Cradle Lutheran is my attempt to connect with people who are trying to make sense of being a Christian today.
Ever since my Aunt Reike dragged us all off the farm to her congregation in Olathe, KS, I’ve been a Lutheran. Like nearly all my generation my Pastor made a valiant attempt to help me understand what that meant when I was an early teen. I’m still at it. Pastor Waltz impressed on us that being a Christian ought to be something people noticed, without us having to “show off”. One of two thoughts I took to heart.
The other is there’s no reason to be a Lutheran if it doesn’t mean we have something worth saying to the rest of Christianity. There’s no virtue in being just another “denomination”. Finding out what a Lutheran Evangelical actually stands for has been a lifelong quest.
I’m not a church professional, though I did serve as lay worship leader for a pastor-less congregation for more than two years, and I’ve taught Confirmation to two tiny waves of kids. Mostly I spent my time at a smorgasbord of middle America jobs common to a lot of my peers: soldier, peace officer, fireman, administrative assistant, database programmer and manager, marketing assistant, document security specialist, strategic analyst, graphic designer, office manager. A bit of this and that.
In the middle of all this, I had an opportunity to return to university and take a Masters in Theological Studies from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. That is a wonderful degree for a lay person, you can craft it into whatever you’d like, nearly. I specialized in Church History, and wrote my thesis on the Lutheran Episcopal Dialogs then going on between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. It was my first introduction to church politics.
Nowadays I teach adult Sunday School when I get the chance and write. My first book, adapted from a class I taught in 2012, is “Praying the Psalms – Learning to Pray God’s Words”. Its an assay at teaching some classic Christian prayer methods to people who may not have thought much about prayer before. More on that, later.
My current congregation is St. Timothy’s Lutheran, a North American Lutheran Church congregation in San Jose CA, where I have a number of fine friends, including three excellent pastors and some committed Christians to talk to. We should all be so lucky.
In this blog, my vision is to explore the two questions Pastor Waltz asked so many years ago: “What difference does it make that I’m a Christian?” and, “What do Lutheran Christians bring to Christianity that you can’t get some other way?” Along the way we’ll look at various historical and Confessional issues that interest me.
As we go along, I invite anyone with an opinion or a tentative answer to join in. This is an exploration, not an explication of The Answer. Welcome to the conversation.
A couple of ground rules: dissent and argument, within limits of politeness, is encouraged. Polemic will be exorcised with extreme prejudice and without apology. We’re all Christians here, or at least tolerant seekers.