When I went off to college my original intent was to be a lawyer. I knew the money was in corporate law, but I thought the action was to be had in criminal law. And so I chose a college with a Law School attatched, not really thinking much about the fact that it was a church college, Valparaiso University, yet alone a Lutheran one. I eventually lost my stomach for the law (too much politics, don't you know), but I really found a home in Lutheran -- or Evangelical Catholic (hence to be known for the lifetime of this blog as EC) -- worship and theology. One thing led to another and away to seminary I went.
Now here I am some 20 years later feeling much like Mary Magdalene on Easter morning: if someone knows what they've done with my precious ELCA let me know, so that I can properly care for the body. It seems the principalities and powers we commonly call "politics" have stolen the body and I don't know where they have laid it.
Some think the struggle for the ELCA's soul is between conservative and liberal factions with the issue d'jour being the rostering of GLBT persons living in faithfully committed lifelong partnerships. Hey, since when did the forces of the world's political agenda, become the guiding forces of our life and mission? Why don't we try this one on for size and go from there: God created people. People. Gay people. Straight people. People. People need love. Gay people need love. Straight people need love. God is love. Human love is a reflection of the Creator's love. People sin. They fall short of their created purpose. They use God's good creation (including other people) to meet their own ends. Straight people sin. Gay people sin. In Christ God delivers people from sin. God delivers gay people. God delivers straight people. In Christ God delivers people, period. God sees people, not sexual orientations. God wants honest, heartfelt devotion, not slavish adherence to political platforms or doctrinal or interpretive schemes. Could it be as simple as opening our eyes to see the people that surround us every day, and reaching out to them as people in the name of Christ?
My conversations with Scripture have led me to conclude no less. We can afford to do no less. The devil and his (or is it her?) minions laugh when they see us tearing ourselves apart in the name of religious correctness, for we are diverted from our true purpose for being, and the credibility of our witness is diminished among those who need to hear our witness most. Shame on us! Oh, and by the way, since when has the time honored EC practice of respecting the "bound conscience" of another come to mean, accept my position or I quit and can't fellowship with you anymore? Shame on us!
So, if anyone knows who 'jacked my frackin' church, please let me know so that the body can be properly tended. I am the Unlikely Pastor. Welcome to my world.