Tuesday, May 30, 2023

I will have to send a sympathy card. . .

The Lutheran gave way to the Living Lutheran and now this.  Like many periodicals, those changes have affected the ELCA’s magazine. Rising print costs—for paper, ink and postage—have resulted in changes in paper quality and distribution frequency. We started with 18 issues in 1988—in 2023 we will have six, though we continue to have a robust online presence here at livinglutheran.org. Technology also has changed, and we are moving along with the way people want to receive information.  In other words, the last issue will be November/December 2023.  The denomination will pull the plug on their flagship journal.  Maybe I should send a sympathy card.

I am not at all sure that whatever remains after December of 2023 will be robust in any way shape or form.  The magazine has been on life support for a while.  Though part of its troubles can be laid at print costs and the way people get information, the real problem is the content.  It has seem to focus more on the living part than the Lutheran one.  In fact, the articles have grown away from the official faith and confessions of the ELCA and into a journal that celebrates the unholy trinity of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In the strange new reality of this church, the presiding bishop apologized for offending a community but cannot seem to even acknowledge that they tolerate churches and pastors who blaspheme the Scriptural name of God.  Apparently not even the potty-mouthed, tattooed, edgy clergy celebrated in social media can get the moribund ELCA excited, much less God.

The ELCA has been bleeding off members for a very long time. Everyone knows that.  It has done everything right according to the polls.  It keeps a semblance of liturgy though empties it of any substantive Christian content and seems happy to be a faint echo of culture rather than a bold voice for the God Scripture reveals.  Not even a good show and wide open arms for any faith and every faith (except of course a traditional one) has slowed the long slow death of this denomination.  Sadly, the numbers missing from the count since it began in 1988 have not headed to either of the break off denominations nor have they joined other churches.  They have just left.

As odd as this is, the greater absurdity is that there are sill folk in this denomination who say their faith has not changed.  Either they were radically ahead of the atheism curve or they are blind or they are old enough that they just keep driving to the same address every Sunday morning.  I cannot figure it out at all.  Some of them are my family members.  The seminaries have been selling off property as fast as they can find a buyer.  What happened to the ELCA has become a sad joke.  The joke was chronicled on the pages of their monthly journal.  But nobody is laughing.

No comments: