I hailed it as an important and proper step -- and I wish my own Presbyterian denomination would reach the same conclusion.
As usual, I got questions about how anyone could ignore what they believe is the clear condemnation of homosexuality in scripture -- a condemnation that means gays and lesbians should never hold positions of leadership in the church.
Well, I have a speech on this subject that I have given a number of times in various venues. In it, I argue that when one reads scripture carefully and does good exegetical work, one finds that nothing in the Bible should be used as a weapon against homosexuality and that nothing in the Bible should be read as prohibiting otherwise-qualified homosexuals from serving the church in all ways. (If you want, e-mail me and I'll send you a copy of that talk -- unless your mind is already closed on the subject.)
But in the wake of the ELCA decision, a friend shared this excellent commentary about how that denomination's decision can be justified scripturally. It's a fine piece of work written by Timothy Wengert, a professor of Reformation history at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and I commend it to you. What I especially like is that it takes seriously the reservations about all of this that others have based on their reading of scripture. That is, it doesn't just run roughshod over people who disagree. Rather, it seeks to respect their position because they, too, believe they are taking scripture seriously. Taking such views seriously is what I try to do, too, even though I disagree with them.
So if this subject interests you, today I invite you to get inside the head a bit of those of us who believe it's a perfectly justifiable scriptural position to advocate ordination of gays and lesbians to ministry.
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MORE BAD P.R. FOR ISLAM
Here's another example of why many people, especially in the West, think Islam is always and everywhere a bad influence when it comes to personal freedom. It's hard to understand why the religious hardliners in places such as Afghanistan don't understand that besides twisting the true teachings of Islam they are doing their religion considerable harm in the eyes of the world by punishing people simply for raising legitimate questions.
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P.S.: Please plan to join me and my co-author, Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, at one of the two upcoming (Sept. 10 and Sept. 13) events described here to launch our new book, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust. Rainy Day Books will be there to help you buy a copy and you'll even get to meet some of the people whose remarkable stories we tell in the book.