Prayer, deliberation, time, and more prayer. This was a long time coming.
August 21, 2009 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Do you know what the Lutherans are doing this week? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is talking about sex at their bi-annual assembly and they decided that blessings on gay marriage and the rosterering of leaders in same-gender relationships are A OK.

The ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - currently the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States with over 4 million members - is having it's bi-annual church wide assembly this week( and the whole thing has been webcasted live). On Wednesday, the ELCA assembly accepted it's 10th social statement dealing with Human Sexuality. The fact that a tornado touched down that day, clipping the assembly hall and damaging a nearby Lutheran Church was seen as either God being angry or the Holy Spirit being awesome. On Thursday, the Assembly accepted full communion with the United Methodist Church. On Friday, the Assembly gathered to discuss and vote on the 4 recommendations attached to the Social Statement on Human Sexuality. Respecting the ideas of bound conscience passed with 77% of the vote. Instituting, developing, and allowing congregations in the ELCA to bless, support, and hold publicly accountable same-sex couples passed with 61% of the vote. The rostering of gay pastors in committed same-sex relationships passed with 55.35% of the vote.
posted by Stynxno (111 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hooray for Lutherans!

Boy, I never thought I'd say *that* phrase.
posted by the dief at 3:30 PM on August 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


How Christian of them.

I love news like this, makes my guts feel good.
posted by JimmyJames at 3:32 PM on August 21, 2009


It's all happening a few blocks from my apartment. Also, yesterday? A tornado hit the church that is housing many of the people, also a few blocks from my apartment, snapping the spire and tearing . Fortunately, most of the people at the church were at the convention center at the conference. Unfortunately, the conference center is right across the street from the church, and also got hit by the tornado.

Nobody was hurt and damage was minimal, but that hasn't stopped some people from suggesting this was the will of God.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:36 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see you made brief mention of the tornado in your more inside as well.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:37 PM on August 21, 2009


Why is the government persecuting christians by refusing to recognize their marriages?
posted by mullingitover at 3:39 PM on August 21, 2009 [14 favorites]


This makes me want to take over some hot dish as a thank you.
posted by availablelight at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


If I recall correctly, the Evangelical Lutherans are a minority; the mainline Lutherans are the Missouri Synod, which is very much opposed to teh ghey.

But hey, I'm hoping I'm wrong—one of my good friends quit the Lutheran church over their discrimination against homosexuals.
posted by klangklangston at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobody was hurt and damage was minimal, but that hasn't stopped some people from suggesting this was the will of God.

Ridiculous; Greg Boyd does a great job of laying out why. Of course, what do I know: I go to a Lutheran church that got hit by lightning three years ago (and decades prior, apparently). Getting a steeple rebuilt is a serious PITA, so I send my condolences to Central Lutheran.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "Nobody was hurt and damage was minimal, but that hasn't stopped some people from suggesting this was the will of God."

I am shocked, SHOCKED, to hear that a group of religious people have difficulty understanding that some events are simply random chance.
posted by mullingitover at 3:47 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hooray!
posted by ixohoxi at 3:47 PM on August 21, 2009


If I recall correctly, the Evangelical Lutherans are a minority; the mainline Lutherans are the Missouri Synod, which is very much opposed to teh ghey.

According to wikipedia, ELCA is #1 and the Missouri Synod is in at #2.
posted by mrnutty at 3:52 PM on August 21, 2009


This is happening all through the mainline protestant denominations in America, by the way, at different speeds for different groups. My Mennonites are a little bit behind, but I have hope.
posted by sy at 3:55 PM on August 21, 2009


Fantastic news! Just goes to show, even Dawkins' involvement won't hold back true loving Christians from doing what is right.
posted by hippybear at 3:56 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mrnutty has it right. The ELCA is the largest, with over 4 million. Missouri Synod has over 2 million members. That's followed by a few smaller denominations, that make the Missouri Synod look liberal, and then dozens of micro-denominations (which was the traditional model of Lutheran Church organization in the US until the 20th century).
posted by Stynxno at 3:58 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Relevance, humanity? What a bizarre concept.

Last Sunday I attended a Catholic mass, in Latin, where the sermon was about how when Jesus healed the deaf and dumb guy, using a little daub of spit, that spit was symbolic of how all the reforms of the Second Vatican Council should be revoked immediately.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:05 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Episcopals (yay) are next ...

Not all Christians are right wing nutters and haters.
posted by caddis at 4:10 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


"This is happening all through the mainline protestant denominations in America, by the way, at different speeds for different groups. My Mennonites are a little bit behind, but I have hope."

Just be glad you they split from the Amish—the Amish won't be getting gay marriage until 2308.
posted by klangklangston at 4:17 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the note on the synods, guys. Mixed bag—it's better that the bigger group is growing up; it's no better for my friend.
posted by klangklangston at 4:19 PM on August 21, 2009


Wow. All I can say is this is pretty cool.
posted by darkstar at 4:22 PM on August 21, 2009


I was raised ELCA, this is pretty cool. Yay!
posted by kathrineg at 4:22 PM on August 21, 2009


As someone who will go through life with some sense of being a Lutheran (and a child of ELCA pastor parents at that), regardless of whatever I mainly identify as, I applaud this.
posted by Gnatcho at 4:24 PM on August 21, 2009


Yay! I haven't considered myself a Lutheran for 45 years or so, but there's still a sentimental attachment (hey, great hymns), so this makes me extra happy.
posted by languagehat at 4:32 PM on August 21, 2009


The hymns are pretty damn awesome. UU hymns really don't compare.
posted by kathrineg at 4:34 PM on August 21, 2009


UU hymns bite. I'm sorry. I've tried to like them but no luck so far. The only ones that are halfway okay are the ones they've borrowed from the Quakers.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:46 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


full disclosure: I have a preference for depressing Welsh hymns.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:47 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This makes me want to take over some hot dish as a thank you.

