Bishop's Report - "Not feeling the love"

Started by Brad Everett, July 14, 2011, 09:08:53 PM

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Brad Everett

National Bishop Susan Johnson's report consisted of her reviewing the points of the speech she gave four years ago as part of the electoral process. In it she had outlined what she hoped the ELCIC would/could be. In all her points she commended the ELCIC for being a church that was In Mission for Others (FYI this is the ELCIC slogan and is worked into every piece of writing or speech at least once by bishops and church staff), generous, takes church partnership seriously and is passionate about its relationship with God.
But it was the point "I want to be part of a church that knows how to love", that she informed the assembly she "wasn't feeling the love". It was a pretty accurate and bold statement to make. However, she then segued into an exhortation that the convention and larger ELCIC has a chance to exercise this love in the days ahead as the contentious issues around sexuality are voted on.
She said, we will make decisions that will please some and upset others, but I ask that we do our best to treat one another with Christian love. We don't have to agree with each other or like the decisions. We are all faithful followers of Jesus trying to let the Holy Spirit guide us in right paths.
In those few sentences I think Bp. Johnson managed to be both right on target and out in left field. Yes the ELCIC has not been the most loving bunch among its members in recent  years, but the understanding of "Christian love" she alluded to and is talked about in the sexuality study and motions is foreign to many of the ELCIC members and I'm not sure she or others in the ELCIC leadership understand this. To many in the ELCIC, Christian love has its source in Christ, its object is first God and then others—thus the ordering of the greatest commandments. So when motions which are contrary to the revealed will of God through Scripture, the Confessions and traditional teaching of the church, are made and perhaps passed, the only options for such members are to protest, resist and perhaps leave, because to do otherwise would betray the love of God.
One hopes the leadership of the ELCIC could understand this, but since we are years into this and will be voting within a day I doubt it.
On another matter, to give you all an idea of size of this gathering, the registration committee reported 195 lay delegates and 151 rostered for a total of 346 voting delegates registered. As well there are 173 registered visitors. Kind of pales in comparison to the gatherings south of the border.
Now on to the first ballot for National Bishop.

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