Proposed Resolutions: Committee 3, Life Together (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 9th, 2013 Post by

I’m doing more than one floor committee today, so that we can get through all seven by Friday, which is when the committee chairmen (listed on page 11 of Today’s Business) want feedback to be received.

We continue, then, with Committee 3, Life Together. As with all of the proposed resolutions, it is helpful to have at hand these documents:

Today’s Business
Convention Workbook
2010 Handbook

3. LIFE TOGETHER (TB, pp. 69-83)

3-01: To Expand the Koinonia Project

Will pass, but leaves out, as specific content to be included in the Koinonia Project, Articles VI and VII of the Constitution, which Ov. 3-08 (CW, p. 151) would have specified.

3-02: To Respect One Another and Put the Best Construction on All Things

Still, there is a distinction between private offenses and public offenses. But how would this resolution be used?

3-03: To Support, Commend, and Increase Witness, Mercy, and Life Together Ministry of Lutheran Schools

Will pass.

3-04: To Authorize a Blue Ribbon Committee on Lutheran Schools

To find ways to help support and save our Lutheran schools.

3-05: To Address Responsible Internet Use in Congregations

Will pass.

3-06: To Adopt Mission and Ministry Emphases for the 2013-2016 Triennium

Continue “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” emphasis.

3-07: To Further Promote Mission Awareness, Support, Collaboration, and Coordination for Rural and Small Town, Urban and Inner City, and Suburban Ministry

Let’s do ministry “in these areas” of our nation, which are . . . just about all of them.

3-08: To Reaffirm Faithful Church Revitalization as a Priority of the Office of National Mission

What all is meant by “revitalization”? And what about the evaluation of Transforming Churches Network?

3-09: To Continue to Support and Promote Black Ministry in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

ONM to appoint Director of Black Ministry. Black Ministry Convocation in 2014. Will pass.

3-10: To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

Seek to get calls for returning chaplains and missionaries and for those church workers on candidate status.

3-11: To Support Church Workers

Encourage congregations to meet district salary guidelines for called workers. The resolution will pass, but I will be flabbergasted if the actual end result ever happens.

3-12: To Affirm Our Worship Treasures Old and New and Commend the Document, Text, Music, Context

Commends this resource for evaluating worship materials.

3-13: To Update Synod’s Catechetical Materials

Would update 1991 edition’s “Explanation” section. Would also produce a more comprehensive adult edition.

3-14: To Encourage Daily Family Devotions

Commends CPH resources for such. Gives more attention to home devotions.

3-15: To Encourage Study of Lutheran Confessions to Celebrate Reformation

Prepare resources to promote study of Confessions, especially looking toward 2017 anniversary.

3-16: To Express Thanks to the Office of the President and Offices of National and International Mission

Thanks, everyone!

3-17: To Thank and Commend the Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Thank you guys, too.

3-18: To Commend Concordia Publishing House

We commend you!

3-19: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

A couple of “mission and ministry” overtures didn’t follow proper procedure.

Next time: Committee 4, Theology and Church Relations.






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  1. Daniel L. Gard
    July 9th, 2013 at 18:31 | #1

    Thanks for your brief and succinct analysis of these Resolutions. I almost always agree with you. However (uh oh….here it comes), 3-10 does NOT “seek to get calls for returning chaplains and missionaries and for those church workers on candidate status.” Rather, in the finest tradition of not facing up to the reality of what these men and their families are going through, 3-10 simply establishes a task force and then, in the final Resolved, states “That this Task Force make a report and recommendations to the Synod no later than six months prior to the 2016 Synod convention.”

    What? Three more years of ecclesiastical purgatory for these pastors? In my opinion, this is the wrong answer. 3-10 is basically pointless and needs to be replaced with a Resolution that mandates action now. No more task forces. No more chanting the mantra, “Life Together.” It is time to repent of our corporate sin against these servants of God and stop telling them, “We are so sorry about your condition. We’ll get back to you in three years. Maybe.”

  2. July 9th, 2013 at 18:47 | #2

    3-15 is certainly a step in the right direction.

    What’s an “overture”?

  3. July 9th, 2013 at 18:55 | #3

    @Daniel L. Gard #1

    Thank you, Dr. Gard. I almost always agree with you, too. We should form our own Totally Sanctified Synod (TSS).

    Yes, this resolution–like a number of others in TB–recognizes a problem that needs to be addressed, is well intended, sees the right goal . . . but then kind of “kicks the can down the road,” doesn’t it? There are a number of “OK” resolutions I would like to be stronger. Perhaps if the will of the convention is such, stronger amendments or substitute resolutions could be offered–in this, and in several other areas. But this resolution is better than nothing, I suppose.

