Mobbing: Organized Spiritual Abuse in the LCMS

Started by Matt Staneck, January 09, 2019, 09:05:32 AM

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Matt Staneck

Lutheran Forum has published an article by Edward A. Engelbrecht that describes the practice of mobbing in the LCMS.

https://www.lutheranforum.com/blog/mobbing-systemic-spiritual-abuse-in-the-lcms

M. Staneck
Matt Staneck, Pastor
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Queens, NY

Rev Mathew Andersen

My initial response is rather the same as it is when someone proposes conspiracy theories - you are giving too much credit to the intelligence of people working in large numbers.  What he is describing is basic human behavior - rather nasty, yes.  But it is what happens when people work on emotions.  It happens in every single denomination all the time.  It is hardly unique to the LCMS.   No one has solved it in thousands of years though people have overcome it for brief moments of time.  I would rather have seen some useful suggestions on how to fix it rather than just some wishful thinking that the LCMS would "take sincere steps."  What exactly can be done to lessen mobbing behavior?   I have the same response when people complain about politics in the synod.  Boring --- tell me what we could do about it instead of just complaining and adding to it.

DeHall1

Quote from: Matt Staneck on January 09, 2019, 09:05:32 AM
Lutheran Forum has published an article by Edward A. Engelbrecht that describes the practice of mobbing in the LCMS.

https://www.lutheranforum.com/blog/mobbing-systemic-spiritual-abuse-in-the-lcms

M. Staneck

All this time I thought "gan ainm" was Irish for "no name"....

I can't say that I've ever seen any of the behavior outlined in this article in any setting -- military (where you'd think it would be prevalent), business, or Church.  But I've never been or known the target of such activity either.  Ignorance IS bliss, I guess.

I think the article would have been better if it had named the various people in these roles, rather than one anonymous person who posts on ALPB Forum with a (quite well-chosen) pseudonym.   What's a good conspiracy theory without naming names?

Harvey_Mozolak

#3
I am at a loss for a response...  awaiting others responses
without actual names, I sometimes loose what he is saying happened to who, when, by whom, by what means... is it just me?
is this as unique and disturbing a paper as Forum has ever published?
I read it quickly but did I miss something... this is all about conservative vs. conservative and nothing said about liberal/moderate/progressive attacking or being attacked by mobbing, right?  Beyond the opening story of students at the time of the walkout.

what can folks say about the author?

Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

Charles Austin

Reading the article, I kept wishing for the kind of verification provided by actual names and real, fully-described incidents, including time, place and activity; the kinds of things that can be verified by editors and fact-checkers. I am very glad Lutheran Forum provided a post script with its explanation and statements that enough of the article was verified by them to make it worth publishing.
Much of this tactic was described way back in the book by Jim Adams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and in the Burkee book, well known in these circles, although the term "mobbing" was not in existence then.
We outside observers and reporters (I was in secular newspaper work during part of what led up to "Seminex") also discerned a certain aura resembling the alleged brotherhood that comes out of Sicily into our country. Loyalty to "bosses." The need to "get" others. Varied tactics, including gossip, smears and repeated lies. Putting "family" - or whatever manifests that in denominational circles - above all. I did not believe the "brotherhood" was pervasive, and I thought it might have faded away after the Bohlmann era. Maybe I was wrong.
Nonetheless, this is the kind of article that should call for a response from the LCMS, and perhaps even "out" some of the key players as the discussion continues.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

peter_speckhard

I think the entire article is absurd. But maybe I'm a secret operative, sent to be a "hard speck" i.e. an irritating pebble in people's shoes--Peter means "rock" after all-- to give blisters to everyone who walks in the ways of peace.

But seriously, I don't put any stock whatsoever in this article. Maybe we're all falling for satire is the best construction. But whatever the case may be, locking the thread would only serve the conspiracy theorists' purposes, as would too much piling on ("See? See how they gang up and attack?") So whatever. Take it for what it is worth.

Keith Falk

Quote from: Harvey_Mozolak on January 09, 2019, 10:17:03 AM
I am at a loss for a response...  awaiting others responses
without actual names, I sometimes loose what he is saying happened to who, when, by whom, by what means... is it just me?
is this as unique and disturbing a paper as Forum has ever published?
I read it quickly but did I miss something... this is all about conservative vs. conservative and nothing said about liberal/moderate/progressive attacking or being attacked by mobbing, right?  Beyond the opening story of students at the time of the walkout.

what can folks say about the author?


