Knock, Knock: “If ‘ordinary’ has come to mean ‘discriminatory,’ we have chosen the adjective ‘extraordinary’ deliberately to emphasize the "out-of-the-ordinary" nature of our community.”
On the 490th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting 95 theses for reform of the Catholic Church, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) has published a theological declaration calling Lutheran churches around the world to return to their core values and to end the practice of mandated celibacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender pastors.
“Martin Luther’s 95 theses caused reformation because a revolution in religion came together with a revolution in technology. We believe that launching our theology statement on the internet will re-ignite the spirit of reformation in Lutherans who continue to struggle with the same issues that the reformers document in our confessions.” said Rev. Erik Christensen, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Co-chair.
The ELM theological affirmation addresses topics dear to Luther and other reformers:
The publishing of the theology statement coincides with the official launch of ELM, the merger between Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (LLGM) and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP).
ELM is a national non-profit that credentials and rosters openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for ministry; supports these pastors by working with congregations that will call them and providing mission grants to support their ministry; and provides a network of support to the congregations and pastors. Pastors from the ELM roster currently serve fourteen ELCA and two independent Lutheran congregations.
Can a Transgendered Person Be a Methodist Minister?: In 2006, the Rev. Ann Gordon, pastor of St. John's Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD, completed the process of sexual reassignment to become a man: the Rev. Drew Phoenix. In May, 2007, Pr. Phoenix was reappointed by Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, who reasoned that the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline does not forbid transgendered people from serving as clergy. (An FAQ on this action was published on the Baltimore-Washington Conference web site.)
Other pastors uncomfortable with the re-appointment asked for a ruling from the UMC's Judicial Council which meets in San Francisco October 24 - 27 and will take up the case as item IV (of 19 items to be considered):
IN RE: Review of Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference Concerning Whether Transgendered Persons are Eligible for Appointment in the United Methodist Church.
An additional complication to the judicial review is that Dr. James Holsinger, President Bush's nominee for Surgeon General, is President of the Judicial Council. Dr. Holsinger has declared that he will not participate in the council's October session.
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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.
Meanwhile Back in Chicago: On Sunday, October 28, Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood will vote on a proposal to extend a call to Jen Rude who was rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) after her ELCA candidacy committee could neither approve nor deny her candidacy for ordination. Pr. Brian Hiortdahl's newsletter article explaining the call is worth reading.
TransFaith Online: Whether you're a transgendered person navigating your own faith journey or a straight churchgoer trying to figure out what trans is all about and why it's important, you should have a look at TransFaith Online. TransFaith Online founded in 1999 by Chris Paige and has long been an important resource for transgendered people of faith. The site has recently undergone an extensive makeover to publish more information about the experience of life and faith from a transgender perspecitve.
Where are the Queers?: Our far-flung network of correspondents forwards this late-September item from the Sarcastic Lutheran blog:
"I've been at Luther Seminary for 3 weeks now and have yet to meet an out GLBTQ person. Um, I know they have to be here somewhere. It's so weird to be in an environment where it is apparently not safe to be out. It's making me deeply sad actually. I think I'll start being a little obnoxious about it and find some rainbow flags and pink triangles to sport.
Allie Allie in come free!!!!
Alas, if only it were that easy: "the queers" are keeping a low profile because they want to stay in the candidacy process. The Churchwide Assembly may have encouraged Bishops to refrain from discipline, but that's no consolation to seminarians whose candidacy could be terminated without recourse to discipline.
Get Thee Behind Me, Satan!: Pr. Erma Wolf, vice-chair of Lutheran Core, wants you to know that November 1 is the deadline for submitting your response to the latest study guide from the Task Force for Sexuality Studies (TFSS). Here's an excerpt from her posting to the ALPB Forum Online:
"What I have heard from my synod office is that a pitifully small number of responses has come in so far. That just will not do! Wherever you might be on this matter (and I know ELCA folks here are all over the map, not just at two opposite ends of it on this issue), you need to let your voice be heard. This is important.
I know we are all tired of the subject (yes, this is about SEX!), and tired of the study. I know this latest installment is too long, and too dry, and too everything. And I have had to fight the same depressing thought that no one really cares, and my response will not matter one little bit to those on the task force. Folks, that is the voice of the tempter whispering in our ears -- pay him no heed."
Responses can also be submitted via the Task Force's Faithful Journey web site.
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