I have been going to Lutheran congregation for about 2.5 months, out of curiosity to try and figure out what they're all about. I am Russian Orthodox, born in Russia, and grew up and educated here as a naturalized citizen. Both my parents raised me in the tradition. For many years now, I really haven't attended church. For a few months now, some life events have brought me back into the church. I was curious about Lutherans and got tired of hearing about it. I decided to start going to see what they're really about. Here's my situation: I find that I don't think I want to be Lutheran at all. My own tradition is a better fit for me. Here's what I have observed about the Lutherans and the things that make me uncomfortable:
1-They ordain gays.They marry gays.They're very overly involved in LGBT politics.
(the head of this local church in my nabe seems to be "enamored" with a young gay man.It appears as if this young man either lives in the rectory with this priests or spends wayy to much time there. Postings on Facebook are testimony of that.)
To clarify, the ELCA can ordain homosexuals regardless of whether they are celibate or not. The LCMS, NALC and WELS will only ordain homosexuals if they are celibate. With regards to this one man spending time at the "rectory" (Lutherans really don't have rectories, but often congregations do have a home attached to the parish), I don't want to get into possibilities of "what if." However, if there is evidence that there is some illicit affair going on there , then this should be reported to the district/synod president/bishop. It would help if you had corroboration before going that far.
2-They ordain women as priests. Why do women need to be priests? Why can't you be happy as a Matushka (priest's wife),an Abbess/Head of women's monastery? what is the obsession with being a "women priest" and what is so special about that?
Again, to clarify, only the ELCA and some of the NALC (many of which are former ELCA churches) ordain women. As someone has already stated, the priesthood for Protestants is seen as a centralization of power, not as an office of service. And, to them, one can only realize his calling through power, not through obedience.
3-There is no confession to priests. All is about grace.So one doesn't have to be morally upright, or do good works? All that counts for nothing? Just keep messing up, sinning, committing crimes of all sorts because "grace" absolves you?
Again, this differs from congregation to congregation, but , for the most part, private confession went out years ago because of the influence of pietism, which stressed individual accountability before God without the need for a priest or even a church. Despite many attempts to purge it, pietism is still in strong force in modern Lutheranism today. THe passivity you mention is one of many reasons I left the Lutheran Church. It flatly contradicts what St. Paul writes in Romans, "Should we sin more that grace may abound more? God forbid!" FOr Lutherans, sin happens and there's nothing you can do about it. It's all about God working in you (monergism), not about you working with God (synergism). For Lutherans, it's one-directional; for Orthodox, it's reciprocal, a relationship.
4-No recognition of saints at all.So basically all the martyrs, their wisdom and their achievements mean nothing?
THe saints are role models, nothing more. They may have done some things right, but they are still men and we should be wary about giving them any kind of veneration (Of course, Lutherans are horrible at confusing veneration with worship. THey fail to see the difference). One of the mottos of the Reformation was "Soli Deo Gloria" (To God alone be glory). To speak about the saints rather than God is a blasphemy to them. We know better.
5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.
Now on this one I say "so what?" If facebook is how he reaches his congregation so be it. And so what if he is eating out? maybe he's meeting people there.
Am I being overly judgmental here? I just don't feel at all comfortable with any of the 5 issues going on.
As far as the LGBT thing, I have nothing against people doing what they want to do in private, or being able to find employment, or have basic human rights as humans. I just don't feel comfortable with a congregation where that group gets preferential treatment, and where the "gayness" permeates everything either subliminally or in discussions.Is this priest using Christianity as platform to push his political agenda? Feels like there's a clique there; yes, of course, many worshippers are gay there - I'm not.
As you are Russian Orthodox to begin with, why are you even attending a church that is NOT Orthodox? If you don't feel comfortable, leave. Get out sooner, rather than later.