President Kieschnick reacts to nomination totals

When the rather lopsided presidential nomination results came out (Rev. Matthew Harrison: 1,332; Rev. Gerald Kieschnick: 755), I wondered whether we’d see a repeat of 1973 when the #2 vote-getter simply dropped out. It doesn’t look like that will happen this year. I asked some of my sources who are close to President Kieschnick and they insist that he is definitely “in it to win it.”

According to them, President Kieschnick promised supporters “I WILL win: I have a plan.” And all options are on the table. They say that one of the ideas on the table includes losing 1st VP Bill Diekelman. I am not entirely sure what that means or why such a thing would help Kieschnick’s prospects. I heard that the Kieschnick team was “shocked and stunned” about Harrison’s strong showing and are trying to figure out how to drive down his popularity.

Whatever else might be said about President Kieschnick, I think everyone agrees that he has excellent political skills. He’s good at vote counting, political positioning, knowing when to communicate something himself and when to have district presidents (or other prominent friends) do it. This is not a bad thing — in fact, political management is usually value neutral.

Obviously the convention has already been scheduled to maximize his time before delegates prior to the vote – two days that other nominees won’t have. And he has led regional gatherings in front of the delegates over the last few months and will have additional opportunities in the next few months. Whether that additional time helps Kieschnick or hurts him remains to be seen.

Kieschnick has granted circuit exceptions in previous conventions – thereby increasing delegate counts, but those proved fairly controversial so I’m skeptical that we’ll see more of that this year. I think it would anger delegates.

President Kieschnick does have things going in his favor – the synod’s media shop probably couldn’t be friendlier or more supportive to him. They tend to downplay news that favors others and trumpet news that favors Kieschnick. On the other hand, do delegates even pay much attention to the Lutheran Witness and Reporter any more?


Comments

President Kieschnick reacts to nomination totals — 43 Comments

  1. Anybody who is thinking beyond their local congregation knows that the Witness and the Reporter are the corporation cheering section. Better to go elsewhere for the “rest of the story”.
    OTOH, it never ceases to amaze me that people (who I think have some sense otherwise) do not think beyond their congregation. They’ll say things like, “We’re alright with our Pastors, so we don’t have to worry about that.” !!!
    LORD, have mercy!

  2. “St. Peter prohibits the bishops to rule as if they had the power to force the churches to do whatever they desired [1 Peter 5:2]. Now the question is not how to take power away from the bishops. Instead, we desire and ask that they would not force themselves into sin. But if they will not do so and despise this request, let them consider how they will have to answer to God, since by their obstinancy they cause division and schism, which they should rightly help to prevent.”
    + Augsburg Confession, Article XXVIII,76-78 +

  3. To hear some of the quotes from the “PK” camp — i truly pray that someone misquoted them –

    anyone ever hear this one – “the office seeks the man??????????????” WOW

    pr. kelly james leary

  4. Mollie,

    Great post.

    You wrote: “He’s good at …knowing when to communicate something himself and when to have district presidents (or other prominent friends) do it.”

    Yes, things tend to transpire around President Kieschnick “with his awareness but neither by his order nor at his direction.” So odd.

    But, IF some “bad press” regarding Pastor Harrison suddenly surfaces between now and the convention, we will know exactly where it really came from –all plausible deniabilities not withstanding.

    TW

  5. “According to them, President Kieschnick promised supporters “I WILL win: I have a plan.” And all options are on the table”.

    This is a man, who after being elected the first time and given some time to address the Convention soon after by the chairman, said that he would be the President of the Synod for a very long time, I was there and listening intently, as I knew next to nothing of the man before this.

    Anything is possible, so do not be surprised at what takes place, even an outright stealing of the election by a show of Roberts Rule of Order or procedure or some like sleight of hand.

