The Quiet Ally Numbers Game: If you're a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered Christian, you probably know (or at least have heard a rumor about) someone who is a "quiet ally." Quiet allies are people who are "supportive" of full participation for LGBT people in the church, but reluctant to "make a big show" of that support. Some feel they can be more "effective" working "inside the system", and working inside the system usually entails being quiet about one's convictions to preserve one's "credibility."
Maybe you think that quiet allies are unique to the cause of LGBT folks in the church, but the latest dispatch from Word Alone board member Pr. Scott Grorud suggests otherwise. In fact, Pr. Grorud thinks Word Alone may have more quiet allies than anyone else:
A growing body of evidence shows that the theological soul of Lutheranism in North America is under attack. Some might say that WordAlone is a weak force and unlikely to win this battle for the church's soul. WordAlone's official numbers are small, our budgets inadequate, and our staff members stretched thin. Yet we know that if all those who "agree with (our) views," but "would never express them publicly" were to stand by their convictions and take the risk of speaking publicly, the picture would be dramatically different. WordAlone believes that it represents (in principle, if not in every detail), a majority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but unless that "silent majority" is willing to stand up and be counted, we cannot make that case nor eventually win this battle. For the sake of Lutheran theological integrity and for the sake of the Gospel, bishops, pastors and church members--who recognize that basic Christian truth is eroding in the ELCA--must take the risk of saying so, of engaging the argument, of standing by their own convictions, even if they find it terrifying to do so. At the ELCA churchwide assembly two weeks ago, many faithful and courageous people did go to the microphones and made their voices heard for the truth, despite how intimidating it was to do that. Their example sets the course for all of us in speaking out in winsome, honest and humble ways.
The silent majority is probably as old as democracy, but its most famous modern proponent is Pres. Richard M. Nixon who used the phrase in a speech on November 3, 1969 to claim support for his strategy in the Vietnam War.

Married in Des Moines: In Polk County, Iowa, same-sex marriages were legal from 2PM Thursday August 30 (when Judge Robert Hanson declared unconstitutional a 1998 state law banning same-sex marriages) until 12:30PM Friday August 31 (when Judge Hanson issued a stay of his order in response to a motion filed by County Attorney John Sarcone).
In that short time, Polk County accepted marriage license requests from 27 hopeful same-sex couples. Of these applicants, only one couple successfully navigated the process to be granted a marriage license: Tim McQuillan and Sean Fritz paid an extra $5 fee and obtained a signed waiver from a judge to skip the 3-day waiting period that is the default for marriage license requests. Their marriage was performed by Rev. Mark Stringer of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines at 10:32 Friday morning and at 10:45 they filed the completed license and received an official certificate of marriage.
sources: Reid Forgrave, Des Moines Register
Henry C. Jackson, Amy Lorentzen and Nafeesa Syeed, Associated Press.

O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?: Bishop Thorvald ("Wally") Noe-Effingway of the Central Great Lakes Synod sent us this email request from The Lutheran soliciting funeral bloopers:
What's so funny about a funeral? Usually not much.
But sometimes, especially for pastors, something goes terribly wrong and all we can do is laugh.
Send your funeral stories (75 words or fewer) to julie.sevig@thelutheran.org for The Lutheran's "Light Side" page by Sept. 21.
   


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    1 Timothy 4:12: Pr. Craig Minich has been elected to the office of "Adult Chair" for the Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC).
    The SPSYC is the leadership team of the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) in the Sierra Pacific Synod. Members of the committee are elected by youth members of ELCA churches at the annual High School Youth Gathering. Adult Chair is the committee's only elected office open to non-youth.
    Pr. Minich (who is rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project) is called by six ELCA congregations in the Alameda-Berkeley-Oakland area to serve the East Bay Lutheran Youth Program. The Sierra Pacific Synod does not recognize the calls of ECP pastors. He has been an advisor of the Synod Youth Committee in the past.
    Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:12)

    Something Sweeter: Ever-alert observers have spotted a video on YouTube.com featuring the Rev. Megan Rohrer playing a secular song in a clergy collar. (Pr. Rohrer is wearing the collar, not the song.) There's also a brief appearance by her cat.
    It's rumored that the video is from rehearsal for Out of the Extraordinary, an album by Pr. Rohrer and Amalia Vagts to be released in November. The album will benefit Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) with proceeds applied to seminary scholarships and clergy debt relief.
    Reliable sources also hint that the project may feature a song donated by the Indigo Girls, and we understand that Pr. Sophie was approached to contribute a tune. The usually voluble Pr. Sophie declined to comment, but we hear that she's volunteered to sit in on drums for these sessions.

    Ask Pr. Sophie: Pr. Sophie Fortresson, our resident expert on all matters of theology, Lutheran etiquette, and social protocol, answers questions submitted by our readers and occasionally simply volunteers advice when no question has been asked. Send your questions to pr_sophie@lutheranconfessions.com.

    Dear Pr. Sophie,
    I just re-read Vision and Expectations (V&E), and I'm confused. Can you tell me what the difference is between "celibacy" and "abstinence"and "chastity"?
    Confused and Curious,
    Norman, OK

    Dear Confused and Curious,
    That's a very discerning question that just screams for a didactic reply. Pr. Sophie will try to keep her inner didact under control, and she wonders if perhaps sometime in the past you attended a Roman Catholic school.
    Celibacy is the state of being unmarried. Abstinence is forbearance from indulging some appetite or craving. Sexual abstinence is refraining from sexual behavior, particularly sexual intercourse. Chastity can be a synonym for sexual abstinence, but often simply means "morally pure."
    Pr. Sophie thinks you must be concerned about the following statement in Vision and Expectations:
    Single ordained ministers are expected to live a chaste life. Married ordained ministers are expected to live in fidelity to their spouses, giving expression to sexual intimacy within a marriage relationship that is mutual, chaste, and faithful. Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.
    The problematic word here is chastity: the chaste life of married clergy includes "expressions of sexual intimacy," but nothng is said about whether unmarried clergy (who are also expected to be chaste) must be abstinent, and for homosexual clergy the abstinence requirement is simply asserted with no mention of chastity at all, as though the authors of V&E weren't quite confident that homosexual people were capable of chastity even in abstinence.
    This is a mess, and it just goes to show what kinds of things can happen when you make policy without the benefit of a social statement.
    However, Pr. Sophie thinks that V&E really has less to do with chastity than it has to do with power and control. Unless the eventual Sexuality Social Statement devotes more attention than anyone expects to Tops and Bottoms, it's unlikely to address the real issue.

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    Disclaimer: LutheranConfessions.com is not affiliated with the any other organization,and particularly none of the following: American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC), American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (ALPB), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) (now defunct), Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans (FOCL), goodsoil.org, International Lutheran Council, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Lutherans Concerned / North America (LCNA), Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (LLGM) (now defunct), Lutheran Ministerium and Synod (LMS-USA), Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML), North American Lutheran Church (NALC), Queer Lutheran Liberation Front (QLLF), Societas Trinitatis Sanctae (STS), Wingspan, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), or Word Alone.