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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: JoshOsbun on January 19, 2012, 04:43:29 PM

Title: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: JoshOsbun on January 19, 2012, 04:43:29 PM
Read about it here. (http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/seminarians-they-are-even-megadeth-bassist/article_c71bc9b3-dd0d-5126-b2c1-0513931559bb.html#ixzz1jvO07KAD--)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Jay on January 19, 2012, 06:29:22 PM
Great story!  Dave Mustaine has stopped drinking and talks about his Christian faith periodically during interviews as well.  Megadeth have come a long way.

Also, the bassist for the 70's rock group Kansas became a priest in the Anglican Mission in America awhile back.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 19, 2012, 06:42:13 PM
There's a great story about one of the musicians from "Korn" too if I recall correctly, but I'd have to search for the story first.  It is interesting that once in a while, you see a really powerful testimony come from someone who has gotten out of such a lifestyle and really made  a turnaround.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave_Poedel on January 20, 2012, 01:52:12 AM
Outstanding news from one of my neighbors here in the metro Phoenix area, and of course I find out about it on a wonderful pan-Lutheran forum moderated in California and my native Wisconsin...nice.  I need to get out more.

So much for the backward and stodgy LCMS, NALC, ACNA and other conservative Churches being out of touch and attractive only to80+ year old Midwesterners who grew up in them.  May God receive ALL of the glory and praise for these amazing stories. 

All I know is that their music gives me a throbbing headache (but then again, so do the repetitious ad nauseum "praise choruses"so many love to sing), but I know without much doubt that God is using said music to reach some people, though not as many as 25-30 years ago.

Thanks for posting the article
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 20, 2012, 08:03:37 AM
And another very positive and nationally presented view of the LC-MS Specialized Ministry Pastor (SMP) program.  Pr. Michael Staneck's ordination/ installation on Long Island was one of the highlights of 2011 for me and many others.  The training received in SMP leads to pastors of the Church who are able proclaimers and incarnational presenters of God's truth and love in Christ.  In pastoral student Mustaine's case, the attraction and sweep of the program are available for the world to hear as a terminus ad quem of his own testimony.

I wonder if pastoral student Mustaine will be around in February when a bunch of people of Missouri Synod stripe will be down there in Phoenix for the "Best Practices" event and other golfing opportunities?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on January 20, 2012, 08:19:10 AM
It would be interesting to see you golfing with Dave Mustaine, President Benke. I doubt that he'll be there or that he'll be ordained as a pastor in the LCMS.

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 20, 2012, 08:57:22 AM
Ha!  I'd like to show him a little length off the tee and a few of my keyboard moves.  The length off the tee would be more impressive than the keyboard moves.  I don't know why Mr. Mustaine is considered to be headed toward non-completion of the SMP program, Don.  Nothing in the article gave me that impression.  I'll ask him how he thinks it will go on the 17th hole, with our match all even, just to mess with his head.  Then I birdie 18, he hits it out of bounds, and I become the new keyboard guy for MegaLife, the old bald guy in the purple shirt.   "Who is that?" they'll ask.  "MegaBishop," will be the reply.

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: DeHall on January 20, 2012, 09:17:47 AM
Ha!  I'd like to show him a little length off the tee and a few of my keyboard moves.  The length off the tee would be more impressive than the keyboard moves.  I don't know why Mr. Mustaine is considered to be headed toward non-completion of the SMP program, Don.  Nothing in the article gave me that impression.  I'll ask him how he thinks it will go on the 17th hole, with our match all even, just to mess with his head.  Then I birdie 18, he hits it out of bounds, and I become the new keyboard guy for MegaLife, the old bald guy in the purple shirt.   "Who is that?" they'll ask.  "MegaBishop," will be the reply.

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

The SMP student is the bassist from Megadeth, David Ellefson, not Dave Mustaine.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 20, 2012, 09:57:46 AM
Oops.  My bad.  Ellefson is a far better Lutheran name anyway, although tinged with the ALC birth-heritage.

Dave Benke

I'm staying with MegaBishop, though.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: DeHall on January 20, 2012, 11:18:42 AM
I thought SMP was supposed to help out struggling congregations who couldn't afford a full-time pastor.  This congregation already has a full-time pastor.  In addition to that, they just spent a ton of money buying a new facility.

I thought SMP was supposed to help out those students who were in a position where they could not uproot their family because they had to work a second job since the call they would be receiving would likely be a worker-priest scenario.  The founder of an internationally renowned band doesn't quite fit that mold.

I didn't post this story because it's a positive thing.  This is wrong on so many different levels.  It's an abuse of the SMP system.  It's thumbing the nose at pastoral formation.  It's a mockery of the pastoral office.

It's my understanding that pastors from the SMP program must serve under another pastor who is not an SMP pastor, and only then in a "specific ministry context".   In Dave Ellefson's case, he would be working under the pastor of Shepherd of the Desert, specifically in the Mega Life outreach ministry. 

That seems to meet the definition of SMP as I know it - I didn't see anything in the requirements about the ability of the church to pay a full-time pastor, or that the candidate could not uproot their family.    I am open to correction here, however.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 20, 2012, 11:22:39 AM
I thought SMP was supposed to help out struggling congregations who couldn't afford a full-time pastor.  This congregation already has a full-time pastor.  In addition to that, they just spent a ton of money buying a new facility.

I thought SMP was supposed to help out those students who were in a position where they could not uproot their family because they had to work a second job since the call they would be receiving would likely be a worker-priest scenario.  The founder of an internationally renowned band doesn't quite fit that mold.

I didn't post this story because it's a positive thing.  This is wrong on so many different levels.  It's an abuse of the SMP system.  It's thumbing the nose at pastoral formation.  It's a mockery of the pastoral office.

According to what I've read and been told about SMP, and equivalent ELCA program, TEEM, the benefits you listed are among the intentions of the programs. However, they are not the only benefits and purposes of the programs.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Matt Staneck on January 20, 2012, 11:29:51 AM
I'm open to correction as well...

What Pr. Osbun is referring to is at the convention when SMP was passed part of the "pitch," if you will, was that for congregations that can't afford a full-time pastor (various reasons for this), and for those who otherwise literally cannot uproot, this would be a very beneficial program.

I am not aware that any official SMP language indicated those would be the only reasons for such a program.  Although we may find the gaudy life of a rockstar "less than" worker-priest, he is operating in a bi-vocational setting, and I for one can't wait for him to have discussions about what that thick blue book is that he has with him on the tour buses.  Because contrary to much maligning of the program it is a rigorous classwork load.  And while I can't speak for Ft. Wayne, I can for St. Louis and the professors take it seriously and expect a lot out of their students.  And oh yeah, the students are in "part-time" ministry, which is really closer to full-time, while also holding down other full-time jobs to provide for their family's. 

So while there are legitimate critiques, and the students are open about that amongst themselves and with Dr. Wollenberg and their professors, it is an illegitimate critique to ridicule the lack of so-called "real preparation" for ministry.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: iowakatie1981 on January 20, 2012, 11:41:26 AM
Just one comment in the midst of this LCMS discussion - the ELCA has a similar program, TEEM, as well as non-TEEM-but-still-mostly-online programs at some of the seminaries. 

Some days this really frustrates me - they should be on-campus, darnit!  If this is really a call from God, take it seriously!!  and so on... - then I figured out that mostly it's about my stuff, not theirs.  For me, anyway, it tends to be one of those "Peter moments" - "We have left everything to follow you - what then will there be for us?"  Which is something I need to confess as sinful, and then hear Jesus say, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on January 20, 2012, 11:41:54 AM
I'm new the LCMS, an ELCA exile, blissfully ignorant of all the church politics involved in SMP (after the turmoil of being in an ELCA congregation council in the 1990s-2000s, I am enjoying my blissful ignorance of church politics, thank you). We have three SMP seminarians in our congregation (an educator retired from financial services, a church musician, and a firefighter), and it has been a great experience for us. I also enjoy neither heavy metal nor contemporary worship. That being said, this seems like a really positive development in that Ellefsen has the opportunity to reach the unchurched in a segment of society where the church can be very distant. It doesn't seem like a mockery of the pastoral office at all to me, but an opportunity to witness. But then again, I have no ties whatsoever to the LCMS establishment having been an UCLA/LCA/ELCA member for 51 years prior to 2009.
Kurt
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 20, 2012, 11:43:31 AM
DeHall, you are correct in your understanding in the points you mention.
a) there is no "couldn't afford full-time pastor" exclusive clause in the rubrics of the SMP program. All SMP students have a supervising pastor.  For some, it's a pastor loci; for others, it's a neighboring pastor. 
b) the context of the parish assignment is the fundamental rationale for not moving, not exclusively or automatically the worker-priest/can't leave job scenario. 
As you indicate, the situation referenced fits the definition of "specific ministry" pastoral formation. 

The greater conversation is what is entailed in pastoral formation and what mocks or does not mock the office of the public ministry of the Gospel.  If Mr. Ellefson were to have enrolled as a student in the on-campus seminary at St. Louis, would he be formed more completely/competently and not be engaged in a mockery of the pastoral office?  Why or why not?  In what way are his SMP studies/enrollment a mockery of the pastoral office?  The ad hominem argumentation, such as "doesn't feel like putting in the effort" is not only weak but I think would be viewed by the student as offensive.  Is "effort" only put in by residential students?  Is the "effort" of non-residential students downgraded because they are not residents?

The SMP candidate and already ordained pastor under my supervision are in my examination and experience to date competently formed and are enhancers, not mockers, of the pastoral office.  One serves under a supervising pastor at the congregation to which he has been called and installed; the other is in a small parish under supervision by a pastor not on site.  One is the father of Matt Staneck.

Kurt Weinelt and Q, thanks for your words, which I think represent much to most of the LC-MS.


Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on January 20, 2012, 12:06:55 PM
I don't know why Mr. Mustaine is considered to be headed toward non-completion of the SMP program, Don.  Nothing in the article gave me that impression. 

Dave Benke

Perhaps because you never read the article prior to posting about Mustaine? For nothing in the article would have led you to mention him. The article is all about Ellefson. Only a prioir post mentioned Mustaine.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 20, 2012, 12:10:03 PM
According to what I've read and been told about SMP, and equivalent ELCA program, TEEM, the benefits you listed are among the intentions of the programs. However, they are not the only benefits and purposes of the programs.

SMP is not supposed to supplant the seminaries.  But that's exactly what this congregation is doing.  They are bypassing the seminaries.  They are getting a cheap pastor.  They are arranging their own call (which is frowned upon if students and congregations make such arrangements when they go to seminary) and taking a call away from a candidate who went through the formal, long-standing, proven seminary program and giving it to someone who doesn't feel like putting in the effort that it takes to become a skilled theologian and pastor.

If being a pastor is a professional job, like being a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or engineer, then your take on this issue is probably correct.
 
If being a pastor is answering a call from God to serve Him and His people in a given time and place of God's choosing, then your take on this issue is probably incorrect.
 
BTW, what seminary did the second generation of priests graduate from? I'm referring to those who followed the original 12 Apostles?
 
 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Matt Staneck on January 20, 2012, 12:25:24 PM
Quote
Rigorous?  One course per quarter, four quarters per year, four years in the program.  That's 16 courses over the course of four years.  That's not rigorous.

Several of my friends were not only full-time students, husbands, and fathers, but they also held down jobs to support their families.  I saw one guy complete three years of coursework in two years because he didn't want to move his family down to Fort Wayne from Detroit.  He spend four days in Fort Wayne completing his rigorous coursework so that he didn't have to be bogged down by it when he returned to his family for three days.

It is rigorous.  It may not fit your tightly wound definition of rigorous, but it is.  I know from first hand experience.  What you malign as "It's only this," and "It's only that," is actually much more.  The course work they have for their "only" classes is a lot.  And on top of that they are in more or less full-time supervised "on site" ministry while also balancing the other aspects of life.  So while we're smoking pipes with peers, these guys are likely bedside at a hospital.

That's awesome about your friend who did 3 in 2 though while commuting from Detroit.  May God bless him, his family, and his parish!

Quote
I'm not sure who called it a lack of "real preparation."  That doesn't appear in this discussion.

I would be willing to call it sub-par and inadequate preparation, though.  Can one distance homiletics course really be considered sufficient when three homiletics courses are required of M.Div. candidates?  And where's the study of the languages?  One course on Paul's epistles?  Seriously?  This is adequately forming pastors?  Not a chance -- especially since they are ordained after only eight courses and two years.  Eight courses!  That's a quarter and a half of M.Div work.

I'm sure that the participants do take it seriously.  But what they are taking seriously and embracing is inadequate preparation to be under-shepherds of Christ.

Yeah "not real preparation" was a colloquial paraphrase of the "inadequate preparation" slogan that gets thrown around.  I feel again as though it comes with a lack of understanding what these men are learning in their classes and how much experience they are getting "on site" as they are supervised.

On the languages front, I've heard that this is part of the improving of the program that students and professors are taking seriously.  But remember, our alt-route guys don't take Hebrew, and the OT is well over half of what we call "The Scriptures" (and is exactly what our NT writers refer to when they say "The Scriptures).  Are these men inadequately prepared?  What of the guys who take a crash course and then barely get by the exam and glide by the rest of their time?

Quote
Let me ask this: would you want a surgeon who only completed 1/4 of the regular academic work, doing so entirely through distance education?  Would you want him operating on you after completing only eight courses over two years?

Then why is it good enough for the man who is supposed to be your pastor?

Apples and oranges.  We're not talking about a kid who finished pre-med requirements and is now "all of the sudden" performing open heart surgery.  We're talking about men who take a strenuous course load and continue in classes and are under supervision "on site" gaining invaluable ministry experience.  Two very different things.

I keep saying "on site" because part of the calling to end the SMP is over the lack of communal living experience for these men (which let's be honest I cherish the brotherhood but we don't all live together as at least half are married).  You wouldn't know there was a lack of brotherhood when the SMP men gather together at their week long intensives.  You wouldn't know it when they're spending hours together on the phone, on Skype, or some other online medium working on homework.  You wouldn't know it when one of the brothers fall seriously ill and they pray without ceasing that God would deliver the brother while gathering together through mediums to pray and all the while doing whatever they can to help and support the brother's wife and family.

You wouldn't know because you don't.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 20, 2012, 12:29:21 PM
taking a call away from a candidate who went through the formal, long-standing, proven seminary program .

It's hard to get to a substantial conversation, because of the emotional content in the posts that oppose SMP.  The above quote contains an actual practical concern for the denomination.  So the first task is to re-word.  Eliminate the more freighted "formal, long-standing, proven" and substitute "residential." 

The fear that I think can be substantiated has to do with SMP and other alternate route students who are connected to larger parishes.  First, it's a great thing for a larger parish and for any parish to raise up one of its own toward the pastoral office.  And it's viewed as even a greater blessing if that man remains with them for training and service.  This is not un-natural.  It is very natural.  Secondly, larger parishes that could utilize a second or third pastor and have members and leaders who sense the call into the ministry are going to be attracted to the SMP program because the leadership and spiritual/pastoral formation continues in situ, and is not dependent on a process that brings someone in based on an interview or on no interview into a team setting.  That seems more paramount to me than the derogatory claim of "cheap."  Thirdly, that SMP pastor could more readily be seen as stepping up in the pastoral order over time than someone who has to be (re)trained into the modus operandi of that parish. 

Fourthly and more controversially, if the majority to great majority of the larger multi-staff parishes have blended and/or contemporary worship, and the majority/great majority of the residential seminarians are trained only in traditional worship forms and/or away from contact with contemporary/blended worship forms, then the mismatch leads the multi-staff large parishes to select away from residential students toward non-residential in advance even of having someone in the non-residential program.  The seminary has selected away from them in advance. 

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Matt Staneck on January 20, 2012, 12:48:13 PM

I'm not sure that it is just for you to accuse me of having a tightly wound definition of rigorous when you choose to call one course per quarter "strenuous."  Your definition of strenuous is far more loose than my definition of rigorous is tightly wound.

It's easier for you to fall back on what someone else told you than to look into it yourself.  Fair enough.

And perhaps it's because you're too busy to do so. That's completely legitimate.  You're a pastor.  Your workload is strenuous.  I would then only advise that you hold back from interjecting "matter of fact" opinions into topics which you are inadequately prepared to discuss. 

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 20, 2012, 01:13:01 PM
Please bear in mind that while a seminary education is a good thing, and not to be dismissed out of hand, it is not a perfect preparation for being a pastor, nor always guaranteed to produce perfect results. Remember, most of the pastors who were part of Seminex or who left to form the AELC were graduates of LCMS seminaries.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 20, 2012, 03:41:29 PM
SMP was sold to the LCMS delegates by pointing to the poor congregations, to the ethnic minorities that need pastors, to the small congregations that could not lose a leader and continue.  That is what we were told of as being the SMP candidates.  Now, to be fair, we were not told that SMP students would be exclusively such men.  But then we were not really told about any others than these.  And you can be sure that we were never told that the majority of SMP students would not be from these types of situations (which I believe is currently the case).
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 20, 2012, 03:43:10 PM
Please bear in mind that while a seminary education is a good thing, and not to be dismissed out of hand, it is not a perfect preparation for being a pastor, nor always guaranteed to produce perfect results. Remember, most of the pastors who were part of Seminex or who left to form the AELC were graduates of LCMS seminaries.

That is very true. But both LCMS seminaries, including St. Louis, are today solidly confessional and conservative.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: LCMS87 on January 20, 2012, 03:59:59 PM
<snip>

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

Your summary of Pr. Rossow's post over at the site identified with the steadfast Elector John doesn't quite capture what Pr. Rossow wrote or what Dr. Rast said.  Dr. Rast gave a two-part answer to the question about the future of SMP.  (Some of Pr. Rossow's personal reflections went beyond what Dr. Rast said.)

The context of the question was Dr. Rast's presentation on theological training in the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther to the present including contemporary challenges.  He noted the extraordinary routes to the pastoral ministry which existed for a time both in Luther's day and in Walther's day.  The operative phrase here being, "for a time".  In neither of those historical instances did the extraordinary route become the rule.  When the specific circumstances that called for the extraordinary route were past, the church returned to the full academic training.  (To a degree this is an oversimplification of Dr. Rast's paper.  I imagine you could request a copy from him if you'd like the details.)

The question posed by the pastor, then, had to do with whether Dr. Rast felt it likely that that would be the pattern with the SMP or not.  Dr. Rast's two point answer was immediate and brief.  First, he said that the future of the SMP program is up to the synod.  My take on his answer was that he was reflecting the reality of our polity.  Simply put, the synod is the one with the authority to make decisions on how her pastors will be trained.  His second point was that he believes the best way to prepare well-qualified pastors is residential theological education.  As a faithful servant of the synod, the CTS president would seek to make that case as the future direction of the SMP program is discussed.

