Here let me comment on portions of the statement. First, I cite from Pres. Kieschnick's statement, then I give my response to that quote.
GK: "A decision to discontinue “Issues, Etc.” on KFUO AM Radio was made March 18, 2008, Tuesday of Holy Week, for fiscal reasons described in statements issued after the decision became public."Yes, Mr. President we are well aware of the officially given reasons thus far, but they're still not making sense and they still lead to more questions, such as:
- Why was one show, with its host and producer, made to suffer the "financial ax" while other, less profitable (if that should even be considered in a radio "ministry") shows continue?
- Why was Issues, Etc. made to be the sacrificial victim at the altar of "fiscal reasons" when KFUO management should have been?
- What about those finances? Just how are they working out between AM and FM sides of the KFUO operation? What *is* the real fiscal picture?
GK: "At the April 21, 2008, meeting of the Council of Presidents (COP) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, financial details precipitating this decision were discussed in executive session by Mr. David Strand, Executive Director of the LCMS Board for Communication Services (BCS), with specific fiscal information provided by the Vice-President-Finance—Treasurer of the Synod, Dr. Thomas Kuchta."Thanks for sharing, Mr. President, but keeping answers and details "in executive session" will not quell those of us who want real, substantive answers. In fact, keeping the cloak of secrecy only adds to the suspicion of back room deals, especially when dropping names of individuals who are known to be on opposite sides of the issue, their respective official positions notwithstanding.
GK: "Prior to its implementation, Mr. Strand also informed me as president of the Synod of his decision. I regret that I did not counsel Mr. Strand to postpone implementation of the decision until sometime other than Holy Week. It is obvious that the timing and process connected with the discontinuation of the program have contributed to the disappointment expressed by listeners and supporters of “Issues, Etc.” in and beyond the Synod.So, the decision to cancel Issues, Etc. was good, right, and salutary, even approval-worthy, in and of itself? It was just the timing that should have been different? Mr. President, I know that some have made a big deal of the unseemly firing being carried out during Holy Week, but honestly, that's not the biggest issue. It would have been unseemly no matter when it was carried out! No prior notice given so that the employees could prepare? No chance to say goodbye to their listeners on the air? No reasons given at the time of firing? (Isn't that something like termination of employment without cause?)
Yes, I would hope for more from a corporation that claims to be somewhat ecclesiastical. Is this the best kind of answer we can expect? This sounds like drawing our attention more to the wrapping paper than to the contents of the package.
GK: "I am deeply saddened by the anxiety, worry, and consternation experienced in the Synod by those directly and indirectly affected by the decision."With all due respect, this should have been the response *before* the untimely cancellation and the unseemly firings! Also, from a pastoral perspective, it should also have been the cause for reigning in Mr. Strand and saying, "No, don't do it at all. That cancellation and those firings will only cause 'anxiety, worry, and consternation' from people in the Synod."
GK: "Some have interpreted the decision to discontinue “Issues, Etc.” as being theological or political in nature or purpose. Such interpretations have no basis in fact.""Such interpretations" are only natural, Mr. President, when no substantive reasons or explanations to the contrary have been proffered. If I may ask: Who was your favorite guest on Issues, Etc., and what theological topic did you enjoy hearing the most? If "such interpretations have no basis in fact," would you, the head of our church body, mind telling us some of the many good things that Issues, Etc. did to proclaim the Gospel around the world? This single radio program must have had many "critical events" of speaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who hadn't yet heard it!
"Such interpretations" are only natural when the B-string replacement show, "The Afternoon Show," highlights and promotes a mission start such as "The Alley," as I believe it did in the program from Monday, April 21, 2008. (Be sure to click on and check out the "About Us" tab.)
GK: "As president of the Synod, I respectfully request and pastorally encourage all in the Synod to be patient and charitable regarding this matter, putting the best construction on actions and decisions connected therewith."That would be much easier if we could have more satisfactory answers and stories that do not change from week to week or posting to posting.
GK: "I pray for the day when the financial resources of our Synod do not necessitate the reduction in force of radio personnel, the return of missionaries from the foreign mission field, or any other such difficult and painful decisions."Perhaps that would sound more sincere, if the salaries of synodical and district executives were reduced to be more in line with those of parish pastors and Lutheran school teachers, who work where the real "ministry" takes place--in the congregations. Perhaps it would sound more sincere, if real, concrete steps were being taken to minimize airfare, lodging, and dining expenses for various board meetings, commissions' gatherings, conferences and retreats throughout the synod. Perhaps that would sound more sincere, if the synod at large truly knew what might be happening with money that's donated to districts and synod.
GK: "And I pray for peace and harmony in our beloved Synod."I join you in that prayer, Mr. President. However, I must also say that events such as canceling the most popular radio show and the best radio outreach that the synod has offered in some time only undermine such peace and harmony. I too pray for peace and harmony in our synod, and I do so because it is painfully apparent that we have too many vying and competing versions of doctrine and practice within our ranks. I pray that, by God's grace and wisdom, we may one day address these issues in theological and substantive ways.