I’ve taken a little abuse from time to time in the conservative blogosphere over posts on this blog, but the volume got amped up this weekend over my Wisdom from Herb Chilstrom article.

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau is a pan-Lutheran organization with members from both the ELCA and the Missouri Synod (LCMS).  It sponsors the Lutheran Forum and the ALPB Forum online, which is not a blog but a bulletin board forum.  Those who register can comment on posts or even initiate a thread, especially under the “Your Turn” category.  I don’t spend a lot of time there, but I do occasionally catch a link into my own blog, and I follow it back only to learn how poorly regarded I am by the ALPB folks. 

Here’s a clue as to the general attitude of ALPB contributors:  An entry entitled “Liturgical boundaries, the role of women” posted yesterday has already received 544 replies and 6,323 views, but an entry entitled “Bragging about an ELCA Church” posted a few days ago has not received a single response, and only 216 folks bothered to read it.

In any case, seems I touched a nerve with my post about Herb Chilstrom’s three questions to those who have departed the ELCA, but certainly not as much as the vitriol directed against Herb himself.  For instance, several (including one of three ALPB administrators, Richard Johnson) thought it great sport to joke about Herb’s present position as Director of the Linnaeus Arboretum at Gustavus Adolphus College coupled with Herb’s article comment about being relieved.  Johnson’s snarky comment, befitting a Jr High School boy’s toilet humor, was:

Too bad. I’ve always enjoyed that arboretum. He’ll likely end up killing the trees. But he’ll be relieved; fewer to tend to.

Most commenters twisted Bishop Chilstrom’s closing statement.  Herb said he was saddened by the departures but also relieved that those remaining could now get on with the mission of the church.  Many commenters overlooked the first part of his statement while indicting the latter, including the use of potty humor masquerading as rational discourse.  How clever! 

Did any actually attempt to answer Bishop Chilstrom’s three questions?  Not really. 

First, what is it about sex that pushed you over the edge?

Second, why are you organizing new churches?

Third, what will you say to your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers and others in your churches when they tell you they are homosexual?

In particular, the silence in response to his third question spoke eloquent testimony.  Ministering to the gays in our midst is not that important to them. 


After a week’s worth of Chilstrom bashing, someone identified as “Bergs” brought up my blog yesterday.  Bergs has a byline on the ALPB forum, battle for truth, justice & the American way, which is a direct quote from the 50’s Superman TV show.  Hmmm.  One wonders if Bergs can leap tall buildings in a single bound. 

Thanks to Bergs’ link to my blog, my article and my psychological shortcomings and even my wretched novel became the grist for ALPB for the next few pages of comments.

the blogist is into power and control.

Said one, and another added,

by [his] own theory, [he is a member] of the “privileged class” …  a convenient diversion. It helps the blogger to not deal with a stark reality: His views are not universally accepted and acclaimed as right.

It’s all true.  I seek a power base as an alternate lay delegate to the next Church Wide Assembly, and my views are definitely not accepted by those who regularly follow the ALPB forum.

A Pastor Charlton reminded the others that I was the author of a novel, but I didn’t receive the recognition for the brilliance I thought I deserved.  That’s true, too.  Awhile ago, a friend joked that the best publicity the novel could receive would be criticism from an esteemed conservative such as Charles Dobson of Focus on the Family fame.  Ah, pastor Charlton, if only you were someone of such import; nevertheless, I would be pleased to have you do a book review—please order your copy here and then you can make informed comments about the novel after you read it.

The same Pastor Charlton also suggested that Bishop Chilstrom and I each derived our foundational ideology from Karl Marx.

Another openly wondered whether my criticisms of CORE, LCMC, and WordAlone were really self-projections.  Charlton again chimed in, suggesting that I have “died to my whiteness”, and I am therefore an honorary person of color.  I guess he could say, I’ve “died to my straightness”, and I’m therefore an honorary gay.

The blog roll of Otagosh of New Zealand includes a special category, Blogs I love to hate, consisting of two bloggers, including the pompous Paul McCain of the LCMS who loves to trash the ELCA, as well as any vestiges of moderation in his own denomination.  He is the Rush Limbaugh of Lutherandom.  McCain wades into the Chilstrom thread with the following piece of brilliance, although he refers to current Bishop Hanson and not retired Bishop Chilstrom (blowhards never miss an opportunity to say their piece even if it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand):

the pious clap-trap he continues to mouth as front-man for the left-wing, liberal, homosexual and feminist agendas that have taken control of the ELCA and the other large state churches in Europe.

Lest I give the impression that everyone over at ALPB Forum is a boogeyman, Pastor Charles Austin had the last word (as I write this on Monday evening—I’m sure there will be plenty more venom to come).  As the lone voice crying in the wilderness, Pastor Austin had earlier defended Bishop Chilstrom and me, and he wrapped up the thread with this response to McCain.

keep on predicting and praying for an apocalypse in international Lutheran relations, for doom and gloom is the coin of your realm and you obviously seek riches.
Some of us have greater hopes for partnership in the Gospel and greater trust in the fellowship of believers granted not by your permission or with your approval, but by the Holy Spirit.

Although McCain may be the most outspoken and outrageous of the naysayers, why is it that some persist in cheerleading the troubles of the ELCA?  Pastor Austin’s initial response to the thread raises the best question:

So those who disagree with the ELCA can call our leaders liars and political operatives, accuse them of abandoning the Bible, and worse; but a relatively mild editorial such as the one in question gets people upset?

I don’t get it.