To those who inquired about my absence from cyberspace and shared their appreciation for my musings on this little blog, I am appreciative. Life, as we all know, has a way of getting complicated and busy, and this part of my life was simply put on hold while I caught up. At present I am juggling more than a few balls of responsibility, and with the holidays it became a bit hectic (along with some minor health issues as well.) Besides my usual 'civic' avocations (Scouts and Fire work), I am also preoccupied these days with a local vacancy to the north and my ongoing duties as circuit counselor. Still, I think I'm catching up....
It's hard to believe that in the midst of all this I was even entertaining the thought of pursuing a D. Min. degree out of St. Louis! I have long wanted to have some academic challenge to keep my mind fresh and give me some options for the future, and after much deliberation began to lean toward doctoral work in homiletics. At present I'm hedging a bit, a little uncertain as to my total commitment to what will prove to be a process stretched out over at least 5 years. Debates go back and forth on the value of the D.Min., some seeing it as "Ph.D -lite." Perhaps. Still, our seminaries demand the highest credit load of all the seminaries I've investigated, even the Ivy League variety - 54 to 56 credits in addition to the diseration/project. Well, the deliberations will continue, and perhaps I'll come to some decision by month's end.
Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the Symposia at Concordia Theolgical Seminary in Ft. Wayne and enjoyed it immensely. Due to a delay of a day, I was only able to take in the lectures on Wednesday through Friday. However, those proved to be the most interesting of all. The theme for the Confessional Symposia was "A Last Look at Missouri's Critical Time: The 1950's to to 1970's." The lectures covered several key personalities in the LCMS's post-WWII history, including such well-known men as Jaroslav Pelican, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, J.A.O. Preus, Robert Preus, Berthold Von Schenk, Martin Scharlemann, Walter A. Maier, and Richard R. Caemmerer. Athough my involvement in the history of the synod dovetailed with only one of the these figures (Robert Preus), it was facinating to learn more about those who had such an impact on how hitory has unfolded during my time. The information about Walter Maier was particularly revealing, when Dr. Shuta outlined for us WAM's curious connections with Billy Graham and how his style and message had so much more in common with modern day evangelicalism and the televangelists than with mainsteam confessional Lutheranism. I hope that the seminary posts his paper along with the others. Make sure to check the site for their presented papers from time to time to see what is eventually posted.
Life in the Missouri Synod seems a bit quiet these days, although there are things brewing out there. One item of interest that I would like to devote some space to here later is the issue of the proposed reorganization of synod's structure. The key document under consideration is called "Walking Together: Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance." The documents and FAQs can be found on the Synod's website here. I would strongly suggest that everyone in the Synod read and become familiar with this as it is going to be presented and discussed at each of the upcoming district conventions this year.
With that I'm going to end for now. But I'll be back! I promise.