silly boomers

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Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lutheran Baby Boomer,

Hi.

Sir.

Ma’am.

I hear you say a lot of things about people my age in the church, people 30 and under. I hear you say them and I really am listening–mostly–but in my head, I’m usually thinking,  “WHAT?” and “Aw heck.” and “Here we go again.”

That’s because you’re being silly.

It’s silly to say, “Our church needs to cater to the younger crowd.” No, you don’t. You are not the crowd whisperer. The crowd either (a) wants the good stuff, so there’s no need to cater, or (b) isn’t going to like the good stuff whether you cater to it or not. This isn’t grade school. You don’t have to try to be hip and cool so that others will like you. Just be you. Be Lutheran. It’s quite freeing.

Plus, when you start catering, you make yourself inconsequential because you’re just like everybody else. When you don’t cater, you stand out from the crowd. And as a Here-I-Stand kind of Lutheran, I am all about being the salmon swimming against the cultural current. And hey. You’re a boomer. Wasn’t your generation the one that made its name by sticking it to the man?

It’s also silly to say things like, “Churches should be more relaxed. Young people like relaxed.” I don’t. I don’t want my church relaxed. If I wanted it relaxed, I’d go to a spa to worship. Or Applebee’s. Or my couch. I want my church at full attention, because it ought to be, because Jesus is actually there, present among us in the Divine Service, and that is a big.freaking.deal.

It’s silly to say, “Well, that Methodist church down the road does  . . .” That’s lovely. Let the Methodists be Methodists and the Baptists be Baptists. Methodists aren’t Baptists, and Baptists aren’t Methodists. Lutherans don’t do what the Methodists are doing . . . because Lutherans aren’t Methodists.

It’s silly to say, “If something doesn’t change, this church is going to close.” It might close. You’re right. But that doesn’t mean anything about the church itself is wrong or needs to change. Why do we always assume the problem is with the church and never with us?

It’s silly, no, it’s really annoying when people say, “You went to the seminary and did all that work, and now you’re not a pastor? We really need more roles for women in the church.” Actually, I went to the seminary to learn about why Lutherans DON’T believe women should be pastors, and I’ll be the loudest proponent of a male-only, biblical model of the Office of the Holy Ministry you’ll ever meet. Women have pa-lenty to do in the church. Just because the jobs may not be flashy or because society says women should be breaking glasses ceilings doesn’t mean we need to create new work that the men really should be doing. And don’t get me started on my rant about how men don’t man up in church. Because that’s silly too.

I know you care about your church; that’s why you’re trying to drum up things to change about it. You want it to do well, to thrive, and you have good intentions.

But if anything is misunderstood here, it’s not hipsters. It’s the Church. The true Church will keep right on doing what she’s been doing for thousands of years–preaching the Gospel, teaching the faith, administering the Sacraments–whether you try to change things or not. She’ll do her forgiveness thing, and she’ll be good at it.

And in the meantime, we’ll just be here . . . being silly. The variable is us. Will we ever stop fretting about change and numbers and youth and AGH! long enough to sit back in the pew, forget about what time brunch at the country club starts, and simply receive what God has to give? We ought to. We better.

The Lord knows what He’s doing. The Church is His. He will safeguard it, guide it, and do with it as He sees fit. So let’s lay off all the unnecessary and silly little fixes, shall we? Instead, let’s go to the spa or Applebee’s, have ourselves a pedicure or a beer, and revel in what our Lord does well . . . because there’s a lot of it.

All of it, really.

You coming?

Sincerely,

A Concerned Millenial

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51 thoughts on “silly boomers

  1. What’s silly is to generalize about baby boomers. We’re not all alike. Also, I’m concerned that you misspelled “millennial.”

  2. Brilliant! I popped over because there was a comment left on a Monergism article. I decided to read this post because I saw the Missouri Synod graphic. I was catechized as a Lutheran teenager and will always cherish the great doctrines of our great God that I was taught. I have also watched the downgrade (Spurgeonism?) that has creeped across all denominations. The Missouri synod is a bastion of orthodoxy. Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed your post.

