Our church & the sexuality studies
Continuing its coverage of the ELCA sexuality studies, The Lutheran offers articles by two ELCA members whose work has contributed to the deliberations of the sexuality task force.
The 13-member task force has read and discussed Married in the Sight of God: Theology, Ethics and Church Debates Over Homosexuality (University Press of America, 2000) by Christian Batalden Scharen and The Church & Homosexuality: Searching for a Middle Ground (Kirk House Publishers, 2nd ed., 2001) by Merton Strommen. "These books have become rallying points in the church," said James Childs Jr., director of the studies. "We examined them because both speak directly to the issues confronting the church from within the church." Scharen is pastor of First Lutheran Church of the Reformation, New Britain, Conn. Strommen, an ELCA pastor, is a research psychologist and founder of Search Institute, Minneapolis.
Childs said the task force read the books as " part of our larger exploration of issues, as we delve more deeply into the literature and ideas people are expressing."
The Lutheran invited each author to consider the question: Can homosexuality be considered another expression of God's creation?
The 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly action called for the development of a study document on homosexuality by the 2005 assembly, complete with proposals relating to the blessing of same-gender unions and allowing gays and lesbians in committed relationships on ELCA ministry rosters.
For background and more information about the task force's work, visit www.elca.org/faithfuljourney.
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