Dust off their feet The metaphor of shaking the dust off one’s feet and moving on appears in the synoptic gospels and also in one passage of Acts when Paul and his entourage are not well received in the synagogue of a Phrygian city.

If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.  Mark 6:11

Nearly a year ago, well-known author and Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, the bane of many conservatives, dusted off his feet.

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.”

Recently, former ELCA Presiding Bishop Herb Chilstrom dusted off his feet.

I am both sad and relieved that you [ELCA defectors] are leaving. Sad, because this was not what we hoped for when the ELCA was formed some 22 years ago. We believed we could be a church where we held to the essentials and allowed for differences on non-essentials.

But I am also relieved. Now those of us who remain in the ELCA can get on with our primary mission of telling everyone  — everyone — “Jesus loves you. You are welcome in this church.”

Today, blogger and ELCA pastor Justin Johnson writes about the decision of Lutheran CORE to post, and thereby endorse, the repugnant comments of one ELCA defector who wrote, among other untruths,

But the education, worship and other materials provided by the ELCA for use in congregations are shot through with an alien agenda, most of the pastors and ministers it now trains are not competent to preach the gospel, and its home and global missions are in captivity to a false gospel.

Pastor Justin has dusted off his feet.

I think I am done with them.  If this is how they feel about me and my ministry and my friends who are also in the ministry, I too am going to have to take the stance and say “I’m glad your gone.”  I never wanted to feel this way and never wanted to say such a thing honestly, but if your stance is to be insulting and demeaning, then goodbye, I’m done.

Lutheran CORE, can you disagree without being disagreeable?  Can you say, the ELCA is becoming too liberal, and as conservatives, we are uncomfortable?  Nah, it’s better to accuse ELCA folks of becoming “unchurched” who have “officially renounced the Lordship of Christ” and now are “committed to false teaching and immorality”.  Can you say, I respectfully disagree with your Biblical interpretation?  Nah, it’s better to accuse ELCA folks of being “unbiblical”, pursuing a “false gospel you have chosen for yourself”.

Lutheran CORE, you’re gone and you’ve formed your own little denomination, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC); please get on with the business of being a church and get over bashing the ELCA to which you no longer belong.  Or, is that your business, your raison d’être?

Maybe we all need to shake the dust off our feet.