Consubstantialism and Empathy

While growing up in the Lutheran church, I realized that most people misunderstood what Lutherans believe. A high school history textbook that confused Lutheranism with Calvinism shocked me the most; textbook writers are supposed to fact check, right?

You’ll often see other Christians say with complete confidence that Lutherans are “consubstantialists” when it comes to the Lord’s Supper. That term doesn’t exist in any of Luther’s writings; It’s not how Lutherans talk about themselves; it’s not even what Lutherans believe!

And the craziest thing about these misunderstandings is how simple they are to fix. All you have to do is call up a Lutheran pastor and ask them, “what do you believe? how would you talk about the Lord’s Supper?”

This misunderstanding is harmless and easy to correct. But it does point to how all forms of prejudice and misunderstanding arise. When we do not take the time to listen to each other, we will end up speaking for that person or group without knowing their full story.

I am thankful that I spent most of my life as a Lutheran without anyone really understanding what I believe. It opened my eyes to what happens if we do not try to get our stories of others straight from the source.

That’s why this blog will not be me talking about whites or blacks or atheists or Christians or Muslims or Jews. I want whites talking about whites, blacks talking about blacks, Muslims talking about Muslims, etc. Because they are experts on what it is like to be them. I believe this is the most fundamental step for all of us seeing the “other” as our brother (and sister, I’m just using that phrase because it rhymes).

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