my congregation who have spoken to me about the issue have been very upset that the ELCA is leaning this way," the Rev. Heckler said.

Among other congregations, though, the topic is barely discussed.

"I brought it up a couple times at St. Luke's and there's just no response at all," the Rev. Wagaman said.

Approximately 1,000 voting members of the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly will gather in August in Orlando, Fla., to consider the proposals.

Other denominations have had divisions over the issue. The U.S. Episcopal Church experienced upheaval after the consecration of a gay bishop in 2003. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) also have had conflicts over sexuality.

What part of upheaval does elca leadership not understand? They should read Anglican Mainstream's statements like this one from the Province of South East Asia:

"Christian churches of the other denominations feel it unfair that they have been tarred with the same brush as that for the Anglican Church. They are also embarrassed by what is shamelessly practiced by the Church in the North American provinces. Who suffers? The evangelization and mission of all the churches in our region suffer. The Anglican Church which has the responsibility to evangelize 400 million people in the nine nations of the province, are the primary sufferers. Our members are at pains to understand the actions of ECUSA and Canada. We cannot defend the actions because those actions are blatantly in violation of the Holy Scripture. Not to defend the actions or to even rationalize them begs the question why we should remain in communion with the churches in ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The power of the gospel to change and transform lives is the essential part of our faith. This power of the Gospel gives hope and life to the masses in South East Asia who have been disillusioned by the other traditional religions of the land. The innovative teaching prevailing in the West is contradicting the true teachings as revealed in the Bible. Such teachings present a totally different “gospel” and directly undermine the very bases and foundations of our reason to share the Gospel. They are offensive not only to our Bible believing brethren but to all the other faith communities."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Shellfish alert

(the sound of shrill sirens screaming in the background)

Shrimp here: We have our 'silly shellfish' drills when you are in danger of someone changing your religion by relativising Scripture yet again by saying, "We eat shrimp don't we, therefore we are free to (fill in the blank on whatever cultural norm desired to become a Christian virtue)

The following is from an excellent essay by an Episcopalian, Dr William Witt, in which he takes on that and other nonsense. Here is an excerpt, but do make sure you read the whole essay:

"Both the Selectivist and Revisionist approaches have serious problems. The first approach is politically untenable and the second exegetically so. No church that hopes to keep the average worshiper in the pew can do so by embracing the arguments either that the Bible is a document of oppression or that it cannot be trusted in its moral assertions. The second approach fails as well because the vast majority of bib­lical scholars, both historically and recently, concede that the plain sense reading of the biblical texts prohibits homosexual activity, and that Scripture endorses only one per­missible model for sexual activity: exclusive life-long commitment within heterosexual marriage.

Thus those who want to change the Church’s historic position but who do not want to admit that they are simply jettisoning the authority of the Church’s canoni­cal Scriptures are in an unenviable position. In recent years a third position has ap­peared, one that recognizes that the plain sense reading of Scripture prohibits same-sex activity, yet nonetheless also insists that the Church can still endorse something that violates the plain sense reading of Scripture, and in doing so can still somehow be faithful to the teaching of Scripture. The argument takes the form: although the Scriptures prohibit same-sex activity, nonetheless, the Church is free not to be bound by these proscriptions in the same way that it has recognized that it is not bound by other prohibitions in the Bible.

The most superficial example of this approach has become so commonplace that it is often referred to in shorthand as the “shellfish” argument. Advocates point out that the Bible prohibits the eating of shellfish or the wearing of mixed-weave fabrics, or some other prohibition usually found somewhere in the Mosaic law. Yet we all eat shellfish and wear mixed-blend clothing. Such an observation ought to be inexcusable for Anglicans who should be aware of Article 7 of the 39 Articles, which distinguishes between those precepts of the Mosaic Law that refer to rites, ceremonies, and civil law, and those precepts that are moral.

Other regularly mentioned examples include slavery, usury, Sabbath-keeping, divorce, blood consumption, women’s ordination. In each case, it is held that the Scriptures prohibit or command a certain activity that at some time the Church has seen fit to declare non-binding. Accordingly, there is nothing to prevent the Church to declare that prohibitions against same-sex activity are no longer binding.

A more sophisticated version of this third approach can be found in the New York Episco­pal Diocese’s “Let the Reader Understand,” a small pamphlet that has received wide circula­tion.[14] A more developed form of the argument appeared in an unpublished article by Tobias Haller, one of the authors of the NY pamphlet. “Let the Reader Understand” takes its starting point from Art.7 of the 39 Articles, which distinguishes between those precepts of the Mosaic Law that refer to rites, ceremonies, and forms of government, and those precepts that are moral. Also referenced is Anglican Divine Richard Hooker’s distinction between the “positive laws” given by Moses and the “moral” precepts found in the Ten Commandments. (Laws III. 11.6). There is also an appeal to the Biblical precedent found in Jesus’ setting aside the dietary laws of the Old Testament, and in the New Testament church’s decision to admit Gentiles into fellowship. “Let the Reader Understand” mentions permission of slavery and prohibition of blood consumption as examples of biblical laws that were subsequently set aside by the later Church.

The conclusion drawn by the document is that the Church has the authority to set aside either positive biblical commandments or negative prohibitions that it considers no longer binding. In the document’s own words: “[I]t is insufficient simply to condemn those things that are condemned somewhere in Scripture, or to approve those things that are somewhere approved . . . [T]he Church has come to oppose or forbid acts mandated or tolerated in Scripture, and to allow acts or behaviors forbidden there.”

The deciding principle for the Church’s decisions in this regard is said to be the Great Commandment or the Summary of the Law. LRU states that “[t]he Church has authority to set aside or ignore its own decisions, even when these decisions are recorded in Scripture, and based upon other Scriptures to which divine mandate is attached. It does this by deciding that the divine mandate was temporary, allowing the law to lapse through disuse, or by interpreting the law in a new light.” The document claims that it is particularly the local or national church that has the right to make these decisions about which biblical prohibitions are binding or may be set aside, claiming for a local diocese the authority to set aside the moral teaching of the universal Church, and the Scriptures. One cannot help but ask where this principle could lead. Would the local church be free to set aside non-moral principles as well, e.g., the Nicene affirmation that the Son is homoousios with the Father? Could a national church or local diocese decide to add contemporary materials to the canon? Or omit material from the canon that did not conform to contemporary sensibilities? Is it logically possible that the Scriptures could continue to be morally binding in anything they teach, since the local church is free to absolve itself of having to obey any moral commands that conflict with the values of contemporary culture?"

Read about homosexual hermeneutics here.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Pray for Synod Assemblies

Please keep the participants of the following synod assemblies in your prayers:

Allegheny Synod, June 16 - 18

SW Pennsylvania, June 16 - 18

Caribbean Synod, June 16 - 19

Northern Illinois, June 17 - 18

Upper Susquehanna, June 17 - 18

Luther Johnson
SW MN synod


"for you will be His witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard"
Acts 22:15

A CALL TO PRAYER:

We are facing critical issues and critical times. We need to be in prayer. Please join us in praying for:

I. SYNOD ASSEMBLIES
+ Voting members
+ Your synod bishop
+ WordAlone / Solid Rock movement planners
+ Solid Rock / WordAlone issues & resolutions


II. CHURCHWIDE ASSEMBLY (Aug 8 - 14)
A. PEOPLE
+ Voting members from your area: __________________
+ Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson
+ Conference of Bishops
+ Those demonstrating on behalf of the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender issues
+ WordAlone / Solid Rock movement planners + Other(s):________________________


B. ISSUES
+ Shall we ordain practicing gay & lesbian candidates?
+ Shall we perform "blessings" of same sex unions?
+ Recommendations of the ELCA Church Council
+ RENEWING WORSHIP: vote on proposed new hymnal (ie: Approve or Delay)
+ Establish full communion with Methodist Church: vote
+ Solid Rock / WordAlone issues & resolutions
+ Other(s): __________________________


C. PRAY FOR:
...the Holy Spirit to find open & receptive hearts
...that faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His Word will prevail
...that voting members will vote the courage of their convictions
...a vision of renewal in the Word and Lutheran Confessions
...Truth to trump political correctness
...a spirit of repentance, willing to turn toward God.
...a spirit of humility in the face of tasks that dwarf us
...a desire that Christ may be glorified in all that we do
...that all may sense the profound consequences that will follow; throughout the Christian world.
..._________________________
..._________________________

("A Call to Prayer" written by the Reverend Norm Olsen, Starbuck, MN)


"Ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find: knock and it will be opened to you."

