ELCA First Sanctuary Denomination, But Then: That Time A White Male Pastor Waits Two Days To Deflate A Radical Denominational Statement

ELCA First Sanctuary Denomination, But Then: That Time A White Male Pastor Waits Two Days To Deflate A Radical Denominational Statement August 11, 2019

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (God)

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Jesus)

I’m not going to make this long, but I will make it pointed. I’m not interested in whitewashing or weakening the vote of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America last week to become a sanctuary denomination.

But apparently, some of my colleagues are.

So, when Fox News issued a hit piece on us.

My colleague responded with this widely shared letter.

The main problem with his letter: it never once, never ONCE, mentions the main focus of sanctuary, which historically since the 1980s and into the present with the New Sanctuary movement has included providing sanctuary for undocumented folks who come to the church.

By declaring themselves official “sanctuaries,” congregations were committed to providing shelter, protection, material goods and often legal advice to Central American refugees.

The ELCA, by declaring itself sanctuary, is doing the same. Higgins Road in Chicago should be checking their showers and laundry facilities and kitchens to make sure they’re all in good order, so undocumented folks can seek sanctuary.

But Andrew Lewis’s letter never mentions this once.

Not once.

Not once.

As if sanctuary were about all the other things, but not that.

This is worse than the Fox New hit piece. This is worse than all kinds of lies.

Because it weakens, almost immediately, the historic action of the ELCA.

The ELCA declared itself a sanctuary denomination.

We did. So we should now lean into it, lead with it, be bold with it, take risks with it, shelter those seeking asylum.

We are sanctuary, and I’m sorry, but no Andrew. No. We are not going to weaken that into cheap advocacy.

Author’s note: I mistakenly ascribed this letter to Andrew Bell, when the author of the letter was Andrew Lewis. I have corrected this in the post.


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