I Wanted to Go to the Waffle House when in Houston but Ended Up in the Schwaffle House, by Pr. Rossow

Getting down South means one thing – eating at Waffle House. Even though I am working to control my sugar and carb intake these days there are just some things you have to do.

I haven’t made it to the Waffle House yet but thanks to Committee 8 on Structure and Governance I have spent several hours in the Schwaffle House. As others have expressed elsewhere, I and many of the delegates are tired of the Floor Committee giving all the same reasons for supporting their massive overhaul of the synod’s structure and governance. Some of their reasons are actually pretty good but the fact that they have an answer for everything and the fact that they have taken up so much time to speak without rebuttal causes one to question if their reasons are all that good.

Bishops Buegler and Stoterau – your little skit and scripted back and forth dialogue got old really fast. Actors you are not. You can do much better than that. Bishop Stoterau, you are one of the most convincing speakers I have ever heard. I can see why President Kieschnick chose you to chair this committee. I would caution you however, and I heard this from numerous delegates, hearing your spiel for the umpteenth time has worn them out. Taking several hours for presentation instead of letting delegates debate the issues has caused you to lose credibility. The delegates have heard it all before at the regional gatherings and those who were delegates to their district conventions heard it there as well. It is old and it is getting more and more worn out with each exhaling breathe you take to sound the demise of the synod unless we pass your proposals.

Some delegates will no doubt think that they should vote for this because you have worked so hard on it but overall, delegates should instead look closely at the holes in your now worn out reasoning.

  • You assert that these proposals better support the congregations of synod yet at every turn the parish loses out because of your proposed centralization of power. If power gets centralized, somebody loses and in this case it is the local congregation.
  • You say this all about the duplication of effort. We could have saved countless hours and dollars (spent for the regional gatherings and for the extra two days of convention) if you had just made a list of the duplicate efforts and asked the delegates to pick and choose which ones they want to eliminate.
  • You say that we must do this or the synod will go broke yet you are only proposing a $1.4 million dollar savings in an $84 million dollar budget.
  • You propose that resolutions from districts should have priority yet the Convention Workbook shows that you rejected resolutions on restructuring from 11 districts and the only one you accepted is from President Stoterau’s own district.
  • The layman from King of Kings Church in Omaha that you put in front of the delegates to give one of your many “Structure and Governance Tesimonies” told the convention that God had spoken to him and told him that the proposals were necessary and that those of us who oppose the proposals are not listening to God.

That last one kind of hurt even me and I have some pretty thick skin. I guess once I get out of the Schwaffle House and finally get to the Waffle House I will need an extra squirt of whipped cream to salve my broken spirit. Oh the carbs… oh the rising blood sugar levels… oh the overburdened delegates… oh the poor, poor, pitiful synod…

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


I Wanted to Go to the Waffle House when in Houston but Ended Up in the Schwaffle House, by Pr. Rossow — 64 Comments

  1. Will congregations start withholding donations to Synod and districts and divert funding to favored missions as we see happening in ELCA over the homosexual vote?

  2. @boaz #47

    Right. The seminaries are the final battleground, and I don’t think they are off the radar if this admin is reelected. KFUO-FM was partly about synod inc vs stl seminary.

  3. CJ–thats just good stewardship.

    That’s what every congregation has to decide: donate to synod and more ablaze programs or donate to sems, foreign missions, etc, and get more pastors and missionaries?

  4. Is there a silence about “Ablaze!” which is deafening? Is no one calling into question the accountability of “Fan into Flame” expenditures and fund-raising? Is BRTFSSG just a cover-up for an Ablaze! debacle? 🙂

  5. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Regarding the 2/3rds vote, Article XIV requires a 2/3rds vote first by the convention (of all votes cast), and then 2/3rds vote by all congregations of the synod, with a deadline of six months. Many of these Constitutional amendments have NOT passed, so you can’t “count your chickens before they are hatched” either way.

    Regarding how and why the convention votes the way it does–since many are wondering–you need to consider the character, and knowledge-base on particular subjects, of the delegates.

    First, character. I believe that the overwhelmingly vast majority of delegates are honest people and are really looking out for the good of the church. The number of people who are running around trying to cause trouble, or who are only in it (secretly) for their own private gain, is very few. Maybe ten or twenty delegates at the most, out of over a thousand. I say this from experience at conventions, and seeing a bit of shenanigans and over-bearing-attitudes here or there. And the delegates are, overall, a pretty intelligent lot, certainly in their areas of vocation and life experience. As a group, we LCMS folk are a pretty competent and well-behaved group of people!

    Second, knowledge-base. Here is where the problems come. Most pastoral and lay delegates are well-versed in basic Lutheran doctrine, i.e., Small Catechism, Book of Concord, Law and Gospel, stuff like that. So they can handle basic doctrinal issues pretty well, but in the more obscure and difficult topics, they often get confused. And the convention is often called upon to make authoritative pronouncements on obscure and difficult topics, so the results there will often be a “mixed bag.”

    What about polity issues? Very, very few people have any knowledge of our LCMS structure and governance, its history, its rationale, its track record, etc. Where can you go to find information about this? Not too many places, and for most people it is not worth the time and effort. I doubt that any delegate studied “Moving Frontiers,” “Heritage in Motion,” the report of the 1962 restructing committee, or even something as basic as “Zion on the Mississippi.” All they studied, if anything, was what they were sent by the synod.

    So what will they rely on when they have to make decisions on the BRTFSSG proposals? They will rely on the people they think who know something about it, namely, the guys up at the podium. The president and his friends know this, and have carefully managed the BRTFSSG process, so that no significant contrary voices were permitted to be presented to the delegates. The official presentation has all been one sided, so anything “unofficial” seems to be from a bunch of trouble-makers, even when it is simple, common sense. That is how delegates approve things that are contrary to simple, common sense.

    This is how synodical bureaucrats come into their positions of power and influence. This is what they do best. This is how they make their “living.” There are a few exceptions to this, such as Ray Hartwig and Tom Kuchta, and some of our District Presidents. These are the “salt” and “light” that keep the synod together; these men are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    So watch the “show” and pray that good may come out of bad decisions; even as Joseph being sent to Egypt (bad decision) ended up being for the good of Jacob’s family. God has a way of turning bad into good, you know!

    By the way, its not over until the gavel falls. So don’t make any premature judgments about the synod, its members, or officers, please!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  6. I read Kieschnick’s opening speech and there was a point, possibly in the resolutions (I am not sure because it was a long document online) there was considerable comment on homosexuals and I took it for certain that if given the least little push, we would affirm homosexuals on a don’t ask don’t tell basis even though those words were not used per se. There should have been only one resolution regarding this and that it is an abomination to the Lord and we will not tolerate it. Have you all not ever been involved in the consequences of the slippery slope. Good gracious, we continue to live 20 years behind the times and take up issues with solving problem programs that other “churches” have long since noted as failures. Bill Hybels is a perfect example and the LCMS continues to follow him like he is the Messiah himself. Pray for the LCMS. It is unraveling before our eyes. @Chuck Mueller #2

  7. Just for the record: I renounce the Devil and all his works and all his ways. I also oppose the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

  8. Scott,
    Don’t…please don’t…not you. I know how hard it is (trust me…) but don’t. You are better than that, & others….& this Scott. I know you are & so do you.
    Your supporter & …bud..

  9. @CJ #23
    St. John’s in Ellisville, MO, does the same thing. From their building signs to their website, no one would ever know they are Lutheran. Shocking, but revelaing!

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