1. This is where God is calling me to be.
That pretty much says it. I have been asked how I can be so certain it is God calling me to this, or how I know God is calling me to really stay in the ELCA. My answer is very unsatisfactory to just about everyone except me. It is that if it isn't from God, then it won't work. And God will let me know. It may take awhile for it to sink in (after all, I am a stubborn German/Scot-Irish Lutheran from Tennessee). But that's ok. And if it is from God, then I will continue to know.
I see myself as a pastor, not a hired hand. I'm not supposed to run when the flock is under attack. And as a pastor, I am to preach repentance and warning, and the promise of forgiveness and renewal of life to all who turn to God in Christ Jesus. I don't see anything that happened at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly that makes that less imperative for the foreseeable future.
2. I love the ELCA.
I know, I'm not supposed to do that. The ELCA is "only" a denomination, a pretty flawed one at that (perhaps, yes, fatally so). I shouldn't make an idol out of a church body, which is after all a corporation. And I don't really have any realistic notion that the ELCA can be "reformed," "taken back," "renewed," or "reborn." And who do I think I am, that one pastor can really make any difference in the ELCA under the present circumstances? Especially, given the progress of original sin is ever ongoing, those circumstances will almost assuredly get worse going into the future?
Like above, this makes no sense. But to quote the old song (sung so wonderfully by Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl"): "I'd rather be blue over you (ELCA) than happy with somebody else."
And with God, nothing is impossible. Even resurrection from the dead.
Now, this is not any kind of judgment on those who believe they must leave and build outside of the ELCA, either a new denomination or in another, different, Lutheran denomination. I can accept that they/you? are doing what God is calling to be done. Just by someone else.
Now, if this changes, I'll post it here. But don't hold your breath. This is feeling pretty set.
Here I stand. In the ELCA.
God, help me.