I have mapped out a Spring schedule for myself where I will attend events across several different venues of Lutheranism. I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and I am attempting to get a feel for what my fellow Lutherans are thinking and doing.
On Mondays and Tuesdays I am noon recess supervisor ('Recess Dude') at King of Grace Lutheran School in Golden Valley. Because Word Alone was meeting across town at Calvary, I decided to ask for an excuse from my duty today so that I might attend the convention.
My own Lutheran experiences are limited to 52 years of membership in the ELS and 15 years in the LCMS. I understand more about the conservative side of Lutheranism than I do about the ELCA . I learned a thing or two about ELCAism today.
Dissidence and dissatisfaction with church leadership is not new to Lutherans. Just yesterday Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times that people should not confuse the Vatican for the real Catholic church. The Vatican is that all-male hierarchy that Kristof describes as "a modern echo of the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized." The real church is "the grass-roots that does far more good in the world than it ever gets credit for. This is the church that supports extraordinary aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Caritas, saving lives every day, and that operates superb schools that provide needy children an escalator out of poverty."
The Word Alone people have been at odds with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for several years. Most recently and most dramatically the ELCA last year voted to allow individual churches to ordain homosexuals into the ministry if they were in a committed relationship. The ELCA took this action to accommodate those who sincerely believed that it was proper so to do.
The theme of the convention was "It's a New Day." The ELCA has forced many of its faithful members to think through their membership in their church. Actions are being taken to form a new church body outside of the ELCA. Of course the ELCA hierarchy (65 bishops) is opposed to any disruption of the organized church and is actively working to undercut the credibility of any who oppose them. The New Day is the formation of a new church.