More processing…

O.K….I am back, writing about “the vote” at the ELCA CWA, but all I want to do here is share with you a couple snippets and let you process/respond to them.

FIRST — a woman came into my office last week to express her feelings about where the ELCA is going.  We had a very fruitful discussion, even though we have differing views.  She stopped in again today and handed me a piece of paper with 2 Cor. 6:14 – 7:1 written on it.  She said that this is where she is coming from.  She was on her way to another appointment so we couldn’t talk about it.  What do you think about this scripture in relation to the homosexuality discussion?

SECOND — I received this link on Facebook today.  It is a news release from the ELCA titled “The Church’s mission is bigger than one issue”.  I found this helpful.  What do you think?

Like most other people I am still processing.

Praise be to God!

-edh-

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20 responses to “More processing…

  1. First… I don’t think that passage relates to this issue. It would only pertain to a homosexual who claims to be an unbeliever. The woman who brought that scripture may believe a homosexual cannot be a Christian… in which case all of us sinners of every stripe are in trouble.

    Second… that article and much of the discussion misses the point of the controversy. One person said: “We need to point out that the ELCA is far bigger than questions of sexuality.”

    This issue isn’t merely about sexuality… it is about hermeneutics, cheap grace, & precedent.

    “IF” practicing homosexuality is a “sin”, then the CWA vote has made as an official policy of the ELCA a position of “cheap grace” … justification and sanctification of sin. If it is a sin, then it would logically follow that in the future a position could be adopted to ordain clergy who reserve the right to cling to any respectable sin and call it ‘okay’.

    “If” practicing homosexuality is not a “sin”, then the CWA vote has made as an official policy of the ELCA a position of grace and courage that believing denominations around the world would do well to emulate.

    What the ELCA has failed to do, is give a compelling hermeneutical argument which justifies the practice of homosexuality… yet they have made a conclusive policy anyway. That’s scary.

  2. I wish I could add to what Patrick said, but he said it so well. It does sound as if this woman is more interested in a proof text to support her arguement than she is in the actual arguement itself.

  3. Personally, even though I disagree with the actions the ELCA has taken, I would not use the 2 Cor. passage, in this regard. Because even though I believe homosexuality is a sin, it is no worse sin than any other. And every person in my church (and every person out of it) are sinners. And all sinners are equally in need of a saviour.

    As for the ELCA news release…it sounds real good on the surface. But I would question what the mission of the ELCA is. After sitting through the entire CWA, it was apparent that a majority of the time and resources of this denomination were going to go towards politics and social action. Many of the things that were debated and voted on are great things…but they are not the main thing…at least for the church. The main thing as Paul said is Christ and him crucified. The ELCA’s primary focus is not evangelism, spreading the gospel, or preaching Christ…it is social activism, politics, and political correctness.

    Patrick also did a great job pointing out that this whole controversy/crisis, whatever you want to call it, is bigger than just sexuality. It is really a question of Biblical authority and also which direction the church will choose to go (and label it “mission”).

    • heartofapastor

      Being a delegate you bring up an interesting view point…thank you. What is the mission of the ELCA? I agree…the other things that were voted on are very good things and one could argue that they are under the umbrella of mission. But then we get back to the question: what is the mission and is that the mission of Christ? This could be a very interesting discussion with, I’m sure, a variety of opinions. Right now I am doing some more reflecting on this. I have taken things at face value for way too long when it comes to the ELCA. Don’t get me wrong…I am not jumping ship and “taking my marbles home”, but I am trying to look deeper into what is really going on. Is the ELCA actually carrying out the mission of Christ?

  4. heartofapastor

    The 2 Corinthians text did trouble me when I read it in this context…but knowing this woman I am not surprised that she is using it. I even went back and read all of 2 Corinthians to get the context and it is definitely not appropriate for this discussion. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    As for the article I have been doing some more reading (and of course processing). I have been re-reading quotes in the article (and processing). The beginning of the article talks about a debate class not walking out of the room during a debate and then saying that we should not walk out of the church. I am not in favor of leaving the ELCA but if I were debating someone and they insisted in debated a different “issue” I would get frustrated. So it got me thinking…as for the issue at hand…I wonder if I have been getting too caught up in the wrong issue. I have been focusing the homosexual issue and not what Patrick and others have brought up…Biblical authority.

    I need to think about this some more. Thanks for giving me something more to process :)

    • heartofapastor

      I read this 2 Corinthians text again this morning and I am even more disturbed that this text is authoritative for this woman on the issue of homosexuality. I wonder if this woman even sees herself as a sinner. That might be a question I ask her if/when she comes back to talk with me.

  5. Is 2 Corinthians 6 relevant to this discussion? It depends on what your definition of unbeliever, lawlessness, and darkness is.

    I prefer the Wengert article and, to a lesser extent, the Marty article.

    Though I believe the church has a role to play in social issues and society in general, I agree with Zach in that I see more press releases about our Presiding Bishop advocating for this issue or that issue than I see letters from him to congregations about the ministry of Word and Sacrament. There is something to the critique that the ELCA has its priorities a little askew …

    • Chris,

      Do you have a link to the Wengert & Marty articles?

    • Chris,

      Also, I’ve tried a couple times to leave a comment on your blog about your Lutheran Charisms… asking permission to use them… when I click “submit” it all disappears… am I doing something wrong or is that how you have it set up?

  6. If you haven’t already seen this…here is an article (written by an unapologetic conservative) who explains what the stakes were/are, what the landscape is now like, and talks about the importance of which path churches will choose to go in relation to the ELCA’s path. It’s lengthy, but very well done:
    http://tinyurl.com/nhj9ov

  7. Thursday's Child

    When two people (or groups of people) do not have the same beliefs, one of them has to either follow the other (the weaker follows the stronger) or else break away. It applies to married couples, to business partners where ethical business decisions are being made, etc. If we’re not careful, we can be lead astray into all kinds of trouble. I think perhaps that’s the point she’s trying to make. Not necessarily advocating breaking away from the ELCA but being ready to if it comes to that.

    • heartofapastor

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment…it makes a lot of sense. In the case of this particular woman she IS advocating leaving the ELCA now. She is not willing to sit a wait to see what happens, but I do see where you are coming from.

      Thank you.