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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Medium Is the Message

Let me begin by saying that I am not perfect and I do not always get everything right. Also, there are probably times I make doctrinally confusing missteps in my leading of Divine Service as well. My hypothesis is that I believe not everyone is cognizant in making the connection between the medium and the message nor doctrine and practice. My Sunday worship experience will help illustrate my hypothesis. I do not believe there was any ill intent in certain messages that were subtly presented in the church we visited, and it is more than likely that ninety-five percent of people attending did not perceive the messages I did.

So, we go to visit a sister congregation for church on Sunday. This particular congregation has a beautiful new sanctuary. When we enter the sanctuary, we see a very large beautiful wooden cross hanging from the high ceiling over the altar. To the right of the altar is the beautiful baptismal font and to the right is a beautiful pulpit. From this sight one’s first impression concerning the doctrine of this church would be that this is a church there the sacrament of Holy Baptism, the Sacrament of the Altar and the preaching of the Word of God are central, not to mention Holy Absolution. The pews all contained new copies of the church hymnal giving the impression that the hymnal was regarded as a useful tool for Divine Service. The other positive from this service was that the pastor’s sermon was a good sermon consisting of law and a wonderful proclamation of the good news of the Gospel.

With the positives stated, it is unfortunate that these positive messages were confused with other negative messages. As we noted the central doctrinal message of the font, altar and pulpit, we also noted the entertainment message of the screens on both sides on the front walls, both displaying much of what was in the worship folder. Unfortunately, only some of the hymns in the worship folder were from the hymnal in the pew which was not used at all. Instead, the worship service was filled with other “liturgical” aberrations. One of the most interesting and doctrinal befuddlements was the fact that the female lay reader read all the lessons, including the Gospel lesson from the pulpit, but the pastor preached from in front of the altar.

I guess I am just frustrated with the fact that we cannot understand the unity that comes from uniformity in doctrine and practice. For all who call for diversity, do we not realize that the word “diversity” contains the word divide, not unite; thus there truly is not unity in diversity, rather there is division in diversity. At one time we all spoke the same liturgy at somewhat the same time across the Lutheran congregations of America and even in other countries. Can you imagine that amount of unity before God. Now God hears a mishmash of voices and “liturgies” rather than a unity. This experience has strengthened my resolve to be more perceptive in my own planning processes and in taking care of presenting the right message, through the right medium, and in teaching others the importance of our Lutheran doctrine and how it is seen in Lutheran practice, so that there might one day again be unity.

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