Author Topic: Missouri's Horse Race  (Read 14513 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2010, 10:28:53 AM »
I agree, Dr. Benke, that those "cross-country" complaints have dwindled.  But not because the problem was dealt with (let alone solved) but simply because one group was muzzled and forbidden to voice their  concerns.  Let's take your case (since you again bring it up!).  As I recall at least one of the men who brought charges tried to speak with you about what transpired at Yankee Stadium but was rebuffed.  What recourse did he have but to pursue charges, since he was convinced you had sinned -- and that your sin was adversely affecting not just you, your congregation, or even district but the whole Synod?  Even more to the point: that your actions violated the First and Second Commandments and that it thus impinged upon the proper proclamation of the Gospel?  I am sure that you disagree with that view of your actions but simply stifling the voice of others does not help.  An investigation (done privately, out of the public spotlight and the press) would have helped -- but you and Dr. Kieschnick (and others on your behalf) repeatedly broke the bylaw forbidding publicity during this part of the process, even after it was pointed out to you (by many, including the Board of Directors of Synod).  Part of the real anger about that situation was that the only way to make their concerns heard was for those pastors and congregations to file charges.  Now that venue has been taken away.  So, do you think their concerns are gone?  Or their anger at being ignored? 
I doubt their concerns are gone, or their anger. But that wasn't the goal of the changes as far as I can tell. The intent was merely to prevent the concerns and anger from becoming overly disruptive and destructive. At some point the rule was made that the batter is not allowed to charge the mound with the bat in his hand. Such a rule does not address his concerns and anger over a fastball aimed at his head. It isn't intended to. But it does prevent the ensuing fistfight from escalating into a matter of assualt with a deadly weapon. I think we need to separate out the intent of the synod rules in the same way. Given the internet explosion, every service, event, speaker, etc. could be linked from blog to blog, giving enough material, at least on the surface, for people to make a full time job out of filing charges. This was not the case in the snail-mail days, when things had to either be local or very egregious just to make in onto the normal person's radar screen. So the change was not intended to address people's concerns or assuage their anger but simply to prevent those concerns and anger from taking over the show entirely, so to speak. But as you point out, there has to be a way for those concerns and anger to be addressed. The batter cannot charge the mound with the bat, so what can he do? That is the question. Simply take it from the head-hunter pitcher? In short, I think you're right that nothing has been done to allay the concerns of those who filed cross-country charges, but I don't think the rules changes were intended to do that or would even theoretically be capable of doing that.

The rule has been made that you can't take the bat to the mound with you. The pitcher, therefore, wants to play on as though the inside fastball never happened. The batter wants to do no such thing. The pitcher is wrong to think the new "no bat to the mound" rule (wise though it was to enact) addressed the issue of the high and tight fastball. And the batter is wrong to think the rule was supposed to. Tho only recourse, tragically, is to have your own pitcher throw at their guys, which is what happens when the synodical president gets replaced. If we want to avoid that, we do indeed have to recognize that people's valid concerns are not being addressed, that the rules changes did not address them, but that that doesn't mean the rules changes were bad but just that they addressed a different concern. I think the batter is right to demand that something be done, but is wrong to point to the new rules about cross-country filing of charges as the problem.

swbohler

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2010, 11:39:03 AM »
I have no real trouble with your analogy or analysis, Rev. Speckhard.  My point was simply that Dr. Benke's assertion that since the number of "cross-country" complaints has dwindled, we must therefore be better off and that the reason for the drop-off is because things are more peaceful now (because of such structural changes) is off-base.


Dave Benke

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2010, 01:02:14 PM »
You hit a home run with that baseball analogy and the words "destructive and disruptive," Peter.  That's why I'm sure you're in arbitration with your agent, Scott Bora, for the big bucks as our Missouri moderator.  As to the ump's blind eye, what's happened is like what happens in New York high school basketball (to mix the analogy a little).  Due to threats of destruction and disruption they often play the games in gyms at times privately determined without fans. 

Many conversations about substantial complaints among mostly brother pastors happen privately and to good result.  One of the hidden benefits of the words of our Lord to the Church (assembly) in Matthew 18, when you think about it, is that the assembly never knew there was a problem.  Offense was taken, person went to perceived offender and talked it through to conclusion and they came to the assembloy the same two crusty oddballs as they ever were, but without any complaint against the other one.  Who knew?  Who knows many of the times today? 

