Virtual Voices

Killing religion with wholesomeness

Faith & Inspiration

Misty began giving my daughter free quilting lessons after the child lost her father at age 5, and this kindly first grade teacher took my daughter aside privately and told her she was her “apprentice.”

So when Misty invited me to join her son’s “team” for the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes last Sunday morning, I was torn. In the end I went to church and mailed a check to the JDRF instead.

I told Misty I knew she wasn’t the one who scheduled this event for a Sunday morning, and that I was very sorry. But 50 years ago no one would have touched that time slot because it would have been assumed that everyone was in church. Now various noble causes feel perfectly free to flout religious tradition, under the contemporary cultural assumption that church and God are irrelevant.

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Misty, ever gracious, forgave my absence at the walk and went beyond. She also grieved the choice of day and had been chagrined to miss worship, especially on Reformation Sunday when the music was so special. She normally never misses church, and her son is not on the community soccer team precisely because the games are on Sunday mornings.

Misty also shared that her Lutheran church holds an annual Oktoberfest and that she and her husband, though both German-born, have not been involved (though they are enthusiastic participants in their church’s other ministries) because they cannot bring themselves to serve alcohol from the church building. They have shared their scruples privately with their pastor, not wishing to be troublemakers. It is especially difficult to say no when fellow members approach them for weeks beforehand in a festive mood, asking them to join in the fun.

About a month before the fest, the pastor asked Misty’s carpenter husband to build a wooden archway for the event. Proud to have been asked, he dithered for a week until Misty reminded him of their convictions.

God did truly say that the serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures in the garden. What is more wholesome than a diabetes march? What seems more like the Lord’s work than giving all the proceeds of an Oktoberfest to a Lutheran relief organization? Beware the one who appears as an Angel of Light. He would just as soon kill religion with wholesomeness as destroy it with direct terror.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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