New Kieschnick & Co. plan? Tone down BRTF proposals

After I noted the presence of a “confidential” report for the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance, I had several offers to see the report. I have it in hand, now, and will be posting excerpts this weekend.

One of my sources who sent it to me — who is well placed in the International Center to be privy to such conversations — told me that discussions are taking place on how to tone down the Blue Ribbon Task Force proposals so as to make them seem more palatable to delegates. This is still in the discussion stages — and I guess we’ll find out within the next few weeks if Kieschnick and the Task Force decide to do this. But the idea, he said, is not just to salvage something from the expensive task force process (he says this $500,000 report is just the tip of the iceberg) but also in the hopes that it saves Kieschnick’s hide.

They have gotten the message that delegates are not happy with the Blue Ribbon Task Force proposals and they’re working on what’s the best course of action. They could try the same approach that House and Senate Democrats took in the Health Care debate — push through the changes despite public outrage — but they also realize that this would seriously threaten any hope that Kieschnick has of squeaking a win out. Once again, I’m hearing that “everything is on the table.”

As soon as I hear more, I’ll share it with you. And I’ll work on getting out some of this report as soon as I can.


Comments

New Kieschnick & Co. plan? Tone down BRTF proposals — 23 Comments

  1. This would not surprise me, if President Kieschnick now tries to “triangulate” the BRTFSSG and its radical, unpopular recommendations. But the truth is, this whole Blue Ribbon boondoggle is his idea! President Kieschnick himself initiated and appointed the entire Task Force!

  2. “everything is on the table.”

    Great!

    How about putting the BRTFSSGBS in File 13 and resigning.

    And if the BRTF knows what’s good for them, the members will find somewhere else to be than at the convention.

  3. Does the Presidential election come before or after the BRTF votes? I’ve heard the BRTF will pre-empt the President vote, is so, what are the implications of this?

  4. Does the Presidential election come before or after the BRTF votes?

    The plan that Chairman Kieschnick has announced is that Sunday and Monday will be devoted to the restructuring proposals (coming out of Committee 8), and then the normal convention routine, beginning with elections, will start on Tuesday.

  5. Chicago-style politics meets the Church. If this stuff gets rammed through, will Papal Bulls be issued to confessional and liturgical parishes?

  6. At the regional gathering I attended it was asked if the election for president came after the BRTF stuff. The answer was — yes that’s what was planned. BUT the current president proposes the agenda to the delegates at the opening of the convention and asks for acceptance of said agenda. The delegates can reject the proposed agenda.

    I’m hoping that is what happens. And if it does, I assume then the delegates can ask for the presidential election to come first. Those votes would be interesting, but telling.

  7. Conv. Delegate-
    you are exactly right about agenda. The standing rules are passed even before the agenda is passed. There might need even to be modification of them. It happened last time and the JF crowd immediately began hollering that “some” were attempting to derail the convention. However, clearer minds prevailed and the rules were passed amended.

    Hey Mollie-
    if you could please scan the document and post as a .pdf here at Steadfast Lutherans. It will save us me a phone call to the palace, and would be very helpful for all to see.

  8. [They have gotten the message that delegates are not happy with the Blue Ribbon Task Force proposals]

    Yeah… but my latest Witness said the delegates gave it a thumbs up! :0

  9. “Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro. It would not survive the introduction of torture.”

    Pray God, not anonymous leaks

  10. If one doesn’t like anonymity, posting anonymously with a fake email address is probably not the way to indicate that.

  11. It’s the anonymous leaking I object to, assuming it’s happening, not denied so far.

    What in this case would justify the betrayal of confidence? We’re not protecting abused orphans here.

  12. G,

    Protecting anonymity is part of Mollie’s job. With regard to the secrecy of the “confidential” report, such secrecy is unbecoming the church.

    As you say, “we’re not protecting abused orphans here.” Indeed, we’re keeping a consultant’s negative report “confidential” for no other reason than that it reflects poorly on President Kiescnick’s Task Force proposals. Hardly justification for secrecy.

    TW

  13. Todd Wilken :
    G,
    Protecting anonymity is part of Mollie’s job. With regard to the secrecy of the “confidential” report, such secrecy is unbecoming the church.
    As you say, “we’re not protecting abused orphans here.” Indeed, we’re keeping a consultant’s negative report “confidential” for no other reason than that it reflects poorly on President Kiescnick’s Task Force proposals. Hardly justification for secrecy.
    TW

    And other than disciplinary proceedings, confessions/absolution and personnel issues there is absolutely nothing in the presidents office that should ever be confidential anyway. He is an elected representative, spending money entrusted to him by the people through one channel or another and supposed to be serving God and us. Virtually nothing he does should ever be confidential.

