The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


June issue touches (mostly good) nerve

Food piece debated; others cite end times, confirmation, call process

'Excellent' articles
I enjoyed the June issue of The Lutheran so much. I start with the obituaries, then go to the articles. This issue had several that were excellent: the life of John Ylvisaker, "End times" by Barbara Rossing, the Lutheran church during the Civil War, the work of Seafarers International, the blessing of surfboards and our food supply. All very good. Thank you.

The Rev. Dennis N. Nelson
Shawano, Wis.

Give food a break
In "The trouble with food", the author nitpicks through all the things that might possibly be negative about our abundant food supply, even to feeling guilty about those strawberries in January and, of course, taking a swipe at big business and the profit motive along the way. Let's rejoice in strawberries 365 days a year instead of just a few weeks in the summer and give thanks for all we have and for the industry that provides it.

Rich Peters
Loveland, Ohio

june cover

Keep up the good work
I am not surprised that The Lutheran won five awards for articles in the past year. The magazine is far superior to any other Christian magazine I receive. It is heartwarming to hear of the humanitarian work done by Christians around the world, as well as to be informed of religious news here and there, be it positive or negative. You don't "beat the drum" for one point of Christian view or the other but present factual, relevant material to promote independent thinking.

Barb Foster
Portland, Ore.

On target
I wish to say Amen and thank you to Valerie E. Hess for "End 'shotgun' confirmation". As a parish pastor, I agree completely. We want confirmation to be a time of learning and fun. Anyone forced to do confirmation will most likely not last long in the church. Wouldn't it be great if our youth remembered this occasion as a great time of deepening their faith?

Olin K. Sletto
Elgin, Ill.

Wait for it
I have served congregations as an intentional interim pastor over the past 20 years. Many people have been interested in the second coming of Christ. I remind them that since the time of Paul people have claimed to know when Jesus will return. Zero percent have been right. The odds that someone will be right in predicting the second coming in the future are about the same. As pointed out: "About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).

The Rev. Robert Kleinke
Woodbury, Minn.

Living well & true
"Hearing faith in our everyday lives" is on the mark except for one point on which my late wife Bernadette would disagree. When one of her professors at seminary characterized her as "dying well" of cancer, a term used several times in the article, Bernadette responded: "People just don't get it. It isn't about the dying; it's about living well and being true to God's call." Her response clearly reflected her faith and the life she led to its very end. We are to discern, to the best of our ability, God's will for our lives. We are to live well and celebrate every minute and always be faithful to God's call.

Michael Kulikauskas
Carlisle, Pa.

Room to wiggle
Recent letters on hymns reminded me of a rule we had 50 years ago. The first and last hymn in the service should be familiar. If you start a service with a "challenge" members lose their focus; if you end the service with the congregation struggling with the hymn they may not come back. In the middle you have some wiggle room.

The Rev. John A. Buerk
Buffalo, N.Y.

Not # I yet
The article on the pope refers repeatedly to Pope Francis I. The proper name of this pope is Francis. He's not Francis I until there is a successor who is Francis II. In the meantime we should be praying for Pope Francis as the article rightly implies.

Thomas W. Eifert
Fayetteville, Pa.

Give me democracy
A letter to the editor questioned the length of time it takes to call a pastor compared to the election of the pope (recently just 13 days). Years ago Fredrik A. Schiotz, bishop of the former American Lutheran Church, said the ALC was democratic and its conventions were an essential part of operating a democratic church. The Roman Catholic Church is a dictatorial church. Its members had no say in who their new leader would be. A benevolent dictatorship is an efficient form of governance. It is not, however, how we in the ELCA operate our church. I'll take the democratic form every day of the week.

Dick Hansen
Green Valley, Ariz.

Spot on
The third paragraph of Peter W. Marty's "Talking about prayer" is terrific on the nature of prayer. Let's eliminate the word answer and the notion that God needs a to-do list from us, and affirm that prayer is essentially conversation. "Conversations aren't about answers. They are about engaging a relationship. They involve sharing company with someone. Deep conversations promote discovery." Absolutely wonderful.

The Rev. Paul Holte
Neenah, Wis.

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February issue


Embracing diversity