Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." (Romans 12.15)

Alas, I cannot. On this night I cannot rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Some are friends, friends going on decades. Some are those who I still care about, even though "The Issue" has strained bonds of friendship, even broken some of those bonds perhaps past repairing. Some are those who I have come to respect for their tenacity, their struggle, their courage, their vulnerability, and even their (at times) wiliness. Some I pray for by name. Some I despair of ever understanding. Some I know will always be antagonists (and I that to them).

All, I believe, are brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is complicated. It is painful. The Church Council of the ELCA has taken action on matters given to it by the Churchwide Assembly from August 2009. I cannot accept those actions and stay in the ELCA. I must accept those actions if I am to stay in the ELCA. I don't know what accepting those actions might, will, must mean. I don't know how to accept those actions. I don't know what not accepting those actions and staying in the ELCA might mean. I don't know what it will look like. I don't know if I will be allowed to stay, not accepting those actions.

The revisions of the documents Vision and Expectations, Definitions for Guidelines and Discipline, and the Candidacy Manual have been adopted by the Church Council late in the afternoon of Saturday, April 10. And those who have worked so hard and long for this moment rejoice.

I do not wish to reject those who rejoice. I struggle with Romans 12. I struggle to understand what Paul's words say to this time, to me in this time. I am not exegeting; I am dwelling in those words. My conscience is not at peace.

May those who rejoice find the honor they have long sought in this church.

May those, like myself, who do not, may we find the way to do what is honorable among all.

But. I must be honest with what I believe. I cannot rejoice.

Jesus, meet us in the places of rupture and unraveling.


5 comments:

TeeJay said...

Hearing of these recent ELCA actions I believe is akin to hearing the hammer striking nails by those attempting to fix God's Love to the cross. And though the nails of human sin wound, they cannot bind the Resurrected Christ.

Pastor David Baer said...

Erma:

Great words to express what we who weep are experiencing.

It's hard to know what all this means for us.

But we do know that others rejoice even as we weep.

Randi said...

Romans 12 stresses that LOVE is the most important. We cannot make decisions for GOD!! But we must show love to all of those around us.

Ruth said...

This is not where my heart is but it is what my mind is saying. I will have to make do with what is and give lipservice to something I may not believe with all my heart. That is the only way I can continue to go to church.
I am not God, I am not Luther. I am a weak human.

Tim Fisher said...

Erma, thanks for your comments. Speaking as one who rejoices in this matter, I find your words honest and graceful. Of course, as I think you know, my rejoicing (whatever else it may be) is not simple.