Friday, April 11, 2008

Taking a breather

I've just been stumbling my way through the ELCA Task Force on Sexuality draft statement. We were told that this report is better than the previous ones. More balanced. I'm stunned. Just stunned. Using the "FIND" command, I located the word "social" 118 times: Jesus 10. Commitment 31: Husband and/or wife 0. Society 21: Luther 14. Relationship 98: marriage 48. That should tell you something.
    social forces
    social location
    social context
    social influences
    social legitimization
    social influence
    social scope
    social framework
    social institutions
    social order
    social trust
    social trends
    social conventions
    yada, yada
Also, deeply, profoundly and humbly are favorite adverbs, and the report writers seem to sincerely believe that we live in special and unusual times with problems never before faced in the history of the human race. These times are so special and unusual that, "Scripture cannot be used in isolation as the norm for Christian life and the source of knowledge for the exercise of moral judgement." (line 417) Not to lose heart, dear readers, the writers go on to tell us that Scripture can shed light and can speak to us.

Also, did you know the reason God created human beings, according to the task force, was so they could be in relationship with each other? I immediately opened Genesis and didn't find that anywhere. Whether you think there is one account or two in Genesis, it's pretty clear he created them to fill the earth and subdue it. The closest you come to that is God created a woman to be a helper for the man. The man had been given some mighty strict instructions on not trying to be God even before God created the woman. Even so, the writers skip right over that MAN and WOMAN part.

Some parts sound like a sex manual with a cut and paste from a Dale Carnegie course:
    "Erotic interest between adults open to romantic relationships can be a desired part of growth of trust and intimacy."
    "The purpose of marriage is not solely to legitimate genital relations but to create long term durable communion for the good of others."
By page 36, they finally get to their charge--homosexual couples in the church and pastorate.
    "It is only within the last decades that this church has begun to deal in a new way with the longing of same-gender persons to seek relationships of life-long companionship and commitment and to seek public accountability for those commitments. In response, this church has drawn deeply on its Lutheran heritage to dwell in Scripture and listen to the Word of God. This listening has brought biblical scholars, theologians, and rostered and lay persons to different conclusions. After many years of study and conversation, this church does not have consensus regarding loving and committed same-gender relationships. This church has committed itself to continuing to accompany one another in study, prayer, discernment, and pastoral care.

    In such a situation this church draws on the foundational Lutheran understanding that the baptized are called to reflect God’s love in service to the neighbor. This social statement is grounded in the evangelical gratitude for the Lutheran tradition where with St. Paul we believe that, along with all other sinners for whom Christ died, we are made acceptable to God through the righteousness of Christ, not our own (Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-11). In our Christian freedom to serve the neighbor and to make the world a more trustworthy place, we are called to seek responsible actions that serve others. This church, both those who regard same-gender sexual relationships as sinful and those who do not, calls for mutual respect in relationships and for guidance that seeks the good of each individual and of the community."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.