  3. A thoughtful, engaging, and edifying appeal. No, clucks, it didn’t, as it couldn’t and needn’t, exhaustively address all the issues touched upon–but lambaste the author anyhow (that forest and tree thingy).

    The thesis is generally correct about Boomers and their tendency as a demographic in churchly things to be the greater source of silliness and pastiche hipness…they are SNL and corporate casual rolled into one. Ugh.

    Thanks for the blog piece!

  4. Dear Mislead Millienial,

    I read your dismissing missive written towards our elders. I was not amused.

    On one hand, you say that the liturgy shouldn’t be about you, then you go and insist that it should be. What’s worse is that what you want isn’t what the liturgy and all ceremonies of the church are to do. Check out the Augsburg Confession, the Article on the Mass.

    The liturgy isn’t supposed to be something you use like going to a spiritual gym. It’s not about standing tall and suffering. some exhausting workout, where you submit to being broken down so you can be build up.

    Read the dedication of the Temple. The place where God puts His name is a place where those in covenant run to know God is merciful, where when they pray, he forgives. And it is a place for the billion or so of you peers who don’t know God, but have heard of Him, can go and pray, and know they are heard.

    It is to be a place of prayer. Not a place of cultural religious elitism.

    You said you thought the Lutheran baby-boomers wanted it to be comfortable. You misheard there, or perhaps the blog you got this from misled you. They don’t want it comfortable, they want it to be a place where boomers, genx’ers, millenials and the generations to come can be comforted. Where those who were without hope could be given hope. Where those who weren’t His people can become His people.

    if that means you have to suffer, and be uncomfortable nd put up with a couple of guitars instead of a organ, fine. If that means your pastor spends time explaining the mass to visitors, fine. If that means you have to drop the self-righteous condescension and go teach the kids in the homeless shelter, do it.

    If it means you need to spend more time contemplating how God came to save you, because despite your learning, despite your German high culture and taste in music, you are still a sinner, who needs to constantly know that God not only forgives you. And He wants all those sinners out there to know He will forgive them as well. That requires that you speak their language.

    Maybe those boomers have grown up, and realize the mass isn’t about them, but it is for all of the people God would call to be His. In order to make that happen, yes, they may want to reach to your peers, the one’s who don’t know Jesus, who have no hope, who know only a god derived from natural observation. They need to know they are welcome here, and they need to be able to understand what is going on, in their language.

    They need to know of Christ.

    So get off your high horse, give up your preferences, humble yourself and walk with God.

    Sincerely

    A genx’er.

  5. I am LCMS, and have been almost all my life. My church I grew up in had difficulties, and actually had the Pastor removed. I followed him to his new congregation….a weird Lutheran sect – and I was in my early college years at time. I lost my mother to cancer, and was on my own. But even at that time, it opened my eyes, mind and heart, to what the Church has. I came back to LCMS after being pushed out of the Lutheran sect group (excommunicated) because I believe the Scriptures to be true and unflappable. They had told me I was the worst sinner and could not be forgiven for going with the Truth, not their way. Over the last 30 years, I have enjoyed hearing God’s Word preached and proclaimed in its purity. I have heard and remembered sermons that cut to heart of sin and death, but also showed the wonder victory we have in Christ thru his cross and resurrection. I have received the Body and Blood of our Savior in my home church and many abroad the great USA. I am an elder. Bible Study leader, choir member, and member of the CHURCH. I am washed in the blood of the Lamb, and redeemed and waiting for the return of Christ. It is not me coming to God in worship, but God coming to me in Word and Sacrament. My oldest and youngest daughters never want to miss and opportunity to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in worship. MY wife and I do not worship together, but Christ works in us both do His will. I have always had wonderful shepherds, pastors, of the flocks I have attended.

