The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Boomer faith

From Pennsylvania to Washington and in between, baby boomers recently responded to The Lutheran's questions about how their faith was formed, is lived out and will look in the coming years. The reader call went out in preparation for The Lutheran's April cover story on the faith of boomers. This week we offer "sound bites" from four readers who share their history, insight and predictions, reminding us what it was like to be born in the 1940s and '50s (even '60s) and how that faith lives on as they face retirement:

"The main influence has been materialism. ... We began to see instant gratification as the way to happiness. Everyone was encouraged to do their own thing. Credit cards became a way to have it all. All this led to a lack of time and energy to give to our spiritual side. ... Boomers need to change the ‘me' generation to the ‘we/Thee' [generation]. There is an extraordinary amount of technical knowledge, resources and energy in the boomer group. We need to rely on God's wisdom and guidance as we continue to be his body in the world."

Susan Creed
Robeson Lutheran Church, Mohnton, Pa.

"The influence of faith from my childhood (the 1950s) has in many ways shaped who I am today. Grounded in faith which at that time was firmly family centered has influenced my life decisions, parenting and personal outlook. It certainly created in me the understanding of the importance of worship, fellowship and service."

Rebecca Wietzke
Fir-Conway Lutheran Church, Mount Vernon, Wash.

"While a youth I didn't always appreciate the weekly confirmation class, but in hindsight it was valuable training. I really learned to pray while in the Army and it was faith that sustained me during combat. Too many of the boomer generation have no religious affiliation. They dropped away from churches soon after becoming adults and have never returned. ... While we support in principle the desire to attract new believers, we fear that our own denominational heritage can be jeopardized in the name of growth. Our faith is stronger today because of a lifetime of nurturing and prayer and Bible study."

John R. Decator Jr.
St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Clair, Mich.


"I was brought up experiencing the power of a worshiping community to shape the lives of families who were active in it. I still believe that to be true. ... If how we've worshiped, preached, taught and lived in the past no longer is having the impact it once did, then my generation is willing and able to try something different and the sooner the better. ... The tragedies around the world the past 25 years have been a sobering gut check to our overdependence on our own wisdom and strength. It has led my generation to hunger for a deeper sense of spirituality in all that we do. ... My vision for what we boomers might offer in our retirement years is simply this: to be authentic and available to the generations following us."

Greg Kaufmann
Executive director, Fisher's Net
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
This week's front page features:
Great days in the face of lossGreat days in the face of loss: What Tom's last Easter taught us about dying ... and living. (Photo at right.)

At a distance? Leaders discuss Luther Seminary's M.Div. distance learning.

A poet looks at paintings: In Van Gogh's light, McEntyre sees images of faith.

Polar faith: Antarctica reveals "a God who takes care of us."

Also: Congregational search under way.

Also: Luther rocks opera.

Also: The Power of Forgiveness.
Read these articles on our front page ...
Discuss great days in the face of loss:
David A. PattersonJoin David A. Patterson (right), director of pastoral care at Luther Manor, Wauwatosa, Wis., to discuss lessons learned about dying and living.

The conversation starts today and runs through April 22.

Join the conversation ...

Thieves and robbers:
Justin BaxterReflecting on last Sunday's Gospel reading, guest blogger Justin Baxter (right) asks: Who may we call thieves and robbers?
Baxter, a student at Pacific Lutheran Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., is keeping a blog during his internship at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, Calif.
Read his blog ...
On our staff blog:
Andrea PohlmannJulie Sevig writes about a middle-class state of mind.
Sonia Solomonson blogs about ear-to-mouth ratio.
Andrea Pohlmann (right) blogs about media restraint in sacred spaces.

Worship opinions needed

Participate in an upcoming cover story in The Lutheran by responding to one or more of these questions:

1. Worship: What do congregational members want? What do worshipers need?
2. Worship in ELCA congregations varies, but essential elements remain. What are those elements for you?
3. How do we both honor traditional liturgy and make room for other worship styles?

Respond (500 words or less) via e-mail to julie.sevig@thelutheran.org by May 20.

Please include your congregation, city and state.

Or respond online ...

The April issue of The Little Lutheran has arrived:

The Little LutheranDon't let them miss another issue.
The Little Lutheran helps children 6 and younger learn about God's love for them and the world in which they live. It teaches them about Jesus, their friend and savior.
Subscribe today ...

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