Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Congress of the Lutheran Confessions: Worth the Trip

I attended the Congress of the Lutheran Confessions last week in Minneapolis, with my wife joining me on the last day (don’t tell Pastor Fehrmann – I wouldn’t want to get busted). The Congress is jointly held by the Association for Confessional Lutherans and the Luther Academy, and was really nothing short of spectacular. They had great speakers, snacks (although no chocolate), lots of displays and books to buy – even a book signing by a guy named Pastor Matt Harrison.

It was encouraging to see so many laymen at the conference, comprising nearly half of the 200 total attendees.

Fellow blogger Norman Teigen introduced himself. He’s a former LCMS member who’s now in the ELS. Now there’s a dedicated blogger! He was on tour, attending the events of several synods to get an idea of what’s going on across Lutheranism. This was his second stop (with a couple more to go), after first attending the Word Alone convention. His blog, Lutheran Colportage, has a liturgical emphasis, including a wealth of wonderful music.

I bumped into a few Stand Firm readers, including Mary, who though she checks in to see what’s going on once in a while, says she hasn’t left any comments yet. That’s probably wise. I also met up with Kari Anderson, who I’ve been corresponding with for years, although this is the first time we’ve met in person.

If you’re into Preus sightings, there were plenty of those to go around, with Pastors Daniel, Klemet, Rolf, and Peter Preus in attendance, as well as brother Christian, mom Donna, Klemet’s very sweet wife Janet, and probably a couple of others I missed since I don’t know all of them.

Sitting at my table the first day was another fellow blogger (although in a state of semi-retirement at the moment), Pastor Christopher Esget. He’s taking a sabbatical from his blog Esgetology. He also happens to be the pastor of my friend Mollie Ziegler Hemingway. Oddly enough, later on that night I met Mollie’s dad, Pastor Larry Ziegler. Pastor Ziegler had the singular honor of being awarded the 2010 Neo-Methodist Award the next evening at the banquet, a memory I’m sure he will cherish for years to come. If Zieglers keep winning awards, I might begin to think this thing is rigged, since Mollie won the 2009 Confessional Lutheran of the Year Award.

Pastor Klemet Preus and his wife Janet hosted a fun party at their house the first night. Lots of people and delicious food. Pastor Preus definitely knows how to fix up salmon the correct way – tasty and moist. We hung out by the fire outside. It got a little chilly in the late evening Minnesota darkness, and so I borrowed one of Pastor Preus’s jackets. Being downwind from the fire, I’m not sure that jacket is ever going to recover from the smell of smoke. I sheepishly hung it back up in the closet before I left. They may have to fumigate the closet as well.

Pastor Burnell Eckardt and his seminarian son Peter were also at the party, so I got to say “hi” to them. Pastor Eckardt informed me that he’s quoting something I wrote in the next issue of Gottesdienst. Fortunately I was able to dispel his notion that I’m a pastor, or I would have been elevated to the ministry without a rightly ordered call, right there in the sacred pages of Gottesdienst. I wonder if that wouldn’t work out okay though, sort of like an honorary doctorate. Rt. Rev. Scott Diekmann has a nice ring to it, although it should probably say the Less-than-Reverend Scott Diekmann. My copies of Gottesdienst have been arriving in the mailbox addressed to “Rev. Scott Diekmann.” I told my wife our postman must be the most confused guy around, since I get mail addressed to Mr., Rev., Capt., and Dr. He asked me one day what I “do,” and all I told him was that I’m a pilot, not admitting to also being a dentist. Now he probably thinks I’m some kind of impersonator, like Frank Abagnale Jr. in the movie “Catch Me if You Can.”

Though we stayed with friends, the hotel is decent, although a little dated. It’s very close to the airport, and only a block away from the Mall of America, in case you’re in the mood for a roller coaster ride and some shopping on your lunch break. They plan to have the conference there again next year.

