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
“Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered, and sent for the sake of the world.” (Sent! by God's grace for the sake of the world, July 2006, "Global Missions Event." 5).