Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Driven By the Scriptures

I'm sure there are lots of folks who'd just as soon not read or talk anymore about the ELCA's recent action on sexuality. But, there are times when it just can't be avoided. This week, we're particularly driven by the scriptures.

The scriptures printed on the bulletin cover this coming Sunday are among those that have been used in times past to help us define family and sexual ethics.*
  • The passage from Genesis (2:18-24) includes the line:"Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh."
  • The second reading (from Hebrews 1 & 2) speaks about how God gives responsibility for creation to human beings.
  • In Mark's gospel (10:2-16) we hear Jesus teaching: "From the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'"
In many previous posts I have discussed how the ELCA’s recent action in adopting the social statement on sexuality denies that there is clear guidance in the scriptures as to God's male-female design and plan for family life. I have much appreciated the clarity with which those associated with Lutheran CORE and WordAlone have addressed this issue. I have recommended that our congregation adopt the Common Confession and join Lutheran Core "a sign of solidarity with the many who are dismayed at the ELCA’s recent move away from Biblical teachings." I'm tired of writing about this subject, but I just don't see that I have a choice, especially this week.

At our church, we're talking about all this. Some of us have thought deeply about these things for a long time. Others are just starting. Many of us would just as soon avoid it because it's hard to talk about serious issues. As I wrote to a church member last Thursday who is concerned that we're not moving fast enough:
God works with us and we all have different personalities. As I read the gospel accounts, Jesus was very patient with the disciples even when they doubted and questioned. After the Holy Spirit was given there were still discussions and meetings (see Acts 15:6 etc.). There are procedures and a general sense of helping people get on board that needs to happen...
Our church council is working. Please keep them in your prayers and talk with them. Better yet, write to our council! Let them know your questions and concerns. They can't read your mind!

Here are a couple of things the council has done so far and how this impacts the future:

1. The council held an open forum on denominational issues back on September 20. At the forum they distributed several items including the following:
September 14, 2009

An area meeting of pastors and lay people concerned about the recent decisions of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church, Willmar, on Saturday, October 3rd. The purpose of the gathering is to discuss ways of responding to the decisions in faithfulness to God.

The meeting is from 9:30 am – 12:00 noon. Anyone concerned is welcome to attend.

For further information, contact Pastors Scott Grorud or Paulus Pilgrim at 320-587-2093.
2. The council had a special meeting last Wednesday and printed the following announcement inour church bulletin on Sunday, September 27:
Second forum on denominational issues

The Congregational Council is working to set up a follow-up forum to our September 20 discussion of denominational issues. It is hoped that a representative from the ELCA and from Lutheran CORE will be available to talk to our congregation at some date within the next month. Watch the Sunday Supplement for more specific information as it becomes available.

You can contact a Council member at any time if you have questions or comments. Council President is Gary Lankki, Vice-President Amy Schultz, Treasurer Mark Peterson, Secretary Jean Abrahamson, Greg Holt, Christine Lawyer, Jim Ponsford, Julie Chap, Sarah Bendorf, John Buschel, Diane Hanson, and Robert Morris.

More information about the denominational issues is available online at
www.elca.org and www.lutherancore.org.
As you can see, these are important days and weeks. Please spend at least some time on this. I think, at least this week, the scriptures don't let well enough alone.


*See for example the former ALC’s statement at http://archive.elca.org/jle/article.asp?k=207. I wrote about this last week in God's Care for Kids.

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