Friday, June 17, 2005


Shrimp here Posted by Hello

Do I look like a web-based media for "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry". The Archbishop of Canterbury described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was "close to that of unpoliced conversation".

Ecclesial Media Police?

From Stand Firm:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has criticised the new web-based media for "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry". He described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was "close to that of unpoliced conversation".

In a lecture to media professionals, politicians and church leaders at Lambeth Palace in London last night, Dr Williams wondered whether a balance could be struck between the professionalism of the classical media and the relative disorder of online communication.

Seriously now: "Unpoliced conversation"? Gosh, can't have that.

"Professionalism of the classical media?" He must be talking about The New York Times and Newsweek. Or perhaps CBS News.

If the archbishop is right - and he may well be - then the only reason there's "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry" on the web - at least as far as the Anglican crisis goes - is because there continues to be a vacuum where his authority and decisiveness should be. Fools have rushed in where angels fear to tread.

Here's hoping that the next time the archbishop is in the mood for invective, he'll instead take a stand on something that's truly important. Like, say... the apostasy that's eating away at his church from the inside."

Go to the above link and read the comments.

Say, can't wait to hear that Hanson has read Shellfish.

Sad

From Pietist: "who is behind these things?

A question for you guys who are in the same demographic as me ( Neanderthal Fundamentalist). Which drives you further around the bend, Situation A or B?

a: Abortifacients at School: Freedom or Tyranny?

"The Santa Rosa City Board of Education gave the go ahead for the Elsie Allen High School clinic to prescribe and distribute contraceptives, including the controversial "morning after pill," also known as "Plan B." Students from the entire Northern California school district may avail themselves of the contraceptives and abortion pills. A larger issue emerges when this move is combined with California's Minor Consent Laws. Students as young as 14 are now able to receive birth control patches, oral and intravenous birth control, the abortifacient "morning after pill," and condoms without the consent or even notification of their parents." More here.

or

b: " "The Little Black Book" was distributed to teenagers during a Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) event on the campus of Brookline High School on April 30, 2005.
"The Little Black Book" describes various gay sex acts including watersports, fisting, oral sex, ingesting body fluids, rimming, mutual masturbation, etc., in explicit language.
The booklet tells teens that they have three "sexual rights and responsibilities" including: "You have the right to enjoy sex without shame or stigma! You have the right to safer sex materials that speak to your desires! You have the right to take action for your community! Be heard, you are the expert!" More here.

Both are about sex, both are your tax dollars at work, but which is THE last thing you want done to your child's body, mind and soul?"

Well, Pieitist, looks like you visited my blog and went ballistic when you went to the NARTH site. That's real adult content, and must be a little bit much for a Puritan, no?

Down here in the bottom of the sea, we see it all. To answer your question, the last thing I want to see if Lutherans learning about this through the ELCA, the last thing I want to see is anymore cases like the pedophile Lutheran in Texas case (you can find in the archives here). Seems like Satan has a plan for both our daughters and our sons, we just never thought it would come at them from our teachers. Teachers, pastors, what is the world coming to?

Read this carefully

This story is from the Religion New Service following the installation of Mark Hanson as PB. It was so astute in the way that describes everything that has come to pass. Among other things it shows that Hanson was Chilstrom's choice, the man to lead the ELCA through the process of the normalization of homosexuality.

"Hanson, characterized by colleagues as a moderate, narrowly defeated the more conservative Rev. Donald J. McCoid, bishop of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, at church elections in August. He assumes the leadership of a church currently struggling with two divisive issues: the role of homosexual clergy and its related stand on same-sex unions, and small pockets of discontent arising from its ecumenical efforts, relationships that some fear may work to dilute Lutheran identity.

Indeed, in his six-year tenure as bishop of the St. Paul Synod, Hanson became actively involved in both issues. The ELCA allows the ordination of gay clergy but only if they agree to remain celibate. In the spring, a church in Hanson's synod violated that requirement by ordaining a lesbian who refused to take a vow of celibacy. Ultimately, he chose to censure, but not expel, the congregation.

At the church's policy-making assembly this year, Hanson pushed unsuccessfully for the church to drop the celibacy requirement. The assembly opted instead to authorize a four-year study of the role of homosexual clergy and same-sex unions. The findings are scheduled to be released in 2005, a date that will fall within Hanson's tenure.

Among its ecumenical agreements, the one with the Episcopal Church has proven the most troublesome, contributing to a lingering discontent among some member in both churches.

In the Lutheran tradition, only a pastor is required to preside over ordinations. The 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church, however, requires that a bishop preside over all ordinations, a point it insisted on in its the full communion agreement. The ELCA approved the agreement in 1999, but in August voted to amend it to allow for its clergy to be ordained by pastors rather than bishops "in unusual circumstances." The Episcopal Church originally opposed the amendment, but has yet to formally challenge the revision.

Although some from Hanson's synod opposed both the original agreement and the amendment, Hanson went on to play a central role in negotiating the compromise. "Part of my new role," said Hanson, "will be to turn our verbal agreements with other churches into practical agreements, especially in coordinating our common missions to combat poverty. "In the past, the church tended to separate evangelism and social action. To me, they are inseparable."

Hanson, a native Minnesotan, and the son of a Lutheran evangelist, said he preferred to avoid labels, but if pressed, would characterize himself as a "social liberal, and a church moderate."

Timothy Lull, a longtime professional colleague of Hanson's and the president of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., agreed with Hanson's self-assessment. "Socially, his worldview was shaped by his involvement in the 1960s and 1970s during the civil rights movement," Lull said, while "ecumenically, he was influenced by events surrounding Vatican II and his involvement in the World Council of Churches."

Lull added that Hanson's education at New York's Union Theological Seminary, where he earned his master of divinity degree, and further study at the Harvard Divinity School, exposed him to an open-mindedness and inclusiveness that he may not have experienced had he chosen the more traditional path of Lutheran clergy to train at a denominational seminary.

Presiding Bishop emeritus Herbert Chilstrom, the first to lead the ELCA after its formation in 1987 and a long-time friend of Hanson and his wife Ione, said he believed the timing, both for the church and for Hanson personally, were ripe for his selection.

"There has been concern that our internal issues may be distracting the church from its primary mission of evangelism," said Chilstrom. "Hanson's strong suits are his deep faith and his personal leadership, communication and negotiation skills. "He has a proven track record for inclusive debate, compromise and mission. That's what the church needs now, and that's why he was chosen."

It became known from Chilstrom himself that he firmly believed that the ELCA should abolish celibacy and declare homosexuality as something to be celebrated, but "the people just weren't ready for it." Seems it was his idea to have young Mark Hanson do the job for which he prepared the way.

And so the process began. Hanson created a unit to give step by step plans on how to present the issue to clergy.

"A Conversation Among Sisters and Brothers in Christ on Homosexuality and the Church A Rostered Leaders√É‚’ Event This resource is produced by the Interunit Work Group on Homosexuality of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is funded by a grant from Aid Association for Lutherans and the Lutheran Brotherhood Foundation. Project Committee: Patricia J. Lull, Susan A. Thompson, Leslie F. Weber,Jr. Copyright©2002

Read the whole thing.

A bibliography was created, heavily weighted to the premise proposed in the book by former PB Chilstrom and still current Secretary Lowell Erdahl that "casts same sex relations as 'life-giving' not 'life-degrading sex'." The biblio says it "discusses" but I'm sure we fairly safe in suggesting "promotes" as a simile for "blessing same-sex unions and ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians."

Proof of the work that Chilstrom did while in office to lay groundwork for our current troubles can be found easily on the internet, newsletters by gay advocacy groups which report on him (literally) getting awards for the promotion of the cause.

Synods stocked their "Resource Rooms" with his video which promotes gay "live-giving" sex:MAY WE TALK?, "27 minutes. Features ELCA Bishop Herbert Chilstrom speaking on the issue of human sexuality. It can help congregational groups discuss human sexuality and the ELCA's proposed social statement on this subject in light of Scripture and the Lutheran understanding of Biblical interpretation. A brief outline/study guide is included."

