Author Topic: Assembly Votes for Unity  (Read 3549 times)

Richard Johnson

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Assembly Votes for Unity
« on: August 12, 2005, 08:13:24 AM »
The fateful Friday morning session began with Bp. Hanson suggesting a modification of the agenda by extending the afternoon plenary by three hours. There was some unhappiness, but the house agreed. The bishop then led in prayer, using the prayer from the LBW rite for confirmation. He set an excellent tone.

The report of the ad hoc committee charged with determining the order of consideration of the proposed amendments to the sexuality recommendations had apparently been circulating on the floor, and it turned out that the maker of the motion (Eric Peterson of Wisconsin) didn’t like the outcome. The committee, using what they called a “common sense approach,” had suggested taking the amendments to Recommendation 2 in this order: Neils, Benne, Owen, Benson, Hendrix, Yambor (see earlier entry for summaries of what these motions would do). This would mean that the “most revisionist” would comefirst, followed by the “most traditionalist.” But now Peterson insisted that his intent was that motions which AMENDED the main motion should be taken prior to those which were SUBSTITUTES, and he argued that provisions in Robert’s Rules suggested that as the proper order. Bp. Hanson ruled—correctly, in my view—that by approving Peterson’s motion yesterday, the assembly had in fact established a new rule, and that therefore the committee’s proposed order was in order. Peterson appealed the ruling of the chair, but the house sustained the bishop.

Then a motion was made to ask the Church Council to clarify its intent with Recommendation 2. Again the chair ruled this out of order because it had not been submitted in a timely manner; again the ruling was appealed, and again the chair was sustained.

At last the Assembly took up Recommendation 1, the one calling for unity. There was speaking in favor and against, but the resolution is a difficult one to oppose. Lou Hesse, the task force member who drafted a minority report, spoke against it (“speaking only for myself,” he said). He argued that unity is not something about which we should vote; it is, if it exists, a gift of God. He asked that his abstention be recorded. Some of those who spoke in favor used their remarks as an opportunity to lecture traditionalists, saying, in effect, “You may be voting for unity, but I’m not sure you really mean it, since you aren’t supportive and loving toward me.” (I do not deny that there is some truth there, with regard to some traditionalists.) To my mind the most eloquent speech was made by Matthew Erickson, a California voting member (and a “traditionalist”) who is about to start seminary. He spoke of how moved he had been in listening to the comments made during the quasi committee of the whole, and how proud he is to be a member of this church. He called back to mind the story of Jacob, used by Bp. Payne in her Bible study, and talked about the importance of holding on to one another and not letting go. Then, in a remarkably deep silence, the assembly voted in favor of Recommendation 1, that we “concentrate on finding ways to live together faithfully in the midst of disagreements,” by a vote of 851-127 (83% in favor).

roj in Orlando 8/12/05 11:13 a.m. EDT
« Last Edit: August 13, 2005, 05:01:47 AM by roj »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Norsk

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2005, 09:02:54 AM »
Of course you are correct that some traditionalists are, at times, less than wholly loving toward all their fellow sisters and brothers in Christ.  However, the comments made by some of the revisionists this morning spoke directly to the discussion in the Quasi-Cmte of the Whole the prior day as having been unsupportive and unloving.  One revisionist even went so far as to tell the traditionalists that THEY have to find ways of expressing their views without offending the revisionists.  Having watched the discussion in the Quasi-Cmte yesterday, I cannot understand what they are saying.  The speeches (on both sides) were truly models of decorum, respectfulness and civility.  Its hard for me to interpret the revisionists claims here as anything other than "you can disagree with me, but only based on arguments that I approve of".  Did you see it differently, Richard?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2005, 09:31:19 AM »
Quote
Of course you are correct that some traditionalists are, at times, less than wholly loving toward all their fellow sisters and brothers in Christ.  However, the comments made by some of the revisionists this morning spoke directly to the discussion in the Quasi-Cmte of the Whole the prior day as having been unsupportive and unloving. . . .Did you see it differently, Richard?



Well, at the risk of sounding pious, I try desperately to see it under the rubric of the 8th commandment. I agree that nearly all the comments made by "traditionalists" yesterday were compassionate, loving, and responsible. I also believe that many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have been so deeply wounded, in ways that we find it hard to understand, that they experience things differently than we do. The comment Cathy posted is a good example of this. That person's perception that the speakers were 2 to 1 against change is simply a false perception; I was keeping close tally, and it was almost exactly evenly divided--maybe one more "traditionalist" than "revisionist." But that person clearly experienced it as one-sided and unfair. The "truth" is a different question from the "experience."

So I'm trying to say that it behooves all of us to listen both with the head and with the heart. And to speak, perhaps more from the heart than the head. I was thinking in worship just now that the gays and lesbians and their friends are not the only ones who have been wounded in this whole process; many of us have experienced the pain of severed or damaged relationships, of congregational bitterness, of doubt and struggle. But we must strive to avoid bitterness and anger. There's a little hymn that I love, actually from the Christian Science, or maybe it's 7th day adventist, tradition, but don't let that stop you. Let me see if I can remember it:

Speak gently! It is better far
To rule by love, than fear
Speak gently, let no harsh words mar
The good we might do here.

Speak gently to the erring ones
They must have toiled in vain
Perhaps unkindness made them so
O win them back again.

Speak gently! He who gavehis life
To bend man's stubbor will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, 'Peace, be still'.

