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Dear Garrison, We are Danish

August 5, 2004 |

Dear Garrison,
We are Danish immigrants who have lived in the US for 6 years without attending church once but now we are in the process of adopting a child, and would like to bring the child up in the Lutheran faith. We are looking for an open, tolerant and liberal environment. Which should we choose: The LCMS, WELS or ELCA arm of the Lutheran church? Each faction has a church in our town, but not knowing the background of each makes it a very difficult choice. The LCMS church is an A-frame, which appeals to us from an architectural point of view, but one shouldn't make decisions based on that alone.

Iben and Jens

Goddag, mine danskere!
I wish I had Danish vowels on this keyboard, the O with the slash through it, the A with the halo, and I'd answer your question in Danish and not upset the American reader. Missouri Synod Lutheran? Nej nej! The LCMS is about as open, tolerant, and liberal as the U.S. Marines or the Juilliard String Quartet, if you get my drift. Maybe you just imagine you're Lutheran and really, in your heart of hearts, you're Unitarian. There's a big controversy in the Danish Folk Church right now over a pastor in the little town of Taarbeck who denies the Trinity and says Jesus was not divine. His problem is that he's Unitarian, trying to be Lutheran. Which is like trying to play golf with a tennis racquet. Anyway, my advice is to visit each of the Lutheran churches in turn and try out the preaching and make sure the organist doesn't play too loud and decide who's really friendly and who's just trying to be. And then, if you're not sure, broaden your search to include the Episcopalians, the Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and so on and so forth. But bringing up your child in church is a good idea. Just make sure you take the child, don't send it. And if you want a real adventure, volunteer to teach Sunday School.

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