Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monocle Man On Volunteering and Lutherans


WARNING: First off, anyone wearing a monocle today should be viewed with suspicion. This gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous as is a blogger's wont, is not the kind of guy you'd invite to a party. If his 1,000 yard stare doesn't quickly put your shindig into an irreversible slide toward downersville, his jaded, dyspeptic personality soon will. So, dear reader, read his words with caution and a mojito, MVB's drink of choice, in hand.
  • Besides being number one in America for rudeness and road rage, it also turns out according to a story in the Miami Herald that we are also at the very bottom of a list of cities with the lowest volunteer rates. This news comes to us following an earlier report that Americans are the most giving people on the earth. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the highest rates of volunteerism is found in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area where four in 10 adults volunteer.
  • This got me to thinking about Lutherans. I use to be one. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is a hotbed for this faith. Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" has been using them for comic fodder on NPR for years. Lutherans mean well but the church has been on a long slow decline for decades. I did my best to hold on for years, but I finally gave up when I realized that, although rock 'n roll has been around half-a-century, the Lutheran church continues to reach out to people with music from a hymnal more appropriate for people long dead and gone oh say, by at least 300 years. I think of it as the "Church of the Unsingable Hymn." It's ironic that the most powerful and singable hymns in the Lutheran church were written by its founder, Martin Luther, a rebel with a cause who's been dead for over 450 years. He was astute enough to lift the music of some German beer hall songs and re-write the lyrics in his effort to reach the common man. His "Mighty Fortress Is Our God," is still worthy after all these years. Unfortunately, when I use to attend church, I felt someone had always died-- I know, "someone" did but it seemed the church had forgotten the Resurrection part and was instead using the bombastic church organ-- an instrument of torture used during the Inquisition-- to remind us every Sunday morning of the solemn, sober side of the faith to the extant that I only heard dirges. God help them though. The church ladies* were a trip and man could they cook.

*Dana Carvey's Church Lady from the Golden Era of Saturday Night Live was inspired by growing up Lutheran.

6 comments:

Xavier said...

Isn't the Lutheran Church now accepting gay priests or pastors? Or was that the Anglican? Or am I crazy?

Verticus S. Erectus said...

The last time I checked, and it's been awhile, there are at least two strains of Lutherans: Lutheran Church of America (LCA) and the Missouri Synod. The Missouri Synod is the conservative branch and will probably never see gay bishops or pastors. On the other hand, the LCA has had then for years. The church you're thinking about is Episcopal, an off-shoot of the Church of England. Except for a few "Church Ladies," in the end, who really cares?

Xavier said...

I don't really care since I'm not altogether religious(more agnostic than anything), but I was curious because I had heard quite a bit regarding that whole ordeal and a potential schism because of it, but that's right it was Episcopal.

Verticus S. Erectus said...

Xavier, we've never met but you know I admire your blog so don't take this personally but I think agnostics and atheists show a lack of imagination-- although there isn't evidence of that yet in your blog.

Xavier said...

Vert, I respect all religions and believe they represent the most positive aspects of the human spirit, but I am under no illusion regarding the abuse of religious systems and ideals for self-serving and often destructive purposes.

I think Socrates, that stubborn Athenian, said it best over 2000 years ago: As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.

Verticus S. Erectus said...

Socrates was alright but a bit bombastic. May I suggest the much more recent and succinct German existential philosopher Shultz: "I know nothing!" Sgt. Shultz, "Hogan's Heroes"