Thursday, August 09, 2007

Observations from the CWA

Greetings from the ELCA Church-wide Assembly floor. Okay, the photo is from the floor, me on duty as a microphone page. Right now we're in a recess and I have a few moments of internet access.

As I've written, the best sources for what's happening are the ELCA's own website and Forum Letter Editor Dick Johnson's reporting over at ALPB Forum Online.

Hopefully they'll offer it seperately as a video/DVD, but in this morning's (plenary session six) webcast you will find retiring ELCA Secretary' Lowell Almen's final Report to the CWA and it is a very personal, powerful tribute to the Church and his work in it. Recommended viewing.

Yesterday in his Report, Presiding Bishop Hanson spoke of visiting a dying aunt. While standing watch, he noticed her lips moving and trying to speak. Quickly he figured out that she wasn't in any distress, however. Rather, she was reciting from memory Paul's Letter from the Philippians. The whole thing! Turns out she had memorized much of the Bible as a youth. Later when she was more lucid and they were conversing, she told her Presiding Bishop nephew that he should be making sure that ELCA pastors where having their youth memorize the Scriptures, for the comfort it would bring them at times like this (when they were unable to read).

"Oh," he replied, "the Presiding Bishop doesn't have that kind of power or authority in the ELCA. That's the responsibility of Synod Bishops."

As the CWA laughed, by my microphone Bishop Eaton from Ohio stood up at her chair and started pointing at the pastors in her synod's delgation: "You, you, you..."

Also yesterday afternoon in one of the "Dwelling in the Word" moments, former Bishop Marcus Miller, now president at Southern Seminary, told a wonderful the story of the family going through his father-in-law's things after his death, and finding a beautiful, leather, King James Bible, well-worn especially in the Psalms and New Testament. "What should we do with this?" his wife asked. Bp. Miller kept it, and uses it daily in his morning devotions, conscious that he is not doing them alone, but that he is praying with the Church, his Father-in-law, and all the saints of the past and present. Try to catch that in yesterday afternoon's session, just prior to the Quasi-Committee of the Whole discussion on memorials related to homosexuality.

But then there's the "Justice for Women" report, that sounded like it came out of 1972. The director fairly demanded that all sort of theologies, including "womanist," be part of the ELCA's "Mainstream."

All in all, I'm having a good time working, meeting and re-meeting old friends and colleagues. But the major controversies have yet to be discussed much. Now, back to my station for the afternoon.

Keep praying for us.

1 comment:

biggmann382 said...

In 2004 I watched as my Father die in front of me. He did not go quietly he was awake and wanted to live. You are witnessing the death of what could have been a great church. It would have been better if this church had not been formed. You need to start thinking about your career and what you are going to do when the time comes. Bigg