Chilstrom promoted his cause with statements like "I believe that the arms of the ELCA are broad enough that we can allow (same sex unions) to happen in some of our churches," said the Rev. Herbert Chilstrom, one of two prominent officials asked to speak to a packed-room of church members with varying positions on homosexuality and same sex unions. Chilstrom is the former presiding bishop of the national ELCA. (read a typical story this one from Milwaukee an area that fell hook, line and sinker for gay advocacy)

I have to stop. This is too depressing to research. It is too easy to research and prove that from the time of its inception, this denomination was marked for the current troubles. What is the right word to describe the situation that the founding bishop would be the one who engineered its schism. Ironic?

I don't know. God does. As we head into what will be the most acrimonious debate ever, I pray that people do it with open eyes. The whole thing was planned. The planners have gambled that between 1987-2005 they could wear down those who didn't pass on.

Perhaps Orlando can call the question. Let this minority go.

It is truly strange that so few people have been so successful at bringing 5,000,000 to their knees.

What did Lincoln say, "You can fool all the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Herb, Mark. You are entitled to your opinion, but you were wrong and you lost. Barbara and Jeff. You are to be congratulated on always keeping the cause on canter stage. Good agitating. Now, go. Go and join another denomination, or better yet, form one with your counterparts in ECUSA's Integrity.

Read "Church, It Is Time to Move On"

You know, as a "recovering liberal" I know how easy it is to be duped. Trying to live with the purest of intentions, loving everyone, you often don't see it until its too late when you have been "took." If you want to know what Chilstrom and Hanson have fallen for:

"Personally I do not know why it is so hard for us to say clearly and simply, 'We disagree and we are not likely to agree in the near future. We are often outraged by one another. Our communion with one another is deeply impaired and even deeply flawed. We do not know how to fix it. But we believe Jesus wants us to stay together and so we're going to stay together and do as much as we can together ... For years I, among many others, have been accused of being among those who have an agenda of the acceptance of the legitimacy of homosexuality. Guilty as charged. I am absolutely guilty of promoting the acceptance of the Christian lifestyle lived among all people, including homosexual ones. I have the agenda of the church approving and blessing same-sex love and commitment. I have the agenda of the Church proclaiming that sexual orientation is not a bar to Holy Spirit inspired ministry.

'Do you have the agenda of overturning centuries of Christian teaching about homosexuality, what the Bible says about homosexuals' Pat Buchanan once asked me in a TV interview. I said something wonderfully nuanced. I should have simply said, 'Absolutely.' The Bible and the Church have both been wrong. The Holy Spirit is teaching this to us. Jesus said she would do things like this and we shouldn't be surprised when she does."

Jesus said she would do things like this?

Read the whole thing by Michael Hopkins of Integrity and click around for more epiphanies.

ELCA Churchwide Assembly, "Call the question!"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gay Rights Activists to Go After Canadian Churches Who Don't Perform Same-Sex Marriages

The Battle is On

June 13, 2005

By Glenn Penner

Finally, a supporter of Bill C-38 with the honesty to speak clearly about his agenda! With supporters of the bill persistently denying that the proposed legislation will have any impact on religious chartable organizations that refuse to perform same-sex "marriages," at last one of them has come out and, in effect, said, "You betcha we're going after such groups."

Kevin Bourassa, a Toronto gay rights activist was quoted by the National Post on June 13 as saying that he will pursue eliminating the charitable status of churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages. He said, ''If you are at the public trough, if you are collecting taxpayers' money, you should be following taxpayers' laws. And that means adhering to the Charter." He was further quoted as saying, ''We have no problem with the Catholic Church or any other faith group promoting bigotry. We have a problem with the Canadian government funding that bigotry.''

Isn’t it amazing how sincere religious beliefs are labelled as "bigotry" when they differ from the homosexual activist agenda? Or how all who disagree with them are frequently accused of being mentally ill (i.e. labelled as being "homophobic"). In other words, if you, on sincere religious grounds based on scriptural teaching and theological beliefs dating back for almost 2000 years, believe that homosexual practice is morally wrong and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman at the exclusion of all others, then you must be a mentally deranged person who is guilty of spreading hate crimes. I would like to urge Mr Bourassa and others like him in at least being consistent in insisting that all pro-gay charitable groups lose their charitable status if they propagate the impression that all those who believe in traditional family values are mentally ill hate-mongers (as implied by the words, "bigotry" and "homophobic"). We can’t have the Canadian taxpayer funding such obvious bigotry against an identifiable group, can we?

I have been amazed and thankful for the restraint shown by my fellow Christians in this debate. Rarely have I seen derogatory terms such as "sodomites" or "perverts" used to disparage those who support this bill. I don’t recall anyone calling homosexuals "mentally ill", even though a number of countries still have legislation on the books to that effect and it wasn't that many years ago that the mental health associations in Canada and the United States labelled homosexuality as a mental illness. Indeed, spokespersons for those who contest this legislation have typically been exemplary in their moderation and respect for their opponents.

However, no such restraint has been shown by supporters of this bill. And now it is clear that they will not be satisfied until they have punished the churches who have opposed them by having their taxable charity status revoked, regardless of what amendments are made to the bill. It emphasizes the devastating impact on the rights of churches that Bill C-38 will likely have. This is simply bad legislation that needs to be defeated.

I have repeatedly said that I believe that the frontline for the battle for religious liberty here in Canada will be over the church's right to call homosexuality "sin." It appears that the battle is on.

(Glenn Penner is the Communications Director for The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada)

Go to his blog.

Love Won Out

'Love Won Out' Offers Way Out for Those Entrapped by Homosexuality

By Allie Martin
June 10, 2005

(AgapePress) - A conference aimed at uncovering the truth about homosexuality takes place in Seattle later this month. Focus on Family is sponsoring its "Love Won Out" conference in the northwest metropolis on June 25.

Focus on the Family promotes the message that homosexuality is both preventable and treatable -- and maintains that such a message is "routinely silenced" these days. To overcome that obstacle, the Colorado Springs-based ministry sponsors one-day "Love Won Out" conferences at venues around the country that feature former homosexuals and other experts who tackle a wide variety of questions about the subject -- such as, Can homosexuality be prevented? Is it genetic? and What causes homosexuality?

Mike Haley is Director of the Homosexuality and Gender Department for FOTF's Public Policy Division. He says the conferences are always met with protest by homosexual activists.

"The other side hates the message that gays and lesbians can change, because it goes against the very foundation upon which their whole movement is established," Haley explains. "[They believe that] if you're born this way, then they should be allowed special and civil rights status -- and those things just aren't true."

Haley suggests that is one reason why homosexual activists dislike the message of the conferences. "[T]hey believe that what we're doing is that we're pointing the finger -- making some of the mistakes that the church has made in the past -- and we're not doing that at all," he confesses. "Indeed ... we're helping people to understand that this is a mission field that we need to reach for Christ."

Haley acknowledges that in the past, some in the body of Christ have done "very harmful" things in dealing with homosexuals. But many churches, he says, are finally dealing with the issue in a more constructive and loving way.

"Now we're coming and saying that, for those of us that were part of the gay and lesbian community, here's how better to reach us," he explains. "So what's been interesting is when gay and lesbian activists have come into the conference, one of the things they will say after the conference is, while they didn't agree with everything that was said, the tone in which it was said was very different than what they expected."

The site of the June 25 conference is Northshore Baptist Church in Seattle. Other "Love Won Out" conferences are scheduled for Birmingham, Alabama, in September, and Boston in October.

Our Work as Fathers

Our Fathers Who Are on Earth
If Satan thinks they are a key battleground, shouldn't we?
by Roland C. Warren | posted 05/03/2005 09:00 a.m.


I am the president of a secular organization that works to increase the number of children who grow up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers. Christians often ask me, "Why should I be concerned about your work of connecting fathers to their children? Shouldn't the Great Commission and soul winning be our number one priority?"

These questions remind me of what happened to my wife when she was having lunch with a non-Christian friend a few years ago. She asked her friend if she minded prayer before the meal. Her friend said, "That's fine," so my wife started her prayer with the phrase "Dear heavenly Father." When she finished, her friend said that she could never pray those words since her father was such an [expletive].

I believe that today Christians often overlook three important truths about the Great Commission. These truths can radically change the way we view our work of sharing Jesus with others so they might come into an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.

First, the relationship people have with their fathers may directly affect their ability to relate to God the Father. A "loving heavenly Father" has no meaning to those who don't know what a loving father is. In fact, if their fathers were so terrible, any god who's also a father must be infinitely terrible!

Jesus, on the other hand, in coming to tell the world how good the heavenly Father is, used his relationship with his Father as an evangelistic tool.

