That Goodsoil Eucharist

Started by Richard Johnson, August 09, 2007, 12:11:24 PM

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Mel Harris

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM

Church decision-making has never been a matter of simply listing the relevant passages of Scripture and presto, the matter is resolved.


Pastor Sabin,

It was not my intention to reject you, your opinions and your concerns by simply quoting a few passages of Scripture.  The passages that I quoted were in response to a couple of things that I thought that you were implying.  I thought that you were implying that, like with sex between men, the Hebrew Scriptures never speak even neutrally let alone positively about including Gentiles in the People of God,  I also thought that you were implying that the early church had only their observations and experiences to go on when they set aside Old Testament dietary restrictions.  If you did not intend to imply either of those things, then I apologize for responding as I did.

I have been reading and hearing arguments for at least 25 years, that attempt to convince the church that homosexual sexual relationships can and should be blessed and celebrated as a gift from God to some of his people.  None of the arguments that I have read or heard has convinced me that the church should change it's traditional understandings of appropriate and God pleasing sexual behavior and relationships.  Is it possible that some day I will hear or read something that would lead me to change my mind on this?  Yes, it is possible, but I would say that it is not very likely.  Like Pastor Yakimow, I invite you to make an argument from something other than your own interpretation of what you observe and what you experience.

Mel Harris 

PrSabin

Mel:

A gracious invitation indeed. I wish more opportunities for that sort of conversation presented themselves. I'm not sure thay can happen on-line. I personally think to be fruitful, or at least faithful, they needs days of praying together, reading Scripture together, reasoning together, and the sharing of the gracious intersection of the Living Word with this halting and clumsy institution the Church. I do not see it as a debate, I see it as a discenment, or if Lutherans are true to form and beer is present, then a spiritual symposium in its literal meaning. Perhaps ALPB should look into sponsoring such an event.


scott3

#92
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
With respect, I am experiencing this discussion in much the same manner as conversations I have had with Roman Catholics and Episcopalians about Apostolic Succession. There is a hint of "It must be so because it must be so." There is next to no chance in historical reality that there is an unbroken chain Episcopal ordinations as modernly understood. We project our theories backwards.

Sorry you are experiencing it that way.  However, I have asked you at least 2 (possibly 3) time now to share with us your scriptural interpretation, possibly resting on 1 Sam 18 & 20, Matt 8 and Lk 7 as you mentioned earlier.  If you would like to make your scriptural argument, please do so.  I have made mine at different times.  It has hardly been "listing scriptural passages", though I have done so from time to time to disagree with statements like the one you earlier made when you contended that "Gentiles" were never spoken of positively by Scripture.  Such an argument hardly requires in-depth exegesis or argumentation to demonstrate its falsity, but rather a quick quotation of Scripture to show how, for example, Hosea calls those who were not God's people (Gentiles) now to be God's people.

I do agree that there are attempts to project theories backwards, but the question is: who is doing it?

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
In the same manner, the last few posts have suggested a method of decision making in the Church that is radically different from what we experience today. In addition, they seem to suggest a radical difference in human nature between the first century and the 21st
Church decision-making has never been a matter of simply listing the relevant passages of Scripture and presto, the matter is resolved. Then as now, humans reach decisions for all sorts of reasons and then turn to Scripture to explain and support what they feel in the heart. Scripture hopefully forms the individual conscience before the discernment begins, but we know the process does not end there at its beginning.

Exactly.  But like I just said, I have hardly been only "listing" scripture passages.  Rather, and this is just one mode of scriptural argumentation, I gave context to the dietary laws in the Torah by using a Pauline mode of interpretation where he based the priority of the promise over the Mosaic Law because of its existence 430 years earlier.  I then went back and looked at how Scripture had addressed dietary issues by returning to the Garden where only plants were for food and then to the giving of all things as food after the Flood in Gen 9.  As this was long before either the Abrahamic promise or the Mosaic Law, it helps us to understand the role of the Mosaic Law in the narrative of salvation.  If you remember, you had accused me of belittline or trivializing the Mosaic Law earlier, and it was in response to such a charge that I had to develop a scriptural argument to put the Mosaic Law in its proper context.

