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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: D. Engebretson on January 15, 2020, 12:18:42 PM

Title: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 15, 2020, 12:18:42 PM
From CS-SL:

The following 44 individuals have been nominated as candidates for election as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, per Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Bylaws, and have allowed their names to stand for consideration:

Dr. Joel D. Biermann
Dr. Ralph Blomenberg
Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr.
Dr. Jon S. Bruss
Dr. Kirk M. Clayton
Dr. Anthony A. Cook
Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt
Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Kevin S. Golden
Dr. Paul J. Grime
Dr. Gifford A. Grobien
Dr. Benjamin D. Haupt
Dr. Erik H. Herrmann
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Robert R. Lessing
Dr. David P. E. Maier
Dr. Walter A. Maier III
Aaron M. Moldenhauer
Dr. Steven P. Mueller
Dr. Edward A. Naumann
Dr. Martin R. Noland
Gerald A. Paul
Robert W. Paul (Houston, Texas)
Dr. Paul A. Philp
Dr. Christian A. Preus
Dr. David R. Preus
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Harold Ristau
Dr. Matthew W. Rueger
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Dr. Peter J. Scaer
Dr. Travis J. Scholl
Dr. Klaus D. Schulz
Dr. William W. Schumacher
Dr. Ken R. Schurb
Dr. Mark A. Seifrid
Dr. Jeffrey E. Skopak
Dr. Dien A. Taylor
Dr. James W. Voelz
Dr. Lucas V. Woodford
Dr. Thomas J. Zelt

Presidential nominations, per the LCMS Handbook, were submitted by LCMS congregations, the Seminary’s Board of Regents and the Seminary faculty.

During the next phase of the search, the Presidential Search Committee will evaluate each of the candidates and will recommend at least five candidates from the list of nominees to the four electors. Electors meet May 16 to elect the new president. The four electors include one vote from the Board of Regents voting as a group, one vote from the LCMS district president serving on the board as a voting member, one vote from the chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors and one vote from the LCMS president. The election of the president requires three of four elector votes.

The new president will succeed President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, who will retire June 30. Meyer became the Seminary’s 10th president in 2005.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 15, 2020, 01:28:43 PM
A brief glance at the list of 44 reveal that 11 of them are currently or were in the
past on the Faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis  There are at least 5 men
from the Fort Wayne Seminary Faculty
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 15, 2020, 01:47:17 PM
I know most of these men.  Some really good candidates in there, it will be fun to watch and pray through it.  I don't know the "weeding" process, nor the communication process to the wider church along the way.  I am sure it's mostly imbedded in the handbook, though, and I have just received my brand spanking new copy of the 2019 edition.  So timely.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 15, 2020, 04:47:26 PM
The LCMS Handbook now calls for a Search Committee to make recommendations from the
list of nominees for Seminary President.  The Search Committee consists of 3 full-time faculty
members at the St. Louis Seminary and 3 members of the Seminary Board of Regents. In the
second phase, the Search Committee adds 3 more full-time faculty members from the Sem.

Finally, the Search Committee recommends a list of at least 5 candidates for the Presidency.
There are 4 Electors........1 vote from the Seminary Board of Regents
1 vote from the District President on the Board of Regents, 1 vote from the LCMS Board of
Directors Chairman,  1 vote from the the President of the LCMS.

3 votes are needed for the election of a Seminary President.  He is called and elected to a
five year term which is renewable.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 18, 2020, 08:45:30 AM


Quote

A pastor trained at a Lutheran seminary?

I would assume so. I'm not sure someone trained at Hartford Seminary or Denver Seminary or Fuller would fully understand Lutheranism. If the pastor was trained at a non-Lutheran seminary, I would question how long the congregation would remain Lutheran.


Well, Yale Divinity School grad here. I think I kept my parish pretty Lutheran for 29 years.

One of those just nominated to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis -- Dr. Travis Scholl -- has his MDiv from Yale and PhD (in English) from U of Missouri, with no Lutheran college or seminary training listed on the official LCMS Worker Locator page.  He is currently listed as "college or seminary faculty".

I know Dr. Scholl very well.  Not related to Dr. Scholl's on the foot powder side of the aisle, by the way - if so, he would be a very wealthy guy. 
He did work through the Synodical process, which I think was "Alternate Route" plus interview and possibly course work.  Vicarage conducted at one of the best urban congregations in our denomination, Redeemer Lutheran in the Bronx, which - now that I look at the list - has its pastor, Dr. Dien A. Taylor, on the list for President as well.

Dave Benke

According to the LCMS Locator, Dr. Scholl is a member of your district.  And, according to a post on LutherQuest, has been ever since his colloquy into the LCMS — 17 days after receiving his Yale MDiv, which must be close to a record time.  And, I believe you were the DP at the time of his colloquy, Dr. Benke.  Do you know: has he ever served in the Atlantic District?  Or has he been at CSL the entire time after his colloquy?

I'm taking this response from its misplaced beginning on the names of churches thread over here to the Seminary President thread.

a) "close to record time."  I don't know what that means; there are various routes to our denomination's ordination track, some of which have the steps included in them prior to accession (Alternate Route being one).  So the word "colloquy" could be where this goes on the off-ramp.  The comment seems to have an ulterior motive; not sure what it is.
b) My recollection is that Dr. Scholl had his internship/vicarage with us, was a member of a congregation in the Atlantic District, and upon ordination began serving the seminary. 
c) The New 44, list of candidates, includes two who are to me far more obviously misplaced on the list - candidates Christian Preus and Robert Paul are both out of the seminary three to four years.  Thinking of myself, would I have allowed my name to stand for Seminary President after 3 years of service being maybe 30 years old?  Why did they?  What's up there?
d) Of course, the weeding process will take a major whack at that list of 44 until just a few are left. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 09:39:15 AM
Dr. Benke,

To answer your post/questions:

a. By "close to record time" I mean that it seems highly unusual for a man to receive his MDiv and within 3 weeks be received/rostered by colloquy.  Not being familiar with the process, I imagined it took quite a bit longer than that.  In fact, I recall a man who lived across the hallway from me at seminary who had his MDiv from a rather famous Baptist seminary and like 10 years experience as a parish pastor but he was required to do an entire year at seminary before his colloquy was accepted.  And it wasn't because he did not know the Bible or the Confessions -- he was one of the best prepared men there.

b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff?  My understanding was that our seminaries required faculty (and I believe the president IS considered faculty) to have a minimum of 5 (?) years parish pastor experience.

c. I agree: 3-4 years out of seminary is not sufficient for ANY seminary faculty member, let alone its president.

d. Hopefully the whacking can be done in a God-pleasing manner.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 18, 2020, 09:52:35 AM
This does bring up a good question: Who is best qualified to serve as president of a seminary?

Historically we have often chosen established and credentialed scholars.  Yet the Rev. Karl Barth, D.D. who was president from 1982 to 1990, did not have an earned doctorate and was a district president when elected. 

Should the president have some experience teaching at seminary before assuming this role?  Or would teaching at any school or higher learning be sufficient? 

If we want the president to have an earned doctorate, what kind would we prefer: theology or something else? I have noticed in a couple of our Concordia University presidents that their earned doctorates are not in theology but rather in leadership for higher education.  One became president with only an MBA beyond his M.Div.

And since the president, I believe, has to be an ordained pastor, should he have a certain requisite amount of years in the ministry before such a role?  I have noticed that professors often end up at a seminary after only the bare minimum of three to five years.  As a pastor with over three decades I sometimes wonder what their insight into ministry is with so little experience.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on January 18, 2020, 11:10:52 AM
Pastor Engebretson asks:
As a pastor with over three decades I sometimes wonder what their insight into ministry is with so little experience.
I comment:
This question was asked of H. George Anderson when he was a candidate for presiding Bishop in the ELCA. He had spent most of his career as a teacher and theologian. He had an interesting response. He said he did have parish because he had been a member of several parishes his entire life, serving on committees, doing occasional preaching and teaching, and working within the congregation where he held membership.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Birkholz on January 18, 2020, 11:44:42 AM
This does bring up a good question: Who is best qualified to serve as president of a seminary?

I was nominated for CSL president and chose not to let my name stand.  I did not consider myself qualified, nor would I have an interest in doing this job.

My "qualifications":
- Earned doctorate from TEDS
- Masters of Theology from Australian Lutheran College
- MDiv from CSL & BA from CURF
- 11+ years as a Parish pastor
- NID BoD (5 yrs)
- A few publications (articles and editing work)
- Adjunct work at CUC and TEDS on both graduate and undergrad levels, including a few online courses

In my opinion, one would need to serve as a full-time faculty member at a university or seminary and/or have extensive experience in administration and fundraising to qualify.

It's hard for someone to have extensive parish experience as well as the high academic credentials we would expect of seminary faculty members.  Even after completing your degrees, you need to stay current in the field by reading, writing, and attending conferences, which the parish life rarely affords time to do. 

Wanting a sem prof who is both an top-notch scholar and an experienced parish pastor is often like desiring a pastor for your congregation who is both young and energetic and also has decades of practical experience.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 18, 2020, 11:47:14 AM
Dr. Benke,

To answer your post/questions:

a. By "close to record time" I mean that it seems highly unusual for a man to receive his MDiv and within 3 weeks be received/rostered by colloquy.  Not being familiar with the process, I imagined it took quite a bit longer than that.  In fact, I recall a man who lived across the hallway from me at seminary who had his MDiv from a rather famous Baptist seminary and like 10 years experience as a parish pastor but he was required to do an entire year at seminary before his colloquy was accepted.  And it wasn't because he did not know the Bible or the Confessions -- he was one of the best prepared men there.

b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff?  My understanding was that our seminaries required faculty (and I believe the president IS considered faculty) to have a minimum of 5 (?) years parish pastor experience.

c. I agree: 3-4 years out of seminary is not sufficient for ANY seminary faculty member, let alone its president.

d. Hopefully the whacking can be done in a God-pleasing manner.

There are what looks to me like a whole bunch of people on the list of 44 who have minimal experience as a parish pastor.  Some of them had a parish pastor position for a couple of years, and then went into the teaching ministry at a college or seminary, and are now in their 50s or 60s.  There is a candidate with substantial multi-decade parish experience, a terminal doctorate from a highly respected institution (Fordham University, which produced Vince Lombardi), adjunct and other teaching experience at the college and seminary level, and experience on a synodical educational institution's board of regents, and current service at the national mission level.  Rev. Dien A. Taylor.

I agree to a large extent with Charles, who writes of Bp. Anderson's response in being a congregational member.  What is missed in not holding the pastoral role is both the ministry of care and compassion at the top leadership level as well as the ministry of teaching to the empowerment of individuals and the Body of Christ around the central community theme of forgiveness.   That's a unique assignment, in my opinion, and often difficult to explain to "normal" people.  (What do you do the rest of the week?  How do you spend your time?  Does what you do matter to people - why?)

Anyway, the Spirit will lead and guide the process, I'm sure.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on January 18, 2020, 12:10:56 PM
I did raise a fuss with one of our ELCA seminaries some years back, when they called a professor with decent academic credentials but only two years parish experience as an assistant pastor. This person was to teach preaching.
I asked how the person could teach preaching without having to preach year after year, season after season to a congregation of specific people. How could this person understand the spiritual and homiletical flow of the seasons, the times, the lives of the people to whom they are preaching?
Homiletics should be taught by a pastor with years of experience in preaching even if they don’t have their tickets punched with all the proper academic degrees.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 18, 2020, 12:20:22 PM
This points up the split nature of seminaries.  On the one hand,  they are an institution of the scholarly pursuit of theology, on they other they are a trade school teaching people to be pastors.


Pastors themselves need to have a grounding in theology, a scholarly subject, not only to inform their preaching and teaching  but also to be a resource for their people as they encounter the often wacky theology floating around in society.  But they also need the practical skills to minister to the people who have called them.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced”
Post by: Charles Austin on January 18, 2020, 12:33:48 PM
This is a long-standing and unnecessary bifurcation of pastoral training. In the old old old days, one of our LCA seminaries was considered the place to go if you want to be a “pastor.” Another seminary was considered to be the place to go if you wanted to be a “theologian.”
That was an unfortunate stereotyping of both seminaries and their graduates, but it was there.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 18, 2020, 01:15:01 PM
I did raise a fuss with one of our ELCA seminaries some years back, when they called a professor with decent academic credentials but only two years parish experience as an assistant pastor. This person was to teach preaching.
I asked how the person could teach preaching without having to preach year after year, season after season to a congregation of specific people. How could this person understand the spiritual and homiletical flow of the seasons, the times, the lives of the people to whom they are preaching?
Homiletics should be taught by a pastor with years of experience in preaching even if they don’t have their tickets punched with all the proper academic degrees.

As one who currently teaches preaching (in an alternate route program) as an adjunct I can see your point.  I understand how some disciplines such as biblical studies and dogmatics benefit from a Ph.D level scholar (even one with minimal pastoral experience).  For a tenure track homiletics professor, however, I would be very open to an experienced pastor with a D.Min, which is considered a "professional doctorate."  Preaching is the one place a pastor 'connects' with his congregation on a weekly basis in a real world setting.  It is the direct and practical application of the other disciplines.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced”
Post by: Dave Benke on January 18, 2020, 01:16:21 PM
This is a long-standing and unnecessary bifurcation of pastoral training. In the old old old days, one of our LCA seminaries was considered the place to go if you want to be a “pastor.” Another seminary was considered to be the place to go if you wanted to be a “theologian.”
That was an unfortunate stereotyping of both seminaries and their graduates, but it was there.

That was absolutely the case in the Missouri Synod.  Until, that is, the decision was to change the name of the practical-oriented seminary to Concordia THEOLOGICAL Seminary.  Oh, I get it, was the desired response.  We don't have one practical/trade school seminary and one theoretical/academic/theological seminary.  We have two theological/academic/theoretical seminaries. 

Just what the doctor ordered.  And so it went for quite awhile, until both seminaries made the shift to pastoral formation as "job #1."  Which I would hope it always was.  The bifurcation today is out in the field - maybe trifurcation.  One group is done with the educational task and goes to work in the vineyard.  The second group is also in the vineyard but takes additional training and enhancement toward the end of the pastoral ministry - "how to" stuff.  The third group is also in the vineyard but gathers for additional training in theology often in the Lutheran confessions - "this we believe, teach and confess" stuff.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 18, 2020, 03:00:54 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on January 18, 2020, 03:04:45 PM
FWIW, I think it would be helpful to clarify in these lists what kind of doctorate the nominee has, for example D.Min, Ph.D, Th. D or whatever. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 18, 2020, 03:23:47 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?

I don’t have an answer, but it is a good question.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on January 18, 2020, 03:25:24 PM
I'm an outsider, but it would seem to me that the basic tasks of a seminary president are administration and fundraising.  For the former, parish experience, particularly in a larger parish, would be useful.  But neither task requires an advanced degree in a scholarly field.  Having such a degree may lend prestige, and perhaps credibility with the faculty, but does not make up for lacking the skill set for the basic tasks.  Neither would skill as a teacher qualify one for those tasks.  I think a seminary looking for a president, regardless of denomination, needs to keep this in mind.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on January 18, 2020, 03:32:59 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?

Synodical employees who are rostered are permitted to hold district membership in any of the 35 districts. (Just as are those retired.)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 04:05:33 PM
FWIW, I think it would be helpful to clarify in these lists what kind of doctorate the nominee has, for example D.Min, Ph.D, Th. D or whatever.

I agree.  And, I would add, whether it was an earned or honorary doctorate.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 04:06:22 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?

Synodical employees who are rostered are permitted to hold district membership in any of the 35 districts. (Just as are those retired.)

Is there some Handbook reference for that?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on January 18, 2020, 04:31:14 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?

Synodical employees who are rostered are permitted to hold district membership in any of the 35 districts. (Just as are those retired.)

Is there some Handbook reference for that?

There should be.   :)  Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 05:20:23 PM
b. So, to your best recollection, Dr. Scholl has never served as a parish pastor?  Straight from vicarage to colloquy to seminary staff? 
It’s interesting the Dr. Scholl has served his entire ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and resides in Missouri ... but is a member of the Atlantic District. 
I realize that at times retired pastors remain members of the district in which they served which may be because they have more in common there than in the district they retired to.
What are the guidelines concerning active clergy members… And their membership in a district other than the local district in which they currently serve?
The district membership of the new pastor at the congregation I attend was dropped by his former DP immediately upon preaching his farewell sermon ... for a month he was rostered serving no congregation because vacation and other commitments delayed his installation at his new congregation.  Shouldn’t Dr. Scholl’s district membership be in the Missouri District where he lives and serves?

Synodical employees who are rostered are permitted to hold district membership in any of the 35 districts. (Just as are those retired.)

Is there some Handbook reference for that?

There should be.   :)  Peace, JOHN

I am guessing it is this (assuming that the seminary qualifies as an "agency other than a district"):


2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod who is serving an agency other than a district and other than a missionary or chaplain serving under call by the Synod shall hold membership through the district designated by that person if approved by both the president of that district and the president of the district in which the agency is located, but shall be subject to the ecclesiastical supervision of the president of the geographical district in which the agency is located. When all voting members of the agency are members of a non-geographical district, membership shall be held through that district.


WHY a man serving in Missouri would seek to be a member of Atlantic District is another question, though....
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on January 18, 2020, 05:29:41 PM

WHY a man serving in Missouri would seek to be a member of Atlantic District is another question, though....


It is a great district. Why not?   :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: aletheist on January 18, 2020, 05:45:57 PM
I am guessing it is this (assuming that the seminary qualifies as an "agency other than a district"):

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod who is serving an agency other than a district and other than a missionary or chaplain serving under call by the Synod shall hold membership through the district designated by that person if approved by both the president of that district and the president of the district in which the agency is located, but shall be subject to the ecclesiastical supervision of the president of the geographical district in which the agency is located. When all voting members of the agency are members of a non-geographical district, membership shall be held through that district.
The 2019 convention actually amended this provision so that it now reads as follows:

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod serving in any other position shall hold membership through the geographical district in which the place of service is located, unless serving an agency or mission of a non-geographical district, in which case membership shall be held through that district.

Presumably this means that Synod members serving at Concordia Seminary must now be members of the Missouri District, and Synod members serving at Concordia Theological Seminary must now be members of the Indiana District.  This change may have been prompted by the Matthew Becker situation--he was on the faculty at Valparaiso University in Indiana, but still a member of the Northwest District from his time at Concordia University Portland.

WHY a man serving in Missouri would seek to be a member of Atlantic District is another question, though....
Especially since, even under the previous version, his ecclesiastical supervisor was the Missouri District President regardless.  From that standpoint, what did it even mean to be a "member" of another district?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 18, 2020, 05:53:14 PM
I am guessing it is this (assuming that the seminary qualifies as an "agency other than a district"):

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod who is serving an agency other than a district and other than a missionary or chaplain serving under call by the Synod shall hold membership through the district designated by that person if approved by both the president of that district and the president of the district in which the agency is located, but shall be subject to the ecclesiastical supervision of the president of the geographical district in which the agency is located. When all voting members of the agency are members of a non-geographical district, membership shall be held through that district.
The 2019 convention actually amended this provision so that it now reads as follows:

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod serving in any other position shall hold membership through the geographical district in which the place of service is located, unless serving an agency or mission of a non-geographical district, in which case membership shall be held through that district.

Presumably this means that Synod members serving at Concordia Seminary must now be members of the Missouri District, and Synod members serving at Concordia Theological Seminary must now be members of the Indiana District.  This change may have been prompted by the Matthew Becker situation--he was on the faculty at Valparaiso University in Indiana, but still a member of the Northwest District from his time at Concordia University Portland.

WHY a man serving in Missouri would seek to be a member of Atlantic District is another question, though....
Especially since, even under the previous version, his ecclesiastical supervisor was the Missouri District President regardless.  From that standpoint, what did it even mean to be a "member" of another district?
Sounds like a ploy to avoid district conventions! And appointment to committees, and people nagging you to stand for some position! Not a member of Missouri, and easy excuse being so far from the Atlantic.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 18, 2020, 06:19:49 PM
Synodical employees who are rostered are permitted to hold district membership in any of the 35 districts. (Just as are those retired.)


I believe that in the ELCA, such non-parish positions, the clergy stay rostered in the synod from which they came. Where our synod and churchwide assemblies require 60% lay voting members, a synod that includes a college or seminary would be overrun with clergy types if they were all rostered in that synod. It also gives a greater sense that such institutions serve the whole church. At our synod assemblies when some of our rostered folks are a voting members who are serving California Lutheran University or Pacific Lutheran School of Theology, or one of our other colleges or seminaries, it connects us with them, and they with us.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 18, 2020, 07:26:54 PM
I am guessing it is this (assuming that the seminary qualifies as an "agency other than a district"):

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod who is serving an agency other than a district and other than a missionary or chaplain serving under call by the Synod shall hold membership through the district designated by that person if approved by both the president of that district and the president of the district in which the agency is located, but shall be subject to the ecclesiastical supervision of the president of the geographical district in which the agency is located. When all voting members of the agency are members of a non-geographical district, membership shall be held through that district.
The 2019 convention actually amended this provision so that it now reads as follows:

2.12.1.5   An individual member of the Synod serving in any other position shall hold membership through the geographical district in which the place of service is located, unless serving an agency or mission of a non-geographical district, in which case membership shall be held through that district.

Presumably this means that Synod members serving at Concordia Seminary must now be members of the Missouri District, and Synod members serving at Concordia Theological Seminary must now be members of the Indiana District.  This change may have been prompted by the Matthew Becker situation--he was on the faculty at Valparaiso University in Indiana, but still a member of the Northwest District from his time at Concordia University Portland.

WHY a man serving in Missouri would seek to be a member of Atlantic District is another question, though....
Especially since, even under the previous version, his ecclesiastical supervisor was the Missouri District President regardless.  From that standpoint, what did it even mean to be a "member" of another district?

In other words, prior to the 2019 convention, it was possible for a professor to have membership in a "home" district, the district from which he came.  Which answers the prior question.
The way it gets played church-politically is that somebody's trying to pull a fast one.  In T. Scholl's case, he was at home in the Atlantic District.  That's all there was to it.  This is my recollection from five years ago when last I was in the supervisory role.

An issue for ecclesiastical supervision is that the President of the Missouri District now is saddled with supervision of way over a thousand clergy, when you count in all the emeritus who are still there plus the seminary faculty and the many congregations.  Absolutely non-manageable, especially given the percentage of hard and consumptive cases like restriction, suspension and conflict/clergy burnout and the like.

For example, another thing I remember from the old days is that when you leave the roster of the LCMS and want to get back on it, you have to go through the office of the district president of the district you left from.  This could be many years and many district presidents down the line.  That happened to me a few times, and was a) weird b) hard because of the amount of digging through old records required c) difficult because of the discernment involved in dealing with whatever the politics had been vs. what they now were to get down to the facts of the case.  So - imagine that if, as the bylaw now requires, you have 1500 clergy (whatever the number is exactly) under management, as in the Missouri District.  On second thought, don't imagine it.  It's just been created; give the Missouri District President time to get ready for that nervous breakdown.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 08:16:06 PM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 18, 2020, 08:58:43 PM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.

I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference? 

The guys I'm interested in are the two with under four years of ordained experience who allowed their names to stand for the presidency.  I may shoot them an email on that decision, for whatever it's worth.  Maybe they just forgot to send in their declination.

Unless somehow I'm granted a vote on this matter (somebody resigns from the board of directors of synod, I'm appointed and then given the chairmanship, for instance, which could easily happen), I'm content with waiting until the next run-through brings us a smaller list and then give some advice.  If it comes down to Walther or Wyneken, I'd advise voting for Wyneken.  Way more mission-oriented.  We need that, don't you think?

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 18, 2020, 09:11:16 PM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.

I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference? 

The guys I'm interested in are the two with under four years of ordained experience who allowed their names to stand for the presidency.  I may shoot them an email on that decision, for whatever it's worth.  Maybe they just forgot to send in their declination.

Unless somehow I'm granted a vote on this matter (somebody resigns from the board of directors of synod, I'm appointed and then given the chairmanship, for instance, which could easily happen), I'm content with waiting until the next run-through brings us a smaller list and then give some advice.  If it comes down to Walther or Wyneken, I'd advise voting for Wyneken.  Way more mission-oriented.  We need that, don't you think?

Dave Benke

It's not worth his time or mine.  Nor is it really my business, since apparently it was an option open to him by the bylaws.  And, as you say, that is now changed.  Just one of things that makes a guy go "Hmm.  Wonder what THAT'S all about?".  Maybe an interesting story behind it.  Maybe not.

What's your prediction on something that DOES matter: the Packer game?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 19, 2020, 12:08:37 AM
I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference?
Regardless of the bylaw change, Dr Skoll’s situation is rather unique ...  apparently a native of St. Louis, worked for the seminary and the Lutheran Hour before attending the St. Louis Seminary, vicaring in the Atlantic District, receiving his MDiv and immediately returning to the seminary’s employment and residing in the St. Louis area.  Outside of vicarage he apparently never lived in the Atlantic District, and never held a position in the Atlantic District requiring a rostered status. 


Neither Rev. Bohler or I (a layman) have suggested any “ecclesiastical supervision” issues ... Dr. Benke has grasped for that angle ... For me, this issue caught my attention when I read that Dr Skoll was rostered in a district he never held roster required responsibilities in.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 19, 2020, 01:29:22 AM
An issue for ecclesiastical supervision is that the President of the Missouri District now is saddled with supervision of way over a thousand clergy, when you count in all the emeritus who are still there plus the seminary faculty and the many congregations.  Absolutely non-manageable, especially given the percentage of hard and consumptive cases like restriction, suspension and conflict/clergy burnout and the like.

I am a bit puzzled at the above. First of all, many rostered emeritus individuals are inactive ... either by choice or circumstance and as such require little if any district time/resources. Second, I unless I totally misunderstand the ecclesiastical supervision responsibilities, hands on, time consuming supervision issues normally involve theological and/or moral failures in addition to various counseling necessities.  While normally falling to the DP or his representatives, the synodical and seminary organizations most likely assume primary responsibilities for issues Dr. Benke expresses concern about ...
For example, another thing I remember from the old days is that when you leave the roster of the LCMS and want to get back on it, you have to go through the office of the district president of the district you left from.  This could be many years and many district presidents down the line.  That happened to me a few times, and was a) weird b) hard because of the amount of digging through old records required c) difficult because of the discernment involved in dealing with whatever the politics had been vs. what they now were to get down to the facts of the case.  So - imagine that if, as the bylaw now requires, you have 1500 clergy (whatever the number is exactly) under management, as in the Missouri District.  On second thought, don't imagine it.  It's just been created; give the Missouri District President time to get ready for that nervous breakdown.
There is much that is good right and salutary with starting the process of re-rostering in the office from which the roster status was removed.  Consider the main reasons that one is removed from the roster… A roster member voluntarily resigned from the roster… A roster member is removed from the roster for theological/moral failings, physical/mental health problems or job performance issues.


By requiring that the re-rostering process begin at the same point as the roster removal process transpired, pertinent personnel information should be available.  Simply put, the purpose of this procedure is to lessen the chance that one could mistakenly be re-rostered following a proper and correct removal of roster status.


Perhaps the removal from roster process should include procedures for adequately documenting the cause of removal so that in the event re-rostering is requested, institutional knowledge of the cause of removal is preserved.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 19, 2020, 08:32:32 AM
An issue for ecclesiastical supervision is that the President of the Missouri District now is saddled with supervision of way over a thousand clergy, when you count in all the emeritus who are still there plus the seminary faculty and the many congregations.  Absolutely non-manageable, especially given the percentage of hard and consumptive cases like restriction, suspension and conflict/clergy burnout and the like.

I am a bit puzzled at the above. First of all, many rostered emeritus individuals are inactive ... either by choice or circumstance and as such require little if any district time/resources. Second, I unless I totally misunderstand the ecclesiastical supervision responsibilities, hands on, time consuming supervision issues normally involve theological and/or moral failures in addition to various counseling necessities.  While normally falling to the DP or his representatives, the synodical and seminary organizations most likely assume primary responsibilities for issues Dr. Benke expresses concern about ...
For example, another thing I remember from the old days is that when you leave the roster of the LCMS and want to get back on it, you have to go through the office of the district president of the district you left from.  This could be many years and many district presidents down the line.  That happened to me a few times, and was a) weird b) hard because of the amount of digging through old records required c) difficult because of the discernment involved in dealing with whatever the politics had been vs. what they now were to get down to the facts of the case.  So - imagine that if, as the bylaw now requires, you have 1500 clergy (whatever the number is exactly) under management, as in the Missouri District.  On second thought, don't imagine it.  It's just been created; give the Missouri District President time to get ready for that nervous breakdown.
There is much that is good right and salutary with starting the process of re-rostering in the office from which the roster status was removed.  Consider the main reasons that one is removed from the roster… A roster member voluntarily resigned from the roster… A roster member is removed from the roster for theological/moral failings, physical/mental health problems or job performance issues.


By requiring that the re-rostering process begin at the same point as the roster removal process transpired, pertinent personnel information should be available.  Simply put, the purpose of this procedure is to lessen the chance that one could mistakenly be re-rostered following a proper and correct removal of roster status.


Perhaps the removal from roster process should include procedures for adequately documenting the cause of removal so that in the event re-rostering is requested, institutional knowledge of the cause of removal is preserved.

I'm just giving you the perspective of someone who actually was an ecclesiastical supervisor for about a quarter century, James Eivan.  When you indicate that much of what you think passes for ecclesiastical supervision falls to others, you're just wrong.   When you indicate that certain classes of workers take up very little time and energy, you're wrong again.  Whatever the staffing and process, the buck stops at a certain door, and the person behind it needs to have hands on to a maximum degree not only to be effective but to carry out the vocation in God-pleasing way. 

You're free to disagree, but you're doing so from a completely theoretical perspective, which readers of our lovely forum should keep in mind.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 19, 2020, 08:35:21 AM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.

I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference? 

The guys I'm interested in are the two with under four years of ordained experience who allowed their names to stand for the presidency.  I may shoot them an email on that decision, for whatever it's worth.  Maybe they just forgot to send in their declination.

Unless somehow I'm granted a vote on this matter (somebody resigns from the board of directors of synod, I'm appointed and then given the chairmanship, for instance, which could easily happen), I'm content with waiting until the next run-through brings us a smaller list and then give some advice.  If it comes down to Walther or Wyneken, I'd advise voting for Wyneken.  Way more mission-oriented.  We need that, don't you think?

Dave Benke

It's not worth his time or mine.  Nor is it really my business, since apparently it was an option open to him by the bylaws.  And, as you say, that is now changed.  Just one of things that makes a guy go "Hmm.  Wonder what THAT'S all about?".  Maybe an interesting story behind it.  Maybe not.

What's your prediction on something that DOES matter: the Packer game?

The operating word is (unfortunately) "ugly."
a) with the exception of the second Vikings game, the Packers have won ugly all season long
b) the 49ers in-season game was a really ugly loss
c) because they can, even and especially as big underdogs, win ugly, the Packers will win today.  Ugly will be beautiful.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on January 19, 2020, 03:10:57 PM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.

I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference? 

The guys I'm interested in are the two with under four years of ordained experience who allowed their names to stand for the presidency.  I may shoot them an email on that decision, for whatever it's worth.  Maybe they just forgot to send in their declination.

Unless somehow I'm granted a vote on this matter (somebody resigns from the board of directors of synod, I'm appointed and then given the chairmanship, for instance, which could easily happen), I'm content with waiting until the next run-through brings us a smaller list and then give some advice.  If it comes down to Walther or Wyneken, I'd advise voting for Wyneken.  Way more mission-oriented.  We need that, don't you think?

Dave Benke

It's not worth his time or mine.  Nor is it really my business, since apparently it was an option open to him by the bylaws.  And, as you say, that is now changed.  Just one of things that makes a guy go "Hmm.  Wonder what THAT'S all about?".  Maybe an interesting story behind it.  Maybe not.

What's your prediction on something that DOES matter: the Packer game?

The operating word is (unfortunately) "ugly."
a) with the exception of the second Vikings game, the Packers have won ugly all season long
b) the 49ers in-season game was a really ugly loss
c) because they can, even and especially as big underdogs, win ugly, the Packers will win today.  Ugly will be beautiful.

Dave Benke

Mahomes will be beautiful. Kansas City all the way!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 19, 2020, 11:13:10 PM
Dr. Benke,

But prior to his seminary training at Yale -- according to Dr. Scholl's LinkedIn page -- Dr. Scholl worked for Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 2 1/2 years (as development officer), then Lutheran Hour Ministries for 4 1/3 years (as creative assistant to the speaker).  That would all be in Missouri.  Given his apparent age (from the photo on that LinkedIn page), I assume that is his entire post-college work experience.  It was posted on LutherQuest (by a man who claims to be a relative to Dr. Scholl) that Dr. Scholl was born/raised in Missouri.  So, his time in the Atlantic District was just his vicarage?  And he has been employed for 12+ years, ever since his colloquy, at CSL.  In Missouri.  Weird.  I would think that, sooner or later, he would have sought to have his district membership switched there, just for the sake of showing his intention to stay to the seminary.

I'd say write him and ask him.  His life under ecclesiastical supervision seems to interest you.  According to the new bylaw as I just saw it today, the situation has changed since last summer, so what's the difference? 

The guys I'm interested in are the two with under four years of ordained experience who allowed their names to stand for the presidency.  I may shoot them an email on that decision, for whatever it's worth.  Maybe they just forgot to send in their declination.

Unless somehow I'm granted a vote on this matter (somebody resigns from the board of directors of synod, I'm appointed and then given the chairmanship, for instance, which could easily happen), I'm content with waiting until the next run-through brings us a smaller list and then give some advice.  If it comes down to Walther or Wyneken, I'd advise voting for Wyneken.  Way more mission-oriented.  We need that, don't you think?

Dave Benke

It's not worth his time or mine.  Nor is it really my business, since apparently it was an option open to him by the bylaws.  And, as you say, that is now changed.  Just one of things that makes a guy go "Hmm.  Wonder what THAT'S all about?".  Maybe an interesting story behind it.  Maybe not.

What's your prediction on something that DOES matter: the Packer game?

The operating word is (unfortunately) "ugly."
a) with the exception of the second Vikings game, the Packers have won ugly all season long
b) the 49ers in-season game was a really ugly loss
c) because they can, even and especially as big underdogs, win ugly, the Packers will win today.  Ugly will be beautiful.

Dave Benke

Well, it WAS ugly.  Unless one was a 49er fan.  But it was a surprisingly good season and enjoyed many more wins than I expected.  This owner was satisfied with Coach LeFleur's first year.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 20, 2020, 10:29:21 AM
Yeah, we could hardly argue that we just needed a break or somehow got robbed. In both games, the home team dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball. The better team in terms of blocking and tackling, though not in terms of virtue generally, won both games handily.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: David Garner on January 20, 2020, 10:45:31 AM
Yeah, we could hardly argue that we just needed a break or somehow got robbed. In both games, the home team dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball. The better team in terms of blocking and tackling, though not in terms of virtue generally, won both games handily.

In the SF/Green Bay game, I honestly thought the SF defense was the difference.  LaFleur runs the same basic offensive system as Shanahan, and while you could make a Jedi/Padawan observation there, it is inarguable that Green Bay had the better QB.  The difference as I saw it was the San Francisco defense played lights out for 4 quarters and the Green Bay defense, well, didn't.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: MEKoch on January 20, 2020, 08:31:16 PM
Dale Meyer told me that he had to raise $22M every year!   He said that was the costs of keeping CSL open.  I think over his tenure, much money has been raised by him and others, so the seminary is on decent financial footing.  His other big job was recruitment of students, which is quite difficult in 2020 among millennials. 

When you get those two jobs accomplished, then you can turn your head to administration.  All this says to me that a superior academic background is nice, but not absolutely essential.  Knowing the Church and the post-modern culture so that students can be formed as faithful pastors is a huge task, which the faculty takes on.

Michael Koch
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 20, 2020, 09:01:04 PM
Recruiting and fund-raising are skills, to be sure, but less so than people assume. It isn’t as though we could hire a professional fundraiser and recruiter as president and he would at least get those two aspects of the job done. Rather, recruiting and fundraising are outgrowths of credibility and shared mission. For that, a genuine pastoral theologian is critical in the position.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 20, 2020, 09:22:10 PM
It would be interesting to know how much President Rast must raise each year for Concordia
Seminary in Fort Wayne. Since his name is one of the 44 candidates for the presidency of
Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, it could be lower or higher than $22 million per year.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on January 21, 2020, 09:27:47 AM
What a varied field! Our parish went about nominating in this way (and all three have allowed their names to stand):

1) in-house candidate
2) candidate from Fort Wayne
3) candidate from the parish

We are praying fervently for this process.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 21, 2020, 10:04:47 AM
What a varied field! Our parish went about nominating in this way (and all three have allowed their names to stand):

1) in-house candidate
2) candidate from Fort Wayne
3) candidate from the parish

We are praying fervently for this process.

M. Staneck

I think that is a very good way to do the nominations, Rev. Staneck!  Gives a varied and balanced background from which to choose.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2020, 11:00:15 AM
What a varied field! Our parish went about nominating in this way (and all three have allowed their names to stand):

1) in-house candidate
2) candidate from Fort Wayne
3) candidate from the parish

We are praying fervently for this process.

M. Staneck

I think that is a very good way to do the nominations, Rev. Staneck!  Gives a varied and balanced background from which to choose.

There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.
First, what's the percentage of rostered clergy from all sources - St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, Other.  Other includes options such as colloquy (viz. Yale Divinity), sister seminary (St. Catherine's).
My last read on this was that Ft. Wayne-trained clergy represent around 40% of the total.
Second, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod? 
Third, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions?

To be clear, I don't know how this comes out in advance.  This research is not part of the vocation I'm currently in at the parish level.  But I do have a guess.  My hunch is that the percentage of the first set is inverse to the percentage of the last two sets.  If that's true - and that is an unknown - what does it prove?  Something or not much?  I suppose it could be a matter of "balance" or "unbalance." 

By the way, in winter home-office-cleaning mode, I came across a little article from The Long Island Press (predecessor of Newsday) from 1975, taken from the sports section.  It was about Martin Luther High School's baseball program and my farewell.  What I liked about it is that the quote from me included the word "parish," not congregation, referring to the parish in Cypress Hills, St. Peter's.  So apparently my spiritual formation included the concept that the office of the public ministry included the souls within reach and the needs of the wider community in the geographical region, not solely the baptized within the walls.  Or possibly I was reading and channeling Jimmy Breslin, whose view of New York City was determined not by neighborhoods, but by parishes - "So another murder shakes Mary Gate of Heaven parish..."  The reader was obliged to complete with "in Ozone Park."

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 21, 2020, 02:52:25 PM
I'm just giving you the perspective of someone who actually was an ecclesiastical supervisor for about a quarter century, James Eivan.  When you indicate that much of what you think passes for ecclesiastical supervision falls to others, you're just wrong.   When you indicate that certain classes of workers take up very little time and energy, you're wrong again.  Whatever the staffing and process, the buck stops at a certain door, and the person behind it needs to have hands on to a maximum degree not only to be effective but to carry out the vocation in God-pleasing way. 

You're free to disagree, but you're doing so from a completely theoretical perspective, which readers of our lovely forum should keep in mind.

Dave Benke
I, along with most if not all forum participants, are aware of your ecclesiastical supervisory background, however equally important is the fact that you have been on the receiving end of ecclesiastical supervision on multiple occasions.  In ecclesiastical supervision threads over the years on this forum the preponderance of your comments seem to express skepticism and a general dislike for ecclesiastical supervision process ... especially as it pertained to this topic in the recent convention.


It is rather expedient to pass things off as ‘wrong’ without using it as teaching moment ... sharing your experience and knowledge here in this forum ... similar to stating something is ‘different’ without explaining how it is different.


To my knowledge, the Missouri District President made no statement of concern or caution to the convention as they considered the changes you seem to think would overburden him ... why introduce an apparent non issue into the discussion?

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 21, 2020, 03:13:28 PM
I'm just giving you the perspective of someone who actually was an ecclesiastical supervisor for about a quarter century, James Eivan.  When you indicate that much of what you think passes for ecclesiastical supervision falls to others, you're just wrong.   When you indicate that certain classes of workers take up very little time and energy, you're wrong again.  Whatever the staffing and process, the buck stops at a certain door, and the person behind it needs to have hands on to a maximum degree not only to be effective but to carry out the vocation in God-pleasing way. 

You're free to disagree, but you're doing so from a completely theoretical perspective, which readers of our lovely forum should keep in mind.

Dave Benke
I, along with most if not all forum participants, are aware of your ecclesiastical supervisory background, however equally important is the fact that you have been on the receiving end of ecclesiastical supervision on multiple occasions.  In ecclesiastical supervision threads over the years on this forum the preponderance of your comments seem to express skepticism and a general dislike for ecclesiastical supervision process ... especially as it pertained to this topic in the recent convention.


It is rather expedient to pass things off as ‘wrong’ without using it as teaching moment ... sharing your experience and knowledge here in this forum ... similar to stating something is ‘different’ without explaining how it is different.


To my knowledge, the Missouri District President made no statement of concern or caution to the convention as they considered the changes you seem to think would overburden him ... why introduce an apparent non issue into the discussion?

Your first paragraph is not accurate.  Many of my main buddies are or were ecclesiastical supervisors.  Tough work, but someone has to do it.  I was at a symposium where the academic types floated the idea that no supervision is needed, that the workers can self-supervise because they're all good guys.  I compared that to self-medicating.  Works for some, others become addicted.  And I made my Jack Nicholson speech - "you need me on that wall."  The ministry of the law as applied evangelically is critical to the work of the Church and has been for Lutherans since the days of Luther, and for the Church catholic since the Apostles. 

The rest of your message has to do with, I think, bringing in concrete examples of what takes time and energy in ecclesiastical supervision, and to what purpose.  Of course, specific cases are not for the public record on a discussion forum.  In general the 80-20 principle applies; 20 percent of the people/individuals-congregations take 80 percent of the time at any given time.  And it's intense.  Conflicted.  Pends hearings and mostly includes a lot of personal and spiritual care time.  This is not unlike the primary vocation of pastor.  However, the numbers of cases and the geographic splits and the amount of systemic issues to be worked through add a multiplier effect.  And if in particular to the recent posts you have several thousand church workers under supervision, you can easily fall beneath the plough.

Maybe they should have a course, or even a fund-raiser - Ecclesiastical Supervisor for a Day.  What am I bid?  That would be fun. 

I remember starting out back in the day, and going to a regional workshop of some kind, and giving a little word of encouragement, and then just to end it on a personal note, saying "If you'd like to speak to me personally about issues at your church or in your ministry, I'll just go to that table over there and meet you right now."  The line went out the door and out of the building.  Three hours and thirty churches later I escaped into the night, somehow substantially older and yet somehow none the wiser.

Dave Benke 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 22, 2020, 01:10:17 AM
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.First, what's the percentage of rostered clergy from all sources - St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, Other.  Other includes options such as colloquy (viz. Yale Divinity), sister seminary (St. Catherine's).My last read on this was that Ft. Wayne-trained clergy represent around 40% of the total.Second, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod?  Third, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions?To be clear, I don't know how this comes out in advance.  This research is not part of the vocation I'm currently in at the parish level.  But I do have a guess.  My hunch is that the percentage of the first set is inverse to the percentage of the last two sets.  If that's true - and that is an unknown - what does it prove?  Something or not much?  I suppose it could be a matter of "balance" or "unbalance."  By the way, in winter home-office-cleaning mode, I came across a little article from The Long Island Press (predecessor of Newsday) from 1975, taken from the sports section.  It was about Martin Luther High School's baseball program and my farewell.  What I liked about it is that the quote from me included the word "parish," not congregation, referring to the parish in Cypress Hills, St. Peter's.  So apparently my spiritual formation included the concept that the office of the public ministry included the souls within reach and the needs of the wider community in the geographical region, not solely the baptized within the walls.  Or possibly I was reading and channeling Jimmy Breslin, whose view of New York City was determined not by neighborhoods, but by parishes - "So another murder shakes Mary Gate of Heaven parish..."  The reader was obliged to complete with "in Ozone Park."Dave Benke
It was appalling last summer in the forum discussions of the 67th Regular Convention or the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod when your postings lead down the divisive rabbit holes of which seminary those elected had attended ... or which list elected candidates names appeared on. 


Now this same divisiveness rears its ugly head again involving the selection of the next president of Concordia Seminary, St Louis. The goal in this selection process should be to select the best man for the presidency of Concordia Seminary not to fill some sort of quota.


Parsing is an analytical process.  Is it really important which one of OUR synodical seminaries the next president of Concordia Seminary attended?  Crack your “brand spanking new copy of the 2019 edition” of the Synodical Handbook and cite the Bylaw stating that the Seminary attended is “embedded in the handbook“. My copy does not reference any such parsing nor that a seminary candidate’s alma matter should be considered.


Furthermore, my copy of the handbook makes absolutely no reference to parsing “the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod” or “percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions”. 
[/size]
[/size]I would suggest that this research, for whatever rabbit hole you are aiming for, should be no ones “vocation” as its doubtful that that information can serve any God pleasing purpose.
[/size]
[/size]I am rather amazed that you as a leader who often laments the divisions in the Body of Christ would repeatedly go to such lengths to sow seeds of angst and division in that same Body of Christ.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 22, 2020, 01:21:36 PM
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.First, what's the percentage of rostered clergy from all sources - St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, Other.  Other includes options such as colloquy (viz. Yale Divinity), sister seminary (St. Catherine's).My last read on this was that Ft. Wayne-trained clergy represent around 40% of the total.Second, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod?  Third, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions?To be clear, I don't know how this comes out in advance.  This research is not part of the vocation I'm currently in at the parish level.  But I do have a guess.  My hunch is that the percentage of the first set is inverse to the percentage of the last two sets.  If that's true - and that is an unknown - what does it prove?  Something or not much?  I suppose it could be a matter of "balance" or "unbalance."  By the way, in winter home-office-cleaning mode, I came across a little article from The Long Island Press (predecessor of Newsday) from 1975, taken from the sports section.  It was about Martin Luther High School's baseball program and my farewell.  What I liked about it is that the quote from me included the word "parish," not congregation, referring to the parish in Cypress Hills, St. Peter's.  So apparently my spiritual formation included the concept that the office of the public ministry included the souls within reach and the needs of the wider community in the geographical region, not solely the baptized within the walls.  Or possibly I was reading and channeling Jimmy Breslin, whose view of New York City was determined not by neighborhoods, but by parishes - "So another murder shakes Mary Gate of Heaven parish..."  The reader was obliged to complete with "in Ozone Park."Dave Benke
It was appalling last summer in the forum discussions of the 67th Regular Convention or the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod when your postings lead down the divisive rabbit holes of which seminary those elected had attended ... or which list elected candidates names appeared on. 


Now this same divisiveness rears its ugly head again involving the selection of the next president of Concordia Seminary, St Louis. The goal in this selection process should be to select the best man for the presidency of Concordia Seminary not to fill some sort of quota.


Parsing is an analytical process.  Is it really important which one of OUR synodical seminaries the next president of Concordia Seminary attended?  Crack your “brand spanking new copy of the 2019 edition” of the Synodical Handbook and cite the Bylaw stating that the Seminary attended is “embedded in the handbook“. My copy does not reference any such parsing nor that a seminary candidate’s alma matter should be considered.


Furthermore, my copy of the handbook makes absolutely no reference to parsing “the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod” or “percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions”. 
[/size]
[/size]I would suggest that this research, for whatever rabbit hole you are aiming for, should be no ones “vocation” as its doubtful that that information can serve any God pleasing purpose.
[/size]
[/size]I am rather amazed that you as a leader who often laments the divisions in the Body of Christ would repeatedly go to such lengths to sow seeds of angst and division in that same Body of Christ.


It would be pretty miraculous if the denominational handbook contained references to percentages of office-holders from various schools, wouldn't it? 

Making a proposition to analyze leadership trends in the church body politic is not divisive in and of itself.  I'm a St. Louis guy who served on the Board of Regents of Ft. Wayne and brought a goodly number of folks from both seminaries to the Land That Is Fairer By Far east of the Hudson.  You jump to the conclusion - "it's doubtful that that information can serve any God-pleasing purpose", or "go to such lengths to sow seeds of angst" - and then declare yourself amazed and appalled.   There's a way out of that conundrum for you.  Don't jump to conclusions.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 23, 2020, 12:26:30 AM
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.First, what's the percentage of rostered clergy from all sources - St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, Other.  Other includes options such as colloquy (viz. Yale Divinity), sister seminary (St. Catherine's).My last read on this was that Ft. Wayne-trained clergy represent around 40% of the total.Second, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod?  Third, what's the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions?To be clear, I don't know how this comes out in advance.  This research is not part of the vocation I'm currently in at the parish level.  But I do have a guess.  My hunch is that the percentage of the first set is inverse to the percentage of the last two sets.  If that's true - and that is an unknown - what does it prove?  Something or not much?  I suppose it could be a matter of "balance" or "unbalance."  By the way, in winter home-office-cleaning mode, I came across a little article from The Long Island Press (predecessor of Newsday) from 1975, taken from the sports section.  It was about Martin Luther High School's baseball program and my farewell.  What I liked about it is that the quote from me included the word "parish," not congregation, referring to the parish in Cypress Hills, St. Peter's.  So apparently my spiritual formation included the concept that the office of the public ministry included the souls within reach and the needs of the wider community in the geographical region, not solely the baptized within the walls.  Or possibly I was reading and channeling Jimmy Breslin, whose view of New York City was determined not by neighborhoods, but by parishes - "So another murder shakes Mary Gate of Heaven parish..."  The reader was obliged to complete with "in Ozone Park."Dave Benke
It was appalling last summer in the forum discussions of the 67th Regular Convention or the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod when your postings lead down the divisive rabbit holes of which seminary those elected had attended ... or which list elected candidates names appeared on. 


Now this same divisiveness rears its ugly head again involving the selection of the next president of Concordia Seminary, St Louis. The goal in this selection process should be to select the best man for the presidency of Concordia Seminary not to fill some sort of quota.


Parsing is an analytical process.  Is it really important which one of OUR synodical seminaries the next president of Concordia Seminary attended?  Crack your “brand spanking new copy of the 2019 edition” of the Synodical Handbook and cite the Bylaw stating that the Seminary attended is “embedded in the handbook“. My copy does not reference any such parsing nor that a seminary candidate’s alma matter should be considered.


Furthermore, my copy of the handbook makes absolutely no reference to parsing “the percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy employed as a percentage of all clergy at the national level of the Missouri Synod” or “
percentage of Springfield/Ft. Wayne rostered clergy serving on nationally elected boards and commissions”. 

I would suggest that this research, for whatever rabbit hole you are aiming for, should be no ones “vocation” as its doubtful that that information can serve any God pleasing purpose.

I am rather amazed that you as a leader who often laments the divisions in the Body of Christ would repeatedly go to such lengths to sow seeds of angst and division in that same Body of Christ.

It would be pretty miraculous if the denominational handbook contained references to percentages of office-holders from various schools, wouldn't it? 

Making a proposition to analyze leadership trends in the church body politic is not divisive in and of itself.  I'm a St. Louis guy who served on the Board of Regents of Ft. Wayne and brought a goodly number of folks from both seminaries to the Land That Is Fairer By Far east of the Hudson.  You jump to the conclusion - "it's doubtful that that information can serve any God-pleasing purpose", or "go to such lengths to sow seeds of angst" - and then declare yourself amazed and appalled.   There's a way out of that conundrum for you.  Don't jump to conclusions.

Dave Benke
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

Furthermore it has been said that there are statistics, d*%m statistics, and there are facts. The statistics you wish to parse reveal that the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary ... which is about where their similarities end. 

Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.

All examples that prove that actions speak louder than seminary attended … or parsing data without real world facts can and does lead to erroneous conclusions.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 23, 2020, 12:35:17 PM
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

Furthermore it has been said that there are statistics, d*%m statistics, and there are facts. The statistics you wish to parse reveal that the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary ... which is about where their similarities end.

Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.

All examples that prove that actions speak louder than seminary attended … or parsing data without real world facts can and does lead to erroneous conclusions.


To the bolded point, James Eivan, how would you know that?  Where did you or would you hunt for that kind of "evidence?"  What are you up to on the internet in these days and times?  You'll need the "wayback machine" for most of the "evidence" you're apparently hunting down.

In point of fact,
a) Jerry Kieschnick is FROM Springfield/Ft. Wayne.  There's a real fact, and "evidence" that my bias is not against one seminary or the other because I enjoyed the "Kieschnick era" (for the most part, the heresy portion notwithstanding), led by a non-St. Louisan.
b) What does "I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor" mean?  My immediate thought is that you're not in the Missouri Synod; but you could be from Canada.  Or the Wisconsin Synod.  Or a MicroSynod to be named later.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 23, 2020, 01:27:23 PM
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

Furthermore it has been said that there are statistics, d*%m statistics, and there are facts. The statistics you wish to parse reveal that the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary ... which is about where their similarities end.

Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.

All examples that prove that actions speak louder than seminary attended … or parsing data without real world facts can and does lead to erroneous conclusions.


To the bolded point, James Eivan, how would you know that?  Where did you or would you hunt for that kind of "evidence?"  What are you up to on the internet in these days and times?  You'll need the "wayback machine" for most of the "evidence" you're apparently hunting down.

In point of fact,
a) Jerry Kieschnick is FROM Springfield/Ft. Wayne.  There's a real fact, and "evidence" that my bias is not against one seminary or the other because I enjoyed the "Kieschnick era" (for the most part, the heresy portion notwithstanding), led by a non-St. Louisan.
b) What does "I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor" mean?  My immediate thought is that you're not in the Missouri Synod; but you could be from Canada.  Or the Wisconsin Synod.  Or a MicroSynod to be named later.

Dave Benke

As to your point a), Mr. Eivan already said that Dr. Kiweschnick was from the Springfield/Fort Wayne seminary ("the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary").
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 23, 2020, 01:59:10 PM
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

Furthermore it has been said that there are statistics, d*%m statistics, and there are facts. The statistics you wish to parse reveal that the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary ... which is about where their similarities end.

Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.

All examples that prove that actions speak louder than seminary attended … or parsing data without real world facts can and does lead to erroneous conclusions.


To the bolded point, James Eivan, how would you know that?  Where did you or would you hunt for that kind of "evidence?"  What are you up to on the internet in these days and times?  You'll need the "wayback machine" for most of the "evidence" you're apparently hunting down.

In point of fact,
a) Jerry Kieschnick is FROM Springfield/Ft. Wayne.  There's a real fact, and "evidence" that my bias is not against one seminary or the other because I enjoyed the "Kieschnick era" (for the most part, the heresy portion notwithstanding), led by a non-St. Louisan.
b) What does "I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor" mean?  My immediate thought is that you're not in the Missouri Synod; but you could be from Canada.  Or the Wisconsin Synod.  Or a MicroSynod to be named later.

Dave Benke

As to your point a), Mr. Eivan already said that Dr. Kiweschnick was from the Springfield/Fort Wayne seminary ("the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary").

Thank you.  I have never met Dr. Kiweschnick, but am certain he's a lovely man, an evangelical catholic of the first water.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 23, 2020, 05:27:08 PM
Quote from:  James Eivan emphasis added by Dave Benke
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

To the bolded point, James Eivan, how would you know that?  Where did you or would you hunt for that kind of "evidence?"  What are you up to on the internet in these days and times?  You'll need the "wayback machine" for most of the "evidence" you're apparently hunting down. 
I simply observed that I could not identify any similar concern by you about ‘parsing’ data during the previous LCMS Presidents administration ... knowing there I was sticking my neck out to be proven wrong in the event you indeed documented such a request during that time period.
Quote from: Dave Benke
In point of fact,a) Jerry Kieschnick is FROM Springfield/Ft. Wayne.  There's a real fact, and "evidence" that my bias is not against one seminary or the other because I enjoyed the "Kieschnick era" (for the most part, the heresy portion notwithstanding), led by a non-St. Lousian.
Actually point in fact ... I mentioned nothing about bias ... I simply reference the fact that  graduates from the same seminary are not necessarily clones of each other .... thus parsing of data concerning the seminary a CSL presidential candidate attended may not be of much value ... or worse could lead to unrealistic conclusions about a candidate.
Quote from: Dave Benke
b) What does "I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor" mean?  My immediate thought is that you're not in the Missouri Synod; but you could be from Canada.  Or the Wisconsin Synod.  Or a MicroSynod to be named later.

It’s interesting that you chose to partially quote me ... my entire statement was
Quote from:  James Eivan
[size=78%]Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.[/size]

You saw no need for clarification of the first part of my statement ‘Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor’ ... why is the second part of that statement any less clear?   Simply put, there are men from both seminaries that I have been thankful to have as my pastor because they are faithful pastors ... there are others (who have never been my pastor) that I believe are less than faithful and therefore am thankful that they have never been my pastor.  Yes ... I am a life long member of the LCMS.

I’m genuinely interested in how then first part of the statement could be taken at face value, but the latter statement left you conclusions that differed from the first statement.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 23, 2020, 08:33:12 PM
It might be interesting for the sake of conversation for posters to submit 5 names
from the list of 44 presented. I submit the following:

Dr. Erik Herrmann
Dr. Jacob A.O.Preus III
Dr. Lawrence  Rast
Dr. Paul Grime
Dr. Joel Biermann

From my vantage point I believe it is possible  that at least two of these men
could be on the list of the final 5 for election.  Go ahead and submit your final five.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 23, 2020, 11:36:21 PM
Not jumping to conclusions … just looking at the facts … there is no evidence of your suggesting a similar “set of numbers out there to be parsed” during the Kieschnick era when the preponderance of the elections were falling your way.

