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.

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