Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday morning

First thing this morning, we address a resolution on Israel/Palestine. The resolution itself is no trouble, but amendments have already begun to hit the floor which could be much more troubling. The first amendment we'll deal with uses the word "balanced" (code word for - we need to hear from Israel as well - in my opinion, the entire rest of the resolution makes it clear that we want to hear from "both sides" so this is unnecessary). The conversation yesterday was confused by the fact that some speakers were arguing the memorial that came to the Assembly, not the recommendation that we were supposed to be voting on from the Memorials Committee.

I believe after that we'll be dealing with the resolutions on ministry policies. The four resolutions are being dealt with separately, not in a stair-step fashion. We wanted this to be done, so that we could debate the merits of each without having all debate cut off if resolution 1 passes. This is not a slam-dunk at all. There are very widely divergent opinions. But it does seem that there is much closer to a 50% split than ever before, and it only has to be adopted by a simple majority. So if a few people are out of the room during the vote, it could change things immensely. No bathroom breaks for me this morning!

Resolution 1 (as currently numbered - which may change) basically says that we as a church body can accept that same-sex blessing ceremonies could be acceptable. (it says nothing about congregations having to do them.)

Resolution 2 talks about accepting rostered pastors in publicly accountable, lilfelong, same-gender, monogamous relationships. (this also does not mean that congregations have to accept such pastors.)

Resolution 3 talks about being united in one church with all of us respecting the bound consciences of one another. This may be moved to position 1. The people against policy change have been very disturbed by the "bound consciences" language because they think it means that you're looking to your conscience as your guide, not scripture and the Lutheran confessions.

Resolution 4 talks about making the changes needed to allow for Resolution 2 (more or less). It does call for more action, but my opinion is that if 1-3 pass, #4 will be pretty easy to accomplish.

History could be made in the church today. Or we could be dealing with an unjust policy that is upheld. Only time will tell.

You can watch the Churchwide Assembly at - today would be a good day to do so!

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