The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Who will wear this shirt?

The articles provoke reflection

Thank you for the article on the future faces of ELCA ordained leadership (January, "Who will wear this shirt?"). Its prediction that women, ethnic outsiders and laypeople will replace the religious elite of the past and present, namely, ordained white males, is in some respects already under way. The article raises important questions about the present and future shape of Christian leadership. What respective weight will the ELCA give to the assets of life experience and academic preparation? Is an educated clergy in the traditional sense still necessary? If, as the author states, future “ELCA leaders will probably look a lot like those of the first century church,” does that imply they’ll identify with the world’s outcasts?

Alan J. Watt
New Braunfels, Texas

It’s good to lift up congregations that support young people for leadership. We so easily fall into a misleading numbers game that diminishes important contributions of smaller congregations. What can guide us in comparing the contributions of Minneapolis congregations: Mount Olivet (Sunday attendance: 5,815) producing seven candidates or Central (Sunday attendance: 800) producing five candidates with the contribution of Bethany (Sunday attendance: 63), with three candidates in the same time period?

Steven Benson
Minneapolis, Minn.

The article says we are trying to attract a diverse population of students to attend seminary and be ordained. People like me who have learning disabilities (the result of an auto accident when I was 2) are capable of obtaining college degrees (I have an associate’s, a bachelor’s and about half the credits necessary for a master’s degree in business). I tried attending seminary but my learning disability caused problems in Greek and Hebrew, which require a lot of memorization. This is useful for a biblical scholar. But I imagine that there is room for scholarship in a variety of areas and room for the practical application of the scholarship of others. Learning disabilities, like physical disabilities, can and should be accommodated to produce men and women who will make good ministers.

John C. Kober
Madison, Wis.

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March issue

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