Dave Benke

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2010, 02:45:17 PM »
Nothing's 100%, Mike, but in large part the folks grousing about ecclesiastical bureaucrats have no idea of the ministry of prayer and persuasion/discernment/encouragement/exhortation that goes on day by day by day, for me hour after hour and meeting after phone call after meeting after phone call. 

Dave Benke

Dan Fienen

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2010, 08:27:04 PM »
Let's not forget that one of the Objectives of the LC-MS laid out in Article III of the Constitution is:

9. Provide protection for congregations, pastors, teachers, and other
church workers in the performance of their official duties and the
maintenance of their rights;

Synod is not only supposed to provide ecclesiastical supervision, and mechanisms to correct pastors who go astray, but also protect them from harassment.

Dan
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FrPeters

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2010, 10:03:58 PM »
A friend in the ELCA who is searching for a new church home has discovered what we in Missouri have known for some time... largely due to our own history of infighting... and that is it is much easier to find unity in what you against than what you are for...

In his case, he lamented that while he is together with those who lament the turn of the ELCA at the last CWA, it is much more difficult to find ELCA folks with whom he can find the same level of positive agreement as he has found in their disagreement with the sexuality decisions.

In my case in Missouri, there are many who will resonate in my critique of CCW for example, but we would not be as agreeable when it comes to things like lay or female lectors to name one issue.  That is not a particularly Missouri problem or even a Lutheran one but we in Missouri might have taken it one step further than others.  We were fine when the enemy was the Americanizing and Protestant Lutherans we found here after we got off the boats but when we found division within our own ranks it has led to a history of fighting over purity more than over truth.  At the same time, it has trivialized even the major areas of disagreement and ignored their substantial reality because we are viewed as simply a contentious church body.

In Bishop Benke's case there were and are substantial issues involved in the disagreement that followed his Yankee Stadium participation but there was also a rancorous attitude against Kieschnick that enabled some to use one thing for another.  I have said that I thought Benke's participation was unfortunate, how it might have been redeemed by a much more Christocentric prayer, but that I did not feel the issue rose to the level that so many believed it did and that as much as the process we have was followed, the result has hardly been reconciliation or peace.  I bring this up only to point out how people might agree to be against something but less agreed on what they are for and how some issues mix substantive and nominally important issues at the same time.

I know that some love it when I complain about TCN or CCW but I also know that many of them would not feel at home in my parish.... so we can find agreement in a common enemy but we struggle to find agreement in a common friend...

At one point in time the "liberal" wing of Missouri (conservative by other denominational measures) was united against conservatives and learned that if they simply let this unity stand they could gain control of offices and boards and use the structure.  The "conservatives" in Missouri are united against their "liberal" enemies but they find it hard to be for anything or of a common mind expressing positively what they agree to be for...  Because of this Kieschnick continues to be in charge and his antagonists are in disarray.

As an evangelical catholic in Missouri I find myself moving from side to side depending on the issue and this might explain why Herman Otten is so angry with those "hypo-European" folks like me even more than he is with Kieschnick...
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 08:26:04 AM by FrPeters »
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Dave Benke

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2010, 10:14:33 PM »
The toughy there, Dan, is that the objective includes both congregations and pastors.  Thereby the invitation to the ecclesiastical supervisor - "Get here tonight - it's his fault!!"  Followed immediately by the second phone call, "Get here tonight - it's their fault!!"  Most of my true ecclesiastical energy is spent in what follows.  My normal procedure is that unless I am perceived in advance as the bad guy by one party or the other, I go in myself.  And if it's real bad, no matter how I'm perceived in advance, I go in myself.  

Somebody has to do that.   And as you note, one of the chief complaints in either direction is not doctrine, but raw and real harassment.

Dave Benke

revjagow

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2010, 11:16:27 AM »
and I put them out in the track rack for the members of my church to do so as well. 

I guess that means "tract rack"?

Which reminds me of an old LP I have some place of some group of Lutheran ladies singing a bunch of satirical songs, one of which, as I recall, is called "The Tract Rack." Ring any bells with anyone? I wonder if I can find it in my garage.

