Instead of being about loving their neighbor, some branches are about self absorption.
Today there was a news items about a reprimand of a Missouri Synod pastor whose church is in Newtown, Connecticut. Newtown is the city where the last big massacre took place killing several school children and teachers.
An interfaith prayer service was held in Newtown involving the variety of faiths represented in the city. There were Muslims, Jews, Christians and others.
The pastor who received the reprimand participated by giving the benediction. Missouri Synod has an aversion to “civil religion” and considers interfaith ceremonies a taboo for this reason.
I understand years ago Catholic priests could not participate in mixed faith weddings. I remember as a boy an elderly pastor in my Swedish evangelical church who made a grand ceremony of walking out of the sanctuary while an invited guest Rabbi spoke to the church men’s club.
This kind of pompousness and inward focus gives fuel to the argument nonbelievers have with the Christian faith: How can there be a “truth” when branches of the same faith are so at odds with each other?
It’s hard for me to understand use of the word “love” by conservative denominations when they are intolerant of gays, treat women as second class and can’t tolerate interfaith services. In the Newtown example, Missouri Synod officials were much more concerned about their own internal theology than they were about addressing the tragedy in front of them.
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