Stewardship: On August 2, not quite a week before his pastoral letter announcing that he had initiated disciplinary proceedings to remove Pr. Bradley Schmeling from the ELCA roster, Southeastern Synod Bishop Ron Warren issued a pastoral letter on mission support, benevolence, and stewardship. Bishop Warren's stewardship letter quoted Dr. Mark Allan Powell's book Giving to God: The Bible's Good News About Living a Generous Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006):
"I think he had it backwards. He was thinking, 'Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.' But Jesus said it the other way around: 'where you put your treasure --- that's where your heart will end up.' The point isn't that how we spend our money reveals what sort of people we are, but that how we spend our money determines what sort of people we become...."Jesus says that what we do with our treasures affects our hearts---it determines who we are inside...."
"'Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' Jesus says. I have noticed over the years that seminary students and pastors often get this backwards. I recall one sermon in which the preacher asked us to consider this text. What it means, he said, is that we can tell what people really care about by how they spend their money.
And now, for the first time in nearly nine years, the ELCA will commit some of its treasure to remove a pastor for violating the ELCA's requirement that homosexual clergy be celibate. How much will the disciplinary proceedings cost the ELCA? Enough to support a pastor in a new congregation for one year? Enough to make up the $90,000 budget deficit facing the Southeastern Synod? However much the trial will cost, does spending our money in this way draw us closer to Jesus or push us further away?
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Meanwhile, Back in San Francisco: We hear that Sundance, the country western dance association for lgbt people and their allies on Sunday nights in San Francisco has become a favorite spot for ELCA Lutheran pastors and seminarians to dance. On a recent evening, there were no fewer than four sightings of different rostered leaders in the ELCA.
Perhaps it was a 'Drag Order'?: We understand that a prominent donor has offered a contribution for the Lydia Circle's air fare to Atlanta to advise Pr. Bradley Schmeling on etiquette, accessories, and makeup for the disciplinary hearing. There's no word yet on who will be the fashion advisor to Bishop Warren.
Memo to Metro Chicago Synod: A friend of ours saw the December issue of MetroWord and reports that the list of "Rostered Leaders New to the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA" is incomplete: no mention of Pr. Erik Christensen, rostered with the ECP, installed October 21 at St. Luke's - Logan Square.
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