Magazine article The Christian Century

Ordained by Baptism

Magazine article The Christian Century

Ordained by Baptism

Article excerpt

TESTIMONY, NOT advocacy, is my intent in this first foray into a subject about which church bodies argue: the "blessing of gay marriage/unions" and "ordination to clergy status" of men and women in committed homosexual partnerships. Let me separate the two. The "blessing" item is now part of presidential politics, a subject M.E.M.O never touches. But the "ordination" motif is focal in the Body of Christ, and is not the business of the unregenerate.

Impressed by my own church body's fair-minded materials (www.elca.org/faithfuljourney) but dismayed by the heat of the arguments here as in all churches, from Roman Catholic to Anabaptist, I lapse into a wishing mode. I wish we could start this one all over, this time dealing with it not only as what Martin Buber would call an "I-It" dispute but in a conversational "I-Thou" form.

The "It" people in both camps write and read lengthy biblical, theological and psychological documents that cancel each other out. A fundamental mistake made by those homosexual people who would be ordained, or those who would support them in this quest, was to let their opponents type their pleas as part of "the [secular] gay agenda" or "the homosexual issue." Put this way, the conflict leaves us at war with each other and poised for divisive denominational votes.

My perspective is that of a senior visitor at theological schools and ministerial assemblies, a wanderer who is open to listening and who gets approached by candidates for ordination. That experience helps me understand why so many moderators, presbyters, bishops, professors, credentialing committees and pastors are seen as "soft.'" They regularly look into the eyes of men and women who have a consuming desire to serve in the ordained clergy. I puzzle with them about church bodies that proclaim we are all ordained to ministry by our baptism--a. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.