"My wish is that students not only learn the practice of their worship tradition but will be able to continually critique it in order to keep their worship practice faithful to the gospel."
Dirk G. Lange was drawn toward teaching to help students discover what he describes as "the simplicity of the gospel in mercy and joy. In teaching, I hope to help future pastors and lay leaders translate the gospel into a communal expression both through daily prayer in community and in the Sunday liturgy."
He was attracted to Luther Seminary in particular because of its ecumenical diversity. "Here is a school committed to understanding the Lutheran confessions in a multi-cultural context and, at the same time, redefining what mission means for the church and the world," he said. "The seminary is in dialogue with other expressions of faith, expressions that, though sometimes very different, have been equally sustaining of their respective faith communities. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to value our core traditions and to place them in dialogue with other faith expressions."
Lange hopes that his students will benefit in several ways from his teaching. "I hope they gain deep respect for each other, a deep understanding of their particular worship tradition, a commitment to openness and learning from other ecclesial/worship traditions and a deep love for the person who has not yet found a place within the church," he said. "My wish is that students not only learn the practice of their worship tradition but will be able to continually critique it in order to keep their worship practice faithful to the gospel." He also hopes that students will further their appreciation for the "deep connection between worship and daily life, between liturgy and ethics."
When it comes to what is most important for students to learn about worship, Lange turns to the Lutheran Confessions. "I could not hope for anything better than students recognizing and understanding this fundamental, ecumenical insight of the Confessions: that worship of the New Testament is spiritual and that to 'worship in spirit' is to worship 'with the deepest activity of the heart and faith,' worship that will always bear the fruits of faith in the world."