Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spot the Lutheran

If you belong to a four-letter Lutheran synod you receive a fair amount of mail from the synod and its affiliates. Usually these colorful, supposedly uplifting publications are accompanied by a return envelope to make it more convenient for you to send in your check to support whatever “ministry” is being specifically touted or the synod in general. If you are an Angry Lutheran, your “friends” may pass along their junk mail to you in order to get some sick thrill by watching your blood pressure rise. If these “friends” are theologically sharp church secretaries or pastors, you will be buried in propaganda and not just that of your own synod since Lutheran churches seem to be sent more wacky American Protestant propaganda than the general public. Regardless of where it comes from, you may end up with piles of mostly useless paper and the question arises: What should I do with all this unsolicited crap?

There are a few options:

1. You could read it all to keep up-to-date on the happenings in your synod and American Christianity.

~We don’t recommend this. It will lead to debilitating mental illness.

2. You could throw everything you receive into recycling without opening it.

~While recycling is our preferred disposal method, we think it’s a shame not to find a use for it before recycling. Hey, a tree gave its life already, and recycling won’t bring that tree back. Don’t let a tree die in vain!

3. Make a game.

~This we do recommend. And so we bring you:

Spot the Lutheran

The rules are quite simple. Below are four quotes. One came from Lutheran junk mail. The other three are from non-Lutheran junk mail. (Sesame Street kids of the 70s and 80s, all together now: “One of these things is not like the others….”) Can you spot the Lutheran?

(No cheating with internet searches, please. Use your own reason and background in bureaucratic propaganda reading.)

A. “In the midst of our suffering, we can be blessed as we think of His (Christ’s) suffering and relate to Him in that way. Then as we realize that His suffering was for us personally, we can, in a small way, participate in His suffering as we experience our own suffering. That leads to real fellowship with our Lord and communication with Him, which leads to the revelation of His plan for our lives.”

B. “Real friendship with anyone involves a growing, loving relationship. And to be a friend requires a decision to love that person whether human or divine. In our spiritual teen age, we need to decide to love God.”

C. “So here it is; it’s this or nothing. Make up your mind right now. What is going to be your plan when your life comes to an end? I want to assure you that the resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates that everything he said is real”

D. “That suffering of Jesus is beyond our comprehension. He had become sin and when He died, sin died. But that was not the end—He rose again sinless, thus defeating Satan for all eternity. Through that victory, our Lord has given us power outflowing from His resurrection”


Anonymous said...

I think it's B.

Anonymous said...

None of them sound Lutheran.

Anonymous said...

This is a trick question, right?

Anonymous said...

A,C, and D all sound as least mildly orthodox.

So I'd say B is the Lutheran publication.

Another Kerner said...

My guess is B also.

Not just being a copy cat.....
The word "relationship" appears to be a giveaway.

What do we win if we get this multiple choice question right?

Angry Lutherans said...

A sense of self-satisfaction? With one in four odds, we're not giving out any big prizes.

Sorry, B is not correct.

Another Kerner said...

Yikes !!

Wrong again !

OK, which one is the "right" one?

Anonymous said...

I don't recall seeing too much about suffering from Lutherans, so I'm eliminating A and D on that basis (although one could make a case *for* A and D because of the “plan for your life" thing and the “empowerment” thing.) I might have guessed "B" since I've heard similar language from Lutheran pulpits (love is a choice, Jesus is my best buddy, etc.) The verbiage of C sounds familiar, too. Variations on this theme cropped up a time or two at synod sponsored "outreach training" sessions. So, OK, I'll go out on a limb with C. (Sr. Kate)

Bruce Gee said...

"A" is disqualified because of this "revelation for His plan for our lives" business.
"B" is disqualified because of the word "decision".
"C" is disqualified because its too spiritually pushy.
"D" is the right answer, if you are actually looking for something that is "Lutheran" and not just "Lutheran wantin' to be neo-Ev". We have no qualms with the resurrection providing the power for our lives. And the rest of the quote is Lutheran-groovy.

It is D

Anonymous said...

"...if you are actually looking for something that is 'Lutheran' and not just 'Lutheran wantin' to be neo-Ev'".

I thought that was the point of the game ... spot the Lutheran "junk" mail. :-)

RevFisk said...

I agree with Bruce in principle, but I don't believe it's D. I think D comes from a health-wealth preacher, and the "power" is not "suffering for the name" but,well, you know that $h*# they preach.

I'm gonna go with C. It's a "youth" thing, and youth work these days is all about trying to get them to have "heart knowledge" of God. This (apparently) cannot be solicited by preaching the Gospel, but rather, must be called forth by the neo-anxious bench. Theoretically, it is not "decision" theology, because they are already Christians. More so, they no longer need to hear Christ then, right?

Yes, the reformed have been among us for some time. They like to hide in the children's section.

Angry Lutherans said...

Hey kids,

The answer, as posted in the first two posts above this one, is C.

Rev. Fisk, perhaps you were confusing B and C?

Yes, D is from someone trying to start a "revival" in America. Thanks for putting the best possible construction on it, but the author's meaning was not in line with Lutheran theology.