Further, I have outlined a scriptural process where at least three poles were active -- Jesus' words, the OT and the observation of reformed lives when the Gentiles received the Spirit, and these combined to form what is the inspired exegesis and interpretation of Paul and the other NT writerss.  This is hardly a simplistic situation but one where there is a complex interaction of many poles.  And on each pole -- reformed lives, Jesus' words and the OT along with the interpretations the interaction of these poles inspired -- I do not see a parallel type of argumentation even being attempted for the non-sinfulness of homosexual behavior.

Truth be told, the scriptural argument that I see to be lacking and that I would invite you, once again, to provide is the one that says that Scriptures teaches that God created human beings to engage in homosexual behavior and that this behavior is part of God's intention for sex and is a God-blessed activity.  I have made this argument for heterosexual behavior within the context of a one man - one woman marriage, but to date, you have not provided a similar scriptural argument.  You have referenced (speaking of listing!) 1 Sam, Matt and Lk as providing such an argument, but I have no idea how you take these passages because you have only listed them and not provided an argument or even any commentary thereupon.

So opining for scriptural argumentation while not providing any strikes me as an odd way to engage in a forthright discussion.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
Regarding dietary laws, Mel stated that at the very least the change also required a private revelation to Peter. That could be seen as rather convenient. I am of the opinion that Peter’s vision applies to same-sex relationships too, establishing the same transformation in how we judge sexual expression as in how we approach clean and unclean foods. I know that this observation will carry little weight in this discussion, but I am resigned to that because I do not share the same basic assumptions as most of the others contributing to this discussion.

OK.  Here's another chance.  Please flesh out your argument and show us how Peter's vision is really about same-sex relationships.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
I will own up to my own presuppositions. While I affirm that God speaks to people through the Bible as in no other way, Scripture is not sovereign. It is not beyond test and criticism. In the same way, Creeds and Confessions can be believed; indeed can be believed fully and wholeheartedly. However, to place them or Scripture beyond the cleansing crossfire of challenge and criticism it to absolutize something finite, to elevate “a little piece of form” to the position that belongs to God alone.

So what is sovereign, then, is your take on how the "cleansing crossfire of challenge and criticism" goes?  Feuerbach would definitely be proud.  Because in the end, there is "a little piece of form" that is being elevated to the position that belongs to God alone ends up looking a lot like yourself.

That's why I don't buy either the modernist presupposition of the objective interpreter / interpretation nor the post-modernist assumption that everything is subjective and all that matters is beliefs.  The situation is much more complicated than that and requires much greater nuance.  God has used His Word to form particular communities into appropriate readers of Scripture.  These communities form individual readers even as the readers are in a relationship to God Himself in Christ.  Being thus formed, readers approach the Scriptures with a particular set of assumptions and biases that help to understand the Scriptures and God's will for them and His Church.  Even so, the Word works to change and improve those assumptions and biases so that wrong ones can be transformed and good ones strengthened.  This is hardly an unsophisticated approach or process.  

Simply saying something like: I've gotta decide on my own what the Scriptures state through the "cleansing crossfire" of debate is what strikes me as naive and simplistic.  Your theory has to be able to take into account both your contextual rootedness AS BEING A GOOD THING as well as the way God uses His Word to correct errant interpretations and form proper beliefs or "lenses" through which the Scriptures are read.  Your approach doesn't seem to satisfactorally take into account either.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
My suggestion that the lives of LGBTQ people be examined for evidence of the presence of Christ has not been taken very seriously. Certainly, great pain and hurt arises from people coming out of the closet after they are married.

Well, it has been addressed.  Examining the lives of those who leave behind families in order to pursue a sexual relationship with another person (homosexual or heterosexual) does not speak well of a viewpoint that would encourage such behavior.  Marriage is about more than sex but also about companionship and friendship.  Sex is only one part of it, and not even the most major part as anyone who has been married more than a year has learned or is learning.

