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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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October 9, 2007

What would you say?

The Wichita Eagle posed five questions to Jackie Volbrecht, a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kan. The first question was: “Why are you a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) denomination?” Her response: “I am a member of the ELCA because of their emphasis on grace, which is extremely important to me because I know I need it. I believe God has totally forgotten the ‘wild child’ of my youth and works through the new me! ....”

I was first amazed that a newspaper asked this question, especially since religion pages and writers are disappearing. But I’m glad they did. It’s always good to reflect on why we are members of the ELCA and, more important, why we are Lutheran.

The Lutheran often hears from pastors who want help in teaching the basics of our faith to parishioners who weren’t born Lutheran and those who need a refresher course. That’s why we did a cover story on “Lutheranism 101,” which is still downloaded frequently from our Web site. I’m sure “Lutheranism 202” isn’t far behind. And in November, we take a look at Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (will be online Oct. 23).

As a pastor’s kid, it’s probably not surprising—or maybe it is—that I’m proud to be a Lutheran. But this article made me think about those new to the church and those who aren’t. It raised questions. Why does someone become Lutheran—or stay Lutheran? Does it matter if you’re Lutheran or is attending a church you like more important than the denomination? How many people even know they belong to the ELCA? If, like
Volbrecht, someone asked you why you’re a member of the ELCA, what would you say?

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