Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't Go There Anymore, LC

Against my better judgment I took a brief stroll through a pan-Lutheran webring tonight. Most of the blogs listed are authored by persons in the denomination of my childhood, people who do a lot of inveighing against heretics (which include pretty much everyone else in Christendom), and who don't much like my own church body; who think that typing quotes around "Lutheran" in reference to us, or calling us the E*CA, are rhetorical acts of genius. One of the blogs is all about Lutherans and contraception -- the blogmeisters, unsurprisingly, are agin' it. (I can only imagine what they must think of a gay woman popping the ungodly Pills of Death for the perimenopausal comfort of her ever-fallow uterus; I may as well be strobing radioactive purple: "Abomination! Anathema! Stone her!" I mean, I'm probably worse than moldy walls, or a donkey doing the wild thang with a horse out in the back forty.)

It's days like this, after reading pages of this stuff, when I ask The CEO, with some urgency, "What's my motivation here?"

"I am," he answers.

"Oh. Right."

So, on the advice of The CEO, I am shaking the dust of these sundry and assorted blogs from my sandals. My pastor has an interesting take on Jesus' instruction to his disciples when they encounter the inhospitable and hostile; he suggests that what Jesus is describing is less an act of contempt than of simply giving up and commending the whole thing to God: "I can't deal with these people anymore, Lord -- you handle it. I'm outta here."

And so I am. Besides...I've got two Ordinary Time essays to write before midnight, or I'll turn into a pumpkin.


P. Softly said...

You may have figured out that I have also dabbled in the den of the lions that you mention. I've been to several of them, and as usual, I don't keep my mouth shut, or my fingers from typing. I've commented and asked questions. Shame on me! One of the blogs you mention won't even post some comments unless they pass muster.

If part of the job of the Church, with a capital C, is to help people feel God's love, then these people surely make it harder for the rest of you (us.)

I've been told that if I think or feel something, then I'm wrong. If I have felt God calling me to do some act of service, that that must be of the devil, since I haven't found it directly in the Book. I've been shamed for saying that I helped serve communion. [Hey, who do you think served the wine, bread, and other food to Jesus?]

Learning about the Pharasees in the NT has been an eye opener to me. I think that they get a bad rap, ie we sometimes portray them as cartoonish bad guys. But they were teaching what they were taught. They knew the scriptures. They knew what was said, literally. But they missed the point. They were too certain. So certain that they refused to be open minded about other possible interpretations.

Do we Lutherans dare to be so certain of our way of interpreting the Bible? Do we need to close ourselves off from other Christians so much that we can't learn from them, and perhaps, they from us? Yes the denomination that you and I belong to is more open minded. The others would say that open = liberal = somehow unchristian. I would say that being closed is the opposite of Jesus command in Mark 10:14.

Oh, there I go again, expressing my opinion. Truly I say to you, I felt hurt, shamed and dirty when I was responded to on THOSE blogs.

On Sunday, the 2nd lesson jumped out at me: I Cor 8: 1 - 3. We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

Am I puffed up or built up?

I AM grateful for the blogs that are welcoming. Thank you.

RuthRE said...

Mmmm. You know I feel ya here.

I was actually raised (by my parents? or my grandparents or other church members?) to understand that "Elk-ah" were not "real Lutherans".

Brother Martin certainly never intended to have a denomination named after himself. Heck, or to create a denomination. He died considering himself a Catholic (right?).

So the only claim to the term "Lutheran" is heritage and some tradition. I'm sure most of those "other lutherans" consider themselves to be German...even though....technically....they're about 1/64th.

Silly, silly people.

P. Softly said...

Well, as long as some body else brought up ethnicity, here's a thought I've had recently: If the Lutheran church is the only true church or the ONLY church with the Truth * then how come God revealed this so exclusively to the Northern Europeans for so many years? Especially to those German Lutherans? [I was baptised WELS.]

And if IT (meaning the TRUE FAITH) wasn't meant to be kept to ourselves, then why wouldn't the Lutherans have known that, because they really get the TRUE meaning of the Bible? And that begs the question as to why we didn't do a better job of sharing around the USA and the world? Lutherans aren't exactly the greatest as spreading the faith around their own neighborhoods, now are they (we)? Look at the congregations that skedaddled when the neighborhoods changed to darker skinned people.

* See the ELCA websit Q & A section. See the LCMS webpages where they differentiate themselves from all other groups and point out how wrong these groups are.

I pointed out this ELCA statement about the true church/faith to our pastor after someone in Bible Study mentioned hearing from other friends (non-Lutheran) statements about how there may be some true Christians in the Lutheran Church and in the Catholic Church.

Hey, I love my church and my denomination, warts and all. I'm not so closed minded that I don't check out other ways of looking and seeing and thinking. I just dont' like to be made to feel like dirt when I speak about my faith and church.

cheesehead said...

Glad to see we Presby's aren't the only ones up to their armpits in denominational hoo-ha.

Just kidding.

I live in a state very close to yours with a different flavor of "yous guys" on every block, so I get to observe from up close.

My sympathies

P. Softly said...

Interestingly, there are at least two of the Lutheran groups who won't participate in events that are ecumenical, nor really talk with Our Branch of Lutheranism, but, apparently they love to spew in blogs.

I've started to wonder if the phrase, "Thou dost protest too much," have some relevance?

Do they criticize their own people and visitors to their churches this much?

Maybe the answer is yes. My relative, visited by her pastor in her home, mentioned that a certain young woman relative is on the ordination track. When this was denounced, my relative promptly changed her lifelong membership to a more diplomatic branch of the Lutherans.

Purechristianithink said...

Yeah--when the Presby blog ring started up a few weeks ago, one fellow who had been invited declined saying that if we had been a ring of REAL Presbyterians, he'd be in--but since we weren't . . .


RuthRE said...

Ever hear that joke of St. Peter giving a tour of Heaven.

"Over near that tree, there are the Presbyterians....near the pond there are the be very quiet as we go over the crest of this hill....down here in this valley....those are the Lutherans, shhh they think they're the only ones here"

Heard that one from my pastor...he was ordained LCMS and quickly jumped ship to LCA :)

P. Softly said...

I thought some groups have their own sound proof rooms so as not to hear the other Christians and the angels singing praises that aren't liturgy. Question: does God put each group in its separate area or some orthodox member of that denomination?

RevHRod said...

Back to the dust on your shoes...

My understanding of the text from some studying way back when leads me to believe that although the shaking of the dust was not meant in a mean and nasty way- it wasn't shy either. Think of clapping chalkboard erasers together. Quiet, but to the point. A way of having the last word without actually saying anything.