Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Anne's First Post, Part 2

This is the second half of the email that I received from Anne that she requested I post. Here’s part 1. Remember, play nice!

Thank you, kirnhorner2001, Adam Roe, and Dan at Necessary Roughness for your words of encouragement to my brother, Frank.

Frank on 03/08/08, posted the notice of my husband’s death; Frank said that my husband he had earned the right to rest after years of being sick. It was well into the wee hours of the morning after a long night of waiting for the last breath, and my brother misspoke. It was, of course, Christ who bestowed the right to rest on him via his sacrifice.

If works could buy our way to Glory, however, this man of mine would enter because of his simple faith in God. He was longsuffering, never complained when his life was filled with pain and suffering and discouragement. He showered the world with random acts of kindness and pointed people to live Godly lives through the gracious Godly way he traveled his road. The world was a better place for this man having been here. He was a loving father, a beloved husband and a faithful man of God.

LongEyeMoose - You said that Lutherans communicate their love for Christ through vocation, not by singing love songs.

Have you read the Psalms, dear friend? Have you not seen the admonitions to lift up to the Lord a joyful noise? To lift up Holy hands? To enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise?

Jonathan Edwards wrote, “The things of religion are so great, that there can be no suitableness in the exercises of our hearts, to their nature and importance, unless they be lively and powerful. In nothing is vigor in the actings of our inclinations so requisite, as in religion, and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious.”

I refer you to 1 Cor 13:3. “…if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, and have not love, I gain nothing.”

John Piper has written: “One thing is for sure, love cannot be equated with sacrificial action. …This is a powerful antidote to the common teaching that love is not what you feel, but what you do. The good of this popular teaching is the twofold intention to show (1) that mere warm feelings can never replace actual deeds of love (James 2:16, 1 John 3:18) and 2) that efforts of love must be made even in the absence of the joy that one might wish were present. But it is careless and inaccurate to support these 2 truths by saying that love is simply what you do, and not what you feel. …..a definition of love that takes God into account and also includes the feelings that should accompany the outward acts of love: love is the overflow of joy that gladly meets the needs of others. ….That is why a person can give his body to be burned and not have love. Love is the overflow of joy – IN GOD! It is not duty for duty’s sake or right for right’s sake. …It is first a deeply satisfying experience of the fullness of God’s grace, and then a doubly satisfying experience of sharing that grace with another person.“

Piper in his book, Desiring God, states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever… now it becomes clear why it is not idolatrous and man-centered to say that our emotions are ends in themselves. It is not man-centered because the emotions of our worship are centered on God. We look away from ourselves to Him, and only then do the manifold emotions of our heart erupt in worship….He alone can satisfy the heart’s longing to be happy…..”

So LongEyeMoose , allow me to put forth to you that Jesus, the lover of our souls, desires for all of us to be in His Presence, to worship Him in spirit and in truth. If I cannot be permitted to bring forth the joy and gladness in my heart in worship, I suggest that I am no more than a lukewarm Christian that Jesus would spit out of his mouth in disgust. I refer you to Revelation 3:15,16 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

So yes, I am emotional in worship. And I do not believe I am deceived. I offer true and living worship to the King of the Universe, with every breath in me.

Hymnody, or P&W is not the issue, by the way, I believe that the condition of our hearts and the willingness to be open to hearing what God would speak to us in worship and in the reading of His Word and in the preaching of the Word is also of paramount importance, in addition to offering our sacrifice of praise to Him.

Well, my friends in Christ in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, I do appreciate your indulgence in hearing me out. I pray God’s blessings on you, and His joy.

Thank you for praying for me and my family and for Frank as he ministered to us in the homegoing of my husband. I do appreciate it.

Yours in Christ,


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anne’s First Post

Here’s the first of two guest posts penned by Anne. Regular readers have known of her for sometime (years!) even if they didn’t know her by name. I’ve written about her and I on numerous occasions concerning the difficulty we’ve had communicating as an evangelical and a Lutheran, her being the former and me being the latter. She and I once argued and talked past each other for six years straight over what the word worship meant.

She is more than a friend, I consider her to be a member of my family. She’s my big, and a tad bit saner, sister and I love her dearly. I’ll let her tell ya’ll more….I hope you enjoy her post and it is my sincere hope (and Anne’s as well) that a good discussion will follow.

Hi, my name is Anne. I am the friend to whom Frank from the Haut South referred many times in March. My husband died about six weeks ago, and Frank came to be with us during that difficult time.

I have wanted for some time to respond to some of the posts he made, but I have been unable to until now due to my grief. . I would ask for your indulgence as I feel the need to do so now.

First of all I want to talk about encouragement.

I have, as Frank said, know him for a long, long time. I first met Frank when he was a teenager and I was his advisor in youth group at a Lutheran Church. (LCA now ELCA) A Lutheran church that, I am sad to say, was about cover dish suppers and sermons from the book “Everything I needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” It was humanistic and the Word of God was missing. There was no practical understanding of what it means to have Christ as a daily guiding Presence in one’s life. There was no movement of the Holy Spirit. I could probably still sing all of the liturgy from the green hymnal, but I had no understanding of the Word and no help in learning about it.

It was in this environment that I met a lonely, lost, awkward, frightened, (though he would never admit it) young man. He did not fit in well with the crowd, and prided himself on that, attempting to carry himself through the day with sarcasm and being different. His favorite hobby was spending time in the swamp near his home…

Perhaps I divulge too much of my friend. But I do have a point. Throughout scripture we find places where we are told to protect the weak. To encourage and defend them. We have in Barnabas an example of a man who was known for being an encourager.

I don’t know what it was about Frank, but I always, even in the absence of good biblical understanding, felt the desire and need to believe in this young man. I saw potential and hope in a person who by some might have been shunned or written off. And there is a lesson here. I never gave up on the hope and belief that God had a plan for him, and that he would be okay.

The paths that God had for Frank and I were different. God brought Frank to Him and has sustained him in the comfort and security of the liturgy and the creeds and the confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

My path took me from the Lutheran church in a different direction, Yes, I am one of those Evangelicals.