Speak gently! 'tis a little thing
Dropped in the heart's deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Norsk

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2005, 09:44:59 AM »
Amen.  I try to see things under the same rubric, of course.  I would only observe (as you do) that the 8th Commandment applies to ALL of us sinners, ie to both "sides" of this debate.  When the revisionists accuse traditionalists of being unloving and uncaring simply because we make arguments (civilly, respectfully, non-personally) that they hate to hear, that is every bit as unfair, every bit as inconsistent with the 8th Commandment, as when a traditionalist uses demeaning language to describe his or her homosexual brothers/sisters in Christ.  Revisionist have for much too long use "homophobe" as an epithet to describe (and silence) those who disagree with them.  ALL of us need to remember to "speak softly".

G.Edward

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2005, 10:27:06 PM »
The traditionalists have been "nice" and accomodating for far too long.  Too much is at stake to not speak up.  I'm sure that this weeks gospel text will be used by some wrongly to justify the very changes that were postponed in this assembly.  It's too late and I'm too tired right now to marshall the line of argument, but I know I'll need to becuase the question will come.

G.Edward

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2005, 10:28:35 PM »
Richard,

Thank you for recalling the words of that hymn - speak gently - but persitently, faithfully.  Also for your excellent reporting!

Gregory

« Last Edit: August 12, 2005, 10:29:12 PM by G.Edward »

Christopher Miller

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2005, 07:58:38 AM »
I don't know where to put this, so I'll throw it in here:

Has there been ANY mention made at Churchwide of the passing of Dr. Gerhard Forde earlier this week?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2005, 10:05:38 AM »
Quote
I don't know where to put this, so I'll throw it in here:

Has there been ANY mention made at Churchwide of the passing of Dr. Gerhard Forde earlier this week?


Yes, it was announced early in the week, and has been mentioned a couple of times in different contexts.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2005, 10:07:05 AM »
Quote
Amen.  I try to see things under the same rubric, of course.  I would only observe (as you do) that the 8th Commandment applies to ALL of us sinners, ie to both "sides" of this debate.  When the revisionists accuse traditionalists of being unloving and uncaring simply because we make arguments (civilly, respectfully, non-personally) that they hate to hear, that is every bit as unfair, every bit as inconsistent with the 8th Commandment, as when a traditionalist uses demeaning language to describe his or her homosexual brothers/sisters in Christ.  


Certainly true enough, Norsk. I'd only add that when somebody else violates the 8th commandment in a way that offends or attacks me, it doesn't release me of my obligation to observe the 8th commandment.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Mark E. Chapman

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2005, 05:25:34 PM »
I am not sure but that you all have been infected with some "love virus" from the United Methodists after that eucharistic sharing vote.  The 8th commandment is about FALSE WITNESS.  The 8th commandment demands that we SPEAK THE TRUTH.  The TRUTH in regard to the homosexuality crisis in the ELCA is utterly unambiguous -- the normalization of homosexuality is a sin against God, Creation, and Christ's Reconciliation.  When the TRUTH is obscured or muffled or given a velvet touch in such times of doctrinal and moral crisis by a veneer of "love" and "feelings of compassion" -- when we quote sappy hymns about sweet feelings to avoid conflict -- then the TRUTH is denied and true UNITY in Christ, in faith, and indeed in LOVE is compromised and broken.  Proposal 1 called for a SHAM UNITY based on a LIE, and deserved to be defeated, not affirmed in the name of "gentle hearts" and "charitable feelings."

Richard Johnson

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2005, 05:40:51 PM »
Quote
I am not sure but that you all have been infected with some "love virus" from the United Methodists after that eucharistic sharing vote.  The 8th commandment is about FALSE WITNESS.  The 8th commandment demands that we SPEAK THE TRUTH.  


Actually, Mark, from a Lutheran confessional perspective, the 8th commandment is about a lot more than "speaking the truth," though it is about that, too. It is about how one speaks about one's neighbor--which is to say, we are to defend him, speak well of him, and interpret his actions in the kindest way. Luther in the Large Catechism is actually quite clear that one can "speak the truth" and still be in violation of the 8th commandment. Go to the board here in Forum Online and, in the section on "Selected Reprints," read the reflection on the 8th commandment. Maybe it would be a good refresher course for you.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2005, 06:03:51 PM »
I don't remember anyone at the assembly stating that homosexual activity was sin?  8th by omission?

I did hear a fella explain that the book of Genesis was really a synopsis of later Israel's political struggle.

I think silencing and manipulation as well as disregard for the faith is offensive.  

I think God tells us how to Love.     In today's Gospel message Jesus calls the Pharisee's the Blind leading the blind.    To which the disciples informed Jesus the Pharisees felt offended.    I don't think God's will or love should be silenced in the name of sin.   Just me.

By the way its good to refer to Luther's explanation of the 8th in respect to difference between private sin and public sin in the Large Catechism.  

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2005, 06:36:14 PM »
Quote


Actually, Mark, from a Lutheran confessional perspective, the 8th commandment is about a lot more than "speaking the truth," though it is about that, too. It is about how one speaks about one's neighbor--which is to say, we are to defend him, speak well of him, and interpret his actions in the kindest way. Luther in the Large Catechism is actually quite clear that one can "speak the truth" and still be in violation of the 8th commandment. Go to the board here in Forum Online and, in the section on "Selected Reprints," read the reflection on the 8th commandment. Maybe it would be a good refresher course for you.


Actually I disagree.  What you have put forth refers to private sins.    What we are talking about here is public sin and this according to the LC can and must be spoken against.  


G.Edward

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2005, 10:19:47 PM »
In fact, that is one of the primary functions of the office of a bishop, is it not?

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Assembly Votes for Unity
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2005, 05:54:39 AM »
I believe confessions put forth that they are to promote the Word and defend the faith.   If they transgress the Word they are no Bishop.   Confessions are firm it is a human office.