Churchwide Hotdish: Yes, that was ECP Board member Dr. Mari Irvin having breakfast in Chicago Tuesday morning with a table full of Lutheran Core folk. Close enough to overhear, our informant reports that the conversation seemed to be primarily about farming and cucumbers. The reporter could not confirm that they ever got around to talking about ELCA policy. Sometimes "living together faithfully" means talking about cucumbers.
Asked to confirm (or deny) this report, Dr. Irvin acknowledged the conversation but insisted that the vegetable in question was not cucumber but zucchini. Maybe that, too, is living together faithfully.

We're not SSAD we're gay: Among the recent communications from Word Alone, Board member Charles Hesse, M.D. invokes Same-Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD) and launches a defense against charges of homophobia:
The scientific and psychological study of homosexuality reveals facts about this disorder that must be emphasized and used to counter charges of homophobia leveled at those who regard this disorder as sin...
Any withdrawal from a society or church that espouses compassion and the theology of acceptance of homosexuality will be looked upon as homophobic, no matter how carefully the debate is worded. The opinion previously held by many against a homosexual lifestyle, quickly turns 180 degrees with personal involvement such as with a close relative. Although a structured and contained debate of this subject is preferable, the gay community has suspended the rules. The only way to counter the hue and cry of the gay lesbian bisexual transsexual organizations is with facts, not the least of which is the physical and psychological damage to the individual and his or her loved ones.

With respect to SSAD, we stand with the North Texas Skeptics: SSAD is a fabrication of the "ex-gay" movement.
The genuinely sad thing, however, is that anyone claiming to be Christian would disavow compassion.

Answered Prayer: After meeting with leaders at St. John's Lutheran Church (Atlanta), Bishop Ron Warren issued a brief pastoral letter indicating that he would not pursue matters related to Pr. Bradley Schmeling or St. John's.
After much prayer, it is my decision not to take any further action regarding the Bradley Schmeling disciplinary case and/or any action against St. John's Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA. A few days ago I shared this decision with Bishop-elect H. Julian Gordy and this evening shared the news with St. Johnís Executive Committee and Bradley.
As most of you know, I will be leaving the Office of Bishop of the Southeastern Synod August 31, 2007. I have requested that St. Johnís leadership be in contact with Bishop-elect Gordy, who assumes office September 1, 2007.

Pr. Schmeling, though removed from the ELCA roster, continues to serve St. John's. The congregation could be subject to discipline for retaining a pastor not on the ELCA roster.

Men in Black: We hear that there's a visible security presence at the Churchwide Assembly, though surely some of the


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    Men in Black must be clergy.
    As part of the preparations for the Assembly's opening worship, Pr. Robert Goldstein brought a small bag of salt, intending to use it as part of a rite to purify the altar. Our reporter notes that Pr. Goldstein's approach to the altar with bag in hand elicited looks of concern from numerous black-clad bystanders stationed casually around the hall, and men wearing in-ear radio receivers went on the alert and positioned themselves to intervene. Not confident that he could explain that the white substance in the bag was just salt, Pr. Goldstein decided to forego the rite.

    Fashion Notes: Coordinating the introduction of 82 LGBT pastors at the Churchwide Assembly, Lutherans Concerned (LCNA) Executive Director Emily Eastwood emailed the pastors with this advice:
    Attire: Some of you have asked about what you should wear. Iím no fashion consultant, as you undoubtedly would agree, so my suggestion is that you wear something comfortable and befitting your role in this event. Some of you may prefer to wear your clerics. Others may prefer that Hawaiian shirt with the big Georgia OíKeefe flowers. Business casual with a Hawaiian clergy shirt might be just the ticket.
    If only she'd asked Pr. Sophie!

    Ask Pr. Sophie: Pr. Sophie Fortresson, our resident expert on all matters of theology, Lutheran etiquette, and social protocol, answers questions submitted by our readers and occasionally simply volunteers advice when no question has been asked. Send your questions to pr_sophie@lutheranconfessions.com.

    Dear, Dear Readers,
    Pr. Sophie seems to have waded right in with both feet last week with her comments about clergy shirts for women who used to be men. West Coast readers took her to task for insufficient feminism (eyebrows were raised at the "between us girls" remark). Pr. Sophie concedes that pronouns and gender labelling are 'sensitive and personal' (ouch!), but being a girl is one reason Pr. Sophie made her transition in the first place, and she thinks that maybe minds don't make transitions as easily as bodies do.
    Style-conscious East Coast readers, on the other hand, were quick to decry as a 'fashion faux-pas' clergy shirts with breast pockets, particularly for "large-chested" women. The readers went on to suggest that Pr. Sophie watch more TV, particularly "What Not to Wear" with Stacey and Clinton. Suffice it to say that Stacey and Clinton have never had to worry about dangling a cross recklessly over the sick bed during a hospital visit. If it's any consolation, dear East Coast Readers, Pr. Sophie insists that the breast pockets on her clergy shirts be flapless.

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Pr. Sophie and the colorful language she uses to express them are not necessarily those of Lutheran (True) Confessions (lutheranconfessions.com) nor does their appearance here constitute an endorsement of these opinions and language.

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