The Ablaze Edsel Dealership

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


The Ablaze Edsel Dealership — 39 Comments

  1. Perfect! Right down to the $ sign Texas style belt buckle!!!

    Not so sure of the horns on the hood!
    (Haven’t Texas Exes got those trademarked or something?)
    For sure, no real Texan would put them on an Edsel.
    But no real Lutheran would be selling what he’s selling.

  2. I love how the engine is falling out of the Edsel…it real sign of what Ablaze has to offer, a bunch of junk that doesn’t run with the real mechanics of the church (Lutheran Theology)

  3. Let’s see if I got this…

    The plaid tacky suit strikes first against the clerical collar, obvious the center of interest. Is this a call to be different for the sake of difference?
    Wait – where are the Texan spurs, those sharply pointed stars used to urge action from unwillingness?
    Now moving to the positioning of the salesman’s left hand; is it obscuring the Cross here to redirect attention to a floor mat? If this is what the EDSEL name stood for, we can put the mystery of its demise to rest knowing who is in control.
    The depiction of the “June and Ward Clever” type beckons an era of reverence and awe for the mystery of Christ. This shady auto salesman best sharpen his skills of better knowing who is Lutheran in name only, verses those who know Christ builds His Church His Way, through His Word and His Sacraments. Why is this sweet music to our forgiven ears!
    And the “little Luther” (I read 5’4″ standing tall b/4 going home), not forcing the Gospel, but only reinforcing a plea.
    Decision made, “Ward and June” protect the pocketbook from fire!
    Can we add to this couples dialogue, ” You can’t see his eyes!”
    Something comforting about the three balloons that hover over “Ward’s” head.

    Kudos to the artistic mind,

  4. Brothers,

    We all feel concern and angst over things going on in our Synod, but do we really believe a rather savage cartoon attacking our Synodical President is the best way to go about influencing and moving toward the kind of changes we believe are necessary?

    There is an unseemly puerlishness in this cartoon.

    Is it really this web site’s position and opinion that President Kieschnick wants to get rid of Lutheranism?

  5. Brother Lutherian,

    Can you name for me three examples of President Kieschnick publicly speaking out against the un-Lutheran practices going on in our synod (e.g. worship that substitutes emotion for substance, the use of non-Lutheran materials such as “The 40 Days of Purpose” in Lutheran congregations and preached from Lutheran pulpits, etc.)?

    Also, why is it that President Kieschnick has chosen to insert a special glossy section into the Reporter on “leadership?” Leadership is a theme taken right out of the playbook of the corporate approach to the church developed by the American Evangelicals. St. Paul, Augustine, Luther, Walther et. al. did not take valuable ecclesiastical resources to speak of temporal matters such as leadership types, but instead spoke of Lutheran distinctinves such as faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, etc.

    By his lack of critique of non-Lutheran practices in our synod and by his promulgation of the secularized agenda of American Evangelicalism President Kieschnick is jeopardizing Lutheranism in our synod.

    Pastor Rossow

    P.S. It is not necessary but if you are going to criticize the editorial policy of this website it would be nice if you would do so under your real name and not just under your internet pseudonym.

  6. I have to agree with Lutherian. I think this kind of thing is really counter-productive and is an immature spleen vent. We need to rise above this kind of gutter-journalism humor.

  7. Hank,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am curious, how would a straight-forward editorial against the church-growth tactics promoted by President Keischnick strike you? Would that be out of bounds as well?

    I assert that all told, a satirical cartoon is less offensive than a hard-hitting essay, but possibly more effective.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. Dave,

    Thanks for the brilliant commentary. I had not givne much thought to the balloons prior to reading your comments. Upon further analysis, the Ablaze program is one balloon short of a “Trinity.”

    Pastor Rossow

  9. Clearly, Lutherian and Hank lack the appreciation put into Rev. Blazek’s thoughtful use of symbols labels, correlation, magnification, and irony to persuade his readers. A picture paints a thousand word.

  10. Wait – where are the Texan spurs, those sharply pointed stars used to urge action from unwillingness?

    As I recall, when president of the Texas District, the used car salesman depicted in the cartoon advised against the wearing of boots (much less spurs). As I also recall, this spurred many pastors who didn’t wear boots to begin to do so.

