The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Magazine’s look draws ire, praise

Readers weigh in on ‘mainline,’ savior, ad, puzzle, cartoon, column

Missed something
Twenty-eight years and two logos ago, the editors of The Lutheran saw fit to incorporate a cross into the letter “t” in the word Lutheran on the cover, thereby solidifying Christ as the center of the publication and our Lutheran identity. Of all the changes being made, this one is certainly a downgrade. I find it a poor decision for the publication of a denomination already riddled with revisionist theology and cheap grace.

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

Looks good
Love the new look. Thanks for all your hard work.

Suzanne C. Swanson
Menasha, Wis.  

Make that progressive
Regarding a new term for “mainline Protestant” (December, page 12), I have been thinking a lot recently about Theodore Roosevelt’s attempt to create a new political party a century ago (probably because I am nonpartisan). The name for his short-lived party was the Progressive Party. Personally, that term really resonates for me: a person advocating or implementing social reform. How about “progressive Protestants”? God bless you in the work you do.

Andrea Puck
Santa Clara, Calif.

Trouble with words
The “mainline Protestant” article saddened me. The church doesn’t need to try to become presentable to the world; the world is to become presentable to the church. This is our message. We are a community of believers in Christ. He came to set us free. We welcome the world into our midst to experience this with us. A social justice Christian is a wordplay morass that only adds another problem to mainline churches’ slow demise. Christianity is defined in three Rs: restoration, relationship and revelation. It is knowing Christ’s words, walking with him in the power of the Spirit through all our daily affairs, that draws people into our communities. Once experienced, the world falls in love with Christ and will never leave.

George Neitz
Sun City West, Ariz.

Love of God
The authors of “Jesus the savior” (December, page 18) struggle mightily to be inclusive with Jesus’ statement: “No one comes to the Father except by me.” But what if we read these verses as Jesus being the love of God incarnate in a human being? Now it reads that this kind of love is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to God except as one who incarnates the love of God. When we act as the true church, the body of Christ, we incarnate this love. All those who incarnate Jesus’ kind of love are also welcomed by God.

David Fry
Los Alamos, N.M.

No loafing
The otherwise timely and penetrating conversation of theologians in “Jesus the savior” was marred by the use of “salvific” (twice) and “Christological missiology” (yikes). C’mon, editors. Do your job.

Larry Speicher
Gaithersburg, Md.

Take a stand

To “insult” Judaism labels a person an anti-Semite. If a person drops a Koran or somehow denigrates Islam, the government trembles and apologizes. Major denominations are jelly-legged conspirators in the ascending and increasing attack on Christianity in this country. We can spend millions to fight AIDs in Africa. Oh that our leadership would spend a fraction of that to hire effective legal counsel to sue as a hate crime every moviemaker using Jesus’ name as a swear word. That would at least be a start in ending the current insane capitulation, permitting militant minorities to rule speech.

James Kallas
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Calling all organists
I am Lutheran born and raised, and also a church organist. While looking through the January issue of The Lutheran, my husband noticed an ad on page 39. “This is going to rattle your cage,” he said. An ad for Hymnal Plus — “the ultimate worship music solution.” I am appalled that of all denominations, Lutherans would endorse such a thing. What are you thinking? I am thoroughly disgusted that the editor thought it OK to include this ad in the magazine. I hope that Lutheran organists from coast to coast rise up and cry foul.

Janette H. Coull
Alton, N.H. 
(Ed. note: Advertising by non-ELCA related entities doesn’t constitute endorsement by The Lutheran or the ELCA.)

Puzzle delight
Do you ever get letters about the crossword puzzles in the magazine? It’s good, and almost always challenging. What I like most is the mirror-image symmetry that Richard Bansemer achieves every single time, month after month. Thank you for your work, Richard.

Lucy C. Young
Grand Rivers, Ky.

Keep Christ
I was stunned to see the cartoon (December, page 45) of Mary and Joseph at the inn with a note on the door reading “Closed for Xmas.” I would have never expected a Christian publication to “X” out Christ in Christmas. Shame on you.

Kathleen Mayberry
Austin, Texas

Words of hope
In the presiding bishop’s column, Mark S. Hanson gave us flowering thoughts of love and grace. Elizabeth A. Eaton gives us tulips of faith and promise (December, page 50). We are blessed with a garden of hope and beauty as our leaders go forth in the Savior’s light of risen glory. In a less poetic paean: it doesn’t get any better than that.

Catherine Boone Shealy

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