Friday, April 22, 2005

Showdown at Parkside

So yesterday I participated in a panel discussion at Parkside(our local UW campus).
The appointed hour was 12:00 P.M.

The topic, I was told, would be Gay Marriage (pro/con). The topic, it turned out to be, was "Homosexuality: Is it a Sin?". OK. Close enough.

I was under the impression there would be 3 pro and three con panelists - local clergy of different flavors. It turned out to be:

A Buddhist (a student)
A Wiccan (a student)
A Unitarian Clergy-woman
A Native American Shaman (a student, I think, though older)
An ELCA Pastor

Me (of course)
A C.O.G.I.C. Deaconess
A Muslim woman
A "Non-denominational" Student
A Student rep. from Campus Crusade for Christ (or was it Inter-varsity?)

So with so many voices, it was hard to get a word in edgewise, especially in the short time allotted. I was surprised there was no Roman Catholic representative, but I suppose they are a little busy this week with the new pope and all.

Seriously, though, it seems that this 31-flavors approach did not present an accurate cross-section of our society, at least in terms of the sheer number of adherents represented. I mean, how many Wiccans and Buddhists are there around here, anyway?

I am not sure much progress was made, but the discussion was at least civil (more so than I expected). I found myself speaking much of sin and repentance, also forgiveness in Christ.

The ELCA pastor talked about the "gift of homosexuality" and claimed it wasn't spoken of in the Bible (at least, not in its current form - you know, the committed relationships). I don't recall him mentioning Christ. He did, however seem to have adopted much of the language of "faithful journey" and "having the conversation" that spews from the ELCA oligarchy.

The others spoke, largely, as I expected. Except I was impressed by the student from CCC, who actually QUOTED LUTHER! Nice.

Because of the time constraints and competition to say anything memorable, I found myself speaking more and more in "soundbytes". We each got a chance to make a closing statement, and I decided to keep mine short:

"In today's world, it's becoming more and more, that the only sin left is to tell someone they are wrong. I think THAT is wrong."


Mutti said...

So glad I found your blog. I liked your closing argument...succinct and undeniable.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Right on! We need to be doing more of this kinda thing. Sometimes it's strange where we find allies.