What kind of perverse Lutheran would I be if I did not comment on the ELCA voting that it's okay to allow someone in a committed same-sex relationship to be a pastor?
It is good to see Christians dare to err on the side of grace, to see Christ in surprising places, to accept and bring people in rather than judge and shun them. All those things, I'm sure, sound old and obvious, especially to anyone who has listened to the days and weeks, months and years of discussion that preceded this decision.
I'm the sort of lay person who decided this one long ago for myself. So watching a church body labor through this is kind of like watching someone much younger struggle through adolescence. You can't be sure how he'll come through and if you'll want to know him when he's a serious adult.
I have this idea that this vote is one more step in the choosing of sides. Many of us can relax now that our more moderate branch of American Lutheranism has come down on the liberal side of this issue. Check that one off. What will be the fallout from those who believe in the other side? Will we all end up at the heavenly banquet sitting on opposite sides of the table, finding it hard to make conversation, suspicious of how the people on the other side of the table got there? Why they are there at all? And which ones exactly are the Pharisees and which the rabble from the wayside?
Yet we are all there. Even now we are moving into God's new kingdom, marching to Zion, together. What does it mean to be a motley crew headed for heaven's mansions, pulling one way and then the other along the straight and narrow--no that would be the wide and winding path in front of us?
It means we're human. God's image broken, though not entirely lost.