Author Topic: Press Conference: Goodsoil  (Read 4325 times)

Richard Johnson

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Press Conference: Goodsoil
« on: August 12, 2005, 08:20:17 PM »
If the status quo is more official now, as one bishop put it, Goodsoil’s representatives Jeff Johnson and Emily Eastwood put the best construction on it, staking out a position that is both offended by the church’s action, and generally happy with it.

“The trajectory for change is clear,” Johnson said. At some point we’ll abolish this strategy of discrimination.” Indeed, the reason Recommendation 3 was defeated is that it was a flawed recommendation, lacking any integrity, opposed both by liberals and conservatives. Clearly the church did not take a step backward here, but upheld congregational and pastoral integrity. Same-sex blessings have not been banned.

Emily Eastwood added that the Hesse amendment was essentially a referendum on the status quo, and it was defeated—revealing that nobody is happy with the current policies.

Johnson continued: “If anyone thinks the issue is going away, they haven’t been paying attention.” Yet he’s concerned about the next steps of the task force in developing a social statement, because this is being done by the same people that proposed these flawed recommendations.

Or maybe not. Apparently Bishop Margaret Payne has resigned—whether as chair, or from the task force entirely is not clear to me. And the word is that there are others on the task force who have resigned, or are on the verge of resignation. So there may actually be some new faces working on the social statement. Is that a good thing? Obviously it depends on whose faces they are exactly.

Goodsoil’s news release was angry at the ELCA’s “breathtaking contradiction” in its action today, insisting that the church has “further institutionalized the oppression” of glbt people. Angry words, but the press conference—and even more some private conversations—suggest that Goodsoil isn’t all that upset by what happened today, that they feel they dodged a bullet.

No official comment from Solid Rock that we’ve heard, but Word Alone, one of the coalition of Solid Rock, issued a press release that was not happy. The action “okays same-sex blessings,” said Jaynan Clark Egland, WA president. Like Goodsoil, however, the  public statement of concern belies a private sense of victory at defeating Recommendation 3, which didn’t even garner a simply majority.

Who wins and who loses, then? Well, who knows? Too much is still up in the air. The actions, Eastwood of Goodsoil quipped, should be headlined “Lutherans Embrace Ambiguity.” Probably some truth in that. But our sense right now is that the real meaning of today’s actions won’t be clear at least until the Conference of Bishops meets on Monday. That’s where there will be some hard talk about whether bishops can continue to ignore the standards of the church with regard to ordination.

roj in Orlando 8/12/05 11:11 EDT







     

« Last Edit: August 13, 2005, 05:04:32 AM by roj »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Norsk

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2005, 08:36:38 PM »
Dodged a bullet indeed.  Consider the following:  there were actually TWO votes today on maintaining V&E as it currently stands.  Hesse's motion, though phrased as a "reaffirmation," actually did nothing other than maintain V&E as is.  It only got 415ish votes.  Then the vote on the actual Reco #3.  A vote against #3 when it came to a final vote was also a vote to maintain V&E as is.  That got just over 500 votes, a (bare) majority.  These two votes would have had exactly the same effect, but one got 90 some votes more than the other.  Why? Was there actually a (narrow) majority to maintain current ordination standards, if phrased differently than by Hesse?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2005, 08:44:20 PM »
Quote
Dodged a bullet indeed.  Consider the following:  there were actually TWO votes today on maintaining V&E as it currently stands.  Hesse's motion, though phrased as a "reaffirmation," actually did nothing other than maintain V&E as is.  It only got 415ish votes.  Then the vote on the actual Reco #3.  A vote against #3 when it came to a final vote was also a vote to maintain V&E as is.  That got just over 500 votes, a (bare) majority.  These two votes would have had exactly the same effect, but one got 90 some votes more than the other.  Why? Was there actually a (narrow) majority to maintain current ordination standards, if phrased differently than by Hesse?