There is nothing preventing anyone from having fulfilling and caring relationships with members of the same sex.  In fact, in my mind the whole homosexuality debate has hurt the possibility of these deep relationships by stigmatizing particularly male-male expressions of care as being "gay".  I have had a great, deep and caring relationship with a great friend of mine since high-school to the point that I could say with David or Jonathan that I love him.  This is not an expression of homosexual love, however, but simply normal love and caring.  However, this type of relationship becomes stigmatized in our current society as somehow being an expression of homosexual love, understood as sexual love.

So there is simply nothing to bar men from having deep friendships with other men (or women with women) where emotionally they lean upon each other, have fun together, have great companionship or whatever.  Nothing ever prevents anyone who is in a heterosexual relationship from doing these things.  The problem comes in with the issue of sex and only the issue of sex.  That is what gets imported, not the friendship or the relationship part which should be encouraged and is perfectly God-blessed and a wonderful thing to do.

Yet sexual desire then seems to become what legitimates the breaking of relationships, the damaging of families, the injury to children, etc.  None of these things auger well of the viewpoint that encourages them.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
I have not heard anyone address the situation of the fortunate people who have correctly identified their sexual orientation before heterosexual marriage. Are the contributors to this discussion seriously maintaining that all LGBTQ persons, in every circumstance of sexual relationship are devoid of the same blessings, behaviors, joys, and yes holiness enjoyed in theory in heterosexual marriage? We might hold that if we compare worst case to best case, but that would not really be fair. Best case to best case, there is no observable difference.

Why do I have to maintain such a thing to make my case?  I have provided scriptural argumentation showing how God's intention for sex was to be between a man and a woman in the context of marriage with no counter argument.  It's not about "what works for you," as this standard throwns everything back upon sinful reason and understanding.  Rather, it's about encountering the Word of God that is capable of crushing our sin and renewing our hearts and minds.  That's why making your opinion the ultimate judge and disagreeing with Scripture is simply to side with your own opinions and desires; and you've ended up with a God in your own image.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
What really pains me is that in almost every post, cognizant of my own finitude, I acknowledge the possibility that I am in error. Not just that I am a sinner dependent on God’s grace. Not just that I fail to live up to my own standards. But also that I may completely miss God’s will. I do not believe anyone else has. I do not envy your certainty.

Really.  Hmmm.  So you have not acted on these opinions in ways that have impacted others lives greatly?  If you haven't, great.  Kudos.  If you have, how can I take your disavowal of a certainty at least equal to my own seriously?

I acknowledge that I, too, may be wrong.  I have not done anything to injure a homosexual person except be friends and engage in caring relationships with the self-identified homosexuals that I know and am related to.  I do advocate for what I take to be the biblical wordview at least as strenuously as those on the other side have advocated for it.  

If you do not advocate for it, Steve, great.  If you do advocate for the non-sinfulness of homosexual behavior, then you seem to be expressing just as much certainty as I.  

I admit that I have a hard time seeing these statements as anything except rhetorical flourishes, that is, unless you have neither acted on your beliefs in a way that has damaged other people nor have you advocated for such beliefs.  I know that I have and am advocating for beliefs contrary to yours, and as you seem to be advocating for your beliefs here, we seem to be equal in certainty there.  As to whether or not you have taken actions on your beliefs that have injured other people, I can't say.  I have not.

So at the very least, your certainty (or uncertainty) is a match for mine.

It does seem, though, that there are folks out there who are so sure about this that they will push this viewpoint until it splits the church into schism after schism.  Witness the TEC (ECUSA) and the Anglican Communion.  What might happen to the ELCA if this viewpoint is adopted.  I do hope that, at least for the sake of honesty and integrity, that those who are advocating for the non-sinfulness of homosexual behavior will at least acknowledge that their level of certainty is such that it's worth dividing the church over.

