When I was learning how to preach in seminary, my professor encouraged us to ask ourselves the question, “Did Jesus have to die for this sermon to be preached?” That means, “Did I proclaim Christ crucified in my sermon? Was my preaching reflective of the theology of the cross?”
These are good questions for us to ask of sermons, yet they also are important to ask when looking for Christian materials. If you are looking for something to read, watch, or listen to that reflects your Lutheran Christian beliefs, you face a steep challenge.
There are Christian resources all over the place, yet most do not reflect our specific beliefs about Christ. Walking through the Christian Family Bookstore or looking at christianbook.com, you will most likely find a lot of evangelical resources. Instead of proclaiming that ONLY CHRIST can save us, many of these other resources say that we can influence our own salvation. Instead of upholding the Bible and the Sacraments as the best ways to experience God, these proclaim personal revelations. Instead of encouraging communal experiences of faith, these almost always emphasize personal relationships.
So, here are some suggestions that I have for finding good Lutheran (or at least mainline) Christian resources:
- Check out resources from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America:
- Publishing House - Augsburg Fortress (Including Fortress Press and Sparkhouse)
- Ausgburg Fortress is the general publisher, including Bible Studies and worship materials.
- Fortress Press publishes more scholarly materials, including textbooks.
- Sparkhouse publishes educational materials for all ages.
- Magazines - The Lutheran and Gather
- The Lutheran is a general magazine about who we are and what we do as Lutherans.
- Gather is a woman’s magazine full of personal stories.
- Daily devotional - Christ in our Home and Bread for the Day
- Christ in our Home is a quarterly publication that is available for free at Zion.
- Bread for the Day is an annual publication with daily devotions.
- Website - elca.org
- The ELCA’s website is a treasure trove full of information and stories about Lutherans.
- Borrow from Pastor Julie’s personal library. As long as I know what you have borrowed, you are welcome to borrow anything. Beware, I love to write in my books! Here are some of my favorite authors:
- Nadia Bolz-Weber. She preaches the gospel in a fresh yet authentically Lutheran way.
- Rachel Held Evans. She is an Evangelical turned Episcopal; she writes in a light tone as she describes her faith struggles.
- Rob Bell - A speaker and writer, he has a beautifully simple way of writing about faith.
- Barbara Brown Taylor - She describes finding faith outside as well as inside the church.
- Frederick Buechner - He is a theologian and a writer; his prose is poetic in its detail.
- C. S. Lewis - The author of The Chronicles of Narnia, he also has many Christian books for adults.
- Henri Nouwen - His simple, short books are pieces of art.
- To be honest, I am not inspired by most specifically Christian movies available. I find that they do not have the depth of content as more mainstream movies. There are plenty of movies out that have great messages, even if they don't talk about God.
- I also don't listen to Christian radio. I love storytelling podcasts, including:
There is plenty of other excellent content out there that I haven't seen yet. Let me know what you enjoy!