Thursday, June 4, 2009 be continued

Someone I greatly respect and like in the blogging world recently asked me if I would ever write about Why I am a Lutheran. I have been thinking about it this for awhile, but haven't succombed yet because of my elbow, and also, because, well, it's complicated.

In the meantime, in view of what happened in Wichita last week, and in view of the fact that it happened in a Lutheran church (albeit ELCA: people on both sides would be anxious for me to make the distinction), I have been thinking about being Lutheran and about abortion.

The church where I serve contains people who are passionately pro-choice and passionately pro-life. We sing together about Jesus and his love, and we mean it. We attend the same Bible studies, we serve at the homeless shelter together, and we get involved in issues of social justice. Some of us are passionate about health care and others about equality in public education, and others about eliminating domestic violence. Although I am working on it, I don't know all that the people of my parish are passionate about.

I also want to clarify: I don't even think that there are just two, distinct positions are my church: pro-life and pro-choice. I think there are many positions as people struggle with their understandings of sin, or brokenness, or grief, with their understandings of God's grace and love and forgiveness, and how it is appropriate to express our faith in our civil life.

Other church bodies will say that there is a lot of "lukewarmness" (to use a word from my old charismatic days) in the ELCA. They may be right, although I'm hesitant to assign the "lukewarmness" to one position or another. In fact, my mother, who has become a more and more passionate and outspoken Christian these past few years, is also quite adamantly pro-choice.

There are churches where there does not appear to be such a diversity of opinion on this or other issues. For me, I can't help thinking that our diversity could be a strength, if only we could figure out a way talk to each other without hurting each other by lack of understanding, false assumptions, even theology.


FranIAm said...

Oh Diane, what a wonderful post. I am so moved by what you write - you write from the wisdom position, filled with questions and openness.

Something struck me about what you wrote regarding your community... I guess because I am in the midst of this Theology of the Trinity course, your words about unity in your diversity really got inside my heart.

I will pray with that thought now.

Thank you.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

"If only we could figure out a way talk to each other without hurting each other by lack of understanding, false assumptions, even theology."

I wish for that too.

I have spent most of my life feeling passionately in support of one of the extreme positions. Now I see more grey.

It feels odd but it's where I am.

I think it's mostly from being at an Episcopalian church, where the answers aren't definitive and there is a diversity of opinion. It still feels odd.

CJWille said...

I think we should all challenge ourselves at different points in our lives to articulate "why" we are in a community of faith. What does it mean to me? What do I contribute and receive? Then the beautiful thing is to look at this over time and recognize the wealth and meaning those choices have given you in your life. I look forward to your post.

Mrs. M said...


That sort of diversity is precious to me, too. For it to be rooted in passion is wonderful.

Thank you.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Isn't there something about maturing that we come to realize "life isn't so simple" ie, not black and white. And the problem with B&W thinking, or "either or thinking" is that when we run into a brick wall, our whole mind-set or faith gets shattered.

As I've aged, I've come to think that faith is easy, something to rest in, rather than wrestle with. I'm not sure how much of that is True Grace and how much is just laziness.

But we do know that we are saved by grace, so that if we hold divergent or controversial opinions, it doesn't affect the mantle of grace that surrounds us.