Author Topic: Latinos converting to Protestantism  (Read 910 times)

peter_speckhard

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Latinos converting to Protestantism
« on: September 02, 2022, 09:09:20 AM »
https://www.axios.com/2022/08/25/latinos-catholic-protestant-religion-politics?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_medium=social

I think Lutherans should benefit from this social movement as evangelical catholic as opposed to Roman Catholic. But I don't think we will. Former Catholics will likely leapfrog Lutheranism into a Pentecostal and charismatic Evangelical churches that are decidedly less like Catholic than Lutheran denominations. 

John_Hannah

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2022, 09:16:53 AM »
https://www.axios.com/2022/08/25/latinos-catholic-protestant-religion-politics?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_medium=social

I think Lutherans should benefit from this social movement as evangelical catholic as opposed to Roman Catholic. But I don't think we will. Former Catholics will likely leapfrog Lutheranism into a Pentecostal and charismatic Evangelical churches that are decidedly less like Catholic than Lutheran denominations.

That is clearly what is happening. Everywhere by the thousands. Here in the Bronx, heavily Latino, it seems that every other block has an Hispanic Pentecostal storefront church.

Peace, JOHN
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2022, 09:20:07 AM »
https://www.axios.com/2022/08/25/latinos-catholic-protestant-religion-politics?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_medium=social

I think Lutherans should benefit from this social movement as evangelical catholic as opposed to Roman Catholic. But I don't think we will. Former Catholics will likely leapfrog Lutheranism into a Pentecostal and charismatic Evangelical churches that are decidedly less like Catholic than Lutheran denominations.

That is clearly what is happening. Everywhere by the thousands. Here in the Bronx, heavily Latino, it seems that every other block has an Hispanic Pentecostal storefront church.

Peace, JOHN
Some reporting suggests this religious phenomenon is actually what is driving the rightward shift in Latino politics, but I'm not sure I see why that should be. Whether Catholic or Protestant, those who attend and are active in church are more conservative, and those who are more culturally, non-participatory are more politically progressive. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2022, 09:53:27 AM »
It's an interesting phenomenon to be sure.  What's going on at the ground level is complex.  What is "cultural" in religious and social terms?  Cultural is Baptism of infants and First Communion and Confirmation and Quincaneras, fiestas to follow.  None of those favor a Pentecostal/charismatic approach theologically or practically with the diminution of fiestas of any kind.  So Lutherans, who are ok with festivity and are sacramental, would appear to have the upper hand. 

In an urban neighborhood it's all about buying and selling and going out of business and starting new businesses.  So an online listing of the churches in Cypress Hills will show three or four that no longer exist (two of them Lutheran), and an under-representation of house churches and storefront churches which are free-form/Pentecostal.  It will also sometimes demonstrate who's using the building that used to house another group - so the Methodist church now is a Ghanian African congregation, virtually all of prior Methodists having moved East, South or six feet under.  I would say the Pentecostal churches in this community of 75000 number in the dozens in actuality.  The three big RC congregations have morphed and merged from formerly six churches and six schools down to three of each.  And the Italians have been replaced by Latinos, no doubt.

That being said, there are way more Latino Catholics than Pentecostals, around the percentage represented in the article.  Because the leaders attract up to a certain number and then (usually) divide over leadership issues and/or the worker priest model.   And the Catholic cultural connection continues to work.

We always explain our difference from and connection to in the process of inviting or receiving Latino folks.  One of my great remembrances is going to a Novena for a neighbor and listening to one of our members deliver a prayer which thanked God for the life and eternal destiny of the departed, stated that Mary is full of grace because of the gift of the Father and Spirit of her Son who is also God's Son, and that we don't need to pray for the departed to be pulled through purgatory because the departed is already at peace with God forever.  All of this inside a prayer. 

Anyway, the Lutheran option is there, and includes all the sacramental connections, but (in my opinion) Latinos coming toward us desire
a) a faith community that is fervent and prayerful
b) a pastor who is available and personable
c) worship that is participatory and culturally inclusive

We could re-boot and re-energize, and should.  But that should have been happening all along the way - this is not a new phenomenon.
I'm not sure how they're training the workers in Latin America - all the photos I have seen are of seminarians and pastors in collars and religiously formal attire, even though a lot of the Catholic priests don't use those practices as much.

Dave Benke
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Terry W Culler

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2022, 10:43:16 AM »
If we want to have more Latino Lutherans we need to have more Spanish speaking pastors and we have to downplay the German/Norwegian/Swedish-ness which is still alive after all these years.  I remember a congregation in the Denver area which was smack dab in the middle of a subdivision built back when developers saw churches as an attraction whose attendance was declining because there "weren't as many Germans as there used to be."  Instead, the subdivision was now largely Hispanic.  They even had a Hispanic congregation meeting in their facility on Sunday afternoons.  To me the question wasn't "where should we move to" but what do we have to do to minister to the people who are surrounding us today

Lutheranism offers far more than all the Pentecostals and name it and claim it groups combined.  But we don't seem to truly know what to do to present that truth to people who are abandoning their tenuous ties to Rome.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2022, 11:25:33 AM »
Our last four Baptisms were for kids with Latino names, more specifically the family is biracial as are many of the younger families I'm working with. If you have a congregation that welcomes biracial families, they'll come to you. No Spanish necessary. (But I'd be happy to learn that language, too).

