“I’m a Lutheran” is a monthly profile featuring ELCA members around the world. The profiles showcase ELCA members in all their diversity, connecting one another through individual faith stories as Lutherans. Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email megan.brandsrud@elca.org.

Congregation: Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood, Wash.

Occupation: Travel writer and TV host

I found my faith in my upbringing and in my need to not be alone.

My first experience with church was probably in a cry room during a long sermon.

On a pilgrimage through Martin Luther’s land, I appreciated what a blessing it is to have the freedom to explore the word of God in my own language and how hard-earned that privilege was.

I believe God loves his creation very much and loves each of us as his child.

Faithful travel is packing light but bringing Jesus along.

I pray few requests and lots of thanks. Life is so good, especially when we get out and explore.

I think travel can help people celebrate diversity, not be fearful, gain empathy for the rest of humanity, and appreciate the blessings of home and family when your trip is finally over.

I struggle with balance, thinking my work is more important than other dimensions of my being.

To stay centered amid my busy schedule, I start and end my day with a prayer and say to myself “life is good” a lot, which means to me, “praise God.”

My favorite part of traveling is stretching my perspective, gaining a global perspective, better appreciating nature, learning, and then—through my work—equipping and inspiring others to learn from my travels and have more meaningful travels themselves.

An issue I’m fighting for is helping Americans not confuse risk and fear, and helping them get out and get to know our world. Then when they employ their desire to “be Christ-like,” they’ll do it knowing happiness and suffering are as real across the sea as they are across the street, and that every person on this planet is equally deserving and lovable in God’s eyes.

Most people think God is to blame for dumb things people do in the name of organized religion. I cut organized religion lots of slack because I believe having a faith is nourishment for your soul and organized religion is to faith what a restaurant is to food. You need the nourishment—how you consume it (Thai, Italian, etc.) and the quality of the cooking is up to you. You can complain about the restaurant or the chef, but don’t turn your back on the value—and necessity—of the ingredients.

My favorite church memory is going through stages of my life with the most important people in my world next to me in the pew and hiding the silly tears I shed when touched by my faith while sitting there.

I practice my faith on the road by knowing Jesus is with me and celebrating (or at least striving to celebrate) God’s creation every step of the way.

My faith is challenged when I’m among people I respect who have no faith.

People are surprised when I get all excited about Martin Luther.

If I could change anything, I’d make the subdued “passing of the peace” in an American Lutheran church lively by injecting the fiesta-like energy I found in liberation theology churches in Central America.

My favorite place to be a “temporary local” is worshiping as a Christian in a mosque as Muslims worship and enjoying the fact that we are all “People of the Book” loving the same God.

Interacting with different cultures has affected my faith by reminding me that this world is filled with billions of equally precious children of God.

I’m a Lutheran because it fits my personality—pack light; keep it simple; embrace life; celebrate diversity; jettison needless rules; stand up to authority when the truth needs a hand; and dance through the blessing of life on Earth like a child in God’s eyes.

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