I’m leaving today for sunny San Diego (expected high temperature today: 73-degrees) and Point Loma Nazarene University for a conference. I’ll be among the listeners, in the audience, for Rethinking Arminius: Wesleyan and Reformed Theology for the Church Today. I’ll be interested to learn more about Arminius thought, to hear the history of the Arminius debates, to understand better the development of Arminian theology. With Calvinism and Calvinist thought on a bit of an upswing in God’s Church in America — I hear tons of this stuff even in our Churches of Christ! — I believe a clearer knowledge of practical Arminianism will be good for me and good for our congregation at Central.
I’m also going because I’m getting to spend almost five full days with the world’s foremost leading scholar on Arminian Theology: my little brother, Dr. Keith Stanglin.
As the planner and producer of this conference on the coast, and one of its featured speakers, Keith is sharing the stage this weekend with some of the brightest minds in theology from Yale and Duke and Princeton and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. But they all defer to Keith when it comes to the subject and thinking of Jacob Arminius. He’s the big shot at this thing. He’s the guy. And his work is benefitting God’s Church and the Kingdom of Heaven in critical ways. I’ve written many times before in this space about how proud I am of Keith. So proud. He’s brilliant. And he uses every ounce of his genius and every bit of his energy on serving the Christ to our Father’s eternal glory and praise.
Keith and I will share the plane ride from Love Field to San Diego today. And we’ll laugh. That’s mainly what we do when we get together. We laugh. We talk theology and church work, we share opinions and insights about books and speakers, we reflect on God’s work in redeeming the world and our share in that ministry of reconciliation. We also talk a lot about family, we remember together our childhoods, we reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. We poke fun at each other; we point out the other’s receding hairlines and middle-aged bellies; we quote from Airplane and Naked Gun. And we laugh.
Keith’s already planned a boat ride out into the ocean to go whale-watching. We’re riding bikes along some shoreline trails. And we’re going to make it to In-N-Out at least once. And that’s just tomorrow. Friday and Saturday we’ll be at the conference from morning to night. I’m looking forward to seeing Keith in yet another setting and context with which I’m not that familiar. Then we’ll worship together Sunday morning and board separate planes to go home.
In the middle of all this, I’m going to learn a lot. From Keith. He teaches me something every time we’re together. He teaches me something valuable, something I can use, something that makes my preaching and my ministry better, something that makes my congregation better. He sees it, he gets it, better than most anybody I know. And he knows how to talk about it so regular people can get it, too. He inspires. He’s good. Man, he’s good.
And he’s my brother.
The blogging will be sporadic for the rest of the week. No promises.