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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Indoctrination station

In the comments to this post, Eric remarked on our plans to read the Lutheran Hymnal and Small Catechism to our children:

indoctrinate your children in the way they should go so when they are older they will rebel from it...

This hurt Devona's feelings, and ticked me off a bit. But hey, no biggie. We've written things that have done the same to others. After all, we're Lutherans. That's what we do.

But I'm left with a few questions. If reading to your child from the Small Catechism and singing songs to them from the Lutheran Hymnal qualifies as indoctrination guaranteed to create a rebellious monster, what doesn't?

Maybe Liv would be better off if we raised her without absolutes. We could end each day with readings from a variety of religions—Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and paganism would all be given equal billing as "possible truth."

I'm sure this would develop in our child an excellent moral compass. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes, okay?

Comments (like the one above) I've received from old friends on the blog and in person betray a serious misunderstanding of the place Devona and I have come to in our faith. The fault is probably mine. I can do a pretty bad job of explaining myself. Rather than try to articulate the reasons for our exodus from modern evangelicalsim for the ten-thousandth time -- further categorizing myself as a polemic ass bent on burning all bridges with reasonable Christians -- I thought I'd pose a few questions to my friends and myself.

I don't think I have all the answers, if any. But contemplating these might help us all understand one another a little better.

  • What is your definition of orthodoxy?
  • Does orthodoxy exist on this side of heaven?
  • If it doesn't, what does it mean to be a Christian?
  • If it does, are you under orthodox teaching?
  • How does a person decide whether or not a teaching/practice is orthodox?
  • If a person found orthodoxy, how should he handle unorthodoxy?
  • How did Jesus handle unorthodoxy among the religious?
  • Are we called to handle it in the same way?
  • What is the relationship between orthodoxy and unity?
  • Which is more important?
  • Assuming orthodoxy exists, is it okay to call unorthodoxy "wrong"?
  • Assuming orthodoxy exists, and unity is a goal, how is that goal pursued?

Let me know what you all think. I'm sure all we Lutherans will agree on our answers, and will spend a good deal of time high-fiving in the end-zone after we've strung up Rick Warren and blasted Michael W. Smith to Venus. But hey, some things just can't be helped.