Furthermore it has been said that there are statistics, d*%m statistics, and there are facts. The statistics you wish to parse reveal that the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary ... which is about where their similarities end.

Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.

All examples that prove that actions speak louder than seminary attended … or parsing data without real world facts can and does lead to erroneous conclusions.


To the bolded point, James Eivan, how would you know that?  Where did you or would you hunt for that kind of "evidence?"  What are you up to on the internet in these days and times?  You'll need the "wayback machine" for most of the "evidence" you're apparently hunting down.

In point of fact,
a) Jerry Kieschnick is FROM Springfield/Ft. Wayne.  There's a real fact, and "evidence" that my bias is not against one seminary or the other because I enjoyed the "Kieschnick era" (for the most part, the heresy portion notwithstanding), led by a non-St. Louisan.
b) What does "I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor" mean?  My immediate thought is that you're not in the Missouri Synod; but you could be from Canada.  Or the Wisconsin Synod.  Or a MicroSynod to be named later.

Dave Benke

As to your point a), Mr. Eivan already said that Dr. Kiweschnick was from the Springfield/Fort Wayne seminary ("the incumbent LCMS president and his predecessor both attended the same LCMS seminary").

Thank you.  I have never met Dr. Kiweschnick, but am certain he's a lovely man, an evangelical catholic of the first water.

Dave Benke

Wow, you found a typo in my post, you clever boy.  I guess that puts me in my place.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 24, 2020, 10:58:11 AM
Quote from:  James Eivan

    [size=78%]Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.[/size]


You saw no need for clarification of the first part of my statement ‘Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor’ ... why is the second part of that statement any less clear?   Simply put, there are men from both seminaries that I have been thankful to have as my pastor because they are faithful pastors ... there are others (who have never been my pastor) that I believe are less than faithful and therefore am thankful that they have never been my pastor.  Yes ... I am a life long member of the LCMS.

I’m genuinely interested in how then first part of the statement could be taken at face value, but the latter statement left you conclusions that differed from the first statement.


That makes more sense.  It seems to me that I'm not reading your comments thoroughly, which is too bad. 

I experienced a ton of the latter conclusion you arrived at, that you were thankful Pastor X or Y who was in your opinion not "faithful," was never your pastor.  The congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful often called pastors with whom they were not at all happy within a year or two.  Because their definition of faithful had eliminated attention to finding a pastor who actually provided pastoral care, so they weren't getting any, making them unhappy.  Unpacking faithful is important to the task of discernment by congregational leaders/members.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 24, 2020, 11:03:33 AM
It might be interesting for the sake of conversation for posters to submit 5 names
from the list of 44 presented. I submit the following:

Dr. Erik Herrmann
Dr. Jacob A.O.Preus III
Dr. Lawrence  Rast
Dr. Paul Grime
Dr. Joel Biermann

From my vantage point I believe it is possible  that at least two of these men
could be on the list of the final 5 for election.  Go ahead and submit your final five.

I think Larry Rast should definitely be on the list.  Jack III is a little bit long in the tooth, but for one full term would be an excellent bridge.  The two candidates from St. Louis are among a pretty long internal list - not sure how to prioritize them.  Paul Grime is a fine liturgics and worship teacher/professor, but I don't know if that translates into Seminary President.

Dien Taylor - Pastoral formation doctorate, urban missionary pastor, experience with boards of regents and fundraising, appointed by Synodical President to Mission Board, innovative,creative and pastoral/traditional all at the same time, in his 40s.  Lots to like there!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on January 24, 2020, 12:28:32 PM
My five:

Jeff Kloha- SL guy, good connections inside and outside the LCMS, disliked by some (which I take as a good thing.)
Reed Lessing- SL guy, serving in a parish now. 
Larry Rast- FW guy.  Saw an idea of having him be the one president for both seminaries with a new VP or Provost overseeing each campus.
Peter Scaer- FW guy.  Seems fearless in addressing social, cultural issues.  And doesn't just address, he gets involved.
Erik Herrmann- SL guy.  Across the hall neighbor in seminary.  Seems well-liked. 

Anyway, the right person will be chosen. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 24, 2020, 01:29:39 PM
Maybe, if we no longer need two seminaries, this would be good time to start dissolving the St Louis one. :)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on January 24, 2020, 01:49:01 PM
Kloha • Lessing • JAO Preus III

After those, the list of candidates that are either adequate for the task, or whose contribution to the Church through teaching or ecclesiastical leadership wouldn't be terribly harmed by being taken away from exerting their strengths, grows very, very short.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 24, 2020, 02:09:06 PM
Kloha • Lessing • JAO Preus III

After those, the list of candidates that are either adequate for the task, or whose contribution to the Church through teaching or ecclesiastical leadership wouldn't be terribly harmed by being taken away from exerting their strengths, grows very, very short.

Interesting suggestions and perspective.  I'm with you both on your list and on the shortness of the list of actually viable candidates.  Although I will keep putting Dr. Taylor out there.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 24, 2020, 03:20:36 PM
Dr. Reed Lessing is an outstanding Old Testament theologian who has authored 4 commentaries
in the Concordia Commentary series and co-authored an Introduction to the Old Testament.
As a professor at Concordia Seminary,  St. Louis  he was excellent in the classroom.  He is
now Senior pastor at a large church in Fort Wayne.

At the age of 60, Dr Lessing might be ready for one more challenge.  To be President of the
Concordia Seminary in St. Louis is a task he could carry out with great distinction. 
While a professor at the Seminary, he served as interim vice-president for student life and
director of the graduate school.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 24, 2020, 06:45:59 PM
I don't think I know any of the candidates well enough to have an opinion. Nor am I sure what qualifications carry over from teaching, parish ministry, research/scholarly work, advocacy/activism, and so forth into the largely administrative position of sem president.

So, like most pastors I would guess, I will say that whoever ends up in the position will enjoy my full confidence and support until and unless he does something to lose it. And the best way to lose it would be to sound an uncertain trumpet and give mealy-mouthed, equivocal non-statements on controversies or on the plan going forward. It is a leadership position in synod. I'm willing to be led. But I don't want to have to push a quaking leader, I want to be rallied and inspired. Can't always get what you want, I know, but that's what would be really nice from where I stand.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on January 24, 2020, 11:02:37 PM
Good thought Peter. Then I would say, if it were a campaign with an election, Scaer, Rast, and Lessing would be the ones. Scaer can be quite inspiring.

Jeremy

(You and Richard combined to make the most recent FL one of the best editions I have ever read, and I've subscribed since 2000. You both shared some incredibly personal accounts and it was very moving. Thank you for sharing that.)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 25, 2020, 12:58:14 PM
Good thought Peter. Then I would say, if it were a campaign with an election, Scaer, Rast, and Lessing would be the ones. Scaer can be quite inspiring.

Jeremy

(You and Richard combined to make the most recent FL one of the best editions I have ever read, and I've subscribed since 2000. You both shared some incredibly personal accounts and it was very moving. Thank you for sharing that.)

I would like to agree with the thought that the FL edition featuring Richard and Peter's articles was filled with the Spirit, and deeply appreciated by me.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: mariemeyer on January 25, 2020, 01:06:08 PM
Good thought Peter. Then I would say, if it were a campaign with an election, Scaer, Rast, and Lessing would be the ones. Scaer can be quite inspiring.

Jeremy

(You and Richard combined to make the most recent FL one of the best editions I have ever read, and I've subscribed since 2000. You both shared some incredibly personal accounts and it was very moving. Thank you for sharing that.)

 Jeremy

Which Scaer?  David or Peter ?

Yes, the latest FL was very moving. An important pro-live witness for us all.

Marie
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on January 25, 2020, 01:25:23 PM
Marie, it would be Peter.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on January 25, 2020, 04:14:11 PM
Good thought Peter. Then I would say, if it were a campaign with an election, Scaer, Rast, and Lessing would be the ones. Scaer can be quite inspiring.
Scaer must be much more impressive in person than in print; I've not found an article by him in the CTQ that has given me reason to use or return to it. I can't say they're bad, only entirely unmemorable.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 25, 2020, 04:29:59 PM
Reed Lessing served as the Theologian in Residence for Lutheran Services in America when I was on that board as the appointee of Presidents Kieschnick and Harrison.  The position, two years in duration as I remember it, was to provide devotional reflections, for one, but also to listen to the dialog of the board throughout each day of meeting and then bring theological and biblical insights to the work being undertaken or the conversations about bringing mercy and justice through the 300 agencies of LSA.  Reed's thoughts and reflections were not only spot on, but were right at that juncture where God's realms of grace and power intersect - a great listener and then one who could bring that in short order to words that pulled our various thoughts together.  It was memorable each and every time.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 25, 2020, 06:02:11 PM
Quote from:  James Eivan

    [size=78%]Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.[/size]


You saw no need for clarification of the first part of my statement ‘Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor’ ... why is the second part of that statement any less clear?   Simply put, there are men from both seminaries that I have been thankful to have as my pastor because they are faithful pastors ... there are others (who have never been my pastor) that I believe are less than faithful and therefore am thankful that they have never been my pastor.  Yes ... I am a life long member of the LCMS.

I’m genuinely interested in how then first part of the statement could be taken at face value, but the latter statement left you conclusions that differed from the first statement.


That makes more sense.  It seems to me that I'm not reading your comments thoroughly, which is too bad. 

I experienced a ton of the latter conclusion you arrived at, that you were thankful Pastor X or Y who was in your opinion not "faithful," was never your pastor.  The congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful often called pastors with whom they were not at all happy within a year or two.  Because their definition of faithful had eliminated attention to finding a pastor who actually provided pastoral care, so they weren't getting any, making them unhappy.  Unpacking faithful is important to the task of discernment by congregational leaders/members.

Dave Benke
I fear the point of my post is being missed ... or worse ... ignored.


My comments were prompted by your statement
Quote from: Dave Benke
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.
My posts in response to your statement above have consistently shown that the alma matter seminary of a pastor, synodical or seminary president is NOT a fair judge of character and/or predictor or the way one will lead.


You have attempted to introduce “bias” and now “congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful” into the discussion of how parsing can be useful in choosing a candidate for the CSL Presidency.


Perhaps to clarify one of my responses … Most LCMS forum participants would agree that that although the current LCMS president and his predecessor graduated from the same seminary, that is where the similarities end. How would ‘parsing’ as you suggest have predicted the many differences between these two men who attended the same seminary.?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 26, 2020, 12:55:07 PM
Quote from:  James Eivan

    [size=78%]Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.[/size]


You saw no need for clarification of the first part of my statement ‘Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor’ ... why is the second part of that statement any less clear?   Simply put, there are men from both seminaries that I have been thankful to have as my pastor because they are faithful pastors ... there are others (who have never been my pastor) that I believe are less than faithful and therefore am thankful that they have never been my pastor.  Yes ... I am a life long member of the LCMS.

I’m genuinely interested in how then first part of the statement could be taken at face value, but the latter statement left you conclusions that differed from the first statement.


That makes more sense.  It seems to me that I'm not reading your comments thoroughly, which is too bad. 

I experienced a ton of the latter conclusion you arrived at, that you were thankful Pastor X or Y who was in your opinion not "faithful," was never your pastor.  The congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful often called pastors with whom they were not at all happy within a year or two.  Because their definition of faithful had eliminated attention to finding a pastor who actually provided pastoral care, so they weren't getting any, making them unhappy.  Unpacking faithful is important to the task of discernment by congregational leaders/members.

Dave Benke
I fear the point of my post is being missed ... or worse ... ignored.


My comments were prompted by your statement
Quote from: Dave Benke
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.
My posts in response to your statement above have consistently shown that the alma matter seminary of a pastor, synodical or seminary president is NOT a fair judge of character and/or predictor or the way one will lead.


You have attempted to introduce “bias” and now “congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful” into the discussion of how parsing can be useful in choosing a candidate for the CSL Presidency.


Perhaps to clarify one of my responses … Most LCMS forum participants would agree that that although the current LCMS president and his predecessor graduated from the same seminary, that is where the similarities end. How would ‘parsing’ as you suggest have predicted the many differences between these two men who attended the same seminary.?

Are you calling one President "faithful," by your definition, and the other not faithful?  That's what it sounds like to me - "many differences, etc." - on what basis do you make that determination of faithfulness? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on January 26, 2020, 05:07:04 PM
Quote from:  James Eivan

    [size=78%]Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor … likewise I have been thankful not to call men from both seminaries my pastor.[/size]


You saw no need for clarification of the first part of my statement ‘Through my life I have been privileged to call men from both seminaries my pastor’ ... why is the second part of that statement any less clear?   Simply put, there are men from both seminaries that I have been thankful to have as my pastor because they are faithful pastors ... there are others (who have never been my pastor) that I believe are less than faithful and therefore am thankful that they have never been my pastor.  Yes ... I am a life long member of the LCMS.

I’m genuinely interested in how then first part of the statement could be taken at face value, but the latter statement left you conclusions that differed from the first statement.


That makes more sense.  It seems to me that I'm not reading your comments thoroughly, which is too bad. 

I experienced a ton of the latter conclusion you arrived at, that you were thankful Pastor X or Y who was in your opinion not "faithful," was never your pastor.  The congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful often called pastors with whom they were not at all happy within a year or two.  Because their definition of faithful had eliminated attention to finding a pastor who actually provided pastoral care, so they weren't getting any, making them unhappy.  Unpacking faithful is important to the task of discernment by congregational leaders/members.

Dave Benke
I fear the point of my post is being missed ... or worse ... ignored.


My comments were prompted by your statement
Quote from: Dave Benke
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.
My posts in response to your statement above have consistently shown that the alma matter seminary of a pastor, synodical or seminary president is NOT a fair judge of character and/or predictor or the way one will lead.


You have attempted to introduce “bias” and now “congregations consumed with calling on the basis of their definition of faithful” into the discussion of how parsing can be useful in choosing a candidate for the CSL Presidency.


Perhaps to clarify one of my responses … Most LCMS forum participants would agree that that although the current LCMS president and his predecessor graduated from the same seminary, that is where the similarities end. How would ‘parsing’ as you suggest have predicted the many differences between these two men who attended the same seminary.?

Are you calling one President "faithful," by your definition, and the other not faithful?  That's what it sounds like to me - "many differences, etc." - on what basis do you make that determination of faithfulness? 

Dave Benke
Again failing to address and defend your original post
Quote from: Dave Benke
There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.
At no time have I used ‘faithful’ in the same sentence OR paragraph that mentions ‘president’ ... but then you knew that. 
It is becoming more and more apparent that there is no valid need to parse as you have suggested[size=78%] [/size][/size]
Quote from: Dave Benke
[size=78%] There is a set of numbers out there to be parsed with regard to Fort Wayne.[/size]

or you would have eagerly addressed last question I have asked ... namely

Quote
How would ‘parsing’ as you suggest have predicted the many differences between these two men who attended the same seminary?
Let’s cut out the straw men you have attempted to introduce in your last two posts and address the parsing issue you have raised.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 26, 2020, 07:21:43 PM
As is so often the case, the passive voice causes the whole problem. If there is a set of numbers to be parsed, the only questions that matter are "parsed by whom?" and "for what purpose?" 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 26, 2020, 08:11:58 PM
As is so often the case, the passive voice causes the whole problem. If there is a set of numbers to be parsed, the only questions that matter are "parsed by whom?" and "for what purpose?"

If such numbers were to be parsed, in this case, I would personally parse them.  That should solve one third of the issue, that of the passive voice.  Secondly, the purpose of my potential parsing, Peter, would be proportionality, whether proper or improper.  Let's say there would be 132 elected or selected pastor positions elected or staff, and even though the percentage of St. Louis pastors is 63%, only 35% of those pastor positions produced St. Louis pastors.  That could be considered improper proportionality, or at least propounded as such.  Or not - Your Mileage, as they Say, May Vary.

Which brings us to the third and final proposition.  Since in the active tense I am claiming that the only person possibly parsing pastors is me, I can state actively that I am not going to personally parse the pastors for proper proportionality.  Not a priority, Peter.  No purpose.  I believe I've preached to what you propose as the "whole problem," Peter. 

I can also state that I am interested in the actual thread topic - who's going to be the next President of Concordia Seminary.  This diversion leads only to prayer, Peter, for the proper choice to be made for the position.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 26, 2020, 08:58:59 PM
As is so often the case, the passive voice causes the whole problem. If there is a set of numbers to be parsed, the only questions that matter are "parsed by whom?" and "for what purpose?"

If such numbers were to be parsed, in this case, I would personally parse them.  That should solve one third of the issue, that of the passive voice.  Secondly, the purpose of my potential parsing, Peter, would be proportionality, whether proper or improper.  Let's say there would be 132 elected or selected pastor positions elected or staff, and even though the percentage of St. Louis pastors is 63%, only 35% of those pastor positions produced St. Louis pastors.  That could be considered improper proportionality, or at least propounded as such.  Or not - Your Mileage, as they Say, May Vary.

Which brings us to the third and final proposition.  Since in the active tense I am claiming that the only person possibly parsing pastors is me, I can state actively that I am not going to personally parse the pastors for proper proportionality.  Not a priority, Peter.  No purpose.  I believe I've preached to what you propose as the "whole problem," Peter. 

I can also state that I am interested in the actual thread topic - who's going to be the next President of Concordia Seminary.  This diversion leads only to prayer, Peter, for the proper choice to be made for the position.

Dave Benke
Never have I been addressed, actively or passively, in a post so peppered with my name. Just so you all know, he wasn’t talking to you.

But I, too, am only interested in the topic, and agree that parsing numbers regarding respective seminaries is/would be an irrelevant waste of time best not brought up in the discussion, actively or passively. On we go... Or perhaps I should say, “Onward, David, we go.”
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on January 27, 2020, 10:02:05 AM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on January 27, 2020, 12:58:55 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 27, 2020, 01:21:14 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

No, RD, you should tell us what you know - you're running it, aren't you?  (Only kidding)  Or is it a brother or son or cousin or nephew? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 27, 2020, 01:35:20 PM
I run the machine. It's just that I take a very hands off approach so you guys probably aren't even aware that I am your puppet-master. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on January 27, 2020, 02:11:41 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

All I know is that every three years there is an anonymous list that is produced.  It has names for every position, and it says please vote for these people.  And the people on that list tend to win.  Other than the anonymity of it, which bothers me less than most around here, there is nothing nefarious about it.  But come now, we can call that what it is, which is a political operation.  That is all I meant.  There are certainly people on that list who are there because they have done good service in organizing the list.  In fact you might say that list is a small crack in the anonymity of the list.  I might make a bad crack about Harriet Miers or Abe Fortas being the national version of good political operatives that looked for appointments, but you'd also have to throw in Kavanaugh who is something of a throwback in that he was both political operative and deeply qualified.

But I guess I crossed the first rule of LCMS, don't talk about LCMS political operations.  If I stop, can I open the first Eastern District branch of the list? Start the journey to the inner ring?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on January 27, 2020, 03:36:53 PM
I run the machine. It's just that I take a very hands off approach so you guys probably aren't even aware that I am your puppet-master.

The LCMS could do worse . . .  ;D
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on January 27, 2020, 03:47:05 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

(emphasis mine)

This is really good. I see His Turn as a likely choice this go round since the electors are not apparently a philosophically united bunch. I happened to nominate a statement of change candidate or two, but I agree, we don't have the stomach for doing something on that level (we don't even have the stomach for choosing an Honest Achievement candidate) and, more importantly as you pointed out, these things come down to what we value. We value how we organize politically and we value giving due to who's "earned" it. Until recently, not unlike American government elections. Maybe we will catch up in another generation or so.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 27, 2020, 03:54:28 PM
What is an Agent of Change candidate likely to do that a His Turn candidate could or would not do?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 27, 2020, 04:23:24 PM
Outside of these somewhat vague categories, what exactly do we think the church would like in a new president of the St. Louis seminary?
--Do they simply want the status quo?
--Are they looking for an accomplished scholar? And what determines that? (terminal degree, published, etc.?)
--Do they want someone who is comfortable in the political sphere of Synod?
--Do they want someone who will support the current theological direction of Synod, or one who would challenge it? And if so, how much?
--Do they want someone who will work well with the sister seminary in Ft. Wayne, or someone who wants to work independently of them?

Drs. Meyer and Rast seem to have been able to work well together.  In the field there doesn't seem as much of the seminary rivalry as might have been evident in past years.  The seminaries are different; no one will deny that.  But does the church want a leader who desires to keep a distinction from the other seminary?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on January 27, 2020, 06:36:10 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

All I know is that every three years there is an anonymous list that is produced.  It has names for every position, and it says please vote for these people.  And the people on that list tend to win.  Other than the anonymity of it, which bothers me less than most around here, there is nothing nefarious about it.  But come now, we can call that what it is, which is a political operation.  That is all I meant.  There are certainly people on that list who are there because they have done good service in organizing the list.  In fact you might say that list is a small crack in the anonymity of the list.  I might make a bad crack about Harriet Miers or Abe Fortas being the national version of good political operatives that looked for appointments, but you'd also have to throw in Kavanaugh who is something of a throwback in that he was both political operative and deeply qualified.

But I guess I crossed the first rule of LCMS, don't talk about LCMS political operations.  If I stop, can I open the first Eastern District branch of the list? Start the journey to the inner ring?

What makes you think that any Preus has anything to do with making that list?  I have spoken publicly against using the "United List" or any other list for years.  I think those anonymous king makers should go out of business, along with every other political interest group in the LCMS.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on January 27, 2020, 06:58:22 PM
What is an Agent of Change candidate likely to do that a His Turn candidate could or would not do?

That is a great question, and part of the reason I didn't say "agent of change" but "statement of change".  I don't know exactly how much change would be allowed by our institutions. But I think the names I put there would each signal a type of change.

For example I would think that Taylor would signal openness or desire to take CSL in a more cosmopolitan or might I say Evangelical Catholic direction.  Rast uniquely might signal an openness to moving toward one Seminary or structuring it all differently.  Herrmann I put in that column simply because he would signal the willingness to give leadership to a younger generation.  Maybe even the openness to giving actual authority to what remains in a younger generation.  All of those I would think are necessary things, but being Missouri we won't do anything like that until much too late and forced to by finances.

As far as the difference from a "His Turn" it would be in baby steps.  Unless a "his turn" type had a few surprises up their sleeve, most of them are getting the position as a victory lap.  The goal is merely to use the network built over a lifetime to keep the status quo being the status quo.  The change type would be allowed to investigate and make suggestions as to actual changes to confront the institution's changing environment.

But I completely agree with Matt's comments below.  I doubt we have the stomach for any non-status-quo leadership.  We just don't value such things.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on January 27, 2020, 07:01:10 PM
Dr. Lawerence Rast Jr. wrote an article entitled: "J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman
or both?" in the CTQ Volume 74, 2010.

He wrote about: "a well-organized, powerful and very effective conservative movement
which got J.A.O. Preus elected to the presidency of the LCMS in 1969.  With key figures
like Cameron MacKenzie, Waldo Werning, Herman Otten, Karl Barth & Ralph Bohlmann
along with laymen Fred Rutz, Chet Swanson, Larry Marquardt, and Glen Peglau."

My point is that whether you call it a movement or a machine this particular group
achieved its goal of electing Jack Preus as LCMS President.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 27, 2020, 07:27:39 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

All I know is that every three years there is an anonymous list that is produced.  It has names for every position, and it says please vote for these people.  And the people on that list tend to win.  Other than the anonymity of it, which bothers me less than most around here, there is nothing nefarious about it.  But come now, we can call that what it is, which is a political operation.  That is all I meant.  There are certainly people on that list who are there because they have done good service in organizing the list.  In fact you might say that list is a small crack in the anonymity of the list.  I might make a bad crack about Harriet Miers or Abe Fortas being the national version of good political operatives that looked for appointments, but you'd also have to throw in Kavanaugh who is something of a throwback in that he was both political operative and deeply qualified.

But I guess I crossed the first rule of LCMS, don't talk about LCMS political operations.  If I stop, can I open the first Eastern District branch of the list? Start the journey to the inner ring?

What makes you think that any Preus has anything to do with making that list?  I have spoken publicly against using the "United List" or any other list for years.  I think those anonymous king makers should go out of business, along with every other political interest group in the LCMS.

This is exactly what the Master Machinist would write, though, don't you think, RD? 
"I've long been opposed to shenanigans," stated Dr. Shenanigan, in the company of the ten little Shenanigans, who nodded their curly heads in agreement.

(again, only kidding)

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 27, 2020, 09:01:31 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

All I know is that every three years there is an anonymous list that is produced.  It has names for every position, and it says please vote for these people.  And the people on that list tend to win.  Other than the anonymity of it, which bothers me less than most around here, there is nothing nefarious about it.  But come now, we can call that what it is, which is a political operation.  That is all I meant.  There are certainly people on that list who are there because they have done good service in organizing the list.  In fact you might say that list is a small crack in the anonymity of the list.  I might make a bad crack about Harriet Miers or Abe Fortas being the national version of good political operatives that looked for appointments, but you'd also have to throw in Kavanaugh who is something of a throwback in that he was both political operative and deeply qualified.

But I guess I crossed the first rule of LCMS, don't talk about LCMS political operations.  If I stop, can I open the first Eastern District branch of the list? Start the journey to the inner ring?

What makes you think that any Preus has anything to do with making that list?  I have spoken publicly against using the "United List" or any other list for years.  I think those anonymous king makers should go out of business, along with every other political interest group in the LCMS.

This is exactly what the Master Machinist would write, though, don't you think, RD? 
"I've long been opposed to shenanigans," stated Dr. Shenanigan, in the company of the ten little Shenanigans, who nodded their curly heads in agreement.

(again, only kidding)

Dave Benke

Dr. Benke,

Your words kind of remind me of psychology class in college, when the professor was describing Freud and his Oedipus complex.  If you admit you want to kill your father and marry your mother, it proves Freud's claim.  And if you deny it, it also proves it because it shows you are in denial.

Person 1: "You favor the Machine and are part of it"
Person 2: "No, I am not and I decry its alleged methods"
Person 1: "That proves you are guilty!"

Or, to use another cliche: damned it you do, damned if you don't.  So, why bother?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 28, 2020, 03:10:38 PM
I like looking at these things as temperature and blood pressure checks on the institutional body.  In this group there appear to be 4 types of candidates. There might be more and the types overlap.  But the eventual choice tells is an exercise in revealed preference, what the institution values.

Political Machine: Noland, any of the Preus
His Turn: WAM3, DPE Maier
Honest Achievement: Lessing, Kloha, Biermann
Statement of Change: Taylor, Rast, Herrmann

I don't know the names well enough to sort everything, and it wouldn't be a meaningful exercise.  It's a heuristic/back of the envelope thing.  But, being Missouri, we typically choose from the first two.  Sometimes that overlaps with honest Achievement.  It did quite often in much earlier decades.  We rarely make a real statement of change.  Although an honest leader is most likely to come from those last two types.

What do you know about this political machine?  Who runs it?  Where do you get your information about it?  Please, tell us what you know.

All I know is that every three years there is an anonymous list that is produced.  It has names for every position, and it says please vote for these people.  And the people on that list tend to win.  Other than the anonymity of it, which bothers me less than most around here, there is nothing nefarious about it.  But come now, we can call that what it is, which is a political operation.  That is all I meant.  There are certainly people on that list who are there because they have done good service in organizing the list.  In fact you might say that list is a small crack in the anonymity of the list.  I might make a bad crack about Harriet Miers or Abe Fortas being the national version of good political operatives that looked for appointments, but you'd also have to throw in Kavanaugh who is something of a throwback in that he was both political operative and deeply qualified.

But I guess I crossed the first rule of LCMS, don't talk about LCMS political operations.  If I stop, can I open the first Eastern District branch of the list? Start the journey to the inner ring?

What makes you think that any Preus has anything to do with making that list?  I have spoken publicly against using the "United List" or any other list for years.  I think those anonymous king makers should go out of business, along with every other political interest group in the LCMS.

This is exactly what the Master Machinist would write, though, don't you think, RD? 
"I've long been opposed to shenanigans," stated Dr. Shenanigan, in the company of the ten little Shenanigans, who nodded their curly heads in agreement.

(again, only kidding)

Dave Benke

Dr. Benke,

Your words kind of remind me of psychology class in college, when the professor was describing Freud and his Oedipus complex.  If you admit you want to kill your father and marry your mother, it proves Freud's claim.  And if you deny it, it also proves it because it shows you are in denial.

Person 1: "You favor the Machine and are part of it"
Person 2: "No, I am not and I decry its alleged methods"
Person 1: "That proves you are guilty!"

Or, to use another cliche: damned it you do, damned if you don't.  So, why bother?

Or, you could read the final line, which is "again, only kidding."  Sorry you didn't catch that. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 28, 2020, 04:59:16 PM
Dr. Benke,

Oh, I read the last line.  But I found it unconvincing.  It doesn't quite cut it to insult/impugn another and then try to excuse yourself with a "just kidding".  It's very Austin-esque.  Which is NOT a compliment.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 28, 2020, 07:59:56 PM
Dr. Benke,

Oh, I read the last line.  But I found it unconvincing.  It doesn't quite cut it to insult/impugn another and then try to excuse yourself with a "just kidding".  It's very Austin-esque.  Which is NOT a compliment.

Except if the person is actually kidding.  Does it seem logical or even remotely possible to you that RD is part of an election-and-power machine in the Missouri Synod?  If it does, then you are a rarer bird than I have heretofore thought you to be.  Then you're a guy for whom kidding is not an option.  But of course, I wasn't kidding around with you to begin with.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on January 28, 2020, 10:05:21 PM
Dr. Benke,

Oh, I read the last line.  But I found it unconvincing.  It doesn't quite cut it to insult/impugn another and then try to excuse yourself with a "just kidding".  It's very Austin-esque.  Which is NOT a compliment.

Except if the person is actually kidding.  Does it seem logical or even remotely possible to you that RD is part of an election-and-power machine in the Missouri Synod?  If it does, then you are a rarer bird than I have heretofore thought you to be.  Then you're a guy for whom kidding is not an option.  But of course, I wasn't kidding around with you to begin with.

Dave Benke

It doesn't matter if it seems "logical" or "remotely possible" to me; I did not make the accusation that "any of the Preus" were part of some alleged Machine (Rev. Brown) or feed it (that would be you).  My post was directed at you and your passive-aggressive habit of insulting/name-calling and then pretending it was only a joke.  You've done it to me here on this board; Rev. Preus even addressed it at one time.  Be a man and say what you mean, without dropping your bombs and then hiding behind a claim of "only" trying to be funny.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 28, 2020, 10:09:39 PM
Dr. Benke,

Oh, I read the last line.  But I found it unconvincing.  It doesn't quite cut it to insult/impugn another and then try to excuse yourself with a "just kidding".  It's very Austin-esque.  Which is NOT a compliment.

Except if the person is actually kidding.  Does it seem logical or even remotely possible to you that RD is part of an election-and-power machine in the Missouri Synod?  If it does, then you are a rarer bird than I have heretofore thought you to be.  Then you're a guy for whom kidding is not an option.  But of course, I wasn't kidding around with you to begin with.

Dave Benke

It doesn't matter if it makes sense to me; I did not make the accusation that "any of the Preus" were part of some alleged Machine (Rev. Brown) or feed it (that would be you).  My post was directed at you and your passive-aggressive habit of insulting/name-calling and then pretending it was only a joke.  You've done it to me here on this board; Rev. Preus even addressed it at one time.  Be a man and say what you mean, without dropping your bombs and then hiding behind a claim of "only" trying to be funny.

Yipes.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on January 29, 2020, 07:55:57 AM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 29, 2020, 01:08:55 PM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

Good list.  How about process?

Having gone through a bundle of CEO/Leader searches from a board perspective, and having gone through some from the perspective of the person being considered, the face to face and on site portion of the process is in my estimation critical and should be extensive.  The fewer candidates there are in the winnowing process, the more time should be spent in depth and in person.  How would one ascertain that the qualities you outline are or are not present in a candidate?  I think that comes through face to face and even one on one interviewing, from formal to informal.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 29, 2020, 02:00:16 PM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

Good list.  How about process?

Having gone through a bundle of CEO/Leader searches from a board perspective, and having gone through some from the perspective of the person being considered, the face to face and on site portion of the process is in my estimation critical and should be extensive.  The fewer candidates there are in the winnowing process, the more time should be spent in depth and in person.  How would one ascertain that the qualities you outline are or are not present in a candidate?  I think that comes through face to face and even one on one interviewing, from formal to informal.

Dave Benke
The latest Malcolm Gladwell book acknowledges that your instinct on the importance of face to face interaction in decision making is the normal default among serious people and seems to be common sense. But his thesis, persuasively argued, is that it is deeply flawed and leads to less efficient decision-making. It leads astray at least as often (probably more often) than it leads to a better decision.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on January 29, 2020, 02:32:37 PM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

Good list.  How about process?

Having gone through a bundle of CEO/Leader searches from a board perspective, and having gone through some from the perspective of the person being considered, the face to face and on site portion of the process is in my estimation critical and should be extensive.  The fewer candidates there are in the winnowing process, the more time should be spent in depth and in person.  How would one ascertain that the qualities you outline are or are not present in a candidate?  I think that comes through face to face and even one on one interviewing, from formal to informal.

Dave Benke
The latest Malcolm Gladwell book acknowledges that your instinct on the importance of face to face interaction in decision making is the normal default among serious people and seems to be common sense. But his thesis, persuasively argued, is that it is deeply flawed and leads to less efficient decision-making. It leads astray at least as often (probably more often) than it leads to a better decision.

Here's a link to an interview with Malcolm Gladwell about what Peter mentions: https://youtu.be/hIgm5ap3SPM (https://youtu.be/hIgm5ap3SPM). It is fascinating and also explains why certain leaders end up being so destructive.  I think it also helps to explain why certain personalities often end up in such positions.

Also, I know of one example that certainly proves Gladwell's point and disproves Pastor B's point.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on January 29, 2020, 02:42:48 PM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

Good list.  How about process?

Having gone through a bundle of CEO/Leader searches from a board perspective, and having gone through some from the perspective of the person being considered, the face to face and on site portion of the process is in my estimation critical and should be extensive.  The fewer candidates there are in the winnowing process, the more time should be spent in depth and in person.  How would one ascertain that the qualities you outline are or are not present in a candidate?  I think that comes through face to face and even one on one interviewing, from formal to informal.

Dave Benke
The latest Malcolm Gladwell book acknowledges that your instinct on the importance of face to face interaction in decision making is the normal default among serious people and seems to be common sense. But his thesis, persuasively argued, is that it is deeply flawed and leads to less efficient decision-making. It leads astray at least as often (probably more often) than it leads to a better decision.

Back in MBA school, which is getting a long time ago now (1998), all the HR type classes argued that there was one thing they knew for a fact, and one thing that they would never be able to implement.  The fact was that interviews were the worst form of information gathering and most often harmful to the hiring process, yet they knew they would never be able to convince any business to stop doing them or even just reduce them to what they were useful for which was an intuitional veto over "I can't work with this person".  They would also tend to add that the intuitional veto might be helpful, but it was also completely indefensible from a diversity standpoint.  All kinds of adverse selection.

Although for this type of role, my guess is that the face to face is more about letting everyone get exactly that intuition.  Is the guy who he appears to be and his decision making process predictable, or will it be impossible to for everyone that has to follow to do so?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on January 29, 2020, 03:03:29 PM
That's interesting, counter-intuitive.  Which I guess is the point - intuition can be a bummer.  I will say that those who can manipulate an interview have an advantage; in positions that call for a lot of human interaction, there's also probably a pre-set toward more loquacious extroverts and away from the introverted, even though the introverted person might have better data on file. 

I'm not convinced yet on face to face being a bad thing.  Just thinking it through.

In terms of support staff or certification-specific positions, I suppose the resume with background check might suffice. 

Old school me would want to have a beer or share a meal with someone who's going to come on board on the informal level.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on January 29, 2020, 03:19:40 PM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

This might be one of my most inflammatory opinions.  But points 1-6 are largely about formation.  Who is the person?   We tend to be bi-polar on this.  It either is meaningless discrimination if it hits us or our tribes, or it is absolutely necessary, if we control the list of what formation we are looking for or at least the system of judging.  Of course what such a division typically means is that there are two peoples/groups vying for one set of controls, and a division is probably a better choice.

But the inflammatory part would be on points 7-10.  The Jethro system, and really almost any system prior to modern communications, had a lot more authority entrusted, and entrusted a lot further outwards in the networks.  Because we've moved from a high trust to a low trust society, we've tried restricting the authority entrusted.  Which has caused it to flow inward and become much more centralized.  Which has turned into a polarizing spiral of mistrust.  Now Moses had the authority to do #7.  I don't see a Moses around.  What is really called for is an act of followership.  A strong dose of #8.  Actually entrust them with authority (even if they are not your guy and you might disagree).  A dance between points 1, 4, and 10.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on January 29, 2020, 03:29:42 PM
As I mentioned upstream, I think the next process task would be a prioritized list of what the seminary needs from this leadership position.

When that is done, they could rank resumes against the needed qualities. That would likely help them eliminate candidates so they could focus on finalists.

Next, you check references to see what others say about the persons. For a position like this, you would need to talk with people who work with them whom they did not list as references, especially persons who have had to report to them (e.g., assistants).

At that point, you might be prepared for a face to face interview.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on January 29, 2020, 04:12:28 PM
That's interesting, counter-intuitive.  Which I guess is the point - intuition can be a bummer.  I will say that those who can manipulate an interview have an advantage; in positions that call for a lot of human interaction, there's also probably a pre-set toward more loquacious extroverts and away from the introverted, even though the introverted person might have better data on file. 

I'm not convinced yet on face to face being a bad thing.  Just thinking it through.

In terms of support staff or certification-specific positions, I suppose the resume with background check might suffice. 

Old school me would want to have a beer or share a meal with someone who's going to come on board on the informal level.

Dave Benke

I don’t think it is bad per se but I think more damage is done than realized through this “common sense” process.  I think we can think of it in terms of dating.  Physical attraction is a strong factor but after a few dates or some months it usually doesn’t suffice for the long term.  It’s the truth of the old adage: “beauty is barely skin deep.”  There needs to be depth in order for something to be worthwhile, to have lasting power and impact. 

Just an addition…

There are some “common sense” processes that seem to be givens that are not so.  For example, the common assumption that the persons with the toughest and most stressful jobs are the ones at the top like CEOs is actually not true.  Rather it is those in the middle and below because they have less independence and autonomy in their day to day jobs which has a significant impact on one’s happiness and contentment.  Johann Hari delves into this in his great book “Lost Connections.”  Similar to Malcolm Gladwell, he uses compelling data and evidence via evolutionary biology to back this up.  I highly recommend his book as it helps to make sense of addiction, depression, and the rising suicide rates.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 01, 2020, 07:32:45 AM
Much of the discussion here is about horse race politics, who has the inside track. I'll try to offer something different to think about.

While reading through the Bible this year, I've come across Jethro's comments to Moses about leadership (Exodus 18). Here are qualities that Jethro notes, which Moses takes to heart:

1. Listen to wise counsel (v. 19).
2. Represent the people before God (intercede; v. 19).
3. Make known the way of the Lord (v. 20).
4. Look for able men drawn broadly from among the people to serve with you (v. 21).
5. Men who fear God (v. 21).
6. Men who are trustworthy and hate a bribe (v. 21).
7. Organize them (v. 21).
8. Let them exercise their judgement (v. 22).
9. Have them report to you as needed (v. 23).
10. Serve together with peace as a goal (v. 23).

Who best embodies and lives out these qualities? Such a person might be the best qualified to address the needs at the seminary at this time. (I'll let someone else list the seminary needs, though I would guess that having more students would be near the top of that list.)

This might be one of my most inflammatory opinions.  But points 1-6 are largely about formation.  Who is the person?   We tend to be bi-polar on this.  It either is meaningless discrimination if it hits us or our tribes, or it is absolutely necessary, if we control the list of what formation we are looking for or at least the system of judging.  Of course what such a division typically means is that there are two peoples/groups vying for one set of controls, and a division is probably a better choice.

But the inflammatory part would be on points 7-10.  The Jethro system, and really almost any system prior to modern communications, had a lot more authority entrusted, and entrusted a lot further outwards in the networks.  Because we've moved from a high trust to a low trust society, we've tried restricting the authority entrusted.  Which has caused it to flow inward and become much more centralized.  Which has turned into a polarizing spiral of mistrust.  Now Moses had the authority to do #7.  I don't see a Moses around.  What is really called for is an act of followership.  A strong dose of #8.  Actually entrust them with authority (even if they are not your guy and you might disagree).  A dance between points 1, 4, and 10.

Mark, I'm not sure what is inflammatory here. Can you clarify?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 01, 2020, 09:09:41 AM
I’m not really sure the analysis holds. In the Jethro system, everybody unquestionably deferred to Moses. The delegated authority could be delegated outward in trust because there was no question any of the authority did not derive from Moses’ authority, which he received from God. So those receiving authority from Moses had one job— do what Moses would do if he had time to do everything.

Our organizational structures tend to be based on the assumption of competing agendas within the system. We don’t have autocrats. The one in the highest position cannot delegate authority in comparable way to the way Moses did so unless the one receiving that delegated authority sincerely puts his own preferences and agenda aside, and works in good faith to advance ideas or goals he may not agree with. Since few people are willing to do that, but nearly everyone is willing to say they are a team player, trust between the one in charge and the ones representing him or working in his name has to be constantly reinforced.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 01, 2020, 09:49:27 AM
I’m not really sure the analysis holds. In the Jethro system, everybody unquestionably deferred to Moses. The delegated authority could be delegated outward in trust because there was no question any of the authority did not derive from Moses’ authority, which he received from God. So those receiving authority from Moses had one job— do what Moses would do if he had time to do everything.

Our organizational structures tend to be based on the assumption of competing agendas within the system. We don’t have autocrats. The one in the highest position cannot delegate authority in comparable way to the way Moses did so unless the one receiving that delegated authority sincerely puts his own preferences and agenda aside, and works in good faith to advance ideas or goals he may not agree with. Since few people are willing to do that, but nearly everyone is willing to say they are a team player, trust between the one in charge and the ones representing him or working in his name has to be constantly reinforced.

If you read the books of Moses again I think you'll find that Moses's authority was questioned repeatedly. The people of Israel did not unquestioningly follow the word of Moses, or God's Word. That is one of the major themes of the Old Testament.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 01, 2020, 10:54:43 PM
I’m not really sure the analysis holds. In the Jethro system, everybody unquestionably deferred to Moses. The delegated authority could be delegated outward in trust because there was no question any of the authority did not derive from Moses’ authority, which he received from God. So those receiving authority from Moses had one job— do what Moses would do if he had time to do everything.

Our organizational structures tend to be based on the assumption of competing agendas within the system. We don’t have autocrats. The one in the highest position cannot delegate authority in comparable way to the way Moses did so unless the one receiving that delegated authority sincerely puts his own preferences and agenda aside, and works in good faith to advance ideas or goals he may not agree with. Since few people are willing to do that, but nearly everyone is willing to say they are a team player, trust between the one in charge and the ones representing him or working in his name has to be constantly reinforced.

If you read the books of Moses again I think you'll find that Moses's authority was questioned repeatedly. The people of Israel did not unquestioningly follow the word of Moses, or God's Word. That is one of the major themes of the Old Testament.
Of course. But that wasn’t by design. It was sin in action.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 02, 2020, 06:15:22 AM
I’m not really sure the analysis holds. In the Jethro system, everybody unquestionably deferred to Moses. The delegated authority could be delegated outward in trust because there was no question any of the authority did not derive from Moses’ authority, which he received from God. So those receiving authority from Moses had one job— do what Moses would do if he had time to do everything.

Our organizational structures tend to be based on the assumption of competing agendas within the system. We don’t have autocrats. The one in the highest position cannot delegate authority in comparable way to the way Moses did so unless the one receiving that delegated authority sincerely puts his own preferences and agenda aside, and works in good faith to advance ideas or goals he may not agree with. Since few people are willing to do that, but nearly everyone is willing to say they are a team player, trust between the one in charge and the ones representing him or working in his name has to be constantly reinforced.

If you read the books of Moses again I think you'll find that Moses's authority was questioned repeatedly. The people of Israel did not unquestioningly follow the word of Moses, or God's Word. That is one of the major themes of the Old Testament.
Of course. But that wasn’t by design. It was sin in action.

Ironically, it's the ability to ask and answer questions that makes good, productive leadership. We see the OT saints often asking questions of God, even more often making requests of Him. In those dialogues between leader and those led is where productive answers emerge. Leadership that does not allow questioning, that only dictates, sets itself up for failure. God shows Himself to be a strong leader precisely because He engages with us.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 02, 2020, 10:36:19 AM
There is no way to replicate the authority that Moses had. To oppose him was to oppose God and invite wrath. I just don’t think there is much parallel between the way he could delegate and the way a leader in an organizational system today does.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 02, 2020, 04:23:41 PM
Demands of the real job caught up to me and I'm just getting back to the thread.

As far as inflammatory, the point #8 - "let them exercise judgement", is what I really meant.  In any continental nation, or continental church, there are going to be differences.  And the standing of those differences is best judged by those closest.  Even if the hierarch might disagree with a decision, the wise one would defend the right to make it.  A free people rules themselves through the political process, not through turning every decision into a never ending judicial appeal process.  The second part of that, the implication, is that we seem to have lost the ability to have both sides of "have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with each other".  Not that their aren't times for division, but by centralizing everything, everything has become of cause of division.  A person in office needs to have the ability to carry out or support things they might not personally agree with.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2020, 08:43:57 AM
Demands of the real job caught up to me and I'm just getting back to the thread.

As far as inflammatory, the point #8 - "let them exercise judgement", is what I really meant.  In any continental nation, or continental church, there are going to be differences.  And the standing of those differences is best judged by those closest.  Even if the hierarch might disagree with a decision, the wise one would defend the right to make it.  A free people rules themselves through the political process, not through turning every decision into a never ending judicial appeal process.  The second part of that, the implication, is that we seem to have lost the ability to have both sides of "have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with each other".  Not that their aren't times for division, but by centralizing everything, everything has become of cause of division. A person in office needs to have the ability to carry out or support things they might not personally agree with.

The Missouri Synod church-political world was termed "byzantine" by a learned observer some years back, namely Leonard Klein (+) commenting for alpb.  And Walt Rosin, at one time the Secretary of the LCMS, who passed away just last week, called it an "intricate system of checks and balances" to arriving District Presidents in the early 90s - I was one of those. 

A major centralization that has disintegrated some of the checks and balances transpired in 2010 as part of the restructuring process.  So there are many more appointments from the synodical president's office to various boards.  In the process of selection for the seminary president, even though the faculty is deeply involved, the final voting comes down to the four vote-taking individuals or entities.  Today they're far more influenced by that centralized restructuring than they were in the past.  Irrespective of church-political "party affiliation," the synodical president's office has an outsized role.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 03, 2020, 08:46:36 AM
So is there a hidden 'sunset clause' in the restructuring of 2010?  Or is there a way that the Synod in convention can give that restructuring a "vote of no confidence?  BRTFSSGexit?  ;-)

Jeremy
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2020, 09:11:54 AM
So is there a hidden 'sunset clause' in the restructuring of 2010?  Or is there a way that the Synod in convention can give that restructuring a "vote of no confidence?  BRTFSSGexit?  ;-)

Jeremy

I think what should have been done is a two cycle (6 year) evaluation by yet another Blue Ribbon Task Force.  That could become a four cycle eval. if someone puts it on the docket for 2022, which would mean a five cycle next step.  That would be a complicated way to do it.  The other way would be to go through it and send in resolutions to end X or Y and replace with Z and A, or whatever.  I don't think that would work, though.  However, I don't really think there's much energy to do anything by anybody at this stage of the Missouri Synod game.

As a participant for a quarter century, I enjoyed the byzantine intricacies, because there was a ton of actual and consequential dialog when it came to important selections.  There were many 2-2 votes which meant back to the drawing board, and at the next round another 2-2 vote in which the voters changed sides, stuff like that.  That flow of conversation was the key inside the prayerful consideration.  Today there's a lot more (it seems to me) calling for executive session with less consequential conversation, just leveraged votes.

More sadly, less and less people care about any of it even though both the process and the end result matter.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 03, 2020, 10:37:33 AM
So is there a hidden 'sunset clause' in the restructuring of 2010?  Or is there a way that the Synod in convention can give that restructuring a "vote of no confidence?  BRTFSSGexit?  ;-)

Jeremy

I think what should have been done is a two cycle (6 year) evaluation by yet another Blue Ribbon Task Force.  That could become a four cycle eval. if someone puts it on the docket for 2022, which would mean a five cycle next step.  That would be a complicated way to do it.  The other way would be to go through it and send in resolutions to end X or Y and replace with Z and A, or whatever.  I don't think that would work, though.  However, I don't really think there's much energy to do anything by anybody at this stage of the Missouri Synod game.

As a participant for a quarter century, I enjoyed the byzantine intricacies, because there was a ton of actual and consequential dialog when it came to important selections.  There were many 2-2 votes which meant back to the drawing board, and at the next round another 2-2 vote in which the voters changed sides, stuff like that.  That flow of conversation was the key inside the prayerful consideration.  Today there's a lot more (it seems to me) calling for executive session with less consequential conversation, just leveraged votes.

More sadly, less and less people care about any of it even though both the process and the end result matter.

Dave Benke
When systems don't work, the answer is to centralize, and when it turns they still don't work, the answer is to decentralize everything. It is Simple Harmonic Motion lacking in simplicity or harmony. It is just motion.

I was listening to a book on tape recently called Atomic Habits, and it differentiated between motion and action. Mere motion is the stuff you do toward a goal without actually having to do the hard part of doing it. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, you might set that in motion by perusing treadmills online and making a decision on which one to purchase. You might make an appointment with a trainer to get a good workout recommendation. You might read up on diets, and clear out a space in your basement for exercise. You might make a weekly schedule that treats workouts like appointments so as to keep the time clear. In doing all that, you have done precisely nothing that actually gets you in shape. It is all motion, no action. The problem is that it feels like progress. You tell yourself that you're on the road to getting in shape and get the chemical rush of having accomplished something without doing anything.

All motion, no action is what I think when I hear the phrase Blue Ribbon Task Force. We'll kid ourselves for a few years that we're making progress, we're working on it, and so forth, and when it is done, we will set up another task force to figure out to undo the recommendations of this task force We'll be working on it. We'll be getting there. But real life in the synod will go on as though there are, never have been, and never will be, any task forces. And that's because nobody is willing to be told what to do by people they disagree with, and do it with a good attitude. So every task force will either reinforce what you already knew or suspected was wrong with those other people or else prove to be an ineffective task force. What it won't do is change your practice.

What action (per the definition above) as opposed to mere motion, would anyone hope to see as a result of a task force? And what problem would that action solve?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2020, 12:07:48 PM
So is there a hidden 'sunset clause' in the restructuring of 2010?  Or is there a way that the Synod in convention can give that restructuring a "vote of no confidence?  BRTFSSGexit?  ;-)

Jeremy

I think what should have been done is a two cycle (6 year) evaluation by yet another Blue Ribbon Task Force.  That could become a four cycle eval. if someone puts it on the docket for 2022, which would mean a five cycle next step.  That would be a complicated way to do it.  The other way would be to go through it and send in resolutions to end X or Y and replace with Z and A, or whatever.  I don't think that would work, though.  However, I don't really think there's much energy to do anything by anybody at this stage of the Missouri Synod game.

As a participant for a quarter century, I enjoyed the byzantine intricacies, because there was a ton of actual and consequential dialog when it came to important selections.  There were many 2-2 votes which meant back to the drawing board, and at the next round another 2-2 vote in which the voters changed sides, stuff like that.  That flow of conversation was the key inside the prayerful consideration.  Today there's a lot more (it seems to me) calling for executive session with less consequential conversation, just leveraged votes.

More sadly, less and less people care about any of it even though both the process and the end result matter.

Dave Benke
When systems don't work, the answer is to centralize, and when it turns they still don't work, the answer is to decentralize everything. It is Simple Harmonic Motion lacking in simplicity or harmony. It is just motion.

I was listening to a book on tape recently called Atomic Habits, and it differentiated between motion and action. Mere motion is the stuff you do toward a goal without actually having to do the hard part of doing it. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, you might set that in motion by perusing treadmills online and making a decision on which one to purchase. You might make an appointment with a trainer to get a good workout recommendation. You might read up on diets, and clear out a space in your basement for exercise. You might make a weekly schedule that treats workouts like appointments so as to keep the time clear. In doing all that, you have done precisely nothing that actually gets you in shape. It is all motion, no action. The problem is that it feels like progress. You tell yourself that you're on the road to getting in shape and get the chemical rush of having accomplished something without doing anything.

All motion, no action is what I think when I hear the phrase Blue Ribbon Task Force. We'll kid ourselves for a few years that we're making progress, we're working on it, and so forth, and when it is done, we will set up another task force to figure out to undo the recommendations of this task force We'll be working on it. We'll be getting there. But real life in the synod will go on as though there are, never have been, and never will be, any task forces. And that's because nobody is willing to be told what to do by people they disagree with, and do it with a good attitude. So every task force will either reinforce what you already knew or suspected was wrong with those other people or else prove to be an ineffective task force. What it won't do is change your practice.

What action (per the definition above) as opposed to mere motion, would anyone hope to see as a result of a task force? And what problem would that action solve?

That's it in a nutshell. 

Pretty much the same could be said of the Koinonia Project.  The "solution" to that would have been, in Mark's words from a prior post, to, ""have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with each other".  There was a lot of motion for about four of the nine years spent on that project, and pretty much everyone went back to their corners.  Was the solution reached?  I think less that, than people just resolved to keep avoiding those they wanted to avoid, and hanging out with those they wanted to hang out with.  So the Confessional Study Group folks meet in the same zip codes that the Best Practices folks use, but at different times and dates.

In terms of a bureaucratic process for evaluating structure, the best way for that to happen is to imbed it in the bones of the resolution, so that if fine-tuning is needed - in this case, let's say, to move back from the degree of centralization now in force - it could be accomplished without much fanfare over say two convention cycles.  Of course, that depends on how highly politicized things are - the more that's the case, the less likely any change is to becoming reality, because it's viewed as a hostile incursion or a regaining of ground lost rather than a normal organizational process.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 03, 2020, 01:05:47 PM
So is there a hidden 'sunset clause' in the restructuring of 2010?  Or is there a way that the Synod in convention can give that restructuring a "vote of no confidence?  BRTFSSGexit?  ;-)

Jeremy

I think what should have been done is a two cycle (6 year) evaluation by yet another Blue Ribbon Task Force.  That could become a four cycle eval. if someone puts it on the docket for 2022, which would mean a five cycle next step.  That would be a complicated way to do it.  The other way would be to go through it and send in resolutions to end X or Y and replace with Z and A, or whatever.  I don't think that would work, though.  However, I don't really think there's much energy to do anything by anybody at this stage of the Missouri Synod game.

As a participant for a quarter century, I enjoyed the byzantine intricacies, because there was a ton of actual and consequential dialog when it came to important selections.  There were many 2-2 votes which meant back to the drawing board, and at the next round another 2-2 vote in which the voters changed sides, stuff like that.  That flow of conversation was the key inside the prayerful consideration.  Today there's a lot more (it seems to me) calling for executive session with less consequential conversation, just leveraged votes.

More sadly, less and less people care about any of it even though both the process and the end result matter.

Dave Benke
When systems don't work, the answer is to centralize, and when it turns they still don't work, the answer is to decentralize everything. It is Simple Harmonic Motion lacking in simplicity or harmony. It is just motion.

I was listening to a book on tape recently called Atomic Habits, and it differentiated between motion and action. Mere motion is the stuff you do toward a goal without actually having to do the hard part of doing it. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, you might set that in motion by perusing treadmills online and making a decision on which one to purchase. You might make an appointment with a trainer to get a good workout recommendation. You might read up on diets, and clear out a space in your basement for exercise. You might make a weekly schedule that treats workouts like appointments so as to keep the time clear. In doing all that, you have done precisely nothing that actually gets you in shape. It is all motion, no action. The problem is that it feels like progress. You tell yourself that you're on the road to getting in shape and get the chemical rush of having accomplished something without doing anything.

All motion, no action is what I think when I hear the phrase Blue Ribbon Task Force. We'll kid ourselves for a few years that we're making progress, we're working on it, and so forth, and when it is done, we will set up another task force to figure out to undo the recommendations of this task force We'll be working on it. We'll be getting there. But real life in the synod will go on as though there are, never have been, and never will be, any task forces. And that's because nobody is willing to be told what to do by people they disagree with, and do it with a good attitude. So every task force will either reinforce what you already knew or suspected was wrong with those other people or else prove to be an ineffective task force. What it won't do is change your practice.

What action (per the definition above) as opposed to mere motion, would anyone hope to see as a result of a task force? And what problem would that action solve?

That's it in a nutshell. 

