I was recently reminded that since I had moved from the East Coast to Tennessee now 23 years ago I had lost my street cred to speak to what was going on there. The truth is that while serving on Long Island and halfway between NYC and Albany I did not notice the huge divide that seems so obvious now. I found less of a difference than I expected between where I served in New York State and my home area of Nebraska or the places where I went to school (Kansas and Indiana). Now I am not so sure. I hear from many blog readers out that way that the divisions are more fully entrenched but even more obvious than ever before.
In the end, this is sure to create havoc for church bodies that span the nation and we have already long experienced the stereotype of salt water districts vs the Midwest in our own LCMS. I wonder how this will bode for our future. This is especially true given the fact that our presence in the Northeast is limited to mainly smaller parishes. We are clearly less of a presence in those areas than we were a generation or two or three ago.
Yet it cannot be simply explained in political terms. A recent article tried to tie the conflicts in the LCMS and the presence of dissidents on both sides to the Tea Party Movement. It sounds good in theory but it is neither simply a cause/effect of the division nor can it predict how things will move. All in all, I am greatly concerned by the seemingly permanent divide between the coast lands and interior in politics, morality, and religion.