  6. 2 Corinthians 4 – 1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

  7. “I WILL win: I have a plan.” sounds lke Obama and the DNC in full swing. What’s next, campaign buttons corn husker kickbacks?

    michael

  8. To clarify, are the statements “in it to win it” and “I WILL win: I have a plan” direct quotes or just paraphrases?

  9. 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
    The Lord shall hold them in derision. Psalm 2

    I will speak of thy testimonies before kings, and will not be put to shame. — Psalm 119:46

    Luther, 9th commandment – Large Catechism:

    And yet we pretend to be godly, know how to adorn ourselves most finely and conceal our rascality, resort to and invent adroit devices and deceitful artifices (such as now are daily most ingeniously contrived) as though they were derived from the law codes; yea, we even dare impertinently to refer to it, and boast of it, and will not have it called rascality, but shrewdness and caution. 299] In this lawyers and jurists assist, who twist and stretch the law to suit it to their cause, stress words and use them for a subterfuge, irrespective of equity or their neighbor’s necessity. And, in short, whoever is the most expert and cunning in these affairs finds most help in law, as they themselves say: Vigilantibus iura subveniunt [that is, The laws favor the watchful].

    300] This last commandment therefore is given not for rogues in the eyes of the world, but just for the most pious, who wish to be praised and be called honest and upright people, since they have not offended against the former commandments, as especially the Jews claimed to be, and even now many great noblemen, gentlemen, and princes. For the other common masses belong yet farther down, under the Seventh Commandment, as those who are not much concerned whether they acquire their possessions with honor and right.

    301] Now, this occurs most frequently in cases that are brought into court, where it is the purpose to get something from our neighbor and to force him out of his own. As (to give examples), when people quarrel and wrangle about a large inheritance, real estate, etc., they avail themselves of, and resort to, whatever has the appearance of right, so dressing and adorning everything that the law must favor their side, and they keep the property with such title that no one can make complaint or lay claim thereto. 302] In like manner, if any one desire to have a castle, city, duchy, or any other great thing, he practises so much financiering through relationships, and by any means he can, that the other is judicially deprived of it, and it is adjudicated to him, and confirmed with deed and seal and declared to have been acquired by princely title and honestly.

  10. “Hey you!” he said roughly. “What are you up to?”
    “Nothing, nothing.”, said Gollum softly. “Nice Master!”
    “I daresay,” said Sam. “But where have you been to – sneaking off and
    sneaking back, you old villain!”
    Gollum withdrew himself, and a green glint flickered under his heavy lids.
    Almost spider-like he looked now, crouched back on his bent limbs,
    with his protruding eyes.
    The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall.
    “Sneaking, sneaking!” he hissed. “Hobbits always so polite, yes O nice Hobbits!
    Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find.
    Tired he was, thirsty he was, yes thirsty;
    and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say
    sneak! sneak!
    Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.”

    […]”Precious, precious, precious!” Gollum cried. “My Precious! O my Precious!”
    And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize,
    he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink,
    and then with a shriek he fell.
    Out of the depths came his last wail Precious, and he was gone.

  11. Jon Enge :
    To clarify, are the statements “in it to win it” and “I WILL win: I have a plan” direct quotes or just paraphrases?

    In addition, is he a prophet?! (“I WILL win.”) How can a man of God say that? It should be, “By God’s grace, I will win.”

  12. in fact, political management is usually value neutral

    Overall a great info piece, but Mollie, political managment is not neutral, not ever and a better word for management is manipulation. In the words of a great Don Henley lyric where the devil says, “there is no wrong, there is no right…I’ll get ya anything you want. what’s it worth to ya? There is no lie there is no truth, just data to be manipulated.”

    God save us from politicians of any stripe.

  13. Deacon Brian Hughes :“According to them, President Kieschnick promised supporters “I WILL win: I have a plan.” And all options are on the table”.

    This does not exactly sound “selfless.” Wouldn’t it be better to leave it in God’s hands? Saint Paul’s approach: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” John the Baptizer’s approach: “He must increase, I must decrease.” In contrast, “I WILL win: I have a plan” does not sound like what our Synod needs at this time (or any time).

    I can’t imagine CFW Walther at the Altenburg debates say “I WILL win: I have a plan.” I imagine his desire was that God’s direction would win. May God never give us merely what we want most, but rather what is best for us.