    The thing I was trying to say….do not put it down. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thought we might be small in numbers, God knows each one of us, and does not want to lose any of us. The devil is prowling like a roaring lion, waiting for someone to devour. Be steadfast. Do not worry about things that the world tries to say are right. Get into the Word. Learn it, memorize it, put it in your heart and mind. Sing the hymns outside the church….they are scriptures put to music and show us so much of God’s mercy and grace, love and peace. God did not promise and easy life, but a cross. And we bear ours as the one who gave his life up on the Cross to rescue us from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

    To close, to quote Luther and the small catechism, the third articles meaning, “I cannot by my own reason our strength, know God or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and kept me in the one true faith.” I am his own because of the great I AM.

  6. Reading these comments really reaffirms what a good decision leaving the LCMS was for me. After 13 years of parochial school and many years of theological study afterward, it was apparent it was not for me. Thanks for blog post, however. You’re clearly a woman of great conviction and intelligence. 🙂

      • My story would be less specific to leaving LCMS, and more about my path to non-belief entirely. I appreciate your question, but I’m not certain it would contribute much to the discussion here. I probably shouldn’t have left my original comment at all, but just reading the post stirred up a lot of the uncomfortable and suffocating feelings I had when I was still a member. Every now and again I have a bit of nostalgia for it when I’m thinking back to my childhood (as my menopausal mind likes to do from time to time), but the memories are not of the liturgy or the doctrine. It’s about friends and family who have passed on, literally and figuratively. Reading this post brought in to sharp focus that I’m not nostalgic for my former church.

        I don’t wish to disparage it, as many find such peace and comfort in it, and for those whom religion/God plays a significant – if not central – role in their lives. Faith and hope in something is critical for humans.

        I’m not sure that this completely answers your question, Pat, but I hope it does in some measure. 🙂

    • A little late here but I feel what you are saying! I am very disappointed in the LCMS right now. So I am unsure what my next move will be.

  7. What is it with being “Lutheran”? Or Baptist or Methodist? How about being a Christian? Having a denomination be the foremost aspect of your identity over being a full devoted follower of Jesus Christ is just plain unbiblical. It is fine going to a Lutheran church or Baptist or Methodist as long as they preach the gospel, teach God’s Word unapologetically and worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Just don’t make the denomination title be so stinking important! I understand there are important denominational differences and I am not minimizing them, but can we just stop identifying ourselves first as Lutheran and say Christian? Good golly!

    • “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
      1 Timothy 4:16 ESV

      “It is not only necessary that the pure, wholesome doctrine be rightly presented for the preservation of pure doctrine and for thorough, permanent, godly unity in the Church, but it is also necessary that the opponents who teach otherwise be reproved (1 Timothy 3; [2 Timothy 3:16;] Titus 1:9). Faithful shepherds, as Luther says, should do both things: (a) feed or nourish the lambs and (b) resist the wolves. Then the sheep may flee from strange voices (John 10:5–12) and may separate the precious from the worthless (Jeremiah 15:19).”
      The Book of Concord, Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Rule & Norm, paragraph 14.

      “We know quite well that it is the duty of every individual Christian to be faithful to the truth, but thousands of simple Christians cannot see through the lies of false teachers. They simply cling to Christ in faith. Even though, by the grace of God, we have the full truth, yet we do not consider ourselves one whit better than others, we claim no better heaven, instead we rejoice over the fact that someday we will be saved together with them. But we cannot depart from pure doctrine. Woe to us, if we do not firmly cling to it! ‘To whom much is given, of him shall much be required.’ With great joy we can bear the insults that our opponents may heap upon us because of this.”
      C.F.W. Walther, Essays for the Church, Vol. 1, 108.

      “For do not we Lutherans still today have this holy Word of God ‘pure, plain, and true, written by His power in Holy Scripture’? Does not St. Paul still always speak to us in the Bible, namely the very same that he then preached and wrote to his congregations? Do we not therefore also today still have the eternal, complete, inerrant truth: And would it not be a totally false [and] miserable sense of shame stirred up by the devil, to think that it would be arrogant and presumptuous to say: ‘I have the truth, for I stand on the rock of the Word of God, and I reject the contrary doctrine as Satan’s lie!’? May the gracious God preserve us from such a wrong sense of shame and all kowtowing to the spirit of unionism.”
      C.F.W. Walther, Essays for the Church, Vol. 1, 204.

