Tuesday, April 18, 2017
I am avant garde. . .
But that is exactly how it goes. What is old and forgotten becomes new again. Just wait long enough and you will see it all again.
Pietism and Rationalism came along and robbed us Lutherans of our identity on Sunday morning, shifting our attention from the Means of Grace to our feelings and redefining faith as knowledge instead of trust. Lutherans became embarrassed over their liturgical identity and looked longingly to the Christians around them (first the mainline and then the evangelicals). We are still fighting the age old battles against a head faith that looks for reasoned explanations and the heart faith which wants to feel good. But in the mean time, we have left ourselves confused and a mess on Sunday morning. Nobody knows what they will find in a Lutheran congregation on a Sunday morning. And the people who call for a restoration of the Divine Service are called radicals and the people who think contemporary music means singing the sounds of Peter, Paul, and Mary find themselves as dated (and stale) as yesterday's news. Non-liturgical churches are finding ways to act liturgical at the same time some folks among Lutheranism are trying their darnedest to act as if Lutheranism were not liturgical.
Chalkboards are in again. . .
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All is not lost. Many LCMS churches still retain the Liturgy, and I really haven't seen the rush to modernity and a movement to be like the "feel good" churches and non-liturgical ones in our communities. Not all ceremonial practices of the past should be eliminated, but sometimes there are changes in order, maybe not drastic, but nevertheless needful. After all....Martin Luther also made changes, and he wasn't overly innovative at times. If we want uniformity in the LCMS, it must start at Concordia and it must be taught to seminary students...future pastors. No doubt, some of our pastors seem more ecumenical and experimental in areas of worship and Liturgy. Each generation of pastors will never be an exact reproduction of the prior generation. Each generation desires to write new rules for new times. I suppose it might help to bring us in line and closer to our Lutheran identity if our own headquarters, or "HQ" would travel across the land, visiting each district frequently, even giving a sermon once in awhile as a guest preacher, watching the flock like a good Bishop should. Being a Nehemiah requires active participatory leadership by example. When I was in the Marine Corps half a century ago, we had frequent visits by the "IG" staff (Inspector General), and their inspections were always designed to test our readiness and compliance with directives. It was a good thing for the Marine Corps, which is already well disciplined and efficient. I think the LCMS is in dire need of an IG staff.
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