decolonizeI’m excited that some folks have taken the initiative to put together a Decolonize Lutheranism inaugural event: #decolonize16, being held at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, October 22.

I’m taking time for this in a busy month because the world needs the voice of the church set free from its bondage to culture. Our church, which is predominantly white Anglo-Saxon, needs to embrace the gifts of the broader multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic, multigender, multifaceted church, for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the world. We need to be freed from our Babylonian captivity.

I recently asked a group what it meant to be Lutheran. “You might be Lutheran if your name is taped to the bottom of your casserole dish,” came as the very first response. This answer would have been totally unintelligible to Samuel Ndanga-Toue, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic. Likewise to Pedro Bullón, President of the Lutheran Church of Peru. We have confused our faith with our culture.

If we define Lutheranism by jello salad, lutefisk, or any of the accoutrements of Midwestern U.S. or Northern-European culture, we are nothing but a race-based church body, which is antithetical to the gospel. Let’s reclaim the role of our tradition, as a reform movement within the church catholic, committed to the God who in Christ, justifies us by pure grace, through faith, then fills us with the Spirit to freely love and serve God and neighbor.

If you want to listen to a podcast that humorously explores our dilemma, check out To Hell With The Hot Dish episode #2.

Or come join us on a beautiful fall day in Chicago.

Or donate to the cause.