In this season of advent, the ELCA fires of the past view months have cooled.  Perhaps they will blaze again after the holiday season, but except for the occasional news item about this congregation or that one voting to leave the ELCA, the heat has been turned down.

Lutheran Core released its December newsletter, which was little more than a recap of recent events.  The newsletter and the Lutheran CORE blogpost of December 11 did offer a couple of gratuitous digs at the ELCA implying heresy.  Seems Bishop Hanson offered the heretical view that the authors of Biblical books may not have had a twenty-first century understanding of homosexuality.   Seems an ELCA  liturgy celebrates a feminine image of the divine.  Oh, the horror! 

Seems to me that the following verses about Lady Wisdom (Sophia) are doubly meaningful in this context:

Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice.  At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks; “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?  How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge.” Proverbs 1:20-22

The Lutheran CORE newsletter attempted again to justify and encourage the financial boycott of the ELCA.  In his monthly newsletter, my own bishop here in the Southeastern Minnesota synod, Huck Usgaard, suggests three questions that congregations should ask of themselves.

Some have suggested withholding benevolence dollars or redirecting them. You will soon receive a year end report detailing many of the synod ministries from 2009. The simple truth is that these ministries will suffer if money is not forthcoming. If this is under consideration in your congregation, I would encourage you to ask questions like, “What are we trying to say?” “Who do we want to be impacted?” “Will our actions accomplish those goals?”

If the answer is to blackmail and inflict pain, then by all means withhold funds, but don’t expect to win friends and influence people.

The other new item of note in the Lutheran CORE newsletter was its support of the “Manhattan Declaration”—a pro-life and anti-gay document put forward by the “usual suspects” of American culture wars evangelicalism including Chuck Colson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and James Dobson:

If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it is. It’s the right-wing’s new call to arms that is not only reviving the buzzword “culture wars,” but is a sign that conservative religious leaders will stoop to the lowest levels imaginable to make sure that LGBT people are pushed back into the closet and that women’s rights are sent back to the days of back alley abortions and “Mad Men” housewives.

What is the Manhattan Declaration? It’s a statement … that says conservative religious folks are called by God to go nuclear in order to prevent abortion, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research and a host of what they call “fundamental truths.”

How far to the right does Lutheran CORE intend to go?