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LCMS Dystopian Future

Started by Jim Butler, May 16, 2023, 10:53:56 AM

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Harrison campaigned to make it "Grandpa's Synod." The listing of emeriti means mission accomplished! But apparently the grandpas have other ideas. A brawl in a nursing home is developing.

(Someone has to find the humor in this.)

John_Hannah

Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 31, 2023, 02:03:51 PM
Harrison campaigned to make it "Grandpa's Synod." The listing of emeriti means mission accomplished! But apparently the grandpas have other ideas. A brawl in a nursing home is developing.

(Someone has to find the humor in this.)

;D ;D ;D
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 31, 2023, 01:28:17 PM
The only item on their list of problems and proposed changes that really jumped out at me is the standard challenger's pipedream in any election, secular or ecclesial-- Division and factionalism would be replaced with a willingness to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support — to have each other's backs rather than talking behind them. We need different kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Really? Voting out the incumbent would result in everyone becoming willing to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support? The letter is signed by former SP Kieschnick, who was voted out as an incumbent. What on earth makes Dr. Ferry and his supporters think the supporters of Harrison will do anything in a Ferry presidency other than exactly what these signatories are doing to Harrison?

Don't get me wrong. I'm content with Harrison as SP and think Ferry would also do a great job. I just don't think any of our disagreements, divisions, or factions are caused by who the president is. If you don't like factions, stop being one. If disagreement is the problem, stop disagreeing and it goes away.

One whimsical note: if one of the key problems is an aging synod too rooted in the past, wouldn't it have been better to get signatories whose average age was lower rather than substantially higher than the synod's? And doesn't the title "emeritus" speak against the central thrust of the campaign?

Ed answered your last question - if they're in office and  young(er),  they're not going to sign stuff.  Ask yourself a semi-related question - how many bishops and/or district presidents from ELCA or LCMS have participated here all these years?  Only one idiot.  Me.  I used to get and still get notes in support of my commentary from the elected/selected leadership level.  When I ask/ed, want to join in?  No, thanks, but no. 

To Ken Hahn (CSL 72) - I couldn't make it to the 50th ordination anniversary last fall, but Judy and I are planning to go this year since I stuck around for an extra year until 1973 for an STM.  Did you go to the festivities last fall?

Dave Benke

It's OK to Pray

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

#153
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 31, 2023, 02:07:30 PM
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 31, 2023, 02:03:51 PM
Harrison campaigned to make it "Grandpa's Synod." The listing of emeriti means mission accomplished! But apparently the grandpas have other ideas. A brawl in a nursing home is developing.

(Someone has to find the humor in this.)

;D ;D ;D

I thought of an addition. My joke would be dark humor except that we're so very, very white. (Almost as white as the ELCA. Why not offend everyone while I'm at it?)

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Dave Benke on May 31, 2023, 02:34:22 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 31, 2023, 01:28:17 PM
The only item on their list of problems and proposed changes that really jumped out at me is the standard challenger's pipedream in any election, secular or ecclesial-- Division and factionalism would be replaced with a willingness to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support — to have each other's backs rather than talking behind them. We need different kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Really? Voting out the incumbent would result in everyone becoming willing to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support? The letter is signed by former SP Kieschnick, who was voted out as an incumbent. What on earth makes Dr. Ferry and his supporters think the supporters of Harrison will do anything in a Ferry presidency other than exactly what these signatories are doing to Harrison?

Don't get me wrong. I'm content with Harrison as SP and think Ferry would also do a great job. I just don't think any of our disagreements, divisions, or factions are caused by who the president is. If you don't like factions, stop being one. If disagreement is the problem, stop disagreeing and it goes away.

One whimsical note: if one of the key problems is an aging synod too rooted in the past, wouldn't it have been better to get signatories whose average age was lower rather than substantially higher than the synod's? And doesn't the title "emeritus" speak against the central thrust of the campaign?

Ed answered your last question - if they're in office and  young(er),  they're not going to sign stuff.  Ask yourself a semi-related question - how many bishops and/or district presidents from ELCA or LCMS have participated here all these years?  Only one idiot.  Me.  I used to get and still get notes in support of my commentary from the elected/selected leadership level.  When I ask/ed, want to join in?  No, thanks, but no. 

To Ken Hahn (CSL 72) - I couldn't make it to the 50th ordination anniversary last fall, but Judy and I are planning to go this year since I stuck around for an extra year until 1973 for an STM.  Did you go to the festivities last fall?

Dave Benke
Why not? I just don't get that at all. Plenty of people signed the statement put out by the Black Clergy Caucus, and I considered carefully and published my reasons for not signing. People signed off on that spiel about wokeism at CUW, and again, I carefully considered it and discussed it publicly without sighing anything either way. I get not signing something you have reservations about. I don't get being afraid to sign something you agree wholeheartedly with.

