The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Column to focus on faithful living

Look beyond set of beliefs to our everyday experiences

Why in the world would anyone want to be a Lutheran Christian? Even if a person is born into the religious tradition we call Lutheranism, it is presumably escapable. Why do any of us want this life?

I'm asking this question in a most serious way. Many people don't know what to make of Lutheran Christians. They don't understand our character or grasp our instincts. They wonder what matters most to us. Perhaps you have struggled to make sense of this life of faith yourself.

For the next year and more, I'd like to embark on an extraordinary journey with you to answer this one question — Why in the world would anyone want to be a Lutheran Christian? It is going to be a pleasure to explore this question because the life of faith we call "Lutheran" happens to be a really good one. It's a precious life. It's a rich life, brimming with possibility in a religious world so hungry for thoughtfulness.

Here is the bargain, though: I want to probe this life through something other than the normal channels of theological inquiry.

We possess enough tenets, creeds and beliefs to be able to talk with each other for years on end. Have you noticed how people commonly revert to talk of beliefs when they're not sure how else to describe their faith? Anchoring a conversation in this way makes it easy to identify similarities or differences with others. Yet what if life in Christ is constituted by more than an adherence to certain beliefs? What might the experience of living the Lutheran Christian life look like? What is your experience of living a faithful life? This is where I want to concentrate the steps of our journey.

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