Sunday, April 26, 2020

Church

After I started dating my girlfriend, she invited me to attend her Lutheran church. I grew up in a Pentecostal evangelical denomination of Christianity called the Assembly of God. It was a fundamentalist church and very different from a Lutheran church. Although I have never gone over to atheism, I have not regularly attended church in decades. It's been a significant change for me.

In the time of the Coronavirus disease COVID-19, the services have moved online. Currently they are not live-streaming but instead compile a web page with a series of video and audio recordings as well as scripture to be read. I have persisted with viewing these and it helps to provide some sense of normalcy.

https://www.sothflagstaff.org/WP/

When I was growing up, church was this marathon of religion that lasted for hours on Sunday morning and frequently ran over into the afternoon with prolonged, improvised sermons, altar calls, and much begging for money (beyond the tithe).

In contrast, Lutheran services are calm and run like clockwork. I find the "contemporary" Lutheran service to be extremely easy to attend.  They take almost exactly one hour and the "message," as they call their sermon, is rarely longer than about 10 minutes, usually less. The message is almost uniformly positive. Lutherans do not dwell much on sin, which is a change for me, and I struggle with it. My world view is constructed differently. The core of my personal Christianity is contained in the idea that sins are acts of evil and people must repent for them. Lutherans seem to believe in original sin, but do not place much emphasis on personal acts as individual sins.

I basically like the church although I do not consider myself Lutheran and not currently considering conversion. The return of church to my life is providing rhythm to my weeks and I find that helpful under the current circumstances.

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