“Jesus First” is the political action committee that wants to keep the synod moving . . . in a power-centralizing, liberal-driven, church growther-oriented direction. In the last couple of weeks, Jesus First has been “spamming the globe” with a mass e-mail, sent out by a marketing outfit, urging–with lots of bold print and exclamation marks–political action “NOW!”
Could this be a sign that they’re panicking? Do they see their grip on power slipping? The Blue Ribbon restructuring proposals definitely did not go over well at the recent district conventions. Nationally, the trend lines the last couple of elections have been going downhill for them.
The takeaway point here is this: We know that Jesus First will do what they do. But what are we doing–we who favor decidedly Lutheran doctrine and practice? I’m not suggesting spam e-mails, like Jesus First does. But as far as following the steps provided in our polity for electing circuit delegates, etc.–that process in itself is “neutral” and can be used either for good or for ill. Let’s use it for good.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: What are you doing in your circuit to try to get good circuit delegates elected? The deadline for that is October 10, but most all circuit forums will be taking place starting later this month and through September. And there are required steps that need to place before the forums. Let me summarize them for you briefly:
1) Know what circuit your congregation is in, and find out from your pastor or your circuit counselor when the circuit forum will be held and where.
2) Your congregation needs to select a layperson to go and vote at the circuit forum. (One pastor from your congregation automatically gets to vote.)
3) Your congregation may also nominate any layperson from any congregation in your circuit to be on the ballot for circuit lay delegate. If your regular voters’ meeting is past, most congregations have a provision for calling a special meeting, and it could be a short 5-15 minute meeting for just this purpose. The name of your congregation’s lay nominee then needs to be reported to the circuit counselor in advance of the forum. Note: The layperson you nominate does not need to be from your own congregation, but if you have someone in mind, find out first if that person would be willing to serve as a lay delegate in Houston July 10-17, 2010. (Expenses will be paid for, but that person would need to have the time available to go.)
4) Your pastor and your lay representative need to show up at the circuit forum. No new nominations are allowed at the forum; only those previously nominated are eligible. (All the non-advisory parish pastors in your circuit are automatically eligible for pastoral delegate.) The balloting–and the elections must be by ballot–goes in this order: a) Pastoral delegate; b) Lay delegate; c) Pastoral alternate; d) Lay alternate. Once a delegate or alternate is chosen from one congregation, that congregation is eliminated from the other elections: Four persons, four different congregations.
These steps are outlined for you in more detail in these places:
Friends, if we really care about the theological direction of our synod–which does and will affect us at the local level–then instead of just kvetching about and bemoaning the Jesus First agenda we’ve seen implemented since 2001, we need to do all that we can to “re-Lutheranize” the synod. That is not limited to, but it does include, what happens at national conventions. And national conventions are made up of voting delegates elected at the circuit forums. Do you care enough to participate?