Lutheran Education Culture

“Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a reserve we are called to steward. Culture is a garden to be cared for”. These were the words of Ruth Butler at the recent LPA Conference. So, what shapes this culture within a Lutheran learning community?  

 Lutheran Education has 10 values: Love, Justice, Compassion, Forgiveness, Service, Humility, Courage Hope, Quality and Appreciation. Whilst each of these values is uniquely expressed through the lens of the expression of our Christian faith, nine of these may also be evident in secular contexts. Forgiveness, however is deeply enveloped in our Faith tradition. Forgiveness may be variously expressed as grace, mercy, amnesty, excuse, pardon, understanding, kindness, absolve, acquit, and reprieve.   

Over my life I have come to appreciate and realise that it is at times very hard to forgive, particularly when the hurt experienced has been extreme.  Another thing that I have also learnt is that despite seeking forgiveness from others for the hurt I have caused them, I cannot expect to receive forgiveness. It is in these situations that the words of St Paul to the Colossians provide much needed guidance: 

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Col 3: 12-14 Message. 

So, for our Lutheran Learning communities, this can and should be integral to our culture. Forgiveness is the expression and action of grace. When grace is overtly present the ‘garden’ of our communities with flourish.  

As stated in ‘A Vision for Learners and Learning’, forgiveness is breaking the cycle of un-grace, pardoning the wrongs others have done to us and seeking pardon for the wrongs we have done to others. Forgiveness often comes with pain and can involve stepping over our hurt. Forgiveness releases both ourselves and others, enabling new starts and new beginnings, another chance. 

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” Matthew 5:7. Message. 


John Proeve 


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