Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ten Examples of the Crisis

Shrimp here. While our deepest concern here on Shellfish is for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we have regularly pointed to what is happening in the Episcopal Church (TEC), for it seems that the same Confusionists have been busy over there and that where TEC goes the ELCA soon follows.

So we note with considerable interest the defense by Fr. Jonathan Millard, rector at the Church of the Ascension, Oakland, Penn., of the proposal to the Diocese of Pittsburgh to realign with a different province within the Anglican Communion. You can read it all here, but within it he describes:
Ten examples of how the essentials of the Christian Faith are being eroded, challenged, or contradicted by The Episcopal Church:

1. There is confusion concerning who God is:

Over the past 40 years there has been a drift away from orthodox ways of speaking about God. In some places in TEC instead of God being referred to as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He is addressed only by function as creator, redeemer and sustainer, and not in personal ways. The problem with this approach is that it makes God more remote and the fact is God has revealed himself to us through the Scriptures not just by function, but in personal terms as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Another example is when the name LORD is replaced with “God.” So instead of the Liturgical greeting: “The Lord be with you” you may encounter in some parts of TEC “God be with you” or even “God is in you” with the response: “and also in you.” The word LORD apparently is perceived as too male, and too authoritarian. The earliest creedal statement was simply “Jesus is Lord.” And yes, it was meant to be authoritarian. I was very sad when I attended the Interfaith service at Calvary last week, to see precisely such a change had been made to the liturgy. When it came to share the Peace, the wording was not: “The peace of the Lord”, but rather “The Peace of God.”

2. There is a lack of clear teaching about the divinity of Christ:

In answer to a question referencing the divinity of Jesus, in an article published earlier this year, the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Shori, said this: “If you begin to explore the literary context of the first century and the couple of hundred years on either side, the way that someone told a story about a great figure was to say ‘this one was born of the gods.’ That is what we’re saying. This carpenter from Nazareth or Bethlehem – and there are different stories about where he came from – shows us what a godly human being looks like, shows us God coming among us.”

At best that is ambiguous or confusing, and at worst it is false teaching. Jesus was much more than someone who “shows us what a godly human being looks like.” And the Church does not say that he was “born of the gods.” The biblical witness and the faith of the church is that Jesus is the Son of God: fully God and fully man. The Word became flesh (John 1). We proclaim this truth weekly in the Nicene Creed.

3. There is a lack of clear teaching about Salvation and Sin:

Questioned about selfishness and falleness, the Presiding Bishop said this: “The human journey is about encouraging our own selves to move up into higher consciousness, into being able to be present in a violent situation without responding with violence ...” and in the same interview she went on to say: “The question is always how can we get beyond our own narrow self-interest and see that our salvation lies in attending to the needs of other people.”

This is not the Gospel story of sin and redemption. The Scriptures teach that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23). The Scriptures teach that salvation is not through our works, or our efforts to move up to a higher consciousness, or even through attending to the needs of others. Our salvation lies in Jesus, “who while we were still sinners, died for us.” (Rom. 5:8); and all who believe in the LORD and call upon his name will be saved. (Rom. 10:13)

4. There is a drift towards universalism:

The Presiding Bishop says of Jesus: “we who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box” (Time Magazine: July 17,2006). Jesus said: I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

When, some years ago, I first heard Bishop Duncan speak of us living in a time of Reformation of the Church throughout the world, I confess I wondered if that was a little grandiose. I now believe, without a doubt, that he was right. This was illustrated for me, once again, just last week. I was deeply saddened to hear Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu deny the particularity of the Christian Faith, mocking the idea that Jesus could possibly be the only way to God, and declaring that all religions are worshipping the same God, just by different names. The archbishop is a great man who has done wonderful work for reconciliation and peace. I salute him for all the good he has done, but I am sad and troubled that he would be so dismissive of the supreme work of love and salvation that our Lord Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.

5. There is a loss of confidence in the Gospel as Good News for all:

The official teaching of the Anglican Church on the issue of human sexuality is that which has been set out by the Lambeth Conference in 1998 (Resolution 1:10). But here’s the key point concerning the Gospel that I want to make:

[The Conference] “recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships.” [emphasis added]. It is that confidence in the transforming power of God that the actions of TEC now challenge. So instead of welcoming and loving all into the church so that they might experience transformation, TEC simply welcomes and affirms people just as they are – denying them the healing and hope and transforming power of God.

