Missouri-Synod Lutherans: Interfaith action against gay people is fine, but not prayers for slain children

Christ the King Lutheran Church is in Newtown, Conn. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Morris, prayed at the vigil the Sunday after the massacre at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary school in December.

That’s a no-no in Christ the King’s denomination, the break-away “conservative” Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod does not allow its members to participate in interfaith prayer vigils. And for the LCMS, “interfaith” means anything involving anyone who is not part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Caleb Bell reports for RNS:

A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., has apologized after being reprimanded for participating in an interfaith vigil following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

… Morris’ church is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the denomination’s constitution prohibits ministers from participating in services with members of different faiths.

It’s not the first time a Missouri Synod pastor has been reprimanded for joining an interfaith prayer service; a New York pastor also was suspended for participating in an interfaith service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk calls this “ridiculous religiosity,” and quotes from the Reuters report:

Earlier this month, the president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, wrote a letter to church members saying he had requested an apology from Morris for his participation in “joint worship with other religions.”

“There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don’t matter in the end,” Harrison wrote.

“There will be times in this crazy world when, for what we believe are all the right reasons, we may step over the scriptural line,” he wrote.

So, OK then, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod wants to avoid any appearance of squishiness about its core beliefs that might come from joint worship or joint prayer or standing alongside members of other denominations or other faiths. It doesn’t even matter if a community like Newtown or New York is united in grief from a grave tragedy. What matters most is that the LCMS never give the impression that it can co-operate with what are, in their view, false denominations and false religions.

No co-operation. No appearance of comity and partnership. No coming together or working together in any way that might blur these essential differences.

Got it?

OK, that was Wednesday’s news. Here’s the news from Tuesday: “Mormons, other religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8.”

And who would those other groups be?

Other groups whose names are on the brief are the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; the Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance of North America; and Truth in Action Ministries.

So praying for the victims of tragedy with other members of the community is forbidden. But interfaith coalitions are just fine when it comes to kicking LGBT people.

This isn’t hypocrisy. It’s just that the people in church charge of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod hate gays way more than they love the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook.

Update: LCMS president Matthew Harrison has apologized:

As president of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, I take responsibility for this debacle. I handled it poorly, multiplying the challenges. I increased the pain of a hurting community. I humbly offer my apologies to the congregation, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Newtown, Conn.; to Pastor Morris; and to the Newtown community. I also apologize to the membership of our great church body for embarrassment due to the media coverage.

That’s a forthright, proper apology. I hope that the leaders of the LCMS, NAE, SBC, LDS, Orthodox union and Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance are just as genuine when, someday soon, they offer their apologies for that amicus brief against the rights of same-sex couples in California. And, yes, that day will come.

 

  • Baby_Raptor

    That has absolutely nothing to do with his actions here. Past potentially good actions do not negate current bad ones. You’re just trying to defend the guy. 

  • stardreamer42

     Never mind the bollocks…

    (Well, someone had to say it.)

  • Hans Fiene

     Yeah, I get it.  It’s a clever line, except that it’s not true.  It’s utterly foolish to say that you have to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil in order to love the children of Sandy Hook, just as it’s utterly foolish to say that you hate people for believing that some of their actions are sinful.

  • Lunch Meat

    Most people commenting about this around the interwebs are not mad because we can’t tell the difference between praying with and to; they are mad because they thought it was a nice service where clergy of different denominations and religions prayed to their different understandings of the “One God” we all believe in, whatever we call him, her, or it, and how dare anyone question that! They are mad because we dare to believe that we don’t all pray to the same God, and that we confess that there is only one, true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    Could you please provide quotes demonstrating that? Because I fully understand I worship a different God than many of my friends, and so does Fred. You’ve greatly misunderstood if you think that’s what he was saying. The problem here, as I see it, is that Mr. Harrison was more concerned about doctrinal purity than an outpouring of love, against which there is no law. Jesus was always more concerned with how people loved than with what they believed. And Paul said that if he knew everything, if he even knew the languages of angels, but didn’t have love, he was nothing. But Mr. Harrison thinks it’s only okay to show God’s love and give spiritual comfort to the grieving if he’s not doing it with anyone who disagrees with him about God?

