Author Topic: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement  (Read 16917 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:59:34 AM »

Since it's come up in other discussions, I went hunting for the "Naked & Unashamed Statement." I found this summary (https://web.archive.org/web/20170223025214/https://wearenakedandunashamed.org/contact/)

The link at the bottom for the full statement didn't work.


Naked & Unashamed Statement Summary

(Written by the LSTC Gender and Sexuality Coalition, 2016)
Foundations

As a coalition for Gender and Sexual Justice in our church, the ELCA, we are calling for justice in the regulating of socially acceptable intimate relationalities. We are ELCA Lutherans, ordained and lay leaders, rostered and unrostered, seminarians and theologians, in candidacy and outside of candidacy, participating in the life of the church and leading the people of God in our journey following Jesus. We take seriously the Word of God as revealed in the scriptures and the traditions of the church in living out the Christian faith in various cultural contexts.

The plethora of stories we hear in our conversations demonstrate that life and liberty are being oppressed in the pressure for church leaders to be in marital relationships, or otherwise abstain from all sexual intimacy. The common good of both parishioners and church leaders would benefit from the freedom to be in a variety of healthy relationships, and to hold each other mutually accountable to ensuring that these relationships are life-giving for all involved, including the larger communities.


“An important way that Christians carry out their citizenship is through participation in voluntary associations and movements, both religious and secular. At times, these groups may serve a prophetic function as they protest particular evils, question unexamined assumptions, challenge unjust or immoral practices, and organize for structural changes in the work place, local community, and wider world.” (Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective 5) We as a coalition for Gender and Sexual Justice have come together voluntarily to do this work of issue raising, protest, and organizing for change in the ELCA.

Abbreviations:
CS Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective
DGD Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline
HS Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust
V&E Vision and Expectations for Ordained Ministers

ELCA Documents and Problematic Sexuality in the Church

The documents listed above are being used to perpetuate a pressure for leaders in the ELCA to be married, and to additionally conform to oppressive relational and sexual standards set by our church that are often in contrast with our values and lived experience.
  • The expectations surrounding “chastity” purport an ethic of works-based righteousness, positing that certain practices of our sexuality make us a better steward of our pastoral call.
  • Singlehood and non-sexual relationships are undervalued by the overemphasis and limited definitions of marriage and family.
  • The recent inclusion of same-gender relationships in HS, V&E, and DGD still utilizes heteronormative language that sets narrow expectations of what an acceptable committed relationship looks like.
  • V&E and DGD have created a culture of shame in our community, one that manifests itself in both our experience with candidacy committees and among our cohorts. This culture sits in juxtaposition to our current context, politically, economically, scientifically, and medically.
Relational Theology and Sexual Ethic
  • We as Lutherans believe in an incarnational God, whose presence sanctifies flesh and allows us to see sexuality as a “gift and trust,” not a sinful curse we need to control.
  • Theological and ethical arguments that prioritize purity and chastity are in contradiction with our incarnational and baptismal theology.
  • Defining “bad” sex should not be done using theologies of purity. Assessments of good or bad Christian relationality should not be evaluated based on the presence or absence of sexuality, but on healthy power dynamics.
  • There should be no blanket pastoral model of cultural expectations, but instead contextual ministries. The ELCA already practices contextual matchmaking of leaders with their communities under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and expectations of sexuality should function within this system.
  • We maintain a healthy respect for marriage, without elevating it to the level of sacrament and seeing it as a necessary means of grace. Marriage is one form of committed and intimate relationality, and not the default setting for every relationship.
Conclusion
  • We call for a moral deliberation and discernment process as described in CS initiated in the ELCA where V&E, DGD, and HS are evaluated based on an expanded theology and ethic of Christian relationality. Specific changes we would like to see include:
  • No longer privileging marriage as the only acceptable form of sexual relationality
  • Updating ELCA policies to reflect marriage equality in the United States
  • Editing out language that perpetuates heteronormativity and sexual oppression
  • CS states that moral deliberation in the church is done by gathering a diverse group of people, including “those who feel and suffer with the issue; those whose interests or security are at stake” (6). In light of this, we call for individuals in our coalition to be participants in this process as representatives who are affected by these policies.
This summary is intended to be an introduction to our position. The full statement, which expands on each of these points, should be referred to for clarification and deeper understanding of our stance.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 01:10:25 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Chuck

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2018, 01:17:25 AM »
The link at the bottom for the full statement didn't work.

