Joy Tc MorganThere were tons of reasons to be joy-filled at the Brothers of John the Steadfast conference this past weekend. Here are a few of them:

•    Chocolate. There was an ample supply of chocolate. Like Pavlov’s dog, I now salivate whenever I know there’s going to be a missionary present because they always seem to bring chocolate. Plus, they broke out the M&M’S at the BOD meeting, both plain and peanut. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

•    Three outstanding speakers in Pastors Jonathan Fisk, Bryan Wolfmueller, and James May who, each in his own unique way, bathed us in the Gospel. (Watch them here.)

•    The breakout performance of comedic genius, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller. His comedy routine went beyond mediocrity! I am now officially concerned that other synods are going to start recruiting him. Hopefully somebody in the LCMS will sign him to a long-term contract.

•    In a wonderful Vespers Service and a Divine Service, Pastors Hans Fiene and Tony Sikora delivered the goods with rock-solid Law and Gospel preaching. It is truly great to be a Lutheran. The music is still playing in my head (along with the distant whine of a jet engine or two) as I sit writing this on my way back to Seattle.

•    A little excitement: There was a small explosion, fortuitously contained within the confines of a room in the basement of the Fox home (no one got hurt). Take beer and cigars, a pipe or two, and mix them with a group of confessional Lutherans, and a spontaneous combustion of joy and serious raucous theological bombast is bound to happen. (What would you expect when you’ve got guys like the creators of Fighting for the Faith, Lutheran Satire, Table Talk Radio, and Worldview Everlasting in the room.) This truly is the mutual conversation and consolation of the brothers. Bonds are forged here that can never be broken. The walls, however, will need to be pressure washed to remove the tar, nicotine, and knock off the residual chunks of dried theology.

•    Spending time with people from other synods: BJS is pan-Lutheran after all.  And wouldn’t you know it – we all seem to share the same challenges.

•    I hitched a ride with Chris Rosebrough in his wrapped Pirate Christian Radio SUV. When was the last time you cruised Naperville in a car with a praying skeleton on the side? Of course, more serious theology ensued. I was bobbing and weaving the whole time to keep from getting a bad burn from all the brain waves emanating from Chris’s head as we shared a light-hearted discussion about communitarianism, fascism, and their relationship to the Church Growth Movement.  It’s a minor miracle we actually found our way considering I wasn’t doing a good job navigating around all the repartee.

•    Best of all, I could see the future of the LCMS unfolding before me. Gathered together were a group of young pastors experiencing the tentatio that comes when one grapples with the realities of life, and of life together. These are guys who are serious about theology. They, and other men like them, are the ones who will form the backbone of our synod in the decades to come, and for this I am joy-filled!

•    And of course, I am joy-filled for friends I was reunited with and new friends made.  The only down side – I never made it to the scotch tasting party at the Gavin’s house or to Quigley’s Irish Pub.  Hopefully you did.  And if you didn’t make it to the conference, there’s always next year.  It’ll be worth the trip.

photo credit: Tc Morgan on Flickr

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.


Joy! — 9 Comments

  1. Excellent reflection of the “less than 24 hours” of our BJS Conference time. It was great to finally meet you, Scott!

  2. We didn’t make it to Quigley’s either. Well, we made it *to* Quigley’s, but upon arriving, we discovered there were no tables. We adopted Rizzo’s down the street as the neighborhood confessional Lutheran pub for the night.

  3. It was great to meet you Scott. It most certainly was a joy filled weekend. I cannot wait until next year!

  4. Good summary, Scott. It was great to see you and other “brothers” again. This year’s conference took things “to the next level” (you had to be there). We also tried Quigley’s, but didn’t want to wait, so we went to the Gavin’s, as we did last year. Neither my wife or I are smokers or Scotch drinkers, but after seeing Tom Gavin’s unbelievable wine cellar last year, we assumed, correctly, that there would be ample vino for us wine drinkers. what a great two days of Lutheran doctrine, worship and fellowship.

  5. It was great seeing all you guys! We may have to examine another option since Quigley’s didn’t seem to work out.

  6. @Jim Claybourn #4

    Jim and Scott, it was great spending time with you all along with so many others. The Foxes really put on a great no-Pietists-allowed party. I enjoyed hanging out both in the beer side as well in the beer+stogie side. The conference will be an annual event for me from now on. And, Jim, thanks for the running commentary during James May’s video presentation.

  7. Wow, this sounds like the joy jackpot! So many there, I’ve longed to meet!!!!!
    Waaaa….no fair, I couldn’t go….waaaa…

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