24 March 2008

Throwing Out Some Ideas

A few thoughts on Issues, Etc. on this Monday when our churches pray: "O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life."

1. The idea of gathering for prayer, for encouragement from the Word, and for the comfort of being together - this sounds very good. And I wonder if a Sunday evening Vespers at one of our parishes in St. Louis (I'm thinking of Hope), followed by a meal and a speaker might be a good thing?

2. On the follow Monday, those who could stay could gather for a further prayer Vigil outside 1333 S. Kirkwood with a focus on asking God to restore the show. Where two or three are gathered...! We could include in this Vigil a special time of prayer for our Synod, her leaders, her pastors, workers, and all our parishes, and the spread of the Gospel in all the world.

3. The week that seems best suited for this is the week that the Board for Communication Services is next scheduled to meet in St. Louis, which would mean April 13th for the Vespers/Banquet and April 14th for the prayer vigil (much better word and focus than "protest" - says this boomer with a trace of resignation).

4. Ask one of the Board for Communication Service members or one of the District Presidents to present the petition to the BCS at its next meeting, asking for a reversal of the decision to cancel the show. This meeting will be held (I have been told) latter in the week at a hotel near the St. Louis airport and not at 1333 S. Kirkwood.

5. Continue in prayer throughout this time that God's good, gracious, and perfect will be done; and continue to get the word out, asking folks to sign the petition. Issues Etc. Petition

An addendum: my friend Pr. Don Kirchner brought to my attention that some might be under the impression that Synod had not offer a severance package to Pr. Wilken and Jeff. That is not the case. A severance has been offered; I do not believe that as of yet it has been either accepted or declined. However, that is their business and not ours.

I'd appreciate thoughts on the five points above.

67 comments:

David said...

With all due respect, any vigil or other support of protest outside 1333 Kirkwood Road would NOT be well taken by those in our Synod who are not in the know about the situation.

Read more about my thoughts concerning an organized protest here:

http://fatherdmj.livejournal.com/318832.html

If you have contacted Synod by e-mail and telephone, you've done all that you can do. Same goes for writing your District President.

The most important thing is to provide for these dear people and their families. Channel the energy into something truly worthwhile, like finding another outlet for this program.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I just posted my thoughts over at my blog on the whole issue - I'd actually welcome your insights on my comments (yours too, Juhl).

Scott Larkins said...

Sounds like a great plan Fr.Weedon. I'll try to gather up a contingent from central Missouri. I went through a nasty Issues Etc withdrawal spell last night. Shaking, sweating.....my wife found me in the corner of my study rocking back and forth sucking my thumb. Then I remembered my MP3 archives. I listened to this guy talking about the historic Liturgy from the summer of 2003. Hmmmm... What was his name? Anyway. Keep us posted on the details. Thank God they put the achieves back online!


God Bless.

Scott Larkins said...

achieves!?! how 'bout archives.

Bloody spell checker!

Need more coffee. Oh darling.........

wm cwirla said...

I suggest a page or two out of Pres. Bush's Iraq strategy.

1. Intensive carpet bombing of the synodocracy from the blogosphere (I'm speaking metaphorically here - I say this for the benefit of my weapons-obsessed friends.)

2. Regime change.

Addendum: There have been significant rumblings about a Radio Free Lutheranism that doesn't have to nurse the synodical breast.

Pastor Beisel said...

David, my good friend: I think that the point is to make the Synodical beaurocracy uncomfortable. Nothing will do that like showing up at their doorstep and saying, "What you did was wrong. And we expect greater things from you." They are not expecting such a response. No one is going to be mooning anyone, or giving anyone the finger. I appreciate your cautionary comments, but I think we should just let happen whatever will happen.

Pastor Beisel said...

Just to let you know, the CID Spring Conference begins April 13 in the evening. Don't let that stop something from coalescing though. It's like scheduling a baptism. Set the date and whoever can make it will, and whoever can't won't.

orthodoxy hunter said...

