this is no longer my blog

Monday, May 03, 2004


THIS obedience

this past weekend, i had the privilege to attend a wedding ceremony of a friend from seminary. it was at bethany lutheran church in minneapolis, which is the church he serves. the thing that really made this wedding different was that the Church as a whole, and the nation for that matter, does not recognize this as a valid wedding because it involved two men. i met my friend jay during my first year at seminary. he had started seminary several years earlier, and progressed on the normal master of divinity track, aiming to become an ordained pastor. in the midst of his senior year he came to terms with something that he had been grappling with for a long time, and came out of the closet. he ended up withdrawing from seminary, and ended up in the twin cities where he took a staff position at a lutheran church. it was in the cities that he met his partner tim, and after a couple of years God and tim worked on jay enough that he decided to go back to seminary. second semester of my junior year he came back to finish his degree, but this time he was not in the ELCA candidacy process, but this time he was in the Extraordinary Candidacy Process, which is a process and organization that places gay and lesbian pastors in commited relationships into churches where they are welcomed and embraced. jay fit nicely into my circle of friends and we spent a lot of time together. jay graduated at the end of that semester, finally earning his MDiv degree after a long journey. we were there to celebrate and support him. after graduation he accepted a position at bethany lutheran church, an elca church, as their pastoral minister for outreach. he accepted the job as an unordained position, with the knowledge that someday it could/would turn into an ordained position.
so my friends and i went to the twin cities to celebrate and support jay and tim at this next momentous occasion. i was greatly impressed with this wedding. i have been to a number of heterosexual weddings, but this wedding was the most liturgically minded ceremony i have ever been to. they focused on substance and what was being said and much less on pomp and circumstance.
the reception (and also the hotel where i stayed during the weekend) was the wyndham hotel in bloomington, minnesota. there were a lot of interesting and even a few "famous" people there. i sat at the wartburg affiliated table, with three other current wartburgers, a spouse, a wartburg grad who started seminary with jay, and then two other wartburg grads and their partners. we had some great conversations, and then four women from another table stood up and sang a song for jay and tim. when they sat down, i leaned over to john, one of the guys i had just met, and asked who they were. "oh!" he said, "those are the powerhouse lesbians in Lutherans Concerned" one of them was anita hill, and i must say that i felt more in the presence of fame than i had with the two real world schmucks (see previous entry). i actually wanted to go and talk to her, introduce myself, but i was almost too starstruck! i had no idea what to say! a video i borrowed from my friend jay, and recommend to EVERYONE is the video entitled "THIS obedience". it is the story of anita hill, her partner, her church, and the effects of her irregular ordination in the community, the synod and churchwide. it is such a galvanizing video, it makes the need for action painfully obvious. as i mentioned in my "donuts and bishops" post earlier, there is this community of gifted, compassionate, loving, talented, pastoral ministers that we are denying, that we are "studying," that we are sending the message to that they are somehow less than, unwhole, inappropriate, evil... it just makes me angry, i guess.
anyway, back to my friend jay... the next big step on his journey came when his church decided to ordain him, much like in the article link about anita hill, in disobedience to the elca's current position on the ordination of homosexuals in commited relationships. i expect there to be quite a brouhaha about this, too. i expect there to be protesters, possibly even fred phelps and his "god hates fags" contingent. but i expect there to be a large number of supporters, of people who will rejoice in the brave and bold step that this church is taking. i know that i will be there.
and now a response to one of my previous posts. in that post i talked about the pastor from the church of the apostles, and her stance of homosexuality in the church and the whole reconciling in christ program. she said that her church was not an ric church because she didn't want to politicize the issue. if you loved Jesus than you were welcome regardless of your sexual/gender orientation. well, as much as i liked that at the time, the more i think about it the more i don't like it. i'm sorry, but as much as you don't want to politicize the issue, it IS political. it is political in our church and it is political in our nation. it has already been politicized. and there are so many churches and places where gay and lesbian people are not welcomed, where they are condemned and hated. i think we are called to go out of our way to let them know that they are welcome INDEED. we need to take a stand, to make it very obvious that people of every sexual/gender orientation are welcome.
well, i've rambled on enough. but you can expect more about this subject matter as things progress both with my friend jay and within the elca as we move towards a vote about the ordination of homosexuals in relationships.


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