Thursday, May 07, 2009

Your Children's ELCA?

Shrimp here. As of this moment, 203 ELCA Seminarians are chiming in for the Churchwide Assembly with the following:


Grace to you and peace,

We come to you as Lutheran seminarians pursuing a variety of callings and ministries, studying in both Lutheran and non-Lutheran seminaries. Recognizing our diversity in background, sexuality, and experience, we celebrate this opportunity to respond with one voice to the Recommendations on Ministry Policies from the Task Force for the ELCA Studies on Sexuality.

We applaud the ELCA's commitment to the dialogue on sexuality and its affirmation of sexuality as a gift and trust from God. After careful consideration of the issue at hand and its influence on the life of the church, we stand in solidarity affirming the recommendation for structured flexibility within the rostering requirements of the ELCA. Acknowledging the potential limitations of structured flexibility, we nonetheless seek here to establish our steadfast support for the rostering of "members who are in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gendered relationships."

The life of the church depends upon the full recognition and inclusion of ministerial gifts engendered by the Spirit. St. Paul tells us "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" and it is God, not us, who chooses what gifts and services we bring for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7). Yet in preparation for ministry, we both see and experience the harm of the current policy and its denial of the gifts present in the whole body of Christ. Because of the current policy, gay and lesbian persons ignore calls to ministry, candidates feel compelled to lie about their sexuality, mentors are forced out of the church, and candidates leave the ELCA for more inclusive denominations. The tragedy of these events is weakening the integrity of the church.

While we acknowledge and respect the bound consciences of those who disagree, we have faith and hope that resting in God we can respond with love to the contemporary challenges facing the church and society. We therefore stand firm in our belief that it is in the best interest of the ELCA's ministry to affirm the recommendations of the Task Force at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

Joining with you as people invested in the life, health, and ministry of the ELCA, we appeal to your commitment to the gospel and the mission of the church. Please represent our voice faithfully in your involvement in the deliberation process leading to the churchwide vote.

Shrimp again. The letter's writers are all matriculating at Union Seminary in New York City, though most of the signers attend one of each of the ELCA's own 8 seminaries. Somewhat unexpectedly, Shrimp recognized a handful of names and/or home congregations among the 203. Let's just say that they didn't learn their attitude from their pastors back home. And, yes, you'll find openly gay seminarians among the signers. What we're trying to imagine is a group of seminarians openly sending an opposing letter.

Question to candidates for the Ministry during the week of Good Shepherd Sunday:
whose voice are bishops supposed to represent?

Welcome to your children's ELCA? Shrimp out.


Anonymous said...

You will not, I suspect, ever see such a letter campaign from students opposed to the task force recommendations because we are generally all afraid it will be used against us to impact our candidacy.

John said...

Or maybe it's because a large majority of that generation doesn't oppose it?

Anonymous said...

If a large number of that generation doesn't oppose this then that says much about the lack of proper instruction in the Christian faith. It also doesn't bode well for those who will be instructed by such as these.

On the other hand, I know some people who used to be on the revisionist side, whom the Lord has changed mightily. They are now very strongly engaged in teaching and preaching the Word rightly. So the Lord himself could wrest control and win the day...for in fact it is only His power and direct intervention that can save the ship ELCA from losing all hands.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler

The good ship ELCA...

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