  14. Gratis copies of the book have been sent to all LCMS congregations, seminary faculty members, theology faculty members of the 10 LCMS colleges and universities, members of the Council of Presidents and LCMS Board of Directors, and staff executives of Synod offices.
    http://www.lcms.org/pages/rpage.asp?NavID=16757

    Better than campaign buttons?

    But what’s inside this book?

  15. Sacrificing Diekelman. Could this mean he’s going to offer the 1st VP slot to Harrison as some grand show of unity and do it before the convention so that if Harrison declines he is diminished in the eyes of the delegates? Remember, one of the proposals of the BRTFSSG is that the SP and 1st VP run as a team…

  16. @Todd Wilken #5

    > “bad press”

    a.k.a. vile insinuations and lies from hell

    @Dan #17

    > offer the 1st VP slot

    I don’t know, but that sounds like a ‘bingo’

    The tragedy now could be that people on the right side of this refuse to believe such tactics are thinkable. They are indeed thinkable.

    Watch and wait for lying wonders.

  17. “,,,the Kieschnick team was “shocked and stunned” about Harrison’s strong showing and are trying to figure out how to drive down his popularity.”

    Deacon Brian Hughes :“According to them, President Kieschnick promised supporters “I WILL win: I have a plan.” And all options are on the table”.
    This is a man, who after being elected the first time and given some time to address the Convention soon after by the chairman, said that he would be the President of the Synod for a very long time, I was there and listening intently, as I knew next to nothing of the man before this.
    Anything is possible, so do not be surprised at what takes place, even an outright stealing of the election by a show of Roberts Rule of Order or procedure or some like sleight of hand.

    michael :“I WILL win: I have a plan.” sounds lke Obama and the DNC in full swing. What’s next, campaign buttons corn husker kickbacks?
    michael

    Take heart friends, I think the electorate in this counntry, in general, and in the LCMS as well, are sick and tired of this type of political manuevering and electioneering. I think the more of this type of stuff JK tries, and the more time he spends in front of the convention pushing the BRTFSSG plan, the less patience the voters will have for him and his adgenda. The parallels to the current administration’s way of doing business and J.K.’s are eerie, and as a result of the current plotical clomate in the country, I think the convention voters will be particularly sensitive to the process. Thats my hope anyway.

  18. I’ve been reading thesecomments for a very long time. Coming from a confirmation class from 1963 – when my Pastor (at that time – Samuel Roth – lied to my parents— that nothing was going on with the seminary etc —
    and I was taught that the biblical stories like Jonah and the whale could be folk lore —

    I’m waiting for a white cloud to appear over the convention –

  19. I had similar thoughts as Mollie – I wondered given the disparity in vote totals if Pres. K would drop out and have everyone rally around Pr. Harrision. After all, we heard over and over and over again at the Regional Gatherings that the “congregation is king” in Synod polity. It seems to me that the congregations have spoken pretty loudly.

    And in the BRTFSSG proposals, they suggest direct congregational voting of the president. Hmmm.

  20. Except for a very few, no man that has been elected president really wants to leave that office–my opinion. Bohlmann when not re-elected sent out his “sour grapes” letter across the Synod complaining about the process–which if I am correct he himself helped install. The sense of power in being the synodical president can do two things: humble the man as to the importance of what he has now taken on or make the man seek greater and greater power for himself. In the past some of our synodical presidents have touted themselves as being the “one” who would unite Lutheranism under one umbrella. Never happened and never will. I don’t not think that our current president will go down quietly and there will be many voices from the JF crowd who will speak greatly at the convention about why Pastor Harrison should not be elected–with little if any truth in their statements. I firmly believe that it is time that our synod have in the president’s office someone who is a theologican first and foremost! Someone who has a pastoral heart for matters of doctrine and practice. I do not think that the current president would fit that bill and I don’t think he ever has!!!

  21. Conv. delegate:
    the BRT proposals also suggest extra votes for larger congregations, where the PLI guys hang out and GK already has his loyal supporters.

    With those, electing GK this summer would set lcms up with a “president for life”, IMHO.

