So this came across the wire today:
(RELIGION NEWS SERVICE) – A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., has apologized after being reprimanded for participating in an interfaith vigil following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Rev. Rob Morris, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, prayed at the vigil the Sunday following the Dec. 14 shootings alongside other Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i clergy.
Morris’ church is a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the denomination’s constitution prohibits ministers from participating in services with members of different faiths.
Wait, run this by me again:
This pastor is present in a time of deep grieving, offers prayers on behalf of families and children in a time of unimaginable suffering, and he has to apologize for it?
This has happened before, the article continues:
It’s not the first time a Missouri Synod pastor has been reprimanded for joining an interfaith prayer service; a New York pastor also was suspended for participating in an interfaith service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
I think the entire Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ought to apologize for being idiots.
Today was the National Prayer Breakfast here in Washington, D.C. I suppose every pastor who attended ought to apologize. I was fortunate to attend The People’s Prayer Breakfast, an alternative to the national event which also featured people of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i faiths, among others.
The first speaker this morning, Rev. Graylan Hagler, noted that: “If I have a need to convert you to my own religious position, it is because I am insecure in that position. If I am secure, then I can let you be you, and trust that God is not insecure either.” (quote not verbatim). He went on to note that it is time we realize that we have to cross traditional boundaries that our various faiths have constructed to work together for common cause.
And that’s exactly what this event was: coming together over common ground:
“People from across the country [and across faith traditions] are joining together to pray and to stand in unity with those suffering economic hardship and inequality in our nation;
We are issuing our call to political leaders, corporate interests,faith leaders/ advocates and every American that
THERE IS ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE”
But I suppose I need to apologize for attending such a subversive event.
If our faith is such that it prohibits us from engaging in precisely the activities that our world needs: we ought to repent, and apologize. If our faith says, “Because we’re the only ones who are right, we’re the only ones allowed to respond to tragedy, injustice and suffering,” then it’s time we rethink what kind of faith that is.
God is the God of all, he causes the sun to shine and rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and if we think God is calling us to flaunt our righteousness in the face of the other, to belittle their honest prayers while touting our own, perhaps we’re not actually listening to God, but to our own inner prejudices.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s response in this situation is an embarrassment to Christianity. And I will not apologize for saying so.