I think two things account for the difference:

(1) As I implied, the attachment of Hesse's name was a red flag, since he had authored the minority report.

(2) There was a sense among some members that they owed it to the task force to vote on their actual proposal, even if that meant voting it down, rather than a substitute.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Revbert

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2005, 08:15:25 AM »
Quote


I think two things account for the difference:

(1) As I implied, the attachment of Hesse's name was a red flag, since he had authored the minority report.

(2) There was a sense among some members that they owed it to the task force to vote on their actual proposal, even if that meant voting it down, rather than a substitute.



Y'know, as much as I would have liked to see stronger statements clearing up the "ambiguity" of our positions, I'm beginning to stand in agreement with those who took (2) in your comments, Richard.  Maybe it's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Art

Cathy_Ammlung

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2005, 09:29:42 AM »
below are some reactions from goodsoil members to what happened in Orlando.
--
Cathy+

the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) defeated, BY A MARGIN OF JUST THIRTEEN VOTES,  [later corrected - failed by 172 as it needed 2/3] Recommendation #3 of the Church Council, which would have authorized an exception so that congregations desiring to do so could call and ordain pastors who are in committed same-gender relationships.

I am deeply disappointed and enraged by this decision, though not surprised. The only beautiful thing about the debate was the fact that Goodsoil claimed the front area of the Assembly hall and stood in silent witness of exclusion by the ELCA. Through a half-hour of parliamentary maneuvering, a majority of the Assembly refused to force the protesters out. Perhaps that was a small piece of the Realm of God present even amidst a bigoted Assembly leading an oppressive church in preserving a discriminatory policy.

The speaker immediately following "Beautiful Savior" was the President of the LCMS, against whose generally fundamentalist approach to Scripture the ELCA used to stand in contrast: a difference that allowed the ELCA to be my own path out of the oppressive Christianity in which I was raised. Sadly, today marks more convergence than distinction between the two ways of Lutheranism - and, really, two warring visions of the faith. Which will prevail? That is the question of Christianity's third millennium.
+++
Though I've been a lifelong Lutheran (perhaps it is time for those of us who are gay/lesbian/bi/trans to request that our names be dropped from the membership roll. One of the reported fears (at least what I read in the AP wires) is that the church was worried about losing members and also the reaction of the church worldwide if they dropped the discriminatory policy. Well, what about losing us? It's 2005! How much longer should we lend our names to a church that will take our money, our art, our teaching abilities, our service to the poor, our music, our nurturing of their children, our dedication and time, but won't acknowledge OUR FAMILY. Maybe it's time to "shake the dust off our feet."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I found the "protest stand" by registered guests both intrusive and unhelpful. I was angered by it. When people are fearful that changes in policy will lead to confusion and disorder in the church, the LAST thing you want to do to "help" the cause is create confusion and disorder.

Would motion #3 have carried with 2/3 had it not been for the intrusion? Probably not. But the disruption of the meeting and the disregard for the Presiding Bishop were NOT, I believe, at all helpful. Those participating obviously thought the "statement" and definace would be helpful, I believe that was a gross miscalculation.

++++++++++++++++

Of course, asking for a two-third majority was a tall order to command. And the measure did receive almost 50% of those present. That, actually, is quite amazing.

Along with the speeches from the incredibly misinformed - still comparing homosexuality with alcoholism! and still thinking that we can be cured, and worse, that we can just ignore our sexuality and ability to fall in love while the beligerent majority enjoys theirs - there were extremely poigniant and intelligent speeches giving vast support. Prejudices die hard. So, again, I was impressed that we received so many votes.

And something else to think about: the resolution which failed could have been looked upon as simply outrageous considering that it would have made gay clergy third class disciples of Christ. As someone pointed out, suppose the same resolution would have been made concerning women back 35 years?

Bishop Hanson had to be commended for his great care in handling the Assembly. I too think the demonstration was out of order. It embarassed me. And I don't know why - but I'm going to have to think about that.

