Thursday, February 04, 2010

Northeastern Iowa Synod Council Repents!

Shrimp here. According to The Lutheran Study Bible (the one from Concordia Publishing House, not to be confused with Augsburg Fortress' Lutheran Study Bible) "repent" means "turn around."

Early last December Shellfish posted the resolutions of the Northeastern Iowa Synod Council "repudiating" the ELCA Churchwide Assembly's actions to approve the Social Statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust and the four resolutions on ELCA ministry policies and holding to the unaltered Vision and Expectations at least until the next Synod Assembly, which was to be asked to declare the Synod's "bound conscience." We also posted NE Iowa Bishop Steven Ullestad's pastoral letter written soon after the news of the Synod Council's actions spread.

Last weekend, the very next meeting of the Northeastern Iowa Synod Council, well, we'll let the good folks of Call to Faithfulness, the reform group that has been working pretty successfully for several years to keep the NE Iowa Synod from succumbing to revisionism, describe it:
The synod Council of the NE Iowa Synod voted to rescind the resolutions it passed in November. You may remember those resolutions, one repudiated the Churchwide votes and called upon the ELCA to do the same. The other expressed the bound conscience of the NE Iowa Synod, seeking to adhere to the 1990 Vision and Expectations. From the firestorm it caused through out the synod and the larger church, it is not too surprizing that the synod council reversed itself. People can stand just so much pressure, then they will turn from the pressure to seek a quieter life. It is hard work being at the center of the maelström, with the winds of discontent swirling about you. Most folk simply cannot stay there for long before the desire to flee takes hold and that which was done is undone.

I do not fault the good folk who serve on the NE Iowa Synod Council. In the weeks following the November council meeting letters, calls, emails and face to face conversations took place pulled back the covering that hides the deep divide we now suffer in the ELCA. For all the talk about ’structured flexibility’ and ‘bound consciences’ that greased the skids of passage in August, we cannot pretend that we are not a deeply divided church. We cannot live as a divided church for long. No organization can survive if its purpose is so compromised in the way we are in the ELCA. We will see more of what we have seen in the NE Iowa Synod Council’s reversal as the ELCA seeks its new equilibrium. Unless approached with the greatest humility and Christlike compassion, the purging of the defeated will continue.

There will be no organized pogroms coming from Higgins Road, no synodical scheme of removal, just the slow, grinding pressure to conform to the new reality of the ELCA. It will come in the Lutheran form of shunning, orthodox clergy and laity ignored as if they do not exist or treated as if they belong to some unenlightened earlier time. It will come in the pop theology of no judgment of any behavior. It will come in the apathy of the majority and the desire to let this storm pass us by and go some other place. It will come when what was once understood to be orthodox Christian faith is set aside in order to maintain ‘peace’ in the church.
Read it all in "The Winter of Our Discontent." Alas, according to comments on ALPB Forum Online, some of the members of the NE Iowa Synod Council affiliated with Call to Faithfulness were unable to attend last weekend's meeting.

Read also the letter from the NW Iowa Synod Council Vice-President Susan Armstrong (try here on the Bishop's son's blog or here on pretty good lutherans or in pdf form on the NE Iowa Synod's website.

Also at pretty good lutherans is a message entitled “Strengthening the Church in Love” from the pastor who introduced the motions to rescind the Synod's Council's actions. Pastor Vince Ramos' rationale:
1. Council members desire to have open and meaningful conversations. The resolutions created barriers to respecting one another and conversation.

I strongly encouraged the Northeastern Iowa Synod Council to create opportunities for conversation instead of resolutions that draw lines in the sand and take our energy and time away from serving the world.

2. The resolution in opposition to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly actions relies on a misinterpretation of the responsibilities each expression (congregation, synod and churchwide) of the church has in serving the world.

Each expression has different responsibilities. A synod does not have the responsibility of creating policy. The 2009 Churchwide Assembly has taken action. Therefore, a synod cannot repudiate or change that action.
Read it all here. We're not sure how this will strengthen the NE Iowa Synod in love, but then we're just not seeing the "love" flowing from the ELCA right now anyway.

Shrimp out...

No comments:

The good ship ELCA...

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