A Texas Lutheran Bishop’s Perspective on the ELCA Vote

Timothy Kincaid

August 26th, 2009

Rev. Michael Rinehart, Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is in the process of burying his father-in-law. And it is from that perspective that he discusses his thoughts on the recent vote to allow partnered gay clergy.

Rinehart’s words are thoughtful and wise and truly compassionate. His entire letter is worth reading; here is a sample:

Susan goes through her Father’s clothing. His shirts and pants, are so him. They smell like him. They look like him. She decides what to keep and what to give away. She decides to give away his furniture except for a small oval end table that has personal meaning. It’s an odd piece, but it has emotional significance. It’s so hard to let go of things.

I think people feel this way about change in general. The world has changed. The quaint hyper-patriotic euphoric post-WWII baby-boom world no longer exists. People are grieving the loss. I may struggle with the strange hermeneutics of the Bible being employed, but I understand that there are people who see the world a certain way, and it’s changing fast. I wonder what it felt like when we started ordaining women, for those who were strongly opposed. What exactly were they afraid of? Sometimes it’s hard to get at. It just may be a loss of what was. I think of America after the Emancipation Proclamation, when European Americans had to accept African Americans into mainstream society. Why was this so hard? What were they afraid of? The slave-enhanced economy might falter? The gene-pool might be weakened? The fragile fabric of society might be somehow irreparably damaged? I’m not sure.


August 26th, 2009

“Biblical literacy seems so low in our church. We have work to do. When someone can quote Leviticus and assume that it’s binding, I marvel.”

Now if only more clergy would concur with this..

David C.

August 26th, 2009

Clearly, Rev. Michael Rinehart, a true spiritual leader, understands the message of Christ indeed. Someday, perhaps more Christians will understand that message than do now.


August 26th, 2009

It’s a beautiful letter.


August 27th, 2009

Am I missing something? the link doesn’t appear to go to his letter.


August 27th, 2009

Nevermind, the page didn’t load all the way the first time.

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