6. There is erroneous teaching and practice regarding human sexuality

Over the past couple of decades there has been a serious rejection of the clear teaching of the Bible and the Church on human sexuality and marriage. The clear teaching of Scripture and tradition and of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church is that sex is for marriage. The only sexually intimate relationships that are good and holy according to Scripture and tradition are those between a man and a woman, within an intended life long, faithful covenant of marriage. That means that pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, gay sex, any sex outside of marriage is all contrary to God’s will. This is the clear teaching of the Bible and of Jesus.

7. There is a seemingly ‘social justice only’ view of the mission of the church

I have struggled to find any clear statements from the Presiding Bishop about the basics of the faith. From her inaugural sermon through to all kinds of talks and sermons and interviews that I’ve seen or heard extracts from she seems to be concerned primarily with a political and social gospel. She seems to be concerned principally about the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. There is much to be commended about these goals and much to challenge us – but they are by no means the same thing as the message of salvation for those who are perishing. (John 3: 16). If the Millennium Goals are our gospel message it falls seriously short of the message of proclaiming “Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

8. There is contempt for the Authority of the Bible

Bishop Bennison has said: “The church wrote the Bible, and the church can rewrite the Bible.” No, that is a serious error.

9. There is failure by Bishops to defend the faith

The role of a bishop in the words of the 1662 ordinal is: ‘‘to banish and drive away from the church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to the Word of God.” – Here in the States, the very opposite is true. Rather than drive away false teaching many of the bishops of TEC embrace it, celebrate it and declare to be good and holy that which God declares to wrong. To ordain an openly gay, non-celibate man – when the rest of the world urged TEC not to do this – is not only contrary to Scripture but is also an arrogant display of American intransigence.

10. There is a lack of respect for truth or unity

There seems to be a cavalier spirit among many in TEC that disregards the mandate for unity with the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. Claims are made by ‘progressives’ that they are putting truth ahead of unity. However the ‘truth’ they claim is that it’s a matter of social justice and Christian virtue to bless same sex unions and permit practicing gay and lesbian people to hold any office within the church. This is, of course, is contrary to the truth as revealed in Holy Scripture. And the only unity they secure is among a tiny minority of the church worldwide.
Sounds an awful lot like a diagnosis of the ELCA, doesn't it? You probably know that the Diocese of Pittsburgh's vote to begin leaving the Episcopal Church passed by a wide margin.

Thanks to A Ten O'Clock Scholar and Stand Firm for bringing this to Shrimp's attention. Shrimp out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Katrina Blasts through da Bronx

Shrimp here. The Confusionists continue to feed their friends in the media, for in a month that we've already been exposed to the "ordination" of a pair of Jens by renegade ELCA congregations for whom having an out lesbian pastor who has (or hopes to have) a female life partner is a matter of the Gospel, the New York Times piles on with a puff piece on Katrina Foster, pastor at Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx for the last 13 years. Shrimp understands that November is Sweeps Month, but thought that was for television, not the Newspaper of Record.

Katrina is a wonderful pastor, of course. While the Times seems to think it is remarkable that a Lutheran Church would be largely female, Shrimp will give Katrina credit for finding ways to bring Caribbean immigrants into her church of 100 members.

But, the Times tells us, a terrible specter looms over the parish and its pastor, for Bishop Bouman (who seems to think Katrina is the bees knees) is departing for a job in the ELCA hierarchy and there is the chance that he may be replaced by a Bishop who doesn't cast a blind eye towards female pastors shacking up with another woman who's made them a baby.

Yeah. Like the Metro New York Synod, whose orthodox pastors and congregations have pretty much checked out of attending Synod Assemblies, is going to elect a Bishop who'd discipline gay clergy even if the 2009 Churchwide Assembly directs Bishops to do so. Well, unlike most of those quoted in the Times (the Gray Lady ain't what she use to be!), Shrimp doesn't believe Katrina is really worried about "losing her collar."

Though we can always hope.

Anyway, hyperventilating used to help sell papers and it makes for exciting TV news. So, here's how the article starts:

Gay Pastor in the Bronx Could Lose Her Collar

In 1994, when the Rev. Katrina D. Foster became pastor of Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, she threw herself into ministering to her small, mostly Caribbean-born congregation. She not only preached to them on Sundays but lived in the neighborhood and showed up to support them in everything from surgeries to legal matters.

But Pastor Foster was keeping a secret from her congregation. She held onto it even after a woman came to live with her in the parsonage, then joined the church choir.

