Incorporated: Masks vs. Me
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life (CLTPL), formerly of St. Louis, has now been legally established as a non-profit religious corporation based in California, according to its founding director, Uwe Siemon-Netto. Intent on challenging the prevalent “Me mentality” in Western society, CLTPL adopted the name League of Faithful Masks (LFM), borrowing Martin Luther’s term for God’s creatures. Behind these masks God hides, Luther said; through these masks God carries out His hidden purposes.
The League will continue to carry the name, Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life, in its subtitle. As an outreach of Faith Lutheran Church in Capistrano Beach, Cal., LFM will depend financially on grants, donations and other offerings all of which will be tax deductible. LFM’s office is located on the campus of Concordia University Irvine, CA 92715.
LFM’s Board is made up of five members, all Lutheran laymen. They are:
Chairman: David Atkinson, engineer;
Vice Chairman: Ruth DeNault, businesswoman and philanthropist;
Secretary: James Lowe, attorney;
Chief Financial Officer: Janet Muller, retired corporate executive, adjunct professor at Concordia University;
President: Uwe Siemon-Netto, journalist and lay theologian.
At its first meeting the Board decided that LFM should continue to project Lutheran theological concepts into the public arena, in line with the activities of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life. However, the Board made it clear that, far from wishing to be sectarian, LFM must reach out to all faithful Christians and seekers interested in Luther’s teachings concerning the life of a Christian in the secular realm.
LFM especially strives to introduce Christians of all denominations to the Lutheran doctrine of calling, which states that every human being has numerous divine vocations in the worldly realm. Seen from the Lutheran perspective, Christians practicing their diverse vocations -- including “divine assignments” as voters, political leaders or parents -- out of love for their neighbors are rendering the highest service to God. LFM considers this worldview based on Scripture a useful antidote against the narcissistic Zeitgeist advancing all kinds of questionable “rights” contravening natural law.
These alleged entitlements include seemingly unlimited abortion “rights,” the “right” to place deviant sexual behavior on the same level with the traditional marriage, but also the presumed “right” of corporate executives to enrich themselves obscenely to the detriment of the world economy, or the “rights” of politicians to act solely in their own interest rather than in the interest of society at large.
Following the four-year practice of CLTPL, the League of Faithful Masks will promote theological alternatives to the excesses of the Me culture with publications, lectures, conferences, seminars, video productions and other activities. LFM has already taken first steps to establish regional chapters in various parts of North America and Europe in the hope of creating a multi-location network of faithful Christians determined to uphold the biblical concept of the priesthood of all believers in the secular realm.
LFM Activies since moving to CA
• In an article in the September 2009 issue of Christianity Today, Uwe Siemon-Netto, described his stay with an Amish congregation in Eastern Illinois, discussing his encounter with this community from both a human and a theological perspective. Similar articles by Siemon-Netto about the fascinating contrast between his Lutheran theology and the Anabaptist theology practiced by the Amish appeared in prominent publications in Germany and Switzerland.
• In early October, Siemon-Netto gave four presentations at the University of Calgary in Canada:
1. In a seminar titled, “What this Lutheran Learned When he Visited the Amish,” Siemon-Netto discussed his theological observations gained from this encounter with the University’s chaplains and other members of the Calgary clergy.
2. In an address titled, “Voters as Priests – the Lutheran Paradox,” explained the Lutheran two-kingdoms doctrine and its significance in a democracy; this public lecture held in commemoration of the late Peter Craigie, former Dean of Humanities at the University of Calgary, was open to the general public.
3. Addressing members of the University’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, Siemon-Netto, a former Vietnam War correspondent discussed the complex and often strained relationship between journalists and the military and intelligence communities; this speech was titled, “War, Piracy and the Media.”
4. Siemon-Netto’s final presentation at the University of Calgary was before members of its religious studies department. This speech was titled, “Called to the Beat –the Vocation of Journalists.”
• On Reformation Sunday (Oct. 25), Uwe Siemon-Netto will speak to the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach, Cal., about the Christian’s role as the mask behind who the invisible God hides while reigning and acting in the secular realm.
• On November 2, Siemon-Netto will lecture on “The Global Importance of Bach Today” at the Tenth Annual Conference of the Good Shepherd Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind.
• In the Spring Semester of 2010, starting January 20, Uwe Siemon-Netto will teach an advanced journalism course at Concordia University Irvine.
Checks for The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life (CLTPL) should be made out care of “Faith Lutheran Church of Capistrano Beach” (FLC); in the memo portion of the check the payment should be earmarked for “The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life.”
CLTPL c/o Faith Lutheran Church of Capistrano Beach
34381 Calle Portola
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
The phone number (949) 496-1901
A designated CLTPL fund is being set up in the yearly budget for FLC for this purpose. All contributions will be fully tax-deductible. FLC will send a receipt to the respective donors at the end of each calendar year for tax purposes.