One of the common criticisms of the decisions made by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly regarding roster leaders in same sex relationships is that all of the arguments were made on the basis of human experience and not the WORD OF GOD.
Well I was there and there was plenty of emotional arguments on the other side and I heard biblical arguments for the changes. But more on that later.
For a group claiming to be above emotion and experience, I'm a little amused (I was annoyed until I figured this all out) at the emotional and enthusiastic ravings of how "inspiring and uplifting" the Lutheran Core gathering in Indianapolis has been for those who are attending. I even read one blog about how wonderful it is to sing "A Mighty Fortress" with Lutherans "who really believe it"
Because you know, I never really believe it when I sing it. But truthfully, I've been in church a lot of times when folks including myself did not sing it as though we really believed it.
The ELCA is pretty much a dying mainline church, like others and it doesn't have anything to do with being liberal or having gay ministers. We've stopped singing like we meant it. I gotta tell you these Core folk in Indianapolis remind me of bunch of kids who have gone to church camp and singing Jesus songs like they meant it after years of boring lifeless liturgies. It's exciting to be part of something. It's heady stuff to think you are going to change the church. The church needs you! The church is going to head off a cliff if YOU don't stop it! Sound the ram's horn! Gird up your loins!
But what are you girding up your loins for? To deny your Christian brothers and sisters their pastors because you read scripture differently than they do? That's what it is about. These people in CORE are not hateful people so they insist it's not about homosexuality at all. It's about the authority of Scripture. THEY are protecting it while the rest of us are not.
That is just not true. They read scripture through the same lens the rest of the ELCA does. They use the same historical critical tools. Otherwise there would be no women clergy among them. (I actually think those women are in some danger when they figure that out but that's another argument) That's a fact. They just have been able to use those methods to hold on to the authority of scripture and see that it does support women in ministry but they cannot see that it may also support gay people in same-sex relationships. This is not an argument about the authority of scripture. It's about interpretation. It should not be church dividing.
But it's fun to go to camp. When kids come back from camp its really important you channel that enthusiasm to some purpose to keep it going or they will lose it or worse, go to some church with a rock band. We as a church need something to be excited and enthusiastic about. It should be about opening up the doors of the church and the ministry to more people, not tightening the requirements. I fear we are all fighting about how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need a new wind blowing and a reformation. But CORE ain't it.