Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Holy Cow

There's an interesting phenomenon going on in the Lutheran world in the Philadelphia vicinity.  The parent body of most of the Lutheran churches in the area, the ELCA, adopted -- after considerable struggle and soul searching -- a policy wherein individual congregations would have the option -- the right and privilege -- to call a gay or lesbian pastor to serve them.  No congregation would be required to even interview or consider a candidate who self-identifies as lesbian or gay.  For many of us, this ruling was met with a great, collective sigh of relief.

For one congregation that I know of, however, the reaction was quite the opposite.  This particular congregation has decided that they cannot live with this decision, and they have decided to withdraw from their association with the ELCA and join with other congregations of similar mind in a newly formed denominational body, the NALC (North American Lutheran Church).  This church is within a very few miles of my own church home.

The pastors of the church near us have been preaching what I perceive to be a homophobic agenda for at least ten years.  They have reportedly behaved in a domineering way at Synod conventions. 

I find myself in an interesting place over this situation.  While I deplore what these pastors preach, and their relentless hammering of a position so vastly different from my own, at the same time I am impressed by their tireless, stalwart delivery of their message.  One of the important things that I learned in seminary was the importance of acknowledging when another person is acting according to his or her conscience.  I'm choosing to believe that their mission comes from their consciences rather than a desperate need for self aggrandizement.

Meanwhile, my church has had an influx of visitors lately.  Hmmmmm . . . .


5 comments:

Suzan said...

The great "Human Sexuality" debate rages on... We have dealt with this in the Episcopal church for decades. The recent decision to bless unions of committed gay couples had some folks running for the doors. Seems it was ok to know that gay couples were part of the parish but not ok to openly acknowlege their presence.

It makes me very sad to think that this is the subject that causes the most divisiveness in the church.

KimQuiltz said...

Dang me if you aren't just the timeliest thing! Don't tell anyone -- wait, huh, maybe I don't want to say it here! LOL!

Anyway, I was having a little internal struggle last night and, since it has to do with work issues and not personal, I can't discuss that here. But! You have clarified for me that I was taking a side road to avoid the really, truly, lovely road in front of me. (Now doesn't THAT just explain it all!?! LOL again)

Joy and Peace to you, my dear Nancy!

Judi said...

yay Nancy!

What an insightful post.

As you know, this subject rages on within the Episcopal church worldwide, with hugely differing viewpoints.

It would be so easy to become so passionate about your own views that you become as obstinate as those you critisise. Thank you for the reminder!

;)
Judi

Sandy H said...

Thanks for this post--definitely a debate raging in most denominations, I think; some dealing with it a heck of a lot more healthily (if that's a word) than others.

It's watching things like that happen that drive me to fabric...

Karin said...

Episcopalian quilters..hmm Having grown up in the liberal North, I sometimes find it hard to live in the South. We do lose sight of what really matters at times.