  • Lunch Meat

    It’s utterly foolish to say that you have to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil in order to love the children of Sandy Hook, just as it’s utterly foolish to say that you hate people for believing that some of their actions are sinful.

    No one said they had to participate. The point is just that participating in political action is apparently a higher priority for them than comforting the grieving, given that they’re willing to work with those of different beliefs for one and not for the other.

    Your second point is a clear strawman. No one said that believing something is sinful=hating them. But if I believed heterosexuality was sinful and tried to outlaw marriage between people of opposite sexes, what would you call that? If I campaigned to ensure heterosexuals could not serve in the military, keep their jobs without pretending to be gay, or adopt children, what would you call that? If I started saying that heterosexuals should be locked up in concentration camps, that they were all pedophiles, that we had to be afraid of the straight agenda coming for our children, that they were all freaks, perverted abominations who are going to hell, what would you call that? If you have never participated in those things or anything like them toward gay people, congratulations, I don’t necessarily think you’re hateful. The LCMS has done some of those things, and I consider that hateful.

  • Jessica_R

    Jesus what’s with the influx of trolls lately? Do we need to spray again? 

  • P J Evans

     Heck, here I thought the American Civil Religion was $$$$$.

  • Darkrose

    I accept that you probably do not, personally hate GBLT* people. Unfortunately, when you attempt to use secular law as a weapon to enforce your belief that we should be second-class citizens in a country where your religion is not established, it doesn’t matter to me that you don’t personally hate me.

    If you’re standing on my neck, it doesn’t matter whether you personally hate me personally. From my point of view, all that matters is that you stop standing on my neck.

  • P J Evans

     Someone noticed some of Fred’s posts and decided that coming over and trying to trash the place was better than trying to understand Fred’s point. And thereby made Fred’s point absolutely clear.

  • AnonymousSam

    “Have to” have an interfaith, no. You don’t need to have an interfaith vigil for anything. How you express grief is a personal matter. Reprimanding somebody for having the audacity to offend God by being in a building with members of another faith, and then suddenly being just fine with being part of a group of other faiths, however– can you explain why one is Not Okay and the other is Just Dandy?

    The message it seems to send is certainly not one I would want associated with my church. If you can come together to promote one thing (regardless of what I or anyone else feels about that subject), I don’t see why coming together to grieve should be taboo.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     It appears that someone, somewhere, has activated the Missouri-Synod Lutheran Internet Blog Defense Network.  Which is interesting, because I didn’t actually realize there was one.  I learn something new every day!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     They are infesting the Owen Strahan thread as well. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Pr. Morris certainly doesn’t believe that he was praying to the same god as the Jew, Muslim, or Baha’i clergy that evening. He knows he wasn’t praying to those gods. I know he wasn’t praying to those gods. But, the world doesn’t know that.

    Incidentally, you’re right.  The world DOESN’T know that.  At least, it’s news to me that the Christian and Jewish Gods aren’t the same God.  Do the LCMS Bibles omit the Old Testament because it’s about the wrong God?  Since Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish, doesn’t it make it kind of tricky to be a Christian but to worship a different God than the one that Jesus did?

    (I’m pretty sure it’s news to Muslims that they’re not worshiping the same God as Jews and Christians, too, but I digress.)

  • PPPadre

    Why is it that the only acceptable way to “grieve with the grieving” is to stand in a spotlight and pretend that my beliefs are equally valid with beliefs that are mutually exclusive of each other? Why do our prayers for slain children have to be on the street corner where we can be seen by all rather than in our prayer closets (Matthew 6:5-6)? Is not love better served by avoiding the cacophony of contradictory “comfort” offered in a “come-one-come-all” and actually walking with the grieving one-on-one (the way the LCMS has done in every disaster to which she has responded)? Or is love better served by generating photo-ops that are more show than substance?
    As for me and my house, we would rather be reviled by the world for “unlovingly” absenting ourselves from the confusing din so that we can hold hands and pray with the grieving in the private quiet of their grief.