To a large degree, the question is not about whether or not to abolish the SMP program or a successor extraordinary route to the pastoral ministry.  The real issue is whether the SMP program will replace the residential theological education model, as Pr. Gemin seems to favor in his final sentence here (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4272.msg249955#msg249955), will become one of two "standard" routes to the ordained ministry, or will be determined to be inadequate as the primary means of training pastors for our congregations.  If the last, the program could either be revised and strengthened, limited to restrict the "special ministries" to more exceptional circumstances than is currently the case, a combination of these two, or discontinued completely (until the next time we decide we need an exceptional route). 

Given the way the program is structured--an adequate sample of Special Ministry Pastors to evaluate have only recently completed the initial program--we're just beginning to be able to take a look at the results.  I would be shocked if at least some revisions to the program aren't indicated.  Any new program, no matter how carefully planned and implemented, needs to be reviewed and at the very least tweaked once it's begun to operate.  SMP would be unique if no changes whatsoever were indicated.     
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: LCMS87 on January 20, 2012, 04:18:59 PM
And another very positive and nationally presented view of the LC-MS Specialized Ministry Pastor (SMP) program. . . . 

Dave Benke

Certainly a positive piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Rather than a critical evaluation of the program, though, it was more a human interest story the communications department of the seminary was delighted to get a reporter to latch onto as a way to publicize the SMP program.  I doubt the paper would have run it as story on a 40-ish engineer working for Coors in Colorado enrolled with the aim of becoming a second pastor at a traditional parish.  "Megadeth Bassist Studying for Lutheran Ordination" is just a way better headline.  Eyes on the page sells ads.  Pair heavy metal with Lutheran minister and you're going to get eyes.

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Rev. Matthew Uttenreither on January 20, 2012, 04:27:39 PM
Megadeth wishes it had a tenth Metallica's greatness. 

Sorry for the interruption, you may go back to ripping on Pr. Osbun's comments. 

Dr. Gard, a voice crying out in the wilderness, concerning the SMP program.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 20, 2012, 04:41:21 PM
Dr. Rast is absolutely correct that the future of SMP is in the hands of the Synod. It was the 2007 Convention that established the program and only another Convention can modify or terminate it. This decision is in the hands of the elected delegates. The seminaries, as servants of the Synod, are tasked with executing the Synod's mandate and to do so in the most faithful and professional way that they can.

I suspect that both the merits and problems of the SMP program will be part of some District Convention proceedings and most likely at the 2013 Synodical Convention. And that is how it must be.

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 20, 2012, 05:18:12 PM
The problem for the future of seminaries is not SMP (or TEEM). The real problem is sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years.

If we focus on the merits and demerits of SMP, we will avoid addressing real problem and fail to arrive at real solutions.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: TravisW on January 20, 2012, 05:39:07 PM
Metallica wishes they could play in time.   :-*

I'm not an expert on LCMS seminaries or seminary programs.  However, I probably know more about David Ellefson's career in Megadeth than the rest of this board combined and doubled. 

First, to address Megadeth lyrics:  there were a couple of black magic-derived songs on the first two Megadeth records, although more along the lines of a horror movie for the most part.  "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which is the quoted tune, is about the origin of their mascot, Vic Rattlehead.  Much to the chagrin of some fans, these few tunes haven't been played live for decades, because the writer (Dave Mustaine) hasn't been comfortable playing them.  For the vast majority of their career, Megadeth lyrics have been more along the lines of socio-political commentary than witches and devils.  But, I guess it's fair game to judge people for something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21. 

Second, to address the question of "He could just pay the money and go to seminary"...how do you know this?  David Ellefson wasn't in Megadeth from about 2003 until 2010.  During that time, he played in several music projects and worked for Peavey Musical Instruments as an artist rep.  It was under these circumstances that I met him about 5 years ago.  Now, being an artist rep is a good job, but it's not going to make you a Rockefeller.  He rejoined Megadeth about 2 years ago now, recorded one album, and has toured quite a bit.  Can he afford to completely put that band on ice in order to attend a brick-and-mortar seminary?  That's hard to say, I'm not his accountant.  Platinum success doesn't necessarily equal major residual income 20 years later.   

You all can debate whether or not the SMP is a good program, or whether this fits into the scope of what it was designed for.  I don't have a dog in that fight.  But you can probably do it without hacking on Ellefson.  He gets more than enough crap about this from heavy metal fans, he probably doesn't need it from his church body. 



Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 20, 2012, 06:44:31 PM
The problem for the future of seminaries is not SMP (or TEEM). The real problem is sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years.

If we focus on the merits and demerits of SMP, we will avoid addressing real problem and fail to arrive at real solutions.

Peace, JOHN

Pastor Hannah,

Do you have any data to support your contention that the seminaries are currently staffed  for the 1950's level?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Rev. Matthew Uttenreither on January 20, 2012, 08:00:09 PM
Let's take Mr. Eleffson out of the equation for a moment.

SMP program

positve:  helps out rural church Idaho and a ministry reaching out to Koreans, etc...

negative:  mega church wannabes are using the SMP program as a bypass.  We don't want sem students (either from St. Louis or the Fort) because they may learn to much.  Translation: they may actually become Lutheran in doctrine and practice.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: RevSteve on January 21, 2012, 12:02:30 AM
First, to address Megadeth lyrics:  there were a couple of black magic-derived songs on the first two Megadeth records, although more along the lines of a horror movie for the most part.  "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which is the quoted tune, is about the origin of their mascot, Vic Rattlehead.  Much to the chagrin of some fans, these few tunes haven't been played live for decades, because the writer (Dave Mustaine) hasn't been comfortable playing them.  For the vast majority of their career, Megadeth lyrics have been more along the lines of socio-political commentary than witches and devils.  But, I guess it's fair game to judge people for something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21.

Okay, let's talk current lyrics, off of their most recent album, in which Ellefson was involved.

"You won't believe the things I've done, And the killing is just for fun."

So this is no longer talking about "something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21."  He is studying to become a pastor while performing about the joys of killing people.

No the song is not talking about something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21 it's about Al Capone. And if you understood the nature of megadeth's music you would know they weren't glorifying violence, but simply expressing the truly brutal nature of the subject they are singing about. Regardless, Ellefson did not write the lyrics he writes the Bass parts, while Mustaine writes the lyrics.

And if you're going to reference his lyrics, it might be better to post the whole song or at least the stanza.

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=23926
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: TravisW on January 21, 2012, 01:38:45 AM
First, to address Megadeth lyrics:  there were a couple of black magic-derived songs on the first two Megadeth records, although more along the lines of a horror movie for the most part.  "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which is the quoted tune, is about the origin of their mascot, Vic Rattlehead.  Much to the chagrin of some fans, these few tunes haven't been played live for decades, because the writer (Dave Mustaine) hasn't been comfortable playing them.  For the vast majority of their career, Megadeth lyrics have been more along the lines of socio-political commentary than witches and devils.  But, I guess it's fair game to judge people for something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21.

Okay, let's talk current lyrics, off of their most recent album, in which Ellefson was involved.

"You won't believe the things I've done, And the killing is just for fun."

So this is no longer talking about "something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21."  He is studying to become a pastor while performing about the joys of killing people.

The song's about Capone.  Would it be better if he had been singing "Folsom Prison Blues" instead of playing bass on this tune?  Or, if he were an actor, to portray a Capone henchman?  Is it unacceptable for a seminarian to do any of these things?  Further, is this actually your best construction on his actions?  If you have to proof text heavy metal lyrics to prove your point about seminary training, your case must not be very strong. 

Ellefson has mentioned his involvement with online seminary training in interviews for several months prior to this article coming out.  It hit the music news long before it hit religious circles.  I'll tell you this much; every time he (or Mustaine, for that matter) mentions God, Jesus, or the church; their stock drops a little bit in the heavy metal world.  In the past 15 years, outright atheism has become pervasive amongst metal bands and fans.  As far as I'm aware, the "MegaLife" ministry is meant to address that in some ways.  So, you may deride his "heavy metal Christmas pageant", but at least he and his church are doing something to engage that bunch in an outreach program.   Hardly anybody else is, aside from a tiny smattering of Evangelicals and Pentecostals. 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 09:28:11 AM
First, to address Megadeth lyrics:  there were a couple of black magic-derived songs on the first two Megadeth records, although more along the lines of a horror movie for the most part.  "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which is the quoted tune, is about the origin of their mascot, Vic Rattlehead.  Much to the chagrin of some fans, these few tunes haven't been played live for decades, because the writer (Dave Mustaine) hasn't been comfortable playing them.  For the vast majority of their career, Megadeth lyrics have been more along the lines of socio-political commentary than witches and devils.  But, I guess it's fair game to judge people for something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21.

Okay, let's talk current lyrics, off of their most recent album, in which Ellefson was involved.

"You won't believe the things I've done, And the killing is just for fun."

So this is no longer talking about "something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21."  He is studying to become a pastor while performing about the joys of killing people.

The song's about Capone.  Would it be better if he had been singing "Folsom Prison Blues" instead of playing bass on this tune?  Or, if he were an actor, to portray a Capone henchman?  Is it unacceptable for a seminarian to do any of these things?  Further, is this actually your best construction on his actions?  If you have to proof text heavy metal lyrics to prove your point about seminary training, your case must not be very strong. 

Ellefson has mentioned his involvement with online seminary training in interviews for several months prior to this article coming out.  It hit the music news long before it hit religious circles.  I'll tell you this much; every time he (or Mustaine, for that matter) mentions God, Jesus, or the church; their stock drops a little bit in the heavy metal world.  In the past 15 years, outright atheism has become pervasive amongst metal bands and fans.  As far as I'm aware, the "MegaLife" ministry is meant to address that in some ways.  So, you may deride his "heavy metal Christmas pageant", but at least he and his church are doing something to engage that bunch in an outreach program.   Hardly anybody else is, aside from a tiny smattering of Evangelicals and Pentecostals.

Your comments are most appropriate for this thread, TravisW.  You have knowledge of the person, the type of music/band involved, and the way such things are financed and run.  Thanks.  A young man in our realm here has been involved in a band playing hard-core metal, and the culture inside that venue is hard core in terms of negative religious values.  I find it incredible that
a) there is far more carping than rejoicing over what's going on in Mr. Ellefson's life
b) there is far more carping than rejoicing over the program (SMP) that allows him to train to bring the Gospel in its most powerful way, through the Means of Grace, to not only the generic everyone, but to a whole bunch of people who have been opposed to it. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 10:29:55 AM
<snip>

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

Your summary of Pr. Rossow's post over at the site identified with the steadfast Elector John doesn't quite capture what Pr. Rossow wrote or what Dr. Rast said.  Dr. Rast gave a two-part answer to the question about the future of SMP.  (Some of Pr. Rossow's personal reflections went beyond what Dr. Rast said.)

The context of the question was Dr. Rast's presentation on theological training in the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther to the present including contemporary challenges.  He noted the extraordinary routes to the pastoral ministry which existed for a time both in Luther's day and in Walther's day.  The operative phrase here being, "for a time".  In neither of those historical instances did the extraordinary route become the rule.  When the specific circumstances that called for the extraordinary route were past, the church returned to the full academic training.  (To a degree this is an oversimplification of Dr. Rast's paper.  I imagine you could request a copy from him if you'd like the details.)

The question posed by the pastor, then, had to do with whether Dr. Rast felt it likely that that would be the pattern with the SMP or not.  Dr. Rast's two point answer was immediate and brief.  First, he said that the future of the SMP program is up to the synod.  My take on his answer was that he was reflecting the reality of our polity.  Simply put, the synod is the one with the authority to make decisions on how her pastors will be trained.  His second point was that he believes the best way to prepare well-qualified pastors is residential theological education.  As a faithful servant of the synod, the CTS president would seek to make that case as the future direction of the SMP program is discussed.

To a large degree, the question is not about whether or not to abolish the SMP program or a successor extraordinary route to the pastoral ministry.  The real issue is whether the SMP program will replace the residential theological education model, as Pr. Gemin seems to favor in his final sentence here (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4272.msg249955#msg249955), will become one of two "standard" routes to the ordained ministry, or will be determined to be inadequate as the primary means of training pastors for our congregations.  If the last, the program could either be revised and strengthened, limited to restrict the "special ministries" to more exceptional circumstances than is currently the case, a combination of these two, or discontinued completely (until the next time we decide we need an exceptional route). 

Given the way the program is structured--an adequate sample of Special Ministry Pastors to evaluate have only recently completed the initial program--we're just beginning to be able to take a look at the results.  I would be shocked if at least some revisions to the program aren't indicated.  Any new program, no matter how carefully planned and implemented, needs to be reviewed and at the very least tweaked once it's begun to operate.  SMP would be unique if no changes whatsoever were indicated.     

Thanks, 87, for the clarification, which goes along (as I indicated) with my own conversations with Larry Rast.  However, as to a duke-out over SMP, I am seeing it now as more than a tentative "yes."  I think this could be one of the highlight reel 12-rounders in 2013.   The enrollment success of SMP is, as I'm seeing it now, viewed as a real threat to the continuation of things the way they are and have been prior.  And for some "tweaking" will mean "gutting."  I'd leave it to the seminaries frankly to figure out the best ways to have an SMP.  They need to be, and know they need to be, MORE nimble in the future in terms of sustaining enrollment.  My sharing out with folks at one of the seminaries, the one not in St. Louis, was that if more "face-time" could be built into SMP, the formation process would be enhanced.  This is the kind of proposal that makes formational sense to me.  Forbidding access to the program by people not X or Y (viz. "ethnic" or "small church") does not make sense to me.

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 10:48:08 AM
<snip>

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

Your summary of Pr. Rossow's post over at the site identified with the steadfast Elector John doesn't quite capture what Pr. Rossow wrote or what Dr. Rast said.  Dr. Rast gave a two-part answer to the question about the future of SMP.  (Some of Pr. Rossow's personal reflections went beyond what Dr. Rast said.)

The context of the question was Dr. Rast's presentation on theological training in the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther to the present including contemporary challenges.  He noted the extraordinary routes to the pastoral ministry which existed for a time both in Luther's day and in Walther's day.  The operative phrase here being, "for a time".  In neither of those historical instances did the extraordinary route become the rule.  When the specific circumstances that called for the extraordinary route were past, the church returned to the full academic training.  (To a degree this is an oversimplification of Dr. Rast's paper.  I imagine you could request a copy from him if you'd like the details.)

The question posed by the pastor, then, had to do with whether Dr. Rast felt it likely that that would be the pattern with the SMP or not.  Dr. Rast's two point answer was immediate and brief.  First, he said that the future of the SMP program is up to the synod.  My take on his answer was that he was reflecting the reality of our polity.  Simply put, the synod is the one with the authority to make decisions on how her pastors will be trained.  His second point was that he believes the best way to prepare well-qualified pastors is residential theological education.  As a faithful servant of the synod, the CTS president would seek to make that case as the future direction of the SMP program is discussed.

To a large degree, the question is not about whether or not to abolish the SMP program or a successor extraordinary route to the pastoral ministry.  The real issue is whether the SMP program will replace the residential theological education model, as Pr. Gemin seems to favor in his final sentence here (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4272.msg249955#msg249955), will become one of two "standard" routes to the ordained ministry, or will be determined to be inadequate as the primary means of training pastors for our congregations.  If the last, the program could either be revised and strengthened, limited to restrict the "special ministries" to more exceptional circumstances than is currently the case, a combination of these two, or discontinued completely (until the next time we decide we need an exceptional route). 

Given the way the program is structured--an adequate sample of Special Ministry Pastors to evaluate have only recently completed the initial program--we're just beginning to be able to take a look at the results.  I would be shocked if at least some revisions to the program aren't indicated.  Any new program, no matter how carefully planned and implemented, needs to be reviewed and at the very least tweaked once it's begun to operate.  SMP would be unique if no changes whatsoever were indicated.     

Thanks, 87, for the clarification, which goes along (as I indicated) with my own conversations with Larry Rast.  However, as to a duke-out over SMP, I am seeing it now as more than a tentative "yes."  I think this could be one of the highlight reel 12-rounders in 2013.   The enrollment success of SMP is, as I'm seeing it now, viewed as a real threat to the continuation of things the way they are and have been prior.  And for some "tweaking" will mean "gutting."  I'd leave it to the seminaries frankly to figure out the best ways to have an SMP.  They need to be, and know they need to be, MORE nimble in the future in terms of sustaining enrollment.  My sharing out with folks at one of the seminaries, the one not in St. Louis, was that if more "face-time" could be built into SMP, the formation process would be enhanced.  This is the kind of proposal that makes formational sense to me.  Forbidding access to the program by people not X or Y (viz. "ethnic" or "small church") does not make sense to me.

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke

I agree that this will be a major item in 2013. At the same time, it is a very sad reality that this will be subjected to the kinds of political activity you have described. I may be too idealistic but I would like to think that something as important as pastoral formation would not be determined by who makes the best videos. Oh well.....
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Jay on January 21, 2012, 10:56:57 AM
First, to address Megadeth lyrics:  there were a couple of black magic-derived songs on the first two Megadeth records, although more along the lines of a horror movie for the most part.  "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which is the quoted tune, is about the origin of their mascot, Vic Rattlehead.  Much to the chagrin of some fans, these few tunes haven't been played live for decades, because the writer (Dave Mustaine) hasn't been comfortable playing them.  For the vast majority of their career, Megadeth lyrics have been more along the lines of socio-political commentary than witches and devils.  But, I guess it's fair game to judge people for something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21.

Okay, let's talk current lyrics, off of their most recent album, in which Ellefson was involved.

"You won't believe the things I've done, And the killing is just for fun."

So this is no longer talking about "something they did for 10 minutes when they were 21."  He is studying to become a pastor while performing about the joys of killing people.

The song's about Capone.  Would it be better if he had been singing "Folsom Prison Blues" instead of playing bass on this tune?  Or, if he were an actor, to portray a Capone henchman?  Is it unacceptable for a seminarian to do any of these things?  Further, is this actually your best construction on his actions?  If you have to proof text heavy metal lyrics to prove your point about seminary training, your case must not be very strong. 

Ellefson has mentioned his involvement with online seminary training in interviews for several months prior to this article coming out.  It hit the music news long before it hit religious circles.  I'll tell you this much; every time he (or Mustaine, for that matter) mentions God, Jesus, or the church; their stock drops a little bit in the heavy metal world.  In the past 15 years, outright atheism has become pervasive amongst metal bands and fans.  As far as I'm aware, the "MegaLife" ministry is meant to address that in some ways.  So, you may deride his "heavy metal Christmas pageant", but at least he and his church are doing something to engage that bunch in an outreach program.   Hardly anybody else is, aside from a tiny smattering of Evangelicals and Pentecostals.

