Skip to comments.Many factors led to woman's election as Lutheran bishop
Posted on 08/31/2013 11:40:13 AM PDT by lightman
How did Elizabeth Eaton pull off the year's biggest surprise in Pittsburgh, not counting the Pirates?
The unheralded bishop of Northeastern Ohio beat out the two-term incumbent, Mark Hanson, by better than 2-1 for the office of presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, despite trailing him by a 19-1 margin on the first (nominating) ballot. Let us count the ways.
These Mainline Lutherans turned out to be literalists. The convention theme, as veteran attendee Eric Shafer pointed out last week, was "Always Being Made New." Thus many delegates decided to uphold Isaiah 43:19 and "do a new thing," enforcing unofficial term limits.
There was a feeling that a woman should have a shot at the top job. After all, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans' covenant partner, did just that in their last election. Four of Hanson's six challengers who qualified for the second ballot were women. Ann Rodgers, award-winning religion editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, cited "reports of an organized effort to elect a female."
You have to be known outside your own synod to get enough second-ballot votes to make it to the gang of seven. Northeastern Ohio had 14 elected delegates. Where did she get the other votes? I called the Rev. David Anderson, Medina, Ohio, who was runner-up to Eaton in the 2006 synod bishop election, and has family ties both to Lancaster County and her former church. He said Eaton, through speaking engagements, especially with women, had become known and liked in adjoining synods.
Eaton decisively trailed Jessica Crist, the bishop of Montana and nationally known as chairman of the Council of Bishops, on the first two ballots. According to Rodgers, Crist and the other women were perceived as being more liberal than Hanson or Eaton.
Then there's the snowball effect. Eaton's totals went from 23 to 87 to 345 to 523 to 600. "I just wanted there to be a conversation about the new bishop," she told Rodgers. "I didn't think it would get this far out of hand."
The biggest reason: By all accounts, Eaton made the best presentation among the candidates prior to the third ballot, where her total quadrupled. "She was the only one to directly address concerns of theological conservatives," Rodgers wrote. "She said that she supported the decision to allow partnered gay clergy but respected those of a different understanding of Scripture and doctrine" and wants to give them a voice and room.
Eaton's sense of humor also came out. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that in the presentation she was asked what theologian she'd like to share a beer with. She said St. Paul wouldn't be much fun and Martin Luther would talk too much, so she settled for her mother. She has said one of her qualifications for filling bishop responsibilities is that she really likes chicken.
Said Anderson: "I was surprised at first, but after the second ballot, it was no surprise at all. She has such a dynamic presence and speaks from the heart so openly. She'll be a wonderful face for the ELCA."
Next week: One more big reason?
Contact John W. Smith: 610-371-5007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be rooted in Christ!
Women ministers is one of the first indications that a church is headed for death.
Not to mention that either of those men would have crushed her in any theological discussion. In short another disgrace for the elcans.
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Gee, that's nice. Translation: They're going to have more and more gay partnered clergy, but if conservatives object, they are welcome to go into a closet and complain about it.
she was asked what theologian she'd like to share a beer with. She said St. Paul wouldn't be much fun and Martin Luther would talk too much, so she settled for her mother.
Ha, ha, ha.
The article was really written by Chrissy Matthews, who now has a tingle running up his other leg as he gleefully contemplates a woman bishop thumbing her nose at traditional Lutherans.
This didn’t work out so well for the Episcopalians, did it?
And most tragic of all, the ALPB (conservative publication) correspondent talked to several Bishops who said essentially that she was “the best we could hope for.”
Lord, have mercy.
Can you say, "monkey see, monkey do"
I knew you could.
It doesn’t...but she is still a small improvement over the one she replaces.
Nevertheless, the gender is wrong. Do not look for an significant improvement in relations with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox.
What is Bishop Eaton’s email address? I used google, to look for it, but I couldn’t find it.
Absolutely. It’s also one of the quickest ways for liberalism to gain a foothold in the church.
Try the clergy directory on http://www.elca.org or search for the Northeast Ohio Synod.
Problem is, many people fail to realize that there are other Lutherans.
Our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod FRiends have been complaining about this for years, and rightly so.
When a headline merely says "Lutheran" we all get tarred by the same brush. Now being LCMC, I fully empathize with my LCMS FRiends.
Liberal to begin with because it was ELCA, it progressively became more "progressive"......with a sterile modern-language-Bible as its foundation, unfamiliar hymns, altered liturgy, and even Christmas carols with re-written stanzas other than the first.
Attendence began dropping off.....culminating with complete disaster when a woman pastor assumed the pulpit. High numbers of members began dropping out. The accumulated liberalism was all just too much.
I went past there the other Sunday as church was letting out. The new sign showed it's now a non-denominational church of the "social justice" variety......and all the parishioners filing out were black.
That this church won't last long either due to economic reasons is the general opinion in the area.
Liberalism eventually destroys things in its past....even while slowly destroying itself, to boot.
The venerable Boy Scouts of America comes immediately to mind, for another example of self-destruction.
Why in my posts on ELCAns I am careful to say “Liberal Lutherans.” One of my sons went to a LCMS high school and so I know they are an entirely different breed and still believe in the authority of Scripture and the Gospel.
The ELCAns are about as wacky as the Episcopagans, with whom they are in “full communion.” Which is why my sister refers to both as the “Lutherpis” church. I just call them Luciferians.
Her theology is simple. Drinking beer with St.Paul wouldn’t be as much fun as drinking beer with gay partners.
Martin Luther is turning over in his grave.
“Her theology is simple. Drinking beer with St.Paul wouldnt be as much fun as drinking beer with gay partners.”
That hit it right on the nose!! Could not have said it better myself.
Thanks. Paul could have probably said it better. :-)