  • AnonymousSam

    Without decompressing the negativity packed within that post, I simply ask two simple questions.

    1) If someone chooses to do this, should he or she be reprimanded for doing so?

    2) If grief, prayer and religious presence should be kept private, why not religious views as they relate to politics and law?

  • Susan

    The pastor asking for an apology was upset about the outfits of the other participants. I read the letter.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    You don’t have to stand in a spotlight, or on a street corner.
    You don’t have to pretend to consider others’ beliefs “valid.”
    You can stay in your prayer closet if you want.
    Or you can walk with the grieving one-on-one, if you have the sort of relationship with them that justifies being with them in their private quiet.

    All of that said, no, love is not necessarily better served by being kept in a closet. Sometimes, love is better served by coming together in community with others.

    Nobody is obligated to be a part of that, but neither are they justified in condemning it.

  • Jessica_R

    I’m impressed by the sheer unmitigated gall to gasbag that praying with Methodists for dead kids is a gross violation of your personal beliefs and religious freedom while throwing in with the Mormons on a legal action to stop marriage equality is hunky dory. You are a remarkably horrible person. Really. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

    I ‘m not sure why people would want to pray to the Missouri-Synod Lutherans’ bigoted jerk of a  deity, so it’s just as well that they forbid for themselves interfaith prayer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

    Why would Christians object to  “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet” itself? I thought that Christians believed that there is no god but the God. Agree and/or disagree with Mohammed (or, as I do, with some of Mohammed’s religious descendants), Mohammed was certainly a prophet for the one God.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (shrug) How much you love the children of Sandy Hook, and how you choose to express that, is your business. If you don’t want to participate in an interfaith prayer vigil, don’t. But if you also choose to censure individuals who do express their love that way, I will think less of you, and I will oppose you.

    Similarly, how much you hate or don’t hate people some of whose actions are sinful is your business. If you want to participate in an interfaith condemnation of their loving relationships, that’s your business as well. But if you also choose to participate in legal action to deny them civil equality, I will think less of you, and I will oppose you.

  • PPPadre

    Please do decompress the so-called negativity of the post. Compared to the original article, that post was sweetness and light. (OK – THAT comment was snarky and negative.)

    1.) None of the parties involved have described this as a reprimand. It was a fraternal discussion between peers after which the one recognized that his snap decision was ill-advised. Only reporters and bloggers with their own “all-religions-are-basically-the-same” or “organized-religions-are-bad” axes to grind have called this a reprimand (or some outlets have used the term censure).
    2.) When religious views are supported by natural law and judicial precedent, it is perfectly acceptable for religious groups to cite those in the public square in defense of their practice. Court proceedings are inherently public and cannot be conducted in private. Unlike prayer or counseling or consoling, there is no other option other than public action with regard to the law.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Well, I guess you could object to “There is no God but the God” on the grounds that are actually Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well, but that seems like it would be agreeing with the view of (at least some) Muslims that Christianity is a polytheistic religion, which it seems like most Christians would be loath to do.

  • http://twitter.com/johnfraiser johnfraiser

    Actually, yes. I’m sure you would see it as interrogation, but I do ask people who visit my church what they believe. But even if I didn’t, I am at best ignorant of their confession which would not at all parallel a situation where I know the confession of, say, a Muslim and he openly leads people in the worship of his false god at a joint service. Having someone quietly attending your service whose confession you don’t know is nothing like sharing together in leading a worship service to different gods. So I don’t really see your point.

