Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lutheran "Lifers"

I had an interesting experience the other evening. I went out for a girls' dinner with a friend of mine who is also newly Lutheran, and her friend from church, a "lifer."

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm disappointed. 

When I started talking about the formality of the traditional liturgy, she misunderstood and started telling me about all the different styles available. Many places are more modern, etc.  When my friend mentioned feeling a bit awkward about a video clip used during their Divine Service, she mentioned that the responsive reading was too long too, and since she's heard it her whole life, it gets a little long. When I talked about making a family altar, she went silent. 

I'm disappointed, but I get it. She doesn't know anything about any of the American Evangelical garbage that we've come out of. She hasn't studied other denominations or even (I think) her own doctrines. I know. I used to be there as a "lifer" SDA. 

She acted apologetic. Why is that? I went ahead and told her that we don't want to be at a Baptist church or one that's pretending to be Baptist, but she didn't seem to understand that the things she was embarrassed of were things that we were looking for. Who's been teaching her to be ashamed of the different-ness of the historic liturgy? Who's been teaching her that Lutherans should have praise bands and special dramas and puppet ministry, etc., and only take the Lord's Supper every other week?!

I'm not upset with her. I want to get to know her better and become friends. That's not my point. My point is that she doesn't get it! She takes her doctrine and her Church completely for granted. She doesn't know what it feels like to question your salvation, to question your election, to forsake family, friends, and job for the Christian Church. How could she "get it?" She can't. That's okay. But I do hope that someday she studies (gets catechized into) her Church a little more closely and discovers why it's wonderful, and discovers why she should never go anywhere else. Not because it's where she grew up, but because it truly delivers life-giving forgiveness of sins through the Word and Sacraments.

This will also be my challenge as I raise K as a Lutheran. She'll be a "lifer" too. And, I expect that as the years go by, the newness will wear off for me as well. But then, it's not about newness. It's not about doing the same thing every week or about changing it up. It's about truth. We've found it! We're going to hold on to it, by the grace of God!

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Psalm 32:1