Author Topic: Concordia University Chicago  (Read 2135 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2022, 06:03:40 PM »
What if . . .

-The current CUC administration weathered this storm in a reasonable manner.
-Exercised greater caution in hiring.
-Presented itself persistently as a conservative Lutheran university that would not sully its charter.
-Welcomed persons of all backgrounds who agreed to study there under the strictures of that charter. (In fact, have them read and sign the charter as a condition of enrollment. "I acknowledge that I am studying at a conservative Lutheran university . . .")
-Continued to train church workers who understood they were studying among a diverse but agreeable student population.

I imagine you might lose a bunch of students and faculty but you might just gain a clearer mission and more solid footing for the future.

Why throw in the towel because some people are upset or whining? Be clear and push back.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2022, 06:15:29 PM »
I have a friend who went to Northwestern and then Julliard for violin performance, but whose favored instructor left Juilliard for Brigham Young while my friend was there. So my friend also transferred to BYU. There wasn’t any Mormon in his lifestyle. More NYC musician. But to study at BYU he had to sign a pledge that he would live according to the Mormon faith, which at the most practical point meant no alcohol. He didn’t like it, but hey, he knew he was free to stay at Julliard. BYU was a Mormon school that non-Mormons were free to attend on Mormon terms.

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2022, 07:43:04 PM »
I think the Roman Catholic universities, by far a bigger tent church than Missouri, has a plan that is engaging from within the scholarly bounds of the church, but engages any and all who enter.  That to me is the model that is currently in place in CUWAA, and I think CUTexas, CUIrvine, CUSt. Paul and CUSeward. 

There is a distince pre-set toward the Lutheran Classical College model in those who are leaders and in elected/selected positions.  That's demonstrable.  At the same time, the larger number of congregations and pastors are graduates of and supporters of those five (six, really) schools. 

So - to take a contrary position for the sake of argument, why not have all the folks who support the Lutheran Classical model go for it, and those who support the model in place at the five Concordias go for it in their way.  The Concordias are viewed by most people as conservative Christian centers of education.  Let them choose NOT to be "theologically accredited" by the LCMS, become RSOs, with their own selected boards, and head into the future.

The Lutheran Classical group, which by the way is interviewing Professor Schulz again tonight on a podcast, already has a built-in recruitment base from those interested in that approach.  And they're highly organized throughout Synodical leadership including those elected and those on the ordained roster. 

In short, Mark Brown seems to want a "tear it down to the studs" approach (although I don't think we're allowed to use the word "stud" any more).  That's a ton - a literal ton - of negative energy.  Why go through that?

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2022, 08:33:09 PM »
But again, what does it mean to “engage” all who enter? Engage them with what? Sure, meet them where they are and engage them with the Gospel. But that is the exact opposite of nurturing them with the likes of Prof. Stapleton. His followers wearing Concordia gear were oohing and ahing his boldness and professing how great a teacher he was to them. They can get “engaged” by drivel like that any old place. Yet if someone says we ought to have instructors who are at least aware of and tolerant of our doctrine and practice, they’re accused of manipulating, controlling, circling the wagons, heading for the hills, etc.. Can proponents of multiple educational models for the LCMS at least agree that none of them ought to include instructors like Stapleton?

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2022, 08:57:30 PM »
I can't see that CUS has done anything amiss in this situation, except perhaps mistakes in hiring. Burning the place down is what the cultural anarchists want. Don't close down. Tighten up the charter and hiring practices. Then get back to recruiting. Be unapologetically Lutheran and conservative, which includes being kind to persons of other views while maintaining one's values.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2022, 08:59:22 PM »
What if . . .

-The current CUC administration weathered this storm in a reasonable manner.
-Exercised greater caution in hiring.
-Presented itself persistently as a conservative Lutheran university that would not sully its charter.
-Welcomed persons of all backgrounds who agreed to study there under the strictures of that charter. (In fact, have them read and sign the charter as a condition of enrollment. "I acknowledge that I am studying at a conservative Lutheran university . . .")
-Continued to train church workers who understood they were studying among a diverse but agreeable student population.