Pretty much the same could be said of the Koinonia Project.  The "solution" to that would have been, in Mark's words from a prior post, to, ""have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with each other".  There was a lot of motion for about four of the nine years spent on that project, and pretty much everyone went back to their corners.  Was the solution reached?  I think less that, than people just resolved to keep avoiding those they wanted to avoid, and hanging out with those they wanted to hang out with.  So the Confessional Study Group folks meet in the same zip codes that the Best Practices folks use, but at different times and dates.

In terms of a bureaucratic process for evaluating structure, the best way for that to happen is to imbed it in the bones of the resolution, so that if fine-tuning is needed - in this case, let's say, to move back from the degree of centralization now in force - it could be accomplished without much fanfare over say two convention cycles.  Of course, that depends on how highly politicized things are - the more that's the case, the less likely any change is to becoming reality, because it's viewed as a hostile incursion or a regaining of ground lost rather than a normal organizational process.

Dave Benke
Whether we're talking about the Koinonia Project or a Blue Ribbon Task force, what would success look like? Let's just say the Koinonia Project went swimmingly-- everyone got together, there were talks all over synod, all kinds of real give and take and mutual consideration, and so forth. So what? All of that is motion, and motion toward a vaguely defined goal at that. What is the action? What is different as a result of it having happened? Do do seminary education differently? Do we have more partnerships with overseas churches? Are congregations changing the way they do things? How? The motion of buying exercise clothes at least carries with it the implicit potential of the action of exercising, and both motion and action are directed toward the goal of being healthy and fit. All these synodical proposals are pure motion without much by way of even theoretical or hypothetical action.

Solve for x and y: Buying exercise clothes is to exercising as the Blue Ribbon Task Force (or Koinonia Project, or whatever) is to x. Exercising is to being in shape what x is to y.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2020, 01:37:49 PM
I won't keep duplicating the prior posts.  In terms of the Koinonia Project, how would you measure the difference?  Of course, we all want specific, attainable and measurable goals; everybody who does goals gets that.  An aspect of the action in the case of the Koinonia Project is IN the motion, the fact that people are not bunker-hunkered, but talking across their self-imposed boundaries.  Your example is too stringent in that case for my taste. 

As a for instance, in social ministry efforts, often the vocation of education or human care meets the science of compliance.  The meritocracy of adherence meets the impact on a human life of the educator or social worker or health care worker.  For those vocationally in those fields it's important to continue to recognize that all the motions taking place are not "teaching to the test", but impacting the life of a child.

One of the goals I would have set for the Koinonia Project so you could measure action is that there would be zero pastors in the LCMS who would not attend the Eucharist at another LCMS pastor's congregation, or who would not allow a pastor of their same denomination to receive the eucharist at their altar.  That would be measurable, an action, and (my opinion) do-able.  So whatever relationships might have been built would be tested against that activity.

In terms of structural change, the Blue Ribbon Task Force etc. etc. did accomplish its goal of changing the structure of the denomination.  Specific vetting, appointing and electing changed.  That's not just motion.  You, Pastor X, are now eligible to be selected for commission Y by the President himself, and he has seen fit to absolutely ignore you at all costs - or to appoint you as his first and best, most loyal ally.  Before a messy election might take place.  Now the action of the Task Force in its recommendation was to make that no longer exclusively an election, but partially and importantly also a Presidential appointment.  That's not theory.  That's fact. 

You, for instance, Peter, are in my opinion a person who should consider requesting appointment to the CTCR by utilizing the revised standard bylaw 3.9.5.1.1.1 (d).  I'll write the letter of recommendation for you - wait, no, I promise NOT to write the letter of recommendation for you in order to give you an actual chance.

I so move.  Any second?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 03, 2020, 02:12:55 PM


One of the goals I would have set for the Koinonia Project so you could measure action is that there would be zero pastors in the LCMS who would not attend the Eucharist at another LCMS pastor's congregation, or who would not allow a pastor of their same denomination to receive the eucharist at their altar.  That would be measurable, an action, and (my opinion) do-able.  So whatever relationships might have been built would be tested against that activity.

In terms of structural change, the Blue Ribbon Task Force etc. etc. did accomplish its goal of changing the structure of the denomination.  Specific vetting, appointing and electing changed.  That's not just motion.  You, Pastor X, are now eligible to be selected for commission Y by the President himself, and he has seen fit to absolutely ignore you at all costs - or to appoint you as his first and best, most loyal ally.  Before a messy election might take place.  Now the action of the Task Force in its recommendation was to make that no longer exclusively an election, but partially and importantly also a Presidential appointment.  That's not theory.  That's fact. 

Your first example is excellent. A clergy roster full of people who will all commune together is a picture of a healthy body. The motion of adopting the plan and having the discussions, the action of changing objectionable behaviors or changing the teachings that object to them, and goal of real, full communion mesh nicely. It results in a healthier church body. Maybe not six pack abs, but healthy. Pastors who won't commune with other pastors, or pastors who teach and do things that justify not being communed with, are like big rolls of fat on a body that breaks into a sweat just walking upstairs to the balcony to avoid being seen not taking communion.

Your second example I disagree with. The change is not action toward health, it is motion. Arranging your exercise room is real, concrete change, but it is motion, not action toward any real goal. It isn't exercising. In itself, it doesn't make you any healthier. Similarly, restructuring the rules about who can be on a committee is concrete change, but it is mere motion, not action toward a healthier church body. If the committee doesn't do anything better as a result, such that the church body is healthier, then the bylaw changes are like a brand new, unused treadmill. Getting it in place gives one the illusion of having done something to get in shape. You get to feel like the sort of person who is committed to fitness without being such a person.

As for serving on the CTCR, I'll go to the meetings and express my thoughts on condition that I never have to look up the bylaws that explain how it is I ended up being invited to the meetings.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 03, 2020, 02:49:24 PM
I like the action/motion difference, and largely agree we have a lot of motion without any action.  And I too start snoozing at the mere mention of Blue Ribbon anything.  They are plans to keep the appearance of motion usually without any action.  Weekend at Bernies comes to mind.

If I was raising my magic wand my suggestion would be to make the district and synodical gatherings truly meaningful again.  The goal of most of them from my impression over 20 years is to look like you are doing something, while actually just running out the clock.  Anything that reeks of action is swallowed by floor committees and neutered, or tabled to back room deals of executive sessions of various bodies.  As pt. 8 has it, entrust the system you have to actually debate and move real action.  Let CV's and congregational pastors and presidents actually do the legislative work.  And if the occasional St. Nicholas goes after the occasional Arius, so be it.  I'd rather have that than the motion we currently have.

And the first thing I'd do in making them meaningful is dramatically limit the number of things on the agenda.  The only piece of real action that I can think about in the immediate past is getting rid of lay deacons (the recension of the Wichita recension of the Augsburg Confession).  And there has been real action on that.  Not everyone agreed prior, but it is being carried out.  There are some bigger questions about life together.  The big one is probably an official statement on the role of the liturgy.  Is the LCMS truly a body where the liturgy is adiaphora, which means all the freelancers can outsource Sunday morning to Nashville, or do we agree to use the same Synodically produced worship materials?  And as a follow on, if it is adiaphora, and large numbers of Synod congregations are doing so, should we not include it in seminary instruction such that we can stop distorting our entire pastoral formation process to create ways to sneak Southern Baptists onto the Clergy Roster to meet worship needs?  That seems like a full agenda for a three year cycle.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 03, 2020, 05:41:24 PM
When I was senior editor for professional and academic books, I saw and heard many proposals and suggestions for publishing. I would read and listen carefully, offer back suggestions, and remind folks, "I can't publish ideas, only manuscripts. Send me a manuscript." In my experience, real action is rare.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2020, 06:30:27 PM
I like the action/motion difference, and largely agree we have a lot of motion without any action.  And I too start snoozing at the mere mention of Blue Ribbon anything.  They are plans to keep the appearance of motion usually without any action.  Weekend at Bernies comes to mind.

If I was raising my magic wand my suggestion would be to make the district and synodical gatherings truly meaningful again.  The goal of most of them from my impression over 20 years is to look like you are doing something, while actually just running out the clock.  Anything that reeks of action is swallowed by floor committees and neutered, or tabled to back room deals of executive sessions of various bodies.  As pt. 8 has it, entrust the system you have to actually debate and move real action.  Let CV's and congregational pastors and presidents actually do the legislative work.  And if the occasional St. Nicholas goes after the occasional Arius, so be it.  I'd rather have that than the motion we currently have.

And the first thing I'd do in making them meaningful is dramatically limit the number of things on the agenda.  The only piece of real action that I can think about in the immediate past is getting rid of lay deacons (the recension of the Wichita recension of the Augsburg Confession).  And there has been real action on that.  Not everyone agreed prior, but it is being carried out.  There are some bigger questions about life together.  The big one is probably an official statement on the role of the liturgy.  Is the LCMS truly a body where the liturgy is adiaphora, which means all the freelancers can outsource Sunday morning to Nashville, or do we agree to use the same Synodically produced worship materials?  And as a follow on, if it is adiaphora, and large numbers of Synod congregations are doing so, should we not include it in seminary instruction such that we can stop distorting our entire pastoral formation process to create ways to sneak Southern Baptists onto the Clergy Roster to meet worship needs?  That seems like a full agenda for a three year cycle.

Fair enough.  There could be bloodletting, but maybe not.  And it could be highly hostile, but maybe not.  There would remain a large tub of people, churches and workers in some version of the middle, who are convinced that not everything can or should be mandated Scripturally or Confessionally.  So that middle group, and I would place myself there, would be an important participant and arbiter. 

In that charged atmosphere, one of the bright spots would in my opinion end up being the NALC; it would be because it has already become a real viable option.  Here are several stages:
a) St. Louis Seminary President.  That's a major part of this.  A good (i.e. evangelical catholic middle) choice means those who might want to boogie would probably end up wanting to stay.  An ideological edge choice is stage one in your scenario.
b) Convention resolutions and/or an actual conclave could take place - time to stay, time to leave, time to consider seriously.
c) My own perspective is that the whole thing is skewed toward smaller and more traditional (in your rendition of traditional, which is not a negative thing) congregations and workers (not that the workers are small, but their congregations are, by and large).  So that group would "win."
d) The mega, large and non-liturgical congregations would head on over to the NALC, along with a bunch of those in the middle, because those in the middle would be tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop, so the NALC would be given a big boost.  A secondary movement of middle congregations and pastors would most likely eventuate, from those who just want to do the work without worrying about the new bylaws on hymnody supervision and now-exclusively appropriate Apollonian worship beats, to say nothing of the mandatory female headgear.
e) The much smaller scale LCMS would be able to subsidize its churches with institutional/property dollars, because the "winner" takes those spoils in the boom-boom room changes.

What's not to like?  I think it might take two cycles, though, stem to stern.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 04, 2020, 11:07:48 AM
I like the action/motion difference, and largely agree we have a lot of motion without any action.  And I too start snoozing at the mere mention of Blue Ribbon anything.  They are plans to keep the appearance of motion usually without any action.  Weekend at Bernies comes to mind.

If I was raising my magic wand my suggestion would be to make the district and synodical gatherings truly meaningful again.  The goal of most of them from my impression over 20 years is to look like you are doing something, while actually just running out the clock.  Anything that reeks of action is swallowed by floor committees and neutered, or tabled to back room deals of executive sessions of various bodies.  As pt. 8 has it, entrust the system you have to actually debate and move real action.  Let CV's and congregational pastors and presidents actually do the legislative work.  And if the occasional St. Nicholas goes after the occasional Arius, so be it.  I'd rather have that than the motion we currently have.

And the first thing I'd do in making them meaningful is dramatically limit the number of things on the agenda.  The only piece of real action that I can think about in the immediate past is getting rid of lay deacons (the recension of the Wichita recension of the Augsburg Confession).  And there has been real action on that.  Not everyone agreed prior, but it is being carried out.  There are some bigger questions about life together.  The big one is probably an official statement on the role of the liturgy.  Is the LCMS truly a body where the liturgy is adiaphora, which means all the freelancers can outsource Sunday morning to Nashville, or do we agree to use the same Synodically produced worship materials?  And as a follow on, if it is adiaphora, and large numbers of Synod congregations are doing so, should we not include it in seminary instruction such that we can stop distorting our entire pastoral formation process to create ways to sneak Southern Baptists onto the Clergy Roster to meet worship needs?  That seems like a full agenda for a three year cycle.

Fair enough.  There could be bloodletting, but maybe not.  And it could be highly hostile, but maybe not.  There would remain a large tub of people, churches and workers in some version of the middle, who are convinced that not everything can or should be mandated Scripturally or Confessionally.  So that middle group, and I would place myself there, would be an important participant and arbiter. 

In that charged atmosphere, one of the bright spots would in my opinion end up being the NALC; it would be because it has already become a real viable option.  Here are several stages:
a) St. Louis Seminary President.  That's a major part of this.  A good (i.e. evangelical catholic middle) choice means those who might want to boogie would probably end up wanting to stay.  An ideological edge choice is stage one in your scenario.
b) Convention resolutions and/or an actual conclave could take place - time to stay, time to leave, time to consider seriously.
c) My own perspective is that the whole thing is skewed toward smaller and more traditional (in your rendition of traditional, which is not a negative thing) congregations and workers (not that the workers are small, but their congregations are, by and large).  So that group would "win."
d) The mega, large and non-liturgical congregations would head on over to the NALC, along with a bunch of those in the middle, because those in the middle would be tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop, so the NALC would be given a big boost.  A secondary movement of middle congregations and pastors would most likely eventuate, from those who just want to do the work without worrying about the new bylaws on hymnody supervision and now-exclusively appropriate Apollonian worship beats, to say nothing of the mandatory female headgear.
e) The much smaller scale LCMS would be able to subsidize its churches with institutional/property dollars, because the "winner" takes those spoils in the boom-boom room changes.

What's not to like?  I think it might take two cycles, though, stem to stern.

Dave Benke

Honestly, I think it would work the other way, even though the system is tipped in the small direction.  And I think Harrison not moving in that direction at all is the political tell.  His comment a cycle ago to our district gathering ("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3") was interesting.  If you actually had the conversation through the formal means and didn't squelch it, my guess is that all the middle guys and a good number of the small guys would stop virtue signaling and be serious.  And when they did, especially when they have to consider explaining and engaging the laity, they would eventually decide that a generous big tent is better than a pure small one.  You can only convince so many people that DS3 fell from heaven as the only divinely authorized worship form.

And then, with it made clear that the LCMS is not going to declare the liturgy to be of the essence of the church, those who think that way would have a clear decision.  At the same time everyone else would now no longer be "freelancers", but full members again.  (And I say this as someone who can't understand at all the appeal of Nashville Worship.)  And we could stop distorting the entire system because we can't address the central issue.

There would be some angst until people realized "oh, this is serious" and until they get a good feel for the actual votes.  But I don't think the NALC would come into it really, unless there are congregations in the LCMS that would take the opportunity as a good one to jump toward women's ordination.  But I don't think there are that many of those.  WO really is the continental divide so to speak.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2020, 11:44:41 AM
I like the action/motion difference, and largely agree we have a lot of motion without any action.  And I too start snoozing at the mere mention of Blue Ribbon anything.  They are plans to keep the appearance of motion usually without any action.  Weekend at Bernies comes to mind.

If I was raising my magic wand my suggestion would be to make the district and synodical gatherings truly meaningful again.  The goal of most of them from my impression over 20 years is to look like you are doing something, while actually just running out the clock.  Anything that reeks of action is swallowed by floor committees and neutered, or tabled to back room deals of executive sessions of various bodies.  As pt. 8 has it, entrust the system you have to actually debate and move real action.  Let CV's and congregational pastors and presidents actually do the legislative work.  And if the occasional St. Nicholas goes after the occasional Arius, so be it.  I'd rather have that than the motion we currently have.

And the first thing I'd do in making them meaningful is dramatically limit the number of things on the agenda.  The only piece of real action that I can think about in the immediate past is getting rid of lay deacons (the recension of the Wichita recension of the Augsburg Confession).  And there has been real action on that.  Not everyone agreed prior, but it is being carried out.  There are some bigger questions about life together.  The big one is probably an official statement on the role of the liturgy.  Is the LCMS truly a body where the liturgy is adiaphora, which means all the freelancers can outsource Sunday morning to Nashville, or do we agree to use the same Synodically produced worship materials?  And as a follow on, if it is adiaphora, and large numbers of Synod congregations are doing so, should we not include it in seminary instruction such that we can stop distorting our entire pastoral formation process to create ways to sneak Southern Baptists onto the Clergy Roster to meet worship needs?  That seems like a full agenda for a three year cycle.

Fair enough.  There could be bloodletting, but maybe not.  And it could be highly hostile, but maybe not.  There would remain a large tub of people, churches and workers in some version of the middle, who are convinced that not everything can or should be mandated Scripturally or Confessionally.  So that middle group, and I would place myself there, would be an important participant and arbiter. 

In that charged atmosphere, one of the bright spots would in my opinion end up being the NALC; it would be because it has already become a real viable option.  Here are several stages:
a) St. Louis Seminary President.  That's a major part of this.  A good (i.e. evangelical catholic middle) choice means those who might want to boogie would probably end up wanting to stay.  An ideological edge choice is stage one in your scenario.
b) Convention resolutions and/or an actual conclave could take place - time to stay, time to leave, time to consider seriously.
c) My own perspective is that the whole thing is skewed toward smaller and more traditional (in your rendition of traditional, which is not a negative thing) congregations and workers (not that the workers are small, but their congregations are, by and large).  So that group would "win."
d) The mega, large and non-liturgical congregations would head on over to the NALC, along with a bunch of those in the middle, because those in the middle would be tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop, so the NALC would be given a big boost.  A secondary movement of middle congregations and pastors would most likely eventuate, from those who just want to do the work without worrying about the new bylaws on hymnody supervision and now-exclusively appropriate Apollonian worship beats, to say nothing of the mandatory female headgear.
e) The much smaller scale LCMS would be able to subsidize its churches with institutional/property dollars, because the "winner" takes those spoils in the boom-boom room changes.

What's not to like?  I think it might take two cycles, though, stem to stern.

Dave Benke

Honestly, I think it would work the other way, even though the system is tipped in the small direction.  And I think Harrison not moving in that direction at all is the political tell.  His comment a cycle ago to our district gathering ("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3") was interesting.  If you actually had the conversation through the formal means and didn't squelch it, my guess is that all the middle guys and a good number of the small guys would stop virtue signaling and be serious.  And when they did, especially when they have to consider explaining and engaging the laity, they would eventually decide that a generous big tent is better than a pure small one.  You can only convince so many people that DS3 fell from heaven as the only divinely authorized worship form.

And then, with it made clear that the LCMS is not going to declare the liturgy to be of the essence of the church, those who think that way would have a clear decision.  At the same time everyone else would now no longer be "freelancers", but full members again.  (And I say this as someone who can't understand at all the appeal of Nashville Worship.)  And we could stop distorting the entire system because we can't address the central issue.

There would be some angst until people realized "oh, this is serious" and until they get a good feel for the actual votes.  But I don't think the NALC would come into it really, unless there are congregations in the LCMS that would take the opportunity as a good one to jump toward women's ordination.  But I don't think there are that many of those.  WO really is the continental divide so to speak.

That's an interesting comment from SP Harrison, and if on point is indeed a "tell."  As to the NALC, some of their folks are here.  Maybe there would be some openness to a non-women's ordination division of the NALC.  The real thing to be organized would be a "middle" Lutheran group.  I do believe, though, to the thread-point, that the choice for next St. Louis Seminary President is the biggest "tell" for future directions.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on February 04, 2020, 12:03:44 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2020, 12:50:28 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

Or just go to one of many Atlantic District congregations in NYC!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 04, 2020, 12:56:07 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

That would be quite depressing, at least in my area.  Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2 combined with many of the worst elements of Praise Bands. Shivers.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on February 04, 2020, 12:59:27 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

Or just go to one of many Atlantic District congregations in NYC!

Dave Benke

That's better, of course. Distance may preclude it for most.

Mark is right in that we of Missouri tend to give very little thought to worship. So when people think they are bored with Divine Service 3, we start looking around for band members.   :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on February 04, 2020, 01:02:14 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

That would be quite depressing, at least in my area.  Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2 combined with many of the worst elements of Praise Bands. Shivers.

"Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2"  Could you describe this more fully?

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on February 04, 2020, 01:12:14 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 04, 2020, 01:53:34 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

That would be quite depressing, at least in my area.  Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2 combined with many of the worst elements of Praise Bands. Shivers.

"Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2"  Could you describe this more fully?

Peace, JOHN

C'mon, you know.
 - Marty Haugen
 - Liturgical dance
 - Guitars, just because guitars
 - One female cantor who manages to out sing the entire congregation
 - Ugly vestments and paraments
 - Terrible architecture that manages to be both ugly and hard to use (my local Roman Catholic Parish was a three point one.  One worshipped in gym leaving a solid and stately stand alone New England style sanctuary to just sit.  One worshipped in a cinder block barn because they never finished the sanctuary.  And One has a gorgeous place.  They recently sold the gym one to the school district.  And the gorgeous one has been put on notice.  They will consolidate to the cinder block barn.) 
 - Priests who can't stick to the rubrics, ad-libbing all over inevitably heretically, or at least distractingly
 - Look at me gimmicks

There was at least a time that you could trust homosexual bishops to have good aesthetic taste, now it is all camp all the time.
 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 04, 2020, 02:09:34 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on February 04, 2020, 02:32:33 PM
"("Nobody is coming to take away your praise band, although I will probably be worshipping with your 7:30 AM group with DS3")"

Unfortunately, the choice between "praise band" or "Divine Service 3" presents false alternatives. There are very many wholesome possibilities with variants available to Lutherans. For example, stop by your local Roman Catholic Mass any weekend and imagine a Lutheran version of that.

Peace, JOHN

That would be quite depressing, at least in my area.  Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2 combined with many of the worst elements of Praise Bands. Shivers.

"Imagine all the worst tropes of the Spirit of Vatican 2"  Could you describe this more fully?

Peace, JOHN

C'mon, you know.
 - Marty Haugen
 - Liturgical dance
 - Guitars, just because guitars
 - One female cantor who manages to out sing the entire congregation
 - Ugly vestments and paraments
 - Terrible architecture that manages to be both ugly and hard to use (my local Roman Catholic Parish was a three point one.  One worshipped in gym leaving a solid and stately stand alone New England style sanctuary to just sit.  One worshipped in a cinder block barn because they never finished the sanctuary.  And One has a gorgeous place.  They recently sold the gym one to the school district.  And the gorgeous one has been put on notice.  They will consolidate to the cinder block barn.) 
 - Priests who can't stick to the rubrics, ad-libbing all over inevitably heretically, or at least distractingly
 - Look at me gimmicks

There was at least a time that you could trust homosexual bishops to have good aesthetic taste, now it is all camp all the time.
 

Yours is much different than my experience. I've been to Masses at many places. My wife was Roman Catholic and I went to church with her when traveling around the nation. Other than usual "leader of song" I never found what you describe. ("Praise Band" vs. Divine Service 3 is still a false alternative; there are plenty of Lutheran [and Roman Catholic] examples of reverent and vibrant practices of liturgy which are neither.)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2020, 02:50:30 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.

Orans position - I like that recollection from Liturgy 102 at St. Louis.  Right thumb over left, hands not parting the waters or diving into the pool.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on February 04, 2020, 03:26:01 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

I think this has toned down in the last 10 or so years. But thinking back to discussions on the old LTHRN-L list and in other places, I can definitely remember some folks, from my perspective, could not seem to differentiate between "Divine Service" and "Divinely Inspired Service." (I had one guy basically argue that the Divine Service was divinely inspired!)

While there still might be some folks out there arguing for their position, I think most pastors have Prez H's "live and let live" attitude (assuming everything else is orthodox, natch!).
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 04, 2020, 03:39:32 PM
I have read material that at least approached that attitude, that DS3 fell from heaven. I'm thinking of the group that puts out Gottesdienst (https://www.gottesdienst.org/) whose motto is "Leitourgiaw propria adiaphoria non est." As I recall their contention is not so much specifically DS3 but traditional Lutheran liturgy in general. I've actually encountered more people however who would insist that some form of contemporary liturgy be used and traditional worship is anti-mission and disrespectful of those who are not born and bred Lutherans. They can be at least as much of "Liturgy Nazis" as those who will only use traditional forms and pride themselves on having everything done just so.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 05, 2020, 12:50:16 PM
I have read material that at least approached that attitude, that DS3 fell from heaven. I'm thinking of the group that puts out Gottesdienst (https://www.gottesdienst.org/) whose motto is "Leitourgiaw propria adiaphoria non est." As I recall their contention is not so much specifically DS3 but traditional Lutheran liturgy in general. I've actually encountered more people however who would insist that some form of contemporary liturgy be used and traditional worship is anti-mission and disrespectful of those who are not born and bred Lutherans. They can be at least as much of "Liturgy Nazis" as those who will only use traditional forms and pride themselves on having everything done just so.

Yeah, there are the "you must pay CCLI and sing the Nashville Top 10 or you are not missional" folks.  That is probably why we've had 4 terms of Harrison, et.al.  But that has sorted itself out.  The ability to continue to use the liturgy is not really in question anymore, well maybe practically from a congregational viability standpoint, but not institutionally from a get on the missional train standpoint.  What is in question is if the larger congregations, which for the typical Sunday attender or the stranger who walks in look no different than a non-denom place, have a place in the larger institution.  Will the Seminary help them train folks?  Do our gatherings ever reflect them?  Or do they remain "freelancers" who don't really get a seat?  And that is the question of "Is the Liturgy (or just the Ordo) of the essence of the church, or can Lutheran theology be given lived expression just as well in what looks like a charismatic form of prayer?" To what extent is lex orandi, lex credendi applicable?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 05, 2020, 03:38:36 PM
I have read material that at least approached that attitude, that DS3 fell from heaven. I'm thinking of the group that puts out Gottesdienst (https://www.gottesdienst.org/) whose motto is "Leitourgiaw propria adiaphoria non est." As I recall their contention is not so much specifically DS3 but traditional Lutheran liturgy in general. I've actually encountered more people however who would insist that some form of contemporary liturgy be used and traditional worship is anti-mission and disrespectful of those who are not born and bred Lutherans. They can be at least as much of "Liturgy Nazis" as those who will only use traditional forms and pride themselves on having everything done just so.

Yeah, there are the "you must pay CCLI and sing the Nashville Top 10 or you are not missional" folks.  That is probably why we've had 4 terms of Harrison, et.al.  But that has sorted itself out.  The ability to continue to use the liturgy is not really in question anymore, well maybe practically from a congregational viability standpoint, but not institutionally from a get on the missional train standpoint.  What is in question is if the larger congregations, which for the typical Sunday attender or the stranger who walks in look no different than a non-denom place, have a place in the larger institution.  Will the Seminary help them train folks?  Do our gatherings ever reflect them?  Or do they remain "freelancers" who don't really get a seat?  And that is the question of "Is the Liturgy (or just the Ordo) of the essence of the church, or can Lutheran theology be given lived expression just as well in what looks like a charismatic form of prayer?" To what extent is lex orandi, lex credendi applicable?

Several part response:
a) read if you haven't the column about and with quotes from Leonard Klein (+) in the latest Forum Letter.  It speaks to evangelical catholicity, the actual proclamation of Law and Gospel in Word and Sacrament, and the position we hold.  I don't think the words "lex orandi, lex credendi" are used, but it's along those lines.
b) Lex orandi, lex credendi and the worship dialogs often fail to take into account the communion of saints, the fellowship of believers including the pastor, who are worshipers and proclaimers.  Klein speaks to this under the topic of pastoral care.  However, care is not exclusively delivered by the pastor.  The now-former Lutherans who moved from Brooklyn to many parts of the country were/are always directed to a Lutheran altar/font/pulpit by me, ie another Lutheran fellowship of believers.  Those who have drifted or actively motored away have done so almost exclusively NOT because of worship style or format, but because of a lack of pastoral and community care for one another and for them as new arrivals.  It wasn't that the truth wasn't spoken; it's that there was no love.

Factor that into pastoral/spiritual formation at the seminary level - the fledgling ordinand has got to embody care and compassion not only in the delivery of the Divine Service, but in the leadership of the local Body of Christ.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on February 08, 2020, 12:12:05 AM
The LCMS Handbook now calls for a Search Committee to make recommendations from the
list of nominees for Seminary President.  The Search Committee consists of 3 full-time faculty
members at the St. Louis Seminary and 3 members of the Seminary Board of Regents. In the
second phase, the Search Committee adds 3 more full-time faculty members from the Sem.

Finally, the Search Committee recommends a list of at least 5 candidates for the Presidency.
There are 4 Electors........1 vote from the Seminary Board of Regents
1 vote from the District President on the Board of Regents, 1 vote from the LCMS Board of
Directors Chairman,  1 vote from the the President of the LCMS.

3 votes are needed for the election of a Seminary President.  He is called and elected to a
five year term which is renewable.


Fifty years plus earlier, the process is remarkably similar .....

Quote from: John H. Tietjen on CSL Presidential selection in 1968-69 in Memoirs in Exile, page 5
The seminary Faculty Committee submitted five names to the Electors from among 65 nominated candidates.  .....


The Electors were the president of the LCMS (Harms), the president of the Missouri District (Herman C. Scherer), the chair of the Board for Higher Education (Albert G. Huegli), and the seminary BoC voting as a unit.



Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Timothy Schenks on February 08, 2020, 06:27:24 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.

Orans position - I like that recollection from Liturgy 102 at St. Louis.  Right thumb over left, hands not parting the waters or diving into the pool.

Dave Benke

Right thumb over the left, suppressing the “sinister” (latin left). I liked that one.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 08, 2020, 09:03:09 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.

Orans position - I like that recollection from Liturgy 102 at St. Louis.  Right thumb over left, hands not parting the waters or diving into the pool.

Dave Benke

Right thumb over the left, suppressing the “sinister” (latin left). I liked that one.

We are to be liturgically dextrous, adroit.

I don't know if anyone has seen or done this, but I attended a service led by one of our pastors years ago, and he made the sign of the cross with his left hand.  I had actually never seen that. 

So I counseled with him afterward in my gentle bishop's way never to do it again, but to make the sign of the cross with his right hand.  It's important, it's pre-verbal in the Christian tradition, and it's so assumed that it's never about which hand you use, but about which direction you start from in the "shoulder" portion with using your right hand.  He was not happy about that at all.  He stated that he was a lefty, that this was his default hand.

I gave him Tim Schenk's latin lesson.  Then I told him that there is no more left-handed person than I.  I am the lefty's lefty, a right-brained dude of the first water.  But I only make the sign of the cross with the right hand.  And at least when I was around, he went to his right hand. 

What are the thoughts of others on this?  Of course, someone without a right arm or who has suffered a stroke on the right side is exempted. 

At the very least, I think the next President of Concordia Seminary should know and be able to demonstrate the reasons for a right-handed sign of the cross.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Timothy Schenks on February 09, 2020, 12:12:26 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.

Orans position - I like that recollection from Liturgy 102 at St. Louis.  Right thumb over left, hands not parting the waters or diving into the pool.

Dave Benke

Right thumb over the left, suppressing the “sinister” (latin left). I liked that one.

We are to be liturgically dextrous, adroit.

I don't know if anyone has seen or done this, but I attended a service led by one of our pastors years ago, and he made the sign of the cross with his left hand.  I had actually never seen that. 

So I counseled with him afterward in my gentle bishop's way never to do it again, but to make the sign of the cross with his right hand.  It's important, it's pre-verbal in the Christian tradition, and it's so assumed that it's never about which hand you use, but about which direction you start from in the "shoulder" portion with using your right hand.  He was not happy about that at all.  He stated that he was a lefty, that this was his default hand.

I gave him Tim Schenk's latin lesson.  Then I told him that there is no more left-handed person than I.  I am the lefty's lefty, a right-brained dude of the first water.  But I only make the sign of the cross with the right hand.  And at least when I was around, he went to his right hand. 

What are the thoughts of others on this?  Of course, someone without a right arm or who has suffered a stroke on the right side is exempted. 

At the very least, I think the next President of Concordia Seminary should know and be able to demonstrate the reasons for a right-handed sign of the cross.

Dave Benke

That’s up to the individual congregation. Christian freedom. If you were admonishing a pastor for that then you were abusing your position.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on February 09, 2020, 01:41:17 PM
I'm pretty tired of the "DS3 fell from heaven" accusations towards those who prefer traditional liturgy.  Every LCMS church in this circuit, I believe, uses one of the liturgies from the hymnals (TLH, LW, or LSB) each Sunday.  But none -- NONE -- think that such is the only acceptable form of worship.  It is what they have used for years, even generations, and they appreciate the beauties and patterns found therein.  But "fell from heaven"?  No way.  Caricatures like that are less than helpful.  Especially if one wants to at least pretend to have a fair discussion.

Hey, I called the other group equally "Nashville Worship" which is approaching the same level of hyperbole. 

But caricatures are helpful.  They should help each side to see the directional reduction to absurdity.  And that reduction is exactly why I'm pretty sure that if it was brought to a vote, even someone as loving of the liturgy as I am, would side with the Nashville crew.  Simply because the specter of their reduction is much less stress inducing.  Nobody in that camp is going to be on inquisition over having hands in the orans position for prayers or using the wrong incense, even if they might have trouble discerning exactly what this great boyfriend Jesus did that was so great to sing about.

Orans position - I like that recollection from Liturgy 102 at St. Louis.  Right thumb over left, hands not parting the waters or diving into the pool.

Dave Benke

Right thumb over the left, suppressing the “sinister” (latin left). I liked that one.

We are to be liturgically dextrous, adroit.

I don't know if anyone has seen or done this, but I attended a service led by one of our pastors years ago, and he made the sign of the cross with his left hand.  I had actually never seen that. 

So I counseled with him afterward in my gentle bishop's way never to do it again, but to make the sign of the cross with his right hand.  It's important, it's pre-verbal in the Christian tradition, and it's so assumed that it's never about which hand you use, but about which direction you start from in the "shoulder" portion with using your right hand.  He was not happy about that at all.  He stated that he was a lefty, that this was his default hand.

I gave him Tim Schenk's latin lesson.  Then I told him that there is no more left-handed person than I.  I am the lefty's lefty, a right-brained dude of the first water.  But I only make the sign of the cross with the right hand.  And at least when I was around, he went to his right hand. 

What are the thoughts of others on this?  Of course, someone without a right arm or who has suffered a stroke on the right side is exempted. 

At the very least, I think the next President of Concordia Seminary should know and be able to demonstrate the reasons for a right-handed sign of the cross.

Dave Benke

We were having a "game night" at church a few weeks ago, and I began dealing a hand of whist.  I don't know why (perhaps I was feeling contrary), but I dealt the hand counterclockwise.  Someone made a comment, but nobody called a misdeal.  Some folks get agitated about which hand one uses to cross himself.  Others get agitated when their partner leads into an opponent's invite.   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 09, 2020, 01:46:22 PM
I accidentally reverted to my native left-handedness when saluting the XO before departing basic training. I had never once used the wrong hand to salute, but I had a whole bunch of papers in my right hand, and for some reason it just came naturally to use my left hand. He had straitened himself up for the salute, and when he realized I was using my left hand, his shoulders just slumped, and I could tell the countdown to his retirement was flashing before his eyes. But I quickly caught my mistake, shifted all the paperwork, and saluted correctly.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 09, 2020, 03:58:01 PM
I'm not sure I was taught to cross myself at seminary. Think I learned it in the field. I did learn to make the cross over the congregation at the seminary.

All in all, I think a semi president could leave this sort of thing to others and focus on what's most important for the position: fund raising!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 09, 2020, 05:26:18 PM
I'm not sure I was taught to cross myself at seminary. Think I learned it in the field. I did learn to make the cross over the congregation at the seminary.

All in all, I think a semi president could leave this sort of thing to others and focus on what's most important for the position: fund raising!

Ha!  Of course, fundraising first. 

We were definitely taught to make the sign of the cross at the seminary in our worship and liturgy classes, exclusively with the right hand, and with the fingers placed in a certain way.  More importantly and substantially, we were taught to teach the sign of the cross as an important personal and corporate devotional remembrance of baptism.  We teach the sign of the cross prior to First Holy Communion.  Congregants at St. Peter's, and I would think at most Atlantic District congregations, make the sign of the cross at the invocation, at the absolution, at the Nicene Creed, at the Sanctus, at the reception of the Lord's Supper in both kinds, and at the benediction.  Some dip their fingers in the baptismal font at the entrance of the church and make the sign of the cross upon entering (or leaving) the sanctuary.  This in a local congregation that also features use of the tambourine by congregants, and plenty of clapping.  There is no pushback on making the sign of the cross, as it is part of both Word and Sacrament in the liturgy every Sunday and is always a remembrance of baptismal grace.

Here there is a difference between the LCMS and the WELS.  The LCMS guide for personal and family devotions invariably gives the making of the sign of the cross as a "may" rubric, and there are many (+) indicators for places where the sign of the cross may be made by those in the congregation during the divine service.  There is no such signification at any place in the WELS hymnal.  I'm actually amazed at discovering that.  Why would you NOT want to develop the habit of baptismal remembrance through the sign of the cross?

So - I now will go on record stating that no nominees for President of Concordia Seminary should come from the WELS or ELS.  Differently habituated.  Plus, I think they're ineligible.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on February 09, 2020, 06:17:20 PM
I graduated from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1979.  I don't recall anyone at the seminary teaching us anything at all about making the sign of the cross.  When I was ordained, very few of my LCMS parishioners made the sign of the cross.  In the parish I presently serve, perhaps 10% do.  When I served in the ELS, I don't recall any laymen making the sign of the cross, though some pastors did.  I don't cross myself, though I did when I visited Ukraine in the late 90s and early 2000s to teach at St. Sophia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil' because every Lutheran there did.  They did it the way the Orthodox do it.  Now I've forgotten which is which.  Don Deffner used to say that he crossed himself the Orthodox way.  So, if I ever take it up, that's the way I'll do it.  If I can remember.  Who goes left to right and who goes right to left and why the difference? 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 09, 2020, 06:31:01 PM
I'm not sure I was taught to cross myself at seminary. Think I learned it in the field. I did learn to make the cross over the congregation at the seminary.

All in all, I think a semi president could leave this sort of thing to others and focus on what's most important for the position: fund raising!

Ha!  Of course, fundraising first. 

We were definitely taught to make the sign of the cross at the seminary in our worship and liturgy classes, exclusively with the right hand, and with the fingers placed in a certain way.  More importantly and substantially, we were taught to teach the sign of the cross as an important personal and corporate devotional remembrance of baptism.  We teach the sign of the cross prior to First Holy Communion.  Congregants at St. Peter's, and I would think at most Atlantic District congregations, make the sign of the cross at the invocation, at the absolution, at the Nicene Creed, at the Sanctus, at the reception of the Lord's Supper in both kinds, and at the benediction.  Some dip their fingers in the baptismal font at the entrance of the church and make the sign of the cross upon entering (or leaving) the sanctuary.  This in a local congregation that also features use of the tambourine by congregants, and plenty of clapping.  There is no pushback on making the sign of the cross, as it is part of both Word and Sacrament in the liturgy every Sunday and is always a remembrance of baptismal grace.

Here there is a difference between the LCMS and the WELS.  The LCMS guide for personal and family devotions invariably gives the making of the sign of the cross as a "may" rubric, and there are many (+) indicators for places where the sign of the cross may be made by those in the congregation during the divine service.  There is no such signification at any place in the WELS hymnal.  I'm actually amazed at discovering that.  Why would you NOT want to develop the habit of baptismal remembrance through the sign of the cross?

So - I now will go on record stating that no nominees for President of Concordia Seminary should come from the WELS or ELS.  Differently habituated.  Plus, I think they're ineligible.


The sign of the cross is not a "may" rubric in the Small Catechism.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 09, 2020, 06:36:01 PM

The sign of the cross is not a "may" rubric in the Small Catechism.

In many editions of the Small Catechism published by North American Lutheran churches, Luther's instruction to make the sign of the Cross when awakening or going to sleep doesn't even appear.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: J.L. Precup on February 09, 2020, 06:56:16 PM
I graduated from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1979.  I don't recall anyone at the seminary teaching us anything at all about making the sign of the cross.  When I was ordained, very few of my LCMS parishioners made the sign of the cross.  In the parish I presently serve, perhaps 10% do.  When I served in the ELS, I don't recall any laymen making the sign of the cross, though some pastors did.  I don't cross myself, though I did when I visited Ukraine in the late 90s and early 2000s to teach at St. Sophia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil' because every Lutheran there did.  They did it the way the Orthodox do it.  Now I've forgotten which is which.  Don Deffner used to say that he crossed himself the Orthodox way.  So, if I ever take it up, that's the way I'll do it.  If I can remember.  Who goes left to right and who goes right to left and why the difference?

Here's a video from a Lutheran pastor showing how to make the sign of the cross.  While doing it western rite (left to right, not Orthodox right to left), she does correctly return to center.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=making+the+sign+of+the+cross&view=detail&mid=067E1C92FC78B8BB1994067E1C92FC78B8BB1994&FORM=VIRE
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 09, 2020, 07:52:45 PM
I accidentally reverted to my native left-handedness when saluting the XO before departing basic training. I had never once used the wrong hand to salute, but I had a whole bunch of papers in my right hand, and for some reason it just came naturally to use my left hand. He had straitened himself up for the salute, and when he realized I was using my left hand, his shoulders just slumped, and I could tell the countdown to his retirement was flashing before his eyes. But I quickly caught my mistake, shifted all the paperwork, and saluted correctly.

There was a video floating around that showed the President not really paying attention during the national anthem at his Super Bowl party, while Melania and Barron were standing with hand over heart. Thing is, both were using their left hand. Was the video doctored?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 10, 2020, 08:49:00 AM
I graduated from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1979.  I don't recall anyone at the seminary teaching us anything at all about making the sign of the cross.  When I was ordained, very few of my LCMS parishioners made the sign of the cross.  In the parish I presently serve, perhaps 10% do.  When I served in the ELS, I don't recall any laymen making the sign of the cross, though some pastors did.  I don't cross myself, though I did when I visited Ukraine in the late 90s and early 2000s to teach at St. Sophia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil' because every Lutheran there did.  They did it the way the Orthodox do it.  Now I've forgotten which is which.  Don Deffner used to say that he crossed himself the Orthodox way.  So, if I ever take it up, that's the way I'll do it.  If I can remember.  Who goes left to right and who goes right to left and why the difference?

Maybe you missed that class.  I would opine that at CSL in the liturgics and worship class teaching the making of the sign of the cross (western) has been taking place for the last fifty years.  I would also opine that the same teaching in the context of worship has been taking place at CTS for the past 25 years. 

Although it seems like a little thing to you from your statements, RD, as an orthodox Lutheran practitioner the teaching of making the sign of the cross during worship is a very helpful way for people both to remember their baptism and to mark themselves as Trinitarian Christian believers.  It's actually not a small thing.  And when it's taught from childhood, it's a lifetime doctrinal (trinitarian) and sacramental (baptism) habit.

Upcoming, there's another marking that's important at least in multi-faith centers like NY, and that's the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.  If you take the subway on that day you can see across many of the ecumenical lines, at the very least the liturgical ones, who the Christians are in the car and train you've taken.  That gets a lot of positive and affirming comments from Christians in this part of the world, not least because we're all identifying as sinners and mortals (!) saved by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

It's possible that the generic Christian nature of the sign of the cross and/or the ashes are not sufficiently Lutheran-distinguishing for some folks, and are connected visually to Roman Catholicism.  Not our habit, so to speak.  But then, it was Martin Luther, a lifetime catholic, who suggested/urged in his teachings the making of the sign of the cross in home and church.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 10, 2020, 09:37:59 AM
I don't question the significance of making the sign of the cross. What I question is the absolute necessity of it being done right handed and in the Western manner so that one of the essential duties of the seminary president, and I presume Synodical and District Presidents and circuit visitors, is to make sure that all pastors do it correctly. While they're about it should they also make sure that pastors when they turn in the chancel always turn clockwise and not [shudder shudder] widdershins?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on February 10, 2020, 09:46:11 AM
I graduated from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1979.  I don't recall anyone at the seminary teaching us anything at all about making the sign of the cross.  When I was ordained, very few of my LCMS parishioners made the sign of the cross.  In the parish I presently serve, perhaps 10% do.  When I served in the ELS, I don't recall any laymen making the sign of the cross, though some pastors did.  I don't cross myself, though I did when I visited Ukraine in the late 90s and early 2000s to teach at St. Sophia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil' because every Lutheran there did.  They did it the way the Orthodox do it.  Now I've forgotten which is which.  Don Deffner used to say that he crossed himself the Orthodox way.  So, if I ever take it up, that's the way I'll do it.  If I can remember.  Who goes left to right and who goes right to left and why the difference?

Maybe you missed that class.  I would opine that at CSL in the liturgics and worship class teaching the making of the sign of the cross (western) has been taking place for the last fifty years.  I would also opine that the same teaching in the context of worship has been taking place at CTS for the past 25 years. 

Although it seems like a little thing to you from your statements, RD, as an orthodox Lutheran practitioner the teaching of making the sign of the cross during worship is a very helpful way for people both to remember their baptism and to mark themselves as Trinitarian Christian believers.  It's actually not a small thing.  And when it's taught from childhood, it's a lifetime doctrinal (trinitarian) and sacramental (baptism) habit.

Upcoming, there's another marking that's important at least in multi-faith centers like NY, and that's the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.  If you take the subway on that day you can see across many of the ecumenical lines, at the very least the liturgical ones, who the Christians are in the car and train you've taken.  That gets a lot of positive and affirming comments from Christians in this part of the world, not least because we're all identifying as sinners and mortals (!) saved by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

It's possible that the generic Christian nature of the sign of the cross and/or the ashes are not sufficiently Lutheran-distinguishing for some folks, and are connected visually to Roman Catholicism.  Not our habit, so to speak.  But then, it was Martin Luther, a lifetime catholic, who suggested/urged in his teachings the making of the sign of the cross in home and church.

Dave Benke

I graduated from CTS in 87 and it might have been a bit more prevalent then, however, I had no experience with it prior to coming to the seminary. I do remember that Prof. Reuning, dean of the chapel in those years, had an article on making the sign of the cross in his published class notes for Lutheran worship. Ironically I was taught to cross myself by another upper class seminarian who was a Jewish convert.  I think that like many other things once deemed too "Catholic" for Lutherans to have or to do, we rediscovered the meaning and value and returned it back to the church.  I regularly cross myself in memory of my baptism (as is also noted now in the rubrics of our present hymnal) and in confession of the Trinity.  I teach people that it is in no way required, but I try to explain the rationale so that when they see it they will understand why it is done by me and others.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on February 10, 2020, 09:53:56 AM
I always teach my confirmation students how to make the sign of the cross.  At the same time, I also use this to teach the concept of adiaphora, a matter of personal preference and piety.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 10, 2020, 10:21:11 AM
I have gradually started making the sign of the cross more often in worship and in family devotions. But it is nothing I’m a stickler about others doing. When I got here six years ago nobody ever made the sign of the cross, but by now I’d say 5-10% of the congregation does so. It comes easily to former Catholics, but much harder to those who never developed the habit while young.

I also introduced it and teach it as adiaphira that is helpful, like kneeling at the communion rail or folding hands for prayer. There are lots of ways to pray or receive communion, but some are more helpful than others.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on February 10, 2020, 11:07:17 AM
I graduated from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1979.  I don't recall anyone at the seminary teaching us anything at all about making the sign of the cross.  When I was ordained, very few of my LCMS parishioners made the sign of the cross.  In the parish I presently serve, perhaps 10% do.  When I served in the ELS, I don't recall any laymen making the sign of the cross, though some pastors did.  I don't cross myself, though I did when I visited Ukraine in the late 90s and early 2000s to teach at St. Sophia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil' because every Lutheran there did.  They did it the way the Orthodox do it.  Now I've forgotten which is which.  Don Deffner used to say that he crossed himself the Orthodox way.  So, if I ever take it up, that's the way I'll do it.  If I can remember.  Who goes left to right and who goes right to left and why the difference?

Here's a video from a Lutheran pastor showing how to make the sign of the cross.  While doing it western rite (left to right, not Orthodox right to left), she does correctly return to center.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=making+the+sign+of+the+cross&view=detail&mid=067E1C92FC78B8BB1994067E1C92FC78B8BB1994&FORM=VIRE

Thank you!  Now I remember what I learned about this.  When I was in the ELS, I knew a pastor who had married a lady from Ukraine.  He advocated for the Eastern way of crossing yourself.  He said that when we make the sign of the cross on the baby's forehead and heart, we go from the child's right to left.  Inasmuch as crossing yourself is to claim your baptism, we should do so from right to left. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 10, 2020, 11:22:42 AM
Here's Wikipedia, which as we all know, and subscribe, is inerrant:  The sign of the cross (Latin: signum crucis), or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body with the right hand, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of the trinitarian formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."[1]

a) Making the sign of the cross is not optional, is it, by the pastor/clergy at the time of invocation and benediction?  Are there clergy-folks here who do not make the sign of the cross at the invocation or benediction, or believe it's OK not to do so?  So there are mandatory (shall rubric) aspects. 
b) All "may" rubrics are therefore adiaphora, including the sign of the cross in other aspects of the Divine Service/Mass by pastor or laity. 
c) My own opinion on this is strong-ish.  Especially in post-Christian times, teaching children and adults to make the sign of the cross as a regular devotional and worship practice is an important distinctive, and an excellent way for Christians to remember their baptisms and state non-verbally their Trinitarian belief.  Do the Mormons make the sign of the cross?  Not at all.  Jehovah's Witnesses?  Not at all.  Much less the other world religions.
d) It's a process.  I agree with Mike and Peter in this regard with the added feature of stating to worshipers/leaders in the congregation that this is a way we are teaching the faith to our kids and to others outside our immediate fellowship.  Make it a conscious and congregationally appropriate step in formation.
e) Why not?  Why is making the sign of the cross by pastors and laity for devotional, worship and apologetic reasons something NOT to be done?  I can't think of a reason other than that the motion of making the sign of the cross becomes "pro forma," which is the same as saying then that we shouldn't pray the Lord's Prayer because it becomes pro forma.

f) As far as which hand (which has come up a few times now), why NOT use the right hand like 99.9% of those making the sign of the cross?  And why not turn in the appropriate way at the altar if you're in a liturgical service?  Again, what's the reason not to know/do these things and develop these habits?

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on February 10, 2020, 11:32:16 AM
Bishop/Pastor Benke writes:
As far as which hand (which has come up a few times now), why NOT use the right hand like 99.9% of those making the sign of the cross?  And why not turn in the appropriate way at the altar if you're in a liturgical service? 
I comment:
Good question.

Bishop/Pastor Benke:
Again, what's the reason not to know/do these things and develop these habits?
Me:
And that is an even better question.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on February 10, 2020, 12:02:48 PM
Maybe we should petition the regents and faculty committees and say we demand to know which ones on the final list make crossing themselves a personal and communal habit and which ones do not.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on February 10, 2020, 01:04:29 PM
Maybe we should petition the regents and faculty committees and say we demand to know which ones on the final list make crossing themselves a personal and communal habit and which ones do not.

M. Staneck
Unless the selection process has substantially changed since the last time a CLS president was selected, perhaps we should let the process carry through as it has in the past.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on February 10, 2020, 01:59:37 PM
In choosing a president for a Lutheran seminary, the candidate's personal preferences about how, where, or whether we should cross ourselves pales into insignificance when compared to the serious doctrinal and theological challenges the church is facing today.  Talk about majoring in minors!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 10, 2020, 02:43:09 PM
Maybe we should petition the regents and faculty committees and say we demand to know which ones on the final list make crossing themselves a personal and communal habit and which ones do not.

M. Staneck
When I was in Germany 20 years ago in an Evangelical theological faculty, I was told that most German Lutherans did not have the practice of making the Sign of the Cross EXCEPT in Lübeck.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 10, 2020, 03:52:02 PM
Interesting phenomenon. Through the otherwise weird insistence that the next CSL president have an opinion about making the the sign of the cross, the ensuing discussion of "shall" and "may" rubrics in worship brings to the fore the larger issue of how seminaries should teach liturgy and leading of worship. Except this time, those normally considered traditional liturgy purists are making the case that even in things expressly contained in the catechism, Christian freedom must be the watchword. I suspect one side of the worship war is getting suckered into winning battles that lose wars.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 10, 2020, 04:36:46 PM
Bishop/Pastor Benke writes:
As far as which hand (which has come up a few times now), why NOT use the right hand like 99.9% of those making the sign of the cross?  And why not turn in the appropriate way at the altar if you're in a liturgical service? 
I comment:
Good question.

Bishop/Pastor Benke:
Again, what's the reason not to know/do these things and develop these habits?
Me:
And that is an even better question.

The answer is obvious: it's adiaphora, so you can't make me do it.  ;D

Reminds me of a remark I heard a Methodist bishop make one time: "There's no particular virtue in memorizing Bible passages. There's no particular virtue in refusing to do so, either."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 10, 2020, 05:11:23 PM
To date:
This dialog has been instructive to me in
a) gaining some historical knowledge - Lubeck as the headquarters of German Lutheran sign of the cross usage.
b) gaining some insight as to practice in other parts of the LCMS Lutheran country - way less sign of cross usage at least by laity
c) gaining some insight into training procedures at our LCMS seminaries
d) creating a desire for alpb forum online to contact the site to add an emoji - winking emoji with tongue in cheek.  Much needed.  Because

more than a few people think there is a serious effort to have the making of the sign of the cross correctly become via petition (or something) a major portion of the interview process for the next President of Concordia Seminary. 

There wasn't going to be, but with all the huffing and puffing about "serious doctrinal and theological challenges", maybe there should indeed be a portion of the interview that deals in a substantial way with what is or is not an adiaphoron.  That might be important due to the fact that what is considered an adiaphoron is viewed as mandatory by some, and is therefore, to those folks, a cause of offense.  So maybe one of those example questions might be put into the process:

Pastor X believes that a woman cannot read a lesson during the divine service and that since it is not an adiaphoron, disciplinary action should be taken against pastors and congregations who allow women to read a lesson.   Pastor Y believes that making the sign of the cross by the pastor with the left hand, although an adiaporon, should be discouraged because it is an inappropriate practice by LCMS pastors. 

How would you train future pastors, instruct your instructors, and lead your seminary inside your denomination on the issue of response to adiaphora as given in these examples?

Dave Benke

PS - my personal response:  Thank you for your well-written query and the wisdom that went into its crafting.  It is of high interest to me.  I would contact various synodical leaders to form a Blue Ribbon Commission on Adiaphora.   It will be composed of 12 rostered pastors, three members of the CTCR, seven commissioned rostered workers, 3 district presidents selected by the Council of Presidents, 3 representatives to be chosen by the Synodical President/Praesidium, and 11 laity from no less than 20 of the districts of the LCMS to perform an extensive study on adiaphora, meeting quarterly for a period of no less than six and no more than twelve years, with final report to the synodical convention no later than 2034, subsequent to triennial survey completion by member congregations and workers.  Neither women nor anyone who makes the sign of the cross left-handed may serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Adiaphora.  Should the Lord return during this time-frame, a petition would be submitted to the heavenly council to continue the study into eternity.

That's why I'm the guy for the job.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 10, 2020, 05:54:00 PM
To date:
This dialog has been instructive to me in
a) gaining some historical knowledge - Lubeck as the headquarters of German Lutheran sign of the cross usage.
b) gaining some insight as to practice in other parts of the LCMS Lutheran country - way less sign of cross usage at least by laity
c) gaining some insight into training procedures at our LCMS seminaries
d) creating a desire for alpb forum online to contact the site to add an emoji - winking emoji with tongue in cheek.  Much needed.  Because

more than a few people think there is a serious effort to have the making of the sign of the cross correctly become via petition (or something) a major portion of the interview process for the next President of Concordia Seminary. 

There wasn't going to be, but with all the huffing and puffing about "serious doctrinal and theological challenges", maybe there should indeed be a portion of the interview that deals in a substantial way with what is or is not an adiaphoron.  That might be important due to the fact that what is considered an adiaphoron is viewed as mandatory by some, and is therefore, to those folks, a cause of offense.  So maybe one of those example questions might be put into the process:

Pastor X believes that a woman cannot read a lesson during the divine service and that since it is not an adiaphoron, disciplinary action should be taken against pastors and congregations who allow women to read a lesson.   Pastor Y believes that making the sign of the cross by the pastor with the left hand, although an adiaporon, should be discouraged because it is an inappropriate practice by LCMS pastors. 

How would you train future pastors, instruct your instructors, and lead your seminary inside your denomination on the issue of response to adiaphora as given in these examples?

Dave Benke

PS - my personal response:  Thank you for your well-written query and the wisdom that went into its crafting.  It is of high interest to me.  I would contact various synodical leaders to form a Blue Ribbon Commission on Adiaphora.   It will be composed of 12 rostered pastors, three members of the CTCR, seven commissioned rostered workers, 3 district presidents selected by the Council of Presidents, 3 representatives to be chosen by the Synodical President/Praesidium, and 11 laity from no less than 20 of the districts of the LCMS to perform an extensive study on adiaphora, meeting quarterly for a period of no less than six and no more than twelve years, with final report to the synodical convention no later than 2034, subsequent to triennial survey completion by member congregations and workers.  Neither women nor anyone who makes the sign of the cross left-handed may serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Adiaphora.  Should the Lord return during this time-frame, a petition would be submitted to the heavenly council to continue the study into eternity.

That's why I'm the guy for the job.

Dave Benke

Had a funny conversation about SETs recently in the same vein.  "1000 ways to fill up the space and say nothing."