      “Now someone might get the idea that, in that case, it would be better if there were no Lutheran church. Then we could let people in their simplicity and ignorance and they would still not lose their salvation. But thank God that we do have the Lutheran Church to which we can cling, because: (1) False doctrine always keeps on spreading, imbeds itself ever more deeply in the heart, and in the end can cause us to forfeit our salvation in that the error ensnares us more and more. False doctrine is a poison that gradually permeates the entire body of the person who does not cleanse and purify himself of it. (2) How good it is that our Lutheran church stands there with its purity of doctrine, stubbornly abiding in the Word, and raising its voice like a trumpet! That intimidates the sects and enthusiasts, warning them not to go further with their erroneous ideas. Oh, how many Methodists will thank us Lutherans in heaven for always confronting their enthusiastic ideas with the Word of God and chiding them; thereby at least accomplishing this much, that we kept them from sinking deeper and deeper into them! Truly, next to gathering in the individual lost souls around the truth, the primary purpose of the Lutheran Church is to keep on raising the voice of its testimony. Whoever wishes to be a true disciple of Jesus must abide in His Word.”
      CFW Walther, Essays for the Church, Volume I, 133.

      “The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is never present where lies are told. And there is actually more unity of the church present where Christians of differing confession honorably determine that they do not have the same understanding of the Gospel than where the painful fact of confessional splintering is hidden behind a pious lie.”
      Herman Sasse, “Union and Confession,” The Lonely Way, Volume 1.

      • Amen, Scott. Thank you so much for your post.

        Steve, I would like you to know that my emphasis on the value of being Lutheran is not because I delight in denominational divisions. Rather, my emphasis on the importance of being Lutheran is merely a shorthand way of saying that, by the grace of God, I believe, teach, and confess all that is expressed in the Small Catechism and the Book of Concord because I believe that these works rightly teach the truths expressed in God’s Holy, true and inerrant Word, the Bible.

        Sadly, many other denominations do not believe, teach, and confess all of these truths and in fact zealously refute many of them. It is a dangerous circumstance, indeed, when just a little arsenic is mixed into the baby’s formula! I, for one, gladly distinguish myself from those who tolerate false teaching “in the spirit of unity” just as I would do everything in my power to prevent the baby from drinking that deadly cocktail that had been mixed into his bottle–even if it was done out of ignorance and with the the best of intentions!

      • Except most people have little idea of what Lutheran doctrine is. They don’t see books at the Family Christian or Berean bookstore. They don’t hear the hymns on K-WAVE or The FISH, and they don’t see the Lutheran Hour on TBN or the Word Network. When you say “Luther,” they say “King.” Being nice is not synonymous with being Confessional.

    • Many call themselves Christians. Members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, for instance, call themselves Christians, but they subscribe to the Book of Mormon, which is very different from–in fact, a different book entirely–the Bible. So it’s very important that when we say which faith we confess, we are as clear and distinct about what we do believe as possible.

  8. I really believe that all the differences are man made. God wants us to worship. He wants us to have the holy sacraments. He wants us to be bold and go forth and proclaim his word. Whether or not we sing a hymn written in 1486 or 2006 doesn’t matter. The fact is we need to praise. Praise Him in everything. I’m glad that here at Bethany Lutheran (LCC) everyone is welcome and love just flows. I hope the same for all of you.

    • I believe in praising and thanking God but the true meaning of worship is to RECEIVE his gifts. His word, both law and gospel, and his body and blood. I hope that your loving, friendly service isn’t all just praise because you are missing out of the true gifts of God.

      Some differences are man made but many Lutherans are falling away from some of the foundational ideas of Lutheranism and preaching more fluff. This is scary and tragic.

  9. This is an age-old discussion about substance and style. Using styles from any era from the first century to today says very little about the substance of a congregation’s corporate gatherings. Theologically-strong substance with Word and Sacrament can be communicated in many styles. The question The Church needs to ask today, and every day in all ages is what can we do to facilitate access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The answer to that question will, and should be different for every congregation because our cultural settings vary from age to age and from place to place.