  4. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 18:57 | #4

    @J. Dean #2 : What’s an “overture”?

    A preborn resolution. ;-)

  5. July 9th, 2013 at 19:00 | #5

    J. Dean:
    What’s an “overture”?

    An overture is what congregations, circuit forums, and district conventions submit for inclusion in the Convention Workbook. The floor committees then look over those overtures and use them–or not–in the formation of proposed resolutions. Often the floor committees seem to throw related overtures into a blender, and they come out as mild, mushy pap.

  6. helen
    July 9th, 2013 at 20:15 | #6

    @Charles Henrickson #3
    But this resolution is better than nothing, I suppose.

    No, Pr. Henrickson, that resolution is worse than “nothing”.

    It leaves a lot of uninformed lay people who go home with the idea that “we’ve done something” for chaplains, missionaries (and CRM’s)… but putting the job back into the hands of the people who should have done something about all of them, immediately, when the individual need arose, not three more years down the road.

    The DP’s who have a bias against those without a call (through no fault of the candidates) will have three more years to drive them out of the ministry altogether.
    Congregations will not be taught their responsibilities toward their called Pastors.
    Nothing is done about the needs of these men and their families, about health insurance, about food and clothing, about the rent (about their student loan debt)!

    It’s telling them, “Bless you, be warmed and fed.”
    And doing. nothing. about it!

  7. helen
    July 9th, 2013 at 20:22 | #7

    @Charles Henrickson #5
    Often the floor committees seem to throw related overtures into a blender,

    More often they are unrelated, and the congregation which made an overture recognizes nothing of what they said in the “resolution”, except their name on it!

  8. July 9th, 2013 at 20:26 | #8

    @helen #6

    In that case, write to the floor committee chairman–by Friday–and let him know your concerns. Or talk to your circuit delegates–or any delegates you know–and ask them to try to get this issue addressed more strongly at the convention.

    Believe me, I know what’s it like to be CRM and wanting to at least get your name put on a call list. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. And I know for a fact of at least two instances in which DPs lied–yes, lied–to congregations about me, saying I was not available for a call, when I was. So I know the games that can be played to shut guys out.

    But even if we pass a resolution–or an amendment to this resolution–at this convention, what would it look like, what would it be that would actually do something? Any suggestions, anyone?

  9. helen
    July 9th, 2013 at 21:56 | #9

    @Charles Henrickson #8
    Any suggestions, anyone?
    Can’t anyone see the overtures that went into the sausage, “as raw meat”?

    I remember some discussed that were better than this resolution.
    They put the buck where it should stop, with the DP’s who are the roadblock to placing CRM’s (as you have demonstrated you know!) [So, now you have a call, don’t relax.]

    I don’t know how DP’s got authority to “license” “lay ministers” but that should be rescinded.

    Maybe chaplains, returning missionaries, and candidates should have health insurance and some additional subsidy from their districts until they are placed in another call?
    (Money wonderfully concentrates the bureaucrats’ minds!)

  10. Mrs. Hume
    July 9th, 2013 at 22:13 | #10

    What makes a resolution a good resolution?

    Now this quite circuitous, but here goes. My son was out of town and evidently met a one Rev. Warren Graff and thought he had such great ideas, yada yada. So, wondering who that was, I wound up with this rather interesting podcast:

    http://www.tabletalkradio.org/content/node/73

    So, what makes resolutions “sound good” and why?

    Is it content? Like content that mirrors or exemplifies biblical and confessional principles?

    Or is it something else? Like something from the world that we have perhaps absorbed inadvertently from our culture and react to without knowing it? Like “modern” sounding stuff whose meaning we overlook because our exposure to its syntax has inoculated it such that we act as host to ideas which are themselves accepted uncritically?

  11. Mrs. Hume
    July 9th, 2013 at 22:23 | #11

    @Daniel L. Gard #1

    What? Three more years of ecclesiastical purgatory for these pastors? In my opinion, this is the wrong answer. 3-10 is basically pointless and needs to be replaced with a Resolution that mandates action now. No more task forces.

    Okay, folks, how about we play Name Your Top Ten Most Effective Task Forces. Surely, we will all be overflowing with examples from industry and community where passing the buck to an unaccountable group solved all our problems. I can’t wait to hear the stories. (sarcasm)

    In the immortal words of Han Solo, “No time to discuss this in a committee.”

    I exaggerate, of course, but not much. If there is no real authority or ability to take action, then there won’t be any action. The “Task Force” then becomes the human circular file.