Speaking of encouragement, My husband was such an encourager for me. From the time I was in high school, he was the first one who saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. He believed in me and encouraged me - always. Years later I married him, and from that first day, he was my best cheer leader…..

He is now with the Lord. But I still hold dear the memory and strength of his encouragement.

So my first point is from Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We must see people as Christ sees them. Some are brothers and sisters in Christ, some are prisoners of the enemy, and some are just lost and need to be shown the way. I thank God for having given me the opportunity to be an encourager in Frank’s life. I am proud and thankful that he has become such a strong faithful man of God. And I thank God for my husband, a man who believed in me, and helped to guide my way. And, I am thankful that my brother Frank, above all else, came to my rescue and guided me through the most difficult of times.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Secondly, by way of educating about kidney failure, the average time someone will be able to live on dialysis is 5 years. My husband was on it for 3 years. He was not well past the average lifespan. But it was 3 years he would not have had if he had not done dialysis, and that time allowed him to attend one son’s wedding, see another through college and meet his fiancé, and get a 3rd and last one off to college. I thank God for that time, and for my husband’s bravery.

Frank alluded to “My Song is Love Unknown.”

One verse speaks of the Lord’s grief. It says “Never was Grief like Thine.” So true. When I hold Lent in my heart, I ponder not only the scorn, the physical torture, the weight of the sin of mankind on Christ, but the pain and grief He must have known when he was separated from the Presence of God. Never do we ever, thanks to Christ, have to be separated from the love of God. And never do we have to be separated from His presence. Because God could not look on our sin laid on his precious son, He bore a much greater additional burden. He who was God, who created the world with God, who with the Holy Spirit and the Father made up the trinity that is God, He alone sent time separated from God. He was Glory, came from Glory, and for that horrible time found that God had to abandon him to do the work of saving your soul and mine ALONE.That is love unknown and incomprehensible.

In the next post Anne will address specific comments left by both readers and myself last month.

More Issues, Etc. Sausage

Her awesomeness Mollie Zeigler Hemingway continues to do a great job reporting on the whole Issues, Etc. debacle over at Augsburg 1530 with the following posts:

BCS Meeting

Council of Presidents Meeting

Statement from LCMS Council of Presidents—April 22, 2008:

Statement from LCMS President—April 21, 2008:

Mollie also has some good commentary on the situation with:

Using the 8th Commandment to attack

Five other options

Are we having fun yet?
Pastor Asburry has a good look at President Kieschnick’s statement here at RAsurry's Res.
Save the LCMS! has a great post on the same letter titled Kieschnick Letter - A Failed Presidency
The always interesting Chris Rosebrough over at Extreme Theology gives us Changing the LCMS.

Upcoming Guest Posts...

The next two posts here at Putting Out The Fire are not going to be written by me but rather by a guest. Actually, guest isn’t the right word, family is. That’ll make a little more sense later when you read the posts.

My guest wrote me an email asking that I post it here to address several items that I’ve posted and blogged about, and I’m more than happy to do just that. The email was a little lengthy and will need to be broken up into two posts.

My guest is not a Lutheran. This is an important point because how we communicate with those of different theological traditions is almost always, by necessity, different than how we as Lutherans communicate with each other.

I fully expect those who read and participate here at POTF to be as gracious and as nice as you would be meeting anybody for the first time. That being said, if anyone does not engage my guest in the most loving manner possible, I will not happy and I will lose my coveted non-bombastic status. Simply put, be nice.

This does not mean that all of you can’t engage my guest in a thoughtful discussion. I think a thoughtful discussion is the whole point of this exercise as does my guest. All I ask is that everyone play nice.

At one time I thought that all like minded people played nice. I was, sadly, naive. Recently, with the whole Issues, Etc. debacle, I’ve come to better understand that name calling and venomous comments which violate the 8th commandment sometimes trump a good theological discussion even among people that should be united by a common confession and goal. I’ll have none of that here with my guest, Lutheran or not.

Yep, should be fun…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Hearts Ablaze! Toy

Are you looking for something to get the kids for their birthdays that will teach them all about your beloved synod’s evangelism movement; Ablaze!(tm) ? Do you lose sleep at night wondering about how you’re going to broach the subject that being on fire is a good thing with that unchurched neighbor of yours?

Well then, how about a Mola Ram Mighty Mugg from Hasbro? Teach your children and your neighbor all about how good it is to have an Ablaze! heart with this hip version of your favorite character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Mola Ram comes dressed in his popular liturgical dance attire and is a must have for kids of all ages.

Now everybody chant: Kali Ma Shakti de! Kali Ma Shakti de!

What Do You Think About...

Ok, I’ll be honest here and admit that I did not expect so many people to actually want the sweatshirt that I was giving away. Sure there was the “oh cool, something free!” factor. I expected that.

But what I didn’t expect was that a goodly number of people, after the contest was over, who would ask me if they could still get a shirt.

Last month, Herr Benjamin Ulledalen, on my Wittenberg Trail page after realizing who I was asked the following question; "You should set up some sort of "Volunteer Ablaze!(tm) Fire Department." . I replied back “A "Volunteer Ablaze!(tm) Fire Department"? I'll work on that as soon as I'm done dealing with my current situation. Great suggestion, although, all you folks are doing is encouraging me...”.

Do see where this is going?

The short answer is yes, I can get more shirts made. I designed the logo and with the help of a coworker, we were able to get it down on paper in a way that I was able to take it to an embroider, get it scanned, digitized into a code that could be read by embroidery machines, and put onto shirts. The logo is mine to do with whatever I choose.

I would be more than happy to order up more shirts. But what I would love to try is something like what Dan over at Necessary Roughness and I tried, a series of cross posting but this time on the subject of evangelism.

The whole reason I started this blog was to poke fun at synodical goofiness, but obviously, I’m having fun writing about everything from how we educate (or don’t in some cases) youth to good hymnody that confesses our faith in Christ. With district officials publicly saying that there are serious theological problems with the Ablaze! program, I’ve sort of adjusted the focus here to things that interest me outside of Madison avenue style marketing campaigns, programs or movements. But that doesn’t mean evangelism isn’t important and that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy a little help.

