Monday, November 27, 2023

Christians have no odor. . .

Picked up from a variety of sources is this little tidbit located in the student handbook of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton (a seminary of our sister church in Canada).

Scent-Free Policy
In response to health concerns, Concordia Lutheran Seminary has developed a Scent-Free Policy. Scented products such as hair spray, perfume, and deodorants can trigger reactions such as respiratory distress and headaches. For this reason, please do not use scented products while working or visiting Concordia Lutheran Seminary. Due to the sensitivity of certain members of our community, students may even be asked to consider changing soaps, laundry detergent and the like.

Now, to be fair, I get it.  I have been overwhelmed by alien scents offensive to my senses.  Most of them have to do with too much adolescent body sprays on guys and heavily scented powders, cremes, and perfumes.  Hardly any of it has to do with natural scents or odors.  What is curious to me, however, is that this merits a policy in the handbook of a very small Lutheran seminary or that the ideal for Lutherans ought to be no scent or odor whatsoever.  There is no such thing as an odor free environment here on earth.  Everything from hospitals to houses are filled with smells -- some pleasant and some not and perhaps a dispute over which is which.

God must have been extremely insensitive to His people for requiring incense in the worship of the Old Testament.  It must have come as great relief that there are no New Testament provisions insisting upon incense.  We can all be relieved that God came to His senses and delivered us from the excess ritual, formality, ceremony, and small that once He deemed to be synonymous with faithful worship.  I guess even God can learn something and we ought to be encouraged to learn some things also -- like how we should sanitize the worship space until we achieve the ideal of no smell whatsoever.  Of course, I am being sarcastic.

I can recall an Easter in which some burnt pork sausages left a blue, smokey haze and a not so pleasant smell over the entire facility -- so, of course, we cancelled Easter breakfast forever, right?  Or when we housed a Korean Lutheran mission and the smells of their potlucks were distinctly different from ours -- so, of course, we banished potlucks from the repertoire of our building, right?  Or when some pesky skunks decided to live under one of our HVAC units -- so, of course, we made sure every living creature on our property was either removed, dead, or descented, right?  But, when a hint of incense remained in the building after Evening Prayer, I was called to account by someone who believed the whole thing toxic and unacceptable.  So, there is apparently a hierarchy of odors permissible.  For Lutherans, anyway, incense is always on the list of banned smells.

In my stilted thinking, this kind of sensitivity borders on being held hostage by terrorists who are offended even by ordinary things.  The Church must always make accommodation but it would be too much to ask the people to find away around it all.  Oddly enough, hardly any Lutheran church buildings are so full on Sundays or there are Lutheran congregations which fail to offer a non-Sunday option that would allow appropriate distance for those who have such a complaint about odors.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

What happened to the two previously posted comments?

Carl Vehse said...
It's not just Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton. The Canadian Human Rights Commission claims that people with allergies have a "human right" to demand accommodation to a scent-free work environment. It's covered in the CHRC document, "Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies: What you need to know."

And if Canadians have any other problem, all they have to do is complain to the CHRC about experiencing discrimination or harassment. This will all be coming to the U.S. soon enough.

As for teachers (or employers) doing anything about students (or employees) always showing up late for class (or work), accommodations will likely have to be made for those people having "time blindness" (or the fancier term - dyschronometria).
November 27, 2023 at 7:04 AM

Carl Vehse said...
Concordia Lutheran Seminary-Edmonton is located on the campus of Concordia University-Edmonton (CUE), which was founded by the LCMS in 1921. In 2016, Concordia University severed any Lutheran connection and has been demonically possessed for some time (see CUE's Pride Week 2023 announcement).

According to The Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accrediting, CTS has 6 full-time-equivalent students and three full-time faculty. In addition to its Interim President Joel Heck, CTS lists four seminary faculty (including Dr. Jennifer Frim).
November 27, 2023 at 8:44 AM