Author Topic: LCMS Inc 2020 Report  (Read 47651 times)

Weedon

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #135 on: December 28, 2020, 08:43:01 PM »
Jack??? I am confused. I thought it was purchased under Dr. Johnsonís administration.

Mark Brown

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #136 on: December 28, 2020, 08:43:07 PM »


Well, Mark, I did get to take two classes there.  History 100 and Hermeneutics.  Oh and we used the gym for intramurals.  So I guess it was worth it.  ;)

Peace,
Scott+

Oh man, you got to use the gym?  I had two classes there.  Don't remember what they were. But no gym use.  Fond memories.  I'm getting verklempt.

peter_speckhard

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #137 on: December 28, 2020, 08:49:42 PM »
Jack??? I am confused. I thought it was purchased under Dr. Johnsonís administration.
Yeah, I wasnít sure who was being referenced, so I just quoted the term. I assumed the reference was to President Johnson and didnít know if he went by Jack to those in the know.

Mark_Hofman

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #138 on: December 28, 2020, 08:54:07 PM »
I was at CSL on staff during the CBC campus purchase - and sale. I was at the Board of Regents meeting when they made the decision to sell. It was not as simple as some appear to be making it out to be, and some of the facts are being placed into a context that doesn't hold water.  But it's always simple to take a few pieces of any story and weave a tale that suits a desired narrative. Especially from a hundred miles away.

Weedon

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #139 on: December 28, 2020, 08:58:40 PM »
Mark, of course, a salutary reminder. We are seldom privy to half the story. I remember thinking at the time how great it would be to actually have a seminary PRESENCE on one of the main thoroughfares as opposed to being buried deep off DeMun. My friend, Dr. Lee Maxwell, was actually hopeful that maybe the seminaryís archeology program could be housed in the new facilities and expanded; that turned out to be a pipe dream, however.

Mark Brown

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #140 on: December 28, 2020, 08:59:58 PM »
My point is that most decisions, the ones that turn out to be good and the ones that turn out to be bad, have people saying it is colossally stupid and people saying it is the obviously right move. In hindsight, one group is always justified. I donít think ďGenius JackĒ is simply stupid and made a decision that any seminarian could see was stupid. He might not merit the title Genius, but he was smarter and better informed than the average seminarian. If the CBC purchase had saved the seminary in retrospect, your disdain of the decision would have no consequences and would never come up. But it didnít. Genius Jack was like a coach calling the play on 4th and goal. It didnít work. Sports talk radio is abuzz with how idiotic the call was.

No, this is part of what we have to stop.  We have to be willing to say when people made really bad decisions. And this was a really bad decision.  Everybody knew it, except the group that pushed it.  I used to guide the investment process for a multi-billion dollar unit of a fortune 10 company.  And it didn't take that background to know it was a terrible decision. (And if we had made decisions that terrible we'd have been fired, not just moved laterally.)  The average seminarian could know it was a terrible decision.  Better informed people should certainly have been able to see it.  When your only way to pay for it is: a) raise tuition on seminarians and b) hope that we can increase giving, it is a really stupid decision.  That should have stopped it right there.  But in the LCMS never does, we never actually question the decisions of those that are in "your tribe."  And anybody who might have said, "you know Jack, this is stupid, here are the reasons" would have just been labeled as not part of the tribe.

The entire thing fell apart in less than three years.  The guy who replaced Jack (Johnson, they called him Jack Johnson when I was there) knew it was so bad that he wrapped it up almost walking into the office.

Mark Brown

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #141 on: December 28, 2020, 09:09:04 PM »
Mark, of course, a salutary reminder. We are seldom privy to half the story. I remember thinking at the time how great it would be to actually have a seminary PRESENCE on one of the main thoroughfares as opposed to being buried deep off DeMun. My friend, Dr. Lee Maxwell, was actually hopeful that maybe the seminaryís archeology program could be housed in the new facilities and expanded; that turned out to be a pipe dream, however.

Yes, there was no shortage of dreams that were placed on the purchase of this building.  A new synod out of the purple palace, a place on the main drag, an archeology program, the moving of a Concordia College to the Seminary, the expansion of the seminary beyond a parochial pastor school, and plenty of other dreams.  And dreams are fine, maybe even necessary.  The problem with all of those is that none of them paid the $10M note.  The people that paid the note were seminarians who are still paying for it years later.

Even Jesus in the scripture says check if you have the funds to build before you start.  That was not done.  And for that reason alone, that was visible to everyone, including the average seminarian, it shouldn't have been done.  And we should be able to admit that.  And know the next time we are pitched dreams ask for a solid business plan first.

Mark_Hofman

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #142 on: December 28, 2020, 09:17:00 PM »
There is a whole lot of untested assumptions in the most recent two post, Rev. Brown.  You may have been on campus at the time, but seem to be tying facts together in a way that a historian could rip apart when that day comes.

For example, tuition didn't go up because of CBC. Tuition rates went up because the Synod in Convention passed a resolution - pushed by some at the seminaries - that tuition should truthfully reflect the real cost per student of the education was, and that the members of the Synod should rally to provide the funds needed to cover that tuition. That was easy to do at a place where enrollment was low enough for existing endowment and financial aid gifts were pretty much doing that already, but no one thought about what would happen if and when enrollment would balloon under a "free tuition" message. (Side rant: it was never FREE.)  There should have been a RESOLVED or a caveat that capped enrollment when the financial aid ran out. But no one thought of that. And when enrollment ballooned, the specter of running out of space made an appearance.