I'll make the jello mold - extra special with fruit cocktail and mini marshmallows!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 5:01 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

I know posting this is going to get me hate, but with all the people saying "yahoo" I figure it can't be terrible to have at least one voice saying "I actually don't think this is that great."

Now all the hateful and judgmental people will immediately decide that I am hateful and judgmental. I'll just preemptively disagree with that--and I'll end my participation in this conversation here, because otherwise it's just going to digress really quickly.
posted by brenton at 5:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


mmm, archaic notions like not judging others, and loving your neighbour.

go Lutherans!
posted by gaspode at 5:11 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Last Sunday I attended a Catholic mass, in Latin, where the sermon was about how when Jesus healed the deaf and dumb guy, using a little daub of spit, that spit was symbolic of how all the reforms of the Second Vatican Council should be revoked immediately.

I am curious. How did they get from A to B? Like without actually contorting their body into horrible shapes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it."

You mean, in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek?

I think that you're not giving the writers of the Bible enough credit—I think they'd understand love a lot faster than iPods.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


YAY!
posted by contessa at 5:18 PM on August 21, 2009


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

Funnily enough, I agree.
posted by kathrineg at 5:20 PM on August 21, 2009


A Unitarian once told me this joke:
Why are Unitarian congregations so out of synch with hymn singing?
Because congregants are always reading a few lines ahead to see if they agree with the words.

That said...as an Episcopalian I am thrilled that both my denomination and our brothers and sisters in the ECLA are taking this great leap forward!
posted by Biblio at 5:21 PM on August 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


I am curious. How did they get from A to B?

Jesus did not need to use spit. If he wanted to he could have healed the guy just by looking at him from a mile away. But Jesus understands human nature, so, for the sake of clarity and teaching he embodied the miracle in a symbolic act.

All of the rituals of the church, especially the novenas and fasting before communion and eating fish on Friday, are not themselves central truths, they are place-keepers in our pre-literate minds, especially put there to help the comprehension of the less educated.

That is why we need to reintroduce the seemingly irrelevant symbolic elements in their millenniums-old forms, because if you keep changing the symbols, the message will get lost especially for those who may be less sophisticated.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:25 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ah, the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual faith argument. That always cuts in weird directions, doesn't it?
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Maybe us gay types ought to chip in and buy 'em a new spire. Building bridges and that sort of thing.
posted by thankyoujohnnyfever at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

And who exactly can tell us how the bible's writers would have understood what they wrote? I guess there is The One True Interpretation (TOTI)? But what can a simpleton like me do, when there's thousands of claims to being TOTI?

And since many of these writers contradict themselves in turn, it makes it logically impossible to "adhere to the bible".

Now, I know logic has no place in religion, so the contradictions are no obstacle at all for making judgments, like:

"I actually don't think this is that great."

But what are poor logic bound creatures like me to do? How can I defy logic with such panache?

I guess your answer would be:

I'll just preemptively disagree with that--and I'll end my participation in this conversation here, because otherwise it's just going to digress really quickly.

which is in keeping with the contradictions, but it still doesn't help my understanding.
posted by VikingSword at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2009


I know posting this is going to get me hate, but with all the people saying "yahoo" I figure it can't be terrible to have at least one voice saying "I actually don't think this is that great."

So then why did you do a drive-by? Stay and discuss what you mean.

One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

Ah yes, the old "people who disagree with me aren't really Christians" argument. Terrible damage has been done with that sword, and for what? Who are you to judge? Bishop Hanson ended his remarks today reminding all that, WE MEET ONE ANOTHER FINALLY, NOT IN OUR AGREEMENTS OR OUR DISAGREEMENTS, BUT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:58 PM on August 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

I don't think holding the bible as a form of idolatry is really what the writers of the Bible would have wanted. In fact, since they didn't even HAVE the Bible, as it wasn't codified until the mid 4th century, it's quite difficult to actually figure out what, say, the writer known as Mark would have thought had he had the Bible as we currently know it. Of course, that might also mean he would have to put the Septuagint to the side and embrace our handling of the Old Testament as we currently primarily know it, as a combination of Jewish texts from the middle ages. And considering there's a good chance that Mark would not have known the writings of Paul, I think it really is rather difficult to do what you are claiming that YOU do.

Because you also seem to forget that the Bible matters not because what it is but because of what it points to and that is Christ. This is exactly how traditional Lutheran Orthodoxy handles the Bible, its writings, and what it means.

And then we take a look at Acts and realize that the Holy Spirit is with us now and forever. And as long as a few of us gather, Christ is with us. Oh and that whole bit about Pentecost where the Word was shared with All in the languages that they knew - where the happening of Babel was reversed and God was continuing the process of bringing all His children to him, we continue to do His work but with our hands.

But, again, you are like those in the assembly who seem to not understand what the ELCA actually did. We allowed churches to call gay pastors if they choose to but we also allowed churches to NOT call gay pastors if they chose too. In fact, it is a reinforcement of what the ELCA call process currently is, where the congregation, not the Bishop and hierarchy, gets to decide who is called to preach the Word and administer the sacraments. This is an extension of the tradition of the compromise in Jerusalem which I think is a fine model for the current Church to follow.

And on preview, TPS is 100% right in quoting Bishop Hanson - We meet one another finally, not in our agreements or our disagreements, but at the foot of the cross.
posted by Stynxno at 6:06 PM on August 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


As a former religion journalist let me be the first to call bullshit on everybody. Lutherans are dying in America. The end is inevitable. The ecclesiastic law change has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with the replenishment of bodies in the pews. There are many dying churches in America: Seventh Day Baptists, Church of Christ, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I could go on.
posted by parmanparman at 6:19 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only ones that are halfway okay are the ones they've borrowed from the Quakers.

