Saturday, February 02, 2008

Holy Week in the ELCA

Shrimp here. As Cap'n Bill briefly notes below, the first draft of the ELCA Social Statement on Human Sexuality comes out around Holy Week. Pastor Zip's Blog points out that the official launch is March 13, which is the Thursday before Holy Week. Just in time, we think, for some enterprising religion reporters to be on the phone with local ELCA pastors for a comment or two for the Saturday Religion Page which otherwise would be announcing Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday services. That's Higgins Road for you, always ready to help ELCA parish pastors with a little free publicity.

Here is part of the current timeline for the Sexuality Study:
January 25-26
Task force meets to finalize work on the draft of a social statement on human sexuality.

February 29
Church in Society program committee receives a report.

March 6-11
Conference of Bishops meeting receives confidential review of the draft.

March 12, noon, CDT
DRAFT social statement on human sexuality becomes available for confidential review to rostered leaders on a designated Web site.

March 13, noon, CDT
DRAFT social statement on human sexuality is released. It will be available at and a copy will be mailed to every rostered leader.
Rummaging around the ELCA's Journey Together Faithfully reveals that the site hasn't been updated for several months, since "congregations and synods will be asked to study and respond to Journey Together Faithfully, Part Three in the fall of 2006." Though now that the draft is actually finished (if the schedule is being followed) maybe the Task Force's staff will get around bringing it's "What's Happening" page into 2008.

Anyway, after mulling over (once again) the question, "What are these folks at ELCA HQ thinking?" Shrimp thinks the idea Pastor Zip passes on from one of his fellow ELCA pastors isn't too bad:
I am ridiculously trying to see if we can get the ELCA to postpone the release of the new sexuality draft to AFTER Easter. This is an action that has NO concern for the content. Right now the new draft is scheduled for release to the media the Wednesday before Holy Week. ... If you concur that it would be better to release this AFTER Easter I invite you to send and email to Pastor Larson, Bishop Hanson and your local Bishop.
For some reasons why delaying the draft's release for a couple of weeks might be a useful idea, see here. Then, if you are an ELCA pastor or lay leader, you might write a gentle request to Dr. Rebecca Larson, Executive Director of the ELCA Church in Society unit, the ELCA's Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson (or, if you don't want to wait 10 weeks for a personal reply, his assistant), and your Bishop -- in time for that March 6-11 Conference of Bishops meeting.

Wishing you a blessed Mardi Gras, Shrimp out.

1 comment:

wildiris said...

Shellfish, it is nice to see you back. As a long time lurker, I was at first disappointed that you left the scene, but then I realized, someone of your temperament could not stay away long. If I may, I would like to make a few off-topic comments that I’ve been saving up for a long time.

I’ve often wondered if the reason it is so easy for some people to bring up the Shellfish Argument is that they don’t live on an ocean coast and know nothing about things like red tides and the R-month rule. Shellfish poisoning is no joke! As a bit of trivia, it as been suggested that the actor Marty Feldman, (Igor in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”) died, while on set in Mexico, from a heart attack brought on by a case of shellfish poisoning. Maybe as a point of education for your readers, you could offer a link to the Centers for Disease Control’s web page on Shellfish Poisoning? And just for fun you could also post a link to the CDC’s Tapeworm (Pork) web page too.

It has become the modern mind set to think that if something is spiritual, it can’t be practical. And visa-versa, if something is practical, then it can’t be of any spiritual value. This modern western divorce of physical health from spiritual health is one of the factors that make it easy to trivialize the Old Testament Mosaic Laws; and as people trivialize some of them, it becomes easier to dismiss all of them. It wasn’t too many generations ago that to be able to live a healthy, disease and pain free life was the exception rather than the rule. And to point out the obvious, it’s hard to sing praises to the Lord, when you’re sick or in chronic pain.

Which brings me back to the original topic, the “Free in Christ…” study. I tried to read it, but I never got past “Session 2”. An issue that I would love to see discussed, but never have, is the complete, utter and total dependence this new gospel of social justice has on the existences of an underlining social welfare system and on a universal access to modern western medicine. As a quick example of what I’m trying to get at, imagine the situation put forth in Session 2 of the above mentioned study, but set in 1907, not 2007. A century ago, there was no birth control, no antibiotics to treat STD’s, no surgically safe abortions, and no welfare state to pick up the financial burdens of an out-of-wedlock child. Would the writers of the study, still approach the topic as they did? I would love to hear an answer from the writers, or from anyone for that matter, on this point.

Keep up the good work. No other Lutheran blog site that I have ever run across, has tried to take on, like you have, the issues that are rotting the ELCA from the inside out.

P.S. I've completely given up on finding any useful discussions, over at the ALPB web site, on the kinds of issues you take on here at Shellfish.

The good ship ELCA...

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