Commentary

Why I support Metro Lutheran with time and money

It’s the body of Christ ...

Richard Stadler

I serve on the Board of Directors of the Metro Lutheran and I contribute to its financial support because I believe Metro Lutheran is fulfilling an important ministry in our country that no other publication serves. It is the only pan-Lutheran newspaper. It strives to promote Christian understanding of what all the different Lutherans are doing as they carry out their ministries and their efforts.

The readers of the Metro Lutheran become aware of what different groups of Lutherans believe, teach, and practice so they know what is being taught, preached, and done in the name of “Lutheran Christianity.”

Jesus commands Christians to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). He has also inspired John to add: “This commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (I John 4:21). Lutherans have not always demonstrated that love for each other in the past when they vigorously disagreed with what others were doing and teaching in the name of Christ.

Love does not require that we pretend to agree with someone when we do not, but when we become more fully informed about them, we may discover some common ground that we share with them which we did not notice when we were focusing only on our disagreement.

We may continue to disagree vigorously with a brother or sister Christian, but we can do so in a manner that displays that we understand that we are in God’s family not by what we have done but because God has adopted us by grace through faith wrought in us by the Holy Spirit. Remembering that we are members of the una sancta, the holy Christian Church, with all of its differences and disagreements, can equip us to treat family members with whom we disagree with civility and the compassion of Christ that honors him. We may even discover that we can learn something from someone with whom we vigorously disagree and with whom we do not feel comfortable worshipping.

I believe that the Metro Lutheran is making a contribution in that effort of the Christian family to learn about each other and from each other, as different as we may be.

Living out the intention

Our Metro Lutheran Board is a visual demonstration of that effort, as it embraces members of almost every Lutheran synod and group in the Twin Cities. As we meet and plan for the work of Metro Lutheran, we recognize the common ground we share in spite of differences that could easily polarize us. We strive to encourage and support the staff of the paper because we are committed to its unique mission. We work together harmoniously and with respectful collegiality.

Our hope and our prayer is that the newspaper’s readers will join us in supporting this effort to promote understanding and awareness among Christians, so that Lutheran Christians will be encouraged to “speak the truth in love” even when they disagree with each other and do not approve of what the other is doing.

In its own small way, I believe, Metro Lutheran is striving to carry out Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4: “[W]alk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

If you agree this effort is needed in a world that has become more polarized than I ever remember it, please consider supporting Metro Lutheran generously and, if there is a skill that you have that you think could be shared with our staff, please contact our editor, Bob Hulteen, and discuss it with him.

Richard Stadler is pastor at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, Minnesota, and is chair of Metro Lutheran’s board of directors.

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