On October 12 I wrote a post titled Seeds of Irony in which I (poorly, according to some) observed that the ELCA Churchwide Organization announced the reduction of sixty-five staff postions on "GLBT Coming Out Day." Though the ELCA social statement on human sexuality doesn't "affirm" (my original word choice) the practice of homosexual sex, it has opened the door for congregations to call gay people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous relationships to serve as their pastor. In light of this change in ministry policies, I offered this analysis:
I think lots of people - many of them unchurched - believe that Christian churches are full of judgmental hypocrites that refuse to acknowledge their own sin while amplifying particular sins of others. The ELCA has taken a different posture, embracing the “simultaneously sinner and saint” dialectic and committing to live together faithfully in the midst of our differences. I think that this posture has a chance to help bring about reconciliation and healing for people - regardless of sexual orientation - to hear the gospel in a new way.
What are we doing to capture the imagination and inspiration of people who think the ELCA’s acceptance of gay pastors is a really good thing?
Some people on both "sides" didn't like my use of the word acceptance. Nevertheless, the sentiment remains: after 15 months of absorbing crossfire for changes made in August 2009, I think it's time for many of our churches to think creatively about how to articulate this interpretation of Scripture to those that need to hear it.
With that in mind, I was pleased to see that our presiding bishop joined the It Gets Better project with this video:
As I tweeted on October 20, I believe that "it is neither provocative nor political to be anti-bullying." I'm grateful that Bishop Hanson has joined the chorus of people who denounce bullying in any form, especially to the GLBT population.
I also echo the sentiment of my Methodist friend, JP, who also had this to say on 10/20:
When I got bullied, it was by kids who shot rubber-bands. Today, kids are bullied in ways which would make most of us blush...
I don't know if wearing purple will really fix anything. But no one deserves to be robbed of their LIFE by those who think it is funny to push someone...often over the edge. Please MAKE time today to talk to your kids/friends about why wearing purple wasn't just a fashion statement...
Indeed, the solidarity of purple-wearing brigade and the words expressed by the It Gets Better videos are great; but they're ultimately meaningless if they don't translate into courageous action. As one who was bullied by people who thought I was gay, I am grateful for the people who demonstrated God's love to me through their actions. My parents...Calvin...Eric...Matt...Stephen...Jonette...and many others.
My tearful prayer that everyone who is mistreated - especially young people - can be shown the unwavering love of God in the midst of their sadness.