8.12.2005

. . . What We Have Left Undone

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) took (at least) two important votes today. First, delegates at their national convention voted 851-127 to keep the church together despite great disagreements over homosexuality. Later, delegates voted 503-490 to reject a plan that would have allowed synods to ordain homosexuals who might certain criterion (e.g., being in a long-term, monogamous relationship). More details on the voting can be found in this news article or at the ELCA's website.

One of the concerns expressed by members of the ELCA (and, for that matter, by many in the Anglican Communion) is that a convincing theological argument on why homosexuals should be eligible for ordination has not been offerred. Instead, what are offerred are testimonials as to how ordination of gays and lesbians - or the exclusion from ordination - has hurt gays, lesbians, their friends and families, etc.

As a lesbian who is a candidate for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church, I concede. I have not seen - nor have I contributed to or prepared - a theological argument for why "people like me" should be ordained or ordainable. And yet, I am not sure that I have seen a convincing theological argument for why heterosexuals - married or single - should be ordained or ordainable. Theological treatises on the reasons for ordained ministries certainly exist but how much of the detail is devoted to the potential ordinand's sexuality? What in these treatises explicitly exclude an homosexual? I'm not trying to be difficult - I really don't know the answer. What resources can I look to for this? [note: this is not a rhetorical question].

I am grateful for the ELCA's vote to remain united as they continue on their journey. I don't recall the ECUSA having such a resolution on the table 2 years ago and will watch, with interest, the manner in which the discussions in both denominations continue. Will the unified vote taken by the ELCA today make a difference in the nature of their dialogue?


A good discussion on this topic as it pertains to the ECUSA has already been ongoing on AKMA's blog (unfortunately, it is late and despite my best efforts at coming up with a search term that will land me in the midst of said discussion, the best I can do is say, here's the blog - I hope you can find the discussion - and, I'm sorry).

No comments: