Friday, July 20, 2012

I didn't know...

...that the Lutherans (ELCA) were marrying homosexuals too. I must have missed that doctrinal revision. But there have been so many it's really hard to keep up.


Eurasleep said...

I remember this event well. It was as if God was speaking loud and clear about the ELCA:

I was raised conservative Missouri Synod Lutheran (since converted to Orthodoxy) and it greatly bothered me that being a "Lutheran" lumped me into the same group as the ELCA and the liberal wing of Christianity. Why did it bother me: my witness as a Christian to non-Christians and seekers. Being Orthodox among other things puts me in the camp of 2000 years of Saints, unbending faith, and Holy Tradition. I don't feel I have to justify or explain the actions of that Tradition, but am now responsible for my own actions before God and others.

I live overseas where being "Lutheran" is pretty much not understood at all, and the distinctions between Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, ELCA, and the thousands of other protestant denominations are basically unknown. Even in North America these distinctions are barely known outside of their inner circles, as far as Lutheranism is concerned.

Overseas you are either Christian or something else. Period. This is very much a product of American cultural Christianity. Not world Christianity.

Matushka Anna said...

This is funny, Father and I were just discussing this a day or two ago. We live in the rural South and you can't go a quarter mile without hitting a church, sometimes three in a the country. We were talking about the difficulty of being missionaries to people whose worldview consists of a completely fragmented Church. They can't imagine anything other than their current sectarian existence. Whether you go to church A or B or X it doesn't matter. Some are relativistic and some are certain everyone ELSE is going straight to hell, but otherwise they're all the same in this respect. In addition, they have very little idea of world Christianity or history. They can be provincial to the point of astonishment. The rare people who wander in tend to be either very intelligent/educated and have done a lot of research first, or the ones who have become completely disenchanted with Christianity as a whole (and giving it one last shot). It's completely different from missionary efforts in areas where there was one pagan religion. People are just too entrenched in their little comfortable churches with their tight social circles. This is something that I don't believe was ever addressed in seminary.


Jason said...

Matushka Anna,
In my part of the South, many churches share the same affiliation with a larger umbrella group, although there are no outward signs of this. The Southern Baptist Convention (now Great Commission Baptists or something) is the largest, followed by CoC and the guys who come from BIOLA out in LA (nondenominational but theologically they are Baptists). It's hard to tell b/c the newest churches shy away from using the word "Baptist" all together - you won't find it in the Church's name, nor will you find any reference to it in their material. Where you might find it is when you look at where the pastor got their Divinity degree from.

Lutherans are only a small percentage here, so I'm betting not many are aware of what the ECLA allows, or that it really even exists. But those churches still claim "Lutheran", just as Methodists and Presbyterians don't shy away from using their affiliation. So while it may seem very fragmented, there might be more cohesiveness behind the scenes than you think. I can't help but think this is a little bit of influence from gnosticism, this hiding of who they are. I'm willing to bet a lot of folks that walk through those doors don't know they're going to a Southern Baptist Church, who in all liklihood chose it b/c it wasn't Baptist!

Matushka Anna said...

Just for kicks I looked up the list of churches for our greater area. I found (in general order of numbers, greatest first):

Baptist (no kidding)
Missionary Baptist
Church of God in Christ
Church of God
Church of Christ (yes, all different)
United Methodist
Southern Baptist
Church of Christ Holiness USA
Missionary Baptist ABA
Free Will Baptist
Full Gospel
United Pentecostal
Seventh Day Adventist
Assemblies of God
Latter Day Saints
Jehovah's Witnesses
Independent Baptist
Maranatha Bible
Disciples of Christ
Pentecostal Holiness (different)
Presbyterian PCA
Abundant Life

Whoa. By the way, there was very little overlap in those categories.

sjgmore said...

Matushka Anna, I don't know what your literary tastes are, but the issues you write about feature very prominently in the short stories of Flannery O'Connor. She is one of those writers that Big Intellectuals read without understanding her and then they foist her on everyone else in a way that makes reading her sound miserable, but she truly is great.

But yes, her whole MO was spelled out in an essay called "The Catholic Writer in the Protestant South" where she talks about how the South is not so much "Christian" as "Christ-haunted". In the event you aren't familiar with her already, and you have a taste for very dark humor, you might look her up. Her sensibilities are Catholic, but largely in ways that overlap with Orthodox sensibilities. Her writing is definitely an acquired taste, though, fair warning.

Matushka Anna said...

LOL, one thing we say down here is Southerners don't read Flannery O'Connor because they live it on a daily basis! (: Seriously though, she is one of the great southern writers. I also (on a slightly less elevated level) enjoy Bailey White who hails from south Georgia.

Somewhat unrelated but funny is the very short post I put up one day on my blog:

"Father pulled into a local drive-through today. He was wearing a cassock and pectoral cross. When he pulled up to the first window to pay, the woman leaned out and said, "That'a be...Oh, Ah *loves* yo' neck-less!" While he was floundering about, trying to think of something nice to say in return, she said, "I go' get ME a Jesus-piece TOO!"

Wow. It's Orthodox "bling"."

Anonymous said...

When the ELCA and Episcopalians entered into their "concordat" the ELCA was supposed to benefit from the "gift of the episcopacy" (no commentary needed) and the Episcopalians were supposed to benefit from the more rigorous Lutheran approach to theology. The Lutherans lost out on both counts. TEC's episcopacy has turned into a deadly virus and Lutheran theology melted in the face of Anglican corosion.


Fr. Oliver said...

Back when that was being considered, I had a Lutheran professor of mine (now a female pastor, so hardly a Lutheran fundamentalist) tell me pointedly not to wait for that, that it wouldn't work out quite that way, though she remained personally hopeful despite her sense of "reality," and to continue looking into Orthodoxy.

sjgmore said...

M.A. --

That story is too funny!