Being Lutheran

I have been Lutheran my whole life.  Growing up I went to a Lutheran church and a Lutheran Bible Camp.  I attended three years at an ELCA Lutheran College.  Then I worked full time at a Lutheran Bible camp (same camp that I went to as a kid).  I have worked at Lutheran churches as a youth director and I went to a Lutheran seminary and now I am a Lutheran pastor.

Overall, I have been ingrained with Lutheran Theology and that is a major part of who I am….

Sure there have been times that I questioned my beliefs.  My faith journey has not always been easy.  But I must admit that when it comes down too it, I do love Lutheran Theology.  Knowing that  we are saved wholly by God’s grace, through faith is an awesome thing.  I love the fact that we as Lutherans can believe with our hearts as well as think about why we believe what we do with our heads (more about that in another post).

But above all of that, I love how we can poke fun at ourselves. I have heard joke after joke about the traditional stereotype Lutheran and I love it.  I would like to share with you today a list of typical Lutheran type things — a list  that I received in a recent email.  Enjoy!

The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who, observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don’t notify them that they are there.

4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children’s choirs would make the kids too proud and conceited.

7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle.

8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

9. Some Lutherans still believe that an ELCA bride and an LCMS groom make for a mixed marriage.

10. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole adds too much color.

14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

15.  You know you’re a Lutheran when you hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can!

16.  When donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.

17.  The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is locked up tight.

18.  All your relatives graduated from a school named Concordia.

19.  When you watch a “Star Wars” movie and they say, “May the Force be with you,” you respond, “And also with you”.

20.  You actually understand those folks from Lake Wobegon , MN.

21.  And finally….you know you’re a Lutheran when it’s 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.

Facebook vs. Myspace

Unless you live under a rock you know that social networking is the latest thing.  There are people 13-103 are signing up for facebook, twitter, and everything in between. It is about time for me to weigh-in on the latest and greatest of social networking. I will let you know the winners and losers of the different sites out there. I will also evaluate them based on the usefulness of ministry. There are some sites that over lap with one another so I will first compare and then give my summary.

The first round is Facebook vs. Myspace

Myspace

I just went to myspace to see if I can still log into it. Let’s just say I was not successful on my first try. The last comment made on my page is from September 2008. I really do not have any use for this site and I hardly go on it anymore. For awhile myspace was the best thing out there. Now when I go on it the ads are very intrusive and they seem to get in the way when I try and navigate the site.  One of the positives that that the pages is editable, however I personally think that some of the designs are more distracting than anything else.

I have not seen any way that I can take advantage of this site in my ministry.  First there are not as many people using the site as in the past.  Second I don’t know how I would use it if I could, there are not many opportunities to use it.

Evaluation: Not very useful

Ministry opportunity: None

Facebook

This is probably my favorite social networking site out there. This is where all aspects of my life (home, college, camp, seminary, family, ministry) come together. I think I really enjoy facebook because of the number of people I can interact with on a daily basis. I always have some sort of friend on so if I need to talk with someone they are there. I can also keep up with the daily activities of my friends. Some people say that sites like facebook lessens the face to face interaction that people have with one another, and that might be true to a certain point. However for someone who works full time in ministry, has a family and personal enjoyment activities — I am not sure how much time I would have to keep up with my friends on a daily basis anyway!  I think the extravert in me loves to be able to interact with my friends when I want too and I have even made new friends through facebook.

For ministry facebook can be a great thing, over the years I have connected with the kids in my youth group on facebook. As a pastor I have set up a “fan” page for my church so the different members can become fans and I can update these fan pages with description of different events that are happening within the church.  It is a great way to connect with people and it is a great way to get information out there that the members of my church want/need to know.

Evaluation: Very important in personal life

Ministry Opportunity: Very useful

The winner between these two sites is Facebook, by a knockout in the first round.