Friday, November 02, 2007

"This isn't your grandfather's synod"

Since cliches are used to stop conversation, they usually have a number of underlying assumptions going on behind them. Which ones are going on with this cliche?

1. The people addressed are those who are not new to the LCMS. It has no meaning to me: one of my grandfathers was a nominal Methodist, and the other a Southern Baptist. I didn't become a Lutheran until I was 23. No one else in my family is Lutheran. But the upper leadership of the LCMS is ingrown, and this is a good example of this very real problem. Those hearing this cliche are expected to have had family going back several generations who knew the LCMS as it was.

2. The second underlying assumption is that newcomers (I refuse to use the word "converts" when referring to those -- like myself -- who came into Lutheranism by adult instruction when we were already baptized Christians) are not welcome to the particular debate. This cliche marginalizes those without the extensive family connections that rule much of the top leadership of American (not just LCMS) Lutheran church bodies.

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