Zehnder is in (Mollie)

So we noted that Bob Roegner resigned suddenly from the LCMS Board for Mission Services. That board has been a disaster for some time so it will be interesting to see what Kieschnick and the leadership of the board have in store for it.

Well, the cash-strapped Synod had all of its boards meet in Palm Springs last week and the BMS appointed Tom Zehnder as the interim executive director.

The press release announcing the appointment made note that Zehnder “is a great supporter of the Synod’s Ablaze! movement and the Fan Into Flame campaign to support it.”

A bit more bio from the press release:

A 1961 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Zehnder and his wife, Jacquelyn, served as missionaries in Japan for nearly a decade. From 1987 to 1997, Zehnder was president of the Synod’s Florida-Georgia District. He also has served as pastor to congregations in Columbus, Ga.; Stuart, Fla.; and Williamsburg, Va.

Oh yeah, and he’s a “Jesus First” official as well!


Comments

Zehnder is in (Mollie) — 28 Comments

  1. “Oh yeah, and he’s a “Jesus First” official as well!”

    Mollie, that goes without saying.

    TW

  2. At the 2007 Convention I watched Dr. Roegner, Dr. Nafzger and Dr. Bohlmann all standing together in a huddle near the front of the room, following the election results with Jesus First voting guides in their hands. Was that a public statement, or what?

  3. I find just under 1,100 names on the Jesus First list.

    Maybe my math is wrong, but doesn’t that “make up less than 5 one-hundredths of 1 percent of the church body”?

    TW

  4. How is it that the “Jesus First” web site reads like a political party, including talk of nominations and elections and we aren’t doing the same? Or don’t we think that electing good men is that important? Have we given up on LCMS, Inc.? (Walther would be ashamed of us if we did.)

  5. Steven, you ask a good question. The answer is that we don’t have anything like their level of organization because liberals tend to love the nuts-and-bolts of politics while conservatives prefer the elixer of ideas. So they get organized and get things done, we pontificate and then wonder why our better ideas did not prevail.

    It is not surprize that the most successful conservative politicain in the secular realm this past century was an actor who was a former Democrat and union leader (Ronald Reagan). He understood the role he had to play and the organization it took to get things done. Most conservatives are just plain lousy at politics. LCMS conservatives are no exception.

    I think it will be up to the laity to defeat Jesus First at the next convention. Our confessional pastors generally don’t want to invest in political pursuits. This is a noble position, and is part of what makes them good pastors. But it doesn’t rescue a synod from political crisis. And that’s what this “Battle Over Supervision” is among us: a political crisis!

  6. The answer is that we don’t have anything like their level of organization because liberals tend to love the nuts-and-bolts of politics while conservatives prefer the elixer of ideas. So they get organized and get things done, we pontificate and then wonder why our better ideas did not prevail.

    Well, no.

    First, this is terribly naive and fails to recognize any history prior to 2007. The brutally honest fact is that there is among ‘conservative Missouri’ such a distrust of anything that somebody else thought of first and, therefore, a resistance to participation in anything that was organized by somebody else. There is a definite “too many chiefs, not enough [native Americans]” thing going on.

    Second, I disagree that it is “noble” for pastors to refuse to use a tool at their disposal to keep Christ’s sheep from being gobbled up by the wolves. By no means does lack of ‘political’ involvement contribute to being a “good pastor.” It is, plain and simple, a dereliction of duty—one that those who have participated in would do well to remember whenever they are inclined to complain about how things are in the LCMS. Most have done nothing in the past, and most will do nothing now…and when it gets to ELCA levels, very few will leave.

    Not pessimism; experience.

    EJG

  7. COMMENT 7: liberals tend to love the nuts-and-bolts of politics while conservatives prefer the elixer of ideas. So they get organized and get things done, we pontificate and then wonder why our better ideas did not prevail.

    As organized as “liberals” are…do they have a watchdog blog like this one where they monitor “conservatives”?

  8. Martin Luther asked, “As organized as “liberals” are… do they have a watchdog blog like this one where they monitor “conservatives”?”

    Why do they need one? They have Synod Inc.

    And what are they going to watch? Lutherans being Lutheran? Lutherans upholding the Confessions, pure doctrine, right practice? Not much to see.

    But make no mistake, the liberals are watching.

    TW

  9. Hi Pastor Stefanski,

    I don’t see what is so naive about my assessment. Your comment about ‘too many chiefs, not enough indians’ goes right along with what I’m saying about conservatives’ preference for ideas over action. And my observations are about conservatives in the secular realm as well. In both kingdoms, the same challenges to political action surface, including your observations about distrust. I would also add a failure or lack of desire to build coalitions hurts us as well. One area of disagreement among conservatives tends to break up coaltions. Many of us just won’t accept “95% agreement” or the political axiom that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”

    Regarding my comment about “nobility”. I see your point. I was making a larger one about conservative distaste for politics in general, but didn’t make it well. And certainly there is a noble tradition of quietism amongst Lutherans in political affairs that comes from our Two Kingdoms theology. But, yes, it is a “dereliction” of duty”, as you say, to fail to participate in the political process of a synod in which one is a member.