So what do you think? How about setting up a few volunteer Ablaze!(tm) fire departments complete the official POTF (in)activewear?

And both the missus and I think it would be a hoot to see pictures of POTF (in)activewear being worn in front of, let’s say, district and synodical offices. Yep, that would a real hoot….

Again, what do guys think?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And The Winner Is…

And the winner is…. well, I’m waiting on a screenshot from hit 30000 before I make it official. As soon as I get that, I’ll let ya’ll know who won.

What am I talking about? Last Friday I announced a little contest where the winner would receive an official Putting Out The Fire sweatshirt.


And the winner is... Der Bettler; a seminarian from Concordia Theological Seminary up in the always sunny and always warm Fort Wayne, Indiana. Der Bettler has his own blog, a daily read of mine, over at Hoc Est Verum.

Congratulations Herr Bettler on beating out, among others, all those from Jr. America to our north, my four legged stalker/niece, as well as some kinda Italian glowing worm... thingy for the Official Ablaze!(TM) Firefighter’s (TM)(R)(C) official line of (in)activewear.

And for you conspiracy theorists, no, you can’t keep hitting reset to make the counter click up. I was watching the sitemeter very closely just to make sure. I did see an increase of about 40% over normal Monday traffic, but there was nothing nefarious going on as far as I could tell.

Also, I’d like to thank everyone for playing along as well as, with all sincerity, thank all you good folks for reading this slack jawed yokel’s drivel. You guys, and gals, make blogging theological just plain fun! Thanks again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Time To Vote

Well, I’m gonna do it, I’m actually gonna vote this year in my state’s primary because this year my vote will really, really, really count. Ok, I always vote just to make sure the old people don’t get that fancy new retirement center as well as to insure that children have no new parks in which to play.

Normally, by the time the primary rolls around the candidates for the two major parties are already picked to represent the respective parties. Well, not this year, yippee!

The problem I’m having is my utter disgust with the choices. I can’t in good conscience vote for the candidate of the party that I would normally align myself with. Why? Simply put, I don’t feel like that individual can be trusted with the office of president, in my ever so humble opinion. Who is that? Good question but it doesn’t matter with so many poor choices.

So for the first time in a primary and a general election, I’m going to vote for a third party candidate. I think the only sensible choice this election will be the Roslin/Airlock ticket. In these times of uncertainty, strong leadership is what we need to move forward. So say we all.

BCS Meeting

Her awesomeness, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway keeps us updated over at Augsburg 1530 on the Board of Communication Services. Two of the more interesting points;

Anyway, the latest version of Strand’s story is that he was acting under pressure from the Board of Directors and LCMS Treasurer Tom Kuchta when he abruptly fired Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz and canceled Issues, Etc.

It doesn’t take even a third grade education to understand that from the beginning the stories on why Issues, Etc. was cancelled and why Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz were fired would constantly change and evolve. The long silence and refusal to answer questions, the lack of accountability, the passing of the buck on who did what, and the attacks on those who speak out, is proof that that we are dealing with a corporate mentality as opposed to a church minded synod.

The other really interesting tidbit is this;

The other huge story from the meeting is that Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz told the BCS that they reject the hush money clause of the Synod’s proposed severance package are prepared to walk away from it — benefits and all — if the LCMS doesn’t rescind the gag order! The BCS decided against removing the gag order themselves — a move that would have done much to quell the storm — and instead put the whole issue into the hands of the law firm where, get this, David Strand’s wife serves as the chief counsel for the LCMS. So, the BCS decided to lawyer up.

Do church minded people propose gag orders? No they don’t, and no they are aren’t.

Read the whole post here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Kieschnick and Strand Disagreement

In his letter to the Wall Street Journal President Kieschnick wrote the following;

In accordance with our unity in what we believe, teach, and confess, the Synod adopted the mission and vision of Ablaze!—a focused and concentrated effort to “share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do not yet know him.” One goal of Ablaze! calls for the Synod to start 2,000 new congregations by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the year 2017. This outreach emphasis is not “marketing” as suggested by last Friday’s column; rather, it is one of many ministry endeavors developed to foster the mission of our Synod “… vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world.”

Now, read what David Strand said on record to Tim Townsend in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“The Afternoon Show, is different from “Issues, Etc.,”… in that it doesn’t dwell largely on Lutheran apologetics at a sophisticated level. It still takes its Gospel proclamation seriously, but it finds new ways to capture attention.”

Did you catch that? President Kieschnick touts as a defense that our beloved synod wishes to engage in evangelism that the whole purpose of Ablaze!, our evangelism program, uh, I mean movement is to vigorously make known the love of Christ. We’ve heard all that before haven’t we?

David Strand says that to reach the masses we need get away from serious apologetics and try reach people with shows that need twenty minutes to even mention Jesus. Not so much with the vigorous from my point of view.

I wonder if President Kieschnick will write another letter, this time to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, denouncing Strand’s not so vigorous programming decisions as not indicative of what was asked for by our non erring conventions with their adopting of resolutions supporting outreach?

I’m not holding my breath.

More Ink On Our “United” Synod

From religion reporter Tim Townsend’s weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writing on the whole Issues, Etc. debacle;

Lutheran radio program’s demise is a symptom of larger ills

When about 75 people gathered outside the international headquarters of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod this week, it was a rare display of public dissension among the members of a relatively quiet Christian denomination.

Catholics, Episcopalians and evangelicals have grabbed the headlines lately. Lutherans, even those of the more conservative Missouri-Synod stripe, have largely dealt with their differences internally. (The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, a separate Lutheran body, is considered more liberal.)

But that changed last month when church officials silenced one of its own public voices. When the church pulled the plug on its KFUO-AM program, “Issues, Etc.,” and fired its host and producer, the show’s fans turned up the volume.

