The Rev. Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) in Germany.
There are so many things that demand attention today from the small to the great, and the huge questions that surround us seem to be beyond the ability of the folks that we count on to fix. From refugees and immigration to Ebola and terrorism the world is a messy place. This blog was designed to talk about the ways that our paths cross up in the North country and how we can and do work together to get stuff done in the church sometimes without our even knowing it. At the same time I like to look at the big picture and get a feel from the comments received how we all are looking at the world. Some folks say that they don’t “get” what I was getting at in my last few blogs.
We live in a death drenched society that can’t focus on the prince of life. We live surrounded by other Christians who see the center point of their life their faith rather than their Savior. We have a reset button in our hearts that will always make us work righteous unless the Spirit and the Law correct us. We will always gravitate toward plans and strategies that perpetuate the reliance upon plans and strategies rather than Christ. So lately I have looked at pithy statements and ideas that get to some of the issues in a back handed way.
I met Bishop Voigt in Wittenberg Germany years ago. He is very dignified and engaging figure and was recently asked why his little church body spent a lot of time talking about doctrine and practice that many people had moved beyond. The hidden question is that we Lutherans are busy debating the nature of life, marriage and family, the office of the ministry, the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament, the importance of worship, etc. In the meantime there are real issues out there like immigration and refugees and terrorism that need to be addressed.
My answer to the interviewer would have been that the ruling class and many of our own people do not want the church to speak about or to these issues so why kick against the goad? Bishop Voigt is a Bishop for a reason. Here was his response…..
“When there is a convention of cardiologists they also debate the finer, more intricate issues – while the Ebola disease and hunger are spreading around the world. Does that mean the discussion of the cardiologists is superfluous? I do not think so. We expect physicians to be meticulous in their work, and we theologians should do the same. The question about truth should always be of concern to us. Of course, that includes such practical problems of how to deal with refugees.”
Just so. We need to look at the intricate issues in our life together before we can take the other issues on in a serious way.