  12. Michael
    July 9th, 2013 at 22:49 | #12

    @helen #9
    DP’s got that authority when lay ministers was approved at the 1989 convention.

  13. David Hartung
    July 10th, 2013 at 07:51 | #13

    @Daniel L. Gard #1
    Dr. Gard, what generally happens when a military chaplain leaves the military short of retirement? I had long thought that such departures were organized such that the departing chaplain has a call the day he leaves active duty. It seems that I am mistaken.

  14. Joe Strieter
    July 10th, 2013 at 08:43 | #14

    DELEGATES, BEWARE 3-08 –CHURCH REVITALIZATION!!!! This was a stealth resolution in 2007, which I am sorry to say, I supported. It was the wedge by which Transforming Churches sneaked into the LCMS. It was dishonest and misleading.

    Please read the “whereases” and the “resolves” very carefully, especially the white spaces between the lines. I haven’t read this one myself, but I’d vote NO.

    We have all the tools we need for revitalization–the Means of Grace. Just use, administer, and distribute them. Revitalization will take care of itself.

    Period. Amen, and yea verily.

    (Ask me how I really feel!)

  15. Joe Strieter
    July 10th, 2013 at 09:01 | #15

    Res. 3-08 (Continued acerbic comments): Here’s “Whereas’s #1, #4, and #7 from 3-08.

    WHEREAS, The 2007 LCMS convention adopted Res. 1-01A, “To Support Revitalization of LCMS 25 Congregations,” stating:
    “Resolved, That the LCMS in convention adopt a goal of praying and working for the mission 28 revitalization of at least 2,000 existing LCMS churches by 2017.”

    WHEREAS, LCMS congregations and districts have been utilizing various programs and processes for 45 sustaining and revitalizing (e.g., Refocus, Church Turnaround, In Focus Church, Natural Church Development, and 46 Transforming Churches Network [TCN]—the latter a recognized service organization [RSO] of the LCMS);

    WHEREAS, The working group has identified strengths and weaknesses of TCN and called for a substantial 1 review and rewrite which is underway to strengthen TCN as one process for revitalization;

    Comment: TCN and NCD are utter bogosity, based on decision theology and are simply the latest mutations of the CGV (Church Growth Virus), being completely devoid of the Means of Grace, and I don’t know how they can be “strengthened.” Best thing is to trash-can them, and take TCN from the list of RSO’s. If you don’t believe me, check with the redoubtable Scott Diekmann.

    Just vote “NO!”

  16. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 09:10 | #16

    Here are the members of Committee 3 who should be called to account for including Resolution 3-08 in 2013: Today’s Business:

    Chairman: Donald Fondow (MNN);
    District Presidents: Vice chair: Russell Sommerfeld (NEB); Barrie Henke (OK); Timothy Yeadon (NE);
    Synod Vice President: John Wohlrabe, Jr. (SW);
    Voting Ordained Ministers: Sean Daenzer (ND); John Hill (WY); Todd Peperkorn (CNH); Christopher Tabbert (MT); Aubrey Watson, Jr. (SO);
    Voting Laymen and Layladies: Albert Collver, Jr. (MDS); Paul Lagemann (EN); Donna Lucas (SE);
    Advisory Commissioned Minister: John Bobzin (MO).

  17. July 10th, 2013 at 09:47 | #17

    @Joe Strieter #15 — NCD was the catalyst that eventually led to my CRM (8 years this fall …)

  18. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 10:14 | #18

    Surprise, surprise…

    The Nebraska District, whose president is on Committee 3, is a big supporter of “Natural Church Development.”

  19. Brad
    July 10th, 2013 at 10:42 | #19

    @Charles Henrickson #8

    Here’s my recommendation:

    Add to this resolution, that all Blue Ribbon Task Forces, and other such hullabloo, be staffed entirely or in majority, by the folks they are trying to help– specifically those pastors on purgatorial list. And, add to that, that they Synod will pay them at the Synodical recommended pay guidelines, until the work is done.

    This way, we stop paying politicians to solve the problems of our pastors, and put our pastors to work, solving their own problems within Synod. And, it can start NOW.

    My two cents…

  20. Rev. Clint K. Poppe
    July 10th, 2013 at 11:04 | #20

    @Carl Vehse #18

    And many confessional pastors and laymen in the Nebraska District have suffered greatly because of it!

    NCD and TCN are horrific and need to be stopped for the sake of Christ and His Church.

    In Christ, Clint

  21. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 11:17 | #21

    It’s too bad the ACELC-recommended overture, “To Cease District Promotion and Involvement in Natural Church Development,” didn’t become a Resolution, despite the “very frank, but cordial, fraternal discussions” in a Nov, 2010, meeting between the ACELC and synod officials.