“Some people would say, ‘It’s so nice you have someone to live with you in that 11-room house,’ ” said Pastor Foster, 39.

But in 2002, when the woman, Pamela Kallimanis, became pregnant, they knew the time had come. So Pastor Foster sat her congregants down one by one and told them that she and Ms. Kallimanis were partners and were expecting a child.

Not one person openly criticized her, she said. Instead, “they threw us the most wonderfully outrageous baby shower in the side yard next to the church,” she said. “The woman I was most anxious about telling” — the church president — “I thought she was going to leap across the table and hug me.”

The response, however, was not all positive. A small number of families trickled away. Pastor Foster said only one member told her outright why she had stopped coming. “I got her on the phone one day and she said she couldn’t sit under a pastor who was a homosexual,” she said.

Now Pastor Foster and her roughly 100 congregants face a new challenge: the possibility that she, along with four other pastors in the New York area and 81 nationwide, could be defrocked in 2009 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The country’s largest Lutheran denomination, it allows openly gay pastors but forbids them from being in same-sex relationships, according to the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, bishop of the denomination’s New York-area synod.

In August, Pastor Foster was among the clerics who disclosed that they were in such relationships at the church’s biennial national assembly in Chicago, where church policy was decided. The assembly voted to urge synod leaders not to discipline those pastors until the issue of pastors in same-sex relationships could be voted on at the next meeting, in 2009.

Bishop Bouman said he would not have disciplined Pastor Foster anyway. “She is someone whose faith is genuine and she lives it in a very bold and inclusive way,” he said. “She’s not afraid to tell people that she loves God and that God loves them.” When Bishop Bouman leaves to take a national church position in Chicago in March, however, whoever succeeds him in New York may aim to defrock Pastor Foster before the 2009 assembly.

Another pastor in the synod, the Rev. Paul Hagen, of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the Bronx, isn’t supportive. He said that the “the Bible clearly defines homosexuality as a sin.”

He would not say whether he wanted Pastor Foster defrocked, but asked: “Can she honestly say she is a follower of Jesus? Does she teach what Jesus teaches or what she teaches?”

And a few members of Pastor Foster’s church say they still are struggling with the passage in the Bible that many consider a prohibition on homosexuality: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

Pastor Foster has not preached directly about that passage. Charlotte Sapp, a church member who runs a local H.I.V. prevention and support group, said she was hoping for more guidance on the issue. “If it’s wrong concerning the Bible, show us this, why it’s wrong,” she said.

Pastor Foster said she felt that other passages were worthier of analysis, and that the one in question was one of many Old Testament passages that are no longer taken literally.

The Fordham church is uncommon for reasons other than its lesbian pastor. While the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is overwhelmingly white, the Fordham congregation is primarily black and Hispanic, reflecting changes in the neighborhood, which was a German enclave when the church began in 1915.

The congregation is also mostly female. Many members are nannies, home-care attendants or cleaners, and were raised in cultures strongly opposed to homosexuality. The Lutheran church has attracted many Caribbean natives with missionary work in the region.
Read it all, complete with nice photo, here.

Shrimp out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Belly Dancing and Stilt Dancing

Clam here. High time I jump into the crustacean scrum. For my first entry, I thought I might check in with the website that almost makes this blog unnecessary, the (in)famous herchurch.org. From the "you can't make this stuff up" department, comes news of a conference hosted and sponsored earlier this month at this still-in-good-standing ELCA congregation. I'm tempted to let their copy speak for itself:

Wisdom’s Urgent Cry
A Faith and Feminism
Womanist/Mujerista Conference


hosted by Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran
and co-sponsored by San Francisco ELCA Conference

A gathering for feminist (men and women) faith seekers, church leaders, Interfaith leaders to experience and discuss the urgent implications of God/dess imagery and gender issues which transform the church, the world and our daily lives so that together we seek and speak justice.


Now I suppose that I could Google "mujerista," if those of us in the undersea kingdom had Google, and figure out what a "mujerista" is. But Clam would admit to be scratching his head at that one.

In any event, one might wonder who, exactly, are the "Interfaith leaders" participating in this conference. The answer is not obvious, but it seems the reference is to these folks (excerpts from biographical information follows):

Mara Lynn Keller, ritualist of the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone

Judith Lavender Dancer, dancer, healer and movement educator. Her work incorporates teachings from both Western and Eastern modalities, including Feldenkrais, Chi Qong, clowning, Bioenergetics, belly dancing, improvisation, meditation, and stilt dancing.