Quakers have hymns? Good ones? Really? Can you name any? (I'm not being snarky; I'm a Quaker and would love to know about this. Our hymnal is full of Pete Seeger songs and assorted versions of "Simple Gifts.")
posted by not that girl at 6:25 PM on August 21, 2009


The ecclesiastic law change has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with the replenishment of bodies in the pews.

If that were true, why go after gays, a relatively small group in religious circles?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:27 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


>Maybe us gay types ought to chip in and buy 'em a new spire. Building bridges and that sort of thing.

I'm not a gay type, but I support their rights, and I would totally donate to something like this if run by someone trustworthy. The gays rebuilding the damage would be so symbolically awesome it pops my head. Right wing nutjobs say god caused damage, god inspires grateful group to fix damage, good PR for gays, bad PR for nutjobs.

Other churches seeing the LGBT community coming together and offering support, I bet that might change a few minds.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 6:41 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would think (hope!) that their insurance will cover the damage to the spire. That said, when our steeple was hit by lightning, it took just over a year for everything to fall into place for the rebuild- working with our insurane company, the architect, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:48 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yay for Lutherans and Episcopalians!

Quakers have hymns? Good ones? Really? Can you name any?

Totally! What about Sim--

Oh.
posted by lostburner at 7:01 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Might anyone know of a Lutheran Church in the Boston/Cambridge area, that I could visit this Sunday morning? A friend and I, both divinity school students (but with backgrounds in Islam) have taken up "church hopping" during Sundays over the summer to (wholly respectfully) become better acquainted with different traditions and denominations. This seems like a great Sunday to possibly sit in on a Lutheran service.

Also, YAY! :)
posted by raztaj at 7:42 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


So then why did you do a drive-by? Stay and discuss what you mean.

Because continuing the conversation means I will be tempted to start defending myself from ad hominem attacks on me and all Christians ("I know logic has no place in religion" etc.) and even if we're able to get past that, then it turns into a thing where I cite one bible verse, and point to the historical interpretations of it, then someone else (if they can resist going back to ad hominem) bring up another verse, or disagrees with the historic interpretation, and we get nowhere. If anyone wants to have a calm, cogent conversation about this and wants to know why I believe what I believe, I'm happy to have that conversation in a place less conducive to flame wars (and as good as mefi is, there are some things you just can't avoid on the internet.)
posted by brenton at 7:45 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Totally! What about Sim--

Oh.


Plus, it's not even a Quaker hymn; "Simple Gifts" is a hymn of the Shakers, a denomination which may have initially had Quaker roots but ultimately became something quite different.

I went to Quaker meeting for a while, and would occasionally play piano and lead hymns before meeting for worship. The Quaker hymnal that we had was not excellent (especially compared to the amazing musical experiences I had growing up in the Episcopal Church), and I always assumed it was because Quakers worshipped primarily in silence, and thus never had the need to develop a rich musical tradition on par with certain other Christian denominations.
posted by the_bone at 7:57 PM on August 21, 2009


Get over yourselves, "Christians". This has literally nothing to do with your faith. Frankly, faith is the least important part of Bishop Hanson's goal. Why gays? Gays have disposable income.
posted by parmanparman at 7:58 PM on August 21, 2009


I will be tempted to start defending myself from ad hominem attacks on me and all Christians

I assure you there will be no attacks on all Christians, because you don't speak for all Christians. There would just be attacks on you, for your comment.

And yeah, you really should have just held your tongue instead of doing a drive-by, and then compounding it by saying that you only did a drive by because you were afraid of being victimized by those terrible people who would bring up Bible verses against you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:00 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


How is "logic has no place in religion" an ad hominem?
posted by kathrineg at 8:02 PM on August 21, 2009


Brenton, when you drop a drive-by comment and pre-emptively suggest people who might disagree with you are "hateful and judgmental", it seems like you might not be all that interested in a "calm, cogent conversation" at all. But having been a formally trained evangelical apologist, missionary and Christian leader for many years before leaving the ministry (the whole gay thing, you know), I'm all too familiar with this tactic.

Unfortunately for the evangelical Christian community I was part of, their awakening didn't come fast enough to retain me. When I was forced to come to grips with the deeply painful homophobia endemic to their doctrines, I concomitantly reviewed many of the other blatant hypocrisies they and other Christian sects espouse, with the result that I can no longer, in good faith (hah), call myself a Christian. Had they been more tolerant of gays, perhaps I would have never been forced to evaluate my worldview so rigorously and might be part of the fold, today.

So in one sense, I'm grateful that their intolerance catalyzed, in me, a rigorous evaluation of the whole worldview. And in any event, I'm awfully happy with the ELCA's decision.
posted by darkstar at 8:09 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not a religionist. That said, I hope the Lutheran church membership gets a boost from this. With ideals like that, they're a better model for today's youth and future society than the shitstains who cling to the bad old past.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 PM on August 21, 2009


I know posting this is going to get me hate, but with all the people saying "yahoo" I figure it can't be terrible to have at least one voice saying "I actually don't think this is that great."

What you give out, you get back.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why gays? Gays have disposable income.

Jesus. And I thought *I* was cynical.
posted by mediareport at 8:19 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it. .

The Gospels are peppered with examples of reaching out to people who were previously shunned and marginalised for reasons of religious purity. It's one of the most wonderful things about them and some people are still hugely inspired by that. Being inspired to lovingly reach out to others through some of the very best things that Jesus did and said, strikes me as a very good reason for people to call themselves 'Christian'.

I know posting this is going to get me hate, but with all the people saying "yahoo" I figure it can't be terrible to have at least one voice saying "I actually don't think this is that great."

