Dear Dr. Lehenbauer:
Greetings to you in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior.
I am writing to you as one of the seven women who met with President Kieschnick, some of the vice presidents, and Dr. Sam Nafzger four years ago to discuss our concerns about the tensions and issues surrounding the service of women in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and the status of Resolution 3-10. I appreciated the graciousness with which we were received and the willingness to listen to our concerns and perspectives.
We were heartened to learn that a study would be undertaken and would include women at the table as full participants. It has become evident, however, in following the progress, the process, and having recently been granted permission to read the resulting document, “The Creator’s Tapestry,” that both the process and the document fall far short of satisfying the Resolution’s recommendation for a “comprehensive study of the scriptural relationship of man and woman…” Even as “Part One” of a study to be continued, it is too incomplete and flawed to form a basis for further development. Inexplicably, “The Creator’s Tapestry” is primarily a treatise on marriage and does not lay groundwork for dealing with the diversity of other issues upon which the resolution is based. In fact, it completely fails to address the majority of the issues and questions suggested in the Resolution itself.
As an academic librarian, I know the importance of thorough research and the objectivity, integrity, and diligence required to bring to light and full examination all pertinent sources, both primary and secondary. “The Creator’s Tapestry” relies too heavily on previous LC-MS publications (secondary sources) and far too little on a comprehensive, deep examination of God’s Word beyond the standard proof passages. Although it seems to have been written with a conclusion already in place, the paper neither makes a cogent case for the status quo, nor lays groundwork for a new perspective and application of God’s Word.
I am an active lay leader in my congregation, having served in many capacities over a twenty-three year period. I have also served on the LC-MS Southern District Commission on Women and was recently elected to the LC-MS Southern District Board of Directors. Out here in the pasture among the sheep, I can tell you that confusion and the misapplication of existing documents related to the service of women in the church are still causing tension. It is causing many gifted women to simply sit in the pews for fear of being disruptive or causing offense. Some have left the Lutheran church altogether in search of meaningful ways in which to apply the God-given leadership gifts they effectively use in the other venues of their lives and are called to use in service to His church. “The Creator’s Tapestry” will not address the root of those problems.
I prayerfully and respectfully request that “The Creator’s Tapestry” not be accepted by the CTCR for presentation to the 2010 Convention and that provisions will be made for a true “comprehensive study” of scripture that would include a fresh beginning and would have theologically competent women participating at every level of the process: research, discussion, and the writing and revision of any resulting document(s).
I will continue to pray for the process and the participants and for all who are negatively affected by the status quo, both women and men, and I look forward to learning how Resolution 3-10 will be addressed.
In His service, by His grace,