A Sign from God?

Last week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America met in Minneapolis to approve a resolution that lifts the ban of practicing gay and lesbian people from their clergy. ELCA churches can now to hire homosexuals who are in “committed relationships” to serve as ministers. This makes the ELCA the second (I believe) large mainline protestant denomination to make this move. I believe this is wrong, but it’s not what I want to talk about today.

It seems that while the ELCA was in Minneapolis for their meting, there was also an unexpected, rapidly-developing tornado that visited the city. The ELCA meeting was to begin at 2:00 p.m. and the tornado touched down at about 2:00 p.m. Two buildings damaged by the twister were the Minneapolis Convention Center (where the ELCA was meeting) and Central Lutheran (an ELCA church across the street). That is a very interesting coincidence, isn’t it?

I read two very interesting blogs that were theological reflections on this event. Both writers disagree with the ELCA decision and believe that homosexually is a sin. Both serve churches in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Both take a totally different slant on their in-town tornado. The first blog is by John Piper who sees the tornado as a warning to the ELCA to turn from their approval of sin. The second blog is by Greg Boyd who wonders what the message is of the other 1300 or so tornados that touch down each year and why so few hit the liberal states that most promote homosexuality (Massachusetts, New York, Vermont) and why so many hit the more conservative Bible Belt states that make up tornado alley. Read both of the blogs and tell me what you think.

As we mentioned last night in class, while we are on firm ground talking about what God has done (as revealed in scripture), it is pretty arrogant to point to a current event (like a tornado for example) and talk like we know what God is doing. Could God send a tornado as a gentle reminder? In the book of Job, a tornado was sent by Satan to kill Job’s family and then later God spoke to Job out of a tornado. Without the book of job, we would have no idea from where those storms came. Could the AIDS epidemic be God’s judgment on sin? Or could the AIDS epidemic rather be God providing his church with a great opportunity to minister to marginalized people?

I think we need to be very careful before we speak as God’s interpreter of current events. Ecclesiastes 5:7 reminds us, "Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God."