I Have This Problem...

Please pray for me. I have this problem.

I've been baptized and catechized. Please pray for me (this is no joke or snark)!

Seriously, it's a major problem that's been affecting all aspects of my life for a couple of years now and it all came to a head earlier this week. To be blunt, I'm getting a little sick and tired of it too. No, really, I am.

Being "Baptized And Catechized" is not the "missing chapter" to the bestseller "How To Win Friends & Influence People" that everyone's Small Group is reading and studying this month in the LCMS like I thought it was when I first found the Lutheran church and became a Confessional Lutheran (or should I say, "when God found me where I was and brought me to the Lutheran church" per John 6:44).

Instead, being "Baptized And Catechized" likely means you're ostracized.

That's funny. That word "ostracized" reminds me of an ostrich, which is ironic in more ways than one due to our subject matter today.

You see, it's commonly believed that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger. That's actually a myth!

Similarly, there are many Christians today who will tell you that doctrine doesn't matter ("Deeds Not Creeds!") and that they prefer instead to be "relational" and "unified" in "the things that really matter" instead, because that's supposedly "the proper Christian response" when interacting with people who hold a different confession than you, according to the Bible.

Guess what? That's a myth too!

The Scriptures actually have a ton to say about not just being on guard against false teachers and their false teachings, but also our expected response to it all (yes, we're supposed to respond to it lovingly rather than simply ignore it and look the other way per Ephesians 4:15 as just one of many examples).

So, when lifelong Lutherans are the ones getting it completely wrong when it comes to basics like Baptism, or when they are the ones despising the simple suggestion of sound catechesis both inside and outside the church, or when they even recoil at the mere mention of anything Lutheran, it's almost impossible to stand up and stand alone against the tidal wave of "Get Alongism" in the church.

I gotta hand it to "Evangelerans" in the Lutheran Church today though. They're always so happy. That's probably because they have nothing to be unhappy about.

Think about it! When "A Personal Relationship With Jesus" and/or "A Personal Relationship With Another Christian" is elevated to sacramental status within a church (like it is at mine), then you never have to worry about any doctrinal debates since your only concern is "How will make actions in Jesus' name bring me closer to God?" and/or "Which of the 15 Fellowship Groups do I want to join this month? Who do I want to get to know better and spend my free time with?" with the understanding that "fellowship" does not mean the same thing that it did in the New Testament and that it just refers to "Hanging Out With Other Christians From Your Local Church."

The Madison Avenue marketing successes like "Have It Your Way!" and "Obey Your Thirst!" have definitely infiltrated Christ's Church to the point where "liturgy" and "tradition" of any kind are akin to Ford's Edsel and Coca-Cola's "New Coke" failed marketing campaigns.

That's why the holy Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper have been replaced by "Personal Relationships" and "Fellowship" by so many -- the new and improved sacraments.

As a tragic result, people no longer go to church to receive God's gifts of absolution, forgiveness, and mercy from their sins, but to learn how to be part of the "Every Member A Minister" crowd so that they can be the ones doing the absolving, preaching, teaching for those out in the world who "need it more than we do."

But "Don't Hate The Players, Hate The Game!" right? Well, can I just ask when Christ's Church became a "game" or a "social club" whose members are made up of women who are Pollyannas and men who have "Peter Pan Syndrome" and children who don't want to go to church unless they can sing and dance and get free candy from the Pastor at the end of his Children's Message?



 
See, this is why I need your prayers right now! This is why I'm desperately trying to engage in self-reflection more so than in any kind of finger-pointing. I know I shouldn't feel this way or at least as strongly as I do. Why does the existence and presence of false doctrine and false teachers anywhere get me so riled up all the time when I know the Bible tells us to expect it and that it will never go away in this life!?! That's what I need to discover and that's why I please ask for your prayers, my dear friends.


Is there something wrong with me? Is my "Old Evangelical Adam" trying to reassert himself in my life perhaps? I thought "Living The Victorious Christian Life" meant 365 days of "Puppy-Dogs-And-Ice-Cream" with "Get behind thee, Satan!" always on the tip of my tongue in the event I had an occasional "bad day" which, to a believer already "Living The Victorious Christian Life" should only be as bad as trying to figure out how I can raise enough money to be a part of the "voluntourism" mission trip to some Third World country to show how "radical" my life is for Jesus all because I have been "anointed" with enough "crazy love" for Him and His people.

This is my life. This is how I'm feeling inside. This is what I'm thinking about most of the time. Where's the hope? Joy? Love? The good news is that I know something's wrong with me. The bad news? I'm not quite sure exactly what that is let alone how to fix it just yet. Please continue to pray for me. Lately, I've found myself feeling angry, beaten down, depressed, heartbroken, hopeless, lonely, mad, sad, and just tired of it all.

Sometimes I can't eat. Sometimes I can't sleep. Sometimes I can't bear to be around certain people. Sometimes I don't even know how to pray about it or for others (including myself) anymore! Sometimes (Lord, forgive me!) I even think I would be better off to just give up and throw in the towel so-to-speak and utter the words that everyone in my life is anxiously waiting for me to say to them.


"That's ok then. It's not a big deal. I guess we can just agree to disagree."


I absolutely hate that idiom!

It's not like I go looking for trouble either. As I've learned more about the Doctrine of Vocation, I've come to pick-and-choose my spots carefully and have confessed Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind when put in a position to do so in my daily life.

In the past, I used to aggressively seek to proselytize anyone and everyone I came into contact with. Now, I usually wait for the opportunity to present itself like when other people in my life bring up the subject of faith and religion or come to me with specific questions about either of them.

This approach hasn't done much to change people's impression of me either I'm afraid. There's still this "Avoid The Redhead At All Costs When It Comes To Spiritual Matters!" unspoken thing going on. Maybe that's me just putting the worst construction on things though. I'm not so sure.

My relationships with my family members have been affected. My relationships with my friends have been affected. My relationships with my co-workers have been affected. My relationships with the people at my church have been affected.

All of the relationships in my life have been "affected" not for better it seems, but only for the worse and all because I'm viewed as being "infected" so-to-speak.

Admittedly, there's a part of me that wants to be cured of this madness; that wants the "infected" part to just go away already. That part of me is named "Old Adam" and, you didn't hear this from me, but he's a real bastard.

Ironically, there's another part of me that doesn't want to be cured of this so-called "madness" (that part of me is called the "New Man") and yet, strangely enough, I'm constantly told that he's more of a bastard than the Old Adam is.

What!?! How does that work exactly?

See, the New Man, the "new creation in Christ" that I became when I was baptized, and the New Man I am becoming through catechesis, is someone who is willing to talk about God's gifts for us including such "messy" things like doctrine. Somehow that makes me "toxic" at least to many who are a part of my daily life.

May Matthew 5:11 and John 13:16 be my constant comfort and guide. Please pray that I will maintain perspective, be given patience, and the ability to persevere.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I have this "problem" of wanting to talk about having been baptized and catechized with others who I care about and love.

Pray for me and also pray for them.



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with...Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all mature spiritually (myself included) then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!