A lot has to do with location/proximity. Latinos moving to the States start out poor. They move into poor neighborhoods where they meet Pentecostals, who are on that end of the finances. Lutherans are middle income. As the Latinos become middle income, they move towards us, too. Get ready. They are hard working, wonderful people and are climbing the financial ladder fast!
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Dave Benke

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2022, 11:52:05 AM »
we have to downplay the German/Norwegian/Swedish-ness which is still alive after all these years. 

Which is a cultural sign of belonging to our tribe, not only here but around the globe.  The form of the Ordo is part of our DNA from the Church; hymnody, beats and methods of communicating the Gospel in word and deed can be adapted.

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2022, 11:59:17 AM »
We have several Hispanic families in the church, but they mostly came from an Hispanic Lutheran congregation that closed, so most of them were already Lutheran. We have a few that joined via the school. NW Indiana Hispanic Mission Society has a congregation in Valpo and one or two other preaching stations that we’ve supported, but but my sense is that many are content to stay Catholic, and those that aren’t are also not looking for “Catholic Lite” Lutheranism but hard core, experiential charismatic/Pentecostalism.

Dave Benke

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2022, 02:02:50 PM »
There are lots of miles between the experiential/charismatic Pentecostalism and Lutheranism.  In that space there is going to be room in our more contemporarily organized congregations for more boisterous expressions of God's grace received, and use of songs and hymns that are available in the Spanish language which express depth of gratitude inside reception of grace.  That's where Lutherans could be a wonderful home for Latinos alongside welcoming hospitality from the existing membership.  Carino y caridad.

In more global terms, under the heading "the boys from Brazil," there were very strong migrant groups who entered Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries in South America - Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina among them, who kind of mirrored the US in remaining connected by language culture and worship to the Vaterland.  Hence the hymnal Culto Cristiano is in many ways more Teutonic than TLH or the Lutheran Service Book.  In that sense Lutheran cultural and European heritage outpaced the duration of time in the New World.  You can see that in various locales in South America - Porto Alegre et al.  The Bavarian House is not only in Michigan and Wisconsin but well to the south.

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Mark_Hofman

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2022, 03:53:57 PM »
In more global terms, under the heading "the boys from Brazil," there were very strong migrant groups who entered Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries in South America - Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina among them, who kind of mirrored the US in remaining connected by language culture and worship to the Vaterland.  Hence the hymnal Culto Cristiano is in many ways more Teutonic than TLH or the Lutheran Service Book.  In that sense Lutheran cultural and European heritage outpaced the duration of time in the New World.  You can see that in various locales in South America - Porto Alegre et al.  The Bavarian House is not only in Michigan and Wisconsin but well to the south.

Dave Benke

Interesting you bring this up, Rev. Benke, since my own grandfather was one who spent over a decade in Brazil (the mountainous region of Espirito Santo) serving both indigenous and European immigrants in the '30s and 40's. During the Second World War he was interred under suspicion as were many Lutheran pastors, but part of the agreement reached with the government for release of the LCMS crew was that 1.) he not preach in German, but in Portuguese, and 2.) he support the government's drive to integrate immigrants into Brazilian culture and national identity by teaching them to speak and read Portuguese. My dad has been transcribing granddad's hand-written journals from that era into digital text for posterity, and I've also read some of the history of the IELB (Winterle) that describes this transition.  Still, there are photos accessible on the internet of the IELB congregation that was granddad's "home base" (six congregations and seven evangelistic preaching stations, if I recall, formed his 'parish'), of their 90th Anniversary. Hundreds of people celebrating, some of young men in lederhosen, but by all accounts speaking Portuguese. Cultural assimilation seem to flow both ways and cultural abandonment is hard.

And as far as skipping over Lutheranism to experience Pentecostalism goes, while that is definitely true there are other corners of the world (Africa, Pakistan) where the shine of Pentecostalism is wearing off and Pentecostal Christians - including Pentecostal pastors - are asking about Lutheran doctrine. When they see and hear it, the depth of curiosity increases. But, as the culturally Germanic people we are, we can't tolerate any sort of good thing happening and will probably find a way to kill that off.

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2022, 04:44:33 PM »
https://www.axios.com/2022/08/25/latinos-catholic-protestant-religion-politics?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_medium=social

I think Lutherans should benefit from this social movement as evangelical catholic as opposed to Roman Catholic. But I don't think we will. Former Catholics will likely leapfrog Lutheranism into a Pentecostal and charismatic Evangelical churches that are decidedly less like Catholic than Lutheran denominations.

Lutherans would need to become comfortable with two things we traditionally have wary of:  Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Pentecostalism.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2022, 05:25:57 PM »
In more global terms, under the heading "the boys from Brazil," there were very strong migrant groups who entered Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries in South America - Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina among them, who kind of mirrored the US in remaining connected by language culture and worship to the Vaterland.  Hence the hymnal Culto Cristiano is in many ways more Teutonic than TLH or the Lutheran Service Book.  In that sense Lutheran cultural and European heritage outpaced the duration of time in the New World.  You can see that in various locales in South America - Porto Alegre et al.  The Bavarian House is not only in Michigan and Wisconsin but well to the south.

