The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Being Lutheran isn't always easy

As a lifelong Lutheran, I didn't question my beliefs much or think about how they fit in with those around me. I was a Christian—but not a Roman Catholic—and that was all anyone seemed to notice. As a Lutheran living in a denominationally mixed area, I had a pretty easy time fitting in.

All of that changed when I moved to Utah—a state with an overwhelming majority of Mormons. Now I live in a community where I stand out, not because I'm a Lutheran but simply because I'm not Mormon. When I was preparing to move to Utah, I jokingly told folks that I was going there to double the Lutheran population.

Living as a member of a religious minority in an area with such an influential religious majority might seem, at first, like a bad thing. But this challenge has, in many ways, made me take a deeper look at what being a Lutheran means. Outside of my comfort zone, I've had to examine more closely my beliefs and the beliefs of the Lutheran faith—and how these compare to those of the Mormon faith. This examination has led me to understand why I am a Lutheran, what beliefs I hold dear and why I could never convert to Mormonism. No matter how many times Mormon missionaries appear at my doorstep, I feel prepared to defend my faith.

Strength in my defense comes in many ways from my small Lutheran church in Utah. As Lutherans we are made aware on a daily basis that we are different. (The simple act of drinking a cup of coffee or an alcoholic beverage sets us apart.) Being different isn't always easy. It takes courage to live out the Lutheran faith and find a way to be comfortable being different. Yet being different also brings us closer together and makes us stronger. We feel, perhaps, more of a need to reach out to others in our community. We feel, perhaps, more of a desire to hold religious services and functions that embrace aspects of other denominations, such as Presbyterian and Episcopalian.

Being Lutheran in Utah isn't always easy. But we know what makes us Lutheran. And we aren't afraid to work with those of other faiths in the service of God.


This week's front page features:

cover2How to reach people (who don't tune in to Sundays): (right) Offer a 'Multichannel Church.'

Cream & sugar?: What would you like with your cup of justice?

Practicing forgiveness: It's how you'll let go of burdens and increase compassion.

Lutherland today: Journeying to Germany's historic sites.

Also: Focus on big picture.

Also: 'Praying in Color: Kid's Edition.'

Also: Post-assembly ecumenism.

Read these articles at our front page ...

Discuss the multichannel church

Tom ErichOct. 6-13: Join Tom Ehrich (right) to discuss reaching people who don't participate in church activities on Sunday.

Consider reading "How to reach people who don't tune in to Sundays " before joining in. 


This week on our blogJulie

Julie Sevig (right) blogs about insomnia.

Check out our staff blog ...



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