Saturday, August 22, 2009

UALC: it’s time to go

For years our huge, evangelical congregation in suburban Columbus with 3 locations and 9 services on Sunday and many ministries has been told we would leave if this happened. Let’s see if promises are kept. In April 2008 I wrote about the "Social Statement on Human Sexuality" at Digging for the Pony.
    This ELCA draft does violence to our English language--verbal abuse, noun abuse, adverb abuse and adjective abuse, to say nothing of abusing our Christian faith. It is Scripture twisting and gymnastics! This draft criticizes "Lutheran historical teachings concerning homosexuality" with no footnotes (Book of Concord? Luther? Lutheran Brethren? Missouri-Synod Lutheran? Wisconsin Synod? the old ALC?). It does not analyze or reference any teaching, research or biblical criticism by known Christian homosexuals, theologians or Lutheran pastors who promote ordination and marriage for gays. It does find space to comment on and condemn children's clothing, playground bullying, consumerism, date rape, dangers of the internet, early sex education, grandparents raising grandchildren and inappropriate touching of female pastors. If you throw in the kitchen sink maybe no one will notice there is no Biblical foundation?
I checked the website today, and found out the temperature in Columbus is 63, but didn't see anything about this issue. Nor did I really expect to. ELCA (our synod) has been spiritually wandering in the wilderness and losing members ever since it was created in 1988 out of a liberal and a moderate synod whose ethnic differences had blurred over the years.
    From Episcopal Life online: The 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on August 21 approved opening the ministry of the church to pastors and other professional workers living in committed same-gender relationships.

    The resolution passed by a vote of 559 to 451 and overturns previous church policy that prohibited participation of gays and lesbians in church ministries unless they were celibate.

    Discussions about human sexuality have dominated the August 17-23 assembly in Minneapolis, the chief legislative authority of the 4.6 million-member denomination. More than half, or about 1,045, of the 2,000 participants are voting members at the gathering, themed "God's work. Our hands."

    The assembly also approved a resolution committing the church to find ways for congregations that choose to do so to "recognize, support and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships." It did not use the word "marriage." It also approved, by a vote of 771-230, a resolution committing the church to respect the differences of opinions on the matter and honor the "bound consciences" of those who disagree.
In 2008 I concluded with, "I don't know what our congregation (UALC) is waiting for--it took this sexuality task force seven years to write a mish-mash and hodge podge and submit it to the people of God as a serious work. Every paragraph looks like the sentences were drawn from a hat of former reports and pasted to a page. It is an insult to our common sense and a travesty of our faith. It's time to go. It really is. These people will not back down; they'll just wear us out."


Anonymous said...

There's a article in The Columbus Dispatch this morning on the front page. Pastor Paul comments also.

Norma said...

Thanks, I'll take a look. Don't get the Dispatch up here on the North Coast.

Norma said...

found it: "A group of conservatives called Lutheran CORE (Coaltion for Reform) will meet in September and might consider forming their own synod, within or outside of the ELCA, [Pastor Paul] Ulring said.

His congregation won't act rashly, he said.

"I'm a third-generation Lutheran pastor. My roots in this denomination go back 100 years," Ulring said. "It would be extremely painful and sad to be involved in leaving the ELCA."

I've met very few pre-natal Lutherans at UALC--most like us, are transfers to hear the Good News that wasn't available in other Protestant churches.

mdoneil said...

You could alway try Roman Catholicism. At least you know what to expect with Catholicism.

Unknown said...

After trying ELCA because we knew this would happen soon so my family decided to go to a local LCMS. We are very happy there. Its not in Upper Arlington but close by, just east of henderson.

Susan said...

Sunday morning after hearing the "news" on the local news program, my husband announced to our Sunday School class that this was the first time he was ashamed to claim he was raised Lutheran. Keep in mind, this is our new church, an independent church we started to attend last fall. One person said, "Martin Luther's church"? I clarified that not all Lutheran churches are approving this, but we were both raised in the ALC and reluctantly merged into the liberal ELCA.

I've been following CORE for several years now and had hope for our former mission church. Hope that is until the pastor who claims to be conservative said they were "nuts". I disagree, I think they're pretty much right on. There shouldn't have even been a debate on the is scriptural, ie. Word Alone!

Sometimes I wish we would have switched to a LCMS or WELS, but at least we are currently attending a church who values Martin Luther's ideas and honors that heritage, unlike our previous ELCA churches.

Love the sinner, don't validate the sin!