The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


In praise of ritual

Here's to bowing and bending, bells and candles, chasubles and crossing oneself'

Bryan "Judge" Keller is in his 80s now. He was a familiar sight along the main street of Clemson, S.C. He always wore a shirt and tie and a hat. Never a cap. Always a hat.

Whenever he met a woman, be she a college coed or a woman his age, he'd tip his hat and say, "How do you do, ma'am?" I suppose no one but Judge Keller does that anymore. Alas.

Gestures are a type of speech. Show me the gestures a person performs, and I'll tell you the kind of world that person has created for herself or himself. Those who tip their hats or smile at strangers have created quite a different world than those who shake their fists and honk their car horns.

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November issue


From myths to ministry