Now all the hateful and judgmental people will immediately decide that I am hateful and judgmental. I'll just preemptively disagree with that--and I'll end my participation in this conversation here, because otherwise it's just going to digress really quickly



But instead of saying 'I actually don't think this is that great' you came in and posted the equivalent of 'Behold, I poke you in the eye with a pointy stick! But if you dare poke me back then that's hateful and judgemental!' It doesn't make you hateful and judgemental, it just sounds a wee bit silly. Churches which decide they can accommodate a spectrum of views on this issue are not doing it to spite you. They're just being inspired by a different strand in The Bible to the ones which you prefer. It's not one book, it's many, and there's no one correct way of reading it.
posted by Flitcraft at 8:21 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Might anyone know of a Lutheran Church in the Boston/Cambridge area, that I could visit this Sunday morning?

University Lutheran Church in Harvard Square is a wonderful congregation, despite its ugly 1960s building.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:21 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it.

Who died and made you the great arbiter of millions of other people's faith traditions? (Note: the judges will not accept the answer "Jesus of Nazareth", because he was actually quite clear on this whole kind of thing in, say, Matthew 23.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:24 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been church hunting lately, but I've been holding off on visiting my local ELCA congregation until the assembly. I am SO HAPPY to see this. Looks like I'm off to church on Sunday!
posted by elsietheeel at 8:27 PM on August 21, 2009


when you drop a drive-by comment and pre-emptively suggest people who might disagree with you are "hateful and judgmental"

Actually, I suggested that people who immediately jump to the conclusion that I am judgmental and hateful are judgmental and hateful. Read it again.

But I see your point. I suppose it wasn't the most mature thing to say, yes, perhaps it does make me seem "a wee bit silly."

I guess that my point was that making judgments about a person is judgmental and that saying hateful things to me or about me because of my beliefs is hateful.
posted by brenton at 8:30 PM on August 21, 2009


I guess that my point was that making judgments about a person is judgmental and that saying hateful things to me or about me because of my beliefs is hateful.

I don't understand this fear in someone who belongs to a dominant religion...
posted by kathrineg at 8:34 PM on August 21, 2009


"A Unitarian once told me this joke:
Why are Unitarian congregations so out of synch with hymn singing?
Because congregants are always reading a few lines ahead to see if they agree with the words. ..."

posted by Biblio at 8:21 PM on August 21

A UU congregation in Memphis at which I went to services with a friend a few times solves that problem by frequently singing a Cat Stevens song. :-) Even the old people, with failing eyesight, who have trouble reading from the hymnal know it, sort of, and even if they never got the words straight to memory from FM radio in their misspent youth, they're happy to hum along, and all smile as beatifically as old Yusuf himself on payday.

"... There are many dying churches in America: Seventh Day Baptists, Church of Christ, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I could go on."
posted by parmanparman at 9:19 PM on August 21

Perhaps, but there abides a stubborn prairie sternness in many LCMS congregations, that bucks up their reserve and keeps their members coming back. My folks drifted into a ELCA denomination when they moved to Florida, mostly on the strength of the fairly charismatic minister of that congregation, who was a crusty old ex-Marine, who'd gone to seminary at the ripe old age of 57. His sermons were not unlike Marine training lectures, too - loud, short, and phrased in the venacular, to the point of being, well, colorfully profane. My folks did get a lot out of DeColores while in that congregation, and formed many lifelong friendships there, but even they admitted it was a long drift from the faith of their fathers.

Going to services there always felt to me like playing tennis with the net down, compared to Missouri Synod services. Especially communion sacraments, where that ELCA bunch expressly invited everyone, regardless of creed, to come forward and sup. I think if a stray, hungry dog had wandered up the aisle with the rest of the congregation, they'd have tossed him a biscuit and a dram, too. Not so any Missouri Synod congregations; they'd have led the dog downstairs (all the while shushing him, if he made any disturbing noise), to the basement, to keep the children in nursery entertained, and wait for coffee after service; only after he'd satisfactorily taken instructions, and demonstrated his capacity for examination, would he get a place at the rail. But the LCMS folks would have also had a sharp head usher, too; on any regular Sunday, no stray dog would have gotten in the sanctuary, period, while services were being conducted.

Come to think of it, those ELCA folks occasionally sang a Cat Stevens song, too, and even put a kid singing "Jesus Take the Wheel" in the service order one Sunday in Advent. The only time they ever broke out "Rock of ages, cleft for me" was Easter, and they never sang the hard old 19th century hymns like "Stricken, smitten and afflicted" that are standard fare in LCMS denominations. "Anything to rope in attendance!" was that ELCA congregation's active principal, and it worked a treat. The place was packed every Sunday with "spiritual" people, who appreciated not having the straightjacket of creed or the inconvenience of hidebound doctrine as impediments to feeling better about themselves.
posted by paulsc at 8:39 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because continuing the conversation means I will be tempted to start defending myself from ad hominem attacks on me and all Christians

Your first post on this thread began with a direct attack on other Christians. If you don't like attacks on Christians, then how about not doing that yourself?
posted by Flitcraft at 8:40 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Sorry Brenton, I cross-posted with you)
posted by Flitcraft at 8:42 PM on August 21, 2009


If anyone wants to have a calm, cogent conversation about this and wants to know why I believe what I believe, I'm happy to have that conversation in a place less conducive to flame wars (and as good as mefi is, there are some things you just can't avoid on the internet.)

You don't get to set the terms of the discussion and exclude anything you don't like, rehtorically speaking, as being a flame war. Yes, if you want to make the case that homosexuality is somehow bad for the church, and cite chapter and verse, I am going to come back to you with chapter and verse. That's not flaming; that's very much within the tradition of religious dialogue.