    [The “congregation as king” was whitewash on a dictatorship.]

  22. Helen :
    the BRT proposals also suggest extra votes for larger congregations

    The proposals (specifically #6 and #13) as they currently stand do more than just propose additional votes for larger congregations, they also change the understanding of a “multi-point parish” from a “multi-parish congregation” to a “multi-congregation parish.” In the past, no distinction needed to be made between a dual parish or a congregation with a satellite campus – they are both currently treated as a single congregation meeting in more than one place and get one pastor and one lay delegate. Under the proposals, they could still be treated the same way as each other, but they could be treated as separate congregations with at least two delegates for each location.

    Yes, that’s right… think it all the way through: Big-Box Mega Church with 6000 members meeting at the main campus and two satellites (3500 at the main campus, 1300 at satellite #1 and 1200 at satellite #2) would get not 1 pair, not 2 pair, but SIX PAIR of delegates at their district convention, and – because (despite the name of Proposal #13 “Increase CONGREGATIONAL Participation in the Election of Synod President…”) it is the congregational DELEGATES that vote of SP – they would get 12 votes for Synodical President. And, unless the Floor Committee corrects the “inadvertent omission” in the bylaw language made by the Task Force, despite the summary saying that “no associate member having more than one vote,” the Senior Pastor of Big-Box Mega Church could exercise SIX of those 12 votes by himself. (Read the proposed language of Bylaw 4.2.3, particularly section (a), and see that it limits only vacancy/interim pastors to one vote, not pastors of multi-point parishes.)

  23. I heard that the Kieschnick team was “shocked and stunned” about Harrison’s strong showing and are trying to figure out how to drive down his popularity.

    I am shocked and stunned that synodical officials would try to figure out how to break the 8th Commandment.

  24. Mollie,

    Your words:

    “According to them, President Kieschnick promised supporters ‘I WILL win: I have a plan.’ And all options are on the table. They say that one of the ideas on the table includes losing 1st VP Bill Diekelman. I am not entirely sure what that means or why such a thing would help Kieschnick’s prospects. I heard that the Kieschnick team was ‘shocked and stunned’ about Harrison’s strong showing and are trying to figure out how to drive down his popularity.”

    I am amazed that so many readers here are more interested in lines such as Kieschnick’s supposed quote “I WILL win: I have a plan.” and “…the Kieschnick team was ‘shocked and stunned’…and are trying to figure out how to drive down [Rev. Harrison’s] popularity” rather than your own words “According to them…” and “I heard that… ”

    Can you please offer some more insights on this subject, so as to limit any possible fears that what you have reported could be little more than speculation? Could you please provide as much information as you are comfortable on what you describe as “[your] sources who are close to President Kieschnick”?

    You recently asked something similiar of Rev. Mark Louderback in comment 41 of your article “On women ‘fully participating as laity,'” dated April 14, 2010, so I hope you can see this as a similar request.

    In the end, based on what you have provided, I’m not comfortable taking all of your Kieschnick quotes at face value when prefaced with your words “According to them…” or “I heard that…”

    I’m trying to put the best construction on all of this, and I feel that I will need your help to complete that task.

    I acknowledge that John Enge has asked you about this in comment 9, but I haven’t seen a response from you yet and I think this is important for your readers to understand clearly.

  25. I can’t imagine that most of the BRTFSSG proposals will now be pushed by JF, COP, & Co, since they are being considered prior the election. Despite JK’s bravado, even his most ardent supporters must consider a win by Harrison at least a possibility.

    While I might like a Pres. Harrison to have that kind of power, my better sense tells me it is against the spirit, polity, and history of the LCMS. And though JF, COP, & Co. might want “their man” to be such an all-powerful President, they must have nightmares about what a Pres. Harrison could do if so empowered. Also, they must be having great qualms about their dismal lack of “bench strength” for future years, even if JK does somehow pull it out this time.

