January Extra Ordinem: Jen Nagel will be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament and installed as pastor of Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on January 19. Rostered leaders are requested to vest in red and arrive no later than 1:30. Details here.
Jen has served as "pastoral minister" at Salem for four and a half years, and the congregation voted on November 11 to call her as pastor.
Precluded from the ELCA roster by a discriminatory policy, Jen is rostered with Extraordinary Lultheran Ministries (ELM).
According to the congregation's newsletter, Jen and other representatives of the congregation have been in conversation with Minneapolis Area Synod Bishop Craig Johnson who has said he will attend the ordination, but feels he cannot participate in an ordination extra ordinem.

The Public Church: The ELCA has published Called to be a Public Church, the 2008 ELCA Voting and Civic Participation Guide. The 76-page document is designed to encourage, empower, and equip Lutherans to engage responsibly in the 2008 election cycle. The guide is intended to encourage congregations to participate in voter registration drives, voter mobilization campaigns, and poll monitoring. The guide also contains nonpartisan briefs on issues related to the ELCA social statements:
Domestic Hunger
Domestic Housing
Domestic Healthcare
Global Poverty and Hunger
Global Warming
Peace and Conflict (Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and Darfur)

The guide is available at no cost on the ELCA Advocacy web site at www.elca.org/advocacy/publicchurch.

Zeus the Lutheran: Maybe you remember a short story by Garrison Keillor titled Zeus the Lutheran that appeared in The New Yorker (October 29, 1990). (It's also in Keillor's story collection Book of Guys.)
Zeus inhabits the body of a Lutheran pastor and sends the pastor's soul into a dog. In a discussion of sermon topics between Zeus and the dog, Zeus offers this assessment:
You're a fool. This is not a TV show. Your people are dying. This is not a long-term problem, and the answer to it is not the willingness to accept change. You need heart, but you're Lutherans, and you go along with things. We know this from history. You're in danger and months will pass and it'll get worse, but you won't change your minds. You'll sit and wait. Lutherans are fifteen percent faith and eighty-five percent loyalty. They are nobody to lead a revolt. Your country is coming apart.

We Are Everywhere!: Was that really a Tater Tot Hotdish that ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and his wife Ione were sharing in the CBS special In God's Name? At least that was the story going around the table at our Christmas dinner.
The two-hour program, produced by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, aired on CBS on December 23 and featured 12 of the world's most influential religious leaders commenting the challenges of articulating faith in the contemporary world.
Regrettably we missed the broadcast and will have to wait for the DVD to confirm that the Hansons did indeed share some

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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.

    hotdish. As the home of the Hotdish Hotline we're big fans of hotdish, and maybe, just maybe, some of the anonymous disclosures we've received have come from a more reliable source than we realized.
    The program will be released on DVD in 2008, and you can see a six minute promotional video on YouTube.com

    Feast of the Expulsion: At St. Francis (SF), December 31 is the Feast of the Expulsion (observed this year on Sunday December 30), commemorating the expulsion of St. Francis and First United from the ELCA roster of congregations on December 31, 1995. The date of the expulsion was set by a 7-5 majority vote of a 1990 ELCA Discipline Committee that heard the case of the ELCA against the two congregations that had ordained Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, and Jeff Johnson in January, 1990.
    The expulsion followed a five-year suspension of the congregations' ELCA membership during which time the Discipline Committee had hoped the ELCA would change its policies barring non-celibate LGBT pastors from serving in the ministry.
    Here's an excerpt from "Personal Reflections on the Trial - Six Months Later", a paper by Pr. Jim Delange delivered January 24, 1991:
    I believe that one day our Lutheran institutions will ordain gay and lesbian people and honor their relationships of love and commitment. One day an openly gay or lesbian pastor will be on the cover of The Lutheran with the headline "Gay and Christian" and there will be a featured article congratulating ourselves on how we are making great steps toward being in mission to all people. But that will happen only after the Episcopalians, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians and probably a few others have done it. And, Lutherans won't do it until after the U.S. Supreme Court hands down some major decisions banning discrimination of gay and lesbian people by the military, business, and the schools - which is already happening. It won't happen in the Lutheran Church until after most major cities have passed domestic partner legislation enabling gay couples to register their relationships...
    It took the Lutheran church centuries and the horror of the Holocaust to acknowledge our participation in discrimination against Jews. Prior to that, the plight of the Jews was defended biblically: "Let his blood be on us and on our children." (Mt. 27:25) It was 40 years after women had the right to vote in our nation before they won the right to vote in our church institutions. We defended that with the bible too, "Let women keep silence in churches for it is not permitted for them to speak." (1 Cor. 13:34) For 300 years the Lutheran Church in this country joined others in institutional discrimination against African-Americans, keeping them out of our white seminaries and denying them ordination. In the 1890's, the old Norwegian synod adopted a resolution saying that slavery was supported by the Scriptures. That was 25 years after the Civil War was over. What message were they sending? And to whom? In the 1920's the United Lutheran Church in America passed resolutions calling for justice for negroes, but supporting the separate but equal notion, stating fears of interracial marriage. "Each after his own kind" was the biblical cry. Twenty-five years ago, the letters to the editor in The Lutheran, The Lutheran Standard, and the Lutheran Witness were filled with invectives against the civil rights marches and Martin Luther King, regularly branding him as a communist.

    Or in the words Mr. Keillor put in Zeus' mouth: You need heart, but you're Lutherans, and you go along with things. We know this from history.

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