It has been six weeks since the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis. Although there are scattered reports of individuals and congregations that have withdrawn from the ELCA, to this point Lutherans are mostly talking. Congregations are holding forums. Synod clergy are gathering for discussions. Lutheran Core, the organized opposition to the new ELCA policies (to “recognize and support” persons in a “lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship” and to allow such persons be become ordained clergy), has held a national convocation and decided to continue talking for a year before acting. The most precipitous action to this point is the financial boycott of the ELCA Churchwide.
Talking is good. Talking about sexuality. Talking about relationships. Talking about what it means to be Lutheran. Talking about Scripture and how we use and understand our holy books.
Here’s one example of a son (Pastor) talking to his mother.
When we talked earlier this week, I asked my mom what her church was doing in response to the Churchwide decisions. I think highly of her pastors, so I wanted to be sure I’m keeping up. She said they’ve sent out pastoral letters. Each of them wrote their own letter. But there weren’t any educational programming planned yet. I explained what we were doing these next five weeks. Then we got to talking more. I explained what happened at Churchwide. Some of it she knew and some of it she didn’t. In fact, some of the old ministry policies were new to her. Then we spoke personally. She described and sort of marveled at the change that she has seen between my grandparents and my generation, how attitudes and understandings have changed just in the short span her lifetime. She talked about how she tries to be open to people, and I listened. I told her how I was personally glad for my colleagues who now no longer have to chose between a call to ministry and a lifelong relationship of unconditional love, which has been so vital for me as a person and a pastor. We talked for a while, and we both learned from each other. And that gives me great hope that we can do the same. And yes, she’s my mom, and yes, I’m her son. But, I will tell you, there isn’t anything more awkward for a guy than to talk about sex with your mom. I said the word sex and sexuality more times in that conversation with my mother than I even had in my entire life. I spent 35 years running from that conversation, and there I was asking her to have it. There was actually a moment in the conversation – when I sort of looked down on us from above, each of us on our phones, thinking – this is really happening, and I don’t feel awkward, and did I just say sexuality, and this is a new place in our relationship. And I am so grateful.
In the Kansas hinterlands, Cindy Kulp, a new entrant into the blogosphere, issues an invitation: “Calling all ELCA Lutherans…Educate Yourself.”
This is new ground for all of us in so many ways. I will start by sharing my story in hopes that it may help you to share yours & contribute to this gathering place.
I became a member of the ELCA church approximately 6 years ago. We, like so many other 30 something couples, moved back to my husband’s family farm and rejoined the rural church he grew up in. Since then, my husband and I have both served on call committees and on the church board. I share that because we thought for the past 7 years we understood the church and aligned with its teachings. Lutherans are all the same right! We had never taken the time to really look into the ELCA and what it really believes until this past July. Boy, were we in for a big surprise.
Lutherans….educate yourselves and don’t go the easy route. This is worth the journey. Study, discover and pray. What is God calling you to do?
Cindy’s journey may take her to a different place than my journey takes me or your journey takes you, but we don’t need to agree on all things to be fellow pilgrims. Cindy encourages us to “study, discover and pray.” And talk. Talk is good.