    So, I think JF, COP, & Co. will do an amazing, sudden 180 on all of the BRTFSSG proposals except those which unfairly weight franchise to larger congregations and the regionalization of vice-presidents. However, we cannot put all our eggs in the “Pres. Harrision basket.” We must realize in particular that if unfair reapportionment of delegates passes, it will lock in a permanent lopsided liberal majority, and Pres. Harrison could easily be defeated after one term. Therefore, I would rank the importance of actions at this convention as follows:

    1) Election of Harrison as President

    2) Defeat of weighting franchise in favor of large congregations

    3) Defeat of regionalization of Vice-Presidents

    4) Defeat of all other BRTFSSG proposals

    5) Election of Mueller as 1st Vice-President

    6) Election of solid majority on Board of Directors

    7) Election of other solid board majorities, especially missions, seminary regents, and pastoral and higher education

    8) Election of solid slate of Vice-Presidents

  26. Pastor Gilbert,

    I meant to respond to Enge earlier and with taxes and other deadlines, I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything. I apologize.

    Anyway, I am very careful about protecting my sources and this case is no exception. (Some on this board have taken me to task for this but it’s a non-negotiable matter for me.) However, I understand your request and will try to provide more information even as I am careful with their identity. Obviously I wasn’t present when these reported comments were made and I’m going based on the conversations I had with multiple sources.

    I can tell you that I spoke with two people with direct knowledge. Independent of each other, they used the exact same quote. A third corroborated the general sentiment but had a slightly different quote. I am actually unsure if the third person was referring to the same discussion or a different discussion. That other quote was “Don’t worry. I will win.”

    When I spoke with other sources within the IC, I received quite a few reports about how the news of the nomination was taken. There are many people who work there at all different levels of employment. My sources indicated a great deal of surprise from around the IC at just how disparate the nomination totals were. Some sources focused in on how the news was taken by Kieschnick’s supporters. Of those accounts, one used the phrase “shocked and stunned.” Others expressed similar sentiments.

    There’s a lot else that could be said. The IC is a very complicated place. There are people there who like both candidates. There are people who like neither. There are folks who like one or the other and then there are people who are just trying to hedge their bets in anticipation of new leadership. And perhaps it’s worth noting that I heard a lot more than those quotes, too.

    I actually wish we’d get more people just speaking on the record. The two main areas of news I cover are the federal government and religious institutions. And I think you couldn’t find two groups of people more concerned about protecting anonymity. Part of the problem, obviously, is that bureaucracies tend to punish people who speak freely, but I also wish we might hear more direct speaking. I don’t prefer anonymous sourcing, obviously, but I also think that members who support these institutions should be privy to more than the bureaucracies “officially” announce.

  27. Thank you, Mollie, for taking the time to clarify.


    I can tell you that I spoke with two people with direct knowledge. Independent of each other, they used the exact same quote. A third corroborated the general sentiment but had a slightly different quote. I am actually unsure if the third person was referring to the same discussion or a different discussion. That other quote was “Don’t worry. I will win.”

    That answers my question in comment #9.

  28. Jack,

    I am curious what your thoughts are on the upcoming LCMS presidential election. You are in an interesting demographic (theologically and practice wise) when it comes to this election. What are the folks in your web and neck of the woods saying about the election?

    TR

  29. Referenced above was the “rule” regarding dual/etc. parishes–that regardless of two separate histories, constitutions, etc., the two together only get one lay delegate. This came up at my district convention. I had never heard of that rule before, and I still can’t find it *anywhere* in the Constitution and By-laws (or anywhere else, for that matter). I asked the BRTF guy, Rev. Green where that rule is, VP David Buegler, and my own Dist. Pres. *No one* has given me *any* answer. If it’s a “policy” in the DP handbook or something–*that* would even satisfy me–not trying to create a problem. Just want to follow the rules.

    Does *anybody* know where this rule is, or how it comes about that we have handled duals/triples/etc. this way?

