like i said…as sick as your secrets…
A blog by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
One commentor, named Anonymous, said the following….
It’s christmas eve 11:15pm. If i can get this out in the next 45 minutes i will be able to get the sour taste out of my mouth before christmas day.
Anonymous, You will need to join a growing list of people who want to accuse me of breaking my ordination solemn vows. So far, they have all been pastors. You? i dont know, you are anonymous. But there is the stench of pastor about your comment so, until i hear otherwise, i will assume that of you. When the teachings of the church are challenged, it seeems to me that there have been one of three responses. Some ignore it. Most people are willing to pick up the challenge and argue the case, one way or the other. But then there are a few people, only pastors so far, who, upon hearing the challenge can do nothing but respond with accusation and the threat that goes with it. “Neil, you are an ordination vow breaker”. “Neil, you should leave the church.” If find that response ignorant. You, dear pastor, are the only one so far who has made that threat anonymously. That makes you both ignorant and a coward.
For the record, I disagree with the church’s statement on Homosexuality. I find it scripturally, theologically, logically and morally indefensible. I find it to be completely lacking in love and compassion. I find it to be anti-christ. I say this publically and in so doing i do NOT break my ordination vow. The DSTO (Doctrinal Statements and Theological Opinions of the LCA ) have a different status in our church than the Bible or the Lutheran Confessions. The latter are fixed documents. They cannot be changed. But recent theological statements and opinions made by the Lutheran Church of Australia can and have been changed.
The statement on women in the church, for instance, has been changed at least a couple of times in the last few decades. Surely, Anonymous, you are not saying that you believe as your own personal confession, and publically teach as divine truth the statements in the DSTO. And that you do this right up to the moment you are told that they have been changed and then you take on the new statement as your own personal confession and publically teach it as divine truth. Why, that would make you nothing but an ignorant “parroting” sheep. (woops, my apologies to the sheep and parrots) Let me rephrase…that would make you nothing but an ignorant, statement regurgitating pastor.
There is a process of change in the church’s DSTO. And it is the duty of every member of the church to be involved in that change, to question the statements, to test them for error. To debate and argue and listen and reason so that we know that we are continually seeking after the truth. That makes our church and the theology of the church a living and active thing. The only time we are in danger of loosing the truth is when we give up the quest and simply teach and believe what we are told. That would make our theology a mockery and a dead thing.
Let me ask you, Anonymous, what is the process of change in our church? What part do the members of the church play in the process of change? What part do the Pastors of the church play? What part do the boards and commissions play? You will struggle to find a written down plan as to how change should happen. In fact, i believe that our church is in somewhat of a crisis at the moment as we struggle with the process of change. The only process that i can see that would be God-honouring is a process that enables everyone to be involved as actively and vocally and respectfully as possible.
Anonymous, let me explain our crisis to you by using an example. Our DSTO contains a statement on the Billy Graham Crusades. (yeh,,,I know… thats a while back!) those statements say that we Lutherans should not be involved in those crusades. Why? Because Billy Graham had a different opinion than Lutherans about some things in the Bible. To be involved in the crusades would have been an act of sinful “unionism” and “religious syncretism” Those are the terms that the DSTO uses. This is the logic behind the ideas of sinful “unionism”. If we are involved in religious settings with people we disagree with we will give the impression that a unity exists when there is no unity. Agreement is pretended where there is no agreement and the truth is compromised. THUS SPEAKETH THE DSTO!
Now, anonymous, gather with me on the floor of the 2006 LCA National Synod. The vote on Women’s Ordination has just been cast and announced. More than Half of the Pastors and lay represetative of the LCA voted in favour of womens ordination however the motion was lost because it did not meet the 2/3 required majority. 2 Women that i know quite well were to my left. Both feel called to the public ministry. They were crying. A pastor friend of mine was to my right. He said…”We now exist in sinful unionism”. he was right… from that moment on the supposed unity of our church was a lie. We were pretending unity and agreement in truth where none existed. The President of our Church when asked by a pastor from the floor of synod…”what do we now do??” said “Pastors have the statements of the church which they are sworn to uphold.”
From that moment until today our church has been bleeding. And there is no simple DSTO Statement or Constitutional Reference that can answer the question and stop the bleeding. One thing is clear.The answer does not come from clamping down on discussion and doggedly holding onto statements that are in dispute and are disagreed with by over half of the church. The answer does not come by holding the ordination vow of its pastors over their heads as if it were a guillotine. Whatever the answer is , it will certainly involve the freedom for people to speak their mind, their conscience and their understanding of scripture without fear of dismissal.
I find it ironic that you make your comments on a post that talks about the church being as sick as its secrets, a post which names the LCA “creator of secrets” and “bringer of darkness”. And what does your comment seek to do? It seeks to silence me with threats. It seeks to put the question back into its dark box and damn anyone who dares to take it out. Thank you for your comment Anonymous. You have given me the chance to follow up on the “sickness of the church” post with a perfect, living example….you.
BTW…If you want to continue the argument as Anonymous, that cool, I’ll still post your comments. Thats what this blog is about. But if you have any real courage or conviction (other than making anonymous threats) name yourself…and maybe lets set up a debate somehow…
NO MORE SECRETS! EVERYTHING IN THE LIGHT!
Over to you Anonymous…
To everyone else…sorry for this indulgence…but. i guess you can see that im getting a little tired of mindless threats… and i’ve always had an aversion to bullies.
Damn….1:15 am…still got the bad taste in my mouth…