It seems to me that in the States if you are a Christian but not a Catholic, you're automatically thrown into the huge (and negatively viewed) pot that is Protestantism. I have many (Catholic) relatives there, some of whom are very strictly religious, and I would like to avoid confusion with the radically different and incompatible branches of Protestantism that they might be thinking of when I try to explain my beliefs. In Germany we call it "Evangelisch-Lutherisch" (translated, albeit incorrectly as shown below: "Evangelical Lutheran") - apparently, the equivalent on the English Wikipedia is Lutheranism. "Evangelisch"s make up around 24.3% of the German population, many of whom are Lutherans (there are 2.4% more Roman Catholics). The translated German Wikipedia page on Protestantism sums up the translation issues that arise:
"Evangelisch" [no translation] must be distinguished from the term "Evangelikal" [evangelical] which emerged in the 20th century, especially when translated into or from other languages. In English-speaking countries, the terms "Protestantism" and "Protestant" are indispensable, since "evangelical" can mean "Evangelikal" in addition to "Evangelisch", especially in North America. Also, there is no English equivalent for the adjective "reformatorisch" [no translation, branch of "Evangelisch" church that is incompatible with Lutheranism and strongly attached to the bible as gods word -> f.e. Calvinism] The adjective "reformed" means "reformiert" [not "reformatorisch"] and is used, for example, in designations for certain churches, such as the Dutch Reformed Church. The historical term "evangelical" originated in the environment of Puritanism in England. [Which Lutherans have nothing to do with]
(notes added in angular brackets)
How can I best convey what I believe in? Should I just say I'm Lutheran? Should I explain the similarities and differences with Catholicism instead?