Saturday, August 25, 2018
Foolishness. . .
Let me begin by saying that there are those who harbor Roman sympathies who also have a personal preference for higher ceremony but the ceremonies are not the things that draw someone to Rome. It is theology pure and simple -- theological questions that flow out of the frustration of a Lutheranism that is all over the page theologically, without a stomach for discipline, insistent upon absolute congregational autonomy and independence, and who abhor their own theological (and liturgical) tradition. The issue is not the ceremonial but the structure, the discipline, and the consistency of a church that remains theologically and liturgically stable. Now, let me say on the onset that I do not believe this is what Rome offers -- especially in the light of the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peter. I have always maintained that Rome is even more captive to the currents of change, even doctrinal, than confessional Lutheranism. But I will admit the state of Lutherans today often vexes those who love its confessional witness and those who honor its liturgical history.
Of course, it is surely possible to find those who have homosexual desire also interested in liturgy and worship and who honor the fuller ceremonial. It is equally possible to find homosexuals who are confessionally and theologically fully orthodox and Lutheran. Does that mean that confessionalism among Lutherans leads to homosexuality? Only a fool would say that. Neither the theology nor the liturgical practice of that theology contributes to the desire for other men. Those who in comments on this blog, past or present, who suggest that these things lead men to Rome or attract homosexuals are postulating a lie.
As Rome unfolds even more priestly scandals, it is clear that neither the titles, vestments, ceremonies, or theology of Rome makes men lust for other men or boys. There is but one thing that makes men desire other men and that is the disorder and brokenness of sin. Everywhere we see that abuse is certainly not the exclusive domain of the church nor of a confessional or liturgical church. Evangelicals have no denominational structure or supervision inherent in that structure but their own history is also tainted by the same kind and other abuse. It is time we admitted that how we are born is not God's work. It is this thing called original sin. Those who seek and those on whom the good offices of the church have been conferred are not immune from this sin. Marriage is not a medicine for homosexuality. The vast majority of abuses are not pedophilia but the equally sinful and wrong abuse of a power figure with a sexually mature minor (male or female). And it is equally true that the vast majority of cases are same sex abuses. In other words, the problem lies not with ceremony or office or vestments or anything like that but the failure of those so charged with ascertaining the fitness of those who seek ordination and those who practice ecclesiastical supervision. If the lust for vestments and pectoral crosses and a fuller ritual is accompanied by the lust for others (male or female), your desires did not originate nor are they encouraged by the liturgical life of the church but by your own affection for your vices. What is wrong with you is not liturgical preference but disordered desire that is one of terrible fruits of original sin -- the same sin that makes the gift of marriage hard work for the husband and wife and love defined by sacrifice more than anything else.
In your foolishness you may associate a pastor who affirms the richer liturgical expression of our confessional identity as leaning Roman or suspicious in his orientation but that is your own mistaken conclusion. Those who leave Lutheranism for Rome leave for theological and jurisdictional reasons and not for lace and ermine. Homosexual desire is neither awakened by nor exhibited in ritual or ceremony but is from original sin.