Letter to the Editor

The code

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lutheran Church in America bishops have placed a document called "Visions and Expectations" along side the Bible as Holy. It is a morality code. Bishops judge pastors by this code. "Improper" hugging can have dire consequences.

What happens now that pastors can marry gay couples and gay pastors can marry? If a bishop is ardently against the ELCA change in policy, what should s/he do? What would be the honest thing to do if you strongly disagree with company policy? It would take a special person to welcome and support the new policy when they ardently opposed it. So far the bishops are calming the masses by saying no gays have applied for a church in their synod and no church has asked for one. Also, you don't have to have one if you don't want one. This is not much of a welcome to gay pastors who are still in the closet.

The new constitutions the bishops have been pushing makes it difficult for a congregation that opposes the change to leave the organization without losing their assets. Congregations lost their autonomy when they accepted the new constitution. Bishops control. Non-celibate gay pastors violated the code.

Is this change the will of God? Can rigid codes be broken by the will of God? Was God pushing the code when Mary conceived Jesus? Didn't Jesus violate the code when he went to eat with a tax collector? Jesus' greatest resistance came from the keepers of the code. Just by dying on the cross Jesus came under the curse of the code.

Some church leaders have fallen victim to the code they were supposed to be enforcing, such as bishops and pastors who divorced. Some had affairs but retained their positions in spite of the code. Some seminary professors drank too much. Some leaders used profanity to the max. Consider the cunning deceit of one pastor to get rid of another pastor.

Jesus said the code is to convict us of sin so we are ready to plead for His forgiving love. Would you rather have a pastor who has sinned or a self-righteous one? The Apostle Paul made his confession of sin many times and thanked God for grace. So where do you draw the line in moral matters?

The answer is simple. Unselfish love is trump card over the code.

Ray Miller

Spirit Lake