Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heading Out into the Mission Field

Well, we are headed from Lutherland of Minnesota back into the mission field that is the state of Tennessee.  It represents a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, it is sad to leave a place where Lutheranism is a known quantity and where you don't have to launch into a history lesson every time somebody says "Lutheran?  Is that like Mormon?"  On the other hand, it means that Lutheran is already defined and set by those who have a point of view (here the big 3 Lutheran bodies are supplemented with several more smaller Lutheran groups).  This means that I do not have the privilege of defining Lutheranism but must work with the definitions that are already there -- and this means the evangelical and catholic identity which is faithful to the Confessions must compete with different versions.

I am not sure which is the most desirable.  At the time you might ask me, my answer might change depending upon what is going on and what kind of mood I am in...

There you have it -- the blessing of the mission field is that you get to define the Church you are planting... the curse of the familiar is that you must live with the definitions that others have planted... Tonight I long for the familiar... but tomorrow you might get a different answer....

1 comment:

SKPeterson said...

Pr. Peters,

As the son of parents born, raised, confirmed and married in(to) the old Augustana in the prairie soils of Iowa and South Dakota, I can appreciate your interesting experiences in Minnesota. My mother, of course, went where many good Swedish girls went - Gustavus.

I'm not sure where that all went wrong, but enough if rubbed off or lingered on that I've made my way now to LC-MS.

Your experiences of moving from the Lutheran heartland to Tennessee are paralleled by my own. I appreciate your commentary perhaps all the more because of it.

[As an aside I'm a member of the Knoxville congregation you noted in a recent ALPB post re: LakePointe.]