*laughs* at Scott

What about local demonstrations for those who can't make it?

Is our goal really to bring the show back, or would we rather get to the root of the problem?

Phil Magness said...

Dear Pastor Weedon,

I appreciate your leadership on this, and will do what I can to help you manifest support for this cause.

I think you have an excellent plan, and it is important for everyone to come together and make this happen. We need time to prepare for this, and so decisions need to be made soon so that this will be most effective. I therefore encourage you to lock down the host site for Vespers, and find someone in St. Louis with press connections who can get us good coverage for these events.

As to the particulars, I just have two observations: be sure to invite people to the Monday AM event even if they can't be there Sunday night. Perhaps many locals will come for that. I hope so, because the manifestation of support at the IC will be the best photo opps for the press and will also have the most Matt 18 impact. (i.e. the bringing of witnesses, 'telling it to the church'). Plus if some people are more comfortable with the off-site prayer vigil or only want to spend time on the more impactful demonstration, the two events give people options as to how they can best participate.

The other point I have is to commmend the use of the word Vigil for Sunday evening, but appeal to you to retain the words "protest" for Monday AM becasue that is what we are doing! I am so tired of the post-modern avoidence of clear language! OK, so many people have negative images of "protest"; but that doesn't mean we would manifest our objections (our protestations, if you will) in a negative way! Such semantics also turn the issue away from the real question: 'What are you protesting'? Is there ANYTHING such objectors-to-protest would be willing to protest? At minimum, let us at LEAST use the word 'demonstration'. Kyrie Eleison, if our orae et laborae are not a demonstration of support for Issues, etc., confessional Lutheranistm, and for Wilken & Schwartz, then why bother with this at all?

Finally, let me commend your allusion to "where two are three are gathered". So often that phrase from Matthew 18 is used to justify efforts at ministry apart from the pastoral office, but in context it is clearly about church discipline. And that is what we are trying to do here: win back our brothers.

The brothers who have sinned against us have not listened (Matthew 18:15), the truth of the offense has now been confirmed by witnesses (Matthew 18:16), and it is now time to "tell it to the church". (Matthew 18:17). Hopefully, they will not refuse to listen to the church, but if they do, Matthew 18:20 gives us the authority to treat them as tax collectors and Gentiles. Obviously, we hope it will not come to that - and such an outcome would take place later, in convention, not by a group at a prayer Vigil & demonstartion - but this gathering in Jesus' name is clearly a part of this process of confronting these brothers in Christian love.

I know we have a long, noble history of quietism within Lutheranism. Generally, this is right and salutary. (Romans, Two Kingdoms, Rendering Unto Caesar all come to mind). But this is not Caesar's affair - it is our church, folks! If we don't take responsibility for her, we will lose her. Imagine a local congregation where some elders summarily and unilaterally dismiss the pastors? Should the voters remain silent? Should folks just say, "wait until the next meeting, and meanwhile just pray"?

No, I say the next Voters' Assembly (or, in this case, Synod Convention) is only able to work if those who are offended do the hard work of taking witnesses, establishing evidence, and telling it to the church. It is too easy to be pious and do some praying while avoiding getting our hands dirty. But our Lord calls us into vocations, one of which right now is membership in the LCMS. We must pray AND work. In this day and age, with a 2.5 million member synod, this means demonstration, vigil, manifestation, media, and, yes, "protest".

Let's all keep confessing and contending for the truth. For Jerusalem's sake, let us NOT keep silent. Let's stay in the face of these men and let them know that we are the church and that we are not going away!

I look forward to what the final details will be, and will be bringing a group down from Chicagoland when the time comes.

In Christ,

Phillip A. Magness, Cantor
Bethany Lutheran Church & School
Naperville, IL

orthodoxy hunter said...

I agree. It is a demonstration. It is a protest... but it's NOT a "riot". That said, it's a waste of time to get into semantics. Let's get busy!

David said...

