Tuesday, January 25, 2005

An outside view of the Report and Recommendations

My friend Pr. Bob White posted this to a listserv that he runs, and I think it's very helpful -- so "right on" and so Garrison. With Bob's permission, I post it here:

For those of you who might have missed Garrison Keillor's comments on
the ELCA report in last Saturday's "News from Lake Woebegon" --

You can listen at the PHC website or trust my attempt at a

A masterpiece of muddling through . . . just a masterpiece. It was a
beautiful piece of writing. It's a case where you take up . . . where
you establish a commission to take up a question where the militants
on either side are waving their bright shining swords, and they're up
in arms about it and you put a commission in there and it takes three
years to work at it and it puts out a report which nobody can
understand. It says that essentially nothing has changed but we don't
approve of that and yet if you went ahead on a basis of conscience
and you did what you wanted to do, don't worry about us coming after
you, because we wouldn't do it. It's sort of a "don't ask; don't
tell; never mind" position . . . and it's beautiful; it's a Lutheran
art to take a controversial subject and to restate the question so
that nobody understands it and then to write the response so that it
has to do with nothing whatsoever . . . and out comes the report, and
nobody can really be that angry about it because it's made up of this
beautiful mishmash and those sentences that are like extruded
marshmallow. And so all of the militants who would be tempted to go
to battle over it; so peace is kept on the basis of confusion. A
Lutheran art to achieve strength through indirection and vagueness.
This is an irritating quality about Lutherans and people become angry
at Lutherans: Why don't you say what you mean and tell us what you
think. Well no! No!


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