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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 

Hobos, Ivy Leaguers, And The Priesthood

Too often I’m accused of “just being critical” of my beloved synod, the LCMS. So taking the advice of a reader, I’ve prayed for a rather extended period of time before commenting and came up with this solution for the pastor shortage that I’ve been told we have. And truth be told, this post is really an extended response to synod unleashing their EVAT strike teams.

I don’t often agree with synodical leadership, but this time they are hitting the nail on the head. We in the LCMS have a problem with church workers not understanding their “station” in our society. We’ve all known for far too long that the priestly caste just can’t seem to live within their means. Eustolio Gomez, CPS director of education speaking on church worker indebtedness states succinctly and profoundly “financial planning goes beyond "not getting paid enough." He says, "The real answer is in learning how to deal with expenses."

What the heck do these people spend all the money we give them on? Are they blowing all that money on rent, electricity, food or clothing? I know more than a couple that actually fill up their BMW’s with premium gasoline, which only goes to support Muslims (who I understand don’t even like Christians). Where do these people get off?

Did Jesus have a nice apartment or big house on that north side of town where all the best schools are? No he did not. Did he drive a nice M3 around the mission field? No, he walked everywhere! If walking was good enough for Jesus, shouldn’t the priestly caste make a better effort at emulating the Savior of the human race?

As everyone who reads this blog is aware of, I strongly support the Office of the Ministry. But let’s all be honest, these members of the priestly caste don’t work but one day a week. And on that one day, truth be told, they can usually be caught sipping a little vino.

So here is a modest proposal to address our shame wrought scandal of church workers who just can’t seem to manage their money; just write off the current batch and hire a new group of more responsible stewards of the churches monies.

Where we should start is the Ivy League business schools. The caliper of people graduating from business schools such as Harvard and Yale aren’t going to work for less than a six figure salary, period. With that in mind, I’m sure we can get a few to accept employment in our pulpits. These pioneering spirits would accept the challenge of turning around our congregational budgets. The more the congregation can be encouraged to bring in the, the more the “CEO” of the parish would collect. By applying simple business models learned in those high class business schools, the “CEO” could not only turn around the fiscal situation of the congregation but the districts and the synod as well. All levels of the polity would benefit. And most importantly, these brave souls would not be as frivolous with their money as apparently the current crop does.

The second front we should attach this shameful problem is by looking to the indigent. These poverty stricken people already know how to do with less. They are already emulating Christ by walking everywhere (no BMW problem here). They are emulating Christ by living in the mission field. Jesus was a carpenter, the indigent are good at building homes out of cardboard boxes. Jesus didn’t hold a steady job during his earthly ministry, the indigent have that base covered too. And isn’t the mission to reach the unreached? The people that most of society calls “hobos” already have makeshift churches under every overpass in every city. This is a tremendous growth opportunity for the LCMS. In a story reported by the AP, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an advocacy group, is stating that there are 744,000 homeless. Just think what we could do if we just convert 10% of the nation’s indigent over to the priestly caste!

The LCMS was founded to send out missionaries and train pastors. Sure we have pulled back many of our missionaries, and sure we no longer (as a synod) support or fund the current crop of church workers at the seminaries. But this isn’t our grandparent’s synod. So the current members of priestly caste should quit bellyaching about how much it costs to stay in school for eight years, turn the heat down, go back to eating macaroni and cheese, and start learning how to manage their monies. Otherwise you should expect a visit by a synodical EVAT strike team. And rest assured, you don’t want that to happen.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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