Friday, May 27, 2011
What do the polls really say about us?
It has always been curious to me that a denomination like the ELCA, with its roots in austere Scandinavian homes where self-expression and self-interest have always taken second place to others and to the community, would be among the first to approve same sex relationships. I have a great deal of trouble believing that these roots in family, children, and grandchildren as well as community values and goodness would suddenly give way in favor of the prevailing trend of moral change. It makes me think that perhaps the roots of this church change has more to do with niceness than it does anything else.
The graying picture of ELCA pews suggests people who are nice, who bring casseroles to neighbors sick or mourning loss, who work for community betterment, who pay their taxes because they believe children and grandchildren are the greatest assets of the community, who liberally support Lutheran World Relief, who pull out their wallets for every kind of good cause, and who come for dinner with a home-baked present in their arms... Such people believe that however their personal feelings might be, it is not nice to say "no" to others. So I wonder how much the actions of the ELCA or the polls over gay marriage are shaped by the perennial niceness of folks who personally do not think something is good or wise but also believe that others come first and, as long as it does not directly impinge upon their own lives, are willing to live and let live... I grew up in a small Swedish city where niceness shaped a great deal of responses to things that the folks did not personally approve of...
Or it could be that I am just off in my own world...
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Part of me wants to say that you are wrong... but I'm also part Swedish, so I'm not going to. =o)
If you are really off in your own little world, please stay there.
I really enjoy my visits there.
Being of Swedish descent and formerly in the ELCA, I think your assessment of the politeness component is spot on. I can definitely attest that much of what is now de rigeur in the ELCA of today, was not taught to me in confirmation class 25 years ago in the old (Swede-dominated) LCA. Perhaps our cousins in the Church of
Sweden wore us down and we were too polite to say no.
It is not politeness.
It is conformity.
We have been warned not to conform.
What do the polls really say about us?
It trains the child.
Is there a possible parallel reason for these polling changes?
Aside from the Minnesota niceness, could the strictness of these Swedes (ethnicity is really no limiting factor here) play a part?
Certainly there must be those from these backgrounds who fully agree or even participate in the sin of homosexuality. However, they could
make only a small voting faction.
Could the change in the polls also be caused by the at times legalistic, pietistic leanings of the past?
Legalism and pietism are a sure path to antinomianism.
Or, could it be that the Gallup Poll is skewed? CALIFORNIANS... CALIFORNIANS... have twice in the past decade passed propositions restricting marriage to a man and a woman. The liberal California courts have over-turned the ban and, were a proposition approving of gay marriage on the ballot today, it might pass. But, that all the nation is as far left as California is hard to believe. If it is, God grant His Church courage!
The longer same sex unions exist the more tollerant people will be of them. However, I know the people of whom Pastor Peter's refers. I think the reason for this shift is that within the realm of popular culture it has been commonplace for celebrities and elected representatives to be 'for' something publicly whilst privately being against it. The environmentalist travels in a private jet and has an Escalade in the garage. The big government liberal refuses to pay his taxes. The PETA spokesperson has a Chinchilla coat in her closet, the family values conservative has a mistress and a love child. This has shifted from the elites to the proletariat. People who want to be nice and not get into arguments do this too-'I'd never have an abortion, but who am I to tell someone else they can't?" and "I personally object to homosexuality; but what they do (like getting married) is none of my business." That's what passes for a moral stand, in reality it is weak and hypocritical.
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