Second, the epidemic of one out of every three kids in America growing up without a father is not a coincidence. There is a concerted attack on the institution of fatherhood by Satan himself. The Devil's work is to influence dads to be disconnected, distant, or even abusive, so that children start life believing that this is how all fathers are—even a heavenly Father.

And why attack the father? Because the greatest, most powerful truth that any person who does not know Christ needs to hear in order to be saved is this: God is a good Father whose desire and plan is to bring back his lost children to himself. Satan knows that good fathers can pave the way for the gospel and, conversely, bad or absent fathers pave the way to separation from God.

Third, a life-changing truth about how we should preach the gospel can be found in the parable of the sower. In it, the Word of God is the seed that is being sown into different types of ground, which represent the types of hearts into which the Word can be sown. As we know, only one type of heart brought forth the fruit of salvation—the good, fertile ground.

The problem isn't that the Word isn't fruitful, nor is it that the sower isn't sowing. The hindering force in this parable is the type of ground into which the Word is being sown.

Thus, our work is to prepare the ground so that it may bring forth fruit. We can do this by teaching fathers how to support and nurture their kids and by helping them feel the importance of their efforts.

It is no coincidence that many of the problems Satan has sown into people's lives are directly tied to the relationship with their family—specifically, their father. Satan is trying to create stony ground to make it harder for the gospel to yield its fruit.

The power contained in the father-son relationship was clearly evident in Jesus' own life. Before he departed for the desert, his Father opened up the heavens, and announced to the world: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Here was Jesus—fully God and fully man—yet God the Father knew that in Jesus' humanity, he needed the fatherly affirmation that he was loved and accepted before he entered a time of tremendous temptation.

It's the chief model for all earthly fathers. All children will face temptation. How they respond will depend largely on what they have experienced—the truth of God modeled and affirmed by their fathers, or the lies of Satan who has kept them isolated from the life-giving encouragement of their families.

The work of connecting fathers to their children is not something to do in addition to preaching the gospel, but is a central part of how we can sow the Word into the hearts of children who will be able to call God Father.

Roland C. Warren is president of the National Fatherhood Initiative ().

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

People Change

Shrimp here: You human people funny. Can you follow who the father is in this story out:

"This case is very significant in the pro-family movement, [...]," Staver said. "It has a huge precedent, not just nationally, but internationally."

He added that the case offered the essence of "the same-sex marriage movement," Staver told Cybercast News Service, "which is the abolition of gender; to make gender irrelevant."

A year after O'Brien's ruling was overturned by the Florida Court of Appeals, Staver was still critical of the trial judge.

"Judge O'Brien stated [...] that the notion of two genders is an outdated, 19th century, stereotypic concept" Staver stated.

Homosexual "right" to marry defined in NJ

'... in his ruling, Judge Stephen Skillman said that homosexuals already have the right to marry in New Jersey, as long as the marriage is not to a member of the same sex.'

'Plaintiffs, like anyone else in the state, may receive a marriage license, provided that they meet the statutory criteria for marriage, including an intended spouse of the opposite gender.' Therefore, Judge Skillman said, the rights of homosexuals are not being abridged."


Of course, gay advocates are not going to let him get away with that. Read the story?

Our Hope Should Not Be to Change the Word. Let's Allow God's Word to Change Us

Shrimp here: I would be remiss if I didn't tell you to check out the association of confessing congregations that has begun. It's a place to stand and fight the theological drift in the ELCA. You don't need to be a crypto-Calivinist to join (hey, that's a joke--WAN gets some bad raps. We have a lot of "experts" in Lutheranism and no shortage of opinions. No matter what your worship style, or which way you lean, who else besides Solid Rock is doing anything?

Also, my hope is that God is going to use the lay people are going to save us. Here is a letter which is a sign of that hope. Do pay attention to the link at the end and read The Common Confession. Contact Mark Chavez through their site with your questions.

"God's Word--is our Great Heritage"
by Irv Aal

WordAlone Board member,
Treasurer

"The attendees at the WordAlone convention in April heard several presentations that addressed the convention theme “The Authority of Scripture.” It is important and appropriate to focus on the Word and use it as a guide in our daily lives. My wife and I use different resources in our daily devotionals and often times we’ll share with each other messages that have touched us in a special way. Perhaps because the convention presentations were still ringing in our ears, there was a message in each of our daily devotional materials recently that struck a chord with us and we shared them with each other. As we contemplate the issues that are on the agenda of the upcoming Churchwide Assembly in August, in Orlando, Fla., it seems worthwhile to share some of the thoughts expressed by the writers of those daily devotional messages.

The bible verses selected for the messages were from 2 Timothy.

Retired Pastor Nils C. (Chris) Hellevik comments on a verse in which Paul tells Timothy not to be ashamed of doing his work, including accurately stating the word of truth. He writes in the April May June edition of “Christ in Our Home” for May 18, that some say society is in a post-modern age, in which no authority outside of self is acknowledged. He says some of his readers may have been in Bible studies where they have talked about what a verse says to them personally. Hellevik suggests that in the post-modern era, a pastor discussing the original, historical circumstances of the passage might be told that was his explanation or his opinion.

Based on “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (3:16), J. David Branon writes in “Our Daily Bread”: “The Bible, God’s written Word, changes lives. Its message of salvation makes the most profound change, of course, but Scripture can also change the way we treat others. It can provide a firm foundation for society with its clear teachings on institutions such as marriage, family, and the church.

“But what happens when what the Bible clearly says—is rejected? Those who reject its teachings try to change the Word.

“Two Greek words can help explain this: eisegesis and exegesis. Eisegesis is the process of reading into a passage something that is not there—inserting a meaning that flows from a personal agenda. By contrast, exegesis means drawing from the passage the clearly intended meaning, using context, other Scripture passages on the same topic and legitimate tools of understanding such as Bible commentaries.

“Instead of trying to change God’s Word to fit our own ideas, let’s allow the Word to change us. As we read His Word and obey it, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the kind of people God wants us to be.” [This quote, from May 24, is used by permission of Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Mich.]

And let me reiterate what the author said, “Instead of trying to change God’s Word to fit our own ideas, let’s allow the Word to change us.” When first read, that statement is disarmingly simple, but when one reflects on it, it speaks to problems that appear to be prevalent in the ELCA today. The ELCA leaders are being so free in their interpretations and are straying from the authenticity and authority of the Scriptures. I pray that the presence of the Holy Spirit will be felt and the Churchwide Assembly delegates and leaders will be guided by listening and adhering to the Word as they discuss and vote on the numerous agenda issues."

WordAlone has been quite clear that they are only getting the association for confessing congregations started and are inviting other reform minded groups and congregations in. The only thing one need sto do to "buy in" is to agree with The Common Confession (and indicate this through a Church Council vote or congregation meeting.

Jesus is quite clear

A recent interchange between an admittedly revisionist Lutheran pastor, Brian Stofregen and a biblical scholar, Robert Gagnon. Please note the link Gagnon provides on his rejoinder to Wink.

On Jun 3rd, 2005, 10:15pm, Brian Stoffregen wrote:

"One of the ways that these verses are interpreted, and perhaps only by Lutherans, is that Jesus intensifies the law to make it impossible for us to keep. Those who thought they were doing pretty well in regards to obeying the law, find themselves coming up short. Lutherans believe in the theological use of the law -- it is a mirror to show us our sinfulness, to kill our own abilities, to pound us to our knees before Christ."


Gagnon:

"All Christians who are faithful accept one function of the law as making us aware of our sinfulness and driving us to Christ. This is the point of Rom 3:20 ("through the law comes a knowledge of sin") and Gal 2:19 ("I through the law died to the law"; compare the "through the law" phrases in Rom 3:20 and 7:7-23). But you seem to be going further than that and saying that moral transformation is an insignificant feature of the Christian life.

That returns us to our earlier exchange in which I cited Luther, the Augsburg Confession, and Melanchthon's Apology, as well as St. Paul; and then David Yeago weighed in with more material on Luther. I think the point was made that you have sold short the New Testament's (including Jesus') repeated call for the transformed life, not merely as a means to drive us to Christ, but in driving us to Christ also creating an effect of dying to self so that Christ actually begins living in us--a message picked up by Luther and early Lutherans. As Paul says in 1 Cor 6:10, "these things some of you used to be, but you were washed, justified, and sanctified by the Spirit in the name of Christ."


