Church #11, Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Date: 4/22/12

Church: Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Pastor: Reverend David Dietsche

Time Spent: 10:30-11:50am

Overall Impression: Good mixed with just ok

Type: Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod

Format: Contemporary Worship: songs, sermon, prayer, closing song

announcements were either first or last, I didn’t record it and have forgotten

Thoughts: This church had an unusual mix of likes and dislikes for me. The service itself didn’t wow me and I didn’t really like it until the very last song which was fast paced. On the other hand afterwards talking with a couple of people was really nice and felt connecting. I guess it’s possible I found a place that I dig the people but not the content.

Service summary:

The songs were unknown to me and I didn’t outright love any of them. All except the last one which was fun and fast. But, it was also clear that the young worship team was really having a blast performing and that enjoyed being there. I applaud that, and I always find it exciting to see a church with an active youth set. In my experience youth events are always way more fun than adult events. The sermon was a tad rambley and I kept reaching different conclusions than the pastor on his points. He suggested that the apostles should have read scripture to understand that Jesus was coming back, then they wouldn’t have been so shocked. I don’t think scripture would have helped them as the Christ predictions were far too ambiguous to be understood as referring to him. Also it certainly wasn’t the practice at the time to have scripture/scrolls lying around the house to peruse. They may not have been allowed to access the temple scrolls at their leisure. Or even had any leisure. It was also in the message that if one doesn’t understand scripture (or even suspects this is the case) it is up to that person to find a teacher to explain it. I like being able to read the bible without needing to consult a leader or pastor. I find it somewhat limited to ask a single person, when a discerning google user can come up with many explanations from learned sources to help see what others have said they see. Ultimately I want to know what I’m going to see from scripture. We were given an example of a misconception of scripture in the common quote “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” The idea is not in the bible in this form. I always perceived it as a take on Luke 4:23 when Jesus says, “Physician heal yourself.” When Jesus says it he remarks that it is a proverb (although it isn’t in the book of Proverbs) and he uses it in kind of a new way. Maybe I’m the only one to draw that parallel though.

People summary:

I wasn’t greeted at this church. Maybe they all just keep to themselves a bit or maybe they didn’t recognize me as new. When this happens I do still try to catch a member or at the very least the pastor afterwords to talk briefly. Sometimes it doesn’t lead anywhere because people aren’t expecting to converse with me. This has been the case in several Catholic churches. This time the people I engaged, engaged me right back. I spent several minutes talking with one of the musicians about the youth band and youth activities. And when I approached the pastor we had some talks about churches in general and it was clear he approved of my exploration project. So the people seem quiet until approached, and once approached they are friendly and easygoing.

Overall Feelings: I like this place even with the mixed vibe. They seem to have a number of bible reads and studies. Maybe I can get in on some of that and find more friendly people.

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