Actually, it is a pair of antlers we use to hunt down the people who do not read the ALPB tracts we put out.   :P

There are actually quite a number of silly definitions one could come up with here, but I think I better quit while I'm behind. 

I don't suppose you have found the LP yet?
Soli Deo Gloria!

Charles_Austin

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2010, 12:15:05 PM »
"Church Basement Ladies," a satirical, but warm look at those types, is a musical play that has been poaying in the Minneapolis for some years. It has some quite appealing songs.
Go to the Plymouth Playhouse site for info.
http://www.plymouthplayhouse.com/

Richard Johnson

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2010, 12:21:01 PM »
I don't suppose you have found the LP yet?

Well, see, that entails digging into boxes in the garage, and my life insurance policy may not be quite up to date. And then if I were to be accidentally killed before I get our income taxes filed, my wife would kill me.  ;D
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revjagow

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2010, 01:20:07 PM »
revjagow,

How exactly are we (the LCMS) "coming out of our comfort zone to deliberately and strategically share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those outside our Synod"?  And do you honestly think the LCMS did not "deliberately and strategically share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those outside our Synod" for at least the past 25 years? 

Now, if I were to agree with the statement written by Dave Poedel in Forum Letter that the LCMS did not share the Gospel deliberately and strategically (which I take to mean "in recent years" and not to mean "we never did outreach"), it would be because back in 1998, the Rev. Dr. Al Berry was leading the good ship Missouri into our 3-10 plan.  "Tell the Good News about Jesus" was kicked off with an inspiring sermon by Dr. Berry at the Synod's convention that year (I happened to be in St. Louis at the time before traveling to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York to begin my first call).  Now, it was widely felt by the Synod at large that we had not been deliberate about evangelism as a church body and the time had come to be far more intentional about sharing the good news than we have had in the past.  That certainly is what I took away from Dr. Berry's sermon at the opening worship.  In his later report, he outlined that we would be in prayer and study for three years and then spend the next ten "sharing the Good News about Jesus."  At the end of the next trienium, Dr. Berry was called to glory and then it was Dr. Kieshnick's turn to carry the standard with the deliberate and strategic outreach we had planned under the 3-10 goals, so for the "10" part, he co-opted the strategy already being implemented by World Missions that they called "Ablaze!". 

So, if the very right Reverend of Arizona writes that he felt our Synod was "coming out of our comfort zone to deliberately and strategically share the Gospel" and I agree with him, I think we are in good company since both the 3-10 plan and Ablaze! were designed by our church body to do just that.   
Soli Deo Gloria!

swbohler

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2010, 04:12:50 PM »
revjagow,

And how is this a reason to prefer Dr. Kieschnick's candidacy over that of Rev. Harrison?  As I understand you, Dr. Kieschnick built upon the foundation (of intentionally, deliberately being active in evangelism) of his predecessor -- do you have any reason to think Rev. Harrison would not do the same?

revjagow

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2010, 09:25:18 PM »
revjagow,

And how is this a reason to prefer Dr. Kieschnick's candidacy over that of Rev. Harrison?  As I understand you, Dr. Kieschnick built upon the foundation (of intentionally, deliberately being active in evangelism) of his predecessor -- do you have any reason to think Rev. Harrison would not do the same?

No, I do not.  Not until he says or writes that he wishes to take the Synod in a different direction, at least.   What I wrote is more of my gut reaction for whatever its worth - which ain't much since I am not a delegate this year.  I know that as for me and my church, we like the trajectory we are on and we do not wish the LCMS to change course.  While I hope that is the will of the Synod too, what more can I do but express how I feel, pray about it and put it into the Lord's hands?  Its His church, after all, not mine. 
Soli Deo Gloria!

Dave Benke

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2010, 10:50:37 PM »
Andy states what I believe to be the opinion of a very solidly aligned group of people, and it's worth stating.  They are not interested in a change of course for the Missouri Synod, are pleased with the emphasis on outreach and opportunity for mission, and are not interested in a dramatic shift away from the course being taken.  I hear this a lot out in the hustings, whatever hustings are and wherever they're located.

Dave Benke

swbohler

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Re: Missouri's Horse Race
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2010, 11:28:29 PM »
revjagow,

So I am puzzled why you chose to quote that line from Rev. Poedel's article as a reason to support Dr. Kieschnick over Rev. Harrison.