Bishop Fetes LLGM Board: We hear that Bishop Thorvald Noe-Effingway, whose name has become virtually synonymous with strict enforcement of ELCA policy regarding gay clergy, hosted a birthday banquet attended by board members of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (LLGM) and representatives of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP). Our source ("Anthony the waiter") reports that more than two dozen people attended the dinner celebrating birthdays of LLGM board members Greg Egertson and Margaret Moreland. According to Anthony, attendees were generally respectful of the bishop.
A reporter dispatched to the scene was not allowed into the banquet room at the fashionable Downtown restaurant in Berkeley, California, and received less-than-helpful answers from the bishop after the event as he waited outside the restaurant for his car.
As expected, the bishop refused to comment on the disciplinary proceedings against a transgender pastor in the Central Great Lakes Synod. Asked if his overtures to LLGM were in support of a bid to replace Lowell Almen as Secretary of the ELCA, the bishop said "No comment." Neither would he confirm nor deny that the dinner had been paid for with Synod funds.
An unidentified LLGM Board member later remarked that the bishop "seemed not to understand" that LLGM and Lutherans Concerned / North America were distinct organizations. "Basically, LLGM is a mission society, and we really don't do much lobbying at assemblies. I think he thought we were goodsoil or something. Nice dinner, though."
It remains to be seen how supporters of Bishop Noe-Effingway's political ambitions will react to his overtures to the Lutheran LGBT Community.
Revisiting Recommendation One: "Recommendation One" was the ELCA Sexuality Task Force's 2005 injunction to look for ways to "live together faithfully" in spite of our differing opinions about sexuality. The 2005 Churchwide assembly approved Recommendation One by an overwhelming margin, but recent events in the New England Synod and the Southeastern Synod have prompted the Word Alone folks to re-examine Recommendation One. WordAlone board member
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Pastor Scott Grorud has written up these misgivings in a recent edition of the WordAlone email newsletter. In short, Pr. Gorud smells a rat, fearing that the word "faithfully" will be construed "subjectively" and be reduced to nothing more than holding sincerely whatever position one holds. He would prefer "faithfully" to be considered "objectively", meaning faithful to God and to God's Word. Apparently it's unthinkable to Pr. Gorud that anyone could interpret "faithfully" "objectively" and still find same-sex relationships morally or theologically defensible. Note to Pr. Gorud: You might want to check the Queer Lutheran Liberation Front Manifesto.
Memo to the Network: If you still do this kind of work, there's a desperate need for a reasonable piece of writing about "Sex in the Bible" on Wikipedia. The Internet's "free encyclopedia" has an absurdly unrealistic article on this topic, and on "Homosexuality in the Bible". It would be a public service for someone to provide a short, genuinely scholarly survey.
Bishops' Assistants in Retreat: Bishops' Assistants from all over the ELCA will meet Feb 22 - 25, 2007 in Galveston, TX, and we'd really like to hear how that meeting goes Bishops' Assistants are a pretty diverse group.
Bold Women's Day: Women of the ELCA celebrates itís first-ever Bold Womenís Day on Sunday, February 25. Bold Women's Day is a kickoff for a series of events to follow at various sites between May and September. Attendees will be encouraged to "Find your bold!" Our own favorite bold woman is transgender pastor Sophie Fortresson currently the object of a disciplinary hearing in the Central Great Lakes Synod.
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