I am going to reveal my voting record pertaining to the resolutions regarding sexuality at this year’s ELCA Churchwide Assembly in order to hopefully offer some helpful perspective. I expect that my friends on both sides of the issue will be surprised with the way in which I voted. In a later post, I will explain in a bit more detail regarding why I voted the way I did, since it will likely seem irrational to many.
- Social Statement on Sexuality: Against
- Resolution 1 (originally resolution 3, regarding respecting the bound conscience of all parties): For
- Resolution 2 (regarding a desire to support and hold publicly accountable those in monogamous, lifelong same-gendered relationships): Against
- Resolution 3 (regarding a desire to roster those in such relationships): Against
- Resolution 4 (the practical outcome of rostering such persons): For
As many can see, in general, I was not in favor of the resolutions being brought before this assembly in relation to human sexuality. I voted in favor of Resolution 4 as a symbolic gesture to affirm my desire to stay within the ELCA even though I disagree with the actions taken by the assembly. An additional amendment was added to Resolution 4 that strengthened the protection of those in the minority on this matter. Because of this, I was compelled to stand alongside those with whom I disagree and say that I am willing to continue to be a church together with them and to offer my voice to them.
Some, both individuals and churches, will leave the the ELCA over this assembly’s actions, and I think that is unfortunate. On Twitter, someone said that, “The true Church is neither constituted or destroyed because of a vote. Where Christ is – there is the Church.” And I agree. With the vote today, there was no ontological change in the church catholic or the ELCA. This vote simply turned into “official” church policy that which was already taking place within the ELCA. Yes, there will be practical implications of this decision today. But Hope Lutheran Church, where I serve, can continue to preach with conviction our interpretation of scripture, to feed the hungry, to worship God, to minister to and with our youth, and every other good work of mission and ministry that we are already doing. At this point, we are not being asked to act contrary to our deeply held convictions, and I believe we should stay within this national church body.
Martin Luther himself remained within the Roman Catholic church until it was clear to him that his ability to proclaim the gospel was being hindered by remaining within that body. I would admonish those in the ELCA who are now on the side of the minority on this issue to do the same.