Sunday, February 13, 2011

RCJ 02/13/2011: Doctrinal discord divides LutheransA "new" Rapid Valley congregation proclaims:

“It’s all up to God, as far as what we do with our growth.... There’s a niche that hasn’t been filled. There’s a need to fill that void in Rapid City.”

"Niche" - a nice marketing term, which sounds awfully optimistic, and cute, to describe a group of Christians [sic] whose primary motivation for gathering is to exclude others.


As we have come to expect in this most ironic of cities, the same cast of characters appears to be involved. A leader of the group quoted in Mary Garrigan's (excellent) article is Jerry Behnke, general manager of Fischer Furniture, along with the standard retired pastor or two:

The Rev. Evelyn Johnson, a retired ELCA minister from Hill City who is no longer comfortable in the ELCA, serving people she doesn't approve of has agreed to serve as Genesis [Lutheran's] interim, part-time pastor.

"Genesis Lutheran" is apparently taking inspiration from the Creation story where it says:
And God said: "let us [sic] separate the Us from the Them.

Their lead pastor Rev Evelyn Johnson (whose call is rejected, based on her inferior gender status, by the conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) unfortunately missed the memo that all this homophobia is really thinly veiled misogyny. (Sorry for the big words, Bob, but sometimes I need to accurately call them as I see them.)

From the RCJ:
Johnson believes God is as disappointed with the ELCA as she is, and showed it by sending a selective tornado to the 2009 assembly. The tornado blew down a cross at a nearby ELCA Lutheran church as the assembly began its deliberations. Johnson recalled someone commenting at the time that “it was like God was saying you could have your little social club, but don’t put my name on it.

Somehow I don't remember reading that in Scripture, but I do remember hearing this from Isaiah on in *my* church last week:

You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won't get your prayers off the ground.

or as God himself said it in the "real" (King James) Bible:

Behold, ye fast for strife and debate,
and to smite with the fist of wickedness:
ye shall not fast as ye do this day,
to make your voice to be heard on high.


  1. Now you understand why I moved away. Most of the people around here don't care about this kind of thing. They tend to be kind to each other instead of actively searching out why the neighbors should go to Hell. And most of the folks don't go to church. If what you cite was the only example, I wouldn't, either. I'm glad I was taught that God loves us.

  2. Next time you see Ev, ask her how she explains Pioneer Lutheran over here north of Brookings. They split from the ELCA over the issues that stick in Ev's craw in 2009. Their church burned down in April 2009.

  3. The great thing about being excluded from the company of others is that I know that gODD doesn't exclude me from HIS/HER company. Knowing, as I have experienced, that others wouldn't do business with me....wouldn't hire me or didn't want my friendship because I was gay only made me realize that whatever I have in life is a far richer experience whether I have a lot or a little. I could now live under a bridge, if necessary, knowing that the greatest lessons of life haven't escaped my attention...and that my acceptance of them as they acceptance of me as I am...are one and the same. I was a gift to me...and all my mistakes, successes and failures, trials and challenges...are the golden coat I have worn...the great gift of my matter how low or how high others think I am. I don't need their approval, their acceptance, their welcome, their love or hate to feel I am me. They may rob me of things and financial success....they may keep me from marriage and equality under the laws of our nation...and they may harm me in any number of ways...but they can never take away the pride I feel in taking their blows, their spittle on my face, their turned backs, their shut doors, their denials, and their insults. I have been given what they will never know and what could never be explained to them. And I've now learned that fighting these issues is the greatest waste of time because it doesn't improve me or those who are closest to me. The growth I now embark on has nothing to do with them...only me. Let them be who they are and let them awaken one day...or slumber never to awaken. It is of no importance or consequence. The great gifts find their way to each of us as they weave through the crowds of the inconsequential things, concepts and people.
    What is really important dodges everything on the way to us if we are open to them...and we realize that those most important messages from the universe were always swirling around us in invisible clouds...blocked by things like hate...blocked by ignorance....blocked by anger...blocked by any number of things if we let them be blocked. Be open. Be alive. Be proud.

  4. Be open. Be alive. Be proud.

    This is a really subversive message in Christian circles and must be ... celebrated!

  5. Nice to happen upon a fellow traveler. Happy journeys!

  6. Be open. Be alive. Be proud.

    Now that's my kind of sermon. Preach it, Brother Barry!

  7. Country Momma10:21

    I'm confused. Was the tornado that blew our cattle sheds down last summer selective or not? Was God trying to tell us to build better sheds, or to go vegan, or just to not put His name on our cows, or maybe to get rid of all our sex toys? I would prefer a burning bush next time, just for some clarity.