There is an old story about a preacher who got up early on a snowy Sunday morning and went into church. Because it was so snowy outside, many people did not show up – in fact, there was only one person who did, an old farmer. The preacher waited the customary 5 minutes for any late arrivers to show up. The preacher then waited another 10. Still just the old farmer.
So the preacher looked at the old farmer and said, “Well, it’s just you and me, should we go ahead or cancel?”
The farmer looked at the preacher and said, “Well preacher, I don’t know much, but I know that if I went out to the field with a truckful of feed for my cattle, and only one showed up, well I would feed that animal.”
“Alright then,” answered the preacher. He donned his robe and stole and led worship for him and this other man. When it came time for the sermon, the preacher felt so excited for the text that he ended up preaching a good 10 minutes longer than his normal sermons were.
At the end of the service, the preacher was shaking the farmer’s hand at the church door as the farmer was heading back to his home. “What didja think?” the preacher asked the farmer.
“Well preacher, I don’t know much, but I know that if one animal showed up for the feed, I wouldn’t give it the whole truckload.”
Meaning well, but probably not executing perfectly, I feel like I gave you a truckload of feed for Christmas. I tried explaining Luther’s “Two Kinds of Righteousness” on Christmas Eve, but it was a little much. I ask for your forgiveness if it was unclear or hard to digest. However, I don’t apologize for the content — this “Two Kinds of Righteousness” stuff is important if you’re going to understand how our Lutheran theology is distinctive. (I’m just going to be working on how to get that information across in a sermon.)
Because we believe that things like “Two Kinds of Righteousness” are important, University Lutheran is launching a new website called “What is a Lutheran?” ( http://whatisalutheran.com ). This website will go along with our Annual Focus (What Does This Mean?) that is attempting to bring people into conversations about the meaning of Christianity from a Lutheran perspective.
We believe that our theology is important. There is certainly a place for humility when you’re considering your own theology – you dare not pretend that you know the entire mind of God. However, as I’ve told people in the past, if I didn’t think Lutheran theology was worth anything, I’d be an idiot to be a Lutheran pastor. We want you and your neighbor to be able to find the worth in this theology that we have stewardship of.
We also want you to help in two possible ways:
- Ask questions – What has confused you about Lutheran theology or practice? What still confuses you? What questions have your neighbors and friends asked you? If you’ve had or heard those questions, someone else is probably wondering about them. We want to answer them. Email or tell Pastor Jay or just go to http://whatisalutheran.com and hit the “Ask a Question” button at the top of the page.
- Help us write and edit – We want this resource to be accessible and written from the perspective of someone who does not have an advanced degree in theology. If you would like to write or review the things that we’re writing on the site, please let Pastor Jay know.
We’re looking forward to this website being helpful not only to our own church, but to people all over the United States, both Lutherans and those who have questions about Lutherans. Help us make that a reality.