  14. I think we are “protecting abused orphans here”.

    Confessional Lutheran congregations and confessional Pastors are just about orphans and are certainly not being well cared for!

    A little fresh air at the top might save our Lutheran heritage.

    If G doesn’t like “anonymous leaks” maybe he should work for honest disclosure.
    We would certainly be grateful for a little honesty!

  15. What will happen when SP realizes that the convention is NOT under his control as in the past will not only be immensely enlightening but revealing as well of true character. Hmm.
    Can’t wait.

  16. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the current administration would alter the proposals so that they pass. It’s no different than the relationship between a company and a labor union. The company attempts to solicit the views of the union membership with the hope of crafting a contract that 50% of the membership +1 will vote for, thus attaining as many of their goals as possible, while minimizing any potential “losses.” Many labor unions advise their members not to speak directly with the company during contract negotiations, thus taking away the company’s ability to “read” the employees. To carry the analogy over to the LCMS, in our case, we’re giving the “company” exactly what it wants, feedback, in the form of the polls they take at every gathering, as well as the questions asked by delegates. Giving them the feedback they seek will greatly increase their ability to write proposals that will pass with the desired 50% +1.

  17. What will happen when SP realizes that the convention is NOT under his control as in the past will not only be immensely enlightening but revealing as well of true character.

    It will most likely reveal the (temporary) dementia of previous convention delegates in approving Bylaw 3.1.6.2(c): “The President of the Synod shall determine if any overture contains information which is materially in error or contains any apparent misrepresentation of truth or of character. He shall not approve inclusion of any such overture in the Convention Workbook and shall refer any such overture to the district president who has ecclesiastical supervision over the entity submitting the overture for action.”

    Passing an electroencephalogram (EEG) test should be a mandatory requirement for future convention delegates.

  18. @Carl Vehse #3

    And if the BRTF knows what’s good for them, the members will find somewhere else to be than at the convention.

    That’s a bit over the top, I think. We can criticize President Kieschnick and his Task Force for wasting our time and money with their bad recommendations, but we don’t need to be belligerent about it.

  19. G :
    It’s the anonymous leaking I object to, assuming it’s happening, not denied so far.
    What in this case would justify the betrayal of confidence? We’re not protecting abused orphans here.

    Dear “G”,

    Your last initial wouldn’t be “K”, would it?

  20. That’s a bit over the top, I think.

    It was to spare BRTFSSG members of the embarrassment of seeing their recommendations deservedly trashed.

    The names of the BRTFSSG members are already known, so that if they were ever appointed to any other panels or committees, very strong objections should be made to the person making such appointments.

    That is how bad these BRTFSSG recommendations are.

  21. I just read an excellent article by Dr. Noland in another publication. (I could not find the same article online.) He estimates the BRTFSSG recommendation #18 as originally proposed would place approximately 600 positions now under various boards, etc. effectively under the direct control–including hiring and firing–of the Synodical President. This would even include approving all seminary faculty. I don’t want any Synodical President to have that kind of power. With the proposals coming prior to the election and at least the prospect of Rev. Harrison being elected, I think you’ll see the “moderates” quickly perform a very immoderate 180 degree turn.

    By the way, if you want some fun, check jesusfirst.net at the Way Back Machine (web.archive.org). For example these comments by Rev. Charles Mueller Sr. from December, 2000:

    “Task Force Proposes Changes in The Wrong Direction

    “The . . . Report of the LCMS Task Force . . . is a clear call to abandon our past with its new proposals . . . The proposed management model is top-down centralization. . . to replace our inheritance, the genius that has kept us working together for over 150 years. It would replace our historic system . . . with a style of management that has failed in politics, in business and throughout the social order. . . The Task Force recommendations, well meaning though they may be, are poorly conceived. They move us in the wrong direction at the worst possible time: in our period of barely acknowledged decline. The proposals undercut that which, under the Spirit and Word, has energized our beloved Synod—our bottom-up, parish-to-synod way of doing things . . . Read the report. Check its critiques. . .
    The bottom line is, ‘What kind of church does the Task Force want to make us? And what kind ought we to be?’”

    There’s a lot more similar histrionic articles about the comparatively modest suggestions of this previous task force. Oddly, Jesus First seems to have pulled them all from their web site. But the Way Back Machine is an amazing and very helpful service. Where do they store all that data?

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