The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Church should shape culture, not reverse

Bible interpretation, U.S. status, worship attendance stir responses

While the theologian contributors did a good job of answering the questions (July, "Four questions …"), I found the questions regrettable. It is regrettable that we have to ask how the church has been shaped by the American context. The better question would be: "How have Lutherans, the ELCA and, indeed, the church universal shaped the American context?" This at least would appeal to our calling to transform culture rather than be transformed by it as we most often are. I also could not disagree more with Jon Pahl's assessment that Lutherans have never been clearer about who we are as the church. I find the current widespread divisions among Lutherans to declare the opposite.

The Rev. Nathan D. Hooks
Burlington, N.C.

How we read the Bible

For the sake of clarity, I would ask that you consider an editorial comment on Maria Erling's statement (July, "Four questions …"): "And we love to count ourselves, too, when we ask whether our churches are growing or how many congregations or pastors are leaving over social issues." My friends who have left have been trying to say for years that this is a theological issue. Human sexuality is only the presenting issue, not the real issue. The deeper issue is how we read the Bible and, ultimately, who our Jesus is. To let the comment stand trivializes what some of my friends have sacrificed much for.

The Rev. Timothy D. Hubert
St. Joseph, Ill.

Beg to differ

A letter writer said (July, "Letters: Domestic abuse article strikes a few chords") he will not bend on "a strong nation, living within its means, with low taxes, secure borders and fostering independence and economic freedom for its citizens." I believe there is a lot more involved for ELCA members in this world. As the late Robert F. Kennedy said: "An America piled high with gold, and clothed in impenetrable armor, yet living among desperate and poor nations in a chaotic world, could neither guarantee its own security nor pursue the dream of civilization devoted to the fulfillment of man."

Earl Finkler
Medford, Wis.

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