Sunday, August 21, 2011

Genetics and the Future of the Church

Two of the key items on the agenda at the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly were (1) the report and recommendations made by the LIFT (Living Into the Future Together) Task Force and (2) the proposed Social Statement on Genetics.

Both received more than 90% approval from the voting members, which is wonderful.  (Full disclosure - I was on the LIFT task force and my dad was on the Genetics task force.  I am proud of the work done by these two groups and believe that the Spirit was at work in the midst of their deliberations.)

If you are one of the millions of Lutherans that haven’t read either/both of these documents, here’s one man’s summary:


  • communal contextual discernment is key to mission interpretation
  • flatter more nimble church structure by moving toward networks
  • synods working with congregations to establish mission covenants
  • temporary moratorium on social statements
  • congregations lifted up as centers of ministry and mission
  • elimination of program committees


  • defines koinonia as the entire community of life, not just humans
  • precautionary principle is key to seeking wisdom
  • pursue sufficiency, sustainability, solidarity, participation, and precaution
  • “The human vocation, in an age of unprecedented power, is to respect and promote the community of life with justice and wisdom.” ~ from the introduction during Plenary 2

Part Two coming tomorrow, with my thoughts on "what does this mean?" in the days ahead.

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