You are not demonstrating any actual willingness to have a dialogue about this, which suggests that your actual intention was simply to make a deliberately vague and proactive statement but somehow avoid being challenged on it. It's rather audacious for you to then say, well, it's all y'all's fault, preemptively, that I don't go into detail, because it is impossible to have a dialogue on my terms on the Internet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 PM on August 21, 2009


Thanks for your other comment, I know tone isn't easy to put across on text, but can I just gently suggest that this

I guess that my point was that making judgments about a person is judgmental and that saying hateful things to me or about me because of my beliefs is hateful.

applies to the kind of thing you posted about the Lutherans too!
cheers.
posted by Flitcraft at 8:49 PM on August 21, 2009


I guess that my point was that making judgments about a person is judgmental and that saying hateful things to me or about me because of my beliefs is hateful.

Yup, I do judge you base don what you have said.

And because your beliefs are hateful, I disrespect and despise you.

Sorry. You get what you give. I give equality and peace to my fellow human. You give pain and suffering.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on August 21, 2009


I grew up in the ELCA church, and grew apart from it due to the boringness of it. The more conservative lutheran churches (LCMS) have less numbers now, but have schools and seem to be more vibrant as they are in the growing area of NE OH.
In America, the conservative churches are the ones growing, the liberal ones are dying.
I find it difficult to see why anyone who identifies themselves as gay would want anything to do with religions, especially Chrisitianity in general since they seem to condemn them. One could argue this was the same argument used before to condemn those who are blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped
Perhaps this is hard for me to visualize I have always been told to see those who gay as on the outside of mainstream society and are only in places where they are more "tolerated" . God forbid anyone that is "out" have anything to do with children, since they are automatically pervs is the viewpoint I was taught. Of course, if they keep it in the closet, it's all good.
posted by greatalleycat at 9:22 PM on August 21, 2009


Cynical? No, I just realized faith in religion is totally worthless. What are you arguin over? A community or an ideology or a reason to hate? I am liberal and atheist and proud. I am sorry you all need to fight over beliefs, but I refuse to be bipartisan.
posted by parmanparman at 9:23 PM on August 21, 2009


Let me interject for a moment to say that not all atheists put on this posture of simply sneering at all people of faith and dismissing them as universally being worthy of contempt. I, for one, find it enormously annoying when another atheist does it, especially since they all seem to have deeply ingrained, and wrongheaded, beliefs that they would not appreciate being disabused of and mocked for, such as the belief that anybody except other atheists has heard of Dan Barker.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:37 PM on August 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Cynical? No, I just realized faith in religion is totally worthless. What are you arguin over? A community or an ideology or a reason to hate? I am liberal and atheist and proud. I am sorry you all need to fight over beliefs, but I refuse to be bipartisan.

Spoken like every (ex-)religion reporter I've ever known.
posted by dw at 10:11 PM on August 21, 2009


You get me wrong if you think I think religious people are worthy of contempt. I think religious people have no idea religion is simply a way for the wealthy to further enrich themselves while lying to the public.
posted by parmanparman at 10:14 PM on August 21, 2009


Yes, I am sure you have an unusually rich and comprehensive understanding of the failings of religion. However, I would like to suggest that this might not be the thread for an overarching critique of religion, and that fellow atheist avoid the temptation to step into every thread about religion to remind believers what rubes they are.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:19 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to have a calm, cogent conversation about this and wants to know why I believe what I believe, I'm happy to have that conversation in a place less conducive to flame wars (and as good as mefi is, there are some things you just can't avoid on the internet.)

My background is in philosophy (college + university), and I must say, I have never really had a single productive argument with a theologian. Maybe I was unlucky. I take a strictly analytical approach, and in my experience theologians are not exactly well equipped in that department. It's like trying to explain nematic phase liquid crystals to a Taliban man. The fact is, that while analytical philosophy has made huge strides in the 20th century, it being something of a golden age for it, theology has peaked a few hundred years ago. A lot of the further development of theology since then has happened in relative isolation. There's been a rich exchange between the philosophy of science, language, mathematics, epistemology and various analytical schools, but much less interaction with theology. As a result, it seems modern theological thought is quite impoverished (one caveat: I have not followed philosophy since the 80's, so maybe everything has changed). And trying to have a rigorous exchange is sadly not possible. In the meta about Dawkins, one user linked to a supposed rebuttal of Dawkins by Terry Eagleton. Boy was that a pathetic performance - like something a child might attempt. And sprinkled throughout were references to various theologians. Not encouraging.

Talking about religion on a forum like this takes the form it does for very good reasons indeed. And if you want to have a rigorous discussion of religion, it is entirely possible - hopefully you can do better than Terry Eagleton.
posted by VikingSword at 10:26 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


As I understand the agreement, there's a loophole within the resolution that will allow individual ELCA churches to refuse to accept gay ministers as pastors. So it's not exactly going to be universal.

Still, this now means three mainline denominations now will officially ordain open, practicing GLBT ministers. In major mainline churches, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been painting itself into a corner for years -- the leadership is becoming more liberal while the rank-and-file remain moderate to conservative, and thus the now 30 year battle over ordaining gay clergy, though they're probably the next of the mainlines to make the switch. (Officially, "celibate" gay clergy can legally be ordained, but there are numerous GLBT clergy who are "practicing" with little really done about it.) The United Methodists are behind the Presbyterians; they have a more conservative base, especially in the old Southern Methodist territory, and they have money and aren't leaving any time soon. The American Baptists, who knows? They're congregationalist by nature, so their official stance on not ordaining GLBT only carries so much weight in the individual churches. They've already had a couple of pitched battles between the conservatives and the liberals.

Off to the right of them you have the evangelical, (neo-)Reformed, and fundamentalist parts of Christianity, and you can expect they won't be changing their stance against ordaining gays and lesbians any time soon.

So, basically, you can expect the PC(USA) will make the move next, then the Methodists. I expect all the mainline churches will be ordaining open, practicing gays and lesbians by the close of the next decade. The Southern Baptists, someone living today might witness it, but I'm doubtful.
posted by dw at 10:39 PM on August 21, 2009


You get me wrong if you think I think religious people are worthy of contempt. I think religious people have no idea religion is simply a way for the wealthy to further enrich themselves while lying to the public.

