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Jesus Christ, Community Organizer

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is preparing the next generation to love and serve Saul Alinsky the Lord, via Vacation Bible School:

Children learn by example, and are empowered to change the world when they see others doing it. At this community organizing VBS, Scripture will inspire us to collective action that benefits others, and guest leaders in our community (young adults and children) will tell us stories of how they organized for change, and lead us in special projects. Guest organizations include: Little Free Pantry, LUCHA, Students for Refugees, and neighborhood youth who organize for social change. Join us for a week of community organizing, plus all the music, snacks, and games traditional for summer Vacation Bible School.

Registration is open now for children entering preschool (age 3) through 4th grade. Children entering 5th or 6th grade can also participate, as VBS assistants, at the same cost. Cost is $20 per camper or $35 per family. T-shirts included with registration. All sessions will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

More about this ELCA church, from its website:

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of our life together as a Christian community is our commitment to offering open space for doubts and exploration. That is to say, an atheist or an agnostic would not feel out of place in our congregation, and in fact many such folks belong here. Belief and doctrine are not gates for entry, but furniture to try out.

Which is not at all to say that belief and doctrine are unimportant. Far from it. A good rug really ties the room together. Everyone loves a comfy couch. But the system of belief that we host among us is subject to inquiry and challenge. It’s okay not to believe everything. And it certainly isn’t an expectation to conform to specific behavioral patterns or types of “decency.” We’re quite busy trying to be less and less bourgeoise [sic], even if our denomination and urban context tips that direction.

Hmm. One of the most bourgeois Christian things you can do is refer to yourself as “bourgeois”. More:

Then we remind ourselves that we are the body of Christ in the world. So we are the subaltern. Living as a Christian community means living as the subaltern, with a deep sensitivity to Christ’s solidarity with subaltern communities of all types.

This is why we’re committed, sometimes at a cost, to speaking up and with specific communities–#blacklivesmatter, the Transgender network, Latinx, refugees, immigrants.

Of course as a community of faith, we still carry all the markers of our historical origins also. Our worship still looks on some levels like a Lutheran worship formed in the crucible of the 1950s. We host potlucks, play handbells, sing hymns. Every Christian community is always an amalgam of its history and culture.

But we are also free to indigenize, perhaps more than other rigid types of Lutheran.

As Luther said, “Here I indigenize; I can do no other.” Awesome.

(Item sent in by a former ELCA seminarian.)

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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