American Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, traditions, heritage, relevance


Are the traditional fellowship values of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, of Grand View College and the Folk Schools, viable today? This is the most important question facing us as a group, and it is expressed in our theme through the term "relevance." We must therefore ask what relevance means. According to the dictionary it means that something is "lifted up again" or that it "bears upon the matter at hand." When this definition is applied to personal or group values, it means that these values continue to be alive and important or that they are lifted out of forgetfulness or obscurity to become vital and vibrant in the current situation. As we think of spiritual values, relevance is undoubtedly best expressed in practical or functional ways. It is better to be alive than to think about being alive. Analysis and specification become necessary only when relevance is imperiled, as it may be through controversy, misuse or lack of use. As an example, the marital bond between a man and a woman needs no analysis when it is sound and strong. The time for considering relevance comes when the bond is weakened.