Receiving the layman Confessional Lutheran of the Year Award was Robert Van Gundy, and the pastor’s version of the award was given to Pastor Matt Harrison. The banquet featured Dr. David Scaer as the speaker. While I’ve heard Dr. Scaer speak before, this was the first time it’s been on a non-theological topic. I figured if the speech headed south I had an alternative form of entertainment in the person of Pastor Charlie Henrickson, who was seated at my table and is always good for a laugh or two. Fortunately, I didn’t have to resort to my backup plan. Dr. Scaer’s assigned topic was “Witnessing: the Power of Personal Testimony,” but let’s just say he strayed from the assignment a bit. His speech was certainly humorous, and could best be described as a rambling stroll down memory lane as he examined the accuracy of a printed media report in which he was described during a Paris(?) dinner with Robert Preus and John Warwick Montgomery as an ugly American dressed like a lumberjack.

If my memory lasts that long, next week I’ll give you a rundown on the presentations of the speakers. If not, I give the Congress of the Lutheran Confessions a big thumbs up. It’s definitely worth the trip.


photo credit: woodleywonderworks

10 comments:

tocan3 said...

Great, you were in my backyard and I missed you...and the conference. Drat!!
Hope to hear more on the presentations next week.

Scott Diekmann said...

Next year I'll email you ahead of time Tony. It would be nice to get together.

Michael Paul 白霈德牧師 said...

Thanks for the nice run-down here, Scott. Sure wish I could've been in attendance myself but it didn't work out this time.

Anonymous said...

Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own
father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and
telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove
an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a
rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Otherwise you'll be tortured forever by an invisible red guy with horns.

Scott Diekmann said...

If you're going to argue against Christianity Anonymous, at least argue in a way that doesn't misrepresent the claims that Christianity makes, otherwise all you do is discredit yourself.
We are all sinners who will answer before a holy God. While no one knows exactly what hell will be like, it will be an eternity without the God who currently sustains all things and gives daily bread to all, both believer and unbeliever. Study up on the text of the Bible. Christ, the righteous, dies for the unrighteous, a pretty good deal. In His death on the cross he paid for your sins as well, but what He has done for you will be of no benefit if you reject that free gift.

Luke 23:33-43 NIV
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." There was a written notice above him, which read: ~this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Joh 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Mary said...

Amen.

Dennis Peskey said...

Scott - wouldn't worry about the jacket. Campfire smoke is akin to the incense of the burnt offering in Leviticus (if your from the northern climates.)

Kari said...

I agree. We love our camp fires in MN. It was nice to meet you and your wife Scott, and I hope next year we can visit a bit more.
I had told Tony about it, but not that you were coming! Guess I'm not worth seeing, huh Tony? Teasing. I've seen Tony at a few conferences before. All when he was still a Lutheran in training, I think.

Gene White said...

Scott, good to see you at the ACL Conference, it was good. I was also looking for a few more pointers for our CLCC seminars and picked up several. One that caught my attention the most was the comment on What is the NT Ceremonial Law? I had never heard that expression before and it makes perfect sense that it would be the Sacraments and the Office of the Public Ministry.

Yes, great speakers this year, even the "fill in" did a very creditable job on short notice.

Darn, I missed Pr. Esget at the conference as we have some things to discuss. I missed several people for that matter, as I had to stay pretty close to our display table. Many we can get them to print out on the first day all those who have registered so you know who is there and then can look them up. One of the other people on my list to meet was Mollie, but maybe the next time I visit Immanuel in Alexandria I can do that. We used to attend there in the 70's and still have good friends going there and our daughter lives in the area too.

Next year CLCC has made an arrangement with ACL to meet the day before their conference and have one of our Regional Conferences. We do that every year. This will be the third straight in MN, which is testament to the goodly number of our membership who lives there. In 2012 we have the same arrangement to hold our second ever convention on the day before the ACL Conference. We will have some info out on the programs later on.

Looking forward to seeing you next month in Marysville WA for the CLCC seminar. For those interested, you can find the full details on the clcc Website.

Scott Diekmann said...

That would be handy to know who was going to be at the conference ahead of time Gene. I'm not sure if I'll be in Marysville or not, but it's a possibility at this point.