I have recently written a volume about my life as an alleged heretic. It is entitled Why on Earth are You still a Lutheran? The following Preface provides a brief background for the book. Available from Morning Star Publishing: morningstarpublishing.net.au/product/why-on-earth-are-you-still-a-lutheran/
The title of this book may surprise some readers. This title reflects my identity as an Australian, an Earth child and a Lutheran who has survived accusations and innuendoes of heresy several times in my life.
I would not be surprised if those who begin reading this book assume that I may be a rather bitter, angry or sulking victim. Far from it! There is no wisdom in playing the victim. I have friends who have been forced into exile and subsequently left the church. I empathise with them. Why on Earth are you still a Lutheran? That is the question many have asked. That is the question I plan to explore in this book in a particular way.
In this book I take a journey through selected scenes of my life when the question of my Lutheran identity became conscious or critical in the face of accusations of heresy. Hopefully my readers will also connect with those moments and explore afresh his or her spiritual or secular identity in this challenging world.
For me the task is to search for that elusive something that persists in my faith; the mystery behind the Lutheran jargon that has cluttered my world and battered my brain; the searching soul that has withstood accusations of heresy.
I am not writing an autobiography. I am many more things than a Lutheran—a family man, a social justice advocate, an amateur ecologist and a poet…but still a Lutheran.
Admittedly my memory may be biased—that is true for most of us who write about what we remember. And there are many more formative forces at work in my life than my formal education at a Lutheran Seminary. The diverse Lutheran links made in this journey, however, may perhaps lead others to reflect on the mystery behind the ‘truths’ we may still hear proclaimed by religion or science.
The series of scenes from my experiences is not an effort to define being a Lutheran in any official or unofficial sense. This is my a personal search for the elusive mystery that lurks behind my life as a Lutheran—perhaps, even more particularly, an elderly liberated eco-Lutheran of the 21st century. Later, in Chapter 22, I spell out what it means for me to be a Lutheran.
For me, Lutheran wisdom means reading life from a distance, reading the landscape as a sacred text, and reading the sacred text without biased biblical blinkers.
While most of this volume was written some years ago, the findings of my search remain true, especially the Why at the end of my memoirs.
The flier for the Launch highlights the focus of this book. Click here to view it.
After launching the book at a gathering full of laughter and Lutheran limericks, I offered a tongue-in-cheek recant:
I hereby revoke even the slightest suggestion,
That Jesus could ever be other than Lutheran!
By his deutsche demeanour
And his publica doctrina
He would feel quite at home at a Synod Convention!
I reject any claims that the Bible has errors,
That hell may be less than endless cruel terrors!
Yes, the earth is quite flat!
In addition to that
I can resolve contradictions by the use of old mirrors!
My thinking once wavered and my thoughts were uneven,
About what actually happened in the Garden of Eden.
And that forbidden ripe fruit?
Why, you silly galoot:
They saw it! They ate it! Es steht geschrieben!
I will hunt down old heresies as I did in my youth,
Proving Baptists are mired in pietistical soup,
That a very smart whale
Can swallow a male
And that women can never never never preach truth!
I renounce any process that veers from the formal,
Like praying with Catholics! I’m staying confessional!
And to keep my faith clean,
I won’t speak to the greens!
God be praised! I’m now perfectly normal!
Signed: The Rev. Prof. Dr. Normal Habel