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 07:33:55 PM
Nevertheless, Christ enjoins me to honor even those with whom I do not agree, to listen to the witness of other believers, to weigh their insights, to honor their faithfulness, excuse their unfaith, encourage their growth, and in all things commend them earnestly to the Love and Mercy of God.

Agreed.  Exactly what I'm doing as well.  I am honoring you by taking your opinions seriously and considering them worthy of encountering and disagreeing with.  A way that I would not honor you is to simply blow you off.  I think that my actions on this forum can testify that I have not done this.  Likewise with the rest.

In any case, if you're ever in the Charlottesville area in Virginia, give me a buzz.  You can contact me through this forum.  We'll go out for a beer and probably end up having a pretty good time.

PrSabin

Scott, thank you. If you can give me a bit of time, I would be happy to work up a fuller presentation of how I read the cited passages of Scripture. I confess that I have been trying to participate in this discussion as fully as possible, but I've also been churning out the Sunday parish bulletin, and do the other fun stuff of a Friday in the parish.  Or, on the issue of what some LGBTQ people might hear in reading those texts you might consult "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel Helminiak. It certainly is not the received teaching. Possible positive references to homosexual persons and relationships are dealt with on pages 123-130.

I apologize that I do not have a computer at home, I have to be in the office to contribute to this discussion.

scott3

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 09:23:48 PM
Scott, thank you. If you can give me a bit of time, I would be happy to work up a fuller presentation of how I read the cited passages of Scripture. I confess that I have been trying to participate in this discussion as fully as possible, but I've also been churning out the Sunday parish bulletin, and do the other fun stuff of a Friday in the parish.  Or, on the issue of what some LGBTQ people might hear in reading those texts you might consult "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel Helminiak. It certainly is not the received teaching. Possible positive references to homosexual persons and relationships are dealt with on pages 123-130.

I apologize that I do not have a computer at home, I have to be in the office to contribute to this discussion.

May you nourish the people with God's Word.

I look forward to hearing the scriptural argument.

BTW -- I was serious about the offer of going out for beverages.  I think we'd actually have a pretty fun time.

PrSabin

On a personal note to all in this discussion. I greatly appreciate this conversation, and for the most part enjoy it. I also have conversations in forums dominated by the other viewpoint in this discussion although there I'm usually speaking on the benefits of our Scriptural, Creedal, and Confessional heritage, especially in terms of the liturgical heritage of Western Christianity. Overall, I enjoy it here more because I do feel that the various views are taken more seriously. Although perhaps not in this specific thread, but on the whole it seems more people here speak "my language."

Thank you for the conversation. It is a gift.

In Christ,
Steve


bmj

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 08:46:52 PM
Best case to best case, if the only observable difference is procreation then the received teaching is totally bankrupt. I am constantly amazed at the ongoing idolatry of baby-making. Of course, I may miss the point since the story of Adam and Eve is to me myth and allegory. Scripture certainly provides a context for procreation, and speaks God's word of blessing on it. It also provides a context for companionship and intimate interpersonal relationships, blessing the need for a helpmate. To make procreation the sine qua non of God pleasing intimate relationships leads to a long list of absurdities concerning contraception, post-menopausal sex, and masturbation to name but a few.

I understand that the concepts in the links below are not in line with mainstream western culture in the year 2007.  However, I do not think that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as documented in the Catechism is attempting to be uncharitable.  I also understand you are not Catholic, but the teachings here are perfectly representative of the vast majority of the lived tradition of the entire body of Christ, including most of the history of Protestant teachings.  How would you view these passages and how could people who feel bound to the truths they contain reconcile with those who seek a change that differs so vastly with these traditional teachings?

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c3a7.htm#1640
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c3a7.htm#1652
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2352.htm
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2396

I all honesty, I think your comment on the "absurdities" of these teachings is not helpful to the discussion.  You discount the beliefs of a large number of your fellow living members of the body of Christ, and dishonor those who have gone before.  That being said, I have enjoyed reading your posts and trying to understand how someone who may desire a change in policy comes to that position.