Not directed solely at you, parmanparman, but there is already a (seemingly undying) rehashing of arguments about the general worth/non-worth or religion/atheism and sundry details thereof in this recent metatalk thread, and it would be wonderful not to see it start up in here too in what is an otherwise interesting thread not utterly about just and only that. Maybe take it there or drop it?
posted by cortex at 10:50 PM on August 21, 2009


As I understand the agreement, there's a loophole within the resolution that will allow individual ELCA churches to refuse to accept gay ministers as pastors. So it's not exactly going to be universal.

The call process at ELCA churches leaves the final decision on who to call as a pastor up to the individual congregation. The synod office sends candidates (the church can request to meet with someone if they have someone in mind), but the church makes the final call.

I'm curious to see how this church-wide decision is going to pan out at the individual church level. I don't expect to see a large number of churches ordaining PALMSGR (the acronym I saw on Twitter for "publically accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship") clergy that haven't done so already- I've been to plenty of churches where gay people serve in leadership roles because the congregation handles it in 3 ways: 1, some people are dense and they honestly don't know, 2, they pretend not to know, or 3, they know and don't care. Those churches will continue to function that way. I imagine it'll take a few years to get some gay clergy in the talent pool, anyway- hopefully candidates waiting it out over in other denominations will come over to our side soon ;)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:02 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a side note, I want to know why the ELCA went with "same-gender" relationships over "same-sex" relationships in all discussions of this issue. I've only ever heard the latter, and I don't consider them interchangeable. Anyone able to weigh in on that language issue?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's nice. There's still no god and Jesus is still a fictional character.

But you can be gay and lead a delusional flock. I suppose that's progress.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:43 PM on August 21, 2009


VikingSword, the second half of the 20th century saw a major revival of philosophical engagement with religious ideas among analytical philosophers. Folks like Plantinga, Swinburne, Wainwright, Wolterstorff, Adams, and Westphal were studied at my secular university. In fact, traditional theistic belief is often thought to be stronger among professional philosophers these days than among Religious Studies scholars.
posted by Jahaza at 1:00 AM on August 22, 2009


Good on ya, ELCA! I'm going to send a nice note to my church back home congratulating them.
posted by potch at 1:47 AM on August 22, 2009


"... There's still no god and Jesus is still a fictional character. ..."
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:43 AM on August 22

"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." - Martin Luther, perhaps, apocryphal.

Luther was a deeply flawed man, and he knew that, himself. His greatest teaching, and perhaps the only one that makes his name worth remembering through time, is simply, that in an uncertain Universe, a genuine heart is the highest human aspiration. And yet, in only 1/4 the span of years between ourselves and Jesus, whoever/whatever Jesus may have been, we can't even be sure what Luther said, at the most critical point of his (Luther's) life and faith.

I say this, as someone who has been to Bethlehem, and gone down the staircase in the Church of the Nativity, to see, for himself, the silver star. I say this, as someone who has been to modern Nazerth, and Jerusalem, and Jaffa, and Abraham's well in Beersheba, and stood over Abraham's bones in Hebron, and bowed his uncertain head at the Wailing Wall, and knelt in the Dome of the Rock. I say this, as someone who walked the Via Dolorosa, not for his own faith, but in simple curiosity, trying to hold, as best he could, with his legs, arms and head covered in ceremonial agreement at least, a genuine heart.

I say this, as one who went to Masada, at thirsty, dusty daybreak, to see for himself, what the last Sicarii may have seen, as they lifted their willing throats to a sword. I say this, further, as one who, having looked for signs and evidences of Him, where He, who abides in human hearts, genuine and not, is said to have lived, doesn't, himself, know whether He is a fictional character, or not.

I say this as one who has visited many of the great European cathedrals, and who, standing outside the great Köln catherdral, heard Willie Farah recount how he, in his 1944 B-26 Marauder, spared that edifice from destruction, simply because it was on a "no-bomb" target list that day.

I say this, as one who, late enough in life to count as simple spiritual cowardice in the times of Crusaders, had the luxury of visiting other ports, than those surviving from Biblical times, and changing his mind. I say this as a man who is grateful Kyoto wasn't destroyed by an atomic bomb, and who has visited Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and knows that their destruction was the inevitable result of sparing Kyoto. I say this, as a man who walked in Nanking, and knows that the lives burned away in Hiroshima's fires, and in Nagasaki's hell, are not enough, in recompense, to some.

I say this as a man who has walked his sons through the hell that was Gettysburg, and through Andersonville, in case they never, as I have, made it to Auschwitz, or Dachau, or Bergen-Belsen. I say this, as a man who did this with his sons, to describe to them, in ways they and I continue to share, what depths of depravity the human spirit can hold, and make manifest.

Once, I suppose, I would have envied you your certainty, fourcheesemac. But now, having put my foot in the hollowed out footsteps of thousands of older pilgrims in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, having visited the great battlefields of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, having stood outside a great cathedral while a bitter man told me about sparing it, having had some doubts, myself, with an honest heart, I just don't know.

I'm only sure that we can't know and remain human. It's not in our genes. It's not in our history. And, even if we could, you know, know, the simple facts, as we might confirm them, don't help us, in the longer run, to hold open, genuine, human hearts.
posted by paulsc at 1:57 AM on August 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I talked to a Christian once who said that he cried at the Sistine chapel, thus proving there is a God. Footsteps, battlefields, concentration camps are the works of men, not gods, and quite often men who are devout as all hell.
posted by telstar at 4:26 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


What are the Lutherans fighting over? Frankly, it's about reconciliation. Luther's clear motive was reform and internal change within the church. Instead, patronage didn't change and a new rival patronage developed alongside it. the dream of every true lutheran is reconciliation with the catholics. This is the lutheran body in america acting to most bravely head away from reconciliation and away from the catholic tradition.
posted by parmanparman at 5:12 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because continuing the conversation means I will be tempted to start defending myself from ad hominem attacks on me and all Christians

Hi. I'm a Christian, and I disagree with you about gay ordination. As do a near majority of my fellow Presbyterians in the PCUSA. As do those Christians in the ELCA. As do those Christians in the Episcopal Church. As do those Christians in the UCC. And as do those Christians in the MCC. As do those Christians in thousands of individual congregations of other denominations as well as independent evangelical churches who've decided that a person's faith and love matters a lot more that who they love.

