Tuesday--Your daddy's church no more
The one message I got from today’s proceedings is that the church is striving not to be your daddy’s Lutheran church. It may become your great-great-great granddaddy’s Lutheran church, filled with immigrants and outsiders. It may become Martin Luther’s Lutheran church. It may become a form of a 1st century Christian’s Lutheran church. But your daddy’s church will be gone.
We started in the morning eliminating program committees. That was an easy vote. Voting members who were like me have never heard of program committees before attending the assembly. The people who did know of the committees said they were well-meaning and full of good, well-meaning Lutherans, but those committees did not achieve their purpose. So today we voted them out of the ELCA constitution as part of the Living Into the Future Together (LIFT) proposal.
To me the LIFT proposal calls for shifting emphasis, if not power, from churchwide to synods and especially congregations. It calls for reforming the church my helping make congregations “entrepreneurial” with support coming from synods and churchwide.
The spirit of reform was seen at worship today (where I was privileged to serve as a communion minister). We started with the cantor singing in two foreign languages (Japanese was one). The presiding minister, Pr. Sean Forde, was black, and our preacher, Pr. Marysol Diaz Feliciano was Hispanic, and her Gospel reading was entirely in Spanish.
Our Bible study looked at the cultural ramifications of the Jew Jesus speaking with the Samaritan women at the well (John 4:3—29). After Bible study we learned of a variety of missions to Chinese, Filipino, African, and Japanese communities, as well as non-traditional ministries such as Luther’s Table in Renton, Washington. Finally, at dinner we had Spirit-filled multicultural music provided by Global Mission musicians. Bach would have been dumbfounded, but I think he might have enjoyed himself.
It’s been a long day for me, so Blessings everyone. -- Allen