PSA on Synodical Communications
I come from a mainstream media background. At the news organizations I’ve worked at, our objective was to simply report the news. We aim for balance, objectivity and fairness. And I can say that many reporters do a great job of just that — providing readers with news and information that they want and need.
Now, having said that, we all know that the mainstream media has tremendous trouble in this regard, too. Heck, I write every single day about the trouble the mainstream media has in covering religion news fairly and accurately.
Now, I mention all this so that we can understand that our Synodical press office doesn’t even aim for fairness. I don’t mean that as a criticism. The office views its job as protecting and advancing the corporation. It’s a public relations shop that communicates internally to Synodical members. I know many of the people who write for the publications and some are absolutely fantastic. Some could use a bit of help with either their writing or their understanding of Lutheranism. Of course, not all of the people who write for the Synod’s communications shop are Lutheran.
The point is, their job is not to report the news, per se. It’s to advance the corporation through communication with members. Here’s a recent story from The Reporter:
Convention delegates who attended the regional gatherings hosted last winter by the Office of the President generally gave a “thumbs up” to all but one of the 70 recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance.
Right now Synodical leadership is pushing hard for the Blue Ribbon Task Force’s restructuring proposals. To that end, the Synodical leaders held regional gatherings to promote these ideas and “build consensus.” Of course, even the recent health care legislative process had more open debate. Critics were allowed dedicated floor time, for instance. At these regional gatherings, discussion was designed to lead to approval. You might remember that delegates were surveyed about what they thought of each proposal and they had all of 180 seconds to make a decision on each one. Skeptics of the massive redesign of Synod’s structure warned that these surveys would be used to push the agenda through. The recent story in the
Now, it’s worth noting that a full 30 percent of the 1,250 delegates didn’t even attend. Some of these didn’t attend because they viewed the regional gatherings as a sham or a waste of time.
Anyway, the press release from The Reporter is interesting because it gives as an understanding of what the corporate position is right now. It looks like they’re pushing very hard for more centralized authority in the office of the president. Here’s how they put it, though:
The survey shows that delegates favor a major recommendation coming out of the report that would eliminate the Synod’s seven program boards and two of its six commissions and consolidate them into two advisory commissions, one for National Mission and one for International Mission.
“The enhanced understanding about the task force proposals on the part of the convention delegates will bring meaningful discussion to the convention floor,” Krueger said. “At the same time, the floor committee will be knowledgeable about the feelings of the delegates in regard to specific proposals and, based on the feedback it has received to date — in addition to the convention overtures and the feedback it will receive based on the overtures — will present resolutions for consideration that best reflect the overall consensus already achieved.”
Kieschnick said he has been encouraged by the churchmanship shown during the gatherings. “The collegiality so broadly exhibited at the nine regional gatherings was a reflection of how the people of the Synod can work together and walk together for the greater goal of the mission of our Lord.”
Anyway, this is an interesting article as far as it goes. Just remember, though, that the job of The Reporter is never to inform Synod members of the actual debate that’s going on about these proposals. You have to go elsewhere for that.