Arisika Razak, educator in the field of Women's Studies/Women's Spirituality. Arisika's work integrates the disciplines of Women's Studies/ Women's Spirituality, and Women's Health and Spiritual Dance, through the incorporation of the teachings of earth based spiritual traditions, women's spirituality, and women's health into the language of movement and dance.

Apparently the conferencegoers began each day in the sanctuary, with a program including "Grounding", "The Sacred Dance" and "Sing Inclusive Hymns". All of which leads Clam to ponder the question: is it still syncretism if the other "faiths" aren't actually religions, as commonly understood?


Keep Clam!

Monday, November 19, 2007

ELM to ELCA: We Dare You to...

Lie Back and Take It!

Shrimp just doesn't know how else to read it. Faster than you can report the out-of-the-ordinary November 17 ordination of of Jen Rude at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago (catch it also in the Chicago Tribune), Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is trumpeting another one.

Jen Nagle has been the "pastoral minister" (whatever that is) the last 4 years at Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. On November 11, she was called by that "transforming congregation" to be its pastor and she will be extraordinarily ordained on January 19. [Aside: You may want to be alert to any congregational meetings on January 13, especially if the agenda includes the call of a pastor or a girl named Jen.]

Currently ELM's home page says, "On November 17, Rude becaem [sic] become the first pastor to be ordained in the newly formed Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) and the first official challenge to the new ELCA policy of “Refrain and Restraint” that was passed at its biennial assembly August 6-11 in Chicago." Shrimp doesn't know what's big about "challenging" a "policy" of asking Bishops to do nothing with the terms of a congregation's relationship with the denomination. We do think ELM's press release use of the word "challenge" makes more linguistic sense: "Rude’s ordination is the fourth time in 13 months that a Lutheran congregation has directly challenged the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) policy requiring lifelong celibacy of gay and lesbian clergy."

Hmm. That gets our enfeebled mind to devising another way to interpret these things: it sounds like the triumphant blog of a randy teen-aged boy about tonight's date, after learning her father has declared that, as with her older sisters over the last 20 years, he will be "restrained" in defending his daughter's virtue.

God help us!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Heresy! Absolute heresy!" You got that!

"Hanson identified four challenges for the ELCA: building trust throughout the church, creating awareness by telling the ELCA's "story," raising expectations for what the Holy Spirit is doing, and lowering anxiety about sexuality as the church prepares a social statement on human sexuality for consideration at the 2009 ELCA assembly.

"We cannot let that social statement define solely the life and work of this church or our leadership," Hanson told the council. "That's going to take shared leadership. If we become so preoccupied with 2009, we are conveying a message that sexuality defines this church, and (because of) sexuality, this church could potentially be divided. Frankly, that's heresy. That's absolute heresy. The gospel of Jesus Christ defines this church." "I think this (the social statement) is hugely important work for us in these next two years. I'm committed to it, but I will not let it solely define my leadership of this church, because I think that's not responsible," he said."

Cap'n Bill here: I don't want to start a post with the word Pinhead in it, I suppose that is better than Heresiarch... well, what do you call a person who takes over the good ship ELCA, pilots it down the Niagara toward the Falls and chastises his crew who tell him that people are already jumping ship? Well, acccording to Hanson, those people jumping off are heretics. Actually, it may be that he is saying that people who even speak of leaving, that there is a danger of schism, these troublemakers are heretics. Well, call me heretic, Hesiarch! After all, go to the ELCA News page and read the release you willthis comes from and you'll see that PB Hanson has chosen Metro NY Bishop Bouman to head up the Commission for Outreach. Let's see, if Bouman is bishop of the fast dying synod in the ELCA, one of the most demoralized, what qualifications does he have for the job? In Bouman's words, "Inclusive Outreach." Yes, that's right. On the one hand, Hanson says we have to quit talking about sex so much and we must simply refuse to think that this could split the church, and at the same time he handpicks a gay agenda true believer. Something is wrong with this picture....

Click here for the news release.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Er, Make that No Awakening

Shrimp here. Susan Hogan/Albach of the Chicago Sun Times followed up yesterday on the planned ordination of Jen Rude (who is sooo lesbian that she's self-identified as "Queer") with this brief article:
Bishop Wayne Miller said Wednesday he won't discipline a congregation that's challenging the celibacy requirement for gay clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Resurrection Lutheran Church in Lake View plans to ordain a lesbian as associate pastor. Jen Rude says she won't pledge lifelong celibacy because she considers the rule discriminatory. In the ELCA, heterosexual pastors can marry.