Your comments are most appropriate for this thread, TravisW.  You have knowledge of the person, the type of music/band involved, and the way such things are financed and run.  Thanks.  A young man in our realm here has been involved in a band playing hard-core metal, and the culture inside that venue is hard core in terms of negative religious values.  I find it incredible that
a) there is far more carping than rejoicing over what's going on in Mr. Ellefson's life
b) there is far more carping than rejoicing over the program (SMP) that allows him to train to bring the Gospel in its most powerful way, through the Means of Grace, to not only the generic everyone, but to a whole bunch of people who have been opposed to it. 

Dave Benke

I've taken an interest in this story because I was ordained through the ELCA's TEEM program, which I gather is similar to SMP, as well as my long time interest in rock music.  So, I've read various comments and news stories about Mr. Ellefson.  Fortunately, there is near universal rejoicing about what God has done in his life - the only ones complaining are a few here and some hardcore atheist music fans.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: LCMS87 on January 21, 2012, 11:56:38 AM

<snip>

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke

Reverend President, I would note that DELTO has been discontinued and rolled into SMP.  The reason for that, I gather, is that it was determined that there could be improvements to DELTO.  The program wouldn't have been phased out/rolled into SMP if the SMP program wasn't viewed as a better way of handling an exceptional route.  So the question is not simply what extraordinary routes have accomplished in the past, but whether SMP's results are everything the synod wants and had hoped for from it.  Perhaps in a few more years, like DELTO, SMP will be a thing of the past and we'll have new a alphabetic label.

In the meanwhile, we still have a confessional issue, AC XIV, with which we need to come to grips.  There was some discussion of it at the most recent convention, but acting on the BRTFSSG proposals just took too much time.  Nonetheless, the issue of the non-ordained publicly preaching and, in some circumstances, also celebrating the Sacrament of the Altar is something we need to address.  Some who supported the SMP program believed it would be a means of addressing the issue, providing a route to ordination for lay ministers.  They have been disappointed, but remain convinced that we need to bring our practice into conformity with our confession.   
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 21, 2012, 02:37:46 PM
LCMS87,

I do not think DELTO has actually been discontinued (although that WAS supposed to be the effect of having the SMP program).  Take a look at this page from Concordia Portland, for instance: www.cu-portland.edu/lap/delto.cfm
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 21, 2012, 03:24:12 PM
I read somewhere that the LCMS has 6,158 congregations and 5,999 rostered clergy. Does anyone know if those figures are accurate? Does the LCMS really have more congregations than they have clergy? Is that an issue that plays a part in decisions about preparing men to be pastors?
 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 03:32:12 PM
George, I'm not sure where those figures come from but they are no where near true. Perhaps the number of clergy you give is the number currently serving in parish ministry - I'm not sure. I do not have the correct figures available, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 04:04:17 PM

<snip>

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke

Reverend President, I would note that DELTO has been discontinued and rolled into SMP.  The reason for that, I gather, is that it was determined that there could be improvements to DELTO.  The program wouldn't have been phased out/rolled into SMP if the SMP program wasn't viewed as a better way of handling an exceptional route.  So the question is not simply what extraordinary routes have accomplished in the past, but whether SMP's results are everything the synod wants and had hoped for from it.  Perhaps in a few more years, like DELTO, SMP will be a thing of the past and we'll have new a alphabetic label.

In the meanwhile, we still have a confessional issue, AC XIV, with which we need to come to grips.  There was some discussion of it at the most recent convention, but acting on the BRTFSSG proposals just took too much time.  Nonetheless, the issue of the non-ordained publicly preaching and, in some circumstances, also celebrating the Sacrament of the Altar is something we need to address.  Some who supported the SMP program believed it would be a means of addressing the issue, providing a route to ordination for lay ministers.  They have been disappointed, but remain convinced that we need to bring our practice into conformity with our confession.   

a) Your point is not well taken.  The point was that the DELTO students, trained through distance education like as the SMP, are out in the field and we have very nice examples of their theology and practice.  Along with the SMP pastors now in the field, this counters the idea that we don't know the results of distance education, which is, a la the ELCA, usually called "TEE" - Theological Education by Extension.

b) Your point is well taken.  And it has been taken to heart in the land of Walther by continuing the practice purportedly allowed by Walther himself, which is that in certain circumstances a vicar (pastoral intern) is allowed to carry out the Article XIV pastoral duties.  So the DELTO and SMP Vicars are in that position.  I and mine in the Atlantic District are not so inclined.  And we have never been so inclined when it comes to Deacons. So that's a good point for dialog.  However, the Waltherian tradition does include the possibility of pastoral interns being granted the privilege of eucharistic consecration in addition to their preaching under supervision. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 04:05:40 PM
George, I'm not sure where those figures come from but they are no where near true. Perhaps the number of clergy you give is the number currently serving in parish ministry - I'm not sure. I do not have the correct figures available, unfortunately.

George's figures are way wrong.  Way.  We have around 10000 pastors on our roster in the active, candidate and emeritus categories. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 04:07:44 PM
George, I'm not sure where those figures come from but they are no where near true. Perhaps the number of clergy you give is the number currently serving in parish ministry - I'm not sure. I do not have the correct figures available, unfortunately.

George's figures are way wrong.  Way.  We have around 10000 pastors on our roster in the active, candidate and emeritus categories. 

Dave Benke

There you go, George. Our District Presidents track this sort of thing as a routine part of their work.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 04:09:21 PM
<snip>

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

Your summary of Pr. Rossow's post over at the site identified with the steadfast Elector John doesn't quite capture what Pr. Rossow wrote or what Dr. Rast said.  Dr. Rast gave a two-part answer to the question about the future of SMP.  (Some of Pr. Rossow's personal reflections went beyond what Dr. Rast said.)

The context of the question was Dr. Rast's presentation on theological training in the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther to the present including contemporary challenges.  He noted the extraordinary routes to the pastoral ministry which existed for a time both in Luther's day and in Walther's day.  The operative phrase here being, "for a time".  In neither of those historical instances did the extraordinary route become the rule.  When the specific circumstances that called for the extraordinary route were past, the church returned to the full academic training.  (To a degree this is an oversimplification of Dr. Rast's paper.  I imagine you could request a copy from him if you'd like the details.)

The question posed by the pastor, then, had to do with whether Dr. Rast felt it likely that that would be the pattern with the SMP or not.  Dr. Rast's two point answer was immediate and brief.  First, he said that the future of the SMP program is up to the synod.  My take on his answer was that he was reflecting the reality of our polity.  Simply put, the synod is the one with the authority to make decisions on how her pastors will be trained.  His second point was that he believes the best way to prepare well-qualified pastors is residential theological education.  As a faithful servant of the synod, the CTS president would seek to make that case as the future direction of the SMP program is discussed.

To a large degree, the question is not about whether or not to abolish the SMP program or a successor extraordinary route to the pastoral ministry.  The real issue is whether the SMP program will replace the residential theological education model, as Pr. Gemin seems to favor in his final sentence here (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4272.msg249955#msg249955), will become one of two "standard" routes to the ordained ministry, or will be determined to be inadequate as the primary means of training pastors for our congregations.  If the last, the program could either be revised and strengthened, limited to restrict the "special ministries" to more exceptional circumstances than is currently the case, a combination of these two, or discontinued completely (until the next time we decide we need an exceptional route). 

Given the way the program is structured--an adequate sample of Special Ministry Pastors to evaluate have only recently completed the initial program--we're just beginning to be able to take a look at the results.  I would be shocked if at least some revisions to the program aren't indicated.  Any new program, no matter how carefully planned and implemented, needs to be reviewed and at the very least tweaked once it's begun to operate.  SMP would be unique if no changes whatsoever were indicated.     

Thanks, 87, for the clarification, which goes along (as I indicated) with my own conversations with Larry Rast.  However, as to a duke-out over SMP, I am seeing it now as more than a tentative "yes."  I think this could be one of the highlight reel 12-rounders in 2013.   The enrollment success of SMP is, as I'm seeing it now, viewed as a real threat to the continuation of things the way they are and have been prior.  And for some "tweaking" will mean "gutting."  I'd leave it to the seminaries frankly to figure out the best ways to have an SMP.  They need to be, and know they need to be, MORE nimble in the future in terms of sustaining enrollment.  My sharing out with folks at one of the seminaries, the one not in St. Louis, was that if more "face-time" could be built into SMP, the formation process would be enhanced.  This is the kind of proposal that makes formational sense to me.  Forbidding access to the program by people not X or Y (viz. "ethnic" or "small church") does not make sense to me.

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke

I agree that this will be a major item in 2013. At the same time, it is a very sad reality that this will be subjected to the kinds of political activity you have described. I may be too idealistic but I would like to think that something as important as pastoral formation would not be determined by who makes the best videos. Oh well.....

My sense is that the seminaries and COP should be tasked with this.  Again, that may be idealistic. 

On the other hand, I favor the videos as well - there is ample testimony that the alternate route, ethnic institute, and distance trained pastors are great additions to our pastoral roster in the field.  They are spiritually formed, formed in the Lutheran tradition, and formed for service to Lord and Church.  That's a good thing for our denomination and for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 04:15:23 PM
<snip>

Interesting sub-unit with regard to the SMP, which is viewed so favorably in the article referenced, and very favorably by any number of folks in the LC-MS, on the one hand.  On the other hand, there's a Steadfast article indicating from the author's hearing/perspective at the Symposium this week that Larry Rast, new sem president, is not favorable to SMP at Ft. Wayne. 

So are we going to have the two seminaries duking it out over SMP, with sides being taken on the convention floor?  My answer is a tentative "yes," although I am not at all sure about the Larry Rast commentary, having spoken with him about SMP recently myself.  I say "yes" because we need something to fight about, to claim turf about, to take enormous bundles of our time and energy.  We are Missouri and this is what we do.

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

Your summary of Pr. Rossow's post over at the site identified with the steadfast Elector John doesn't quite capture what Pr. Rossow wrote or what Dr. Rast said.  Dr. Rast gave a two-part answer to the question about the future of SMP.  (Some of Pr. Rossow's personal reflections went beyond what Dr. Rast said.)

The context of the question was Dr. Rast's presentation on theological training in the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther to the present including contemporary challenges.  He noted the extraordinary routes to the pastoral ministry which existed for a time both in Luther's day and in Walther's day.  The operative phrase here being, "for a time".  In neither of those historical instances did the extraordinary route become the rule.  When the specific circumstances that called for the extraordinary route were past, the church returned to the full academic training.  (To a degree this is an oversimplification of Dr. Rast's paper.  I imagine you could request a copy from him if you'd like the details.)

The question posed by the pastor, then, had to do with whether Dr. Rast felt it likely that that would be the pattern with the SMP or not.  Dr. Rast's two point answer was immediate and brief.  First, he said that the future of the SMP program is up to the synod.  My take on his answer was that he was reflecting the reality of our polity.  Simply put, the synod is the one with the authority to make decisions on how her pastors will be trained.  His second point was that he believes the best way to prepare well-qualified pastors is residential theological education.  As a faithful servant of the synod, the CTS president would seek to make that case as the future direction of the SMP program is discussed.

To a large degree, the question is not about whether or not to abolish the SMP program or a successor extraordinary route to the pastoral ministry.  The real issue is whether the SMP program will replace the residential theological education model, as Pr. Gemin seems to favor in his final sentence here (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4272.msg249955#msg249955), will become one of two "standard" routes to the ordained ministry, or will be determined to be inadequate as the primary means of training pastors for our congregations.  If the last, the program could either be revised and strengthened, limited to restrict the "special ministries" to more exceptional circumstances than is currently the case, a combination of these two, or discontinued completely (until the next time we decide we need an exceptional route). 

Given the way the program is structured--an adequate sample of Special Ministry Pastors to evaluate have only recently completed the initial program--we're just beginning to be able to take a look at the results.  I would be shocked if at least some revisions to the program aren't indicated.  Any new program, no matter how carefully planned and implemented, needs to be reviewed and at the very least tweaked once it's begun to operate.  SMP would be unique if no changes whatsoever were indicated.     

Thanks, 87, for the clarification, which goes along (as I indicated) with my own conversations with Larry Rast.  However, as to a duke-out over SMP, I am seeing it now as more than a tentative "yes."  I think this could be one of the highlight reel 12-rounders in 2013.   The enrollment success of SMP is, as I'm seeing it now, viewed as a real threat to the continuation of things the way they are and have been prior.  And for some "tweaking" will mean "gutting."  I'd leave it to the seminaries frankly to figure out the best ways to have an SMP.  They need to be, and know they need to be, MORE nimble in the future in terms of sustaining enrollment.  My sharing out with folks at one of the seminaries, the one not in St. Louis, was that if more "face-time" could be built into SMP, the formation process would be enhanced.  This is the kind of proposal that makes formational sense to me.  Forbidding access to the program by people not X or Y (viz. "ethnic" or "small church") does not make sense to me.

Is it too soon to tell how well alternate and off-site programs work?  If you add in the DELTO grads and the non-traditional route folks, who have been out there for some years now, there is indeed a track record being laid.  Thinking through the Atlantic District's DELTO grads, I'm proud of them, their theological acumen, their pastoral heart and their care and cure of souls.  I think we'll start doing You Tube videos of them and their ministries - ramp up time for the 2013 rodeo. 

Dave Benke

I agree that this will be a major item in 2013. At the same time, it is a very sad reality that this will be subjected to the kinds of political activity you have described. I may be too idealistic but I would like to think that something as important as pastoral formation would not be determined by who makes the best videos. Oh well.....

My sense is that the seminaries and COP should be tasked with this.  Again, that may be idealistic. 

On the other hand, I favor the videos as well - there is ample testimony that the alternate route, ethnic institute, and distance trained pastors are great additions to our pastoral roster in the field.  They are spiritually formed, formed in the Lutheran tradition, and formed for service to Lord and Church.  That's a good thing for our denomination and for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Dave Benke

It is that "evidence" (or at least data) that needs to be presented honestly and openly and, in turn, discussed and evaluated by the Synod. My fear is that videos, etc will cloud that discussion with beautifully produced pieces designed to appeal to the emotions alone. But that, I guess, is now an accepted part of life together.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 21, 2012, 06:03:43 PM
George, I'm not sure where those figures come from but they are no where near true. Perhaps the number of clergy you give is the number currently serving in parish ministry - I'm not sure. I do not have the correct figures available, unfortunately.

George's figures are way wrong.  Way.  We have around 10000 pastors on our roster in the active, candidate and emeritus categories. 

Dave Benke

There you go, George. Our District Presidents track this sort of thing as a routine part of their work.

I looked for this first on the LCMS website, and couldn't find it. That's not to say it's not buried on some page somewhere, but it wasn't easy to find. So, I found it someplace else. The fact is, I stumbled across the number of clergy while attempting to look up the number of congregations. It was one of those things you find when looking for something else.
 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 06:10:18 PM
OK - so
CTSFW - Videos
Office of President, LCMS - Videos
Various and sundry religious types - Videos
EveryTomDicknHarry - videos, you tube, flickr, younameityougotvideos

SMP/DELTO - no videos.

I get it. 
Technophobia.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 06:22:17 PM
OK - so
CTSFW - Videos
Office of President, LCMS - Videos
Various and sundry religious types - Videos
EveryTomDicknHarry - videos, you tube, flickr, younameityougotvideos

SMP/DELTO - no videos.

I get it. 
Technophobia.

Dave Benke

I can say, with all humble pride, that I have never produced a video. Not due to technophobia but techno-incompetence.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 21, 2012, 07:21:15 PM
I've been listening and avoiding replies. Mostly because Matt and others have shown wisdom and charitable spirit, in their observations. And its not my problem any more. :) However...

Starting as a layman and congregational leader, for over fifteen years of working through the challenges represented by alternate route contexts and solutions in LCMS, including working conversations with those involved many years before that, I have gathered some insight.

First there is data. There has been data for decades, along the way and as changes evolved. Many of the adjustments, Lay Minister, DELTO, Deacon were made based in those experiences. There was significant research, data and experience, well done studies. theological, historical and practical, with analysis,... this for the pending resolutions presented and tabled at last convention. The data is not missing. Communication of the data, understandings, and consensus of informed decision was what was missing. This "data" was from servants, engaged ministerium, District leadership, Synod leaders and Seminaries. The climate of the convention seems to have forced tabling the question well researched with real data. I found it very disappointing, although not totally unexpected, even though I was no longer engaged in LCMS.

You really did have the answers and a working response at convention. You knew exactly how many deacons were doing exactly what and why, with data for DELTO et al. I saw the data presented from the COP by representatives of the Seminary. I can probably dig up a copy in a drawer somewhere. There were reports (at least from our and other districts) that summarized every individual deacon's, alt. path's, servant's work and history. Resolutions were written in consensus built from that data.

One of the problems is that the contexts of these responses are not well understood by those not engaged in them, and a reluctance to trust those who have been proven faithful for decades, in those contexts, when they offer wise opinions in submission to the church at large as God shall guide her. Matt is a simple godly man, who knows the seminary, and the alternate work of his father. But he is after all "just a student," and will not step beyond his place and position here ....  still, I'd talk to him, ... and listen to him ... but that's just me. ... and all I have done is listen to Seminary representatives and profs, DP's, high ranking Synod officials, pastors and DElicarspinisterdeao servants and the people in the places they serve. As I always say, "Come and see." ... if you come I can take you to sit with some of those people, but all you really have to do is listen to Matt et al.

No longer have a hand in the game, so the comments are just for what it is worth.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: FrPeters on January 21, 2012, 07:24:21 PM
The point of these is that the urgency of the need means that it would not be prudent to uproot the candidate from job, family, and neighborhood only to have them come back to where they were to serve disconnected from the culture they left behind and liturgical Lutherans.... okay that was not the real issue... but it could be and probably is among some...

We don't have all that many places with needs that create such a big urgency and the programs are ripe for abuse by those who do not want to be Lutheranized or who do not want to put in the time.

Rast is right -- not a sem issue but a church one and as long as we are moved by so-called urgencies to justify all sorts of ways to bypass the sems, we will end up with two classes of clergy and with a route to avoid the very things that sems were designed to offer us... not in the least of which is some homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

But what do I know....
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 21, 2012, 07:42:50 PM
The point of these is that the urgency of the need means that it would not be prudent to uproot the candidate from job, family, and neighborhood only to have them come back to where they were to serve disconnected from the culture they left behind and liturgical Lutherans.... okay that was not the real issue... but it could be and probably is among some...

We don't have all that many places with needs that create such a big urgency and the programs are ripe for abuse by those who do not want to be Lutheranized or who do not want to put in the time.

Rast is right -- not a sem issue but a church one and as long as we are moved by so-called urgencies to justify all sorts of ways to bypass the sems, we will end up with two classes of clergy and with a route to avoid the very things that sems were designed to offer us... not in the least of which is some homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

But what do I know....

The sems are involved, tasked by the church. They are specifically called to provide the things of which you speak in the contexts we are talking about. I have never seen a time where the sems were not pleaded with, to provide for the contexts.

