As we predicted the bully pulpit at President Kieschnick’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance (BRTFSG) regional gatherings is greased up with a very slick, professional and calculated presentation by all the president’s men. President Kieschnick hand-picked the Task Force and they are performing up to his corporate and CEO-like standards. Based on reports we are getting from the first round of presentations (Denver, CO and Dearborn, MI) the Task Force is to be commended for a very well groomed, flawless and precisely orchestrated presentation. But this is not only commendable it is questionable.
Let me provide two examples of the calculation and manipulation being exercised. First, the delegates are seated not in theatre style in chairs of their own choosing to ponder a presentation in a mtter of fact sort of way. Instead they are seated at assigned places and at tables. Why in the world do grown ups, delegates chosen by their peers on account of their wisdom, in a free world and in a free church need to be assigned seats? Who is doing the assigning? Why is it that who is sitting next to whom is an orchestrated process? Is there a pro BRTFSG person sitting at each table to guide the conversation?
Secondly, sitting at tables in what I will call “dialogue style” is a peculiar post-modern practice that puts the emphasis not on ratioanle consideration of proposals but on group think that can divert free-thinkers away from matter of fact discernment. It also breaks the larger assembly down into manageable groups. Think about that for a moment. The group has already been broken down into smaller segments around the country to make it easier for the presenters to manage (at great expense to the individuals and to the synod) and then upon arriving, the delegate are orchestrated into assigned seats.
I have been to numerous synod events that use this “dialogue style set-up.” It is intended to give the delegates a sense of inclusion in the process but in this case it is short-circuiting the normal free-thinking process. This entire process has been manipulated from the get-go. The BRTFSG required district convention-goers to fill out surveys prior to discussion of the issues, they never produced any list of cons for the proposals and now they have assigned seats to full grown adults in the group-dialogue set-up.
This raises a crucial question. Do we want a church leadership for the family of God in the LCMS that is corporate in nature and has mastered Power-point or do we want a church leadership for the family of God that is fatherly in nature and has a mastered the deft touch of our Lord’s words of law and Gospel? President Kieschnick has certainly demonstrated that he is a master of the corporate approach. Our synod has a lot of family issues right now. We have serious differences in approach to worship, to church, and several other issues. Our problem is not about structure. Well orchestrated corporate presentations about our structure and governance are not going to bring us together. As a matter of fact, changing the structure to elevate the power of the presidency and the districts is not going to unite us but will divide us even further.
Again, we ask the delegates to ignore the slick, corporate presentation and orchestrated dialogue and dig deeply into the issues of each BRTFSG proposal and decide on thier own, after hearing pros and cons, what is best for our bleoved synod.