Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let the Brainstorming Begin!

People are starting to think about their signs. What will these pieces of cardboard say about their faith and the way they live it out loud? How will they show their Christianity and Lutheranism using only a few words on a simple sign? I love listening to people brainstorm.

Some are proud of our romance with good food and coffee, fellowship hour and potlucks. Others are embracing the way we hold everything in tension - living in between the already and the not yet. One is quoting a hymn and another is pointing to liturgy as the reason her faith is woven throughout her life.

So what are you going to write on your sign? What do you want to write, but you know you can't fit it all on a sign? And what kind of conversations will grow out of the brainstorming process? I can't wait to hear more.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's that simple.

After suggesting this idea to many on Facebook, I was asked to make the information more widely accessible by starting a blog or making a poster. Well, I did both. I hope this can be a place for people and congregations to gather excitement and ideas as we prepare for September 10th.

More than 350 church leaders and Lutherans of every kind have agreed to participate so far. Most are in the Minneapolis area like me, but some are really brave and plan to hold signs in the Bay Area, rural North Dakota, Texas and Connecticut. That's pretty exciting.

Whether you stand on a corner 500 miles from the nearest person participating or just down the street, we're all bound to feel a little bit silly and a little bit brave. That's the point.

So if you wish to find us on Facebook, it's an open event page called...you guessed it: Living Lutheran Creed. If you want a flyer to use as you make plans in your community, you can find it on the homepage of my congregation's website: www.stjohnsmpls.org. Then again, I made it in Microsoft Publisher 2003 while rocking my kid to sleep and you can probably make an even cooler one yourself. (Note that there's open space on the poster to list a local time and place to gather for sign making.)

It's tempting to try and over explain this event - people want a lot of information. Some are looking for approval from their synod office or more details than I care to provide. But I'm doing my best to keep it simple. Make this event unique to your community while trusting that the same basic idea is happening all over the country.

Have fun planning and leave your comments here as you make plans for 9-10-11. It's exciting to hear the creative ideas folks are eager to share!

What do you mean "Living Lutheran Creed"?

Lutherans often describe their congregations with words like 'friendly', 'welcoming' or 'hospitable'. Super and probably true, but I consider this to be part of our Lutheran problem. These are lovely but reactionary descriptions of God's people. They all require others to make the first move.

It's hard to initiate - to meet people outside, to tell our story, to be proud proclaimers when our (spiritual) heritage prefers stoicism and quiet humility. But maybe it would be easier and FUN to practice making that first move together.

What if a bunch of Lutherans - I mean a bunch - all make signs stating something we believe in and all stand on corners in our neighborhoods on the same day at the same time? What if church and community leaders got people together with markers and pieces of used cardboard to talk about what we stand for and what our faith means? And what if we all got outside our walls at the same time forming a really, really big creed?

And what if people bump into it? People will drive by, see us and have all kinds of reactions. They might notice that we were holding messages of abundance in spots that usually scream scarcity or that instead of asking for money, we're just saying something that's true. They might be annoyed. Or they might be curious. We might be awkward. Or we might be awakened.

So I'm throwing it out there. Tell your synod office. Put it in your church newsletter. Make it your own - the idea is vague and that's the whole point. This experiment has just two goals:

1) To stretch us. Standing outside inviting other people to notice us because of our faith might feel scary or strange. We might draw a blank when figuring out what to write on our signs...and that might spark important conversations. But if a bunch of us try it together and then share our stories, it could be really really interesting. I'll make sure a blog or Facebook page is born so people can share photos and experiences - perhaps encouraging a second outing.

2) To many non-Lutherans, we are simply potluck people who listen to Garrison Keillor. Showing people driving/walking/biking by that we are more than a culture - we are people of faith - couldn't hurt.

So I propose a date for those who wish to join in. Saturday, September 10th (10am-noon CST). The next morning is Sunday and everyone will be figuring out what to do with the fact that 9/11 happened ten years ago. I can't think of a better way to be 'friendly' and 'welcoming' and 'hospitable' than by meeting people where they are the day before and reminding them that Church is a people and place where we hash this stuff out. Of course, any day will do.

Any takers? I sure hope so.
But if it's just me and my kid standing near a freeway ramp, that's still something.