Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Appreciation & Concern

While I'm serving as a "congregational observer" at the ELCA churchwide assembly I'm thankful for the hospitality of my parents. They live in the "uptown" area of South Minneapolis, an easy bus or bike ride to the convention center. Being here is one of the privileges I enjoy but do not deserve. It's raining this morning, I'm thankful for that too.

I haven't been downtown at the assembly site since last night. I've done some other things and saw part of this morning's plenary session on line. I'm thankful that our local church has seen fit to give me two weeks of time each year for continuing education, part of which I'm using this week as I learn and discuss at the churchwide assembly. I consider it my responsibility to use what I learn to benefit the work of our local church, now or in the long term. I praise God for our work together.

So what is there to appreciate about the ELCA? What draws me, more than anything, is how the ELCA proclaims God's unconditional love, made possible through what Jesus has done for us on the cross and resurrection. Secondly, I am thankful for the ELCA's willingness to tackle challenging issues (though I am dismayed when we talk about them on any other basis than the scriptures centered in Jesus Christ). Because we know that we are loved through Jesus Christ, we dare to talk and debate and disagree with one another without fear.

What concerns me? Those of you who have followed what I've written in this blog over the past year and a half know just where I stand on the sexuality issue. Read back over what I've written in the past couple of weeks and follow the links. If it's still not clear to you, please ask me!

(Someone called me this morning from my church who wasn't sure where I stand! I was surprised, but perhaps my commitment to Jesus' unconditional love for all has overwhelmed everything else I've said. I certainly don't apologize for that! I will always highlight that love first and foremost in all my sermons! If I ever don't do that, please let me know! But, in case you don't know, I am opposed to the proposed social statement on sexuality and to proposed changes that would allow for pastors in same-sex unions.)

I'm aware how uncomfortable it feels to address some issues. But I'd rather that we talk about them than remain silent. Silence leads to alienation and fear, something Jesus never encouraged.

Once again, as I have done many times in this blog, I encourage you to look at the Lutheran CORE and Word Alone websites. There you'll find what I believe are good positions on many of the issues facing our church, including the issue of sexuality. I continue to pray that we will always to the clear teachings of Jesus Christ and what he does for us for the answers.

What do you appreciate about your church? What concerns you? Yesterday I sent a survey to the church council. Is it time for our congregation to examine it's denominational affilation? Are there other things we need to be doing to maintain a witness within the ELCA? Lutheran CORE has been doing that recently, and WordAlone has been doing that for years. Should we affiliate with a group like that?

The four ELCA pastors from the Dassel-Cokato area will be meeting tomorrow afternoon to talk together. Please be in prayer for us.

Be praying for the ELCA assembly too. Lutheran CORE believes that the best chance for stopping the ELCA's slide into blessing homosexual unions is if the ELCA votes against the proposed social statement on sexuality this afternoon. The statement requires a 2/3 vote to pass. May the Lord grant wisdom and grace to those who vote.

I can't vote. I'm not a "voting member" of this ELCA assembly. All I can do is observe, witness, and pray.

Peace to you in Jesus' name.

No comments:

Post a Comment