Several weeks ago, in an effort to step up the content of our church blog, I began a series called "Worship Whys," where readers could submit questions about Lutheran worship.
Perhaps predictably, the first week no one responded until the last minute; and I suspect that was a mercy question from our pastor or a friend of mine. Our people are not communicators, and they also have a fear of standing out that may override the anonymity of blog comboxes.
Things picked up a bit in the weeks thereafter. We got some questions that sounded as if they were penned by unwilling young catechumens -- "Do you have to be confirmed?"...whinge a little as you read that aloud -- as well as a series of questions from someone who sounded like a lost Baptist who'd stumbled on our blog by mistake. Fellow Traveler, who is not a Lutheran by birth, also submitted a couple of very good questions.
I knew the feature had finally arrived, so to speak, this week, when a new questioner -- someone obviously a part of our congregation -- asked, "Why is apple [sic] juice a Communion option when it's supposed to be the Blood of Christ...and who the HELL picks out the hymns?" As FT notes, once you take the snark out of them, they're good questions. So I was happy to respond to them.
It's risky to begin an FAQ service in a church, for the same reason that it's risky to put up a suggestion box in a workplace: It's can become a vehicle for a lot of whiny passive aggression. On the other hand -- we might actually be teaching our people something. And there's not always the time or opportunity in the course of a church service to accomplish the same thing. So Worship Whys is staying on the schedule for the time being. And I'm actually looking forward to more cranky questions; because it means that people are reading the answers.