Which, in a decadent and campy way, is deathly funny.  I am cracking a gut about this thread.  Especially since I kicked it off complaining about the liturgy Nazis coming for my incorrect orans position.  Or since for a couple of weeks I had to use the sinister hand because I ruptured by bicep tendon in the right and it was immobilized, I can see that as the one provable fact, because somebody has to have a photo I'm sure. (Dr. Benke, do you already have the photo in your possession?  I'm a bit paranoid at how it took a left hand turn.)

But when I remember that decadent and campy aren't masculine virtues, this is part of the dysfunction of the entire system.  We will let one large group have no official voice and little official training, because we lack the institutional courage to actually answer the questions.  We will let some smaller group be permanently offended, because we lack the institutional courage to tell them sorry, but you shouldn't be offended, and if you wish to be, we shall arrange for a peaceful release.   

But that is why I'm not the guy for the job, and can barely keep this one. ;D
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 10, 2020, 05:58:26 PM
Bishop/Pastor Benke writes:
As far as which hand (which has come up a few times now), why NOT use the right hand like 99.9% of those making the sign of the cross?  And why not turn in the appropriate way at the altar if you're in a liturgical service? 
I comment:
Good question.

Bishop/Pastor Benke:
Again, what's the reason not to know/do these things and develop these habits?
Me:
And that is an even better question.

The answer is obvious: it's adiaphora, so you can't make me do it.  ;D

Reminds me of a remark I heard a Methodist bishop make one time: "There's no particular virtue in memorizing Bible passages. There's no particular virtue in refusing to do so, either."


I've often said, "We have to take adiaphora more seriously."


Or, as a friend used to say, "I feel strongly both ways."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 10, 2020, 08:39:00 PM
Bishop/Pastor Benke writes:
As far as which hand (which has come up a few times now), why NOT use the right hand like 99.9% of those making the sign of the cross?  And why not turn in the appropriate way at the altar if you're in a liturgical service? 
I comment:
Good question.

Bishop/Pastor Benke:
Again, what's the reason not to know/do these things and develop these habits?
Me:
And that is an even better question.

The answer is obvious: it's adiaphora, so you can't make me do it.  ;D

Reminds me of a remark I heard a Methodist bishop make one time: "There's no particular virtue in memorizing Bible passages. There's no particular virtue in refusing to do so, either."


I've often said, "We have to take adiaphora more seriously."


Or, as a friend used to say, "I feel strongly both ways."

"Give me ambiguity..........or give me something else!"

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 10, 2020, 09:57:17 PM
Dr. Schmidt used to chaff when someone would translate adiaphora as "matters indifferent" or "things that make no difference." While literal, such translations terribly mislead. They are matters neither commanded nor forbidden. They tend to be the very things people argue about and for that reason they make great differences in church life.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 11, 2020, 02:13:49 PM
Preparing for the next Sunday in Epiphany, which features the Deuteronomic Code choices for long and happy life, I was reminded of Spock and the Vulcan greeting/blessing -  "dif-tor heh smusma", which being translated is "Live Long and Prosper."  As you all know, Leonard Nimoy was not only Spock but was the person who devised the blessing and hand gesture. 

It was designed specifically according to the orthodox Jewish/Aaronic blessing as Nimoy saw it given in his childhood.  In the religious case (of course), the blessing is given with both hands raised, not just the right hand.  Nimoy's concept was to place the fingers, by wedging the pinky in front of the ring finger, in the shape of the Hebrew letter "Shin," symbolizing El Shaddai, Shekinah (Glory), Ha Shem (the Name- God), or Shalom. 

In that vein, dif-tor heh smusma,

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on February 11, 2020, 03:09:42 PM
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, President Dale Meyer told one of this forum's posters
that he had to raise $22 million a year to keep Concordia Seminary, St. Louis open.

Evidently, fund raising will be one of the traits looked for in the next Seminary President.  It
seems sad that such a high priority is placed on this aspect of the Presidency.   Perhaps,
we are overlooking the need for an accomplished theologian and scholar for the next Seminary
President.  Leadership is more than raising money, it is raising men to be Christ-centered,
Biblically-based, Doctrinally-solid pastors.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 11, 2020, 05:36:33 PM
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, President Dale Meyer told one of this forum's posters
that he had to raise $22 million a year to keep Concordia Seminary, St. Louis open.

Evidently, fund raising will be one of the traits looked for in the next Seminary President.  It
seems sad that such a high priority is placed on this aspect of the Presidency.   Perhaps,
we are overlooking the need for an accomplished theologian and scholar for the next Seminary
President.  Leadership is more than raising money, it is raising men to be Christ-centered,
Biblically-based, Doctrinally-solid pastors.

I imagine the Seminary will be one of the last parts of the institution to be cut loose.  It has a core function (at least for now).  As long as some of its grads touch people's lives, it can raise some money.  But unlike most colleges, its grads don't exactly make a bunch of money.  And right now, because the weakness of the institution is so evident, it really can't charge tuition raising funds from current students.  But unless the new president is willing to move the seminary back into the modern equivalent of the log cabin, and have the faculty take on the teaching loads of yore, and just all around simplify, which I wonder if it would even be possible given modern accreditation expectations, raising $22M and climbing is the only real requirement.  Everything else is nice, but not required.

The institutional capacity (i.e. money inside the system) is decreasing, and we are simply playing a game of musical chairs, until we collectively decide to stop playing this game.  Which means making some radical changes.  But I'd place my bets on a few more chairs being removed before we are there.  You have to retire the people that are like Will Smith's Character in I Am Legend yelling "This is my site, I can still fix this." (Which the movie completely screws up compared to the book, because he does in a way.  That ending makes no sense.)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 11, 2020, 07:07:36 PM
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, President Dale Meyer told one of this forum's posters
that he had to raise $22 million a year to keep Concordia Seminary, St. Louis open.

Evidently, fund raising will be one of the traits looked for in the next Seminary President.  It
seems sad that such a high priority is placed on this aspect of the Presidency.   Perhaps,
we are overlooking the need for an accomplished theologian and scholar for the next Seminary
President.  Leadership is more than raising money, it is raising men to be Christ-centered,
Biblically-based, Doctrinally-solid pastors.

I imagine the Seminary will be one of the last parts of the institution to be cut loose.  It has a core function (at least for now).  As long as some of its grads touch people's lives, it can raise some money.  But unlike most colleges, its grads don't exactly make a bunch of money.  And right now, because the weakness of the institution is so evident, it really can't charge tuition raising funds from current students.  But unless the new president is willing to move the seminary back into the modern equivalent of the log cabin, and have the faculty take on the teaching loads of yore, and just all around simplify, which I wonder if it would even be possible given modern accreditation expectations, raising $22M and climbing is the only real requirement.  Everything else is nice, but not required.

The institutional capacity (i.e. money inside the system) is decreasing, and we are simply playing a game of musical chairs, until we collectively decide to stop playing this game.  Which means making some radical changes.  But I'd place my bets on a few more chairs being removed before we are there.  You have to retire the people that are like Will Smith's Character in I Am Legend yelling "This is my site, I can still fix this." (Which the movie completely screws up compared to the book, because he does in a way.  That ending makes no sense.)

But I did like the ending, because I'm a religious guy and it was hopeful.

So how do the University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon make such large boatloads of money?  Started as they were by folks who were in our Missouri Synod system, not by the way.  Who got out, did something not on the screen and continue to do it. 

Could you/should you/can you do seminary training online?  Could you/should you/can you mix and match that with some blend of formational experience?  Should you instead double down on residential students at two campuses as the path to the future?  Why would that model start working now, when it hasn't been for a very long time at Ft. Wayne and a getting-long time at St. Louis?

Because the orthodox way we've always done it in order to ensure orthodoxy in the way we ensure orthodoxy is the way that must and will work.  Because it's orthodox.

You could argue, I know, that if the other option is to install screens and bands and/or the music of screens and bands via piped-in online sourcing in every Missouri Synod sanctuary while the seminary student sends face-time video to the professor demonstrating his acumen and getting his worship performance grade as the way to reach the masses and reclaim the future, you'll take the narrow orthodox road with the pre-shrunk student body.  Fair enough.

My opinion is that the ideology running the Missouri training game right now at the higher level of input is the Benedict avoidance option with the seminary as the lab test for a type of shorter term (3-4 year) quasi-monastic formational life so that indoctrination can be maximized and questioning or exterior mentoring minimized.  But I could be wrong.  I was wrong once; I don't remember it per se, but remember that I thought I had made a mistake and shouldn't do that again, whatever it was.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on February 11, 2020, 07:49:17 PM
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, President Dale Meyer told one of this forum's posters
that he had to raise $22 million a year to keep Concordia Seminary, St. Louis open.

Evidently, fund raising will be one of the traits looked for in the next Seminary President.  It
seems sad that such a high priority is placed on this aspect of the Presidency.   Perhaps,
we are overlooking the need for an accomplished theologian and scholar for the next Seminary
President.  Leadership is more than raising money, it is raising men to be Christ-centered,
Biblically-based, Doctrinally-solid pastors.

I imagine the Seminary will be one of the last parts of the institution to be cut loose.  It has a core function (at least for now).  As long as some of its grads touch people's lives, it can raise some money.  But unlike most colleges, its grads don't exactly make a bunch of money.  And right now, because the weakness of the institution is so evident, it really can't charge tuition raising funds from current students.  But unless the new president is willing to move the seminary back into the modern equivalent of the log cabin, and have the faculty take on the teaching loads of yore, and just all around simplify, which I wonder if it would even be possible given modern accreditation expectations, raising $22M and climbing is the only real requirement.  Everything else is nice, but not required.

The institutional capacity (i.e. money inside the system) is decreasing, and we are simply playing a game of musical chairs, until we collectively decide to stop playing this game.  Which means making some radical changes.  But I'd place my bets on a few more chairs being removed before we are there.  You have to retire the people that are like Will Smith's Character in I Am Legend yelling "This is my site, I can still fix this." (Which the movie completely screws up compared to the book, because he does in a way.  That ending makes no sense.)

But I did like the ending, because I'm a religious guy and it was hopeful.

So how do the University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon make such large boatloads of money?  Started as they were by folks who were in our Missouri Synod system, not by the way.  Who got out, did something not on the screen and continue to do it. 

Could you/should you/can you do seminary training online?  Could you/should you/can you mix and match that with some blend of formational experience?  Should you instead double down on residential students at two campuses as the path to the future?  Why would that model start working now, when it hasn't been for a very long time at Ft. Wayne and a getting-long time at St. Louis?

Because the orthodox way we've always done it in order to ensure orthodoxy in the way we ensure orthodoxy is the way that must and will work.  Because it's orthodox.

You could argue, I know, that if the other option is to install screens and bands and/or the music of screens and bands via piped-in online sourcing in every Missouri Synod sanctuary while the seminary student sends face-time video to the professor demonstrating his acumen and getting his worship performance grade as the way to reach the masses and reclaim the future, you'll take the narrow orthodox road with the pre-shrunk student body.  Fair enough.

My opinion is that the ideology running the Missouri training game right now at the higher level of input is the Benedict avoidance option with the seminary as the lab test for a type of shorter term (3-4 year) quasi-monastic formational life so that indoctrination can be maximized and questioning or exterior mentoring minimized.  But I could be wrong.  I was wrong once; I don't remember it per se, but remember that I thought I had made a mistake and shouldn't do that again, whatever it was.

Dave Benke

As to your last sentence, I can easily refresh your failing memory. :)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on February 11, 2020, 08:47:19 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 11, 2020, 10:25:47 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sorry to hear about Reed pulling out.  He has a lot on the ball. 

What kind of circuit are you running up there, Jim?  We had pizza at our circuit meeting last week.  That's it.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 12, 2020, 11:11:37 AM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 12, 2020, 11:28:47 AM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

Me too.  What that is in tribal memory by the people who get to tell the story from the "victorious" side is that the faithful folks fended off the libs.  And if you have only one seminary, at some future point in time some lib might infiltrate again and tack the denomination off into the hell that transpires once you have women's suffrage (or something along those lines). 

So it's fear-based and tradition-based, and tradition-of-fear based.  It has zero to do with figuring out the best future scenario for confessional Lutheranism.  They will slide into that scenario after maybe a half dozen more prop-up-the-ship property sales.  What might the net net be from the Portland closing to the synodical coffers?  $5 million?  $10 million?  $1.50?  -$500,000?

Now that the "historical college debt" has been paid off, maybe the "historical seminary debt-load" could be subsidized by taking X millions out of Portland to make the seminaries tuition-free zones for awhile longer.  One thing that I know we produce in our system is a lot of guys who want to teach at the seminary level.  Professional students who are also wannabe teacher/professors.  Two seminaries leaves more opportunity for that group.  Adjunct professors, by the way, take away those opportunities for the academy.   The other thing that might work for the seminaries is the internationalization model.  Even as undergraduate Chinese help high schools and colleges, seminary students from our partner churches and/or those in somebody else's partner church who want a more conservative education can be of assistance.  Since in most cases those students are not coming with full wallets like the Chinese, the way it can be done is to export seminary professors to their countries to do the indoctrination.  I think that's already well underway.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on February 12, 2020, 11:42:48 AM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 12, 2020, 12:03:12 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.

I'm going to disagree with you here, Jim, to some degree.  Those student body totals, even if you upgrade them by 20% in the future, do not demand or even support two campuses and all the additional overhead that's associated with two of this and two of that. 

Think of it as you would the two congregations somewhere in your district that have two wonderful buildings and 25 people in each of them and are within 3 miles of one another.  Yet two church councils, two budgets, in some cases two different pastors, two of everything for 50 people.  Let them be, you would say?  What you're really saying is Let them die. 

I'm not saying merging makes it better.  But merging changes the game and allows - hey! - the opportunity to start a fresh endeavor in a different way in one of those neighborhoods or towns.  Maybe.  At least it could be worth a shot and can't be taken as bad just because it's uttered as an option.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on February 12, 2020, 01:21:31 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.

I'm going to disagree with you here, Jim, to some degree.  Those student body totals, even if you upgrade them by 20% in the future, do not demand or even support two campuses and all the additional overhead that's associated with two of this and two of that. 

Think of it as you would the two congregations somewhere in your district that have two wonderful buildings and 25 people in each of them and are within 3 miles of one another.  Yet two church councils, two budgets, in some cases two different pastors, two of everything for 50 people.  Let them be, you would say?  What you're really saying is Let them die. 

I'm not saying merging makes it better.  But merging changes the game and allows - hey! - the opportunity to start a fresh endeavor in a different way in one of those neighborhoods or towns.  Maybe.  At least it could be worth a shot and can't be taken as bad just because it's uttered as an option.

Dave Benke

I don't know why it is. Whenever the question of a consolidated seminary is raised, there is strong resistance. There seems to be real fear about something but the "something" is never articulated however real it may be. Something, not named, will be lost. Can anyone here say what?

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on February 12, 2020, 01:31:59 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.

I'm going to disagree with you here, Jim, to some degree.  Those student body totals, even if you upgrade them by 20% in the future, do not demand or even support two campuses and all the additional overhead that's associated with two of this and two of that. 

Think of it as you would the two congregations somewhere in your district that have two wonderful buildings and 25 people in each of them and are within 3 miles of one another.  Yet two church councils, two budgets, in some cases two different pastors, two of everything for 50 people.  Let them be, you would say?  What you're really saying is Let them die. 

I'm not saying merging makes it better.  But merging changes the game and allows - hey! - the opportunity to start a fresh endeavor in a different way in one of those neighborhoods or towns.  Maybe.  At least it could be worth a shot and can't be taken as bad just because it's uttered as an option.

Dave Benke

I don't know why it is. Whenever the question of a consolidated seminary is raised, there is strong resistance. There seems to be real fear about something but the "something" is never articulated however real it may be. Something, not named, will be lost. Can anyone here say what?

Peace, JOHN

One thing you have to consider is the difference between the seminaries, especially in terms of worship.  It seems that the two institutions have two very different approaches and commitments.  Even a comparison of their respective call services will bear this out.  Those deeply committed to liturgical worship guided by our synodical hymnal see an eroding of this commitment in St. Louis that has become far more accommodating to contemporary trends. 

I'm sure there are other issues and concerns, but I suspect his one is a significant one.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: J.L. Precup on February 12, 2020, 01:34:22 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.

I'm going to disagree with you here, Jim, to some degree.  Those student body totals, even if you upgrade them by 20% in the future, do not demand or even support two campuses and all the additional overhead that's associated with two of this and two of that. 

Think of it as you would the two congregations somewhere in your district that have two wonderful buildings and 25 people in each of them and are within 3 miles of one another.  Yet two church councils, two budgets, in some cases two different pastors, two of everything for 50 people.  Let them be, you would say?  What you're really saying is Let them die. 

I'm not saying merging makes it better.  But merging changes the game and allows - hey! - the opportunity to start a fresh endeavor in a different way in one of those neighborhoods or towns.  Maybe.  At least it could be worth a shot and can't be taken as bad just because it's uttered as an option.

Dave Benke

I don't know why it is. Whenever the question of a consolidated seminary is raised, there is strong resistance. There seems to be real fear about something but the "something" is never articulated however real it may be. Something, not named, will be lost. Can anyone here say what?

Peace, JOHN

About two or three years ago, I spoke with a new graduate of one of our seminaries.  The graduates of both seminaries agreed to meet about half way between the two campuses for a meal and the chance to get to know one another.  The take away of the graduate I spoke with was:  "Wow, they are really different."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on February 12, 2020, 01:43:50 PM
We had a member of the CSL Board of Regents at our circuit meeting today.

He said that Reed Lessing has removed himself from consideration for CSL presidency. He also said that CSL/CTSFW are not interested in having one president for both institutions.

Sad about Lessing, but in a way not, because it would be a waste of him to spend all his time raising money.

As to the other, I'm shocked, shocked, that the institutions would demand their continued autonomy and belief that they can fix it.

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?

Maybe it's bowing to reality. Do you honestly think there is the political will in the Synod to merge the seminaries? Because I sure don't! Maybe one day we'll need to do that, but right now we don't. And it's not going to happen unless it has to happen.

What can be done--and should be done--is for the seminaries to play to their strengths. For whatever reason, the Fort has more deaconess students; maybe CSL should close its deaconess program and focus more on EIIT and other ethnic programs. Those things are possible in the Synod. But merging...ain't gonna happen.

I'm going to disagree with you here, Jim, to some degree.  Those student body totals, even if you upgrade them by 20% in the future, do not demand or even support two campuses and all the additional overhead that's associated with two of this and two of that. 

Think of it as you would the two congregations somewhere in your district that have two wonderful buildings and 25 people in each of them and are within 3 miles of one another.  Yet two church councils, two budgets, in some cases two different pastors, two of everything for 50 people.  Let them be, you would say?  What you're really saying is Let them die. 

I'm not saying merging makes it better.  But merging changes the game and allows - hey! - the opportunity to start a fresh endeavor in a different way in one of those neighborhoods or towns.  Maybe.  At least it could be worth a shot and can't be taken as bad just because it's uttered as an option.

Dave Benke

I don't know why it is. Whenever the question of a consolidated seminary is raised, there is strong resistance. There seems to be real fear about something but the "something" is never articulated however real it may be. Something, not named, will be lost. Can anyone here say what?

Peace, JOHN

One thing you have to consider is the difference between the seminaries, especially in terms of worship.  It seems that the two institutions have two very different approaches and commitments.  Even a comparison of their respective call services will bear this out.  Those deeply committed to liturgical worship guided by our synodical hymnal see an eroding of this commitment in St. Louis that has become far more accommodating to contemporary trends. 

I'm sure there are other issues and concerns, but I suspect his one is a significant one.
As the previous poster noted, there are significant cultural differences between the two seminaries, and they tend (stress on tend) to produce two very different strains of pastor, both in terms of how they view their role as pastor and in how they are likely to interact with their congregations and communities. If you know people in geographically distinct districts with some years in the Synod, lay and clergy, do a quick canvass and ask them what comes to mind when when they think about a pastor from St. Louis as opposed to one from the Fort. My guess, based on past conversations, is that the answers will be generally consistent and paint quite different portraits.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on February 12, 2020, 02:15:17 PM
Dr. Lawrence Rast has allowed his name to be placed as a candidate for the Presidency
of the St. Louis Seminary.  The fact that he is already the President of the Fort Wayne
Seminary, does not discourage speculation that he would be willing to be the President
of both Seminaries.  Let the discussion begin on one President of the two seminaries.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on February 12, 2020, 02:27:28 PM

You know, there is this thing called the 8th commandment. How do you know that the seminaries are "demand[ing] their continued autonomy and belie[ve] that they can fix it"?...

I would have thought that "are not interested in having one president for both institutions" was rather straight up proffered evidence, combined with current enrollment with zero tuition and the constant pleas we get to "send us your students".  But then we are not really talking about evidence with such a response, but more in John Hannah's territory.


I don't know why it is. Whenever the question of a consolidated seminary is raised, there is strong resistance. There seems to be real fear about something but the "something" is never articulated however real it may be. Something, not named, will be lost. Can anyone here say what?

Peace, JOHN

Even then I'm tempted to give the logical answer.  Everybody games it out and realizes that selling St. Louis is the only logical answer.  And then emotionally screams at that for a variety of reasons nostalgic and church-political.

But my gut is that it never even gets to the level of logic.  This is the Emotional Elephant just responding to the death of a perceived mother.  Of course the seminary is not mother church, but I'd bet a large stack of chips that is how it looms.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 12, 2020, 02:44:01 PM
I transferred from Ft. Wayne to St. Louis after my first year (for reasons unrelated to seminary education, namely, my wife's job as a Latin teacher paying all our bills). I had lived in the dorms in Ft. Wayne, and one of the fourth year guys in my dorm got his first call to a near north suburb of St. Louis. So we stayed in touch. The first time I invited him to an event on campus, he actually stopped at the threshold, so to speak, next to the welcome sign, unsure if he wanted to sully his shoes by stepping foot on the St. Louis campus. It was a joke, but only 90% so. To some people, asking why the seminaries don't want to merge is like asking why Ohio State and Michigan don't want to merge.

I've always considered cluelessness about such things the best policy, or feigned cluelessness if the real thing isn't available.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on February 12, 2020, 03:22:48 PM
I transferred from Ft. Wayne to St. Louis after my first year (for reasons unrelated to seminary education, namely, my wife's job as a Latin teacher paying all our bills). I had lived in the dorms in Ft. Wayne, and one of the fourth year guys in my dorm got his first call to a near north suburb of St. Louis. So we stayed in touch. The first time I invited him to an event on campus, he actually stopped at the threshold, so to speak, next to the welcome sign, unsure if he wanted to sully his shoes by stepping foot on the St. Louis campus. It was a joke, but only 90% so. To some people, asking why the seminaries don't want to merge is like asking why Ohio State and Michigan don't want to merge.

I've always considered cluelessness about such things the best policy, or feigned cluelessness is the real thing isn't available.

That's good - Ohio State and Michigan would merge only so that what e-merged from that merged pile would be Ohio State x 2, if you're from Ohio State.

The other way to look at it from the perspective of the two seminaries is that the best of both would be what emerged. 

At the same time, as a guy formerly in the sports brigade, the intramural all-star team at St. Louis played, and handily crushed, the varsity team at Springfield each year when I was going through.  In other words, there was really no comparison and no point in making one.  We were in a different and higher league.  We beat them in football as well, but it was closer and pretty physical, because they weren't happy being second rated by the likes of us.

To be fair, we also applied our evaluation of their athletic skills to their theological training, and deemed both to be inferior.  After all, at that time, the lustrous Robert Preus was at St. Louis and his lackluster brother at Springfield.  Rivalry.  Sibling Rivalry, even better.  Gotta love it. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: ptom on February 12, 2020, 07:26:49 PM
Plus there was the idea that you went to St. Louis the be an academic theologian and you went to Springfield to be a parish pastor.  This went down the tubes in 1974.   And the cry went out shortly later that if there was only one seminary (as was being discussed in some circles), if what happened then would to happen again - why we would have no seminary.

Tom
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on April 26, 2020, 06:05:42 PM
Looking for information on CSL call day information, the following information on the presidential search process was found at https://www.csl.edu/president-search/ (https://www.csl.edu/president-search/)

Quote
A special meeting of the electors has been scheduled for May 16, 2020, to conduct the election of the President.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rob Morris on April 26, 2020, 09:33:55 PM
I've always considered cluelessness about such things the best policy, or feigned cluelessness if the real thing isn't available.

One of the greatest advantages of colloquy - on cross-Synod issues and historical grudges, I always have plenty of the real thing available.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on April 27, 2020, 06:50:40 AM
What's the enrollment at the seminaries now? Would distance education expand their numbers and allow for more shepherds to be trained?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: DeHall1 on April 27, 2020, 10:31:01 AM
What's the enrollment at the seminaries now? Would distance education expand their numbers and allow for more shepherds to be trained?

Isn't that the SMP program?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on April 27, 2020, 03:16:36 PM
My sons and many other students are now taking classes from home due to covid-19 restrictions. I wonder how arms are handling that and leading them to rethink what they do and the church needs.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Fcdwyn on April 28, 2020, 04:26:59 PM
I continually receive solicitation from both CSL and CTSFW for donations. I have decided to reply on the return donation card that no donation will be made to either seminary until there is a serious discussion and final decision about consolidation of seminary education in the LCMS.  We do not need two seminaries.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: MaddogLutheran on April 28, 2020, 05:20:10 PM
Outsider observation:  institutional rivalries aside, the seminary best deserving to be closed cannot be, because of historical financial encumbrances.  That's why it hasn't happened to date, and will continue not to.  I don't see anything in the current crisis that changes that reality, short of the complete financial collapse of both of them.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on April 28, 2020, 05:33:17 PM
I continually receive solicitation from both CSL and CTSFW for donations. I have decided to reply on the return donation card that no donation will be made to either seminary until there is a serious discussion and final decision about consolidation of seminary education in the LCMS.  We do not need two seminaries.
Insider (LCMS pew sitter) observation: Many who remember the problems of the ‘70’s have seen those events as justification of having both seminaries ... however the realities of today may render that justification moot ... or at least reopen the topic for discussion.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on April 28, 2020, 06:21:41 PM
I continually receive solicitation from both CSL and CTSFW for donations. I have decided to reply on the return donation card that no donation will be made to either seminary until there is a serious discussion and final decision about consolidation of seminary education in the LCMS.  We do not need two seminaries.

Personally, I am hoping that they do not consolidate the two seminaries into one.  My suspicion is that if they did it would all move to St. Louis and the education of future pastors would be influenced by a more narrow approach, the Ft. Wayne approach being seen as too conservative, especially with respect to liturgics, and thus removed.  Of course, I am a CTS-FW grad and I teach for this seminary online in the SMP program, so I will admit some bias. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Harry Edmon on May 02, 2020, 04:39:50 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt

These candidates were selected from the 44 nominees who gave permission for their names to stand in consideration for the call. The slate was established by the Seminary’s Board of Regents (voting individually), the LCMS district president elected to the Seminary’s Board of Regents (Dr. John Wille, LCMS South Wisconsin District), the president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (Dr. Matthew C. Harrison) and the chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors (Dr. Michael Kumm).

On Saturday, May 16, 2020, these electors will vote to select the candidate to receive the call. Per the LCMS Handbook, in this vote, electors Wille, Harrison and Kumm each will have one vote, and the remaining members of the Seminary’s Board of Regents will have one collective vote. A public announcement will be made that day following the election.

The new president will succeed President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, who will retire June 30. Meyer became the Seminary’s 10th president in 2005.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 02, 2020, 05:44:25 PM
As I previously stated in post #186 in February, the fact that Dr. Lawerence Rast Jr.
allowed his name to stand as a candidate could lead to him being President of
both Seminaries.  Dr. Patrick Ferry is President of both Concordia University Wisconsin
and Concordia Ann Arbor University.  So there is a current precedent for this
to happen.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 02, 2020, 06:44:27 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt

These candidates were selected from the 44 nominees who gave permission for their names to stand in consideration for the call. The slate was established by the Seminary’s Board of Regents (voting individually), the LCMS district president elected to the Seminary’s Board of Regents (Dr. John Wille, LCMS South Wisconsin District), the president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (Dr. Matthew C. Harrison) and the chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors (Dr. Michael Kumm).

On Saturday, May 16, 2020, these electors will vote to select the candidate to receive the call. Per the LCMS Handbook, in this vote, electors Wille, Harrison and Kumm each will have one vote, and the remaining members of the Seminary’s Board of Regents will have one collective vote. A public announcement will be made that day following the election.

The new president will succeed President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, who will retire June 30. Meyer became the Seminary’s 10th president in 2005.

Thanks for this forward, Harry Edmon - that's an interesting list, to be sure.  Equally interesting to me is the list of electors.  An example from the "old" days at a college - it was me in capacity as the District President from the geographical district in which the school was located; the board of regents as a vote, the president of Synod or his rep as a vote, and the head of the Board for Higher Education.  The one that doesn't fit in the equation to me - and this is just me catching up - is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Synod.  The BOD of LCMS Inc. is supposedly the "business" end of the denomination, not the educational department.  I wonder how and why that happened? 

Most of our stuff is a byzantine maze of trade-offs and stand-offs to outsiders, but somehow makes sense to those in the know.  The only thing that makes sense to me is
a) they needed or wanted four votes - keep the number of votantes the same
b) the CUS is no longer directly connected to the seminaries, so some other entity had to be picked.  I guess that will be helpful when the decision needs to be made to close one of the campuses.  The business board will already be in the room.

I personally think the ALPB active posters as a group should have been and should be going forward the fourth vote in any four vote election in the Missouri Synod and/or the ELCA.  Let's open things up - good grief, we've already greased the skids for a complete district and college realignment/rightsizing in the Missouri Synod.  Haven't we earned our way into those smoky electoral chambers?  I think so.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 02, 2020, 07:05:16 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke link=topic=7360.msg476523#msg476523
  I guess that will be helpful when the decision needs to be made to close one of the campuses.  The business board will already be in the room.


Do you think that they will close one of the seminaries in the near foreseeable future?  And curious: would you prefer to see St. Louis as the one that remained open?  If so, how do you envision the blending of the two into one? 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 02, 2020, 08:06:39 PM
[quote author=Dave Benke link=topic=7360.msg476523#msg476523  I guess that will be helpful when the decision needs to be made to close one of the campuses.  The business board will already be in the room.
?

Do you think that they will close one of the seminaries in the near foreseeable future?  And curious: would you prefer to see St. Louis as the one that remained open?  If so, how do you envision the blending of the two into one?
[/quote]

It would make total sense.  Even if you combined the two enrollments you don't have anything like a full campus.  So which campus?  There's more financial value, or at least there used to be a few months ago, in the St. Louis campus.  And there's the clause about the usage of the campus at Ft. Wayne - the ideas from this board on what could be done with it include a continued educational option there.  But - if that's what would happen, there would be no gain from property sale in bringing about a joining of the seminaries.  There would be some overhead savings no doubt, some paring down savings no doubt, and the combination of the two endowments ($100 million?) could make it gel. 

The basic thing is to do away with this in-bred belief that you need to have two seminaries as a hedge against one going bad.  Move on, already.  Make decisions that have to do with focusing the mission and formation of pastors and leaders for the church body.  I'm just spitballing.  As of 4/1/20, I have no position of any kind in a synodically-operated entity.  Just a rostered country and western preacher on a city and eastern ranch.  We'll be singing "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" tomorrow morning around 10:10 AM on Good Shepherd Sunday, because the local undershepherd and his flock like that one.  Also at the end singing "Have No Fear, Little Flock."  Which is directly to the point.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 02, 2020, 08:58:42 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt

There are some interesting names on that list.

Anyone want to lay odds on who is chosen?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RandyBosch on May 02, 2020, 09:01:23 PM
Outsider observation:  institutional rivalries aside, the seminary best deserving to be closed cannot be, because of historical financial encumbrances.  That's why it hasn't happened to date, and will continue not to.  I don't see anything in the current crisis that changes that reality, short of the complete financial collapse of both of them.

Isn't the issue that if the Ft. Wayne land is not used for appropriate church uses (the gift instrument might define them), the land must returned to the ownership of whoever gave the gift, or perhaps their successors and assigns if not since altered.

If so, isn't the loss there of the land and physical plant.  So, that seminary can be closed, at the loss of the assumed monetary value of those, if they have monetary value beyond real estate.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: aletheist on May 02, 2020, 09:08:19 PM
Outsider observation:  institutional rivalries aside, the seminary best deserving to be closed cannot be, because of historical financial encumbrances.
Just curious, what is the basis for determining which seminary is "best deserving to be closed"?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 02, 2020, 09:14:50 PM
Outsider observation:  institutional rivalries aside, the seminary best deserving to be closed cannot be, because of historical financial encumbrances.
Just curious, what is the basis for determining which seminary is "best deserving to be closed"?
I don’t think either seminary deserves to be closed. That’s a tad different from being the seminary that it makes the most sense to close. And if we’re talking about Ft. Wayne I don’t think closing the seminary would cost us the property, assuming we converted it to some other mission-related activity.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 08:14:37 AM
Outsider observation:  institutional rivalries aside, the seminary best deserving to be closed cannot be, because of historical financial encumbrances.
Just curious, what is the basis for determining which seminary is "best deserving to be closed"?
I don’t think either seminary deserves to be closed. That’s a tad different from being the seminary that it makes the most sense to close. And if we’re talking about Ft. Wayne I don’t think closing the seminary would cost us the property, assuming we converted it to some other mission-related activity.

I agree with both of these assessments.  In any restructuring scenario, those institutions that have been falling, failing, less productive, at or below margin prior to the convulsion are more likely to be prioritized.  In NYC we could not have known in advance the dimension of the Lutheran grade school enrollment drop that followed 9/11, and the charter school growth which provided a free education for parents with a more values-laden curriculum proved the death knell for most of the schools.  It was a double whammy to institutions that were on the margin at the turn of the century.  It really hasn't been that much different in the much larger Catholic school system. 

And it's no different for the nationwide Lutheran school system including everything from pre-school on up through the seminary.  All good will and fervent prayers notwithstanding, now is the time to plan for different educational provision going forward.  Re-purposing properties and solidifying efforts behind the stated mission is the base from which to plan.  I'm sure all of this is already on the agenda at the national level, and I know it's on the agenda at the regional level and local level, speaking personally.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 03, 2020, 09:00:54 AM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt

There are some interesting names on that list.

Anyone want to lay odds on who is chosen?

I must say there are three on that list that I was unfamiliar with: Rutt, Fluegge, and Elowsky.  Checking out their brief bios I was encouraged, lots of missiological work/focus between the three.  I thought that was rather telling as to where the Regents are focused concerning the years ahead. 

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 03, 2020, 09:45:31 AM
Unless his theological views have changed dramatically, a Fluegge presidency could very well send Sem StL down a dramatically more liberal path.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 03, 2020, 09:58:19 AM
44 candidates dwindled down to 6 - and during a pandemic! The presidential search committee, which according to bylaws shall consist of regents members and faculty members, must have conducted a ton of business via Zoom. I wonder how they got staff and student input into the process during the pandemic, as the bylaws also stipulate. Again, thank goodness for Zoom.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on May 03, 2020, 10:26:29 AM
Unless his theological views have changed dramatically, a Fluegge presidency could very well send Sem StL down a dramatically more liberal path.

Agreed.  I seem to recall that he got excellent grades, or at least better grades than me.  (But that was about 99.9% of our class.  LOL)

Jeremy
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 03, 2020, 10:31:19 AM
Unless his theological views have changed dramatically, a Fluegge presidency could very well send Sem StL down a dramatically more liberal path.

Agreed.  I seem to recall that he got excellent grades, or at least better grades than me.  (But that was about 99.9% of our class.  LOL)

Jeremy

Oh, yes. He's a very smart fellow! According to his bio, he graduated number 1 in his class, a year after I graduated. But, I remember being with him in a Kolb class and his comments. And I remember in a Robinson class, we were studying the Westminster Confession. His observation was that it was pretty much like our Confession.

Hence, my observation about a Fluegge presidency.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 03, 2020, 10:40:10 AM
44 candidates dwindled down to 6 - and during a pandemic! The presidential search committee, which according to bylaws shall consist of regents members and faculty members, must have conducted a ton of business via Zoom. I wonder how they got staff and student input into the process during the pandemic, as the bylaws also stipulate. Again, thank goodness for Zoom.

M. Staneck
Perhaps an example of a new normal efficiency, stewardship, and time management. If indeed most or all of this process was handled virtually, no travel time ... no air travel, hotel, meal expenses for the candidates and board of regents. 


Hopefully these newly learned and acquired efficiencies will continue long after life returns to normal.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Weedon on May 03, 2020, 11:00:51 AM
Bishop, weren’t you actually involved in the restructuring task force that resulted in the current setup in Synod? At least I thought you were onboard for approving the “streamlining” proposed. Maybe I am misremembering???
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RandyBosch on May 03, 2020, 01:13:12 PM
Bishop, weren’t you actually involved in the restructuring task force that resulted in the current setup in Synod? At least I thought you were onboard for approving the “streamlining” proposed. Maybe I am misremembering??? 

I'm not Bishop, however, as I recall, the BRTFSG&etc.etc. Memorials were not all adopted in Convention.  It seems that several of the parts therein had functional interconnectivity that was therefore lost which left a number of loose ends and non-sequitur orders.  The then "new" administration has often been criticized, both for actually following the partial requirements that some of its members and supporters had opposed but since adopted were required to implement and for not administering some of the requirements that in fact were not adopted.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 03, 2020, 01:13:48 PM
44 candidates dwindled down to 6 - and during a pandemic! The presidential search committee, which according to bylaws shall consist of regents members and faculty members, must have conducted a ton of business via Zoom. I wonder how they got staff and student input into the process during the pandemic, as the bylaws also stipulate. Again, thank goodness for Zoom.

M. Staneck
Perhaps an example of a new normal efficiency, stewardship, and time management. If indeed most or all of this process was handled virtually, no travel time ... no air travel, hotel, meal expenses for the candidates and board of regents. 


Hopefully these newly learned and acquired efficiencies will continue long after life returns to normal.

This is an excellent point, Mister Eivan. In fact, I suggest that the seminary board of regents release a detailed step by step of this process to help other synod entities and congregations. There are probably a lot of ministries that could benefit from such impressive efficiency.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 01:29:43 PM
Bishop, weren’t you actually involved in the restructuring task force that resulted in the current setup in Synod? At least I thought you were onboard for approving the “streamlining” proposed. Maybe I am misremembering???

No, that was Larry Stoterau - the BRTFsomethingsomethingsomething.  Maybe one more something.

I was for about four conventions the chair or vice-chair of Human Care/Mercy at the conventions, so secreted away from the other floor committees.  Also, it's safe to reveal now that during my twenty-four years on the COP, I managed to serve on zero of the council committees.  It's a mark of achievement that I believe will never be broken; I'm both proud and humbled by it.  I was on a couple of special committees including the one on Deacons and Nomenclature that eventuated in DELTO/SMP and an internal one on bringing together some of the folks who sued the Synod to heal that wound.  But that's it. 

And then I left the 2010 convention after one day, not witnessing anything that happened there, because my mom died.  So my handbook maven-hood took a big hit, because the handbook changed pretty dramatically in 2010 and thereafter.  In 2012 I had a two year massive stint dealing on the ground with Superstorm Sandy, so lost track of the end-game of those changes.

As to Matt Staneck's comment, I wonder how they got staff and student input into the process , I would bet there was very little student input.  That's just me, but something has to give when under time constraints in a pandemic.  The students are here and then - zoom - they're gone.  Staff, on the other hand, would want to give input.  Since they were around, maybe they had different opportunity.  But maybe not.  I agree with Matt that it would be good to have a point by point of how the process was either served or severed.

Remembering my own student days in the time of not pandemic but incipient pandemonium, ramping up to the summer of 1973:  I took an STM year after graduation/ordination in 1972, so we could stick around in a fourplex where my brother and his wife (4th year) also resided.  And we the student body were really charged up and on fire to take action as our beloved professors and institution was being cracked over the head, as we saw it.  So fourteen of us formed a "special committee" to get the administration to hear our demands and take action the way we wanted them to take action.  Because we were smarter.  The administration did not see it that way.  The result was Seminex.  Our result would have been SEMINEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then we, the students got out of Dodge.  And then pandemonium broke loose.  And we the rebel breed were Missouri Synod rostered clergy.

Interestingly, to me at least, one of most activist students I met in my time on the Board of Regents of Fort Wayne was a guy recently reference on this board named Craig Stanford.  That guy was juiced up to fight the good fight for Robert Preus and the Cause of Confessional Lutheranism; he reminded me of me juiced up about Concordia St. Louis, the Real Gospel, and John Tietjen (from Corona, Queens).  Sounds from what I take from the post that for him the worm turned at some point.  In my case, I turned on the worm. 

Anyway, student input in the current case was probably neither seen nor heard. 

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on May 03, 2020, 01:49:55 PM
I predict they will choose Larry Rast. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 02:22:21 PM
I predict they will choose Larry Rast.

Oh, Mighty Karnak, your powers are great.  You have read my mind. 

Please go to the second card.  What then will happen to CTSFW?  What becomes of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium?  Your correct prediction could land you a niche in the CTSFW Predictive Sports and Confessional Studies Hall of Fame, which is on the second floor of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium, appropriately in the hallway. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on May 03, 2020, 02:46:27 PM
I think there will be an effort to close down CTS.  Alumni will resist (as they often do), but since Rast was educated at Ft. Wayne and served for years as a professor and president at Ft. Wayne, the argument will be that under his leadership St. Louis will become more like Ft. Wayne.  Will this argument carry the day?  Will CTS will be closed?  I cannot say.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 03, 2020, 02:57:37 PM
I predict they will choose Larry Rast.

Oh, Mighty Karnak, your powers are great.  You have read my mind. 

Please go to the second card.  What then will happen to CTSFW?  What becomes of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium?  Your correct prediction could land you a niche in the CTSFW Predictive Sports and Confessional Studies Hall of Fame, which is on the second floor of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium, appropriately in the hallway. 

Dave Benke
Not being bold enough to venture a prediction ... thinking outside the box ... is there anything prohibiting Rev Dr Rast from being president of both seminaries concurrently?

Is this a unique occurrence ... or has a sitting seminary president previously been on the short list for the other seminary? 

I do remember that Rev Dr John Johnson left the St Louis presidency for the CUC presidency.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John Koke on May 03, 2020, 03:37:02 PM
I predict they will choose Larry Rast.

Oh, Mighty Karnak, your powers are great.  You have read my mind. 

Please go to the second card.  What then will happen to CTSFW?  What becomes of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium?  Your correct prediction could land you a niche in the CTSFW Predictive Sports and Confessional Studies Hall of Fame, which is on the second floor of the William Wambsganss Gymnasium, appropriately in the hallway. 

Dave Benke
Not being bold enough to venture a prediction ... thinking outside the box ... is there anything prohibiting Rev Dr Rast from being president of both seminaries concurrently?

Is this a unique occurrence ... or has a sitting seminary previously been on the short list for the other seminary? 

I do remember that Rev Dr John Johnson left the St Louis presidency for the CUC presidency.

At one point in the 1860s, Walther was concurrently president of both seminaries.  However, that was when the theoretical and practical seminaries were both in St. Louis.
(Walter A. Baepler, A Century of Grace:  Missouri Synod 1847-1947, Concordia Publishing House, 1947, p.125)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 03:44:26 PM
I think there will be an effort to close down CTS.  Alumni will resist (as they often do), but since Rast was educated at Ft. Wayne and served for years as a professor and president at Ft. Wayne, the argument will be that under his leadership St. Louis will become more like Ft. Wayne.  Will this argument carry the day?  Will CTS will be closed?  I cannot say.

This, though, is why we pay you the big bucks, O Karnak.  You "cannot say."  I get it, you're most likely seriously conflicted.  Aren't we all in some way?  But the advantage of a Rast Presidency, especially given his cordial and collaborative relationship with Dale Meyer, is that both seminaries would feed into the identity of the new entity.  Which should have a new name.  I must admit I never liked the word "Theological" in the title.  As though one without that insert was not theological?  As though a seminary isn't a place for theological studies anyway and needs that to be inserted?  Nein, Mein Herr.

So let's try some titles out:   
Concordia Global Seminary
Concordia International Seminary
The Concordia Seminary
United Concordia Seminary
Concordia United Seminary
Concordia Seminary of the Lutheran Confessions
The Lutheran Confessional Seminary at Concordia
Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Seminary
CFW Walther Seminary at Concordia  (a nod to Walther's daily double back in the day)
Concordia - Not Your Grandfather's Seminary

I like Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Seminary myself, although all of these are my titles and I am trade-marking all of them tomorrow.

Dave Benke



 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: mariemeyer on May 03, 2020, 03:50:49 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt
 

There are some interesting names on that list.

Anyone want to lay odds on who is chosen?

I must say there are three on that list that I was unfamiliar with: Rutt, Fluegge, and Elowsky.  Checking out their brief bios I was encouraged, lots of missiological work/focus between the three.  I thought that was rather telling as to where the Regents are focused concerning the years ahead. 

Peace,
Scott+

Doug Rutt is a former missionary.  He also served on the Lutheran Bible Translators Board, several years as chairman.  During my years on the LBT Board with Rutt I experienced him as a pastoral capable administrator with a heart for missions locally and world wide.

Personally I pray this election is not seen as a contest between "liberal" vs "conservative" members of the Body of Christ.  If so, I believe it indicates how far we in Missouri have come from an Evangelical Catholic perspective from what it means to be the Body of Christ under our Head, Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 04:14:39 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt
 

There are some interesting names on that list.

Anyone want to lay odds on who is chosen?

I must say there are three on that list that I was unfamiliar with: Rutt, Fluegge, and Elowsky.  Checking out their brief bios I was encouraged, lots of missiological work/focus between the three.  I thought that was rather telling as to where the Regents are focused concerning the years ahead. 

Peace,
Scott+

Doug Rutt is a former missionary.  He also served on the Lutheran Bible Translators Board, several years as chairman.  During my years on the LBT Board with Rutt I experienced him as a pastoral capable administrator with a heart for missions locally and world wide.

Personally I pray this election is not seen as a contest between "liberal" vs "conservative" members of the Body of Christ.  If so, I believe it indicates how far we in Missouri have come from an Evangelical Catholic perspective from what it means to be the Body of Christ under our Head, Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Marie Meyer

What would a "liberal" even be in the Missouri Synod anymore, Marie?  You and I are about the most "liberal" individuals on the roster, and as you know, neither of us is even on an actual liberal scale.  Is Larry Rast a liberal to somebody?  Jeff Kloha?  Doug Rutt? 
Fine candidates all.

There certainly was a concerted effort to push Jeff Kloha under the bridge awhile back, so he left the seminary confines and basically saved the Museum of the Bible after they self-tarnished with phony antiquities before he had gotten there.  There's a guy you would want in a leadership position.  Can take tough times and make something positive of them. 

If there's anyone who was given the church-political hatchet treatment, it's Jeff.  I don't know if he's the right guy, but without the bridge-push by church-political forces, he could more easily have been the right guy - now he's undoubtedly a long shot.   

That he made it to the final slate is a tribute to him, but (my opinion) also to the political instincts of the committee, which knows there are a ton of people who understand that Jeff got a raw deal, and have, by making him visible on the slate, maybe satisfied some of that bad feeling. 

So to play a secondary Karnak to RD, who is the true Karnak, I will state that if Jeff Kloha is selected as the next President of Concordia Seminary, the Eschaton will transpire shortly thereafter, possibly even before his installation.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 03, 2020, 04:31:30 PM
I think there will be an effort to close down CTS.  Alumni will resist (as they often do), but since Rast was educated at Ft. Wayne and served for years as a professor and president at Ft. Wayne, the argument will be that under his leadership St. Louis will become more like Ft. Wayne.  Will this argument carry the day?  Will CTS will be closed?  I cannot say.

This, though, is why we pay you the big bucks, O Karnak.  You "cannot say."  I get it, you're most likely seriously conflicted.  Aren't we all in some way?  But the advantage of a Rast Presidency, especially given his cordial and collaborative relationship with Dale Meyer, is that both seminaries would feed into the identity of the new entity.  Which should have a new name.  I must admit I never liked the word "Theological" in the title.  As though one without that insert was not theological?  As though a seminary isn't a place for theological studies anyway and needs that to be inserted?  Nein, Mein Herr.

So let's try some titles out:   
Concordia Global Seminary
Concordia International Seminary
The Concordia Seminary
United Concordia Seminary
Concordia United Seminary
Concordia Seminary of the Lutheran Confessions
The Lutheran Confessional Seminary at Concordia
Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Seminary
CFW Walther Seminary at Concordia  (a nod to Walther's daily double back in the day)
Concordia - Not Your Grandfather's Seminary

I like Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Seminary myself, although all of these are my titles and I am trade-marking all of them tomorrow.

Dave Benke

I think Cord U sounds good, just need to get the soccer, sorry, football club up to snuff.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 03, 2020, 05:05:13 PM
The final slate for Seminary President was just announced - https://www.csl.edu/2020/05/slate-for-seminary-president-determined/

The following six individuals have been named to the final slate of candidates to be considered for election and call as the 11th president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:

Dr. Joel C. Elowsky
Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge
Dr. Jeffrey J. Kloha
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus III
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt
 

There are some interesting names on that list.

Anyone want to lay odds on who is chosen?

I must say there are three on that list that I was unfamiliar with: Rutt, Fluegge, and Elowsky.  Checking out their brief bios I was encouraged, lots of missiological work/focus between the three.  I thought that was rather telling as to where the Regents are focused concerning the years ahead. 

Peace,
Scott+

Doug Rutt is a former missionary.  He also served on the Lutheran Bible Translators Board, several years as chairman.  During my years on the LBT Board with Rutt I experienced him as a pastoral capable administrator with a heart for missions locally and world wide.

Personally I pray this election is not seen as a contest between "liberal" vs "conservative" members of the Body of Christ.  If so, I believe it indicates how far we in Missouri have come from an Evangelical Catholic perspective from what it means to be the Body of Christ under our Head, Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Marie Meyer

When I looked at those three I did think to myself that Rutt would be my #1 choice of all 6. But I must confess I’m not really too invested in who gets the gig.  I suppose Rast would make sense in terms of bridging a divide and potentially consolidating the sems. . 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 03, 2020, 05:30:06 PM
Since the whole "Not your grandfather's church" thing failed in 2010, why introduce a 2020 second run version with "Not your grandfather's seminary" now?

It seemingly failed in 2010 ... why resurrect it to presumably fail in the hopefully roaring '20's?

Poking fun at the inclusion of/noninclusion of 'Theological' is about as useful as poking fun at our WELS brethren for removing 'Doctor' from the institution Martin Luther College during the amalgamation process during the last century.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 03, 2020, 06:15:25 PM
Since some are making predictions of who will be the next president of CS-SL, and since I have absolutely nothing to lose, I'll jump in as well.

My prediction is: Dr. Glenn Fluegge

--He is the youngest of the group; currently in his early 50s, I suspect.
--Besides being an associate professor at Concordia - Irvine, he is also the director of the Cross-cultural Ministry Center (CMC) at Concordia - Irvine, a seminary program that forms missionary pastors and church leaders for culture-crossing ministries in the United States and throughout the world.
--He served for 12 years as a theological educator, seminary lecturer and missionary with the Synod in Togo, West Africa, and South Africa.
--He has a master's degree in education.

From the viewpoint of those wishing to call him, I think he seems to possess a helpful background of missionary experience, educational administration, seminary and university level teaching, and a modest, but presentable list of publications. 

Two on the list are technically within retirement age range or past it (Preus and Rutt). I suspect they will want someone who is going to be with them for a while. 

He is not currently teaching for either seminary, so they might see him as a fresh voice, especially since much of his teaching took place on the mission field and in the university.

Nevertheless, his dissertation shows that he has interacted with a significant Lutheran theologian from the Age of Orthodoxy (Gerhard), so he will be seen as a Lutheran theologian who is seemingly grounded in the history of the Lutheran church.

His LinkedIn profile is below, and it also contains his CV.   

https://www.linkedin.com/in/glenn-fluegge-3b422b13/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/glenn-fluegge-3b422b13/)

If I win this prediction, will someone buy me a cup of really good coffee?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 03, 2020, 06:28:52 PM
Some things some of you have said have got me thinking....my prediction is this list is a political hat tip to those who feel disaffected, but the electors have no intention of choosing anyone but President Rast.

As Pr. Engbretson notes, Dr's Rutt and Preus are nearing retirement age. Dr. Fluegge, as head of ministry center at Concordia Irvine is a quintessential missional candidate. And as Bp. Benke pointed out, Dr. Kloha is persona non grata for conservatives in the LCMS. That leaves Professor Elowsky and President Rast. It appears that Professor Elowsky fills the expectation that a current faculty member should be on the list.

So my prediction is President Rast. I cannot imagine anyone else on this list being elected by at least 3 of the electors: the board of regents, President Harrison, President Wille, and Chairman Kumm.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 06:37:37 PM
Some things some of you have said have got me thinking....my prediction is this list is a political hat tip to those who feel disaffected, but the electors have no intention of choosing anyone but President Rast.

As Pr. Engbretson notes, Dr's Rutt and Preus are nearing retirement age. As Pr. Kirchner pointed out, Dr. Fluegge is very missional (he said "liberal"). And as Bp. Benke pointed out, Dr. Kloha is persona non grata for conservatives in the LCMS. That leaves Professor Elowsky and President Rast. It appears that Professor Elowsky fills the expectation that a current faculty member should be on the list.

So my prediction is President Rast. I cannot imagine anyone else on this list being elected by at least 3 of the electors: the board of regents, President Harrison, President Wille, and Chairman Kumm.

M. Staneck

Once again, you have agreed with RD Preus.  You are gaining low-church confessional street cred.   There are at least seven people for whom that's a good thing.

If Don is correct, I will present him with 10 lb of Kona Coffee from the Big Island.  No, that's not Long Island, it's Hawaii.  We are vintners on Long Island.

Another name for the namechangehat:  Dr. Martin Luther Seminary.   No longer being used by WELS, there for the taking.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RDPreus on May 03, 2020, 06:48:45 PM
Some things some of you have said have got me thinking....my prediction is this list is a political hat tip to those who feel disaffected, but the electors have no intention of choosing anyone but President Rast.

As Pr. Engbretson notes, Dr's Rutt and Preus are nearing retirement age. As Pr. Kirchner pointed out, Dr. Fluegge is very missional (he said "liberal"). And as Bp. Benke pointed out, Dr. Kloha is persona non grata for conservatives in the LCMS. That leaves Professor Elowsky and President Rast. It appears that Professor Elowsky fills the expectation that a current faculty member should be on the list.

So my prediction is President Rast. I cannot imagine anyone else on this list being elected by at least 3 of the electors: the board of regents, President Harrison, President Wille, and Chairman Kumm.

M. Staneck

Once again, you have agreed with RD Preus.  You are gaining low-church confessional street cred.   There are at least seven people for whom that's a good thing.

If Don is correct, I will present him with 10 lb of Kona Coffee from the Big Island.  No, that's not Long Island, it's Hawaii.  We are vintners on Long Island.

Another name for the namechangehat:  Dr. Martin Luther Seminary.   No longer being used by WELS, there for the taking.

Dave Benke

Dave, you should know that by the standards of Montana and North Dakota I am high church.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 03, 2020, 06:49:42 PM
Some things some of you have said have got me thinking....my prediction is this list is a political hat tip to those who feel disaffected, but the electors have no intention of choosing anyone but President Rast.

As Pr. Engbretson notes, Dr's Rutt and Preus are nearing retirement age. As Pr. Kirchner pointed out, Dr. Fluegge is very missional (he said "liberal"). And as Bp. Benke pointed out, Dr. Kloha is persona non grata for conservatives in the LCMS. That leaves Professor Elowsky and President Rast. It appears that Professor Elowsky fills the expectation that a current faculty member should be on the list.

So my prediction is President Rast. I cannot imagine anyone else on this list being elected by at least 3 of the electors: the board of regents, President Harrison, President Wille, and Chairman Kumm.

M. Staneck

That’s simply unfair and a cheap shot, Matt. I told you what Glenn expressed 20 years ago in class. His views might have changed.

I hung with Walter Obare, Pastor Um from South Korea, and Naomichi Masaki when I was at Sem. Dr. Masaki was the liturgist at my ordination. They were all missional. Far from liberal. None would ever assert that the Westminster Confession and our Confession are pretty much the same.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 03, 2020, 07:02:52 PM
The late, great Pastor George Wollenberg was District President in the Wild West.
What made him high-church were the cowboy boots he wore.  A one inch heel for
walking boots and a two inch heel for riding boots.  I met him at a Convocation in
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  Pastor Wollenberg was wearing a business suit
with a cowboy shirt and string tie along with his cowboy boots.  We talked for
awhile in the Quad during the Supper Buffet.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 03, 2020, 07:03:19 PM


That’s simply unfair and a cheap shot, Matt. I told you what Glenn expressed 20 years ago in class. His views might have changed.

I hung with Walter Obare, Pastor Um from South Korea, and Naomichi Masaki when I was at Sem. Dr. Masaki was the liturgist at my ordination. They were all missional. Far from liberal. None would ever assert that the Westminster Confession and our Confession are pretty much the same.

In lieu of sending you some decaf coffee I edited my post.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 03, 2020, 07:16:05 PM
Another name for the namechangehat:  Dr. Martin Luther Seminary.   No longer being used by WELS, there for the taking.

