Monday, November 21, 2005

Yet another post from a Metro NY Pastor

Why now? Why this? Why these measures?

If I were a partnered celebrity lesbian in the ELCA and wanted to be
ordained, I would choose a synod known for its left-wing bias. I would
choose a bishop that couldn’t even remember the first time he sold out. I
would have my friends set up a scheme which would protect me from the
discipline of the ELCA.

The scheme would take long range planning, secrecy, and flawless
execution. It would have to be a scheme by which resolutions protecting me
could be passed—discretely, under the wire, perhaps in a secretive
manner, perhaps in a special meeting where some didn’t even know we were
going to be voting on resolutions.

The first resolution would frame the latter ones by thanking the synod
administration for its hospitality, care, and support to homosexuals
and lesbians—even partnered ones. Great effort would have to be put forth
to prevent anyone from removing the word “partnered” from the
resolution. This sets the stage.

The second resolution would insist that cases such as my own be handled
with discretion, sensitively, compassionately, ineffectively, with much
hand wringing and no real action…what’s the word I am searching for?
Anyway, it would insure that when I violate the standards—and I will be
in violation from the start—there must be some other violation in
addition to my sexual behavior in order to trigger my being disciplined.

The third resolution would create an exception to my being disciplined.
It would insist that any official examining my behavior must move the
focus of inquiry immediately to the missional and pastoral needs of the
congregation rather than my behavior.

There is always the problem of the ELCA ruling something
unconstitutional. Perhaps we can get an early indication and then the motions that
are likely to be struck down, we can tie them up in the ELCA church
council until April or so. Perhaps I could get an ex-bishop who couldn’t
remember the first time he sold out to fashion such an amendment.

The only thing left would be to schedule my celebrity ordination and
photo op on or about the date of the synod meeting.

Oh, I know there are some issues. Will it split the synod? Will it spit
in the face of the ELCA assembly in Orlando? Will it make the bishop
look like a useful idiot? Will it cause Neanderthals who believe what the
Bible says to drift away from their congregations? Will it expose me
and my supporters as evil people who only care about our own agenda and
to hell with the church if it’s not on board? Well, I shouldn’t have to
take responsibility for these things. I would simply be trying to make
a statement here and advance an agenda.

That’s what I would do if I were a partnered celebrity lesbian in the
ELCA and wanted to be ordained.

-Anonymous in Metro NY

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What Sticks in My Craw

a guest columnist writes

A parishioner of mine recently had a conversation with a high synod
official about my on again off again relationship with the synod—a
relationship that is right now in the off mode. I call it being off the
reservation again. The Metro New York Synod ELCA met in a special assembly in
October—an assembly triggered by the national denomination voting in
August to remain faithful to Scripture and Tradition in regard to
homosexual practice among clergy. That was the assembly where they borrowed a
page from Yassir Arafat and instituted local option while insisting
they were not violating the constitution and practices of the ELCA. The
synod official began with a compliment as to my work as a pastor. But
there was a but: “…but he has this one issue that sticks in his craw and
he cannot let it go.” That issue of course is the attempt by homosexual
advocates to overturn Scripture and Tradition and create an exeption to
Christian discipline and ministerial eligibility for practicing
homosexuals and lesbians.

When this was reported back to me, my immediate response was to say
that there is a single defining issue of our time as Church and this synod
official is on the wrong side of that issue. Let’s be fair, the whole
stinking synod is on the wrong side of this issue. Oh sometimes we
almost vote to be faithful, but we never pull it off. No matter how
ridiculous the resolution might be, if the homosexual advocates back it, it
passes. Due to a whole constellation of events, there is only one issue
that the ELCA in this decade must be faithful in regard to—whether the
clear word of Scripture and tradition applies to the behavior of
homosexuals and lesbians, or whether we suspend the clear word of Scripture and
tradition for them and them alone (others to follow) because they are
“victims”. Because this issue involves our obedience to the moral
teachings of Scripture and Tradition, it must not be let go of. It must stick
in our craw if we are to remain part of the one holy catholic a
nd apostolic church.

Having been in the Metro NY Synod of the ELCA since its inception, I
have become used to lax discipline. Divorcing clergy are winked at,
adulterous clergy are given new career opportunities, pederasts are honored
at synod conventions, lesbian activists are lionized, individuals
involved in shady finances are spoken of in glowing terms. If lax discipline
and the official incompetence and dereliction of duty that enable it
were the issue, I could shut up and swallow. The church has always done a
less than adequate job of enforcing the code. It has not always openly
rejected the notion that the code comes from God.