With all due respect to my brother in Office Paul Beisel:

Count the cost of the public relations nightmare this organized protest could give to those who know nothing about what happened on March 18th. If word ripples through Synod that a group of pastors and laymen protested a decision made by Synod, it could cause serious ramifications.

Count the cost, beloved. Consider whether or not taking this risk is worth a possible public relations backlash in the wrong direction, namely, toward faithful Lutherans in our Synod.

Believe me, I am upset by this decision. But I am praying for Todd and Jeff and their families. I wish I could do more, but I'm not in a position to do much more than pray for them and for our Synod.

I know there will be more than one District President asking questions at the April meeting of the Council of Presidents. The issue will be worked one way or another. Most of it is out of our hands.

Again, with all due respect.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Don't be afraid, people. Show up and let them know how you feel about the direction everything is going.

I have no worries at all, that Lutherans are going to start a "riot". You guys aren't going to do that, no one will.

By the way, the idea of a free radio Lutheran thing is VERY GOOD. And ironically, it will attract more people to the church. Someone should run with that, I mean it.

Rev. Jeffrey E. Ries said...

While I would definitely attend the suggested vespers service, I would have to consider whether or not I would attend a vigil/protest outside of the IC.
I don't necessarily oppose such a move, but I do lean toward Pr. Juhl's concerns and believe that at least they need to be weighed carefully before taking such action.
On the other hand, Pastor Weedon has a wealth of experience and, while I really only know him through his writings and reputation, I have good reason to trust his judgment.
As a newer pastor I will be leaning on the wisdom of others more experienced than myself in such matters and I suggest that everyone likewise seek out a brother whose wisdom you trust and respect to help you in determining what action(s) to take in this matter.
It is certainly true that all words and actions ought to be well considered in advance. Missteps could be disastrous.

Scott Larkins said...

"If word ripples through Synod that a group of pastors and laymen protested a decision made by Synod, it could cause serious ramifications....."

Gee it's nice to be a layman. I may consider streaking.

wm cwirla said...

"Gee it's nice to be a layman. I may consider streaking."

Now there's shades of the 70's! Talkin' 'bout my generation!

'Nuf said.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

What serious ripples and ramifications are you talking about, Pr. Juhl? Do you mean the two have already been summarily dismissed might not be the only ones? Protesting pastors might be next?

Is that a credible scenario? If so, yes, it deserves serious consideration. What is and isn't worth putting jobs on the line?

Scott Larkins said...

Ya’ know.......we could have a "planning meeting" at Maggie O’Brien’s Pub on Thursday evening. Guinness and planning meetings have always gone together well.

(St.Louis area troublemakers only)

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Can I ask, what is it that people are worried about, specifically? What ramifications are people afraid the synod will do, exactly?

The only problem I see, is that it won't get through to the individuals anyway. We should just be pro active, and do the underground/internet radio.

I have to say, though, I probably am not the best person to give suggestions on how to deal with the higher-ups, as my personality and upbringing is so vastly different than the Lutheran "cultural" way of doing things.

That's a whole essay right there....;-)

Lutheran Lucciola said...

All streaking pictures must be posted on Weedon's blog.

Or mine.

wm cwirla said...

"What is and isn't worth putting jobs on the line?"

We have jobs?

Scott Larkins said...

A tactical idea for the Monday protest.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOrgLj9lOwk

If that fails......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPXG4pdPj4w

wm cwirla said...

"Guinness and planning meetings have always gone together well."

Guinness and riots work well together too.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

The pastors of the Wilken and Schwarz families have identified this action as evil. It is therefore sin. It's important to hold whoever is accountable accountable - for the sake of those sinned against, and for the sake of the one who has sinned. And it is the entire listening public that has been sinned against. That makes this a particularly public sort of sin, requiring public handling. But we have to start somewhere more specific first. We have to find out who is responsible for this public sin and exactly what happened.

Doesn't anyone down in St. Louis have the clout and guts to walk into Mr. Strand's office and sit down with him and not leave his office until he explains who made this decision and exactly why? That's what I would do if I lived there.

