The Lutheran Core Convocation has come and gone. Was it a big wind or a burst of hot air? Apart from red meat speeches that rallied the troops, the actual substantive accomplishments were de minimis … the much ballyhooed question of schism in the ELCA was postponed for a year.
Oh, the Core leaders are grandiose enough, calling for a “reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism”. Ahem. They aspire to a free floating synod that includes ELCA members, congregations, even synods. And LCMS folks too. Do they expect the ELCA to share autonomy with them? The LCMS? Or, are they merely going to be an organization like WordAlone has been for a decade, building membership lists and holding conventions and sending out newsletters but in reality a toothless lion? For all its holier-than-thou bluster, how much real influence has WordAlone wielded in the ELCA since the network came into existence?
Some have left the ELCA with more to follow. With each defection, the conservative influence within the ELCA diminishes proportionately.
Or, does Core think that their hyperbolic rhetoric and name calling is the way to win friends and influence people? Or childishly taking their football and going home by withholding financial support?
Speaking of the financial boycott, what is the moral or theological justification for that beyond pure power politics? True enough, Core can inflict pain—financial, spiritual, and emotional—but can they heal? Where is the churchmanship?
We all have our biases, and I certainly have mine. Thus, my ears hear the call to uphold the Law as legalism; the call to uphold the scriptures as literalism; the call to “speak the truth in love” as judgmentalism; the call for reform as reactionary; the call to withhold funds as petulant. More law and less gospel. More judgment and less grace. Exclusion not inclusion. To my Core readers, I apologize, but this is what I hear in your shrill voices. If this is not your reality, know that it is your appearance.