  • Kadh2000

     Here are the responses from the LCMS President on the vigil and the pastor’s mistake. His two reasons were, quoting from the letter, “Nevertheless, the presence of prayers and religious readings, as well as
    the fact that other clergy were vested for their participation, led me
    to conclude that this was in fact joint worship with other religions (as
    previously defined by the Synod)”.  So, his concern about their outfits was that other clergy were wearing vestments. 

    He defends the denomination’s reasons with 1) Romans 16:17 (violation of scripture on joint worship) “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions
    and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught;
    avoid them.”  2) 1 Corinthians 8 (even though he thought he was doing something right) “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” and 3 “I most sincerely desire to avoid deep and public contention in the Synod. Our mission is too vital, our fellowship too fragile for a drawn out controversy.”

    Since the LCMS believes in biblical inerrancy, and their constitution forbids what the Newtown pastor did, the denomination received an apology from the pastor for his actions.  Their president accepted the apology.

    Here’s the lineup of that vigil service:
    ¶This is the program for tonight’s interfaith service that is to begin shortly at Newtown High School, as announced by the White House. President Obama is scheduled to speak toward the end:
    ¶*Welcome by Matthew Crebbin, senior minister of the Newtown Congregational Church.
    ¶*Psalm 46 by Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel.
    ¶*Prayer for those we lost by Rev. Mel Kawakami, senior minister of Newtown United Methodist.
    ¶*Psalm 23 by the Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepard, rector of Trinity Episcopal.
    ¶*Prayer for the children by the Rev. Jim Solomon, pastor of the New Hope Community Church.
    ¶*Reading of the Koran and a prayer by Jason Graves and Muadh Bhavnagarwala of the Al Hedaya Islamic Center.
    ¶*Prayers for the emergency responders by the Rev. Jane Sibley, minister at Newtown United Methodist.
    ¶*Reading and a prayer from the Baha’i tradition by Dr. John Woodall, leader of Baha’i Faith Community.
    ¶*Prayer for counselors and caregivers by the Rev. Leo McIlrath, chaplain at the Lutheran Home of Southbury.
    ¶*Scripture: Romans 8 by the Rev. Pastor Jack Tanner, minister and elder of the Newtown Christian Church.
    ¶*First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra
    ¶*Conn. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
    ¶*President Barack Obama
    ¶*Prayer for our community by the Rev. Msgr Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church.
    ¶*Blessing by the Rev. Rob Mossis, vicar of Christ the King Lutheran Church
    ¶*Closing music by Fiona Smith Sutherland.

    Within the context of their denomination, the LCMS acted correctly. 

    The pastor did a good thing, and he thought it was the right thing, by participating in the vigil.  I believe it was the right thing.  This does beg the question “Is the LCMS right?”  They clearly believe they are.  The question to be asked about this in isolation is are their limits wrong? 

    Next, regarding their defense of Proposition 8.  No prayers involved, no vestments, not a religious service, so not against their rules for their own behavior.  Once again, they clearly believe they’re right.  (I did read their entire brief… it’s not worth quoting at least in part because we’re not all lawyers.)  Prop 8 just defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  It’s worth noting this is the only direct mention of marriage in the CA constitution.

    I’m not going to quote sources on why I disagree on both of these things.  They simply don’t pass the smell test.  Take the Bible out of it, take the law books out of it.  Does it sound right?  Absolutely not.  Put them back in.  Are we now harming some people despite the goal of the Bible to bring us closer to God and the goal of the law to allow us to exercise our individual freedoms as long as those freedoms don’t harm someone else?  Absolutely.

    ok…way too long.

  • AnonymousSam

    Validity is a concept I could write diatribes about. The context is almost meaningless, whether used to attack another faith or used in question of one’s own. It simply isn’t necessary. As far as I’m concerned, what you believe and what I believe are irrelevant as long as we’re human enough to recognize that we’re all in this together. When validity becomes a concern, tribalism reigns and boundaries are drawn between people. This causes nothing but harm.

