Yea Or Nay On ELCA Gay

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Sure..no sooner do Linda and I come back into the fold by joining the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America after many years absence..than the church gets itself all boiled up in controversy as big wigs of the ELCA get together in Minneapoils..take a vote and  decide it’s okay for homosexuals to become Lutheran ministers..just so long as they’re in a loving relationship and don’t fool around with other members of the same sex.
I wasn’t aware of this but apparently up to now, it’s been okay for gays to belong to the Lutheran clergy IF they promised not to exercise their gayness in the bedroom or anyplace else for that matter.
 
Will somebody please explain to me why THIS incredibly divisive issue has become such a pressing one in Lutherndom right now?  Have gays and lesbians been banging on the doors of Lutheran Bishops all across America demanding their god-given right to come out of the cloak closet and preach in the pulpit if they want to?
I, like most everyone of my generation, never really knew any homosexuals growing up..none that I was aware of anyway.  In fact, the subject was rarely if ever a part of our conversation unless as a punch line to an off-color joke. Biblical chapters dealing with it certainly weren’t discussed in Sunday school or church.
It wasn’t until after my stepson, James, officially “came out” many years ago, that I began opening my mind and realized that  homosexuality is usually not a lifestyle choice but a genetic disposition; something you have no more control over than the color of your eyes.  
James is happy in his skin and we all love, respect and admire him.
So, does that mean my old homophobic prejudices and attitudes have disappeared?
I must confess they have not.
I still feel uncomfortable at the site of gay couples holding hands or kissing in public or the idea of same sex marriage. I tend to smirk at female athletes who are just a little too butch or of men who act flamboyantly feminine.   
So, can I learn to be as accepting as my church appears to be?  I don’t know.
How can I ignore biblical scriptures that seem to indisputedly condemn same sex relationships?
Well, I supposed it’s possible since I and a lot of other Christians have managed to ignore many biblical teachings including all of the Ten Commandments. 
We cling to the Genesis version of creation but can’t bring ourselves to deny the scientific reality of evolution.We accept the idea that you can’t get into heaven unless your baptized and believe in Jesus Christ yet while attending the funerals of sinners and non believers we pray that God’s grace will be enough to allow admittance.
The scriptures are filled with discrepancies leaving plenty of latitude for interpretation which is why we have a gazillion different Christian church denominations all clinging to what they believe the bible “clearly” says when, in fact, the bible isn’t clear on a lot of things.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told of the blessings that await those who are poor, meek, vigilant, forgiving and righteous and talked about various degrees of rewards in heaven for those who strive to do good deeds and be perfect like God.
But he also said that we’re guilty of violating commandments even if we just “think” about breaking them. Anger and hatred are ranked right in there with murder… and adultery is committed simply with a lustful glance at a woman not your wife. He goes so far as to say that if certain body parts cause us to sin we should lop them off or pluck them out and throw them away rather than having our whole body burn in hell. Did he REALLY mean for us to do that or was it hyperbole for effect? Such questions don’t get brought up or preached about on Sunday mornings these days.
 
So, what does God really think about openly gay people being ordained Lutheran ministers?
Can we ignore the many biblical passages that call homosexual acts detestable, shameful, indecent and perverted ..much like we brush aside those scriptures condemning greed, gluttony, and the judgment of others?
It just seems to me that if we take everything that’s written in the bible literally..especially the Old Testament..we’re all goners.
I’m just hoping that,  like the thief on the cross discovered,  paradise can be still be ours if we have a little faith.
 I expect many of you have strong feelings on this issue and invite your comments..but please let us be civil. I have the power of deletion and am not afraid to use it.  
 
 
 
 

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