03 April 2008

Keep Spreading the Word!

Keep spreading the word, folks, about all of this smelly mess related to the Issues, Etc. cancellation and this Twilight Zone called LCMS missions endeavors!

Just this morning, one person I know wanted to talk about the Wall Street Journal article by Mollie Hemingway (3/28/08). This person's husband read it just last night and showed it to her. Both of them were amazed and had not heard that the Issues, Etc. debacle had made national news (and how many days ago was that?).

Also, this person I know expressed confusion about this Jefferson Hills Church and their billboard signs purportedly signed by Satan. (Here's a news story from a local news channel.) She had seen the billboards before. She had seen the name "Jefferson Hills Church." But she and her husband had no idea (a) that this church is a Missouri Synod congregation, let alone "Lutheran" (because it does not have "Lutheran" in the name, after all) and (b) that these strange, even offensive, billboards have been funded by LCMS missions money ($25,000 to be precise).

And while we were on the topic of strange, surrealistic - and satanic? - things being done with LCMS missions monies, I couldn't resist asking her if she knew of "The Crave." It's a local LCMS congregation, on the campus of St. Louis University, in which the sanctuary was gutted and the place remodeled into a coffee house. (I kid you not! Read a review here, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch online.) Now, as folks listen to the praise/rock band at the Saturday evening "service," they can also sip their latte, eat their Pesto Crusted Grilled Cheese (check the menu), and even get up and go for seconds while the band jams on for Jesus.

By the way, when you read the Post-Dispatch review of the "The Crave," be sure to notice the last paragraph:
And the evangelism I feared? It was nowhere to be found — unless, perhaps, it's what you were looking for in the first place. Uncommonly warm, and built around the communal pleasures of coffee and food, Crave offers just the kind of spiritual vibe a girl like me can get her head around. It's all about good feelings and positive energy, and what could be better than that?
Very interesting! LCMS missions monies are going to fund an evangelism that is "feared" by this reviewer? LCMS outreach dollars actually fund an evangelism that's evidently "nowhere to be found"? From money given for missions comes a coffee house that's "uncommonly warm," because after all, "it's all about good feelings and positive energy"?!

And for some strange, surrealistic reason we could not find it within our missions means to continue paying for a simple radio show that actually and proudly did put its evangelism efforts out for the whole world to see and hear?! At least with Issues, Etc. there was no danger of any reviewer saying its evangelism was "nowhere to be found," no matter how many espressos or turkey sandwiches Todd and Jeff may have offered them!

Yes, keep spreading the word! It would appear that many of our good Lutheran lay folk have absolutely no idea how their monies given for missions are really being used!


Pastor Kent R. Schaaf said...

Pr. Asburry,
Great blog! I agree with you that we've gone down the wrong path with our views of mission churches. Down here we had a mission church that started a $1 movie theater in an abandoned part of a shopping mall. The goal was to do "outreach" by showing movies like Shrek2 and Phantom of the Opera. You could get a good price on popcorn and soda. The mall they leased from would not let them put any signage up like "Christian" "Faith" "Christ" or "Jesus" and yet they went with it anyways. It flopped horribly and the accounting for it was a debacle that our district still is trying to clean up. Yet, this kind of junk gets all the monies while those of us who are keeping true to the Word and Sacraments are moving forward with shallow pockets yet faithful hearts. Keep up the good work! By the way, your former organist, and my wife, Martina says "hello!"

Randy Asburry said...

Thanks, Pr. Schaaf! What amazing hubris and foolhardiness to think that movie theaters with secular movies, coffee houses, and messages signed by "Satan" can actually draw people to the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Please tell my former organist "Hi" in return. Tell her that Carol says "Hi" too.

Jon said...

In 2006 I was in Augsburg and I went to the place was the Augsburg Confession was first read and the official Lutheran pressence ran a coffee bar there as its contact point and info center.

Absolutely crazy, is it not?

Family of Michael & Jen-Yi Paul said...

Thanks for the encouragement to "get the word out." It's similar to what I've always felt about the "international schools" in Hong Kong and Shanghai that are heavily supported and touted by synod...where they cannot teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation, since that would offend the multinational corporations who support the schools and the kids of the employees of these companies. I recently heard of the Hong Kong International School's "Christmas" program which was equally as "politically correct" as the public school in St. Louis that my kids went to a few years ago. If more of the LCMS laypeople knew their mission dollars were being pumped into such schools, Crave, Jefferson Hills, Epic, etc...I think they would be shocked.

Charles Henrickson said...

Two different events in support of "Issues Etc."--a prayer service/dinner and a public demonstration--are being planned for St. Louis on Sunday, April 13, and Monday, April 14.

On Sunday, April 13, at 5:00 p.m., there will be a prayer service at Emmaus Lutheran Church in St. Louis:

After the service, there will be a bratwurst dinner. To help in planning for the dinner, please register (by Tuesday, April 8, if possible):

On Monday, April 14, 11:00-1:00, there will be a public demonstration in support of "Issues" outside the LCMS International Center in Kirkwood. (Note: This event is not sponsored by Emmaus.)

It will be helpful to the organizers of the demonstration to know how many to expect, in order to arrange logistics of parking, carpooling, etc. Please register your intention to attend:

For those coming from out of town for both events, lodging can be arranged. Please indicate that on the registration form.

For more information and background on the cancellation of "Issues Etc." and what can be done about it, several websites have helpful information and further links:

Support of "Issues" is a movement, not a program! Spread the word!