Saturday, January 19, 2013

On Flags in Churches

An interesting and informative article regarding the use of flags in the church sanctuary can be found over on the Gottesdienst site.  I would venture to guess that a majority of LCMS parishes have an American flag in the church, along with the so-called Christian flag.  The argument that the church ought not have this in a place that should point only to Jesus has warrant.  A while back our flags were moved from the inner chancel area, where they had been for years, to a different location at the front of the nave to accommodate the newer banners which looked better in the chancel area.  Admittedly I was concerned about the fallout.  Surprisingly no cry of foul occurred.  That said, I struggle with just how a pastor should handle this delicate situation.  Anyone who knows me realizes that I have been willing to suffer controversy for a worthy cause, so not taking on the flag issue cannot be attributed to cowardice.  The moving of my flags actually helped in reducing their prominence in connection with the holy things of God, and it wasn't even my original idea.  Still, should pastors take on the presence of flags in the sanctuary as their 'line in the sand' cause?  One pastor who commented on the above article resigned over a controversy connected with the display of a flag.  Personally, with all the other issues facing the modern church, flags and their removal are not high on my list.  It is certainly not the 'hill to die on,' as another overused phase notes.  Now if I was planting a new church and starting from scratch, that would be another situation.  Then, I would simply suggest the flags be omitted.  In this case there is no sacred tradition to fight.  Your thoughts?

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