    1) The specific term was not used, but it was a reprimand. The pastor was told that what he did was wrong. He was asked to apologize. That is a reprimand. More pointedly, he may yet face repercussions for what he did, because it is seen as that significant of an infraction. If you don’t believe he has been chastised for this…

    2) I don’t know what you mean by “natural law,” but judicial precedent is a concept which can do more harm than good. Nothing when done to harm another person should ever be done simply because it is traditional. Slavery was, at one time, utterly lawful. Women gaining the right to vote was an uphill battle against over a century of precedence. African Americans being segregated from Caucasians was enforced by law and upheld in courts. Each of them caused harm and yet were repeatedly affirmed in courts and public forum because of longstanding tradition. In order to gain progress, we must never stop asking ourselves when causing harm is necessary.

  • SisterCoyote

     Actually, I wouldn’t call them trolls. This mostly looks like honest disagreement, not rabid rage-stirring. I disagree with most of them, but I don’t think any of them are trolling.

  • LoneWolf343

    Damn, the White Knights are out in force for this one.

  • Jessica_R

    I guess, but still, I don’t have to polite about, “You don’t understand, it’s very important to me to make sure my penis feels good about my correct religion and wag my finger at some weakling who was being nice to parents of dead kids by being in the same building with some crazy moon people worshipers or whatever it is the pagans do.” Just because you’ve got the right to be jackass doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to call you on it.

  • caryjamesbond

    Oh man, this is hilarious.  I’m serious- this is the funniest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen.

    “Well, you see, we sat down in the year of Our Lord whateverthefuck and decided that our little church rules would prohibit praying with other people.  Ergo, for the TEMERITY to pray in the general vicinity of a Jew, a Muslim, and a Baha’i, you have transgressed the nearly two hundred year old agreement laid down by some church fathers who thought of them over sunday tea.  APOLOGIZE, HERITIC! THOU HAST BROKEN THE SLIGHTLY AGED COVENANT OF OUR NOBLE SPLINTER FROM A SPLINTER OF A SPLINTER SECT!”

    *yawn*

    No one cares about your dumbass little rules. No one cares about the exact interpretation of Paragraph 20, line 8 in book VI of the 1863 Covent of the Southwest Missouri/Northwest Oklahoma Lutheran Brotherhood.  Your guy went and invoked spectral powers of comfort along with everyone else, in what was a largely symbolic gesture of brotherhood because, well, thats what decent people do.   No one cares about your sect, your rules, or your theology.

    What they care about, and what they’ll remember, is that when your guy tried to bring a little spiritual comfort to a devastated, broken community, you yelled at him.

  • PPPadre

    1) So any post-mortem discussing whether a given action was appropriate or not is a reprimand? If that is your working definition, then yes, he should be reprimanded. Any public action that reflects upon the larger group is subject to post-mortem evaluation, including the possibility that such action was incorrect.

    2) Your question was not on the merits of the position but why religious groups could make public appeals in politics and law. Since the basis for the appeal is secular authority which can be commonly confessed without assertion of religious truth, groups of varying religious confession can join in their confession of said secular truth/argument.

  • SisterCoyote

    Oh, I wasn’t trying to say you have to be polite. Despite my usual jumping-in-to-whine-about-mean-comments sorts of behavior, I’m not a fan of dictating tone or whatever. Just splitting hairs on the semantics, really. I personally do prefer to keep my comments polite, if the other party isn’t a foaming hatemonger or a poe, but different people have different standards for that line, which is understandable and so on.

  • smrnda

    If this decision was taken because the Missouri Synod has to make sure that outsiders know that they do not worship the same god as all the rest of these people, you’re saying this choice has been taken to send a statement to the outsiders of the faith. Given that most of the outsiders of this faith seem to think this makes the Synod authorities look like jerks, it doesn’t appear to have sent a very positive statement and doesn’t seem likely to make anyone decide ‘wow, those folks at the Missouri Synod must be serving the right god, better go join.’ I mean, I thought part of the goal of all Christian denominations was recruitment, right?