It does, you just need to be persistent.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz0rF3WqPKCWeW9QS3MxMG1wMEE/view?usp=drive_web
Chuck Ruthroff

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. —George Bernard Shaw

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2018, 01:17:35 AM »
Observations:


1. The statement comes out of one of our seminaries. ("LSTC Gender and Sexuality Coalition" could be a student group with or without faculty supervision. I didn't find anything about them, nor the statement on the LSTC site.)


2. The reality most of us face is that we have couples in our congregations and within our families who are likely sexually active without marriage. The most common ones I see are oldsters who can't afford the loss of benefits that happen if they marry; and couples who plan to marry (often engaged) and live together to save money.


Question:
What biblical arguments do you give to such couples that they need to have the marriage license if they are going to be sexually intimate?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 01:20:43 AM »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles Austin

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 03:54:15 AM »
This declaration apparently seeks certain changes in how the ELCA views sexual intimacy for rostered leaders.
A couple of simple questions.
     1. Is it wrong to do so?
     2. If so, why?
     3. Are we afraid of the discussion?
The summary part of the statement says those involved see the current situation as oppressive and placing such an emphasis on marriage for clergy that all clergy who are not married are devalued and oppressed.
     If that is how they see the situation, is it wrong for them to say so?
And while the statement seems to call for changes, I do not see that summary as saying specifically what changes should be made; it describes a situation, rather that prescribing changes.
     It could be that the ELCA would reaffirm the current policies.
     It could be that some changes would be proposed.
     It could be that those changes would be rejected.
     It could be that the ELCA, whether through synodical or church-wide action, could say "No, we don't want to discuss this."
    Until there were any changes, the current policies concerning ELCA rostered leaders would remain in place.
    Personally, I strongly support the current policies. And I believe they could be strengthened by discussion, even if the discussion is prompted by those who want to change current policies.
    Finally, I believe it must be said that some of those who do not trust the ELCA, those who fear more "politicking," those who worry that even the tiniest coalition of people with "different" ideas can somehow sway the whole denomination, or those who have continuing grudges or suspicions about the ELCA will immediately rush to their barricades, and rather than enter the discussion with their views, lament that the discussion is taking place and declare it "fixed."
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 04:11:24 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 04:48:16 AM »
I would question using a national Youth gathering as the venue for holding such discussions.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

DCharlton

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 08:16:15 AM »
Meanwhile, it is too dangerous to contemplate aspects of our current ELCA policies.  Adult students and future pastors are just too vulnerable to be exposed to people who hold or once held positions 1 and 2 of HSGT.

David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Eileen Smith

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 09:24:53 AM »
Beyond the statement of Naked and Unashamed, perhaps one might wish to look at some of the stories. 

"What I want is something else; a mutually agreed upon, mutually pleasurable, temporary power exchange involving intense physical sensation, which either party has a right to call a halt to at any moment if they are uncomfortable. In other words, my sexuality hinges upon BDSM (Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Submission/Sadism, Masochism). Only that type and level of activity creates for me a physical connection of the sort necessary to sustain a relationship."

Then there's.... "How My Clitoris Keeps My Faith Alive"

The topic "Role Model" laments that candidates for ministry are asked to refrain from acting on their sexual desires outside a monogamous relationship.  Well, that's the gist of it. 

Do we in the ELCA really think this is okay?  Are clergy supportive of this site and its content what we wish for a role model for our kids - be it at a national youth gathering or a congregation.  To suggest that we can't shelter our children, they aren't sheltered.  They get hit wit this sort of message every day in conversation, music, TV, movies, etc. etc. etc.  Can we reclaim our identity as the church and lead these kids into healthy relationships, healthy lifestyles.

I first heard about the youth gathering speakers from a friend in NY.  Parents in her congregation pulled their kids out of the trip.   Perhaps it's these grass roots efforts that will bring about change. 

