How sinful are politics?

I meant to share this a few weeks ago but it was an interesting e-mail from, essentially, President Kieschnick’s political action committee. The group, Jesus First, doesn’t just support Kieschnick. They support other folks not known for being confessional, too.

Anyway, although I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the current leadership of Synod, I think it’s an interesting email for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with JesusFirst’s positions:

1) It shows that some people have a complex about being called political. Politics is simply the means by which groups of people make decisions. If the synod needs to make a decision about who will serve as it’s corporate executive, there will be politics. This is not a bad thing. People need to get over it. They also shouldn’t deny that political work is political. There is nothing sinful about working to advance the decision that you support. In the email below, JesusFirst denies that its work is political. That is funny, but not true. Jesus First actually runs an incredibly effective political operation. I wish they made better choices, but politics isn’t the problem.

2) It’s also important that we put the best construction on what our neighbor is doing. Again, I disagree with the choices JesusFirst has historically made but I don’t think they’re motivated by a desire to destroy the Synod. And hopefully JesusFirst would say the same about people who don’t share their belief that, for instance, Kieschnick is managing the Synod’s money, organization or image well.

But they write that people who don’t support Kieschnick are “disparaging current leaders” and are “intent on replacing them.” Sure, again, some of us look at the finances and look at the numbers and look at the strife and look at the general mess of things and think, “We thank President Kieschnick for his leadership and we’re sure he has tried hard. But certainly we can do better than this.”

And unless we’ve changed the constitution to give the leadership of Synod lifetime appointments, I think we have the right to say that we want better and we want to work together to end the strife and division. I don’t think anybody realistically thinks that this is possible under President Kieschnick — but hopefully we can come together on a different candidate and work together (politically, even!) and walk together. Anyway, the note is below the fold:

Recently Jesus First sent out a note concerning the election of convention delegates. This e-mail was directed toward a group of pastors who support our current leadership. The intent of this e-mail was two fold. First, we wanted to share how a small, but vocal group continues to disparage our current leaders. This group is intent on replacing our leaders. Second, we wanted to encourage you to help retain the leadership and direction of the LCMS. If we caused confusion, we sincerely apologize. If you asked to be removed from this mailing list, we have already removed your name, but wanted to share this brief apology. If for some reason you would prefer to continue receiving Jesus First information, please let us know to add you back onto the mailing list.

Finally, there are some who have attacked this e-mail stating that it is “of a party spirit”. Jesus First is NOT a political party. Rather, we have clearly and consistently stated that we exist, “for Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven, Future-Oriented Leadership in the LCMS.” We believe supporting our current leadership, particularly supporting President Kieschnick and First Vice President Diekelmann is appropriate and something all LCMS churches should embrace. Furthermore, we call on others to stop attacking God’s duly elected leaders of the LCMS.


Comments

How sinful are politics? — 21 Comments

  1. “First, we wanted to share how a small, but vocal group continues to disparage our current leaders. This group is intent on replacing our leaders.”
    OF COURSE, JF (OR PF–“POLITICS FIRST”) DID NOT TRY TO REPLACE BARRY, PREUS, SCHULTZ OR OTHERS. GIVE ME A BREAK!
    AND OF COURSE,4TH VP BUEGLER DID NOT DISPARAGE THE FORT WAYNE FACULTY. C’MON “PF” WHAT ELSE WAS THAT BUT DISPARAGEMENT?

    “Finally, there are some who have attacked this e-mail stating that it is “of a party spirit”. Jesus First is NOT a political party.”
    IF “PF” (“POLITICS FIRST”) IS NOT A POLITICAL PARTY, NEITHER ARE THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS. IN 2007 I TALKED TO ONE OF PF’S LEADERS, WHO WAS ECSTATIC ABOUT “SO MANY OF OUR CANDIDATES GETTING ELECTED. MOST OF OUR SLATE.”
    AND OF COURSE, REV. JIM ROGERS’ MOTION TO BRAND ANYONE WHO WAS SIGNATORY TO “THE LAWSUIT” WAS NOT EVIDENCE OF A PARTY SPIRIT OR POLITICS. OH NO! THAT PARTICULAR EPISODE WAS THE LOW POINT OF THE 2007 CONVENTION, AND NOT WORTHY OF, ALL PEOPLE, A PASTOR. WHAT WAS SO INTERESTING (AND FRIGHTENING) WAS THAT THE CHAIR HAD THE ENTIRE LIST WITH HIM AT THE PODIUM. DIDN’T HAVE TO GO AND LOOK FOR IT! NO POLITICS THERE!

    “Furthermore, we call on others to stop attacking God’s duly elected leaders of the LCMS.”
    LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT. PF IS ON GOD’S SIDE HERE–OR IS HE ON PF’S SIDE? SO WHO WERE THE ELECTED LEADERS THAT JF ATTACKED IN 2001, 2004, AND 2007? ULTIMATE CHUTZPAH.

  2. Politics in the Church is a good thing. “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them…”

    Like any good thing, politics can be used sinfully.

    If politics in the Church is wrong, then we need more than a restructuring; we need to eliminate voters’ assemblies, circuit fora, nominations, delegates and conventions altogether.

    I say what we need in the LCMS is HONEST politics. Let’s have real political parties with real platforms. That way we’ll know exactly where everyone (everyone honest enough to admit it) stands.

