|Bizarro has it about perfect, don't you think?|
I have heard it over and over again that the, well, shall we say, conservatives do not want to talk. Actually, I think most conservatives are rather chatty. They seem to welcome any and every opportunity to make their case for the faith once delivered to the saints and now preserved in creed, catechism, and confession. They tend to talk all the time about what Scripture says, what the Confessions say, what the creed confesses, and what the Confessions confess. But it seems that this is generally not what the more progressive wing wants to talk about. Perhaps that is the core and center of the problem.
It shows up here, for example. If I post something about ceremonies in the Church, someone always reminds me that the Confessions do indeed allow for some diversity in ceremony. And that is true. But it never gets to the meat of the issue which is diversity in what -- ceremony, liturgy (or not), music, creed, etc... Just throwing out the point about not requiring uniformity in ceremony does little to address those Lutherans who do not follow any real liturgy, whose worship is virtually synonymous with generic evangelicals, and whose music represents the playlist of popular contemporary Christian music. As soon as you want to unpack what the Confessions say beyond the old saw about uniformity of ceremony not being necessary, the conversation seems to come to an end. Let me contrast that with the conservatives (bad terms, I know) who seem to talk all the time about what this means and does not mean and even disagree about it without the dialog evolving into silence.
Perhaps that is the problem. Most of us want to talk but we are not sure we want to listen. For what it is worth, the side of things where I usually fall does not want to talk so much about opinions or feelings or even what works but they want to talk about what the Scriptures say, what our Confessions proclaim, what our creed confesses, what our tradition has bequeathed to us, and what is best to add to it. I will admit that I don't want to listen to conversations that have no basis in Scripture, no connection to Confession, creed, or catechism, and no cause consistent with the catholic faith. I fear that conversation is really a code word for convincing me to ignore what Scripture says, what our Confessions proclaim, what we learned from the catechism, what we confess in the creed, how we sing and speak in the liturgy, and what we sing in the great hymns of the faith. Maybe I am a little touchy on this subject but I tend to think I am more right than wrong in this. Of course, that does not mean all that much. I have been more right than wrong about a lot of things and still way off base. In the end, however, when we speak it ought to flow from and back to Scripture as the source and norm, Confession as faithful exposition of that Scripture, creed as summary of what Scripture says, catechism as instructional book of doctrine and Scripture, and liturgy as prayed Scripture. If it doesn't, the talking, however nice, will be rather fruitless.