"Last of all, love the poor, poor ELCA. I say this in full acknowledgement of how ridiculous it sounds. Nobody loves the ELCA: not those who will push their agenda whatever the cost; not those who are willing to buy a few more years of false peace through appeasement; not those who are ready to walk out in rage or disappointment. Nobody loves the ELCA but God. And God loves it for reasons we all find offensive: because God has always loved and favored the ungodly. While we were still sinners Christ died for us. . . .The ELCA is the ecclesiological form of the sinner: it comes before God, alternately proud and despairing, with hands full of sin, death, and the devil. For the very reason we would kick it away and leave it to die at the side of the road, God comes to this very unappealing bride, takes away the ugly things she has to offer, and in their place gives her righteousness, life, and His own gracious self, not because she is worthy to receive them, but precisely because God comes to the unworthy. "
These are the words of Sarah Wilson,the co-editor of Lutheran Forum, in her editors column in the Summer 2009 edition. "Speak the Truth in Love" speaks to the upcoming Churchwide Assembly in the ELCA, and to the one consuming and over-powering issue of human sexuality, specifically same-gender sexuality. She speaks to those who are both voting members and those who are not but who likely be at the assembly in August. She gives wise counsel on this, and I would encourage anyone out there who has not read this article to do so. (Go to http://www.alpb.com and find out how to get hold of a copy, or even to subscribe to the magazine!)
But it is this last argument that continues to strike me at the heart. Love the ELCA? She is so right. Who loves the ELCA? Who even wants to be found out as loving the ELCA? It is as human construct, a corporation, an address on Higgins Rd. in Chicago, a bureaucracy, a splinter group in the body of the Church catholic. It is one untimely born, and like Job, seems to be cursed from its birth. Not only who loves it; who wants to be accused of loving it? Who dares to be thought such a stupid fool?
As Dr. Wilson writes, only God. And that makes me profoundly sad.
I accuse myself. I have not loved. Is it too late to start?