Quote

Maryland Brian

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Sabin on August 10, 2007, 09:35:41 PM
On a personal note to all in this discussion. I greatly appreciate this conversation, and for the most part enjoy it. I also have conversations in forums dominated by the other viewpoint in this discussion although there I'm usually speaking on the benefits of our Scriptural, Creedal, and Confessional heritage, especially in terms of the liturgical heritage of Western Christianity.

Steve,

If you're up for it, a couple of questions that deal with more of the praxis of one's faith than content;

1) What is the ASA of your current congregation?
2) Having divorced your wife and moved on with your partner, what is your relationship with your children?

I don't ask the last one to be snarky.  There's an assumption being made here, I think, that coming out and living one's sexuality is a personal discovery and choice.  Given you'd lived in a heterosexual relationship with children, I'm wondering if there are added burdens for the kids.  I say this as a simple parish pastor who has observed the lasting impact divorce has on children, particularly when it comes about from adults who seek fulfillment outside the original marriage.  I also ask it as one who's father walked out of his marriage.  I came through it reasonable healthy - note I say reasonably.  My sister didn't come through it nearly as unscathed as she has been married and divorced 5 times and now lives completely alone, cut off from all family and friends.

MD Brian

Gary Hatcher

Perhaps this has been answered already, but I am curious that the "LGBTQ" seems to be growing.  The current debate before the ELCA would on the surface seem to be about "full inclusion" of the LG part of the LGBTQ.  Pr.Sabin includes the BTQ to those who are disenfranchised by the Church.  I would like to know just where the letters will end or is any sexual minority who claims to be excluded by the Church going to find a friend in GoodSoil/LCNA?  Where are the boundaries? ???
Gary Hatcher STS,
Pastor St. Paul & First Lutheran Churches
Garnavillo & McGregor, IA

Maryland Brian

Quote from: Gary Hatcher on August 11, 2007, 10:57:01 AM
I would like to know just where the letters will end or is any sexual minority who claims to be excluded by the Church going to find a friend in GoodSoil/LCNA?  Where are the boundaries? ???

You're catching on Gary ...

Paula Murray

"Where are the boundaries?" Gary asks. 

Gary, there are none.  Look at the UCC.  I watch what their web site carefully, for they have been going this route for over 20 years.  So, what is the result?  Youth workshops that are all about transsexuals.  Workshops at their equivalent of CWA about "having multiple spouses with integrity."  Gay theology, a call for a greatly reduced age of consent for sexual activity.  Worship services that glorify self-expression, no matter how unhealthy or perverse, that see no place in God's divine economy for redemption or for the Son that redeems.  If you really want to see something scary, look at the Unitarians, even farther down that road.

Marriage IS about children, and to a lesser degree about women.  It is about an institution ordained by God long before there were any ordinations for ministry that is intended to provide a safe and caring place for the raising of children and the protection of the women who raise them.  The undercurrent to all of this is that we are rapidly coming to a place where we declare a cultural war against women and children.  In the long run, this is much more about erasing any boundaries that protect the health, the happiness, the wholeness of the innocent and the dependent so that they might be better exploited by those who are neither innocent nor powerless.  It is not a civil rights issue.  It is a justice issue, but we have the understanding of it turned completely on its head.

God help us all.  I speak as one whose husband intends to leave the Lutheran church with her children when this vote passes as it undoubtedly will for good in 2009, unless the ELCA splits.  The Reformation ends in that household, begun in the early days of the German Reformation, when he walks into a Catholic church with my sons.  My congregation will eventually leave this church, a congregation whose relationship with the ELCA I spent the last 6 years bolstering.  No concern for them.  As one pastor from Harrisburg of my aquaintance said, "If some people or congregations leave who cares?  Let them go."

Well, we will.