When the "free tuition" bubble burst - the FIRST time - it was because the Synod got the first half of that resolution; It didn't rally to uphold the second at the same rate. The bubble bursting pointed out the ludicrousness of a financial model based primarily on tuition and financial aid as the source of operating revenue. That led to the push to diversify revenue streams, and one of those streams was/is endowment. The CBC property held the spectre of rental revenue as well.  Mixed into all this was the demographic shift away from single students living in dormitories and eating in dining halls, and the perceived need to build married student apartments back in the early 1990s.

Is the solution to sell the St. Louis semianry because it's worth a gazillion dollars? No. It's not worth a gazillion dollars. Washington Universtiy has zero interest in it. Just building the chapel required dynamite to bust through the layers of rock that lie below all that green grass.

The problem of professors, presidents, boards and bureaucrats (like me) can be solved very easily and inexpensively.  Take us all out to a wall and shoot us for all the incompetence we apparently put to work. Let seminarians run the LCMS.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 09:31:42 PM by Mark_Hofman »

Weedon

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #143 on: December 28, 2020, 09:28:24 PM »
Mark H,

No one would ever agree to shooting such a reasonable man. You have been so faithful through such turmoil. Thank you for your steadfastness. Keep calling us to be honest and faithful. Itís a good thing. God bless your service among us!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 09:32:45 PM by Weedon »

Mark_Hofman

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #144 on: December 28, 2020, 09:38:34 PM »
No, Rev. Weedon. Those of us who are called or appointed into these kinds of roles are (as they say in St. Louis) pond scum. For our "service" to the Church we pay a price no less than any pastor, teacher, deaconess or DCE/DCO bears. Our price paid is often more public, and more publicly judged. That's the only difference.

PrTim15

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #145 on: December 28, 2020, 10:00:04 PM »
Larry,

You know that I hugely resonate with your dream there, but given our current structure how would it even be possible to begin to implement? Another convention with BRG^&*&^% whatever it was? I mean, I donít think there will be much to salvage if we go on at the current levels and devise the usual feasibility study authorized to next convention to bring recommendations to the following convention (which may well need another cycle before theyíre really ready), etc., etc. etc. Still, it all begins from this (which was Sasseís great insight) that the renewal of the Church starts with the inner renewal of the preaching office as the office that literally provides that without which the Church cannot live: the saving Gospel proclaimed (not merely discussed!), and THAT, despite its great apparent weakness, is actually stronger than the gates of hell. Iíve often thought in recent years: renewal of congregation, read Von Schenkís Kingdom Plan; renewal of pastoral office, read Sasse, or even better, devote a year to studying Lutherís postils!

So different strokes for different folks and are a part of the body of Christ, clearly Pastor Weedon is a heart with a great heart for people, the Confessions, and the Scriptures. He clearly has gifts of teaching and preaching. Some have gifts of organization, other of compassion...etc...but we are one. We donít really need a convention to bring us together, a tipping point in any organization is about 20% sometimes less. Why not gather together and have conversations that are filled with life rather than filled with death? Conventions  are dreary, political and a place where idea go to die. Why not have a more organic conversation?

FrPeters

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #146 on: December 28, 2020, 10:07:04 PM »
Mark, we are all great visionaries in hindsight but looking through the fog called the future is seldom easy or accurate.  If things turned out only slightly different, it could have been that the purchase was quite the steal of a deal.  I harbor no ill will and neither should others.

FWIW I am tired of the IC being called the purple palace. It is really not all that purple and it is not that much of a palace either.  For a while it seemed a great idea.  Everything does.  But no one could have foreseen the shape of things now.  I am especially tired of the charge against the falsely labelled bureaucrats who work there.  There are fewer there than ever before, they work harder than anyone gives them credit, and without them we would be in dire straights.  I know first hand the labor of love poured out on behalf of the Lord, the work of the Church, and the cause of the Kingdom by the folks so many love to malign.

Will,  The BRTF##$$&&** whatever was the fruit not only of a desire to streamline but to control things from the office that the authors never dreamed would be occupied by somebody else.  It is like the Carver governance model that posits authority in a CEO model.  We have excellent people to manage affairs.  We need not a CEO but a man of the Church as President.  Perhaps the authors were well meaning but the result has not been without conflict.

I still think that the Synod has a possible course of action to see a 60 parish model take place -- if for no other reason than we cannot afford districts, full-time staff, and everything that goes with them.  But we cannot afford to be without bishops who hold us accountable and make sure we are Lutheran in practice and not just in theory.  Perhaps it may take awhile but it could happen.  Younger pastors have less patience for all of this stuff than those who have lived their lives around these institutions.  Apathy toward the Synod can best be countered by bringing the Synod to the smaller level of association where bonds of trust and loyalty can be born which just might extend beyond that dimension.
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #147 on: December 28, 2020, 10:40:03 PM »
As I recall soon after the Kirkwood facility was built some took to calling it the Synodial Office Building or S O B for short.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #148 on: December 28, 2020, 10:49:35 PM »
After the events, people can readily see the mistakes that were made and how stupid and foolish were those in charge. It should have been obvious to Lincoln and his advisors that it was unseemly and impious for the president to go to the theater on Good Friday. Nothing good could come from theater going on such a solemn and holy day.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 10:51:40 PM by Dan Fienen »
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PrTim15

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Re: LCMS Inc 2020 Report
« Reply #149 on: December 28, 2020, 11:04:46 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding the people working at the IC. My wife worked there in the erstwhile Communications department logging video tapes and working to produce videos for the various departments. It was a close knit group that loved what they were doing. And under appreciated is right...can never go back, but sure can track a new course.