This blog has previously posted on three theologians who have attempted to provide intellectual cover for the the ELCA schismatics of WordAlone, Lutheran CORE, and LCMC. (Click here for prior posts regarding Carl Braaten, here for James Nestingen, and here for Robert Benne).
Now, Benne, one of the “neo-cons” who influenced Bush Iraq policy, is at it again in a May 27 article entitled “Lutherans in search of a church”.
A common theme of these three ELCA irritants is that their opposition goes way back to the very beginnings—the merger of three prior Lutheran bodies into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that became a reality in 1988. For each dissident, the focus of their dismay is the polity of the ELCA that mandates a) that voting members shall be 60% laity and only 40% clergy, b) that lay and clergy voting members shall each consist of 50-50 male and female, and c) that 10% of the voting members shall consist of persons of color. For these three white-male-elites, the ELCA allows too much minority influence, too much female influence, and too much lay influence but not enough influence for the good old boy network. A subtle subtext to this theme is that Lutheranism got onto the wrong track when some denominations began to ordain women half a century ago.
Benne’s latest missive suggests this system “insured that the more ‘progressive’ elements of the church would be overrepresented.” As opposed to the regressive-white-male-elites? Who does Benne expect to persuade with this argument?
For those of us who support the ELCA generally and the decisions of CWA09 in particular, we can be thankful for the public statements of the “intellectual” spokesmen for the schismatics. They make our case for us.
For Facebook users, there is a discussion of Benne’s article on the “Lovin’ the Lutheran Church” page. Here’s a sprinkling of the comments:
Kate Wulff says, “Well, it apparently ruined things for ordained straight white men who are mad the church isn’t their personal fiefdom.”
Robert Lewis says, “And speaking as a white male ELCA pastor, I’m quite thankful that my role has been reduced in this denomination. I personally … and we as a denomination … are richly blessed by the women and people of colors and races other than white … as well as the clergy that fit that description.”
Kirsten A.S. Mebust says, “How odd that Benne defines the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church as primarily white (presumably Euro-descended) and male! It’s as if history and orthodoxy began and ended with the first half of the 20th century in the Upper Midwest of the United States! And even then, it excludes the women who established many of the mission churches, including the one I belong to. The church of his fantasy never existed.”
Shelley Barnard says, “Is he really saying that only white males can provide adequate theological guidance? That’s just… bizarre…”
Jim McGowan says, “If CORE and NACL are the ‘last, great efforts to live out the promise of Lutheranism as a church on this continent’ then we are really in trouble.”
And on and on.