Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Convention

I know that many people are heading down to Houston to attend the LCMS Convention. This brings with it much trepidation, concern, anxiety. Thus, as a sage veteran of the previous convention, I figured I would write this handy, dandy guide to surviving the Convention.

1. DON'T PANIC - (That was supposed to be in comforting letters) There is much palaver about how important and vital this convention is. That's the way it always is. You know what - in the long run, when they are writing the Church Histories 500 years from now, do you think this convention is going to get a big chunk of space? It's important - but it's not as though if X happens we will enter a new golden age or if Y happens suddenly God's Word will be crushed out of existence.

Don't approach the Convention with too much drama. It's a giant voters' meeting (and they aren't even voting on whether or not to remove YOU from office - unless you are one of the folks running for office - and then think about it this way -- if you don't get voted in, you probably are better for it). That's all. Whatever happens, by July 25th you should be back home and preaching Christ or hearing Him proclaimed in your own home congregation.

2. Go Talk to Your Old Friends - One of the great joys of the convention is running into old friends, scattered to the winds by Call Night. Enjoy talking to them. Go find the folks who you only get to see most of the time on Blogs or Facebook. Have a beer with them. Sit, chat about life - laugh and rejoice. Think of this like a giant, multiple day lock-in where the organizers just made really stupid plans for activities. Have fun yourself.

3. Go Talk to Random People Who Are Wrong - This is another important thing. Talk to folks from the "other" side - whichever side you are on. I'm a rather conservative fellow - I had fun chit-chatting with Dr. Benke and some of the Jesus First crowd - and keep it away from politics. It's good to remember that folks are people (misguided theologically on many, many issues) and not hellspawn. And more importantly - by treating them kindly, you remind them that you and people who think like you aren't evil incarnate.

Seriously - don't take everything so seriously. If any of you see John Coyne, give him my regards. Yes, he wrote a horridly political and potentially dishonest spin job. Eh - he was nice to me when I was Vicar at Palo Alto, even though he knew I was a blunt conservative. Dr. Benke won't know my name so don't mention it (although you could say the guy in the black fedora who looked like a Jew says hi). Hob Nob when out of session - and speak clearly and concisely when in session.

4. (a la Yoda) Do not Underestimate the Power of the Emperor - Okay, so he's not the Emperor, but I like the Yoda quote. Remember this, President Kieschnick runs a fantastic meeting. He handles the convention well - he runs it tight. If you think you need to say something - go to the podium quickly, because if you wait, the next issue will be moved to quickly. He's not going to be sloppy - he's going to be tight - so if you want to speak, be concise and tight yourself. And don't freak out when things get moved around or added to the agenda - it will be moved around as the President reads the Convention.

5. Enjoy a Houston Evening - Don't forget to relax. This will be somewhat stressful. Try to minimize that by dropping the dramatic approach - and help get rid of it by going and enjoying things in Houston that you may not be able to get where you are at. On the backside on the Convention Center there is a neat little Asian Strip Mall (although you have to walk a long way around the center to get there) - I love Asian Groceries and hole in the wall restaurants. It was great for me to go there. Houston's a good food city. There's plenty to do in your time off - enjoy it.

Alright - that's what I have. I suppose I should add the following:

6. Pray morning, noon, and night.
7. Have devotions with good folks (cause often the big ones are lousy)
8. Get Plenty of Sleep.

But those are sort of obvious. Attend all the sessions for the whole session.


Rev. Luke T. Zimmerman said...


"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" Yes, I am going down to Houston again this year, but from a different Circuit and District. (There are some other repeats, too.)

Great summary of what to do. Based on my experience of 2007, I would add:

9. Take plenty of Zicam or other preventative medicine prior to flying and immediately after getting to the hotel, so you don't get ill from other passengers and have to go to the ER in Houston.

10. Make sure you have your insurance card, in case you don't follow #9.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Well, have fun there Luke!