Last month I stumbled upon this article about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which was subsequently been put behind a paywall. The writer uses some clever turns of phrase to make it quite funny, but the core story is a great tragedy.
"Auntie ELCA has gone a bit mad," as my more orthodox Lutheran friends like to put it. Yes, she has.
The article documents a clash between a white non-binary bishop and a Hispanic male pastor, and the resulting intervention by a white female archbishop. The nature of the dispute is irrelevant because - as the story makes clear - identity politics rather than theology are all that count in the modern ELCA.
There's a bit of a digression later on about a sex-positive ELCA female pastor (should I put scare quotes around that?) who divorces her husband and then has hot sex with an ex-boyfriend which she claims brings her closer to God.
At this point we've gone well beyond participation trophy Christianity into straight-up evil. One would think that the whole point of having ordained ministers is that they can be held to account for not just their theology but their personal behavior. The Catholic Church sounds dreadfully archaic when they use expressions like "causing scandal" but that exactly describes that woman's behavior: scandalous.
What moral example is being offered? Obviously for ELCA, sodomy is now something celebrated rather than condemned, but now that dispensation has been extended to adultery as well.
Again, this is buried behind the paywall, but the description of this wicked priestess came via Rod Dreher, who I believe is one of the most useless Christian writers in the world today. Dreher is Eastern Orthodox, which means he's opted out of the culture wars and prefers to claim moral superiority over the Catholics without actually standing in the trenches beside them.
Anyhow, amidst spreading this lamentable tale, Dreher has this wonderful piece of equivocation:
I read her book Pastrix five years ago, and liked her voice, even though I disagree strongly with her theology. [emphasis added]
What does "liking her voice" even mean? Why can't the man take a stand?
Seriously, this woman gets off on melting down discarded 'purity rings' to create a fertility idol.
I find the purity ring thing silly - an unnecessary performative act of virtue - but this is the very definition of demonic activity. This woman (who looks like you think she would) is all about celebrating the collapse of virtue. It's a trophy whose sole purpose is to do celebrate the failure of virtue and the triumph of sin.
Her "voice" is one of evil, calling people to reject Christ and His Church. She's infiltrated a fallen Protestant denomination and wears a Roman collar to blaspheme its symbolism.
As I've gotten older, I think I've steadily improved my ability to forgive. Yet at the same time, I've lost patience with people who make a great show of standing up for virtue only to prevaricate by proclaiming an interest in hearing out what the devil has to say about it.
As Tolkien pointed out, the danger of studying the Enemy too closely is that one risks being seduced. In this case, it's clear what is going on and no further examination is necessary.
Meanwhile, the circus at ELCA has proven that progressive tolerance is far more oppressive than the traditional Christianity it rails against. Identity is all that matters, and there can be no forgiveness, only revenge.