by John Klawiter, M.Div. Senior
While driving one day, Meta Herrick Carlson, a 2008 Luther Seminary graduate who is currently a pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, saw a homeless man holding a sign at the exit of the freeway. It gave her an idea. What if, instead of seeing someone holding a cardboard sign that represented scarcity, Lutherans took to the streets with cardboard signs expressing abundance?
Carlson selected the day before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks for Lutherans across the country to positively reflect on how they could promote God's word and invite others to express their faith. She hoped to reach people while they were driving in their cars, listening to the radio give news of war and oppression.
Carlson, who started generating interest in participation through a Facebook invite to ELCA clergy members, also created a blog that captures images and stories submitted by Lutherans who participated across the country.
Eric Hoffer, M.Div. senior, participated and made a sign that said Take it from this big sinner ... God loves YOU. "I was done with internship," said Hoffer, "but I still wanted to do it, so I went out to the streets by myself with the sign and wore my collar."
Bonnie Wilcox, senior pastor at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in St. Paul, had a large group participate from her congregation. "We had a lot of honks and thumbs up from passersby," said Wilcox.
"I had no idea how many people would turn out," said Carlson. Best estimates reflect that more than 1,000 people participated. "But it it shows that a lot of our biggest risks don't need to be line items in a budget. This is about being brave and asking yourself, 'Why not?'"
Despite the success, Carlson doesn't plan on making this an annual event. Instead, she hopes Living Lutheran Creed Day got people's imaginations engaged to encourage them to think about other ways to be unique and go beyond their personal comfort to share their faith.
For more information and more photos, check out the blog livinglutherancreedday.blogspot.com and watch the video made by Ben Cieslik, '10, at http://vimeo.com/28872054.