As to the urgency, and emergencies. What I have seen is that God provides. He does not let urgencies go unanswered. Often in response, servants will recognize they need help, and that urgently. They call out to the church ... and the sems.

The only change of mindset that is needed, is for the sems to reply simply, "what can we do to help?"  If they don't, the people will turn to others, including rostered sem trained pastors, who simply ask one question ... "what can I do to help?"

That appears to me to be the hardest question to get some to ask ... I hear it far too rarely.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Birkholz on January 21, 2012, 08:16:36 PM
George, I'm not sure where those figures come from but they are no where near true. Perhaps the number of clergy you give is the number currently serving in parish ministry - I'm not sure. I do not have the correct figures available, unfortunately.

George's figures are way wrong.  Way.  We have around 10000 pastors on our roster in the active, candidate and emeritus categories. 

Dave Benke

There you go, George. Our District Presidents track this sort of thing as a routine part of their work.

I looked for this first on the LCMS website, and couldn't find it. That's not to say it's not buried on some page somewhere, but it wasn't easy to find. So, I found it someplace else. The fact is, I stumbled across the number of clergy while attempting to look up the number of congregations. It was one of those things you find when looking for something else.

Current numbers:
9,632 Ordained Clergy
5,550 serving a parish

Source:www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=965 (http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=965)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2012, 09:12:49 PM
homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

In my opinion, that's a true red herring when it comes to SMP/DELTO, at least among the dozen or more of those pastors and students in the Atlantic District. 

TV has a good handle on the training, the need and the result.  He will be in the video.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 21, 2012, 09:19:40 PM
homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

In my opinion, that's a true red herring when it comes to SMP/DELTO, at least among the dozen or more of those pastors and students in the Atlantic District. 

TV has a good handle on the training, the need and the result.  He will be in the video.

Dave Benke

Can I make a cameo appearance? No charge!
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 21, 2012, 09:48:42 PM
.....

TV has a good handle on the training, the need and the result.  He will be in the video.

Dave Benke

Aaargh I am trying to get my church to stop videoing my own services! I mean I nearly  stopped reviewing them because when I started critiquing them, it made me paralyzed to try again next Sunday !!  ;D The Holy Spirit has to work overtime to get my messages straight on the way to ears, or in video to do a makeover! .. but I was there, when no one else could go.

God willing I remain His willing servant, seeking to be faithful even in getting up from a fall, and repenting of failure. 

So I will say this, and mean it sincerely. "What can I do to help?"

(I might ask for an approved script and some makeup though ! )

TV

PS Prayers appreciated for my wife as she recovers from an emergency appendectomy, (a deaconess who missed a prison training session today, and might have gone if I didn't tell her to lay back down)   and I am about care and house work. *cringe*
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 22, 2012, 08:43:10 AM

Pastor Hannah,

Do you have any data to support your contention that the seminaries are currently staffed  for the 1950's level?


Since you are there, you could easily look up old catalogs in the library. They will have a listing of faculty and staff. Count them and compare to student enrollment totals (probably available at the Registrar's office. Then compare those figures to the 2011-12 school year.

Maybe you can disprove my hypothesis. Let us know what you find.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 09:04:12 AM

Pastor Hannah,

Do you have any data to support your contention that the seminaries are currently staffed  for the 1950's level?


Since you are there, you could easily look up old catalogs in the library. They will have a listing of faculty and staff. Count them and compare to student enrollment totals (probably available at the Registrar's office. Then compare those figures to the 2011-12 school year.

Maybe you can disprove my hypothesis. Let us know what you find.

Peace, JOHN

I believe that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution, Pr. Hannah.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 22, 2012, 09:23:16 AM

Pastor Hannah,

Do you have any data to support your contention that the seminaries are currently staffed  for the 1950's level?


Since you are there, you could easily look up old catalogs in the library. They will have a listing of faculty and staff. Count them and compare to student enrollment totals (probably available at the Registrar's office. Then compare those figures to the 2011-12 school year.

Maybe you can disprove my hypothesis. Let us know what you find.

Peace, JOHN

I believe that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution, Pr. Hannah.

Only in a court of law. In discussion forums, the one who challenges one statement cannot be expected to be satisfied by the one making the first claim saying, "I looked it up". Whoever disputes the veracity of another can only be satisfied by confirming or refutting the claim himself through means that the disputer has confidence in.
 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 09:31:43 AM
One should never make a statement as if it were a fact without being able to demonstrate why it is a fact. That burden rests upon the one who makes the statement. As Luther writes in the LC on the 8th Commandment, if a charge is made publicly the evidence must be made public or the charge is to be regarded as false.

I could make some statement about you, George, that would cause you to be viewed negatively. If I did, it would be up to me to prove my statement. It would not be up to you to disprove it.

The defense rests.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 22, 2012, 01:44:07 PM
Whoa! I'm not prosecuting or persecuting anyone. I made an observation based upon personal experience at one seminary with some knowledge of the other over 40 years ago. This I compared to what I know today. Count it as 70 years of experience with the LCMS.

I don't know exact numbers. I do know that the number of students is considerably lower than was the case even ten years ago. There is an added problem; the number of available calls for graduates is shrinking. Whether anyone is counting that decline or not, it will eventually take care of itself without me.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 22, 2012, 01:55:53 PM
Would there be the same level of kvetching about the SMP if the person in question was a session player who played bass more or less anonymously on hundreds of different recordings? What if it he was a bass player who played in some lounge singer's band that toured night clubs and gambling casinos? What if he played the bass fiddle in a major symphony orchestra?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Rev. Matthew Uttenreither on January 22, 2012, 02:03:38 PM
As far as I can tell, there is only one person "kvetching" (to use your word) about the lyrics of the band.  The "kvetching" has more to do with the actual program and the perceived misrepresentation of the program than the bassist from a c-list metal band.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 02:12:22 PM
The problem for the future of seminaries is not SMP (or TEEM). The real problem is sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years.

If we focus on the merits and demerits of SMP, we will avoid addressing real problem and fail to arrive at real solutions.

Peace, JOHN

Pastor Hannah,

This is what you wrote. The real problem, in your words, is "sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years." You have effectively charged the seminaries with causing the "real problem" - all I ask is that such a statement be backed up by facts rather than mere observations.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 22, 2012, 03:19:15 PM
The problem for the future of seminaries is not SMP (or TEEM). The real problem is sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years.

If we focus on the merits and demerits of SMP, we will avoid addressing real problem and fail to arrive at real solutions.

Peace, JOHN

Pastor Hannah,

This is what you wrote. The real problem, in your words, is "sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years." You have effectively charged the seminaries with causing the "real problem" - all I ask is that such a statement be backed up by facts rather than mere observations.

I am not "charging" anyone or any institution with anything.

I did not say anyone or any institution is "causing" the problem.

I made a simple observation which can be verified, proven inaccurate, or ignored.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 03:26:01 PM
The problem for the future of seminaries is not SMP (or TEEM). The real problem is sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years.

If we focus on the merits and demerits of SMP, we will avoid addressing real problem and fail to arrive at real solutions.

Peace, JOHN

Pastor Hannah,

This is what you wrote. The real problem, in your words, is "sustaining seminaries staffed for candidate student body levels of the 1950s when we have actually declined sharply in the last 60 years." You have effectively charged the seminaries with causing the "real problem" - all I ask is that such a statement be backed up by facts rather than mere observations.

I am not "charging" anyone or any institution with anything.

I did not say anyone or any institution is "causing" the problem.

I made a simple observation which can be verified, proven inaccurate, or ignored.

Peace, JOHN

Then please verify it if you would. Otherwise, I'll consider the topic closed.

Peace to you also, DAN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: iowakatie1981 on January 22, 2012, 05:39:23 PM
The point of these is that the urgency of the need means that it would not be prudent to uproot the candidate from job, family, and neighborhood only to have them come back to where they were to serve disconnected from the culture they left behind and liturgical Lutherans.... okay that was not the real issue... but it could be and probably is among some...

We don't have all that many places with needs that create such a big urgency and the programs are ripe for abuse by those who do not want to be Lutheranized or who do not want to put in the time.

Rast is right -- not a sem issue but a church one and as long as we are moved by so-called urgencies to justify all sorts of ways to bypass the sems, we will end up with two classes of clergy and with a route to avoid the very things that sems were designed to offer us... not in the least of which is some homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

But what do I know....

Two classes of clergy?  Methinks that's only likely if those in either "class" work to ensure that it happens...

Look, I'm not the biggest fan of TEEM/distance-learning stuff.  I'm not a hater, but I do greatly sympathize with the "there's something to be gained by being on campus" argument.  That said: last year when I was on my internship in rural ND, our little conference within the synod contained 1) an older guy nearing retirement, 2) a middle-aged guy in mid-career, 3) a first-call pastor from one of the seminaries out east, 4) a "rostered layman" serving as pastor (who had been at the parish for about 10 yrs), 5) an interim, 6) a recent TEEM grad in the process of being called to the multi-point parish he had been serving, and 7) Q the Intern.  While undoubtedly 3, 4, 6, and 7 understood that we didn't yet have the training/experience of say, #1, nobody felt like (or was treated like) a second-class citizen. 

Not to insert my nose too much here, but if you don't like SMP/whatever and it appears to be sticking around, you can either come to terms with it, or not come to terms with it and take out your dislike of the leadership's decisions and the program itself on the its graduates.  One of these will necessarily create "two classes of clergy", and the other will not. 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 06:01:16 PM
The point of these is that the urgency of the need means that it would not be prudent to uproot the candidate from job, family, and neighborhood only to have them come back to where they were to serve disconnected from the culture they left behind and liturgical Lutherans.... okay that was not the real issue... but it could be and probably is among some...

We don't have all that many places with needs that create such a big urgency and the programs are ripe for abuse by those who do not want to be Lutheranized or who do not want to put in the time.

Rast is right -- not a sem issue but a church one and as long as we are moved by so-called urgencies to justify all sorts of ways to bypass the sems, we will end up with two classes of clergy and with a route to avoid the very things that sems were designed to offer us... not in the least of which is some homogeneity of doctrine and practice.

But what do I know....

Two classes of clergy?  Methinks that's only likely if those in either "class" work to ensure that it happens...

Look, I'm not the biggest fan of TEEM/distance-learning stuff.  I'm not a hater, but I do greatly sympathize with the "there's something to be gained by being on campus" argument.  That said: last year when I was on my internship in rural ND, our little conference within the synod contained 1) an older guy nearing retirement, 2) a middle-aged guy in mid-career, 3) a first-call pastor from one of the seminaries out east, 4) a "rostered layman" serving as pastor (who had been at the parish for about 10 yrs), 5) an interim, 6) a recent TEEM grad in the process of being called to the multi-point parish he had been serving, and 7) Q the Intern.  While undoubtedly 3, 4, 6, and 7 understood that we didn't yet have the training/experience of say, #1, nobody felt like (or was treated like) a second-class citizen. 

Not to insert my nose too much here, but if you don't like SMP/whatever and it appears to be sticking around, you can either come to terms with it, or not come to terms with it and take out your dislike of the leadership's decisions and the program itself on the its graduates.  One of these will necessarily create "two classes of clergy", and the other will not.

I actually agree with some of what you say. I would add another option: you can remember that what the Synod in convention gives, the Synod in convention can take away and that July 2013 is 18 months away.

Oh....and, like President Benke, you can plan a video or two.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 22, 2012, 09:02:02 PM
Chaplain, you're on record as opposing SMP from the very beginning.  Somehow it has not only managed to survive, but to thrive in the sense of producing a great number of candidates for the Office of the Holy Ministry. 

I'm sure there will be videos, and not just a few, because there is a great body of evidence of God's blessing in the ordained ministry out there among our pastors and parishes.  That is what will be shared - the abundant blessing of God in trained Lutheran pastors exercising the office of the Means of Grace.  And delegates will be exposed to all the varieties of service engaged in by our ordained pastors.  My sentiments -  May their tribe increase!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 22, 2012, 09:24:32 PM
President Benke,

It really does not matter what I think. I have no influence or power so I have no kingdom of my own to build. My only concern is to speak as my conscience compels me to speak even if I must speak alone. It is true that the arguments I presented in 2007 did not carry the day. In fact, they lost - big time.  I had no illusions then about taking on the full weight of the powers of Synod and” winning”. I still do not have those illusions. But it is not about winning – it is about the Church.

I do hope that whatever is said or done before and during the next convention on either side of the issue will not primarily appeal to emotions. Rather, the delegates will need to reflect theologically and consider the future shape of the Synod based upon facts and not flashy, well done technological shows. In other words: Wittenberg not Hollywood. I suspect that this will happen and that video wars will not be as productive as some might think. I doubt that the old “if you are not for this or that then you are not missional” line is going to be helpful.

I do hope that your videos are at least entertaining. Like I said, I will be happy to make a cameo appearance for no charge.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: J. Eriksson on January 22, 2012, 10:03:04 PM
Not my fight,... but for those who are opposed to the currant SMP route
what changes would you like to see in it?
What are the minimum 'sem residential requirements' and course loads you would accept?

Does any one collect data on all new ordinands.

number of grads
average years in first and second calls?
number of years in active ministry?
persons with 'on leave from call status' and reasons why?
number of burnouts?
number of flameouts?
number and costs of parish conflicts,  times the DP was called in?
congregations going from decline to faster decline,  decline to holding steady,  decline to re-invigoration,  decline to growth
congregations going from a loss of confidence in themselves, to regaining confidence
congregations 'happily' going from being on the outer rings of LCMS identity to closer to the LCMS center (it is not an overnight process)
financial re-numeration of the church's servants and general stewardship being strengthened?

my other concern was that in the original stories comments section someone commented that a high number of current SMP students had been in recovery programs....does this pose challenges to the normal way the  LCMS ministerium socializes and what 'lutheran' beverages are acceptable

imo all of us  would do well to pray more often those collects that are part of the Prayer of the Church   ............Protect and defend thy church universal...give it pastors and ministers...etc
and Raise up we pray Thee faithful servants of the gospel....
Best
james
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 22, 2012, 11:08:07 PM
President Benke,

.... But it is not about winning – it is about the Church.

I do hope that whatever is said or done before and during the next convention on either side of the issue will not primarily appeal to emotions. Rather, the delegates will need to reflect theologically and consider the future shape of the Synod based upon facts and not flashy, well done technological shows. In other words: Wittenberg not Hollywood. I suspect that this will happen and that video wars will not be as productive as some might think. I doubt that the old “if you are not for this or that then you are not missional” line is going to be helpful.

I do wish we had found time to chat when we briefly met in Ft Wayne at the last TAALC convention. Much of what is needed in the conversation, is discussion that does not lend itself to Blogs and papers. Some things that need to be seen and shown, require gentle and open exploration in love. In EVERY case, EVEN difficult decisions by DPs where their "instincts" were reluctance, the conversation brings out the reality that compels pastoral spirits. The historical perspectives, and theological including confessional studies have been done. But more than this, they were examined and openly discussed in small groups, often in circumstances that called for practical answers.

During my time first as a congregational leader, in encouraging faithful responses by the Church, and then being dragged into the processes apart from my own desires, a few realities prevailed. They can not be changed. Because they are real and true. Neither videos, seminars, nor conventions can change those realities.

1. Interestingly enough the very proof that God does what He will whether we get it right or wrong, or use CG methodologies or lock our doors, is where this starts. Those reluctant to support SMP et al, will often make this point theoretically in caution against trying to "be missional."  The proof is tangible and I can take you there. It starts with God doing what He will do. It is not about "being missional." I used to make the statement, "I am only witnessing to you that God is going there. The only question is whether you wish to come along?" That played a bit too harsh but it was true. It starts with one sheep, a few believers gathered in His name, and the miracle of faith among broken and sinful people. You have to start there, because I will continually ask the question, " I don't care how you do it! Send the Sem president, graduate your star student early and send him, find a nearby pastor and ask him if he can make it, send a bus!!! I don't care !!!, but I need to know - Who will you send Friday night at 7 pm to this place? They need an answer, they thirst for His Word and Sacraments. and they are calling you ... not figuratively ... you personally Mr. DP or Sem prof or whoever... if you don't believe it give me your cell number and I will have them call YOU in the next five minutes " and "It's not my job" is no answer at all.

2. The people of God in our pews go out every day in their vocations and cross paths with those who thirst for the Gospel. They witness in their lives and conversation to these simple lost. In our Bible Study today the question was asked why Jesus sat and ate with the sinners. That's where He goes! And our people follow Jesus, just like Matthew did.

3. As has happened for two thousand years, as these encounters occur the lost are brought to the church. They are sent to the congregations, the well trained pastors doing what they are called to do. The Evangelical Lutheran Church without Walls(LCMS) has on average about 17-25 members. They have had in attendance at "worship" as many as 300 on given weekend. Those people are almost all sent to normal "regular" congregations with "sem trained" pastors, to become members . One argument I had with a pastor who was reluctant to support SMP type answers ended with me blurting out, pretty much, "Dear God my friend! do you not know where The XXX family, Mr. YYY, and miss ZZZZ in your congregation came from?!!!! We sent them to you!!!" And then told him more about his members than he knew, because the simple people of God in Item two, crossed paths with those in item one.

4. While that is the vast nature of these acts of God, there are the constant and regular exceptional fringes always in motion. Sometimes it is a weekly gathering in the Fireside Room in the Mega church gathered for God's Word. Sometimes it is at lunch.... A long multi year conversation over sandwiches in the Atrium of GE (let me tell you the story if such a bench at Verizon some day.) The example we used at CWOW is the image of a picnic table and a pitcher of ice water. You pour it on the table. Most of the water and all the ice stays on the surface. That is the regular way. But ALWAYS some of the water falls off the edge or through the cracks in the boards to the ground. That's all we are talking about. And basicly the desire is to return that to the table. Our plea is for the water, the one sheep, on the ground.

I'll stop there because we need to truly sit down in love and just chat theology, practice and Church. Blogs don't lend themselves well to that I am coming to think. But here is my closing.

I don't care how you (the Church or whoever) do it. But I proclaim "you are called to DO IT!!" (send a pastor) I never desired to become a pastor. The blessings of the call have brought joy for sure, but it was never my plan, my desire, my short cut (10 years on top of 35) I am Jonah! I still want to retire and sip martinis on the Med Cruise ship. But God sort of got my attention with the Big Fish. So I said yes.

One warning - the gatherings are usually few - a dozen here, a dozen there, and the pay is almost always near nothing. But I have no problem whatsoever if you can send a in residence trained $100,000 debt laden young man to take the call. If he can do it Praise God! I wish he could.

