16 November 2010
I could probably be working by now, but I'm a firm believer in staying home when you're not feeling well, so here we are. Besides, with my MacBook and cell phone I'm still able to accomplish quite a bit on a "sick day," to the point that I'm not actually taking the whole day off today anyway.
One of the things I've been doing is catching up on blogger friends and actually reading stuff rather than skimming it per usual. Every once in a while you follow the rabbit down the hole into a world you never knew existed, and I got a look at one such hole today - unfortunately, this one wasn't a particularly good one to follow.
I stumbled on a website which seems completely dedicated to taking down the ELCA, the denomination in which I currently serve as pastor. Whoever is running this thing is a disgruntled former ELCA member who has spent far too much time going over ELCA documents and websites with a fine-toothed comb, intent on finding every questionable phrase or sentence that could be exploited for his/her disingenuous, unfair and ultimately toxic agenda. No, I'm not linking to it, nor will I give any more hints as to how to find it. The last thing I want to do is increase the traffic over there. Let's just say that after a few minutes reading thosee suspicious, conspiracy-theory mis-interpretations, I felt like I needed a shower (though, I admit, it might have also been because I've spent most of the day in this recliner in the basement).
No one is surprised to note that a year after the ELCA's decision to embrace the ministry of same-gender persons in monogamous relationships and allow churches to bless same-gender unions, the fallout is still, well, falling. Churches are leaving the ELCA: this is a cause for sorrow even when that departure might be the healthiest way forward. No one wants to leave the denomination with which they have been connected for so long. But as an internet friend said the other day, at some point you get to the point where you think, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"
There's a fine line between honest disagreement and spreading poison. I walked it here while the UB was going on, and some accused me of crossing it. That's part of the reason I haven't been blogging much lately: I'm worried about crossing that line. When Susan Hogan was running Pretty Good Lutherans, I thought she provided a great space for people of diverging opinions to talk about what was happening in the ELCA. I wish she were still doing it, because efforts like that stand as a counter to the site I visited today, where the primary hermeneutic lens is one of suspicion and the default setting is somewhere between soapbox and BOMBAST. There's a need for genuine criticism and loyal dissension in every denomination, especially in these days when staff layoffs are camouflaged as new structures designed to increase flexibility. I just wish this small portion folks who disagreed with the ELCA's decisions in 2009 had chosen healthier means of expressing that disagreement. I think I'd have been that much closer to feeling better if they had.