This past week ELCA did something that I think was powerful and inspiring and I have to say it made me want to become a Lutheran – it took a position of inclusivity. ELCA voted to allow non-celibate gays and lesbians to serve as leaders in the church.
I started watching this last week when the discussion was focused on blessing the inclusion of celibate gays and lesbians which I thought was really no blessing at all, merely a re-statement of typical religious dogma. I about fell off my chair when I saw that ELCA had actually voted on the side of broad inclusivity. I audibly shouted (because it is well known that I talk to myself, inanimate objects and cats), “Right on Lutherans!” I have never – and let me say that with the emphasis it deserves – NEVER – been so impressed with a religious body.
Now, this isn’t this organization’s first step toward inclusivity. It blessed women pastors way back in 1970 which I imagine was quite controversial in its day as well. Apparently these folks in ELCA actually practice what they preach about – God’s love is for all of his children (or her children depending how you envision God). And all I can add to ELCA’s profound message from my little corner of the world is – AMEN and HALLELUJAH !
I believe one of the most damning messages the gay and lesbian community has endured is the one promulgated by the church that they are against God and outside his love and acceptance based on their living outwardly in their orientation (because it is noted that most churches are fine with you being homosexual as long as you put those thoughts away in a box in your mind, never act on them and pray to God to make you a good and righteous heterosexual). I have watched friends who were raised up in their churches struggle with the message of exclusion and it is one of the primary reasons I have been turned off over the years by organized religion.
But here come the Lutherans to save the day and to offer a welcoming hand and an open heart to a group of God’s children that have been historically treated in a reductionist fashion. ELCA has given me renewed hope for organized religion; and who knows, maybe some Sunday soon instead of sitting around reading the paper and typing my blog I will revisit the idea of going to church. For today, let me just say – God bless the Lutherans for walking the talk.
Day forty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da
The image above by the brilliant Trygve Olson can be found at www.inforum.com/event/image/id/266295/headline/Trygve%20Olson%20cartoon%2008.20.09/