And so, a new Christian denomination prepares to shed its caul and come wailing into the world—the NALC, which, upon first Google, I took to be the National Association of Letter Carriers . Fair enough; a goodly portion of the New Testament is composed of epistles, and so an evangelistic-minded group might very well see themselves as letter carriers, although would someone please tell me where my Christmas cards went, December 1996?

Then I mistook the new ecclesiastical entity for Lutherans Concerned/North America , which I found demoralizing, as I must confess to never having cared one whit for North America, preferring instead the more exotic Oceania and its brilliant array of miniature golf courses (not to mention the white yams of Tonga).

Then I see that, though I have Googled, I have not Googled deeply. The NALC is, in fact, the North American Lutheran Church , as opposed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, from which congregations are fleeing like Democrats from Congress.

Just what we needed. Another Protestant denomination. This one to straddle the biblicism of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the bibliphobia of the ELCA, presumably with its ratio of traditional exegesis/engagement with modernity balanced so precisely that an ambitious busboy could lay his tray of half-eaten cheesy nachos on its presuppositions without fear of tippage.

I sympathize with those Lutherans who could no longer suffer the leftward march of their denomination into the abyss of irrelevancy, and those who find the denomination of my youth tiresome in its calculation of how grizzlies managed the voyage on the ark without their Dramamine. Yet another denomination can only spawn yet another denomination and so on, until there are so many congregations and so little coherence that only a swift end to history can stifle the cacophony of competing theological claims.

And so I have vowed to give up organized religion for Lent. I remain neither spiritual nor religious, but a Lutheran, sans pew. (This will no doubt send shockwaves up and down the halls of my apartment building, but only because I intend on playing my Jerry Vale albums rather loudly on Sunday mornings.)

I thank the superb religion reporter Julia Duin for bringing this to my attention , via TitusOneNine , via TimeWarner Cable (the place to be).

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