Q: Shunning is practiced by several different religious groups. I see this practice gaining momentum in the ELCA. Does our constitution address this? Is there a biblical foundation for this practice?
A: The dictionary describes shunning as avoiding a person or people deliberately and consistently. In a religious community, this means excluding someone deemed guilty of a serious offense to the faith of the group.
As a result, the person or people are treated as if they don't exist and are kept out of all sustaining and nurturing life of the faith community. This is based on the conviction that the community's beliefs and practices are of critical importance and that a breach of them is a threat to the group's spiritual health. Therefore, the offender must be excluded.
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