Scurrilous Rumors: We hope you saw the article about Jen Rude's upcoming ordination ("Gay Pastor Tests Celibacy Rule") by Susan Hogan/Albach in the Chicago Sun-Times. Retired Metro Chicago Synod Bishop Rev. Paul Landahl was quoted:
"Jen is a wonderful candidate for ministry."
Jen's ordination extra ordinem will take place November 17 at Resurrection Lutheran and everyone we speak with is very excited.
Of course, because we're Lutherans, there are also rumors: "This person or that person might take their membership elsewhere."
We're plugging our ears. Don't ask us if the rumors are true. We are not qualified to comment, and we encourage you to put the best construction on everything.
However, we can say with complete confidence that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will transfer her church membership to Resurrection. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign could not be reached for comment.
If that Clinton rumor were true, we wonder, who would stay and who would leave?

ENDA, the Long and Winding Road: On Wednesday, November 7, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 235 - 184. The bill provides workplace protections for sexual orientation, but not for gender identity. The Senate has yet to take up its version of ENDA. The White House has said that senior advisors will recommend to this president that he veto any law on this subject that Congress passes.
A statement from United ENDA (a coalition of more than 350 organizations that lobbied for prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity) read in part:
We remain frustrated and disappointed that an inferior bill was brought to the floor. The stripping away of gender identity not only abandons transgender people - the most vulnerable within the LGBT community - it ignores the reality that gender identity and expression are at the root of much anti-gay discrimination.
Rep. Bella Abzug introduced the first bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in 1974. ENDA is the first such bill to be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.

M. Luther Celebrating 524th in S.F.: On November 10, St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood hosts a "mini-gala" celebrating Martin Luther's 524th Birthday.
Festivities begin at 5:30PM with a beer garden and silent auction. Martin and Katie Luther will arrive about 6:30 for the cocktail buffet and have promised to be available for photos. Pr. Sophie has a prior commitment, but look for the rest of us in the photo line.
Festivities include a live auction and the presentation of the Kirsten Havrehed Award to Beverly Hines in recognition of her decades of exemplary service to St. Francis.
Proceeds from the party will benefit St. Francis' mission and ministry programs, including the Senior Center and the new Sunday School.
We wonder if the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence might not drop by as well.

ELM and ...Word Alone?: After last week's launch of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) the following entry appeard on Chris Halverson's Luthermatrix blog:
So... this is a group of folk who are working toward inclusion of practicing gay/lesbian clergypeople.
What I find interesting is that this group wanted to find a way to organize itself as a group within the ELCA, but... not of it... so to speak. They ended up using as a model the Word Alone movement!
Odd stuff this world. And the ELCA still hangs together somewhere in tension between these and other forces. What is the center? Can it hold?

This view of ELM doesn't sound exactly right to us, and it really seemed to bother some of the ELM people we talked to. We weren't able to speak to any Word Alone folks for their perspective.
ELM has more or less the same focus as its predecessor LLGM: credentialing and finding calls for LGBT clergy. ELM is essentially a mission society, and while the ELM folks find ELCA policy regrettable, the legislative work of changing that policy is not a priority for them. Since 2005, most of the work for policy change within the ELCA has been done by

Sloth Never Looked So Good: If you're going to do nothing, you might as well do it in style. Tell the world you aren't afraid to sin boldy by slipping into the Official T-SHIRT!

Be the Life of the Party:
Worn out your old copy of The Book of Concord?
Get a new one.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship: what's all the fuss about? Find out for yourself.
Looking for a good old hymnal? We've got those, too.
Buy books, music, and other Lutheran stuff now from the Store! (Frequently cheaper than Augsburg-Fortress or Concordia.)

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.

    Lutherans Concerned.
    Word Alone, on the other hand, is an association of like-minded congregations and individuals who have banded together, sometimes for reform, and sometimes for mutual protection.
    In many respects, Word Alone most resembles Evangelical Lutherans in Mission (ELIM), the "moderate" caucus in the LCMS in the early 1970's. ELIM provided a way for LCMS pastors and congregations to stand together in opposition to a predominantly "conservative" church bureaucracy. Word Alone serves much the same purpose for ELCA pastors and congregations who feel called to oppose the "liberal" ELCA organization.
    The Word Alone / ELIM comparison only underscores Chris Halverson's concern: ELIM laid the foundation for one of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) which split from the LCMS in the late 1970s and latter became part of the ELCA.

    Hubris of Jeff: Via the Hotdish Hotline we received an anonymous pointer to this blog entry from the Jeff's Hubris blog:
    Note: is NOT the link to the book of Concord on-line. That would be You don't want to mix those two up.
    Jeff is "a seminary student studying to be a pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod."
    It is true that we are not the online Book of Concord, but contrary to popular opinion, we actually are confessional Lutherans, we just don't conform to the "confessional" stereotype. We trust you to read both and and not get mixed up.

    Lata Sententia: After decades as a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Conroy, Iowa, the congregation revoked the membership of 66-year-old Wayne Lienen for failure to take communion for more than two years.
    In addition to losing his membership, Lienen was informed that he would no longer be welcome to take communion at Trinity after his expulsion, that, after his death, his family would not be allowed to use the church for his funeral, and that any burial plots he had leased in the church cemetery would revert to the church.
    Lienen believed he had purchased (and not leased) four plots in the cemetery. His first wife Ardath was buried in one of the plots. When ordered to forfeit the unused gravesites, Lienen had Ardath's grave moved as well. In an article about the incident by John Carlson in the Des Moines Register, Lienen was quoted as saying:
    "I always thought that church was about what you believe in your heart. Am I wrong about that? I sure never thought in my life that church was about something like this."
    Technically, in contemporary LCMS polity, the right to excommunicate belongs to the congregation. In this case, the congregation seems to have implemented its own form of excommunication latae sententiae (automatic excommunication).

    Pr. Sophie Sez: Pr. Sophie has a very special piece of advice for music-loving, justice-doing Lutherans everywhere (and goodness, that would be all of you, wouldn't it?). At long last there's a way to do good works and indulge your passion for music at the same time: point your web browser at and buy yourself a copy of Out of the Extraordinary, a benefit CD to provide scholarships and debt relief for LGBTQ pastors who are "precluded" from the ELCA roster. There's no need to be shy, buy a copy for a friend as well.
    Featured artists include Dakota Road, Namoli Brennet, Judy Fjell, Indigo Girls, Jonathan Rundman, Bread for the Journey, Rev. Megan Rohrer, Agape, Carrie Newcomer, David Maxon, Sara Thomsen, Amalia Vagts, Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan and the Rivers Voice, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and The Transcendence Gospel Choir.
    The artists donated the music, and the album was made possible by a generous grant from the St. Francis Lutheran Church Foundation, San Francisco. Additional funds provided by Ida Hakkarinen, Ellen Maxon and Rev. Jane Ralph ensure that 100% of the proceeds from this album will go toward seminarian scholarships and clergy debt relief.

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    Disclaimer: is not affiliated with the any other organization,and particularly none of the following: American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC), American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (ALPB), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) (now defunct), Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans (FOCL),, International Lutheran Council, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Lutherans Concerned / North America (LCNA), Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (LLGM) (now defunct), Lutheran Ministerium and Synod (LMS-USA), Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML), North American Lutheran Church (NALC), Queer Lutheran Liberation Front (QLLF), Societas Trinitatis Sanctae (STS), Wingspan, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), or Word Alone.