    If we were to go to a foreign country, we’d learn the language and culture, and find what way that culture would best hear the Gospel and administer the Sacraments. Hanging on to styles over long periods of time that we are personally used to rarely facilitates access to the Gospel for those who don’t know Jesus, especially these days with culture changing so rapidly. For those who want to stick with a particular style long-term, any style, old or new, I’d ask, how important is it to you, or more importantly to God for people to have access to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ? And, what are we willing to do that the world around us will hear it unto their salvation?

    • It’s not just about substance vs. style. The fact is, the two are very closely tied together. How we worship reflects what we believe. Do you believe God is King? Do you believe He is holy? Do you believe that Christians, even though we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and have access to His grace, still should be reverent when coming into His presence? Many of the so-called worship “styles” that pass for Lutheran worship today are (1) not reverent, (2) focus more on our actions of praise than on God’s actions of serving us with His Gospel and Sacrament, (3) are not grounded in sound Lutheran doctrine but are, in fact, borrowed from non-Lutheran sources (and therefore, non-evangelical, not Christ-centered, etc). Lutherans who value the historic liturgy do so not because of some sort of legalistic view of worship, but because it provides a time-honored, reverent and dignified format for Christians to receive the gifts of God in Christ. It also provides for us and for our children a “pattern of sound words” by which the Faith is learned. So don’t try to reduce this to a “style vs. substance” issue. Because it is not.

  10. In my personal experience, I have taken my family to both traditional Lutheran churches, and more contemporary Lutheran churches. I don’t want to be entertained when I go to church, but I do want to be free to express myself to God, and worship him without the trappings. At most of the contemporary churches, I find they are very busy looking to entertain the masses, and have a “polished” look. The traditional churches tend to complain about the slow death, and rant because my children show up in t-shirts and shorts. The contemporary churches tend not to get real “deep” theologically, attempting to “meet people where they are”, while the traditional churches are so busy using language that everyone walking in off the street has to wonder just what they’re talking about. Our favorite places to worship are where they don’t care what you wear, or where you’re from, they play songs/hymns that everyone can sing along to, and carry home in their minds for the week, in private worship, and where the Bible is preached in a way that appeals to our intellect but doesn’t talk over the unwashed masses. It’s a rare church that can pull it off. But those who do, are bringing in CROWDS, and not struggling in debt.

    • Just because you are bringing in crowds doesn’t mean you are saving souls. If they aren’t baptized or understanding the theology, What’s the point?! Think of Joel Olstein… The very popular TV preacher… His idea is ME centered and he brings in the thousands!!! But he should be preaching a GOD centered message. So I he’s preaching the wrong message, doesn’t care what u wear and waters it down for you, how is thy helping being people to everlasting salvation with our heavenly Fathed?

      Why do people get all bent out of shape about dressing nice for church? Did you throw a fit when your boss asked you to abide by a dress code?

  11. I like a lot of what you’re saying here. I prefer a more traditional service.
    But as a new Christian, being comfortable in and with the church I found was a big part of me deciding that faith was what my life was missing. For me that means a pastor who will crack jokes and a congregation that will wear green and gold to church on a football sunday. It means that no one will look at me sideways for what I am wearing. Often I have wet hair because I didn’t get out of the barn in the morning in time to both shower and blow dry my hair. I wear jeans. But most of all I chose an ELCA church because of thier views on women. I don’t want to be seen as incapable of leading our church because of my gender. How is it that the three synods can have such a different view on women pastors?

    • dairycarrie’s question has a quite simple answer: The different views of the Lutheran synods come from different approaches to Scripture. And each synod has, at times, struggled with being consistent in their approach to Scripture across more issues than just women’s ordination, e.g., homosexuality.

      • That’s a very unwelcoming comment Skippy. If I were to walk into your church and say the same thing and you responded as you have here, I wouldn’t feel like your church was the place to learn God’s will.

        I come into Christianity as I am and wanting to learn. I have beliefs that I have built over my life. Telling me I am wrong rather than showing me your beliefs isn’t going to have me renouncing what I have known for my life. I chose my church because it was full of people showing God’s love rather than just telling me about it. Personally I think that’s what will get people of my generation to church.

