Late yesterday, the Core Convocation convened at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fishers, Indiana with an estimated 1200 persons in attendance. Substantive matters were not addressed except for the speeches offered by Core leadership. “Should we stay or should we go?” was the question that hung in the air, but the answer will not likely be determined this weekend but only after a year long process of deliberation and organization.
The speeches soared with the conviction of the self-assured, often harsh and critical of the ELCA with sarcastic jibes sparking their comments. For instance, one speaker scoffed at the ELCA 2009 assembly approval of a $75 million Malaria initiative, calling instead for a church, “where the appreciation for overcoming malaria does not replace the passion for preaching the gospel and administering the sacrament. We must stand for both Law and Gospel, not Gospel alone. Battling AIDS, hunger, poverty does not replace Word & Sacrament.” Another labeled the ELCA’s call for unity and Scripture study hypocritical, as if only Core’s interpretation of scripture was valid. The call for “Churchmanship” from former ELCA presiding Bishop Herb Chilstrom was mocked. Still another, in a thinly veiled comment, contrasted the holy remnant of Core to their opponents “we are here to represent those who have not bent the knee to Baal.”
Maybe just a little self-righteous.
The criticism of the ELCA was not restricted to the recent actions approving gay clergy and moving toward marriage equality, but went all the way back to the original merger, mirroring the view of dissenting theologian James Nestingen, the subject of earlier blog posts here and here. In particular, the ELCA policy of giving strong voice and vote to the laity, at the expense of clergy power, was criticized.
Last night speeches. Today?
(Note: since I was not present, the above information is derived from various “tweets” and especially the comments on ALPB forum.)