I imagine you might lose a bunch of students and faculty but you might just gain a clearer mission and more solid footing for the future.

Why throw in the towel because some people are upset or whining? Be clear and push back.

My daughter has only one additional academic year after this one at CUC, then the internship.  That said, I still believe in the potential of this school and what Dr. Dawn is attempting to do, which I believe reflects what you outlined above.  I want to see them succeed.  No doubt there will be a downsizing as they move in a more conservative direction.  That may mean less faculty, less programs, etc. (which is already occurring).  But there are students who will be attracted to a more conservative institution, and that may offset the initial losses.  Time will tell.  As I was talking to my daughter today I also stressed that they need to do a better job of letting prospective students know what kind of university this is, its unique confession, and obligation to the wider church body, etc. 

I understand the idea of downsizing the entire university system as others have suggested, and that may be the eventual direction.  Same with the seminaries, although I would contend that the two seminaries remain different enough even now that combining them would present some difficulties if they were combined.  For now they are doing okay. As far as I can tell Ft. Wayne seems on good financial footing.  Again, I have a vested interest, not only because it is my alma mater, but I also teach part time there in the summer.  But I'm nearing retirement and someone else will have to work all this out.  Time moves on. Things change.  It's the nature of things. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John_Hannah

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2022, 09:08:12 PM »
The difference between the two seminaries was eradicated more than 50 years ago when Springfield restricted admission to those with a bachelor's degree. After that (ca 1970) distinctive characters were contrived and merely advanced on the strength of residual energy from the big war.

Peace, JOHN

Interesting - that's when the name shifted to Concordia THEOLOGICAL Seminary.  Re-branding to a distinction without a difference. Then the SMP/Alternate Route/EIIT and other programs are basically those that mirror the earlier Springfield Seminary requirements in most ways.

Dave Benke

Indeed DELTO, SMP, EIIT, etc. are simply Springfield deju vu all over again. My circuit has two DELTO pastors and one SMP. One serves two congregations and all of them do excellent pastoral work. I'm really glad they are here. The alternative is four vacant congregations without even interim pastoral support.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2022, 09:17:36 PM »
The difference between the two seminaries was eradicated more than 50 years ago when Springfield restricted admission to those with a bachelor's degree. After that (ca 1970) distinctive characters were contrived and merely advanced on the strength of residual energy from the big war.

Peace, JOHN

Interesting - that's when the name shifted to Concordia THEOLOGICAL Seminary.  Re-branding to a distinction without a difference. Then the SMP/Alternate Route/EIIT and other programs are basically those that mirror the earlier Springfield Seminary requirements in most ways.

Dave Benke

Indeed DELTO, SMP, EIIT, etc. are simply Springfield deju vu all over again. My circuit has two DELTO pastors and one SMP. One serves two congregations and all of them do excellent pastoral work. I'm really glad they are here. The alternative is four vacant congregations without even interim pastoral support.

Peace, JOHN

Yes - it is the old Springfield model, in large part.  I should add here that my grandfather, from the great Loehe parish in Marysville, Ohio and then to the other great Loehe parishes in southeastern Wisconsin where he found a Loehe family and claimed one as his wife, was a Springfield graduate.  Eventually late in life he was given an honorary doctorate from that seminary.  The difference was that his formation was centered around exegetical studies in Hebrew and Greek.  Which is often lacking in today's "New Springfield" models. 

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2022, 09:25:51 PM »
What if . . .

-The current CUC administration weathered this storm in a reasonable manner.
-Exercised greater caution in hiring.
-Presented itself persistently as a conservative Lutheran university that would not sully its charter.
-Welcomed persons of all backgrounds who agreed to study there under the strictures of that charter. (In fact, have them read and sign the charter as a condition of enrollment. "I acknowledge that I am studying at a conservative Lutheran university . . .")
-Continued to train church workers who understood they were studying among a diverse but agreeable student population.

I imagine you might lose a bunch of students and faculty but you might just gain a clearer mission and more solid footing for the future.

