Prior to Pr Elizabeth Eaton’s installation as Bishop of the ELCA in Chicago this weekend (recorded here), she gave an interview on America’s ABC TV network. She touched on a number of topics but describes a Lutheran Church which reflects God’s unconditional embrace of everyone. We believe that the LCA is also called to witness to this astounding love and grace for all people.
Some of the interview is transcribed below.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America not only welcomes paradox (but) we embrace (it). We realise that God has created an incredibly diverse world and that diversity is a kind of a beauty and so we’re a church where everyone is welcome, we would say. We also hold fast to this notion … that we’re loved by a God who wants to lavishly, unconditionally love every one of us. … Since we have been loved in this way we are free then to love the world and serve the world. …
We believe that God loves us unconditionally. God does not love us (as the Billy Joel song says) “Just the way we are”, God wants to call the best out of us. And so in that freedom we think that we can take controversial decisions…When we say we welcome everyone, I think that’s very important. It was a costly decision for us (ordaining gay and lesbian pastors) but if it is the right decision then no cost is too high. But when we say we welcome everyone we also welcome those who disagrees with that decision. They are fully members of our Church because we can agree on the cross of Jesus Christ. …
Lutherans have a specific way of reading the Bible. We are not Biblical literalists – I mean, there are different lists of disciples, the mustard seed isn’t the smallest seed and it doesn’t mean that our Lord didn’t know what he was talking about, but whatever shows forth God’s love as it was revealed in Jesus Christ, that’s what key. There’s a lot of stuff that is not as important.
- Bishop Eaton and the Future of the ELCA (cjsinternadventures.wordpress.com)
- Lutherans elect Froiland new bishop (wiscnews.com)
- Make sure all voices are heard, new ELCA bishop says (jsonline.com)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to install first female bishop (suntimes.com)
- All Things New (pjcgracefulthinking.wordpress.com)