30 June 2009

What Our Synod Needs

[the following posted by Fr. Larry Peters on the ALPB forum yesterday; I thought it extremely well said, and repost it here with his permission. He posted this at the exact time I wrote the piece below on the diaconate from an entirely different context of conversations - go figure. We channel each other so much it's spooky.]

What Missouri needs most of all is not a new program or a new structure or a new confession. What we need is enthusiastic confidence in our Confessions, a vibrant and Eucharistic liturgical life that values and uses the richness of the tradition and the very best of today, and a passionate concern for the life of the people gathered around the Word and Table of the Lord and for those not yet gathered there...

We do not need to make a fine strainer for the sake of purity but neither do we need the kind of freedom which plants Lutheran congregations that eschew the name, the identity, the catechetical life, and the Eucharist. We do not need to be missional to the exclusion of our identity and confession -- the mission of the Church flows naturally from taking serious who we are as the Church and what God has called us to be and to do in (but not of) the world.

We do not need to borrow from business models but we do need faithful and wise stewardship to maximize the use of all the resources God has entrusted to us. We do not need closed doors and secrecy but transparency and open conversation. We do not need to return to some golden age of Missouri nor do we need to redefine Missouri so that it bears no resemblance to its past. We need a renewed church -- renewed by her confession, renewed in her baptismal vocation, and renewed in her life nurtured and fed by the Gospel and the Sacraments.

We do not need more professional church workers (at any level) but faithful Pastors and lay leaders who will challenge and inspire the people in the pew. We do not need administrators but we do need real bishops who live and teach what they confess. We do not need to define the world today through the lens of a parochial confession like the Brief Statement but press our confessional identity to respond to modern challenges and changes with the same vitality and bold confidence which were once the hallmarks of our Lutheran identity.

We do not need a new name but we need to make the current name synonymous with good preaching and liturgy, with welcoming communities of faith, with congregations living in solid relationship and partnership, and with a sense that we have something to offer the world -- a life changing message of hope called the theology of the cross...

We need to re-examine old ideas (prior to 1847) and see how a revived diaconate may bless the Church today (a permanent diaconate which works in complimentary relationship with the Pastoral Office and not as some substitute for it. We need people who are as quick to enter the conversation and earnestly work for the kingdom as they are quick to sit on the sidelines and critique the work and conversation of others ...

And just maybe the ELCA needs exactly the same thing....

3 comments:

-C said...

"And just maybe the ELCA needs exactly the same thing...."

Yes, and a bit more than this.

Matthias Flacius said...

We need to reexamine old ideas (like from the sixteenth century and even before). As a historian I wholeheartedly endorse this concept.

This is very well written.

J.G.F. said...

Larry is so on target.

Thank you for sharing this.