Many of us have written letters, emailed, and/or called the "powers that be" in response. We have registered our disappointment that Issues, Etc. has been unduly and unjustly canceled. We have asked for better reasons than "programmatic and business reasons." We have expressed our desire to hear Issues, Etc. brought back to the radio and Internet sound waves. Many of us have signed the online petition, which stands at 4232 signatures at last check. We have even heard and participated in talk of organizing a protest/demonstration/prayer vigil (with various reactions to both the idea and the nomenclature).
How shall we now proceed? Let me suggest a one word answer, a single syllable "mission statement," if you will. (After all, mission statements are all the rage these days, right?) This one word answer might just serve to focus our correspondence, our petition comments, and any possible protest/prayer vigil to come. Let's focus on and proceed with the one-word question of "Why?"
First, let's ask that question of ourselves: Why are we upset at the cancellation of a radio program? Why do we want to send letters, emails, etc.? Let's focus our answer on two reasons: 1) the unexplained cancellation of the show and the unwarranted firing of Pr. Todd Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz are just plain unjust, even sinful in how it was carried out, and 2) more importantly, this unjust action silences a powerful and effective voice of the Gospel in our midst and around the globe.
When we focus on reasons such as "my favorite radio program" or "how much it helped me/him/her," these are certainly good and fine reasons. Thank God for such reasons and for the people who have benefited from the service of Issues, Etc.! However, someone else can cite equally subjective reasons to defend and support the cancellation.
Let's also remember that in the "big scheme" of Christ's one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, Issues, Etc. is but a blip on the radar screen - a good blip, brightly shining on the radar screen, to be sure, but still just a small part of the eternal picture. The Church has survived for centuries long before Issues, Etc. first hit the airwaves, and Christ's holy flock will continue long after Issues, Etc. and we rest in the grave. (This is not at all to diminish all the good that Issues, Etc. has done - for that we thank God! - it's simply to keep some historical and truly forward-looking perspective.) The Gospel will continue to be proclaimed from pulpits of Christ's Church, the life of God will continue to be dispensed from His altars around the globe, and Christians who are changed by the life-giving, life-changing, life-sustaining Good News of Jesus Christ will continue to bear witness in their everyday lives.
And while we're at it, asking ourselves "Why?", we may want to ask: Why seek to bring Todd and Jeff back to the dysfunctional bureaucracy from which they've now been liberated? Why not look for some better, more supportive ways and means for them to continue proclaiming and teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? After all, as we still celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord, we do firmly believe that our God and Savior has a way of bringing life out of death and victory out of the jaws of defeat!
I firmly believe that our correspondence and protest will be strengthened by focusing on the "Why?" of the injustice and of the silencing/diminishing of the Gospel's voice.
Second, and most germaine to the ongoing discussion and future actions, let's ask the question "Why?" - our single-syllable mission statement - of the LCMS powers that be. Answering that question may be the one thing they fear the most.
- Why, Mr. Strand, did you cancel this most "successful" program that actually carried out the mission of the Church, both across the nation and around the world?
- Why, Pres. Kieschnick, when you evidently knew of this coming action, did you not try to stop it, for the good of the church body which you've been elected to oversee and for sake of its mission in and to the world?
- Why were two faithful, Christian men fired from their service to their church body - and really the Church at large - with nary a reason given to them?
- What possible reason can be given for silencing such an effective voice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Was it actually preaching and teaching false doctrine, and we didn't realize it? If so, then we really need to know the what and the why, because our souls could be at stake.
- Why were the archives of the program inexplicably removed from the Internet, as if to suggest that the program never existed, and then quickly restored in a different place, as if to admit that a mistake had been made, but with no clear elucidation?