Issue 5| September 2023

CORE Voice Newsletter, Issue 5,

September 2023

In This Issue

  • Slippery slope achieved?
  • County laws can derail church growth
  • The truth about Christian Nationalism
  • Favorite hymns could draw people back to church
  • Encourage one another in the faith
  • Gates don't take territory
  • ALPB book: Prayers of the People

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Once You Know the Makeup, You Know the Outcome

by Pastor Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

If there ever will be a time when that old adage will be proven true, it will be with the ELCA’s thirty-five-member Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church.


This commission was formed in response to action taken by the ELCA’s 2022 Churchwide Assembly. The assembly directed the Church Council “to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church” which would be “particularly attentive to our shared commitment to dismantle racism” and would “present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention.”  


Later communication from the ELCA Church Council stated that the commission should be made up of at least 25% people of color or whose primary language was other than English and 20% youth and young adults. Keeping in mind that the membership of the typical ELCA congregation is older and white, this means that the commission will not represent the ELCA as it is but [...]

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On Christian Nationalism

by Pr. Kevin Haug, ELCA Pastor in Texas

Santino Burrola recorded a video and posted it to TikTok. He was fired from his job at a grocery store for the offense. What did he do wrong? Inappropriately filming someone in the restroom? Dancing in the aisles while on the clock? No. He recorded thieves stealing from the store. He peeled aluminum foil off the license plate of the get-away vehicle so that it would become visible. Hoping that the culprits would be caught, he posted the video, and at least one of the thieves was caught. For his actions in trying to stop people from stealing, he was fired.


The store cited its policy that employees should not interfere with people shoplifting to “minimize the risk to our associates.”[i]


If you read the title to this piece, you may be wondering how this story relates to Christian Nationalism. It doesn’t seem to tie in at all. Please bear with me, and I will […] show you how. There is a Christian Nationalism which should be rejected and condemned vociferously, but there are also some thoughts and ideas which are labeled “Christian Nationalism” in an attempt to smear those who offer them as well as to dismiss those ideas without having to engage them and understand why they are held; and those thoughts and ideas directly relate to the […]


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Severed Foot Faith

by Pr. Douglas Schoelles, Member of the Board of Lutheran CORE

Choices, choices and AdChoices. Our hyper-consumer culture overwhelms us with all the choices we can make to please our whims. For all the hyper-individually focused advertising that is pushed at you, you as a person are lost. You are just a consumer whose only value is what you can spend.

Our Adchoice mentality affects our faith. We say we can be spiritual on our own with a custom order Jesus on our terms. This consumeristic spirituality caters to our self-centeredness. The whole “ME and Jesus” private relationship is not biblical, but blasphemous. This misguided, “Me and Jesus” spirituality not only runs counter to scripture, but even more, it degrades God’s saving work. We are redeemed as we are part of God’s people. Our ultimate communal expression is communion where we are joined to Christ and one another (1 Cor 10:17). Certainly, a self-centered spirituality will not require us to participate seriously in a church community.

If you revel in being a severed foot cut off from the body of Christ because us other Christians stink and you are more holy than us, I am offended! Who are you not to grace us with your unique embodiment of sinfulness [...]

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Churches Without Property

by Pr. David Charlton, Lutheran CORE Board President

In 1998, I moved with my wife and my 3 year old son to Pembroke Pines, Florida. I was sent there to start a new congregation in an area of Broward County that was located between I-75 and the Florida Everglades.

It was an exciting time, but also a little frightening. Would I have what it takes to knock on 5000 doors? Would I really be able to gather enough people to form a worshipping community within six months? Would this group of people be able to grow enough in numbers and giving to officially organize as a congregation?   

The answer to each of those questions was yes! We held our first worship six months after I arrived in Pembroke Pines. There were over 100 people there on the first Sunday. Two years later, we voted to become a congregation, with over 100 members. Not only that, but our congregation was multi-cultural, reflecting the area in which we were located. Finally, we had lots of children and families. Each week, over a third of the congregation was under the age of 18.

Everything was going as planned except for one thing.  […]

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About Congregational Singing

by Pr. Don Brandt, Congregations in Transition (CiT)

I recently attended a traditional worship service where the emotional and spiritual highlight for me was the opening and closing hymns. This was not because the sermon message was subpar (far from it), but because of the quality of congregational singing.  The opening hymn that Sunday was “When Peace Like a River”, and the closing hymn “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”.

I hesitate to bring up the importance of congregational singing, because this particular worship ministry challenge can present something of an “uneven playing field”, especially for smaller churches.   [...]

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Prevailing Against the Gates

by Pastor Brian Hughes, Lutheran CORE Board Vice-President

“Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan. I've got to get home. It's late. I'm in for it as it is.”

Name that movie. Name that scene. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Star Wars franchise knows this one. It’s a pivotal moment. Obi Wan asks Luke to come along, inviting him on a journey. It’s the beginning of Luke’s heroic journey; it’s a term penned by Professor Joseph Campbell who traced such stories through history, all of which followed a certain pattern and all leading to a central task: prevailing against darkness. 

George Lucas conferred with Campbell while writing the first three movies of the series. Maybe that’s why most aficionados consider them the best of the nine. I find it ironic that when I first saw that movie, I looked like the kid being given a light saber. Now I’m the white-haired old guy saying, “Hey, come along this way…” and for what it’s worth Luke’s first response is basically, “No thanks old man, I’ve got to get home and work on some evaporators.” In short order Luke experiences the loss of his aunt and uncle, crosses the threshold of Yes and with Obi Wan goes down into the valley of the spaceport.  […]

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Prayers of the People

by Paul Sauer, American Lutheran Publishing Bureau Executive Director


In this book Richard F. Bansemer has collected these prayers, which he has written over several years, for every Sunday of the church year as well as a number of additional holy days. His intention is that these Prayers of the People might help congregations each week to engage in the conversation with God that is true prayer. In the Prayer of the Church, having heard God speaking through the reading of Holy Scripture and its exposition through the sermon, the people then bring before God their response to what has been said, in a way that expresses their hope, thanksgiving, admiration, struggle and joy. The scripture lessons to which the prayers relate are those in the three-year Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), now in wide use by Christian denominations which follow a lectionary, including most Lutherans, in the United States and Canada. The cost of the book is $11.00 plus postage. All the prayers are available in digital form free of charge to owners of the book to facilitate adaptation. Requests for the digital files may be sent to the ALPB via email to Donna Roche at [email protected]

To buy Prayers of the People:

A QR code for easy ordering is on the left!

Or click here to purchase via the website.

Coming Events
  • LCMC 23rd Annual Gathering & Convention - St. Charles, MO. October 1-4, 2023. Click here.
  • Pro Ecclesia Conference - Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL. June 10-12, 2024. Click here.
  • NEXUS 2024 - Grand View University, Des Moines, IA. July 21-27, 2024. Click here.
  • NALC Online Convocation. August 9, 2024. Click here.
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