 




Gary Hatcher

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 09:32:53 AM »
I could be just the fact that I am getting old, or it could be that I am a white male, or it could be that I hold to the traditional sexual ethic the Church has sought to maintain over these past 2,000 years or it could be that I was on the front lines of the Great Unpleasantness that led up to the passage of HS:GT or a combination of all of the above, but I don't think those who crafted and published "Naked and Unashamed" are all that interested a dialogue.
Gary Hatcher STS,
Pastor St. Paul & First Lutheran Churches
Garnavillo & McGregor, IA

D. Engebretson

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 09:50:53 AM »
Question:
What biblical arguments do you give to such couples that they need to have the marriage license if they are going to be sexually intimate?

Lutherans have traditionally appealed to the Fourth Commandment regarding the issuance of a marriage license.  However, in practice it demonstrates that a public commitment was made with witnesses.  It serves a purpose. That said, I'm not surprised that this community would argue against it since marriage is not intrinsic to this sexual lifestyle.  Also, what biblical argument(s) would you advance to support the concept of marriage between same-sex couples?  I would think that Genesis would be a tough place to start.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 10:00:40 AM »
I could be just the fact that I am getting old, or it could be that I am a white male, or it could be that I hold to the traditional sexual ethic the Church has sought to maintain over these past 2,000 years or it could be that I was on the front lines of the Great Unpleasantness that led up to the passage of HS:GT or a combination of all of the above, but I don't think those who crafted and published "Naked and Unashamed" are all that interested a dialogue.

 :)...... :( :( :( :( :( :(

Charles Austin

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 10:05:48 AM »
If people, pastors and parents, on knowing about this, pull their people out of the Youth Gathering, we will know something.
If people, pastors and parents, on knowing about this, do not pull their people out of the Youth Gathering, we will know something.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

DCharlton

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2018, 10:23:12 AM »
If people, pastors and parents, on knowing about this, pull their people out of the Youth Gathering, we will know something.
If people, pastors and parents, on knowing about this, do not pull their people out of the Youth Gathering, we will know something.

"Knowing about this" is the key phrase.  Many will not know about this because their pastors choose not to tell them.  There may be several reasons for this:

1.  Pastors fear that disclosure would lead to calls to leave the ELCA and all the mess that entails.
2.  Pastors fear that they would be accused of violating their letters of call by "bad mouthing the ELCA".  Feared repercussions range from shunning by colleagues to removal from the roster.
3.  Pastors agree with a synodical VP who said that the purpose of the Youth Gathering is to change the church.  If alarmed parents prevent their youth from attending the Gathering, they will not be able to bring needed change and transformation to the congregation. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 10:37:26 AM »
My impression from what I’ve read her is the the involvement of these people is not being well publicized, for whatever reason.  When he first looked, Pr. Austin didn’t find their involvement.  So unless pastors and people know to look for this, they might well miss it.   


Also it’s true that groups attending will be accompanied by adults.  I don’t envy the conversations to explain how something is wrong even though the leaders placed before the youth by this church advocate it.  Or for that matter the conversations with parents explaining why it is valuable and important for their youth to attend these events and for local youth leaders and parents to come along afterwards and explain what was good and not so good from the presentations.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

DCharlton

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Re: Naked and Unashamed Summary Statement
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2018, 10:44:26 AM »
My impression from what I’ve read her is the the involvement of these people is not being well publicized, for whatever reason.  When he first looked, Pr. Austin didn’t find their involvement.  So unless pastors and people know to look for this, they might well miss it.   


Also it’s true that groups attending will be accompanied by adults.  I don’t envy the conversations to explain how something is wrong even though the leaders placed before the youth by this church advocate it.  Or for that matter the conversations with parents explaining why it is valuable and important for their youth to attend these events and for local youth leaders and parents to come along afterwards and explain what was good and not so good from the presentations.

I hate to mention it, because I'll be accused of "bad mouthing the ELCA", but something similar happened in 2015.  A sitting bishop decided to "come out" to the delegation from his synod.  No one knew ahead of time that this would happen, not pastors, not adult leaders, not even the synod staff.  People may fear similar un-announced disclosures from speakers in 2018. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?