Are we detached enough from the people who are working for us in the synod that there's no way to approach this other than a vigil outside their office building?

Come on, folks. Let's get real here. If the officials of our synod are our Christian brothers, as we are being counseled to treat them, THEN SOMEBODY THERE IN ST. LOUIS GO IN AND TALK TO OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHER DAVID STRAND!

Let's get some answers!

Scott Larkins said...

Guinness....roits.

Only in Irishmen. I hear Saxons can handle their brew.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe it's just time to consider letting this "Synod" go its way, and we go ours. Something I've thought quite extensively about for several years -- at the very least since the 2001 Convention.

The Unknown Lutheran said...

If the brothers in St. Louis are going to put this on - we should try to mirror in Detroit - Ann Arbor Michigan District Offices and Framington Hills at the English District Offices.

Which church would volunteer for vespers?

Scott Larkins said...

Bravely ran away away......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwuTo7zKM8&feature=related

I've got to get back to work.

God bless gents.

orthodoxy hunter said...

Unknown - Zion wouldn't. Trust me, I know. Perhaps Immanuel?

Mike Adair said...

Sounds like the advice, "Take what is written in response and accept it as the answer" creates more Mr. and Mrs. Pewsitters who don't examine what they hear or see. If the LCMS is really made up of this stereotype you've got bigger problems than a cancelled radio program. Issues Etc. seeked to remedy this very thing.

Frank said...

With all due respect, protests seem silly. I’ve seen protests and rallies before and they usually just get a chuckle. The problem for us here is that we are scattered all over the country. If you protest at a meeting and, even if you get a couple hundred people to show up, are you doing anything that will effect change? Probably not.
What needs to be done first is that David Strand must be made to give a public account of his “reasons” for his actions. Then and only then can we move forward. How we move forward is obviously up for debate.

Phil Magness said...

David,

Your write:

"If word ripples through Synod that a group of pastors and laymen protested a decision made by Synod, it could cause serious ramifications."

I don't know how folks are where you live, but I've served churches in Texas and Illinois and in all four parishes - ranging from an 'old Valpo' parish to an evangelical-leaner with lots of "promise keepers" to the staunch confessionals I now am blessed to be among - I can assure you that most folks' first instinct would be to say - "Wow, synod must really have done something wrong to have provoked that!" And by most, I mean 90% of the people. "Synod" is simply not held in such high esteem anymore. Knowing how busy people are, news that hundreds came together to protest a synodical action would actually favor our cause in the mind of Joe Q. Pew.

Now, if we are trying to curry favor with synod officials, that's another story.....! But they need to be see that confessionals aren't just a rump group of pastors but a vast group of laity who cherish being Lutheran.

Perhaps the reason I don't get your concern about 'ramifications in synod' is because I wasn't raiseds LCMS. As a convert I often tire of the institutional loyalties many seem to have for "old Missouri". I have been pleased to have been a part of the LCMS now for 30 years, and cherish its history, but will not quietly accept all decisiosn it makes.

The authority we all should submit to is the Word, not the Presidium.

Mike Adair said...

Oops! That should read, "sought".

Pastor Beisel said...

Perhaps we should attempt the thing that seems to have the most consensus among us. If there are some reservations about an actual demonstration, for the reason that it might actually end up heaping embarrassment upon those who participate, then let's go with what everyone is comfortable with. I would not be at all unhappy with only gathering for public worship, since that does not seem to carry with it the same reservations that a demonstration does for some. I am all for scrapping ideas in the name of unity. I do think, however, that perhaps a small delegation of folks could hand deliver the petition to the right people. What say you to that? And, even with CID conference beginning Sun. night, I don't mind skipping the Sun. night events to be in St. Louis, and then heading up to Springfield on Monday.

Frank said...

Pastor Beisel is wise... unity should be at the forefront

The Unknown Lutheran said...

Erich Heidenreich has swung me.

Who has the clout to speak on our behalf?

Rev. Matt Harrison, perhaps?

