Sunday, May 03, 2009

Your Father's ELCA?

Shrimp again. About 20 years ago, the storied American automobile brand Oldsmobile introduced a new slogan: "This is not your father's Oldsmobile."

Then there's the announced worship at this summer's ELCA Churchwide Assembly:

Assembly Worship Schedule

Mon. 8/17, 4:00 P.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister & Preacher:
        Mark Hanson
            Joel 2:28-32
            Psalm 104:24-31, 35b
            Romans 8:18-27
            John 20:19-23

Tue. 8/18, 11:30 A.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister:
        Natacha Kemp
        Megan Torgerson
            Micah 6:1-8
            Psalm 15
            Luke 4:16-21

Wed. 8/19, 11:30 A.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister:
        Hansel Lo
        Rafael Malpica Padilla
            1 Cor. 12:27--13:13
            Luke 9:1-6

Thu. 8/20, 11:30 A.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister:
        Callista Isabelle
        Gregory Palmer
            Philippians 2:1-13
            John 13:1-17

Fri. 8/21, 11:30 A.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister:
        Rani Abdulmasih
        Christine Timm
            Leviticus 19:1-4, 9-18
            Psalm 119:33-40
            John 15:9-17

Sat. 8/22, 11:30 A.M.
Service of the Word
  (at Central Lutheran Church)
    Presiding Minister:
        Sylvia De La Garza
        Linda Norman
            Acts 2:42-47
            Luke 20:45--21:4

Sun. 8/23, 8:30 A.M.
Holy Communion
    Presiding Minister:
        Mark Hanson
        Allan Bjornberg
            Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
            Psalm 34:15-22
            Ephesians 6:10-20
            John 6:56-69
None of these persons are identified any further, but we took a couple of minutes and were able to learn that they are all ELCA pastors — except for one. If you think for a moment, we bet you can identify the one who's not an ELCA pastor just by going through the list.

We think there is another clear message, too, in the announced worship leadership for the ELCA Churchwide Assembly: "This is not your father's ELCA." You know: male pastors with German and Scandinavian names. With the possible exception of the 2 ELCA Bishops, voting members need not fear Sven, Ole, and Lena showing up in sermon illustrations. Yet given that the then-forming ELCA's goal of having 10% of its membership being people of color or of primary language other than English in 10 years has utterly failed, just going through the names makes us wonder: Just whose ELCA is this supposed to be?

20 years ago the storied automobile marque Oldsmobile announced, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile." (Go ahead, read the linked article from 5 years ago.) 5 years ago, Oldsmobile became not.

Come away with me Lucille...

Shrimp out.


James said...

which one isn't an ELCA pastor? and how am I suppose to be able to tell?

Anonymous said...

Gregory Palmer isn't - you can tell because he's the only non-Scandanavian, non-female, non-minority name (though I concede he may be a minority)

He's president of the UMC council of bishops.

Anonymous said...

What's plain to me is that these are the same "minorities" that are trotted out every CWA, chosen from the ELCA's small cadre of liberal minorities. Only one I didn't see that I've seen for 20 years previous was "Addie J. Butler." I guess "Rafael Malpica Padilla" now is the longest-serving minority elite. Same as every year at our synod assembly: Always the same old (and getting older) synod groupies on the chancel for major services of public worship. Sort of a club.

The good ship ELCA...

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