Now finally, you do not know these men well at all. You probably never will. But I am going to say, while they humbly submit and will not raise their own standard, some things of truth. Here's one example. There is one SMP student with modest educational credentials. That is deceiving. He actually taught MD's how to do heart surgery for a while. I would let him operate on my heart. Some have been saved as he "helped" the surgeon get it right. He ran his own profitable business for decades. Hired and fired "educated men and women." He also was instrumental in the churches of LCMS. Was key in shepherding one congregation from major civil war and disaster to health again, and has raised up a dying mission that was close to shutting down to an envied call today. If you speak with him, about all you get is, "hey, I'm just a challenged dude, who doesn't know much except Jesus loves you." It is the only time I know him to tell a lie. But the truth of the statement overwhelms the lie.

Many of these men, especially when you speak of those in their 60's have degrees and credentials and papers and certifications, They don't have room on the wall for their sem degrees and ordination papers ... except!!! you may never know this, since their walls became so filled that they took them down and replaced them with a simple cross. These are the type men you degrade as unqualified.

Matt 21:23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority? ... 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

This is easy. Who will you send? "We do not know" is not an answer.

In the words of an old German matriarch in Westcliffe CO, over 100 years ago in letter to Walther - "You will send us a pastor ... thank you." And he did...
That's an answer! It is the only answer.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 22, 2012, 11:47:26 PM
Not my fight,... but for those who are opposed to the currant SMP route
what changes would you like to see in it?
What are the minimum 'sem residential requirements' and course loads you would accept?

Does any one collect data on all new ordinands.
....
imo all of us  would do well to pray more often those collects that are part of the Prayer of the Church   ............Protect and defend thy church universal...give it pastors and ministers...etc
and Raise up we pray Thee faithful servants of the gospel....
Best
james

Not my fight either (other than shepherding sheep to faithful LCMS churches on occasion) and I do support (have for over a decade) the "effort" of SMP.

First to your question on data. There is data. But you have to look deep. Shallow will mislead you badly. There are answers to your sample questions.

Secondly as a supporter of the path now seen in SMP, I have said and still do.. it is broken right now, but a lot of good people, including at the sems are working to fix the things broken.

Changes??

First. I lobbied for "Specific 'Context' Pastor" SCP. SMP sort of got its own momentum as a name as decisions raised to levels beyond us minions' pay grade (ie. $0) in LCMS. That is one of the things broken. It is broken theologically because it is functionally focused, and suffers in discussions from that distortion. I will only say everyone seems to sort of know this and the struggle is to get the Office framed correctly. Good work is happening here. I like to think they will say, "hey, we should of called it specific context" but that's just a private musing.

Secondly in light of the reality of context - the cost-means arrangement is alien to the context it seeks to meet. That's a bit complicated but it killed DELTO, and except for the things learned in DELTO, would jeopardize SMP. I don't think LCMS is ready to deal with that yet but I think every one knows it. Fundamentally here's the thing. The first framework is currently unusable for the very core contexts in which SMP would flourish. Note: that's why you see the heavy presence of "Mega Church" usage. Wrong target, moves the actual solution context down to the congregations that can make it work where it is needed. in the context.

Thirdly - Give them a break! They are only in the first wave, and a lot of lessons learned need to be plowed back in. The hope of course is that the process is not killed before the corrections can be made.

The Gospel - God is doing some marvelous things even with broken pots.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 23, 2012, 12:15:40 AM
...
my other concern was that in the original stories comments section someone commented that a high number of current SMP students had been in recovery programs....does this pose challenges to the normal way the  LCMS  socializes and what 'lutheran' beverages are acceptable
...
Best
james

I think you meant this as a joke but I will answer this one also. One example: A gentleman is not in SMP, but has been educated in the district systems, still takes classes with absolutely no promises made to him. He studies with the admonition, "The church will never ordain you as a pastor, and I'm not sure if anything can be offered." His answer is simply, " I understand, but can I take this class anyway, God is telling me that I need to take this class." He has done that for more than "one class." the next one is simply, "I need to take this class if that's ok."

I know this man well. He is a skilled Stephen Minister and active in his church. You would be hard pressed to find a man with a more well founded pastoral spirit, and interpersonal skills. He still needs the academics, but is used by God every day. When we get together, I drink beer, and he has a coke, and rostered, in residence trained LCMS pastors with MDiv's STM's, and DDiv's from Ft Wayne and St Louis, drink with him and have as good a late nite pizza conversations as any sem dorm.

His comment, "God used Paul, maybe He'll find something for me. I can wait on the Lord." He'll never be an LCMS Pastor, but I bet he gets called as a missionary somewhere ... In other words, not a problem. Sit down have a beer, and learn a thing or two from a broken sinner, redeemed.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: mariemeyer on January 23, 2012, 05:13:40 PM
Interesting discussion, but one that ignors a signifcant change from the time men like John Hannah, Dave Benke and my husband began preparing for the ministry. 

One obvious reason why future LCMS pastors do not begin an extensive pre-sem training at the age of 14 is that we now longer have a prep school system. Another is that the ministry is no longer a highly regarded vocation/career. For what ever the reason young men are not encouraged to consider the ministry at the early age they once were. Subsequently, they do not complete most of their seminary training before marriage.  It was a lot easier to move men from the Jr. College to the Sr, College, to the seminiary, to a vicarage assigment, back to the seminary and to a first call when they were single or newly married without children. Bill and I were not the exception in spending five years writing letters before getting married. 

There is no going back to the former LCMS system and seminary control over the personal lives of future pastors.  Thus, the need for change, both in encouraging high school and college students to consider the ministry and in making long distance learning an option for second career men that duplicates the standards that prevailed when men spent 4 years in prep school learning Greek and Latin, 2 years of the same in Jr. college, 2 at the Sr. college with Hebrew added and finally the seminary.

We can't turn the clock back, but it is possible to work toward the best possible way to prepare future pastors when the number of young men who prepare for the ministry prior to marriage continues to decline.

Marie Meyer

   
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 23, 2012, 05:42:43 PM
Good point, Marie.  We were study bugs back in the day.  Nothing better to do, and they had "proctors" and "dorm counselors" all over you like white on rice five nights a week.  Twelve chapel services a week at Milwaukee - mandatory.  Four hours of work at the desk every school nite in HS.  That's right.  Amo, amas, amat.  Hooked on Latin.  But pining for girls.

One of the things Prexy Stuenkel, a great mentor, told us was that the pastoral office was the highest vocation but would call for everything we had in order to make it not just a set of classes we passed but our way of serving God and His people. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 23, 2012, 05:48:45 PM
MARIE, BILL, & BISHOP

Amen. (...from a fellow Sextaner who has moved up a bit.)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on January 23, 2012, 07:01:45 PM
I think that all are agreed that we want the best pastoral formation for our Synod. How that can be delivered is a matter for collegial discussion. Agreed?

(By the way, President Benke....about the video and my offered cameo appearance. Every good film needs a villain, right?)
 ;D
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 23, 2012, 08:38:42 PM
One point that I don't remember being brought up, the debt load that students end up with at the end of college and seminary.  Back in the day (I went through in the '70s) a few students, I'm sure, ended up with student loans to pay off - but nothing like what is typical today.  It ends up a double wammy for pastors - longer schooling and generally a lower paying career.  The debt load was not as much of a problem in previous generations of pastors.
 
Something to consider.  One must not only consider whether the Synod (any church body) can afford to maintain the educational institutions required for the traditional parth to ordination - can the students afford the education with no assurance of a call at the end of the process and an almost guarentee that if there is a call, it will not be that well paying, especially when the student loans are figured in.
 
Solutions?  Who do you think I am Solomon?  I don't know.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: GregoryLJackson on January 24, 2012, 07:38:04 AM
The cost of studying at various seminaries can be found here:


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcms-seminary-cost-scandal-fabulous.html (http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcms-seminary-cost-scandal-fabulous.html)


The two Concordias cost more than all other Lutheran seminaries - and as much as Yale Divinity School.


The Boomers, who got cheap seminary educations, have allowed the costs to land on the heads of the students. That is a severe judgment against the leaders of today.


Greg Jackson
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 24, 2012, 08:31:04 AM
I just checked the blogspot.  Thanks for leading us to a very thorough analysis there with charts and graphs and stuff, GregoryLJackson. 

First impression - the blogspot author should use an Angry Bird logo, rara avis shoot from the hip division.  Walther as book'ncoinstealin'kidnapper does not assist me, at least, in treating data on seminary education as objectively tallied.  But that's probably just me.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: GregoryLJackson on January 24, 2012, 09:12:04 AM
DP Benke, the Walther myth does not help the Olde Synodical Conference. The facts have been obscured long enough.


That is why someone, who knows the synodical education system well, has done that analysis of the costs at various seminaries. I was stunned by the cost of studying at the Concordias. When I attended seminary, the cost of tuition per year was $150, payable in two installments. Married housing in a pleasant building, with furnishings, was around $100 a month, utilities included.


The Boomers need to address what changed.


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/05/lutheran-seminary-fraud-students-are.html (http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/05/lutheran-seminary-fraud-students-are.html)


Greg Jackson
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: pastormesser on January 24, 2012, 10:07:10 AM
Pr. Gemmin,

You bring up some salient points that I desperately wish our synod would address.  Something is indeed off when our seminarians come out of seminary with $80-100K in debt.  This is not as it should be, nor as our founding fathers ever imagined it would be.  The truth that many want to ignore is that our synod long ago dropped the ball in this area, forgetting that seminary education was one of the three main reasons for forming this synod in the first place.  As the bureaucracy grew, the funding to our seminaries diminished, and now that funding is nearly non-existent.  The resultant reality is that we have guys coming out of seminary with huge debt loads being placed into small parishes to receive smallish salaries that barely enable them to pay their monthly bills and support their families, which makes it impossible to pay down their debt (indeed, in many cases, the debt just continues to pile on).  Add to this the fact that many congregations these days have moved away from the parsonage system and expect their new, incoming pastors, fresh out of the sem, who are saddled with enormous debt, to take on the purchase of a home.  That makes for rough sledding, for sure.  And, in a great many cases, pastors are forced to become "worker-priests" just to make ends meet.  It's a sad situation right now, and one that no one seems interested in addressing. 

In my case, I entered the seminary debt-free and with some savings.  Left Ford Motor Co., where I was a Journeyman Machine Repairman and had been making a wonderful living, in good shape financially.  I was told that there were lots of programs and scholarships and such that would get me through seminary.  So, my wife and four children and I packed up and moved to Fort Wayne.  We soon found out that the "lots of programs and scholarships and such" didn't really exist.  We had a couple of wonderful small parishes adopt us and send us a little money from time to time, and we took advantage of the clothing and food co-ops, but that was about it, as far as help went.  We were on our own for the rest.  The end result was that we left the seminary after four years with about $80K in debt, and this after having entered with no debt.  We blew through our savings in the first year we were there and the remaining three years (including vicarage) saw us taking out loan after loan to survive.  I had no idea that this was going to be the case when I took the leap of faith and headed off to study.  And now, I'm stuck, as are so many brothers out there.  I have two kids in college and can't help them.  Another one will be in college next year and will be on her own, too, and our last child will be there in just three years, on his own, too.  I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have often wondered if I should have just stayed at Ford's and, to be honest, had I known then what I know now, I really don't know what I would have done.  Don't get me wrong, I love serving as a parish pastor - LOVE it!  I couldn't imagine not doing so.  But, had I been told that my being a pastor would land me in such debt, with virtually no chance to get out of it, I honestly don't know if I would have done it. 

What many people don't realize is that the debt accumulated by seminarians is not just in the form of student loans for tuition and books.  You have to live somewhere for those years, and all the living expenses are on you as well.  And, if you are a second career guy with a family, those expenses mount up high and quick.  Of the $80K in debt with which I exited the sem, only $35K was in student loans. 

Anyway, not trying to throw a pity party for myself.  Life goes on, and the Lord is good.  We've been blessed beyond our imagination in so many ways and even though the debt we accumulated at sem continues to hang over us like a huge black cloud, we've survived to this point.  But, I'm not some exceptional case.  That's the point here.  What I experienced is common, and I hear nothing in the form of a solution to what can only be described as a crisis in our synod.  And, while the word about this is reaching more and more of the laity around our country, the majority are still in the dark concerning this crisis, not realizing the immense financial burden with which most seminarians are saddled in order to dedicate their lives to serving Christ's sheep in His stead and by His command. 

I don't know what the solution is, but I have to believe that there is a solution out there.  And, I'd like to believe that there is a solution that would enable us to keep both of our seminaries in place.  But, it's very difficult to find a solution when you're not looking for one.  And, when I hear Pres. Harrison talk about dedicating a million dollars to bring in international students to our seminaries, even though I think that's a wonderful thing, I'm not too hip on it when our own students are suffering financially as they are.  Let's take care of them first, then we can talk about taking care of international students. 

I, for one, think that the money is there to provide for seminary education in our synod.  But, it would require us to eliminate some other things that many, understandably, do not want to eliminate.  Someday, we're just going to have to make a decision as to what is most important to us, and I pray that training pastors, which, again, was one of the three main reasons for the formation of this synod, will win the day.  We'll see . . .         
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: FrPeters on January 24, 2012, 10:19:09 AM
The big difference between Seminary when I went and today is the married student body - generally with kids.  I even lived off campus and bought a car to go out on vicarage and ended up with less than $6K of debt when I entered my first parish (and that was after attending Synod's junior and senior college as well as seminary).  I am not pointing a finger but putting a finger on the big and obvious difference.  I got married on vicarage and my wife, the nurse, enabled us to pay our bills with help from my home congregation and scholarships.  We had a cheeeeep apartment with no real furniture and we did little for entertainment but that was a choice we made.  I know that there are those who cannot make those same choices with three small kids, a wife, and such.  I am not so much making a comparison but trying to explain why the costs are so dramatically different.  It is not really that the cost of seminary has skyrocketed beyond control but the living costs of a family have added to this to make it a great burden.

I know some of you will not like what I have to say but I think the whole darn system was better when we had at least junior college, senior college, and seminary and mostly first career students -- better for the church to know who these candidates for the ministry were and easier for the student.  I am not putting my head into the sand and know we will probably not go back there but the current situation is untenable in comparison -- we cannot come up with mega bucks to literally pay folks to go to seminary nor are we going to shift back to more first career sem students where the living expenses are less.

But the bottom line in this is that SMP is not a solution either.  Not by a long shot.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 24, 2012, 10:45:10 AM
And, to add to what Rev. Messer has written, I believe we now have bankruptcy as grounds for removal from office by district presidents (on the thinking that such shows an inability to manage home and family). 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 24, 2012, 10:53:30 AM
And, to add to what Rev. Messer has written, I believe we now have bankruptcy as grounds for removal from office by district presidents (on the thinking that such shows an inability to manage home and family).

It doesn't?

Having financial problems is one thing; nearly everyone has those.

Using legal means to escape one's responsibility to others is another, and I believe it may well bring into question one's fitness to manage a household. I'm far from conversant enough with Luther's writing to find appropriate citations, but I wonder how Luther would have looked upon someone's fitness for the pastoral office if he declared bankruptcy.  I doubt it would have been favorably.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 24, 2012, 10:55:20 AM
Thank you Pr Messer for your frank summary. Indeed you are not unique. Two realities prevail. The system needs well thought out adjustment, and as noted not many of us have an answer, but we have to start shotgunning, without catagorically frowning at each other with  - "Well that won't work!" We have to seek to discern what is being said, and might be good in the shotgun, off top of head, "what if's" This will take time, and charitable spirits with commitment.
 The second reality, is as this happens, we cannot tell the person on the phone who needs an answer "This Sunday." -  "We'll get back to you." That is NOT an answer.

TV
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: David Garner on January 24, 2012, 11:09:10 AM
And, to add to what Rev. Messer has written, I believe we now have bankruptcy as grounds for removal from office by district presidents (on the thinking that such shows an inability to manage home and family).

It doesn't?

Having financial problems is one thing; nearly everyone has those.

Using legal means to escape one's responsibility to others is another, and I believe it may well bring into question one's fitness to manage a household. I'm far from conversant enough with Luther's writing to find appropriate citations, but I wonder how Luther would have looked upon someone's fitness for the pastoral office if he declared bankruptcy.  I doubt it would have been favorably.

Mike

That seems to be a black and white answer to a problem with a lot of shades of gray.

What if one files Chapter 13 and pays back everything he owes, albeit at a reduced interest rate and/or over a longer period of time?  If one has an inability to pay per the terms of the contract, which is better -- to default or to pay what one owes under different terms?

WRT Chapter 7, if someone really is shirking their responsibilities, I think I'd agree with you.  But in the event someone is filing to reorganize, there are ways to do that and still hold up your end of the bargain, though not as firmly as one would have liked when the bargain was made. 

I'll also add that the number 1 reason for bankruptcy filings is unanticipated medical expenses.  In such an instance, is the person at fault for not being prescient enough to foresee a future calamity, or is there perhaps a bit more understanding that goes along with that picture?

I've never filed for bankruptcy, and I've been blessed in that regard to have means to pay my creditors.  I agree with you in principle, but I also see a bit more gray shading than your response would appear to allow.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 24, 2012, 11:13:12 AM
Mr. Gehlhausen,

When a man graduates with $100K in debt, has a family to support, and is called to a congregation that pays less than a starting public school teacher (assuming he gets a call, which lately is not such a sure thing), bankruptcy is a very real possibilty.  And we as a church body are not helping but only contributing unless we do something to help -- on either/both ends (lower debt coming out, higher salary in the parish).  James 2:15-16 comes to mind.

Remember, as Rev. Messer has pointed out, the seminaries encourage men to come even when they do not have the financial resources up front.  When a man relies on the advice and counsel of those he trusts to know better than he, quits his job and moves to study for the ministry, racks up a huge debt, and then finds out the cold hard facts of life, how much blame do we attach to him and how much do we attach to those who advised him to go to seminary under such circumstances?  I am not talking about a pastor who lives lavishly, charging luxury items left and right onto credit cards he can never repay.  I am talking about young men who did as they were advised and then found out that it was not their advisors who were left holding the bag.  Then to have the same church body that told them "come, study, trust" now tell them that they showed poor judgment and that such may be grounds for removal from the very office for which he sunk himself and his family into life-long debt?  Sad is an understatement.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: iowakatie1981 on January 24, 2012, 11:19:06 AM
The big difference between Seminary when I went and today is the married student body - generally with kids.  I even lived off campus and bought a car to go out on vicarage and ended up with less than $6K of debt when I entered my first parish (and that was after attending Synod's junior and senior college as well as seminary).  I am not pointing a finger but putting a finger on the big and obvious difference.  I got married on vicarage and my wife, the nurse, enabled us to pay our bills with help from my home congregation and scholarships.  We had a cheeeeep apartment with no real furniture and we did little for entertainment but that was a choice we made.  I know that there are those who cannot make those same choices with three small kids, a wife, and such.  I am not so much making a comparison but trying to explain why the costs are so dramatically different.  It is not really that the cost of seminary has skyrocketed beyond control but the living costs of a family have added to this to make it a great burden.

