The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A large house, a larger attic

The Lutheran tradition has neglected options waiting to be discovered

How shall we understand Lutheranism? Our church stretches back over five centuries and extends around the world. I compare Lutheranism to a very large house. If we think of the Lutheran World Federation as us all living together, it's possible to imagine how large the dwelling would have to be — with many different rooms. It would include the traditional Lutheran churches of Europe — German, Nordic, Hungarian, Baltic and Slovak. It would include the Lutherans of Canada and the United States, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

But you don't have to travel the world to experience diversity within the Lutheran church. Even in your region, Lutherans probably worship in different ways, serve their neighbors in varying patterns and build community in diverse ways. Some Lutherans look more like Roman Catholics and some like Methodists. Lutherans who have lived in different parts of the United States often encounter these variations — sometimes to their shock, sometimes to their delight.

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February issue


Embracing diversity