Friday, August 21, 2009

All Are Welcome

Being a Disciple living in Minnesota, you tend to encounter a lot of Lutherans. MANY Lutherans. Since I went to a Lutheran Seminary, and fell in love with the son of a Lutheran pastor, it's fair to say that I know a few Lutherans.

And I happen to know a lot of gay Lutherans. My first boyfriend, Erik is a life-long Lutheran that I met in seminary. Erik was basically not able to go through ordination because he is gay and in a relationship which was the rule in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Same goes for my friend Brenda, who graduated seminary and has been waiting and waiting for the church to make up its mind.

And today, the ELCA finally did make up its mind and voted to allow gay men and lesbians in committed relationships to be clergy.

The vote leaves the decision up to individual churches and synods and gives room for those who don't agree.

This means that people like Erik and Brenda can now go through the process that leads to ordination. It also means that another friend of mine, Mary is now officially the pastor of the congregation she has served for six years in violation of the rules. (The synod had listed the church as officially "vacant," without a pastor.)

I am reminded of the hymn written by Marty Haugen called "All Are Welcome." Here is the first verse:

Let us build a house
where love can dwell
And all can safely live,
A place where
saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
Rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.

Today, the ELCA lived up to that song. Amen!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


My partner and I went to see "Adam" at a local arthouse theatre just outside of Minneapolis last week. For those who are not in the know, Adam is a movie about a young man that has Aspergers. It was a good movie in many ways. While the whole thing of being someone with Aspergers is the main part of the movie, it isn't in-your-face and it was a very good portrayal unlike "Mozart and the Whale" which was another movie that came out a few years ago about two people with Aspergers.

My beef with "Mozart" is that it tended to see Aspergers as something more like a mental illness where as "Adam" seemed to "get it." You could tell the people behind the film really did their homework on what it is to live like a person with with Aspergers.

Maybe the best thing was that it helped my partner understand what it is to be an Aspie. Adam's traits were far more pronounced than mine are, but there were some similiarities.

If the movie is playing in your town, please go see it, especially if you don't have Aspergers. It will help you deal with those Aspies you will meet along the way.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Trials of Being an Aspie Pastor

I've had this nagging idea that has been rattling in my mind for several months. It's the idea of trying to start an early morning worship service (early as in 8:30am). I'm a worship geek by nature and love putting together services as much as taking part in them. No doubt, I could do a good job in putting a service together and I know I could do a kick-ass job leading worship (can one say "kick-ass" in post on worship?). But there remains one problem:

How can a pastor with Aspergers, get people to come to worship? How can he invite them? How does someone who has trouble connecting with people socially be an evangelist?

In the years since my ordination, I've come to learn how "social" being a pastor is. I've learned to do that, but in some case it tends to be hit and miss. I feel in someways like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In his quest to be human, he tends to learn the ways to be human, but his application always falls short of the mark.

When I started Community of Grace (the new church plant), I was good at getting the bulletins together and putting the worship service together. I was good at all the technical skills. But of course, to be an effective church planter, you need people who are...well, people-persons. I was not, and to be the head pastor, you kind of have to be.

Looking back over the years, making friends was always hard and let's not get started on dating. Sometimes I feel it's a near miracle that I found someone who can deal with all my quirks.

Even in this age of Twitter and Facebook, much of what goes on in life is till face-to-face. So, if I want to tell the story of salvation more often than not, I have to be able to do in-person.

But back to the morning service. I would love to do it, but how do I get the word our to new people? Any ideas, people?