Lutherans Against Living In Sin

Peter and I are taking a 14-week Bible course: Kelly’ school requires it of all the non-church families like us. It’s kind of like catechism, but not;overtly, it’s to fill us in on the Lutheran lessons our child is learning in class. You know, over in public school, the spirit of Caesar Chavez is faith-healing Mother Earth from pesticide pollution, and the teacher will tell you you’re an idiot if you complain about the religious overtone. Yet, at the religious school, they’re worried I might be mad if my child comes home one day saying Jesus walked on water.

Anyway, I’m digging it because I haven’t had any religious education on that level. Peter’s gone though Catholic catechism, so he’s less into it. For him, it’s like watching the a remake of a long movie you’re seen before, except this time with the gory Goth parts edited out.

So, we got to the class on Holy Communion, and the pastor is telling us there are pre-requisites to being allowed to take communion in his church. Not having met those requirements, I’m comfortable with staying seated during communion. I told Peter I’m sure everyone else is cool with it, too, but he told me they’re just being polite and feeling sorry for me. That said, he stays seated with me.

The pastor went on to explain that his church has closed communion, that is, exclusive to the church membership and to invited guests who meet the qualifications for communion. Then, he surprised us by confiding that sometimes he’s had to exclude someone from communion, such as an unmarried couple which is openly living together.

Really? Who does that? Well, a Lutheran pastor, I guess! That got some discussion going between Peter and me, and in the end, we thought he was rather cool for willing to be so uncool.

Face it, these days, even in polite society, marriage is considered optional. Who’s pushing it, anyway? If a guy wants to marry the girl of his dreams, his buddies have to mock him for wanting to take up the proverbial ball and chain. A girl may want to marry her boyfriend, but does she really want to be the harpy who rails on about it, when it’s love, not a ring, that will presumably hold you together? It’s so much easier to just drift along, and let the children appear as they may; and when you get bored, drift off in different directions. Your friends are probably doing the same. If your parents are socially conservative, they may tsk, and make you sleep in separate beds when you come over; if they’re not, they’ll probably expect you to move in together, in their house. But, really, it’s not like living together is a big deal to anyone any more.

So, all there is left is a Lutheran pastor, pretty much telling you that unless you’re going to get serious with one another, you’ll have to stay seated during communion. (Next to Pete and Carolyn, whom by the way, whom we all pity for not being able to take communion, not that we would point that out them–however, at least they‘re married.)

So, bravo, for taking a principled stand, especially if it’s not the popular one.

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