Starting things Off: Names & Identity

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.

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