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Belief Beat

Gay Clergy Decision Causing Rifts Among Evangelical Lutherans

Last August, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a body of about 10,000 churches with more than 4 million members, became the latest denomination to allow openly gay clergy. (This category includes the Episcopal Church and Judaism’s Conservative and Reform branches.) In her recent piece for the Huffington Post, the Rev. Dr. Cindi Love explained the decision, made official this month by the Church Council, has allowed same-sex partners and families to fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan, and the reinstatement of clergy who had been removed either for coming out of the closet or for blessing same-sex unions. 

As expected, the decision has been causing some rifts, although congregations can still decide locally whether to allow an openly gay minister. David Yonke, the Toledo Blade’s religion editor, reports that an Ohio church is the newest addition to the list of several hundred congregations that have decided to leave the ELCA.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Your Name

posted April 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

To reach this wonderful place in the ELCA has been a long, hard struggle by GLBT folks and their straight friends in organizations like SOULFORCE, and Lutherans Concerned/North America Savor the VICTORY over homophobia and bigotry in the church.
Just as in the 60’s when churches were integrated there were racists individuals and congregations who believed the bible sanctioned segregation and racism who left their denominations there shall be homophobic and bigoted individuals and congregations who will leave the ELCA. Let them go to fundamentalist/literalistic denominations like the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. I’m sure they will be very happy there.

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Your Name

posted April 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Could we try to express our satisfaction with the ELCA without callng others derogatory names, please?

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Rob the Rev

posted April 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I am “No Name” above. I shall like to add that any losses in congregations or individuals the ELCA may have will be made up with others who will join the denomination due to their godly, loving, righteous and just stand.

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Your Name

posted April 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Thanks for not stooping to name-calling in you last post, Rob.

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ELCA was already going down the drain

posted April 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

“I shall like to add that any losses in congregations or individuals the ELCA may have will be made up with others who will join the denomination due to their godly, loving, righteous and just stand.”
This is simply a lie that “Rob the Rev” knows to be such. Every denomination where liberal leadership has foisted the “inclusive” nonsense has seen dramatic declines.
Accommodating the cultural lowest common denominator is not godly, not loving, not righteous.

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posted April 28, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Loving all and including them in a church is much better than calling them “sinners” just because they happen to love a person of the same gender. Good for the ELCA!

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posted April 28, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Of course this will negatively impact this denomination it is a move away from God’s will.

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posted April 28, 2010 at 7:49 pm

ELCA is moving toward Jesus teachings to love others as themselves. Good for them!

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Rob the Rev

posted April 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Your Name on April 28, 2010 2:18 PM wrote, “Thanks for not stooping to name-calling in you last post, Rob.”
It was not “name-calling” it is merely characterizing the sinful behavior of church people who have through the centuries used their power in the the church and in the name of God to physically, emotionally, and spiritually oppress, persecute and even murder people who they don’t like or approve of. It is because of such good “Christians” that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people have been treated as marginalized, second class citizens in this country and denied housing, jobs, their civil rights, and the right to exist openly as who God made them. Get used to it. That time is over.

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robert c

posted April 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

As a gay man I find it unnecessary that gay people need to prostelitize to gain admittance into any church that they would feel uncomfortable in being gay. Why bother? As far as “sinful behavior”, well if you lived then and looked around, most, if not all civil authorities were worse. It was the times brother, get over it.

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Your Name

posted April 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Rob, I am an active ELCA member and we are trying to be inclusive and loving to everyone. The people who are against our gains are generally well meaning. Calling names and writing condemning diatribes will not win anyone to our side. It is hard enough to hold our congregations together. That’s all I’m trying to say.

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Rob the Rev

posted April 30, 2010 at 2:25 am

Your Name ELCA member. I don’t believe that you are gay or lesbian and therefore have not been on the receiving end of persecution by church members. Please don’t lecture me.

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posted May 4, 2010 at 11:33 am

500 years ago the Reformation started because the pope du jour had to pay for the recent remodeling and renovations at the Vatican (cost overuns and problems because of changes to the plans have always been part of any project like this). The next reformation may start because some people thought they needed to know what consenting adults did to show affection and love. What giant events come from seemingly small situations.
Humanity acts, God laughs – and the galaxy continues to spin.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

The detractors of those who oppose homosexual practice stem not from Biblical or Christian theology but from the supposition that the individual is supreme. This current “spirit of the age” derives from the liberation movements of the last 50 years. We have no more reason to accept homosexual activity today than we did 500 years ago. Several decades ago the American Psychological Association simply dropped homosexuality from their list of “abnormalities” with little supporting reason.
Homosexual practice is wrong because it is condemned in the Old Testament, it is condemned in the New Testament and allowing its acceptance shatters the Creation Paradigm. God’s creation is to be mirrored in the human story, ie the creation of male and female is pronounce “Good” and the prime directive given is “Be fruitful and multiply”.
Acceptance of homosexual activity breaks this paradigm apart and no attempt to accept homosexual behavior was conceivable among Christians and Jews until recent years. The current “Toleration” stems not from sound theology but liberation movements of the 20th century and Enlightenment thinking that replaced God with the Individual.
Punt God and His Book if you wish but don’t tell me you are doing it for any other reason than the secular view of the current times.

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