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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Makes Me Crazy

According to one Lutheran pastor (full disclosure: I am a Lutheran pastor too, but there are many kinds of Lutherans-don't ask.) "I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far..." (read the entire article here) Really? You can push Christian "freedom" too far? Praying with other faiths, the President, and the grieving families of Sandy Hook is pushing Christian freedom "too far?"

I can hardly blame any sane, empathetic person who on reading such a story would walk away from Lutheranism, and Christianity as well. If I didn't have a doctorate in Lutheran Christianity, a library with at least 50 books on Christian freedom, and a famous one by Martin Luther (namesake of Lutheranism) called "On the Freedom of the Christian," I would ponder leaving as well.

Let's talk about this "On the Freedom of a Christian" written by Luther. Look at what Wikipedia says about this pamphlet. Does it sound like Pastor Morris was exercising his freedom as a Christian? Why was he censured and asked to apologize? Oh yeah, he pushed freedom too far. It was too much for the folks at that service to know that Jesus Christ, his Spirit, and the redemptive power of God was at work before, during, and after the tragedy at Sandy Hook. He had to apologize for that??? What a crock of shit.

The sheer craziness of this story boggles the mind and wounds the heart. I am not writing to try and get into the good graces of Lutherans who do not agree with me on this...if your definition of freedom is such that you have limits to it, well, I pray your God has a sense of humor. There is a limit to Christian freedom according to Luther, you know...but it isn't praying with other is the cross, it is death, it is resurrection. Jesus of Nazareth pushed the limits of freedom until he died, and even more amazing than that, he never seemed to circumscribe others' freedom in doing so. (This is why he is the Christ of God, by the way, for those of you who wondered what makes Jesus so "special.") His death is God's forgiveness of our sin to enclose our hearts and minds to the reality that God's world has no limits. As the Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Galatians "For freedom Christ has set us free." (5.1)

I am sad that Pastor Morris had to apologize for exercising his Christian freedom in offering a benediction to a tragic event in the lives of all of us...I pray there comes a time when such an apology is not needed.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.


Culture Dove said...

With the current pope about, don't you think he will have huge say in the successor, especially considering how influential he was in the Vatican prior to elevation? Surely the next pope will be a social and theological conservative. It seems that a Nigerian is a good bet, but I respect your greed, er, desire to win a large bet ;-) So an Italian pope? How may be on to something.

Scott Frederickson said...

I like your influence angle that Benedict the XVI will probably exert, and the Archbishop of Milan is a good conservative, so I am riding this horse...and to be fair, is this really the first time greed played a role in papal politics? :) Thanks for reading.