Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lutherans, Hogs and Social Statements

The ELCA has released a  Draft Social Statement on Genetics 
a while ago.  And so now is why a congregation in North Dakota is leaving the ELCA.    Obie Holmen over at Spirit of a Liberal has a good post about how STUPID PEOPLE are about believing  CRAP they read on the internet and reaching all kinds of crazy conclusions and then blaming everything on the ELCA.  Okay well, he says it nicer.

I'd just like to make a few comments.  First of all, the HYPOCRISY of some of this rhetoric is making my eyes bleed.  These are the same people who want the ELCA to have a social statement that tells women exactly what they should do with their bodies and their pregnancies.  But tell a FARMER what do to do with his SEED CORN???  Oh no.  HOW DARE THE ELCA suggest that you know, maybe God and the Gospel and ethics is not just about pregnant women but maybe has something to do with YOUR life??

And what is with all these comments about how terrible social statements are and how they are divisive, and the church sticking its nose where it doesn't belong and yadda yada.

I LIKE social statements.  Even ones I don't agree with or don't think are written all that well.  If Pastors would just USE THEM the way they are supposed to be used, we would all be better off.  

I lay a whole wad of blame on ELCA pastors for our current situation.  Pastors who a) are too wussy to share with their congregations what they learned about biblical scholarship so we have a boatload of lay people who think respecting biblical authority equals being fundamentalists.  And b)  I blame pastors for being too chicken and too lazy for getting out the social statements, beating the doors and dragging people to study them.

The problem is not enough people have had a chance to look at social studies with their pastor and fellow Christians.   It's not just that people have no idea what these studies say, it's that people don't understand their purpose.  They think they are supposed to be some sort of Papal Decree stating definitively- "This is What the ELCA Believes about That".  That's not what they are for.  They are to give us resources to teach us how to talk about things in the world that are difficult.  They are to teach us how to have conversations with Christian brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.  They are to teach us to wrestle with difficult issues, think about these things and use what we have heard and learned and thought about when it comes to our day to day living.  And they teach us to live with ambiguity which always drives us back to Grace.   We can never be certain of anything but God's mercy and grace.  We just do the best we can and cling to God's grace.  

We'd all be much better off if we had more practice doing that.

So pastors, dig that damned draft out of your back file and put a study on the calendar.  Offer Christmas cookies.  But do the study. 


  1. You go Joelle! I agree completely.
    Earl Janssen

  2. I did the study on Genetics with my congregation. It is interesting, but the statement was also difficult to understand. It is a hard topic for non-scientists I had several folks in the study who work in agriculture and we had a very interesting conversation about all of that. No one in my group (and I serve a rural congregation) interpreted the statement as telling them what to do, but I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the issues. I am amazed that anyone would take offense at this social statement. Did they actually read it?

  3. No nobody reads anything they just read what angry bloggers say about things.