Monday, November 11, 2013

The grass is not always greener. . .

For those who wonder about Missouri's future or the viability of Lutheranism as a fractured movement, I would point to the places where people gather faithfully around the Word and Table of the Lord, where the liturgy is conducted reverently and with a view to the awesome nature of what is taking place here, where the music is the meaty and solid food of faithful text and noble melody, where the Pastor is not some ad lib comedian and the people have not come to be entertained...  I would point you to the example of the services of the installations of President Harrison and the convention worship of delegates of Synod gathered in St. Louis last summer, or to the worship events held every couple of years (coming up again in Seward in July 2014)...  I would point you to the liturgical life that accompanies the superb center of teaching and pastoral formation in the Word of the Lord at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne...  I would point you to the tremendous resources from CPH, from LSB to the academic publications to the reprints of out of print works, and the availability in English of many things previous inaccessible to those not capable of Latin or German... I would point you to the fine journals and publications -- of official Synod entities and the independent ones who speak from the vantage point of an orthodox and vibrant Lutheran identity and its faithful practice...

And I would ask you to read this... from a fellow confessional Lutheran who left for Rome and is not sure what he gained and how much he may have lost...

A tidbit to whet your appetite...

I'm a recent convert to Catholicism from 'confessional' (read: traditionalist) Lutheranism, and it's been disillusioning being on this side of the Tiber. Being raised confessional Lutheran, I of course know my Lutheran catechism very well (I could probably recite most of it by memory even now), and for that reason, I find the Paul VI Rite bizarre. In the New Mass, there's nothing particularly Catholic-specific about the content of the orations. If anything, it seems rather 'neutral' and 'happy' in tone, in that not only is it purged of Catholic-specific dogma, but references to sin, death, hell, Satan's works, and the warring angels, have been omitted. By comparison, my old Lutheran Mass's orations were chalk full of allusions to this 'hard' stuff.
Do not despair upon the good ship Lutheran just yet...  Do not write off the good ship Missouri too quickly...  We have much good going for us and the sins we face are in many respects no different than the sins of modernity that have been foisted upon other traditions as well.  Remember Sasse said if the church's confession remains pure, there is hope.  It is when there is nothing, no standard of faith or shining light, to call the Church back to her faithful life together that we might despair and lose hope.  We are not there yet; things may be tough but, mind you, we have a great deal of good for which to offer God a Te Deum....

And thanks to Dr. John Stephenson for a heads up here...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why this person swam the Tiber i the first place.

Carl Vehse said...

From the turncoat's whiny complaints on The Remnant, it would seem he was infatuated with Romish rites and rituals, especially in the Roman Mass, only to find they weren't as traditional and plentiful as he had hoped in the Roman church he attends. So much for "Look before you leap."

Perhaps Lutheran pastors should indoctrinate catechumens more thoroughly in the Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article II.

Jim Davis said...

Fellow Christians:

Please listen to this 35 minute audio message:
http://www.stjstl.net/message/step-1-know-whats-at-stake
It is the first of a series of five messages named “DIY: Sharing Jesus”
You may see the entire list of messages at: http://www.stjstl.net/media/messages/
Questions or comments may be directed to me at jimdavis332@gmail.com
Or Pastor Dion Garrett at dgarrett@stjstl.net
Please and thank you
Jim

Joanne said...

Whenever people say to me, when seeing/hearing liturgical chanting, three dimensional art, kneelers, and beautiful music in a Lutheran service, "that's Catholic," I look at them in wide-eyed disbelief and ask, "have you been to a Catholic service (mass) in the last 20, 30 years? They usually have not.

And yes, the music is atrocious. My Catholic friends prepare you for the mass by warning you that the musis will be bad, very bad, and it is. I've heard pretty good rhythm and blues or blue grass at teen masses, but there is nothing Catholic in it, as complained of here.

And the Catholic chancel is full of people doing stuff. As far as I can tell, the priest, once you figure out which one he is, is only there for the consecration of the elephants, er elements. A dalmatic tunic looks an awful lot like a chasuble. The married deacon preaches and a female performs as the chief of ceremonies. A whole phalanx of laity approach the altar steps to become sacrament distributors.

The local RC church here at home, where I often attend with close friends, looks for all the world like a dinner theater. Modern Catholic suburban architecture favors arena seating just like the Baptists do. Minimal and very cheap-looking art, and an altar table with big sanctuary chairs like Presbyterians use. Nothing like a retable and no altar rail, 'cause no kneeling.

It's all there for anyone to see, or not see at you area, suburban RC church. No need to swim the Tiber without this common knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I hope that someday CPH can put more free musical resources on their website. There are so many free resources out there like cpdl.org and imslp.org. These are websites of free choral public domain music that you can simply download and print out. Perfect for a Lutheran church that aims for a Mass with reverence and beauty. -Peter Sovitzky

Anonymous said...

Nice article. I will now offer a similar story. Imagine a former Evangelical converting to Lutheranism and joining an emergent/contemporary/low church LCMS congregation. He quickly grows disillusioned and then starts posting on a small, 23 LCMS congregation member blog such as this one:

http://acelc.net

So instead of a story of a disillusioned, new convert from Lutheranism to Rome , we could easily write a story about a disillusioned, new convert from Evangelicalism to Lutheranism. Noisy Cafeteria Catholic or Angry Lunch Line Lutheran: What's the big difference?

What if I grow weary of the infighting and of watching LCMS congregations flirt with Evangelicalism? That should be enough cause to either drop out of church or at least investigate other denominations in search of greener pastures. Where else to look for ancient authenticity if not Rome or Constantinople? Regrettably, layman-appropriate literature regarding the shortcomings of the RCC and the EO are hard to find.

The LCMS could double in size IF ONLY it could convince burned out Evangelicals that Lutheranism offers a viable alternative to the incessant law pounding. "Some" LCMS pastors "get it." Most LCMS pastors have no clue. Opportunity lost…..

Anonymous said...

Oh, and that Recent Lutheran Convert will end up posting incessantly on small, renegade Roman Catholic blogs. Rome will continue to ignore him, his newly adopted "Remant Newspaper" group, and the Pre-Vatican II lobby. What does he expect? At what point will he give up and become yet another Christmas and Easter Catholic?

If your argument is that the LCMS is more likely to listen to the needs of its congregations than Rome does to theirs, then you may have a case. As an LCMS layman, I still fail to see that anything has changed for the better at the congregational level. By the way, if the LCMS is the shining beacon of confessional Lutheranism, then why aren't LCMC, NALC, and dissident ELCA congregations clamoring to join it?

Bob Allen said...

I am in the business of helping people find jobs. I talk to people daily who have left there job for many reasons.
Some just voluntarily quit because they became disillusioned with the company and the direction they seemed to be heading.

I see so many resume’s of people who left the company where they had worked years, and in a short time after they left the organization of their dream they have worked and quit for 3 or 4 more organizations, none of these positions where like their old company.

My Dad would have said, The grass looked greener and in fact it isn't.

Pastors need our support and encouragement and advice. Pastors are called servants, but they are also men and employees who become dissatisfied with their job just like the rest of us.
We must find them someone to talk to give them another perspective than what they will hear on many blogs.