Why throw in the towel because some people are upset or whining? Be clear and push back.

My daughter has only one additional academic year after this one at CUC, then the internship.  That said, I still believe in the potential of this school and what Dr. Dawn is attempting to do, which I believe reflects what you outlined above.  I want to see them succeed.  No doubt there will be a downsizing as they move in a more conservative direction.  That may mean less faculty, less programs, etc. (which is already occurring).  But there are students who will be attracted to a more conservative institution, and that may offset the initial losses.  Time will tell.  As I was talking to my daughter today I also stressed that they need to do a better job of letting prospective students know what kind of university this is, its unique confession, and obligation to the wider church body, etc. 

I understand the idea of downsizing the entire university system as others have suggested, and that may be the eventual direction.  Same with the seminaries, although I would contend that the two seminaries remain different enough even now that combining them would present some difficulties if they were combined.  For now they are doing okay. As far as I can tell Ft. Wayne seems on good financial footing.  Again, I have a vested interest, not only because it is my alma mater, but I also teach part time there in the summer.  But I'm nearing retirement and someone else will have to work all this out.  Time moves on. Things change.  It's the nature of things.

Good news, Don.

I would say close the IC and move necessary personnel to one of the sems or to CPH rather than close one of the seminaries. The IC is probably more saleable and the church has less attachment to it.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2022, 09:33:59 PM »
What if . . .

-The current CUC administration weathered this storm in a reasonable manner.
-Exercised greater caution in hiring.
-Presented itself persistently as a conservative Lutheran university that would not sully its charter.
-Welcomed persons of all backgrounds who agreed to study there under the strictures of that charter. (In fact, have them read and sign the charter as a condition of enrollment. "I acknowledge that I am studying at a conservative Lutheran university . . .")
-Continued to train church workers who understood they were studying among a diverse but agreeable student population.

I imagine you might lose a bunch of students and faculty but you might just gain a clearer mission and more solid footing for the future.

Why throw in the towel because some people are upset or whining? Be clear and push back.

My daughter has only one additional academic year after this one at CUC, then the internship.  That said, I still believe in the potential of this school and what Dr. Dawn is attempting to do, which I believe reflects what you outlined above.  I want to see them succeed.  No doubt there will be a downsizing as they move in a more conservative direction.  That may mean less faculty, less programs, etc. (which is already occurring).  But there are students who will be attracted to a more conservative institution, and that may offset the initial losses.  Time will tell.  As I was talking to my daughter today I also stressed that they need to do a better job of letting prospective students know what kind of university this is, its unique confession, and obligation to the wider church body, etc. 

I understand the idea of downsizing the entire university system as others have suggested, and that may be the eventual direction.  Same with the seminaries, although I would contend that the two seminaries remain different enough even now that combining them would present some difficulties if they were combined.  For now they are doing okay. As far as I can tell Ft. Wayne seems on good financial footing.  Again, I have a vested interest, not only because it is my alma mater, but I also teach part time there in the summer.  But I'm nearing retirement and someone else will have to work all this out.  Time moves on. Things change.  It's the nature of things.

Good news, Don.

I would say close the IC and move necessary personnel to one of the sems or to CPH rather than close one of the seminaries. The IC is probably more saleable and the church has less attachment to it.

Pastor Ed - on the ramparts, brother.  Close down headquarters!!  Stick it to the man!  Offload the Bureaucrats!!

Plus, the LCEF is right across the highway.  Space there.  And the Missouri District HQ, housing also the LLL, is out there along one of the highways.  OR - my choice - they could move the LCMS headquarters to Zion on North Benton Street and bring the vibe back to the city.

