Wednesday, August 19, 2009


by David R. Weiss

Some sense of divine humor.

A tornado grazes the Minneapolis Convention Center just as we wrap up a Bible Study on the parable of the prodigal son (though we had just explored it from many angles beyond that of the younger son).

The hospitality tents (dare we say, “tabernacles”) next door to us were twisted into shambles. And the steeple of Central Lutheran Church, where Goodsoil will hold an especially festive worship service later this evening was bent 180 degrees—straight down.

Before everyone races to presume that such calamities express God’s anger, let’s remember that for generations far past and far more intuitively attentive to such phenomena, such swirling forces were merely indicative of God’s profound presence.

Reread the description of Mount Sinai in the moments before Moses received the Ten Commandments and it could pass for our afternoon weather report here.

I am not necessarily racing to ascribe God’s hand to our winds, but for anyone who wishes to, let’s be clear that high winds may be required to bring about Pentecost when churches (and convention centers) no longer have open windows making for the Spirit’s easy entry.

And all of this was prelude to about three hours of testy (though mostly civil) conversation about the proposed Sexuality Statement.

When the vote finally came, it passed 676-338. You can do the math yourself: it received 66.6 percent of the vote. It needed two-thirds to pass. It got just that much—and nothing more. One vote less would not have been enough.

As I remember, God’s reply to Paul was “My grace is sufficient.” Not too much. But enough. Luther spoke clearly of “daily bread” as the things we need for this day—not for tomorrow as well. And when the Israelites collected manna in the wilderness, they always got 66.6—anything more than “just enough” got sticky with maggots.

So don’t read anything into the three sixes beyond a big smirk on God’s face. There are children coming home tonight, and She is beaming!


  1. Holy Amazing! Thanks David. But the close vote also shows to me what a homophobic church the ELCA still is. No surprise, but dissappointing. Mike Wilker

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My favorite prayer of Anne LaMott's--and a sign of my gratitude to you for your work on behalf of the loved ones of our GLBT sisters and brothers ( and children!!) everywhere. There is hope, along with a good dose of humor.

    Janelle Holmvig