Monday, July 4, 2011

A Living Lutheran Creed


More than 350 church leaders are planning to participate and invite others to join in. Spread the word and let me know what you think! Is this something you, your family or your congregation would do? Why or why not?

Lutherans often describe their congregations with words like 'friendly', 'welcoming' or 'hospitable'. Super and probably true, but I consider this to be part of our Lutheran problem. These are lovely but reactionary descriptions of God's people. They all require others to make the first move.

It's hard to initiate - to meet people outside, to tell our story, to be proud proclaimers when our (spiritual) heritage prefers stoicism and quiet humility. But maybe it would be easier and FUN to practice making that first move together.

What if a bunch of Lutherans - I mean a bunch - all make signs stating something we believe in and all stand on corners in our neighborhoods on the same day at the same time? What if church and community leaders got people together with markers and pieces of used cardboard to talk about what we stand for and what our faith means? And what if we all got outside our walls at the same time forming a really, really big creed?

And what if people bump into it? People will drive by, see us and have all kinds of reactions. They might notice that we were holding messages of abundance in spots that usually scream scarcity or that instead of asking for money, we're just saying something that's true. They might be annoyed. Or they might be curious. We might be awkward. Or we might be awakened.

So I'm throwing it out there. Tell your synod office. Put it in your church newsletter. Make it your own - the idea is vague and that's the whole point. This experiment has just two goals:

1) To stretch us. Standing outside inviting other people to notice us because of our faith might feel scary or strange. We might draw a blank when figuring out what to write on our signs...and that might spark important conversations. But if a bunch of us try it together and then share our stories, it could be really really interesting. I'll make sure a blog or Facebook page is born so people can share photos and experiences - perhaps encouraging a second outing.

2) To many non-Lutherans, we are simply potluck people who listen to Garrison Keillor. Showing people driving/walking/biking by that we are more than a culture - we are people of faith - couldn't hurt.

So I propose a date for those who wish to join in. Saturday, September 10th (10am-noon CST). The next morning is Sunday and everyone will be figuring out what to do with the fact that 9/11 happened ten years ago. I can't think of a better way to be 'friendly' and 'welcoming' and 'hospitable' than by meeting people where they are the day before and reminding them that Church is a people and place where we hash this stuff out. Of course, any day will do.

Any takers? I sure hope so.
But if it's just me and my kid standing near a freeway ramp, that's still something.

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