Monday, 13 September 2010

Listening to the Voice

Watching kindergarten children play together will quickly remind anyone why Jesus said that children are already in God's kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). We know that such innocence can be quickly and abruptly interrupted when a parent yanks their child out of the sandbox by telling them that they should not be playing with a child of a different colour or religion, or a child raised by gay parents, etc.

In a community the size of Toronto an anxious mother is awaiting the results of an operation performed by a highly skilled surgeon on her critically ill three year old daughter. Finally, the doctor comes into the waiting room with the news that the operation was a complete success. Tearfully thankful the mother embraces the doctor and thanks him for his wonderful work. Did the mother know that the Doctor was gay? Does she care? Would she have refused to have him operate on her daughter had she known about his disposition in advance? Not on your life – he, gay or otherwise saved her only daughter's life!

In that same community a father delivers his anxious son into the hands of a caring teacher. This is the first day at school for the child. The father wants nothing more than to see his anxious child grow into a healthy happy student. For the next few years his son will be tutored almost exclusively by female teachers. Does the father care that women will be the primary force in his son's education? When his son graduates from University will he remember the positive role women played in his son's education?

In that same community parents are peacefully gathered together in a local church to thank God for his blessings. Suddenly they are literally yanked out of their pews when the minister announces that starting next month he is leaving and could be replaced by a female minister, or an openly gay bishop. The entire community is divided in their opinion as to what should happen. All of them at one time happily shared their toys in a sandbox. All of them were brought up in a community were gender and persuasion did not come into play when it was to their advantage. Why do our divisive attitudes become a focal point when we come together in a religious setting? Isn't religion supposed to bind us together rather than apart? When did we first forget to read the bible as God's call to a unifying love?

What voice did we listen to when we first yanked our child out of the sandbox?

This short fictitious story was written in response to the article 'Facing Lutheranism's Crisis of Authority' which was posted on line

by David Neff, September 9, 2010. The article carried the following introduction:

Seven theologians call North American Lutheranism back to the Word and the Lutheran confessions.

When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passed its social statement on sexuality

last summer, approving of gay unions and gay clergy, it made no effort appeal to Scripture at all. This frustrated and angered conservative Lutherans, who would have disagreed with the statement's teaching even if the document had appealed to scriptural authority. But to ignore Scripture entirely? How un-Lutheran. In late August, I joined more than 800 conservative Lutherans in Columbus, Ohio, for Lutheran CORE's free theological conference. We listened to seven theologians (augmented by theologically oriented preachers and a banquet speaker) focus on the crisis in authority in their church.

Readers of this blog are urged to read the well balanced 'statement on sexuality' which reflects perhaps the most honest opinions and ideas on the subject I have read to-date. Furthermore it represents a consensus that reaches across both extremes on this most delicate subject. The results are indicative of what can be achieved through proper and sincere dialogue instead of monologue and most importantly encouraging the participants to listen to the Voice.

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