Brian Stoffregen wrote:

"I have yet to find anyone who has mastered the ability to refrain from lusting after another person; or to constantly love their enemies. I realize that some interpret these as a short, interim ethic when they believed Jesus would return very soon. Over the long haul, they are rules that we fail to obey. They reveal our sinfulness. The righteousness and holiness that people believed they achieved through obedience to the OT law is not nearly righteous or holy enough."


Gagnon:

"I know that some scholars in the past, including Lutherans, have interpreted Jesus' message in Matt 5 in the way you appear to be interpreting it. But I don't know any major NT commentator who now interprets these texts in this light.

It certainly doesn't make sense of Jesus' repeated emphasis of the consequences of failing to live a transformed life. Is he only pretending about such things as well? Look at the triad of warnings closing the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 7: The gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life and few find it. Many will say to me in that day "Lord, Lord" and I will say that I never knew you because you did not bear fruit consonant with your confession of me as Lord. Those who merely hear my words but don't do them are likened to those who build their house on sand; when the storm comes, great is the fall. So what is Jesus doing here? Is he lying to us? Is he misleading us? The gate really isn't narrow? Those who say "Lord, Lord" but don't lead a transformed life that actually lives in obedience to their confessed Lord are not really in danger?

It's hard to fathom this as a mere pretend scare tactic that has no basis in reality. Jesus is quite clear: who are my mother and brothers? Those who do the will of God (Mark 3). And in the midst of talking about sex in the antitheses in Matt 5 appears the following saying: If your hand or eye threatens your downfall, cut it off; it is better to go into heaven maimed than to go into hell full-bodied. What does that mean? According to your interpretation, apparently, it doesn't mean anything; or, worse, it is pure deception on Jesus' part since there is no apparent danger in leading sexually immoral lives. Jesus is quite clear, in a saying that is attested repeatedly in the Gospels: If anyone wants to follow me, he must take up his cross and deny himself. The one who wants to save his life in this world will lose it; but the one who loses his life for my sake will save it.

Go to my website and read my response on pp. 6-14 to Wink's claims that the theme of judgment for failure to live the transformed life was not even "an" important component of Jesus' overall message. You will see a truckload of Jesus sayings on the subject; and here I confined myself only to material in Mark, the double tradition (Q), and special Lukan material (I left out special Matthean material, unless also attested in the Gospel of Thomas, since Wink falsely claimed that the theme of judgment in Matthew was due to Matthew's "unresolved anger"!).

Of course, we don't attain to Jesus' standards perfectly. And Jesus in Luke 17 (cf. Matt 18) stated that if a follower sins, he/she is to be rebuked, and if he repents he is forgiven, even if he sins the same sin seven times a day. But the failure even to repent, that is what cannot be tolerated by the church. The person who truly believes that Christ is Lord will be empowered by the Spirit to a transformed life; not perfection, but nonetheless transformed. You seem to be rejecting one of the most basic Christian teachings."

ELCA Council on using sadness surrounding divorce as an analogy to proceed on homosexual relations

If you have any concern for the ELCA you must have great concern for the way Church Council in leading us in the sexuality issue. We are very fortunate to hear from Robert Gagnon on our specific situation. Here is a brief section of a larger arguement you can link to below:

"An addendum to the Church Council's divorce/remarriage analogy:

It should be noted that the Council not only wants the ELCA Churchwide Assembly to accept their recommendation of “exceptions.” It also wants people to accept the fact that this “compromise” is only provisional; that the ELCA must eventually, as with divorce and remarriage, adopt a denomination-wide policy that puts up no bar to ordaining persons who are currently in committed homosexual unions.

That point is implicit in the use of the divorce-and-remarriage analogy. And it is made explicit in the “Rationale for Support of the Proposed Process” given to that segment of the church that already supports homosexual unions: “Just as it took the Church and the world many years to understand other critical issues, such as the re-marriage of divorced people, this process provides the opportunity for continued discernment of where the Holy Spirit is leading this church” (p. 4). In other words, acceptance of the Council’s recommendation would put the ELCA on a journey of “understanding” and “discernment” that would eventually “lead” to marriage ceremonies for homosexual unions and a denomination-wide willingness to ordain homosexual persons in committed homosexual unions.

Do you catch what the ELCA Church Council is requiring of each group, those who think homosexual practice is inherently sinful and those who think that only promiscuous homosexual practice is sinful? The former group must change their view in some significant way while the latter group doesn’t need to change their view at all but merely to hold on and be patient because in due course they will see their view completely vindicated by the denomination.

So if one intends to vote for the Council’s recommendation one should recognize that this will be a vote for a denomination-wide full embrace of committed homosexual unions within the next 2-5 years. To fail to recognize this is to fool oneself or to be misled by others—or both.

Read more Gagnon's comments on the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

We're in favor of marriage, bold, I know, but the times require it. What's that? Of course, between a man and a woman.

Shrimp here: In a monent of lucidity last week, I had the thought, "anything done that promotes marriage between a man and a woman make two people stronger and in a better position to face the world, makes their offspring healthier, makes their extended family better off adn makes the community, nation and world better. So, I am going to do that. Here's another article by a really wise Old Brit:

A "Relationship" not an Institution?

A discussion starter from Peter Toon

"In choosing whether or not to enter into marriage, we often hear it said today that "modern people want a relationship not an institution."

Throughout human history marriage between a man and a woman (or sometimes, several women) has been regarded as an institution. That is, as an established organization with a social, economic and religious purpose. Marriage has been seen as a means of creating, safeguarding and cementing important social, economic, political and family ties. Thus the choice of a wife or husband for a son or daughter was very much in the control of the parents and their advisors. When married, the couple learned to respect and care for each other, guided by their families and friends.

The ideal of a man and woman getting married primarily because they are "in love" is western and hardly more than 150 years old. And it was only in the latter part of the twentieth century that it became the dominant view of the reason for getting married. Naturally this ideal of self-fulfillment in love was expressed through a word never before used of marriage or betrothal, the word, "relationship."

Is there a mid-point between seeing "marriage" as an institution and as a relationship?

It may be suggested that one such mid-point was seriously attempted in the 1950s, when marriage was extremely popular and most people aspired to be married by the time they were in their early twenties. The ideal was of the man as the breadwinner and of the wife as the homemaker and the one who took care of the (at least) two children. Pundits and preachers worked from this model and encouraged/commanded people to make it work and work well. Preachers even claimed that this was the biblical model!

However, this 1950s experiment soon began to disintegrate as the model of "relationships" came to dominate thinking and practice.

If we look back over the 150 years (1850-2000), in which the ideal of marrying for [romantic] love has been gaining ground and achieving virtual total success in the West, we see five major obstacles that had to be overcome in order to give people the personal autonomy and sexual freedom necessary for this ideal to prevail fully and completely.

The first obstacle was the inherited view that there are major, innate differences between men and women with regard to their sexual desires and drives. Only in the 1920s was it generally conceded that sexual satisfaction for women was as important as for men, and that they deserved equal consideration.

The second obstacle was the power and ability of families, neighbors, employers, churches and governments to regulate personal behavior and even penalize aberrations! This gradually collapsed as major changes in the culture and economic and social life occurred and greater degrees of personal freedom and personal anonymity developed.

The third obstacle to be removed was unreliable means of birth control. Only in the 1960s did means of birth control become reliable enough that fear of pregnancy was removed and women were "liberated" to choose when "to have sex" and with whom.

A fourth obstacle was the harsh penalties for illegitimacy both socially and legally in force. By the 1970s the legal category of illegitimacy was removed and it became widely accepted that it was wrong to penalize a child for the actions of its biological parents.

The final obstacle was the dependence of women on men both economically and legally. This broke down gradually and was pretty much gone by the 1980s. During much the same time-frame, the production of a host of labor-saving goods, from clothing that did not need ironing to automatic this-and-that, undercut men's dependence on women as housekeepers. So each sex became free of the other and able to be self-sufficient to a degree. Also a man and a woman each had the freedom to choose or not to choose marriage and to choose this or that partner for cohabitation or for marriage.

Some of the results of this REVOLUTION in the understanding and practice of marriage and sexual relations we know well. When romantic love and personal autonomy are dominant then there will be many marriages but also many divorces; divorced persons will re-marry; couples will enter a first marriage much later than previous generations did; couples will live together as partners in co-habitation without marriage; children will know step-parents as well as parents; birth certificates will have two different surnames as the parents; homosexual persons will claim the same rights as heterosexual persons, and so on.

