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What does a juggernaut look like?

At the 2009 Church wide assembly of the ELCA (largest Lutheran denomination in America), various LGBT favorable resolutions and policy statements were adopted.  Gays and lesbians in committed relationships will be “recognized and supported” and allowed to serve as ordained clergy.  During the Assembly, I served as a volunteer for Goodsoil, the LGBT advocacy group.  The opposition centered in two barely indistinguishable groups called the WordAlone network and Lutheran CORE.  Since the assembly, amidst much bluster, Lutheran CORE held a Convocation in September and has since announced plans to form a splinter denomination, entirely separate from and in opposition to the ELCA.

I have blogged extensively about these issues and events on my own blog, Spirit of a Liberal.  The following is cross posted from my entry of December 6th.

In a Lutheran CORE article published over the weekend, CORE spokesperson Robert Benne said,

During the preceding six years we had spent huge amounts of time, energy, money, and determination to stop the juggernaut. We didn’t and we won’t.

Earlier, James Nestingen’s WordAlone article in a blatant falsehood claimed,

[T]he hallways and the back of the assembly fill up with gay advocates bussed in to influence the voters using, commonly enough, intimidation up to and including physical threats.

Or, consider the speech of Kenneth Sauer to the Lutheran CORE convocation that referred to “the elites of the ELCA’s membership” and a “powerful political machine” whose “strategy was to do what was necessary to win”.  Benne’s article also refers to the “cultural secular elite”.  In her fiery speech to the Lutheran CORE convocation, Jaynan Clark intimated it was Satan “invisibly in the driver’s seat working his simple agenda”.

What is the face of this juggernaut, physically threatening intimidator, ELCA elite, cultural secular elite, or the devil incarnate?  Check out the video below, which is a PBS documentary that will soon be appearing on a public television station near you.  Her name is Emily Eastwood, and she is the leader of Lutherans Concerned North America, a partner within Goodsoil, the LGBT friendly advocacy group at the 2009 ELCA Church wide Assembly.

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5 Responses

  1. What a thought provoking video. Thank you Robert, for posting this.

  2. At the assembly, I met a lot of really wonderful folks who had experienced the hurt of rejection, or of a child’s rejection, and out their hurt came healing. I regret I didn’t get the chance to visit with Emily during the assembly.

  3. Obie, I found the article wonderful, too.

    Here’s a point that struck me: CORE leader Robert Benne admits that his group has spent “huge amounts of time, energy, money, and determination” to try to block the rights of LGBT members of the ELCA.

    That’s an interesting admission, which, in my view, ties into themes of Bishop Spong’s “Time Has Come” piece about which I posted yesterday. As I noted, the energy being expended needlessly to block a necessary and ethical step forward in culture and the churches re: human rights of LGBT people would be put to so much better use building a humane society for everyone.

    I have to think that there’s something sinful about the waste of so much energy given to us by the Spirit to move towards the reign of God. And that there will be a time in history when the churches will be judged just as soberly for this waste of energy today in movements to deny rights to gay folks, as they’re judged for their similar actions in the past re: women’s rights and the rights of people of color.

  4. Hmm….let’s think this out. This woman is on government supported nationwide TV and yet your argument is that the pro-gay movement is NOT well-heeled and is NOT powerful? Come again?

    Let’s see the clip of the person who supports the traditional family on PBS. Oh, that’s right. They’re not allowed on PBS.

    Yup, the juggernaut is visible.

  5. Obie, I’ve just watched the video again this morning, during my morning prayer time. I want to thank you again for linking to a resource that I personally find spiritually enriching–as I think others will, too.

    I’m struck by the following thoughts, as I watch and pray today: there must be something very powerful in the emergence of open, graced LGBT people on the stage of history today. The spiritual power of loving, graced gay lives is evident in the fierceness of the opposition to this emergence.

    Those who continue to have such an unChristian need to demonize a group of their brothers and sisters are willing to use violence, both overt and structural, to try to push us back into the shadows. They have no problem at all lying brazenly about us and our lives. And they still want to be seen as exemplary Christians and exemplary moral agents as they behave this way.

    Even so, gay people continue to emerge: we continue loving, speaking of the grace that is in our lives and relationships, even forgiving our detractors. There is great spiritual energy in this phenomenon of continued loving, continued testifying to the grace in our lives, and continued forgiving of our enemies.

    That energy could prove very transformative for the churches, if they accepted the gift being offered to them in these brothers’ and sisters’ lives and relationships. Perhaps it’s the transformative energy itself many in the churches fear . . . .

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