Tuesday, January 4, 2022

I confess. . . I am rigid. . .

On the old forms that pastors once submitted to the powers that be in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, there was a rating system for doctrine, liturgy, and pastoral practice.  On the one side was the characterization "evangelical" or "flexible" and on the other side was "rigid."   There you have it.  Either you go along and get along or your are rigid.  Nobody wants to be rigid, do they?  Of course not, rigid people are not nice or fun.  I am old enough not to care much about what people think of me so I cannot honestly recall if it is still there.  I am more concerned with what God thinks.  And God is more of a fan of rigidity than most ordinary folks.  In fact, He is rigid.  He was never flexible about sin and its consequences but willingly delivered up His only Son because He could not wish that sin away or shrug off its fruit of death.  But apparently the Pope has weighed in on the matter and is on the side of flexibility (except where the Latin Mass is concerned!!).  According to almighty Francis, "Rigidity is a sin against the patience of God".

There you have it.  Rigidity is a sin against the patience of God.  So I guess that will mean another thousand or so years in purgatory for me (unless my family and friends pony up for some masses and maybe an indulgence or two to help out my cause).  I find it humorous that the people who insist they are flexible are generally the most rigid of all and the folks who are rigid are, in reality, evangelical in the best sense of the term.  Francis himself falls into that category.  He is considered genial and friendly to all except those who disagree with him.  Then, it seems, he is not so happy go lucky or easy.  In fact, he can be downright hard.  Of course, he will insist that he is being evangelical by being rigid on these matters.  Well, there you have it.  Rigidity is a sin except when it is in service to a particular agenda.  

One Roman Catholic author has suggested that in the end, Rome will be left with three groups.  The traditionalists who will continue on no matter how battered and beaten by the popes and their minions.  The charismatics will endure -- probably because they are kind of beyond the categories of this world in their thinking.  And the converts.  They will stick it out.  Perhaps that is not so far off for Lutherans as well.  The traditionalists who take their history and confession and liturgy seriously will hang in there for the long haul.  The charismatics, or perhaps for us, the people who believe that while forms matter what matters most is love.  And the converts.  God bless the converts who take seriously what the born Lutheran rolls their eyes at and who rejoice at what the long time Lutherans no longer see or know.  I don't know.  It could be true.  Charismatics have kind of disappeared and I am not at all sure that you will find many in Lutheranism anymore.  Perhaps in Rome but not among us Lutherans.  Maybe I am wrong.  But it does seem to me that the rigid traddies and the converts are a logical union of people who believe what the words say and are confident that God will do what He has promised.  Call it rigid or not, this is definitely the future of the faith.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

God Bless you brother -- rather than rigidity, I call it "steadfastness" -- I used to call myself a dinosaur -- then I began to think better of it -- thinking that dinosaurs are thought by some to be extinct because of their inability to "adapt." I thought this way until I began to see indications among scientist that dinosaurs do indeed still exist -- changed outwardly, but still counted among those giants who once roamed the earth -- but immersed so fully in the life forms here now that thehy are not noticed. I believe this is how the Lord is insuring our survival -- we are quietly existing among those who think we are extinct. And survive we will, for it is the Lord who preserves and protects us.