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The Quiet Ally Numbers Game
Abstract: On the road to 2009, who has more quiet allies?
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.