I went to a book discussion group today with several Missouri Synod Lutheran pastors and lay people. It is always very deep discussion and I feel like its a free seminary class at Concordia. Today, we discussed the writings of the other Martin, Chemnitz I believe. We discussed free will which is as much fun as discussing the trinity in my opinion. The session went over with discussion on whether or not certain types of outreach are beneficial or not. Since I am not in the fold so to speak it was interesting to see how their tribe discusses and sees things. I learn a lot from the discussions but I am an outsider and feel like they look at me as a project that can win over. I have to sit through comments of unbelief that I am at an ELCA congregation since I am intellegent and understand theology. Its like these guys know very well the right theology and intricate church history. on the other hand they fall prey to broad brush assumtions about a sister denomination that makes me think they are of the mind there is no salvation outside the lcms.
I get a lot from going to these discussion groups since they are academic and highly intellectual, but there is a bad feeling I have like once again that I am project to be won over. I see why people stay in their own comfort zones of their own denominational tribe. There can be a lot gained by meeting with others and seeing the good they have in their traditions as an ecumenical learning experience. However, it seems that tribal loyalties take over and since they are a part of the group you would be crazy not to join them. I think I have a lot of insight from my past that can help these guys possibly grow their denomination. Probably going forward I will play hard to get and not go every time.