Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Latte Lutherans 2: Faith and Starbucks

Sometimes I worry about the state of the Lutheran church (at least the ELCA, my brand of Lutheran). Sometimes I’m disappointed in what my Lutheran Church has become. I worry that sometimes we water down our faith, or at least our message of it. I’m disappointed that we’re not often bold in our confession of faith and acting as bold leaders in the Christian church.

I love that one of the central tenants of Lutheran theology is Grace. I believe it is spot on when looking at Jesus, and the rest of the Bible for that matter.

The problem with grace, at least from a human perspective, is that it makes it difficult, or at least challenging to take a stand on matters. Consequently, I fear (as Lutherans) we tend to live a frou-frou latte life. I’m not even talking about hot button topics like abortion or homosexuality. Yes, I think we need to take a stand for what is right with both of those topics, but we need to take a stand for proper behavior in every day life. Yes, God Is the great giver of grace, but God also gave us rules for acting towards God and one another… we call them the Ten Commandments.

We need to be bold in living out our faith. St. Francis of Assisi is often credited with saying, “Preach at all times and words as necessary.” It paints a beautiful picture of serving our neighbor, but I think we use it too often to get ourselves off the hook for speaking our faith. We need to use both words and actions to communicate our faith, to get people to understand what we’re trying to share.

I have a number of friends who currently have children that are just learning to speak. It is a beautiful thing to watch them begin to grasp and use words for the first time. Yet how often when the words don’t work they resort to shining and crying. It’s in these moments I hear my friends say things like, “Use your words.”

I often hear congregations lament that evangelism is a difficult thing for them. I suppose when it comes to matters of faith these children are much like little children just learning to speak. When things don’t go their way, when their message isn’t communicated as they might hope, they shut down and pout assuming they just can’t do it. I want to say to them, “Us your words!” The world needs to hear them. The world needs to know about Jesus. The world needs to know about grace. “Use your words!”

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