His inbox yesterday included a note, copied to every priest in the diocese, inviting us to hear a certain colleague speak on the ever-popular topic of sex. Specifically, we have been invited to hear him hold forth on the subject of the ELCA's recent draft statement on homosexuality. It was sent by a priest in the adjacent diocese whom we do not know.
The problem is that we already know what the brother in question thinks on the subject, since he circulated a lengthy essay on the subject. His essay argues, in essence, that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve; that Jesus quoted this very passage when asked about divorce; and that therefore we have ready access to the eternal will of God with relation to sex, marriage and family. The rest of Scripture barely gets a passing glance, and the weird complexities of church history are ignored.
In other words, the essay is theologically reductive. In an effort to create a neat, orderly ethical system, it sets aside the fullness of the Scriptural witness, as well as the history of doctrine and decades of sober theological discussion. It is -- and let us say this clearly -- a very bad piece of work. It is full of what a teacher once called "ipse dixits" -- statements of opinion uttered as though self-evidently factual, on the order of "one must conclude, therefore." But must one? The logic is poor and the research appears to be nonexistent, so no case is proven, and this reader, at least, concluded nothing except that his time was wasted.
Oh, and the fellow's prose is unbearably pompous -- and that from the Egg, which routinely uses the "royal we."
So, obviously, we aren't going to leave town for the opportunity to hear this self-important buffoon insult our intelligence. The question is whether we ought to respond to the invitation -- which, remember, was copied to 200 or so of our closest colleagues -- by sharing our thoughts on the subject much as they appear above, and then hitting "reply all."