Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dear ELCA...

...You have LGBT clergy and members, and this is how they feel:

"Indeed, such trials raise already deeply ingrained and often justifiable suspicions of Christians generally, and Lutherans specifically, among lgbt individuals and communities, and sends a message to lgbt Lutheran Christians that we'll take your time, your talent, your money, your very life, and as long as you keep silent, disappear, don't ask a peep, don't have a life, all will be swell, but if you do, then we'll treat you like miscreants and trespassers, treating you as we would never wish to be treated ourselves.

Like most of the Church, the ELCA has a long way to go in being a people and place of Good News for lgbt persons. Indeed, from here, knowing many lgbt Lutherans of incredible character and gifts and strength and courage, it well may be that it is lgbt Lutheran Christians as an organ in the Body who will return the ELCA to the Good News so summarily summed up in sola figratia, sola fide, sola Christus, which sits at the heart of the Lutheran confession of faith, and proclaimed in the great deeds of God's graciousness toward us in Word and Sacrament. In the meantime, I hope that this trial doesn't become yet another stumbling block for a generation of young people that will find such doings simply absurd, if not yet one more reason to think of Christianity as idiotic or incapable of dealing with life.

And looking at Pr. Schmelling, I see an ordinary man. Non-apologetic for his orientation and relationship. Calm and collected. Respected and dignified. So little to scare the horses, and yet, the horses are scared, deeply so. Indeed, this really isn't about Pr. Schmeling or lgbt Christians at heart; this is about about the rest of the Body looking itself long and hard in the mirror. May hearts be broken open.

My prayers are with all involved: Pr. Schmeling, his partner, his parish leadership, his parishioners, his bishop, those who will make a decision, all who love him in his deanery, and lgbt persons who will turn away from Christ because of such public doings."

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