  22. July 10th, 2013 at 13:39 | #22

    Good point “Carl.” This stuff is really ticking me off.

    We have a confessional president who is now in his second term and who appointed the convention committees. We have a bunch of brothers (and sisters) who have submitted a godly and practical resolution seeking to stop the growth of new measures in the church and instead we get a resolution that promotes revitalization (and as Strieter pointed out that is code for church growth).

    It just does not make sense. The ACELC threw a nice juicy softball right down the middle of the plate and the committee decided to step out of the batters box instead of hit it out of the park.

    Oh brother…

  23. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 13:39 | #23

    3-09: To Continue to Support and Promote Black Ministry in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

    Unless there are cultural, language, or location distinctions specifically identified (and there are none identified in the WHEREAS sections) as requiring non-normal synodical efforts to support its various pastoral and congregation members in the United States, 3-09 comes across simply as a racist resolution.

  24. helen
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:23 | #24

    @Brad #19
    Add to this resolution, that all Blue Ribbon Task Forces, and other such hullabloo, be staffed entirely or in majority, by the folks they are trying to help– specifically those pastors on purgatorial list. And, add to that, that they Synod will pay them at the Synodical recommended pay guidelines, until the work is done.

    The work would be done when they all, and others like them, had calls, of course. :)
    Just the thought of some people ending up on a “Task force” might inspire DP’s to keep them out of “purgatory”! (Especially if said task force were writing CCM style “decrees” for DP’s to follow. Delicious, Brad!] ;)

  25. July 10th, 2013 at 15:21 | #25

    I agree Helen. Here, here to Brad! His post above was one of the most interesting, clever and right-on ideas ever conjured up in LCMS politics. Very refreshing…

  26. July 10th, 2013 at 15:23 | #26

    What about at least requiring districts to cover family health insurance for pastors in their district on CRM? Something like that would get the DP’s to push to get calls to those pastors.

  27. Debbie Harris
    July 10th, 2013 at 17:45 | #27

    Norm Fisher :
    What about at least requiring districts to cover family health insurance for pastors in their district on CRM? Something like that would get the DP’s to push to get calls to those pastors.

    Awesome idea!! They’d all be called pretty quickly.

  28. Debbie Harris
    July 10th, 2013 at 17:46 | #28

    Brad :
    @Charles Henrickson #8
    Here’s my recommendation:
    Add to this resolution, that all Blue Ribbon Task Forces, and other such hullabloo, be staffed entirely or in majority, by the folks they are trying to help– specifically those pastors on purgatorial list. And, add to that, that they Synod will pay them at the Synodical recommended pay guidelines, until the work is done.
    This way, we stop paying politicians to solve the problems of our pastors, and put our pastors to work, solving their own problems within Synod. And, it can start NOW.
    My two cents…

    Brilliant! “It is time”

  29. Debbie Harris
    July 10th, 2013 at 18:01 | #29

    Resolution 3-10x
    Whereas…Synod is seeking resolution by kicking candidates without a call down the road for another 3 years

    Whereas….DP’s often do not even call and ask how candidates are surviving day to day

    Whereas….Some men became CRM through no fault of their own but due to the economy

    Whereas…some men who have been CRM are not considered fit for career missionary service

    Resolved: our family has formed a task force with the immediate decision being made. Resolved: not one penny will be going to support Synod. Instead we will be helping to support a pastor on CRM, as well an individually approved acts of witness, mercy and life together.

    See? easy!

  30. Joe Strieter
    July 11th, 2013 at 09:34 | #30

    @Kantor Dennis Boettcher #17

    I’d like to know more–it’s hard for me to connect the dots between NCD and your CRM. Most of my research was done on TCN, and I gave NCD only a cursory (pun intended) review. I don’t think it’s appropriate for your situation to be posted here, but Norm can give you my email address. Norm–permission granted.

    < < Norm: I've sent him your email address. >>

  31. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 09:50 | #31

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #22 : “It just does not make sense. The ACELC threw a nice juicy softball right down the middle of the plate and the committee decided to step out of the batters box instead of hit it out of the park.”

    Maybe the committee will send the ACELC a video apology stating that in looking back they see that they could have done things differently, but that they exacerbated the problem, caused greater offense to the ACELC, the Synod and to its member congregations, and that they ask the ACELC for forgiveness.

    Maybe, huh?

  32. helen
    July 11th, 2013 at 11:16 | #32

    @David Hartung #13
    Dr. Gard, what generally happens when a military chaplain leaves the military short of retirement? I had long thought that such departures were organized such that the departing chaplain has a call the day he leaves active duty. It seems that I am mistaken.

