More on the Image of God Conference
I really appreciated the flow that occurred in the presentation of the Image of God Conference. The first day had a focus on the beauty and joy that God gives us in sexuality and marriage. From Dr. Lauren Winner's presentation on the beauties of "ordinary sex," to Dr. Jastrum's presentation on how man is still created in the Image of God, and so is marriage -- and how marriage not only reflects the relationship of Christ to His church, but also the very relationship of the Trinity to itself -- distinct in persons, but one in nature...to Dr. Mielander's plenary on "Marriage as a Form of Life."
Day two seemed to have more of a focus on what goes wrong and how wrong it has gotten. By the end of the day, I was overwhelmed by illegitmacy and divorce statistics, horrific revelations on pornography and our children, and stories of divorce, abuse, IVF embryos in freezers, etc. The church needed to comprehend the sheer extent of the evil in order to realize the only thing that could meet it head on is the grace of God....not any method or program, etc.
Day three was once again a little more optimistic. Dr. Beverly Yahnke, with more bravery than I can imagine, got up in front of over a hundred pastors and told them what THEY needed to do to provide spiritual care to those who have been hurt by sexual sins of any and all kinds....and backed it up with examples of how it wasn't being done, and what should be done, while preserving the distance between her profession and that of the pastor with good, solid theology. There were also other seminars on how to meet these challenges, and then there is always blessing in hearing what Dr. Weinrich has to say on anything.
I was encouraged by the number of pastors and their wives present. You don't often see that at a theological conference. In fact, its the first one that I have made it a point to get a sitter and be at. It just seemed natural. I went as a social worker and a mental health counselor in training, but in the end over and above all, I was fed and nourished as a wife.
I couldn't begin to recount all the wise and interesting things said, as I'd hoped to do. All I can say is whatever the tapes or DVDs cost when they do come out...its worth it. If they put on another one, go. Rather than a complete absorption on individual issues and acts, instead it focused on the first gift God gave man, in fact what cannot be removed from man's very nature...marriage...Adam and Eve did not exist to each other outside of that state. Everything else was sin's corruption of that. All over there was a discussion of God's grace, the Means of Grace, the Sacraments and the comfort they bring....even with some presenters from outside the LCMS, it was beautifully and wonderfully Lutheran in all its glory.