Editor’s (admin’s) note. Lightly edited copy of a blast email I sent to members of a parish book study group I co-facilitate with Debi. Saved here for future reference, since our current book, Reclaiming the ”L” Word: Renewing the Church from Its Lutheran Core by Kelly Fryer, takes kind of a Lutheranism 101 approach. The email also introduces an extremely simpified version of an ELCA communal discernment practice called Dwelling in the Word that consists of reading an assigned scripture passage, pairing off, then discussing it a group and discerning, “What might God be up to in this passage for us today?” Or, as our Central/Southern Illinois Synod [linked below] phrases it, “Where might God’s Spirit be nudging us?”

Hi everyone —

A reminder, a link and a handout for our next session of Sundays@6 — we’ll be taking up Chapter 2 of Kelly Fryer’s “Reclaiming the L-Word” over Zoom Sunday, July 17, yep, at 6 p.m. A big welcome to {redacted], who joined us last week, and to [redacted], who’s recuperating from a bout of Covid. Glad to have you both onboard, and all the regulars!

Here’s the link for Sunday’s meeting: 

  • XXXX

We copied and pasted it from News You Can Use (if this one doesn’t work, you can go to Friday’s NYCU and click on the link there).

We’re trying something a little different as we move forward, incorporating a format called “Dwelling in the Word” that’s recommended by the Central/Southern Illinois ELCA Synod; other groups at Peace Lutheran have used it, and they highly recommend it. Instead of an opening prayer, we’ll read a scripture passage (Galatians 5:13-25 is this month’s text) and consider three questions:

  • What do I notice?
  • What do I wonder?
  • Where might God’s Spirit be nudging us?

Here’s a link to a leaders’ guide for Dwelling in the Word, on the synod website:


(Don’t be intimidated by the title — we’re all leaders in Sundays@6. It’s kind of like the priesthood of all believers.)

Then we’ll go on to Chapter 2 of Kelly Fryer’s book. Debi has prepared a handout (which we’ve attached), with Gal. 5:13-25 and discussion questions on Chapter 2. The chapter is titled “A Confession,” and, no, it’s not a pulp-magazine type confession. It begins more like an updated Augsburg Confession, i.e. basic Lutheran theology and culture, ranging from the priesthood of all believers to potlucks and Jell-O (Pete especially liked, “We’re German. No we’re not, we’re Norwegian!”) This she distills into five core values or “guiding principles.” They are:

  1. Jesus Is Lord
  2. Everyone Is Welcome
  3. Love Changes People
  4. Everybody Has Something to Offer
  5. The World Needs What We Have.

Here’s something else to think about: How does this compare to the Dwelling in the Word passage from Galatians? Pete, who has a weakness for puns, calls it “dwelling in the L-Word.” 

At our first meeting last week, we identified two overall questions we hope our study of Kelly Fryer’s “Reclaiming the L-Word” will help answer. All of us will have our own take on the questions, and we’ll have still other questions. But we’ll keep coming back to these:

  • How can we be Lutheran in a religiously diverse society that doesn’t particularly want to hear about our faith (or anyone else’s)?
  • Who are we as a Lutheran congregation, and what is God calling (or nudging) us to do — or to be?

Here’s the DITW passage, below the three-em dash, and Debi’s Handout for Week 2 is attached.

— Pete and Debi

Galatians 5:13-25
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,[a] but through love become enslaved to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

The Works of the Flesh

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[b] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Fruit of the Spirit

22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ[c] have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

[Published July 15]

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