Monday, August 24, 2009

Amazing Lutherans

In Uganda, in most of Africa, they would consider that the world has ended for something like this to happen. It is so amazing to find that a person of my sexuality is affirmed like so, by people who are not of the same sexuality. That they would risk ‘communion’ with those of their denomination to have me included.

I actually feel overwhelmed by such a thing. Why?

Because, from what our country mates believe, shout, say, we so often believe that we are less than equal, because they say we are. But here is a church which has had the guts, through a democratic process, that is described as long, and tough, and gut wrenching, to come to a momentous, significant decision. To include such as me and mine in Church. Yes, I feel amazed, and humbled, by their faith in such as me.

I wonder, what would Orombi say, of these Christians, of those of his own Church? What would Ssempa say? Most likely that they are not Christians. That they dont have Christ in them. How ironic.

Here is the full article


'Monogamous' Gays Can Serve in ELCA
Largest Lutheran Denomination in U.S. Split on Divisive Issue

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leaders of the nation's biggest Lutheran denomination voted Friday to allow gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in the church -- making it one of the largest Christian denominations in the country to significantly open the pulpit to gays.

Previously, only celibate gays were permitted to serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination of 4.8 million members. But delegates to a church assembly voted 559-451 to allow gays in "life-long, monogamous" relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church.

The vote is the culmination of a years-long process in the ELCA, and was accompanied by plenty of emotion at the convention in Minneapolis. After standing in long lines to reach microphones during debates that extended all day, some delegates shook and others cried as they expressed their opposition or support of the measure.

Quoting the Bible and denomination founder Martin Luther, delegates sought to place the decision within their interpretation of their Lutheran faith.

"We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus' time and culture," Tim Mumm, a lay delegate from Wisconsin and supporter of Lutherans Concerned, an gay-rights organization, said during the debate. "We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood."

But other said the recommendations weaken the Biblical standards of the church.

"As Luther taught us, Scripture does not have a wax nose," said the Rev. Ryan Mills, a delegate representing Texas and Louisana. "It cannot be twisted into anything we want it to say. But that's just what we're doing with these following recommendations."

Conservatives tried to derail the vote, losing a ballot that would have required a supermajority of two-thirds to approve the proposal. They lost a similar vote earlier in the week.

Some critics of the proposal predicted its passage could cause individual congregations to leave the ELCA, which is what occurred to the 2 million-member Episcopal Church when it consecrated an openly gay bishop in 2003. Last month, Episcopalians voted to make gays eligible for any ordained ministry.

Most mainline Protestant churches are struggling to balance what many view as Biblical injunctions against the practice of homosexuality with the country's burgeoning gay-rights movement. Among the major mainline denominations, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently defeated a proposal to ordain openly gay pastors, but with a much narrower margin than in previous votes. And United Methodist church leaders faced an emotional debate last year when they upheld their ban on openly gay clergy.

"I really believe . . . what we are about to do will split the church," said ELCA delegate John Sang of Ohio during the debate.

Delegate Terri Stagner-Collier wept as she predicted that opponents would be "ripped away" from the church if the measure were approved. "I urge you not to do this -- not to do this at all," she said, "[for] these people in the pews and in my family."

In essence, the vote puts gays under the same set of rules that have govern heterosexual clergy. They are required to be monogamous if married and to abstain from sexual relations if they are single. Individual congregations would not be compelled to take on pastors who are in same-sex relationships.

The ELCA was formed in 1988 by the merger of three Lutheran organizations, and it has 10,500 churches in the United States, including 80 in the Washington area. It is generally considered the least conservative of the three major present-day Lutheran denominations, although it has a sizable conservative minority.


jasonbradyut said...

This is just appalling. If Luther, the late German Christian protester, would still be here…where the denomination “Lutherans” derived from, he would be stunned and completely disappointed in this horrible abomination to the Word of God and the Gospel. I totally am against this election. When God created “man” he created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and STEVE!!! Hello people. This is a direct form of disobedience to God. And this is happening in a Church, a denomination that professes to know the Word of God???? Please, God will have to deal with you guys…and it won’t be pretty.

Nick Jewitt said...

There we have it Gug (writing this again coz effing blogspot lost it), a crisis in the Lutheran Church which may lead to a split because friends like Jason above cannot face what is happening. We have the same issues in the Anglican Church in UK and USA. To move ahead into seemingly dangerous, uncharted territory, to face that our narrow interpretation of the Bible has been too comfortable and saying perhaps more about us and our homophobic cultures than about what God intended, that we have been guilty of picking and choosing which parts to emphasise: it is not easy to be unbiased, or to take the hard road. The alternative is to remain comfortable, not to rock the boat, not to face the challenge. I, as a gay Christian man in the closet have been there; in the end I had to face up to mylself and understand that, if God created me, s/he created me as I am, and in the image of God who encompasses male and female, bearing the characteristics of both. It was hard.

spiralx said...

"This is a form of disobedience to God."
Your interpretation of your Christian Bible is not the same as "what God says". Neither is anyone else's. Churches are man-made, even though they may (that's "may") be spiritually-inspired.

If the Lutherans come to affirm a wider inclusiveness than you allow yourself, then that's their right so to do. As long as it's a genuine realisation of possibility, and not a shallow, self-serving political agenda - as many in Uganda clearly are.

As for "Adam and Eve" - oh please. Got the archeological evidence for that, have you? No, I didn't think so. Historical, even? No, didn't think so either.

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