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2022, 10:00:54 PM »
Not wanting to stick anyone. Just seems wise to cut costs and save what is most dear to the church until things balance out and rebuilding can begin again in the future.
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Augsburg Catholic

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2022, 09:24:41 AM »
The only problem with selling the IC is that the LCMS does not own the land, only the building. The land is leased and and the value in an age of working from home tenuous at best.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2022, 09:49:52 AM »
Underlying the current unrest affecting us in the Concordia system may be the paradigm shift in higher education and the expectations of what it is intended to do (a subject all in itself that could occupy its own thread).  In the earliest years the Concordia system was a system primarily designed to prepare workers for our churches and schools.  To some degree it retains that charter, but as we all know those numbers have dropped precipitously. Funding from Synod, Inc., which used to be more substantial, has also dropped.  The schools, therefore, were pushed to find money outside the official system, often from private donors, as well as from recruitment of those pursuing non-church careers.  I was surprised when I taught a mid-level theology course at one of our Concordias back in 2020 to discover not one church workers student in the class which numbered 20 (at the beginning).  The online course was structured by a rostered LCMS professor and reflected our beliefs, even including readings from Luther and CTCR documents.  The problem, in part, was that the class reflected many who were barely catechized or not catechized at all in the Christian faith.  My daughter also discovered this in her roommate for her freshman year.  We have brought in many students who are not only non-Lutheran, but who are essentially not even literate in the Christian faith in general.  One of my students in the course I taught admitted to opening the Bible for the first time only the semester prior.

This diversity of non-catechized students are naturally gong to reflect the outside culture.  And it's not just that this conflicts with the culture within the LCMS, it conflicts, in part, with Christian culture in general.  So when it comes to the current mantra of "diversity, inclusion, and equity," many of these people turn to the outside culture for definitions and direction and not primarily to the scriptures.  We certainly have a tradition of kindness and love to those who are different than we are.  The scriptures inform us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  But even the concept of what it means to "love the neighbor" is vastly different inside and outside of the church.  Outside of the church it means not only tolerance of all differences, it means unconditional acceptance of them.  Now here I am not referring to racial issues, which I see as a category different than other 'diversity' issues, especially when it comes to that area the professor mentioned frequently in his diatribe: the LGBTQ+ community (which we should treat with kindness even if we do not agree).  It is no secret, as well, that church bodies across our nation approach these issues with dramatically different convictions and understandings.  So many see what some churches do outside the LCMS and assume that this is the standard of all churches.  Much confusion abounds. 

As my daughter observed, this clash was bound to happen and was inevitable.  Yet it gives us an opportunity to discuss a difficult subject we seem to have been dancing around, perhaps hoping it would just go away.  It won't.  Should we have addressed it much earlier?  Most certainly.  But we can't waste time implicating the past. The issue is how we address it in a Christian manner that is faithful to the confession that governs the school.  CUC, like all of our Concordias, whether some like it or not, are not only Lutheran schools, they are LCMS Lutheran schools.  Unless the synod decides to divest itself of them. But that is a decision for the Synod, not the school, not the faculty, not the students.

The issue that has surfaced now at more than one Concordia is not simply gong to just 'blow over'. We're way past that.  And there will be difficult and painful moments to come as we must firmly and faithfully address what our Concordias are meant to be and expected to teach.

We still need them to teach our called workers.  CUC has the only undergraduate program for deaconess studies.  I am hoping this will continue.  Yes, I'm vested in that because of my daughter, but I think the church is as well.  Can we train people in other vocations faithful to our confession?  Yes, but it will not be like every other university, private or public.  I think that Dr. Dawn is working to make sure CUC reflects our confession in all that it does.  Not an easy task. But if the synod abandons him now, he is sunk.  He must have its support.  We will not just ride this out.  Fallout is inevitable.  But I think that CUC can arise from this, as the rest of our Concordias, stronger and more clearly focused on their central mission. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John_Hannah

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2022, 10:19:18 AM »
"CUC has the only undergraduate program for deaconess studies."

Doesn't Valpo still have a deaconess program? We could use it.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

D. Engebretson

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Re: Concordia University Chicago
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2022, 11:24:37 AM »
"CUC has the only undergraduate program for deaconess studies."

Doesn't Valpo still have a deaconess program? We could use it.

Peace, JOHN

Their deaconess program is quite different than ours, and is governed by a much different theological direction. It would not work for the LCMS. I believe the deaconess program at CUC was started many years ago for that reason.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI