Please forgive my absence on Thursday – I’ve been in the processing of moving this past week, so time got away from me.
Thank you to all who commented on the last post to clear up my confusion about communion. It seems that both the thimbles [or shot glasses, as they were also called :)] and the common cup held wine. I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind that – why offer two different ways to take the same thing? But perhaps I’ll learn why soon!
As I’ve started researching the Lutheran church, I’ve come to realize just how broad that term is. It’s amazing how we throw around terms like Lutheran, Methodist, or Baptist so casually. We use one name to cover a spectrum of beliefs. But it seems like the two biggest branches of the Lutheran church are the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod), both of which have been mentioned in the comment section of recent posts.
It is kind of funny how I can tell which denomination is the more conservative one (at least based on what I’ve read/been told) just by their websites. The ELCA site is user-friendly, and breaks down their beliefs into easy to understand bullet points. The LCMS is very verbose, and offers many different PDF downloads to explain their points. In case that didn’t give it away, it appears the ELCA is more socially liberal, while the LCMS is more conservative. Though I am having a hard time finding exactly where they differ on issues. Both denominations are very detailed in their thoughts on social issues, offering page after page of opinions.
I’ve attended a LCMS church so far, but with my move to a new city, I think I will find an ELCA church to visit this Sunday. Maybe that will help me figure out what the differences are!