Dave Benke
Actually the Dr Martin Luther Seminary name was never used by our WELS brethren  ... Martin Luther College (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_College) is the result of the amalgamation of Dr Martin Luther College and Northwestern College in 1995.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 03, 2020, 07:21:33 PM
Some things some of you have said have got me thinking....my prediction is this list is a political hat tip to those who feel disaffected, but the electors have no intention of choosing anyone but President Rast.

As Pr. Engbretson notes, Dr's Rutt and Preus are nearing retirement age. As Pr. Kirchner pointed out, Dr. Fluegge is very missional (he said "liberal"). And as Bp. Benke pointed out, Dr. Kloha is persona non grata for conservatives in the LCMS. That leaves Professor Elowsky and President Rast. It appears that Professor Elowsky fills the expectation that a current faculty member should be on the list.

So my prediction is President Rast. I cannot imagine anyone else on this list being elected by at least 3 of the electors: the board of regents, President Harrison, President Wille, and Chairman Kumm.

M. Staneck

Once again, you have agreed with RD Preus.  You are gaining low-church confessional street cred.   There are at least seven people for whom that's a good thing.

If Don is correct, I will present him with 10 lb of Kona Coffee from the Big Island.  No, that's not Long Island, it's Hawaii.  We are vintners on Long Island.

Another name for the namechangehat:  Dr. Martin Luther Seminary.   No longer being used by WELS, there for the taking.

Dave Benke

Dave, you should know that by the standards of Montana and North Dakota I am high church.

And that, RD, says it all.   ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

I can see you out there on your back deck with a glass of Scotch in your hand, waxing liturgical.  I often sit on our back deck with a glass of amber liquid myself, listening to the sounds of the Long Island Expressway, humming Taize with the turning wheels.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 04, 2020, 07:37:00 AM
I suspect that George Wollenberg, of Montana, was quite "high church" by Montana standards. For example, when he was parish pastor at a church in Billings, he used chasubles which had been fashioned by his wife, Martha. We discussed that once and she lamented that that those chasubles were no longer being used.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: mariemeyer on May 04, 2020, 10:43:24 AM
Going back to the list.

 I believe Douglas Rupp is the only candidate whose experience includes serving on the mission field as well as being the Director of an LCMS mission program, Lutheran Bible Translators. For the record, he also recently served as a Ft Wayne seminary professor.

Marie Meyer


 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 10:57:05 AM
Going back to the list.

 I believe Douglas Rupp is the only candidate whose experience includes serving on the mission field as well as being the Director of an LCMS mission program, Lutheran Bible Translators. For the record, he also recently served as a Ft Wayne seminary professor.

Marie Meyer


 

I think it is "Rutt", not "Rupp".
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 04, 2020, 11:09:10 AM
Going back to the list.

 I believe Douglas Rupp is the only candidate whose experience includes serving on the mission field as well as being the Director of an LCMS mission program, Lutheran Bible Translators. For the record, he also recently served as a Ft Wayne seminary professor.

Marie Meyer


 

I think it is "Rutt", not "Rupp".

Yes - Adolph Rupp was the Hall of Fame hoops coach at Kentucky, who said, "He who controlleth the backboard, controlleth the game."  KJV

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 11:20:35 AM
The person who will be elected on May 16th to be the new president of Concordia Seminary is the current president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

The question that comes up for me is, "Why?" Why do we need to create a vacancy at the sister seminary in order to fulfill CSL's vacancy?

Some of you have suggested that consolidation of the two schools might be the reason. That isn't an unreasonable idea, but if that is the case then why aren't we being transparent about this option? In the LCMS we're nothing if we're not transparent, so it just seems out of character.

Any ideas beyond consolidation as to why President Rast will be the next president of CSL? 

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 04, 2020, 11:56:17 AM
The person who will be elected on May 16th to be the new president of Concordia Seminary is the current president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

The question that comes up for me is, "Why?" Why do we need to create a vacancy at the sister seminary in order to fulfill CSL's vacancy?

Some of you have suggested that consolidation of the two schools might be the reason. That isn't an unreasonable idea, but if that is the case then why aren't we being transparent about this option? In the LCMS we're nothing if we're not transparent, so it just seems out of character.

Any ideas beyond consolidation as to why President Rast will be the next president of CSL? 

M. Staneck

I will admit that this somewhat baffles me as well - unless consolidation is in the works as a future move.  The idea of one seminary has been bandied about for a long time, so consolidation is not a brand new or novel idea.  But I'm not on the inside track, so I have no insider knowledge of what is being discussed at that level.  Inquiring minds might like to know....
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 12:07:06 PM
First of all, President Rast has not been elected as Concordia Seminary's president so let's not jump the gun.  And secondly, I am pretty sure that this is not the first time that a current president of one seminary has been nominated to serve as president of the other.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 04, 2020, 12:32:32 PM
The person who will be elected on May 16th to be the new president of Concordia Seminary is the current president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

The question that comes up for me is, "Why?" Why do we need to create a vacancy at the sister seminary in order to fulfill CSL's vacancy?

Some of you have suggested that consolidation of the two schools might be the reason. That isn't an unreasonable idea, but if that is the case then why aren't we being transparent about this option? In the LCMS we're nothing if we're not transparent, so it just seems out of character.

Any ideas beyond consolidation as to why President Rast will be the next president of CSL? 

M. Staneck

I agree with you Matt on Rast. My best guess is that it will be made to feel like a victory. If a merger happens, it will happen under a man who is seen to be part of the Ft. Wayne group, if a generally acceptable part of it for all involved.  And even if it doesn't happen, this is the end of the long march.  The political goal of our current crop of leadership will have been achieved.  They will have put one of theirs at the helm of the St. Louis sem.  Of course it might feel like a bit of a hollow crown right now. 

Part of this is the fact that Rast is about as young as you can be, like Harrison in these regards, and still be part of the silent/boomer contingent.  Graduated undergrad in 1986, so about 56?  This is how they can ensure that nothing truly radical is done that someone like a Kloha who might recognize the different world we live in might attempt.  So beyond victory in the old battles, it probably ensures like the rest of our institutional structure, that all money and effort will be put toward keeping stasis as much as possible.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 12:35:23 PM
This is not gun jumping, Pastor Bohler. President Rast will be elected to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. If you don't want to participate in such a discussion then you don't have to, but no need to resort to anxious ammo activating analogies to stop those of us who do want to discuss this.

Pastor Engebretson, I can think of two strong suits concerning Larry Rast: 1) he appears to have cultivated a very good relationship with Dale Meyer over the years and 2) he's a candidate who has actually been president of a seminary before. Those are good reasons aside from consolidation. Are there others?

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 12:38:29 PM
The person who will be elected on May 16th to be the new president of Concordia Seminary is the current president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

The question that comes up for me is, "Why?" Why do we need to create a vacancy at the sister seminary in order to fulfill CSL's vacancy?

Some of you have suggested that consolidation of the two schools might be the reason. That isn't an unreasonable idea, but if that is the case then why aren't we being transparent about this option? In the LCMS we're nothing if we're not transparent, so it just seems out of character.

Any ideas beyond consolidation as to why President Rast will be the next president of CSL? 

M. Staneck

I agree with you Matt on Rast. My best guess is that it will be made to feel like a victory. If a merger happens, it will happen under a man who is seen to be part of the Ft. Wayne group, if a generally acceptable part of it for all involved.  And even if it doesn't happen, this is the end of the long march.  The political goal of our current crop of leadership will have been achieved.  They will have put one of theirs at the helm of the St. Louis sem.  Of course it might feel like a bit of a hollow crown right now. 

Part of this is the fact that Rast is about as young as you can be, like Harrison in these regards, and still be part of the silent/boomer contingent.  Graduated undergrad in 1986, so about 56?  This is how they can ensure that nothing truly radical is done that someone like a Kloha who might recognize the different world we live in might attempt.  So beyond victory in the old battles, it probably ensures like the rest of our institutional structure, that all money and effort will be put toward keeping stasis as much as possible.

Stasis again! So Larry Rast fulfills a wish dream of our current leadership, which is placing a Fort Wayne guy at the helm of St. Louis AND at the same time it's a safe pick to protect status quo? I think I'm picking up what you're putting down.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 04, 2020, 12:48:38 PM
[quote author=Mark Brown link=topic=7360.msg476680#msg476680   This is how they can ensure that nothing truly radical is done that someone like a Kloha who might recognize the different world we live in might attempt.  So beyond victory in the old battles, it probably ensures like the rest of our institutional structure, that all money and effort will be put toward keeping stasis as much as possible.
[/quote]

What "radical" direction would Kloha be inclined to take CS-SL? 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 04, 2020, 12:56:16 PM
[quote author=Mark Brown link=topic=7360.msg476680#msg476680   This is how they can ensure that nothing truly radical is done that someone like a Kloha who might recognize the different world we live in might attempt.  So beyond victory in the old battles, it probably ensures like the rest of our institutional structure, that all money and effort will be put toward keeping stasis as much as possible.

What "radical" direction would Kloha be inclined to take CS-SL?
[/quote]

I don't really know, probably none.  All I really know is that Kloha is both young enough to have have had a completely different formation from events and he is enterprising enough to say "hell with it" and go get a job outside of formal academia and LCMSdom.  And from my short experience with him, he is brutally honest and smart even with himself.  The sum total of all that: young, enterprising, honest, smart could make surprising and fresh decisions, but is also exactly what our system makes sure to kill.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 01:03:09 PM
This is not gun jumping, Pastor Bohler. President Rast will be elected to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. If you don't want to participate in such a discussion then you don't have to, but no need to resort to anxious ammo activating analogies to stop those of us who do want to discuss this.

Pastor Engebretson, I can think of two strong suits concerning Larry Rast: 1) he appears to have cultivated a very good relationship with Dale Meyer over the years and 2) he's a candidate who has actually been president of a seminary before. Those are good reasons aside from consolidation. Are there others?

M. Staneck

You (plural) are posting as if Dr. rats has already been elected, even to the point of speculating WHY he was elected.  That's not jumping the gun?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 04, 2020, 01:07:42 PM
This is not gun jumping, Pastor Bohler. President Rast will be elected to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. If you don't want to participate in such a discussion then you don't have to, but no need to resort to anxious ammo activating analogies to stop those of us who do want to discuss this.

Pastor Engebretson, I can think of two strong suits concerning Larry Rast: 1) he appears to have cultivated a very good relationship with Dale Meyer over the years and 2) he's a candidate who has actually been president of a seminary before. Those are good reasons aside from consolidation. Are there others?

M. Staneck

Other advantages for having Rast? Yes, he's an historian. He has a good sense of where we have been to guide him and the seminaries into a different future with the confident hope of retaing what is essential.

(Besides, he and I share an alma mater, Vanderbilt Divinity School.   ;D)

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 04, 2020, 01:10:30 PM
This is not gun jumping, Pastor Bohler. President Rast will be elected to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. If you don't want to participate in such a discussion then you don't have to, but no need to resort to anxious ammo activating analogies to stop those of us who do want to discuss this.

Pastor Engebretson, I can think of two strong suits concerning Larry Rast: 1) he appears to have cultivated a very good relationship with Dale Meyer over the years and 2) he's a candidate who has actually been president of a seminary before. Those are good reasons aside from consolidation. Are there others?

M. Staneck

You (plural) are posting as if Dr. rats has already been elected, even to the point of speculating WHY he was elected.  That's not jumping the gun?

I thought you liked Larry Rast, Steve!   ;D ;D

Got to know him some years ago in hanging with Dean Bell at a conference. Had a couple of beers and laughs. Then, of course, I saw various presentations that he gave. President Rast would be a good choice for any church leadership role!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 04, 2020, 01:47:04 PM
I thought you liked Larry Rast, Steve!   ;D ;D

Ditto

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on May 04, 2020, 02:03:51 PM
I don't really know, probably none.  All I really know is that Kloha is both young enough to have have had a completely different formation from events and he is enterprising enough to say "hell with it" and go get a job outside of formal academia and LCMSdom.  And from my short experience with him, he is brutally honest and smart even with himself.  The sum total of all that: young, enterprising, honest, smart could make surprising and fresh decisions, but is also exactly what our system makes sure to kill.
Which is exactly why Kloha should be chosen. Rast brings nothing to the table that I can see.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 04, 2020, 02:17:04 PM
Again, I am wondering: Specifically what would Kloha bring to CS-SL that Rast would not, or the others on the list for that matter? Is there a direction some hope he would take CS-SL that even Meyer did not? 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 02:20:10 PM
What incentivizes this group of electors to choose Jeff Kloha?

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 04, 2020, 02:39:51 PM
Dr. Larry Rast is the George H.W. Bush of the 6 candidates for the Presidency of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  When President Ronald Reagan had served 2 terms, the logical choice
was his Vice President Bush.  He was a safe and solid candidate for the GOP.

As Dr. Dale Meyer concludes his 15 year Presidency, the logical choice of the 4 LCMS Electors
is Dr. Rast. He is a solid conservative and that is an important credential in this election.
His experience at the Ft. Wayne Seminary makes him a logical choice. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 03:29:26 PM
This is not gun jumping, Pastor Bohler. President Rast will be elected to serve as the new president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. If you don't want to participate in such a discussion then you don't have to, but no need to resort to anxious ammo activating analogies to stop those of us who do want to discuss this.

Pastor Engebretson, I can think of two strong suits concerning Larry Rast: 1) he appears to have cultivated a very good relationship with Dale Meyer over the years and 2) he's a candidate who has actually been president of a seminary before. Those are good reasons aside from consolidation. Are there others?

M. Staneck

You (plural) are posting as if Dr. rats has already been elected, even to the point of speculating WHY he was elected.  That's not jumping the gun?

I thought you liked Larry Rast, Steve!   ;D ;D

Got to know him some years ago in hanging with Dean Bell at a conference. Had a couple of beers and laughs. Then, of course, I saw various presentations that he gave. President Rast would be a good choice for any church leadership role!

Yes, I DO like Dr. Rast (autocorrect changed his name on my last post!).  I think he would be a GREAT president for the St. Louis seminary, as he has been for Fort Wayne. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 03:30:32 PM
I thought you liked Larry Rast, Steve!   ;D ;D

Ditto

Dave Benke

I do.  Apparently, though, my autocorrect does not and so changed his name to "Dr. rats"!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 04:36:25 PM
My sense of this discussion is that people, as in politics, are thinking more in terms of signaling their tribal membership more than advocating for any particular course of action.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 04:45:45 PM
My sense of this discussion is that people, as in politics, are thinking more in terms of signaling their tribal membership more than advocating for any particular course of action.

Thanks for this, Pastor Speckhard!

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 04:49:16 PM
I suppose before the election officially happens (how does this work by the way? how are votes cast? who counts the votes? how are the results reported?) we can entertain the notion that the electors might choose someone other than Larry Rast. I just don't see it. I don't see the group of electors getting three votes for anyone but Larry Rast. The list of six is a formality.

However, in the interest of entertaining, Pastor Brown and WJV suggested Jeff Kloha could be an effective agent for change. How does a candidate like that substantively differ from the presumptive president-elect, Larry Rast?

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 04, 2020, 04:58:40 PM
What incentivizes this group of electors to choose Jeff Kloha?

M. Staneck
More correctly the question is why is this a St Louis vs Fort Wayne issue??

Well known and respected on this forum is Rev. Weedon ... a St Louis grad who was tapped by the “Fort Wayne bunch” as Director of Worship for LCMS.  I almost shudder to bring this up ... fearing that some nefarious plot will be cooked up explaining his leaving that position as some sort of anti St Louis Seminary conspiracy. :(

Previously I noted, both the current syndical president and his predecessor are Fort Wayne graduates ... there similarities most would agree end there. 

Why do these incessant CSL vs CTSFW rivalries have to continue? I have my ideas ... but since I’m a simple per sitting layman, I leave it to the graduates of respective seminaries to carry on.  ;)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 05:07:46 PM
What incentivizes this group of electors to choose Jeff Kloha?

M. Staneck
More correctly the question is why is this a St Louis vs Fort Wayne issue??

Well known and respected on this forum is Rev. Weedon ... a St Louis grad who was tapped by the “Fort Wayne bunch” as Director of Worship for LCMS.  I almost shudder to bring this up ... fearing that some nefarious plot will be cooked up explaining his leaving that position as some sort of anti St Louis Seminary conspiracy. :(

Previously I noted, both the current syndical president and his predecessor are Fort Wayne graduates ... there similarities most would agree end there. 

Why do these incessant CSL vs CTSFW rivalries have to continue? I have my ideas ... but since I’m a simple per sitting layman, I leave it to the graduates of respective seminaries to carry on.  ;)

Why does the rivalry have to continue?  Because St. Louis guys are jealous of us. :)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 05:14:35 PM
The signaling is all there is to this. Realistically, what concrete decisions will be different depending on which of these guys is chosen? The job is all about fundraising, keeping accreditation, and recruiting church workers. None of them will likely be as apt as the man they’re replacing, and even he couldn’t keep all the numbers from going down. The seminary must prepare people more for the “out of season” aspect of preaching the Word.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on May 04, 2020, 05:40:54 PM
I suppose before the election officially happens (how does this work by the way? how are votes cast? who counts the votes? how are the results reported?) we can entertain the notion that the electors might choose someone other than Larry Rast. I just don't see it. I don't see the group of electors getting three votes for anyone but Larry Rast. The list of six is a formality.

However, in the interest of entertaining, Pastor Brown and WJV suggested Jeff Kloha could be an effective agent for change. How does a candidate like that substantively differ from the presumptive president-elect, Larry Rast?

M. Staneck
Two things: First, I've been taught by Dr Kloha, and have attended seminars by Dr Rast. Dr Kloha's straightforwardness and clarity were fantastic, and I remember a great deal from each of the classes I took with him — while I can't even tell you what the topics of Dr Rast's presentations were without looking back on my notes. Second, Synod is in desperate need of leaders who speak plainly without worrying all that much about where the chips will fall when they do. That's preferable in any time, but especially in a time such as this, where there is a great deal of change and uncertainty. I have seen enough from Dr Kloha to think that he will do just that. I can't say the same for Dr Rast, but that's simply because I haven't seen much of him in action. Perhaps there are those on the board who could speak to that.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 04, 2020, 05:47:27 PM
Dr. Dale Meyer gave Concordia Seminary, St. Louis fifteen good years.
Unfortunately, he had to expend much time and energy as fundraiser.
Yet, he was successful in those endeavors.  Personally, I believe that
a Seminary President should be an articulate theologian who has the
gravitas to be well-respected.   Dr. Meyer certainly filled that role with
great dignity both in the classroom and to the church at large.

In LCMS polity, the President of the LCMS has great influence on who
will follow Dr. Meyer.  The next President of Concordia Seminary will
have the stamp of approval from our Synodical President. 


Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 04, 2020, 05:53:16 PM
My sense of this discussion is that people, as in politics, are thinking more in terms of signaling their tribal membership more than advocating for any particular course of action.

Of course we are, and I'm signaling my membership in a very exclusive tribe of once.  Like that old Army slogan - "An Army of One!" that Tony Soprano whacked in an episode.

But thinking of this...
...However, in the interest of entertaining, Pastor Brown and WJV suggested Jeff Kloha could be an effective agent for change. How does a candidate like that substantively differ from the presumptive president-elect, Larry Rast?

M. Staneck

I don't really know Dr. Rast enough to make a great compare and contrast.  But I did have Dr. Kloha, and I'm a great maker of table talk, so...

Let's go to the biography/CV.  I'm going to make a big deal about a couple of years at the start although this is the least in reality.  Rast graduated RF'86 while Kloha graduated Ann Arbor'88.  But I'm going to go out on limb and say that is a bigger difference than it appears.  That '86 would place Rast as the youngest of the boomers while  Kloha would the oldest of GenX.  And I'm leaning on my experience in the classroom with Kloha here, he always felt very Gen X. YMMV., but GenX is much more willing to change things than prior.  Kloha would feel like a change.

Let's compare the educational paths.  Both did obligatory turns in the parish with quick returns to school.  The big difference is that Rast went to a big American University for his Ph.D. with a safe dissertation while Kloha took his Ph.D. in the British tutorial system with a slightly risky dissertation.  There are a lot of things you can read into that.  But one thing you can read is that it was a risk.  Seeing the willingness to take a risk is a good signal.

Dr. Rast's career has been one of good service to the LCMS.  He's been chairman of the CTCR and served on it since 2006.  His research and writing is on the 19th and 20th century history of American Lutheranism and he is writing for CPH "the comprehensive history of the LCMS".  His big admin achievement trumpeted by the seminary on its page is the funding and completion of their new library.  Dr. Kloha's research and writing on the contrary has been outward focused to the extent it caused ripples in certain sections of the LCMS.  Maybe even leading to his leaving the Sem.  His admin achievements are: two accreditation processes, changing from quarters to semesters and an overhaul of the curriculum, while leading planning.  These he did while provost not as President.  My quick takeaway is that Dr. Rast is a institutional man.  Dr. Kloha while also a good servant of the institution has put emphasis on updating and making necessary changes.  And he has done this while being willing to accept heat and defend his scholarship from both inside and outside the institution.

The one big area of difference is that Dr. Rast does not have any extra LCMS experiences.  Dr. Kloha has been on the leadership and chief curator of the biggest well financed new museum in a long time.  The Museum of the Bible (funded by Hobby Lobby family) is smacked down in the heart of DC going head to head with the Smithsonian.  For an academic, this is another big risk.  And anyone that has followed this story knows that it is quite the interesting one with many people gunning to sink it.  Dr. Kloha has handled things that would have sunk most. 

So, how do they substantively differ? Dr. Kloha has shown at each phase of his career both the willingness to take risks doing thing differently, and being successful in that.  This does not downgrade Dr. Rast's impressive CV.  The real question that the electors should be asking is: Is this a time for necessary risks, or is this a time for solid institutionalists?  I think if you ask that question and answer it wisely you would come to a good conclusion.

Sources
https://museumofthebible.org/leadership (https://museumofthebible.org/leadership)
https://www.ctsfw.edu/about/faculty/dr-lawrence-rast/ (https://www.ctsfw.edu/about/faculty/dr-lawrence-rast/)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 04, 2020, 06:10:15 PM
I suppose before the election officially happens (how does this work by the way? how are votes cast? who counts the votes? how are the results reported?) we can entertain the notion that the electors might choose someone other than Larry Rast. I just don't see it. I don't see the group of electors getting three votes for anyone but Larry Rast. The list of six is a formality.

However, in the interest of entertaining, Pastor Brown and WJV suggested Jeff Kloha could be an effective agent for change. How does a candidate like that substantively differ from the presumptive president-elect, Larry Rast?

M. Staneck
Two things: First, I've been taught by Dr Kloha, and have attended seminars by Dr Rast. Dr Kloha's straightforwardness and clarity were fantastic, and I remember a great deal from each of the classes I took with him — while I can't even tell you what the topics of Dr Rast's presentations were without looking back on my notes. Second, Synod is in desperate need of leaders who speak plainly without worrying all that much about where the chips will fall when they do. That's preferable in any time, but especially in a time such as this, where there is a great deal of change and uncertainty. I have seen enough from Dr Kloha to think that he will do just that. I can't say the same for Dr Rast, but that's simply because I haven't seen much of him in action. Perhaps there are those on the board who could speak to that.

Thanks for this very helpful analysis of Jeff Kloha' strengths in leadership, WJV.   He definitely would bring to the table the qualities you mention. 

The gangland massacre of his good name over the "plastic text" non-controversy was designed and/or used as the way to push him away from ever being elected to the position of Seminary president.  Which is the position he should be receiving. 

So now in quiet tones it can be stated, "Yes, Professor Kloha is indeed well-qualified to lead the seminary into the future (list the qualities you listed).  However, this unfortunate 'plastic text' issue makes him just too - uh, too - divisive to our beloved Synod's future to be given that leadership position in this time of national crisis.  We wish him well in his future endeavors."  I would guess/bet that the faculty of the Seminary inputted their sense of Jeff's leadership qualities just the way you did.  What does that mean for the election?  My opinion is zero.

If those four electors choose Jeff Kloha on the 16th of May, the Eschaton is upon us. 

Larry Rast is a fine leader.  He will be elected on the first ballot.  Or my name isn't Glenn Fluegge.  Wait - my name isn't Glenn Fluegge.  Or is it?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 06:22:29 PM
Taking risks is neither a good nor a bad quality for a leader. Risk-taking led to the salvation of Ann Arbor and the horrific destruction of CUP. As for willingness to make changes, again, it depends on the change. What changes are we hoping for? A change from quarters to semesters? Semesters to quarters? Who cares? What would be a good change that Kloha would spearhead that Rast would not, or vice-versa?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 04, 2020, 06:41:11 PM
Taking risks is neither a good nor a bad quality for a leader. Risk-taking led to the salvation of Ann Arbor and the horrific destruction of CUP. As for willingness to make changes, again, it depends on the change. What changes are we hoping for? A change from quarters to semesters? Semesters to quarters? Who cares? What would be a good change that Kloha would spearhead that Rast would not, or vice-versa?

I completely disagree.  Neville Chamberlain is known for being a leader who would not take risks. Eisenhower, who has a reputation as stodgy, became Eisenhower because of his willingness to take risks, both D-Day and in his General selections, getting rid of the "approved" folks and elevating guys like Patton.  But you are right, the risks have to pay off.  That is know as selection bias.  The risk takers that didn't pan out aren't around. But there is always a category of folks that manage to get in the discussion without ever having taken a risk.  Putting them in leadership is always a disaster.

Yeah, quarters to semester is a nothing.  I'd put it as just as much a nothing as building a library as an anchor (you don't want to close us, we just spent $15M on a library!)  Although the sum total isn't too bad when you remember that he seemed to be acting as the COO while Dale was raising money as the CEO.  But the question was: what is substantively different?  Which from my position is a CV/bio question.  Your question, "what good change would they spearhead?", is a great one for the electors.  The candidates would have to answer them.  Me? Not at all.  All I can do is point out that there is a very substantive difference in these two men.  And for the future we are looking at, I would think that should be very meaningful.  But then I'm just a guy doing table talk. And Bp. Benke is sadly correct.  The guy I'd choose presages the apocalypse.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 06:59:00 PM
The successes of risk-averse leaders rarely shows up. You can’t ever experience the disaster that didn’t happen because the risk was not taken. So they tend not to be the big name leaders. Saying risk taking is better than risk aversion us like saying high risk, high yield investments are better than low risk, low yield investments. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The big difference between risk-happy and risk averse leaders is that the former succeed or fail quickly and spectacularly, while the latter succeed or fail gradually and less perceptibly.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 04, 2020, 07:30:13 PM
Yeah, quarters to semester is a nothing.  I'd put it as just as much a nothing as building a library as an anchor (you don't want to close us, we just spent $15M on a library!)  Although the sum total isn't too bad when you remember that he seemed to be acting as the COO while Dale was raising money as the CEO.  But the question was: what is substantively different?  Which from my position is a CV/bio question.  Your question, "what good change would they spearhead?", is a great one for the electors.  The candidates would have to answer them.  Me? Not at all.  All I can do is point out that there is a very substantive difference in these two men.  And for the future we are looking at, I would think that should be very meaningful.  But then I'm just a guy doing table talk. And Bp. Benke is sadly correct.  The guy I'd choose presages the apocalypse.

I agree with this assessment, and actually think the risk/substantive change or not dialog is to the side - who is the person best prepared to lead that institution at this time?  It's a simpler question.  I see it as Kloha and I see him as unelectable by the four ordained rostered electors who will elect.

What I don't know anything much about is the Board of Regents.  For whom and with whom Larry will have to work.  I do notice a few things in looking at the board online.  If I were to show the photo grouping at my church, they would have a good chuckle.  13 white males smiling.  Anyway, that doesn't really matter, it just brings back a memory of the time when we were doing the Nehemiah Plan and all the mission and ed execs from Synod came on a tour organized by our exec Dwayne Mau.  We happened to be having a youth meeting in the back of the church, and these fifty men come in, all in trench coats.  And the kids' eyes go wide as they see 50 middle-aged white guys almost all with glasses walking past them.  They had just one question - Pastor, are these all your cousins?  I said, "Yes, they are.  We have a big family."

Secondly, the Missouri District DP is on the board but doesn't get a vote.  No problem, John Wille is the elector anyway, who is also a DP from my childhood home district.  Thirdly, the chairman of the Board is Rev. Todd Peperkorn, who is known to me.  Fourthly, there is a Paul Edmon on the board.  The person who began this thread was a Harry Edmon.  Are Harry and Paul related?

Now Board management is an area in which Larry, I believe, has skills, having had to manage the one at Ft. Wayne.  Since the elections are walkovers in these days of the United List Supremacy, my assumption is that the board members are pretty much cut from the same bolt of cloth.  A question, I suppose, is whether the board members are cut from the same bolt of cloth as the current faculty.  Too many variables for me to know or opine. 

Finally, the biggest question is the one we've already aired here for awhile - how and when will the two seminaries combine forces?  In the words of the sage, "It's Time."

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 08:02:18 PM
Asking who is best fit to lead without knowing the strengths you're building on or weaknesses you're trying to fix seems backward to me. If my name were on the list, I would want to know what the Board considered to be impact indicators. What are the benchmarks for success or failure? And if I were on the board electing someone I would want a pretty clear idea of what I was hoping to see happen in order to have some criteria by which to rank the candidates. It seem to me, then, that even armchair quarterbacking their decisions requires us to have some similar criteria in mind.

So what are hoping for from a seminary? What could the seminary be doing five years from now that would make us say, "Wow, I'm glad we got that guy for president."   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 04, 2020, 09:05:56 PM
WJV and Mark Brown's assessments of Kloha are exactly why he won't be picked. The electors/our institutions don't act that way.

As an alumnus I am very happy with the selection of Larry Rast. Rast's relationship with Dale Meyer says a lot to me. It's a genuinely solid relationship. And being the historian he is I'm sure Rast himself understands the position he is about to inherit and I'm sure he will endeavor to take care of it.

But wait, what about the whole list, you say? Don't all of these men have a fair and equal shot as finalists? No. This is a list that merely checks boxes and paves the way for Rast's election. Sitting faculty member? Check. Provost? Check. Connection to history? Check. Don't forget the west coast? Check. Sorry we did nothing to back you while your good name was dragged through the mud so we're throwing you a [finalist] bone? Check.

The Larry Rast era at Concordia Seminary begins in earnest on May 16th. We need to pray for this man.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 04, 2020, 10:00:09 PM
Asking who is best fit to lead without knowing the strengths you're building on or weaknesses you're trying to fix seems backward to me. If my name were on the list, I would want to know what the Board considered to be impact indicators. What are the benchmarks for success or failure? And if I were on the board electing someone I would want a pretty clear idea of what I was hoping to see happen in order to have some criteria by which to rank the candidates. It seem to me, then, that even armchair quarterbacking their decisions requires us to have some similar criteria in mind.

So what are hoping for from a seminary? What could the seminary be doing five years from now that would make us say, "Wow, I'm glad we got that guy for president."

Of course, the Board is critical to the task of the plan and its implementation.  One of the things I'd be checking with the board on would be the attitude toward distance education and the formation of pastors in programs like SMP, EIIT, and the Hispanic Institute.  Those programs are productive - does the board share that opinion?  Does the board want a president who shares that opinion?

Evaluation of the President, who gets (I think still the case) a five year renewable contract/call, is done off certain metrics and goals.  What are they?  Can we know them, or are they an executive session item?  The issue of transparency is always asked at times of change in leadership succession.  Is this process transparent?  Why or why not?  How or how not?

Also, who does the board represent in servant leadership of an institute that sends pastors into the field?  I think us.  Congregations are at the end of the road.  What are our needs?  Are we part of  the discussion?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 04, 2020, 10:24:19 PM
Asking who is best fit to lead without knowing the strengths you're building on or weaknesses you're trying to fix seems backward to me. If my name were on the list, I would want to know what the Board considered to be impact indicators. What are the benchmarks for success or failure? And if I were on the board electing someone I would want a pretty clear idea of what I was hoping to see happen in order to have some criteria by which to rank the candidates. It seem to me, then, that even armchair quarterbacking their decisions requires us to have some similar criteria in mind.

So what are hoping for from a seminary? What could the seminary be doing five years from now that would make us say, "Wow, I'm glad we got that guy for president."

Of course, the Board is critical to the task of the plan and its implementation.  One of the things I'd be checking with the board on would be the attitude toward distance education and the formation of pastors in programs like SMP, EIIT, and the Hispanic Institute.  Those programs are productive - does the board share that opinion?  Does the board want a president who shares that opinion?

Evaluation of the President, who gets (I think still the case) a five year renewable contract/call, is done off certain metrics and goals.  What are they?  Can we know them, or are they an executive session item?  The issue of transparency is always asked at times of change in leadership succession.  Is this process transparent?  Why or why not?  How or how not?

Also, who does the board represent in servant leadership of an institute that sends pastors into the field?  I think us.  Congregations are at the end of the road.  What are our needs?  Are we part of  the discussion?

Dave Benke

Congregations as part of the discussion.  That's a good one.  Had me chuckling for a few minutes.

As far as what I'd like to see.  I'd say being open would be the first criteria.  Which I think will require a speed merger.  So that would be the second criteria, which is the one place Rast should be very good at, merging Ft. Wayne into St. Louis.  (Which happens to be one of those reasons for chuckling above, because Clayton is quite expensive for students and the congregations that sponsor compared to Ft. Wayne.) Transparency (chuckle, sorry) is probably a negative criteria.  The more the real story gets out during the merger and the necessary actions the more he will be downgraded.  You hire an institutional man because he is going to make the choices you want without making you say it.  If he manages to lead a viable institution though that I'd be happy.

There are a lot of things I'd like to see which I think could be responsive to congregations and the world we live in, but they just aren't going to be done.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 10:29:44 PM
"As an alumnus I am very happy with the selection of Larry Rast. Rast's relationship with Dale Meyer says a lot to me. It's a genuinely solid relationship. And being the historian he is I'm sure Rast himself understands the position he is about to inherit and I'm sure he will endeavor to take care of it."

This is what I meant by jumping the gun. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: SomeoneWrites on May 05, 2020, 12:13:42 AM

Thanks for this very helpful analysis of Jeff Kloha' strengths in leadership, WJV.   He definitely would bring to the table the qualities you mention. 

The gangland massacre of his good name over the "plastic text" non-controversy was designed and/or used as the way to push him away from ever being elected to the position of Seminary president.  Which is the position he should be receiving. 

So now in quiet tones it can be stated, "Yes, Professor Kloha is indeed well-qualified to lead the seminary into the future (list the qualities you listed).  However, this unfortunate 'plastic text' issue makes him just too - uh, too - divisive to our beloved Synod's future to be given that leadership position in this time of national crisis.  We wish him well in his future endeavors."  I would guess/bet that the faculty of the Seminary inputted their sense of Jeff's leadership qualities just the way you did.  What does that mean for the election?  My opinion is zero.

If those four electors choose Jeff Kloha on the 16th of May, the Eschaton is upon us. 

Larry Rast is a fine leader.  He will be elected on the first ballot.  Or my name isn't Glenn Fluegge.  Wait - my name isn't Glenn Fluegge.  Or is it?

Dave Benke

This would be my assessment as well.  Kloha is brilliant and qualified, but he'd be walking around with a much larger target on his back than anyone I can think of.   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 08:42:42 AM
OK, so we've got

What:  Concordia Seminary Presidency
How:   4 electors
When:  May 16
Who:    Larry Rast
Why:   Analyses by our crack team of analyzers at alpb indicate he's the only choice on the list that the electors could choose.  So - the check is already in the mail.  But there's more to it, because there is one more question:
Where: This gets to the longer game in play which is the combining of the resources of two separate seminaries into one central site.  What we know:
a) there is a limitation on the property in Ft. Wayne if Christian education is not emanating from that site
b) the school next door to the St. Louis site, namely Washington University, has been hungering for the Concordia campus for a long time, and would pay upwards of $100,000,000 for it (higher pre-virus).  But hunger for property may be in pause plus mode for awhile.
c) LCMS Inc. is involved up to and including an elector position, and has oversight of business operations as its focus.  And as noted, with the United List walkover elections at the national level for nine years already, pretty much all the various boards and commissions/committees are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

d) Therefore, the most likely scenario is that within three years some form of unification movement will have taken place, the St. Louis site will be in sale process, and the move to Ft. Wayne well underway.  This theory is called "Follow the Money."

Alternate Who:  There is none.
Alternate Where:  LCMS Inc. determines that their dramatically shrinking operation can be headquartered at the St. Louis Seminary property, with some services renting in the LCEF facility.  The Purple Palace is sold.  Some form of ongoing educational operation is left open at Ft. Wayne.  Or somebody says to the Cramers, how about adapting that agreement for the continuation of pastoral ministry formation in St. Louis with the proceeds of the sale of the property for the Luther Condominium Corporation at Wambsganss Meadows, and they fall in love with the final concept, which is Wambsganss Meadows at Wyneken Hollow, a Cramer Community.  And the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO, becomes the unified world headquarters of the Lutheran Church which after all has the word Missouri in it.  The log cabin seminary does not have to be moved to Wynekenville.  This theory is called "Waltherian Heritage."

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 09:14:10 AM
OK, so we've got

What:  Concordia Seminary Presidency
How:   4 electors
When:  May 16
Who:    Larry Rast
Why:   Analyses by our crack team of analyzers at alpb indicate he's the only choice on the list that the electors could choose.  So - the check is already in the mail.  But there's more to it, because there is one more question:
Where: This gets to the longer game in play which is the combining of the resources of two separate seminaries into one central site.  What we know:
a) there is a limitation on the property in Ft. Wayne if Christian education is not emanating from that site
b) the school next door to the St. Louis site, namely Washington University, has been hungering for the Concordia campus for a long time, and would pay upwards of $100,000,000 for it (higher pre-virus).  But hunger for property may be in pause plus mode for awhile.
c) LCMS Inc. is involved up to and including an elector position, and has oversight of business operations as its focus.  And as noted, with the United List walkover elections at the national level for nine years already, pretty much all the various boards and commissions/committees are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

d) Therefore, the most likely scenario is that within three years some form of unification movement will have taken place, the St. Louis site will be in sale process, and the move to Ft. Wayne well underway.  This theory is called "Follow the Money."

Alternate Who:  There is none.
Alternate Where:  LCMS Inc. determines that their dramatically shrinking operation can be headquartered at the St. Louis Seminary property, with some services renting in the LCEF facility.  The Purple Palace is sold.  Some form of ongoing educational operation is left open at Ft. Wayne.  Or somebody says to the Cramers, how about adapting that agreement for the continuation of pastoral ministry formation in St. Louis with the proceeds of the sale of the property for the Luther Condominium Corporation at Wambsganss Meadows, and they fall in love with the final concept, which is Wambsganss Meadows at Wyneken Hollow, a Cramer Community.  And the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO, becomes the unified world headquarters of the Lutheran Church which after all has the word Missouri in it.  The log cabin seminary does not have to be moved to Wynekenville.  This theory is called "Waltherian Heritage."

Dave Benke

I don't think it is outrageous to say that any clear sighted person would consolidate to the Ft. Wayne location. A true visionary would cut loose from both ports at the same time and set sail which might be the only way to avoid victory parades, bad feelings and carry on the real mission.  But, Dave, c'mon, do you think St. Louis is even in play?  The iron rule of Missouri is nostalgia and stasis.

Nostalgia says St. Louis can't go.  Nobody is moving the log cabin.  Stasis I'm sure is arguing at the upper reaches that "sure, it looks bad now, but it will get better."  So keep both seminary locations, just unify the governing structure.  After all, they both just built multi-million dollar libraries.  And St. Louis just installed those brand new stained glass windows in St. Tim and Titus.  It worked for the ELCA at Philadelphia and Gettysburg. (What, you say that isn't going so well?  Well, that's not what I heard, so stop breaking the 8th commandment.) And when things get better and all the Missouri women start having 4 kids again, we can be ready to expand!

I'd put more money on wasting what strength is left in trying to keep both, than I would on St. Louis being left.  And "Walther Heritage" only works if Harrison gets to ride onto the sem and say "St. Louis is worth not saying mass". 


 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 09:55:40 AM
OK, so we've got

What:  Concordia Seminary Presidency
How:   4 electors
When:  May 16
Who:    Larry Rast
Why:   Analyses by our crack team of analyzers at alpb indicate he's the only choice on the list that the electors could choose.  So - the check is already in the mail.  But there's more to it, because there is one more question:
Where: This gets to the longer game in play which is the combining of the resources of two separate seminaries into one central site.  What we know:
a) there is a limitation on the property in Ft. Wayne if Christian education is not emanating from that site
b) the school next door to the St. Louis site, namely Washington University, has been hungering for the Concordia campus for a long time, and would pay upwards of $100,000,000 for it (higher pre-virus).  But hunger for property may be in pause plus mode for awhile.
c) LCMS Inc. is involved up to and including an elector position, and has oversight of business operations as its focus.  And as noted, with the United List walkover elections at the national level for nine years already, pretty much all the various boards and commissions/committees are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

d) Therefore, the most likely scenario is that within three years some form of unification movement will have taken place, the St. Louis site will be in sale process, and the move to Ft. Wayne well underway.  This theory is called "Follow the Money."

Alternate Who:  There is none.
Alternate Where:  LCMS Inc. determines that their dramatically shrinking operation can be headquartered at the St. Louis Seminary property, with some services renting in the LCEF facility.  The Purple Palace is sold.  Some form of ongoing educational operation is left open at Ft. Wayne.  Or somebody says to the Cramers, how about adapting that agreement for the continuation of pastoral ministry formation in St. Louis with the proceeds of the sale of the property for the Luther Condominium Corporation at Wambsganss Meadows, and they fall in love with the final concept, which is Wambsganss Meadows at Wyneken Hollow, a Cramer Community.  And the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO, becomes the unified world headquarters of the Lutheran Church which after all has the word Missouri in it.  The log cabin seminary does not have to be moved to Wynekenville.  This theory is called "Waltherian Heritage."

Dave Benke

I don't think it is outrageous to say that any clear sighted person would consolidate to the Ft. Wayne location. A true visionary would cut loose from both ports at the same time and set sail which might be the only way to avoid victory parades, bad feelings and carry on the real mission.  But, Dave, c'mon, do you think St. Louis is even in play?  The iron rule of Missouri is nostalgia and stasis.

Nostalgia says St. Louis can't go.  Nobody is moving the log cabin.  Stasis I'm sure is arguing at the upper reaches that "sure, it looks bad now, but it will get better."  So keep both seminary locations, just unify the governing structure.  After all, they both just built multi-million dollar libraries.  And St. Louis just installed those brand new stained glass windows in St. Tim and Titus.  It worked for the ELCA at Philadelphia and Gettysburg. (What, you say that isn't going so well?  Well, that's not what I heard, so stop breaking the 8th commandment.) And when things get better and all the Missouri women start having 4 kids again, we can be ready to expand!

I'd put more money on wasting what strength is left in trying to keep both, than I would on St. Louis being left.  And "Walther Heritage" only works if Harrison gets to ride onto the sem and say "St. Louis is worth not saying mass". 


 

Follow the money.

If there was an actual re-energize right-size vision, plan and strategy - here's how we win the world for Christ block by block, city by city, valley by valley from our newly-realized diminishment through the honed and passionate leaders and pastors to newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times - I'd say the folks at the top of that vision could re-purpose, sell or rent whatever properties they needed to, because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world.

So unless there is a marvelous shift in vision and the articulation of that vision throughout the LCMS enterprise, what remains is just diminishment.  And dimishment will want to hold on to the two seminary campuses, because strong leadership is not in play.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 05, 2020, 10:00:21 AM
Here are my cost saving/consolidation suggestions:

First, I think uniting the administration and duties of the seminaries makes sense in a shrinking church body.

Second, downsize staff at the IC, move its operations onto one or both seminary campuses, and sell the Kirkwood location. Insofar as possible, disperse the ordained and commissioned ministers at the IC back into parish ministry. CPH has also had additional space at their location. We are all learning how to do meetings online. We don't need the big, fancy headquarters.

Third, are there any districts that should be consolidated, with staff dispersed back into parish ministry? Others can answer that question better than I could.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 05, 2020, 10:19:23 AM
I think people are putting way too much stock in how much a seminary president can affect anything. Dale Meyer was a dynamic leader, no? He had a good vision, high energy, fund-raising appeal, name recognition, etc. If putting a good leader in place was going to turn things around, why aren't things turned around?

"Newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times"-- why re-imagine the furniture? I would say grace is abounding in these lean times in all the altars, fonts, and pulpits we already have. Certainly nothing except grace is abounding there; the times are lean.

"because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world." Where do you see that not happening already? It seems to me that's the only thing going on. Which congregations, entities, schools and districts aren't doing the same things for the same reason, the mission of God?

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 05, 2020, 10:23:05 AM
Here in the Midwest we could do some consolidating:

Iowa District East and Iowa District West could be the Iowa District

Minnesota North and Minnesota South could be the Minnesota District

Central Illinois District and Southern Illinois District could be the Illinois South District

Wisconsin North and  Wisconsin South could be the Wisconsin District


At one time there was just an Iowa District and a Minnesota District
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John H on May 05, 2020, 10:26:50 AM
Here are my cost saving/consolidation suggestions:

First, I think uniting the administration and duties of the seminaries makes sense in a shrinking church body.

Second, downsize staff at the IC, move its operations onto one or both seminary campuses, and sell the Kirkwood location. Insofar as possible, disperse the ordained and commissioned ministers at the IC back into parish ministry. CPH has also had additional space at their location. We are all learning how to do meetings online. We don't need the big, fancy headquarters.

Third, are there any districts that should be consolidated, with staff dispersed back into parish ministry? Others can answer that question better than I could.


Exactly! I was just going to say the same thing.
My recently sainted 97 year old father always said that the IC should never had been built at that location. It should have been built by the publishing house where the real estate was low cost. But it was in the icky city. It would have helped the area. He always said we like to buy real estate from the Catholics at a high price and then sell at a loss. (orphan home, CBC by the sem, IC is located on old catholic property too.)
Downsize the IC and move to the Sem. property. That keeps "the history" there and may remove some of the sting.
John
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 10:48:48 AM
I think people are putting way too much stock in how much a seminary president can affect anything. Dale Meyer was a dynamic leader, no? He had a good vision, high energy, fund-raising appeal, name recognition, etc. If putting a good leader in place was going to turn things around, why aren't things turned around?

"Newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times"-- why re-imagine the furniture? I would say grace is abounding in these lean times in all the altars, fonts, and pulpits we already have. Certainly nothing except grace is abounding there; the times are lean.

"because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world." Where do you see that not happening already? It seems to me that's the only thing going on. Which congregations, entities, schools and districts aren't doing the same things for the same reason, the mission of God?

High energy, yes.  Fundraising appeal, yes.  Name rec, check, the last of the real Lutheran Hour Speakers.  Good vision? uhhhhhhmmm, well.....

Can you state Dale's vision in a sentence?  If you can't he didn't really have one.  I think at best you can say that the last 20 years have been a fight between two forms of nostalgia avoiding stating the required sacrifices needed to bring their fondest wishes to life.  Ablaze, which is as close as you get to a Dale vision, required massive expenditures on things that were not us.  If we weren't going to have the children ourselves, we needed to invest heavily in converting and establishing churches for other people's children.  And figure out ways to pass leadership on to them.  This was nostalgia for the missionary past of the LCMS and pulling together immigrants into brand new churches and for transitioning from German to English.  The flip side of that coin has been the nostalgia for your grandfather's church.  The church at the height of its powers when women were still having 7 kids.  The entire LCMS was one big extended family.  And the messiness of making germans, swedes, fins, etc. all speaking their native language and pidgin English into white American Lutherans was finished and God was in his heaven and the mandate of heaven was with us.

A vision would require some picture that is not just a Kinkade picture of you favored past, a clear and honest statement of the sacrifices required, and the response of people willing to pay that price.  Nobody in our system is willing to take the Kinkade's down, nor state out loud the sacrifices necessary.  We never even get to asking for a response.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 05, 2020, 10:50:44 AM
Here in the Midwest we could do some consolidating:

Iowa District East and Iowa District West could be the Iowa District

Minnesota North and Minnesota South could be the Minnesota District

Central Illinois District and Southern Illinois District could be the Illinois South District

Wisconsin North and  Wisconsin South could be the Wisconsin District


At one time there was just an Iowa District and a Minnesota District

The following numbers come from the synod's "Districts Profile" page....

1. Minnesota North has 53,000 baptized members.  Minnesota South has 118,500.  Combining them would make one district of 171,500.

2. Iowa East has 40,000 baptized; Iowa West has 59,000.  Combining them would give 99,000.

3. Central Illinois has 64,000; Southern Illinois has 38,500.  Combining them would give 102,500.

4. North Wisconsin has 96,000; South Wisconsin has 104,000.  Combining them would give 200,000.


Now, how about some other districts? 
First, the non-geographic: SELC has 16,000 and the English District has 49,000 -- combining them would give 65,000.  Perhaps these districts should be disbanded altogether and the congregations absorbed into the geographical districts.

Then the northeast part of the country: New England District has no number of baptized listed on synod's page but 13,000 communicants.  The Eastern District has 40,000 baptized.  Atlantic District has 31,000.  New Jersey District has 11,000.  If all these were combined, it would be around 100,000 -- still smaller than all the above proposed consolidations (with the possible exception of the combined Iowa district).

I believe that Michigan is currently the largest district (in terms of members); they are listed at 191,000 baptized members.  So, Rev. Likeness's suggestion would make Wisconsin the most populous district, followed by Michigan, then Minnesota right on its heels.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 05, 2020, 11:24:44 AM
Here in the Midwest we could do some consolidating:

Iowa District East and Iowa District West could be the Iowa District

Minnesota North and Minnesota South could be the Minnesota District

Central Illinois District and Southern Illinois District could be the Illinois South District

Wisconsin North and  Wisconsin South could be the Wisconsin District


At one time there was just an Iowa District and a Minnesota District

The following numbers come from the synod's "Districts Profile" page....

1. Minnesota North has 53,000 baptized members.  Minnesota South has 118,500.  Combining them would make one district of 171,500.

2. Iowa East has 40,000 baptized; Iowa West has 59,000.  Combining them would give 99,000.

3. Central Illinois has 64,000; Southern Illinois has 38,500.  Combining them would give 102,500.

4. North Wisconsin has 96,000; South Wisconsin has 104,000.  Combining them would give 200,000.


Now, how about some other districts? 
First, the non-geographic: SELC has 16,000 and the English District has 49,000 -- combining them would give 65,000.  Perhaps these districts should be disbanded altogether and the congregations absorbed into the geographical districts.

Then the northeast part of the country: New England District has no number of baptized listed on synod's page but 13,000 communicants.  The Eastern District has 40,000 baptized.  Atlantic District has 31,000.  New Jersey District has 11,000.  If all these were combined, it would be around 100,000 -- still smaller than all the above proposed consolidations (with the possible exception of the combined Iowa district).

I believe that Michigan is currently the largest district (in terms of members); they are listed at 191,000 baptized members.  So, Rev. Likeness's suggestion would make Wisconsin the most populous district, followed by Michigan, then Minnesota right on its heels.

This is one set of important numbers. The other set would be the costs/savings involved. I don't know what they are but that also needs to be considered.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 05, 2020, 11:31:03 AM
I think people are putting way too much stock in how much a seminary president can affect anything. Dale Meyer was a dynamic leader, no? He had a good vision, high energy, fund-raising appeal, name recognition, etc. If putting a good leader in place was going to turn things around, why aren't things turned around?

"Newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times"-- why re-imagine the furniture? I would say grace is abounding in these lean times in all the altars, fonts, and pulpits we already have. Certainly nothing except grace is abounding there; the times are lean.

"because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world." Where do you see that not happening already? It seems to me that's the only thing going on. Which congregations, entities, schools and districts aren't doing the same things for the same reason, the mission of God?

High energy, yes.  Fundraising appeal, yes.  Name rec, check, the last of the real Lutheran Hour Speakers.  Good vision? uhhhhhhmmm, well.....

Can you state Dale's vision in a sentence?  If you can't he didn't really have one.  I think at best you can say that the last 20 years have been a fight between two forms of nostalgia avoiding stating the required sacrifices needed to bring their fondest wishes to life.  Ablaze, which is as close as you get to a Dale vision, required massive expenditures on things that were not us.  If we weren't going to have the children ourselves, we needed to invest heavily in converting and establishing churches for other people's children.  And figure out ways to pass leadership on to them.  This was nostalgia for the missionary past of the LCMS and pulling together immigrants into brand new churches and for transitioning from German to English.  The flip side of that coin has been the nostalgia for your grandfather's church.  The church at the height of its powers when women were still having 7 kids.  The entire LCMS was one big extended family.  And the messiness of making germans, swedes, fins, etc. all speaking their native language and pidgin English into white American Lutherans was finished and God was in his heaven and the mandate of heaven was with us.

A vision would require some picture that is not just a Kinkade picture of you favored past, a clear and honest statement of the sacrifices required, and the response of people willing to pay that price.  Nobody in our system is willing to take the Kinkade's down, nor state out loud the sacrifices necessary.  We never even get to asking for a response.
I've never been a believer in the one sentence vision, but for those who are, name any church leader even in history who has had one. What was, say, Pope John Paul II's vision? What was Walther's? What was Luther's one sentence vision? How about O.P. Kretzmann of Valpo?

There is only so much leeway to a "vision" for an institution that trains pastors for a denomination. They're still going to have to learn the stuff and practice the stuff they're going to be called upon to do. What would Kloha's one-sentence vision be, and how would it be substantively different from Meyer's non-vision?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 11:47:41 AM
I think people are putting way too much stock in how much a seminary president can affect anything. Dale Meyer was a dynamic leader, no? He had a good vision, high energy, fund-raising appeal, name recognition, etc. If putting a good leader in place was going to turn things around, why aren't things turned around?

"Newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times"-- why re-imagine the furniture? I would say grace is abounding in these lean times in all the altars, fonts, and pulpits we already have. Certainly nothing except grace is abounding there; the times are lean.

"because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world." Where do you see that not happening already? It seems to me that's the only thing going on. Which congregations, entities, schools and districts aren't doing the same things for the same reason, the mission of God?

High energy, yes.  Fundraising appeal, yes.  Name rec, check, the last of the real Lutheran Hour Speakers.  Good vision? uhhhhhhmmm, well.....

Can you state Dale's vision in a sentence?  If you can't he didn't really have one.  I think at best you can say that the last 20 years have been a fight between two forms of nostalgia avoiding stating the required sacrifices needed to bring their fondest wishes to life.  Ablaze, which is as close as you get to a Dale vision, required massive expenditures on things that were not us.  If we weren't going to have the children ourselves, we needed to invest heavily in converting and establishing churches for other people's children.  And figure out ways to pass leadership on to them.  This was nostalgia for the missionary past of the LCMS and pulling together immigrants into brand new churches and for transitioning from German to English.  The flip side of that coin has been the nostalgia for your grandfather's church.  The church at the height of its powers when women were still having 7 kids.  The entire LCMS was one big extended family.  And the messiness of making germans, swedes, fins, etc. all speaking their native language and pidgin English into white American Lutherans was finished and God was in his heaven and the mandate of heaven was with us.

A vision would require some picture that is not just a Kinkade picture of you favored past, a clear and honest statement of the sacrifices required, and the response of people willing to pay that price.  Nobody in our system is willing to take the Kinkade's down, nor state out loud the sacrifices necessary.  We never even get to asking for a response.
I've never been a believer in the one sentence vision, but for those who are, name any church leader even in history who has had one. What was, say, Pope John Paul II's vision? What was Walther's? What was Luther's one sentence vision? How about O.P. Kretzmann of Valpo?

There is only so much leeway to a "vision" for an institution that trains pastors for a denomination. They're still going to have to learn the stuff and practice the stuff they're going to be called upon to do. What would Kloha's one-sentence vision be, and how would it be substantively different from Meyer's non-vision?

JP2 - "Be not afraid"
Walther - You can be the church in a new world
Luther - The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
Don't know enough about Kretzmann to say.

I'd love to ask each of the candidates that question, "what is your vision?"  Or if vision has become too poisoned a word, I'd ask something like "what is the golden thread that unites everything you do?" Do you know your own golden thread that God is weaving through your life, and through your life the lives of all those you touch?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 05, 2020, 12:11:58 PM
I think people are putting way too much stock in how much a seminary president can affect anything. Dale Meyer was a dynamic leader, no? He had a good vision, high energy, fund-raising appeal, name recognition, etc. If putting a good leader in place was going to turn things around, why aren't things turned around?

"Newly imagined altars, fonts and pulpits where grace abounds in these lean times"-- why re-imagine the furniture? I would say grace is abounding in these lean times in all the altars, fonts, and pulpits we already have. Certainly nothing except grace is abounding there; the times are lean.

"because everyone including first the congregations and then the entities, schools and districts would be doing the same thing, and doing it for the same reason, the mission of God in Jesus guided by the Spirit for the world." Where do you see that not happening already? It seems to me that's the only thing going on. Which congregations, entities, schools and districts aren't doing the same things for the same reason, the mission of God?

High energy, yes.  Fundraising appeal, yes.  Name rec, check, the last of the real Lutheran Hour Speakers.  Good vision? uhhhhhhmmm, well.....