I know some of you will not like what I have to say but I think the whole darn system was better when we had at least junior college, senior college, and seminary and mostly first career students -- better for the church to know who these candidates for the ministry were and easier for the student.  I am not putting my head into the sand and know we will probably not go back there but the current situation is untenable in comparison -- we cannot come up with mega bucks to literally pay folks to go to seminary nor are we going to shift back to more first career sem students where the living expenses are less.

But the bottom line in this is that SMP is not a solution either.  Not by a long shot.

From an ELCA perspective...

It's not just married people with families (although they get the most attention):

I graduated from undergrad with no debt, spent about 4 years working, bought a house, saved a little, etc.  Moved to seminary, sold the house, moved into the cheapest housing on campus - single dorm rooms.  My first year I took classes full-time and worked 50+ hrs/week (part-time children's ministry at a local congregation + Starbucks (health insurance!)).  My second year I realized I was crazy and dropped the congregational work, keeping Starbucks.  Last year was internship, and this year I'm mostly focusing on classes, while working at the new coffee shop on campus about 15 hrs/week. (yes, I'm going to have a bachelor's degree from the #1 Midwest liberal arts school and a master's degree, and still my most marketable skill is making coffee...this has not escaped me...or my parents...).  In the last three-and-a-half years, I've done everything possible to earn money and keep expenses down.

Nevertheless, I'm still going to have $25K in debt when I graduate. 

Some friends and I were discussing this very issue a few weeks ago, after reading a fairly provocative letter to the editor in The Lutheran.   Here's what I think: many, many other major corporations offer tuition reimbursement for (relevant) advanced degrees.  If the "wider church" is affirming that an individual is indeed called to the ministry, then it seems to me like they should (at least help) financially support the answering of that call.  (Note: some synods are doing a great job of contributing to students' loan payments after they take a call there, and they should be acknowledged for that). 

Of course, the Church isn't a for-profit institution, and they have far less excess cash floating around than Starbucks or 3M or Best Buy.  But there's got to be a better solution to this.  Either we figure out how to say "Yes, we affirm that you are called to this ministry and we will do everything we can to support you in that call and get you trained and ready to go, including the financial side", or "I'm sorry, if you can't afford this education, that determines the legitimacy of your perceived call." 

No one seems to be willing to do either, at this point.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 24, 2012, 11:27:35 AM
I've never filed for bankruptcy, and I've been blessed in that regard to have means to pay my creditors.  I agree with you in principle, but I also see a bit more gray shading than your response would appear to allow.

One might say similar things regarding divorce. Extenuating conditions often exist there as well.  Indeed, we are to deal with each other with grace and forgiveness.

But we are talking fitness for the pastoral Office and not grace and help for a fellow Christian.

I have absolutely no problem with a congregation which judges that the financial, legal, and emotional issues which come with bankruptcy may present at least a temporary incapacity for a pastor to discharge his Office.  The congregation which finds that their pastor can still serve them well through such a crisis is free to do so, but I believe it wrong to tie their hands in such a judgment and force them to do so.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: David Garner on January 24, 2012, 11:32:40 AM
I've never filed for bankruptcy, and I've been blessed in that regard to have means to pay my creditors.  I agree with you in principle, but I also see a bit more gray shading than your response would appear to allow.

One might say similar things regarding divorce. Extenuating conditions often exist there as well.  Indeed, we are to deal with each other with grace and forgiveness.

But we are talking fitness for the pastoral Office and not grace and help for a fellow Christian.

I have absolutely no problem with a congregation which judges that the financial, legal, and emotional issues which come with bankruptcy may present at least a temporary incapacity for a pastor to discharge his Office.  The congregation which finds that their pastor can still serve them well through such a crisis is free to do so, but I believe it wrong to tie their hands in such a judgment and force them to do so.

Mike

I would agree with that.  I apparently misread you -- I thought you were saying bankruptcy should disqualify one from the Pastoral office, not that it might.  My apologies.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 24, 2012, 11:36:11 AM
I've never filed for bankruptcy, and I've been blessed in that regard to have means to pay my creditors.  I agree with you in principle, but I also see a bit more gray shading than your response would appear to allow.

One might say similar things regarding divorce. Extenuating conditions often exist there as well.  Indeed, we are to deal with each other with grace and forgiveness.

But we are talking fitness for the pastoral Office and not grace and help for a fellow Christian.

I have absolutely no problem with a congregation which judges that the financial, legal, and emotional issues which come with bankruptcy may present at least a temporary incapacity for a pastor to discharge his Office.  The congregation which finds that their pastor can still serve them well through such a crisis is free to do so, but I believe it wrong to tie their hands in such a judgment and force them to do so.

Mike

I would agree with that.  I apparently misread you -- I thought you were saying bankruptcy should disqualify one from the Pastoral office, not that it might.  My apologies.

I was not clear either and apologize.

I was simply addressing the DPs who found in certain cases that bankruptcy shows an inability to manage home and family.  I find no reason to question that assessment.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 24, 2012, 12:24:24 PM
I would agree with that.  I apparently misread you -- I thought you were saying bankruptcy should disqualify one from the Pastoral office, not that it might.  My apologies.


Perhaps before a DP evaluates the pastor's ability to continue serving should bankruptcy be looming in the near future, he should also evaluate the congregation's stewardship. Are they paying compensation worthy of the pastoral office? Are members tithing? While not often stated, there's a congregation's tacit prayer: "God, keep our pastor humble, and we'll keep him poor."


Certainly not all congregations try to get by with paying their pastors as little as possible, but there are some.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 24, 2012, 12:43:34 PM
Let's also not forget that one of the risk factors for divorce is financial problems.  It is easy for someone of my age or a bit younger to say that the 4 year program (three residential, one vicarage) is the ideal system, we did it, we sacrificed to do it, so can this younger generation that wants a short cut to a cheap seminary education.  We got (comparatively speaking) a cheap college and seminary education.
 
Time was that going to college was relatively cheap.  Those days are long, long gone.
 
I know of men who went to the St. Louis Sem. and also got their PhD. at a nearby university at the same time - it was affordable then.
 
I don't have the answer, but dumping the entire burden on aspiring pastors certainly is not the answer.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: James Gustafson on January 24, 2012, 01:11:53 PM
How much does the church need to pay their Pastors?  Wasn't one of the arguments against having married priest the fact that a married person has children to raise and it will cost more to give them a living wage because of that?  I'm reminded of a quote;

You in England cannot understand how completely engrained it is into our people that a priest is a man who sacrifices himself for the sake of his parishioners. He has no children of his own, in order that all the children in the parish may be his children. His people know that his small wants are supplied, and that he can devote all his time and thought to them. They know that it is quite otherwise with the married pastors of the Protestants. The pastor's income may be enough for himself, but it is not enough for his wife and children also. In order to maintain them he must take other work, literary or scholastic, only a portion of his time can be given to his people; and they know that when the interests of his family and those of his flock collide, his family must come first and his flock second. In short, he has a profession or trade, a Gewerbe, rather than a vocation; he has to earn a livelihood. In almost all Catholic congregations, a priest who married would be ruined; all his influence would be gone. The people are not at all ready for so fundamental a change, and the circumstances of the clergy do not admit of it. It is a fatal resolution. (A. Plummer in "The Expositor", December, 1890, p. 470.)

Probably not an argument to find much favor in these quarters, but I'm reminded of it anyway  :P  ;)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 24, 2012, 01:24:20 PM
In all the reminisences about how economical things were in the olden days, is everyone keeping in mind the rate of inflation?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 24, 2012, 01:43:23 PM
It's not just inflation George.

Having worked in the business world, from small one employee services to Fortune 10 corporations,  for .. ? 20 years full time ... and more than that on and off (term contracts at request) I see some alarming symptoms. There is a tendency by us all to become blind to things as they unfold, when we have a system that has worked in the past.

I used to have to LITERALLY at least every quarter, close the door to my office. Stand up on my desk. And ask the invisible CEO in the chair, "What exactly or you doing and why?" I tried doing it as a mental exercise, but found that I was very talented at delusion and excuses, and unreasonable frameworks. I finally just had to get up and stand on my desk. Many folks bring in trusted outside consultants for that reason. In fact, I made good money doing that for a few years.

I'll just name a few of these symptoms, but there are many of these alarms going off. Short term Peter to Paul adjustments, thinking the problem is temporary and not systemic. Peter goes broke pretty quick, and Paul is left in a hole he didn't see coming. Since Pr Messer and others have been frank, I'll use an example of my own here for LCMS.

My DELTO costs were to be helped by the churches. Usually that starts with District. You go in with the assumption that District will make the payments, and you would work with them. That quickly was shown not to be. I also had support from a couple healthy churches and the local mega church. This illusion unravelled pretty quickly. Short version. District had no money, the congregations weren't really budgeted, and I was faced with asking the Mega church to consider their educational support distribution, knowing it would take dollar for dollar away from the Hispanic ministry support. (and I couldn't do that to the Hispanic ministry) Bottom line it came completely out of my pocket, and because of confusion, with a momentum of "we need $x,000 this week" bubble, from classes unpaid. I wrote the check out of pocket, but the reality of regular costs led me to propose, "I really need to skip a class, to get finances in order." I was told, "Don't worry about it you have to take the class now or else the DELTO cohort will end, we'll 'let you' work out payments, just sign up. You have to sign up now." I had classmates making payments in similar "surprises" with their credit cards at 14% + interest.  I put an end to it, and transferred to ALTS, but it still took a few months for me to pay off the "take your time" accrued payments. That system was broke, and quickly gets to $10,000 and more in 'surprises of have-to-do's' (Note-SMP hasn't resolved this either)

Now we think this is growing pains of confusion. But its not. It is an alarm that the assumptions are wrong. You have to fix the assumptions. So an example is seen also in normal sem frameworks. The only churches that can afford to help with the debt pressures, don't call 'out of sem' grads. Those grads go to the churches that "can't afford the experienced pastors." ie. can't afford to help the pastor with debt. That is an alarm that something is broke.

You don't fix broken systems by figuring out a way to make them work. That's like using duct tape to get the wrong sized wrench to be functional, sort of. The duct tape ends up costing more than the right sized wrench.

A second symptom is the "virtual ponzi scheme" of cost management with "help" on price pressures. You see it in subprime housing bubbles, car "leasing", and educational programs. There is a basic real world value and cost. A house payment should balance rent as a percent of income, or be a little less in cost to value. Everything else is speculation and leveraging the future.

This is the spiral of what is truly economically affordable. Let's say I can pay $10,000 a year for school. That's my budget. Now a rich uncle gives $5,000 per student to the school for help. What happens is not that I pay "5,000". No the school says we can do even better teaching if we charge $15,000, and I can pay it because the economics say I can pay $10,000, and they get $5,000. This spirals up and up and up until the rich uncle says, "I'm broke." One note- This is NOT inflation, its a ponzi scheme effect.

The school provides a "better education" for the $15,000 instead of the $10,000. But it drifts in value. Think this way. You get a $13,000 education for your "$10,000" (and uncle's $5,000 of course.) That balloon will burst. It is why you see creative cost value distance ed etc. systems replacing the brick and mortar. Every time we try to help, instead of managed value, this ponzi scheme takes root. It is why entrepreneural companies like DEC and MCI (before they got sucked into corporate buy outs) used to restructure every five years or so. They grew with that reorg system until Verizon, IBM etc. absorbed them. Cost value, and steadily increasing value.

The school will scream "You are getting a $13,000 education for your $10,000!" and that is true. But the festering sore of $13,000 for $15,000, can not continue long term, and it won't. Sometimes you have to ask, whether you really need a marble floor in the new library, just because you have the money. And who is paying for it?

It ends like this. I can manage $10,000. My uncle throws in $5,000. You find a mega ministry to kick in $5,000. The Ice Cream company gives you $10,000. My church back home says we'll manage $5,000. The money - $35,000 a year. Guess what tuition becomes? $35,000. But wink wink you only have to find $10,000, and you can do that right? Works until my uncle dies, the megachurch decides to go to Africa, the Ice Cream company doesn't "like your theology," my church back home get's under water on their new building mortgage, and you send the $35,000 bill to me with my $10,000 check book.

Now it's true that I get a $25,000 education for my $10,000 (oops I mean $35,000 of phoney money, which isn't really there, and if I am on the front side of the ponzi scheme) and that has to be good for the church when I get there .... but you know what ....

I don't ever get there, my grandson is left with the bill and can't go to the seminary, and the churches end up paying the retired pastor $100 a week ....


That's called broken. And I see dozens of alarms like these two. FWIW

TV

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 24, 2012, 02:15:51 PM
I must say that I've learned something here today. I had no idea of the depth of this problem. It is serious. Pastors Messer and "TV," thank you for your careful description and your honesty.

Peace, JOHN

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 24, 2012, 02:35:51 PM
I think this is mostly a very salutary conversation.  First of all, are GregoryLJackson's statistics accurate? 

The first thing I would address as a seminary president would be the endowment.  The best way to bring down the tuition is to establish a first-tier endowment that covers basic costs of faculty.  I believe both seminaries are after that, Dr. Dale Meyer in particular being a leader in that regard.  I can understand PrMesser's route being expense-cutting to keep both seminaries as is in place; it's not that tough - either cut expenses and redirect monies from what's been cut, or raise more money.  As any long-timer in budgeting would tell you, though, the way people feel best is to increase the income while holding expenses at realistic levels.

The latest Concordia Seminary magazine Winter edition has the title "Broadening the Paths to Ministry."  I believe this is widely held as not only acceptable but as salutary for the future of the seminary and the people of God it serves.  Simple as that.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 24, 2012, 02:50:07 PM
As that pastor of a congregation that helps support a Lutheran Day School there is a question that haunts me.  When does the inadequacy of resorces lower quality of the institution to the point that it would be better not to do it all than to do it so poorly?
 
It is amazing how much can be done on how little, but there comes a point where the little becomes not enough to make it worth the effort.  There are a number of ways to stretch the dollars to keep a school going.  One can actively seek outside grants and support - there are foundations and programs that will give money to schools, even Lutheran schools for specific projects, programs, equipment and other resources, as well as people in the community who will also contribute.  One can keep costs down by underpaying teachers and staff - they are dedicated and by and large will put up with a little (as in receiving a little compensation for their work) to keep the school going.  One can be very careful in buying equipment, educational resources and consumables (paper, pencils, workbooks, etc.).  One can draw ever greater resources from the supporting church(es), shrinking their programs to keep the school going - but that also risks deminishing a major source of support for the school by neglecting service for the church members.  One can raise tuition for the school to bring in more revenue.
 
Obviously, all could be solved if the church members would just dig deeper to provide the resources for church and school.  A good stewardship program is essential.  If everybody tithed, all the financial problems would be over (or at least not nearly so accute).  But realistically, is that going to happen?  Some will respond, but will enough?  To hold that out as the solution and only real concern is not realistic.
 
Eventually the question needs to be asked whether we simply have the resources available (not should the resources be available if everybody did what they were supposed to do) to continue to do a quality job or have we reached the point where the quality is dropping to the unacceptable level.  Here quality must be judged on three levels - quality of education provided, quality of support for the workers (if in effect a major source of funding for the school is underpaying the teachers, something is wrong), and quality of the rest of the ministry of church(es) since so much of the resources are needed by the school.
 
This is a question that faces our entire pastoral preparation system.  We want to prepare good pastors for our congregations and people.  The standard old way of doing it was excellent - for all the griping we have turned out pastors as well educated and prepared (in my not so humble opinion) as any, and better than most.  But the costs are mounting.  We are faced with reducing quality.  So far, it seems, the biggest reduction in quality has lain in the debt load that entering pastors are carrying.  That debt load may be sustainable now (it's being done but at what cost to pastors, their families and the churches they serve), but is there any indication that it will not get worse?  A realistic appraisal of what a new pastor face would be discouraging to many.  Our Seminaries are also having to be very frugal in their expenses.  Frugal is good but too much cuts into quality in the long run.  Ideally the Synod should come along a pick up a bigger share of the costs.  But many (most?) (nearly all?) are struggling themselves to make ends meet.  My congregation could contribute more to Synod and seminary if we did not support a school, but as it is?
 
We have tough choices ahead of us.  The old system was good, but can we do it much longer?  It is easy to demand that everybody else pay for it.  What can we, realistically do as a church body?
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: LCMS87 on January 24, 2012, 03:49:04 PM
In all the reminisences about how economical things were in the olden days, is everyone keeping in mind the rate of inflation?

It's pretty general knowledge that two areas of the economy have been outpacing inflation for some time now:  Medical Care and Higher Education.  You know, inflation 2%, medical care 10%.  To paraphrase one of our inimitable politicians, it doesn't take long and you're talking real money. The seminaries may not match exactly what's happened in the rest of higher education--there are some things that are unique about the seminaries--but the same trends affect them.  Both areas are ones where current trends simply cannot continue.   

One of issues that exacerbates the problems for the LCMS' Concordia Universities and Seminaries is that they are very lightly endowed.  Partially this is because there was a time the church discouraged endowments, promising support and knowing that independence had led to many universities departing from their founders' Christian orientation.  Additionally, until recently, the Concordias trained mostly pastors and teachers.  Their modest salaries didn't tend to lead to multimillion dollar gifts to endowment funds.  There are no simple and easy solutions.  Only God knows where it will all end.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Weedon on January 24, 2012, 04:15:38 PM
I've started to chime in two or three times today, but I'm just not sure what to say.  It is a mess.  The Synod doesn't fund the seminaries so they have to get money to operate from somewhere - so that comes from the students borrowing massive amounts of money to give to the Seminaries and then being sent over and over again into parishes where a "living wage" is just not on the table.  It was heart-breaking to read about Pr. Messer's and TV's experiences. 

Endowments are nice, but they (I think) historically come from folks who are alumni, no?  And we sure don't have many millionaire pastors out there. 

Something that hasn't been mentioned but probably should be is that if this is a bad situation for the pastors, it is even worse for the deaconesses.  How often are they the first to be RIFed - and that's only those lucky enough to have gotten calls.  We continue to recruit women - gifted and talented women - for this field of service, but we as a Church body seem at a loss to find places of service for them.  And this is hardly a new problem. 

I think the one thing we'd all agree on is that the status quo is not sustainable.  It makes no sense.  I'm not sold on SMP (meaning absolutely no disrespect to my brothers in office like Padre who entered by alternative routes - I firmly believe that it is call and ordination and NOT seminary education that makes a man a pastor, pure and simple).  I'm not sure that we're actually using it the way it was packaged and sold to the Synod in Convention; in fact, I'm rather certain we are not.  But what on earth is the way forward? 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 24, 2012, 04:44:10 PM
I know that this thread is primarily about LCMS pastoral preparation but I have to ask - how are things going in the ELCA?  Are they having the same kind of problems as we are in graduating students with crushing debt loads?  Have they come up with ways to help deal with the problem or avoid the problem that we could learn from?
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 24, 2012, 04:50:19 PM
Just in case you missed this amidst all of the posting in this thread, Pr. Fienan.

