The chaplain down at the retirement center and I started a ministerial association lectionary bible study back in April. It's grown pretty well, seeing as we had 4 people for the first one and are now up to around 10 or more regularly.
Being in Lake Wobegon country, the vast majority of ministers who show up are some degree of Lutheran. Of the non-Lutherans, there are myself, about every other week the associate Methodist pastor, and a United Reformed guy.
Having grown up in the South where there really aren't any Lutherans because the ethnic groups that immigrated to this country who were prone to be Lutheran never really came to the South (Southerners tend to be Irish, Scottish, English, African American, Native American, or some combination thereof), I have been fascinated by the discussions we've had both on Scripture and on Lutheran culture. (I understand Garrison Keillor a lot more now.)
Today, the leader (we take turns) decided to do the readings on Reformation Sunday, which is apparently a Lutheran shtick for the Sunday before All Saints Day. He just assumed everyone did that. I had just heard tell of such a phenomenon once in seminary from a Lutheran student who came up from the Lutheran seminary in Chicago for a class at Seabury, but I did not really know anything else about it.
I, being a good Anglo-catholic boy, was somewhat horrified at the concept, but most of the Lutherans liked the idea. They were all quite convinced the Reformation as a whole was a good thing. I think some good things came out of the Reformation, but I am quite hesitant to say that overall it was a good thing. A ripping asunder of the Body of Christ, even if for much needed reforms in some parts, cannot ever be classified as an overall "good" in my book. I know I have some good Protestant friends who read this blog that will be horrified at reading my opinions on this. I just can't justify the ends with the means of the Reformation. Or, for sake of argument, perhaps I might say the extremes of the Reformation.
In any event, it was one of those group discussions, which are usually quite amicable and friendly, where I was greatly outnumbered. In such cases I usually keep my own council and just let things slide unless someone asks me my specific opinion. I did pipe up a few times and make comments along the lines of the preceding paragraph. I was not being accusatory or anything. I just posed the question in various ways. All three times there'd be this silence as they paused to wrestle with what I was asking, as it was obviously something from completely off their radar screen. After the third time with a particularly awkward silence (I can't remember what the comment was I made), I turned to the Lutheran pastor next to me and said, "Who let those crickets in here?" Of course, everyone laughed. Not that it was tense or anything, but I just come from a completely different tradition and culture than those guys.
Ironically on my ride home, I happened to be flipping channels and happened onto a religious broadcasting station. This preacher was going on about how Catholics weren't really saved because they thought the sacraments were what saved them. He was erroneous on just about everything I heard him say, but I just had to sigh to myself all over again.
Who let those crickets on the radio?