Can you state Dale's vision in a sentence?  If you can't he didn't really have one.  I think at best you can say that the last 20 years have been a fight between two forms of nostalgia avoiding stating the required sacrifices needed to bring their fondest wishes to life.  Ablaze, which is as close as you get to a Dale vision, required massive expenditures on things that were not us.  If we weren't going to have the children ourselves, we needed to invest heavily in converting and establishing churches for other people's children.  And figure out ways to pass leadership on to them.  This was nostalgia for the missionary past of the LCMS and pulling together immigrants into brand new churches and for transitioning from German to English.  The flip side of that coin has been the nostalgia for your grandfather's church.  The church at the height of its powers when women were still having 7 kids.  The entire LCMS was one big extended family.  And the messiness of making germans, swedes, fins, etc. all speaking their native language and pidgin English into white American Lutherans was finished and God was in his heaven and the mandate of heaven was with us.

A vision would require some picture that is not just a Kinkade picture of you favored past, a clear and honest statement of the sacrifices required, and the response of people willing to pay that price.  Nobody in our system is willing to take the Kinkade's down, nor state out loud the sacrifices necessary.  We never even get to asking for a response.
I've never been a believer in the one sentence vision, but for those who are, name any church leader even in history who has had one. What was, say, Pope John Paul II's vision? What was Walther's? What was Luther's one sentence vision? How about O.P. Kretzmann of Valpo?

There is only so much leeway to a "vision" for an institution that trains pastors for a denomination. They're still going to have to learn the stuff and practice the stuff they're going to be called upon to do. What would Kloha's one-sentence vision be, and how would it be substantively different from Meyer's non-vision?

JP2 - "Be not afraid"
Walther - You can be the church in a new world
Luther - The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
Don't know enough about Kretzmann to say.

I'd love to ask each of the candidates that question, "what is your vision?"  Or if vision has become too poisoned a word, I'd ask something like "what is the golden thread that unites everything you do?" Do you know your own golden thread that God is weaving through your life, and through your life the lives of all those you touch?
I'd say we're doing all those things. We proclaim the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus. We are the church in the new world. We're not afraid, or at least, we aren't particularly so. But maybe we're talking past each other about what a vision statement is or does. What is your vision? What do you think a good one would be for the new president of CSL?

I think by your way of doing it, Meyer's vision might be expressed as something like "Preaching Christ in season and out of season." Harrison's vision might be "A church that endures." Whatever. But if you, or if we collectively in the forum, got to pick a good one sentence vision for the next president of CSL that applied to one candidate but not another, what would it be?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 05, 2020, 12:19:12 PM
The white elephant in the room concerning the future LCMS getting right-sized
has always been the number of Districts which is currently 35.

There is too much duplication of personnel in the big picture.  Many Districts
have an Evangelism person, an Education person, a Stewardship person, etc.
A consolidation of Districts would eliminate  an excess of white collars and
save a tremendous amount of money.  In the next ten years financial issues
will dominate the conversation as the membership of LCMS continues to shrink.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Weedon on May 05, 2020, 12:30:14 PM
Gotta agree with Peter. Vision statements are nonsense in Church history, because if you know one thing from the history of the Church is that you do not know the future and projecting for it your vision of how it ought to be sort of runs right smack dab into the hand of the Master saying: “Woah. Take no thought for the morrow.” Did He mean it? Well, that takes all the fun out of visioning, doesn’t it? And don’t forget Bonhoeffer’s words in life together about the one who makes the ideal church actually destroying the church itself. I’ve mentioned it before, but Gabe Huck’s words from Valpo liturgical institute eons ago have stuck with me: “We need to learn to love the church as she is, and not as we would have her be.”

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a while and vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on May 05, 2020, 12:39:27 PM
A woman's perspective, if you will.  I was a student of Dr. Rast and knew Dr. Rutt as a professor of my husband's at CTSFW.  I also know Dr. Rutt because his dear wife had formerly held the position I currently do at the RSO I serve.  Both men would be fine candidates for the position, in my opinion.  I don't know the others to express an opinion.

Dr. Rast's dear wife, Amy, is currently in a significant leadership role within the deaconess program at CTSFW.  Her interests and willingness to make a move impacts any potential Rast presidency at CSL.  Anybody not born and raised in St. Louis can attest to the difficulty in adjusting to the culture here as an "outsider."  Maybe spouses and kids won't be supportive of making the move.  Maybe wives won't want to be that far from their adult children or grandchildren.  Who knows . . .

As an MBA professor and former budget office staffer in a couple of state universities, I would support a consolidation of the two seminaries from an administrative perspective, much like Concordia Wisconsin and Concordia Ann Arbor.  The current state most organizations, including my own, are operating in has demonstrated that technology allows us to overcome the problem of distance.  We are going to have to make some tough but helpful decisions where all of our academic institutions are concerned if we are to achieve long-term sustainability within them.  The new normal demands it.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 05, 2020, 12:58:16 PM
Here in the Midwest we could do some consolidating:

Iowa District East and Iowa District West could be the Iowa District

Minnesota North and Minnesota South could be the Minnesota District

Central Illinois District and Southern Illinois District could be the Illinois South District

Wisconsin North and  Wisconsin South could be the Wisconsin District


At one time there was just an Iowa District and a Minnesota District

The following numbers come from the synod's "Districts Profile" page....

1. Minnesota North has 53,000 baptized members.  Minnesota South has 118,500.  Combining them would make one district of 171,500.

2. Iowa East has 40,000 baptized; Iowa West has 59,000.  Combining them would give 99,000.

3. Central Illinois has 64,000; Southern Illinois has 38,500.  Combining them would give 102,500.

4. North Wisconsin has 96,000; South Wisconsin has 104,000.  Combining them would give 200,000.


Now, how about some other districts? 
First, the non-geographic: SELC has 16,000 and the English District has 49,000 -- combining them would give 65,000.  Perhaps these districts should be disbanded altogether and the congregations absorbed into the geographical districts.

Then the northeast part of the country: New England District has no number of baptized listed on synod's page but 13,000 communicants.  The Eastern District has 40,000 baptized.  Atlantic District has 31,000.  New Jersey District has 11,000.  If all these were combined, it would be around 100,000 -- still smaller than all the above proposed consolidations (with the possible exception of the combined Iowa district).

I believe that Michigan is currently the largest district (in terms of members); they are listed at 191,000 baptized members.  So, Rev. Likeness's suggestion would make Wisconsin the most populous district, followed by Michigan, then Minnesota right on its heels.
Also noteworthy that the Atlantic District contingent ... by far the most vocal and in some cases providing snarky and derogatory comments concerning Synod leadership and convention decisions as well as the CSL presidential selection process ... looking west ... outside their own backyard.  No commentary on combining the districts in their own back yard ... no commenting on accreditation issues at CCNY .. but then what better way to divert attention from the Northeast backyard than to focus attention on CSL and CUP. 
Equal time doctrine demands equal attention to the Northeast backyard as well ... why should they be discriminated against ... after all equal rights for all. ;D
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 05, 2020, 01:26:19 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 05, 2020, 01:57:22 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: therevev on May 05, 2020, 01:58:48 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 01:59:10 PM
I would normally be 100% on the curmudgeon side regarding "vision".  I think the vast majority of vision statements are crap.  I wouldn't bother coming up with one, because I tend to think you can only capture the good ones in hindsight. That Bonhoeffer quote is one I have taped to my desk and quote it all the time.  And as I said above, any "vision" requires the buy-in of those it is pitched to.  I can perfectly see "preach the gospel in season and out" as a Dale one.

All that said, what you are talking about under the label vision is something deeper that we all feel. The big verse that gets quoted is in Proverbs for a reason. "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Prov. 29:18 ESV)".  Or I find the NLT interesting, "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. (Prov. 29:18 NLT)"  Notice that acceptance in there.  It is essentially about the left hand kingdom, life in this world and under the law. And things such as Synod are largely left hand kingdom things. But there is a place for prophetic vision or divine guidance.  The Lord rules over both the right and the left.  Our very curmudgeon-ness about "vision" might simply be the fact that we have been so long without it we don't really know what it is. And we are probably as likely to come up with "we want a king, like everyone else" as we are to find divine guidance. But it is Bill Belichick, after Drew Bledsoe his All-Star QB came back from injury, saying, "no, that guy (Tom Brady) is my guy".  It's Steve Jobs saying things like "people don't know what they need until you give it to them."  It is that intuition that this is the guy I want to be in a foxhole with.

So, if I was putting on all hubris and breaking all my personal rules, I'd say something like "Time to cross the Jordan".  You want to stay on this bank, fine, but you have no part in us.  You don't think its prudent at this time, fine, but we are going. We've come here by grace, and grace will see us home. Will you cross with me?   
 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Weedon on May 05, 2020, 02:16:41 PM
Again, Mark, with Peter I’d ask: crossing the Jordan to where? To do what? “I’ll let you know when you get there” works for God—think Abraham; no so much with us!

Now, if it’s God’s vision shaping us, the vision in the Scriptures, the vision that He sets before us, isn’t that exactly what the AC sought to capture, to confess. Here is how God views the Church! Let’s not confuse the accidental/incidental with the stuff that makes us be who we are. I’m down with that. Is that what you mean by crossing the Jordan?

Points of tension Missouri needs to address: allowing “closed communion” to be a stand-in for the much more difficult practice that the Confessions witness; grounding in the Word a must for any who will hold the office, yet not confusing that with any specific way of achieving such grounding; restoring in some way the office of love amongst us in its fullness so that in every local community mercy/love and faith/word are both full blast; restoration of living communities of prayer (Eucharist is glorious; glad to see it restored; but what’s happened to our prayer life? To the Daily Office? The Litany?); oh, and duh, coming to terms with a LIVELY appropriation of the heritage that is neither the repristination of some golden age NOR the wholesale jettisoning of the Gospel riches God has blessed us with in liturgy and hymnody. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: pastoral malfeasance when a Lutheran pastor doesn’t share with his people the joy of singing: “Lord, Thee I Love” and the comfort it brings! :) Signed, curmudgeonly yours...
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Harry Edmon on May 05, 2020, 02:21:48 PM


Secondly, the Missouri District DP is on the board but doesn't get a vote.  No problem, John Wille is the elector anyway, who is also a DP from my childhood home district.  Thirdly, the chairman of the Board is Rev. Todd Peperkorn, who is known to me.  Fourthly, there is a Paul Edmon on the board.  The person who began this thread was a Harry Edmon.  Are Harry and Paul related?



In the interest of transparency - Paul Edmon is my oldest son.  He is on the staff (not faculty) at Harvard University and attends First Lutheran Church in Boston.  I am retired from the staff (not faculty) at the University of Washington and attend Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle.

Paul takes his position seriously and does not share anything with me from executive sessions of the Board of Regents.  Anything I have posted on this site about the seminary and the process have been public information.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 05, 2020, 02:35:04 PM
Rev Hannah:
The way you and other Atlantic District Pastors cry sectarianism and heresy hunters rather than address the SPECIFICS of what you disagree with along with the incessant snark negatively portraying synodical leadership and convention decisions is what prompted my much delayed response. Much if all of the sectarian/heresy hunting is dissing belief/practice once mainstream in synod ... and part of my catechism training. 


Predict who may be selected... and let it rest.  In all fairness, your direct participantion over the past day in the presidential selection snark has been minimum  ... so please do not feel that this post is directed at you personally.
But isn't it a bit disingenuous for all the attention to be placed on CSL and CUP and absolutely nothing said or even worse snarkly speculated on the accreditation issues in your own backyard ... furthermore the snark is feed by one who could speak authoritatively on CCNY if not so preoccupied with snark and speculation outside the backyard.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 03:00:00 PM
Again, Mark, with Peter I’d ask: crossing the Jordan to where? To do what? “I’ll let you know when you get there” works for God—think Abraham; no so much with us!

Now, if it’s God’s vision shaping us, the vision in the Scriptures, the vision that He sets before us, isn’t that exactly what the AC sought to capture, to confess. Here is how God views the Church! Let’s not confuse the accidental/incidental with the stuff that makes us be who we are. I’m down with that. Is that what you mean by crossing the Jordan?

Points of tension Missouri needs to address: allowing “closed communion” to be a stand-in for the much more difficult practice that the Confessions witness; grounding in the Word a must for any who will hold the office, yet not confusing that with any specific way of achieving such grounding; restoring in some way the office of love amongst us in its fullness so that in every local community mercy/love and faith/word are both full blast; restoration of living communities of prayer (Eucharist is glorious; glad to see it restored; but what’s happened to our prayer life? To the Daily Office? The Litany?); oh, and duh, coming to terms with a LIVELY appropriation of the heritage that is neither the repristination of some golden age NOR the wholesale jettisoning of the Gospel riches God has blessed us with in liturgy and hymnody.

What you've more or less put there is the "to where".

I asked a question on a different thread in this same vein.  Could you get 3000 congregations to sign onto establishing and fully funding: 1 sem, 1 undergrad institution, 1 publishing house and one hymnbook/Agenda?  Could you add missions?  It was grounded in the original questions that Walther was answering in Church and Ministry.  What does it mean to be the church? And grounded in the early much simpler constitutions.  Instead of having at least three churches, each protecting their own turf, while watching each decline and be much less than what The Church is supposed to be, would it not be better to establish some institutional unity if smaller?  To clearly answer some questions?  To act as a church instead of a collection of para-church ministries picking and choosing?

Use Closed Communion as a point.  Everyone has gone their own way.  Recently I've defined what mine looks like in an attempt to be honest with myself and why I think it is a defendable place. But my definition assumes the liturgy.  I've been to LCMS churches where what I think makes things defensible are all absent from the service.  Crossing the Jordan?  Agreeing to practices that we will collectively adhere to, or agreeing to part ways.

A historical Ph.D. dissertation that I think would be very interesting would be an explanation (or even oral history) of how the Synod went from a relatively simple, compact and concrete idea of itself as exemplified in the early constitutions (quote inserted below) to what it became.  How did a synod where its expected duties were basically: CPH, Seminary and its feeders, Uniform Worship Resources, Missions decide to cut loose many of these functions and pick up a whole bunch of others?  How did we adopt a para-church form of organization after being founded as a church organization?

And the follow on, not at all historical, question would simply be: what is a simple, compact and concrete idea of itself that the majority of the current confederation would sign onto?  For example, could you get 3000 congregations to sign onto establishing and fully funding: 1 sem, 1 undergrad institution, 1 publishing house and one hymnbook/Agenda?  Could you add missions?

Quote
I. Reasons for forming a synodical organization.
1. The example of the Apostolic Church. (Acts 15:1-31.)
2. The preservation and furthering of the unity of pure confession (Eph. 4:3-6; 1 Cor. 1:10) and to provide common defense against separatism and sectarianism. (Rom. 16:17.)
3. Protection and preservation of the rights and duties of pastors and congregations.
4. The establishment of the largest possible conformity in church government.
5. The will of the Lord that the diversities of gifts be used for the common good. (1 Cor. 12:4-31.)
6. The unified spread of the kingdom of God and to make possible the promotion of special church projects. (Seminary, agenda, hymnal, Book of Concord, schoolbooks, Bible distribution, mission projects within and outside the Church.)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rob Morris on May 05, 2020, 03:50:36 PM
Rev Hannah:
The way you and other Atlantic District Pastors cry sectarianism and heresy hunters rather than address the SPECIFICS of what you disagree with along with the incessant snark negatively portraying synodical leadership and convention decisions is what prompted my much delayed response. Much if all of the sectarian/heresy hunting is dissing belief/practice once mainstream in synod ... and part of my catechism training. 


Predict who may be selected... and let it rest.  In all fairness, your direct participantion over the past day in the presidential selection snark has been minimum  ... so please do not feel that this post is directed at you personally.
But isn't it a bit disingenuous for all the attention to be placed on CSL and CUP and absolutely nothing said or even worse snarkly speculated on the accreditation issues in your own backyard ... furthermore the snark is feed by one who could speak authoritatively on CCNY if not so preoccupied with snark and speculation outside the backyard.
Starting to feel like we have wandered into a Lewis Carroll poem:

For the Snark’s a peculiar creature, that won’t

Be caught in a commonplace way.

Do all that you know, and try all that you don’t:

Not a chance must be wasted to-day!
- The Hunting of the Snark

But maybe that is apropos: "do all that you know and try all that you don't" might be an apt summary of the last half-century of American Christianity.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: NGB on May 05, 2020, 04:01:13 PM
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site (https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/fort-wayne-in/clayton-mo/50000), the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site (https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/edu/150288/concordia-theological-seminary/enrollment/), CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 04:12:07 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

I spoke about going back to the "old" Atlantic District model or, even better, the "old" Eastern District model on another thread - Valpo? - as a way forward for this part of the world. 

Overall, the beauty of an inter-Lutheran open-ended forum is that dialog can take place from a whole bunch of different perspectives and be respected, even when there are serious disagreements.

We've had wanna be moderators tee it up here throughout our history attempting to dictate who can talk about what where and when.  "You can't have an opinion about this - it's a Missouri Synod matter; stay out," that kind of thing.  It's an Inter-Lutheran Forum, as is the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau.  Purposely inter-Lutheran.  Purposely crossing various boundaries.  It's not only OK, it's viewed as appropriate.  (What we are actually very light on is large non-liturgical congregatons/pastors/leaders (not that the pastors or leaders are large, just the congregations)). 

Sometimes my belief is that the wannabe moderator folks have either had their own blog which gave them that ability, or run a larger site as a moderator or owner.  Schoolmarmish folks, controllers.

Dave Benke



Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 05, 2020, 04:25:42 PM
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site (https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/fort-wayne-in/clayton-mo/50000), the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site (https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/edu/150288/concordia-theological-seminary/enrollment/), CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.
Not sure that holds, though. By the same token, my mom once took a year off of college to teach. Without a teaching license she had something like 48 students in three grade levels at a school with no gym, cafeteria, or library, and in Michigan when going out onto the playground was a laborious undertaking for much of the year. She got reprimanded for taking the kids in groups to the public library ("It makes the Lutheran school look poor to the community,") and for lighting a candle to give focus and decorum to devotions ("It seems awfully Catholic.") So the old school way can be done. But should it?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 04:27:09 PM
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site (https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/fort-wayne-in/clayton-mo/50000), the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site (https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/edu/150288/concordia-theological-seminary/enrollment/), CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.

These are on point comments.  In these days of actually noticing support staff "essential" workers, what about facilities, maintenance, and cleaning staff and those attendant property costs - two campuses vs. one.  There's a lot of budget in facilities.  Secondly, the way it's done in colleges is for adjunct faculty to do a lot of the basic teaching, and the professors to kick in at level 2 or 3.  With online learning, that would be a really big money-saver.  What if you shifted the internship/vicarage to the fourth year, had year one online, years two and three (for resident students this is) on campus and then out you go.  Big money-saver, no? 

The key is still pastoral and theological formation.  Here both Kloha and Rast stand out.  Doug Rutt certainly has good history in that regard as well in the mission field.  How to best organize the dwindled student body to hit the ground well-founded and with vocational passion - that's the organizational and institutional task.  Both seminaries talk about that a lot, from my involvement through the years, so they can figure it out together.

Your pro-forma doesn't include my tenure at St. Louis, 1968-73.  We had 200 in each class, plus grad students, at just the one seminary, and probably 150 more per class at Springfield.  The dorms were full, the staff was probably not that much larger than now.  Those who went out from say 1963 to 1973 went out at the height of both institutions in enrollment, I would think.   And had significant tuition subsidies.  And had low tuition room and board to begin with, because all the schools were being subsidized by the national church body.    Now we have maybe 40% of the enrollment we had in one class at St. Louis at both seminaries combined.  There was plenty of room for us then.  Why two campuses?   

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 05, 2020, 04:31:25 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 05, 2020, 05:00:54 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)

While that may be true, I doubt that such was the stated reason for not pursuing consolidation.  So, what WAS the given reason(s)?  I would be interested in hearing also from Dr. Benke on this, as I assume that he was district president during at least part of the time you mentioned.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 05, 2020, 05:04:46 PM
We need to remember the history of our two seminaries

Springfield/Fort Wayne under President J.A.O Preus was transitioning from a seminary
primarily for men who later in life decided to pursue the pastoral ministry. to one which
would eventually recruit the same guys as St. Louis.  J.A.O Preus upgraded the faculty
and brough in men with Ph.D's.

St. Louis started out as as seminary which attracted the men who went through the "System"
In some cases this included both high school, junior college,and later senior college.

Today, in the 21st century both our current seminaries are recruiting the same men
to attend their campus.  There no longer is any difference in the accreditation for both
seminaries.  One campus would be good stewardship for our financial resources.
Time will tell if St. Louis survives or Ft. Wayne survives.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 05, 2020, 05:05:28 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.


The Episcopal Church with about 1.8 million members has 110 diocese. They tend to be geographically smaller than the Lutheran synods/districts; but their bishops have some greater responsibilities, e.g., officiate at confirmation.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 05:12:04 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)

LOL ;D

Although I think exactly this scenario, the merger of the 4 NE districts (Eastern, NE, NJ, Atlantic) was suggested by the convention in 2016 (or maybe 2013).  The districts formally got together, decided it wasn't necessary, reported back and that was it.  I remember hearing the report from our DP.  Took me longer to write this than that report. So, I imagine the discussion was:

Any of you guys want to stop being the bishop?  Nope. Nope. Nope.

Ok then.  I move we report it is not necessary.  Aye. Aye. Aye.

So carried.

Of course all you will see is

(Enter executive session)
(Exit ES)

Report: No merger needed
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 05, 2020, 05:52:19 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)

LOL ;D

Although I think exactly this scenario, the merger of the 4 NE districts (Eastern, NE, NJ, Atlantic) was suggested by the convention in 2016 (or maybe 2013).  The districts formally got together, decided it wasn't necessary, reported back and that was it.  I remember hearing the report from our DP.  Took me longer to write this than that report. So, I imagine the discussion was:

Any of you guys want to stop being the bishop?  Nope. Nope. Nope.

Ok then.  I move we report it is not necessary.  Aye. Aye. Aye.

So carried.

Of course all you will see is

(Enter executive session)
(Exit ES)

Report: No merger needed

But if that really was the case, the individual districts could have a grandfathered existence until the current district presidents term out/decline to stand for re-election.  Let’s be honest, there is more political clout with 4 like minded districts than one. Furthermore, politically incompatible districts, though geographically comparable would resist consolidation as well.

Full disclosure ... the only way my congregation/pastor’s district would be effected would be if Rev. Brown’s suggested many small district proposal were adopted.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 05:56:01 PM
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)

LOL ;D

Although I think exactly this scenario, the merger of the 4 NE districts (Eastern, NE, NJ, Atlantic) was suggested by the convention in 2016 (or maybe 2013).  The districts formally got together, decided it wasn't necessary, reported back and that was it.  I remember hearing the report from our DP.  Took me longer to write this than that report. So, I imagine the discussion was:

Any of you guys want to stop being the bishop?  Nope. Nope. Nope.

Ok then.  I move we report it is not necessary.  Aye. Aye. Aye.

So carried.

Of course all you will see is

(Enter executive session)
(Exit ES)

Report: No merger needed

I always thought of it as a David and Solomon thing.  I arbitrated with the other districts for combining more than a few times.  No go.  Thrown back on the other side of the bridge.  Why?  No problems on our side of the bridge, but stasis on the other side.  I think that day is over, and now that Solomon in the form of Derek Lecakes is in office, the re-formed temple of the East can be built.  Also, some if not all of the other DPs are retiring.  (!)

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 05, 2020, 06:03:10 PM
We need to remember the history of our two seminaries

Springfield/Fort Wayne under President J.A.O Preus was transitioning from a seminary
primarily for men who later in life decided to pursue the pastoral ministry. to one which
would eventually recruit the same guys as St. Louis.  J.A.O Preus upgraded the faculty
and brough in men with Ph.D's.


Springfield began its upgrade under George Beto. J.A.O. Preus completed it. (He also undermined it by dismissing some of the more "progressive faculty.")

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 05, 2020, 06:04:14 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 06:18:30 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on May 05, 2020, 06:32:02 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.
Two major problems with it. First, from a constituency viewpoint — Those who hope for strong structures which would allow enforcement of conformity would not be at all keen on this, as it would drown their dream before it could begin to be realized. Such would oppose this suggestion tooth and nail. Second, as a human-nature consideration — This would ratchet up the Buddy Problem (which should be watched out for, anyway) more than a few degrees, as CCs would be tempted to recommend and surround themselves with like-minded individuals, classmates, etc., etc. Yes, congregations would still do the calling, but they're unlikely to know that the lists they would be given would fit a certain social group rather than a demographic. This could conceivably be a problem today, but DPs have far too much on their plates (I would hope) to put a huge amount of effort into turning their districts into a cadre of Mini-Mes.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: NGB on May 05, 2020, 07:24:20 PM
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site (https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/fort-wayne-in/clayton-mo/50000), the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site (https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/edu/150288/concordia-theological-seminary/enrollment/), CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.
Not sure that holds, though. By the same token, my mom once took a year off of college to teach. Without a teaching license she had something like 48 students in three grade levels at a school with no gym, cafeteria, or library, and in Michigan when going out onto the playground was a laborious undertaking for much of the year. She got reprimanded for taking the kids in groups to the public library ("It makes the Lutheran school look poor to the community,") and for lighting a candle to give focus and decorum to devotions ("It seems awfully Catholic.") So the old school way can be done. But should it?
That's a fair criticism. And perhaps the seminaries shouldn't try to go back to the class sizes of those days. But sticking with CTS, is there a good reason they need 29 faculty members (not counting adjuncts) to teach 301 students, while CSL needs only 32 faculty to teach 616 students? Perhaps by having half the student:faculty ratio as CSL, CTS is able to offer a much better education. After all, the average university has a 16:1 student:faculty ratio while the Ivies tend to range between 5:1 and 7:1, so at least in theory there is a correlation between a small student/faculty ratio and the quality of the education (speaking of which, I don't suppose any of you guys who went to the Senior College have any idea what the student/faculty ratio was there, do you? I've always heard that that was the best educational institution the synod ever operated). I suppose my question would be, at what point do the seminaries run up against the law of diminishing returns, where each additional faculty member doesn't add appreciably to the quality of the average student's education? If that point is at 16:1, CTS could afford to downsize to 19 faculty members. If it's 20:1, they could drop to 16 faculty members. At 25:1, both seminaries could afford to downsize.

Pr. Benke also brings up a good point about adjuncts. Is there any reason both seminaries couldn't fill their ranks with more adjunct professors? I know that this already happens—Pr. Engebretson has said he teaches online SMP classes, and I know of a few other full-time pastors who teach or have taught as adjuncts—but why couldn't it be made more common? If there is an impediment other than inertia and the understandable preference for full-time faculty, I would guess it to be accreditation, but that's just a guess.

Why two campuses?   

I know you think it's silly to bring up Seminex, but I do think that's a very good reason to keep two separate seminaries. They can keep each other honest, and if one does happen to go off the rails, at least the other one has a greater chance of remaining orthodox. Seminex isn't the only example of this. Perhaps the most famous example is Wittenberg and Halle. Wittenberg was faithfully Lutheran; Halle eventually became pretty thoroughly Rationalistic. The first thing Friedrich Wilhelm III did after he gained control of Wittenberg was shut the school down and merge it into Halle, thus killing one of the last bastions of orthodoxy in his empire (and also conveniently seizing its large, centuries-old endowment). Two centuries earlier, you had the universities of Marburg and Gießen. Marburg started off Lutheran but was converted to a Reformed school in the early 17th century, leading many of the Lutheran faculty to help found a new Lutheran university in Gießen. Much better, in my view, to overengineer from the beginning and thus hopefully stave off problems in the future, rather than have only one plan and then be in trouble once something goes awry.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 07:39:26 PM
Points of tension Missouri needs to address: allowing “closed communion” to be a stand-in for the much more difficult practice that the Confessions witness; grounding in the Word a must for any who will hold the office, yet not confusing that with any specific way of achieving such grounding; restoring in some way the office of love amongst us in its fullness so that in every local community mercy/love and faith/word are both full blast; restoration of living communities of prayer (Eucharist is glorious; glad to see it restored; but what’s happened to our prayer life? To the Daily Office? The Litany?); oh, and duh, coming to terms with a LIVELY appropriation of the heritage that is neither the repristination of some golden age NOR the wholesale jettisoning of the Gospel riches God has blessed us with in liturgy and hymnody. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: pastoral malfeasance when a Lutheran pastor doesn’t share with his people the joy of singing: “Lord, Thee I Love” and the comfort it brings! :) Signed, curmudgeonly yours...

Great food for thought, Will.  What you're calling for is a post-Herb Mueller (+) Koinonia Project.  Honing in on what we can and should all drive together toward.  Eucharistic admission and pastoral care combined with catechesis - yes.   "Office of Love" is a tremendous refrain.  Communities of prayer - you're preaching to the choir there when it comes to me.  An amazing outpouring of prayer requests and prayer partnering is going on in these days.  Amazing, and productive of the mutual conversation/consolation of the community.  Lively appreciation of heritage - definitely.  And joy from the pastor's heart in sharing his own spaces of spiritual comfort, growth and challenge. 

Now to me that's actually - a vision for the future.  I believe both Larry and Jeff would embody it, as well as most (?) of the faculties of the seminaries.  Basically, I think you're eligible to join our alpb forum online restructuring committee.

Tomorrow night as of this moment I'm thinking to do a riff on All Depends on Our Possessing with a reggae back-beat.  The first verse in the chorale book I have handy goes
"All depends on our possessing/God's abundant grace and blessing/though all earthly wealth depart/He who God for his hath taken/'Mid the changing world unshaken/
Keeps a free, heroic heart."   "A free, heroic heart."  Are you kidding me - I want one of those!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 05, 2020, 08:06:39 PM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 05, 2020, 08:24:24 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

He's more in line with what I'd suggest.  And I would suggest that given the sizes of many of our congregations, having some burden fall on CVs isn't that bad.

But here is the one thing that I think is desperately needed anyway.  The call process needs to take a page from our presby separated brothers and get some tech help.  The start of the call process is a congregation uploading their Self-Assessment and ministry desires that becomes public along with a time frame, say 1 month.  In that month, pastors that might be interested in the call could attach their SET or information.  That then in the "call list".  The CVs job then simply becomes to help the calling congregation sort through the list.  Or if he (or the congregation) is upset about the list to drum up someone else, or have the hard conversation with the congregation that looking for a 35 year old minister with 50 years experience and 3.5 elementary aged kids who is willing to work 80 hours a day and take the call to a congregation of 50 people on half salary just isn't going to happen.  Lowered expectations.  Or it is simply a waiting game.  Reload and start the month over again.  Some new guys will have become discontent open to listening to the Spirit in that time frame.  All joking aside.  The days where you guys all knew each other because you all went to school together for 12 years and were all related anyway are over.  And congregations are getting pickier, and pastors responding in kind.  There needs to be a bigger entry to the funnel. And that type of tech help is exactly what the Synod should be for.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 08:29:38 PM
The days where you guys all knew each other because you all went to school together for 12 years and were all related anyway are over.  What?  When did that stop?  Oh, I guess when my crew all retired, except me.  And yes, one of my brothers is retired but the other one is active in another district and was never used on a call list here (well, maybe once). 

Anyway, your post has merit.  Except for the bad stuff.  You need me on that wall!  You need me on that wall!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 05, 2020, 08:44:16 PM
BTW, there is talk here of putting more on the CV's plate.  I did that gig for 12 years w/o pay.  I now work as a district sec. for modest pay (very modest).  To be honest, I think that my work load as a CV was often far more than my current position.  If we are going to have the CVs take on more of an active role, then we at least need to compensate them for the work they are doing.  Just my opinion. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 05, 2020, 08:50:07 PM
BTW, there is talk here of putting more on the CV's plate.  I did that gig for 12 years w/o pay.  I now work as a district sec. for modest pay (very modest).  To be honest, I think that my work load as a CV was often far more than my current position.  If we are going to have the CVs take on more of an active role, then we at least need to compensate them for the work they are doing.  Just my opinion.

Several district convention cycles ago, our circuit submitted an overture that said, basically, that since circuit counselors (as they were then called) were considered to be assistants to the district president (as our constitutions/bylaws say), the district ought to pay them something.  Of course, when the floor committee got done with it, the overture to the convention only said that CIRCUITS could choose to pay their circuit counselor a stipend.  It passed.  I believe our Crookston Circuit is the only one that actually pays anything -- and that was set at $1 below the amount requiring the circuit to give whatever tax documents are required to employees.  So, I think the circuit visitor of the Crookston Circuit receives something like $600/year, spread into quarterly payments.  Probably comes to less than $1/hour for his time.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 05, 2020, 08:55:24 PM
BTW, there is talk here of putting more on the CV's plate.  I did that gig for 12 years w/o pay.  I now work as a district sec. for modest pay (very modest).  To be honest, I think that my work load as a CV was often far more than my current position.  If we are going to have the CVs take on more of an active role, then we at least need to compensate them for the work they are doing.  Just my opinion.

Several district convention cycles ago, our circuit submitted an overture that said, basically, that since circuit counselors (as they were then called) were considered to be assistants to the district president (as our constitutions/bylaws say), the district ought to pay them something.  Of course, when the floor committee got done with it, the overture to the convention only said that CIRCUITS could choose to pay their circuit counselor a stipend.  It passed.  I believe our Crookston Circuit is the only one that actually pays anything -- and that was set at $1 below the amount requiring the circuit to give whatever tax documents are required to employees.  So, I think the circuit visitor of the Crookston Circuit receives something like $600/year, spread into quarterly payments.  Probably comes to less than $1/hour for his time.

A couple conventions or so back, someone put forward a motion to pay the CVs in my district.  It was defeated and never brought up again.  Still not sure what makes my current position so much more valuable than the CV.  Yes, I'm on the Board of Directors and the Presidium.  But a lot of unpaid laity serve on the same board as elected volunteers.  I sometimes review a fair number of constitutions, but having been in the CV seat for many more years than my current position, I know the hours and labor they invest. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 05, 2020, 09:30:38 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

He's more in line with what I'd suggest.  And I would suggest that given the sizes of many of our congregations, having some burden fall on CVs isn't that bad.

But here is the one thing that I think is desperately needed anyway.  The call process needs to take a page from our presby separated brothers and get some tech help.  The start of the call process is a congregation uploading their Self-Assessment and ministry desires that becomes public along with a time frame, say 1 month.  In that month, pastors that might be interested in the call could attach their SET or information.  That then in the "call list".  The CVs job then simply becomes to help the calling congregation sort through the list.  Or if he (or the congregation) is upset about the list to drum up someone else, or have the hard conversation with the congregation that looking for a 35 year old minister with 50 years experience and 3.5 elementary aged kids who is willing to work 80 hours a day and take the call to a congregation of 50 people on half salary just isn't going to happen.  Lowered expectations.  Or it is simply a waiting game.  Reload and start the month over again.  Some new guys will have become discontent open to listening to the Spirit in that time frame.  All joking aside.  The days where you guys all knew each other because you all went to school together for 12 years and were all related anyway are over.  And congregations are getting pickier, and pastors responding in kind.  There needs to be a bigger entry to the funnel. And that type of tech help is exactly what the Synod should be for.

I just came from a Zoom vestry meeting. I like the idea of using technology to assist with the call process.

Also, won't we likely close another 25% of congregations in the next 15 years? The challenges change with the down sizing. We also need to change expectations.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 05, 2020, 09:54:01 PM
BTW, there is talk here of putting more on the CV's plate.  I did that gig for 12 years w/o pay.  I now work as a district sec. for modest pay (very modest).  To be honest, I think that my work load as a CV was often far more than my current position.  If we are going to have the CVs take on more of an active role, then we at least need to compensate them for the work they are doing.  Just my opinion.

Several district convention cycles ago, our circuit submitted an overture that said, basically, that since circuit counselors (as they were then called) were considered to be assistants to the district president (as our constitutions/bylaws say), the district ought to pay them something.  Of course, when the floor committee got done with it, the overture to the convention only said that CIRCUITS could choose to pay their circuit counselor a stipend.  It passed.  I believe our Crookston Circuit is the only one that actually pays anything -- and that was set at $1 below the amount requiring the circuit to give whatever tax documents are required to employees.  So, I think the circuit visitor of the Crookston Circuit receives something like $600/year, spread into quarterly payments.  Probably comes to less than $1/hour for his time.

That's insane, and should have been left to the Praesidium (if they're trustworthy) and district board to accomplish.  Let's say $6000 instead of $600.  Still not much, but at least it makes a statement about the range of duties.  What you could do is take that out of the DPs nut, give him a reasonable compensation and a congregation.  Or pay for a vicar.  Something.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 05, 2020, 10:39:19 PM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off.

With my adjunct/affiliate prof hat on, I agree entirely.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 05, 2020, 11:42:14 PM
Me too, having been an adjunct instructor in creative writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Adjuncts are so far down the academic totem pole that in some cases we are not even above the ground.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 06, 2020, 01:25:47 AM
I can understand the sacrifice the adjunct makes in the church setting  ... it is done to the glory of God ... and for the good of the Church.

In the secular setting, one would assume the adjuncts are the cream of their respective fields  ... not minimum wage flunkes  ... what motivates these adjuncts to teach for such substandard wages?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 06, 2020, 08:46:51 AM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 06, 2020, 08:57:26 AM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off.

With my adjunct/affiliate prof hat on, I agree entirely.

I'm with Don, Richard and Charles on this topic, as an adjunct through the years.  In a revised new-standard set of seminary options, the adjunct professors should play an important role.  The advantages could be:
a) for the institution, cost savings.  As mentioned, six adjuncts teaching may receive $10k for their six courses in total.  A tenured professor teaching those six courses is being compensated exponentially higher.
b) for the adjunct, an opportunity to bring his/her vocation as teacher of the Church into the seminary setting
c) for the student and seminary, an opportunity to allow those in the field to bring not only teaching skills but mentoring/coaching skills into the classroom setting from their vocational experience; that's true even if the topic is exegesis/systematics/history.
d) for younger to middle-aged adjuncts, a new direction, a freshener of focus
e) for the institution, a chance to get a good look at someone who might eventually become a full-time professor
f) for the institution, an opportunity to utilize a different set of part-time teachers than those who are on emeritus status, who often fill those roles
g) for professors and adjuncts, an opportunity to interact for the sake of the teaching vocation, with the subset of learning from both perspectives - those in the field and those at the institution

One "advantage" in these days of the low enrollments at the Missouri Synod and I guess all Lutheran seminaries is that social/physical distancing in the classroom or on campus is not that hard to organize.  Even if the two campuses were rolled into one there would still be plenty of distancing available in the classroom setting as long as proper daily cleaning took place.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 06, 2020, 09:05:30 AM
I can understand the sacrifice the adjunct makes in the church setting  ... it is done to the glory of God ... and for the good of the Church.

In the secular setting, one would assume the adjuncts are the cream of their respective fields  ... not minimum wage flunkes  ... what motivates these adjuncts to teach for such substandard wages?

Spots for tenure track positions are often quite competitive.  So some who wish to work full-time in academia try getting their foot in the door by cobbling together a number of adjunct classes.  No benefits.  No healthcare.  It's not ideal and there's more than a bit of grumbling out there about the conditions.  But at least you are teaching and gaining experience for your CV.

Then there is a second class of adjuncts.  We have full-time positions and teach because we like to teach, or to try something different while not relinquishing our day jobs. The pay I receive is nice, but in no way do I depend on it to pay the bills.  Many of us probably realize that if we want to teach in a post-secondary world this is as far as we'll go.  While I have two graduate degrees, I do not have a terminal one. I'm well over 50. Not exactly the guy hired or called for those full-time positions.  Especially now that they have have to downsize everywhere. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the full-time people end up in adjunct positions as universities and seminaries turn more and more to this option as a way of cutting costs. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 06, 2020, 09:06:11 AM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

As mentioned here many times, supervision can and should be done evangelically.  It is an aspect of the fourth article of the Gospel in the Schmalkald Articles - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren.  At the same time, even as true with the pastoral ministry, there are times when God's Law exposes sin and its resultant tumult.  So the evangelical supervisor exercises discipline.  Assuming that both the pastor and people are reasonably OK, less supervision isn't a big deal.  If something gets out of round and there's no way to get help or pursue difficult choices, though, the whole enterprise can in these vulnerable times go straight downhill quickly.  So it's a risk.

Sorry to hear of your continued travails with trollers.  I'm thinking a conservative independent Lutheran congregation would be very actively committed to self-supervision.  They might have lessons/wisdom to bring to other congregations who are denominationally affiliated but under duress. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 06, 2020, 09:14:49 AM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off.

With my adjunct/affiliate prof hat on, I agree entirely.

I'm with Don, Richard and Charles on this topic, as an adjunct through the years.  In a revised new-standard set of seminary options, the adjunct professors should play an important role.  The advantages could be:
a) for the institution, cost savings.  As mentioned, six adjuncts teaching may receive $10k for their six courses in total.  A tenured professor teaching those six courses is being compensated exponentially higher.
b) for the adjunct, an opportunity to bring his/her vocation as teacher of the Church into the seminary setting
c) for the student and seminary, an opportunity to allow those in the field to bring not only teaching skills but mentoring/coaching skills into the classroom setting from their vocational experience; that's true even if the topic is exegesis/systematics/history.
d) for younger to middle-aged adjuncts, a new direction, a freshener of focus
e) for the institution, a chance to get a good look at someone who might eventually become a full-time professor
f) for the institution, an opportunity to utilize a different set of part-time teachers than those who are on emeritus status, who often fill those roles
g) for professors and adjuncts, an opportunity to interact for the sake of the teaching vocation, with the subset of learning from both perspectives - those in the field and those at the institution

One "advantage" in these days of the low enrollments at the Missouri Synod and I guess all Lutheran seminaries is that social/physical distancing in the classroom or on campus is not that hard to organize.  Even if the two campuses were rolled into one there would still be plenty of distancing available in the classroom setting as long as proper daily cleaning took place.

Dave Benke

Dr. Benke's points are all well taken.  I'd also add one more.  Concordia-St. Paul, like CUP did before closure, recently went into a massive addition of online offerings.  It's where the competition is today.  But with all these new courses they desperately needed new instructors to share the load.  As I noted previously, my class load was originally 20, not exactly a small class for a first time university adjunct.  My students were all taking it as part of the mandatory religion class for non-church work students.  There was such a demand for the new course I was teaching (on vocations), that they added a second class (14 weeks vs. my 7 weeks), also taught by another LCMS pastor down south even further removed, geographically, than I was. 

I originally got into teaching for the SMP program after the convention mandated word and sacrament deacons to become pastors. I figured at the time they would probably need some help as the demand for this rose.  But my entry was more of a replacement for a previous adjunct that was no longer teaching the course.  My course load at CTSFW is lower than my counterpart at CSSL.  Last summer I had only two students.  I probably give the full-time faculty a break during that period so that they can step away from the classroom, virtual and and local, and if they wish engage in some of the continuing ed. opportunities spread around the country for parish pastors.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 06, 2020, 09:24:39 AM
Quote from: Dave Benke link=topic=7360.msg476847#msg476847
   Assuming that both the pastor and people are reasonably OK, less supervision isn't a big deal.  If something gets out of round and there's no way to get help or pursue difficult choices, though, the whole enterprise can in these vulnerable times go straight downhill quickly.  So it's a risk.

Having been on that end as a CC/CV, I know one risk is that some congregational leaders or members can see the DP or CV as the heavy-handed outsider who gangs up on the beloved pastor.  The pastor I am thinking of in particular had been an acquaintance of mine for decades, going back to when we were both still in college.  He had sealed his church off from the synod and only attended winkels.  Eventually things got so bad that the president of congregation finally figured out how to get a hold of me.  The rest of the story is painful and messy.  The pastor eventually left the synod and ministry and sought out a quiet job locally, pretty much falling off the radar.  I haven't seen or heard from him in years.  But he had issues with the church and I fear with the faith as well.  Something had to be done, but some of us probably didn't realize how difficult it would be to be part of that process. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Daniel Lee Gard on May 06, 2020, 10:13:50 AM
Seminary faculty members not only teach face-to-face M.Div. students but also on-line, graduate and deaconess students. They travel to teach for emerging Churches throughout the world. They serve on a variety of Synodical boards. One cannot determine the proper student/faculty ratio by using faculty numbers in proportion to full-time on campus students. That is a rather simplistic and even naive approach.

This does not even take into account the research and writing that is part of faculty life. Without these dedicated scholars who serve as full-time professors, the Church would be greatly impoverished.

I began as an adjunct professor. I then served full-time for 25 years at CTSFW and then 5 years at Concordia Chicago. I am now a "Guest Professor" at the Seminary which means that, basically, I am an adjunct again. I teach a class when there is a need to augment the full-time faculty.  Life can be circular.

Edit: The above list is not even close to complete. I did not mention Continuing Education, papers at conferences, preaching, or a multitude of other duties.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on May 06, 2020, 10:15:37 AM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

As mentioned here many times, supervision can and should be done evangelically.  It is an aspect of the fourth article of the Gospel in the Schmalkald Articles - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren.  At the same time, even as true with the pastoral ministry, there are times when God's Law exposes sin and its resultant tumult.  So the evangelical supervisor exercises discipline.  Assuming that both the pastor and people are reasonably OK, less supervision isn't a big deal.  If something gets out of round and there's no way to get help or pursue difficult choices, though, the whole enterprise can in these vulnerable times go straight downhill quickly.  So it's a risk.

Sorry to hear of your continued travails with trollers.  I'm thinking a conservative independent Lutheran congregation would be very actively committed to self-supervision.  They might have lessons/wisdom to bring to other congregations who are denominationally affiliated but under duress. 

Dave Benke

Ed, does the Columbus circuit invite you to circuit meetings and events?  I served at Concordia on the West Side (New Rome).  There was a WELS church on the East Side (near Pickerington) that was in the process of leaving the WELS.  That pastor was invited, attended, and hosted circuit meetings.  (Their pastor was asked to leave the WELS for theological reasons, and he did, but he stayed as pastor of the church.  The WELS told the congregation to get rid of their pastor and get one that was on the WELS roster.  The congregation said, "No.  We called him.  We like him.  He does a good job at being our pastor."  The WELS threatened the congregation with expulsion and the congregation said, "Do it."  The pastor colloquized into the LCMS.) 

Now in KC, the local English District clergy attend our KC South circuit meetings.  I realize that is not quite apples to apples, but I would hope that in Columbus you are at least invited to circuit meetings for education, collegiality, edification.  You would have been in my day- 15 years ago. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 06, 2020, 10:44:53 AM
To comment on Dr. Gard's post above:

Dr. R. Reed Lessing is one of God's gifts to the LCMS.  This talented Old Testament theologian
has authored 4 volumes in the Concordia Commentary series: Isaiah 40-55, Isaiah 56-66,
Amos, and Jonah.  He wrote these volumes while a professor at Concordia Seminary, Saint
Louis.  He has returned to parish  ministry as the the Senior Pastor at a congregation in
Fort Wayne.

Bottom Line: Dr. Lessing is both an excellent scholar and an outstanding preacher
.
P.S. He also co-authored "Prepare The Way of The Lord" An Introduction to the Old
Testament.....Published in 2014, it was written for seminary students
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 06, 2020, 12:01:36 PM
Seminary faculty members not only teach face-to-face M.Div. students but also on-line, graduate and deaconess students. They travel to teach for emerging Churches throughout the world. They serve on a variety of Synodical boards. One cannot determine the proper student/faculty ratio by using faculty numbers in proportion to full-time on campus students. That is a rather simplistic and even naive approach.

This does not even take into account the research and writing that is part of faculty life. Without these dedicated scholars who serve as full-time professors, the Church would be greatly impoverished.

I began as an adjunct professor. I then served full-time for 25 years at CTSFW and then 5 years at Concordia Chicago. I am now a "Guest Professor" at the Seminary which means that, basically, I am an adjunct again. I teach a class when there is a need to augment the full-time faculty.  Life can be circular.

Edit: The above list is not even close to complete. I did not mention Continuing Education, papers at conferences, preaching, or a multitude of other duties.

Well-stated, Dan.

Something I think back on from my student days was the class ratio in the first two years vs. the last year and then for me the STM year.  The 400 level courses had smaller prof/student ratios with more electives so that's a different metric.  And the graduate 500 level classes in all fields had far fewer students doing more advanced readings/papers that I'm sure took more time and energy from the professors. 

Ancedotally, there were four of us studying OT at the grad level, and one of the main profs was Norm Habel.  He had just become a rock star faculty member with Purple Puzzle Tree and Are You Joking Jeremiah.  We had a course on the Baal Narratives at the 500 level, exploring the OT in context of the Ugaritic texts.  Cool. 

Except on the first day of the class 30 students showed up, taking it as an elective, I guess in Australian Humor or something.  So Habel says, "Great to see you all here.  In order to take this course, you'll need at least four years of Hebrew, one year of Aramaic, two years of Ugaritic and it would be helpful if you had Akkadian and understood cuneiform.  We'll be studying the texts in their original language with an eye toward the comparison of Canaanite belief, culture and literature with the Hebrew Scriptures.  Before taking any questions, we'll take a short break in case any of you would like to review your selection of this course."  Ten minutes later there were four of us left.  But - not by the way, that was a heck of a tough course, lots of research and report out, and Habel had an eye on us for significant periods of time and energy.  Which is what the student wants and needs.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 06, 2020, 01:05:44 PM
In order to take this course, you'll need at least four years of Hebrew, one year of Aramaic, two years of Ugaritic and it would be helpful if you had Akkadian and understood cuneiform.

So, where did you study your 2 years of Ugaritic, Dave?

It is a cuneiform script, isn't it?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 06, 2020, 01:44:22 PM
In order to take this course, you'll need at least four years of Hebrew, one year of Aramaic, two years of Ugaritic and it would be helpful if you had Akkadian and understood cuneiform.

So, where did you study your 2 years of Ugaritic, Dave?

It is a cuneiform script, isn't it?

I probably had more than two years, which does seem weird in retrospect.  One year at Ft. Wayne Senior College where I double concentrated, again somewhat weirdly, in philosophy and Hebrew.  So we were highly motivated upon entering the seminary, and some of the exegetical faculty kind of migrated with us - Ralph Klein, in particular.  The deal then was to have the doctorate from Harvard (Frank Cross) or Johns Hopkins (Albright). 

So I had another year/two at the sem, along with Akkadian.  Akkadian cuneiform is different from Ugaritic.  We looked at the texts in the Ugaritic cuneiform, but mostly used transliterated alphabetized texts with all the little gimmicks in them, dashes and stuff, as we read the wonderful stories of El (the dad), Baal (the son - the bull), consort Anath, and the sea-god Yamm.  And Mot (death).  Actually the case can be made without any difficulty that the famous Pauline passage "death is swallowed up in victory" contains ancient imagery from Canaanite mythology, of course as mitigated through the OT lenses of Isaiah (25) and Hosea (13).  I have the Ugaritic passage somewhere, but I mean somewhere in the wayback machine with the vocabulary Hebrew/Ugaritic cards.  There was this guy Mitchell Dahood who was the Ugaritic guru, and had figured out the Ugaritic connections and meanings to many hard-to-translate poetic passages in the Psalms.  What we did was to hunt parallels in the old poetic Biblical Hebrew texts.  This was pre-computer, pretty painstaking.  But investigatively fun.

I could have, and definitely should have taken Arabic.  No, I thought, stick with Ugaritic.  So many Ugarits out there, and so useful for parish ministry.
So there it is in a nutshell from the nut.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 02:25:09 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

Can you give us concrete examples of this current "mobbing and trolling" you are experiencing from the LCMS?  How much of your congregation's problems with the LCMS are the result of what you have told them (versus what they have experienced themselves first-hand)?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:40:47 PM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off.

With my adjunct/affiliate prof hat on, I agree entirely.

I'm with Don, Richard and Charles on this topic, as an adjunct through the years.  In a revised new-standard set of seminary options, the adjunct professors should play an important role.  The advantages could be:
a) for the institution, cost savings.  As mentioned, six adjuncts teaching may receive $10k for their six courses in total.  A tenured professor teaching those six courses is being compensated exponentially higher.
b) for the adjunct, an opportunity to bring his/her vocation as teacher of the Church into the seminary setting
c) for the student and seminary, an opportunity to allow those in the field to bring not only teaching skills but mentoring/coaching skills into the classroom setting from their vocational experience; that's true even if the topic is exegesis/systematics/history.
d) for younger to middle-aged adjuncts, a new direction, a freshener of focus
e) for the institution, a chance to get a good look at someone who might eventually become a full-time professor
f) for the institution, an opportunity to utilize a different set of part-time teachers than those who are on emeritus status, who often fill those roles
g) for professors and adjuncts, an opportunity to interact for the sake of the teaching vocation, with the subset of learning from both perspectives - those in the field and those at the institution

One "advantage" in these days of the low enrollments at the Missouri Synod and I guess all Lutheran seminaries is that social/physical distancing in the classroom or on campus is not that hard to organize.  Even if the two campuses were rolled into one there would still be plenty of distancing available in the classroom setting as long as proper daily cleaning took place.


My senior year of seminary was spent at Warburg's Denver House of Studies. We had no professors there. (There was a paid administrator.) We lived together in a large house that had seven apartments. We made use of local pastors, one had majored in Greek, so he taught those classes. We used each other, I taught middlers an Old Testament overview class. We did mostly independent studies. Our evaluation was often something other than a test, e.g., teaching the subject in an adult class in a local church - and being evaluated by the class and the local pastor. It was a good experience. I'm closer to those students we lived with for a year (none of whom were in my class). It was more like an apprentice learning situation. They learned by doing stuff rather than sitting at a desk in a classroom.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Fcdwyn on May 06, 2020, 03:43:12 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

Can you give us concrete examples of this current "mobbing and trolling" you are experiencing from the LCMS?  How much of your congregation's problems with the LCMS are the result of what you have told them (versus what they have experienced themselves first-hand)?

Rev. Engelbrecht, I highly respect you because of my great appreciation for The Lutheran Study Bible (TLSB). I also highly respect district and synod servants and leaders by virtue of their office and service -- not knowing many of them personally just as I do not know you personally. But what you say about your treatment by LCMS people puts me in an awkward position regarding my high regard for all whom I have mentioned in this post. I want to believe you regarding mobbing, but it does not compute for me why one who led the process which gave us TLSB should be treated as you have stated you were by those who also serve synod in important capacities as you did.  Having told us about your experience but leaving out any specifics as to who these people are leaves me wondering who it is that does not deserve my respect, my trust, my support, and possibly my vote.  It seems to me that your motive in telling your story loses its impact in those you intend to warn, because those you are warning do not know who to look out for.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 06, 2020, 03:44:55 PM
To comment on Dr. Gard's post above:

Dr. R. Reed Lessing is one of God's gifts to the LCMS.  This talented Old Testament theologian
has authored 4 volumes in the Concordia Commentary series: Isaiah 40-55, Isaiah 56-66,
Amos, and Jonah.  He wrote these volumes while a professor at Concordia Seminary, Saint
Louis.  He has returned to parish  ministry as the the Senior Pastor at a congregation in
Fort Wayne.

Bottom Line: Dr. Lessing is both an excellent scholar and an outstanding preacher
.
P.S. He also co-authored "Prepare The Way of The Lord" An Introduction to the Old
Testament.....Published in 2014, it was written for seminary students

And here are a couple of opportunities to study with Lessing, and others, this summer without leaving home.

https://www.csl.edu/resources/continuing-education/workshop-series/?utm_source=Concordia+Seminary+email+list&utm_campaign=0bdace770b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_23_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2e9d2a1870-0bdace770b-80920325
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 03:48:51 PM
Adjuncts were brought up in our discussion as a partial answer to full-time faculty reduction.  This year I will have served as an adjunct for two of our Concordias: The university in St. Paul, and the seminary in Ft. Wayne.  I had a real learning experience with the former in January and February as I tackled a 7 week 300-level theology course with an original class load of 20.  Having taught online for the seminary the past three summers with a much smaller class load, my university class was a real jump into the deep end of the pool.  I spend countless hours just grading.  Having to balance parish duties and other responsibilities I was naturally limited in what I could do. 

I share this with the thought that adjuncts, while a good addition to any faculty, also have some limitations.  As adjuncts we live and work largely outside the local, formal structure.  Yes, we receive all the emails the regular professors do, but we generally are not part of any real faculty development/continuing ed that the resident folks receive.  Given that we are split between two vocations, with pastoral ministry serving the bulk of our work, it's hard to devote a lot of time to developing ones academic trade.  I'm still trying to figure out where I found the time to get my last graduate degree, which I did as a full-time pastor and while serving as a CV in my district.

Ideally faculty have the time not only to teach, but to research and write.  It enriches the professor's intellectual life and thus passes to his students.  So, even though I'm somewhat invested in the adjunct/contracted faculty world, I don't want to see the balance tip in such a way that adjuncts ever outnumber the local, full time instructors.  I think that your institution would not be richer for the trade-off.

With my adjunct/affiliate prof hat on, I agree entirely.

