Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Few Random Reasons I am A Lutheran

I know, I was baptized in a Lutheran church when I was about a month old, and that does account for a large part of why I am Lutheran. But after exploring awhile among the Pentecostals, I returned to my Lutheran roots. Here are a few "short" reasons why:

1. When asked, "Are Lutherans Conservative or Liberal?", the correct answer is Yes. And No.

2. We love the liturgy, but the liturgy does not define us.

3. Two brilliant pieces of writing by Martin Luther: "The Small Catechism", and "The Freedom of a Christian (also called "On Christian Liberty.")

4. Paradox.

5. The "priesthood of all believers," properly interpreted.

6. All the little Lutheran churches, still dotting the prairie, not giving up. (of course, I humbly realize that in other areas in the country, it might be other little churches that are not giving up.)

7. Gerhard Forde, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Soren Kierkegaard, Albert Schweitzer, Johann Sebastian Bach.

8. I am not in charge of my salvation; God is.

9. "Putting the best construction" on your neighbor's words, activity and behavior. (This is what Luther says it means to not bear false witness against your neighbor.) (I don't notice that we do this much, but it's not a bad standard to reach for.)

More musings and story-telling to come.....

14 comments:

Diana said...

Thank you. A lot.

I've come to really respect your honesty, so I particularly appreciate your perspective on this.
-Mrs. M

Diana said...

Wait-- and at some point, can you talk more about what the priesthood of all believers means to you, and how that's lived out for Lutherans?

Diane said...

yes, I intend to. Thanks for giving me a good place to start. :)

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

As a society, we could do better on #9. Maybe it would be worth preaching on that some time. I'm not pointing at you, just saying, IN GENERAL.

I know that my way of life is strongly biased by being Lutheran, but I take some things for granted and then I'm surprised when I realize that people in other churches might not agree with my social consciousness. One of the things is that I try to repent and be renewed daily. Well, daily is an exaggeration, but you know what I mean: the daily living in my baptism.

One thing I realize is that I'm against the death penalty because I'm Lutheran. I think that the ELCA has a position on that, but I'm sure I never read it. I'm also fairly certain that I've never heard a sermon or class lecture on this topic, yet I KNOW for certain that my view is strongly colored by Lutheran values.

I once made a list of about 8 of the paradoxes, but I can't remember them all now. I wrote something on my blog once about this and a commenter wrote that believing that trying to believe two things at once is either wishy washy or trying to have things both ways.

Diane said...

this was not meant to be a complete list, (and of course there are also a few good reasons NOT to be Lutherans), but P.S., I regret not talking about "baptism in daily life." Thank you for mentioning it.

Of course, there's also theology of the cross, but that gets a little complicated.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

The theology of the cross beats believing in the theology of glory and then finding out that non-believers also have nice houses.

CJWille said...

why not make this a top ten list? Give me one more defining experience that is meaningful to you as a Lutheran?

Gannet Girl said...

Thank you so much for sharing these insights into who you are as a person of faith.

Jennifer said...

Another great and meaningful post.
I see many parallels in my own journey as a Presbyterian cousin...

Presbyterian Gal said...

I was baptized in a Missouri Synod Lutheran church and had my first teachings there. They stay with me to this day.

And Bach! You can't beat him.

Mompriest said...

#9 I wish more people really knew how to live into this, it is well said!

As an Episcopal priest and closely related denomination I see much of this being true for why I am Epsicopalian, except we are taught that our liturgy does define us - that "Praying Shapes Believing" idea.

Thanks, Diane, thoughtful.

Diane said...

of course, Mompriest, praying shapes believing -- the weird and unique thing about the Lutheran tradition is that we define ourselves by a few key theological concepts, like "law/gospel", "bondage of the will," "priesthood of all believers", etc. rather than liturgy or polity.

yet, I still think that praying shapes believing, too.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

hey ya you betcha diane! i serve one of those little prairie churches... and i do mean little and prairie literally... and they just built on. BUILT ON! that hasn't happened for decades... *sigh* we'll see what God has in store...

Law+Gospel said...

Thank you for this- for all the thoughts it conjures up for me, including the small rural parish of my teaching parish and the tiny urban parish up the hill from me now where they hang on fiercely, for laying out a lot of just why it is for all of us- the why is the who.