Lutherans are boring

22 Jan

(Obviously pictures are inappropriate for this post.  Deal.)

So says Gene Veith and Anthony Sacramone.

Clips from Sacramone’s piece:

“Check out the combox at Cranach for opinions as to why those millennials yearning to smell bells don’t head to Wittenberg, as opposed to Canterbury, Rome, or Constantinople. I already offered my opinion as to why I thought Calvinist churches were more attractive to many than were Lutheran, so let me throw one more stink bomb onto the buffet table:

Lutherans are boring….”


“…Remember, pop culture deals in tropes, types, especially when it comes to “traditional” and “conservative” types. Sensitive progressives hammer home stereotypes in order to box in figures they believe are adversarial by nature or proclamation. Lutherans don’t register as offering anything these more conventional and immediately recognizable figures do.”


“….Growing up, all the Lutherans I knew were boring. They minded their ps and qs and paid their taxes on time (begrudgingly—I was LCMS, after all) and kept their heads down and their feet on the ground. They were good citizens and thought things through and were practical, rarely all that imaginative (although every once in a while a teacher would try and shake things up, only to be brought to heel if no great measurable results were forthcoming). There were exceptions, of course. (An elementary school teacher pretty much drank himself to death.) But they were notable for being exceptions.”


“Slow. Steady. Invisible. Boring.

Of course, as I got older, I realized there were many many worse things than being boring. Like being abusive. And legalistic. And filling kids’ heads with all manner of wrath-of-God/sinners dangling from a thread over the fires of hell stuff.

OK. So Lutherans don’t so much get bad press, as no press. But what to do now? How to capture the attention of these millennials now?

Haven’t a clue.”

Hah – this stuff is great.  He goes on to talk about some very interesting points regarding Lutheran liturgy (too much variety in the new hymnal – not able to effectively memorize it) and then closes like this:

“What does Lutheranism have to offer that Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism doesn’t? Luther. A pre-medieval worship that has exorcised the penitential out of repentance, all the obfuscating cults of the saints that made grace something one had to connive out of God as if he were a Renaissance prince whose attention could be gotten only by court insiders. Justification by faith alone. The gift of vocation that put a blacksmith on spiritual par with a bishop. The great freedom in knowing that God doesn’t need your good works — but your neighbor does, who is therefore not a means to a ladder-climbing end.

And the theology of the cross, which does more to eviscerate the unconsciously karmic idea of life’s causes and effects than anything else. Ever pray fervently for some good thing and received the exact opposite of what you prayed for? Yet instead of rebelling, you came to understand what it was to wait with Christ one hour in Gethsemane? You are a theologian of the cross.

In other words Christ at the beginning, Christ at the center, Christ at the end. And for you.


As my pastor says: simple, humble, weak.  Add boring to the mix.

Hmmm… something we should embrace?  Not to be “proud” of it (of course not!) but because it is unavoidably true – and there is something great about this kind of “magnificent monotony” (as a rather exciting/compelling Roman Catholic by the name of Brennan Manning put it).



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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


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