Wednesday, June 5, 2013

You Lutherans and Your Memorized Prayer

"You Lutherans and your memorized prayers" was what was said in that derogatory tone which was masked with false joking. It didn't fool me. It also didn't surprise me, not was it wrong. Growing up Lutheran, I had the table prayer, the Lords prayer, the bedtime prayer, and a few others memorized before I started preschool. Creeds and commandments and the books of the Bible - these were all required to be memorized as we grew up in the church.

Perhaps I should point out now that I hate memorized prayer. And memorized Bible verses. And memorized anything. Memorization on it's own is meaningless.

But anyway, this post is not on the downfalls and inherit dangers of memorization. It's on the stereotyping of Lutherans and other denominations. One of my biggest issues with religion (Christianity) is the emphasis we put on the denominations. Each faction thinks they're better than the rest. Each faction has nuances which set them apart from the rest. Each faction sees flaws in the rest.

I'm no better. As a Lutheran turned Missouri Synod Lutheran turned United Church of Christ turned anti-church turned Lutheran... I've seen the ins and ours and whatnot of a few denominations. The main reason I turned from the church is that I just couldn't understand all the insults aimed at other denominations. I still don't understand the "oh, you're Baptist"... "ah, you're a Lutheran... that makes sense..." It makes no sense to me. Aren't we all believing in the same God? Don't we all believe Jesus died for our sins? Don't we all know that God is full of love and grace for us?

Is it any wonder that people so often turn from the church? People want to worship the Lord without the politics. People want to praise God without having to follow policy. People don't want to have pastors of other denominations insulting them for their way of worship by making statements such as "You Lutherans and your memorized prayers" as if this is a horrible thing.

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