Questions About my Take on the Bully Pulpit – A Thoughtful Comment Exchange, by Pr. Rossow

An attendee at the Dearborn, MI BRTFSG regional gathering has some thoughtful questions about my take on the bully pulpit occupied by President Kieschnick. Here is his comment and my response. (The original comment string can be seen here along with other helpful responses to the original post.)

December 14th, 2009 at 07:00 | #15
I was skeptical of the assigned seating, until the program got underway. I would have done the same thing. It kept those of us, who are friends, away from each other, which forced us to listen to people from whom we might learn something. They did a good job of grouping clergy and lay, and from various districts. The cynic in me was squelched, and simply can’t agree with Pastor Rossow on this. Hey, I’m no fan of the current administration, but I’m trying to retain a godly attitude. And, I was pleased that our five people – two clergy, three lay – were pretty much of one mind: we liked very few of the proposals!

Sure, the whole thing was polished. If I were in charge, I would polish it, too. That’s what professional people do. And, I genuinely believe them that they will take the suggestions as to which things are most important, and which are least, and use the info to inform their overtures. (I’m not a naive person, but I do trust people.)

Here is my response.

December 14th, 2009 at 09:59 | #18
Greg,

I am glad to hear that things went well at your table. I want to assure you that I am not some sort of conspiracy goofball. Actually I am the type of person that routinely dismisses conspiracy nut-balls. What I do know is that President Kieschnick and his men have been very calculating through the years and this BRTFSG has been calculated from the get-go. Here are some examples.

1) The Task Force is stacked almost to a person, with those who “do church” like President Kieschnick does, focussing on secular corporate things like leadership, surveys, measurable statistics, marketing consultants, etc.

2) The task force started their work by calling on consultants. The scriptural study they prepared for the process was convoluted and confusing and in the end scripture has little bearing on the proposals. (Have you counted the number of scripture references in the proposals?)

3) The task force keeps saying that these proposals support “the congregational principle” even though at every turn they take authority away from the congregation and give it to the district, synod and synodical president. They will keep telling people that this is good for congregations until we all start to believe it. That is diabolical.

3) They refused our requests to add cons to the pros that they published with the proposals.

4) They forced district convention delegates to take their survey before it was discussed on the floor and delegates were given about 90 seconds (at most) to think about each proposal, even the most complex ones, before being asked to mark the survey.

5) A great example of their manipulation is the rationale for proposal #2. Even though 52% of the survey respondents (in the survey biased toward the Task Force as described above) said they did not want to change the manner in which circuit counselors are elected, they still pressed on with their proposal to have District Presidents develop the slate of candidates and then told us this promoted the congregation principle. This too is diabolical.

6) Most damning of all is this point. Why are we spending all this time trying to expand the authority of the synodical president and the districts when our synodical problems are not about structure. They are about worship, the role of women, the use of church growth principles,etc. Isn’t it odd that what is being proposed does not address the issues we face but will make it easier for those in control to push through their agenda? These proposals give much greater authority to the President of the synod and streamline the synodical structure so that it is easier for the sitting leadership group to control the synod. I am assuming that President Kieschnick is counting on winning the election. I would not think that he would be doing all of this so that Matt Harrison, when he wins the election, will be able to more easily promote a traditional, grandfather’s approach to church in the LCMS.

Again, I am glad things went well at your table. We must keep working to convince delegates how harmful these proposals are for the synod but we must also be aware of the biased approach that the BRTFSG is using. President Kieschnick and his men are working hard to get the proposals passed. We must be vigilant in opposing them.

TR

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