on the ELCA

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met in a church-wide assembly last week and, among other things, debated, considered and adopted “a social statement as well as policy changes that now allow congregations to bless and hold publicly accountable those in same-sex, lifelong, monogamous relationships, as well as to call GLBTQ pastors in such relationships to serve as their clergy.”

I don’t know if we have any Lutheran CCfB’ers or not, or how many of you might have Lutheran friends who followed this while it was happening, but, as you might imagine, this was a big deal.

There’s a beautiful blog post by an ELCA pastor recounting her perspective on the debate leading up to the adoption of the ELCA’s policy changes, asking the question, “where did Jesus stand at the ELCA assembly?”

(For those of us not Lutheran, it may be enlightening to point out that this is an allusion to Luther’s famous statement, “here I stand, I can do no other.”)

A bit of a teaser from the article:

“To be sure, there are places to go in the ELCA for triumphalism. But while celebrating a victory is understandable, these are not the words of eternal life.

To be sure, there are some places in the ELCA where you can hear the words of angry indignation and revolt. But while disappointment is understandable, these are not the words of eternal life.

There are words of eternal life, but they are not our words.  So let us not go to ourselves because as deeply as we hold our beliefs about inclusion, or social justice, or as deeply as we hold our beliefs about social conservatism or personal morality, we do not have the words of eternal life.  We have our beliefs, our convictions, our understandings of scripture, and, hear me clearly — these are not to be taken lightly or walked away from.  But they are not the words of eternal life.

…So let’s again look to Christ and not ourselves, because in the end there are no winners and losers, there is just what there has always been, the good news of Jesus Christ, The Holy One of God.  To whom else shall we go? He has the words of eternal life and offers all the inexplicable gift of his own self, body, blood, and word. And bids all come and eat.”


2 Responses to “on the ELCA”

  1. September 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    It’s hard for me to read this sitting at my desk at work. I want to shout. And cry. And say Amen. And hug somebody. And be hugged by somebody. And whisper thank you.

    My emotions are not only because of my personal beliefs about what the ELCA has done. But they’re equally because (to further quote the article linked in the post):

    “Jesus is between the red and the green microphones, between the red and the blue states offering us life and salvation in the words of eternal life and in the sacrament of his own body and blood. Jesus right there between the liberals and conservatives speaking the word that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Jesus standing there saying forgive as you have been forgiven.”

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Welcome to the Christ's Church for Brooklyn blog. We are a loving community of believers who seek to be the hands and feet of Christ, in service to our neighbors in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and beyond.
September 2009
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