Posted by: smstrouse | June 28, 2014

In Solidarity With Kate Kelly

477Oh, church. How you abuse your children. I get so angry with you, even as I defend you against those who lump all your daughters and sons into categories like judgmental, delusional and masochistic. I’ve often wondered (in the questioning sense) myself why I’ve stayed, why I’ve put up with some of the abuses I’ve both witnessed and endured.

But I’ve also wondered (in the being awed sensed) at the times of compassion, justice-seeking and community-building I’ve witnessed and experienced in far greater numbers. Just this week, the oldest member of our congregation died. As we come together in love and solidarity with his his widow and daughter, I marvel at the blessing of our little community.

Tomorrow, some of us will march in the San Francisco Pride Parade. For a number of years now, my bishop has lead the Lutheran contingent and will do so again this year. We’ll be among a larger group of other open and affirming congregations – putting denominational differences aside in unity under the rainbow flags.

Church can get it right. Sometimes it takes a while. It took twenty years for my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to catch up to the stand that my congregation took for the full inclusion of lgbtq clergy. First United was put on trial and expelled for calling an openly gay pastor against church policy at the time. When I was called as pastor, they’d been independent for a long time. When the ELCA changed the policy and invited us to come back into the fold, we took a long time to make the decision to return. We decided that it was important to affirm the progress the church had made and to continue to work for changes still to come.

Which is why I stand in solidarity with Kate Kelly, the Mormon activist who has been excommunicated from the Mormon Church this week. Kelly is the founder of Ordain Women, working to reform the all-male leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

While certainly not in the vanguard, Lutherans in the US have been ordaining women since 1970 (the Lutherans in Denmark began in 1948; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod still does not). But I’m old enough to remember the controversy over it and the struggle for acceptance, even after the battle had been won.

The church moves slowly. But it can move, although sometimes we have to push it along. So I have hope for Kate Kelly and the women of the LDS. There may be tough times ahead, but ultimately justice will prevail. We who are further along in that particular struggle, should all be standing with them in solidarity. After all, we’re the church, too. The all-male leadership just hasn’t gotten the memo: their days of power and control are over.



  1. Just read 9 articles in Solidarity and never found the name Jesus or Christ once. Just saying.


    • I’m sorry, I don’t understand your point. Would you be willing to expand on your comment?


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