“Issues, Etc.” aired from 3 to 6 p.m. daily locally and was available by podcast around the world. The show also aired Sunday evenings and was syndicated to 11 markets outside St. Louis. Tina Finch, 44, an audiologist from Ida Grove, Iowa, drove eight hours to be at Monday’s protest. She said 19 members of her family — spread out from Wyoming to South Carolina — had become Lutherans over the last decade primarily because of “Issues, Etc.”

The show had a conservative, traditionalist theological bent that stressed a strict adherence to the Book of Concord, the 16th-century work that defined the central doctrines of Lutheranism. Christians whose spiritual lives are guided strictly by that work are often called confessional Lutherans.

Reaction to the show’s cancellation has escalated in the last four weeks.

Bloggers have been particularly aggressive in pressing church officials to explain the surprise move.

An op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal condemned the decision to pull the show and said the church was divided over how to attract new members. The denomination’s president, the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, responded with a letter to the editor denying there is division.

But Kieschnick’s words, and a church statement explaining that the decision to cancel the show was largely an economic one, had anything but a calming effect on the unhappy, confused — and by this time angry — “Issues, Etc.” fans.

Earlier this week, 200 supporters from around the country met at a St. Louis church for fellowship, prayer and bratwurst, and the next day many staged the protest at the denomination’s headquarters in Kirkwood. Outside the church’s gleaming glass building, some of the show’s fans wore “I’ve got Issues, Etc. with the LCMS” T-shirts, sported “God made me a Christian. ‘Issues Etc.’ made me a Lutheran” buttons, and carried signs asking, simply, “Why?”

The church stuck to its earlier explanation that the show was canceled for “programmatic and business” reasons. In an interview earlier this week, David Strand, the executive director of the church’s communications board, said the station had lost $3.5 million in the last seven years.

Strand also said the program’s audience was too narrow. —”‘Issues’ was a strong show, but where we stand now in terms of listenership, it seems wise to try some news things to broaden our reach,” he said.

Critics say the church’s audience numbers don’t include the large number of people who listened to the show online via podcasts. Strand said that “Issues, Etc.” was downloaded more than any other KFUO-AM program, but that in order to succeed, the station needs “live listeners” and that “it’s not accurate to say every download translates to a listener.”

The church currently produces seven religious shows, one of which is a replacement for “Issues, Etc.” The new program, called “The Afternoon Show,” is different from “Issues, Etc.,” said Strand, in that “it doesn’t dwell largely on Lutheran apologetics at a sophisticated level. It still takes its Gospel proclamation seriously, but it finds new ways to capture attention.”

Despite Kieschnick’s message to the contrary, there is a disagreement among Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod factions that have differing visions for the church’s future.

“There is, and has been for some time, notable division in Synod on a number of issues,” said Korey Maas, a theology professor at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., which is affiliated with the church. “Though I don’t know if anyone can say definitively if these differences were the cause of the termination of ‘Issues, Etc.’”

Many of the protesters said the current administration is too focused on recent evangelical megachurch growth models instead of on traditional Lutheran doctrine. That, they say, is watering down 500 years of Lutheran history.

“This is a symptom of a much larger problem,” said the Rev. Charles Henrickson, pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bonne Terre, Mo. “This is about whether we retain our Lutheran identity or just blend in with American evangelicalism.”

Strand said politics had nothing to do with the decision to pull “Issues, Etc.” “This was a financial decision. All 2.5 million of our members would call themselves confessional Lutherans, so I’m not sure where this idea of division comes from,” he said. “Like most denominations, we have differences of opinion on things … but Dr. Kieschnick wants a deeper sense of peace throughout the church.”

That sense of peace would be much easier to attain, some say, if the denomination were on stronger financial footing.

“It’s no secret synod is not in great financial health,” said Maas.

Strand would not say whether the church is considering a sale of its stations (it also owns classical station KFUO-FM), but he did say they were in financial trouble and that —”‘Issues’ was the largest and most obvious cut at our disposal.”

That explanation is unlikely to satisfy the most vocal “Issues, Etc.” supporters who see something more than money in the reasons for its cancellation.

“The Missouri Synod is a highly volatile church body right now,” said the Rev. Frederic W. Baue, pastor of Bethany Evangelical Church in Fairview Heights.

“There is a definite split between those who favor the megachurch marketing approach to outreach ministry,” said Baue, “and those who trust the word of God and the sacraments to do the job of bringing people to the faith.”

So, David Strand thinks that to be an effective outreach ministry it’s a good thing that the Afternoon Show is different from Issues, Etc. in that “it doesn’t dwell largely on Lutheran apologetics at a sophisticated level”?

How is this an effective outreach to reach those who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus? Why are we trying to copy so many radio and television programs trying to reach the masses with fluffy material that more closely resembles the Dr. Phil show or the local glee club?

I’ve had the chance to listen to The Afternoon Show. It took the hosts almost twenty minutes to even mention Jesus! This is the way we are trying to reach people? This is what passes for outreach from a church? Apparently so.

As a side note, I certainly don't blame the hosts of The Afternoon Show for their program. They are in the impossible position of putting on a show that by design (decree) isn't meant to feed anyone but rather appeals to the masses of Scripturally starved Americanized Christianity. It's just a shame that at a time when we should be feeding those who would listen real meat and vegetables, we instead serve up deserts that offer up nothing of any nutritional value and call it outreach. What we should call it is spiritual waterboarding instead of any kind of missional outreach.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Win An Official POTF Sweatshirt

Sometime in the next few days, my little hit counter will reach 30,000 hits. Now, as everybody knows, I detest head counting. However…

One of the things that has brought me great joy is the fact that I’ve gotten to correspond and even meet some of the people who read Putting Out The Fire. Through this blog, I’ve made new friends and they have helped me better understand what it means to be part of the one holy catholic Church, a Church not limited by the distance but bound by a common confession.

With that as the back drop, as a way to thank everyone, I’m gonna have a little contest. The 30,000th visitor to this blog will receive an official Putting Out The Fire sweatshirt with the logo embroidered on it. All you need to do is take a screen shot of the counter and send that to me via email, with the time that you visited the site, as well as your location and I will send you the sweatshirt at no cost to you whatsoever. The only limitation is that the shipping address must be in the United States or Canada.

