Thursday, May 04, 2006

what does it mean to be Lutheran?

Not sure how I ended up on the lutheranzephyr blog, but I found this request to answer a seemingly simple question - what does it mean to be Lutheran? And now I'm finding it rather difficult. I was born and raised Lutheran. I was even a PK (preacher's kid) for a few short years. But then during my college years (while attending a lutheran college), I spurned organized religion altogether. I only came back to the church after my son was born and I think I only chose a lutheran church because it's what I was familiar with.

I think that if I had found myself in a "traditional" lutheran church, it probably wouldn't have lasted long between us. Luckily, I found myself in a church ready to embrace a mission that focuses outward instead of inward. The basic tenets of lutheran theology are still there:
- sola gratia (we are saved by the grace of God alone)
- sola fide (our salvation is through faith alone)
- sola scriptura (the Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life)

Add to this a sense that faith without works is probably dead and that it's not about personal preference & espousing doctrine, it's about discipleship, building relationships & taking risks.

Being a member of a lutheran church also means being part of a larger umbrella organization which can be frustrating in it's slow response to cultural changes and often unbending in it's traditions. But, I've kind of decided to take the 60's slogan of if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem to heart with respect to change.

Bottom line, being identified as a lutheran isn't all that important to me. Being part of community that is trying to love God, love one another, grow in Christ and go in Christ is!

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