Friday, August 21, 2009

A Church Divided

Recently during its Churchwide Assembly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a statement on human sexuality that includes an endorsement of “chaste, monogamous and lifelong" same-sex relationships. While many more conservative Lutherans are disappointed by this decision, John Piper took an extra step and said that the tornado that hit Minneapolis around the same time of the Assembly was "a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin."

This kind of talk is usually reserved for fundamentalists who claim that gays and abortion were responsible for both 9/11 and Katrina. However, I think there might be a hint of truth to Piper's comment. I don't think that the storm was caused by the ELCA's decision, but if you look at this photo of the damage done to Central Lutheran's steeple, you have to admit that it is quite a coincidence:

Now please don't think that I'm suggesting that God's poured his wrath upon Central Lutheran as punishment for accepting homosexuality. That's not at all what I'm saying. But I am suggesting that this could be a warning for the Lutheran Church not to be divided against itself. Maybe God is saying, "Don't tear yourself apart over this issue."

Last night I found this video from Brian McLaren about "the pain of dealing with this issue." I think it's a great message for not just the Lutheran Church, but for the entire Body of Christ.


  1. Thanks for this blog entry. Really great resources there.

  2. Okay, so I commented a bit prematurely and not very eloquently. I liked the link to Piper's blog entry and while I don't necessarily think the tornado was God's wrath, it is a very disconcerting coincidence. In the video, Brian McLaren says something I completely agree with and have been trying to articulate for a while now: There is a difference between acceptance and approval.

    It is possible and SHOULD be happening that we as Christians love all other people, no matter how different they are or what choices they make. But we cannot mistake that love sometimes for approval over their actions. Nor should we condone behaviors that we disagree with. People get defensive over this because they see disagreement/disapproval as hatred, and that's not what it is.

    Lack of love should not be, by any means, occuring. But I don't see how we can or should condone behaviors that conflict with our beliefs and our God.