Listening to the people

Yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, President Kieschnick said of his weak showing in nomination numbers:

“Call it apathy or satisfaction, but they see no need to make a change.”

Now, I’m sure President Kieschnick wishes he’d said something better than that, as the simple fact is that congregations apparently DO see a need to make a change and the proof is that they gave Matt Harrison 1332 nominations to President Kieschnick’s 755 (the lowest ever for an incumbent and a severe drop-off in support).

But the other thing that’s interesting about President Kieschnick’s comment is what it says about the massive restructuring he’s proposed the Synod undertake at convention. Now, the fact that so many districts, circuits and other entities have sent in overtures asking that the restructuring be scrapped, postponed or altered shows that this restructuring change isn’t popular.

And what’s interesting is that the confidential report that I’ve been reading shows that even if people do want a new president, they most definitely do not want a change in structure:

“Relatively few in the Synod are of the opinion that change is needed and that an altered structure and governance is the change required. In fact, if there is a consensus view, it would be that there is no real need for change and that structure and governance is not the needed change.”

These excerpts are all from page 18. The report then lists what people do perceive as problems that need to be addressed, including but not limited to:

– Conflict over worship practices
– Disagreement over communion practices
– Departures from the Synod’s theological underpinnings
– Lack of trust within the Synod
– Lack of trust of the national Synod
– Waste and inefficiency in the International Center

The report sums it up:

“Most people, if asked, would say the Synod needs a change in heart but offer no real suggestions for how that change would be accomplished, other than through the work of the Holy Spirit.”

One of the nominees for president says — contrary to what this report says LCMS members believe — that we don’t have doctrinal disagreements and that our problems are structural and can be fixed by radical changes to bylaws and constitution. The other nominee says — apparently in agreement with the mood and reality of Synod — that our synod’s mission and work is crippled by the serious and ungodly theological division among us. That we need to repent of our sins and come together in unity and mission.

Once again, the core findings the consultant made are the ones the Blue Ribbon Task Force is ignoring.


Listening to the people — 13 Comments

  1. Confidential reports inour synod? This reeks of shenanigans by those who commissioned it. Spending millions on ‘consultants’? Poor judgement – at best. How about we just be Lutheran! I won’t charge for that advice.

  2. Even if the confidential report was fully supportive of the BRTF, I find its mere existence disturbing. At the regional gatherings, SP Kieschnick emphasized that there were ‘no hidden agendas’, and that all information available to the task force was available to all. So why should there be a *confidential* consultants’ report regarding these proposals? I am a convention delegate, asked to vote on the proposals. Why should I not be given a copy of this report? I don’t have a problem with the SP having hired consultants to critique the proposals, it seems like a sound thing to do, though rather late in the process. It is the confidentiality that is my concern.

    Perhaps leadership just wanted to review it first and its distribution to delegates is forthcoming? (trying to put a best construction on this)

  3. Mollie,

    Is this confidential report that you referenced a few days ago? The $500,000 + report to help the SP and the BRTF sell the proposals?

    If so, it looks like it blew up in their faces.

    A consultant that did the right thing – told the truth!


  4. Page 18 transforms into Recommendation 18?

    Usually corporations bring “consultants” in to administer management’s pre-ordained conclusion, ala “Office Space”. In this case, at least the consultants made several objective evaluations.

    Great reporting, Mollie.

  5. We have now sunk to new lows. Not only are we citing cheezy movies on this website (see #4), beyond that, we are getting comments on the comments on the cheezy movies. 🙂

    So, who at LCMS inc. do we suppose, is the doubty guy worried about his stapler?

    Don’t answer that. Stay on point. My bad. I shouldn’t put such temptation before you. 🙂


  6. So glad I miss most of the “cheesy movies”
    (even though I am missing the jokes here).

  7. • Conflict over worship practices
    • Disagreement over communion practices
    • Departures from the Synod’s theological underpinnings

    Since I have not yet rec’d my copy of “This We Believe,” it will be interesting to see how these things will be addressed.

  8. Cheesy is, as cheesy does. Helen, it’s a funny movie.
    But seriously folks, it was a good analogy. If BRTF & PK were soooo, confident & so sure, these were soooo very vital, why ask, pay for, & the report? Why the need for super, super, secrecy? Why? Because after they held the “special session meetings” which were absolutely not special sessions, they publically stated the feedback. Does that feedback they publically released match this “confidential” report? No. They’re bad, and a right royal spank, is approaching, near as I can figure, that will be in July. Ironically, in Houston, where most of this was originally birthed. Too bad, soo sad.

  9. “Call it apathy or satisfaction, but they see no need to make a change.”

    This kind of reponse in the face of the evidence is the kind of response I would expect from a sociopath. Not kidding. “Man it feels good to be a gansta “:)

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