Friday, March 14, 2008

A statement from Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned / North America:

It is in the best interests of achieving full inclusion that everyone participates in this process fully, reflecting what you think about the statement.

Frankly, the draft is not what we had hoped for, but it does make incremental, if glacial, progress beyond the social statements of the predecessor bodies to the ELCA. The old ALC statement put "homosexuals" in the same category with murderers. The LCA statement on "Sex, Marriage and Family" said that homosexuals were sinners only as were all others. In contrast, the first draft of this ELCA statement admits candidly that the church does not have consensus on how to treat same-gender couples and families. This is most certainly true. The truth the document fails to mention, however, is that our church no longer has consensus on the definition of marriage. Still in only two sentences does the document actually define marriage as between a man and a woman. Rather, in the rest of the document the qualities and requirements for committed relationships for heterosexual and same-gender couples are virtually identical. As such, the draft seems an uneasy and inconsistent compromise between the opposing views on same-gender relationships delineated by the document itself.

This draft is another marker on the road to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2009 (CWA09) where the church will take up the final draft, implementing resolutions and whatever recommendations come from the Task Force and ELCA Church Council on rostering. From now through CWA09 the frame for our involvement in the social statement process will be one of graceful engagement from within. The results of the process of hearings, responses, and edits will rely heavily on our willingness and ability to take the time and sum up the courage to engage that process at every level. The hearings at Synod Assemblies and at other times in your synod will provide critical opportunities for LGBT Lutherans, our families, allies and advocates to speak and be heard. If we do not speak, we leave the discussion to those who would talk about us rather than with us.

Now is the time to help Peter and Cornelius meet as often as possible. When we tell our stories of family, of faith in God, of love and commitment for one another and our church, and when we listen deeply to the stories of those who oppose full inclusion, we do our part. For the rest we rely upon the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit to move the church and its members to acceptance and celebration of the full inclusion of LGBT people and their families.

For those of us with the patience and perseverance to continue, we have entered the next stage. Some of us are road weary. This year marks the 30th anniversary of my outing in seminary. Many of you have been on this particular road longer than that. Still, I see hope and movement in this draft. I firmly believe, as I have for the last 20 years that what we do and say will make a difference.

As Paul says, (Romans 8:14-17) "for all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry "Abba!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..."And (Romans 8:38-39), "for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."


Anonymous said...

This person apparently forgot to read Romans 6 & 7. Just like the "committee" forgot to read Galatians 5. No wonder they were kicked out of seminary (with a little "s").

Anonymous said...

They also overlooked 1 Cor 6:9 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
I think the Holy Spirit, through St. Paul, is quite clear in telling us what God thinks of GLBTs.

The good ship ELCA...

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