    While BJS will likely take some public heat for such a cartoon (‘named’ only as another evil endeavor on the internet, one with ‘unkind drawings’, etc.), it should be noted that Pr. Blazek’s artwork is not directed against Pres. Kieschnick, but against the Ablaze![tm] program; i.e., he is warning about the Edsel, and the salesman is implicated solely because he is selling the piece of junk. Perhaps a future piece will go beyond this one ‘salesman’ to show/name many who share his sales agenda in Missouri, as well as expanding to those who have put forth other de-lutheranizing programs (the LCMS’s Dispute Exacerbation Process, perhaps, or the SMP program).

    Programs don’t exist apart from people; people who push bad programs ought to be warned against as part of the warning against the program, as it might prevent them from slipping the next ‘great new thing’ past folks by virtue of their having learned how to better package it.


  11. how to better package it.

    Pr. Rossow, when you guys get the RSS feeds set up, etc., could you also set up something that prevents my splitting of infinitives?

    EJG (too much Star Trek, I guess…)

  12. Might I just take the opportunity to thank Pastor Rossow and his colleagues for putting together this wonderful website?

    Lutheran laity NEED a forum to unite us and talk about these things in the open. Whether they agree or disagree.
    The LCMS Synod does not seem to represent the interests of the laity, as the recent Issues, Etc. fiasco and the senseless recall of missionaries from the field demonstrate.

    I say a forum like this is long overdue, and it’s about time the laity realize that we elect the Synodical leaders to represent us–NOT the other way around.

    Again, thank you Pastor Rossow. Now Lutheran laity can educate themselves about these issues and fight for their Synod rather than leaving the church altogether out of sheer disgust.

  13. Displaying childish cartoons strikes me as behavior of little boys throwing sticks and stones. If you folks want to be taken seriously, then drop this ridiculous way of approaching issues.

    There is nothing admirable, commendable, appropriate or otherwise in displaying these kinds of stupid cartoons.

    It might satisfy a visceral need on the part of some to lash out in anger, but it only makes this organization look immature and like a bunch of reactionary crazies.

    Pr. Stefanski is being more than a little silly when he suggests the cartoon is not aimed at attacking Pres. Kieschnick.

    I really wish Stefanski and Cascione and other ex-Missourians would stay out of LCMS matters. Go attend to your own congregations and your own micro-Synods. You had your chance and you left.

    Listen, I don’t like Kieschnick’s presidency either and I hope he is defeated next time, but if you guys want to accomplish that, it isn’t going to happen by being no better than Herman Ottten’s rag.

    This is just garbage and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

  14. Pr. Stefanski is being more than a little silly when he suggests the cartoon is not aimed at attacking Pres. Kieschnick.

    You need to read a little more carefully. What I said is that Pr. Blazek was not writing against Kieschnick per se, but against Ablaze![tm]; Kieschnick is simply included because he is selling Ablaze![tm].

    Similarly, one ought not attack Joel Osteen as a person, but ought to attack his false teaching…which necessarily involves naming him as the teacher of such things.

    I really wish Stefanski and Cascione and other ex-Missourians would stay out of LCMS matters. Go attend to your own congregations and your own micro-Synods. You had your chance and you left.

    I’ll tell you what: if Pr. Rossow and/or the BJS Board tells us non-LCMS Lutherans that this is an LCMS-only site, I’m sure I can find something else to do. Until then–and until such time as I can be guaranteed that none of my parishioners will stumble across this site–I have no choice but to speak the truth where falsehood is being spoken (as on the ‘Hyper-Euro’ matter) and to defend my neighbor and speak well of him when he is being vilified for telling the truth about your church body’s ill-conceived marketing and manipulation campaign and the non-theologian who is so desperately wanting to sell it to Ward and June. My congregation has long insisted that I do so.


  15. Judging from their shared IP address, I think Hank and Lutherian might be the same person. I don’t really care about people using pseudonyms but I will point out that “sock puppetry” is frowned upon in the blogosphere. You shouldn’t make it seem like you represent more than your own opinion — however tempting it may be.

  16. I, Mollie, wrote that last comment — I forgot that my name wouldn’t show up.

  17. Hank (and Lutherian),

    The only thing childish and immature in the above discussion is your silly little attack on Pastor Stefanski. You cannot possibly stoop any lower or be any more childish and immature than to say, “You had your chance and you left.” Grow up, would ya?

    Besides, anyone who would take a pot-shot like that at a faithful pastor who is willing to risk life and limb to defend confessional Lutheranism, and who would, at the same time, decry a satirical cartoon depicting a man and his program which does just the opposite, lacks any credibility whatsoever!

