This morning's paper reminded me of how difficult it is to get an idea across via the press. Mind you, it's not because reporters do a bad job, or misquote, or don't understand the issues. Most reporters do a good job, are accurate with quotes, and if they don't understand the issues they want things explained to them so that they will.
When I'm asked questions, by parishioners or (in this case) the press, about something that has happened, I try to first explain things as objectively as possible before giving my perspective. Hopefully that has shown up in this blog now and again. It is one way I try to apply Dr. Martin Luther's explanation of the 8th Commandment in his Small Catechism [note to self: update links on Pastor Zip's Christian Web Links]:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.I tried to do that when interviewed earlier this week, and this is how it came out in the paper:
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God, so that we do not lie about, betray or slander our neighbor, but excuse him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
"I think at least symbolically that really is a big victory for including active gays in the ministerium," said the Rev. Steven Tibbetts, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peoria who also served as a volunteer at the assembly.Read the entire column here.
What struck Tibbetts, though, was how much of an effort was made by people on both sides of the issue to get along and remain united as a church.
I do admire how Michael Miller was able describe a 15 minute interview in 2 sentences. And as far as I am concerned, he did his reporting and editing job well. But he only had so much space and, when I read it this morning, it seemed like a reader could reasonably think that I was pleased with the "victory" I described. In my own small way I felt like Senator Obama, or President Bush, or someone like that reading what they said in the paper or seeing the soundbite on TV and thinking, "But that's not what I meant!"
Michael Miller and I have talked about church matters over the years, he reads this blog, and we covered quite a bit of ground on the phone the other afternoon. I don't think for a minute that he thinks I'm pleased with the outcome of the "refrain from discipline" vote or that he intended to suggest that. Well, what are ya gonna do?
How about post a sign next to the phone saying something like, "Give juicy quote, but watch it!" ;->
The vote was a symbolic victory for the proponents of the gay agenda in the church. It was a real defeat for the orthodox believers in the ELCA. And a clear signal that we cannot just sit back and let someone else take care of things. It was one skirmish and we did poorly. All is far from lost, however.
On Friday, September 28, Lutheran CORE is holding a gathering, 'This Church' and God's Church, at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Lindenhurst, Illinois, on the north side of metro Chicago. From 10 am to 4 pm CORE will review what happened at this Churchwide Assembly and plan for the next two years' Synod and Churchwide Assemblies. Dr. James A. Nestingen, Dr. Robert Benne, and retired Bishop Paull Spring will speak. And ELCA Lutherans, clergy and lay, from across the land will be there because they want to have the ELCA we were promised 20-25 years ago, not the one we're getting.
I'll be there. And if you send $10 payable to "WordAlone Network" to Lutheran CORE, c/o WordAlone Network, 2299 Palmer Drive, Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112 (which is to cover lunch), you can meet me there. For more details, contact my friend and colleague, Pr. Steve Shipman.