Monday, July 28, 2008

The Allure of a Foreign Accent

People are always stacking up the good parts and the bad parts of various church bodies, and debating the merits and demerits. Especially these days among bloggers with whom I have become familiar this seems to have become an exciting pastime.

The Roman Catholics have ecclesiastical integrity, episcopal decorum, apostolic succession, and a really cool pope.

The Orthodox, of course, have lots of the same, and though they lack a pope, this fact is usually counted as a plus.

The Lutherans, well, we languish and struggle with strife, etc. Integrity is a byword, decorum is hit-or-miss, and despite all our best efforts at churchmanship, we struggle with things like Ablaze!, church growth, and a whole smattering of terrible practices.

Who'd ever want to be among the lowly Lutherans?

Well, here's one. Count me in.

Offhand I could rattle off all kinds of confessional reasons for this, but you could read them for yourself here and here and here for starters. You know, the Lutheran Confessions.

I could also point out some of the historical follies of both Rome and the East, and let me tell you, there are some real lulus.

But instead, today I'd like to suggest another reason I am not as taken with them as some of my compatriots have been in recent years. Or put conversely, a possible reason those compatriots have been taken with them.

I think it has something to do with their foreign accents.

Most of the great Lutheran scholars I know have American accents. That certainly doesn't exude an ecumenical or global, catholic spirit to Americans. But if you're American, and you have an awareness that the Church is greater than you are, then maybe you find yourself with a sort of instinctive attraction to people who speak English with a foreign accent.

Of course you'll never admit this to me, but I will admit that I do have a sneaking suspicion.

As for me, I'll satisfy my own similar desire for ecumenicity by using the King James Bible. Do the same, and perhaps you'll save yourself some unfortunate side effects of that itch.


Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

Well, yes...

But there was the grand speaking of Dr. Norman Nagel. And there are the refined utterances from Dr. John Stephenson, and others at Fort Wayne (Naomichi Masaki, et al). There was also the interesting accent of the sainted Prof. Marquart.

But then again, as American as they are or were, Brooklyn accents or burly western speak has its appeal too in Dr. David P. Scaer, Dr. Kenneth F. Korby, and others who put us in mind of the direct approach that often was evident with Dr. Luther.

But I think Romaniticism for a golden age, a forgetting of the "not yet" part of the "now and not yet" in our inaugurated eschatology, and the centrality of Christology-justification are key facets of the pining to cross confessional river boundaries where the aesthetics were ostensibly more sensible and consistent.

Who likes to look at what is bruised, battered, spat upon and disrespected. We don't admire a car crash or an execution.

generalscuttlebutt said...

Masaki, Ziegler, and Scaer would like a word with you...

Anonymous said...

You all need to speak with German accents.

Rev.Fr.Burnell F Eckardt said...

D U F A 4-N X-¢ ?

9, 9! I M N M-R-E-K-N!

L M N O M-R-E-K-N; E S 4-N, O S N-D-D!