Sound good? I thought so… good luck!

How Difficult Is It To Answer the Question Why?

Her awesomeness, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway asks a few more simple questions over at Augsburg 1530 like:

Why did David Strand feel the need to inform President Kieschnick of his decision to terminate Issues, Etc. and fire Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz at all?

If this was just a routine budgetary decision, why inform Kieschnick, but not his own board?

Is clearing decisions with the President’s office, but not his own board, a regular practice of David Strand?

Does Kieschnick’s “awareness” substitute for the board’s consent? If so, how?

What other decisions has Strand made without his board’s knowledge or consent?

Were any other of Strand’s non-board decisions cleared through Kieschnick’s office too? If so, what were they?

If informing Kieschnick, but not his board was a “once in a lifetime” incident, why this particular incident?

If our beloved synod is more unified than ever, (according to President Kieschnick) why does it take so long to get answers to some very basic questions? Wouldn’t just giving clear answers be the easiest way to put everyone’s mind at ease? Why does it take, what is it now, a month already, to answer a few simple questions?

Why indeed.

David Strand, Then And Now…

From her awesomeness, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway blogging over at Augsburg 1530

The Board for Communication Services meets today and tomorrow in St. Louis. Members of the BCS have waited four long weeks to receive David Strand’s explanation for why he fired Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz and canceled Issues, Etc. They have waited to hear why, contrary to all previous practice and protocol, the decision was carried out with President Kieschnick’s knowledge but not theirs.

Less than one year ago, David Strand told the LCMS in convention that Issues, Etc. was KFUO’s “premier national radio program.” Less than one year ago, David Strand told the LCMS in convention that he had assembled a “select, four-member team of radio experts” to find “ways to generate and place other KFUO-AM-produced programming in other markets across America, à la the widely syndicated ‘Issues, Etc.’”

That was David Strand just a few months ago. What will he tell the Board for Communications Services today?

What's informative here is the constantly changing stories as well as the refusal to answer the simple question; why was Issues, Etc canceled? David Strand has had a month now to present all the information that he and he alone (by his own admission) used to determine that Issues, Etc. was no longer of any real value to the synod as a ministry or outreach tool. One would think that a month is enough to present an answer that isn’t using two or three year old data, explain the financial ins and outs of KFUO, and explain the growing list of whys.

Maybe he just needs more time…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Issue From The Inbox

From my inbox this morning:


Saw David Strand came out of his palace yesterday and talked to a St. Louis Post-Disgrace reporter (the big local paper) about all the demonstrators outside the IC and the 7,000 who signed the petition and Strand's quote "That's just 1/3 of one percent of our Synod".

Noting that it's the same number as did not bend their knee to Baal or kiss his butt should not go without a post. I'm thinking a new button simply reading "1/3 of 1%" would be nice for us to have.



What is P blabbering on about? Read 1 Kings 19:11-18:

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

As everyone knows, I’m not one for counting heads, but David Strand might just want to pay attention to that little 1/3 of one percent. Those who are angry over the cancellation of Issues, Etc. are upset that we as a synod say we wish to reach those who would hear their Shepherd, but then cancel a program that reaches not only those who sit in our pews but those who look to us from the outside as a clear voice for the Gospel preached purely.

If David Strand thinks that one third of one percent really don’t need to be paid any serious attention, he might do well to remember that his boss was only reelected by a percentage of only three hundredths of one percent which is only eleven percent of the people that cared enough to sign the petition..

Friday, April 11, 2008

You Can't Say That!

So, there we were, the missus and I chatting it up about the utter nonsense going on over at Marvel Comics, which at one time I understand was called the House of Ideas.

“You can’t say that” she yelled.

“Uh, yes I can, in fact, I just did.” I calmly replied, “he hates comics, and there is nothing in print or on tape that can even come close to refuting what I’m saying, is there missy?”

So what was the hullabaloo about? Joe Quesada. Again.

I’ve written before about the editor in chief of Marvel here and here. A few months back it was the news about Ghost Rider that caused the scales to fall from my eyes. Under Quesada’s leadership, and according to the press releases, Ghost Rider is now an angel. That’s right kids, Ghost Rider; you know, the guy with the flaming skull, the guy that rides a motorcycle with hellfire for wheels, well, he is now an angel.

So, you might think the über geek in me, reading that press release might just about have an über coronary. And if you thought that, you would be wrong.

No, the pain in my left arm and chest started after reading Amazing Spider Man, issue 545. With this one issue, Marvel Comics erased over twenty years of continuity by erasing Mary Jane Watson as Peter Parker’s wife! Peter Parker sold his happiness and his marriage to the devil Mephistopheles to save the life of his aunt who had just been shot. He made… a deal… with the devil.

Mephistopheles, using magic, just made everyone forget who Peter Parker was and reset everyone’s lives so as to make sure the Peter wouldn’t have to feel the sorrow of losing his aunt. This, at one time, would have been completely out of character for someone who since his uncle was murdered because he was so selfish, has done nothing but put everyone else’s needs and happiness ahead of his own. Now we are asked to believe that losing his wife is less important than losing his aunt. How Peter feels emotionally now trumps all. Peter Parker gives up his wife so he doesn't have to feel bad. Great responsibility is now great selfishness.

And, oh yeah, that same magic that somehow not only made everyone forget what was what, but also resurrected Peter’s dead best friend Harry Osborn. For crying out loud!

We are asked to believe that everything that has happened for the last twenty years, and 269 issues, happened but never happened. We are told to just forget that dusty old cannon, its just filler between the eras.

Quesada and company have pulled similar stunts before that have caused many a comic book fan to question whether they have any respect at all for what is in comic book canon.

