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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

My last days as a protestant

Make no mistake, I am not going to join a new church and bash my former church. Honest Christians can disagree sometimes, and that is the situation I faced. I still believe that the truth of Jesus Christ that binds us together as Christians is more important than the differences between protestants and Catholics.

For the past two years, I have been president of my Lutheran church's congregational council. For the past six years, I have been a lector, communion assistant, usher, and a Sunday school teacher. To say that my wife and I were very involved in our church is an understatement.

I love the people of the church. They are good, decent people, and they are good Christians. My wife and I were married in this church, and the people have been very welcoming of us. The pastor is a good man, but we don't agree on political issues. He is a liberal and I am a conservative. We have always been able to put that aside, though. Politics takes a back seat to Christianity.

Now, though, we disagree on an essential spiritual matter. He advocates a position that all people should be able to take Holy Communion in our church, even if they are not baptized. I disagree. Tonight, our congregational council discussed this issue as we have for several months. On a nine-to-three vote, the council agreed with him to remove the words from our church bulletin that requires a person to be baptized before taking communion. I suggested that we at least add the words that a person be required to believe in Christ before accepting communion, but he spoke against that, and the issue never received a motion. In fairness to pastor's position on the issue, he is trying to be welcoming to all people. I believing that we can be welcoming, yet be good stewards of the Eucharist.

So now, our church neither requires a person to be baptized, nor even believe, before accepting Communion. This is in contradiction with Lutheran (ELCA) church policy, which requires baptism. As I left the meeting tonight, I knew that my days at this church were coming to an end.

It would be hard to go home and tell my wife this news. She is a life-long Lutheran and I fear she will be hurt by this much more than I have been. U

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