Dies Irae,

Paula Murray

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Gary Hatcher on August 11, 2007, 10:57:01 AM
Where are the boundaries? ???
The boundaries are equivalent to hetersexuals -- an adult-to-adult, mutual loving, life-long committed relationship. With heterosexuals, the boundary for acceptable sexual relationships is called "marriage". With any of the others, there is the same expectations of as we have in marriage, although we frequently use the terms "committed relationship" or "union".
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Pr. Jerry

Quote from: Paula Murray on August 11, 2007, 12:06:10 PM
"Where are the boundaries?" Gary asks. 

Gary, there are none.  Look at the UCC.  I watch what their web site carefully, for they have been going this route for over 20 years.  So, what is the result?  Youth workshops that are all about transsexuals.  Workshops at their equivalent of CWA about "having multiple spouses with integrity."  Gay theology, a call for a greatly reduced age of consent for sexual activity.  Worship services that glorify self-expression, no matter how unhealthy or perverse, that see no place in God's divine economy for redemption or for the Son that redeems.  If you really want to see something scary, look at the Unitarians, even farther down that road.

Marriage IS about children, and to a lesser degree about women.  It is about an institution ordained by God long before there were any ordinations for ministry that is intended to provide a safe and caring place for the raising of children and the protection of the women who raise them.  The undercurrent to all of this is that we are rapidly coming to a place where we declare a cultural war against women and children.  In the long run, this is much more about erasing any boundaries that protect the health, the happiness, the wholeness of the innocent and the dependent so that they might be better exploited by those who are neither innocent nor powerless.  It is not a civil rights issue.  It is a justice issue, but we have the understanding of it turned completely on its head.

God help us all.  I speak as one whose husband intends to leave the Lutheran church with her children when this vote passes as it undoubtedly will for good in 2009, unless the ELCA splits.  The Reformation ends in that household, begun in the early days of the German Reformation, when he walks into a Catholic church with my sons.  My congregation will eventually leave this church, a congregation whose relationship with the ELCA I spent the last 6 years bolstering.  No concern for them.  As one pastor from Harrisburg of my aquaintance said, "If some people or congregations leave who cares?  Let them go."

Well, we will.

Paula, you should talk with my wife, who is has been dealing with the same tension over the past couple of years.  We married as Lutherans, she married (at the time) a future Lutheran pastor.  As time has gone on, she has had to deal with the fact that, as I grew in the Lutheran Confessions and theology, that I have gotten closer and closer to swimming the Tiber.  Her home congregation (that she grew up in) departed the ELCA back in 2001 (Lutheran Church of the Master, Omaha, NE).  She is a "cradle Lutheran," and not prone to swim the Tiber with me, though I admit I do pray...  But on the other hamd, she is not willing to go along the merry way with the ELCA either...  

The one thing I have to say is that, ethically, I will not lead my congregation out of the ELCA.  There may (likely will) come a moment where I can no longer serve the ELCA in good faith, I may (for the sake of Christian conscience) depart the ELCA.  Probably to Rome, likely as a layman given the current climate, though if some evangelical Catholic group formed I'd be favorable to that direction.  But I will not be the one who initiates the discussion on behalf of the congregation.  If I have done my job of catechesis and proclamation well, then they should have to tools to discern that decision on their own.  

I think it is imperative that clergy excercise good ethical boundaries in this climate.  We should not use our congregations as pawns in this fight nor manipulate them for our own gain or security.  Let us excercise our vocations well and with great integrity.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

GoCubsGo!

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 11, 2007, 12:19:47 PM
Quote from: Gary Hatcher on August 11, 2007, 10:57:01 AM
Where are the boundaries? ???
The boundaries are equivalent to hetersexuals -- an adult-to-adult, mutual loving, life-long committed relationship. With heterosexuals, the boundary for acceptable sexual relationships is called "marriage". With any of the others, there is the same expectations of as we have in marriage, although we frequently use the terms "committed relationship" or "union".

I guess we disagree on the proper boundaries.  To me, homosexual persons are free to express their sexuality but only in heterosexual marriage.  If they want to have a companion and use their sexuality this is the only place.  Otherwise, as for all of us, celibacy is the alternative.

