Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watch the Lutherans

From the Washington Post :
Leaders of the country's largest Lutheran denomination prayed for unity Monday as they waded into a weeklong debate over homosexuality and the clergy, while a rule change that would allow people in same-sex relationships to serve cleared its first hurdle.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is meeting this week in Minneapolis, is debating a proposal to allow individual congregations to hire gays and lesbians in committed relationships as clergy. A final vote is not expected until Friday.

But delegates on Monday rejected a move by critics of the proposal to require approval from a two-thirds supermajority instead of a simple majority when the measure comes to the final vote.

Supporters of the supermajority said a higher hurdle was needed to signal wide support for what they called a major change in the church's approach to homosexuality. But the move received support from just 43 percent of the 1,045 voting delegates.
Meanwhile, 95 Lutheran clergy have come out:
Advocates are distributing a document in which 95 members of the Lutheran clergy — a number that references Martin Luther’s 95 Theses — announce that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The booklet, “One Table, Many Blessings” (pdf), shares how the ban on openly gay clergy has affected their lives.

Currently church rules state openly gay or lesbian clergy should remain celibate and not enter into same-sex relationships. A vote later this week could change those rules to allow clergy who are in committed, life-long same-sex partnerships.....

[One] couple said that young people like their daughter are leaving the church over these issues. “She has marched in Pride parades every year of her life. She is clear about who her parents and her village are to her,” they wrote. “She is not clear what the Lutheran Church as a whole is to her. Her generation will decide what place the Church will have in their lives based on the justice and hospitality they see extended to or withheld from LGBT people.”
Anyone have any insights into whether the Lutherans will follow the Episcopalians?


James said...

I grew up in a Swedish community in California - and actually (literally) grew up in the shadow of the Lutheran Church in our town.

The pastor, Schluntz, was a gay man and his partner was at least 18 years his junior. He was the son of a family in the congregation.

The entire congregation knew the score. The only "scandal" involved was that the partner was so much younger than the pastor.

However, the old Swede ladies loved it - one said at a meeting "If I could find someone 20-years younger than me, I'd leave Martin in a second."

In the 70s when Jerry Falwell became popular, he was supported by a number of the congregation. But they all stopped supporting him because of his attacks on the gay community.

God love those Swedes. They were Augustana and later LCA folk, by the way.

Ann said...

The Lutherans feel pretty sure it will pass. It is actually better than TEC did if it all goes through. To follow them on Twitter #cwa09 and #goodsoil09 for the hash tags

David |Dah • veed| said...

I think that they will chicken out in the final vote. The threat of a split is too scary for them. They will opt to opt for nothing as they have in the past, leaving their GLBT folks in a crucified place.

I hope that they surprise me and prove me wrong.

Paul said...

Most observers I have read seem to think that the ELCA will go ahead with this. The Lutherans have been split before, and I don't think the existence of multiple competing synods is as much a scandal to them as it may be to us. The Lutheran Church in this country started out as a group of national churches from the old country (Norweigans, Swedes, Germans, etc.) and they have been attempting to merge ever since as the old nationally based divisions no longer made sense in the US. The ELCA is the product of the latest merger, which was not successful in integrating the Missouri Synod Lutherans. (I don't believe the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans were ever part of those talks, as they are even more conservative than the Missouri Synod.)

Remember that the ELCA ordained women before TEC ever did. (I met one of the first back in 1974, not long after the Philadelphia 11.) They were encouraged by our last general convention, and I am looking for some good news this week.

David |Dah • veed| said...

The Missouri Synod was not party to the merger that formed the ELCA either. It is a merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, which was a recent slit from the Missouri Synod.

The AELC felt that it was too small to survive alone and did not want to choose between the LCA and the ALC, which were similar in theology, but a bit different in polity, so the AELC asked the other two to enter into dialog for a new Lutheran church composed of a merger of the three.