    I suggest that you take a look at some of the satirical artwork done at the time of the Reformation. And, while you’re at it, read a little Luther – if your delicate sensibilities can handle it, that is.


    In Christ,
    Pastor Messer

  18. Lets all just have a big hug. Really, the art of satirical cartoons is one to be cherished. I see nothing “savage” in it but see only wit and satire.

    Is truth mean spirited? If it offends then one aught look at the reason why. Or is the truth of the cartoon disputed? Is Ablaze a Lutheran program? If you think so, please harmonize them for me.

  19. Apparently pictures DO speak louder than words, judging from some of the attacks that have been generated as a result of this cartoon.
    My only opinion of the cartoon is, shouldn’t the salesman be wearing a tuxedo without a collar?

  20. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This cartoon is worth more to the average layman than any multi-thousand word essay by Wohlrabe or Schulz or whoever, however erudite and correct they may be. Pr Russow is right.
    Hank, or Lutherian, or whoever you are: Your ad hominem atack against Pr. Stefanski is beneath contempt. If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
    Not afraid to sign my name.
    Ed Weise, San Leandro, CA

  21. My apology to Pr. Rossow for mis-spelling his name. The “submit” finger is quicker than the eye!

  22. I believe it is helpful to highlight what is happening within the LCMS. There are plenty of evangelical denominations/synods/churches, do we have to turn the LCMS into another generic version of the same formula?

  23. Far from being demeaning and insulting, I think the cartoon gives a great deal more dignity to G.K. and Ablaze! than they actually have. (Ablaze! Salsa anyone?)

    Just my opinion.

    Rev. Andrew Eckert

  24. I don’t think the cartoon is helpful.

    Pr. Chryst, could you elaborate on this, please?

    I don’t know that I necessarily disagree with you; I think that one might say such a thing because of the context in which the cartoon appears, while not holding that it is objectionable in and of itself. ‘Helpfulness’ might be measured in terms of what the cartoonist wants to accomplish, what the website wants to accomplish, what any of ‘us’ wants to accomplish, etc.

    In so saying, I by no means back away from my earlier statements wrt either the fact that the cartoon is not a ‘personal attack against the synod president’ or that those who promote false teaching ought to be named as false teachers if they do not repent. I think Ron’s point, that the cartoon informs in a way that is memorable and, perhaps, that ‘rallies the troops’, is valid…but since some of ‘the troops’ (e.g., you) are considering the cartoon unhelpful, questions as to methods and means, as well as intent and unintended consequences, ought to be discussed so that you Missouri good guys are all on the same page as much as possible.

    So, again, I think it would be good if you would elaborate…perhaps avoiding the mistakes of Hank/Lutherian (whose sharing an IP could simply mean that they are husband and wife, logon through the same library or school or business network, btw).



  25. Well,

    While I understand that humor and satire can have a place, but, I think here it’s the kind of thing that will be seen by Ablaze and Kieschnick partisans (and perhaps uninformed neutral parties) as mean-spirited. We’ve already seen this kind of reaction to some similar cartoons in Christian News, haven’t we?

    I don’t really think the cartoon “informs” anyone on our side of anything – though it may reinforce what some already believe. Sure Ablaze is a program. Sure it has common elements to marketing/sales. We all know that, though.

    But if we really want to inform and convince the “mushy Missouri middle”, is this the best tactic? I would prefer persuasive discourse to lampooning depictions.

    I just think there are better ways to go about criticizing the synod’s ills than “poking fun”. This gives the establishment ammunition, but won’t change minds. Isn’t it better to “kill ’em with kindness”?

    I won’t wave the “shame on you” finger like Hank did, because I think we can disagree on tactics, and I don’t impugn the cartoonist’s motives, or those that may disagree with me, but like I said, I just don’t think it’s helpful.

  26. Keep up the great cartooning! Remember that editorial cartoons pointing out church corruption have a long Lutheran history going back to Lucas Cranach and his woodcuts that were used in Martin Luther’s pamphlets, like this one and this and

  27. I just think there are better ways to go about criticizing the synod’s ills than “poking fun”. This gives the establishment ammunition, but won’t change minds.

    Thank you, Pr. Chryst, for your response. I think this is a discussion that needs to take place amongst the orthodox folks in Missouri.