One of the first VPs?

The Unknown Lutheran said...

Or Erich - any chance you could do it?

It would be a sacrifice, but I wouldn't want to sit on the other side of the table from you :)

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Thanks, Jon - I think. ;-)

While anyone has the right to ask the questions that need answers, it would be best to come from a member of synod. We laymen are, as individuals, only members of congregations who are members of synod. I suppose I could go as president of my congregation, but my congregation has not asked me to do so, and it would take too much time to get them to. We need answers now, and there are plenty of qualified individuals within driving (or even walking) distance to do this. We need a bona fide member of synod, preferably one with some clout, to do this bidding for us. I know there are some reading this, so what is keeping you in your seat at the computer? Get up and walk into David Strand's office! I'd do it myself if I didn't live in Michigan, even though I am not a member of synod.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Better yet, why doesn't everyone within driving and walking distance meet at his office right now!

David said...

Perhaps I underestimate the dear people of God in the LC-MS. I hope I do. I hope you all prove me wrong, believe me!

I don't know about you, but I support 100% a radio show (terrestrial or internet radio) featuring Pr. Todd Wilken and produced by Jeff Schwartz that is free of any control by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. How that happens is up to people much wiser and with more time than me.

A blessed Easter Monday to you all. Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Pr. Juhl, I support such a show also. And perhaps now is the time for Issues to break it's synodical bonds. But no matter what happens to Issues, Etc., sin needs to be dealt with. Public sin requires public redress.

Anonymous said...

It seems nobody wants to talk to David Strand because they would feel intimidated and the Synod would then look down upon or perhaps reprimand him. This reminds me of the position that poor Martin Luther was in while forced to talk to the Cardinal. There is something frightfully wrong when members can not go to their head to discuss problems. What kind of tyranny is this?

Heidi J. Heidenreich

The Unknown Lutheran said...

Maybe we can pay for Erich's plane ticket. :)

Maybe someone already has done this, but is being silent and is waiting for the Law to drive sinners to repentence.

William Weedon said...

Folks,

I've not been responding, because I'm listening, and want to hear and weigh the various counsels offered.

A caution: I would not assume that no one has spoken directly with David. I have not, but I have communicated with him twice by email (which is how we normally communicated in the past). To the first communication I received the standard reply he sent out; to the second I've not received any response. However, you cannot waltz into the IC and ask to speak to just anyone. I think you generally need an appointment to be let through. Think security like for a major firm. There's the lady at the front desk who smiles and invites you to have a seat, but if someone doesn't generally come down to escort you where you need to go, you don't go. At least that's how I recall it was over there - it's been some years since I set foot in the place.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

OK. I modify my recommendation. Somebody walk in and ask to speak with him and if refused, make an appointment. I'm not talking about just anyone, but rather someone with clout. Somebody who also shares a relatively high position with the synod. I'm sure they don't have to make appointments. They probably call up and say something like: "Got a minute? I want to talk to you about something."

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

P.S. If someone like this has talked to him and demanded an answer, why haven't we heard the answer? It's one thing to talk with someone, and another to demand public answers to a public sin.

Scott Larkins said...

This has always caused me pain..

http://www.builtstlouis.net/churches/church01.html

Maybe after the protest we could take the "mob" over to North Florissant and begin rescuing this beauty. How can area Lutherans let this happen? Amazing.

Shame on us all.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Wow! If you want a look at what I think the state of the LCMS is, look at that building.

Matt said...

Ideally, folks in the St. Louis area would come to these proposed vigils. Others who would like to be there but are a distance away could possibly save their money and either donate it to Todd and Jeff or save it for a possible non-LCMS run "Issues, etc."

But I would not be opposed to anyone driving any distance, so long as they are willing to support the men financially.

Rob Olson said...

Erich: "I'm not talking about just anyone, but rather someone with clout."

Whom do you have in mind? Who has clout? I respect and admire so many of Issues, Etc.'s regular guests, but does the Synod? I am also wondering why more of these learned men are not speaking out, as Pastor Weedon has. I doubt that it will happen.

