March 18, 2013

Shop Talk

Sam Smith - This Seventh Day Agnostic got started in a happier period when there were plenty of clerical types who found better things to do with their time than to blast gay marriage and abortion, cover up pedophilia, or serve as an apologist for Israeli apartheid. In the 1960s, ministers, rabbis and priests were among the most progressive folk around, a fact of which I was reminded  with news of the passing of Rev. Arnold Keller. As the Washington Post put it:

Rev. Keller served the Lutheran Church of the Reformation [on Capitol Hill in Washington] for 33 years over two separate assignments.

During his tenure, the congregation focused on global outreach and community ministries, including a tutoring service for youths living in a nearby housing project, a food pantry and efforts to restore homes for needy local families.

Rev. Keller helped start the church’s public-affairs ministry, which brought together hundreds of federal government employees to discuss political and theological issues. He also launched a health-care center at the church to serve the community.

...Rev. Keller’s family said he voiced early support within the Lutheran Church to welcome lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people as worshipers.
And there is a more personal reason to note the passing of Rev. Keller. His church provided a $2,000 contribution (about $12,000 today corrected for inflation) to help start the Capitol East Gazette, a neighborhood paper that became the citywide, and then national, DC Gazette and eventually the Progressive Review. 

Bet you never suspected a bunch of Lutherans got me going. . .