He posts here.  Worked for CPH.  Serves an independent Lutheran church in Columbus (Go Bucks!) by the German Village area, if I recall things correctly (I went to seminary at Trinity in Columbus and grew up an hour north of there), and is still on the LCMS roster. 


Gan ainm, obviously, posts here as well.  Sooo... the next few days around ALPB Online Forum Land could be very interesting!


I am curious about the alleged operatives in other church bodies.
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Keith Falk on January 09, 2019, 11:09:24 AM
Quote from: Harvey_Mozolak on January 09, 2019, 10:17:03 AM
I am at a loss for a response...  awaiting others responses
without actual names, I sometimes loose what he is saying happened to who, when, by whom, by what means... is it just me?
is this as unique and disturbing a paper as Forum has ever published?
I read it quickly but did I miss something... this is all about conservative vs. conservative and nothing said about liberal/moderate/progressive attacking or being attacked by mobbing, right?  Beyond the opening story of students at the time of the walkout.

what can folks say about the author?


He posts here.  Worked for CPH.  Serves an independent Lutheran church in Columbus (Go Bucks!) by the German Village area, if I recall things correctly (I went to seminary at Trinity in Columbus and grew up an hour north of there), and is still on the LCMS roster. 


Gan ainm, obviously, posts here as well.  Sooo... the next few days around ALPB Online Forum Land could be very interesting!


I am curious about the alleged operatives in other church bodies.
That's what I find surprising. EE is a known entity with a good reputation and a fair amount of experience. But I'm turning 50 this year and also have at least a fair amount of experience in the LCMS, so you'd think I'd either be part of The Machine or else one who has been mobbed by it. Yet if this article is true, all things LCMS have somehow been happening behind my back all these years. Or maybe I'm just too clueless to notice it going on.

"Discouragement" as mob behavior? When we have lay-led Bible studies, I discourage the use of some books (sometimes by authors the lay leader wants to use, and in some cases even when the leader is synodically trained) and encourage the use of others. Am I mobbing LCMS teachers by doing that? Or just doing my job as the senior pastor? 

Charles Austin

If one is a conspiracy theorist, Peter's attempt to dismiss or minimize the article might raise suspicion. But I'm not among that crowd. What would be the point of someone writing an article this long and detailed if there were not truth in it? The writer open himself to massive criticism, even attacks. Why would he do that?
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

Weedon

I'm disappointed in the article. I work at the IC Headquarters. I'm in the same boat as Peter. Of course there are organizations of like-minded people who try to influence the direction our Synod moves; there are more of those than just a monolithic "Machine." But the tactics Edward has described flabberghast me. And that Matt Stanek signed off on it as "we were able to corraborate the author's story" leaves me utterly befuddled. It amounts to "trust us" while we publish something maligns a lot of folk (I'm guessing including myself); and I just don't buy it. FWIW.

gan ainm

Earlier today, I could click on the link and get to the article but I did not read it at that time.  Now I can't access via three different browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Safari).  I get a 502 Gateway error.  Anyone else having problems? 

LCMS87

#11
i got the same error just now.  Perhaps the powers that be would like you to subscribe to the magazine. 

I guess I'll just have to wait till I get home and read the hard copy.  I can hardly wait.  From the title it sounds bizarre.

Keith Falk

Quote from: gan ainm on January 09, 2019, 12:05:47 PM
Earlier today, I could click on the link and get to the article but I did not read it at that time.  Now I can't access via three different browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Safari).  I get a 502 Gateway error.  Anyone else having problems?


Odd.  It doesn't work for me any more, either.
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

Voelker

Publishing this article, at least as it stands in great part, is a mistake. It will not serve to convince anyone of the author's position, but will instead confirm those who feel they stand as attacked or are painted as attackers that where they stand is correct and right.

An article about how to deal with saboteurs from within or without a parish might (might) be useful, but would, again, not do much to touch those who already believe they are wronged or in the right to reassess their own behavior/position.

/The article is likely unavailable, as is the website, because the server has become overwhelmed with requests and crashed.

James S. Rustad

I can read the article.  No problems there.

It does read like a conspiracy theory though.
"Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem." -Thomas Jefferson

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