  30. Don’t often post to these blogs, but perhaps what I have to say may be relevant. As some of you know, I was involved in the effort to expose President Kieschnick’s questionable use of Bylaw 3.1.2.a in 2004 and 2007, by which he granted excessive requests for circuit exceptions, many of which came from liberal districts. In so doing, he gave the appearance of impropriety, and raised questions about the possibility of election fraud. It was a circumstantial case we made, but quite a strong one. The ensuing controversy was concluded by the Joint Statement which President Kieschnick signed. If you read the whole thing (which most people have not), you will find that the COP essentially agreed with our argument, that circuit exeptions were a mess, and that protocols needed to be put in place to prevent further abuse. The upshot of it was that many districts cleaned up their electoral circuits, and far fewer requests for circuit exceptions were submitted to,and granted by, the POTS. I do not have the figures at hand, but I believe that the playing field at the 2010 convention will be leveled, so as not to give an unfair advantage to one candidate. Remember also that in 2004 and 2007 Pres. Kieshnick won re-election by narrow margins, even after granting large numbers of circuit exceptions. In one instance, as Charlie Henrickson has shown, President Kieschnick’s margin of victory was exactly the same as the number of delegates from circuit exceptions. So, it would seem that our labors were not in vain. With fair delegate representation and a substantial lead in nominations, Harrison supporters can be reasonably optimistic.

  31. Jesus Christ is the true shepard of the Church and not G. Kieschnick. The people have spoken in their congregations and they want Pastor Matt. Harrison to be our next president. G. Kieschnick should retire and go back to Texas. In 1992 I was a delegate to the Pitsburg convention and the people voted for Dr. Barry and the delegates gave them Dr. Barry.
    Remember history and what Martin Stephan did. Then read the BRTF report and you can see history repeating itself. Power is the name of the game.

  32. @Timothy C. Schenks #28

    Timothy,

    You wrote, “I am shocked and stunned that synodical officials would try to figure out how to break the 8th Commandment.”

    Funny, that is the line in Mollie’s post that I found least surprising. President Kieschnick and his BoD have spent the last two years trying to undermine and dig up dirt on Pastor Harrison. Why should they stop now?

    TW

  33. Carl Vehse :
    “Obviously the convention has already been scheduled to maximize his time before delegates prior to the vote”
    Maybe Harrison delegates and supporters can carry around copies of At Home In the House of My Fathers at the convention (or play some bluegrass banjo music).

    I’m thinking fake bushy mustaches and do a Spartacus-style show of support:

    “I’m Pastor Harrison!”
    “No…I’m Pastor Harrison!”

  34. Carol,

    LOL!

    I think the Spartacus thing would be particularly helpful on the convention floor if the other side mounts some personal attack on Harrison (which they just may do). We could all then stand up and do the “I’m Harrison thing” and confuse them.

    On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t work. They would be discombobulated for a minute or two but would quickly get their wits about them and return to the safety of their by-laws and resume the attack. 🙁

    TR

  35. Todd Wilken :@Timothy C. Schenks #28
    Timothy,
    You wrote, “I am shocked and stunned that synodical officials would try to figure out how to break the 8th Commandment.”
    Funny, that is the line in Mollie’s post that I found least surprising. President Kieschnick and his BoD have spent the last two years trying to undermine and dig up dirt on Pastor Harrison. Why should they stop now?
    TW

    That’s why try to figure out was in italics. We already know that they are way beyond trying to figure it out from their responses to That They May Be One (COP turns it over to the CTCR rather than addressing it themselves–negative review), For the Sake of Christ’s Commission (President asks the CTCR to review it even though it was submitted by a committee appointed by the previous president–negative review), their treatment of convention nominees who were lawsuit plaintiffs (“Crucify them!”), slander of Secretary Hartwig during the convention (but apologize for it months later), etc.

  36. Pastor Tim Rossow :Carol,
    LOL!
    I think the Spartacus thing would be particularly helpful on the convention floor if the other side mounts some personal attack on Harrison (which they just may do). We could all then stand up and do the “I’m Harrison thing” and confuse them.
    On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t work. They would be discombobulated for a minute or two but would quickly get their wits about them and return to the safety of their by-laws and resume the attack.
    TR

    Then there’s the tactic reputedly employed by St. Nicholas at a church council: pugilism.

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