Letter to the Editor
Lack of Vision?
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Delegates to the ELCA Western Iowa Synod want to reject the Apostle Peter's vision. They want to reverse the decision made at the last national convention, which allows non-celibate gays to be on the clergy roster. Is the motivation money? A pastor was threatened by the bishop to be kicked off the roster if his congregation withheld dues to the synod because of the gay question.
Peter's vision addresses those who were thought of as abominations. Peter saw a table cloth with unclean animals on it. He heard the command from God saying "kill and eat." Peter refused. This was forbidden food, forbidden by God. Three times the Lord commands Peter to kill and eat. God also said, "What I make clean is clean."
Peter understands the meaning of the vision when he is called to the home of Gentiles to tell them about Jesus. While preaching to them, the Gentiles had a Pentecostal experience. Peter baptizes them and eats the forbidden food with them. Peter has to justify his action with the other apostles. The others also accept that this was God's action. Today, Gentiles benefit from Peter's vision. Does the vision also apply to non-celibate gays? How much do we accept God's word saying, "What I make clean is clean?"
The esteemed Rabbi Gamaliel advised his fellow supreme court justices to be careful about condemning Christians in Peter's era. They might find themselves offending God. As far as the document called Visions and Expectations, I pray for the people who wrote it. Something is missing. I think the ELCA leaders need a Pentecostal experience. Word alone, faith alone and grace alone are basic beliefs of the church. The stool needs to be balanced with one more leg. I believe that leg is Spirit. Without Spirit, visions are not possible.