I am sure we will not agree so I hope you don't feel a need to respond.

ptmccain

#104
Let me share a personal account of how these issues play themselves out in many corners of the ELCA. I have removed all personal references. So many stories are shared by Goodsoil, so it is important to hear other voices as well and to hear them even if they are pained and rough around the edges. Here is one of them:

Pastor McCain,

I suspect you will be getting flak for being uncaring, ungracious, too harsh, etc. for your 7:24 CST post on the ALPB forum. I am in awe of Scot's acumen and patience in pursuing all the issues and arguments fielded by [name]. There comes a time when the arguments get repeated and apologetics need to move to admonition. Thank you for making that move in spite of the cries against cruelty which will come your way.

I hear the pleas of parents of homosexuals again and again. They do not realize that they are being used. I say this as the father of a son who under the influence of ELCA youth programs, an ELCA college, and the efforts of the likes of [name] decided he was homosexual. While I still love him dearly and mourned him as dead when he turned his back on me and lived homeless in the streets of [withheld] in a life style so self-destructive that I assumed every out of area phone call could be a call informing me of his death. He is no longer on the streets, but has put into practice what [name] and his cohorts promote. Through a surrogate mother and egg donor, I am a grandfather. My heart aches for this child. It aches even more when I realize that any normalcy and decency I can convey to her will evaporate like a drop on a hot stone because she will be brought up in an atmosphere which is based on lies and confusion. I have bought her a subscription to CPH's Arch Books and pray for her and for my son's repentance. My life and relationship to my son would be "easier" if I went along with [name's] agenda. It would not be an honest relationship, but rather based on my buying into the lie my son has bought into. I suppose we could live in mutually supported delusion. That would be like hoping for dementia because then I would be happily oblivious to the broken world around me.

[Name] needed your admonition not just as a sinner in need of repentance, but because he has made it his mission to lead others into his delusions. Through his machinations, the LYO in [an ELCA synod] was hijacked as a place to disseminate his ideology. My son was very much involved in the synod youth ministry. I resisted attempts to make youth gatherings indoctrination camps and my son took flak when they saw his name tag. The church which I served faithfully turned my son against me and against God. His many gifts are now put to use in pursuit of an agenda which is not God-pleasing. All those parents giving testimony about their gay children should face a difficult and painful question: Who planted the ideas about their sexuality in their heads? An even more painful question that even I do not like to consider is, What relationships of our children to trusted adults have been misused in order to create facts on the ground in the hopes of silencing or changing the convictions of parents? There are, in light of years of pastoral experience dealing with people who were sexually abused, indications seen in retrospect that my son was misused by a seminarian involved in a youth outreach project in [name]. It pains me that I didn't see it happening. Lights went on when that seminarian abandoned his wife and children in [name] while he was on CPE in [name] where he discovered that he is gay. My son almost idolized this young man. It hurts to think that I may have been oblivious to the danger in which my son found himself. Stories like this are not allowed to be told in ELCA. To even connect abuse with homosexuality is forbidden, even though statistics should raise all sorts of red flags. I come to God daily asking for forgiveness for not having protected my son. I trust God's mercy on me and entrust my son to the same mercy and pray for the day when his heart and mind will be turned. There is much more at stake than the happiness of some GLBTQ persons or other purveyors of perversion in this whole debate. The ELCA is sowing confusion among pre-adolescent and adolescent youth rather than guiding them in God's way. In the process, they create a cadre of confused young adults and their parents who join the advocacy of abandoning God's will clearly declared in His Word. The battle is not just an intellectual joust, but a struggle of good with evil. I am not up to the jousting anymore. I did all that and was commended by some of my opponents for the decent way in which I made my case. When I read [name's] posts, I also hear the taunts and insults that came my way from him and his "partner" at synod assemblies. I  relive the pain of nasty letters from pastors who compared me with Hitler---me who put pressure on a former SS Knight's Cross holder to acknowledge the victims of the Holocaust at a memorial day service in Germany (he grudgingly acknowledged them).

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