I had the delightful honor of hosting the Lutheran Carnival (Spring Training Edition) in March, and I would encourage anybody to sign up to do it. The one point of sadness that I had was that I had to turn someone down (from what I hear, I was lucky that it was only one). She was a person who had just left her ELCA congregation because her pastor had hurt her feelings. She was hurt and angry. These feelings were clearly real, but the focus of her writing was about how she this justified her leaving “the organized church” to be on her own.
I wish I could say that we had a good conversation about it. I goofed, big time. Because of two hours of sleep and two sick kids, and myself being under the profoundly foggy influence of Benadryl, I got the names of the posters mixed up and called her by the wrong name. I am sure that did not go over well. I apologized, but I know that would’ve ticked me off, too. I’ve thought of this woman many times since then and prayed for her, though she probably doesn’t think too well of me and probably doesn’t believe that I’ve given her another moment’s thought. I told her that her writing was not in the spirit of the Lutheran Confessions. The Carnival blog did say that posts needed to be in line with the Book of Concord. I also understand that a good portion of Lutherans out there do not understand the word "confessional" and what that means theologically, and a good portion of LCMS Lutherans have never heard of the Book of Concord, so I expect that to be the case in the ELCA. But, it is a confessional Lutheran blog carnival, so I still stand by my decision to leave it out. The church is key in how the Holy Spirit strengthens and sanctifies us. Specifically, I said:
I pray that you find a congregation where you can be fed and find comfort in God's Word and in His Sacraments. To a Lutheran, that is where we find God's grace.
Recently, she posted an update on her spiritual journey, and let me know that she had written about me. She quoted this and stated:
Moreover, that's neither what I was taught during my previous lifetime of
Lutheranism nor is it consistent with Scripture.
I’ve chosen not to link to her, because she (respectfully?) chose not to mention me by name, and I likewise do not have her permission to do so. I am trying to respectfully address the statements, inviting discussion, not looking for a war of words, on her blog or mine.
There are a lot of people out there who think that they don’t need the church, and that it is just an organized group of stubborn, arrogant people on committees, etc. and that being a member is pointless. That it is fine to go on to be a Christian alone. And I make no secret that at one point in my life, I was disgusted with the Lutheran Church myself, and didn’t see a problem with my going my own way either.
For the past three days, I’ve had my nose in the Bible and in the Book of Concord, and I know that my theology on this will not be exhaustive, so if anyone wants to add anything, I definitely invite guidance. My knitting has definitely suffered during this time, but on the whole, I could say that my time was spent in a more worthwhile manner, even if it will add three more days until I get that sock done!
I’ve even debated whether it would be worthwhile to write this or not. I don’t know if the aforementioned woman is interested in what I have to say on the matter, but I still ended up with the fact that it is a worthwhile topic, and I not only want to write about it, I feel compelled to write about it. So maybe it will do someone some good, if only to stop all of this from bouncing around inside my head!
So Post 1 is coming up, sometime by the end of this weekend. Thoughts are coming together slowly as I digest all that I have taken in and it is a busy weekend, not to mention that I do have to compete with three other people for the use of the computer. I wrote this because I wanted to give a background, and I didn't want to make the posts so long that it would all seem muddled together (I know, why stop now?). And besides....I'm low in the caffeine department, and I can't