Dave Benke

Interesting you bring this up, Rev. Benke, since my own grandfather was one who spent over a decade in Brazil (the mountainous region of Espirito Santo) serving both indigenous and European immigrants in the '30s and 40's. During the Second World War he was interred under suspicion as were many Lutheran pastors, but part of the agreement reached with the government for release of the LCMS crew was that 1.) he not preach in German, but in Portuguese, and 2.) he support the government's drive to integrate immigrants into Brazilian culture and national identity by teaching them to speak and read Portuguese. My dad has been transcribing granddad's hand-written journals from that era into digital text for posterity, and I've also read some of the history of the IELB (Winterle) that describes this transition.  Still, there are photos accessible on the internet of the IELB congregation that was granddad's "home base" (six congregations and seven evangelistic preaching stations, if I recall, formed his 'parish'), of their 90th Anniversary. Hundreds of people celebrating, some of young men in lederhosen, but by all accounts speaking Portuguese. Cultural assimilation seem to flow both ways and cultural abandonment is hard.

And as far as skipping over Lutheranism to experience Pentecostalism goes, while that is definitely true there are other corners of the world (Africa, Pakistan) where the shine of Pentecostalism is wearing off and Pentecostal Christians - including Pentecostal pastors - are asking about Lutheran doctrine. When they see and hear it, the depth of curiosity increases. But, as the culturally Germanic people we are, we can't tolerate any sort of good thing happening and will probably find a way to kill that off.

Great story - I want to read the Winterle volume.  When visiting Brazil maybe 15 years ago on a mission trip, we were introduced to an indigenous pastor working in the favelas in Rio, who spoke of the transition Lutherans were making with some difficulty even then to embrace their Brazilian national identity.  These things, it turns out, take time.

I also have seen pastors here in metro NY who were brought up in the free-form traditions asking both theological questions and worship substance questions, heading slowly around the corner toward Word and Sacrament as the primary option.  Again, these things take time!

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2022, 06:11:18 PM »
Whatever style of worship is used the celebrants have got to “mean it”- to express a sincere piety.

My folks met the “inventor” of the Charismatic Movement in the USA, Oral Roberts. He’d come to their Mom & Pop recording studio to “cut” a record. My Dad, who was cynical concerning religion said, “That guy seemed sincere.”
I’ve surprised myself at finding that Prosperity Gospel guy attractive in his sincerity and focus.

Like most of you I’ve attended liturgical worship where it’s so casual that the sense of being in the Presence is lost to all but the most pious.

What will attract folks seeking God are believers who are sincerely, well, excited about showing up for a worship service where it is fully expected that God will show up. Whether solemn (my preference) or rambunctious the worship needs sincerity and focus on Christ’s Real Presence.

Peter (Off to mass, where the first liturgical action is the priest kissing the altar- something special will happen here) Garrison

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2022, 07:44:28 PM »
Whatever style of worship is used the celebrants have got to “mean it”- to express a sincere piety.

My folks met the “inventor” of the Charismatic Movement in the USA, Oral Roberts. He’d come to their Mom & Pop recording studio to “cut” a record. My Dad, who was cynical concerning religion said, “That guy seemed sincere.”
I’ve surprised myself at finding that Prosperity Gospel guy attractive in his sincerity and focus.

Like most of you I’ve attended liturgical worship where it’s so casual that the sense of being in the Presence is lost to all but the most pious.

What will attract folks seeking God are believers who are sincerely, well, excited about showing up for a worship service where it is fully expected that God will show up. Whether solemn (my preference) or rambunctious the worship needs sincerity and focus on Christ’s Real Presence.


Oral Roberts had grown up Pentecostal. He was not the founder of the Charismatic movement, i.e., the presence of speaking in tongues and other spiritual gifts in mainline congregations. As Wiki points out:

The beginning of the charismatic movement is usually dated to Sunday, April 3, 1960, when Dennis J. Bennett, rector of St Mark's Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California recounted his Pentecostal experience to his parish, doing it again on the next two Sundays, including Easter (April 17), during which many of his congregation shared his experience, causing him to be forced to resign. The resulting controversy and press coverage spread an awareness of the emerging charismatic movement. The movement grew to embrace other mainline churches, where clergy began receiving and publicly announcing their Pentecostal experiences. These clergy began holding meetings for seekers and healing services which included praying over and anointing of the sick. The charismatic movement reached Lutherans and Presbyterians in 1962. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began in 1967 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Methodists became involved in the charismatic movement in the 1970s.

Bennett wrote about his experiences in Nine O'Clock in the Morning.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Latinos converting to Protestantism
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2022, 10:29:29 PM »
“He (Oral Robert’s) is considered one of the forerunners for the Charismatic Movement…”

Forerunner- even more charismatic’er.

Peter (Google’er than thou) Garrison
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