Your first comment engaged in an ad hominem against all of us, and a nasty one at that, by implying that you know real Christianity and what all of us practice isn't it. You are not in a place to complain about the atheists ad hominems.

We're all pretty good at ignoring the atheist ad hominems, since they tend to so pitifully misrepresent who we are and what we believe that they're not really even worth responding to. I don't believe in a sky fairy. Do you? I'm not being manipulated by the rich and powerful for political gain. Are you? I'm not a wholly illogical, irrational human being, incapable of reasonable discussion. Are you?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:56 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


paulsc, a very eloquent defense of sentimentality over reason.

I've been some of those places too. They don't make me believe in anything other than the capacity of the human mind to provide comforting explanations for unsolved questions or unbearably heinous acts.

This god you speak of, does he/she/it really play favorites? Is it true that a fat SUV driving bible-toting American fuckwad who prays to Jesus for wealth gets his prayers answered by a new McMansion while a child in Darfur who doesn't know Jesus deserves to watch her mother raped or be starved to death?

I don't really want to start another chapter in the Metafilter Atheism Debate. I've been to Hiroshima and Wounded Knee, and felt nothing but a very human disappointment in my species.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:14 AM on August 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


I have never been more proud to be a Lutheran.
posted by Ber at 6:14 AM on August 22, 2009


> I don't really want to start another chapter in the Metafilter Atheism Debate.

Then why are you doing it? Let it go. Nobody cares about your feelings about religion except you, and this is not the thread to share them.
posted by languagehat at 6:39 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thank you, paulsc, for your comment. I read it as a reminder that -- whether religious, atheist, or agnostic -- it couldn't hurt for us to all have a little more humility.

I'm also thrilled to hear this news from the Lutheran church. dw's comment is interesting, too, in outlining the possible progression of future similar resolutions. The Southern Methodist members in my family are certainly the most conservative, and would be least likely to support such a resolution.
posted by lillygog at 7:16 AM on August 22, 2009


"One wonders why these churches even bother still calling themselves "Christian" what with all the negative connotations and "archaic" notions like adhering to the Bible as it's writers would have understood it."

This strikes me as a paradoxically "legalistic" take on the notion of what it means to be a Christian in that it seems opposed to the actual teachings of Christ.

To be a "Christian", all that is fundamentally required is a deep and abiding faith in Christ and the notion of redemption through his sacrifice. While the law of Moses and dogma play a part in the Christian faith path, the "guy on the billboard"'s whole purpose was to remind adherents not to become too enamored with the laws and hold the laws themselves above the God who theoretically laid them down or His grace.

So it would make sense for the ELCA to call itself "Christian", perhaps moreso in fact than other more rule-bound churches, because they are specifically embracing the teaching of Christ in this action and not allowing the rules to become the defining characteristic of their relationship with God.

Note, I'm not passing judgment on if "embracing the teaching of Christ in this action" means homosexuality in the Church and the ELCA's actions are "correct". That's an entirely different debate and, frankly, is sort of boring. However, the ELCA's willingness to debate the issue and modify their conceptualization of their faith accordingly is incredibly "Christ-like". It's an important distinction and one many different Judeo-Christian faith paths would do well to consider.


"The ecclesiastic law change has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with the replenishment of bodies in the pews."


Why must the two things be mutually exclusive? If a reinvention of church rules makes that church more relevant to the spiritual reality of many who are seeking but have not found a spiritual home, then is that church acting cynically and/or "capitalistically" or are they simply, again, not confusing rules for spirit?
posted by quakerjono at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't really want to start another chapter in the Metafilter Atheism Debate

Then don't.

There is an open thread in MetaTalk that is discussing just these issues and there are many people there who would like to have this discussion with you. I would like to politely ask people to consider going there.
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2009


It's been a quiet gay week in Lake Wobegon, my home town...
posted by xorry at 8:53 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


And, even if we could, you know, know, the simple facts, as we might confirm them, don't help us, in the longer run, to hold open, genuine, human hearts.

Ewww. Dripping with blood, or in tidy ziploc bags?

But seriously, what helps me have an open, genuine heart (human, natch) is my own decisions and attitudes. How sad that you feel you are incapable of true goodness on your own.

Still, better that you believe in something that makes you a better person, than to be a worse person. If religion is what it takes to get you to be a good, open, genuine human person — well, good for your religion. We'd all be worse off, apparently, if you weren't religious.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 AM on August 22, 2009


Glad to see them opening their hearts to others. There's room for all.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobody cares about your feelings about religion except you

That's about as good of a working definition of proper religion as I've heard.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:52 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


In "my" Lutheran Church anybody can get married as long as there are two humans involved that make their pledge infront of each other, God and the congregation.
Good to see that this is becoming normal all over the world.
posted by kudzu at 1:07 PM on August 22, 2009


My background is in philosophy (college + university), and I must say, I have never really had a single productive argument with a theologian. Maybe I was unlucky. I take a strictly analytical approach, and in my experience theologians are not exactly well equipped in that department. It's like trying to explain nematic phase liquid crystals to a Taliban man.

I wish someone would create a Pater Aletheias signal.
posted by granted at 1:52 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. Go Lutherans!
posted by dejah420 at 2:30 PM on August 22, 2009


Mm. Yet another religious argument on Metafilter.

