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A Rock and a Hard Place!

Reader comment on item: Ban the Burqa - and the Niqab Too
in response to reader comment: "Where are the Right-Wing Christians When You Need Them?"

Submitted by Rev. Mary Todd Pendergast (United States), Aug 7, 2007 at 19:24

Hi Ross

It is not that the ELCA will not take a stand, it is that their stand is in direct opposition to my own. Our clergy, especially in CA are left wing that it is hard for me to relate. It is not true that we stand for nothing but it is true that our political positions have now overshadowed what is a fine and true theology that has always been synonymous with freedom and justice. My church is also anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Good God!

As an Episcopalian you are in the same dire straits that I am, except that American Episcopalians are just as far left of center as the hierarchy in the ELCA. Particularly on the East Coast I have found that the political rhetoric among Episcopalian clergy is left and aggressive and they are more into their heads than we are and that is saying something. The theology, as far as I can tell is not to stand for much of anything or anything goes including universal salvation. Read Robert Capon.

As a female clergyperson I have very little choice because the only conservative Lutheran group left is the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and not only do they not ordain women or, in many cases allow them to be in positions of authority, they are rigid regarding abortion. I am a theoligical Lutheran and I do not pick and choose what to believe and toss the rest, so I am stuck. "By grace we are saved through faith apart from works of the law." Thank God my political situation whether right or left does not effect my salvation.

Regarding abortion, I insist that I am neither pro-life or pro-choice but I will always say that every situation is different and needs to be taken independent of any dogmatic theological position. Abortion as birth control is abhorrent, but in some cases (safety of the mother or gross birth defects) I council my people to decide for themselves. Lutherans have always been rebellious and continue to demand the right to make their own life decisions. I ask only that they give me a chance to speak to them on the issues.

I have been thinking seriously about incorporating these thoughts into my preaching. While my congregation is small I feel a responsibility to stand up for my country as well as my faith. Heretofore I have never put my politics into my sermons, but perhaps it is time to stand up for my country and my orthodox faith.

You and I both know that our laypeople in both denominations are more conservative than left wing so there is a constant rift between clergy and laity.

Wonderful to get a chance to discuss these things with others.

Rev. Mary Todd Pendergast

Anaheim CA


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