Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Well, really, I shouldn't be using the Minnesota Lutheran dialect because I was in Queens, NYC, but hey, they're all Lootruns to me, y'know? (Having been raised Missouri Synod Lutheran, I think I can get away with this.)

My absence from the blog was because I went out to Queens to visit one of my many "extended family members", who, for purposes of anonymity, I'll simply call Pastor. (Hey, when I was a kid, I thought that was EVERY Lutheran minister's first name, anyway.) Pastor was an assistant minister at another church in Queens for several years, then took a call to a parish on the other side of the borough three years ago. For purposes of this blog, I'll call her church St. Elsewhere.

The history of St. Elsewhere is very fascinating. It was originally in a German/Swedish neighborhood (many of the stained glass windows and church fixtures have German inscriptions and are dated in the 1910's.) Subsequently, the neighborhood has literally morphed into the most racially diverse zip code in the United States. Pastor's church membership reflects this; I am guessing roughly eight or ten nationalities are represented in the pews on a given Sunday. This, of course, is absolutely fascinating to me, living here in 95% white Kirksville!

But to make a long story short, Pastor, being originally from the Midwest herself, finds it frustrating at times that New Yorkers, whether they are native or immigrant New Yorkers, tend to think repairs always need to be done by "hired help". Her old church could use a lot of "little fix-it work." Her Synod recently paid for a major internal renovation, but this did not include the "little things." In order to encourage her flock that, yes, these little "fix-it" jobs could be done by willing parish she imported a Missourian to come out and do a little handy work in the company of the flock for a short spell.

It was a fun visit. I think the locals found me as "exotic" as I found them. Also, (and I would not say this out loud at Trinity much) I will confess that although I realize that theologically, my mind better fits Anglicanism, there are parts of being Lutheran I really miss. Although I have no love for the theology of the LCMS, had there been an ELCA Lutheran church in Kirksville, I may well have never ended up at Trinity.

Lutherans by and large, sing "prettier hymns." Traditional Episcopal hymns all sound a lot alike to me. They also seem to be a little heavy on sea storms and shipwrecks. Lutherans tend to like hymns by Bach, Handel, etc. Maybe I just grew up liking more "Teutonic worship music." Lutherans also tend to have more sinful food at coffee hour. Coffee hour at Pastor's church is especially delightfully wicked because all the different cultures bring a variety of sinful treats to the table!

But then, on the other hand, I realize there are parts of Lutheranism I don't miss, even in the more liberal ELCA variety. The concept of "Lutheran grace" can get a little heavy sometimes, and since I am a person who has a tendency to beat myself over the head with the "I suck" stick, the one thing I can thank Episcopal theology for is to look a little more at the Resurrection as my source of salvation rather than the death/atonement part of the story. Ditto for the confession of sin. Even ELCA Lutherans say they are "captive to sin" in the General Confession. Granted, that's a lot better than "...and we justly deserve your present and eternal punishment" schtick I used to have to say in the LCMS. But again, I like to belive that the Resurrection freed me from being a captive to any of that.

I did laugh because one of my old childhood bugaboos came back to haunt my thoughts while sitting in Pastor's church. In the Lutheran church, you do the confession of sin at the very beginning of the worship service. As a child, I used to fret over this, because I figured that gave me 30-45 minutes to think more sinful thoughts and thereby negate my confession, and not be "pure" when I approached the rail at communion time. One of the things I still laugh to myself at Trinity, since the General Confession in the Episcopal church comes much later in the service, is that I have far less time to think those evil thoughts and stand a better chance at "rail purity." (big smile and wink here)...

But we all said the confession and immediately I thought, "Oh, DAMN! It's like the old days! I have a half hour or better to sit here without sinning!"



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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