So, as I start this blog, I suppose the question is “why?”
Why am I doing this?
There are lots of reasons of course….but the #1 reason is “because people don’t truly know who we are.”
Lutherans aren’t a well-known thing in these parts – what I like to call the “northern-most part of the Bible Belt.” We’re surrounded by Methodists, Southern Baptists, Mega-Nondenominational churches….and a whole host of others. Like these brothers and sisters in Christ, we do confess and believe in the important, core elements of Christian faith – Jesus Christ. (Which by the way, is the answer to about 95% of questions in Christianity)
But Lutherans are a bit strange compared to our counterparts. We’re sort of obsessed with the cross of Christ, and not in some “if you bear yours like Jesus, you’ll be a better person for it” sort of way. The cross is a big deal to us because there’s a whole lot of honesty in it. It says that life is a place with deep suffering, brokenness, and pain in it. It says that to be human is to experience these things in the ways the manifest themselves in our lives – illness, damaged relationships, financial stress, addiction, selfishness, pride. Life contains death, and to be human is to experience death.
But the cross also contains this honesty: God sends his only Son into the world to die on a cross. God sends his Son to share in life with us deeply – and that means God knows and experiences suffering, brokenness, and pain. And God speaks a word of life and hope into that – resurrection. Through God’s grace and love, shown in Jesus on the cross, we are made new.
Being Lutheran is not about a life of moral or spiritual perfection; but rather, trusting that the cross is true. In other words, faith.
And that brings me to the other identity issue: “P-Town.” It’s local-speak for Portsmouth, Virginia, where our churches are located. Where we live. However, those that don’t live here, “P-Town” is a derogatory term – it’s a place full of crime; it’s dirty; the people there are all homeless and old; no one wants to live here. And then there’s that whole issue of racism that no one seems to talk about……
Here’s the deal: We love our city. We love P-Town. We love living here and the beauty that does exist in our city. We’ll admit there’s problems here; all the things I mentioned above exist. But the cross says God still loves the people who experience those things. God loves the City of Portsmouth, P-Town. God loves its people, and as God’s church, so do we.
So here’s the point of this blog: It’s to highlight who we are and what we’re doing – as Lutherans living in P-Town – the City of Portsmouth. Check out our “Who We Are” page & feel free to follow us on Facebook.
And hopefully in all this, we can shed a little light – God’s light – on our city and in the world.