Every now and then I go off on an uncharitable rant about the LCMS. For those folk outside the US, I'm not talking about the Australian Kellogg's rice bubble bars, but the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I grew up in a household where the kitschy Concordia calendar hung on the wall in the kitchen, and the trite little devotional digest Portals of Prayer was one of the few regular periodicals in the home. As a thirteen year old I remember having to study Catechetical Helps in confirmation classes: all Missouri Synod productions. Remarkably my family was living not in St Louis, Missouri, but Hamilton, New Zealand. In those days (and still to some extent, though less so) Australasian Lutheranism was in cultural thrall to the mad mullahs of Missouri.
Finding any objective assessment of Missouri Synod Lutheranism today isn't easy. Lord knows, I certainly don't claim to be impartial. LCMS members tend to be, as I see it, either brainwashed or brain-dead, so that rules them out (see, I told you I wasn't impartial.) So it's nice - in fact it's near miraculous - to find a journalist who can hang an intelligent, respectful, yet critical article together. Larry Mitchell is the man who has pulled off the feat in the Chico Enterprise & Record (sadly, the praise doesn't extend to Mark Noll's facile pontifications.) If you've ever wanted the skinny on the LCMS, this is probably the place to get it.