10 April 2008

From Resolutions To...?

So far three District Pastors' Conferences of the LCMS have weighed in on the Issues, Etc. tragedy/debacle/cancellation (when can we say, "scandal"?). First, the Southern Illinois District weighed in. Next, the South Wisconsin District chimed in. Most recently, the South Dakota District pastors added their collective voice to the chorus.

First, let me say: "Well done, good and faithful fellow servants!" It's great to hear the broader LCMS community stepping into the fray to voice their disappointment with the infamous decision from the suits at 1333.

Second, let me say: "Let's hear more District Pastors' Conferences join the growing chorus!" Wyoming (my former District)? Montana? Districts on the right and left coasts? My own District of Missouri? (Although I'm not sure how it would happen, since we don't have a spring conference in the works. Perhaps Circuit by Circuit?)

Now, third, having said all of that, let me ask some questions simply meant for pondering and, hopefully, for good discussion:
  • What can we expect to come of these resolutions? I love the show of solidarity. I love the proof positive that Issues, Etc. simply must have been more listened to and more influential than the Strand-Kieschnick propaga... er ... "explanations" would have us believe. But what, really, will these resolutions do? (Okay, I can resonate well with the ancient Romans as a practical, "does it work?" kind of people! :-)
  • Would we really want Todd and Jeff to return to their former place of employment? Would they really be able to carry on their fine work as before, or would they be under more scrutiny? Might they have to agree to some kind of stipulations (I don't know what at this point, but I'm sure some bureaucrat somewhere would think of something!) that would most likely water down the show? Wouldn't they labor under the shadow of an already established vocational guillotine, just wondering when the sharp blade of termination might drop ... again?
  • What would happen if Todd and Jeff could begin a brand new radio program? What could happen if they would take their already established format, guests, and incisive discussions and make the show even more cutting-edge? Just think of how they could further proclaim the Gospel of Christ crucified and risen for us sinners! Just think of how many more folks across the country and around the globe might be able to hear and appreciate the faithful teaching of the voice and producer of the former Issues, Etc.!
I most certainly applaud the resolutions and their show of solidarity and support for good Christian men and their faithful work. But, yet again, I wonder what better fruit might be able to sprout and grow from the Issues, Etc. seed that's now been buried in the ground.

So, what do you say? Please chime in.


RevRuesch said...

Brother Randy,

Believe you me, there's talk already on the Minnesota North e-mail list about resolutions. I for one will be certain to bring forward a proposed resolution if no one else does. Our conference is a joint conference with MN-South, and doesn't take place until May 12-14. Not every district does theirs in April.

I appreciate your input on whether or not we want the show back on KFUO with Todd and Jeff reinstated. I would argue, "Yes, we certainly do." While my heart aches for Todd and Jeff...and while I personally miss my favorite radio show/podcast (I downloaded AND listened occasionally to the live stream)...the bigger issue isn't about Issues, Etc., it's about a confessional Lutheran voice being set forth by the LCMS. IE was that...now that voice has been silenced. The greater issue we have is: "Do we believe the LCMS can be a confessional church body OR do we believe that point is long gone?" Call me a half-full guy, but I still believe the former.

I enjoy your posts, Brother...keep up the good work.

Matt Ruesch,
Garrison, MN

Randy Asburry said...

Thanks, Matt, for your thoughts and your compliment.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I figure that we will just see other fruit spring forth. Just think about all the wonderful organizations that have arisen in the past 20 years or so - LHF, Higher Things, Good News - all doing things that could in theory be done by the Synod. Synod drops the ball, and God works through other groups of people.

But what good will come of these resolutions? Encouragement for those who look at Synod and too easily get depressed. It's good to remember that Synod isn't defined just by the decisions of a few.

The Rev. William M. Cwirla said...

You raise some excellent points, Randy. The resolutions so far are largely symbolic gestures. Some more concrete actions might be:

1. Establish an impartial review panel to investigate the action.

2. Withhhold all funds from synod until questions are answered clearly.

3. A comprehensive audit of the synod's financial books, including KFUO.

4. The establishment of a confessional, non-geographic district within the synod.

5. The organization of a "shadow synod" with the synod based on hymnal liturgy and confessional orthodoxy via grassroots organizations not under synodical control.

6. A coordinated political effort to replace the Kieschnick administration in 2010.

7. An in-depth theological analysis of the new emergent, seeker-sensitive, church growth theology that is displacing our grandfathers' church.

