I read more of Nadia Bolz-Weber's posts on the God's Politics Blog...and on her own blog, The Sarcastic Lutheran. I really like a lot of what she has to say. She is a reminder that Christians...and pastors....are not all cut from the same cookie cutter. There is diversity in the body of Christ. Unfortunately, with diversity there is often division. The issue of gay pastors ...or the more all inclusive acronym GLBTQ...is a very divisive issue. It seems to be the "mother" of all divisive issues. Perhaps that statement is an exaggeration since Christians have aligned themselves with differing (polar opposite) views down through the eons. They have even killed each other to defend their views and beliefs. Thinking of Servetus being roasted over green wood to prolong the torment...and the drowning and persecution of the Antibaptists. Those two come to mind but there are dozens of examples of this behavior...which is the total opposite of what Jesus taught. Love your neighbor as yourself. Heck...even love your enemies!!!
In the "Snotty Opinions" sermon, she talked about how God threw her together with one of her biggest, most vocal (radio show host) detractors...and how He worked out the details for them to have a grace filled half hour conversation.
But in keeping with the theme of recent posts here on this blog, the following excerpt is from her sermon about the ELCA's decision to allow GLBTQ pastors. I found this sermon to be very..very touching and tender.
As many of you know, my denomination – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America met in church wide assembly this week. The highest governing body of the church. Among the business at hand was deciding on a full communion agreement with the United Methodists, which passed. And several historic decisions to be made around what this church’s stance is on issues of human sexuality. In the end, we approved a social statement as well as policy changes which now allow congregations to bless and hold publicly accountable those in same sex life long monogamous relationship as well as to call GLBTQ pastors in such relationships to serve as their clergy.
The debate on the floor between those at the green microphones who support these steps and those at the red microphones who reject these steps was sometimes inspired and sometimes insipid. Those in support urged the church to be open and loving as Jesus had been. Those opposed urged the church to heed the Bible. Both sides were passionate and faithful and I’m proud to say that throughout the debate the assembly paused every 20 minutes to pray together.As an ELCA pastor serving you, a community committed to the full inclusion of all GLBTQ brothers and sisters in Christ, I watched the proceedings with my heart in my throat. If these policy changes hadn’t been approved I honestly had no idea what I could possible come back to you and say. Watching people’s comments I would try to fight off thoughts like “man, that guys an idiot” with more or less success. I watched people say prayerful things, hurtful things, thoughtful things, and idiotic things on both sides of the aisle. Yet there several of my friends were: standing faithfully at the Green microphones. Standing faithfully to make this church a house of prayer for ALL people.
And I couldn’t help but think…if Jesus was here, he’d be standing in the green line. And then a young pastor got up to speak at the green microphone and the first thing he said, in a quivering voice was “anyone else frightened to speak? I’m shaking. Please pray for me” and the man standing right next to him in at the red microphone reached over and laid his hand on him and prayed while his brother of the opposing view point spoke.
Then I knew that Jesus was really in between the red and green microphones. Not in some sort of neutral “Jesus as Switzerland” sort of way, but in the you must lose your life to gain it sort of way. Jesus is between the red and the green microphones…between the red and the blue states offering us life and salvation in the Words of eternal life and in the Sacrament of his own body and blood. Jesus right there between the liberals and conservatives speaking the word that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Jesus standing there between those who are harmed and those doing the harming saying forgive as you have been forgiven.