    You have a lot of rosy ideas, David. Only wish some of them were true!
    A confessional chaplain, whose ‘home district’ has a “liberal” bureaucracy, will find that there are “no calls available”…
    (although there might be “licensed lay ministers” and DCE’s (!?) preaching in some parishes).

  33. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 13th, 2013 at 07:19 | #33

    “3-09: To Continue to Support and Promote Black Ministry in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod”

    I believe race should be a protected class.

    Matthew C. Harrison
    Issues Facing Confessional Lutheranism Today
    Issues, Etc.
    July 12, 2013

  34. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 13th, 2013 at 07:51 | #34

    I’ve been criticized a lot by people who think the church shouldn’t be involved in this [social/moral issues addressed in the public square]. What are you doing? You’re trying to save the culture. Well, no. I don’t believe it’s the church’s job to save the culture. The church will never do that. The church should always be, and will always be, at odds with the culture.

    Matthew C. Harrison
    Issues Facing Confessional Lutheranism Today
    Issues, Etc.
    July 12, 2013

  35. Carl Vehse
    July 13th, 2013 at 12:14 | #35

    When one provides a quote, particularly a short quote from a source, it should be expected that one provides:

    1. A quote in which the words carry the meaning of the context from which the quote is taken (i.e., a quote not ripped out of context);
    2. A reference or link to who and where that quote came from; e.g. date, volume, page number for a book, journal or magazine article, a time stamp from an audio recording.

    The quote given @“LC-MS Quotes” Post #33 (and linked to Resolution 3-09) does not met such expectations.

    First, the quote given in #34 actually occurs [32:10 in the Issues, Etc, audio interview with President Matt Harrison] BEFORE the quote given in Post #33.

    Second, the full context of the quote begins [31:25] when Rev. Wilken asks President Harrison, “What are your thoughts on the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage that I deem as hostile to the definition of natural marriage?,” to which President Harrison responds:

    “It’s an absolute travesty, I mean it’s a pathetic travesty. It shows that, unlike the founding of our country, where at least natural law was believed to be consistent, that any idea of natual law has been given up. And so, society is simply the result of an evolutionary process which has produced certain mores which are set in place as laws from time to time and can happily be changed, even fundamental laws like being male and female and the relationship btween the sexes, etc.”

    Then follows the quote [32:10] from President Harrision given in Post #34. President Harrision immediately continues [32:27]:

    What I’m most concerned in the most recent [Supreme Court] round, and with all of this but in the most recent round, is the fact that now with homosexuality becoming a protected class, that just like the civil rights movement, and I believe wrongly so, just like in the case of race, now homosexuality being a protected class–I believe race should be a protected class–but with homosexuality being a protected class, now those of us who simply out of conscience bound to the word of God cannot alter our views we are going to be driven out of every place where we act and carry our views into the public, that is wherever we act on the free exercise clause of the US Constitution. And that’s what we’re facing.”

    Thus the quote in Post #33 has nothing to do with Resolution 3.09 and it is misleading on the part of “LC-MS Quotes” to present it as if it did.

  36. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 13th, 2013 at 13:22 | #36

    @ #35

    Quotes stands duly corrected.

  37. Carl Vehse
    July 13th, 2013 at 15:05 | #37

    In response to an Issures, Etc. interview question by Rev. Wilken about the 2010 election as head of the LCMS and whether it signaled that he would “spearhead a move of church discipline” and “housecleaning” across the Synod, President Harrison stated [26:19]:

    “I’m a pastor. I deal with issues pastorally. I deal wih issues contantly, I deal with issues carefully, but persistantly, and I’m not a bull in a china shop, but I’m going to be faithful, you can count on it. Most people that complain about this issue probably have never been in a leadership position, which is extremely complex, or they are unaware, in fact, of the accountability that is going on constantly, and that is certainly the case. And it could be the case that I’m well due some criticism from time to time, so we’ll take that.”

  38. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 13th, 2013 at 15:20 | #38

    @ #37 “I’m well due some criticism from time to time”

    For instance…

    “Lutherans advocate for anti-malaria support in D.C.”

    Harrison [and others] met with members of Congress to encourage ongoing support and commitment to fight malaria worldwide.

    The group conveyed three primary messages to Congress: requests for support of LMI’s commitment to fight malaria in Africa; a pledge to make fighting malaria a foreign-policy priority; and the ongoing commitment to earmark $670 million in FY13 for U.S. bilateral malaria programs and support of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    Reporter
    December 2012

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