Friday, April 1, 2011

All Are Welcome...

A serious question:

Are Republicans welcome in the ELCA?

(NOT: Are they "allowed"?  NOT: Do they check your voter reg at the door on Sunday morning?)

But, are Republicans welcome, truly welcome in the ELCA? 

Are they welcome in your congregation?

(A way to think about this: what would your reaction be if you found out that the person sitting in the pew behind you voted for John McCain?  What would your reaction be if a lady in your WELCA group wanted to start a chapter of Lutherans for Life?)

Just a question...

6 comments:

Clayton Forrester said...

In terms of the national church, I would say that conservatives are welcome as long as they are silent. As you say, there isn't anybody checking a voter registration card for political affiliation, but when you start saying what you think all bets are off.

For example, look at Mark Hanson's town hall meetings. I may be alone in seeing this, but it seems that when ever the question that he gets is critical, his answers, when he actually has one, tend to be condescending. This is not the act of somebody who believes that all are welcome.

At a local level, all congregations are different. The congregation that I'm a part of is very ideologically diverse. We have former and current presidents of local Democrat and Republican parties in the same pews. I've also visited a congregation that is left-liberal. As a conservative, I feel if I had to say what I thought I know I would not be welcome there.

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

I completely agree, Clayton. And the interesting part of it, for me anyway, is that they don't even realize they're doing it.

At least, I don't think they do. I think the ones who would be most "unwelcoming" to you and me truly and sincerely believe that they are the most tolerant and welcoming people on the face of the earth...

Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth - I have experienced this "unwelcoming" on numerous occasions. Just heard something similar from a friend. He is heading up a group that is caring for a community garden. When someone else in the church heard about his political beliefs they could not understand how someone "like him" could possibly care enough about others to do something like that.

Liberal ideas are accepted and talked about freely, but when I promoted the ideas expressed in "The Manhattan Declaration" I was told they were inappropriate.

With what I've experienced lately the fruit of Galatians 5:22-23 is feeling very dry.

name withheld by request said...

This year I joined the GOP and the NRA, and I am an ELCA pastor.

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

Dear "name withheld",

Congratulations! (And I understand the need to withhold your name...) Feel free to stick around these parts and join the conversation (when I'm not doing CPE on myself, and am actually talking about interesting things, that is! :)

Jean Timmel said...

I just posted a link to this blog on Facebook. This is very sad that there is a need for this blog, but I am also comforted to know that I am not the only one that feels marginalized in their own church. I have affirmed my baptism and membership several times and stay with the ELCA because I feel that the whole point is to continue to work towards being a church that stands true to its beliefs of Grace for everyone and inclusion and acceptance of all. And I am way too mean to leave! My congregation knows I am a stubborn mule! LOL!

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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23