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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Re: Theologian Niedner

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Comes now our venerable colleague in Lutheran ministry, Richard E. Koenig, of Covenant Village of Cromwell, CT. For most ELCA Lutherans, REK requires little by way of introduction. He came to the ELCA from the sturm und drang of the LC-MS and a long line of Koenig Herr Pastors. He was for many years campus minister in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in due course became founder of Partners magazine for LCA pastors. He also methodically mentored a generation of younger pastors in the New England Synod, chiefly through his leadership in the New England Lutheran Clergy Association, which for many years sponsored day-long conferences for the Ministerium with a superabundance of talented lecturers that rivalled the many seminaries and "div schools" on New England soil. Of particular note were the "Kirchentag" events he helped to inspire and execute in New Britain, CT, and (more than once) in Worcester, MA. Enough said, although much, much more could be added here about why he is our Richard The Lion-hearted Pastor New England.

Only two days ago he brought to your obedient servant's attention the following quotation from Fred Niedner, theology prof at Valpo (supra!):

" The sobering demographic projection about Lutherans that's around these days [is] the one that says the ELCA will vanish due to simple attrition by 2046 and the LCMS a year or so later, suggests that there is a ripe 'mission field' all around us, probably in our own families. If we are not going to continue having six children per Lutheran couple, then we could at least make sure the two we do have remain active with the church. . . . "

--Prof. Frederick Niedner, Valparaiso University,
speaking at the Third International Crossings Conference,
January, 2010, in St. Louis, MO.

Prof. Niedner writes a fortnightly column on religion for the NorthWest Indiana Post-Tribune. It will be interesting to observe how much of his prophecy is de- scriptive, how much normative, and how much it aims to "repeal" the ELCA position on ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. It seems clear that the same kind of neuralgia that has held sway in the body politic since January 20, 2009, is seeking to express itself in Lutheran circles as well. Thank you, Pastor Koenig, for reminding us all of where the road ahead may lead....or not.

( Didn't Luther tell us
when to plant our apple seeds!? He never said exactly where.)


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