Though not from Chicago, I nonetheless have always loved political elections…well, I don’t any longer. I think the advent (no religious significance meant!) of William Jefferson Clinton in the early 90s forever soured me on campaigns. But my friends and I all got heavily into presidential elections and campaign memorabilia (especially campaign buttons) during the ’68 election.
Okay, long boring introductory paragraph is out of the way.
I’ve always been a Lutheran (cradle-LCMS; brief four year stint in the old ALC during the “cozy-fellowship phase”) but I take great pride in the fact that I once “laid the smack-down”—politically speaking of course—on the son of a preacher man; a CALVININST preacher man.
Pastor “H” was a decent, caring, and very friendly Calvinist. He was from the Christian Reformed branch out of Grand Rapids. He had been sent to Fort Wayne to start a mission church. The Blackhawk Community Church was built a few blocks away from my house. I became friends with Pastor “H’s” oldest son Dave since he and I were in the same grade at Snider High School. I was also very close with a couple of other classmates who were also parishioners at the Double-Election Den J okay, sorry.
But as a high-school back-sliding teenage slug…my folks didn’t upbraid me as they should have, but let me go with my pals now and then to the Calvinist church. My Dad worked with one of Pastor “H’s” strongest members, and was probably just happy that I had some decent “moral” peers in my life. Also, to add to the mix, my own local Ft. Wayne LCMS parish was sliding at a break-neck speed into liberal pro-Seminex leanings. The parish never left the synod (sic) but was far from Confessional.
But it was a girl. [cue soft violins]
Usually that’s the answer to most problems of youth and unrequited love—it’s a girl.
Julie started to go regularly to the Calvinist church, and I was madly smitten over her. I started going every Sunday to the Calvinist church. I started going Sunday evening’s to their “Vespers.” I started going regularly to their teen “youth group.”
(okay, how many paragraphs am I now in to this marginally diverting anecdote?)
There were no constitutional requirements on who could run for offices to run the teen cabal, nor on who could vote….if you were a teen and showed up to the meeting, you could exercise the suffrage.
To impress Julie, I decided to run for president of the Black Hawk Community Church youth group. I ran against Pastor “H’s” younger son, Bob. Bob was funny, musical, outgoing, personable, charming, and…I beat him by about two votes; two of the “ringers” I got to show up to the election. I may not be from Chicago, but I know hardball politics: vote early; vote often.
As to be expected, Julie and I had our permanent falling out. I soon stopped going to the Calvinist church. There was no lasting damage to my theological ethos since the only thing really driving me at that time was hormonal not orthodoxy.
The Christian Reformed congregation didn’t last much longer. When I came back years later to attend the seminary in Fort Wayne, some non-denominational “goof-ball” fundy church was using the building. Say what you want for Jean Calvin and Teddy Beza, I’d rather they have some more influence in modern secular culture than the happy-clappy emergent nonsense that has filled the void left by their departure.
So, as proud as I am of “beating” the Calvinist Pastor’s son for the golden crown and lush laurel leaf of teen victory…”Here’s One for you FLACIUS!”… I did not mention this bit of resume’ detritus on my application to CTS. But in the “kingdom of the left” Vis-a-vis the Sectarians, I am UNDEFEATED!