Now, more to the point of leaving and protesting in our own congregations. That's a personnal matter and dependant upon the local conditions. From hearing so many pastors who were in support as well as congregants, there is much support for gay and lesbian people in the ELCA. Leaving at this time is wrong - there is much work still to be done. Think of future generations - not just thirty years from now but to next year and the year after, when children of our own begin to become sexually aware - and discover that they are gay or lesbian. Who will be around to give comfort and be an example of being unashamedly gay?

No, leaving is not an answer. We have to continue to show that we are full blooded humans, with God's gift of sexuality - the same as everyone else. The tyranny of the majority must be shown for what it is - and that is unGodlike, unChristlike. And that we have plenty to give.

What is needed is for the prejudiced majority to be shown, first, that their understanding of God's Word is just plain wrong. That still seems to be a tough nut to crack. Some this week were quite elequent in explaining that the Bible certainly was not talking about the committed relationships of which we speak. It was proven that marriage of today is exactly that - a concept born only recently. Marriage just a few centuries ago was simply a contract of property and power.


Revbert

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2005, 09:47:23 AM »
My comments in the Goodsoil Weblog can be found under the name "Art" (no duh).

I was the first on the blog to point out to the GoodSoil folks that they misrepresented the defeat of Recommendation #3.

A subsequent post calls on those who are crying "Let's leave" to remember the ELCA isn't going to be "hurt" by that action, but that the very congregations that are welcoming them and supporting them will be destroyed by such an action, pointing to my own congregation, where some 30% bolted when we started the Korean langauge ministry.

This whole episode troubles me greatly.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit IS at work in Orlando, guiding the votes as they have happened, in spite of efforts to politicize the process....

Art

Charles_Austin

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2005, 10:32:51 AM »
It's off this topic, but intriguing: People LEFT your congregation because you began a Korean language ministry?


Brian Hughes

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2005, 10:46:48 AM »

Charles,

Art and I have had similar experiences (and now that we're in the same area, have had lunch even - at a Korean restaurant!).  I lost members in Orinda, CA when we brought Dr. Chung onboard.  Our stats couldn't reflect the growing ministry we had together because, at that time, Dr. Chung and his congregation weren't in the ELCA.  No place on the form, as it were. The Korean pastor in Art's congregation is a friend of Paul Chung's and came into the ELCA on his advice.  Paul is now at Wartburg Seminary  - a turn of events sufficient to recommend our orthodox seminarians consider attending.

Now that outreach to gays and lesbians has been shifted into the multicultural office and into the office of the Bishop, we should accurately assume that such action will now essentially kill off any possiblilities of adding a larger Asian presence in the ELCA.  Most of our congregations don't want them, obviously, and the homosexuality issue is a cultural anathama in the Asian community.  Score one for keeping "them" out -- yet another fallout from ten years of talking about the same issue over and over again ...

So ... your question was still somewhat on topic.

Brian Hughes
Columbia, MD

Revbert

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2005, 10:57:03 AM »
Charles

Yep... and it was a rather nasty separation, too, as it took about 40% of the giving with it.

Of course, we are surviving.  Our ministry has stabilized (it's taken 3 years to stop the bleeding and hurting and be in a place that we can really start to talk about growing).  We have called Jongkil as associate pastor, and much to the displeasure of some in the Division of Outrage, are paying him a salary actually above synod minimums.  Our new school, the Augsburg Academy, opens on Monday for teachers, and students arrive on the 22nd.

We are in Prince George's County Maryland, the largest and most affluent African American county in the country.  The more the ELCA talks revisionism, the more we push away not only the Asian community, but the African, African American, and Arab/Middle Eastern communities, where the issue of homosexuality is not an issue.

We go where the Holy Spirit leads us.

Art
(returning the thread to its proper place)

Mark Slater

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2005, 02:33:21 PM »
Hello,

Upon seeing this post, I was compelled to respond immediately.