The big difference between Seminary when I went and today is the married student body - generally with kids.  I even lived off campus and bought a car to go out on vicarage and ended up with less than $6K of debt when I entered my first parish (and that was after attending Synod's junior and senior college as well as seminary).  I am not pointing a finger but putting a finger on the big and obvious difference.  I got married on vicarage and my wife, the nurse, enabled us to pay our bills with help from my home congregation and scholarships.  We had a cheeeeep apartment with no real furniture and we did little for entertainment but that was a choice we made.  I know that there are those who cannot make those same choices with three small kids, a wife, and such.  I am not so much making a comparison but trying to explain why the costs are so dramatically different.  It is not really that the cost of seminary has skyrocketed beyond control but the living costs of a family have added to this to make it a great burden.

I know some of you will not like what I have to say but I think the whole darn system was better when we had at least junior college, senior college, and seminary and mostly first career students -- better for the church to know who these candidates for the ministry were and easier for the student.  I am not putting my head into the sand and know we will probably not go back there but the current situation is untenable in comparison -- we cannot come up with mega bucks to literally pay folks to go to seminary nor are we going to shift back to more first career sem students where the living expenses are less.

But the bottom line in this is that SMP is not a solution either.  Not by a long shot.

From an ELCA perspective...

It's not just married people with families (although they get the most attention):

I graduated from undergrad with no debt, spent about 4 years working, bought a house, saved a little, etc.  Moved to seminary, sold the house, moved into the cheapest housing on campus - single dorm rooms.  My first year I took classes full-time and worked 50+ hrs/week (part-time children's ministry at a local congregation + Starbucks (health insurance!)).  My second year I realized I was crazy and dropped the congregational work, keeping Starbucks.  Last year was internship, and this year I'm mostly focusing on classes, while working at the new coffee shop on campus about 15 hrs/week. (yes, I'm going to have a bachelor's degree from the #1 Midwest liberal arts school and a master's degree, and still my most marketable skill is making coffee...this has not escaped me...or my parents...).  In the last three-and-a-half years, I've done everything possible to earn money and keep expenses down.

Nevertheless, I'm still going to have $25K in debt when I graduate. 

Some friends and I were discussing this very issue a few weeks ago, after reading a fairly provocative letter to the editor in The Lutheran.   Here's what I think: many, many other major corporations offer tuition reimbursement for (relevant) advanced degrees.  If the "wider church" is affirming that an individual is indeed called to the ministry, then it seems to me like they should (at least help) financially support the answering of that call.  (Note: some synods are doing a great job of contributing to students' loan payments after they take a call there, and they should be acknowledged for that). 

Of course, the Church isn't a for-profit institution, and they have far less excess cash floating around than Starbucks or 3M or Best Buy.  But there's got to be a better solution to this.  Either we figure out how to say "Yes, we affirm that you are called to this ministry and we will do everything we can to support you in that call and get you trained and ready to go, including the financial side", or "I'm sorry, if you can't afford this education, that determines the legitimacy of your perceived call." 

No one seems to be willing to do either, at this point.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 24, 2012, 04:58:25 PM
Yep, I missed it - or it sounded so much like our own experiences that I overlooked that it was ELCA.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 24, 2012, 05:47:50 PM
My point is that guys read this and it hurts and causes them to question their legitimacy and Calling.  These BROTHERS are ORDAINED PASTORS, just like all of the rest of us are!!!  Stop it, already.  Welcome, encourage and support them! They need us and we need them! 

I'm not sold on SMP (meaning absolutely no disrespect to my brothers in office like Padre who entered by alternative routes - I firmly believe that it is call and ordination and NOT seminary education that makes a man a pastor, pure and simple).  I'm not sure that we're actually using it the way it was packaged and sold to the Synod in Convention; in fact, I'm rather certain we are not.  But what on earth is the way forward? 

It is good advice to remember to differentiate between the legitimacy of the Call and ongoing concern over the learning process that is used to prepare a man for such a call. The legitimacy of the divine call rests not with the level or quality of one's training (as important as that is), but with the fact that our Lord calls the man through the church and sets him into that office.  Yes, regardless of the program these man are called pastors deserving of proper recognition and respect.  I, too, have had my concerns about SMP (as I did also of DELTO), but admit that simply calling for its end will not solve the challenges we now face.  Also, if we feel the program to be deficient, it is incumbent on us to make sure quality and accessible continuing education opportunities are made available to supplement, at least in terms of a short-term answer.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: GregoryLJackson on January 24, 2012, 06:25:27 PM

Pastor Benke, the statistics are from published sources. They are astonishing and remain one of the most read posts on my blog. Lutheran leaders should begin with a careful examination of the burdens they have placed on graduates. Besides that, if a student is moved through school without hope of a call, he has an enormous debt and no value from those seminary credits.


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/12/lcms-seminaries-where-money-is-ultra.html (http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/12/lcms-seminaries-where-money-is-ultra.html)


Greg Jackson

I think this is mostly a very salutary conversation.  First of all, are GregoryLJackson's statistics accurate? 

The first thing I would address as a seminary president would be the endowment.  The best way to bring down the tuition is to establish a first-tier endowment that covers basic costs of faculty.  I believe both seminaries are after that, Dr. Dale Meyer in particular being a leader in that regard.  I can understand PrMesser's route being expense-cutting to keep both seminaries as is in place; it's not that tough - either cut expenses and redirect monies from what's been cut, or raise more money.  As any long-timer in budgeting would tell you, though, the way people feel best is to increase the income while holding expenses at realistic levels.

The latest Concordia Seminary magazine Winter edition has the title "Broadening the Paths to Ministry."  I believe this is widely held as not only acceptable but as salutary for the future of the seminary and the people of God it serves.  Simple as that.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: FrPeters on January 24, 2012, 07:13:22 PM
Greg, what is the average financial aid (grants and scholarships and not loans) that must be compared to the actual costs listed?  The Sems should be able to tell you what the average is per student.  I would be shocked if it was not at least a third of the final figure but maybe I am naive....
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 24, 2012, 07:38:15 PM
Shouldn't the real issue of consideration be what is the best method in the 21st century for preparing candidates for ordination? Brick and mortar seminaries worked in the past, and they can continue to work into the future. But shouldn't the issue be whether or not brick and mortar seminaries are the only method that works, and if they are not the only method, are they the best or most desireable method.
 
It seems to me that the answers addressing how to fund the seminaries are directed at the wrong question. Shouldn't the question be, "How can Lutheran denominations best facilitate the transition of laymen into qualified clergy?"
 
First answer that question, and then it will make more sense to ask how to fund that process.
 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: GregoryLJackson on January 24, 2012, 08:35:11 PM

That is a good question. I will see what the researcher found. He put in a lot of time to make the comparison charts.


The cost carried by students is ridiculous.


Greg Jackson

Greg, what is the average financial aid (grants and scholarships and not loans) that must be compared to the actual costs listed?  The Sems should be able to tell you what the average is per student.  I would be shocked if it was not at least a third of the final figure but maybe I am naive....
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Birkholz on January 24, 2012, 08:55:44 PM
The cost of studying at various seminaries can be found here:


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcms-seminary-cost-scandal-fabulous.html (http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcms-seminary-cost-scandal-fabulous.html)


The two Concordias cost more than all other Lutheran seminaries - and as much as Yale Divinity School.


The Boomers, who got cheap seminary educations, have allowed the costs to land on the heads of the students. That is a severe judgment against the leaders of today.


Greg Jackson

I would kindly request you consider removing your cariacatures of recent Ft. Wayne and St. Louis graduates.  Such depictions are not only grossly inaccurate, but are not helpful in starting an honest conversation regarding Lutheran seminary education.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Jim Butler on January 25, 2012, 01:25:12 PM
I'm trying just to lurk. Discussion, unfortunately, takes up too much time. But this is a topic very near and dear to my heart; I've always believed that not every pastor needs an M.Div. in order to be a pastor.

*I'm not sure why people thought SMP was only for churches who could not afford a pastor. Everything I read stated, quite plainly, that churches could use SMP to develop ordained assistant pastors in their congregations. However, there are limitations as to what kind of service SMP pastors can do outside of their ministry context, e.g. they cannot serve as circuit counselors nor can they serve as delegates to Synod conventions. They will always have a supervising pastor over them.

*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

*One issue of the cost of LCMS seminary education today is what we were doing 10 years ago: students were going to the seminary essentially tuition free. The class sizes swelled; one staff member at CSL told me that the class sizes rivaled the pre-seminex era. But the seminaries were draining endowments and draining donors to do it. Eventually, it all crashed in. Dale Meyer had to do some major work a couple of years ago to right those problems. The current students are also feeling those effects.

Hope you all have a good day in the Lord.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 25, 2012, 01:33:55 PM
*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

This is how I also see this issue functionally.

Ontologically though, I have a bit more heartburn.  We confess that there is only one Office even though we may make human divisions in order for it like bishop, pastor, and deacon.   These divisions put matters of ecclesiastical authority in order, but they are not supposed to affect the investment to publicly provide Word and Sacrament.

So, in a way, we seem to want it both ways here.   We say that they are pastors which would be akin to holding the title of doctor or lawyer and yet we want to regard them as nurse-practitioners or paralegals.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 25, 2012, 01:40:57 PM
By the by, it seems that the student crisis is affecting not only Lutheran Seminaries, but higher education in general.  Just about all students, it seems, are needing to rack up record debt levels to get through university these days, a matter of great concern in some quarters.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Jim Butler on January 25, 2012, 03:17:50 PM
*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

This is how I also see this issue functionally.

Ontologically though, I have a bit more heartburn.  We confess that there is only one Office even though we may make human divisions in order for it like bishop, pastor, and deacon.   These divisions put matters of ecclesiastical authority in order, but they are not supposed to affect the investment to publicly provide Word and Sacrament.

So, in a way, we seem to want it both ways here.   We say that they are pastors which would be akin to holding the title of doctor or lawyer and yet we want to regard them as nurse-practitioners or paralegals.

Mike

First, I would argue that every analogy breaks down somewhere.

Second, although there is a basic professional degree--JD or MD--there are further specialties. One may work through a PA for basic illness, but that person may need to consult with or refer you on to a primary care doctor, who in turn may need to send you on to a specialist or sub-specialist. In the same way, an SMP pastor may need to have someone see his supervising pastor who may even need to send the person on to someone with even higher skills (e.g. a pastoral counselor) for matters that he feels unable to handle.

Third, While article XIV says that one must be "regularly called" it does not define that term nor does it say how one must go about it. I believe that the SMP program is a good attempt at dealing with that issue.

Fourth, an M.Div. is no guarantee of theological soundness or pastoral fitness. I have met more than my share of pastors who do not know what they are doing and have been removed from office for plain incompetence. In like manner, many JDs and MDs lose their license to practice for negligence or incompetence.

Finally, I have enjoyed preparing students for both DELTO, SMP, EIIT, and residence seminary for the last 10 years. I find them to have a high degree of commitment. I look forward to welcoming them as my colleagues in ministry and will do what I can to support them and their ministry. We have four DELTO trained pastors in New England and one student currently in SMP. They are brother pastors. I could not ask for more.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: JMK on January 25, 2012, 03:27:34 PM
I think we are going to see a big bubble get burst over the next few years as the clergy glut works its way through the system. The older pastors are not going to be retiring, in the sense of no longer preaching, as was once thought – as they simply don’t have enough savings to make ends meet without preaching on a regular basis.

In the next few years, there is bound to be a rapid exodus of new pastors from the ministry. (And usually when a pastor leaves in distress church membership and offerings drop). The big reason for the exodus of clergy is that they will not be able to take care of their families. There are just not enough financially viable congregations to provide for the well being of a full time pastor – especially those who are struggling with paying back educational loans. And, pretty soon, more and more Districts will be closing down churches and selling off property to make ends meet. So, the situation will become even worse.

Sure, sometimes God has gives individuals such a profound sense of vocation and missional calling that they, as the early fishermen disciples long ago, will leave everything to follow Jesus. However, the Bible says in 1Timothy 5:8, if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Peter 3:7 also states: In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

The Seminaries need to provide an immediate and full disclosure of how dire the situation really is in terms of those going into the pastoral ministry. There needs to be an immediate strict quota system set in place to limit Seminary enrollment, as well as enrollment in the SMP and other avenues for church worker placements. The Seminaries also need to limit enrollment to candidates who have the training and abilities to provide for their family needs through secular employment. The ship is going down because there are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

The Synod should also set up a generous early retirement plan (i.e. starting at age 55) to get rid of the glut of pastors and require that they don’t continue to serve in the pastoral ministry in the LCMS - especially in the role of preaching. Also, the Concordia pension plan and other insurance plans need to be funded directly by the Synod - as the base of support will no longer be there when fewer new pastors are supporting the system.

Why provide a generous early retirement plan? The reason why is because it has to do with living out and applying the 4th Commandment to the office of the ministry. The Large Catechism states:

Thus we have two kinds of fathers presented in this commandment, fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country. Besides these there are yet spiritual fathers; …who govern and guide us by the Word of God; as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood 1 Cor. 4:15, where he says: In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Now, since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others.




Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2012, 04:06:51 PM
In the next few years, there is bound to be a rapid exodus of new pastors from the ministry. (And usually when a pastor leaves in distress church membership and offerings drop). The big reason for the exodus of clergy is that they will not be able to take care of their families. There are just not enough financially viable congregations to provide for the well being of a full time pastor – especially those who are struggling with paying back educational loans. And, pretty soon, more and more Districts will be closing down churches and selling off property to make ends meet. So, the situation will become even worse.

Might that be a reason why engaging in a proactive effort at church growth might be a good idea?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 25, 2012, 04:25:02 PM
Two musings:
1. I believe that in England during the time just following Henry VIII, the only requirement for being a priest was the ability to celebrate mass; and there were priests who were essentially illiterate.
I think this was also true at time in the eastern part of the Church, where the function of the priest was only to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Such things as preaching, pastoral care, scripture study, etc. were not considered essential.
The situation shifted to the times when, especially among Protestants, the domine, preacher, evangelist, priest, vicar, rector, curate, etc. etc. was expected to be one of the most educated and literate people in the village. Men with an intellectual leaning often sought careers in law or the church. Remember that Harvard and Yale began as seminaries, as our colonial forbears wanted an educated clergy.
2. Today?
Personally, I believe that clergy today need more education, not less. I worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks." I came out of seminary owing nothing, as I recall tuition being something like $150 a quarter. And one year my Synod paid that.
I have no idea what the best way to fund seminary today should be.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 25, 2012, 04:33:37 PM
Personally, I believe that clergy today need more education, not less. I worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks." I came out of seminary owing nothing, as I recall tuition being something like $150 a quarter. And one year my Synod paid that.
I have no idea what the best way to fund seminary today should be.

Yeah, you worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks."  and yet you have nothing tangible to point toward.

I myself believe that we indeed need to ensure that the pastors we develop through seminary education need to be well educated although I don't know that they need more education before ordination.   However, in this technological age of the 21st century I am far from convinced that this must be done by assuming mountains of debt by attending a brick-and-mortar seminary.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 25, 2012, 05:22:23 PM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
Yeah, you worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks."  and yet you have nothing tangible to point toward.

I comment:
Yep. I'm no expert on higher education funding, finances of potential clergy, or denominational budget-making. So when somebody asks "What shall we do about the high cost of seminaries?" I respond, "I don't know."
Don't know what's going to happen to college graduates, either.
I do think we need to be honest in telling seminarians that it's a tough world out there. And as I researched and article I wrote for The Lutheran a couple of years ago, seminary presidents and deans told me they were doing this.
My generation was pretty much guaranteed a small, but stable parish as our first call, and opportunities to continue ministry in secure settings as we advanced in years. Today? Maybe not.
But our members in secular work have no guarantees for their future either. It's certainly true in my other profession: newspaper journalism. When I started, I could get a job at a small paper and then, if I was any good, I could expect to move to larger papers. Today? Maybe not.

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: pr dtp on January 25, 2012, 05:42:12 PM
I've started to chime in two or three times today, but I'm just not sure what to say.  It is a mess.  The Synod doesn't fund the seminaries so they have to get money to operate from somewhere - so that comes from the students borrowing massive amounts of money to give to the Seminaries and then being sent over and over again into parishes where a "living wage" is just not on the table.  It was heart-breaking to read about Pr. Messer's and TV's experiences. 

Endowments are nice, but they (I think) historically come from folks who are alumni, no?  And we sure don't have many millionaire pastors out there. 

Something that hasn't been mentioned but probably should be is that if this is a bad situation for the pastors, it is even worse for the deaconesses.  How often are they the first to be RIFed - and that's only those lucky enough to have gotten calls.  We continue to recruit women - gifted and talented women - for this field of service, but we as a Church body seem at a loss to find places of service for them.  And this is hardly a new problem. 

I think the one thing we'd all agree on is that the status quo is not sustainable.  It makes no sense.  I'm not sold on SMP (meaning absolutely no disrespect to my brothers in office like Padre who entered by alternative routes - I firmly believe that it is call and ordination and NOT seminary education that makes a man a pastor, pure and simple).  I'm not sure that we're actually using it the way it was packaged and sold to the Synod in Convention; in fact, I'm rather certain we are not.  But what on earth is the way forward?


I'm curious - when you say the way it was packaged isn't the same - which promise are you referring to - please be specific as to the document you are quoting from.

I remember a great deal of stress over the idea that bi-vocational associate pastors could be trained this way - and that was on the table with other bi-vocational roles as well.  It caused quite a stir, but it wasn't rejected.  Also - that was back when the tuition was thought to be more affordable through this method.

