Author Topic: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths  (Read 22941 times)

Steverem

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"Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« on: July 27, 2015, 02:31:51 PM »
Figured someone would see this article and post - might as well be me.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

The Lutheran churches (yes, plural) are officially the whitest churches in the country.

Charles Austin

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 02:43:21 PM »
No surprise there.  But at least some of us are trying.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

scott8

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2015, 02:44:20 PM »
Figured someone would see this article and post - might as well be me.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

The Lutheran churches (yes, plural) are officially the whitest churches in the country.

Woo-hoo!  We're 25% more diverse than the ELCA!

 :o  ::)

LutherMan

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 03:14:24 PM »
So much for ELCA's lofty quota diversity system that was set in place when the church was formed back in '88.

Guess it must have failed...

Steverem

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 03:16:21 PM »
So much for ELCA's lofty quota diversity system that was set in place when the church was formed back in '88.

Guess it must have failed...

Glass houses, my friend ...

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 03:18:14 PM »
But at least some of us are trying.

I know, right?  I braved the St. Louis heat and humidity on Saturday along with family members and at least 50-60 other volunteers from local LCMS churches to distribute about 1,400 backpacks filled with food to residents of Ferguson.  [A total of 13 tons of food were distributed through 2,300 backpacks, some given to North St. Louis residents through local VBS programs in addition to this event].  We held a mini-VBS and offered thousands of freeze pops (to beat the heat) to visitors, as well.

Thanks to a grant from a community foundation, LCMS Urban and Inner City Mission along with LCMS Black Ministry coordinated the mini-VBS and food distribution at the event (LCMS members will recognize the logo on the blue backpacks at the 1:40 mark of the video).  I read estimates that anywhere from 2,000-4,000 residents attended this free community event.  What a blessing to be a part of this Day of Hope and experience a recently-divided community work shoulder-to-shoulder with no regard to race to bring hope to Ferguson.

Contrary to popular opinion by some posters, we in the LCMS actually DO work outside of our own walls to extend mercy to our neighbors.  On that note, I've got a non-Lutheran pastor to call back to discuss the successful partnership we forged on Saturday.

James_Gale

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 03:32:37 PM »
Figured someone would see this article and post - might as well be me.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

The Lutheran churches (yes, plural) are officially the whitest churches in the country.

Woo-hoo!  We're 25% more diverse than the ELCA!

 :o ::)


I attribute the difference to the adverse and unintended consequences of the ELCA's quota system.  You see, in order to satisfy these quotas, every non-European member of an ELCA congregation is obligated to attend his or her synod assembly and the churchwide assembly.  Like anyone else, people of color do whatever they can to avoid this horror.


Rumor has it that a group of non-European ELCA members is considering legal action against the ELCA, arguing that the quota amounts to racial discrimination, imposing the cruel hardship of assembly attendance upon a much higher percentage of racial minorities than of whites.

Charles Austin

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 03:50:12 PM »
 One of the good and noble things about Missouri Synod history was its outreach to and and in black communities.  The rest of us were not so energetic and intentional in doing that.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

DCharlton

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 04:13:33 PM »
I still believe that until we learn how to reach whites who are not ethnic Lutherans, we'll have even less success reaching the other demographic groups in the survey. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 04:34:07 PM »
The fact that American Lutheranism is so overwhelmingly white is a major issue that we have yet to fully engage. I cannot speak to efforts by the ELCA but Missouri is working to reach out to all demographics.

Our Concordia College Alabama is the only historically African American Lutheran college. It struggles financially but the other Concordias are coming alongside of Alabama to ensure its survival and continued ministry.

Our Synod's Urban Ministry, under the leadership of Pastor Steve Schave, is reaching into minority communities with both mercy for physical suffering (e.g. Ferguson) and the proclamation of the Gospel.

My own Concordia University Chicago is now around 58% white, 24% Hispanic, 15% African American with the rest of the student body of other ethnicities or "none stated." (These are based on recent years - it will be about the same this coming year). Our mission is a liberal arts education grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every student is exposed to our Lutheran theology while here. It is our privilege to be His instruments to do what He chooses to do.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 04:56:48 PM »
The more things change...


Five years ago on another thread ;) I recalled Presiding Bishop Hanson speaking about these goals during the Q&A session of the 2006 Hein-Fry Lectures at LSTC.  He noted that in the prior year (2005) the ELCA had, for the first time, made measurable progress in the goal to reach 10% POCOLOTEs by 1997.

But he could not resist immediately quipping something along the lines of, "Of course, that's because the white folks are leaving faster."


The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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George Erdner

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 12:33:59 PM »
This simply proves, once again, that the Lutheran faith tradition is a "tribal" church. We're pretty much clueless about attracting visitors, and even when we try, other Lutherans usually denounce evangelism efforts. We tend to stand on the concept that it is the Holy Spirit's job to convince people to "Come and See", not ours. The ELCA makes a big deal out of the slogan "God's work, our hands", but only with regards to projects like Habitat for Humanity or food banks. Not that those aren't good and worthy acts of Christian charity, to be pursued with vigor because they serve God's people. They are indeed good and proper things for a church to engage in. But when it comes to encouraging people to hear the Gospel rightly preached and the Sacraments properly administered, we throw up our hands in despair and don't even try.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 12:51:26 PM »
Mr. Erdner!  Good to see you here again!!!

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 12:52:07 PM »
Indeed!
Don Kirchner

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DCharlton

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Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 12:52:53 PM »
This simply proves, once again, that the Lutheran faith tradition is a "tribal" church. We're pretty much clueless about attracting visitors, and even when we try, other Lutherans usually denounce evangelism efforts. We tend to stand on the concept that it is the Holy Spirit's job to convince people to "Come and See", not ours. The ELCA makes a big deal out of the slogan "God's work, our hands", but only with regards to projects like Habitat for Humanity or food banks. Not that those aren't good and worthy acts of Christian charity, to be pursued with vigor because they serve God's people. They are indeed good and proper things for a church to engage in. But when it comes to encouraging people to hear the Gospel rightly preached and the Sacraments properly administered, we throw up our hands in despair and don't even try.

Nice to hear from you George.  We are a tribal Church.  The tendency to lump all people of European ancestry in the category of "non-Hispanic white" only confuses the matter.  Lutherans have never been particularly interested in reaching people of Irish, Scottish, English, Scotch-Irish, French, Italian, Polish, French Canadian, Russian, and dozens of other nationalities.  Why do we think we will be any better reaching people of African, Asian or Latin American ancestry?

My friend Jim Corgee often asks why the Lutheran church targets Black baptists for conversion but not Italian Roman Catholics.  First of all, is it our job to proselytize members of other churches?  Secondly, why target one non-Lutheran ethnic group but not the other?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 12:54:36 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?