The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A church affiliation story worth telling

Tolerance, charity, assembly action stories, Marty column move readers

Not all bad
With stories about congregations leaving the ELCA since "the vote" in 2009, let me tell of one that joined. In October 2010, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Gilroy, Calif., began the process of discerning its national church affiliation. We were with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. We had several guest speakers come from both the LCMS and ELCA to preach and share their insights. After an advisory, nonbinding vote with only two dissenting, we began the formal process of switching from the LCMS to the ELCA. We took our deciding vote on Reformation Sunday 2011. I went through the candidacy process and the congregation adopted the ELCA model constitution, and we were joyfully welcomed into the ELCA at the 2012 Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly. We are very happy in the ELCA. We don't look back, but welcome the newness and freshness of this relationship. In January we became a Reconciling in Christ congregation. I'm grateful for the welcome into the ELCA and wanted to share our story. It's a good one.

The Rev. Ronald E. Koch
Gilroy, Calif.

Good piece, but ...
Kudos for "Beyond tolerance" (October, page 20). It brought to mind Martin Luther's Small Catechism and his explanation that "we are to fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, or lie about our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain his actions in the kindest way." Yet as the author writes: "Luther took for granted that both Muslims and Roman Catholics were enemies of Christ." Then there is Luther's treatise On the Jews and Their Lies. Where is tolerance in our nation right now?

The Rev. Luverne A. Jacobson
Wilsonville, Ore.

Give credit where due
In case some readers missed it, a news brief (September, page 10) said that Britain's "estimated 280,000 Muslims report giving more money annually to charity than Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews." If this is true, then Muslims display better Christian and Jewish values than the rest of us. The Bible clearly teaches that it is the responsibility of the people of God to support and bring the poor up out of poverty. Let's applaud the Muslim community for that.

The Rev. Ed Beckstrom
Lake Martin, Ala.

Off the mark
As a retired robbery detective for the Dallas Police Department for 33 years, I found "Event tackles 'The New Jim Crow'" (September, page 40) disconcerting. Almost all of the officers I worked with were color-blind when it came to enforcing the law. As a robbery detective I did deal with more black suspects than white because they committed more of the offenses. I agree that many convicted felons (of any color) tend to re-offend because there is no support system for them when they are released. It also appears that some in the article would like to do away with incarceration of lawbreakers. A small-time drug dealer can hurt people as well as the big-time dealer. We should look for solutions for the user. There are not enough treatment facilities, but who should pay for them?

Duane Boy

Nothing but the facts
After reading the description of the Israel-Palestine action passed by the Churchwide Assembly (September, page 27), I read the actual text that was passed. The focus of the action is pretty clear — the ELCA is to dispel "stereotypes and caricatures" and work toward a better understanding of this conflict by hearing and learning from both sides. The account in The Lutheran, however, seems not to convey the essence of the text and, instead, focuses unduly on a brief reference to the Kairos Palestine Document, even adding verbiage about the "Israeli occupation" that in fact does not appear in the action as passed.

The Rev. Brooks Schramm
Gettysburg, Pa.

Clerical word police
Peter W. Marty's "Talking about homosexuality" (September, page 3) was a tortured and shameful attempt to justify the homosexual lifestyle and to announce what is proper thought and speech on the subject. The article was replete with nonsensical arguments and factual distortions unbefitting a Christian publication. The radicals, who have taken charge in the ELCA, are relentlessly driving their social agenda and further alienating church membership. The wolves have now taken control of the chicken coop.

Glenn Kaijala
New Bern, N.C.

On the other hand ...
Bravo to Marty for "Talking about homosexuality" for its biblical focus and identification of ways to follow Jesus' commandment to love our neighbor.

Eldora Pederson
Port Angeles, Wash.

... and a third view
I am over-inputted on this worry, troublesome sinning that everyone seems to have about me and my partner of 37 years. I failed to understand how being a good person, spiritual, faithful, honest and loving was really affecting anyone else's marriage. We self-segregated to California where people would accept/judge us for who we are as people in our deeds and actions. But somewhere in little old Davenport, Iowa, a heterosexual man has summed it all up for all of us. Believe me, I never saw that coming. Bravo on your article. Now let's go to the basement and have some of our favorite Lutheran lemon bars to celebrate.

Jo Ann Koch
San Diego

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February issue


Embracing diversity