The Sin of the Synod Board of Directors, by Pr. Rossow
This Ash Wednesday in the year of our Lord 2009 would be a great opportunity for President Kieschnick, Vice President Dinkelman and the rest of the LCMS Board of Directors to confess their sin so that there can be healing in our denomination. I know I have countless sins to repent today and will receive ashes twice today, as a reminder of that sin, during our Day School Chapel this morning and at our Ash Wednesday service this evening. Many have tried to get to the heart of the Issues, Etc. Trademark story. I think at the root of it all is the sinful behavior of the Board of Directors. The sin is this. They ignored the responsibility of their office which calls on them to speak directly to Todd and Jeff about a problem they asserted existed between them. They further sinned by even claiming there was a problem in the first place when there wasn’t one. Let me explain.
Most of us have been focusing on the process. We have been focusing on the lawyers, the legal threats, the motions at district conventions, etc. These are all important things but by focusing on the process we ignored the churchly matter of the sin involved. It was a sin for the Board of Directors to ask lawyers to do the work that only they could do. They asserted that there was a problem between them and Todd and Jeff and so they should have sat down with them personally to work it out. To make matters worse, as the readers of this website know, there was no problem in the first place. They imagined that they had leverage that did not exist. It is really unclear what problem they had with Jeff and Todd since the trademark was left un-renewed. Then to really get in the way of Christian dialogue between parties, the Board of Directors asked lawyers to get involved in something that needed personal discussion without lawyers.
Once the lawyers were brought in the means they chose to deal with this situation was a letter that we have all read and it infuriated us because of its threat of further legal action if Todd and Jeff would not compromise. But, as I said above, that letter was not at the heart of the issue.
The heart of the issue is the sin committed by the Board of Directors when they refused to do the work of their office, the work we elected them to do, of conducting the matters of the synod in a Christian manner by meeting with their brothers in the faith and telling them of their concern. Had they done that, it would have been discovered that they have nothing to talk about. Todd and Jeff had not sinned against them or offended them. There would be nothing to talk about but at least that could have been discovered if discussion had been their first step.
I hope the Board of Directors will acknowledge this sin and remedy the situation by meeting directly with Todd and Jeff without any lawyers. If either side believes there was some sort of civil right denied them after that then bring in the lawyers. But until the Board shares its concern directly with Todd and Jeff, they are not conducting this matter in a Christian manner. As members of the board, President Kieschnick and First Vice President Diekelman should have counseled the Board to take this Christian approach.
I know I have many sins to confess today. This Ash Wednesday, in the year of our Lord 2009, presents a great opportunity for the President, the Vice President and the entire LCMS Board of Directors to repent of thier sin.
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