If as my opponents insist, Church unity were the overriding issue, I
would have no recourse. The intent of Christ is that Church be united
(John 17). The fact that my secularized opponents in this synod would
argue that Jesus never intended a Church and the high priestly prayer in
John 17 is apocryphal, does not prevent them from giving lip service to
unity even as they engage in provocative actions to advance their
agenda. “If you will just stop being divisive, I can complete my hostile
takeover. Now where were we…” The duplicity of the homosexual advocates
notwithstanding, the point remains serious for those of us who know better
than they: Jesus intended a Church and Jesus intends it to be united.
One must exhaust all reasonable means to maintain the unity of the
Church. One must not divide the church over bad politics. If this were
merely a putsch that former Missouri synod liberals have brought to the
synod, I could shut up and swallow. Church politics have always falle
n short of the Kingdom of God.

It is for the sake of my membership in the one holy catholic and
apostolic church that I am at war with a synod that has sold off its
birthright for a mess of pottage. However much the revisionists enjoy the mess
of pottage they are buying, I cannot shut up and swallow. As
judicatory, the synod is my primary connection to the one holy catholic and
apostolic church. I am not a Congregationalist. I cannot retreat into the
pressing affairs of congregational life and pretend that the heresy of
antinomianism has not infected the MNYS. I cannot sound to my
parishioners the uncertain trumpet which says that you can trust the promises of
God because you can trust the Word of God –unless of course it gets in
the way of expressing your sexual impulses, in which case it is the
misleading word of evil hetero males which is to be rejected in favor of
the New Christian values of egalitarianism, responsibility, mutuality and
respect. When the synod becomes apostate, I must find another link to the una sancta or be a branch cut off from the vine. I cannot just shut up and swallow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

From the speech that should never be heard dept: Anita Hill, Orlando

From ecunet:

"On August 12, 2005, at the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), during the voting on resolutions pertaining to
the ELCA Sexuality Study resolutions submitted by the Church Council, 97
members of Goodsoil left the visitors' area and entered the voting
members' space, proceeded across in front of the dais, taking up position
centered on the hall, and turned to face the Voting Members in silence.
This they did because it was apparent that the assembly was having a
discussion about GLBT persons as if they weren't in the room, talking
about but not to them. By moving to face them, at least the voting members
would be forced to see the people they were talking about. A voting
member, the Rev. Paul Tideman of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church,
asked if the Rev. Anita Hill, ordained minister, ECP, called to St.
Paul-Reformation but not on the ELCA roster, could speak to the Assembly.
That request was denied. This is the speech that Anita would have given to
the Assembly:

The people you see before you are baptized people of faith, here to give
witness that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their
families, friends are part of this church and are here to stay. Look into
our eyes and faces so we will no longer be merely an "issue." We are human
beings enfleshed before you, children of God marked with the cross of
Christ together.

The church has just made expendable the faithful lives and God-given calls
of persons in same-gender relationship for the sake of the unity of this
church. The ELCA has again sacrificed the calls of its own faithful
children for the sake of market share. It is sad that as this church has
been making ecumenical agreements with denominations which take more
progressive stands on gay people, such as the United Church of Christ and
the Episcopal Church, we cannot extend the same offer of full communion
and participation to our own pastors and congregations who take similar

As you have heard in this assembly hall, we already have gay and lesbian
pastors living in covenanted relationship and serving ELCA congregations.
These congregations open the doors wide, not only to welcome those who
walk in, but also to walk out into the world to preach the good news to
those who may believe the church is their enemy.

The witnesses before you stand in silent vigil, calm and unafraid. They
know that the decision you have made is not about them. It's not really
about gay and lesbian people. It's really about you, and about this
church. These witnesses are not going away. Their faith is sure. The
ultimate outcome is assured. We are already one in Christ. But the our
Church is not living faithfully together with us yet. Time is the
question. How long must we wait? And at what cost?

While the church waits, lives of gay and lesbian people are ruined and
faith is destroyed. We are marked with the cross of Christ forever and are
called by God and community to serve this church through Word and
Sacrament ministry. We are held in the steadfastness of God. Here we will
continue to stand, for we also can do no other."

Not saying that the Lord didn't allow it to happen, but...

You following the Metro NY Story?

Shrimp here: Yeah, you know, I don't think I need to write much about this, some Metro NY pastor is tearing into his bishop pretty good without my help. Go to the ALPB blog Metro NY

If you still don't know what he, Norsk and a half dozen others are fit to be tied about read this and do be sure to download the summary of results--they call them "actions".

I call it crapola but what they heck do I know.

Before I go back to the bottom of the sea, let me say something, this guy Bouman is, what do you call it? LYING? Is that the word? Some one said dissemminating but I can't spell it right. Lying is simpler. Lying. He told his deans at their regular monthly meeting two weeks ago that if these four resolutions came up for a vote he would rule them out of order. Some of the deans didn't even come becasue they thought it was just more hot air. Now there is going to be hell to pay.

Boman doesn't use the word "anger" in this or any of his other spinology. He call it "hurt." Bouman will know the difference before this is over.

The good ship ELCA...

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