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Erma and Emily: The ELCA's draft social statement on sexuality has been out for a week now, and frankly, the most interesting development in that week is the discovery that Emily Eastwood Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned / North America (LCNA) and Pr. Erma Wolf Vice-Chair of the Lutheran Core steering committee appear to have a synoptic view of the draft:
Emily Eastwood: Frankly, the draft is not what we had hoped for, but it does make incremental, if glacial, progress beyond the social statements of the predecessor bodies to the ELCA. The old ALC statement put "homosexuals" in the same category with murderers. The LCA statement on "Sex, Marriage and Family" said that homosexuals were sinners only as were all others. In contrast, the first draft of this ELCA statement admits candidly that the church does not have consensus on how to treat same-gender couples and families. This is most certainly true. The truth the document fails to mention, however, is that our church no longer has consensus on the definition of marriage. Still in only two sentences does the document actually define marriage as between a man and a woman. Rather, in the rest of the document the qualities and requirements for committed relationships for heterosexual and same-gender couples are virtually identical. As such, the draft seems an uneasy and inconsistent compromise between the opposing views on same-gender relationships delineated by the document itself.
Pr. Erma Wolf: I think Emily Eastwood's assessment of the draft statement is spot-on. The word that keeps coming to my mind ever since first reading the draft, and on each re-reading as I study it? Laodicea.
Pr. Wolf's reference to Laodicea is an appeal to the message of judgment and call to repentance addressed to the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14ff:
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.(v. 15-16)