I’m sure I’ll be labeled as a homophobe for posting this, but here goes.
On Wednesday, August 19 at 2 PM precisely, the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) held a convention in downtown Minneapolis wherein it voted to allow the ordination of sexually active homosexuals. As the convention was voting, an unexpected tornado formed over the city and struck near the convention, eerily sheering the cross off of the roof of the church where the convention was meeting. Even worse, it destroyed an outdoor beer garden set up outside the church that participants had planned to enjoy after the meeting.
A round-up of what happened:
- The video on YouTube—it’s preachy, over-the-top and uses cheezy music, but as far as I can tell, its facts concerning the tornado and the convention timing are correct.
- Tornado Hits Near ELCA Assembly Hall at BeDeviant.com
- The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality by John Piper, and no, I can’t believe I’m linking to John Piper, either.
- My Thoughts on Piper’s Thoughts on the Tornado and the ELCA at The Weight of Glory
As an evangelical Christian, I do not believe the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with biblical teaching. I believe in treating homosexuals with love, dignity and respect, and I don’t know that homosexuality is worse than other sexual sins. My uncle’s partner is an ordained minister in the Church of England and I’ve never had anything but love and respect for both of them. It bothers me immensely that the evangelical community often gives such special treatment to homosexuality while letting premarital and extramarital sex slide, and politically I’m in favor of civil unions for all.
But as far as the church goes, I can’t endorse the ordination of openly practicing homosexuals. Non-practicing homosexuals, possibly, but I realize my gay friends won’t see that as much of a concession, and I don’t blame them. If my opinion on the matter surprises you due to my outspoken egalitarianism, it shouldn’t. Evangelical egalitarians have been responsible for the bulk of the scholarly literature in the evangelical community arguing against the ordination of homosexuals and have written far more on the subject than complementarians have.
That said, I’m not the sort of person who likes to point to natural disasters and say, “Ha! God has judged thee, REPENT!” Remember last year when Michael Moore and a few other Democrat politicians joked about God helping the Dems by sending hurricanes to cut into the Republican National Convention? How classy that was. And how about back in 1999, when a tornado hit downtown Salt Lake City and some anti-Mormons claimed it was a symbol of God’s anger against Mormons? I certainly believe God can judge people with natural disasters if He wishes, but people in our day and age who claim to know when God has judged someone with a natural disaster always come off looking like asses.
So, I will leave you with two final thoughts about this incident:
- The timing really was nothing short of amazing.
- The image of that cross broken off the steeple looks incredibly creepy.
Best of luck to my evangelical brothers and sisters who are still within the ELCA. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you try to decide where to go from here.