Fcdwyn



To Ken Hahn (CSL 72) - I couldn't make it to the 50th ordination anniversary last fall, but Judy and I are planning to go this year since I stuck around for an extra year until 1973 for an STM.  Did you go to the festivities last fall?

Dave Benke
[/quote]PSD

No, didn't make it as Bonnie and I had a busy summer/fall moving from CA (PSD) to Springville, Alabama (Southern District). Retirement $$ go a lot further in AL than they did in CA!

D. Engebretson

Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 31, 2023, 01:28:17 PM
The only item on their list of problems and proposed changes that really jumped out at me is the standard challenger's pipedream in any election, secular or ecclesial-- Division and factionalism would be replaced with a willingness to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support — to have each other's backs rather than talking behind them. We need different kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Really? Voting out the incumbent would result in everyone becoming willing to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support? The letter is signed by former SP Kieschnick, who was voted out as an incumbent. What on earth makes Dr. Ferry and his supporters think the supporters of Harrison will do anything in a Ferry presidency other than exactly what these signatories are doing to Harrison?

Don't get me wrong. I'm content with Harrison as SP and think Ferry would also do a great job. I just don't think any of our disagreements, divisions, or factions are caused by who the president is. If you don't like factions, stop being one. If disagreement is the problem, stop disagreeing and it goes away.

One whimsical note: if one of the key problems is an aging synod too rooted in the past, wouldn't it have been better to get signatories whose average age was lower rather than substantially higher than the synod's? And doesn't the title "emeritus" speak against the central thrust of the campaign?

I agree. I don't think that voting someone out and then voting someone new in will solve any of the perceived deficits of Synod. 

There is a reason for some of the divisions and the man at the top isn't going to substantially change this - even if he is the most 'winsome' guy around.  Like the national political landscape in general, our beloved synod has people of conflicting convictions that will not be resolved.  For example, at the most basic level - local worship - we couldn't display more disparity.  From stages, lights, clergy in skinny jeans and polos, and pit bands led by bass guitars in churches that essentially jettison the liturgy and appear no different than any other local nondenom, to congregations committed to the historic liturgy, vestments and hymnody.  These differences and divisions are set. Deeply. They are not going away.  Cultural issues are also subjects that draw out great contrasts from folks on the far coasts to the midwestern fly-over country.  While the gender/sexuality issues may not be as heated in our midst (although it's only a matter of time before the inroads are made), the race issue has now become more so.  What I fear is that the raw anger I am seeing online in some sectors will eventually spill over into the church, and frustrations with a perceived lack of reparations will become reasons to draw lines, mark boundaries, highlight differences, and point fingers to establish guilt, even if the guilt is inherited from generations long since gone. 

But just like congregations that attack a pastor as the cause for its perceived decline as the easy scapegoat, I would expect no different at the national level. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Jim Butler

Quote from: Dave Benke on May 31, 2023, 10:26:40 AM
On the topic of utopian/dystopian LCMS futures and elections, here's a letter in advance of the LCMS Presidential vote which takes place in a couple of weeks:
https://congregationsmatter.org/veteran-leaders-make-the-case-for-new-lcms-leadership/

It's signed by a whole bunch of my former colleagues on the Council of Presidents LCMS, as well as three or four former Concordia University system presidents, and Dale Meyer, former President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

The substance of the letter is that a change in leadership at the top is needed for all sorts of listed reasons. 

Dave Benke

What, exactly, do the people who signed this letter think would be substantially different if Patrick Ferry became SP?

They bemoan the decline in the size of Synod. That same complaint was lodged during the Bohlmann, Barry, and Kieschnick administrations. Each time the promised solution was a new SP. What the SP has to do with the growth or decline of local congregations is beyond me.

They are saddened at the close of Selma, Portland, and Bronxville. Would that have changed if someone else had been SP? Could a different SP have changed Selma from being what the Atlantic Constitution-Journal labeled a "drop out factory"? Would he have prevented Portland from signing the Hotchalk agreement? Considering that John Nunes presided over Bronxville's closure maybe he was the problem. At any rate, I'm not convinced that a different SP would have made any difference. Same with low seminary enrollments.

