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ELCA not ready to marry us, not ready to condemn us

by Jeremy Hooper

ElcaThe nation's largest Lutheran group, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has released a report in which they say that the church should keep defining marriage as a one man, one woman affair. However, the body does speak out against the use of Scripture to demean gay existences, and encourages further investigation of the Biblical passages that are so frequently and mindlessly used to persecute queers. Read more at link:

Lutheran Group Addresses Marriage Issue [AP via Google]

So when it comes to faith in our relationships, these folks are basically agnostics. They're not discrediting or denying us (and in fact are supporting our right to exist), but they're not ready to put full belief into our relationships. They want to participate and the want our participation, but they don't have enough faith to worship at the altar of full equality. Wow, who does that remind us of?

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Your thoughts

Ok, I'm a member of the ELCA. We've been debating this issue forever!!!! No one can compromise, it's a waiting game. Either that or we take a stand and lose half the church. I'm planning on becoming a pastor, and by that time I hope we have officially become a welcoming church, if not then my specific church will be one. At least we have that freedom.

Posted by: Piper | Mar 13, 2008 2:17:24 PM

Yea, Piper, I imagine it is intensely frustrating. "Alienation vs. standing up for what is right" is a game so many of our potential allies are having to play.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 13, 2008 2:20:11 PM

My husband and I are members of the ELCA. About two years ago, our congregation (about 80% straight) decided enough was enough, and began defying the whole church by performing same gender marriages. My husband and I were the first same gender couple to be married in our church. The Bishop is well aware of what the congregation is doing, and he is doing nothing to stop it. Were there members of the congregation who were upset about the decision? Yes. Did they leave the congregation? No.

Posted by: Mike in the Tndra | Mar 13, 2008 4:36:27 PM

I'm really happy that your church did that.I wish my church would do that, but sadly I am from a small town in the panhandle of Texas, where, while not all are homophobic, there are a great many who are vocal about their ignorance.

Basically what I wanted to say is that I believe in education. I live in the bible belt, and I have seen the most hardcore conservative suddenly show up at a PFLAG meeting. I know that this is unrealistic in the larger sense, but in small numbers I can help educate. The way I explained it once was going forward slowly with love. It feel ss freaking slow, I want to cry when I read the news. But reacting to intolerence with intolerance doesn't work, it just reafirms preheld views.

My own church is conservative, they have consistently voted against my beliefs on this issue. Speaking out for my views has cost me positions on the National Lutheran Youth Organization board. But I still stood up and spoke at that convention.

And I still do today, I do it in small ways, by sitting down with my charismatic christian friend whose son just came out of the closet and talking to her, pleading with her to accept him, to not talk to exodus. I stand up by going to seminary so that I can have a larger part in the church.

P.S. Mike your story makes me hope for the future of the church.

Posted by: Piper | Mar 14, 2008 2:59:36 AM

I am also an ELCA Lutheran, though I split my time between my congregation at college and my congregation at home, spending most of my time at school. My fellow students in the community are great, as is our minister and our former pastor (who took up another call). I just wish the ELCA as a whole was more capable of dealing with the matter. It's not that they haven't started to move; they have. I just wish it'd go faster...

Some lines in the statement remind me of a piece that Garrison Keillor wrote a couple years ago about the the process, where he joked that the ELCA, in a typically Lutheran fashion, had decided to not decide yet, basically saying, "Don't, unless you do."

Posted by: PSUdain | Mar 14, 2008 4:02:55 AM

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