Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mind Your Doors, Papists! It's Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Sunday, friends.

Today is a good day I think to reflect a bit on my Lutheran journey. It's certainly been eventful in the last few years. I was raised in the LCMS, and from Confirmation on have been committed to Lutheran theology, as well as I understood it at that point, anyway. The liturgy and practice of the church, however, were not something that particularly compelled me in my ignorant youth. In college, I experienced the beauty and comfort of Lutheran worship perfectly performed, yet the vapidity of sermons crafted to appeal to the broadest swath of idealistic and theologically-muddled youths kept me from ever feeling fed in chapel. As a result, I ended up attending the churches frequented by other members of the (generally excellent) Bible studies I attended during the week. While one of those churches lost me early when I found out I was hell-bound due to my infant baptism, through college I generally split my time between an American Baptist church and another from the Evangelical Free nebula. Both were solidly based in the Word, but I got the Word in Bible study as well, or for that matter, whenever I felt like opening my Bible. I couldn't put into these words at that time, but I know now that I was missing the Confession and Absolution, and the Sacrament more than anything. My time in college, then, was a split between learning about Lutheranism academically in class and chapel, and learning how much I yearned for it in those other churches.

I've known what my faith meant to me for a long time; better, I've continually been in the process of learning what my faith means to me. It wasn't until I joined the Army, though, that I've really begun to learn what my theology means to me, and been struck by how much Lutherans really are set apart. With the Army so heavily drawn from the deep South, Lutherans are rather poorly represented. In the Midwest, even the Evangelicals know what Lutheranism is and who Lutherans are. For many of my colleagues, though, the only committed believers they've ever met are Evangelicals or Mormons, and their expectations are based on that. It's been very eye-opening to me, then, to be such the odd-man-out, theologically. I'm starting to get better at explaining my beliefs, but more than anything it's made me realize how much more I ought to know about my faith and my theology. So, in celebration of this Reformation Sunday, I think I'll be staying in and reading the Augsburg Confession. It's a start, anyway.

For further Reformation Day reading, see this excellent commentary on praise music from Pagans and Lutherans, and an apology (in the original sense) of the liturgy from The Rebellious Pastor's Wife.

1 comment:

elephantschild said...

Welcome to the Dark Side, little brother... Bwahahahaha!