Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why I Am A Traditionalist Lutheran

There are a few things I would like to make abundantly clear before I press too far into this project. The first is that I am writing primarily in the manner of a personal reflection, and that reflection in the hopes of clarifying some things for myself. I say this forthrightly because I want those who may read this to understand that I am not attempting to convince anyone of the veracity of the Lutheran Confession or even of the value of my own reflection and experience. I will not engage in Confessional or denominational squabbles here, though I will appreciate efforts to correct false assumptions concerning other traditions, should they be offered. I do realize that much of what I write here will be ill appreciated by some. I cannot adequately commit my own understanding of the Lutheran faith to writing without addressing my recent departure from the body of Lutherans that use the acronym E.L.C.A., and so some of what follows may be very much contested or even resented by those people who still belong to that body. At the very least, I hope not to be inflammatory, though I will not shy away from clearly stating my convictions regarding the deficiencies in that body and its vision of the Lutheran faith.

I know from firsthand experience that some of the people whom I have previously served as a Vicar, or lay preacher, within ELCA churches will be puzzled and confused by what I write, or with my past decisions to end the candidacy process and also to leave that body and associate with another. I will say that I still have much fondness for those people and their insuperable graciousness. I learned and grew in many ways during the time I spent in ELCA parishes. Above all, I learned the faith within ELCA parishes and institutions, Communed at its altars, and made lifelong friendships with its members. What is perhaps most difficult for many to understand and what will be one of the primary themes of this work, is that the faith that I learned within ELCA parishes is precisely what convinced me that I could no longer have the degree of fellowship I once enjoyed with that communion as it presently exists.

I offer the following broad outline as a template for what follows:  

Terms Defined
A. Lutheranism
B. Traditionalist
A. History
B. The Personal
A. Dissonance
B. Personal Failings
Toward Resolution
A. Dislocation
B. Relocation temporized
Hopeful Criticism and a New Vision
A. Ongoing Personal Synthesis
B. Placement as Blessing and Curse

There is a key to my current thinking in this arrangement, but as I have conceived of this project in terms of installments which have not yet been written, much revision is likely.

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