I'm with Don, Richard and Charles on this topic, as an adjunct through the years.  In a revised new-standard set of seminary options, the adjunct professors should play an important role.  The advantages could be:
a) for the institution, cost savings.  As mentioned, six adjuncts teaching may receive $10k for their six courses in total.  A tenured professor teaching those six courses is being compensated exponentially higher.
b) for the adjunct, an opportunity to bring his/her vocation as teacher of the Church into the seminary setting
c) for the student and seminary, an opportunity to allow those in the field to bring not only teaching skills but mentoring/coaching skills into the classroom setting from their vocational experience; that's true even if the topic is exegesis/systematics/history.
d) for younger to middle-aged adjuncts, a new direction, a freshener of focus
e) for the institution, a chance to get a good look at someone who might eventually become a full-time professor
f) for the institution, an opportunity to utilize a different set of part-time teachers than those who are on emeritus status, who often fill those roles
g) for professors and adjuncts, an opportunity to interact for the sake of the teaching vocation, with the subset of learning from both perspectives - those in the field and those at the institution

One "advantage" in these days of the low enrollments at the Missouri Synod and I guess all Lutheran seminaries is that social/physical distancing in the classroom or on campus is not that hard to organize.  Even if the two campuses were rolled into one there would still be plenty of distancing available in the classroom setting as long as proper daily cleaning took place.


My senior year of seminary was spent at Warburg's Denver House of Studies. We had no professors there. (There was a paid administrator.) We lived together in a large house that had seven apartments. We made use of local pastors, one had majored in Greek, so he taught those classes. We used each other, I taught middlers an Old Testament overview class. We did mostly independent studies. Our evaluation was often something other than a test, e.g., teaching the subject in an adult class in a local church - and being evaluated by the class and the local pastor. It was a good experience. I'm closer to those students we lived with for a year (none of whom were in my class). It was more like an apprentice learning situation. They learned by doing stuff rather than sitting at a desk in a classroom.

My first year of college (U of Wisc -- Whitewater), all the prerequisite courses had been filled before I registered so I ended up in something called Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS).  There was a group of us that took all our classes together, from a group of instructors from different departments.  But they did not teach those subjects; at least, not entirely.  So, we had a geologist teaching with an English professor.  And courses were listed as satisfying different core areas -- so the same class might give us credit in history AND geography, for example.  We took lots of field trips and spent a lot of time outside of classrooms.  All very hippy-dippy.  I guess it was fun, but I do not know how much we really learned. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 06, 2020, 04:37:47 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

As mentioned here many times, supervision can and should be done evangelically.  It is an aspect of the fourth article of the Gospel in the Schmalkald Articles - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren.  At the same time, even as true with the pastoral ministry, there are times when God's Law exposes sin and its resultant tumult.  So the evangelical supervisor exercises discipline.  Assuming that both the pastor and people are reasonably OK, less supervision isn't a big deal.  If something gets out of round and there's no way to get help or pursue difficult choices, though, the whole enterprise can in these vulnerable times go straight downhill quickly.  So it's a risk.

Sorry to hear of your continued travails with trollers.  I'm thinking a conservative independent Lutheran congregation would be very actively committed to self-supervision.  They might have lessons/wisdom to bring to other congregations who are denominationally affiliated but under duress. 

Dave Benke

Ed, does the Columbus circuit invite you to circuit meetings and events?  I served at Concordia on the West Side (New Rome).  There was a WELS church on the East Side (near Pickerington) that was in the process of leaving the WELS.  That pastor was invited, attended, and hosted circuit meetings.  (Their pastor was asked to leave the WELS for theological reasons, and he did, but he stayed as pastor of the church.  The WELS told the congregation to get rid of their pastor and get one that was on the WELS roster.  The congregation said, "No.  We called him.  We like him.  He does a good job at being our pastor."  The WELS threatened the congregation with expulsion and the congregation said, "Do it."  The pastor colloquized into the LCMS.) 

Now in KC, the local English District clergy attend our KC South circuit meetings.  I realize that is not quite apples to apples, but I would hope that in Columbus you are at least invited to circuit meetings for education, collegiality, edification.  You would have been in my day- 15 years ago. 

Jeremy

I attended some circuit gatherings during my first year. I regularly see some of the local pastors. My congregation just raised funds to help the local Ethiopian congregations, which are affiliated with the LCMS.

I stopped attending the circuit gatherings before I released the article on mobbing. The reason is simple: I didn't want to see any more church workers drawn into the mobbing practices. If I start regularly showing up at the circuit meetings, it would only be a matter of time before the Nag, angry about something, would draw circuit members into the mobbing. So I've simply stayed away so that their ministries are untroubled by the mobbing. Instead, I have attended some other Christian events/conferences in keeping with my interests and urban ministry challenges.

Before calling me, Emmanuel was looking at clergy from a variety of Lutheran church bodies. The Ohio district president recommended me to them and I went through their interview process. I was looking for a peaceful church to serve, as I explained to my DP, who also recommended me. (He also told me there are no peaceful places to serve, which says something about his experience!) I'm very pleased with my call here. The congregation is large enough to support the outreach efforts I dream up; it is small enough that I have plenty of time for family and things that give me joy. We have had many Baptisms, which is great joy to me. I am becoming known and appreciated in the local community. For example, my wife and I currently take meals to 60 children who would normally eat at school but no longer do so because of COVID-19. I am a very locally focused pastor, except for occasional posts on ALPB.

Do I miss serving the synod nationally? Not really. Here's how I see it. Every day, CPH promotes my published work. I have hundreds of thousands of readers while enjoying a quieter life. For example, the other day, my wife showed me a picture of a teacher reading to children on the other side of the world. She pointed out that it was a book I developed with a dear colleague some years ago. So my work continues to have international impact while I enjoy the Office of the Holy Ministry. I'm content.

Now, the Nag is discontent. I'm supposed to come crawling back to St. Louis and serve the political interests of his party. He told me face to face in St. Louis that the general editor of TLSB had to be on their team. He seems wildly afraid that I will join someone else's political party. He hates it when I am polite with folks here that he considers enemies. I know these things because I hear regularly from a local operative who tells me I should be in a larger church and submissive to the Nag. I also am well connected in the LCMS due to family relationships and friendships. To the Nag, I'm too big a political chip in their poker game to be sitting things out. Although I have been absolutely transparent with him about who I am and my lack of political interests, he still worries. Perhaps that says something about how weak their party is becoming.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Voelker on May 06, 2020, 04:55:02 PM
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.

Ok. Different proposal: close all districts and govern through circuit counselors, who would oversee the call process and mission congregations in their circuit. Empower the counselors to delegate to another pastor as needed. That would eliminate paid positions and replace them with unpaid positions.

Would that work? There would definitely be cost savings.

That's already in play in some districts with well-honed circuit visitor training and contact with the district.  But - it's real time and real away time.  To do that as an unpaid position is a major, major imposition on the circuit visitor and his congregation.  The laborer is worthy of his hire.

If you had bigger districts with empowered circuit visitors being paid stipends of up to say $500 per month, and a DP overseeing with diminished staff, it might/could work.  The difference in all of this is having someone with the bigger picture in mind and having someone who handles the bad stuff - misconduct, horrible conflict, life messes and congregational closures or needs to close as a few.  You can't load that on a volunteer or minimally paid visitor. 

What it devolves down to is that most pastors and most churches do not really want supervision.  In systems terminology, they're closed family systems.   And when the worker really is in a jam, or the church can't stand the guy, someone has to enter the system like Captain Kirk, fix it and exit stage left. 

Dave Benke

Less supervision is a likely outcome when consolidating. Sink or swim will be the rule. New pastors and their congregations will have to understand that.

I am currently serving an independent church. My supervisors are the elders. The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent. (The congregation members went through bad experiences with the ALC leadership in the past, which is why they have stayed independent.) My LCMS DP told me when I arrived, "We'd like to have Emmanuel in the LCMS." I can't see that happening after my retirement.

As mentioned here many times, supervision can and should be done evangelically.  It is an aspect of the fourth article of the Gospel in the Schmalkald Articles - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren.  At the same time, even as true with the pastoral ministry, there are times when God's Law exposes sin and its resultant tumult.  So the evangelical supervisor exercises discipline.  Assuming that both the pastor and people are reasonably OK, less supervision isn't a big deal.  If something gets out of round and there's no way to get help or pursue difficult choices, though, the whole enterprise can in these vulnerable times go straight downhill quickly.  So it's a risk.

Sorry to hear of your continued travails with trollers.  I'm thinking a conservative independent Lutheran congregation would be very actively committed to self-supervision.  They might have lessons/wisdom to bring to other congregations who are denominationally affiliated but under duress. 

Dave Benke

Ed, does the Columbus circuit invite you to circuit meetings and events?  I served at Concordia on the West Side (New Rome).  There was a WELS church on the East Side (near Pickerington) that was in the process of leaving the WELS.  That pastor was invited, attended, and hosted circuit meetings.  (Their pastor was asked to leave the WELS for theological reasons, and he did, but he stayed as pastor of the church.  The WELS told the congregation to get rid of their pastor and get one that was on the WELS roster.  The congregation said, "No.  We called him.  We like him.  He does a good job at being our pastor."  The WELS threatened the congregation with expulsion and the congregation said, "Do it."  The pastor colloquized into the LCMS.) 

Now in KC, the local English District clergy attend our KC South circuit meetings.  I realize that is not quite apples to apples, but I would hope that in Columbus you are at least invited to circuit meetings for education, collegiality, edification.  You would have been in my day- 15 years ago. 

Jeremy

I attended some circuit gatherings during my first year. I regularly see some of the local pastors. My congregation just raised funds to help the local Ethiopian congregations, which are affiliated with the LCMS.

I stopped attending the circuit gatherings before I released the article on mobbing. The reason is simple: I didn't want to see any more church workers drawn into the mobbing practices. If I start regularly showing up at the circuit meetings, it would only be a matter of time before the Nag, angry about something, would draw circuit members into the mobbing. So I've simply stayed away so that their ministries are untroubled by the mobbing. Instead, I have attended some other Christian events/conferences in keeping with my interests and urban ministry challenges.

Before calling me, Emmanuel was looking at clergy from a variety of Lutheran church bodies. The Ohio district president recommended me to them and I went through their interview process. I was looking for a peaceful church to serve, as I explained to my DP, who also recommended me. (He also told me there are no peaceful places to serve, which says something about his experience!) I'm very pleased with my call here. The congregation is large enough to support the outreach efforts I dream up; it is small enough that I have plenty of time for family and things that give me joy. We have had many Baptisms, which is great joy to me. I am becoming known and appreciated in the local community. For example, my wife and I currently take meals to 60 children who would normally eat at school but no longer do so because of COVID-19. I am a very locally focused pastor, except for occasional posts on ALPB.

Do I miss serving the synod nationally? Not really. Here's how I see it. Every day, CPH promotes my published work. I have hundreds of thousands of readers while enjoying a quieter life. For example, the other day, my wife showed me a picture of a teacher reading to children on the other side of the world. She pointed out that it was a book I developed with a dear colleague some years ago. So my work continues to have international impact while I enjoy the Office of the Holy Ministry. I'm content.

Now, the Nag is discontent. I'm supposed to come crawling back to St. Louis and serve the political interests of his party. He told me face to face in St. Louis that the general editor of TLSB had to be on their team. He seems wildly afraid that I will join someone else's political party. He hates it when I am polite with folks here that he considers enemies. I know these things because I hear regularly from a local operative who tells me I should be in a larger church and submissive to the Nag. I also am well connected in the LCMS due to family relationships and friendships. To the Nag, I'm too big a political chip in their poker game to be sitting things out. Although I have been absolutely transparent with him about who I am and my lack of political interests, he still worries. Perhaps that says something about how weak their party is becoming.
An old phrase that is at once good advice and practice comes to mind: "The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 06, 2020, 04:58:58 PM

To the Nag, I'm too big a political chip in their poker game to be sitting things out. Although I have been absolutely transparent with him about who I am and my lack of political interests, he still worries. Perhaps that says something about how weak their party is becoming.


That's my estimate of their standing right now.   :)

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 05:06:12 PM
Rev. Engelbrecht,

The more you post about this, the more I am concerned for your mental state.  Seriously.  You cannot/will not give specifics, but merely say that "they" are gunning for you.  Do you think you matter that much that "they" would recruit local pastors to antagonize you?  It says much about how you view your brothers in the office...
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 06, 2020, 05:09:48 PM
Long-distance psychoanalyzing again, Pastor Bohler?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 06, 2020, 06:13:17 PM
Phrase of the week from WJV - "The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away." 

But he can Face-Time you, can't he? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 06, 2020, 07:19:00 PM
Rev. Engelbrecht,

Do you think you matter that much that "they" would recruit local pastors to antagonize you?

I would say, "No." But the political operatives are doing the math. How many pastors in the LCMS have hundreds of thousands of people using their publications on a weekly basis, whose work shows up at most Bible Studies held in the synod? How many under retirement age? Small list. I'm on that list---relatively quiet, untapped political potential. That's what they are thinking about.

 I'm thinking, "What's my text for Sunday?"
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 06, 2020, 09:25:12 PM

My senior year of seminary was spent at Warburg's Denver House of Studies. We had no professors there. (There was a paid administrator.) We lived together in a large house that had seven apartments. We made use of local pastors, one had majored in Greek, so he taught those classes. We used each other, I taught middlers an Old Testament overview class. We did mostly independent studies. Our evaluation was often something other than a test, e.g., teaching the subject in an adult class in a local church - and being evaluated by the class and the local pastor. It was a good experience. I'm closer to those students we lived with for a year (none of whom were in my class). It was more like an apprentice learning situation. They learned by doing stuff rather than sitting at a desk in a classroom.

This explains a lot.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 06, 2020, 09:41:00 PM
@ Brian Stoffregen.....Without a doubt you are entitled to a refund for your 4th year
of seminary education.  I hope you were not even charged tuition for that experience
In any case, you were shortchanged in your theological education and you deserve an
apology for that sad situation.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 09:57:41 PM
Long-distance psychoanalyzing again, Pastor Bohler?

No.  Psychoanalyzing would indicate that I was making some sort of diagnosis.  I have not.  I simply said that the more he posts in this vein, the more concerned I am about his mental state.  Just as I am more and more concerned about yours when I read the latest in your never-ending Trump-is-evil-incarnate string.  I am not trained to make mental health diagnoses, but I do have experience in working with mentally ill people and can recognize the behaviors.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 10:04:40 PM
Rev. Engelbrecht,

Do you think you matter that much that "they" would recruit local pastors to antagonize you?

I would say, "No." But the political operatives are doing the math. How many pastors in the LCMS have hundreds of thousands of people using their publications on a weekly basis, whose work shows up at most Bible Studies held in the synod? How many under retirement age? Small list. I'm on that list---relatively quiet, untapped political potential. That's what they are thinking about.

 I'm thinking, "What's my text for Sunday?"

I hate to break it to you, Rev. Engelbrecht, but I would bet the number of LCMS folks who know your name is maybe in the hundreds.  Not hundreds of thousands, but hundreds.  And of those hundreds, how many even know where you are now serving -- or care?  Why would some alleged "Machine" in St. Louis care what you might say or do in some independent Lutheran congregation in Ohio?  By your own admission, you have NO interaction with the LCMS clergy or congregations there.  Meaning you have NO impact on the LCMS locally, let alone nationally or internationally.  So, what is in it for the "Machine" to recruit local LCMS clergy to harass you?  You are not the center of the universe.  Not even the center of the LCMS universe.   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 06, 2020, 10:58:23 PM
I suppose this will be used against Ed, but paranoia is in the eye of the beholder.  If one is bullying, harassing, and controlling chances are that they are going to assume others would operate like them.  Thus, paranoia and obsession concerning Ed.  It is simply a matter of projection.  I don’t think it’s that hard to understand, whether you think Ed is telling the truth or not.

I would hasten to add that when this article was first published President Harrison mocked it, and if memory serves correctly claimed it was a political piece because it was an election year.  A Synod spokesperson then sought to discredit Ed in the Dispatch article while at the same time not showing much concern for Ed.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 11:21:06 PM
I suppose this will be used against Ed, but paranoia is in the eye of the beholder.  If one is bullying, harassing, and controlling chances are that they are going to assume others would operate like them.  Thus, paranoia and obsession concerning Ed.  It is simply a matter of projection.  I don’t think it’s that hard to understand, whether you think Ed is telling the truth or not.

I would hasten to add that when this article was first published President Harrison mocked it, and if memory serves correctly claimed it was a political piece because it was an election year.  A Synod spokesperson then sought to discredit Ed in the Dispatch article while at the same time not showing much concern for Ed.

Peace,
Scott+

Are you suggesting that Rev. Engelbrecht has been engaging in "bullying, harassing, and controlling" and that is why he sees it being used against him?  That he is projecting onto others what he is doing/has done? 

I do not doubt that he thinks these things happened to him.  I simply wonder what he thinks the alleged "Machine" would gain by doing these things to him now.  Despite his sense of self-importance, why would anyone in the alleged "Machine" care what he says or does -- he has just about zero impact on the synod in his current call to an independent congregation, and his refusal to interact with other LCMS clergy or congregations (other than perhaps being used as a tool by certain factions of the synod).  His past work as an editor at CPH really means nothing to virtually anyone in the synod -- the work produced might matter, but the general editor?  Not so much.  Could many laymen (or even pastors) tell me who was the general editor of, say, the Concordia Self-Study Bible?  Do you think anyone knows what happened to others who edited works published by CPH?  Could anyone tell you who they even were, without looking it up?  My goodness, how many know the man who is the president of the district in which their congregation holds membership? 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:17:09 AM
@ Brian Stoffregen.....Without a doubt you are entitled to a refund for your 4th year
of seminary education.  I hope you were not even charged tuition for that experience
In any case, you were shortchanged in your theological education and you deserve an
apology for that sad situation.

I believe that tuition had risen to $900/year by then. I think it was $600/year my first year. We made money on the deal. My wife was the cook and administrator's assistant. She was paid for those positions. I believe one or maybe two professors came out for a short time to teach a class. We learned much more from the pastors who were actually doing pastoral work in congregations. Some professors had little to no pastoral work - and what they had was years earlier. As I said, the training was more like an apprenticeship - something beyond internship. All the other students were assigned to work in a congregation. Having just been on internship I wasn't assigned a congregation, so we were able to visit the places where all the other students were working. We were exposed to at least a half dozen congregations and pastors in the area. That kind of congregational work didn't happen for students in Dubuque. I don't think any of us would say that our education was lacking. In fact, one of the students that year became the first female bishop in the ELCA, April Larson.

I continued to do independent study throughout my ministry. I was spending about $1000/year for biblical, liturgical, and theological books and reading most of them. In contrast, I talked with a senior pastor of a large church who seemed proud to admit that he hadn't read a commentary since seminary. I was reading two of them on the gospels each year.

My last year of college, I did as much as possible as independent studies. I read a book, took a test, and got five credits. These independent credits allowed me to graduate in three years with my B.A.

Some folks are smart enough and motivated enough to study and learn on their own. Others need someone to guide them.

My point was: there are other ways to get a good seminary education without full-time professors.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 06:20:22 AM
But you see, Brian, when all theological “truth,” all doctrine, virtually all church practice, all pastoral formation is locked down, codified, and totally contained in previous centuries and the writings of people who lived then or studied the lore of those years, what you need is to have all that stuff crammed - as is - into the heads of seminarians.
The kind of experiential, questing, and (OMG, No!) changing pastoral formation and Church that you and I have known is seen as a threat to those who have tried to lock things down.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 07, 2020, 07:25:31 AM
Looks pretty typical this morning:

Spin things I wrote into falsehoods.
Slander.
The interrogation list of questions.

The usual stuff. The earlier demand for a name somehow overlooked Pastor Craig Stanford, whom I mentioned. Craig can tell about his experience with the Machine. I was working for a member of the presidium when the lawsuit took place. People in St. Louis were very upset. I imagine that this latest suit is even more upsetting.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the leaders of the LCMS, that they would have peace today so they can focus on the needs and well-being of those in their charge. Guide them in keeping with your holy and life-giving Word so that your blessings may rest upon them, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 08:26:19 AM
Looks pretty typical this morning:

Spin things I wrote into falsehoods.
Slander.
The interrogation list of questions.

The usual stuff. The earlier demand for a name somehow overlooked Pastor Craig Stanford, whom I mentioned. Craig can tell about his experience with the Machine. I was working for a member of the presidium when the lawsuit took place. People in St. Louis were very upset. I imagine that this latest suit is even more upsetting.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the leaders of the LCMS, that they would have peace today so they can focus on the needs and well-being of those in their charge. Guide them in keeping with your holy and life-giving Word so that your blessings may rest upon them, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

I am sorry you feel that you are being subjected to an interrogation.  But you have to understand that when you make serious (and vague) allegations, as you have done in the past and are now doing again, you should expect there to be follow-up questions. If one goes to the police with a complaint, he will be questioned.  That is necessary for the authorities to do their work.  You have dropped your bombs here (and in your original article); you need to understand that follow-up questions WILL be asked.  They must.  Especially given the extremely thin facts you have provided.

So, for instance, you dropped the name of Rev. Stanford.  Now maybe I am just out of the loop, but I know nothing about any lawsuits he may have going, or in the past.  Of course there will be questions.  But when those questions are asked, you deflect or ignore them.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2020, 09:46:36 AM
Rev. Engelbrecht,

Do you think you matter that much that "they" would recruit local pastors to antagonize you?

I would say, "No." But the political operatives are doing the math. How many pastors in the LCMS have hundreds of thousands of people using their publications on a weekly basis, whose work shows up at most Bible Studies held in the synod? How many under retirement age? Small list. I'm on that list---relatively quiet, untapped political potential. That's what they are thinking about.

I hate to break it to you, Rev. Engelbrecht, but ... You are not the center of the universe.  Not even the center of the LCMS universe.   

Perhaps, Rev Engelbrecht, you should be talking to someone to reconcile the interaction between your tremendous ego and your feelings of persecution. I am sure there are good counselors in your area.

It would be better than defaming someone you claim to be keeping your vow not to name but, in fact, many if not most know exactly about whom you write. Because you have virtually given the name to the internet universe.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 10:05:42 AM
Pastor Bohler,  if there has been a lawsuit involving Pastor Stanford that has been adjudicated, the records are available and you can find them.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 07, 2020, 10:33:25 AM
I was reading the Wisdom literature this morning, which describes various bad actors and their behaviors. The writers never name these people but warn against them. That is why I wrote the article---to teach the church about the dangers of mobbing and it's consequences. I did not set out to indict anyone. If others come to conclusions from my comments, those are their conclusions, not mine.

I do think all of this comes out into the open.

Again I pray, Heavenly Father, please guide the leaders of the LCMS to lead the church without mobbing, to learn and practice mercy as they bear witness to Christ and live together in His peace. Amen.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 10:41:58 AM
Pastor Bohler,  if there has been a lawsuit involving Pastor Stanford that has been adjudicated, the records are available and you can find them.
If you are so sure records are available, graciously share the results of your research on the topic ... since your research results have not been forthcoming, apparently the task is not as simple and straightforward as you attempt to portray.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 07, 2020, 10:48:24 AM
I suppose this will be used against Ed, but paranoia is in the eye of the beholder.  If one is bullying, harassing, and controlling chances are that they are going to assume others would operate like them.  Thus, paranoia and obsession concerning Ed.  It is simply a matter of projection.  I don’t think it’s that hard to understand, whether you think Ed is telling the truth or not.

I would hasten to add that when this article was first published President Harrison mocked it, and if memory serves correctly claimed it was a political piece because it was an election year.  A Synod spokesperson then sought to discredit Ed in the Dispatch article while at the same time not showing much concern for Ed.

Peace,
Scott+

Are you suggesting that Rev. Engelbrecht has been engaging in "bullying, harassing, and controlling" and that is why he sees it being used against him?  That he is projecting onto others what he is doing/has done? 

I do not doubt that he thinks these things happened to him.  I simply wonder what he thinks the alleged "Machine" would gain by doing these things to him now.  Despite his sense of self-importance, why would anyone in the alleged "Machine" care what he says or does -- he has just about zero impact on the synod in his current call to an independent congregation, and his refusal to interact with other LCMS clergy or congregations (other than perhaps being used as a tool by certain factions of the synod).  His past work as an editor at CPH really means nothing to virtually anyone in the synod -- the work produced might matter, but the general editor?  Not so much.  Could many laymen (or even pastors) tell me who was the general editor of, say, the Concordia Self-Study Bible?  Do you think anyone knows what happened to others who edited works published by CPH?  Could anyone tell you who they even were, without looking it up?  My goodness, how many know the man who is the president of the district in which their congregation holds membership?

No Steve, not at all.  I do believe Ed, while at the same time not always agreeing with how he has gone about things.  But that’s neither here nor there regarding what I wrote.  I explained to you a reason for why the Machine would be concerned with him, even obsessed, it doesn’t seem to have landed.  Honestly, I don’t intend to be mean, but I sometimes wonder about your reading comprehension skills on here. Sometimes I can’t tell if you’re purposely being dense or if you are truly seeking to understand something with all of your might. 

In fairness to Ed I definitely know who he is because of the study bible and many other things that he has edited, etc..  He has a distinctive name, which while seemingly hard to pronounce, is easy to recognize.  Maybe because he was at the apex of his work with CPH during my first few years in ministry, I don’t know.  When I see his name I think of two things: the study bible and the maroon color of LCMS books like the bible and hymnal.  I am actually not too plugged in these days, at least with what comes out of CPH, but I certainly recognize Ed because of his writings.

Peace,
Scott+

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2020, 10:55:36 AM
I recall being a 1st year student at Sem and sitting in the cafeteria. Two upperclassmen were sitting near me. One was lecturing and castigating the other. At the end of their conversation, the one attacking said condescendingly, "[Tom,] I pray for you." Years, later, a guy/pastor on one of these lists was acting similarly, treating others with condescension and attacking, then telling them he was praying for them. I wrote, "I think I know you! You were ahead of me at Sem, and I remember you acting the same way toward a classmate!" Turned out, it was the same guy.

Using the act of prayer as a weapon. Nothing new under the sun. If you want to pray that the LCMS not be so mean to you because of your importance, Rev Engelbrecht, go into your closet and pray. There's no need to use a sanctimonious public prayer as a weapon hereon to point out the fault of another person or entity. That's pharisaical, egotistical idolatry.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 11:14:02 AM
Pastor Bohler,  if there has been a lawsuit involving Pastor Stanford that has been adjudicated, the records are available and you can find them.

Where?  How?  Are all court records open?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: mariemeyer on May 07, 2020, 11:27:45 AM
I missed how this thread moved away from the Nominees for the Concordia Seminary presidency.  Suggest we go back to expressions of thought about the current short list.

I would again speak up for Douglas Rutt who, to the best of my knowledge, is not associated with any particular segment of LCMS designations such as "liberal" or "conservative."  His experience includes administration, teaching and active support and involvement in missions and outreach both domestic and foreign.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 07, 2020, 11:31:27 AM
I missed how this thread moved away from the Nominees for the Concordia Seminary presidency.  Suggest we go back to expressions of thought about the current short list.

I would again speak up for Douglas Rutt who, to the best of my knowledge, is not associated with any particular segment of LCMS designations such as "liberal" or "conservative."  His experience includes administration, teaching and active support and involvement in missions and outreach both domestic and foreign.

Marie Meyer

I agree. Thanks, Marie.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 11:42:44 AM
I do not really have a chicken in this henhouse, but I note that some here - mostly the ones still wrought up about Pastor Englebrecht's article - were those who, from the very start, and without seeking any validation for their opinion, said he was wrong, lying, mentally off kilter or up to no good. So much for that much-vaunted "best construction" thingie.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RandyBosch on May 07, 2020, 12:36:06 PM
I do not really have a chicken in this henhouse, but I note that some here - mostly the ones still wrought up about Pastor Englebrecht's article - were those who, from the very start, and without seeking any validation for their opinion, said he was wrong, lying, mentally off kilter or up to no good. So much for that much-vaunted "best construction" thingie.

Which nominee for the Concordia Seminary President would be best qualified to teach the "best construction" thingie, in your opinion.

By the way, the term "henhouse" is very patriarchal.  You may have laid an egg by its usage.  You evidence great skill at harvesting synonyms, perhaps you might provide one in this case, gender neutral of course.   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2020, 12:45:43 PM
I missed how this thread moved away from the Nominees for the Concordia Seminary presidency.  Suggest we go back to expressions of thought about the current short list.

I agree. Thanks, Marie.

It appears that Rev Engelbrecht ran things off the rails, Mrs. Meyer, with, again, bringing up claims of "LCMS" "mobbing and trolling." Since you missed it:

http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7360.msg476843#msg476843

"The only input I have from the LCMS is the mobbing and trolling, which doesn't help anything but makes the synod look repellent."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 07, 2020, 02:00:11 PM
I missed how this thread moved away from the Nominees for the Concordia Seminary presidency.  Suggest we go back to expressions of thought about the current short list.

I would again speak up for Douglas Rutt who, to the best of my knowledge, is not associated with any particular segment of LCMS designations such as "liberal" or "conservative."  His experience includes administration, teaching and active support and involvement in missions and outreach both domestic and foreign.

Marie Meyer

Knowing Doug Rutt well, he would be a fine choice, and allow the very capable Larry Rast to remain at the Ft. Wayne Seminary without having presumably to do double duty at both seminaries. 

Along that line, let's say it's definitely Dr. Rast.  All predictions bear out.  Fluegge and Elowsky, we barely knew ye.  Jack III, if only this had been five years earlier.  Jeff Kloha, your sterling work in saving the Bible Museum is overshadowed and your leadership at St. Louis for so many years is overshadowed only by your plasticene textual portal - have a good one.  So it's Larry Rast. 

First next bet - how many ballots to elect?  I'm going to say 2.  I would have said 3, but that's pushing it.  I think two in order to provide the perception that two ballots were needed.  With the predilection for closed/executive sessions, I'm not sure we can bet on this because we might never know.  But - if it is known, put me down for 2.

Second next bet - what happens at Ft. Wayne?
The thought on this board, where all the heavyweight theologians and churchpeople are located, is that this is a twofer.  Dr. Rast will simply tackle both assignments as the decisions on re-purposing are reached.  But our input is neither requested nor required.  Tragically.

So wouldn't the next step be for the Rasts to head out, the Presidential Search Process to begin with the worthy Board of Regents servants at Ft. Wayne, and a new President to be selected there by Spring 2021ish?  To the same point, if you head to the ctsfw.edu page, you will see this modest claim under the heading "Faculty":  The Finest Theological Faculty In the World, Bar None.    I honestly do not believe that is intended with tongue in cheek or with hyperbole.  There's no asterisk - "only kidding", no false modesty - This is Us.

Wait now -  Larry Rast is going to head up an institution with a second-rate theological faculty?  Why would anyone even consider that?  I iguess to shape them up.  At any rate, the finest theological faculty in the world deserves its own President, doesn't it?  Of course.

Where would such a person be found?  It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that out.  He's already on campus.
My personal choice is Art Just, but that's not going to happen.
So it's either Chuck Gieschen or Carl Fickenscher.  They've got to hold serve, to stay on top of the theological world.
Or - let's go out of the box.  DAN GARD!!  We want Dan!  We want Dan!

How would anyone convince that board of regents that they don't need a President going forward?
So my bet is that Ft. Wayne does indeed choose a new president. 

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 02:06:54 PM
But you see, Brian, when all theological “truth,” all doctrine, virtually all church practice, all pastoral formation is locked down, codified, and totally contained in previous centuries and the writings of people who lived then or studied the lore of those years, what you need is to have all that stuff crammed - as is - into the heads of seminarians.
The kind of experiential, questing, and (OMG, No!) changing pastoral formation and Church that you and I have known is seen as a threat to those who have tried to lock things down.


I remember our theology professors stating that they wanted us to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. They didn't see it as their calling to make us think and believe exactly like they did. In fact, it was clear that there were differences among the faculty. One had been a missionary in Africa and participated in exorcisms. Another didn't believe personal devils really existed. One taught a class on story-telling preaching, another thought that creating our own stories/parables was usurping the authority of Scriptures. One disagreed with my paper on the Non-Verbal Communication of the Word of God, because God's Word is an objective reality. Another liked it very much.

"Freedom within limits" (as I recall a picture and theme from the old Bethel Bible Series which I took back in high school), was the practice at seminary. There are things my ELCA colleagues do that I don't agree with (and some don't agree with me), but that's the nature of the church as the body of Christ. It requires many different parts to be a functioning body.


Earlier in 1 Corinthians (9:19-23) Paul wrote (CEB)
Although I’m free from all people, I make myself a slave to all people, to recruit more of them.
I act like a Jew to the Jews, so I can recruit Jews.
I act like I’m under the Law to those under the Law, so I can recruit those who are under the Law
     (though I myself am not under the Law).
I act like I’m outside the Law to those who are outside the Law, so I can recruit those outside the Law
     (though I’m not outside the law of God but rather under the law of Christ).
I act weak to the weak, so I can recruit the weak.
I have become all things to all people, so I could save some by all possible means.
All the things I do are for the sake of the gospel, so I can be a partner with it.

How much should we step outside our boxes so that we can reach those outside of our boxes?

As part of my "notes" on Luke 15:1-10 I have this paragraph. A number of years ago I read an article somewhere and wrote down brief notes. The article raised the issue of God in feminine images and suggests that the criticisms on this topic usually miss the point. The author asked: "Is the Gospel being proclaimed? Are the lost being found? Is repentance happening? Are sinners being saved? If so, rejoice! All of heaven is rejoicing."

HerChurch is reaching women that would not be attending a "normal" congregation. Nadia Bolz-Weber purposely created a congregation to reach those who were not welcomed in traditional congregations. (I have had members state that there's a church down the road for ex-convicts and recovering addicts. They don't have to come here.) Those pastors have become something different than most of us so that they can reach people who are different than us. They are baptizing and communing and preaching the gospel to folks who are not likely to step foot in most of our congregations. Shouldn't we rejoice with them? Maybe they aren't acting (or sounding) like traditional Lutherans, but Paul was willing to act like a non-Jew to reach non-Jews. He was willing to act like a Jew to reach Jews. He used his freedom in the Gospel for evangelical purposes - to reach others. If all of heaven is rejoicing over the lost being found, so should we.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 02:43:37 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.


Even going back further, the potshots Christian News took of ALC leaders led some to conclude, "If I'm not being attacked in the paper, I must be doing something wrong."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 07, 2020, 05:08:57 PM
I missed how this thread moved away from the Nominees for the Concordia Seminary presidency.  Suggest we go back to expressions of thought about the current short list.

I would again speak up for Douglas Rutt who, to the best of my knowledge, is not associated with any particular segment of LCMS designations such as "liberal" or "conservative."  His experience includes administration, teaching and active support and involvement in missions and outreach both domestic and foreign.

Marie Meyer

The thread drifted as follows:

Discussion of candidates
Consolidation of sems under one candidate
Consolidation of districts
Consolidation's effects on ecclesiastical supervision

That was when I mentioned mobbing as a bad form of ecclesiastical supervision. So the thread had drifted considerably over a few days.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 05:32:08 PM
Wasn't going to mention it as it is long-past history, but in my first call a pastor from another part of Lutheranism not only publicly denounced my ministry, but called around to other Lutheran clergy asking them to do the same, attempted to rustle members from my congregation and tried (successfully in a couple of cases) to get others in the community to speak against my ministry. Following some of these activities my motorcycle was vandalized outside the church, I got hate male, and attempts were made to turn at least two members of my church council against me.
Mobbing? I don't think the word existed back then.
In secular work I have seen the techniques of mobbing used against people. For a couple of "higher-ups" I knew, it wasn't mobbing, it was just management. "Can't fire them, they're good at the job and haven't doing anything wrong; so let's make their life miserable and force them to quit."
But we digress.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 07, 2020, 05:36:22 PM
HerChurch is reaching women that would not be attending a "normal" congregation.

Reaching them for what? Not Jesus, far as I can see.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 06:26:35 PM
Wow ... victim theology reigns supreme ... there has been strong disagreement expressed ... many contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.   But attack?? Provide specific examples of specific 'attack' posts .. failing any specifics, you've just attacked in the manner you condem.


What Rev Austin mentioned above ... that's attacking ... but I doubt that type of activity has occurred among ALPB Forum members.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 07, 2020, 06:39:00 PM
If Harry Edmond (btw, I know you son, Paul. Great guy!) hadn't started this thread, I would have. Here's my take:

I doubt if Larry Rast is chosen, simply because I doubt if they want to do this again at CTS.

Nor do I think Jeff Kloha will be elected. Why go through the hassle when he's safe at his current position and has garnered major kudos for how he's handled the Museum of the Bible's fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other mishaps?

Of the other four...any of them would be good. I do like Fluegge's and Rutt's missionary background (I don't think we've ever had a seminary president whose served on the mission field). Since Fluegge's Ph.D. dissertation was on Johann Gerhard, I doubt he thinks Westminster and Augsburg are close to the same. In addition to being set prof, Joel Elowsky served as a church planter for a number of years.

Jack Preus has a background in Hispanic ministry and is an excellent theologian. But I think he's a bit old.

Since he's currently serving as Provost, I think Doug Rutt will be chosen.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 07, 2020, 07:03:17 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?

Look, I admit that LCMS guys can be rude and insulting at times, but then so can some ELCA folks. I've been on lists discussing Lutheran theology back to the 90s, when I was a participant--and moderator for--LTHRN-L. Many times I've told people that they do not need to be rude in order to make their point. I can be snarky at times too.

But that's not what Ed is arguing. He is arguing that there is a "Main Nag" (who he identified as a participant on this board) who coordinates all of the mobbing that he has endured. More than that, he refuses to identify this person even though he claims that he or she continues to mob him via pastors in his area. He says that he has made agreements with certain people (but not The Nag him/herself) not to reveal her/his identity.

This is what I, and others, find hard to believe. First, that such a person exists. Second, that if s/he does exist that he would agree to allow the person to continue. Third, that even if he did make such an agreement, that he would continue that agreement in view of continued harassment.

That people can be rude in the LCMS, I have no doubt. That there is a Main Nag directing it? That I strongly doubt.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 07, 2020, 07:09:14 PM
If Harry Edmond (btw, I know you son, Paul. Great guy!) hadn't started this thread, I would have. Here's my take:

I doubt if Larry Rast is chosen, simply because I doubt if they want to do this again at CTS.

Nor do I think Jeff Kloha will be elected. Why go through the hassle when he's safe at his current position and has garnered major kudos for how he's handled the Museum of the Bible's fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other mishaps?

Of the other four...any of them would be good. I do like Fluegge's and Rutt's missionary background (I don't think we've ever had a seminary president whose served on the mission field). Since Fluegge's Ph.D. dissertation was on Johann Gerhard, I doubt he thinks Westminster and Augsburg are close to the same. In addition to being set prof, Joel Elowsky served as a church planter for a number of years.

Jack Preus has a background in Hispanic ministry and is an excellent theologian. But I think he's a bit old.

Since he's currently serving as Provost, I think Doug Rutt will be chosen.

Rutt, Rutt, he's our man!  If he can't do it, Rast can!  Rast, Rast, he's our man, if he can't do it.............Back to the drawing board, because the electee must have a four letter surname beginning with "R."

So far you and Marie are the electors in his favor.  If you can swing Matt Staneck, your choice will win.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 07, 2020, 07:44:09 PM
Short bio of Dr. Doug Rutt

2018 to Present.......Provost and Professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
2010 to 2018...........Executive Director of International Ministries for Lutheran Hour Ministries
2000 to 2010.......... Professor at Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne
1997.......................Received Ph.D from  Concordia Sem, Ft. Wayne
1986.......................Received Master of Divinity from Concordia Sem, Ft. Wayne
1981.......................Received Bachelor of Arts from Minnesota State University, Mankato

He was also a U.S. Navy jet engine mechanic and after that a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
He and his wife Deborah have 5 children and 15 grandchildren

LCMS President Matthew Harrison has publicly stated that he wants to maintain 2 LCMS seminaries.
If he really believes this, then Dr. Doug Rutt has an excellent chance of being the next President at St. Louis Sem.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 07, 2020, 08:14:32 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?

Look, I admit that LCMS guys can be rude and insulting at times, but then so can some ELCA folks. I've been on lists discussing Lutheran theology back to the 90s, when I was a participant--and moderator for--LTHRN-L. Many times I've told people that they do not need to be rude in order to make their point. I can be snarky at times too.

But that's not what Ed is arguing. He is arguing that there is a "Main Nag" (who he identified as a participant on this board) who coordinates all of the mobbing that he has endured. More than that, he refuses to identify this person even though he claims that he or she continues to mob him via pastors in his area. He says that he has made agreements with certain people (but not The Nag him/herself) not to reveal her/his identity.

This is what I, and others, find hard to believe. First, that such a person exists. Second, that if s/he does exist that he would agree to allow the person to continue. Third, that even if he did make such an agreement, that he would continue that agreement in view of continued harassment.

That people can be rude in the LCMS, I have no doubt. That there is a Main Nag directing it? That I strongly doubt.

Never said pastors in the area are mobbing me. You misread or jumped to an incorrect conclusion. To keep things off this thread, as others requested, I will start a thread specific to mobbing. Moderators, if you want to move anything over there, that would be great.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2020, 08:38:11 PM
I will start a thread specific to mobbing. Moderators, if you want to move anything over there, that would be great.

Good grief! Again? You seem to be going on the offensive and churning this thing, Rev Engelbrecht. Why not, instead, tell it to a counselor and get this issue behind you?

edit ...

Sigh! Too late.   :(
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 07, 2020, 09:27:40 PM
If Harry Edmond (btw, I know you son, Paul. Great guy!) hadn't started this thread, I would have. Here's my take:

I doubt if Larry Rast is chosen, simply because I doubt if they want to do this again at CTS.

Nor do I think Jeff Kloha will be elected. Why go through the hassle when he's safe at his current position and has garnered major kudos for how he's handled the Museum of the Bible's fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other mishaps?

Of the other four...any of them would be good. I do like Fluegge's and Rutt's missionary background (I don't think we've ever had a seminary president whose served on the mission field). Since Fluegge's Ph.D. dissertation was on Johann Gerhard, I doubt he thinks Westminster and Augsburg are close to the same. In addition to being set prof, Joel Elowsky served as a church planter for a number of years.

Jack Preus has a background in Hispanic ministry and is an excellent theologian. But I think he's a bit old.

Since he's currently serving as Provost, I think Doug Rutt will be chosen.

I agree with most of this, Jim.  I was thinking that Doug Rutt would be the guy simply because he strikes me as a good transitional leader after having a big personality like Dale Meyer at the helm. It looks like he has the fundraising and theological background to not mess up what Dale has accomplished.  In other words, he strikes me as a wise and safe choice at this time in CSL’s history.  But, hey, what do I know?

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 09:28:22 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?


The primary attacker is no longer on forum.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 09:47:18 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?

The primary attacker is no longer on forum.
The ‘primary attacker’ may be gone ... the legacy posts remain to condemn the ‘primary attacker’. Please document your accusations.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 11:05:29 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?


The primary attacker is no longer on forum.

And what is the evidence that he (whoever that might be) coordinated attacks on poor, poor Rev. Austin and yourself?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2020, 02:03:36 PM
If Harry Edmond (btw, I know you son, Paul. Great guy!) hadn't started this thread, I would have. Here's my take:

I doubt if Larry Rast is chosen, simply because I doubt if they want to do this again at CTS.

Nor do I think Jeff Kloha will be elected. Why go through the hassle when he's safe at his current position and has garnered major kudos for how he's handled the Museum of the Bible's fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other mishaps?

Of the other four...any of them would be good. I do like Fluegge's and Rutt's missionary background (I don't think we've ever had a seminary president whose served on the mission field). Since Fluegge's Ph.D. dissertation was on Johann Gerhard, I doubt he thinks Westminster and Augsburg are close to the same. In addition to being set prof, Joel Elowsky served as a church planter for a number of years.

Jack Preus has a background in Hispanic ministry and is an excellent theologian. But I think he's a bit old.

Since he's currently serving as Provost, I think Doug Rutt will be chosen.

I agree with most of this, Jim.  I was thinking that Doug Rutt would be the guy simply because he strikes me as a good transitional leader after having a big personality like Dale Meyer at the helm. It looks like he has the fundraising and theological background to not mess up what Dale has accomplished.  In other words, he strikes me as a wise and safe choice at this time in CSL’s history.  But, hey, what do I know?

Peace,
Scott+

I keep rolling this over in my mind, probably because I've been an elector a few times at the college/university level. 

1) Will this be an in-person gathering?  Harrison - St. Louis.  Wille - Wisconsin.  Kumm - don't know.  Midwest?  Rest of Board of Regents - anywhere.  So maybe not.  The Zoom Presidency of Dr. Rast Begins.

2) What about the other 38 guys?  Who was 7th on the 6 man list?  I thought Dr. Dien Taylor might make the final cut, and wish he would have, for instance.  Maybe you're a Burnell Eckardt kind of person.  Or a Blomenberger.  Anyway, why Elowsky and Fluegge?  No big deal, but the "cut" line was always interesting in CEO/Executive searches. 
Dr. Joel D. Biermann
Dr. Ralph Blomenberg
Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr.
Dr. Jon S. Bruss
Dr. Kirk M. Clayton
Dr. Anthony A. Cook
Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt
Dr. Kevin S. Golden
Dr. Paul J. Grime
Dr. Gifford A. Grobien
Dr. Benjamin D. Haupt
Dr. Erik H. Herrmann
Dr. Robert R. Lessing
Dr. David P. E. Maier
Dr. Walter A. Maier III
Aaron M. Moldenhauer
Dr. Steven P. Mueller
Dr. Edward A. Naumann
Dr. Martin R. Noland
Gerald A. Paul
Robert W. Paul (Houston, Texas)
Dr. Paul A. Philp
Dr. Christian A. Preus
Dr. David R. Preus
Dr. Harold Ristau
Dr. Matthew W. Rueger
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Dr. Peter J. Scaer
Dr. Travis J. Scholl
Dr. Klaus D. Schulz
Dr. William W. Schumacher
Dr. Ken R. Schurb
Dr. Mark A. Seifrid
Dr. Jeffrey E. Skopak
Dr. Dien A. Taylor
Dr. James W. Voelz
Dr. Lucas V. Woodford
Dr. Thomas J. Zelt

3) Fort Wayne Ramifications
This to me has to do with the selection of Larry Rast.  Is Larry Rast the prequel to the closing of Ft. Wayne in the eyes and minds of some?  Is it that in the eyes and minds of the electors and the cut from the same bolt of cloth boards of regents at the two seminaries?  That massive mostly empty library at Ft. Wayne looms over the water - why is it there if not to remain a learning station going forward?  Having two big campuses is nonsensical, and yet......

4) St. Louis Ramifications
Again, with the selection of Larry Rast the question could turn the other way.  We have the cut-from-the-same-bolt-of-cloth leaders/regents at both seminaries, most all of whom have made it through the pure-as-the-driven-snow grinder of the United List selection process.  There's a high degree of organization and attention to institutional futures there at United List Headquarters, buried 7 levels beneath the earth in a soundproof but well-appointed bunker in northwestern Nebraska.  Maybe the die has already been cast to offload the St. Louis property, the valuable property by far of the two seminary locations, and Larry enters and then - hey, look at that - moves back to his old hacienda within a couple of years.  Anything left, the outlying programs, can be taken to the cavernous half-empty Synodical HQ, or the Missouri District HQ, or the CPH HQ, or somewhere in the building LCEF uses, or.........  Plenty of alternate locations.

Dave Benke


Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 08, 2020, 06:15:54 PM
If Harry Edmond (btw, I know you son, Paul. Great guy!) hadn't started this thread, I would have. Here's my take:

I doubt if Larry Rast is chosen, simply because I doubt if they want to do this again at CTS.

Nor do I think Jeff Kloha will be elected. Why go through the hassle when he's safe at his current position and has garnered major kudos for how he's handled the Museum of the Bible's fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other mishaps?

Of the other four...any of them would be good. I do like Fluegge's and Rutt's missionary background (I don't think we've ever had a seminary president whose served on the mission field). Since Fluegge's Ph.D. dissertation was on Johann Gerhard, I doubt he thinks Westminster and Augsburg are close to the same. In addition to being set prof, Joel Elowsky served as a church planter for a number of years.

Jack Preus has a background in Hispanic ministry and is an excellent theologian. But I think he's a bit old.

Since he's currently serving as Provost, I think Doug Rutt will be chosen.

I agree with most of this, Jim.  I was thinking that Doug Rutt would be the guy simply because he strikes me as a good transitional leader after having a big personality like Dale Meyer at the helm. It looks like he has the fundraising and theological background to not mess up what Dale has accomplished.  In other words, he strikes me as a wise and safe choice at this time in CSL’s history.  But, hey, what do I know?

Peace,
Scott+

I keep rolling this over in my mind, probably because I've been an elector a few times at the college/university level. 

1) Will this be an in-person gathering?  Harrison - St. Louis.  Wille - Wisconsin.  Kumm - don't know.  Midwest?  Rest of Board of Regents - anywhere.  So maybe not.  The Zoom Presidency of Dr. Rast Begins.

2) What about the other 38 guys?  Who was 7th on the 6 man list?  I thought Dr. Dien Taylor might make the final cut, and wish he would have, for instance.  Maybe you're a Burnell Eckardt kind of person.  Or a Blomenberger.  Anyway, why Elowsky and Fluegge?  No big deal, but the "cut" line was always interesting in CEO/Executive searches. 
Dr. Joel D. Biermann
Dr. Ralph Blomenberg
Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr.
Dr. Jon S. Bruss
Dr. Kirk M. Clayton
Dr. Anthony A. Cook
Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt
Dr. Kevin S. Golden
Dr. Paul J. Grime
Dr. Gifford A. Grobien
Dr. Benjamin D. Haupt
Dr. Erik H. Herrmann
Dr. Robert R. Lessing
Dr. David P. E. Maier
Dr. Walter A. Maier III
Aaron M. Moldenhauer
Dr. Steven P. Mueller
Dr. Edward A. Naumann
Dr. Martin R. Noland
Gerald A. Paul
Robert W. Paul (Houston, Texas)
Dr. Paul A. Philp
Dr. Christian A. Preus
Dr. David R. Preus
Dr. Harold Ristau
Dr. Matthew W. Rueger
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Dr. Peter J. Scaer
Dr. Travis J. Scholl
Dr. Klaus D. Schulz
Dr. William W. Schumacher
Dr. Ken R. Schurb
Dr. Mark A. Seifrid
Dr. Jeffrey E. Skopak
Dr. Dien A. Taylor
Dr. James W. Voelz
Dr. Lucas V. Woodford
Dr. Thomas J. Zelt

3) Fort Wayne Ramifications
This to me has to do with the selection of Larry Rast.  Is Larry Rast the prequel to the closing of Ft. Wayne in the eyes and minds of some?  Is it that in the eyes and minds of the electors and the cut from the same bolt of cloth boards of regents at the two seminaries?  That massive mostly empty library at Ft. Wayne looms over the water - why is it there if not to remain a learning station going forward?  Having two big campuses is nonsensical, and yet......

4) St. Louis Ramifications
Again, with the selection of Larry Rast the question could turn the other way.  We have the cut-from-the-same-bolt-of-cloth leaders/regents at both seminaries, most all of whom have made it through the pure-as-the-driven-snow grinder of the United List selection process.  There's a high degree of organization and attention to institutional futures there at United List Headquarters, buried 7 levels beneath the earth in a soundproof but well-appointed bunker in northwestern Nebraska.  Maybe the die has already been cast to offload the St. Louis property, the valuable property by far of the two seminary locations, and Larry enters and then - hey, look at that - moves back to his old hacienda within a couple of years.  Anything left, the outlying programs, can be taken to the cavernous half-empty Synodical HQ, or the Missouri District HQ, or the CPH HQ, or somewhere in the building LCEF uses, or.........  Plenty of alternate locations.

Dave Benke

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future.  It was beyond me as to why CTSFW built a new library given that they have never really had a large student body, let alone progressing towards one in the current mileui.  I can say the same about CSL in other ways, too.  They've done a few renovations in the last few years, haven't they also improved their library?

My point is that consolidation at this point seems like a tricky path forward in light of the aforementioned efforts and improvements, particularly as they relate to the institution's very specific donor bases.  There's the risk of alienation in doing so, one that I would think anyone in leadership is keen enough to sense.  So maybe Larry Rast will be the guy, but I don't know if consolidation would be pulled off or is even a goal.  Besides, I'd bet that because enrollment is so low LCMS headquarters could probably fit in one of the dorms at CSL, maybe overtake G or I or Isolation or just take over Sieck.  Renovate them accordingly. 

That said, I was relieved to not see Dien Taylor on the short list, but in a good way.  I just think that his amazing talents and abilities would be wasted in such a position.  To me he belongs in the parish and in district leadership.  I suppose, though, that there is something to making a short list, but I'm not in on those conversations.  I felt the same way with Reed Lessing, when I saw that he had his name removed I was also personally relieved for similar reasons, I thought it was a good thing.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2020, 07:08:10 PM
FWIW back in the late '60s and early '70s, we in the LCA collected a couple million bucks to bring together, unite, merge, join Gettysburg Seminary and the Philadelphia Seminary. I wonder if any of that money - collected 50 years ago - was used two years ago when the schools actually "merged."
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2020, 08:12:58 PM
That said, I was relieved to not see Dien Taylor on the short list, but in a good way.  I just think that his amazing talents and abilities would be wasted in such a position.  To me he belongs in the parish and in district leadership.  I suppose, though, that there is something to making a short list, but I'm not in on those conversations.

100% agreed.  I sat next to Dien Taylor in Greek class. Absolutely brilliant! And a nice guy. He even talked to me, the "old" guy.

Then, on vicarage, I took a group to the Youth Gathering in Atlanta. Dien was the "master of ceremonies." What a gifted guy!

Seminary prez? Maybe when he's 60. Or 70.   ;)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 08, 2020, 08:27:22 PM
Considering the way Charles and I have been attacked in this forum (usually by LCMS folks), it's not hard for us to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims. Conversations I've had over many years with a couple of LCMS clergy (ordained before seminex, so taught by those "bad" professors, and a bit more liberal than the LCMS had become) and the animosity and anger they experienced from newer clergy, it's not hard for me to believe Rev. Edward Engelbrecht's claims.

So, Brian, who, of the LCMS pastors on this list, is coordinating the attacks against Charles and yourself?


The primary attacker is no longer on forum.

But Ed does not argue that the Nagster is his "primary attacker" but that Naggy actually coordinates attacks.

So, who has coordinated the 'attacks' from LCMS pastors on you and Chuckles?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2020, 08:59:08 PM
No one is mobbing this humble correspondent. No reason I should be a target.
However, some folks here are curiously nasty or obsessed with my modest comments. I don’t get that.
Now get back to discussing your seminaries.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: John_Hannah on May 08, 2020, 09:10:20 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


Thanks for your insight. This is a good question Scott. I have never thought about it before. Why do we now in 2020 become wrapped up in one or another seminary closing? Especially pertinent when it is obvious that economically it is necessary. A seminary is such a small part of our demographic and economic whole as a synod.

Then I remember the run up (30-40 years in the making) to New Orleans and the consequent demise of St. Louis. The fortunes of the one seminary was cast as the "fortune of the entire synod." It took years to build up that narrative and it finally "took" in 1973. It is something that will be hard to shed. In the back of our minds we think that a seminary (either one) will cause the synod to stand or fall. Depending on one's vision it should be be the "other one." Make your choice as to which one. Does that make sense?

Keep thinking. Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 08, 2020, 09:20:24 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


Thanks for your insight. This is a good question Scott. I have never thought about it before. Why do we now in 2020 become wrapped up in one or another seminary closing? Especially pertinent when it is obvious that economically it is necessary. A seminary is such a small part of our demographic and economic whole as a synod.

Then I remember the run up (30-40 years in the making) to New Orleans and the consequent demise of St. Louis. The fortunes of the one seminary was cast as the "fortune of the entire synod." It took years to build up that narrative and it finally "took" in 1973. It is something that will be hard to shed. In the back of our minds we think that a seminary (either one) will cause the synod to stand or fall. Depending on one's vision it should be be the "other one." Make your choice as to which one. Does that make sense?

Keep thinking. Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN

Wait -- the "demise of St. Louis"?  You mean the seminary there is gone?  In 1973?  So, all those guys here posting who SAY they graduated from CSL are not really graduates of a seminary of the LCMS?  Kirchner, I am looking at you!!!  :)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: NCLutheran2 on May 08, 2020, 09:26:30 PM
I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future.  It was beyond me as to why CTSFW built a new library given that they have never really had a large student body, let alone progressing towards one in the current mileui.  I can say the same about CSL in other ways, too.  They've done a few renovations in the last few years, haven't they also improved their library?

My day job is in higher education administration. "Consolidation without closure" has been the wave of the future for a few years, and I expect the drive to only get stronger as we come out of the pandemic. The basic idea is that with today's remote work infrastructure you can essentially treat each campus as a "franchise" with a shared central administration overseeing local service delivery, drastically reducing overhead expenditures while not affecting a school's service delivery (in theory, at least).

To use myself as an example, the North Carolina Community College System has 58 community colleges across the state. Most of these were founded during the 1950's and 60's as local industrial/technical education centers, and nowadays, while the exact number and type of programs is different for each, all of the courses of study are standardized statewide and all schools offer the same core gen ed degrees. Just like with churches, the community model where each town has their community colleges was great for the 60's but not for 2020 - there's dozens of places here where on any given 30-mile stretch of highway you can pass three separate community colleges, and the enrollment of the smallest 30 of schools doesn't surpass any one of the top 3. So for each three rural counties, you have three college presidents, three CFO's, dozens of provosts, deans, directors, etc.

