In All Things, Charity
For Immediate Release, Saturday August 29, 2009
By Affirmation Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made two very important
decisions while meeting in Minneapolis, MN, at their Church-wide Assembly
2009. First they approved a social statement on human sexuality, "Human
Sexuality: Gift and Trust," which is very supportive of same gender
orientation and gender identity while recognizing that there is not
uniformity of opinion within the denomination. They also supported allowing
local congregations to choose to call and ordain homosexual clergy who are
living out their orientation. Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns, applauds the ELCA for making
these faith filled decisions and congratulates the organizations of Goodsoil
for their work to ensure these actions.
The social statement provides the basis and guidance to form policy and
programs for the ELCA. It is tolerant of differences in scriptural
interpretation and in practice. The statement supports unity without
requiring uniformity. And while the ELCA did allow openly lesbian, gay, and
bisexual clergy to be ordained, it forbade them from entering into
life-affirming, same-gender relationships. Now all ELCA clergy need not
fear loving the person of their choice. The denomination allows individual
congregations to call someone who is in a relationship.
Some people noted that while the Assembly was discussing the Human Sexuality
statement, a tornado caused damage to the building where the delegates were
meeting. These voices fearfully pronounced this a sign of God's disfavor.
As Christians, we are filled with God's spirit of discernment and love and
find this style of theologizing immature and on a level with studying animal
entrails to learn God's will. Moreover, these persons failed to discern
that the sun reappeared upon the taking of the vote to accept the study.
Affirmation celebrates the increasing number of Christian denominations that
recognize that God's love for us is not limited by who we are or whom we
love. We call upon The United Methodist Church to follow the guidance of
the denominations which have opened themselves up to proclaiming and living
God's love. These churches recognize that God does not limit a call to
specialized service within the Church by gender identity or sexual
orientation. Yes, this is an area of great disagreement within our
denomination and our society and causes members to leave the church.
However, most important issues rarely bring total uniformity. As United
Methodists, we have found ways to follow John Wesley's teaching of "In
essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity". Our
diversity is a strong point of our denomination. Affirmation recognizes
that the solutions crafted by the ELCA or other denominations may not work
for The United Methodist Church. Yet we pledge that we will continue to
work with The United Methodist Church in finding ways to be welcoming of all
of God's people.
As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization
with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.
How to Contact Us: email: umaffirmation@...
Affirmation web: http://www.umaffirm.org
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