Perhaps they are organizing a joint response to this very sad and pitiful situation, but I am afraid that nothing will be done. My favorite slogan of the program was "Equipping the Priesthood of All Believers" and the liberal leaders within the Synod understood that it was happening. Just look at all of the comments in the petition. They understood the effect that Jeff and Todd were having and have acted. They were cunning and we won't be, though we will rant away online on sites that are hardly read.

I am sorry that I am so pessimistic. I am still deeply saddened by this situation and do not have much hope in any confessional folks of clout.

Rob

wmc said...

Public matters by public officials are dealt with publicly. This deals with actions out of a public office that happened in full view of the public. There is no need for a private kum-bah-yah at the purple politburo.

"Where the sin is public, the punishment ought to be public so that everyone may know how to guard against it." (Large Catechism I.284)

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Rob,

I don't believe it is my calling to volunteer any particular individual(s). There are many who could do this. My call is for just ONE of them to have the guts to do it! Alas, I'm afraid you are right that no one probably will. My wife is probably right. The powers that be have instilled FEAR into even the people of "clout" of which I am speaking.

Jim Huffman said...

As to "those with clout" speaking out, I remember very vividly Daniel Preus' comment after the 2004 debacle. There were those considering removing themselves from the LCMS, and the response of this individual -- whom many of them looked to as a leader -- was "What's the purpose of a synod of 14 churches?" In other words, those who were seeking to do something rather than just talk about it were scornfully put down by a synod VP.

If we want to do something, we will have to do it ourselves. Those in "leadership positions" are not going to. Count on it.

Anonymous said...

I love old westerns, especially when they involve a cattle drive. At night, the cowboys ride herd and sing softly, 'get along little doggie.'

Inevitably something happens to spook the heard and they stampede. And when the cattle run themselves out, they heard them together and the cowboys ride herd and sing softly, 'get along little doggie.' and the cattle go back to grazing.

There are many denominations in this country. And when thefolks in the pew got spooked, they inevitably told, 'folks, we know what we are doing, we are the professionals,' 'get along little doggie.'

Three things the bureaucrat fears, the light of the sun, loss of revenue, and the end of his gig. Protests are fine because they may bring the light of the sun. But there is a long term problem in the denomination. The denomination will be retaken, orthodoxy and orthodox believers will be marginalized or there will be a split.

yokzdi

E. Rapp said...

One thing that is going to happen on the 27th of March is that Chaplain John Wohlrabe is going to bring it up at the Praesidium to the President and the other vice presidents. He said that he would in an email response. I don't know what effect that will have, but I find it encouraging.

Rebecca said...

As we continue to debate whether to protect, demonstrate, vigil or streak, I'd like to throw out a suggestion that might continue the discussion of how to get Todd and Jeff back on the air, apart from the LCMS strings. Our congregation was about to participate in the "300" program in which Issues, Etc. was seeking 300 congregations to pledge $1000 this year. Why can't we all still do that? We talked about asking our church members to tithe their "economic stimulus package" checks, due early this summer, in order to fund this. I'm more than willing to part with a portion of this undeserved and unearned money from the government in order to support the continuation of our beloved radio program. Anyone else in?

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

1) I don't want anyone to misunderstand what my advice above is regarding. Primarily I am speaking about how we should deal with this insofar as it is SIN. In that regard, someone with clout is the only person who is going to have the ability to penetrate the security at the purple palace and gain access to the people who can tell him WHO DID THIS. A peon like me is not going to be effective at bringing such an official as whoever did this to confess. Someone with clout needs to bring that person to repentance and beseech him to offer a good explanation to all those he has sinned against. That's what I'm talking about above.

2) Then there is the political aspect of the solution that I am NOT talking about above, but will offer my ideas on now. Once we have a name and explanation, the political solution of either discipline or removal from office can also be considered. Forgiveness does not inhibit consequences. We might forgive a person but find him unfit for office because of the offense committed.

