Homosexuality issue defies easy answers

We had a discussion in my Lutheran church the other day on ordaining active homosexuals as pastors and blessings of same sex unions, and only a dozen people stayed after services for it.

I don’t think it was a lack of interest, more likely a feeling that this can’t happen here because the scripture forbids it. It’s been my observation after 10 years of reading and writing about it, that congregations are inclined to the status quo, i.e., homosexuals are welcome so long as they are celibate. The push to accept them as is comes from the church hierarchy who think that’s what God wants. Two Lutheran ministers I have spoken to recently tell me there are members of their congregations who are deeply troubled over what is the right thing to do.

Among letters received following my statement that I believe homosexuals are not born but made, that it is an acquired lifestyle, were these differing responses.

“I entertain about 800 individuals at my bed and breakfast each year (most of them born, not made, heterosexuals),” writes Peter Goldfarb of Mount Vernon’s White Swan Guest House. “But I have also met many men and women who always knew they were homosexual, but tried to deny and hide it by living a ‘straight’ life. Eventually the strain of living a lie becomes too much and they finally give in to their true nature. This causes much pain and conflict, often, but all I’ve discussed this with say it was worth it. In these cases, these people do choose the ‘gay lifestyle’ over that of living a lie. Just my observation over the years.”

A woman wrote from Burley that she left the Lutheran church and now attends a community church because she didn’t like the way her church was heading. I won’t use her name because I’m not sure she meant her letter for publication and I couldn’t find her by telephone to ask.

When the Episcopalians ordained a homosexual bishop last month, its first such, she met with a family friend who is an Episcopalian pastor to talk about it. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is now in partnership with the Episcopal Church of the USA.

“He said the feeling of the church was that we must have agape love for all humans and accept them as they are,” she said. “...I asked if he felt this was going against the Bible since it clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. We got into how the Episcopalians interpret the Bible and that you can’t just take what is written as it is written. He lost me there, since my belief is what is written in the Bible is real and true and when we humans start interpreting it we tend to bend it the way we want it to benefit us. I will not be a part of a religious group who OKs anything that has to do with homosexuality, not because I’m a homophobe but because I believe that same sex unions, regardless of if they are a loving relationship or not are wrong. I will not judge another person if they choose to live their life that way, that’s their choice. But in the scope of the church, I think this accepting and embracing the whole homosexual issue is a big mistake. It’s letting Satan get his foot in the door of the church.”

Pastor Joe Schultz of Grace Lutheran Church in Buckley is part of a small group of churches called the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, formed when two Lutheran groups merged to become the ELCA.

“I am often painfully reminded as to what is going on in the ELCA and much of the ecumenical movement in general,” he said. “It is a top down sort of institution where the hierarchy lords it over the congregation and parishioners. It is a very sad state of affairs which has led now to the acceptance of practicing homosexuality that the Bible calls sin. As the ELCA is now united with the Episcopalian Communion, I believe it is only a matter of time before ELCA will vote to accept homosexual unions if one can call it that.

“We are an alternative church body. While we love the sinner we still do point out sin and its evils whether it is living together without the blessing of marriage, homosexuality, drunkenness or theft.”

We still have a lot of talking to do.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA., 98340.

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