The Sunday after the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted in convention to affirm homosexuality, the assigned Bible readings from the lectionary, which are read and preached upon during the service and that many ELCA congregations would be using, were Isaiah 29: 11-29; Ephesians 5:22-33; Mark 7:1-13: two powerful texts condemning the substitution of human teachings for God’s commands, and the classic text on Christian marriage. That strikes me as an even stronger sign than the tornado that smote the steeple of the convention church as the delegates were voting across the street (scroll down for that picture).
One might wonder, what was the basis for the ELCA’s decision? How did the convention get around the passages in the Bible that speak pretty directly to the issues? Here is one delegate’s answer:
“We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus’ time and culture,” Tim Mumm, a lay delegate from Wisconsin and supporter of Lutherans Concerned, an gay-rights organization, said during the debate. “We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood.”