The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Hats off to Wangerin for years of prose

Mixed responses on interfaith relations, science, gay marriage

A job well done
I want to commend Walter Wangerin Jr. What marvelous and poetic thoughts he has provided readers over the years — always fresh, always thought provoking, always faithful to the good news that binds us together as the people of God. His writing has had powerful and creative inspiration. The last piece in March brings a more than fitting conclusion to his column. What a strong blend of reality and hope he portrayed there, and what an important "final bit of advice" he rendered. We can never be reminded enough that it is the Son of God who secures our oneness, is author of our forgiveness, and Lord of the church — and not ourselves. It is we, the recipients of Wangerin's counsel this and so many other times, who should be saying to him, "Go with God" and thank you.

C. Frederick Eichner
Littleton, N.C.

Don't think so
Isn't J. Paul Rajashekar too positive in laying out Martin Luther's approach to dialogue with other religions (March, page 18)? Think of Luther's critique of Judaism as a failed religion in his treatise "On the Jews and Their Lies." Think also of his Large Catechism where he says that outside of the Christian faith, "whether heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites," there is nothing but "eternal wrath and condemnation." Given these seminal passages from Luther's writings, it's hard to agree with Rajashekar that Luther would advise us to "tone down" our theological claims about other religions — something Acts 4:12 doesn't seem to care about either.

The Rev. Ronald F. Marshall

Keep it coming
I was so impressed with the "Faith and science" presentation. It was excellent and encouraging that the ELCA wants to keep up with the present and move on with the future. The professors, in talking about God, are outstanding and gifted. I feel more hopeful for our church for now and into the future. I look forward to each issue of The Lutheran and think we are blessed to have such an open and comprehensive presentation of ELCA news.

Pem Schultz
East Harwich, Mass.

Not happy with church
I was so pleased that in the article on gay marriage a member spoke against it, yet surprised she couldn't quote a Bible verse explaining why. The Bible states it clearly in multiple places. The leadership of the ELCA will have judgment and the wrath of God on them for distorting the Bible in such a way as to keep sinners from the true word of God. Lord have mercy on your souls.

Carol Braaten
Farwell, Minn.

In "Why do they leave?", the author implies that the ELCA has established a neutral policy on the ordination of gays and lesbians in which it "requires nothing of congregations." The ELCA has created a lose-lose-lose situation. If a congregation chooses to affirm the ELCA position, it stands to lose members who are opposed; if it rejects the ELCA position, it stands to lose members who support the ELCA's candidacy decision; if it does nothing, it stands to lose the members who want "to take a stand." It may be that the congregations leaving are responding to Jesus' counsel (Matthew 18:15-17). They are simply going to avoid the argument and walk away.

The Rev. William Thalacker
Waterloo, Iowa

Absurd thought
I was very surprised at the letter "Concern over guns" (February, page 48). I can't believe the writer would even think we will need guns in heaven. It is a place prepared for us where there will be no more sorrow or fighting — having to worry about having a gun pointed at you is absurd. I hope our whole country won't be judged by what a few sick people have done.

Marjorie E. Newman
Roswell, N.M.

Good to know
I really appreciated the article "Even prophets get the blues". It is interesting to realize that even prophets had this problem and were able to overcome it. Thank you for the good work you are doing.

Linnea Miskowiec
Roseville, Minn.

Too much to take
The moral and conservative values I learned growing up in a small Ohio congregation helped me grow up strong and to teach my kids the same. Imagine my disappointment as I open The Lutheran each month to see the progressive agenda of an immoral national government being adopted by my church. I keep hoping to see some church strategic common sense, but continue to be disappointed. Please discontinue my subscription. It only causes me to correlate that the worldly activities the Bible warns us against have infiltrated the leadership of this organization.

Tom Klingler
Oakwood, Ohio

Pull together
Congratulations on the January issue. What better way to start our 25th year? The article on the shrinking church with its study guide followed by the story on interns sounds like a plan. Most important, we have to admit there is a problem and we don't have to look far to see we are not alone. Hopefully each congregation will gain something by working together to solve a common challenge.

Richard Long
Huron, Ohio

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February issue


Embracing diversity