Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's Here!!!

Yes, the First Draft is available. Here's the e-mail announcement for posterity's sake:
Dear leader:

Please find here the link for the secured website through which you can access the confidential preview of the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality beginning today at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. That link is: [No, we're not telling. If you don't believe us, click here anyway]

Please keep in mind that this is being made available to you personally and with the understanding that you will hold this information in strictest confidence until the public release tomorrow, March 13, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

We have two requests of you:

1. Please be patient with the technology if you cannot get access immediately. If you experience difficulties downloading the document, please consult the instructions on the confidential preview Web page. If you cannot access the page itself or cannot resolve the problems yourself, please contact or phone 800-638-3522 for assistance.

2. Should you have questions or other needs for immediate communication on this draft, please consider contacting your synod office first.

The response period is open until November 1, 2008. Using the form at the back of the draft booklet or online at , or attending a synod hearing, is the best way to respond to the task force.

Thank you so very much for your pastoral leadership of our church at this time. Let us hold one another and this church in prayer during these days, confident of the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in this process as in all things.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Larson
Executive Director
Church in Society
Before downloading, ELCA rostered leaders see this:

Confidential Preview of a
Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality

A document labeled with the term "embargoed" or "subject to embargo" is to be kept strictly confidential until the specified release time that accompanies the document. Normally, such documents are provided to interested parties for review and preparation prior to public release.

In this case, we request that you maintain the confidentiality of both the Web links and the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality until 1 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, March 13, 2008.

etc., etc., etc.

So, if anyone breaks the embargo, will they be subject to discipline by their Bishop? Or will synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those persons who ignored the embargo and released the statement a few hours early?

Shrimp out.


Anonymous said...

Good grief, why this ultra-secrecy? What's in this thing that is so "hot" that before the pillaging hoards attack each ELCA congregation, pastors need 24 hours to build up the ramparts?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Crunchy Crustaceon

Shrimp said...

In October 1994, the First Draft of a proposed ELCA Social Statement on Sexuality was, as was the usual practice, mailed (bulk rate) out to every ELCA congregation and the press at the same time. (It was also put online on LutherLink, making it electronically available to those who had access to the system in those pre-internet days.) The AP got a copy right away, found some juicy bits, and put it on the wire.

Local newspapers started calling ELCA pastors, who of course hadn't received the statement -- even if AFP had mailed it on the date they were supposed to (turns out they didn't, though no one at Higgins Road knew that for several weeks), it was going to take a few days before most pastors received it. Worse, it seems a whole lot of ELCA pastors weren't even aware that it was coming out then.

Anyway, there were headlines all over the country, even made the Network news. But few ELCA pastors had any idea what was in the proposal, except for what the reporters said or what they were reading in the paper. Lots of angry phone calls, from pastors, and from ordinary people -- I mean really, really angry -- hit the ELCA switchboard.

What the ELCA bureaucracy learned is that it is not good to surprise the pastors with something explosive. So, ever since, when something potentially explosive is released -- that would be studies and proposed statements related to sexuality -- there's all this cloak-and-dagger stuff to prevent the press from getting copies "too early."

Note this: the official stance of this church has always been that it was the AP's fault, even though every single screw-up and error in judgement happened within either Higgins Road or at Augsburg Fortress. The AP reporter was just doing his job.

Why all this ultra-secrecy? That's simple: CYA.

Shrimp out.

The good ship ELCA...

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