Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Giving Shy Persons the Strength to Do What Needs to Be Done

A few weekends ago I had an interesting experience with a Lutheran clergyperson.

We were talking about outreach as a function of lay ministry, and I was trying to explain online Christianity to him and why I thought it was a pretty exciting place to be; online discussion forums and weblogs and e-mail groups, all being visited by the seeking; the disillusioned-but-hopeful; the misinformed; the clueless; the angry needing someone to vent to who understood and cared and "had a word" for them; the spiritually disconnected trying to "find their people."

At first the pastor looked at me quizzically, but then his expression changed to one of the steeple-fingered Helping Professional. As in: "Und zo...venn you are talking to zees imaginary friends in schpace, are zay zaying tinks to you? Vat is it zat you tink zay are zaying to you? How often do you schpeak mit zese friends in schpace?"

He just didn't get it.

(And, for the record, this wasn't my pastor, who really does get it.)

It gets lonely out in cyberspace if you're a Lutheran; especially if you're an ELCA Lutheran. Where are we? Why aren't there more of us around?

Maybe Garrison Keillor has it right. Maybe we're a shy people (present company excepted) who just don't like engaging in public gut spillage: Who do I think I am?

If that is so...well then, gosh darn it, get over it. If Herr Doktor Luther were alive today, where do you think he'd be? Online -- you know it! (Probably ranting about the new Pope Benedict even as I type.)

Have a Powdermilk Biscuit. Have two. Feel that courage starting to warm your blood. Here I blog...I can do no other...God help me! There's the spirit!

It's fun here in Blogdom. It really is. And you needn't be a computer genius to run a blog. As some of my readership knows from trying to explain HTML to me, I'm kind of a techno-blockhead. So if I can publish my own blog -- even occasionally stick a picture in it -- so can you.

We need more ELCA blogs. So if you've been toying with the idea...go for it. Come on. I dare you. I double-dog dare you. You can do this.


Anonymous said...

Hi -
I read your blog all the time - I enjoy it greatly, but I wonder about this last post.
Seems to me that blogs are really nothing more than a pulpit or a soap box. They can be mis-used as easily as they can be a tool for teaching and learning.
Surely you know that there is as much garbage out there in cyberspace(in the name of the Church) as there is good, viable stuff.
Unfortunately, some folks do not know enough to evaluate that which they read. They do not have the tools to discern the wheat from the chaff - and so are actually pretty vulnerable, and very easily led into the place where good intentions also lead.
While I appreciate what you say about the wisdom of blogging (especially for a person like me who has an opinion about everything). I am not as convinced as you are that it is always such a good thing.
I think I will keep my bloglife limited to reading for the time being.

mark said...

I have been thinking the SAME things!! Blog after blog after blog I visit is Catholic and UCC and even a few Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists sprinkled in there for some flavor. I don't know that I've come across any other ELCA bloggers, or any that are open about it.
I am an unashamed ELCA blogger, and I cant' believe that I haven't come across your blog before today. But I will be back, that's for sure. Us Lutherans gotta stick together!!

LutheranChik said...

Anonymous: Well, I know there are folks out there who think that this blog is "garbage" composed by a particularly loathesome spawn of Satan, LOL. So...caveat lector, all around.

LutheranChik said...

Hey, Mark!

What seminary are you at? LSTC?

This weekend I'm "retreating" at a lay ministry training session with Dr. Mary Shields from Trinity...we're going to learn all about Exodus. I am amazed at the ELCA's commitment to lay ministry training...they're bringing the theologians out to us, here in the relative toolie-weeds. And the theologians seem to dig this...our coordinator says that the Trinity profs kind of compete with one another to facilitate our classes.

Good luck with your blog! I'm too lazy to link to it tonight, but when I'm in a tinkering-with-my-layout mood I can do that...we do need to stick together.

Christopher said...

Here I am... An online Lutheran.

Christopher said...

Oh, an ELCA to boot.

LutheranChik said...

Hi, Chris!