Tuesday, April 29, 2014
No rest for the weary. . .
According to reports from the recent meeting of the ELCA bishops, the placement of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer candidates for ministry was one topic of discussion. The discussion was not merely among the bishops; guests who are part of Proclaim and the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries joined the bishops for conversations about how placement is going across this church and to share best practices as well as concerns. In other words, how to expand the range of openings available to GLBT candidates. More than one bishop of the ELCA has nearly threatened resistant congregations in an effort to make the placement of such candidates wide open. The goal here is clearly to put GLBT candidates on equal par with all other candidates in every congregation and ministry of the ELCA.
While I feel sorry for those who stayed in the ELCA and who will find themselves subject to the forced integration of GLBT candidates into the full specter of ministries and congregations of that church body, I believe they were naive in thinking that this would not happen or that it would be forestalled long enough for them to not have to deal with it all. The GLBT lobby has shown itself to be well organized, highly effective, extremely intolerant of opposition, and very impatient in its effort to have nothing less than the full acceptance and approval of its agenda. That has surely been the case in the ELCA until now and it will not change. All that talk about bound conscience was just that - talk. Though from a practical perspective, who did not see this coming? How can a church body exist with a fractured ministerium of candidates some would consider and others would not? (Wake up Missouri when it comes to SMP and licensed lay deacons!! We cannot have a fractured ministerium either!)
So it is no surprise that if you are in the ELCA, a GLBTQueer candidate may be ascending the steps to your pulpit soon. . . (Though unless the ELCA is radically different, the percentage of actual GLBTQueer candidates will remain well below 10% as with the general population. If that is not the case, then the ELCA is actually showing deference to and encouraging GLBTQueer candidates as the norm for their clergy.)