Sunday, June 05, 2005

Looking for accountability in a bishop?

Looking for accountability in a bishop? Hanson says it ain't his fault.

"In an interview Friday, Hanson said he doesn't minimize the importance of the debate, but that he worries that "we're on the verge of defining the church on sexuality" rather than on "the Gospel of Jesus Christ as defined in word and sacrament."

"Hanson said he believes the debate of the sexuality issues has "matured" since the church's most recent study process began in 2001, but that it continues to be extremely polarizing in the culture and in the church. "There is increased anxiety about the impact" of decisions that might change church policy, he said.

"The recommendations of the national church task force and Church Council, he said, were designed "to provide some space for continued dialogue." He acknowledged, however, that they are likely to be viewed as going too far by those who believe Scripture is clear about the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and not going far enough by those who view the issues as matters of injustice.

"As I face Orlando," Hanson said, "I am deeply committed to the unity of the ELCA, but I've come to recognize that keeping the church together is not my task singularly.

"Unity is given to us as God's gift. Even if some people or congregations decide they cannot stay within the denomination, I would regret that, but I would still believe we are related in Christ's church universal."

"Hanson, who is also serving as president of the Lutheran World Federation, said he hopes the sexuality debate won't completely overshadow the other work the ELCA will be exploring at its Orlando meeting."

From The Roanoke Times report

Does you find it interesting that the man who has lead us into these controversial decisions states that he does not believe it is his job "to keep the church together"? Brilliant, Mark. You're right, of course, it's not your job to keep it together. That would be Christ's job. But it is not your job to tear it apart, and that is what you did by promoting this debate in the uneven way you did. Instead of appointing a lop-sided, leaning to the left task force on sexuality, you could have made the task force fair. It was so leaning to the left, Lutheran Commentator nailed it: "our prediction is twofold: 1) The Task Force will propose some form of local option permitting congregations who want clergy who are practicing gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons; and 2) The votes of Task Force members will probably line up 11-2 or 10-3." See article here. Disgustingly accurate.

In North Carolina, all three recomendations were voted down (YEAH!) but interestingly "Rev. Leonard H. Bolick, the presiding bishop, declared the motion to pass, but members of the opposition requested a written ballot, which was counted quickly."

"The assembly voted 319-251 to adopt the resolution, which calls on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly to welcome people regardless of their sexual orientation — but to continue to not recognize or bless same-sex unions and to not ordain practicing homosexuals as clergy."

Written ballots were the way to go in NC!

"By passing the resolution, voting members struck down an opposing call to adopt three recommendations the ELCA approved in April that would ask church members to try to live together despite disagreements and allow exceptions to the policy of not ordaining homosexual clergy.

Proponents of the passed resolution based their arguments on a strict interpretation of scripture and the perceived ambiguity of the ELCA's recommendations.

"The recommendations are purveyors of mischief," said Larry Yoder, a member of the Covenant Theological Work Group, a team of North Carolina clergy appointed in 2002 to study sexuality issues."

We haven't the time to check other synods, and recommend you go to and see!


Mwalimu Daudi said...

An interesting post, Shellfish. I think Bishop Hanson has realized that while he may have the votes to force the ELCA to bless homosexual unions and ordain non-celibate gay/lesbian clergy, such a vote will surely break the church (that's church with a small "c", not the eternal Church). It's hard to read his comments as anything other than a "don't let the door hit you on the way out" statement to those who feel compelled to leave.

Someone should remind Bishop Hanson that our unity is in the Word and is not a license to do whatever we please. All the Task Forces that the ELCA is able to conjure up cannot veto what is plainly stated in the Scriptures.

Shrimp said...

Don't let the door hit you is getting close to it. When the bishops do these interviews, remember they have all benn schooled by copmmunication staff, so they are trying to be on message all the time. Of course, what makes it intersting is that they are spiritually blind, pride also makes them as good as idiots, and the devil is having a field day, so they can slip up, too.
Did you see what bishop Strobel said to his assembly, "Ve vill get smaller as we become the pure race of true believers that God is doing a neu thing."

Anonymous said...

1. It is the revisionists who made sexuality central to what defines the ELCA, not the orthodox majority. But then Hanson and the rest of them turn around and blame the orthodox. That's just plain cockeyed.

2. While the revisionists are occupying our attention with the "gay resolutions", they are also sneaking through the so-called "Renewing Worship". This radical-feminism laced liturgy and hymnal downgrades the use of the Triune Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, among other revisionist liturgical bloopers. It also includes numerous liberal-Protestant and even Unitarian hymns, including the notorious "Bring Many Names". The adoption of the new hymnal, which is also an expense that many congregations cannot afford (and a potential financial boon to Augsburg Fortress), would be a disaster. But it is likely to pass with all the attention on sexuality.

3. It is quite clear to me that there are two different religions in the ELCA. Let's do what the ECUSA may now be doing, and figure out an amicable way to split. Then the 25% of revisionists and liberals can merge with the ELCA as they really, really want. The orthodox and conservative 75% can then work to rebuild a viable American Lutheran church. This way, everybody wins.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the above: The liberal and revisionst 25% can merge with the ECUSA, as they really, really want.

The good ship ELCA...

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