These are some concrete actions what would be available. Some are more radical than others, but at this stage, I think these and more need to be on the table for discussion.

Anonymous said...

This is a little off-topic, but I would like to see the resolutions address not only the problem of the abrupt cancelation of Issues Etc. and cruel firings of Todd & Jeff, but also address what seems to be the problem behind this situation. I may be ALL wet in viewpoint, but in my thinking, one of the main questions relevant to both the cancelation/firings and the future of the LCMS seems to be:

Does the LCMS want to speak with a clear confessional Lutheran voice that depends upon the foundations the Lutheran confessions, the Law & Gospel distinctions, the Theology of the Cross, and etc.? Or does the LCMS want to leave behind the Lutheran distinctives and follow the mainstream currents of our times?

One of the symptoms of the problem that I have found troubling are the speakers for the last fews years at the St. Louis' Day of Homiletic Reflection conferences. Why does the seminary continue to invite men from non-Lutheran streams of thought like Rev. Leonard Sweet (United Methodist Church) and Rev. Richard Eslinger (also UMC) to instruct pastors and seminary students on how to think and preach? As a recent convert to the LCMS who fled the mainstream currents, I will never be able to understand why the LCMS would want to throw away a rich heritage for a pottage of Sweet's mushy thinking and EPIC preaching or Eslinger's psychology of imagination thinking and creative narrative preaching. I joined the LCMS because I wanted to hear preachers who understood and preached Christ and Him crucifed not to hear more "genius" preachers who give me a bad case of spiritual flu.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent my 2 cents.

Pr. Lehmann said...

These resolutions are good and important. What comes from them is ultimately unknown for now. But it doesn't change the fact that they are the right thing to do right now.

I think most important for now, other than this, is that we be patient, not with the synodocrats, but with Todd and Jeff.

We don't know what the plan is, and that's okay.

Orianna Laun said...

I think the resolutions are a good thing. If they do nothing else they demonstrate that there are people in the church unhappy with the decision, and that would (I hope) make the Synodical Leaders sit up and take notice. It's time for the agenda of the church, not the agenda of a few.
I have said before, and I will reiterate, that I don't expect to see Issues, Etc come back in the same form we learned to know and love it. I don't know what to expect it to become. I'd love to have it reinstated as it was--I truly get sad every day I leave work, turn on my car and think, "I can't listen to Todd today."
Mark me down as a half-full person who truly belives the LC-MS has so much more to offer and is not broken beyond repair. We must continue to pray for the Lord to "curb those who by deceit or sword would wrest the kingdom from His Son and bring to naught all He hath done."

Michael Nielsen said...

Randy is right about whether or not Todd & Jeff would want to go back to working at KFUO in the shadow of the Internation Center where content censureship would be a problem. I want you to know that on the day they were fired, KNGN Lutheran radio station offered Todd & Jeff the opportunity to move production of their program to its studios in McCook, NE. Issues, Etc. has been KNGN's flag ship program for the past 18 years. They have received much support from KNGN's Board of Directors and from our listeners. Todd & Jeff could move to Nebraska or they could stay in St. Louis. While there would be the loss of signal to a densely populated area such as St. Louis, the program could be streamed as it was before and stations that used to carry it could resume. There could also be enough support in the St. Louis area to purchase time on another Christian station. Now it is up you to work to gather and organize Issues, Etc. supporters and the necessary financial support to accomplish this goal. It is up to Todd & Jeff to decide if they want to go back to producing and hosting Issues, Etc.

terriergal said...

It is not enough to get an apology from these men. What is needed is far deeper than a nice placating form letter and a grudging reinstatement of Todd and Jeff. These men are the real resisters who frankly need to be put out of the fellowship, and people with 'program driven' leanings should not be promoted to positions of influence.

BTW are the archives put up yet? They backtracked right away after the initial fuss, and said they'd do that too, but then seemed to put it on the slowest server they had. IMO that means they just have tried to toss people a bone without actually repenting of their ungodly actions. This kind of behavior doesn't go away because someone takes them by the ear and says "apologize to your sister/brother young man!"

geoffrobinson said...

New show.

Old format.

New station.

Kevin in Indiana said...

KNGN wants to accomodate the program??

Wonderful news! How soon can we get started? What can I tell my congregation? Maybe we can divert some of our Synod tithe to KNGN. When can I write my check?