    I should also be clear that I am also particularly talking about the nuts-and-bolts of getting things done, as prompetd by Steven’s observation about Jesus First. Many conservatives DO get “involved” in politics, but mostly want to weigh in with their opinions – not get organized and get results. Frankly, most of us prefer the world of ideas (introverts) to the world of people (extroverts) and so just don’t like campaigning!

    But your point about distrust and unwillingness to work with other conservatives’ efforts is spot on and well taken. The few conservatives who do try to campaign don’t tend to play ‘team ball’.

    As an example of this tendency, just look at the secular political blogs out there: left-wing blogs tend to focus on information & activism; right-wing blogs offer opinions and discuss rather than enact. This is why the blogosphere was so much more helpful to the Democrats than the Republicans in the last US elections.

  10. I don’t see what is so naive about my assessment. Your comment about ‘too many chiefs, not enough indians’ goes right along with what I’m saying about conservatives’ preference for ideas over action.

    Phil, your naivete is a blessed thing, and I hate my attempt(s) to end it…but…my “too many chiefs” comment is not so much a matter of ideas over action, but of pride over service–which can manifest itself in “these guys have tried this before and failed, so I’ll not support it,” as well as, “these new guys are clueless, why should we listen to them at all,” positions, as well as several others.

    I’m tempted to comment on actual organization among confessional folk during the past twenty years, but I’d just as soon keep the liberals that come by here in the dark. Let’s just say that at some points there has been a LOT of organization; unfortunately, a big part of it was squandered on attempts to ‘keep everybody on board’ when nobody actually was giving any indication of not being on board. Again, the greatest organization in recent memory was thwarted by those who were afraid that someone might actually leave the LCMS; the mandate of Melrose Park was wasted, bringing about a great deal of the malaise that is now seen.

    BJS is a ‘newcomer’, and a lot of the folks on board are ‘newcomers’ as well–even if they’ve been around for awhile, they haven’t been or haven’t been able to be involved in the ‘political’ aspects of things Missouri. Nonetheless, BJS is taking a leadership role, filling in where there has been a vacuum, by providing good articles, a good journal, and so on. The only thing I find about BJS that I don’t like is its turning a blind eye to the matter of having members belong to the Society of the Holy Trinity–a Lutheran ‘ministerium’ that gives credence to ‘ordained’ women, that has unionistic Communion Services, etc. (and, yes, I know that the particular member involved does not commune at those; if this is understandable, “not communing doesn’t make it better, even though communing would make it worse). And, in spite of that, I would encourage LCMS members to work with BJS…as long as they also point out this error.

    For me, as one no longer in MIssouri (and, indeed, under orders from the CID to have no more care or concern about any of you and your ‘politics’!), I could leave this all drop, but I’d just as soon not see y’all repeat the mistakes of the past needlessly…and since no one in Missouri is likely ever actually to consult me, I have ‘no choice’ but to use posts like yours to force my historical observations upon you. 😉

    EJG

  11. “I think it will be up to the laity to defeat Jesus First at the next convention.”

    It is at the circuit meetings with the selection of the convention delegates where political victory (or defeat) at the convention is decided.

  12. OUR PERKS IN PALM SPRINGS
    Tune: “My Favorite Things”

    Banquets and parties and parties and banquets
    Fancy silk bedsheets and handwoven blankets
    Elegant omelettes that room service brings
    These are a few of our perks in Palm Springs

    Riding in rental cars, Porsche and Mercedes
    Wringing our hands ’bout the souls bound for Hades
    Hitting the golf course and taking our swings
    These are a few of our perks in Palm Springs

    Wining and dining while whining ’bout giving
    Stewardship pep talks in luxury living
    Planning for missions while living like kings
    These are a few of our perks in Palm Springs

    When the church fights
    When the phone rings
    When there’s funds to raise
    We simply head out for our perks in Palm Springs
    And then we can feel . . . Ablaze!

  13. Carl,

    You are absolutely right. The circuit meetings will select the delegates. With no real effort comparable to Jesus First going on, confessional laymen are just going to have to figure out a way to become delegates at these events. Waiting until 2010 is too late.

    With district conventions starting in January 2009, these circuit nominating meetings are upon us. How many confessional laymen have let their pastors know they are willing to be delegates? How many are asking their pastors to be sure to attend these meetings? How many are winsomely persuading moderately confessional pastors that the direction of synod needs to be changed?