From what I have heard the two seminary campus are beautiful.  But is the beauty worth the overhead to maintain it?   What percentage of the budgets of the sems could be saved if they were in a large building in an industrial park.  Or the professors were f/t pastors who taught 1-2 course a year? ( For example - guys like William Weedon, or Bill Cwirla or Dr. Benke?)  At what point is protecting the status quo more about protecting one's territory/tradition/alma mater, and less about the delivery of knowledge, spiritual development, and learning to cure souls?  We' didn't always have sems, and we didn't always pull the best and the brightest out of the church to staff them....did we?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 25, 2012, 06:40:12 PM
ScottG,

I believe the seminaries require a minimum of 5 years parish experience before calling someone to teach.  At least they did when I was a student, 20+ years ago.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 25, 2012, 06:57:48 PM
ScottG,

Really?  I remember when, as a student there, CTS called a man who had less than the 5 years and required him to serve in the parish (along with his seminary teaching duties) to ensure that he had sufficient experience in the field.  Just one more reason Fort Wayne beats St. Louis, I guess! :)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 25, 2012, 07:35:09 PM
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Scott6 on January 25, 2012, 07:46:15 PM
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

The numbers only work out that way assuming a Jan 1 start date and a Dec 31 finish date.  I really don't care either way, but it's unlikely that any of these folks served a complete 5 years given the dates you relate.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 25, 2012, 08:01:14 PM
Not all theologians are cut out to pastors, and not all pastors are cut out to be theologians, or seminary level teachers.  I ran into a couple both ways over the years.
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 25, 2012, 10:08:36 PM
As with most things, you get out of what you put into it. A University of Phoenix online degree might reflect a greater depth of knowledge and understanding than a four year degree at an Ivy League school. Might, but probably doesn't. On one hand, a degree is a degree, on and yes, on paper and sometimes in actual fact an online degree is just as rigorous as a residential degree. But on the other hand, most people will distinguish between a college degree and an online degree. Why? Probably for many and various reasons, but to pretend there is no difference and act shocked and offended that someone would think differently of an online degree than a standard degree is simply disingenuous. If you're ever in need of a doctor or lawyer, you will only go to one who got an online degree if a you can't afford a good one. That's simply a fact. Take it for what it is worth. Not that there aren't good professionals out there who got their degree online, but when you're looking at credentials, an online degree doesn't have nearly as much gravitas.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 25, 2012, 10:11:37 PM
I guess Jesus was not dead three days either: only Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday morning. 
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 25, 2012, 10:35:19 PM
Not all seminary professors need extensive parish experience. But those who teach preaching, pastoral care, parish administration and those aspects of ministry need parish experience and a lot of it.
I have heard of one professor teaching preaching who has never had to stand in a parish pulpit week after week, season after season, and deal with preaching that way. That is ridiculous. But I don't care if the person teaching me Greek or exegesis or church history has 10 years of parish experience. I'd rather that person had a quality Ph.D. in their field.
I believe some ELCA seminaries bring in experienced pastors to be "in residence" on the campus for a semester or two and teach from their experience, which might not include the work needed to get an earned doctorate.
I think some retired pastors who have had extensive experiences in parishes might be willing to do that and the seminary wouldn't have to bear the cost of a tenured professor.

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Scott6 on January 25, 2012, 10:58:49 PM
I guess Jesus was not dead three days either: only Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday morning.

Right.  I'm sure that follows.  ::)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 26, 2012, 08:41:20 AM
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

The numbers only work out that way assuming a Jan 1 start date and a Dec 31 finish date.  I really don't care either way, but it's unlikely that any of these folks served a complete 5 years given the dates you relate.

At the very least, such parish experience fades.   For Drs. Just and Rast, we are talking over fifteen years away from parish experience. Now, while it might very well lead to a softer parish experience since parishes might well contend for the honor of having such prestigious pastors serve them, perhaps it might be good to have professors serve a parish for a half-year to a year every ten years or so.   And for some active pastors to perhaps take teaching sabbaticals (I'm thinking this is already being done to some extent.)

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 26, 2012, 09:06:29 AM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
 For Drs. Just and Rast, we are talking over fifteen years away from parish experience. Now, while it might very well lead to a softer parish experience since parishes might well contend for the honor of having such prestigious pastors serve them,

I muse:
What world do you live in?  How many times have you gone through a call process with a congregation? The last thing congregations look for in their pastor is "prestige" or a reputation as a theologian.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on January 26, 2012, 01:57:14 PM
musings:
1. I believe that in England during the time just following Henry VIII, the only requirement for being a priest was the ability to celebrate mass; and there were priests who were essentially illiterate.
I think this was also true at time in the eastern part of the Church, where the function of the priest was only to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Such things as preaching, pastoral care, scripture study, etc. were not considered essential.
The situation shifted to the times when, especially among Protestants, the domine, preacher, evangelist, priest, vicar, rector, curate, etc. etc. was expected to be one of the most educated and literate people in the village.

I find it instructive to remember this about Luther:

"The educated members of the [Augustinian monastic] community were priests, or aspiring priests; normally they were ordained within two or three years of joining. When the major reforms of the Catholic Church eventually came, late in the century, they included new regulations for a six-year preparation of men for the priesthood; in Luther’s time preparation was brief. Brother Martin studied an exposition of the Mass by Gabriel Biel – a well-written book, intellectual and inspiring; the author died only twelve years previously. Apart from that, major emphasis was laid on learning the precise detail of the actions of the priest when celebrating Mass, as well as on memorising the text. Then there was some training for preaching, and later for hearing confessions. But the Mass was the heart of a priest’s life. In a few months’ time Martin would be saying Mass at twenty-three years old, still so close to his contemporaries, and yet now so definitely different."
-- Luther: A Life by John M. Todd
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 26, 2012, 02:04:02 PM
I like the Ft. Wayne curriculum emphasis on integrating the academic disciplines in modular course work so the student can gain a greater understanding about how X insight from the exegetical perspective might work through systematics and into an eventual parish setting.  That seems to me most helpful for the residential student.  The SMP student in addition to that already has a location for his ministry and is carrying it on, so he can use those insights immediately.

A beef I had with the old system was that the "traditional" students were living an Animal Farm existence - an all boy all the time setting distanced from the world.  Whatever "religion" we learned, our practice had to do with that survival of the fittest infrastructure.  So we had an elitist sarcastic way about us in our little world.  Not only highly immature, but totally useless in the parish.  The opposite of that, a perfunctory untuousness, was also on exhibit.  Again, useless and immature.

So training from the authentic commitment to the texts and the process of learning through professors and mentors who exemplify their deep spiritual commitments is at the heart of how the learning forms toward the pastoral office.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on January 26, 2012, 02:27:59 PM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
 For Drs. Just and Rast, we are talking over fifteen years away from parish experience. Now, while it might very well lead to a softer parish experience since parishes might well contend for the honor of having such prestigious pastors serve them,

I muse:
What world do you live in?  How many times have you gone through a call process with a congregation? The last thing congregations look for in their pastor is "prestige" or a reputation as a theologian.

Perhaps, but they should.  My experience may be anomalous, but we considered the accomplishments and theological reputation of the pastors we considered in the call committee I was part of a couple of years ago.

Things may differ in the ELCA I suppose.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: pr dtp on January 26, 2012, 10:17:30 PM
Not all theologians are cut out to pastors, and not all pastors are cut out to be theologians, or seminary level teachers.  I ran into a couple both ways over the years.
 
Dan

I can see this for systematics - and church history - but sems have to teach pastoral care and homiletics.

Perhaps this is why both PLI and Doxology are so well thought of by their alum - because they provide things pastors who are in the field need to comprehend - but weren't covered or covered deep enough?
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2012, 12:27:06 PM
Just opened my unrequested copy of the latest missive from New Haven, MO to discover the full-dudgeon attack mode on both the Specific Ministry Pastor program and (of course) the Council of Presidents.  It turns out, according to the editor, that "the LCMS bureaucracy and seminary leaders did not appreciate Gard's (our Chaplain Gard) opposition to the SMP.  He was demoted from his administrative position at the Ft. Wayne Seminary." 

Is this news?  Is this true?  Is this true news to Chaplain Gard?  It is news to me.  I just don't know if it's true.

The SMP is attacked as "A Dumbed Down Clergy", with special rancor headed in the direction of the St. Louis Seminary and especially its admission of the guitarist Ellefson.  All of this, with the exception of the Gard Penalty Clause, is typical of the ultra-conservative modus operandi in the ramp-up to the 2013 convention, and far from the more genteel and helpful dialogs found here.

Of juicier interest to me is the article headed "A 50 Year Battle with the LCMS' COP Bureaucrats," a sub-heading of which is entitled "The Secret Lodge."  "It is no wonder," the editor opines, after revealing that the presenting problem with the COP is that they refuse to answer his questionnaires, "that some laymen are referring to the LCMS's Council of Presidents as a 'secret lodge.'"

Two comments -
a) who are these laymen?  Are they the non-ordained children of the editor?  Why are they never listed by name?  Is this number growing, shrinking or staying the same?  Are these people alive or dead?  Step up and be counted!
b) I cannot and will not reveal the secret handshake. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Rev. Matthew Uttenreither on January 31, 2012, 01:12:20 PM
Three of my practical theology and/or homiletics profs:

Dr. Carl Fickenscher was in the parish from 1984-1999

Prof. John Pless was campus pastor at ULC for 17 years.

Bishop Pittelko was in the parish for like 30 years and than bishop of the English District for over a decade before he became a prof at the sem.  He retired from teaching sometime after 02.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: John_Hannah on January 31, 2012, 01:29:00 PM

b) I cannot and will not reveal the secret handshake. 

Dave Benke

For fifty years I have been scrutinizing you guys (DPs) when you get together. I may have mastered the secret by now. I wonder how much Otten would pay.... 8)

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: swbohler on January 31, 2012, 04:21:27 PM
Dr. Benke,

Dr. Gard used to be Dean of Graduate Studies (he was so listed in the 2007-2008 CTS academic catalog) as well as Supervisor of Military Chaplaincy Programs.  According to the current online faculty listing, he is listed as Dean of Military Chaplaincy Programs, while Dr. Detlev Schultz is Dean of Graduate Studies.  Perhaps this change is what was mentioned as a demotion.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2012, 05:03:11 PM
When we're reduced to guessing the points of reference of an editor who's totally self-referential, we're in deep water, SW.  Only the Chaplain knows for sure whether he was demoted or not. 

And of course those of us who are in possession of the secret handshake.  All knowledge and power pertains to us.  And only to us.  It is an exclusive club.  And on this board, I am the only one in the club.  I know this to be the case.  You know this to be the case.  What I know that you do not know is what should concern you.  But then again, it should not concern you.  Because you will never know it.  Whatever "it" is. 

Code 237b.alpha.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Scott6 on January 31, 2012, 05:34:05 PM
When we're reduced to guessing the points of reference of an editor who's totally self-referential, we're in deep water, SW.  Only the Chaplain knows for sure whether he was demoted or not. 

And of course those of us who are in possession of the secret handshake.  All knowledge and power pertains to us.  And only to us.  It is an exclusive club.  And on this board, I am the only one in the club.  I know this to be the case.  You know this to be the case.  What I know that you do not know is what should concern you.  But then again, it should not concern you.  Because you will never know it.  Whatever "it" is. 

Code 237b.alpha.

Dave Benke

The waffle is buttered.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 01, 2012, 09:00:17 AM
When we're reduced to guessing the points of reference of an editor who's totally self-referential, we're in deep water, SW.  Only the Chaplain knows for sure whether he was demoted or not. 

And of course those of us who are in possession of the secret handshake.  All knowledge and power pertains to us.  And only to us.  It is an exclusive club.  And on this board, I am the only one in the club.  I know this to be the case.  You know this to be the case.  What I know that you do not know is what should concern you.  But then again, it should not concern you.  Because you will never know it.  Whatever "it" is. 

Code 237b.alpha.

Dave Benke

The waffle is buttered.

 ???

I liked it better when you were quoting high-school students' sentences.  They were less cryptic.

Mike
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on February 01, 2012, 09:55:26 AM
Secret societies depend on being cryptic, Mike.  Your use of the word "less" next to "cryptic" indicates that you are ineligible for membership in any secret society.  Of course, the Council of Presidents is not just ANY secret society.  It is The Secret Society.  You are ineligible and will remain ineligible for membership. 

It would be best for you and those near to you not to pursue this any further.  It would be highly appropriate for you to cease the use of "smileys" as well.  They are not only what you believe they seem to be.  Not at all.  They contain imbedded cryptic materials impenetrable to cryptographers far beyond the signified facial expressions.  Code0201Beta.f.  Do not examine the left frontspiece of your cellular device for any reason at this time.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: pr dtp on February 01, 2012, 04:43:08 PM
Secret societies depend on being cryptic, Mike.  Your use of the word "less" next to "cryptic" indicates that you are ineligible for membership in any secret society.  Of course, the Council of Presidents is not just ANY secret society.  It is The Secret Society.  You are ineligible and will remain ineligible for membership. 

It would be best for you and those near to you not to pursue this any further.  It would be highly appropriate for you to cease the use of "smileys" as well.  They are not only what you believe they seem to be.  Not at all.  They contain imbedded cryptic materials impenetrable to cryptographers far beyond the signified facial expressions.  Code0201Beta.f.  Do not examine the left frontspiece of your cellular device for any reason at this time.

Dave Benke

I have a cryptic theory, would either affirm or re-affirm it potentiality?

For 50 years, the center of all opposition to the COP and often the BOD, including checking them to see if they XYZ'd seems to be from a place in Missouri.

In the history of the church there has never been a time where there wasn't a group that opposed those in leadership.  Indeed, such revolutionary types often were put up against the wall and shot, when their revolution was successful, and things often returned to how they were in the first place. (look at the latent forms of both Gnosticism and pelagianism that exist in the RCC as an example. ) Basically, in order the uhm.. cream - yeah that's it - to rise to the top - there must always be a force pushing against it.

But what if that force was in league with the cream?  What if there was a conspiracy by the leadership and the opposition which would always secure to both the fame, privilege, and notoriety they all thought was beneficial (best construction) to the running of the kingdom, and the sale of cheap american imitations of Lutheran Beverages?   

What if the secret handshake included the seemingly disloyal opposition?  What if the controversies were simply... created - to keep us looking in a different direction, manipulating us to buy more beer, in order to hide from the frustration?....what if these were all members of the Knights Templar, with Ties to the Masonic Lodge, all controlled by the Busch/Coors cartel?

I mean - if we are going to say this is a conspiracy - let's at least have something Dan Brown could get people to believe..

Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 01, 2012, 07:16:17 PM
Would this relate to the secret history that reveals that the John Birch Society approached Eisenhower and offered to support or denounce his candidacy for president, whichever would do him the most good?
 
Dan
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Jim Butler on February 02, 2012, 11:47:24 PM

Two comments -
a) who are these laymen?  Are they the non-ordained children of the editor?  Why are they never listed by name?  Is this number growing, shrinking or staying the same?  Are these people alive or dead?  Step up and be counted!
b) I cannot and will not reveal the secret handshake. 

The use of the term "some" has been one of the editor's favorite tricks over the years. It's always "some laymen" and "some conservatives." I think I was in college when I first wondered "Who is this 'some'? Why aren't any of them named?"

Of course, he never mentions the fact that "some laymen" and "some conservatives" disagree with him.

BTW, I think you're right. I think the laymen and the pastors all consist of family members.

It's OK if you don't tell me the handshake. I already got it from a NED Prez.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2012, 07:51:44 AM
Definitely keeping the NED President in prayer for continued recovery and healing.  No handshake needed for that. 

Agreed on "some," or "a growing number."  These are the tools of the trade for any ever-ready journalist interested in making a point from a pre-defined point of view.  Another is single anonymous source "reporting."  No confirmation of facts is needed before publication, so anyone can send anything in and if deemed editorially useful, out it goes.   

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 03, 2012, 08:17:25 AM
When a responsible journalist says "growing number," there is usually - not always, but usually - information in the story proving that the numbers are growing. Maybe polls are cited. Maybe people in the field are quoted about the increase in whatever. Maybe the number of events on the topic are cited.
That almost never happens with the pastor that has so troubled Missouri for decades.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2012, 09:12:35 AM
Good point, Charles.  In the enumeration and explicit identification of that growing number lies the truth of the story, not in "the usual suspects."  What happens in that type of endeavor, and it has proliferated in the ether-world, is that issues get amped up/magnified/multiplied as the same small number of participants give an opinion over and over. 

Another template I have wondered about is "hits."  If a site has X amount of hits, visitors, whatever, are those quantified or quantifiable by discrete "hits," and not repeaters?  I'm sure it must be so.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: exegete77 on February 03, 2012, 12:25:41 PM

Another template I have wondered about is "hits."  If a site has X amount of hits, visitors, whatever, are those quantified or quantifiable by discrete "hits," and not repeaters?  I'm sure it must be so.

Dave Benke
It can be done either way, Dave. The simple method is to just count hits. But the resources are available to determine how many are repeaters... “for a small fee."
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2012, 12:42:35 PM
Maybe I missed this link on this site, but it's worth noting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRx4EqIkmGA&list=UU2-3Cf7Hw10b3NW05p2Z7IA&index=2&feature=plcp

This speaks directly to the many from the anti-SMP side of the aisle who have whacked away on some sites about whether the "Megadeath Bassist" should even be allowed to prepare for the ministry and further have made their attacks personal.  The link-speaker apologizes directly for that.  And properly so.  Another good step, in my opinion, is the link-author separating himself from what he takes to be the Lutheran penchant for spending a lot of time banging on other Lutherans because they're not Lutheran enough. 

My opinion is that when we achieve best dialog here it is because it does not deteriorate into denominational name-calling from across the aisle.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2012, 04:48:44 PM
Just heard of a former parishioner who's in the application process for SMP - a wonderful story, and another credit to that formational program leading to ordination.  Yes, Chaplain, another video on the way.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on February 15, 2012, 02:50:58 PM
I guess this proves Dave Mustaine is LCMS and not ELCA... ;)
Megadeth frontman backs Rick Santorumhttp://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html (http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html)
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Steverem on February 15, 2012, 03:05:23 PM
I guess this proves Dave Mustaine is LCMS and not ELCA... ;)
Megadeth frontman backs Rick Santorumhttp://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html (http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html)

Just posted that on my Facebook page, but again, it is bassist Dave Ellefson, not guitarist Dave Mustaine, who is going through the SMP program.  Mustaine converted to Christianity a number of years ago, but I believe he attends a large, non-denominational, evangelical church.

I think all of us--Republicans, Democrats, independents--can agree that it would be fantastic if Megadeth would play the GOP convention, and that a mosh pit would somehow be involved.  I'd definitely tune in.
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on February 15, 2012, 03:48:19 PM
My bad. I'm stuck in the classic rock of the 70s (Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd*), so I wouldn't know the difference, I'm afraid. :-[
Kurt

*I refuse to acknowledge Disco ever exisited in the 70s. I think they actually made it up ex post facto in the 80s and blamed it on the 70s!
Title: Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
Post by: Evangel on February 15, 2012, 04:22:49 PM
I guess this proves Dave Mustaine is LCMS and not ELCA... ;)
Megadeth frontman backs Rick Santorumhttp://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html (http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/02/megadeth-frontman-backs-rick-santorum-114539.html)

Just posted that on my Facebook page, but again, it is bassist Dave Ellefson, not guitarist Dave Mustaine, who is going through the SMP program.  Mustaine converted to Christianity a number of years ago, but I believe he attends a large, non-denominational, evangelical church.

I think all of us--Republicans, Democrats, independents--can agree that it would be fantastic if Megadeth would play the GOP convention, and that a mosh pit would somehow be involved.  I'd definitely tune in.

<searches> Now where's that "like" button?  ;)