On the drive home yesterday I heard a beautiful piece
from Minnesota Public Radio, reported by Sasha Aslanian with context, depth and
emotion. She told the story of Ruth
Frost and Phyllis Zillhart, partnered lesbians who will be added to the ELCA
roster of ordained clergy after a "rite of reception" this weekend.
The host then
mentioned that there was more coverage available online through American Public
Media's Public Insight Network. The word "more" was underselling things—"treasure trove"
would have been more appropriate.
I think of the
Public Insight Network as akin to the "time and talent" card that many churches
hand out at stewardship season-it connects the knowledge and experiences of
citizens to radio reporters. Since the ELCA vote last summer allowing the
ordination of partnered gay and lesbians, hundreds of Lutherans have shared
their thoughts and experiences with American Public Media via an online form
with questions like, "What have you discovered about yourself or your faith
community in the past year?"
church divided, together" project is astounding, but what strikes me most
is not the quality journalism but the instinct to share. While so many congregations refuse to
meaningfully talk about the ELCA vote and the questions behind it, American
Public Media offers a breath of fresh air and a model for telling our story.
Adam J. Copeland teaches faith and leadership at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He has served as pastor of a Presbyterian church and as mission developer of a Lutheran ministry. He blogs at A Wee Blether, part of the CCblogs network.