In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sweden & Love

The Twitter decision it not yet made. More news to come...

I'm reading in the news that Sweden has become the 5th country to allow gay marriage. It makes me stop a little short, because those of us in the ELCA are having a lot of debate and discussion on sexuality and people in same gender relationships. We are not talking about "marriage" in the fullest (legal) definition. But there will be come conversation about blessings.

I'm hearing a lot of arguments being thrown out against the ELCA doing anything to recognize faithful, committed, same-gender relationships. But as I listen, I'm hearing more incongruity between these arguments, and other arguments that I often hear.

First, I believe that the ELCA is still way too dependent on our Scandinavian heritage. We continue to talk as though we are all Norwegian or Swedish...or maybe German. When the ELCA introduced its new book of worship, there was considerable outrage that the book was not more European in nature. According to some, there was too much emphasis on music from the Southern Hemisphere, and too little inclusion of the "hymn explosion" that is going on in countries like Sweden.

Now, at the same time, I will assume that these same folks will argue that we cannot follow the lead of the Swedes in matters of sexuality and marriage. It's OK to use their hymnody, but not their culture. If we are going to continue to model our denomination after a country (or region), which I don't think we should, then we need to fully model ourselves after that country (or region).

Along with that argument will be the idea that the ELCA's relationship with mission developments in places like the Southern Hemisphere will be hindered by letting individual congregations bless a couple. Again, we do not want to have any influence from these places. We don't want their music and worship infiltrating our Scandinavian spaces. However, we seem to believe that the global mission holds a power over us to dictate what will happen within a particular congregation.

Maybe I'm just joining together two things that are not really together. But can anyone explain this contradiction to me?


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