Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Big Me

Tonight we're having a congregational meeting with our senior Pastor to discuss (and pray about) the latest, ongoing and interminable draft of the ELCA Social Statement on Human Sexuality from the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. Can you believe it takes 64 pages when God made it pretty clear in just a few scattered verses and chapters beginning with Genesis in the OT and pronouncing in the book of Hebrews in the NT that only the marriage bed is undefiled? No matter what denomination you belong to, you're going through the same thing--Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, even some denominations considered more evangelical than those called mainline protestants. The liberals have been tinkering, very patiently for 30-40 years--longer in some churches than others--and homosexuality isn't the only issue. Gosh, no.

I remember back in the 1970s when I worked in the Agriculture Library leafing through a book of the budget of the World Council of Churches. They were funding Communist guerrillas in the Philippines! God only knows what terrorist groups under the name of "expanding the boundaries" and "inclusiveness" it's funding today. Your apostasy radar ought to go off if you ever hear your church or denomination is going to attack the "root causes" of something be it poverty, hunger, bad housing, obesity, drug use, or poor schools because they sure aren't talking about sin!

Progressive Christians aren't progressing--they are marching backwards lock step to the Garden of Eden for a do-over, and declaring they are in charge and know better than God how to run the world. Mainline denominations, ELCA included, are losing members. Liberals offer "Christ" as a philosophical construct, a flabby, limp role model for social and political action. They left that moldy old Jesus in the tomb years ago along with the atonement, because aren't we all born good with just a need to clean up a bit in order to flourish? It's not sin, you know, it's poverty and oppression that are the problem.

And Evangelicals with their seeker friendly, mega-churches are close behind. Yes, they are still drawing crowds, which the liberals are not, but when you become a me-centered, come to Jesus, social service agency, you won't be able to keep your people just because you offer an altar call and loud music. If you offer people a Jesus-free, agenda driven, one-more-project church, eventually they'll leave you for a real Christian church or just go golfing or fishing on Sunday morning.

UALC is a congregation that is faithful to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and it's certainly not the only Lutheran church within ELCA that is faithful and concerned. Some congregations have already left and formed other associations. But I fear for the synod to which we are linked. That appears to be the only solution when the liberals have taken over your seminaries, colleges, publishing company and church offices.

Update: It was a good meeting. I love it when the pastor plays the piano and sings with us. He provided background on the 20 year history of this and said he was actually encouraged with this document because it seemed to recognize the conservative view point which other drafts haven't. He encouraged us to write to the Task Force and make our points without being cranky and argumentative. Like in the style of Paul or Luther, perhaps?

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