    Hey, it’s their call to make, but it seems like a bad PR move.

  • David

    Which Gospel will it be?

    And then Jesus went up into Sandy Hook where the people were mourning a great loss.  And he…a) comforted them saying…b) turned away saying…

  • Carstonio

    Heh. The phrase apparently meant “never mind the bullshit,” and that seemed vague and elliptical. I wonder if it was an ironic nod to Malcolm McLaren’s strategy of manufacturing outrages for publicity.

  • Dash1

    I’m going to support the Missouri Synod here.

    Now, true enough, there are interfaith services all the time (college campuses and the military chaplaincy are two examples), and somehow no one assumes the Orthodox rabbi is telling Jewish service members that, hey lobster is back ON the menu!!, or that the Buddhist chaplain has changed his mind about the existence of god(s) or indeed that the Baptist chaplain has doubts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

    But I have over the years known many Missouri Synod folks–in fact, many are good friends–but Lord have mercy, is the MS ever focused on their own Doctrinal Correctness! Fred had a post about “look at the moon, not the finger,” but when you get that focused on you and your very own separateness from “those people who are not Doctrinally Correct, as we are,” you turn “I’m the finger pointing at the moon” into “Look what a fine finger I am and how well I point!”

    As I said, I support the Missouri Synod in this. With the attitude I’ve seen–and it’s been well displayed here as well–they’re doing the grieving people a service by staying away.  So good on ya, Missouri Synod, say I. Your absence is a true witness of just exactly who you are and what kind of God you worship, and the rest of us do notice it. Which is what you were looking for, so mission accomplished.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I will only pray with members of the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism!

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    When you said the pastor apologized, for a second I hoped that he was apologizing FOR the hate-spreading Missouri Synod.  Would be a better world were that true.

  • reallyaimai

    Well, if they prayed with the parents of amember of their own community, and that was noble and good, what does it mean when they refused to pray with members of another community? Isn’t that, by definition, not noble and not good? I have a passing familiarity with Jesus and as far as I recall most stories about him reveal him eating with people not members of his community and prosletizing to people not members of his community. In fact that’s Paul’s whole shtick: don’t refuse to interact with people who are not like you.

    Let me conclude by offering you the wise words of a muslim taxi driver I was tallking to after a code pink protest at the White House. He said (aand I’m not making this up) “You aren’t muslim now but you could choose to become muslim tomorrow–should I frown at you today and smile at you tomorrow? No. I must smile at you today and smile at you tomorrow.”

  • Revjacobsen

    Still today, kids can be quite cruel and other kids, parents, Pastors and leaders need to correct such things. I’m sorry no one did that for you. We do try. I’m sorry no one stepped up to “defend and speak well of [you]“. That’s something we believe in doing. Sometimes as a Pastor I’ve seen some bad treatment of people who aren’t part of the “in crowd” in youth group interactions (even worse than some of the adults – though maybe not the adults in this comment section). I don’t think this is limited to the LCMS, and I do think we struggle against that sort of thing.

  • reallyaimai

    If he did all that with an attitude that the suffering and sorrow of unbelievers was not worthy of love and ministry and care then, yes, we’ve all done our research. Parading around the world doling out other people’s money is easy–apparently standing nonjudgmentally and reverentially by while people of other faiths mourn their dead is too difficult.

  • reallyAimai

    Why do you care? I mean, by definition people who read things that “people who detest our god” think can’t matter. They don’t matter to you when they are unbelievers. They may matter to you when they acknowledge their error and your righteousness. But as far as I can tell from looking at history your imagined community of the pure is getting smaller and smaller so that’s not likely to happen. Why are you arguing with this post or this essay. As far as you and your religious group are concerned we are literally “lost souls” and neither you nor your g-d care about converting us or having us as members. You seem confused about the nature and role of evangelism here–instead of spreading the good news about love and salvation you are spreading what I call “punch in the eye” christianity–a christianity of spite and anger. Do you really expect to change anyone’s mind with your bitter words and meanspirited accusations? Its not in the bible (your bible) but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You can look it up.

