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Updike's the Man

October 16, 2008 | 2 Comments

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My mother, a born-again Christian and member of the Nazarene Church married my father, a Christian and a Lutheran. They agreed to raise their children in the Lutheran Church and then attend the Nazarene Church after their children left the nest. As their off-spring, my sister and I inherited a rich diverse background in Christianity. I know you were raised as a Sanctified Brethren. But as an adult, have you attended the Lutheran Church? I believe you must have spent some years in the Lutheran church, because you know what is funny about being Lutheran. My sister thinks you have never been a Lutheran. She's says you're a good observer and that's how you know them. So who is correct? Thanks for your wonderful show! It's one of the highlights of my weekend!

Mary V.
Tempe, AZ

Your sister is closer to the mark, Mary V. I grew up among Lutherans in Minnesota but didn't go to a Lutheran church until I moved to New York in 1988 when I attended Holy Trinity on Central Park West at 65th pretty regularly. It was a lovely old German Lutheran church with an ambitious Bach program and I went there because when I sat down inside I felt I was back home. Lots of exiled midwesterners attended there. I was on the membership rolls for a few years and then met my wife who took me by the hand and led me to the Episcopal church. St. Michael's, on 99th and Amsterdam, where we still go when we're in New York. I don't know about being a good observer. I should be a better one. The man who knows from Lutherans is John Updike who grew up in it and who writes about the Lutherans of eastern Pennsylvania with real elegance and feeling. He's the man.


I grew up with gospel music and an invitation
to take Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior
each week. I always felt as if there was something
I was supposed to "do," and frankly, as an
adolescent, this added to my confusion about
who I was. Finally, at age 50, my second husband
"took me by the hand and led me to the Episcopal church."
At the first service I attended, I felt like I
had "come home" (as in "ye who are weary").
San Clemente

I know Protestants are supposed to be humble, but...

As a Lutheran PK, I have long argued (ever since you once drew the distinction on air between "Dark Lutherans" and "Church of the brunch Lutherans") that you understand us so well, one of the Lutheran colleges should award you with an honorary doctorate in cultural anthropology. In fact, when I lived in Northfield, I would lobby my neighbors who were on staff at St. Olaf to do precisely that.

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