Are Lutherans Humor-Impaired? Or Mean? You Be the Judge!

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So Father Hollywood, aka Larry Beane, is a confessional LCMS pastor down in NOLA. (If you’re reading this in Belize, then it would be up in NOLA.) He has a blog of his own and also contributes to the group blog Gottesdienst Online. (Gottesdienst is German for Weltanschauung. Oddly, Weltanschauung is German for “He who waxes on but not off.” I don’t get it either.)

Anyhoo, Father H noticed something he had not noticed before, that the LCMS.org church-locator feature includes a drop-down menu that allows you to narrow your church/parish search by “type of service.”

Here was his take on it:

This could be a helpful feature, considering the “box of chocolates” nature of our Synod — you never know what you’re going to walk into on Sunday morning. So, you might expect when you “filter by service” you would see certain fields in the drop-down box, maybe a list like this:

TRADITIONAL
CONTEMPORARY
BLENDED
AGING HIPPY
DANCING GIRLS
SMELLS AND BELLS
NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD
PAGE FIVE NO CHANTING
FRUITY EMERGENT RELEVANT

or perhaps:

HIGH MASS
LOW MASS
NO MASS
NO MAS
NO
NOOOOOOO!

… or some such.

Worth a giggle, right? I thought so. Well, hit the comboxes and see how the “humor impaired” responded.

Fr. Hollywood, I feel your pain. (Although, to be honest, less than I used to. Most of my crew get the joke, which is why they come here in the first place. Those who don’t usually flee quickly to less-snarky climes, assuming their parole officers are cool with that.)

Oh, and by the way, did you know that “Lutherans are mean“? This was what the decidedly unmean Peter Leithart took away from James C. Burkee’s Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod, a look at the war between confessional/traditionalist and liberal/higher-critic types in the 60s and early 70s. (And I believe Pastor Leithart’s crack about a “kinder, gentler world of Presbyterianism” was meant to be ironic. If you know what the PCA has put him through for his Federal Vision views, you get the joke.)

Here’s also a Lutheran Forum take on the book. (Note that my old boss and late friend Richard John Neuhaus was the editor of the Forum for many years. He left the LCMS during the contretemps dissected in Power, Politics. In fact, most of the Lutherans I encountered during my time at First Things were ELCA, but of a decidedly more traditionalist hue than you’d expect to find in an ELCA congregation. What that meant in the context of women’s ordination and open communion proved the occasion of many interesting discussions, both behind closed doors and in the pages of the journal.)

Martin Noland reviews the book here.

I have not yet read Burkee’s book, and after reading Noland’s review, I have no great desire to. Herman Otten was the father of “conservatism” in the LCMS? Anyone who would put such a ludicrous statement down on paper deserves to go unread. Herman Otten is a Holocaust-denying nut who was denied ordination in the LCMS. (To call him a fundamentalist is too kind. So is calling him a mere crank. But this is a family blog.) We used to get his Christian News in the office. If you ever dig up a copy, you’ll find yourself burying it again quickly, and you may never stop washing your hands.

Also note that the book is published by Fortress Press, an arm of the ELCA, which is a now-crumbling amalgamation of middle-of-the-road and liberal denominations, so I think it would be wise to take the conclusions about the good guys and bad guys with a grain of salt.

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