LTSP Vice President Louise N. Johnson keynoter at Rocky Mountain Synod Leadership Event

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Gifted to GrowThe Rev. Louise N. Johnson, Vice President for Mission Advancement at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, was a keynoter in late September at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Rocky Mountain Synod’s “Gifted to Grow” Fall Leadership Retreat/Theological Conference.

“Always Being Made New” was the title of her Tuesday, September 24 presentation. Pr. Johnson’s overview described her remarks this way: “For 1,500 years, we understood the earth as the static center of the solar system. When Galileo challenged our prevailing assumptions about the world and even scripture, the Inquisition convicted him of ‘vehement suspicion of heresy.’ Change is hard. Changing the way we think about God, ourselves, and the world is brutal, especially with establishment, investment, and inertia as countervailing forces.” She helped her audience grapple with both how to stand on and “wrangle” with their theological convictions, even as the world is shifting around them.

“Stewards of the Mysteries of God” was the title of her remarks the next day. Her overview: “In the era of Constantine, the church and the state got together! And overnight the church went from a fledgling group of disparate communities, who gathered around simple things, to an organized, structured, hierarchical system of leaders and beliefs, backed by the power, prestige, and finance of the state. We’ve come a long way, but the vestiges of Constantine linger.” She helped the audience explore what the church could look like “if we moved from structure, certainty, hierarchy, and power toward humility, mystery, community, and weakness.”

The event, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, helped registrants explore what it means to be a spiritually vibrant leader within the context of a changing and challenging ecclesiology.