A Guide for Talking Together about Shared Ministry with Same-Sex Couples and Their Families
This conversation series is provided in response to requests from Lutheran synods and congregations seeking conversation guidance and resource sharing about the practice of ministry in light of changing family configurations. These requests arise in a context of social change and a background of churchwide conversation regarding views on human sexuality in general and same-sex relationships in particular. The Deliberative Voice prepared this conversation series for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Gender-based Violence Deliberative Dialogue Forums
The Deliberative Voice partnered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to address gender-based violence. The ELCA approved A Social Message on Gender-based Violence in 2015. As a way to engage Lutherans and their friends in a deliberative dialogue about the church's possible response to gender-based violence, the resources listed below may be used by faith communities of any religion. The first is an "issue guide" designed to help small groups of 12-20 deliberate. The second resource provides basic information for people who agree to moderate the discussion. Moderators are called to be "passionately impartial" as they facilitate the dialogue. Embedded in the issue guide on page 7 is a post-forum, online survey that can be completed with a smart phone, tablet, or computer. The survey data will help the ELCA learn how congregations are responding to the issue and gauge participants feedback about the deliberative process.
American religious organizations of all faiths learn to interact with the their communities and leaders. From the earliest 17th century settlers, these organizations organized themselves often without any external support. One of the most quoted 19th century visitors to America, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote, "Religion in America ... must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion-for who can search the human heart?- But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society." Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835
Martin Marty, some 165 years later, wrote Religion, Politics, and The Common Good, and argued that religion's characteristics continue to shape democracy. Religion brings perspective, values freedom, respects all conversation partners, and provide a voice for the voiceless. Faith communities feed and clothe the poor, minister to the imprisoned, resettle refugees, and provide a multitude of social services to people of all ages. People of faith need to be part of democratic conversation.