Monday, January 25, 2010

Back from the Fort

We made it back from Fort Wayne Saturday night. The two symposia at Concordia Theological Seminary were a great success. I’m told that well over a hundred more people attended this year’s symposia than last year. I’d like to thank the faculty, staff, and seminarians for their hospitality, allowing us to be members of their community for the week.

We were treated to a stellar group of speakers that included Dr. Arthur Just, Dr. Charles Gieschen, Dr. Scott Hahn (Franciscan University), Dr. Peter Scaer, Dr. David Scaer, Dr. Dean Wenthe, Prof. James Bushur, Dr. Lawrence Rast, Dr. Adam Francisco, Dr. Benjamin Mayes (Editor, Concordia Publishing House), Prof. Roland Ziegler, Dr. Paul Raabe, Dr. William Russell (Texas Lutheran University), Rev. Mark Chavez (Director of Lutheran CORE and VP of WordAlone Network), Dr. Joel Lehenbauer (Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations), and topping it off in a way that truly combined the transcendent with the immanent, Dr. William Weinrich.

Not only were we able to listen to great speakers on stimulating topics, we were also showered with God’s gifts through the Daily Offices in Kramer Chapel. To hear God’s Word preached and music and voice combined in such a wonderful setting, rising like incense through the peaked roof of Kramer Chapel, was a real joy. Dr. David Scaer delivered a provocative homily, as did Dr. Rast.

I was able to make a pilgrimage to the bookstore (actually several of them), which is why I could barely get my bag jammed into the overhead bin on the flight back to Seattle. (Dr. Scaer was kind enough to autograph one of my books.) I also compared notes with Pastor Bill Cwirla at the Higher Things reception, and said “Hi” to Pastor Matt Harrison, among others.

My vote for best line of the week? Dr. David Scaer:

How many of you are home schooling your children? [Pause for participants to raise their hands.] Would you mind taking them out of the Commons?

I spent a fair amount of time in the Commons as well, meeting friends as well as sucking down cup after cup of hot chocolate, to steel myself for the short trip from the Commons to Sihler Auditorium. Combined with the wind, it was cold enough that no one was hobnobbing out on the Plaza.

While a few of the lectures were somewhat over my head, I never got completely lost in a theological back alley. For those of you laymen out there, I’d highly encourage you to attend these sorts of events. What you don’t catch the first time around you can go back and review as you read through the text of the speaker’s presentations (which will hopefully be available online). You won’t learn how to swim if you never get out of the baby pool.

The other high point of the symposia was staying with our friends. Seminarian Dave will soon be awaiting a Divine Call as he finishes up his final year at CTS. We made the most of it, playing with their three kids out on the farm, staying up late and getting up early. He graciously shepherded me around campus, and his wife made sure we never left hungry. There is no substitute for Christian friendship and koinonia.

As with the Lutheran Concerns Association Conference, I’ll offer a few more thoughts on the symposia in the days ahead, after I’ve had a chance to read through my notes and review a few of the papers that were presented.


Christopher Gillespie said...

Hey, it was good to meet finally.

Scott Diekmann said...

And you as well Chris! Your avatar and you no longer have much of a resemblance. Even if I hadn't been looking at the back of your head all week, I'm not sure I would have recognized you :>)

Dennis Peskey said...

Scott - good to see you at CTS. I bet your really happy the weather was about 10 degrees above normal. I suspose the eschaton is rapidly nearing now that, in my latter years, I have finally heard a sermon preached on Song of Solomon (by David Scaer - who else would attempt such a feat!) Hope to see you at Bethany in February.

Scott Diekmann said...

Yeah Dennis, that was quite the heat wave they had. If only sunshine had come along with it. I don't know why more sermons aren't preached on the Song of Solomon. Christopher W. Mitchell certainly didn't have any problem writing a huge commentary on it. I'll be there in February, Lord willing.