Located within the campus of a large public research university, Luther Memorial Church in some ways juxtaposes medieval embodiment with disembodied post-modernism. Inhabiting a neo-gothic/cruciform liturgical space, the church occupies an architectural presence that shapes our liturgical assemblies in sacramental terms: one enters the nave by circumnavigating a stone baptismal font flowing with water, and then proceeds down the center aisle toward a massive wood/stone central altar. A figure of Christ, in the form of an 8-foot stone statue, arms extended, dominates the chancel reredos, welcoming all.
Project: Embodied Church–Disembodied Culture
At Luther Memorial Church, we have been engaged for some time in attempting to discern the relationship within a church context between the analogue and the digital. Can an analogue community, assembled around the incarnate Word and the Sacramental Body and Blood of Christ, flourish amid a digital-disembodied culture in which virtual reality may trump actual embodied life? Put another way: can an embodied (sacramental) tradition, rooted in the particularity of Trinitarian personhood, live and serve in a disembodied virtual culture of general religious abstraction and individual theory? Or, finally, can an analog church find ways to use digital technique to serve its embodied mission in a disembodied culture?
Luther Memorial’s project seeks to discern ways in which the congregation can more authentically embody Christ analogically while simultaneously make more effective use of digital (disembodied?) technology. Within our worship/sacramental assembly, we seek greater analogical modes of embodiment even as people increasingly come to Luther Memorial through electronic/disembodied means, such as our website, YouTube, Facebook, and the like. How do we authentically live in a neighborhood context when our “neighbors” come from distant places not associated with our geographic context? How can we be more locally strategic as an increasingly global and disembodied presence?
1021 University Avenue
Brad Pohlman, Associate Pastor
Bruce Bengtson, Director of Music
Franklin Wilson, Senior Pastor