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Bishop Kevin Kanouse, head of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church America released a letter to church leaders explaining his announcement. The letter was a detailed missive of his exploration of self  after preaching a stirring lecture to over 400 youth and adults  at a bible study.

It became all to clear and he begins the letter by explaining:

Growing up In Pennsylvania, in a very conservative home and culture, I was taught that homosexuality was a terrible sin. I grew up in an atmosphere where I heard the words “fag” and “queer” often in reference to those who were “not like us,” or “sissies,” or “just different… you know.” And people would nod in sad agreement. By my junior high years and beyond I recognized that they were talking about me, but I buried it deep.

He explains that during his time growing up he heard the calling for ministry and  ” hide my true nature… especially because I wanted to be a pastor and serve in the church”.  He belied that he could not be gay and serve Jesus. So, he  took a wife. They have been married for 40 years  and he says that they have a loving and fulfilling life with twos sons and a grandson, but that he needed to find the answer to the encroaching “darkness” in his life.

Finally, after  going through the upheaval of same sex votes and chastening of ministers  and the past  weekend’s bible study  he broke and had an awakening of spirit. He writes:

Throughout our church’s conversations about human sexuality, I was torn. I knew the scriptures that condemn homosexuality and I could quote them well. Yet, I began to recognize the grace of the Gospel and to understand that God loves me just as I am.

Being gay is not a sin. My sin was a lifetime of denying that the God who created me, also accepts me and loves me.  It was faithlessness.

Still, when it came time to vote on new policies for the ELCA, whereby we would allow the blessing of same-gender relationships and remove the threat of discipline for pastors who blessed such relationships, I voted “no,” feeling incredibly torn. I was afraid. I was afraid I would have to defend my decision to vote “yes” in congregations that would be strongly opposed to gay and lesbian persons. It was safer to hide behind a “no” vote. I was a coward… another sin for which I needed forgiveness.

He later realized that the discussions were leading his to face self awareness and honesty:

It was at that time that I spent a great deal of time in counseling, where I could verbalize: “I am a gay man.”

He closed the emotional letter with the words:

I understand that this announcement has significant implications for our churches and my relationship with you.  I hope it will promote more open and honest conversation about who we are and whose we are, especially between parents and children. I stand ready to have conversations with you about my journey and yours. May we continue to be a church growing and maturing in our efforts to live out and invite others into the incredible love of God in Jesus Christ.

Bishop Kevin Krouse is a member of the Lutheran Church. The  Lutheran Church was created as direct response to of Martin Luther disgust with the lenience and abuse of power, prayer and austerity.  His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible. The main tenet of this branch of Lutheranism is Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.

We will watch what happens next.

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