Under Quesada’s leadership, Captain America has been assassinated, Bucky, Cap’s partner who died heroically at the end of WWII was resurrected, Magneto has died and been resurrected more times than I can count, Colossus; an Xman has been resurrected as has his sister Magik, Thor and the Asgard have endured Ragnarok and been resurrected, Iron Man has been turned into a fascist working for the government, both Daredevil and Spider-Man’s secret identity have been exposed to the world, the Hulk has turned from green to red, and the list goes on and on and on. But back to Spider-Man…

What the heck are Quesada and the rest of these people thinking? Do they even know who Spider Man is? Have they ever read any of the forty years worth of back issues? Sure they have, but they have absolutely no respect for the creators and writers that have been entertaining fan boys (and fan girls too) for decades.

Quesada’s excuse is that the comic books we grew up with create too much of a limitation for those tasked with writing the stories. There has been so much history, the reasoning goes, that to reach those who don’t currently read comic books, the history must be wiped out and reorganized to appear fresh. It’s just too hard he cries.

And what of those who grew up reading the stories of the last twenty or forty years? Well, they’re told that what they remember reading really happened, but just like the people of the Marvel universe, they will need to forget it all. It’s like magic, it happened but you just can’t talk about it.

The fans are being told that to reach those who do not read comic books, they need to take a back seat. The fans are being told that while their support is certainly appreciated, they need to think about the bigger picture of growing the audience. The fans are being told that even though Peter Parker married his sweetheart Mary Jane Watson twenty years ago they need to forget it ever happened. Fans are also being told that Peter Parker is no longer a responsible adult taking care of his wife but now lives with his Aunt May again, just like he did in high school.

Now, if we look at the situation honestly there is only one conclusion; Marvel Comics management, i.e. Joe Quesada hates Spider-Man. But they only hate the historical 40 year old Spider-Man as they have seen fit to craft themselves a new spider-man marketed to the mid twenty something, I can’t make ends meet so I live off my folks so how can I buy comic books when they cost two to three dollars for a single comic crowd.

Yep, based on what is being said, what is being written, it is plain as day, this is clearly not our father’s comic book company and the people in charge like Joe Quesada hate Spider-Man.

Nuff said.

Back To Work

I know that lately this blog only seems to focus on one issue, pun intended. I’ll keep posting updates on the Issues, Etc. travesty as they become available as, simply put, I believe the cancellation of the show is an indication of a much bigger problem within our beloved synod and needs attention.

But it’s time for me to get back to work…

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Resolution Adopted by South Dakota District Pastor’s Conference

Passed April 9, 2008 – South Dakota District Pastor’s Conference, Dakota Dunes, SD

Whereas, the “issues, etc.” radio program on KFUO-AM, St. Louis, has been a great blessing to many of the pastors and laity of the South Dakota District; and

Whereas, pastor and people are at a loss to understand the decision to cancel a show that winsomely engaged the culture and offered a distinctly Lutheran perspective on the issues of the day; and

Whereas, official explanations for the show’s cancellation have not satisfied ore answered the concerns of many, and

Whereas, there is extensive public support for the continuation for Issues, Etc. and

Whereas, we wish to demonstrate pastoral concern for Rev. Todd Wilken, the show’s host and Mr. Jeffry Schwarz, the shows producer;

Therefore be it:

Resolved, that the Pastoral Conference of the South Dakota District gathered in solemn assembly at Dakota Dunes, SD this 9th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2008, give thanks and praise to God for the ministry of Issues, Etc. and the hard work of Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz and be it finally

Resolved, that the Pastoral Conference of the South Dakota District officially petition the Board of Communication Services to revisit the decision by its Executive Director, David Strand, to cancel Issues, Etc. and also petition the Board to reinstate both Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz to their positions, restore the ministry of Issues, Etc.

More unified synod goodness...

HT: Weedon's Blog

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

SWD UNANIMOUSLY Resolves to Support Issues Etc.!

The South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference just passed the following resolution UNANIMOUSLY by voice vote.

Resolution for South Wisconsin District Pastoral ConferenceApril 1-9 2008

Whereas: Issues Etc. weekday and national Sunday night show was cancelled on Tuesday March 18th; and

Whereas: Issues Etc. averaged around 250,000 podcast downloads each month making it easily the highest listened to program on KFUO; and

Whereas This was a divers and word wide audience, thus presenting “critical events” every day; and

Whereas This cancellation was abruptly done and not allowing the congregations that supported the National show to give fair warning to the stations carrying the show; and

Whereas This potentially left congregations paying for unused airtime due to contracts with local affiliates; and

Whereas We should desire that all things be done civilly and carefully so that no congregations be negatively affected by this action; and

Whereas This could have been done by giving the Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz two month notification of the cancellation of their employment and the Issues Etc. program, would have allowed them time to communicate with supportive congregations and national affiliates enabling them to work buy outs of contracts or cancellation of programming; and

Whereas This sheds a negative light on the LCMS nationally and those involved with local stations carrying the program; Therefore be it

Resolved that the South Wisconsin District Pastoral Conference Spring 2008 express with a united voice their displeasure with tboth the cancellation of the program and the way it was handled. And that every effort be made to resotre the Rev. Todd Wilken, Jeff Schwarz, and Issues Etc. program; and be it further

Resolved that the South Wisconsin District Pastoral Conference Spring 2008 request president John Wille to express its concerns with the COP, the Synod's Board of Directors, the Board of Communication Services and President Gerald Kieschnick; and be it finally

Resolved that we pray for and support the Rev. Todd Wilken, Jeff Schwarz and their families and all parties involved and that a God-pleasing and peaceful conclusion be reached.

I'm starting to think that President Kieschnick might be right; we might actually be a united synod...

