Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unsolicited Advice. . .

I have hesitated to say anything on the subject but I figured I might as well as my own two cents.  Former ELCA Bishop Herb Chilstrom has sent an open letter to the Roman Catholic Bishops of Minnesota (but not only them) challenging them to embrace the gay and lesbian marriage movement.  You can read it all here.  It did not get much traction among the RC Bishops -- but it did get some headlines in the press.  As you may guess, the media thought it good and helpful.  The RCC not so much.

Unsolicited advice is often worth about as much as a bad cup of coffee.  In this case it is worth less than that.  Chilstrom's point seems to be that if you only knew gay and lesbian people, you would give up your opposition to homosexual marriage.  In other words, he is saying that it is because we do not know gay or lesbian people that we do not like them and therefore are treating them so poorly.

This is perhaps the saddest day in Chilstrom's career.  It is time for someone who cares for him to suggest that he simply be quiet.  I know that will not happen but his letter is juvenile and embarrassing.  I am not sure that many have ever suggested that the Church's opposition to gay and lesbian marriage is because we do not know or like gay or lesbian people.  Knowing or liking homosexuals has nothing to do whatsoever with the traditional stance of the Church against all forms of pre or extra marital sex.  Knowing or liking homosexuals has nothing whatsoever to do with the Church's opposition to the legalization or re-definition of marriage to include gays, lesbians, and whoever else feels themselves oppressed minorities.  It is a lie that keeps getting raised up over and over again -- usually by the proponents of gay and lesbian marriage -- that opposition to this is because we do not like gay or lesbian people.

It is because we LOVE gays and lesbians that we will not be moved.  Love is not tacit acceptance of that which we know is wrong and in conflict with the Word of God.  Love is not tolerance for diverse points of view when that means the truth is silenced or relegated to the status of one of many truths.  Love is not condoning wrong that betrays God's creative intention and will and deprives us of the gift that is family. 

I remember watching a show talking about the movie awards and a comment was made about a gay actor and his wardrobe, uh, malfunction.  The commenter suggested that this many could not really be gay because no gay man would ever go out in public looking like that.  We cannot say we love someone if we are willing to silence the truth for the sake of feelings.  It is because of love that the Church stands up for marriage and family by God's design.  It is because of love that the Church refuses to change the rules simply because of the change in culture (for the moment).  Love requires truth -- sometimes the hard truth -- but it is a truth designed not to exclude but to proclaim positively who God is and what it means to be made in His image (though it is shattered, distorted, and broken by sin we bear that image and the truth of our creation is not negated by the damage done to us by sin and its death).

Now, it is loveless and bigotry that the Church tends to overlook the sins of the straight people (fornication and extra marital sex) in order to focus upon the sins of a few (and, no matter what anybody says, gays and lesbians are a very, very small minority).  I will admit that when we single out gays and lesbians and refrain from speaking to the larger problem of straight people shacking up, acting promiscuously, and disdaining the gift and blessing of marriage, we are being loveless and hypocrites.  But the solution is not to silence what we say to gays and lesbians.  The answer lies in proclaiming the same truth to all -- chastity in singleness and fidelity in marriage.  Period.

I remember as a child being told by my mother to try those giant lima beans she cooked.  If I only tried them, I would like them.  I tried them and I thought I was going to die.  I tried them and I still hate them.  To treat gays and lesbians the same way we treat foods that might have an acquired taste is an affront to gays and lesbians and signals that we do not love them with the steadfast and enduring love of God in Christ.  This love does not confuse affection with truth.  This love speaks to us the hard word of repentance that we may know the sweet word of forgiveness.  This is the Word of God for gays, lesbians, straights, and however else someone might identify him or herself.  Love can do no less than to speak this this truth completely and wholly, without adjustment or selective in its reach.  This is the truth that saves and love can do no less than to speak it for the salvation of all who will hear it.

BTW that horrible excuse for a Baptist Church in Kansas and others who demonize gays and lesbians only hurt the cause of the truth and give to the media and those against the Church fodder for the lie that it is about love and not about truth...


Carl Vehse said...

"... but it did get some headlines in the press."

For the former head of the XXXA, mission accomplished.

Anonymous said...

This is almost laughable if it weren't so tragic.

I hope Hanson doesn't hold his breath. He'll be very blue.

It's not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

Ooops, mean to say Chilstrom, not Hanson.

Anonymous said...

This is another reminder that the
ELCA totally ignores God's Word.
Both the Old Testament and New
Testament condemn homosexuality as
a sin. Bishops Chilstrom and Hanson
have caved in to the world's agenda.

Anonymous said...