I'm not part of the LCMS, and certainly not privy to the inside numbers, but based on this discussion I could definitely see consolidation without closure as the path for both seminaries. If both presidents are currently making $250,000 a year, for example, making Rast the president of a consolidated institution for $300,000 saves $200,000 right there. Both schools are small enough they could be easily managed by one group of senior administrators, effectively cutting those salary expenses in half. The number of professors could be reduced (mostly through a generous early retirement plan), and some could take turns teaching in both Ft. Wayne and St. Louis - or both places at once online. Your frontline staff stays in place (since those salaries aren't that expensive), and the spin to the public is that the history and prestige of both institutions is maintained, while dramatically reducing administrative overhead costs to the Synod, which is always an easy sell.

Like I said, I have no dog in the fight, but I'd be surprised if something similar doesn't end up happening - and probably should have happened to other seminary networks in other denominations a decade ago...

Rob
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2020, 09:28:26 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


Thanks for your insight. This is a good question Scott. I have never thought about it before. Why do we now in 2020 become wrapped up in one or another seminary closing? Especially pertinent when it is obvious that economically it is necessary. A seminary is such a small part of our demographic and economic whole as a synod.

Then I remember the run up (30-40 years in the making) to New Orleans and the consequent demise of St. Louis. The fortunes of the one seminary was cast as the "fortune of the entire synod." It took years to build up that narrative and it finally "took" in 1973. It is something that will be hard to shed. In the back of our minds we think that a seminary (either one) will cause the synod to stand or fall. Depending on one's vision it should be be the "other one." Make your choice as to which one. Does that make sense?

Keep thinking. Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN

Wait -- the "demise of St. Louis"?  You mean the seminary there is gone?  In 1973?  So, all those guys here posting who SAY they graduated from CSL are not really graduates of a seminary of the LCMS?  Kirchner, I am looking at you!!!  :)

 :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2020, 09:35:32 PM
"Consolidation without closure" has been the wave of the future for a few years, and I expect the drive to only get stronger as we come out of the pandemic. The basic idea is that with today's remote work infrastructure you can essentially treat each campus as a "franchise" with a shared central administration overseeing local service delivery, drastically reducing overhead expenditures while not affecting a school's service delivery (in theory, at least).

This is gold. 

I think for the Missouri Synod, the incredible drive, as witnessed by a few of the folks here, but mostly by the actual resolutions of the convention, has been for "traditional" students meeting in the traditional manner in person for two years plus an internship year and then a final year as The Way to spiritually form pastors. 

Consolidation for us would be
a) utilizing the gifts of teaching of some from both existing campuses to do far more online learning with some face-to-face
b) while consolidating the interior operations of the two campuses and right-sizing that aspect
c) realizing that the various other alternative programs meet the needs of the church body and instead of contracting them, continuing them
d) figuring out anew what spiritual formation toward the ordained ministry in the Church means in terms of end results at the seminary level
e) mandating ongoing evaluation and continued training after ordination.

This has to be done.  The question is can it be done in our denomination?  We'll know more by next weekend.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2020, 09:39:50 PM
No one is mobbing this humble correspondent. No reason I should be a target.
However, some folks here are curiously nasty or obsessed with my modest comments. I don’t get that.
Now get back to discussing your seminaries.

There is only one meaning to the responses to your comments.  There are folks here that are not used to or happy with an inter-Lutheran forum.  And that's what we have.  If people need a Missouri Synod only forum, unless they take this one by force, the options are either to invent one or go to one that exists. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 08, 2020, 09:56:31 PM
I realize that it's hard to project the future of our seminaries post-pandemic, especially since we can't be sure when that moment is supposed to actually arrive.  But going back prior to mid-March I suspect that both seminaries were operating in the black.  No one was bleeding cash, as in the case of CUP.  If each institution serves a particular constituency and the funds remain sufficient to keep both going well, what would be the rush to consolidate one into the other?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 08, 2020, 10:01:34 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


Thanks for your insight. This is a good question Scott. I have never thought about it before. Why do we now in 2020 become wrapped up in one or another seminary closing? Especially pertinent when it is obvious that economically it is necessary. A seminary is such a small part of our demographic and economic whole as a synod.

Then I remember the run up (30-40 years in the making) to New Orleans and the consequent demise of St. Louis. The fortunes of the one seminary was cast as the "fortune of the entire synod." It took years to build up that narrative and it finally "took" in 1973. It is something that will be hard to shed. In the back of our minds we think that a seminary (either one) will cause the synod to stand or fall. Depending on one's vision it should be be the "other one." Make your choice as to which one. Does that make sense?

Keep thinking. Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN

Yes, that totally makes sense, John.  That's what I'm driving at, I just don't see that happening in the immediate future, at least not blatantly.  That was my point about all the efforts concerning development by both sems.  They are invested in the perpetuation of their institutions, come hell or high-water.  Both have taken on building projects in the midst of a declining church and enrollment and somehow they continue onwards.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 08, 2020, 10:14:47 PM
I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future.  It was beyond me as to why CTSFW built a new library given that they have never really had a large student body, let alone progressing towards one in the current mileui.  I can say the same about CSL in other ways, too.  They've done a few renovations in the last few years, haven't they also improved their library?

My day job is in higher education administration. "Consolidation without closure" has been the wave of the future for a few years, and I expect the drive to only get stronger as we come out of the pandemic. The basic idea is that with today's remote work infrastructure you can essentially treat each campus as a "franchise" with a shared central administration overseeing local service delivery, drastically reducing overhead expenditures while not affecting a school's service delivery (in theory, at least).

To use myself as an example, the North Carolina Community College System has 58 community colleges across the state. Most of these were founded during the 1950's and 60's as local industrial/technical education centers, and nowadays, while the exact number and type of programs is different for each, all of the courses of study are standardized statewide and all schools offer the same core gen ed degrees. Just like with churches, the community model where each town has their community colleges was great for the 60's but not for 2020 - there's dozens of places here where on any given 30-mile stretch of highway you can pass three separate community colleges, and the enrollment of the smallest 30 of schools doesn't surpass any one of the top 3. So for each three rural counties, you have three college presidents, three CFO's, dozens of provosts, deans, directors, etc.

I'm not part of the LCMS, and certainly not privy to the inside numbers, but based on this discussion I could definitely see consolidation without closure as the path for both seminaries. If both presidents are currently making $250,000 a year, for example, making Rast the president of a consolidated institution for $300,000 saves $200,000 right there. Both schools are small enough they could be easily managed by one group of senior administrators, effectively cutting those salary expenses in half. The number of professors could be reduced (mostly through a generous early retirement plan), and some could take turns teaching in both Ft. Wayne and St. Louis - or both places at once online. Your frontline staff stays in place (since those salaries aren't that expensive), and the spin to the public is that the history and prestige of both institutions is maintained, while dramatically reducing administrative overhead costs to the Synod, which is always an easy sell.

Like I said, I have no dog in the fight, but I'd be surprised if something similar doesn't end up happening - and probably should have happened to other seminary networks in other denominations a decade ago...

Rob

This is certainly helpful, thanks.  As you note, in many regards, it boils down to the numbers which we don't have, which is always frustrating in these conversations.  Having worked with multi-million dollar budgets for the better part of the last 8 years, I know that would really be helpful in making sense of things.  That said, I have always assumed, at least with CTSFW, that there was some sort of offset of costs or some sort of funding or endowment that enabled them to continue operating with such few students yet so many profs.  Same with CSL at this point, too.  Financially, it has never made any sense to me, but somehow they've made it work.  This is in part why I think for the time being consolidation might be a tough sell even with a pandemic.  That said, I need to see the numbers to make sense of it all, which I don't have.  That, at least for me, would be illuminating, I think.

Thanks,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2020, 10:23:08 PM
Here’s one way the ELCA is changing pastoral formation for some:
https://www.livinglutheran.org/2019/11/a-faster-path-to-ministry/
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: James J Eivan on May 09, 2020, 01:12:25 AM

No one is mobbing this humble correspondent. No reason I should be a target.
However, some folks here are curiously nasty or obsessed with my modest comments. I don’t get that.
Now get back to discussing your seminaries.


There is only one meaning to the responses to your comments.  There are folks here that are not used to or happy with an inter-Lutheran forum.  And that's what we have.  If people need a Missouri Synod only forum, unless they take this one by force, the options are either to invent one or go to one that exists. 

Dave Benke
It is highly doubtful that anyone is 'not used to or happy with an inter-Lutheran forum.'

What the forum is affected by is Rev Austin's incessant 'Victim Theology'.  Multiple forum participants on numerous occasions have used rude and boorish when referencing his posts from time to time  ... perhaps his feigning 'Victim Theology' is his way of acknowledging the problem.


Responses to Rev Austin's posts often reflect his posting style and prevailing attitude. Rev Austin has been a bit less combative of late ... hopefully a harbinger of what is to come.


Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 09, 2020, 09:25:48 AM
Here’s one way the ELCA is changing pastoral formation for some:
https://www.livinglutheran.org/2019/11/a-faster-path-to-ministry/

This is reminiscent in Missouri Synod history of the Gymnasium to Seminary route to ordination, whereby the potential pastor began studies/formation in high school, then had two years of college (what we called Secunda and Prima) and then off to the seminary.  The addition of the senior college level changed that entire model.  But in the earlier version, pastors were often ordained in their earlier 20s.  The Wartburg model is in that sense a true re-boot.  With the far greater recent tendency toward pastoral formation at a later time in life, there could be folks entering from two very different streams.  So the 32 year old with 8 years out becomes the senior pastor of the congregation and the 56 year old recent graduate becomes the associate in charge of visitation or  - youth?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 09, 2020, 09:44:59 AM
I know we're all having fun speculating, but here are two solid prayers for the occasion written by Dean Burreson of CSL:

Quote
“You are the Source of Wisdom and Light, O Lord. Through Your Son Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, all things unite in truth, beauty, and goodness for Your coming reign and the church’s life. Fill the electors of Concordia Seminary’s new president with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. May this knowledge and wisdom guide them to choose a president who will lead the Seminary with humility as it teaches the way of the Lord to the church’s future servants; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

“For the election of a new president for Concordia Seminary, that the Lord of Wisdom and Light may guide the electors with all spiritual wisdom and understanding toward selecting a president who will lead the seminary with humility as it teaches the church’s future servants. Lord in Your mercy; hear our prayer.”

https://concordiatheology.org/2020/05/prayer-for-the-election-of-a-new-seminary-president/ (https://concordiatheology.org/2020/05/prayer-for-the-election-of-a-new-seminary-president/)

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 09, 2020, 11:13:06 AM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 09, 2020, 11:29:50 AM
It would be interesting to know how much money is in the endowment fund
of our two seminaries.  President Dale Meyer in his 15 years  exerted much
time and effort to increase the endowment fund of Concordia Sem, St Louis.
Hopefully, someone was doing the same thing at Concordia Sem, Ft. Wayne.

Solid financial footing is the key to survival in higher education.   It is not
healthy to have money concerns on a monthly basis at a seminary.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 09, 2020, 11:55:02 AM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....

Yeah, in some respects this is why I sort of have a “good riddance to you both” sort of attitude towards both seminaries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they may be the most financially secure of all Synodical institutions at this point, which is why I would be interested in seeing the financials.
 
Do you remember coming back from vicarage 4th year to encounter a newly renovated cafeteria with a huge flat screen tv?  Up until that point I had no clue that that was needed or was going to happen.  As a dorm student, I had a fairly ambivalent view concerning the cafeteria; I was in and I was out.  I just remember being confused by it, because our first two years the sem was in dire financial shape.  And that renovation cost a pretty penny.  But that was also a revealing moment, I think.  The tuition costs just kept going up while we were there and then there’s this seemingly pointless renovation.  I’m sure others would contend it wasn’t pointless, but that’s what it looked like to me and others. 

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark Brown on May 09, 2020, 12:34:37 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....

Yeah, in some respects this is why I sort of have a “good riddance to you both” sort of attitude towards both seminaries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they may be the most financially secure of all Synodical institutions at this point, which is why I would be interested in seeing the financials.
 
Do you remember coming back from vicarage 4th year to encounter a newly renovated cafeteria with a huge flat screen tv?  Up until that point I had no clue that that was needed or was going to happen.  As a dorm student, I had a fairly ambivalent view concerning the cafeteria; I was in and I was out.  I just remember being confused by it, because our first two years the sem was in dire financial shape.  And that renovation cost a pretty penny.  But that was also a revealing moment, I think.  The tuition costs just kept going up while we were there and then there’s this seemingly pointless renovation.  I’m sure others would contend it wasn’t pointless, but that’s what it looked like to me and others. 

Peace,
Scott+

My experience of the sem was a little different.  I lived off campus all the time. I would have appreciated viable Wi-Fi everywhere or at least in a commons area. Didn't need those TV's.

My remembrance of the financial dire straights still causes a small pit of anger.  Jack Johnson in all his hubris buying the High School and dumping money into an unused place.  The effects on all the students were then:

It was not a happy time.  It was mostly caused by incredibly stupid leadership of which even today the guy at the center gets accolades.  But it was a solid experience in how our synod operates and one of the reasons we keep shrinking.  The synod eats its young. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 09, 2020, 02:09:01 PM

I can't really wrap my mind around the idea of one of the seminaries being closed or their being consolidated.  The reason being that so much effort has been expended in the last decade to build, to fundraise, to push towards some modicum of stability for the future. 

Peace,
Scott+


And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....

Yeah, in some respects this is why I sort of have a “good riddance to you both” sort of attitude towards both seminaries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they may be the most financially secure of all Synodical institutions at this point, which is why I would be interested in seeing the financials.
 
Do you remember coming back from vicarage 4th year to encounter a newly renovated cafeteria with a huge flat screen tv?  Up until that point I had no clue that that was needed or was going to happen.  As a dorm student, I had a fairly ambivalent view concerning the cafeteria; I was in and I was out.  I just remember being confused by it, because our first two years the sem was in dire financial shape.  And that renovation cost a pretty penny.  But that was also a revealing moment, I think.  The tuition costs just kept going up while we were there and then there’s this seemingly pointless renovation.  I’m sure others would contend it wasn’t pointless, but that’s what it looked like to me and others. 

Peace,
Scott+

My experience of the sem was a little different.  I lived off campus all the time. I would have appreciated viable Wi-Fi everywhere or at least in a commons area. Didn't need those TV's.

My remembrance of the financial dire straights still causes a small pit of anger.  Jack Johnson in all his hubris buying the High School and dumping money into an unused place.  The effects on all the students were then:
  • A de facto renunciation of the tuition pledge as the "grant" was frozen for those already enrolled
  • Massive tuition increases that made that "grant" less meaningful, and those tuition increases just happened to equal the yearly payments on the mortgage for the high school property.
  • New students arriving in much smaller classes because the "grant" had gone away which caused more tuition increase
  • Large class sizes, frozen hiring, impossible registration and an annoyed professoriate who were being asked to teach a higher load

It was not a happy time.  It was mostly caused by incredibly stupid leadership of which even today the guy at the center gets accolades.  But it was a solid experience in how our synod operates and one of the reasons we keep shrinking.  The synod eats its young.

I felt the same way when Karl Barth was raising money to build the chapel. I couldn't see the need for one and refused to give any money for it. I thought there were more important things to be done.

Purchasing CBC was a huge mistake. However, at the time, CSL was experiencing record enrollment; it was even larger than the early 1970s. So I can see how John Johnson (who I loved as a prof) could see it as a good investment. And, I'm sure, there were many others involved in making that decision, not least the Regents.

 However, much of that enrollment was based on the free tuition model. Well, pretty much anyone could tell you that wasn't sustainable, especially as enrollment went up and you had to add faculty. And it wasn't sustainable. Yes, enrollment dropped very quickly. IIRC, one of the first things Dale Meyer had to do was reduce faculty in order to work with the reduction in students.

This is why I pray for leaders. They get to make hard decisions that others don't.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Jim Butler on May 09, 2020, 02:43:48 PM
No one is mobbing this humble correspondent. No reason I should be a target.
However, some folks here are curiously nasty or obsessed with my modest comments. I don’t get that.
Now get back to discussing your seminaries.

There is only one meaning to the responses to your comments.  There are folks here that are not used to or happy with an inter-Lutheran forum.  And that's what we have.  If people need a Missouri Synod only forum, unless they take this one by force, the options are either to invent one or go to one that exists. 

Dave Benke

I can't speak for others, Dave, but I have a long history in inter-Lutheran work. In my first church, I was on the Board of Directors for our pan-Lutheran high school for six years and took part in several gatherings with Lutheran Youth Encounter. In the 90s, I was part of a ELCA/LCMS dialogue group here in New England and was a participant in, and a moderator for, LTHRN-L, an email discussion group. I can't remember when I started posting here.

In my view, in person discussion was generally better. People are more careful with what they say. I found people being a lot more rude online (myself included). I know that I've spent literally hours writing out a response to someone on this forum only to get one or two lines of snark in return. My immediate thought, "Well, if that's how you want to play, then I can do short, thoughtless snark as well." But in person, that's never happened.

Sometimes, it's not the dialogue that is hard, but the people that carry on the dialogue that can make it hard. When I was a moderator on LTHRN-L, both the LCMS and the ELCA moderators agreed that each church body had participants that could be very difficult to deal with and made life on the list a lot less fun by the way they acted and their attitude.

There is one thing I've found that makes inter-Lutheran dialogue difficult. Overall,  I've found there is a lot more diversity in the theological thinking of the ELCA than in Missouri. I remember the New England Bishop couldn't believe that I was a fan of the "fundamentalists" at Lutheran Forum and that I read their stuff. I know ELCA pastors who would consider the arguments made by some ELCA pastors on this forum to be horrifying. I remember the ELCA pastors I met in Lutheran Youth Encounter; a lot of them struck me as pretty solid. OTOH, I knew one ELCA pastor who flatly denied Jesus' bodily resurrection. Heck, the fact that their vote on LGBT folks in the pastorate allowed for four different views to all be accepted, even though two of them contradicted each other, shows their variety of thought. I don't think you'd find that much diversity of thought in Missouri overall. That makes things hard because you can get two very different opinions from two members of the same group.

Along with that, there has been continuing division between the two branches of Lutheranism; sadly the LGBT vote in the ELCA has hastened that division. The loss of many more moderate ELCA pastors to the NALC has changed that dynamic as well. That too adds to the difficulty of inter-Lutheran dialogue and discussion.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Weedon on May 09, 2020, 03:02:24 PM
Just piggy-backing on what Jim observed, there is a common Lutheran heritage in our Small Catechism. We all know what is required of us according to the 8th commandment. We are not just to refrain from telling lies about our neighbor, betraying him, slandering him, or hurting his reputation, we are additionally to defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on his actions. I think way too often we tend to treat the internet as an 8th commandment-free zone. It’s not. So we understand that words we type can break this commandment as easily as words we speak aloud; or our silence can as well. I have a perhaps silly dream: wouldn’t it be awesome if those who took the Small Catechism as their confession of faith bent over backwards to keep the 8th in our conversations with one another on a forum such as this? And how awesome a witness would that be in a time and era when putting the best construction on the words of someone you disagree with has become an entirely lost art? May God grant us His Spirit that in our conversations here we reflect on his holy commandments and put them into practice.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: readselerttoo on May 09, 2020, 03:50:14 PM
Just piggy-backing on what Jim observed, there is a common Lutheran heritage in our Small Catechism. We all know what is required of us according to the 8th commandment. We are not just to refrain from telling lies about our neighbor, betraying him, slandering him, or hurting his reputation, we are additionally to defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on his actions. I think way too often we tend to treat the internet as an 8th commandment-free zone. It’s not. So we understand that words we type can break this commandment as easily as words we speak aloud; or our silence can as well. I have a perhaps silly dream: wouldn’t it be awesome if those who took the Small Catechism as their confession of faith bent over backwards to keep the 8th in our conversations with one another on a forum such as this? And how awesome a witness would that be in a time and era when putting the best construction on the words of someone you disagree with has become an entirely lost art? May God grant us His Spirit that in our conversations here we reflect on his holy commandments and put them into practice.


Actually I take issue with this.  I think this forum provides a place to make opinion whether informed or not.  Opinion-making certainly is guided by keeping to the subject matter at hand and with good civil courtesy as a guide rather than avert to speaking personally or critically to one's person known or unknown.  Certainly a modicum of charity and decency with words is helpful to dialogue but really not necessary enough to invoke the 8th commandment.  IMO Bearing false witness means that I know the individual enough to actually have the capability to speak appropriate words, or else, to make false witness against that person having as a basis the establishment of mutual recognition of persons in close proximity.  With this public space as this forum is and it being virtual as it is, I am mindful that I really do not know most of you having never met most of you.  IMO, I can't say that for the most part any of you are my neighbor taking nigh as a base to the relationship.  (On the other hand, I have had the pleasure to have met and talk personally with Pr. Stoffregen at a Crossings conference a couple of years ago.)  But otherwise I have to ask whether 8th commandment issues cause us to ask who my neighbor is in a very substantive way.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 09, 2020, 04:14:47 PM
So maybe then an open inter-Lutheran forum is kind of a test case issue by issue, thread by thread, person by person.  Can we speak our minds with as George says charity and decency? 

Some of these are passionate issues and causes to us.   One thing leads to another and the thread goes sideways.  Sometimes its an uncomfy thread and the thread itself is sideways before it starts. 

ALPB and its subsidiaries are committed for pretty much ever to inter-Lutheran exploration of theology and practice, mission and ministry.  You see that straight up in the Lutheran Forum in terms of articles, new editor included.  You see from a specific ELCA,LCMS, NALC perspective in the Forum Letter.  And here you see it in dialogical or dialectical format.  This is the only one where there's a semi-real time conversation across the aisles (although Lutheran Forum has a response zone to articles that can/could be close). 

Participants tend to come from Ordo/Eucharistic parishes or experience, but not universally.  There's not much ethnic/racial diversity and not many active participants from the large/megachurch mainstream evangelical perspective, which I think is too bad because those would be serious conversations worth having.  I think sparks would fly as perhaps iron would sharpen iron.  We also mirror because we live here the cultural divisions and obduracy of our time and age in the way in which we think and interact. 

After Superstorm Sandy, we/Atlantic District spent a bunch of time and energy in Far Rockaway Queens which is a poor and hard peninsula between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  Tough, lots and lots of crime/drugs, some of the worst public housing projects for crime in the City.  Anyway, we ended up on Seagirt and Beach 25th in a former bodega and christened it The Hope and a Prayer Center:  Where Dignity Prevails.  Kept it open for three years, with four or five murders taking place right outside the door.  The watchwords never changed - hope, prayer, dignity.

Maybe our watchwords in conversation could be with charity and decency. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Weedon on May 09, 2020, 06:05:15 PM
Pr. Rahn,

I get the taking “nigh” bit, but I do think of my neighbors as my acquaintances. I have met a number of our participants, and even those I have never met face to face, I still consider neighbor in some extended sense. But the appeal to the 8th is not really much more than an appeal for the modicum of charity and decency you reference. If I am being charitable, then I will not construe someone’s words in the worst way, if there’s a plausible way to interpret them in a better light, would I? That’s my point. And being Lutherans (by and large, or at least Lutheran sympathizers), striving for behavior that conforms to our confessed understanding of God’s will for our lives would surely make this forum a bit more profitable, in my opinion. I just don’t see the point of attempting conversing if one’s words will be consistently misrepresented in the worst light. Even Melanchthon admits in the Apology that nothing can be stated so clearly that it cannot be misunderstood. So rather than assuming the worst, I really do suggest we do a disservice to one another by not assuming the best.

Pax!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 09, 2020, 06:22:43 PM
Thanks for this reminder, Pr. W. I always learn from your irenic spirit. Glad we had the chance to catch up neighborly in Tampa last summer.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: therevev on May 09, 2020, 10:49:13 PM
I just don’t see the point of attempting conversing if one’s words will be consistently misrepresented in the worst light.

I embrace this sentence. Some interesting moments in relationships when I try figure out when this point of exhaustion arrives, and how do we turn back into peace. Thank you Pr. Weedon.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: NCLutheran2 on May 09, 2020, 11:11:17 PM
And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....

Yeah, in some respects this is why I sort of have a “good riddance to you both” sort of attitude towards both seminaries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they may be the most financially secure of all Synodical institutions at this point, which is why I would be interested in seeing the financials.

You're not alone in wanting to see the financials, Pastor Geminn. Too bad that the Concordias are private institutions, otherwise their CAFRs (comprehensive annual financial reports) would be public record. You might be able to get something from their regional accrediting body if you're willing to make a few inquiries.

To the point, though, is the fact that at the root of any consolidation I have ever known about, it was 0% about finances and 100% about politics and people (this is why they bring us MPA's on to handle that stuff, since navigating politics and people is what we're trained to do). It all boils down to whose money it is that is being spent, and the vast majority of people directly involved will happily keep burning their money to avenge a perceived slight or keep an old grudge alive, regardless of whether it makes any rational sense or not.

What I don't know about the seminaries that some here may is how much of their budget is self-supported (generated from tuition & fees or their own fundraising) versus how much is coming from the Synod? If the schools bring in enough on their own, there's only so much pressure the Synod could then apply to force a consolidation. If it's closer to 50-50, the Synod may be reading the tea leaves for the future, and a Rast presidency would be their way of pulling back their contribution to a level they feel is sustainable for them and forcing the two schools to make the money themselves if they want more.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 10, 2020, 08:24:43 AM
And that quote, as I've been only jokingly saying for years in various forms, is exactly what they expected to buy.  "You can't close us, we just spent $15M on a new library/new stained glass windows/new named buildings" along with "You can't close us, we just hoovered the last $150M out of the shrinking denomination to ensure we survived."  They both have pursued sunk cost anchors which it will take solid leadership to cut loose from. Sigh....

Yeah, in some respects this is why I sort of have a “good riddance to you both” sort of attitude towards both seminaries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they may be the most financially secure of all Synodical institutions at this point, which is why I would be interested in seeing the financials.

You're not alone in wanting to see the financials, Pastor Geminn. Too bad that the Concordias are private institutions, otherwise their CAFRs (comprehensive annual financial reports) would be public record. You might be able to get something from their regional accrediting body if you're willing to make a few inquiries.

To the point, though, is the fact that at the root of any consolidation I have ever known about, it was 0% about finances and 100% about politics and people (this is why they bring us MPA's on to handle that stuff, since navigating politics and people is what we're trained to do). It all boils down to whose money it is that is being spent, and the vast majority of people directly involved will happily keep burning their money to avenge a perceived slight or keep an old grudge alive, regardless of whether it makes any rational sense or not.

What I don't know about the seminaries that some here may is how much of their budget is self-supported (generated from tuition & fees or their own fundraising) versus how much is coming from the Synod? If the schools bring in enough on their own, there's only so much pressure the Synod could then apply to force a consolidation. If it's closer to 50-50, the Synod may be reading the tea leaves for the future, and a Rast presidency would be their way of pulling back their contribution to a level they feel is sustainable for them and forcing the two schools to make the money themselves if they want more.

1. The seminaries receive basically 0% directly from the synod budget.
2. The seminaries are "owned and operated" by the synod; whatever the convention says (I don't think any synod president or Board of Directors would ever close/consolidate without convention direction/approval), the seminaries MUST do.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark_Hofman on May 10, 2020, 09:18:29 AM

1. The seminaries receive basically 0% directly from the synod budget.
2. The seminaries are "owned and operated" by the synod; whatever the convention says (I don't think any synod president or Board of Directors would ever close/consolidate without convention direction/approval), the seminaries MUST do.

This isn't quite accurate.

The two seminaries received $3,572,756 from God's disciples, routed through the Synod's budget (A detailed breakdown by seminary and type of assistance is publicly available at https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/ (https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/) or by directly downloading the report from https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2 (https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2).).

The last time I looked, the combined budgets of the two seminaries were about $39 million to $40 million ($22M for St. Louis; $17M or $18M for Fort Wayne).  So $3.5M in support via Synod's budget would be around 8.5 to 8.9 percent.  Granted, it's not the majority, but both seminaries have very competent development/advancement teams who help individuals, groups and organizations like the LWML supply - directly - anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of their operating funds, and endowments that generate between 10 and 20 percent (until this economic situation drove endowments underwater).

Seminary financial statements can be secured through a written request sent to their Boards of Regents.

And since the discussion is now back on this repetitive topic, it would be more accurate to state that congregations no longer fund seminary education out of regular worship offerings sent from their budgets to their districts, who send funds on to Synod. That died years ago. People do that through their philanthropy.  We should all quit complaining about it. God is providing the funding a different way. It dishonors any person, group, congregation or organization who is generous to the seminaries - and to seminarians- directly.

Assumptions drive emotions. Emotions drive behaviors.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 10, 2020, 10:30:17 AM

1. The seminaries receive basically 0% directly from the synod budget.
2. The seminaries are "owned and operated" by the synod; whatever the convention says (I don't think any synod president or Board of Directors would ever close/consolidate without convention direction/approval), the seminaries MUST do.

This isn't quite accurate.

The two seminaries received $3,572,756 from God's disciples, routed through the Synod's budget (A detailed breakdown by seminary and type of assistance is publicly available at https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/ (https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/) or by directly downloading the report from https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2 (https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2).).

The last time I looked, the combined budgets of the two seminaries were about $39 million to $40 million ($22M for St. Louis; $17M or $18M for Fort Wayne).  So $3.5M in support via Synod's budget would be around 8.5 to 8.9 percent.  Granted, it's not the majority, but both seminaries have very competent development/advancement teams who help individuals, groups and organizations like the LWML supply - directly - anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of their operating funds, and endowments that generate between 10 and 20 percent (until this economic situation drove endowments underwater).

Seminary financial statements can be secured through a written request sent to their Boards of Regents.

And since the discussion is now back on this repetitive topic, it would be more accurate to state that congregations no longer fund seminary education out of regular worship offerings sent from their budgets to their districts, who send funds on to Synod. That died years ago. People do that through their philanthropy.  We should all quit complaining about it. God is providing the funding a different way. It dishonors any person, group, congregation or organization who is generous to the seminaries - and to seminarians- directly.

Assumptions drive emotions. Emotions drive behaviors.

So, if I am reading that report correctly, of that $3.5 million almost $3 million is money the synod received specifically from donors specifically FOR the seminaries.  Not discretionary funding.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RevG on May 10, 2020, 10:36:53 AM

1. The seminaries receive basically 0% directly from the synod budget.
2. The seminaries are "owned and operated" by the synod; whatever the convention says (I don't think any synod president or Board of Directors would ever close/consolidate without convention direction/approval), the seminaries MUST do.

This isn't quite accurate.

The two seminaries received $3,572,756 from God's disciples, routed through the Synod's budget (A detailed breakdown by seminary and type of assistance is publicly available at https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/ (https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/reporter-supplement-pastoral-education-the-truth-of-christ-is-that-important/) or by directly downloading the report from https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2 (https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=4IM4flwbLU3cmq3zeBne91Jb1CYsRtI2).).

The last time I looked, the combined budgets of the two seminaries were about $39 million to $40 million ($22M for St. Louis; $17M or $18M for Fort Wayne).  So $3.5M in support via Synod's budget would be around 8.5 to 8.9 percent.  Granted, it's not the majority, but both seminaries have very competent development/advancement teams who help individuals, groups and organizations like the LWML supply - directly - anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of their operating funds, and endowments that generate between 10 and 20 percent (until this economic situation drove endowments underwater).

Seminary financial statements can be secured through a written request sent to their Boards of Regents.

And since the discussion is now back on this repetitive topic, it would be more accurate to state that congregations no longer fund seminary education out of regular worship offerings sent from their budgets to their districts, who send funds on to Synod. That died years ago. People do that through their philanthropy.  We should all quit complaining about it. God is providing the funding a different way. It dishonors any person, group, congregation or organization who is generous to the seminaries - and to seminarians- directly.

Assumptions drive emotions. Emotions drive behaviors.

Thanks for this, Mark.  I was actually thinking of you in relation to this conversation.  Given that you were at CSL before LCMS Inc.  This info is helpful because, as you note, both sems have a huge development apparatus, 50-60% of the budget coming from donors.  That’s simply amazing and crazy (sorry not intending to invoke Aerosmith). Moreover, via the Synod, a good portion of the subsidy is given specifically for and to the seminaries.  Only about $600,000 of the 3.5 million are undesignated, which is 17% of that entire amount.  Do you think Synod Inc would be willing to give 3.5 million to the sems if all of that money were undesignated funds?  That I think is a key question in all of this as well.  Because about 3 million going through Synod Inc is specifically for the seminaries.  That, at least, communicates to me that the people of Synod truly care about the seminaries, but when they give they must specify where that amount should go.  This goes back to my main point that a merger is hard for me to grasp because of the blood and sweat that has gone into making the sems financially secure on their own.  If that is the plan that is going to take a lot of time to implement.  Maybe the pandemic is the situation needed to really push this forward, but I don’t know.  Again, I just don’t see those involved easily giving that up, which is fair.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: TimKlink on May 10, 2020, 11:47:56 AM
Enrollment...our enrollment has been poor, if we had better enrollment we wouldn't be worried about consolidation. I have been in Orange for almost 30 years.  This is the first year the letter of, "Hey will come and sit at your site and see how many dudes show up" was changed in any way besides putting on a different date.  We have cranked out 7 pastors in those 30 years through LCMS Inc.  Yet two others who are great pastors in non-denom churches on in CA and one in CO, may have gone into LCMS Ministerium if they had been shown a pathway.  Enrollment is issue, not money.  Money is the issue for survival mentality, which is antithetical to the Gospel.  Enrollment...enrollment...enrollment. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 10, 2020, 11:53:59 AM
Enrollment...our enrollment has been poor, if we had better enrollment we wouldn't be worried about consolidation. I have been in Orange for almost 30 years.  This is the first year the letter of, "Hey will come and sit at your site and see how many dudes show up" was changed in any way besides putting on a different date.  We have cranked out 7 pastors in those 30 years through LCMS Inc.  Yet two others who are great pastors in non-denom churches on in CA and one in CO, may have gone into LCMS Ministerium if they had been shown a pathway.  Enrollment is issue, not money.  Money is the issue for survival mentality, which is antithetical to the Gospel.  Enrollment...enrollment...enrollment.

Of the two non-denomination pastors that originally came from your congregation, what pathway were they not shown?  By whom?  I assume you spoke with them about our seminaries.  I trust that you discussed with them the type of studies involved and the procedures for applying/enrolling.  I hope you encouraged them to attend.  So, what pathway was not shown them?  What do you wish the synod/district had done differently for these men (I assume they are men; if not, well, then I guess I know what blocked their pathway!)?  The seminary?  Its recruiters?  The congregation?  Its pastor?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark_Hofman on May 10, 2020, 12:28:39 PM

Pastor Hofman's reply was responsive.


First, a clarification. I'm not ordained, do not hold an M.Div. and not an under-shepherd of a congregation. So not a pastor.  I am on the roster as a commissioned worker (teacher, secondary ed degree), but have spent the last 25 years serving Christ and his disciples in that horrible, unwanted, third-class profession of "fund-raising", sixteen years at CSL and now at the corporate Synod level. (So, what do I know?)



Thanks for this, Mark.  I was actually thinking of you in relation to this conversation.  Given that you were at CSL before LCMS Inc.  This info is helpful because, as you note, both sems have a huge development apparatus, 50-60% of the budget coming from donors.  That’s simply amazing and crazy (sorry not intending to invoke Aerosmith). Moreover, via the Synod, a good portion of the subsidy is given specifically for and to the seminaries.  Only about $600,000 of the 3.5 million are undesignated, which is 17% of that entire amount.  Do you think Synod Inc would be willing to give 3.5 million to the sems if all of that money were undesignated funds?  That I think is a key question in all of this as well.  Because about 3 million going through Synod Inc is specifically for the seminaries.  That, at least, communicates to me that the people of Synod truly care about the seminaries, but when they give they must specify where that amount should go.  This goes back to my main point that a merger is hard for me to grasp because of the blood and sweat that has gone into making the sems financially secure on their own.  If that is the plan that is going to take a lot of time to implement.  Maybe the pandemic is the situation needed to really push this forward, but I don’t know.  Again, I just don’t see those involved easily giving that up, which is fair.

Peace,
Scott+



Your question is hard to answer because worship offerings passing to districts and Synod are declining both in real dollars and especially dollars adjusted for purchasing power (inflation). But my gut says that if a shift to undesignated voluntary contributions (or least-restricted donations), there would be more money going to seminaries and missionaries and mission projects - not less. The infrastructure required to seek out, receive and administer restricted funds - especially tightly restricted funds - wouldn't need to be near as big, nor near as complex, consuming less of the undesignated revenue stream. I say these would receive more because you can look at the Constitution of the Synod to see why it was formed in the first place:  prepare and send well-educated workers; call and send well-prepared missionaries. There are other purposes for the Synod (preserve and promote a unity in doctrine) that require funding as well.

Will that ever happen? Probably not. We (meaning the bulk of pew-sitters) don't currently possess the will or desire to go in that direction. We like telling others how to spend what we offer, so we can feel we are having an impact. And there are forces in play over which no one - not donor, not congregation, not boards - has control.

What I suggest holding on to is the important sentence in your reply: "the people of Synod truly care about the seminaries". They also care deeply about missionaries. For the first time, more money was given to support specific missionaries (almost 100 of them) than came to St. Louis from the districts. The unrestricted portion of the budget doesn't speak to the power the individual donor has to shape what the Synod is doing, regardless of the amount they contribute. People voluntarily giving direct gifts, and putting a designation on them, does; but, there is a cost to that.

But, then again, what do I know?



Note: These are my personal opinions as a member of an LCMS congregation and a private citizen, based on my own experiences and education. They are not to be read or taken as any sort of official comment by or from the LCMS, or indicative of the Synod's official position on such matters.

Bowing out now. I'm not a member of the fraternity.

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: RandyBosch on May 10, 2020, 01:03:15 PM
Enrollment...our enrollment has been poor, if we had better enrollment we wouldn't be worried about consolidation. I have been in Orange for almost 30 years.  This is the first year the letter of, "Hey will come and sit at your site and see how many dudes show up" was changed in any way besides putting on a different date.  We have cranked out 7 pastors in those 30 years through LCMS Inc.  Yet two others who are great pastors in non-denom churches on in CA and one in CO, may have gone into LCMS Ministerium if they had been shown a pathway.  Enrollment is issue, not money.  Money is the issue for survival mentality, which is antithetical to the Gospel.  Enrollment...enrollment...enrollment.

Of the two non-denomination pastors that originally came from your congregation, what pathway were they not shown?  By whom?  I assume you spoke with them about our seminaries.  I trust that you discussed with them the type of studies involved and the procedures for applying/enrolling.  I hope you encouraged them to attend.  So, what pathway was not shown them?  What do you wish the synod/district had done differently for these men (I assume they are men; if not, well, then I guess I know what blocked their pathway!)?  The seminary?  Its recruiters?  The congregation?  Its pastor?

I'm very thankful for and more interested in the 7 out of 9 who chose LCMS Seminaries -- and their pathways since that choice to share the Gospel to the world.

As to edifices, I was baptized in a church building that, when it was built, would hold the entire population of the town even though the congregation was only minority of the population.  Something about faith and faithful people.  Despite ups and downs - the Spanish Flu heavily impacted that town and congregation soon after that church building was completed.  I doubt that many felt the effort had been a waste or misdirection of money, to this day.

I'm also familiar with congregations that built churches in good faith that years later are now ruins, bookstores, or parking lots.  I don't think the expenditure of time, talent, and treasure used in almost all cases was out of hubris, pride, ill-conceived plans or cynical motives to erect landmarks that would assure survival because of the "sunk cost".

I'm also familiar with congregations that built while in decline - whether the decline was spiritual, ministerial, possible attendees, a tanking economy - solely in an attempt to nail donors' shoes to the floor -- and declined anyway.  The "Edifice Complex" isn't healthy.
Yes, some were built to satisfy egos - whether of pastors or donors.  Yet many were brought to the Lord in those places.

My only experiences with the two seminaries has been touring - climbing Luther Tower, eating with seminarians, singing in the Chapels - but more importantly it has been in following the ministries of those who made it through who I know/knew (a few of the host of those who did) bring grace and mercy through the Gospel to many thousands.  Incredible blessings to God's people.

I'll stick with the best construct - done in faith, in hope for the future in a place and for the ministry there until God decided to send the saints and sinners elsewhere. 

The two seminaries are awesome resources with awesome, committed people (including those who give a little from thousands of congregations for their support - whether direct to them, through Synod, District or seminarians) that would best not be squandered (or mismanaged).  I pray that the man selected with the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be a catalyst for sustaining those resources, opening them to other uses by the Church where and when availability is there, all with faith and hope in the purposes for which God allowed them to be created and maintained. 

I pray that the pastors who have grown in knowledge, faith and, I hope, wisdom at the seminaries will keep their eyes on the goal and messages on target to encourage new seminarians to persevere and to be equipped to serve in the fields ripe for harvest. 

Other than that, I have nothing to add to this discussion.


Praise the Lord!
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark_Hofman on May 10, 2020, 01:16:39 PM

So, if I am reading that report correctly, of that $3.5 million almost $3 million is money the synod received specifically from donors specifically FOR the seminaries.  Not discretionary funding.


I’m sorry. I did not see this when I was replying to Rev. Geminn.

Correct. Not discretionary funding.

A little less than $2 million is raised by Synod FOR the benefit of the seminaries, around half in gifts designated to the Joint Seminary Fund (the other half via JSF bequests). Resources listed as the Global Seminary Initiative are solicited gifts from a collaborative effort by Synod and the two seminaries. Grants to the seminaries are either secured by grant proposals, or pulled from funds designated by donors for a use where a seminary grant is possible - but the grant amount is determined by Synod. We stopped soliciting student aid gifts in 2015, but still have LCMS Inc. owned endowments where the income is restricted to providing student assistance.

So, not only do donors care deeply about seminaries, most of us at the I.C. do too. Otherwise I (my team) wouldn’t still be soliciting and facilitating seminary-designated donations, or directing donors to contact the seminaries to supply student financial aid dollars.

If someone wants to see where the discretionary money goes, we do put our budgets and audited financial statements online.  Keep in mind that individual donors are now providing around $1.5 million in unrestricted contributions, separate from what districts send. Another $1 million usually, but not always, comes out of someones’ estate where they named the Synod as one of the beneficiaries. So not all of the discretionary funds are from congregation worship offerings.

Assumptions drive emotions. Emotions drive behaviors.



NOW I’m bowing out.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 10, 2020, 01:29:56 PM

Pastor Hofman's reply was responsive.


First, a clarification. I'm not ordained, do not hold an M.Div. and not an under-shepherd of a congregation. So not a pastor.

I apologize for my error. Your name is familiar. Perhaps you were at Sem StL when I attended, 95-99.

I am on the roster as a commissioned worker (teacher, secondary ed degree), but have spent the last 25 years serving Christ and his disciples in that horrible, unwanted, third-class profession of "fund-raising", sixteen years at CSL and now at the corporate Synod level. (So, what do I know?)

But, then again, what do I know?

Bowing out now. I'm not a member of the fraternity.

Are you irritated about something? I stated that your reply to Steve Bohler was responsive. Thank you for the insightful information.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Mark_Hofman on May 10, 2020, 02:02:04 PM

Pastor Hofman's reply was responsive.


First, a clarification. I'm not ordained, do not hold an M.Div. and not an under-shepherd of a congregation. So not a pastor.

I apologize for my error. Your name is familiar. Perhaps you were at Sem StL when I attended, 95-99.

I am on the roster as a commissioned worker (teacher, secondary ed degree), but have spent the last 25 years serving Christ and his disciples in that horrible, unwanted, third-class profession of "fund-raising", sixteen years at CSL and now at the corporate Synod level. (So, what do I know?)

But, then again, what do I know?

Bowing out now. I'm not a member of the fraternity.

Are you irritated about something? I stated that your reply to Steve Bohler was responsive. Thank you for the insightful information.


Yes, I was at CSL then, but on staff not as a student.

And any irritation I feel periodically is of no consequence. That said, please look for a PM from me.  Assumptions drive emotions. Emotions drive behavior.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 10, 2020, 02:33:21 PM
Yes, I was at CSL then, but on staff not as a student.

Yes, I understand. Thank you.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 10, 2020, 04:21:50 PM
Thankful for the specificity from Mark in response to others, which helps put things together.  As anyone could expect, I think most of the districts are going to take a pretty big financial hit this year, for one overriding reason - the congregational offerings are taking a pretty big hit.

Although we can hope it's all a short-term shortfall, that's most likely more a wish than an anchored hope.  Congregations with lots of members who were working or owned businesse are composed of stewardship leaders who even if they continue giving generously will have lots less to give.  And congregations with lots of members who were retired and had saved are composed of stewardship leaders whose savings have taken a thumping so even if those folks give generously they'll have less to give.  If, as is the case with most congregations, the budget is dependent almost exclusively on donations, this is problematic to say the least.

I'm sure those at the middle judicatory and national level have been weighing and balancing these scenarios for awhile now.  Let's say they come up with a number for the year - minus 20% from last year.  That's a chunk of change.  Any minus number is real money, because the budgets are put together with a number that's normally not a minus number.  So that's another scramble, another belt tightener.

Beyond that, when it comes to the seminaries, there's a lot tied to the real estate and what's on it.  So the entire altar area at the Luther Chapel was donated by the Pabst family in memory of many loved ones and in honor of Francis.  Does the Pabst family have a say in whether the seminary gets sold to The School Next Door?  What happens to the altar when it becomes part of the Student Union and they're grilling cheeseburgers in there?  And there are tons and tons of these designated gifts with names on walls and furniture, sidewalks and speed bumps (well, maybe not speed bumps). 

In answer to Scott, the donors behind those buildings - or their families if they've gone to heaven to be with Jesus - are at least in theory reasons not to rush into a property sale.  I guess if they were asked nicely.  One thing for sure - Dale Meyer could raise some money for his seminary.  Larry Rast apparently could for his seminary as well.  So there's that in terms of presidential selection.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 10, 2020, 07:57:10 PM
I'm sure those at the middle judicatory and national level have been weighing and balancing these scenarios for awhile now.  Let's say they come up with a number for the year - minus 20% from last year.  That's a chunk of change.  Any minus number is real money, because the budgets are put together with a number that's normally not a minus number.  So that's another scramble, another belt tightener.

In my district (which is not one of the larger ones in Synod and comprised predominantly of rural parishes), we have been watching a gradual decline in revenue for some time now, and that was pre-COVID19.  Staff at the district office is a shadow of what it was when I came back to this area almost 20 years ago.  Having just attended a Zoom Board of Director's meeting last week I know that we are okay financially at the moment, which actually surprised me.  Congregations, more than ever, are going to conserve funds locally, especially since some are furloughing some of their own staff and possibly trying to keep their other ministries, such as day schools, above water.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of these "middle judicatory" offices, as you call them, will decrease in staff even further, many going to part-time, and much of the work off-loaded on whoever remains. Given the hit many individual members have taken with layoffs and outright loss of jobs due to closed businesses, the recovery on that level will take some time - probably a number of years.  I am somewhat glad now that my projected retirement is still out about 5 1/2 years.  We are doing fine, but I'm sure my retirement investments are nowhere near where they were just months ago. 
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: PrTim15 on May 10, 2020, 08:34:01 PM
Enrollment...our enrollment has been poor, if we had better enrollment we wouldn't be worried about consolidation. I have been in Orange for almost 30 years.  This is the first year the letter of, "Hey will come and sit at your site and see how many dudes show up" was changed in any way besides putting on a different date.  We have cranked out 7 pastors in those 30 years through LCMS Inc.  Yet two others who are great pastors in non-denom churches on in CA and one in CO, may have gone into LCMS Ministerium if they had been shown a pathway.  Enrollment is issue, not money.  Money is the issue for survival mentality, which is antithetical to the Gospel.  Enrollment...enrollment...enrollment.



Lack of follow up, no personal contact, they only seemed to recruit the low hanging fruit, Enrollment, enrollment, enrollment.


Of the two non-denominational  pastors that originally came from your congregation, what pathway were they not shown?  By whom?  I assume you spoke with them about our seminaries.  I trust that you discussed with them the type of studies involved and the procedures for applying/enrolling.  I hope you encouraged them to attend.  So, what pathway was not shown them?  What do you wish the synod/district had done differently for these men (I assume they are men; if not, well, then I guess I know what blocked their pathway!)?  The seminary?  Its recruiters?  The congregation?  Its pastor?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: PrTim15 on May 10, 2020, 08:36:03 PM
Pastor Bohler I’m curious how many guys you have guided into Pastoral Ministry?  You have been at ministry for a while.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 10, 2020, 09:33:23 PM
I'm sure those at the middle judicatory and national level have been weighing and balancing these scenarios for awhile now.  Let's say they come up with a number for the year - minus 20% from last year.  That's a chunk of change.  Any minus number is real money, because the budgets are put together with a number that's normally not a minus number.  So that's another scramble, another belt tightener.

In my district (which is not one of the larger ones in Synod and comprised predominantly of rural parishes), we have been watching a gradual decline in revenue for some time now, and that was pre-COVID19.  Staff at the district office is a shadow of what it was when I came back to this area almost 20 years ago.  Having just attended a Zoom Board of Director's meeting last week I know that we are okay financially at the moment, which actually surprised me.  Congregations, more than ever, are going to conserve funds locally, especially since some are furloughing some of their own staff and possibly trying to keep their other ministries, such as day schools, above water.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of these "middle judicatory" offices, as you call them, will decrease in staff even further, many going to part-time, and much of the work off-loaded on whoever remains. Given the hit many individual members have taken with layoffs and outright loss of jobs due to closed businesses, the recovery on that level will take some time - probably a number of years.  I am somewhat glad now that my projected retirement is still out about 5 1/2 years.  We are doing fine, but I'm sure my retirement investments are nowhere near where they were just months ago.

Bingo.  Of course I'm in the phase of life where that investment income is part of the current financial plan.  On the other hand, where are we going?  The cruises to the Caribbean seem to be on hold. 

I suggested district realignment here a couple of weeks ago as a way to re-think, re-purpose, re-imagine that aspect of community life.  I am of the opinion that the two key ingredients - church discipline (conflicts and worker issues) and filling pastoral vacancies appropriately - need a person at shelf one.  But if the districts were reimagined, then the other staff could be more than a ghost ship, and assist congregational strategies more effectively, albeit say for all of Wisconsin rather than half plus the U.P. 

As the national Synod rightsizes, the districts could actually lead the way not to hunkering down but to pushing out. 

To me, the national level will have enough challenges with the university system and how to do mission work effectively in a time of diminished or certainly differently received financial resources. 

I think Tim is correct on the main thing - we could have two or five seminaries.  Enrollment/Recruitment is key.  And at the district level, it's rethinking parish ministry and congregational alignments.  Otherwise the sustainable parish numbers are going to continue to tank, which effectively makes the need for pastors less critical.  That's already happened.  There should be tons of churches begging for pastors.  That hasn't happened all that much because too many smaller ones are now tiny and dual/triple/quadrupled up. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 10, 2020, 10:19:51 PM
Pastor Bohler I’m curious how many guys you have guided into Pastoral Ministry?  You have been at ministry for a while.
I've guided only three church members into the pastoral ministry in the LCMS, and a several into other rostered church work. Plus a few who went for it and didn't make it through for one reason or another. But it seems a tad ridiculous to blame the seminaries for those who went non-denom instead. I can see being disappointed in the seminary recruiter for not following through, but the result of that should have been that someone you thought might become a pastor became a faithful layman in some other calling instead, at least for the time being. If they were formed at your congregation to point that you considered them good material for the pastoral ministry, the idea of becoming an non-denominational pastor should have been totally off their radar. If follow-through and personal contact from a seminary recruiter mattered more to them than the sacraments of the church, well, there are precious few congregations in the LCMS where they would have been a good fit, although that number, sadly, is probably not zero. In short, I can see, to a point, blaming the seminary for not nurturing a call to the pastoral ministry sufficiently, but I can't see blaming the seminary for not keeping in the Lutheran fold someone who was already determined to be a pastor and was just in the market for what kind of church to lead.   
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Charles Austin on May 10, 2020, 10:38:05 PM
The late great Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, head of the ULCA and later the LCA, was listening to a pastor say how happy he was about the dozen men he had sent into the ministry. "I'm happier," he reportedly said, "about the men I kept out."
I think in my generation - back when dinosaurs roamed - young men were "sent" or at least "directed" towards the ordained ministry by 1) Luther League, 2) Church camps, and 3) Youth conferences, places where the ministry was lifted up and the concept of "call" and "vocation" was clearly explained. I'm not sure that pastors were the prime movers. Mine weren't. My Confirmation pastor - who almost didn't confirm me, but 20 years later hired me to write Sunday School curriculum for Fortress Press - and I never talked about it. The pastor who followed him and with whom I discussed a growing sense of call, said "well, okay, here's what you should do." He would later "sponsor" me at my ordination.
The guys I knew back then all had similar paths to accepting a call. Maybe I knew two or three seminarians who were following a father into the ministry, but no more than that.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 11, 2020, 08:27:43 AM
Pastor Bohler I’m curious how many guys you have guided into Pastoral Ministry?  You have been at ministry for a while.

None.  Although we have one young man who will be starting seminary this summer at Fort Wayne.  Through the years, I have spoken with several other men about it, discussed with them the course of studies and how to apply, encouraged them to pray and consider it (that is, the things I assumed you had done in my earlier post).  I have spoken with their family members (parents, if they were still in school; wife, if they were married) and congregational leaders about it, and encouraged them to discuss it with the individual in a supportive way.  But I am not blaming the seminary (or the synod or district) for my lack of success in that area.  Now that I have answered your question, would you answer mine to you?
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 11, 2020, 08:57:30 AM
The late great Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, head of the ULCA and later the LCA, was listening to a pastor say how happy he was about the dozen men he had sent into the ministry. "I'm happier," he reportedly said, "about the men I kept out."
I think in my generation - back when dinosaurs roamed - young men were "sent" or at least "directed" towards the ordained ministry by 1) Luther League, 2) Church camps, and 3) Youth conferences, places where the ministry was lifted up and the concept of "call" and "vocation" was clearly explained. I'm not sure that pastors were the prime movers. Mine weren't. My Confirmation pastor - who almost didn't confirm me, but 20 years later hired me to write Sunday School curriculum for Fortress Press - and I never talked about it. The pastor who followed him and with whom I discussed a growing sense of call, said "well, okay, here's what you should do." He would later "sponsor" me at my ordination.
The guys I knew back then all had similar paths to accepting a call. Maybe I knew two or three seminarians who were following a father into the ministry, but no more than that.


Thanks for this, Charles.  I'm in double figures when it comes to those sent into LCMS ministry through my local setting.  Many have been from other countries of origin/cultural backgrounds.  Some were ordained already so could go through our "colloquy" process.  Others either went to the seminary directly, or in some alternate route program. 

I think Fry's answer about those kept out is on the mark.  My own experience has been that some just wanted a pathway to life in the US, not so much a pastoral vocation.  So I tried to help them find another pathway.  Some had such lifestyle issues that they were really ineligible.  And some were uncomfortable with the means of grace.  By that I mean infant baptism and the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper.  And we would spend time on those issues wrestling with it.  And often lose - so off they went to either self-ordination or some other tradition.

I think we Lutherans, and I'll speak of it in Missouri Synod terms, tend to think our stuff is "irresistible."  It is, after all, pure orthodox Christianity.  That's because I think we tend to underestimate the cultural tug of Calvinist/Reformed doctrine and law-based belief systems.  The Law gives false comfort, but it does give quick comfort - I didn't do this, so I'm good with God; I did that, so I'm good with God.  And we underestimate or fail to understand the emotional aspects of religion/faith.  We get real joy over a well-sung four part chorale, which is less than a one on the emotional Richter scale of 1-10 for most people.  In other words, we don't shake a finger to scare people straight and we don't shout Hallelujah enough.  There are a lot of reasons people don't pick us and there are a lot of reasons that people who pick us come from the same basic pool.  As for me, it was the family business through grand/great-grandfathers and by extended family all the way back to the early days of Lutheranism.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Daniel Lee Gard on May 11, 2020, 08:59:00 AM
The late great Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, head of the ULCA and later the LCA, was listening to a pastor say how happy he was about the dozen men he had sent into the ministry. "I'm happier," he reportedly said, "about the men I kept out."


This may undermine your high opinion of Dr. Fry but I was baptized by him.

Another ULCA pastor sent over 20 men to the seminaries from a modest sized urban congregation. My father was one of them. The pastor, Calvin Stickles, asked my father to go fishing with him on Lake Erie. They rowed out from shore, Dr. Stickles put the oars in the boat, looked at my father and said "We will go to shore when you promise to go to seminary." Hours later, bladder bursting, my dad agreed. The result was a ministry of 65 years.
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 11, 2020, 09:02:54 AM
"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1, NIV)
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Dave Benke on May 11, 2020, 09:05:31 AM
The late great Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, head of the ULCA and later the LCA, was listening to a pastor say how happy he was about the dozen men he had sent into the ministry. "I'm happier," he reportedly said, "about the men I kept out."


This may undermine your high opinion on Dr. Fry but I was baptized by him.

Another ULCA pastor sent over 20 men to the seminaries from a modest sized urban congregation. My father was one of them. The pastor, Calvin Stickles, asked my father to go fishing with him on Lake Erie. They rowed out from shore, Dr. Stickles put the oars in the boat, looked at my father and said "We will go to shore when you promise to go to seminary." Hours later, bladder bursting, my dad agreed. The result was a ministry of 65 years.

That's a great story, Dan, with a wonderful conclusion!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 11, 2020, 09:49:48 AM
The late great Dr. Franklin Clark F