3) And finally, there is the issue of what is to become of what we fondly refer to as the show "Issues, Etc." This question, I believe, is in the very capable hands of Jeff Schwarz and Pr. Todd Wilken. Until they speak out (I hope this week) we are all speaking ahead of turn. I await the call to offer all the help I can to them in restoring their mission to the world. But how do we know they would even be willing to return to employment at KFUO? Perhaps this is the time for them to sever ties with the Synod as far as KFUO goes. I just don't know, and I believe they are the ones who must lead in that regard. I personally have VERY LITTLE expectation that Issues, Etc. will return to KFUO. I have VERY HIGH hopes that Issues, Etc. will return to the airwaves somehow, and I believe if and when it does, it will be stronger than ever.

rlewer said...

It would be strange if Todd and Jeff could work with David Strand after what has happened. If Strand were not there it would be better if the LCMS were represented by Todd and Jeff. That would be good for Synod and drawing new people in.

If not surely something can be worked out for the program to continue under some other organizational structure. As has been said we look to Todd and Jess for guidance.

Rev. Jeffrey E. Ries said...

Wolrabe was one of the first names to come to mind as I read questions of who might be the one to present the petition. Another would be a District President (like Herb Mueller?). Such men do have the "clout" to get appointments with synodical officials. They also have the professionalism and the pastoral wisdom to do it in an appropriate manner.

Dr. Heidenreich speaks wise words. Indeed, the clout issue is not so much about getting past the guards as it is about having the authority to call a church leader to repentance (of course part of the problem is determining who that person is since no one can confirm as fact who the actual decision maker was).

I would suggest that whomever presents the petition, present it to the entire BCS, or to the Board of Directors, or to the Presidium (or perhaps copies to all three)and not just to one person.

In response to Mr. Huffman: don't count all those in leadership positions out. Especially not the likes of Daniel Preus. I recall the same words. As I heard it, his intent was not to stop people from acting, but stop them from leaving the LCMS in her hour of need. It is one thing to act, it is another to leave the scene where action is needed. Rev. Preus was asking folks who wanted to take action, not to include leaving in their chosen actions.

There may come a day when there is no choice but to part ways with what is the LCMS. But it ought to be the last resort.

Jim Huffman said...

Mr. Ries, I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Mr. Preus' comments in 2004. I remember (and still have) a copy of the article in The Reporter in which he was quoted, and my response in a printed letter to the editor. I remember the sense of shock and betrayal I felt in reading his comments. My assessment of Preus' comment then and now was that it was scorn toward those contemplating a departure.

The reality is that almost no one reading this will ever leave the synod. There will always be a far-away mythical day to leave, but that day will never arrive. And the synod knows this, and knows that nothing I can envision would make the pesky confessionals leave. So instances such as this will continue, folks will complain, and nothing will be done.

Those in synodical leadership don't care about complaints, because they know the complaints are toothless. The LCMS is a man-made organization, and leaving it is no different in the end than quitting the Rotary Club, but virtually everyone in the synod acts as though leaving it is the equivalent of leaving the church.

In regard to the LCMS, I John 5.21 is worth pondering here.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Let's keep the wagons circled, and the guns pointed out at the Indians. Please! We Confessionalists can be so collectively suicidal sometimes!

BTW, I've been wanting to comment on President Kieschnick's statement since I heard about it on Good Friday, and I just remembered to.

"_____ transpired with my awareness but neither by my order nor at my direction."

Doesn't that sound eerily like the statements made by certain German officials at the end of WWII ??? If Hitler hadn't killed himself, I could even imagine him offering that defense for most of his crimes. After all, did he even have time to direct and order every individual atrocity which occurred?

Don't misunderstand me, I don't mean to compare President Kieschnick with Hitler. I'm comparing the statement he made with those of people in positions of authority who could stop a particular act of treachery and don't, and then offer this kind of pitiful statement in their defense.

"_____ transpired with my awareness but neither by my order nor at my direction."

