Monday, May 10, 2010

Last to Hear About It

Flipping though these interwebs, we only just noticed that the Rev. Jaynan Clark Egland, who since 2001 has been president of the WordAlone Network, has in recent years begun calling herself "Jaynan L. Clark." We also noticed that she and the other pastor Egland have different addresses listed with the ELCA.

We hate being the last to know.

These things happen, right? A personal catastrophe, but has no effect on her ministry. Right? It's really none of our business. Or it wouldn't be, if Egland weren't a high-profile advocate for what her group likes to call "traditional" and even "orthodox" views of matrimony. And, look, we all sometimes defend things in principle which we cannot always practice ourselves. See under: Father Anonymous and "turning the other cheek."

But still. Perhaps the WAN folks ought to think this through.

A pastor named Brant Clements blogged about Egland recently -- to the tune of "people who live in glass houses" -- and his post occasioned some strongly-worded comments. (Read it all here). Last year, Sarah Hinlicky at Lutheran Forum did say that clergy divorce was "the log in [conservatives'] own eye," and she wasn't wrong. We may disagree with her conclusions about the theological significance of that fact, and about the steps to be taken, but not about the fact. (Well, one of the "logs." Gluttony, depression, obesity and alcoholism also qualify.)

For the record, some of the most impressive ministry we know of has been done by divorced pastors, both remarried and not remarried. But their presence among the clergy has always been something of a scandal, and there are many, many stories about the ways bishops have struggled to exercise pastoral care in these cases. Typically, a change of call has been on order. And typically, the divorced pastor hasn't been asked to serve as a consultant on the theology of marriage.

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