    TW

  3. The Democrats have not told the Republicans, “We won. You leave [the country].” [YET!]
    PF’ers and CGM/TCN sorts have that mantra built into their agenda. Nah, they aren’t a political party. They are the generic protestant mafia.

  4. How sinful is it to be dishonest about yourself, your intentions, and your methods?
    How sinful is it to call yourself one thing, but to behave like the opposite, then to blame your neighbor for it?

  5. One wonders whether their objection is to being called a party since they are the ones that used the word political and then defined it very nicely in restating their objective. Since the LCMS constitution doesn’t define what a party may consist of it would be purely a matter of opinion whether they are one. There can be no such doubt as to whether they are political. Methinks they doth protest too much.

  6. Pastor Wilken makes a good point. I’m not condemning politics per se, but only calling attention to PF’s self-deception. They simply are a political party. Period.

    It’s not for me to play the “sin” game. I’ve got enough of my own. Call it hypocrisy, self-delusion, or false advertizing… JF or PF or whatever is about Politics First.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. Ahhh…the scent of political rhetoric in the day…..
    what a stench to be sure. Not from you Molly,(libertarian here)Rhetoric is neither truthful nor productive. It is just a simple sales pitch, nothing more.
    A disparaging voice? Was my thought, that Synod President & VP & other governing boards, were in fact, ELECTED, NOT APPOINTED. Therefore, a voice pro or con, in voice based in choice, a distinct choice, so being “disparging” is rather impossible. However…it is a great excuse for promised yet undelivered results. Oooo, can we all say…Ablaze!

  8. Got it, Dutch!
    If/when “Ablaze” goes down in flames, O;->
    it will be ALL the fault of those conservative confessionals who finally wised up and stopped being the funding agency for the liberal daydreams (as they obediently were, for too many years).

  9. Well, I don’t know that Ablaze will go down in flames. It may go up in smoke, though.

    I’m beginning to suffer from metaphorical intoxication.

  10. Johannes & Helen,
    Pray for rain folks, it is how one puts out ‘Blazes.
    I can deal w/smoke, not with “out of control burns” or
    “flash-overs”. Seriously though, this has been so far entrenched, that it is going to have to be fazed out slowly & gently, otherwise a split is going to be inevitable. Not that it won’t anyway, but LCMS isn’t the ONLY denom. dealing with this “uncontrolled burn”. But, who give us metaphorical rain? The One that ALWAYS exposes the false. What does Junior Asparagus say in David & the Giant Pickle?
    “Little guys can do great things”
    Why? BECAUSE OUR GOD WALKS BEFORE US. (Yes, I know, but good analogy) Let them have their day in the sun, this was the best it’s gonna get & should this prove false, it will soon be ASH & then history. (pun totally intended)
    Given enough “METAPHORIC” rope as they say…
    Ya “metaphorically punch drunk” yet?
    BTW, I have learned a whole new way to plate crow, who would have thought THAT was possible, considering, me?!

  11. Somehow this reminds me of another “small, but vocal group”. I think the names of the five most prominent people were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul. And then there’s that other one, headed by some German guy named… hmm, what was it? Martin, I think? Anyone remember him?

    (That’s right, there is no irony in the above. None at all. Really.)

  12. Oh Matthew,
    You are…VEEERRRY CHEEEEKY. Absoulutly fabulous comment,
    AS IT IS TOTALLY TRUE INDEED! Those who endevor to speak truth get it from all sides, do they not? However, as you put it so beautifully, the STAND IN EXCEPTIONAL COMPANY.

  13. Jesus First used to have a list of supporters on their website. I notice that list is no longer available on the website. Does anyone have the list available? I would love to see who I know in my circuit supports this and engage in some dialogue about JesusFirst and their apparent believe that ONLY the current Kieschnick Administration can keep us Gospel centered, Mission focused and future oriented. I think dialogue like this can be helpful if only by holding these people accountable for what they support.

  14. JF took the list down shortly after we published the fact that the pastor in Renton, WA who has the gay activist music director was an active member of Jesus First.

    TR

  15. Interesting, the pastor who spoke about gay marriage from the Michigan District convention floor is a supporter of JF.

  16. Yeah, but while the Wayback Machine is your friend, it doesn’t appear to be your friend anymore! The latest version of any website that I’ve found on it is from January of 2008. It’s going to become not quite your friend.

    I’ve copied the version from Jan of 2008 so we have the latest version available here.

  17. BTW, (and I think it fits here) friends who attended the Free Conference in Brenham last week tell me DP Ken Hennings was there for the entire meeting. Jim Linderman showed up once for a Friday night (he wanted to hear the new synodical secretary, who was unfortunately scheduled for Saturday) but that’s the first time since I’ve been going that so much “rank” attended the whole thing. (And I missed that!)
    [The district usually has ‘observers’.] 🙂

    The speakers were Pr. Noland and Pr. Wohlrabe.
    DVD’s can be obtained in a few weeks. [The creator has to pay some attention to his “day job”.]

  18. Mollie, “honest” politics are not sinful.
    Given that we are sinful human beings, who has seen “honest politics”? Too bad we have to say that about church politics, too!

  19. Helen (# 3) writes: “The Democrats have not told the Republicans, ‘We won. You leave [the country].’ [YET!]”

    Right. That’s what John McCain said about (some) Democrats in 2007: “they should be thrown out of the country.”

    Hmmm.

    In other words, why bring (distorted) party politics into this discussion? In my mind, a needless distraction.

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