Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Minnisota Public Radio's Look at the ELCA

Some really interesting articles here.

I was struck by this quote:

Every community contains within it fault lines that can, under the right conditions, open up into a chasm. We agree, sometimes silently, to disagree—or at least not to address our split for fear of upsetting the status quo. What the episode with the ELCA church demonstrates—as did the furor over the decision by the Episcopal church in 2009 to allow gays and lesbians to serve in all roles of church ministry—is that sometimes it’s not possible to agree to disagree any longer; that if enough people speak up, previously hidden fissures are exposed.

Now some people think this is a bad thing and that perhaps we should have kept silent and not brought this all out in the open.  I disagree, even though I personally am suffering from the repercussions of cracking open this fault line.  The more difficult it becomes for me personally, the more I believe this is a good thing, that the ELCA will come out of this stronger and more vibrant, despite the struggles and difficulties.

1 comment:

  1. During a time in my life,when some situations around me made be feel extremely stressed, and when I wasn't dealing with it in a healthy way, I went to counseling. At that time, my pastor said something to me like, "I'm glad you are going through these troubles." I resented that. That's not exactly what he said, but the sentiment was similar to what you wrote: that he thought that I would come out happier and healthier after struggling with the issues. And, indeed that was the case.

    It might be useful to draw some lessons from this to the church situation. I don't think I would have done well without the help of two good counselors and the willingness to put in a lot of time and thought into getting below the surface. BUT having gone to four different counselors through the years, I can tell you that not all were helpful or skilled.

    What happens to those churches which quit the ELCA but then don't deal with the issues that brought them to that place? What happens to those churches which have a close vote that keeps them in the fold, but they still have the two sides among the members? What happens when the people vote one way but the pastor is on the other side? Who helps these people? And since the mortar holding together the organizational structure of new church bodies isn't yet dry, who helps those churches which leave, now have no pastor, and have little hope of finding one, since it was hard to do so when they were part of the larger ELCA?