There is a real sense of inevitability to the fall out from this REVOLUTION wherein marriage ceases to be an institution and becomes "a relationship." Yet, there are still some happy marriages which last, but these are a minority of "partnerships" in the modern West.

How does the Church pastorally deal with all this?

According to its inherited teaching, the Church has a very high view of marriage as the union of a man and woman as one flesh until the death of one of them. The model set forth is the mystical marriage of Christ, the Bridegroom, and his Church, the Bride.

In practice, the Church has accommodated to reality by finding ways to justify the use of artificial birth control, to bless the marriages of those who have been cohabiting and those who marry for the second or third time, to welcome to the Lord's Table those who (by previous standards) are guilty of fornication, to allow clergy who divorce and remarry to continue without discipline as pastors, and so on.

Of course, resistance to the new REALITY is strong in some places and weak in others, but virtually all types of modern denominations have accommodated by compromises to the REVOLUTION that has occurred. Usually this has been done out of pastoral care, of wanting to meet people where they are and being caring towards them. For example, the R C Church has greatly increased the number of annulments it has given to members who are divorced by law and the Episcopal Church has allowed its clergy to bless many "unions" of "gay" people.

One good thing that perhaps can be said is this. Where there is a good marriage today it is usually a truly good one, for the persons involved have had to work hard and make sacrifices to achieve their mutuality and happiness. In many ways they have had to work against the odds, against the culture and against the trends. Perhaps the Church can put more energy into encouraging good marriages and enabling the wife and husband to exert the necessary discipline and graciousness to achieve this end -- by the grace of God. To do this, her Ministers will need to be both chaste and wise, patient and caring, filled with the Spirit and his gifts!"

June 7, 2005 The Revd Dr Peter Toon

"Only God could have done this"? Only if God wants to kill us.

"There may be a way to come up with something that's a surprise
to us all," said the Rev. Timothy Wengert, Lutheran Theological
Seminary at Philadelphia, a member of the task force.
"God is going to work through the Holy Spirit for us," said Dr.
John Prabhakar, task force member from Rochelle, Ill. "In the end,
we may have something surprising, and people are going to say, 'Only
God could have done this.' That's what I'm praying for."

Some history. Read it to weep.

Oh, It IS Much Worse Than You Thought

National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality. NARTH, founded in 1992, is composed of psychiatrists, psychoanalytically informed psychologists, certified social workers, and other behavioral scientists, as well as laymen in fields such as law, religion, and education.

Their web site is loaded with interesting articles, such as:

"A booklet produced by the AIDS Action Committee with assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health describes gay sex practices in profane language--with correct medical information omitted. On May 17, 2005 - The Article 8 Alliance, a pro-family group in Massachusetts has recently published a copy of "The Little Black Book--Queer In The 21st Century" on its web site."

The description of its graphic nature is a little too graphic to me. It's infuriating that our children are being taught sexual techniques of a perverted nature and there is basically nothing you can do about it until it has already happened. If you want to, read about it here.

Something a little less queasy to read about is the article on our friend Bill O Reilly:

'The O'Reilly Factor' Features APA Gay Marriage Debate
June 2, 2005 - Bill O'Reilly featured American Psychiatric Association Vice President Nada Stotland and dissenting APA member Dr. Sally Satel on his June 1, 2005 edition of "The O'Reilly Factor."

Dr. Stotland defended the APA's recent endorsement of gay marriage at its Atlanta convention in late May. According to Stotland: "This issue came looking for us; we didn't go looking for it. But, we're physicians and we followed the medical evidence."

According to Stotland, "We advocate for what's good for people's mental health and there is a great deal of evidence that being able to form stable, loving relationships that are protected" is good for the mental health of individuals.

Dr. Satel, however, told Bill O'Reilly that she dissents from the APA's endorsement of gay marriage because this is a social issue, "not a clinical issue. I think it hurts our credibility [because] it seems like we have a political agenda. I think we should stick with issues that are clinically relevant" and to "educate the public on psycho-pathology." Satel said she would also oppose the APA if it came out against gay marriage: "I think that [opposition to gay marriage] would be an irrelevant issue."

When O'Reilly asked Dr. Stotland if she was familiar with a study of how marriage has virtually collapsed in Sweden since gay marriage was adopted, Stotland said she'd just returned from Stockholm and had not heard about any great numbers of marriages collapsing.

O'Reilly told her the data on Sweden was irrefutable but she countered that the APA had plenty of data showing "what good for people's mental health."

When Dr. Stotland was asked by O'Reilly if she would approve of polygamy, she said the APA would work on such data when it became available and is currently only concerned that individuals can form stable relationships.

Dr. Satel reemphasized her belief that the APA's endorsement of gay marriage hurts the credibility of the organization and "turns people away from us. We want them to look to the APA as a neutral expert" on mental health issues. Satel is co-author of One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance.

Read it here

Make you feel good that its not only your denomination that's undermining marriage and parental rights, huh?

Narth looks like a good source of material if you want to distribute info at an event.

contact info:
NARTH
16633 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1340
Encino, CA 91436-1801
Phone: (818) 789-4440
Fax: (818) 789-6452

Monday, June 13, 2005


about says it all Posted by Hello

Send in the Clowns

ISN'T IT RICH?
ARE WE A CHURCH?
ME HERE AT LAST ON THE GROUND,
YOU IN THE LURCH.
SEND IN THE CLOWNS.

ISN'T IT BLISS?
DON'T YOU APPROVE?
ONE WHO KEEPS TEARING AROUND,
ONE WHO CAN'T MOVE.
WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?
SEND IN THE CLOWNS.

JUST WHEN I'D STOPPED OPENING DOORS,
FINALLY KNOWING THE ONE THAT I WANTED WAS YOURS,
MAKING MY ENTRANCE AGAIN WITH MY USUAL FLAIR,
SURE OF MY LINES,
NO ONE IS THERE.

DON'T YOU LOVE FARCE?
MY FAULT I FEAR.
I THOUGHT THAT YOU'D WANT WHAT I WANT.
SORRY, MY DEAR.
BUT WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?
QUICK, SEND IN THE CLOWNS.
DON'T BOTHER, THEY'RE HERE.

ISN'T IT RICH?
ISN'T IT QUEER,
LOSING MY TIMING THIS LATE
IN MY CAREER?
AND WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?
THERE OUGHT TO BE CLOWNS.
WELL, MAYBE NEXT YEAR.

La Crosse synod backs sexuality proposals
Can you make any sense of this? Do you think people even know what they are voting on? Why are people voting on TFR recommendations, or are they?
“Connie Scharlau would like to see full equality in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America extended to everyone, including individuals who are gay and lesbian.

But the Arcadia, Wis., church member, said Sunday that opinions of all members have to be respected and many of people aren't as "off-the-charts liberal" as she is.

"I think it's important for all of us to be civil and keep that discussion going. There are honest differences of opinion," said Scharlau, who is one of several members who will represent the local synod at the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly in August in Orlando, Fla.

"If we're going to move ahead, we have to change hearts and it doesn't happen by hitting people over the head," Scharlau said.

Synod members, including Scharlau, voted Sunday, 174 to 39, with one abstention, to support a resolution from the national Church Council that would uphold the church's policies banning blessing ceremonies for same-sex unions and ordination for individuals engaged in such relationships.

They also voted 195 to 15 to support a resolution calling for individuals, synods, congregations and organizations in the church to work together to find ways to "live together faithfully in the midst of disagreements."

A third resolution from the Church Council, which suggests that if a congregation or synod believed a gay or lesbian person in a committed relationship should be ordained, it would have to go to the church's Conference of Bishops to seek an exception to church policies, also was narrowly supported, with

114 voting yes and 103 no.

Scharlau said the third resolution isn't very satisfactory to people on either side of the issue, "so it's probably a good compromise."

The Church Council's recommendations, which will go before voting members at the national gathering, replace recommendations released in January by a ELCA task force.

The task force also recommended continuing the bans on both same-sex unions and on allowing individuals in such relationships to serve as lay or ordained ministers, but suggested the church could refrain from disciplining pastors or congregations who in good conscience approved gay and lesbian people for ministry. Unlike the Church Council, it did not offer a specific process.

La Crosse synod members also approved a resolution opposing a resolution before the Wisconsin Legislature that would amend the state's Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman out of concern that the wording in the amendment could limit the civil rights of citizens in civil unions, domestic partnerships or same-sex marriages.