"BTW that horrible excuse for a Baptist Church in Kansas and others who demonize gays and lesbians only hurt the cause of the truth and give to the media and those against the Church fodder for the lie that it is about love and not about truth..."

If the media didn't amplify their every word, no one would even be aware of them. Sure, they are nasty, but it is the media that runs to broadcast their every move but ignores the evils done by their favored groups. One rarely hears of the truly disgusting and hateful things done by gays. We only hear of the much rarer unkind things done to them.

We live in an upside down world.

Anonymous said...

It was the Old Testament prophets
like Isaiah and Jeremiah who
condemned the false prophets and
religious leaders of Israel who
were leading the people away from God

ELCA Bishops can lead the people away
from God today, when they condone
homosexuality and gay pastors.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered how bigoted these liberal groups are? After ignoring God's word to fit their idea of a church (e.g. ordination of women), they then threw the book at homosexuals? This man thinks the Roman Catholic church has the same issue. They just need to get to know these people then they will change THEIR mind.

He does not understand that some churches do not have a stance on homosexuality (and also believe that St. Paul did not either). Yes, some churches actually believe in God's inerrant word and that God has a stance on homosexuality. That changes things! He should be asking God to change his mind!

Anonymous said...

No society that has embraced homosexuality has ever lasted very long. How long did ancient Israel last under the rule of evil kings before it fell:


How much time do you think we still have. I cannot imagine God continuing to allow himself to be mocked much longer. How would those Lutheran denominations that embrace Historical/Higher Criticism interpret the following verses:


Anonymous said...

Bishop Chilstrom's philosophy is
one that permeates the ELCA.
Their laity have been lulled to
sleep by passively accepting gays
as persons whom God loves.

The ELCA antinomian stance forgets
that God hates the sin of homosexual-

Matt said...

In reading various blogs and forum threads on homosexuality, I find one thing very troubling. That is that those on both sides of the issue share a single false premise. The false assumption Chilstrom makes is that all homosexuals (or, at least the only ones he is interested in dealing with)"desire....to be in partnership with someone they love and respect who happens to be of the same gender and sexual orientation."

In response, conservative Christians argue about gay marriage, the gay agenda, etc, as if Chilstrom's portrayal of the goals of homosexuals were largely correct.

In fact, his premise is wrong. Martin Hallet, who leads a ministry in the UK to homosexuals who desire to live according to the Bible says that there are almost as many Christian homosexuals who believe that homosexual sex is wrong as there are Christian homosexuals seeking to live out their desire for homosexual intercourse.

The greatest danger of Chilstrom's letter is that we allow it to focus our attention on the "pro-gay" homosexuals whom we will likely never reach and to distract us from ministry to the repentant homosexuals in our own congregations. Churches like the ELCA have no desire to minister to these repentant homosexuals. The whole political and psychological community threaten sanctions agaisnt reparative therapists who could help them. The gay community is often against them. The names the gay community calls conservative Christians pale compared to the anger they show against "ex-gays." And conservative churches act as if they do not exist by proclaiming the Law against homosexuality and then neglecting to apply the Gospel. To a 14 year old kid who is scared and repentant for homosexual feelings he does not want a general "Christ desires to forgive everybody" is not an adequate application of Gospel following a 15 minute rant about the dangers of gay politics, the perversion of the gay lifestyle, and heartfelt disgust expressed against "queers." Yet, in all too many situations, that is all the Gospel such a kid is given after overhearing his parents and respected adults in the congregation talk about homosexuality at length.

The result is that these repentant and faithful people who desire to stand against their own temptation are some of the loneliest people I have ever met. For the most part, they are hidden in plain sight. They dare not tell their families or their pastor about their temptations because they have heard so much Law and so little Gospel applied to their temptation that they are sure they would be rejected if they were to ask for help. (It is significant, I believe, that the vast majority of suicide attempts by homosexual teens occurred BEFORE the teens "accepted and affirmed" their homosexual identity - in other words, the vast majority of suicidal gay teens were repentant and should have received the Gospel but fell in to despair because they did not hear it).

so let's not blindly accept Chilstrom's rather bigoted assumption that he speaks for all homosexuals when he says they seek to live our their homosexuals desires. Many do. But many also are repentant and long for the help of Christian brothers and sisters to live in the Gospel, to serve Christ and to stand firm against temptation.

Norman Teigen said...

Another fellow Minnesotan in the news. We have Herbert Chilstrom representing the ludicrous left and Michelle Bachmann the ridiculous right. Most of us don't identify with either of these extremists.

Gary said...


My advice to you is this: Find a boyfriend; be happy; and stop following the morality of Bronze Age, superstitious, goat herders.