For many Lutherans, just being Lutheran is not enough. What is unknown to non-Lutherans is that Lutheranism is divided into a number of sects, or synods. While not on the level of Sunnis and Shi’ites, Lutherans are known to frown upon Lutherans who belong to a different synod.
Although there are a number of synods in the United States, the two main ones (and arch rivals) are the Evangelical Church in America and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Pretty much what the rivalry comes down to is disagreement over minute details. The ELCA is more liberal, as they allow women in the clergy and believe abortion is allowable in some circumstances. The ELCA also has full communion with a number of Protestant denominations. LCMS is more conservative. They do not have women in the clergy, and feel their communion is only open to those who are LCMS members.
Those in the ELCA camp see LCMS members as backwards. Those in the LCMS see those in the ELCA as having bastardized Lutheran theology. You most likely will not see one worshiping in the church of another. Look at any Lutheran church in America, the sign outside will state the synod the church is a part of. This is done to keep out the riff-raff of the other Lutherans, who would get and leave anyways as soon as they found out they were at the wrong Lutheran church.
Five out of the six top per capita coffee consuming countries are the Scandinavian countries. Germany also comes in at number ten. How can this phenomenon be explained? First off, coffee originated in Ethiopia, was popularized in the Middle East, and is now largely grown in Latin America. Further, there’s Turkish Coffee, Irish Coffee, Mexican Coffee…….but who has heard of Danish Coffee?
I wish I could get coffee consumption by state, but I was unable to find that information. However, Seattle, which is known for its love of coffee, does have a sizable population of German and Norwegian ancestry and the town of Stanton, IA painted their water tower to look like a Swedish coffee pot.
There are two theories I have as to why Lutherans love coffee so much. First, they generally live in two places: very cold countries and very cold states. It could simply be a matter of warming yourself up, but tea isn’t popular among Lutherans. If a Lutheran is drinking tea, assume the person is sick. So while hot beverages are a must in cold climates, why is coffee the hot beverage of choice? That brings us to the second theory. It’s because Lutherans on average are dull. Go to a Lutheran church service. Services are methodical and change little every week. There’s always a couple songs which are always hard to sing since they were translated from the original German. A few readings of Bible verses which are never read with any inflection. The main part of the service is the sermon. These are always boring. Again, there’s never any inflection. In fact, Lutheran ministers are excommunicated if they apply any emotion into to sermon. Compounding the problem, brevity is a trait not done by Lutheran ministers.
This is why Lutherans not only love, but need coffee. They’re constantly falling asleep!!! After any church service, even if it’s 100 degrees outside, the parishioners will rush to the coffee table. Any church function will end with coffee simply because all church functions are boring. Coffee is there to waken up everyone and get them talking to each other. In fact, the church service is simply a formality done before the sacred ceremony of the administering of the coffee.
When going out somewhere with a Lutheran, it’s best to suggest getting coffee somewhere. The Lutheran’s face will light up and they will talk about how they need a coffee fix. It’s also best for your sake, as you would be stuck socializing with someone too boring and tired to form complete sentences.
The post of hygiene applies entirely to the observance of communion. Contrary to its name, communion isn’t very communal at all. Perhaps due to the nature of individualism more prevalent in Protestantism over Catholicism, Lutheran communion is slightly different than the one given in the Catholic church.
The Catholic Way vs. The Lutheran Way
While the Catholics administer communion wine in a communal goblet/chalice/pimp cup that is sanitized for your protection with a simple wipe of a cloth between drinkers, the Lutherans give everyone wine in a plastic mini-shot glass, just like how Jesus did it himself. This way, no germs are spread and the church garbage can is full of plastic slathered in the blood of Jesus Christ. Luckily, unlike the Catholics, Lutherans don’t believe in transubstantiation, feeling that communion is done for the sake of commemoration.
I’d really like to see a study conducted to see who is more likely to be sick on Monday, Catholics or Lutherans. Also, if a Lutheran attends a Catholic service ( because they’re likely visiting their part-Irish cousins) and they say they won’t participate in the communion because they feel like they’re intruding, it’s only because they’re afraid of getting someone else’s germs.
Also, what’s the deal with those little papery wafers?
There’s another Holy Trinity in regards to Lutherans. This involves salads, however none of these salads involve any sort of lettuce (or much nutritional value for that matter). The three salads in this trinity are macaroni, potato, and the holiest of them all……jello. These three salads are made in all sorts of variations and those who make them swear their specific recipe is THE way to make it. This is often because these recipes are passed down from generation to generation like an heirloom. It is not uncommon for a Lutheran woman to use a recipe card actually written by her grandmother to prepare the recipe. These salads are often served at church potlucks (a future post) and the potluck serves as a competition, based upon how much salad is left at the end of the meal. Nothing is more hurtful to a Lutheran than having only one serving taken out of a salad, most likely done by an obligated husband or child.
Remember, when tasting one of these Lutheran salads, it is important not to criticize the dish, as this would be like indirectly insulting someone’s grandmother. Make a compliment no matter what, as the Lutheran will see it as you honoring their ancestors. A simple “I really like how the dill perfectly complements the potatoes” will endear you to the Lutheran forever.
One warning though, be on the lookout for those impostor dishes that were purchased at a deli. Things to look out for: not enough mayonnaise (another future post), fruit spread out too evenly in the jello, potato skins scrubbed too properly, jello not properly coagulated, or the dish says “Reser’s” on the side. In the case of the latter, it is best to ask the Lutheran if something has been bothering him or her, as the person is too occupied to even make it look like his or her food is homemade.
Kohl’s has a lot going for it that makes it a darling of the Lutheran world, it’s
- got a German name
- based in Wisconsin
- a purveyor of boring, modest, predictable clothing
These three things are all appealing to a Lutheran. The fact that it has a German name and is based in Wisconsin makes it like a FUBU for Lutherans. The Lutheran has a sense of familiarity going inside a store that most likely is run by people like them. A place like Macy’s just doesn’t cut it. It’s based in New York (too haute couture for most Lutherans) and the name Macy just is not common in the upper Midwest (unless William H. is filming another Fargo movie).
Lutherans are a generally reserved group, and their clothing reflects that. Visit a Lutheran church on Sunday. You don’t see big hats, flashy dresses, or well-tailored suits. Most of the women could pass as librarians and most of the men could pass as math teachers. The reason for this is because of Kohl’s. The place where a Lutheran can get a nice cardigan or a pair of Haggar slacks to look nice, yet modest come Sunday. For a Lutheran, why have Calvin Klein when you can have Croft and Barrow?