What Erlander hopes they've learned is: "Grace, grace, grace, grace, grace."
Talking in his gentle voice from his home in Freeland, on Whidbey Island, Wash., he added, "What's precious and special to Lutherans — what's central — is the gracious love of God for all. Undeserved."
Erlander, a retired ELCA pastor, is the author and illustrator of seven self-published books/resources, including Baptized, We Live; Manna and Mercy; and his most recent, Tales of the Pointless People (visit Erlander's website).
His unique style of writing the books by hand and illustrating them himself with cartoon-like characters is familiar to Lutherans across the church. Countless pastors have used his resources to welcome new members or teach the basics of the faith to current ones.
One reviewer said: "When I loan Manna and Mercy to friends, I remind them: 'Don't judge this book by its cover,' because the simple homespun look is deceptive. ... Do not let the look fool you. There is solid scholarship behind the simple presentation."
Erlander said he has been "drawing and drawing and drawing" since kindergarten. In first grade, the teacher told his parents, "Dan must understand that arithmetic is not art class."