A resolution calling on the ELCA to ask the president and Congress to establish civil unions for same-sex couples to afford them the same legal rights as married couples was defeated.

The Rev. Rebecca Larson, executive director of the ELCA Division for Church in Society, who participated in the Assembly as a resource person, said even though members disagree she doesn't believe the ELCA will split over the sexuality issues.

The discussions in the ELCA are similar to those occurring in other denominations and in society, she said.

"The clear message the task force had was that people wanted the task force to find a way for people to stay together in dialogue," she said. "People want to be church and move forward together."

PROOF I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP

The Christian Threat

Shrimp here: Not ranting today, just wondering how many of us are seeing the connection. Speaking to a colleague this weekend who said what the Left is truly scared of is Christianity. Muslim extremists they fear not. Listen to Air America, seems many think the Bush family engineered Sept 11. What they truly fear is a Christianity that threatens their secularist values.

There are more than a few amusing conspiracy theories. JOournalist Chris Hedges spoke on Now this past weekend of the looming danger of theocracy and how the fight against gay marraige is but one sign of the evil plans Christians have to control America's minds. From PBS' web site:

"Hedges on Religion and Politics
Former New York Times war correspondent and senior fellow at The Nation Institute, Chris Hedges comes to NOW to talk about the role of religion in American politics. In May 2005, HARPERS magazine published an article by Hedges which has aroused the ire of the Christian right.

Stanley Kurtz responded in THE NATIONAL REVIEW with the following:

The most disturbing part of the HARPER's cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside "the old polite rules of democracy." So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians — by any means necessary.
At the heart of this particular battle of religious wills is the definition of "Dominionism." The broad concept of Dominionism is based on the Bible's text in Genesis 1:26:
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'"
This text is interpreted by some Christians to suggest that God gave humans a stewardship role over the Earth, rather than total control. Some Christians, however, apply a more assertive interpretation — that God has commanded Christians to bring their faith to the Earth as a whole through religious and secular institutions. This is, some critics maintain, tantamount to establishing a theocracy — ensuring tough-fought battles over the interpretation of separation of church and state."

Of course, Howard Dean has seen the threat Christians represent for quite awhile. The following from Chris Johnson

"He has a contempt for any kind of transcendent truth," says Cable. "We ran an ad [against his same-sex civil unions bill] in all the papers in Vermont and he went nuts and wouldn’t answer our questions. We found out after all this occurred that he had been making promises to gay activists for 11 years before civil unions happened...He was always a radical but a smart one."

Cable noticed an "innate animus" against not just Christians but anybody who would question his secularist assumptions. His disdain for traditional religion would seep out in various gaffes, but because the Vermont press corps was in his pocket the gaffes never did him any real damage.

For example, Dean thought nothing of dismissing religious wedding ceremonies as "hocus pocus." In a 2003 interview with Vermont public radio, he said, while discussing his own marriage, "Judy is Jewish and I’m Methodist and I did not want to go through all that hocus pocus to get married in a church. So we got married by a justice of the peace."

When Christian pastors opposed his same-sex civil unions bill, Dean didn’t mind bullying and pulling secularist rank on them. "I think they need to watch out about their tax-exempt status," he said in an attempt to neutralize what he called their "politicking."

Vermont political observer James Dwinell remembers how quickly Dean would resort to crude caricatures of his religious opponents as reactionaries who wanted to go back to the days when "raw sewage was running down hills."

After the Democrats lost "values voters" to George Bush, Dean and Nancy Pelosi, among others, made a great deal of noise about the party’s renewed outreach to Christians and other believers. This charade didn’t even last a year. Journalists who were planning to help Dean with this con job are now very disappointed in him. He has gone and made explicit what they hoped would remain hidden, that the Democratic party is no place for the religious. As Vermonters expected, Dean is back on the bike path against Christianity.

The biased point of view of a Christian conservative? Maybe not:

A federal judge said Tuesday he isn’t sure many people will understand the religious message from the vanity license plate a West Rutland man has filed a lawsuit to get for his 1966 Ford pickup.

Shawn Byrne filed his lawsuit against the state Department of Motor Vehicles in January after the state rejected his request for a vanity license plate.

The state contended, and Byrne’s lawyers have since conceded that two of his requests on his vanity plate application, "JOHN316" and "JN316" did not adhere to a provision for vanity plates in Vermont that they not contain more than two numerals to avoid confusion with standard-issued license plates."

I'm wating to see how GetReligion handles this.

How does Christianity threaten your life?

TV Land 'Happy Face' On Homosexuality Masks Tragic Lifestyle

Ed Thomas and Jenni Parker
Agape Press


June 9, 2005

A pro-family website is warning television audiences that TV Land, a cable network that advertises a schedule of well-known, classic, family-friendly television shows, is airing a special that promotes the homosexual agenda this month.

A recent e-mail alert from OneMillionDads.com notes that the show called "Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink," which celebrates homosexual undercurrents running through television history, is airing on TV Land throughout June.

TV Land is touting the "Tickled Pink" as the first program to look at how and why certain classic television shows "have hit the funny bone for generations of gay viewers." The show promises to celebrate a variety of TV shows and situation comedies that have commanded huge homosexual fan bases, and will "get the inside scoop from the talented people that created them."



Ed Vitagliano, a media researcher for the American Family Association, says although "Tickled Pink" does not promote the latest political issues of the pro-homosexual movement, the one-hour special does appear to have some disturbing objectives. One thing the show seems to do, he observes, is to hint that Hollywood has somehow "outsmarted" mainstream culture for decades by "sneaking" homosexual characters and motifs into television programs.

All this "underscores the fact that there really is an agenda in Hollywood amongst those who are homosexual," Vitagliano says. And its chief aim, he asserts, has apparently been "to kind of broach the subject [of homosexuality] to straight America in as subtle a way as possible with the hopes that they'll be more accepting of the political movement."

Upon watching "Tickled Pink," Vitagliano says it was "disturbing" to have Hollywood's homosexual agenda so solidly confirmed. "In some ways it was worse than I expected it to be," he notes, "because it really celebrated the fact that there were people in Hollywood who were trying to get a message across without the viewer really knowing it -- at least if they were straight."

In addition to focusing on actual "gay code" or subtext in some shows, Vitagliano says the TV Land special also examined how homosexuals watch many of the same shows popular with heterosexual viewers, yet interpret or experience them differently -- through a homosexual lens, so to speak. "Tickled Pink" suggests that popular shows such as "The Golden Girls," "Batman," or "Chips" that feature close same-sex friendships have often been viewed by homosexuals as affirmations of their lifestyles -- a fact the pro-family reviewer says he found sad.

"Even in TV shows that have nothing to do with homosexuality," Vitagliano notes, "apparently gays and lesbians have often latched onto any hint of a close relationship or spiritual intimacy between characters of the same sex and have read a homosexual subtext into it, desperate to find something -- anything -- that will give them a sense of normalcy." Or, in other cases, he adds, indications are that homosexuals often view shows about characters with supernatural powers and hidden abilities, such as "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie," and see characters who must keep secrets or lead hidden lives as somehow paralleling the "closeted" homosexual existence.

"I watched the show with a deep sense of sadness," Vitagliano notes. "It made me realize all the more how much Christians need to reach out to gays and lesbians, who are often extremely lonely people." Not that homosexuals are to be pitied, he adds, "any more than we are all to be pitied by God." But although many homosexuals may feel they are lacking intimacy and a sense of connection with people of their same sex, the AFA spokesman says, "What they really need is a relationship with Jesus."

While the pro-family media researcher found the revelations of "Tickled Pink" unsettling, he points out that many in the entertainment industry, including those interviewed for the show, appear to be pleased or even amused by the fact that Hollywood has managed to slip in pro-homosexual "subliminal messages" through its programming.

"The people on the show celebrated that -- they thought it was funny," Vitagliano says. Still, he insists, no matter how TV Land may try to "put a happy face" on homosexuality, that lonely lifestyle is obviously no laughing matter. According to OneMillionDads.com, "Tickled Pink" will be shown repeatedly on TV Land's schedule all this month, airing at least nine times.

crosswalk.com news

Society must defend traditional wedlock

By MICHAEL COREN

From the Toroto Sun, 6/11/05

"I receive death threats and abuse on a regular basis. My address and phone number have been placed on the Internet by gay militants and people told to harass and assault me. Jokes were made when my father died, insults made about my family.

I have been told by editors and publishers that I will never work as a writer in various places because I defend marriage. But I will not react in kind and I will not surrender. I do, however, want people to know that there is hatred at work.