Can anyone hear such a statement and not be struck by the implicit guilt contained in it?

Steven said...

I hope that the protest happens. If it does not, the Synodocrats will think that it is just a bunch of noise from cyberspace. Give a date and I will be there.

baptizatus said...

Has anyone been in contact with the leadership/faculty of our seminaries? It would be marvelous if one or both of our seminaries would come out with a statement condemning the Synodical leadership's behavior in canceling Issues, Etc.

The synodical office building may be the top of the bureaucratic chain of command de iure humano, but other institutions such as CPH and our seminaries have a loud voice too.

The Unknown Lutheran said...

Here is where we learn from history -

The first man who stands up with the power of clout, we have to shelter him.

BringBackIssues said...

There's no such thing anymore as "just a bunch of noise from cyberspace." Two or three years ago, online communications could be largely ignored. But no longer. The signatures on the petition -- the mobilization of volunteers -- the exchange of concrete ideas -- these are all more than noise. Every day, in today's communications environment, people are achieving amazing results without ever being in the same location.

More effective than a protest, in my opinion, is a move to get a program back up and running. And we can do it within a day or two. If the show didn't use the name Issues Etc., and talked only about theological issues, it would be in the clear. Here are some more thoughts on what that kind of online program might look like in the long run:

http://bringbackissues.blogspot.com/2008/03/re-imagining-issues-etc.html

Anonymous said...

I hope and pray it goes well on the 27th when Chaplain Wohlrabe brings this up at the Praesidium as E. Rapp mentioned. I don't know what the Praesidium even is...

For us folks far from the Synod physically is telephoning really useful? Do you think a phone call from our church Pastor carries more weight? Thanks for your efforts!

Jim Huffman said...

What's the best way to contact?

The easiest (and thus most "ignorable" by those receiving it) is an email. I use email all the time with friends, but when I need to make a point (such as with this) I don't. It usually doesn't work. Your recipient, too, has a delete button. And they use it.

Next best is a physical letter. My younger friends may have heard of these: one prints out a missive on a dead tree carcass, inserts it in device called an envelope, and attaches a postal coupon to the outside. These tend to get noticed a bit better, if only because some poor secretary has to shred them.

Moving on up on the difficult-to-ignore scale are telephone calls. Don't be a wuss and call at 3 a.m., and leave a message on a voicemail. Call during the day, and tell whoever answers the phone what you are calling about, and kindly (don't be nasty: most of the time you're initially speaking with someone who had nothing whatsoever to do with what you're complaining about) ask to speak to someone about this matter. If you know a name, give the name. Go as high up as you dare. It's a good rule of thumb that the "higher" (I use this in a relative sense) the individual, the more likely they will dispatch someone beneath them to take care of what you're complaining about. (Thus, for example, if your local DMV will not deal with an issue -- and you've really tried to resolve it there! -- call the governor's office. They will have someone do it).

Next is a visit. Rules: Don't go in with a carbine. Dress nicely. Don't go in with a scowl. If you want to, just show up. Say, for example, that you would like to speak to President Kieschnick, even if that's sort of a lie. Odds are that you won't get to speak to President Kieschnick. But someone -- some pitiful underling -- will be dispatched to hear your complaint. Speak kindly to them, voice your concerns, make certain they take your name, address, and phone number, and -- again, kindly! -- say you'd like to get a written response.

The bottom line: the more "exposed" you seem, the more weight your communication carries. Everyone knows it doesn't take a lot of guts to send and email. But telephoning requires one to actually speak to someone. And visiting? Well, you actually have to bathe the night before.

I wouldn't wait for your pastor to call. He's busy, too. If you're concerned, go ahead and call. These people -- as much as you might dislike some of them -- are human like you, and they will at least make a show of listening. Make them listen. That's what they're paid the big bucks for.

Anonymous said...

I called the 888-843-5267 number and the person who answered said they were making a list of people who called regarding Issues Etc. She was nice and took down my information and request that they reconsider. Thanks!