Everyone should take a break and read the books of Job and Ecclesiastes.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:02 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, this is a discussion of the Lutherans and their recognition of gay relationships. If you want an argument about religion, I suggest you look here.
posted by hippybear at 6:04 PM on August 22, 2009


The Lutheran church in my hometown merged with a larger one in the next town over. The church building was deconsecrated and eventually became a barbecue restaurant named Holy Smoke. It was pretty darn good for a New England barbecue joint. I liked their ribs, and on their ice cream they had this hot fudge which had been kept in the giant rotating smoker built outside. The entire basement became the kitchen and the dining room was up in the sanctuary. The little recessed altar in the back became two booths for four with pew backs, etc.

The owner's doing barbecue now but as a mobile caterer. The restaurant burned down a few years back in what was a pretty impressive blaze. Not only that, but somebody on the fire department actually got to legitimately use the ol' corny line "The church is on fire? Holy Smoke!"

Anyway, that's my Lutheran story, more or less.
posted by Spatch at 6:12 PM on August 22, 2009


Nobody cares about your feelings about religion except you, and this is not the thread to share them.

I normally don't have a lot of time for LH's views on appropriate the appropriate modes of engagement for atheists on MeFi, but in this case, I am in complete agreement.

The Evangelical Lutherians have chose a path of love and inclusiveness, and this is a good thing.
posted by rodgerd at 3:34 AM on August 23, 2009


Quakers have hymns? Good ones? Really? Can you name any? (I'm not being snarky; I'm a Quaker and would love to know about this. Our hymnal is full of Pete Seeger songs and assorted versions of "Simple Gifts.")

The British ones (and we're unprogrammed so no normal comunal hymn singing meaning that Quaker Carols are truly dire) claim Sydney Carter

Highlights include:

Lord of the Dance (Lyrics) (Most American renditions I've heard use the tempo as well as the tune to Simple Gifts - this is completely wrong, and there was a reason Michael Flatley adopted the tune. Although it can keep the Quaker Music = Simple Gifts joke running)

When I needed A Neighbour (Lyrics)

One more Step Along the Road I go (Can't find a good rendition)

George Fox (embedded audio)

Knocking on the Window (Lyrics) - a great antidote to Good King Wenceslas

And some of his work is quite theologically deep and controversial.

The Devil Wore a Crucifix (lyrics) Anyone who objects to that one needs to be forced to listen to it

Judas and Mary (lyrics)

Bitter was the Night (lyrics) - Peter's perspective on the Crucifixion.

And I sometimes wonder how many lines ahead Unitarians would have to read for Friday Morning (lyrics). Yes, there have been many, many calls to ban that one, mostly from people who didn't understand it.

I really must do a FPP about Sydney Carter sometime...
posted by Francis at 10:09 AM on August 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always assumed it was because Quakers worshipped primarily in silence, and thus never had the need to develop a rich musical tradition on par with certain other Christian denominations.

Not only that, but the early Quakers thought art and music were sinful.
posted by not that girl at 6:04 PM on August 23, 2009


Francis, thanks for that. As a North American Quaker, I've often been curious to learn more about Quakerism in Britain, where they haven't suffered our schisms.
posted by not that girl at 6:09 PM on August 23, 2009


I was raised Lutheran. I remember being told about how one of the hymns written by Luther was set to music of a German drinking song. He chose it because congregations already knew the tune and they could sing along more easily. This drove home the point for me that Luther was trying to demystify the church, and make it accessible to the 'common' people (similarly his German-language translation of the Bible). If he was alive now I wonder what music he would appropriate? And would he get in trouble from the RIAA?

I also remember mind-numbingly long sermons, and being jealous of my Catholic friends who had the whole day free after a quick early morning mass.
posted by joz at 11:11 PM on August 23, 2009


The call process at ELCA churches leaves the final decision on who to call as a pastor up to the individual congregation. The synod office sends candidates (the church can request to meet with someone if they have someone in mind), but the church makes the final call.

In theory, that's how it works. In practice it's much more complicated and kind of a huge pain for the church involved, at least it has been for my home church the two times they've called a new pastor that I've been a witness to.

If you have a 'problem' pastor, that you want to replace (ours had an alcohol issue, and I *think* an affair, it's been a few years) God help you, because it takes forever to get the wheels in motion. Once they are, the church gets one name, and resume/background information. Don't like what you see there? Expect to wait a number of weeks before you get another, single name.

In the mean time, the church has to hire in pastors from other local congregations to fill the shoes, which tends to be fairly expensive. And you don't have the full coverage you'd get with a full-time pastor. So yes, churches can individually work to avoid the gays, but it'll cost them.
posted by graventy at 7:32 AM on August 24, 2009


This is awesome. Go ELCA! :)
posted by zarq at 11:10 AM on August 24, 2009


I also remember mind-numbingly long sermons, and being jealous of my Catholic friends who had the whole day free after a quick early morning mass

Yes, the real irony of Christian history is that the Catholic Church did reform for localization, demystification, and modernization and the Lutherans still did not see reconciliation. The Christian Church is truly broken.
posted by parmanparman at 6:11 AM on August 25, 2009


Once they are, the church gets one name, and resume/background information. Don't like what you see there? Expect to wait a number of weeks before you get another, single name.

Depends on the synod. We're apparently going to get 4 names in our first batch. Incidentally, there's a reason for this, which I didn't know until a pastor friend told me- when you're being considered for one church, you're not able to look or apply anywhere else, until the church releases you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:08 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm all for a sect where the original head was a neurotic highly worried fellow (perhaps quite justly in a time of Borgias) who would come to terms with his own in-divinity and reccommend getting married and having a beer on occasion.
Flippantly described; yes, but entertaining!
posted by LD Feral at 12:06 PM on September 3, 2009


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