A Lutheran on a non-Lutheran "review" of non-Lutheran "Lutheran" worship…
It's really embarrassing when it's left to a non-Lutheran to point out the less-than-Lutheran practices of a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation, but that's what's happened in this case.
I took a trip to Ship of Fools, a non-denominational website that includes a plethora of offerings in the way of things churchly. The Ship's editor, Simon Jenkins, states that "our aim is to help Christians be self-critical and honest about the failings of Christianity, as we believe honesty can only strengthen faith." On board the ship are an online community, religious headlines, features and projects ranging from the satirical to the theological, regular columnist articles, and other miscellany including a "gadgets for god" section with items worthy of inclusion in The Museum of Idolatry.
They seem to have a large stable of Mystery Worshippers, all of whom answer the same set of questions about the church they've visited. I read through quite a few of the reviews, mostly reviews of Lutheran churches. I didn't detect any sort of agenda among the reviewers, and they generally offered matter-of-fact responses that were both insightful and sometimes humorous. First time visitors often offer observations and annoyances that the regular crowd no longer notices.
Angel Unaware also reports that the pastor wore khakis and a silky, open-necked camp shirt. At this point I'm beginning to wonder if this is one of the mega-churches that the LCMS uses to discover its "best practices" for church growth. This is also where the story takes a really sordid swing to the non-Lutheran side of the tracks. Our reviewer continues:
Ouch! When the first time visitor is pointing out the non-Lutheran practices of an LCMS church, maybe it's time to trade those seeker-sensitive lenses in for something ground a little closer to the Church of the Augsburg Confession. Let's hope that the next week's sermon didn't include a rendition of the Beatles' "Let It Be." Enough said.