The Use of Scripture in the “Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality”

[1] My assignment is to evaluate how Scripture is used in the “Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality” published in March of 2008. I will for the most part limit my focus to that single topic. All references to the document are by line number. Use of the Bible [2] By design, I start with […]

Appreciation and Critique of the ELCA’s Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality

[1] As a colleague put it, “It’s not the train wreck that we feared.” Indeed, there is much that is theologically laudable in the draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality: centrally, the long over-due attempt in the ELCA to “frame” (#27-28) deliberation of difficult moral issues in terms of normative Lutheran theology. The ELCA has […]

Context Versus Principles: Still A Misplaced Debate

[1] “What benefits and drawbacks do you see to the theological moves made in the draft?” I was asked to respond to this question in this brief article, and I do so with enthusiasm for the powerful-if still imperfect-theological framing found in the recent ELCA draft social statement on human sexuality. Some Methodological Reflections: Four […]

Practicing What We Preach in Lutheran Sexual Ethics

[1] In many ways, the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality (DSSHS) represents a better theological foundation for a Lutheran approach to sexual ethics than its predecessors, both contemporary and historical. In this essay I discuss some of the theo-ethical benefits of this draft for the ELCA. Yet this draft also has some problems, two […]

Response to Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality

[1] As a draft teaching document for the ELCA, the document provides scant and occasional reference to classical and past Lutheran theological construals of human sexuality, especially in relation to ‘homosexuality’. The only explicit reference in the body of the text is the statement that “[a]t this particular point in history, this church confesses with […]

Governor Spitzer and Marital Infidelity

[1] The fall of yet another politician on grounds of marital infidelity is nothing new, but it is always news. It is also tiresome and upsetting, for we would like to think that our elected officials are decent people whose character would not allow this kind of conduct. It prompts some thoughts about personal morality […]

Meaningful Conversation

[1] A few years ago, I walked into confirmation class and asked with great enthusiasm, “Guess what we’re going to talk about tonight, kids?” “What?” they replied, in their normal eye-rolling manner. “SEX!” I proclaimed. One boy looked at me in horror as the rest of the class tried to look anyplace else but in […]

One Man, Alone; One Not So

Eliot Spitzer and Barack Obama reveal sharply divergent attitudes toward human community. Which one do Americans really want … or understand? [1] Don’t get me wrong. What Eliot Spitzer did is reprehensible. But my first reaction to the scandal was not, “throw the bum out.” [2] The former New York governor climbed the political ladder […]

Please Don’t Omit

[1] After spending the better part of two days reading and re-reading the new Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality, I would like to first thank the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality for their careful and thoughtful consideration of the topic. Chapters 1 and 2 are rich theological texts that provide an excellent […]

Gay Christian Marriage in American Civil Society: Beyond Natural Law Theory, in Response to Carl Braaten

[1] Gay marriage! It’s not about sex you know! It is about ethical and legal Love. When our children come home to announce they are “in love”, and intend to be married, we examine them very closely. “It’s not just about sex, you know. Are you in love with this person for her or himself? […]