Mourning Intolerance and 'Wounding of the Soul'


To the Editors of The Crimson:

I solicit the tolerance of the Harvard community in allowing me to continue the intra-Christian community discussion in your paper regarding homosexuality. I am a deeply committed Christian, Lutheran campus minister and a pastor at University Lutheran Church.

The Christian faith encompasses a vast pluralism of beliefs and practices. Even brief reflection would expect that of a "world" religion. There are issues of behavior and life orientation regarding violence, economic class, sexuality, male and female roles, racial power et cetera which are not agreed upon by all Christians.

I would like to urge those internal to our faith to discussion of those matters without condemnations. This would be a simple recognition of our finitude and the hidden veil of God's revelation. Some would say that veil does not exist. God speaks absolutely and clearly. I exhort a return to the Bible as a whole and a reading of its own recognition of our needs for humble recognition of our finitude, even as we struggle together to live one another and be faithful to what is of God.

Sin is lack of trust in God. That is sinful which also destroys life and enhances the powers of death-dealing. But we are all sinful! Let's be honest about this. I, a male, heterosexual, white, aging, middle-class person, certainly have been sexist, racist, over-bearing, unfaithful to my God, and sinful in ways beyond my knowing.


I confess such realities and actively seek loving reformation and compassionate aid from sisters and brothers in the Christian community and outside it. I have been compassionately ministered to by lesbians and gay men. I have experienced homosexual Christians who have vibrantly witnessed to their trust and faith in God and lucidly expounded the meaning of Jesus Christ for their lives and those of others.

University Lutheran Church has declared itself a welcoming community for gay and lesbian Christians, for those with homes and those homeless, for those of many racial backgrounds. The Christian Church as God's people is a saintly sinning mix, one and all.

I would like you who are not Christian to know of this variety of gifts. The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer professor of Christian morals, has preached from the Bible, prayed with Christian specificity at times to others' consternation, and ministered in the most of the Harvard and Boston community with style and vigor out of a deep commitment to his faith. The integrity of that theological and ethical commitment can be celebrated on Christian grounds. I do so.

I mourn the wounding of the soul, narrowing of the theological conception of sin into a knife of moralism, and the powers of death disguised as Truth which are walking the Yard in some quarters in these days.

I think that the forces of poverty, depredation, oppression, violence, racism, denigration of women, dehumanization of homosexuals, neglect of children and youth are enough in our days to unite Christians in fervent prayer and active engagement with others for the renewal of the creation and the exhibition of the hope and grace that is within us. Perhaps the rest of you who do not believe in our faith will be charitable enough to aid us with the exorcisms our own demons. The Rev. H. Frederick, Reisz   Lutheran Campus, Minister

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