Last weekend, Bethany and I attended a conference in Chicago on #DecolonizeLutheranism and it was great! What is #DecolonizeLutheranism, you ask? Well, have you ever been to a church and felt, “I do not belong here”? In the Lutheran church, which has strong ties to its Northern European origin story, it can be hard for somebody who isn’t Northern European to feel welcome within the church. Our worship, festivities, songs, even the way we greet each other and talk during coffee hour, can feel strange and unwelcoming to anyone who doesn’t already share our culture. And this experience isn’t limited to people of color, it can also include LGBT+ people or people with disabilities. It’s time to take back our theology and re-examine what it means to be part of a global faith. Think beyond lefse, aebelskivers, Octoberfest and lutefisk. What does it really mean to stand up and proclaim yourself to be a particular denomination?
And for our non-Lutheran readers (and Kelley!), we haven’t forgotten about you. Yes, we may be addressing some topics that are Lutheran specific, but we are going to try to talk about this is a way that doesn’t exclude non-Lutherans. And, to help us think about this from a broader perspective, we invite you to share your experiences, questions, discomfort with decolonizing (or not!) a faith tradition. After all, I’m pretty sure Lutheranism isn’t the only faith tradition that struggles with how to balance honoring a faith’s heritage while making it accessible to those outside of that heritage.
We will be posting more on this topic in the future, so look for the hashtag #DecolonizeLutheranism to learn more. In the meantime, I urge you to check out the main page at DecolonizeLutheranism.org.