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!