    • Hey, Carrie. Thanks for your comment. A short note won’t do this topic just but . . . LCMS Lutherans believe that Scripture alone is the basis for what we believe and confess. So even though, as women, you or I might be fully capable of leading a group of people, it doesn’t really matter what we may think, because Scripture says that the job of the pastor has been given only to men. It doesn’t mean women are shoved aside or don’t have a place in the Church; it simply means that the Office of the Holy Ministry isn’t one of them. (I’m sure there’s a good dairy analogy here, but I will leave that to you and Chris. :))

    • I wish women would understand that GOD has placed men in the role of the pastor because they are serving us women, letting us enjoy and receive God’s word and sacraments. It’s not a demotion it’s more of a promotion.

      • Just Stet It and Jenn,
        While this is an old blog post, I’m just now finding it and have a response for you and those who agree with you:
        Believing that Scripture calls for a male-only clergy and actually finding that in Scripture are two different things. While LCMS acts in the former, it’s arguable that the latter is true. I grew up in LCMS and I defended the male-only clergy. And then I dared to really read the scripture and look for alternate interpretations. 1 Tim 2 can be read in a way that actually agrees well with 1 Cor 11-14 instead of coming off as a weird misogynist rant. This isn’t from a “liberal” worldview, but from looking for the true ministry of all the saints as Luther discusses, and seeing that to the Corinthians Paul urged both genders to be active during worship, and seeing how the simplistic view of 1 Tim 2 is ignorant of that. Go on through 1 Tim 3 and it’s more likely that Paul is urging the creation of the diakonos and overseer offices for both men AND women, not just men and their wives. Arguments about the order of creation would put animals above humanity, when we know God put humanity as the manager of all, so why would the idea that God created man before woman therefore mean man is inherently above woman. This comes from Gen 3, the curse of sin, so why do we want to keep living under a curse after Christ has redeemed us and given us freedom from sin?! Why do we shackle half our members with the inability to freely proclaim the gospel? The power of 20th century feminism is to give women a choice, and one of those choices is to be able to follow the call of the Spirit into the Office of the Ministry if said call is issued. Otherwise we’ve shot ourselves in the foot and continue to live as the world does, giving people boxes into which to fit, instead of living as Christ would have us, freely and exuberantly proclaiming his death and resurrection, despite gender, which God call “good” and in His image at the initial creation.

  12. I m a Boomer as well. I am out here in the southwest despairing of a Lutheran church which maintains the liturgy and teaches aright. They all seem to think they need to become vapid evangelicals in worship style or in sermons.

    Or we have some who are so catering to the papacy the minister will apologize for the reformation.

    Did not mean to get off on a rant. Well maybe I did.

    • I am also a boomer, and I live in Huntington Beach. You are correct . . . far too many congregations out here have given in to pressures to become just like everybody else. (And why do I suddenly think of the people of Israel demanding a king?). That said, there is a solid confessional LCMS congregation that truly does dare to be Lutheran right here in Huntington Beach. She is an oasis in the Southern CA nondenomish desert–Redeemer Lutheran on Springdale. If you live close, come check us out. If not, you can go on our website and search for like-minded congregations. Blessings!

  13. Thank you for saying succinctly and beautifully what I’ve been trying to say. I will share this, print it out, and read it out loud to friends if necessary.

  14. I totally get where you are coming from. Boomers. God love ’em. But the problem we o-so-right Luthernz are running into is that we cannot retain our young people. Almost all of them get sucked into western (pagan/secular) culture. Instead of hyping programs/music/fads to appeal to the young, we ought to have been inculcating a Lutheran identity as you mention. Intentionally. Piously. If this titanic is not turned back around soon, I don’t care what the Weedons and Cwirlas and McCains and all the celebrity, “real” LCMS Lutherans say. We will all watch it crumble to the ground, first hand.