Patrick Ferry ran CUW/AA very well. He assembled a team that was able to build on what had been done before. I think he would be a very good SP. But I don't think he'd fix all of the problems that they talk about in this letter. Most of those seem to be local issues and the SP has little--if any--control over.
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

Dave Benke

Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 31, 2023, 03:12:00 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on May 31, 2023, 02:34:22 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 31, 2023, 01:28:17 PM
The only item on their list of problems and proposed changes that really jumped out at me is the standard challenger's pipedream in any election, secular or ecclesial-- Division and factionalism would be replaced with a willingness to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support — to have each other's backs rather than talking behind them. We need different kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Really? Voting out the incumbent would result in everyone becoming willing to work together with mutual respect, trust, and support? The letter is signed by former SP Kieschnick, who was voted out as an incumbent. What on earth makes Dr. Ferry and his supporters think the supporters of Harrison will do anything in a Ferry presidency other than exactly what these signatories are doing to Harrison?

Don't get me wrong. I'm content with Harrison as SP and think Ferry would also do a great job. I just don't think any of our disagreements, divisions, or factions are caused by who the president is. If you don't like factions, stop being one. If disagreement is the problem, stop disagreeing and it goes away.

One whimsical note: if one of the key problems is an aging synod too rooted in the past, wouldn't it have been better to get signatories whose average age was lower rather than substantially higher than the synod's? And doesn't the title "emeritus" speak against the central thrust of the campaign?

Ed answered your last question - if they're in office and  young(er),  they're not going to sign stuff.  Ask yourself a semi-related question - how many bishops and/or district presidents from ELCA or LCMS have participated here all these years?  Only one idiot.  Me.  I used to get and still get notes in support of my commentary from the elected/selected leadership level.  When I ask/ed, want to join in?  No, thanks, but no. 

To Ken Hahn (CSL 72) - I couldn't make it to the 50th ordination anniversary last fall, but Judy and I are planning to go this year since I stuck around for an extra year until 1973 for an STM.  Did you go to the festivities last fall?

Dave Benke
Why not? I just don't get that at all. Plenty of people signed the statement put out by the Black Clergy Caucus, and I considered carefully and published my reasons for not signing. People signed off on that spiel about wokeism at CUW, and again, I carefully considered it and discussed it publicly without sighing anything either way. I get not signing something you have reservations about. I don't get being afraid to sign something you agree wholeheartedly with.

a) I'm not the guy to ask, because I don't get it either.  But you are not (are you?) an elected official.   That may be the difference. 
b) I think everybody's pooped, to a certain extent.  What's the over/under on the percentage of turnout for the national election of the President of the LCMS?  I don't know how many participated in the first place, and it couldn't have been too high.  But of those who are eligible to participate in the second phase, what's that going to be?  Maybe 50%? 
Sign something, get all worked up about something?  Not so much. 
c) Notable signatories on this letter were in my opinion the former college presidents and seminary president.  Skin in the game when it comes to how they were treated by top leadership levels, and how succession was handled.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Dave Benke

Quote from: Jim Butler on May 31, 2023, 04:52:09 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on May 31, 2023, 10:26:40 AM
On the topic of utopian/dystopian LCMS futures and elections, here's a letter in advance of the LCMS Presidential vote which takes place in a couple of weeks:
https://congregationsmatter.org/veteran-leaders-make-the-case-for-new-lcms-leadership/

It's signed by a whole bunch of my former colleagues on the Council of Presidents LCMS, as well as three or four former Concordia University system presidents, and Dale Meyer, former President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

The substance of the letter is that a change in leadership at the top is needed for all sorts of listed reasons. 

Dave Benke

What, exactly, do the people who signed this letter think would be substantially different if Patrick Ferry became SP?

They bemoan the decline in the size of Synod. That same complaint was lodged during the Bohlmann, Barry, and Kieschnick administrations. Each time the promised solution was a new SP. What the SP has to do with the growth or decline of local congregations is beyond me.

They are saddened at the close of Selma, Portland, and Bronxville. Would that have changed if someone else had been SP? Could a different SP have changed Selma from being what the Atlantic Constitution-Journal labeled a "drop out factory"? Would he have prevented Portland from signing the Hotchalk agreement? Considering that John Nunes presided over Bronxville's closure maybe he was the problem. At any rate, I'm not convinced that a different SP would have made any difference. Same with low seminary enrollments.

Patrick Ferry ran CUW/AA very well. He assembled a team that was able to build on what had been done before. I think he would be a very good SP. But I don't think he'd fix all of the problems that they talk about in this letter. Most of those seem to be local issues and the SP has little--if any--control over.

Good questions, Jim.  Ask the authors/signatories of the letter, I guess.  I will say this, though, and it relates to the concept of term limits.  Four three year terms or three four year terms is sufficient.  I say that as someone who had eight three year terms, so two sets of four three year terms, so I'm not leading by example.  At the national level, from the perspective of the difficulty of the task, all the other elected folks have a twelve year max.  That would not be at all a bad idea for both national and district presidents.  It's up for discussion, at least through overture. 