Miller, head of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, said he wants to "stay in conversation" with the congregation rather than censure or drive it out of the denomination.
Shrimp understands that when he was an "identified person" prior to this spring's bishop's election ("running for bishop" is deemed unseemly in most of the ELCA, but several synods "identify" potential nominees in the weeks before an election and send them out for a dog-and-pony show -- but I digress)... During the pre-election build-up in Metro Chicago, of the identified candidates, Pastor Miller was the one "identified person" who was willing to say that as Bishop his job was to enforce the standards of the ELCA, regardless of his personal feelings. (All the others, Shrimp has been told, said they'd continue Bishop Landahl's policy of letting their personal feelings prevent them from enforcing the church's standards regarding openly GLBTQ pastors.)

This was, of course, before the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted this resolution presented by then-MCS Bishop Paul Landahl:
RESOLVED, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members, the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.
Okay, Lutherans: What does this mean?"

Heck if Shrimp knows. But if he were to hazard a guess, "We are to fear and love Goodsoil so that whoever is approved by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries gets a free pass in the   (insert Synod name here)   Synod.

Shrimp out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rude Awakening for ELCA's Chicago Bishop

Shrimp here. The Chicago Sun-Times reports today:

Gay pastor tests celibacy rule

LUTHERAN ORDINATION | She's becoming a minister at Lake View church but won't take vow

The new bishop in the Chicago Metropolitan Synod faces his first test case on the celibacy requirement for gay clergy in the nation's largest Lutheran denomination.

Resurrection Lutheran Church in Lake View plans to ordain Jen Rude as its associate pastor in a 2 p.m. public ceremony Nov. 17. She's a lesbian who won't vow a lifetime of celibacy because she considers the rule discriminatory.

Heterosexual pastors can marry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rude said she isn't in a committed relationship now, but remains hopeful about finding a life partner.

"God is the actor in all of this," said Rude, 27, whose father and grandfather are ELCA pastors.

Bishop Wayne Miller, who took office in September, didn't return phone calls Tuesday. He's previously said he felt torn by his desire to have the celibacy rule lifted and his vows as bishop to uphold church policies.

His predecessor, the Rev. Paul Landahl, criticized the celibacy rule and didn't discipline gay clergy in committed relationships. But elsewhere, some bishops have sent letters of censure and initiated the process to remove pastors and expel congregations.
Sun-Times religion reporter Susan Hogan/Albach (that's how her name appears on paper's web site) writes more here.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, the result of a committed relationship between the (now apparently defunct) Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (formerly at www.llgm.org) and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (formerly at www.extraordinarycandidacyproject.org), has its own tossing-the-gauntlet press release here (though we copy it in full for your convenience):

Pastor-Elect Jen Rude

Extraordinary Ordination Scheduled for November 17, 2007

(Chicago, IL)
For the fourth time in 13 months a Lutheran congregation will directly challenge the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) policy requiring lifelong celibacy of gay and lesbian clergy. On October 28, Jen Rude was called to ministry by Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago. On November 17, Rude will become the first pastor to be ordained in the newly formed Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) and the first official challenge to the new ELCA policy of “Refrain and Restraint” that was passed at its biennial assembly August 6-11 in Chicago.

Rude will be ordained in an “Extraordinary Ordination” service on November 17. The service is called such because it is performed outside the ordinary guidelines for Lutheran ordinations.

Facing increasing pressure to revisit its policy banning partnered gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons from serving as pastors, the five-million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) took up the issue at their biennial assembly August 6-11 in Chicago. In January of this year, a popular openly gay Atlanta pastor, the Rev. Bradley Schmeling, was placed on church trial after telling his bishop that he was in a same-sex relationship. While the ELCA disciplinary committee recommended Schmeling’s removal, they expressed opposition to the policy and recommended it be overturned. Twenty-one synods passed recommendations that the policy be overturned by the national assembly. The biennial assembly fell short of overturning the policy, but instead passed a resolution recommending bishops “refrain from or show restraint” in discipline of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pastors and their congregations.

The newly elected Bishop Wayne Miller of ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod met with members of Resurrection Lutheran to discuss potential ramifications of their vote to call Rude. Miller replaced Bishop Paul Landahl after the Churchwide assembly. Bishop Landahl has spoken out for an end to the ELCA’s discriminatory policy and was the individual who brought “Refrain and Restraint” to the floor. It is unknown how Bishop Miller will respond to the actions at Resurrection.