    The time is now, people. Ask your pastor when the meeting is and what his plans are. And find out who the pursuadable pastors are in your circuit – they are the key.

    It’d be nice if we had a political organization like JF, but it looks like grassroots is going to have to do. This means IT’S UP TO YOU, EVERYONE!

  14. You are absolutely right. The circuit meetings will select the delegates. With no real effort comparable to Jesus First going on, confessional laymen are just going to have to figure out a way to become delegates at these events. Waiting until 2010 is too late.

    Indeed. I will suggest, also, that folks who wish to learn the issues, learn the procedures wrt circuit forum and district and synodical conventions, and so on, would head over to Lutheran Info Net and get involved in their geographically-established forums.

    EJG

  15. Speakers and chanters and black ring-ed collars
    Reading our confessions hours by hours
    Banning all pietists that make us feel ill
    These are a few of the Naperville thrills

    Riding in Buicks and Hyundai’s and Chevy’s
    Checking for liberals hiding behind levees
    Chiding the brothers for not being confessionals
    These are a few of our BJS sessionals

    Smoking our cigars and sipping our whiskey
    Chugging our beer and feeling quite frisky
    Planning for more meetings and edicts and dictums
    Looking for liberal, church growthy victims

  16. “I think it will be up to the laity to defeat Jesus First at the next convention.”

    Philip said this earlier. Carl repeated it. Everyone seems agreed. Laity need to act.

    How? Get involved at your district level. Look at EJG’s post immediately before this, and click on the link he has provided. We need laity who are concerned about what is happening in the synod connecting with laity who have the same concerns. Go to that link and see how it is to be done.

  17. Martin Luther,

    Nice try, but I like Charlie’s better.

    You see, Charlie’s is funny because it’s <true>.

    Your attempt, while I’m sure it took some effort, isn’t either.

    And, liberals and church-growthers are victims of their own errors, not of the truth.

    TW

  18. Martin, I’m afraid you’re meter is a bit off. Perhaps try putting it to a more free flowing tune where the worship leader doesn’t need to rely on rhythm.

    I do appreciate the effort. Truly. I am deeply grateful that my love for cigars and whiskey has not gone unnoticed!

    Peace to all who are in Christ!

  19. 4. “So, what is “Jesus First”?”

    The pseudonym “Jeez, Us First?” should sum it up. It’s a cross between a political party and a cult of extremely zealous folk who want to grow the Synod by deeds not creeds. Cut-throat, deceptive and ruthless are its style. Unionism (Wine, Women and Song) is its subtance: Open Communion, Women’s ordination and Praise songs. I know more about PLI, which has quite a bit of cross-over but is marked by heavy-use of buzz words and theology from Willowcreek and Saddleback, minus the accountability. I believe that we will hear less and less of JF and PLI as the Purple Palace is becoming one and the same. It could already be fait accompli.

  20. Anonymous 1138 wrote, “I believe that we will hear less and less of JF and PLI as the Purple Palace is becoming one and the same.”

    Jesus First’s goal was to get Kieschnick elected again with a majority of the Board of Directors who either fear Kieschnick, or do his will. They accomplished that July 2008 in Houston. You will note that JF’s website hasn’t been updated since June 2008.

    PLI’s goal is to become an institutional alternate to the seminaries, perhaps to replace the seminaries altogether. They are close to the former.

    TW

  21. PLI’s goal is to become an institutional alternate to the seminaries, perhaps to replace the seminaries altogether. They are close to the former. –TW

    Before “PLI” it was a Texas obsession since before seminex.
    I have even heard that it was hoped to use Seminex as the nucleus of such a ‘third seminary.’

    What is certain is that some of Concordia’s library made the trip. I’ve been loaned a copy with their stamps by the local Episcopal seminary. 😉

  22. What is certain is that some of Concordia’s library made the trip. I’ve been loaned a copy with their stamps by the local Episcopal seminary.

    Helen, did you give them back the stolen property? 😉

  23. I gave it back to our ILS, or I would have been in trouble with them.
    I had written that CTS owned the book when I requested it and had no idea I would get it from across town, with Concordia marked as the original owner.
    The librarians there should have sent it back…maybe they did.

  24. Pr. Todd Wilken: re: #23
    While the JF web site was lasted updated in June ’08, the newsletter makes reference to preparing for the 2009. Quote: The time to get ready for the 2009 district conventions is upon us. Again.

    They have been and are organizing. Maybe we need to take a page from the Obama handbook and organize for ourselves. If it can be done for the left their is no reason it can not be done for the right. We have a beginning. Now we need to develop a way to contact our friends and relatives to join our movement. Do we have any more IT folks who can lend a hand to enlarge the capabilities of this site or maybe another if we want to seperate the one effort from the education and edification of other. If we are serious we need to get at it.

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