The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


End 'shotgun' confirmation

Work with parents, children

I was chatting with a friend the other day when I heard one of the most horrifying stories of my life. This person was sharing how a very unhappy teenage child was forced to go through confirmation. The reasoning shared with me in a quite angry voice tone — though the incident happened years ago — was "since I'm paying the bills, you're going to be confirmed."

This now-adult child no longer goes to church and the parent seemed surprised and confused as to why.

I found my heart in my throat with these questions:

• Isn't confirmation a time when people of all ages affirm the promises made at their baptism for them by parents and sponsors?

• If we force young people to affirm (confirm) promises they have no intention of keeping, are we not as a church doing a version of the "shotgun wedding," an event that forces two people into marriage because one of them is pregnant?

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February issue


Embracing diversity