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Release: Jan. 31, 2002

Lutheran Worship Director Speaks On Conflicts Over Sex, Worship

Issues of sexuality and modernization of worship have many Christians lined up on opposite sides of a philosophical battlefield. Michael Burk, director for worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, will speak about the disagreements and the potential for resolution in his presentation, "Sex and Worship: The Relationship Between Two of the Church's Battlegrounds," at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 in Room 704, Jefferson Building. His lecture is part of the Floating Friday lecture series organized by the University of Iowa American studies department.

Issues of human sexuality -- particularly homosexuality -- and changes in worship practices both stir strong emotions and opinions in members of many faiths, not just his, Burk said. He will speak about cultural shifts that have led to "perceptible movement" within the church on both issues.

"It's only recently that we've come to realize that the focus of our energies on both issues has been misplaced," he said. "I'm presently convinced that the juxtaposition of these two issues will move us if not more rapidly, then at least more gracefully toward a resolution of the tension."

Burk, who earned his Ph.D. in American studies at the UI in 1998, was appointed to his current position in June 2001. Before that he had served parishes in Dysart, Iowa City, Newton, and Waverly since earning his master of divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque in 1986.