To OALCer who asks what churches we attend, may I suggest that it doesn't matter? If you want to find our what makes someone tick, you need to go deeper. I appreciate the desire to find categories for people; it's natural. But it doesn't get you far. Within the OALC there are people who don't agree with what you have posted here. I just talked to an OALCer who thinks it is sinful to judge another's spiritual state and that it is "un-Christlike" to shun those who leave the OALC. (Unfortunately, this person is not a preacher.)
That said, I go to an ELCA church, when I'm not visiting an Episcopal or Congregational or something-other church, or staying home with the New York Times and a Thermos of coffee. So sue me! For all the wonderful things a church can do, it cannot stand in for one's relationship to God, and it sure can get in the way of it, if allowed.
Today our pastor gave a stirring sermon about the need to resist a culture of hedonism and to fight for social justice. She described a recent meeting with a senator who received so much hate mail from "Christians" after supporting some civil rights legislation that the senator concluded they "can't be on the right side" if God is, as Christ said, love.
We were urged today not to retreat into ourselves but to be "engaged with the world" on behalf of the poor, as Jesus was. Love in action.
Mentally, I contrasted this message with the Laestadian ethos of avoiding the world, which seems, well, so much easier. Especially in our modern age when we are constantly exposed to the suffering. If you spend even a few honest minutes thinking about how many children died today in Darfur, you are motivated to either (1) distract yourself or (2) do something -- however small.
Later in the service, to my surprise and delight, came a blast from the past: "Bred Dina Vida Vingar"(the entire first line came flooding back, in Swedish no less!). In English it is called The Holy Wings. Is this hymn also familiar to you? I sang out with joy. It was one of those "full circle" moments, where I returned to a place where I once stood, but no longer in shackles. (I'm no more Lutheran than Chinese, but boy am I happy to sing that good ol' Lutheran music!)
Today in the NYT Sunday Magazine there is an intriguing, heavy-weight article (warning: do not attempt to read it in a noisy room) about faith and science. It includes a novel theory that belief and skepticism are tandem evolutionary adaptations. In other words, our age-old disagreements have ensured our survival as a species (if not, alas, as individuals in the crosshairs, or bonfires). We need each other.
For some reason this concept cheered me. What we argue when we argue about faith is usually immaterial (pun intended). And if it is true that some of us are "programmed," as it were, to be more or less faithful, how is that different than being blue-eyed or brown, smart or simple?
The dishes still need doing.