Does Lutheranism Still Matter? ~ Dr. Bartelt

Describe: Dr. Bartelt gave a lecture as a tribute to the 500th year since the reformation. The lecture: “Does Lutheranism Still Matter?” was about how Lutheranism is still relevant in this developing and ever-changing society we live in. 
Integrate: Dr. Bartelt started his lecture with the statement “Our religious life is directly related to where we are in history”, which he then used to transition into the thesis. His argument during the lecture was the idea that Lutheranism doesn’t have to be lost because of socio-cultural change in the contemporary and developing world we live in. Bartelt’s claimbegs the question: What does Lutheranism look like today? Is the heart of Lutheranism in it’s doctrine, which should not be changed over time? Or is it in spreading the Gospel and fulfilling the mission Christ put before us? Bartelt goes on to say that is it a balance between the two, having its own “niche” and “role” by being between the Catholics and the Evangelicals and in doing so links the past to the future. Although Lutheranism very much values traditions and rituals, it should still be adaptable and compatible with the next generations.
Evaluate: Overall I enjoyed the lecture, although I did disagree with several components. I realize that this lecture was catered to Lutherans specifically, but for me personally it was hard to apply his ideas to my own life since I don’t identify as a Lutheran. Bartelt targeted millennials a few times during the lecture- mostly about how they are fierce advocates for change and base much of what they belief on “proven” scientific fact. While that may be disappointing to many Lutherans, I think it is a great opportunity. It opens up a different area of study: looking to documents other than the Bible to learn about Jesus’s existence and events that occurred in the Bible. Of course, being a Christian requires faith, that is its very foundation. But, I think during this time of change and new developments in science, we need to (as Christians) use these new technologies to spread the Word. Bartelt mentioned that Lutherans should be flexible and adaptable to the new generation, but I think we can take it a step further and dive into this new culture and fulfill our mission. Bartelt referenced the quote “You can only sharpen your pencil for so long- you gotta pick it up and write!” which to me directly relates to us going out into the world and spreading love, and maybe putting a little less priority on doctrine. 
     Another point I disagreed with was Bartelt’s argument that “Theology doesn’t change, even if social context does”. I disagree with this statement mainly because I think that theology, like any other study, is constantly growing and expanding and, sometimes, changing. Luther’s own legacy was that he changed theology during a time when religious leaders were opposed to change. In order for something to be a foundation it doesn’t always have to be unchanging. I think that this new generation has a lot to bring to the table in terms of theology, and some might not follow “Lutheran Theology” completely, and that is okay. The Gospel makes it clear that faith in Christ is what matters, the specifics (theology, certain laws, etc.) are going to vary domination to domination and culture to culture. Our foundation should be in our faith, which is what should remain unchanged even while social context changes. 

Thoughts on “Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious”

     The introduction to the book Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious immediately got my attention. Dark starts his book off with the claim that the term “religion” has become both a limiting and categorizing term, leading people to be blind to the fact that everyone is religious in one form or another. What we allow ourselves to bond to and place the highest value on in our lives is what we idolize and worship, making endless possibilities for the meaning of the word “religion”. I very much agree with Dark’s claim and found myself very intrigued by the points he proceeded to make in this book.
     Dark achieves his goal set in the beginning of this book: to communicate with (and hopefully spread) open-mindedness regarding religion. Although the claim made in the beginning may seem stunning to readers (especially those who identify as Christian), Dark’s ability to steer from heavy bias and opinion makes the reader feel as though he is “thinking out loud” and not making any judgements. When approaching the topic of religion with an open mind, we should not only talk about it- we should embrace it. Dark believes that these things go hand in hand because we cannot talk about something everyone does without first recognizing that everyone (including ourselves) does it. We can embrace that religion is built into every human being, and in doing this really dive into our own and others’ “religions” to better understand one another, as well as become far more open-minded in our conversations and perceptions of the world around us.
     As Dark states on page 15, “Putting religion on the table in this way, if we’re open to doing so, might be the most pressing, interesting and wide-ranging conversation we can have”. In this quote, Dark is suggesting we make discussing religion a casual, every-day thing. According to Dark, we are all religious in different ways, and the sooner we embrace that about ourselves, the sooner we can have honest and open conversations about what exactly that means for us.
     This book introduced a new perspective to me on what religion means and how we as believers should approach this topic. Not only did this read encourage me to be more open about my beliefs, but it also gave me insight on the opinions of non-believers and how I can enter into both their “religion”as well as their values as a human being. I hope to use this new perspective when talking openly about religion to the various people in my life, especially when I start college at CSP.


Hello! My name is Sierra Ross and I am a graduate of New Life Academy, a small private school in Woodbury, MN. I am looking to major in Graphic Design here at Concordia because I absolutely love art and would love nothing more than to have a career in it! I would also like to learn a little more about the business side of design as well, specifically in the areas of marketing and communications.

I have a very wide range of hobbies and things that I like. I usually spend most of my time making art, my favorite mediums being acrylic paint, charcoal, and just a plain ol’ pencil. I would consider myself to be an extrovert, so when my hands aren’t covered with paint, you will find me with my friends at coffee shops, record stores, getting tea at Sencha, or just exploring the twin cities.

I also have a big passion for theatre and singing. I have been a part of many singing groups and around a dozen shows including “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Into the Woods”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, and “Music Man”. My biggest role was the lead part of Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” last spring, which was by far one of the best experiences of my life so far.

Some other things I love: my family (2 brothers and my parents), Jesus, photography, plants, Star Wars, Sherlock (BBC version of course), Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings (I am sure by now you are realizing how geeky I am), bumblebees, traveling, sarcasm, peaches, Lianne La Havas, lemonade, thunderstorms, sneakers, bubble tea, the ocean, chocolate, and cats (I refuse to be categorized as a “cat person” because I love dogs too, just cats a little more).

So there’s me! I can’t wait to get to know you all during the fall! If you wanna chat or get to know me more, feel free to follow my instagram (@sierraross__) or message me on Facebook!