Friday, August 28, 2009

Well, here's something different

During the Churchwide Assembly, one of the other voting members (with whom I had shared a pint at Brit's Pub) came up to me and told me about one of the other voting members (who was speaking against the sexuality changes) appearing on a gay news website called The article was entitled "Watch Live: Listen to Lutheran hate speech as it happens", and as you could perhaps guess, it was not flattering to this young pastor, and the comments were downright horrible. So I posted a comment about what this pub friend of mine had done in response, which turned into another whole article.

Then I got an email from the publisher of, asking if I would be willing to write a guest op-ed piece for them. I agreed, and here it is.


  1. Your essay was brilliant and true. I unfortunately live in the North Texas area where ignorance towards homosexuality is justified by Christian condemnation (which isn't very Christian). I really am glad with the ECLA's decision because, like you said, it will force us to engage in a discussion about things many have never much considered with depth or understanding. It's important for Christians to think about their neighbors regardless of their sexual orientation and remember God's kindness and grace and hopefully follow suit.

  2. Hi, Erik. I'm (among many, many other things) gay and Episcopalian, and I want to express my thanks for taking the time to "pass the salt" over at Queerty. It's "a tough room" to be sure and has its own share of "fundamentalists". While it would be nice to see the Brians and Andrews lower their defenses long enough to start a real conversation, it's more important to simply bear witness for more open, questioning people of good will trying to make sense of it all.

    David Drane, Evanston, IL (

  3. Thanks so much for the article you posted over at Queerty. Words fail me - just, thanks.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You can't win on a site like You will be dismissed because you are not relevant because you are a Christian, you didn't do enough, the ELCA didn't do enough, somebody in the past did something wrong to somebody, or any of a thousand or more reasons for dismissing a person of faith.

    Have humans done wrong things in the name of Christ? Yes. Name one human organization that doesn't have a skeleton in the closet. (I'm sure Stephen A. Douglas is still turning over in his grave because Barack H. Obama is a Democrat.)

    How come it seems that those who are most against Christianity and say they never would become one are the quickest to point out how we are not like Jesus? Maybe the law is written on their hearts? Nah, couldn't be. (grin)

    When all is said and done, though, we aren't called to be winners by Christ. We are called to be faithful witnesses.

    There is a difference between being faithful and being successful. I would refer you to Reepicheep in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but I don't see how a Book of Concord beer-drinker could ever appreciate the finer points laid out by the Anglican apologist C. S. Lewis.

    So, keep on being faithful. And keep on celebrating the Mass with the highest reverence.

  6. Thanks for the comments. I've been impressed with the (300!) comments on to my posting. It's clear that folks over there like to talk religion. That's way more fun than would have been had at most religious sites.

    And the comments, to me, have reinforced my point--we all engage in the same sort of BS (I include myself) when we exclude one another. This kind of action calls us all to take a long hard look, and (hopefully) engage with one another differently. And Christians (unfortunately for us sometimes) don't really have another option. Now, more than ever, how Christians treat one another means more than what we say. And how we treat those unlike us matters even more.

  7. Eric,

    I found your post on Queerty indirectly, through the post of Pastor Lura.

    I was also at the convention although as a Goodsoil volunteer and not a delegate. Like you, I am a straight ally.

    I thought your post was both brave and appropriate; I also thought Pastor Lura's comments were truthful but more as the cutting criticism of a prophet than a pastor. I thought she implicitly criticized you, and all of us straight allys, as second class advocates as if only those who fully feel the pain can be true believers, and the rest of us should simply chant mea culpa, mea culpa. I also thought the criticism of Pastor Mills was over the top; was he afraid, yes; was he wrong; yes; was he hateful, no. Name calling is name calling. I remembered the sermon during Assembly worship: justice yes, retribution no.

    There is a place for prophecy and a place for the pastor, and many of your detractors over there don't understand your shepherding role.

    Ultimately, I think it is true that we as a church still have a long way to go ... beyond acceptance, beyond tolerance, beyond merely agreeing to disagree ... to a place of wholeness for the LGBT person created in the image of God. But, we just took a big step, and we'll continue to move forward with caring leaders and pastors such as yourself. Thanks for your ministry.

    FYI, I blogged extensively before, during, and after the assembly at Check it out and offer your comments.

  8. Eric,
    Thanks for taking the time to reach out and be true to yourself and your belief system. I took time to read your articles today, and as a gay Lutheran found your discourse encouraging, just as I have found being part of the Lutheran church encouraging. Our church has been open to my partner and me, and another gay friend who actually serves on the board of the church. This is not to say that all Lutheran churches would treat us the same way.

    I sense real personal growth and a willingness to take great risk of being rejected by many people. What you did is not easy and most of us would rather avoid or run away from confrontation. As stated before by other people you were willing to pass the salt and express to a group of people who you normally do not gather with what is going on in your life and in your church. You took the road less travel and I am glad you did.

    Your willingness to share help me better understand what has happen in the Lutheran church and what I can expect by going there as a member.

    The Lutheran church has brought a lot of healing to my family during the past couple of years. It has been a blessing and I am proud to be part of this denomination.