    • I agree, but as the mother of two young people, 20 and 17, who do still attend an LCMS church, the best way to keep young people in the church is to love them. My boys’ greatest complaint is dealing with dealing with older people in the church who disapprove of all things young people do. Yes, teens can be boisterous. They don’t always behave as we think they should. But love them anyway. You can influence a young person far more when you have taken time to know them than if you simply tell them what they are doing wrong all the time.

    • I’m only 28 and my husband and I have attended the same LCMS church our whole lives… We both attended local Lutheran churches while attending college. I think one reason we are loosing young people from the churn is they aren’t being taught the importance of attending church and making it your #1 priority. There are so many other things going on these day that its easy to sleep in on Sunday or skip church because of other functions. Young people and their parents don’t understand how important it is to actually attend church and receive GOD’S gifts. Think of how many families you know that only attend on Christmas and Easter! How sad. And to everyone out there reading… Think of how often you read the Bible outside of church. I read a recent survey that said in the younger age group it was less than 10% that even opened the Bible ONCE. 😦

  15. Been listening to these same things for years….funny thing is, they simply don’t understand.

    Recently attended a Lutheran church, the service was fairly straight forward and mostly out of the hymnal–it was refreshing. But after the service I had to sigh at all of the well-intentioned greetings, “We have a gal that plays guitar, she’ll be here next week. We’re working hard to add a bit more ‘life’ to the service….I hope you’ll come again, it’d help convince some of these old-timers that it’s time to update things a bit.”

    It’s not the first time awkward conversations like this have happened….though my response is getting better.

    First time: [glazed over eyes] Yeah, that sounds good. You’re doing a good job.

    Second time: [embarrassed about my last encounter] Why do you think that’s important? Do you think I brought my family here to be entertained?

    Now: [sick n tired of it all] When was the last time you emptied your bowels in your kitchen sink? Never? Really, why not? Because that’s what the bathroom is for, right? Being Lutheran is like being in a clean kitchen, it’s where the best food is prepared for the greatest feast — so stop trying to CRAP where God has sent us to be fed.

    Thank you for sharing!!! And I apologize for over-sharing. 🙂

    • Instrumentation doesn’t matter. At my LCMS church, we have a traditional service earlier in the morning with primarily organ/piano, and then a slightly more contemporary service with some guitar, piano, and drums later. But we generally have the exact same worship service. In fact, worshipers at the first service generally give their bulletins back to the ushers to use for the next service. The important thing is the Word of God preached, forgiveness proclaimed, and Sacraments administered. Beyond that, and you’ve got some wiggle room.

      In fact, there are some really good, Gospel centered contemporary hymns out there (though they are few and far in between) that we sometimes use. If you get a chance, look up anything by Keith and Kristin Getty, especially “In Christ Alone”, “By Faith”, and “O Church Arise”. You’d almost swear they were in the hymnals, but they’ve all been written since 2006.

      Anyway, the important thing is the Word of God preached, forgiveness proclaimed, and the Sacraments administered.

      • Exactly! Instrumentation doesn’t matter…that’s why it baffles me SO, that the emphasis was on the “cool” / “hip” instrumentation that is MORE LIVELY.

        I’m familiar with the tunes you mentioned….and like you noted, ‘few and far between’ :: I go to church to be fed; I need that….and though I may be a bit rough around the edges these days, I’m tired of people emptying their bowels (relieving themselves, if you will) in the place God has set aside to provide nourishment for my soul.

        Thanks for the note, Bryce. + soli del gloria +

      • Mac – Late reply, so perhaps its irrelevant. It’s so NOT refreshing to see a bunch of Lutherans bickering. What a horrible analogy – that anything not straight out of the hymnal and performed traditionally is akin to excrement in God’s house? I play organ and piano. My children play guitar. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either. Some hymns sound best on the organ, IMO. Some hymns can be beautifully and tastefully done with piano and guitar with a more modern sound. And there’s nothing wrong with newer songs that are doctrinally correct. It’s all done with an attitude of serving the Lord and helping the members of the congregation worship. Either can be lively. Either can be reverent and restrained. Either can be obnoxious.
        None of it is equivalent to “crapping in God’s House,” as you previously referred.

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