Saturday, August 11, 2007

News from ELCA Assembly

Paul McCain is observing and reporting from the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Here's what he reported today on his Cyberbrethren blog about a troubling recent vote:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at its Church wide Assembly just voted to direct all bishops in their church to refrain from, and exercise restraint, in disciplining rostered workers who are in a "mutual, chaste and faithful same-sex relationship."

After several votes turning down efforts to change the ELCA's "Visition and Expectations" document that governs the standards required for rostered workers, in order to permit such relationships, this was a substitute motion to ask at least for there to be an end to any disciplinary efforts against such rostered workers, a "cease fire" or a "time out" as it was put on the floor during the debate.

My sense is that the voting members of the Assembly simply had been worn out emotionally by the plaintive speeches made by, and for, homosexuals in relationships and this was perhaps regarded as a gesture of conciliation. Upon further reflection perhaps a number who voted for this will realize that they have, effectively, just given a green light to what in Scripture is very much a large, flashing red light and "danger" sign.

The best speech on this matter, in my opinion, was given by a dairy farmer from Wisconsin who rose and said, simply and powerfully:

I've listened to the debates over homosexuality all week. This debate is literally breaking my heart. In this post-modern world which says everyone defines what is right or wrong for himself/herself, the idea of discipline for violating boundaries is viewed as injustice. We can not live our lives without boundaries. I'm a dairy farmer and I work daily around large animals and large pieces of equipment. We raised five children who always wanted to be with dad. Because I loved them I built a fence and they had to stay in the boundaries of the fence, even if they cried or begged. They could climb out. When they did they were disciplined. It did not matter how much they wanted to be with me, or I with them. Our Creator has given us boundaries, if we could live within those boundaries a need for discipline would not exist.

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