    Personally, I can see a place for both points of view and simply wonder whether both can well be accommodated on a single site, or if such an attempt will end up having the “persuasive discourse” being relegated to the dust heap by those who don’t understand or appreciate the “lampooning depictions.” Both agitators and ameliorators can be useful, if only each will see the other as such and if they will generally each keep to his own ‘specialty’…which means that some of the closest among us may have to seem distant for the sake of the battle. (IMO, YMMV, etc.)

    Again, thank you.


  28. Some years ago, when he was dp of Texas, I likened the subject of your cartoon to a used car salesman. He was not pleased.

  29. Hum, as a layperson that monitors this site I can take or leave these cartoons. I will say that a good humorous jab at someone who just pulled something stupid works pretty good. How does this appear to others I’m not sure?
    Pictures / art of any type is subjective to the viewers interpretation.
    Here is an example.

    Someone said that the three balloons reminded him of the Trinity. Well being not so pastor like, I thought of the three balls in front of the pawn shop. Were hocking our gift of Lutheranism, the Gospel and the true Word for numbers via the Ablaze program. An unintended view I’m sure, but one nonetheless.

    If you really need a good dose of satire you can find it. I just think the BJS should be above that to be considered serious group.

    I guess the long and short of it is we need to be together. If the satire is lost in translation and causes another to fall we need to stop.
    At no point in this discussion am I criticizing Pastor Blazek.

    Just my .02 cents worth

    John Hooss

  30. John Hooss,

    Thanks for your reasoned approach to the matter.

    I do not agree with you however. What do you think of your fellow reformer Martin Luther, calling the pope an ass and using many other even sharper attacks.

    What do you think of Paul in the book of Galatians calling his readers “fools” who had been bewitched?

    These examples seem much harsher than the cartoons that we are talking about here? Did these words of Luther and Paul cause people to fall?

    What do you think?

    Pastor Rossow

  31. I’m not sure. You are forcing me to read. Darn you Pastors always making me learn more, and read to boot!

    The people portrayed I feel, have already stumbled. IE the Pope and GK etc.. We can point that out in many ways and in different venues. The people I don’t want to fall are the ones on the fringe. The one that understands some of the issue but not the whole. Beleive me I have become so aware of things since March 18 that I never knew existed. I look to this site for the high road if you will.
    If that includes satire that the brother’s feel strong about I can handle it.


  32. John H.,

    You’re encouragement to the high road is good advice. These matters are not as black and white as we sometimes make them seem. Publishing the Edsel cartoon was done with much careful judgment and prayer. As we continue to make editorial decisions we will always keep in mind your wise words to stay on high ground. We may not always do things exactly as you might but we would be fools to ignore this wisdom of yours.

    Keep giving us the valuable input. It is all taken in and processed for the good of the Gospel.

    Pastor Rossow

  33. Thank you, Pr. Blazek for your satirical cartoons, it puts a humorous spin on the seriousness of the issue. I had one of my satirical artworks taken off another blog because people were “offended” by it. Laughter and humor make stressful situations more bearable, and this is all it is.

    Kiley Campbell

  34. It seems to me that if we are to compare the situation during the Reformation—Luther and the Pope and all that
    that entailed regarding false teaching and practice—what really is the difference between then and now?!
    And how long did it take Luther to get to the point of commissioning Cranach for the cartoons? Was he long-suffering to the extent that he just wrote tracts and did nothing else? The confessional folks, both laity and pastors need to decide when enough is enough and if such excellent, thought-provoking cartoons can be used as a vehicle to make that decision, I say all the better! Great work, Pastor Blazek!

  35. As a geezer raised in Min.ofPenna. Iwas exposed to “who am I,poor rotting bag of bones,that a church should be named after me?” “Let it be called a Christian church”. Since the philosopher/theologist had his buddy the Greek prof put it down on paper,shouldn’t we perhaps consider it a “Melancthonian Church”?

  36. I will probably be thought of w/scorn after writing this, but so be it. If Luther was so scared of public reaction, his “opinion” (96 theses),would never had been nailed to the door. ANYWAY….I am an offspring of a retired “Misery”Synod” Lutheran minister….(That makes me a retired “P.K. ” aka Pastor’s kid”) Humor here “Luderans” :-> !. -Re: the cartoon….I hate 2 say it, but like the ol’ Edsel, the LCMS is a “dinosaur”. Attendance is plummeting..views are out-moded/not pertinent to current times…Get w/it LCMS or like the dinosaurs,EXTINCTION.

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