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Jim Butler on May 31, 2023, 04:52:09 PM
What, exactly, do the people who signed this letter think would be substantially different if Patrick Ferry became SP?


As the attached chart indicates, many organizations as they begin to decline, seek new life by changing the structure, i.e., new leadership or revising the congregation council. This author, at least when looking at congregations, argues that revitalization occurs when they can capture the dream again (or a new dream for a new time) that brought the organization into existence.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

I suspect, guys, that Harrison will be easily re-elected. I doubt that other teams are as organized as the incumbent team.

For history's sake, I would remind everyone that Harrison was once the challenger and someone else was incumbent.  The rhetoric I was hearing in St. Louis was sharp vitriol against the Ablaze program. So all of this has gone on before.  It will all go on again. Anyone crying foul is ignoring the history.

I was in St. Louis  when Kieschnick was elected and when Harrison was elected. I saw colleagues rabidly attack the opposite side and vigorously defend their guy. They were elated when their guy won and devastated when their guy lost.

I was focused on my calling, believing that was the best way to serve the Lord and His Church. As I watched all the hand wringing and drama, I was always drawn to Psalm 146.

Jeremy Loesch

Just a few comments- I think the letter is okay, and I have a favorable impression of Pat Ferry.  He did a wonderful job at CUW/AA.  I think he would do okay as synodical president. 

I also have a favorable impression of Matt Harrison.  I think he is doing the job as synodical president. 

The letter does seem rather personal, and some of the issues are things that the SP cannot really do anything about.  If we are concerned about the closures of colleges, it appears that one of the signatories should be able to tell us some things (although there are probably legal reasons why that cannot happen.) 

And the signatories seem like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show, but without the humor.  My first thought when reading the letter was to go back to the 2010 election and the SED president visiting the circuits bemoaning the loss of all the experience in the praesidium.  What experience?  Experience at creating the problems that lead up to the 2010 election?  Hearing that provided a good opportunity for eye rolling.  Whoever said that if the letter is concerned about the aging demographics of the synod, perhaps they should have found a few non-emeriti people to sign the letter.  But I do think that having current district presidents sign the letter would have been seen as even more divisive.  Ben Ball is my age and Chris Esget is a just a few years older than me.  The current praesidium has some relative youngsters on board.

It was an okay letter, but overall it seems like a last ditch effort to get Ferry elected.  I am expecting Pres. Harrison to win election again. 

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Mark Brown

Quote from: Dave Benke on May 31, 2023, 04:52:45 PM

a) I'm not the guy to ask, because I don't get it either.  But you are not (are you?) an elected official.   That may be the difference. 
b) I think everybody's pooped, to a certain extent.  What's the over/under on the percentage of turnout for the national election of the President of the LCMS?  I don't know how many participated in the first place, and it couldn't have been too high.  But of those who are eligible to participate in the second phase, what's that going to be?  Maybe 50%? 
Sign something, get all worked up about something?  Not so much. 
c) Notable signatories on this letter were in my opinion the former college presidents and seminary president.  Skin in the game when it comes to how they were treated by top leadership levels, and how succession was handled.

Dave Benke

So, the guys who have seen three places they ran close in past 4 years and are staring at reduced numbers of kids enrolling want to put one of theirs in control of the larger pocketbook? And old guys who were beaten in a "change election" are still complaining about how they were never asked their opinions on things afterwards? Shocked, I'm Shocked.

Half the "reality" bullet points in their letter the guys who signed it are responsible for. Two of them, on the pastor shortage, are ridiculous as we do not have a pastor shortage, other than maybe a very short term one.  And none of the guys who signed that letter would step up and take what they want some 20 year old to do.

The only two interesting ones are the final two.  The first a stalking horse for women's ordination.  Which is ultimately going to be the offered solution to the "pastor shortage". And the second one which is the bat-signal for a new institution.

As far as the "wouldn't it be great" points, what did they do, hire their DEI consultants to pen them?  Create them out of a shared counseling session after Harrison hurt their feelings?  Probably asking them why the things they put in the reality points they didn't address while they held the reins.

And what do they mean by a commitment to Lutheran Education? Are we going to get money flowing out to help stabilize and build K-12 to take advantage of all the new states letting money flow with the student?  Why do I not think that is what this group means?

Yes, that is caustic, but that letter is an embarrassment. If you want change, tell me what you want changed and what you think that change would do. All that tells me is that some guys who had high positions don't feel appreciated as it all falls apart. World's Smallest Violin.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

I seriously doubt that all these signatories favor women's ordination. Some of them probably do. But it would be an easy question to ask Pat Ferry as the proposed candidate.

There are mixed signals on whether the LCMS will experience a pastoral shortage.

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