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Showing posts from August 16, 2009

Laying Aside

I was moved to tears by Bishop Mark Hanson's closing charge at the end of this afternoon's plenary session of the Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA. O vercome by emotion himself, he pleaded that we in this church refrain from labeling each other; that rather we remain in conversation with those whom we may disagreee with, that we tell the story of what God in Christ Jesus has done. The particular label Bp. Hanson referenced was fearful. After the decisions made this week at the assembly, there are those who are fearful of what this means for our church. With Bp. Hanson, I would call each of us to lay aside the labels: conservative, liberal, progressive, fearful, bold...whatever they may be that we so dismissively affix to ourselves and others. Once labeled, we don't have to listen to these people because we think we already know what they're going to say by virtue of the label we have classified them with. For shame! Such diminishing of one another as God's children

Confessions of a Non-Signer

I have followed most of today's and some of previous days' online coverage of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. My opinions have changed radically not just in recent years, but in recent days. I was impressed with the passion and hearts of all who spoke for and against the proposed ministry policies. A while back an online petition was circulated that was a letter from seminarians to the ELCA in support of LGBT persons in monogamous relationships to be included in rostered ministry in the ELCA. At that time, I could not in good conscience sign said petition. I could not come down on one side of the other. God kept challenging my long held positions. Particularly today, however, as I prayed and listened to the CWA plenary session, I had to add my opinion to that of the majority. Listening and hearing people's hearts is something I have learned during CPE this summer. As I practiced that skill today, the issue was not one of sexuality, but of love, the fruit of the Spirit, and t

Memorial to a Teacher

My CPE supervisor right from the beginning told us the residents of BV would be our teachers. CPE is now complete and I couldn't agree more. This is the story of a relationship with just one of them. When I first met R, she was pretty well bed-ridden and on hospice care in her apartment in assisted living. I went to her room in response to a note from the associate chaplain that she was not doing well. R didn’t speak much when we met as she was struggling with pain, but still managed a few words and looks of communication. Her eyes were bright clear blue and were warm in spite of the soreness she was experiencing. As one of her two daughters introduced me to her as one of the chaplains, she smiled in response and seemed glad to see me. The conversation we carried on was very limited due to the medications she was being given for pain. They made her sleepy and she would nod off. She was remarkably warm and welcoming given the circumstances and her own suffering. When awake,