Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ELCA passes Sexuality Statement and Survives Tornado

I'm in the Big City of Minneapolis tonight. Right here in downtown at my Hotwire discount room at the Radisson.

I arrived this morning, met up with a few people. It was about noon and with the afternoon session not starting until 2:30 I just didn't want to hang around at the Convention Center so I checked into my hotel. I was planning to go back and then there were tornado warnings on TV. Hmm...that looks like where I am. Turns out a tornado touched down very close to the Convention Center where the Assembly is meeting. They were not letting anyone out of the building. I was about a mile away watching the storm from the 13th floor. The front desk promised me they'd call if we needed to leave the room. So I watched the discussion on the Sexuality Statement on live feed here in my hotel.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction that this assembly is going to pass some sort of recommendation to accept gay and lesbian rostered leaders in committed relationships.

It's not that those opposed to the direction we seem to be headed didn't try to derail the train. There were amendments saying marriage is between a man and a woman, amendments to say marriage is for children. This amendment brought some very poignant pleas from infertile women to please not put in language that suggests childless marriages are without blessing -pleas which were pretty much ignored by those intent on turning the statement into some sort of weird idolatry of marriage and the nuclear family. That insensitivity was pretty disturbing. But then so is this weird idea of marriage being part of God's plan for our salvation. People! We are Lutheran, not Mormon!

At one point someone made a motion to "Bring all matters before the house" NOOOO I have BAD memories of this evil motion. This is what happened to me at the 1993 Churchwide Assembly when we were discussing amendments to the proposal to institute a 3 fold ministry structure. I got no beef with Bishop Herbert Chilstrom but in this case he did not explain the consequences of that motion. Everyone thought it would bring an end to discussion about amendments. ends ALL discussion about anything on the floor. So we did not discuss the proposal on the 3 fold ministry itself. We just voted. I was so pissed off because as I mentioned above, I was really unclear about this proposal and was looking forward to the debate. Yes I was a voting member who had not made up her mind and was hoping to learn something from the debate. Which never happened. So I voted no.

Fortunately Bishop Hansen was very good about explaining the consequences of this motion and it was voted down. But someone motioned to accept the Ad Hoc Resolutions committee's recommendations to not approve any other amendments. And that passed. This assembly was not interested in being distracted or derailed. Nor were they particularly interested in listening to debate and or discussion. We were just subject to a few people reading the bible at us (Really? You think I've never heard that verse in regards to this subject??)

And then there was Al Quie. He went on about how sorry he was that he never lectured his gay assistant on morality because then he died of AIDS. But that's not the worst. He gave this advice to someone else who was reluctant to break up with the woman he was having an affair with because she might commit suicide. "I told him if she wants to kill herself, that's her own business, that's not your problem." WHAT??? This is morality?? I'm thinking WHO IS THIS GUY??? And then I find out - he is the freaking ex-governor of Minnisota??? And I thought Jesse Ventura was just a temporary lapse of judgment. No, Minnesota has a history of electing weird governors. Well now they have Brett Favre so they have enough trouble... (don't EVEN get this Packer fan started on THAT whiney baby)

Well the assembly was not willing to listen to much more of this crap. The question was called pretty quickly. And the vote taken and the Sexuality Statement passed by EXACTLY 2/3. Make of it what you will.

Hold on to your hats folks....there's a new wind blowing....


  1. I can tell by the gentile words and thoughtful discourse, with respect to those of a differing outlook after prayerful consideration, that this was not a political end-run. Congrats to all who have successfully participated in dividing our denomination by going contrary to scripture. Our call was to preach the word in purity. This is pure something - but it has nothing to do with exegesis, theology, history, or the world-wide expression of the Church. I say this with great love - you, and the leaders of our denomination are in my prayers tonight. Blessings.

  2. I can't believe you removed the comment.

  3. Sorry, when I came back to see if anyone else had commented, my comment wasn't there. Blessings.

  4. Hi, regarding Al Quie, he is also one of the founders of the National Prayer Breakfast. (!) Thanks for your good reporting, and keep it up. [This is actually from "Martin's Mom", in Ohio.]

  5. I didn't remove any comment. Never have removed a comment. Only would do it if it was crazy or hurtful, you are neither. I really am sorry this makes you and others so sad. It's always sad when we just cannot come to common ground.

    If the snark about gentle words is towards me and this commentary, well taken but I was only ungentile towards a few who deserved, I don't feel that way about EVERYONE who disagrees on this issue. But as far as the assembly goes, I think they were prayerful, it's just that they've thought about this and prayed about this so long they are tired of debating and ready to go forward. They are not dividing the church. It has been divided on this issue for a very very long time.

    Prayers are always good. I sense your prayer is sincere and not like the nasty woman at my old church who did nothing but try to sabatage my ministry and when she was finally successfull in driving me out, wrote on a card "I pray for you everyday".

    But really, the church is in God's hands. If we are wrong, we will be corrected. Eventually.

  6. I want to comment, but I can't come up with the right words. But I can't help but think what would have been said in some circles if that tornado had hit the convention center dead on. So why don't we take it as a sign that God deliberately missed the convention center with that tornado. Said partially, tongue in cheek.

  7. Just curious about your glad as I am that the statement passed, I just don't see why it wouldn't. It was a lot of fence-sitting. I thought, while parts were good and it was well rounded, it basically just tried to appease everyone and didn't really say much.

  8. Very good post. As a person seeking different points of view on CWA, I like your open and honest approach to reporting. As a CWA delegate 2 years ago, I saw too much wrangling by people attempting to water down or destroy the original intent of a resolution. I was glad to see the assembly take a stand on not allowing this to happen this year. I praise Bp. Hanson for leading CWA in a fair and thoughtful manner. As Lutherans, why do we forget about what grace is? Do't we know that it is what our faith is based on?