Ht: Pastor Tom Chryst over at Preachrblog

Resolution Adopted by the Pastoral Conference of the Southern Illinois District

WHEREAS, the "Issues, Etc." radio program on KFUO-AM, St. Louis, has been a great blessing to many of the pastors and laity of the Southern Illinois District; and
WHEREAS, pastors and people are at a loss to understand the decision to cancel a show that winsomely engaged the culture and offered a distinctly Lutheran perspective on the issues of the day; and
WHEREAS, official explanations for the show's cancellation have not satisfied or answered the concerns of many, and
WHEREAS, there is extensive public support for the continuation of Issues, Etc., and
WHEREAS, we wish to demonstrate pastoral concern for Rev. Todd Wilken, the show's host (a member of the Southern Illinois District) and Mr. Jeffrey Schwarz, the show's producer, (a member of a Southern Illinois District congregation);
Therefore be it:
RESOLVED, that the Pastoral Conference of the Southern Illinois District gathered in solemn assembly at Wartburg, Illinois this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord 2008, give thanks and praise to God for the ministry of Issues, Etc. and the hard work of Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz, and be it finally
RESOLVED, that Pastoral Conference of the Southern Illinois District officially petition the Board of Communications Services to revisit the decision by its Executive Director, David Strand, to cancel Issues, Etc. and also petition the Board to reinstate both Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz to their positions, restore the ministry of Issues, Etc., and make a public apology for the offense this cancellation has caused.
Adopted 4/8/2008

I have to admit, I'm impressed. When all this started I did not think so many of the priestly caste would speak up. But a great many have spoken up in spite of the fact that they have been told “You are NOT free to preach or teach publicly that Synod is wrong on ANY given issue.” by their ecclesiastical superiors. It's enough to warm my heart, if I was ever accused of having one.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Job’s Friends; The Morons

Job had three friends; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they first came to comfort Job, who had lost his property, children and health, they had common sense enough to keep their mouth shut.

However, as fallen and imperfect creatures are wont to do, they deviated from their original plan and started running their mouths and spewing out useless drivel. Job's friends were, simply put, morons. They didn't know what they were talking about and they, like morons, kept talking.

Common sense and basic decency states that if you can’t listen and offer something constructive, you really need to keep your mouth shut. Otherwise you will end up looking as big of moron as Job’s three “friends”.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Inevitable Discovery

Since the leadership of the LCMS is sticking to their only modified twice story, it is my thought that we should all accept the explanation that Issues, Etc. was cancelled for business/stewardship/low support reasons. I think this might be a good thing.

Allow me to explain; for years now, in my capacity as a member of the leadership of my congregation, I have asked of district officials numerous times “you keep asking for more money from us, will you please tell my congregation where the money we currently send you is going and how’s it getting spent?”

The last time I made that request I received this reply:

The goal for District is a total of $6M which gets broken down using the Biblical model:
1 15% Jerusalem ($1M) for Circuit allocation
2. 15% Judea & 20% Samaria ($2M) for District allocation
3. 50% Ends of the World ($3M)

5% of the monies gathered are used for fund raising expenses.

When asked to give particulars, on how and where specifically the monies are going, the reply was “that information is not available.” The second and third attempts at seeing where our congregation’s money might end up were completely ignored. Apparently, they’ll take our checks but not our questions.

This brings me back to the title of this post, inevitable discovery. According to Lawyers.com the definition for inevitable discovery is as follows:

Definition - Noun:

a doctrine in criminal law: evidence obtained by methods that are unconstitutional may be admissible if it would have been inevitably discovered without the unlawful methods

If the leadership of the LCMS, wants to say that Issues, Etc. was a financial burden or was not making enough money as a profit center we should believe them. Then we need request that our beloved synod perform a comprehensive audit and find out the whys and hows so as that such a tragedy never happens again. If that is the door they wish to open, it is my contention that we help them get to the bottom of the problem by knocking that particular door down.

We already know there are very problematic explanations on the situation that bear scrutiny. For crying out loud, even my own congregation undergoes an audit every few years. Not that we don’t have complete faith in our treasurer but rather as a matter of a good business/stewardship practice we validate his abilities and thereby ensure trust in the congregation.

I certainly don’t think that every little grievance could or should be solved by audits. All I am saying is that for an outreach such as Issues, Etc. to canceled, there must have been some serious problems with both with the finances and the management. A complete audit might just be needed and inevitable for any discovery on why Issues, Etc. really had to be canceled.

Isn’t that just good stewardship?

La Resistance D' Issues, Etc.

Retaining full time employment and keeping up with the entire hullabaloo over Issues, Etc. is becoming increasingly difficult. So, I added a new category to my blogroll entitled La Resistance D’ Issues, Etc.

If anybody knows of any good blogs on the whole Issues, Etc. debacle that doesn’t fall into the moonbat crazy territory, drop me a line and I’ll add ‘em.

Issues, Etc. Update: Political Motives Exposed

M.Z. Hemmingway who is now blogging over at Augsburg 1530 writes up the post titled Political motives exposed:
So apparently there is a “Radio Committee” meeting convening Monday in St. Louis. Some members of the LCMS Board of Directors and some members of the LCMS Board for Communication Services are meeting to discuss KFUO. This meeting was scheduled previous to the cancellation of Issues, Etc.
Apparently the members of this committee were furnished materials previous to the cancellation of Issues, Etc. that include a couple of pages listing anonymous negative comments about Issues, Etc.. These comments include the expressions “abrasive” and “hyper-orthodox” — as well as a comment about the program following its own “political agenda“.
What’s more — not one positive comment was furnished. Not one.
I can tell you from my days on the Board for Communication Services that listeners regularly sent in letters praising Issues, Etc. They would say the type of things you can read on the petition that has grown to over 6,600 names. We never received a single complaint. Why would this Radio Committee be furnished with multiple pages of anonymous negative comments about the program? Is this proof that the program was a victim of a political hit? Why do David Strand and President Kieschnick keep pumping up the so-called “financial” reasons for the termination of Issues, Etc., while hiding the fact that the Radio Committee was furnished with a completely distorted view of Issues, Etc.? What does this mean? Amazing!
So, is it about the financial situation or not?

Friday, April 04, 2008

M.Z. Hemingway Responds To Kieschnick.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway responded to President Kieschnick’s assertion that his beloved synod is one big happy unified family by sending the following note:

Dear President Kieschnick,

In your letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, you wrote that I paint a “false and misleading picture” of the LCMS “as a deeplydivided church.”
Respectfully, I take issue with what you wrote.
The first article in the January 2008 edition of Board Briefs talksabout the plan to restore harmony coming out of Resolution 4-01A ofthe 2007 convention. The article describes how members of the BOD andCOP “met in small groups to identify those issues in the Synod thoughtto be causing the greatest discord.”

