Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Retired Bishop Hendrix answers questions

Shrimp here. The York (Penn.) Daily Record has a Q&A conducted by e-mail with retired Lower Susquehanna Synod Bishop Carol Hendrix, who is a member of the ELCA Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality.
Q: Why is it a draft? Will it be considered by the national churchwide assembly?

A: The draft represents the work to date of the task force, although not all task-force members agree with all aspects of the document as released March 13.

The national Church Council's recommendations for the proposed statement will be considered by the Churchwide Assembly Aug. 17-23, 2009, where it would require a two-thirds vote to be adopted.

Q: How did the task force decide what to focus on?

A: Because human sexuality is such a broad topic, the range of issues covered in the draft is limited.

It approaches sexuality primarily as a social issue in the same way other (ELCA) social statements address topics such as the environment, economics and health care.

It presents a framework for thinking through related issues and emphasizes responsibility and moral deliberation.

Specific topics werechosen by the task force to address issues we face as a society and as followers of Jesus Christ.

Q: The document shies from taking a position on homosexuality, saying the church has yet to reach consensus on the matter. How was this determined?

A: The reality that we have no consensus in the ELCA can be seen not only in the votes taken at recent Churchwide Assemblies but also in our life together as brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a variety of viewpoints on matters relating to gay and lesbian persons among us.


Q: How did the task force address the different views of Scripture underlying the conflict over same-gender relationships?

A: Task-force members themselves reflect a variety of ways of understanding and interpreting Scripture.

These different understandings and interpretations became part of the discussion, as they are whenever members of the ELCA who hold strongly differing understandings address the subject of same-gender sexual relationships.

Q: The document acknowledges the contributions to church life of committed same-gender relationships, single parishioners and other unconventional family structures. Why was this an important point?

A: It is important to the task force because it reflects reality of life in this church today.

Q: Some conservatives worry the draft statement opens the door to supporting same-gender committed relationships by defining marriage as a "relationship of love and trust between two people." Was this door purposely left open?

A: Elsewhere in the document marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.

The draft has been presented to the ELCA with the request that members review and discuss it and then share suggestions for ways to revise, amend and strengthen the current text.

Q: Why did the task force express regret that Lutheran teachings have been used "to tear apart families with gay or lesbian members," and ask Lutherans to welcome gays and advocate for legal protection for them?

A: Such regret was included because some members of the task force felt strongly about this.

Q: Where do you hope this document takes the conversation within the church about sexuality?

A: I hope this draft will lead members of the ELCA, along with its ecumenical partners, to a deeper conver- sation of what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ, called to faithfulness in all aspects of life, including who we are as sexual beings created in the image of God.
Read the entire interview and article here.

And thanks, DB, for the heads up. Shrimp out.


Anonymous said...

Bla, bla, bla... There never should have been a "conversation". Unfortunately these revisionists can't properly read, or, respect thousands of years of understanding. This also applies in their very clever use of "trust". Nice! A new code word. Apparently they can't read every definition of marriage within Scripture.

Itching ears!! Sound familiar??

Pastor Zip said...

It seems to me that Bishop Hendrix' responses are rather tepid.

The good ship ELCA...

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