Do I get some sort of credit for being the first among us Lutherans to notice that this article in today's Wall Street Journal entitled "Confession Makes a Comeback" makes reference to a marvelous resolution we passed at the LCMS national convention in Houston last July?
The article is written by Alexandra Alter, and includes this tidbit: "This summer, the second-largest North American branch of the Lutheran Church passed a resolution supporting the rite, which it had all but ignored for more than 100 years." That was in fact the last resolution passed by the convention, and although a number of delegates had already left, it passed by an overwhelming majority. It provided in fact a very fine conclusion to the convention.
Further on in the WSJ article, there's this piece about our very own Central Illinois District's Pastor Bruce Keseman (kudos, Bruce!):
"This past summer, the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod, a 2.5 million-member branch whose members are spread across North America, voted to revive private confession with a priest. Some theologians have pointed to the writings of Martin Luther and argued that the Protestant reformer, while criticizing the way the rite was administered, never advocated abolishing it. 'Some of us were saying, "Why in the world did we let that die out?"' says the Rev. Bruce Keseman, a Lutheran pastor in Freeburg, Ill.
"The Rev. Keseman has sought to revive confession in his congregation by bringing it into pastoral counseling, giving demonstrations to youth groups and preaching about its benefits. Leslie Sramek, 48, a lifelong Lutheran and financial manager who lives near St. Louis, says she never heard about private confession and absolution in church when she was growing up. But two years ago, when the Rev. Keseman announced he would be taking confession privately, she decided to give it a try. At these sessions, the pastor wears vestments and stands near the altar while she kneels and recounts her sins. 'I won't say that looking at my sins is pleasant, but they have to be dealt with,' says Mrs. Sramek."
Read the whole article here.