Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life among the Lutherans: Midwestern Lutheran lore

Life among the LutheransLife among the Lutherans by Garrison Keillor

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think if I had been a midwestern Lutheran, especially from Minnesota (said with a Minnesota accent), I would have appreciated this book more. I found parts of it very entertaining and funny, but scanned other parts to get to the end.

Another challenge in enjoying this book is that I am not a great fan of short stories. Essentially, this is a book of Lake Woebegone short stories about Lutherans, which probably would be more enjoyable to listen to on the radio.

These are the parts I truly enjoyed:

*The chapter entitled "The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra," in which it is explained that the only instruments a Lutheran can play are the drums and the harp. Percussionists learn patience. "A percussionist may have to wait for 20 minutes just to play a few beats, but those beats have to be exact. All that the epistles of Paul say a Christian should be--faithful, waiting, trusting, filled with fervor, hopeful--are the qualities of the good percussionist." "The other Lutheran instrument, of course, is the harp. It's made for a very nice peson with strong forearms. You almost never see a harpist with a cigarette dangling out of her takes hours to tune a harp, which remains in tune for about 10's an instrument for a saint."

*The chapter about church organists, who "despise stillness. They're sitting there with the organ equivalent of a 300-hp Ferrari and they want to put the pedal to the metal and make that baby fly."

*The fact that the Lutheran minister's wife is a good feminist and is horrified when her daughter Kate wants to change her name to "Kathy."

*When the congregation spends the money they would normally spend to send the pastor on vacation and instead purchases a very expensive book filled with what they think are the pastor's best sermons (many of which, he thinks, are his worst).

I'm a lifelong Lutheran and attended a Lutheran univeristy; however, I don't think I'm midwest Lutheran enough to be able to truly relate to many of these anecdotes. It's worth a chuckle.

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