While the entire list of 20 issues proves my point, I might directyour attention to this item listed as one of the major problems in ourchurch body:
“Failure to recognize the severity of the division in our Synod.”

In Christ,
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
P.S. The Board Brief is available here:

Hmm, isn’t it interesting that she didn’t take her over a week to craft a response? Since President Kieschnick thinks that unity is based on not gathering around one confession but rather agreement in convention and approved resolutions voted on by delegates, I’d say she knocked this one out of the park.

The little Harry Caray voice in the back of my noggin is screaming “Mollie wins! Mollie wins!”

David Strand Responds, Well, Not Really

As most of you know by now, David Strand has chosen to answer all the questions by a standard form mass email. And to think, it only took him eight days to give everybody a non answer. Here’s the email:

Dear Friend in Christ:

I want to sincerely thank you for your e-mail message regarding the discontinuation of the “Issues, Etc.” program on KFUO-AM Radio. It is good that you are interested in the programming choices of the station. Please know that your comments have been heard and taken to heart.

Some people receiving this message have written before in some fashion on this topic and, sometime ago, received a different response. Others are receiving this message in response to original queries or comments they raised.

In any event, whether you have written one or two or more times, and no matter which “Issues”-related point or points you may have raised, the best and most comprehensive response I can offer at this time is to refer you to a statement on the Synod’s website.

If you haven’t already read this statement, I respectfully invite you to go to
www.lcms.org and click on the link called “An updated statement on ‘Issues, Etc.’ ”

I invite you also to listen to “The Afternoon Show” on KFUO-AM, weekdays from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Now and into the future, it will be the constant endeavor of KFUO-AM management to offer the best in Gospel-based programming throughout the day—programming that reaches out to Lutherans, other Christians, and the unchurched, and all within a budget we can hope to sustain.

Please continue to keep the radio ministry of the Synod in your prayers. Please also prayerfully consider what you might do, if so inclined, to support this important work.

Thank you.

Sincerely in Christ,

David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication Services

What didn’t he answer? What are the programming reasons that Issues, Etc. was canceled? How are business / stewardship reasons for Issues, Etc. justified using 3 or 4 year old data? Why was the Board of communications not in the loop concerning the cancellation of Issues, Etc. and is this the normal way things of this nature are handled?

The questions go on and on. Apparently, David Strand doesn’t feel it necessary to answer to anybody. I was hoping in eight days time he might at least come up with some answers, I was mistaken.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Wise Warning From The Underground

Pastor Cwirla over at the Underground has some very good advice for everybody who wants to combine the criticisms of what happened to Issues, Etc. and our beloved synod’s favorite little evangelism program Ablaze!; don’t. He correctly points out that “The issue is not about the Ablaze! initiative but about Issues, Etc. and how it fit or didn't fit into the synodical vision. This is NOT about the Ablaze! mission initiative.”

He is right on target. While the theological leanings of our synod leadership are tied to both issues, (pun intended) the two issues need to remain two separate as we move forward in demanding answers for the latest debacle.

Listen, everybody who reads this blog even on an infrequent basis knows what I think of Ablaze! and all it’s theological goofiness. There is a time and place for that argument concerning Ablaze!, and now is not the time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

President Kieschnick Responds To WSJ

March 31, 2008
Wall Street
Letter to the Editor:

As President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I express my extreme disappointment over the column “Radio Silence” published March 28 under “Houses of Worship.” Its author presents a distorted account of the reason for the discontinuation of the “Issues, Etc.” program on the Synod’s KFUO-AM Radio station. What is even more disturbing is the false and misleading picture she presents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a deeply divided church regarding its mission and ministry.

First, let me say our church is happy to own and operate KFUO-AM, the oldest continuously operating religious radio station in the country, if not the world. We are proud of the ministry it has provided listeners for some 84 years, and we endeavor to continue this ministry. I must also note that all ministries of the church, of which KFUO-AM is but one, require financial support from their constituencies.

Here are the facts surrounding the termination of “Issues, Etc.” This program was cancelled by the Synod’s director of communications after years of attempts to keep the program financially solvent. In fiscal year 2007-08, KFUO-AM’s operating deficit was $620,000. Since 2001, the accumulated deficits of the station have been in excess of $3.5 million. While airing for only 18 percent of KFUO-AM’s programming week, “Issues, Etc.” in the last fiscal year accounted for more than 40 percent ($250,000) of the station’s total deficit. These figures are based on the audited financial statements of the LCMS. As of February 29, two thirds into the current fiscal year, KFUO-AM was on pace to suffer heavy loses again.

Listeners of “Issues, Etc.” have had nine years and countless invitations and opportunities to support the program financially, and some have, but not nearly enough to offset the show’s deep, ongoing losses.

More importantly, I wish to address the unfortunate comments in the column that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is deeply divided and that it is pushing “church marketing” over the historic confessions of the evangelical Lutheran Church.

In truth, last summer the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years. Our church remains faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, an integral part of our identity as a church body. As stated in a resolution adopted last summer by the national Synod convention: “From the founding of our Synod 160 years ago, we have been blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith, such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, original sin, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament, the inerrancy of Scripture and many others.”

In accordance with our unity in what we believe, teach, and confess, the Synod adopted the mission and vision of Ablaze!—a focused and concentrated effort to “share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do not yet know him.” One goal of Ablaze! calls for the Synod to start 2,000 new congregations by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the year 2017. This outreach emphasis is not “marketing” as suggested by last Friday’s column; rather, it is one of many ministry endeavors developed to foster the mission of our Synod “… vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world.” (LCMS Mission Statement)

In summary, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is more committed than ever to proclaiming the one message of Jesus Christ and his love for all (1 John 4:9-11).

On behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I invite readers to visit our website at
www.lcms.org for more information on God’s grace and salvation in Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick,
PresidentThe Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

C: Mr. David Strand,
Director of Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod