The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pray that church is acceptable to God

Marty column, women’s issues, diversity, tolerance, evolution move readers

It is up to us
The “Church of the future” authors (March, page 14) state, “We begin with the obvious: insofar as both the church and the future belong to God, the church will ‘look’ like whatever God intends or desires it to.” Really? It will look like whatever God intends? Sounds like predestination to me. Why then do we need to discern ourselves with this matter? The church will be and look like, as stated in the next paragraph, that “as disciples of Christ, we trust and live and worship and serve and do our best to discern what ‘church’ ” the future needs. It is up to us to analyze, plan and evolve a church that is meaningful and effective in spreading the gospel. Let’s pray that this future church is acceptable to God.

Gil Holocher


Old heresy
Peter W. Marty’s advocacy of the old heresy of universalism is heartbreaking (March, page 4). If the editor believed in the doctrines of the church, he would suspend Marty immediately. If the presiding bishop loved her church she would start the process of defrocking him tomorrow. Neither of these will happen. The leaders of the ELCA are so lukewarm and lazy that they will sniff at their critics and pretend that they are not tolerating a debilitating old heresy but are actually breaking new theological ground.

Henry Poetker
Taylorsville, N.C.


Marty has given us the reminder that we all need to heed: “Christ is bigger that our imagination” and “we are not given permission to shrink the cross to suit our own version of God.” This is most certainly true.

Betty Berggren
Lindsborg, Kan.


It appears that Marty accidentally submitted his “Who gets saved?” column to The Lutheran when he surely must have intended it for publication in a Unitarian Universalist periodical. How careless.

The Rev. Elna L. Stratton
Orwigsburg, Pa.


Keep it coming
Marty does it again. In the tradition of both the Marty family and the family of God at large, he reflects and speaks for the living Christ. All too seldom do denominations have spokespeople who validate inclusivity in the Christian church and particularly from the historic Lutheran tradition. His reflections, just as his father Martin E. Marty’s, continue to be a must read for all and, quite frankly, are what keep many of us as readers of The Lutheran and working hard on also following Christ.

T. Lance Holthusen
Brooklyn Park, Minn.


Good insight
I found the February issue to be filled with faith-inspiring stories and study guides. Most useful were the articles and study guide on women’s issues. The magazine is moving in the right direction with the focus on eradicating discrimination in also highlighting some of the earlier socially acceptable concerns on how women are/were viewed. Victimization in psychological and physical abuse issues has too long placed the ill-conceived blame on women. Thank you for your insight.

Judy Mullane
Glen Rock, N.J.


Range of diversity
Clearly the ELCA should warmly welcome people of all races (February, page 50). There are also other types of diversity. Wikipedia states that the ELCA is a broad denomination containing socially conservative and liberal factions that emphasize liturgical renewal, confessional Lutheranism, charismatic revivalism, moderate to liberal theology and liberal activism. Divergence (a form of diversity) on gay ordination has led to another Balkanization (a potential result of diversity) of American Lutherans. Politically, surveys indicate that the laity splits evenly between 45 percent Democrat and 43 percent Republican, yet clergy are 69 percent Democrat and 19 percent Republican, revealing another diversity gap within the ELCA

Eric Olson
New York City


Time is right
The column on diversity was a welcome recognition of the work we still need to do as church. It is important that we come to grips with the truth that in 25 years we have hardly moved the needle on truly including people of color and people whose primary language is other than English in the life of the ELCA. It was also helpful to hear the emphasis clearly placed where it needs to be, on a system that needs to be challenged. Now the real work begins. Many have been waiting for a long time for a change in the church around issues of race. Some have even begun to despair. Thank you, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, for your leadership. May we do these things together.

The Revs. Marilyn Miller and David Schoob
Greater Milwaukee Synod
Anti-racism Team


Good work
I am tardy in telling you how excellent the October issue was. The articles promoting tolerance (page 20) were well done, timely and thought-provoking. I read each issue of The Lutheran cover to cover even if it takes me a while. Keep up the good work.

Nancy Caldwell
Argyle, Wis.


Believe what you will
Thanks for the “Editor notes” in each issue. The data on evolution (February, page 4) was very interesting. In one way the evolution arguments are a nonissue. People can embrace whatever ideas they wish, but it doesn’t change the evidence. For those unwilling to accept what has become obvious from studies in geology, paleoanthropology, anatomy and genetics, little can be done to change their way of thinking. Doubters are free to live with their own myths.

David Roslien
Decorah, Iowa

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