  • reallyaimai

    Apparently. Should be easy.

  • reallyAimai

    You don’t “have to participate in interfaith prayer vigil” but lets turn it around. Suppose the pastor–who had memebers of his own community killed–was NOT invited because it was understood that his membership/his leadership would not permit him to show his face in a group setting where he couldn’t be the only religious leader acknowledged and his wasn’t the only god aknowledged? Wouldn’t his (and his communities) reaction to be shriek “bigotry! shunning!” and demand “equal time?” Wouldn’t he and his community feel excluded?Wouldn’t the Jews and Muslims and Pagan Lutherans all be rightfully accused of isolating and disrespecting the community as a whole by trying to divide it along sectarian lines?  

    You can think what you like about the primacy of your triune god over others but the community as a whole consisted of more than one worshipper of more than one god. If you want to be part of the community you have to mourn with that community. If you want to demonstrate that you are not part of that loving, grieving, growing, changing community then by all means hang back and refuse to show your face.  

    In reality the end result is less public exposure for your community and less knowledge of you and your imaginary good works.  When people say “tell me about the Lutheran Synod” the community at Sandy Hook will say “they are the guys who won’t show up unless they can lead the parade. They are the people who are so fearful that god hates them and everyone else that they can’t imagine that god was right there with us, mourning with us.”

  • John (not McCain)

    So happy to learn that I won’t be spending eternity around filth like you.  Now if I could only get y’all out of my country…

  • OrcHard

    I have never felt more justified in my total atheism. I love that the Evangelutherwhateveritis church is doing this: It makes it SO much easier for me to hate them. Keep on snarling and bickering and turf-snatching and terrain-marking with each other, lonely fools–I will be laughing ALL the way.

  • Fusina

     No one ever did anything about it. And one of the worst offenders was a deacon’s son. And I got the same crap at school. I currently have trouble with the PTSD I contracted as a result of years of being bullied by my parents, the kids at that church, and the kids at school. What else do you do to find refuge when you have none. And if your church youth group has an “in-crowd” that can be identified, you have a problem with your youth. And probably with your adults as well, where do you think the little brats learn it. I spent a lot of parental time teaching my kids that there is no good reason for treating someone poorly. Being the underdog gave me compassion for those whom society rejects, the fat, the poor, the gay, the darker skinned, to the point that I wholly support things that will lift them up to the level that white skinned males already have. I rejoiced when Maryland passed the gay marriage law. And I continue to pray that God will make it the law of the land. I do have a bible verse that I think speaks to this subject,

    1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God.

    Also, for those who think that we should be concerned with what others are doing with regard to cleaning up their lives, there is a whole speech regarding splinters and specks and logs. Spend more time getting yourself right with God (if that is your thing) and less time being concerned with what your neighbor does and with whom.

  • OrcHard

    Oh and proof-texts! Cite more proof-texts! Get on the coke-bottle glasses and the green eye shades and REALLY dig into that dusty shit! Quote me tenditious readings and explain how things written by Iron Agers TOTALLY applies to me in the year 2013. Oh and throw in a bit of oblique Godwinism too: Don’t *say* “you’re Hitler” but do it sort of sideways with a bit of insinuation like “So you believe there s no will but the will to power?” Yeah, that it’s. SNNNNNNNIFFFFFFF. *Snort* *Snort* Aw yeaaaaahhh . . . that is some primo stuff . . .

  • Carstonio

    No co-operation. No appearance of comity and partnership. No coming together or working together in any way that might blur these essential
    differences.

    With that attitude, they might as well set up their own society on an island or a distant planet. No other religions to contaminate their purity, at least until the inevitable breakaway sects arise among their own number.

  • John (not McCain)

    I will do quite well without the “mercy” and “compassion” provided by the drooling troglodytes of the LCMS, or the imaginary jackass they worship.


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