2015 Recap: 5 Things We Learn About Lutherans from Their Youth Event

December 31, 2015, 7:26 AM by  Alan Stamm


No. 1 in our Top 10 countdown was published July 19 and is by far the most popular 2015 content, based on readership and number of comments. Links to the other nine reposts are at the end.

As you likely detected in recent days, we admire the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering -- even from the sidelines via social media and streaming.

The visitors' spirit, style and sass impress Deadline editors, who say "amen" rather than "hallelujah" and who are more familiar with the Torah than the Concordia.

After five activity-jammed days in Detroit, the 30,000 or so participants today [July 19] roll and fly back to states across the country. They seem to have opened eyes and minds In the city where they prayed and praised, painted and landscaped, and heard Motown legends as well as Christian rockers named Skillet.    

Ford Field on Sunday morning.
(Photo by Daniel Flucke)

Here are five observations about Evangelical Lutherans without having attended Cobo Center, Ford Field and Hart Plaza events:  

1. They're unpretentious: We heard from a Gulf Coast bishop who goes by Mike (@BreadTweet), a Dallas "digital ministry" consultant whose handle is @revrevwine and saw Pastor Emily Scott of Brooklyn referred to as "my girl, Kick Butt Lady Pastor @Broken_Bread" by Associate Minister Jes Kast-Keat of Manhattan. The national church's presiding bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton of Ohio, hauled dumped tires from a Detroit lot and said this during Sunday's sermon: "You look a little tired, but you still look on fleek today."  

We also enjoy this from Wisconsin group leaders:

2. They tackle social issues head-on: In addition to doing three days of "Proclaim Justice" volunteer work citywide ("service is the rent we pay for living"), visitors heard calls to speak and work against racism, income inequality, police brutality, poverty and GLBT bias. "Look at the poverty in your own community and then take action," Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund urged Saturday night. "Our states are spending two to three times more per prisoner than per pupil. That's a really dumb investment."

3. They're not shy about pushback: Under our coverage Saturday of praise for the visitors' volunteer work citywide, a reader identifying himself as Brad commented: "As it continues, White People saving Detroit." Cheryl Pressley replies at our site:

There wasn't a single white person in the youth group my church in Greensboro NC sent to this event. It's unfortunate that the photos above don't show the true diversity present within the ELCA. Regardless, the ELCA didn't come to save Detroit, but came to experience Detroit and spread the word about what a great city it is. It's a win-win situation.

Featured_ckd4ae_weaaan-d_17717See how they put fun in faith.

4. They're humble: "My group of kids and myself took a lot more away from our volunteering than what we gave to them," Angela Leeder posts Sunday morning on our Facebook page. She's one of two leaders accompanying four students from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Hiram, Ga., who worked in Brightmoor.

5. They tolerate news site slips: And do so silently, with nary a peep about articles here Saturday that ended the 3.8-million-member church's name with "of America," rather than "in America" (both fixed today). We appreciate tolerance of fallibility as much as we worship accuracy. 

Related coverage:

Top 10 Countdown so far:

10. Todd Courser +_Charlie LeDuff = Edgy Confrontations

9. Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue Includes Amy Andrews ’Dry Hump Day’ Video

8. Detroit Is a ‘Pretty Dangerous’ Place to Film – Ryan Gosling

7. ’I Apologize,’ Carmen Harlan Says About Remark Blasted as ’Dangerous’

6. Time for he Detroit Athletic Club to Remove Swastikas -- Lengel

5. Writer Takes Old Chicago Road Instead of I-94 from Detroit to Chicago

4. Kelly Stafford’s Try to Sell 5 Lions Tickets Makes QB’s Wife an Online Target

3. ’What Gives?’ Ex-DJ Asks About Allyson Martinek; Petition Is Posted

   2. Gifts to ‘Walking Man’ James Robertson Pass $350,000

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