Here's Bazan playing an amazing song titled, "Foregone Conclusions."
Anon, and peace, Chris
Just in: 55% to 45%, the ELCA voted to welcome gays in committed 'marriage-like' relationships to ministry.
Then prayer and singing of the stately hymn, "If We But Trust In God To Guide Us." Finishing that hymn title with a concluding phrase, I might say, "we risk for love." For that is at heart what we have done as a church this day.
Anon and peace,
While I don't presume everyone delights in this sort of minutiae as much as I do, Pr. Richard Johnson of the Lutheran Forum Letter, is doing a pretty accurate transcription of the back and forth debate on the floor, if you want to see the various statements offered by speakers at the mics. He also posted the "Affirmation of Faith" used at the Goodsoil Eucharist Wednesday night at Central Lutheran (although he admits he didn't go). So far, the post has gotten almost 3000 views and 130+comments debating the faith such an affirmation intends to affirm. As you can guess, given the source, some wish to simply say 'blasphemy and heresy' and close the book. What is interesting is the insightful defense of the affirmation, and the theological character of the debate. Would that progressives could get on such a roll doing theological reflection about . . . anything! The best place (and one of the only, sadly) that has fostered progressive theological reflection has been The Network Newsletter which has consistently sought out deeply thoughtful reflections on the sexuality issues before the church. If we are to make progress together across differences regardless of the outcome of this afternoon's votes, we'll need to do some of this serious theological engagement with those who have serious differences from us, and not simply within our groupings of like-minded colleagues against those who have differences from us.
Anon, and peace,
Well, as Friday dawns in the twin cities, rain continues to pour down. Lots of commentary has noted the tornado downtown in close proximity to the vote approving the Social Statement on Human Sexuality. No one, however, has commented on how we've had significant drought all summer and this week the heavens have opened and the rain has come down, watering the earth, greening the grass, filling lakes and streams, and cleaning us all from the dust of summer. Read something into that, people!
Here's the New York Times article on today's stakes, with the title "Lutherans May Permit Noncelibate Gay Pastors." The article describes the issues as:
But as the article ends, other more personal stakes are noted. Two persons are interviewed briefly who can feel the anxiety in their guts. One, Pastor Rich Mahan, from West Virginia, will likely leave the ELCA if the change passes. The other, Seminarian Javen Swanson, from St. Paul, Minnesota, will likely leave the ELCA if the change does not.
Those stakes are depressingly real. Yet for me, the leaving would not be 'equal.' If the changes pass, Pastor Mahan would leave deeply sorry about the conflict between his beliefs and those of his church. If the changes do not, Mr. Swanson would leave knowing the church still holds his very being as 'disordered' and his love marriage to be 'sinful.' Start here, if you want to think through all my reasons, but I trust that our Church's embrace of such faithful and loving marriages/unions made by our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers are God-pleasing and God-honoring, and we ought to find ways to honor their calls to ministry.
We'll see. May the rain keep falling, refreshing the earth, causing new life to sprout and grow from the good soil of the earth.
Anon and peace,
From our seminary president, Rick Bliese, reporting from the ELCA Churchwide Assembly yesterday:
"The last major "surprise" has been the tone and atmosphere surrounding the deliberations. The deliberations have been passionate, true, but extremely calm and prayerful. Whatever the outcome on Friday, if this atmosphere continues, the media will loose interest. They were expecting an ecclesiastical food fight. So far, the church is doing its deliberation on the toughest of subjects with great respect and prayer. It's been a strong witness so far - especially to ourselves."
I like this, despite all my internal defaults to be cynical, to raise this or that "well, what about . . . " questions. That's in fact what it SHOULD look like" if," as the band Casting Crowns sings, "we are the body."
Anon, and peace,
Preparing for my course last spring on Torture and Eucharist, I read about the work of Air Force psychologists responsible for training US Air Force pilots to resist the harsh interrogation techniques of other (unethical) nations who after 9/11 used that knowledge to train our own interrogators and became multi-millionaires as a result. Here's the story in the NYTimes today. Unbelievable. I hope Holder prosecutes them and they serve jail time along with the lawyers who did the work to make it 'seem' legal to torture.