“Jen’s ministry with us for the past two years has been a Godsend,” says Rev. Brian Hiortdahl “and in our congregation's experience, she has more than proven herself worthy of ordination to the ministry of word and sacrament.

“The Congregation’s vote to call Jen,” he continues, “is consistent with this community's legacy and mission and we hope this action will encourage others to join us in our mission, in prayer and in our pews.”

“I am honored and humbled to be called to Resurrection Lutheran Church,” Rude said following the congregation’s vote to call her as their pastor. “I am inspired by this congregation’s history of responding to the emergent needs of the community and their commitment to justice, generosity and faith.”

Jen Rude is the third generation of social justice pastors in her family. She completed a master of divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA in 2005. She began candidacy process in the Sierra Pacific Synod in April 2004. In 2005, Rude was endorsed by the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (a predecessor organization to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries) after her ELCA candidacy committee postponed her endorsement decision until after her internship was scheduled to begin. A month into her internship, Rude’s ELCA candidacy committee finally endorsed her. When it was time for approval, Rude’s ELCA candidacy committee again told her to wait, indefinitely postponing her because of her principled non-compliance to the ELCA’s policy of discrimination. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is committed to helping Rude and all the members of the roster do ministry now, as long as the church continues to say “not yet.”

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (formally Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project) will officially launch on Reformation Day (Oct. 31, 2007) marking the 490 year anniversary Luther’s posting of the 95 theses.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is a national non-profit that credentials and rosters openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for ministry; supports these pastors by working with congregations that will call them and providing mission grants to support their ministry; and provides a network of support to the congregations and pastors. Fourteen ELCA and two independent Lutheran congregations are served by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries pastors.

Rude’s ordination will be the 12th “Extraordinary Ministry” in the seventeen years since the first ordination of openly gay pastors Jeff Johnson, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart in San Francisco, CA.

The ordination will take place Saturday, November 17, 2007, at 2:00 pm, and Rude will be installed as Associate Pastor during the 10:00 am worship service on Sunday. The services are open to the public at Resurrection Lutheran Church at 3309 N Seminary Ave Chicago, IL 60657.
In case you wonder if Miss Rude is aptly surnamed, you may want to look at her stillborn (from 4 years ago) Jen's Candidacy Blog.

Shrimp offers prayers for Bishop Miller, who was installed into office less-than 60 days ago.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gay ministers race for ratings on tonight's episode of 'The Amazing Race.'

Cap'n Bill here: OK, so the times they are a changin' but, but, but someone please explain!

"Teammates Kate Lewis and Pat Hendrickson, ministers from Thousand Oaks who are married to each other, are Episcopal clergy who will compete on `The Amazing Race' tonight. There weren't any lesbian ministers when the Rev. Kate Lewis and the Rev. Pat Hendrickson were young. There weren't even any women."

This is for real? Lesbians who weren't even women?!?!?

"Times have changed - slowly. But role models are still hard to find, even in the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church, they say. Lewis and Hendrickson, who have been in a relationship since meeting at a religious retreat in 1997, hope to change that by appearing on this season's popular reality show "The Amazing Race," which begins tonight on CBS.
"We're happy to offer ourselves up to show people that Christians come in many different stripes," said Lewis, a minister at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach. "Some of us are progressive and inclusive."
The potential for a million-dollar cash prize, along with a globe-spanning adventure, didn't hurt, either.
"We are very serious about our relationship with God, and we are very serious about winning this race," Hendrickson said. "We're not afraid to have a good time, either. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun."

http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_7365130

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Duncan to Schori: NUTS!!

Shrimp here. Beginning with a history lesson. 22 December 1944: During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st Airborne was under seige at Bastogne. General Heinrich Freiherr von L├╝ttwitz sent the following message:
To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours' term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

The German Commander.
General Anthony Clement McAuliffe's reply:
Nuts.
End history lesson.

Earlier this week, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church sent the following message to the Bishop of Pittsburgh, who is (in the words of the Episcopal News Service) "actively seeking to withdraw his diocese from the Episcopal Church":
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori
Bishop Duncan's reply is most elegant:
1st November, A.D. 2007
The Feast of All Saints

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh
It looks even better on the Diocese's website.

There but by the grace of God goes the ELCA? Shrimp out.

The good ship ELCA...

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