The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Churches seem to be marching in place

Ordination article, statistical report, von Bingen review draw responses

"Like a mighty tortoise, moves the church of God. People, we are treading where we've always trod!" That paraphrase of an "Onward, Christian Soldiers" verse was heard in a sermon in Luray, Va., decades ago. The quip is a reminder of a continuing predicament in the ELCA. We seem to be marching in place. I believe pastors should challenge more members more, and members should be braver. After all, Jesus said, "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). So, Lutherans, as Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton advises in "Great expectations" (July 2011): "Let's stop being shy."

The Rev. Harold E. Burnette
Edinburg, Va.

Hold off on these stories

While I found the article "R. Guy & Keith Fry ..." (July 2011) on the ordinations of two practicing homosexual pastors an enlightening lesson in grace, I wonder if this kind of showcasing doesn't further fan the flames of the difference of opinion within the ELCA concerning such ordinations. There are many who, although they disagree with "the vote," are willing to let the process develop naturally and quietly. Then this article comes out, which I know will be the subject of much discussion in the congregation I serve. Would it be wiser and kinder not to make such a public spectacle of these events? Articles like this only make more people consider leaving the ELCA. If that is the intent, where is the grace in that? If not, where is the consideration of those who wish to remain in the ELCA but live in it with "bound conscience"?

The Rev. Emil H. Klatt III
Lancaster, Ohio

(Editor's note: See "Editor: For the record, a tale of firsts," July 2011.)

Right thing to do

It would be easier to ignore the issue of homosexuality in hopes it would just go away, but it has been with the human race for thousands of years. Perhaps 10 percent of the population is gay. We learn it might be genetic. Why would someone choose it as a lifestyle, difficult at best? Why would our Creator do this to perfectly good people? "The vote" was the right thing to do. God would not want us to make anyone's life more difficult over something that can't be changed, helped or even fully explained.

Pat Oehler
Sacramento, Calif.

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February issue


Embracing diversity