Regarding Pr. Hebbeler's statement, "... some 30% bolted when we started the Korean langauge ministry.", and having been one of those members, Pastor Hebbeler should consider the reasons for each person leaving his congregation rather than attributing the exodus to one single reason.

His statement conveys the perception that everyone who left did so because of the inclusion of Korean members into the congregation.  This couldn't be further from the truth!  Pr. Na is extremely well regarded by everyone we know and the Korean members of the congregation have been a God-send!

My 2¢...

Mark Slater
Laurel, Maryland

Revbert

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2005, 04:17:36 PM »
In response to Mark, he's correct in that others left the church for other reasons.  I was speaking specifically of the departures based on the Korean ministry, and base that number on the percentage of actual worshipping members of the congregation who left over this particular issue.

Others left because of job transfers, decisions to move to other communities, or the fact that the newly called pastor wasn't what they had hoped for.

That's far enough off topic, and I'll say nothing further.

Mark E. Chapman

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2005, 06:32:35 AM »
Getting back to the topic of the "Goodsoil" response -- do note the "spin."  All of the confrontational and emotional rhetoric remains, and clearly they intend to carry on the fight.  Note the judgment that this does NOT preclude the blessing of same-sex unions, and the call for the continuing "prophetic" ordination of homosexuals until the benighted and bigoted wake up and "get it right."  The vote on Rec. #3 is already being interpreted as a 50-50 split which is a positive gain for those who want to normalize homosexuality in the church.  That the motion to reaffirm "Visions and Expectations" was defeated 444-535 is hailed as a victory, showing that "a majority" in the ELCA is "dissatisfied with the status quo" and want change -- that is, pro-gay change.  No; orthodox Christianity LOST, even if technically Rec. 3 was defeated because it could not carry a 2/3rd majority.  The vote was a 50-50 split (13 votes out of 1,000 is negligible) in terms of "popular opinion" -- at least that is how the gay lobby means to spin this -- and that is a big WIN in their column.

Norsk

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2005, 12:15:28 PM »
Of course, were I in their shoes, I would probably "spin" it exactly the same way.  Which makes it no more accurate than most "political spin".

Note just how much of the secular political mentality is in our disputes as a church now.  Rather than pause and call for reflection in prayer on the outcome of the CWA's deliberations, we immediately move into "spin mode".  
« Last Edit: August 14, 2005, 12:16:23 PM by Norsk »

Brian Hughes

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2005, 01:58:19 PM »
Quote
 Of course, were I in their shoes, I would probably "spin" it exactly the same way.  Which makes it no more accurate than most "political spin".



 And, of course, we could have spent this morning explaining to our congregations why the ELCA was going to come apart this fall.  So we dodged the bullet on this one.  

   OTHO,  I remember saying a year ago that the vote was/would be meaningless.  They will not stop performing same-sex marriages and there are congregations who will call ECP candidates anyway.  Now it moves on to the conference of Bishops and whether or not they can hold one another accountable to the will of the assembly.  Or congregations willing to confront their bishops about what's going on in their synod.   Not fun.  And a continuing public distraction played out in the papers.  So the problem will continue, just that it won't be as obvious to the folks in the pews.

Brian H.

G.Edward

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Re: Press Conference: Goodsoil
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2005, 10:15:48 PM »
Just because it's not fun doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.

I think ELCA congregations have a little more leverage than their counterparts in the ECUSA - if they want to use it.  What we don't have is the leverage of the global communion in the same way.

When I consider that a majority of those people in the pews who participated in the 3-Years-Conversation were opposed to the church moving towards the ordination of people-who-understand-themselves-to-be-attracted-to-people-of-the-same-gender, I have to conclude that the churchwide assembly acted wrongly in not more strongly reinforcing the bishops' statement and V&E.

Goodsoil, and their relations, will be back in force.  They have nothing to loose and everything to gain.