Friday, September 26, 2008


Weedon tagged me on this (and I didn't notice cause he referred to me as "Fr Brown" -- um. . . sorry, wouldn't Father Brown be. . . my dad. . . oh, you meant me. . . oh, yeah, yeah. Um. Alright. I've been tagged.

OK, we know that our Lord Himself has to be at the top of the list, so He is assumed. Your five simply follow Him. In Lutheran circles, we will also presume "Fr. Martin of Wittenberg" as well. :-)

So the five would be additional people who (humanly speaking) have greatly impacted your life of faith and love on this earth.

1 - My Dad - Now, yes, yes, cliche - but this is not a cliche answer. My dad went to the Seminary while I was in Junior High. My mom was also a nurse working nights, so quite often when dad would come home with some exciting theological nugget - mom was asleep, so he talked to me. The drive back from field work was 45 minutes of my dad and I discussing the Law/Gospel dynamics of the sermon.

I realized just how much my dad impacted me when I showed up to the Sem and was taking Luke with Dr. Just. I was excited. My dad had taken more classes with Just than any other prof - and Just asks the first "oooOOooo" question - the one where a gem of insight would be revealed. And I sat and thought, "Well, duh, it's obviously a theological passive. . . my dad talks about tho. . . oh. . . that's where dad got that from".

2 - Rev. Mike Knox Pastor Knox was the pastor at Campbell, NE when I was in High School, a good friend to my dad, and also my baseball coach. My dad first got to the parish when I was in High School - you know, when I hit that point where I assumed that everything my dad did stunk. Pastor Knox was a good pastor who didn't have the "he's my dad and stinks" strike against him. Rev. Fred Berry also did this some, but come on, Pastor Knox was just a lot cooler!

3 - [Then Vicar] Christopher Esget - When I went to OU for college, I was planning on being a Pharmacist. In fact, I figured I would be in a Lutheran waste land -- the campus Lutheran Church was ELCA, so I just guessed that there would be nothing good going on in terms of "college ministry" (although I didn't think in those terms yet). And then, my dad and I are wandering around at the Student fair booth, and there is this book-nerdy-looking guy in a clerical sitting with a copy of Tappert. My dad and I looked and each other, and my dad said, "Well, if that ELCA guy is looking at Tappert, maybe he's not completely horrid." Turn out he was the LCMS Vicar from Trinity in Norman.

Vicar Esget was the vicar when I decided to forgo Pharmacy and head to the Seminary. One thing that is wonderful that he did - I had a class on Tuesday nights when the LSF study was. . . so he agreed to meet with me on Friday mornings in the Union to go over the Augsburg Confession. That's part of the reason why, to this day, if people want to study something I will find a place in my schedule to study with them.

4 - Dr. Cam McKenzie - Mighty Mac is the most under-rated prof at Fort Wayne. In terms of simple intelligence, he's the smartest guy there - but humble, quiet, and (unsurpisingly) a bit librarian-ish. But the two things that impacted me greatly were as follows: First, don't assume knowledge. We can so often assume we know what is going on, what Luther said, what Calvin said -- MacKenzie disabused me of that notion - and reinforced that we shouldn't make theological assumptions. Second - he taught the survey of Luther's writings. Instead of assuming we know Luther - let's read him. Lots and lots of him. At the Sem and in terms of History - I loved the early Church and Weinrich classes - I loved and willingly sat in on Rast classes (and I even have taught the people in my Bible study to say, "Baaaaaad" whenever I mention Pietism) - but when the rubber meets the road in the parish - MacKenzie gave me the most Luther, so he takes top billing.

Seminarian Jay Hobson - but don't tell him this - he's a second year - the year of the big head. But, Jay is a fellow Sooner grad who moved on to the Fort. Before he went, we have spent summers working on studies together - Greek the one summer and then chunks of early church the next (last summer that SOB Heath Curtis got him as a summer vicar - SOB is "Summer Only Bishop" -- what did you think it was?). Also, he has preached a few times here. . . and always there is good theological discussion. In teaching him he has forced me to levels of precision that I hadn't had before, and also asked questions that brought me growth. I'm looking forward to seeing his continued growth.

(And I can call him a Padawan. . . or my apprentice -- I haven't figured out if I am a Jedi or a Sith yet)

Honorable Mention. . . Dan Dahling - Pastor Dahling was my pastor in 2nd - 4th Grade. . . and I don't remember as much direct teaching per se (come on, I was a 2nd Grader) - but I did learn two things. Pastors could be cool and smart at the same time, and that Bobby Knight and IU Basketball is a great and wonderful gift from God. He gets honorable mention.

Oh, and I suppose I should tag some people (Don't tag me, bro!). Beisel, Hobson, Beane, Harju, and oh. . . claim me if you want to do it. Who am I to tag someone?


Christopher Esget said...

Thanks, Eric - I'm honored!

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

You are welcome - of course, if I had known then that you were a Vikings fan, who knows where I would have ended up.

Pastor D said...

Thanks for the mention -