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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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August 5, 2005

Off to Orlando

We’re winding up our work on The Lutheran magazine in Chicago this afternoon as we’re gearing up to open up shop as The Daily Lutheran in Orlando on Monday, where we’ll produce a 4-page newspaper every day of the Churchwide Assembly for the voting members.
    But it’s for you, too, delivered at www.thelutheran.org every day.
    You’ll be able to check as the 1,018 voting members debate and decide issues that will impact the future of the ELCA. Chief among these, of course, are the recommendations from the Church Council on sexuality on whether the church will bless committed same-gender relationships and allow those in such relationships to serve on the ELCA ministry roster.
    What ever happens, you’ll likely hear about it on national news and read it in your local newspaper. We’ve already been told an unprecedented number of news outlets will be there to report what we do. Our action, of course, is really part of a bigger story in U.S. Protestantism. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Methodists, and members of  the Reformed Church in America  and the United Church of Christ  already have wrestled with issues of homosexuality at denominational meetings.
     Wrestling isn’t pretty. Or easy. And those who do wrestle with one another don’t come away unchanged by the experience.
    The most famous of all biblical wrestlers, of course, is Jacob who struggled all night long with a man and at daybreak came away with a dislocated hip, the blessing of a new name, “Israel,”—and the realization that in his combat with this unknown man he had actually “seen God face to face” (Gen. 34: 24-31).
    There are things do need to be wrestled with and people who will struggle mightily with one another over them. Expect this to happen this next week in Orlando. But pray, too, that in the struggles there also will be blessings demanded and blessings granted.
    The refrain of a “new” hymn from the 1970s keeps going through my head as I write this: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”
     I hope that however the votes turn out, the struggles waged before the microphones on the floor of the assembly will show the reporters from the secular media—and all who listen and read the news— that ELCA Lutherans are Christians who can be recognized by “our love” for God’s world and for one another.

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