First, let us deal with the idea that gay marriage has no affect on people who are not gay. We hear the mantra of "why are you threatened?" and "it doesn't concern your marriage."

So very funny. At the fundamental level of basic logic, something does not have to affect me for it to be wrong. I campaign, for example, for the immediate forgiveness of Third World debt. The issue doesn't concern me personally but morally.

Gay marriage, however, does concern marriage itself and the greater society. It's legal in Holland and Belgium but virtually so in Scandinavia. And in Scandinavia marriage has become so shamed because of this that heterosexual people are abandoning the institution.

In Norway, 80% of first-born babies are born out of wedlock. Even those who campaigned for gay marriage in this region are rethinking their position.

Marriage also affects children and is, please, a child-centred institution. Every informed and intelligent expert, every good parent knows that children need the example of a male and female role model. Indeed, it is sexist to assume otherwise. Single-parent families do exist, of course, and are often admirable. But we do not aspire to them.

The statistics are overwhelming. Children from stable, two-parent families do better, are happier, than any other children.

Yet for the first time in human history we are purposefully affirming and creating families where there is no father or no mother, no man or woman as role model or example or parent. Yes, many mother-father families go wrong, but this is not the point. With same-sex marriage we are aggressively trying to limit the chance of children for the sake of a modernist fad.

This is not about equality. Homosexuals already have the rights of common-law spouses. They also have, and should have, equality in housing, employment, inheritance. Some would argue that in certain cases they have more rights than others -- the right, for example, for some to parade naked in the middle of Toronto on Gay Pride Day and not be arrested.

We are told that gay marriage will not affect those who oppose it. Untrue. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary, who has stood firm against gay marriage, has already been contacted by revenue officials and warned.

A teacher in Vancouver, Chris Kempling, has been suspended from his job because he wrote a letter to a newspaper criticizing homosexuality. Civil servants in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been advised to resign if they oppose gay marriage. The Knights of Columbus have been taken to a human rights tribunal because they refused to rent their hall to a lesbian wedding, even though they offered to pay for the invitations and renting of another hall. (The Knights of Columbus, by the way, use their money to feed the hungry and help the poor and mentally ill.)

Let us open the door on this debate and allow free expression. We who support genuine marriage and genuine family have a great deal to say -- and are tired of being silenced."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Soulforce prevails in Grand Canyon, Chicago and DC

Bad news: "Grand Canyon Synod Assembly has adopted all three of our resolutions!! This occurrence is beyond any of our comprehension; everyone was amazed and stunned. Any who opposed and any who affirmed in their view point were amazed and stunned."

More bad in Metro D.C.:"Probably even better was that there was relatively little discussion on any of these, and only on the last one on V&E was it necessary to call for a division of the house to ascertain it had, indeed, passed. The resolution was adopted, 164 to 114."

Though we were expecting it, it sounds really bad in Chicago:

:The Metropolitan Chicago Synod Assembly considered two resolutions:

One calling the ELCA Assembly to go beyond the recommendations of the Sexuality Task Force and the Church Council and remove all barriers to ordination for rostered persons in covenanted relationships as was called for by this Synod in 2001.

The other resolution is about having rites of blessing for same sex couples --which was also memorialized to the ELCA in 2001.

Both hearings on the resolutions were very well attended.And at both the energy was clearly supportive of the resolutions. Theresolutions come up for a vote on Saturday. It appears that sinceChicago has talked these issues through and voted on them before, thatthe issues are settled -although, of course, not without some genuinelyfaithful opposition. Chicago appears to be in a leadership mood andwants to press for going beyond the Task Force/Church Councilpositions.

In voting on these resolutions, the assembly reaffirmed its 2001 Resolutions and voiced dissatisfaction with the Sexuality Task Force and ELCA Church Council recommendations as insufficient and asking us to abide prejudice and less than genuine hospitality to GLBT persons.

On a vote of 309 to 73 the Assembly reaffirmed their request for rites of blessing for same sex couples.

By a vote of 243 to 77 the Assembly in effect dismissed the so-called progress in the actions of the Sexuality Task Force and Church Council, by calling once again for the removal of all barriers to full acceptance of GLBT clergy in committed relationships.

The mood of the majority of the Chicago Assembly is that they have worked these issues through and, in respect for genuine disagreement among the faithful, a willingness to continue dialog; but also it was time to move on to other issues of ministry and justice that confront this synod."

However, there were about a dozen assemblies and sanity may have one out in them all.

We know just south of the travesty in Chicago, in the Central/Southern Synod traditional voices truimphed and in an odd move the GLBT forces seemed to get excited about having their own NGS. More to follow.

You really have to go to goodsoil and read it all.

Know your Neighbor:

"I am a child of a loving Creator, a daughter or a son of the Soulforce at the center of the universe."~ Soulforce Creed about Myself ~

goodsoil.org wants you to know that they they are about prevailing. They are united and full victory is the only victory thay will accept. They believe many things like "A Simple Majority Should Prevail." By that they mean votes at an assembly. They know themselves that they are actually a tiny but vocal minority, so they are actually part of Soulforce and are chewing their way through the dry rot of liberal maniline protestanism. Get to know them:

"What is goodsoil.org all about?
goodsoil.org is the official website of the collaboration to overcome the policy and practice of discrimination within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) against lgbt clergy, same-sex marriages and covenanted relationships.

It's About Transformation: Throughout all of goodsoil's efforts before and during the 2005 Churchwide Assembly, our primary concern is the transformation of all who participate. We are children of God, loved as we are, committed to justice in the name of Christ. We act with integrity and authenticity, proclaiming our message of freedom in Christ with boldness, experiencing the power within that will manifest itself wherever we are through whatever we do, the power graciously given us by the God who loves us unconditionally.

It's About Evangelism and Revival: Our goodsoil work is one that proclaims our wholeness and develops power for the work of justice. Our outreach is to all, inviting the coming together and sharing of our lives as children of a loving God.

-- We invite glbt clergy held captive by their fear to leave the dark of their closets. We commit ourselves to active support of these sisters and brothers and to all who step out of their closets.

-- We proactively give witness at ELCA meetings at synodical and churchwide levels and develop personal contacts with voting members and church-wide leadership.

-- We intentionally align ourselves with the justice-seeking efforts of youth, young adults and persons of color in the ELCA and invite them to become actively involved in our work and leadership.

It's About Shining a Light on Injustice: As we carry out our witness and proclamation we boldly expose the untruths and lack of integrity demonstrated by ELCA leaders and imbedded in ecclesiastical structures and procedures. We do not ignore or deny the injustice implicit in the ELCA's carrying on of business as usual. We encourage our g/l/b/t/ colleagues to step away from participating in the activities that implicitly perpetuate the spiritual violence done to their g/l/b/t sisters and brothers.

It's About Pastoral Care: We recognize the spiritual violence done to g/l/b/t persons and the pain experienced by many who work for justice in the ELCA. We also acknowledge the distress of many who struggle to hold on to the beliefs that hold them captive. We provide places and opportunities for healing at all CWA meetings. We invite the ECP roster to take leadership in this work.

It's About Full Participation and Fairness: The voice of our church is heard through legislative decisions made by the Church Council and the Churchwide Assembly. All ELCA members -- especially those of us who are sexual minority persons -- deserve the opportunity to participate fully in the life of this body of Christ.

The vote on Full Participation must not be delayed: Decisions regarding full participation of glbt people in the church should not be delayed or postponed beyond the 2005 Churchwide Assembly. We actively resist any effort to delay a vote at 2005 CWA on the ordination/blessings of relationships issues mandated for study by the 2001 CWA.

A Simple Majority Should Prevail: We urge the Church Council to rescind the proposed 2/3 vote requirement at CWA and to allow a simple majority to decide g/l/b/t-affirming changes to the ELCA's positions on ordination and the blessings of same gender covenanted relationships.

Roster Discrimination Against GLBT Clergy Must End: We seek the removal of all language that prohibits or limits the rostering or continued service of ELCA clergy in same-gender covenanted relationships or who wish the possibility of entering into such relationships.

Blessing Covenanted Same-Gender Relationships is a Pastoral Right: We actively resist any proposal to take away the authority of ELCA pastors to perform blessings of same-gender covenanted relationships. We support the church-wide development of liturgies and rites for ELCA pastors and congregations to use in blessing these relationships."

Learn More

The good ship ELCA...

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