HISTORY AND LEGACY DOCUMENTS
I've been writing since the 1980s, and distributing or publishing material whenever others asked me for it. A few times, some of my work has been more widely available.
A Call for Dialog
In 1984, Lutherans Concerned/North America agreed that it needed to have a concise theological statement, which it had never really put together. I was asked, along with a trusted pastoral colleague who wished to remain anonymous, to put something together. Originally, we thought a on-epage statement would suffice. As we began to study the material which should go into it, the document grew to its final 12 pages.
Eventually "A Call for Dialog" was put out for review to all LC/NA members at the time. Some of the critiques received in return was helpful (I believe I still have them all in my files). But it is difficult to expect to achieve a complete consensus about a theological discussion.
We were indebted to the late Rev. James Lokken of San Francisco, who was able to get the permission of his employer, a publisher of legal documents, to print the final copy of "A Call for Dialog." To send it off electronically for printing, I had to recast the entire paper with all kinds of arcane codes in it to make bold face bold, etc. Years later, I realized I had used the precursor to the "HTML" code that drives most internet web pages today.
"A Call for Dialog" was published by LC/NA in 1985 with a brief Introduction from its then-President John Ballew. The first printing was 5,000 copies. Some of them were individually mailed to every Bishop of the LCA, and District President in the ALC and LC-MS for their comment. Not one of these men ever replied to Lutherans Concerned. Two more printings of 5,000 copies each were eventually done. In addition, I heard (but never acquired a copy) that the paper had been translated into Spanish and was sent out to some inquirers in Latin or South America. Does anybody else remember that or have information?
"A Call for Dialog", 1985, 12 pp. Download in PDF format here.
Response to Bishop Chilstrom
In the fall of 1987 LGBT people converged in Washington, DC to lobby Congress and the American people for equal rights. Among the tens of thousands who marched were three seminary students from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. The March on Washington of October 11 was to provide its own seminal effect for them and when they returned home they came out as gay men.
The fall of 1987 was also the final weeks before the long-planned merger of three smaller Lutheran churchbodies into the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was during these historic weeks that these seminarians came out to their professional preparations committees--the appointed officials who decide whether a seminarian will be approved for ordination into the Lutheran ministry.
But the official committees, however, approved these gay men for ordination, a firestorm burst into flame, fanned by media accounts, which would forever change the course of Lutheranism in the U.S.
In early 1988 the new ELCA had just started operations. The cataclysmic events of 1990 had not unfolded. The study on Human Sexuality was not written. But the mood was increasingly dark for lesbian and gay people in the new churchbody. Presiding Bishop, Herbert Chilstrom (now a strong ally) was back-pedaling quickly, and sent a pastoral letter to all 10,000 congregations. (We responded almost immediately: I was asked to write the official Reply to Bishop Chilstrom for LC/North America.) In the early months of that year it became clear that officials across the church were fumbling to do "damage control" because of the announcement in the media that three Berkeley, California seminarians had come out as gay and were approved for call and ordination by their synodical examining committees.
"Reply to Bishop Chilstrom's Pastoral Letter" 4 pp. Download PDF file
Homosexuals in the ordained ministry? Oh my!
(Personally, that spring I had been "outed" by an unsympathetic pastor in Los Angeles, and was forced to resign my own pastoral ministry. Easter Sunday was my last day as a called Lutheran pastor for the next 16 years.)
A Call for Repentance
In July 1988, the delegates from Lutherans Concerned/North America were to convene for the first time on Canadian soil, in Toronto, Ontario. It was to be the best Assembly
But one day before the Assembly opened, a dozen not-so-openly gay pastors met in secret on the University of Toronto campus, to hammer out a strategy for survival in the dark days ahead. Any hopefulness we had because of "A Call for Dialog" three years earlier had evaporated; no dialog was forthcoming, and the institutional church only seemed to be reinforcing its bunkers. The result of hours of discussion led to the group asking me to draft a short position paper, which would be called "A Call for Repentance."
"A Call for Repentance," 2 pp. Download in PDF format here.
Also see: LC-MS Theologyyet, even including an address from a gay and "out" sitting member of Parliament!