By Richard Peterson
From one of the hundreds of e-mails we receive each week comes this list which singles out Lutherans.
You might be a Lutheran if:
. . . when someone mentions red and green (in terms of Christmas), you immediately think of a battle over hymnals.
. . . during the entire service you hold your hymnal open but never look down at it.
. . . during communion you hum the hymns so you can see who’s at church that Sunday.
. . . rather than introducing yourself to a visitor at church, you check the visitor’s name in the guest book.
. . . a mid-life crisis means switching from the old hymnbook to the new one.
. . . the pastor skips the last hymn to make sure church lasts exactly 60 minutes.
. . . you don’t make eye contact when passing someone in the hall because you think it’s impolite.
. . . your choir believes volume is a fair substitute for tonality.
. . . in response to someone jumping up and shouting "Praise the Lord!" you politely remind him or her that we don’t do that around here.
. . . your dad’s name is Luther N., your brother is Luther Hahn and you are Lew Theran.
. . . you talk to someone else and look at their shoes first.
. . . you have more than three friends whose first names have the letter "j" as the second letter.
. . . the only open pew is up front, so you volunteer to shovel the sidewalk.
. . . Ole and Lena are really the names of your relatives.
. . . you know what Lutheran Church Basement Women are.
. . . someone asks you after church if there’s any "decaf coffee" and you laugh because you KNOW that if it doesn’t have caffeine, it can’t be coffee!
. . . you think anyone who says "casserole" instead of "hot dish" is trying to be uppity (or maybe even Episcopalian!) . . . when you were little you actually thought the Reverend’s first name was "Pastor."
. . . you think you’re paying your pastor too much if he gets a new car for the first time in eight years.
. . . you hear something really funny and smile as loud as you can.
. . . it takes 10 minutes to say good-bye.
. . . doughnuts are in the official church budget.
. . . they have to rope off the last pews in church so the front isn’t empty.
. . . you’re watching "Star Wars" in the theatre and when they say, "May the force be with you," the theatre replies, "and also with you."
. . . you can say the meal prayer all in one breath.
. . . you hesitate to clap for the church choir or special music because "it just wasn’t done that way in the old days."
. . . your church library has three Jell-O cookbooks.
. . . you laugh out loud while reading this list, and relive your childhood at the same time.
. . . you actually think the pastor’s jokes are funny.
. . . you pronounce the word Lutheran "Lutern."
. . . you know all the words to the first verse of "Silent Night" in German but can’t speak a word of it.
. . . you think lime Jell-O with cottage cheese and pineapple is a gourmet salad.
. . . your congregation’s first two operating rules are "Don’t change" and "Don’t spend."
. . . the only mealtime prayer you know is "Come Lord Jesus."
. . . you and your family of six squeeze into the last pew along with the 140 members already sitting there.
. . . you’re 57 years old and your parents still won’t let you date a Catholic.
. . . at the close of a memo it states "Peace be with you" and you respond "and also with you."
. . . you can’t get into heaven without a casserole.
. . . you notice the Kool-Aid stock shoots up during the vacation Bible school season.
. . . Commandment No. 11 — If it’s never been done that way before, don’t do it.
. . . you make your hot dishes with cream of mushroom soup and your salads with Jell-O.
. . . you sing "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" while sitting down.
. . . a line item in the trustee’s budget is "coffee maker maintenance."
. . . your idea of an affirmation is "This is most certainly true."
. . . you feel guilty about not feeling guilty.
. . . change means wearing your brown suit instead of your blue suit to church.
. . . the most mail you receive all year is from the stewardship committee.
. . . every time something changes, the old way was better.
. . . you hold your family reunion in the church basement.
. . . your biggest fund-raisers are bake sales instead of bingo.
. . . you can’t have a meeting without having a meal.
. . . all your relatives graduated from a school named Concordia.
. . . you count coffee among the sacraments.