Sunday early afternoon update

I know you shouldn’t enjoy a hot, sticky, muggy city like Houston is, but I am having a blast down here. The locals are as friendly and wonderful as could be and the Lutherans from around the country are fantastic.

There is not much to report thus far in the day. Delegates are beginning the work of moving through their schedule. There were two motions made this morning that I thought I would update readers on.

The first was to change standing rules so as to preserve the spirit of the “pro-con” debate. In the rules, it says that delegate discussion of a given motion should alternate between arguments in favor and arguments in opposition.

The delegate noted how that doesn’t work when floor committees are responding to delegates since they are not neutral. That is, they’re usually responding in favor or opposition to a given motion.

So if you have a con question or statement, the committee might respond with a defense, and then you have a pro question or statement and the committee might respond with a further defense. So instead of a back and forth, you get a con-pro-pro-pro.

So now the rules were changed to have any defense from the committee treated as a pro-speech (and opposition from the committee as a con-speech).

The other motion was to amend the agenda to move up the presidential election to today. I had spoken with delegates from various districts who said that their District Presidents gave marching orders to their delegates to oppose any such measure (“The folks who made the agenda worked hard, we should respect the order,” etc.) Anyway, to make a long story short, some delegates came out HARD against it (including one guy who I have already heard speak about 10 times in two days — this could be a long convention!). The President sets the agenda and it’s printed up — it’s probably a bit of a long shot. And, in the end, “only” 48% voted to amend the agenda (It’s actually probably a pretty high number to go against the agenda set by the current president). So the presidential election will be Tuesday.

Delegates are all doing well and excited about the days ahead. I’ll keep you posted in the days to come.


Sunday early afternoon update — 34 Comments

  1. So does this give us an idea where the election are likely headed? I’m thinking we will see a close vote.

  2. Michael,

    I honestly have no idea. I do know that at least a few Harrison supporters voted against the motion to amend (because they told me they did). So a vote against the motion isn’t necessarily an indication of who you are voting for. And while the JesusFirst political machine fought the move — as did Kieschnick loyalists who are DPs, I imagine some Kieschnick supporters might have voted in favor anyway.

    I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. The folks who made the agenda worked hard, we should respect the order

    I think Martin Stephan’s people used the same argument.

  4. to show you how close it was, I think it was a 30 vote margin – 15 or so votes would have swung it the other way.

    1200 delegates; 8 votes = 1% (if my math is close)

    It should be an “interesting” week!

    I’m sitting next to a JF’er who would make a poor poker player. His body language and comments about the goings on are instantly known to everyone around us.

  5. How can you tell who are JF supporters at the convention? Are they wearing pins? :^)

    Everyone seems to know who they are..

  6. Don’t make too much of the vote to change the agenda order. I just spoke to my Circuit pastoral delegate and he said there was a great deal of confusion as to exactly what people were voting for. There is so much confusion regarding the Blue Ribbon proposals that it will be difficult to make sense of it all, even in two days.

    Lord have mercy!

  7. I’m watching the feed from the convention. Will there be people allowed to go forward and speak against the proprosal? Talk about one sided presentations.
    Guess not just transitioned to Q&A to the written questions.

  8. Mary,
    Watching too. Oi Vey. “We are now ‘clustering’ & networking.
    Isn’t there Scripture in any of these?

  9. Fascinating they are stressing the ‘network’ word. Pr. Harrison in Home/House/Fathers points out how treating a congregation as a network (exactly that word) is disfunctional and is not about relationships between complete humans. This theme has been picked up by others in the past including John Gatto, who writes on educational issues. Human networks emphasize shallow or narrow slices of people and organizations. A church is not a network.

    Network. Once again picking up on something that was a hot concept in the 1980s when these bosses were young turks.

  10. CV#3,
    Although I much prefer Pr. Harrison; at this point I think I’d rather have ol’ Bishoff Stephan than Dr. K. (Despite his moral lapses, I’m pretty sure B. Stephan would have opened a convention w/ reverent Lutheran liturgical worship, and not some tarted-up methobapticostal extravaganza.)
    This train don’t pull no Pelagians, this train…,
    -Matt Mills

  11. Where do we pull the DIVINE SERVICE . Would like to listen to the service…..anybody????

  12. The claim from the representatives of the task force on Res. 8-22 and 9-23 suggests that the adding of another vice president would increase the costs — suggesting that the only costs have to do with salary; but there are also costs regarding travel, food, lodging, mailing, telephone. Adding a vice president DOES increase the cost.

    The claim from the representatives of the task force on Res. 8-22 and 9-23 suggests that the vote of the secretary of synod should be eliminated because it isn’t “fair” for the secretary to have a vote but not the first vice-president and the treasurer — and because they want to make the board of directors smaller and more efficient. What? Are those three not going to be attending the meetings? Is there nothing unique about the secretary of Synod’s role and responsibilities which would merit his having a vote?

    There just isn’t any way for a meaningful and substantial interchange to go on the way that the process is being conducted. Furthermore, I have seen “tactics” used to deflect criticisms and contrary observations not just at the synodical convention but also on synodical boards and district committees, such as . . .

    1) Make people think that unreasonable actions would NEVER or only rarely be taken by the board of directors, vice-presidents, synodical presidents, district presidents . . . Can anyone give specific examples when treasurers of synod or board of directors have taken actions which were extremely poor decisions? Can’t anyone recall instances when boards, et al., went against the synodical bylaws? Can’t anyone give examples of the CCM legislating actions which they had no right to do?

    2) Any criticism is made to seem to be uninformed, unrealistic, impractical. Can’t anyone quote the specifics from district conventions where the task force’s recommendations were not favorably received?

    3) Acknowledge the point as being interesting and valid, but that’s all that happens: merely an acknowledgment.

    4) Nobody is wrong. Disagreement is conflict and all conflict should be eliminated.

    5) It would take too much time and effort to try to make changes now.

    6) We need to have this because of our financial crisis. I.e.., even if this is a horrible means of governance, we still have to do it because our bank accounts are tanking.

    7) “It’s all about the grass roots.” Really? They give the appearance to naive delegates that they are giving more power to the grass roots when in fact they are taking away the “power” of the grass roots and centralizing it in the synodical president.

    Such tactics will always be used and “necessary” where we are not united in doctrine. Politics will always come into play where we are not united in doctrine — and where people do not know the history of the church and our synod.

  13. Sorry for the long post. It didn’t look that long when I’m wrote it. 🙂 I think I should just resist the urge to stream the convention proceedings through my computer as well as the “felt need” to respond in any forum.

  14. Pr Brondos, Thank you for the post. I appreciate the commentary from someone in Houston.

  15. David Berger :We need only to resolve, not to dispute, lest we discover that honest and meaningful disagreements do exist. Thanks, Pastor Brondos.

    Yes, or just keep “the conversation” going on …. and on…..and on…..and on.


  16. @ mbw #10

    Another John Taylor Gatto reader here on BJS?? Amazing!

    You might also like “Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology” by Neil Postman (and also his “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” and “How to Watch the TV News” which could also be seen as informative as one watches the synodical proceedings).

    @ Johannes #20

    That’s another good point that should be added to the list: keep talking until people get tired and just walk away. Toss a bunch of stuff in an omnibus resolution and it will all be forgotten by July 20 and then those who hold positions of authority for the next three years can do whatever they please.

    I’m pretty certain that for all the attempts being made to make the convention upbeat and inspirational, many delegates will come away from the convention feeling like they need to take a long, long shower to get all the gunk off. They may be discouraged. That, however, should be an opportunity for us to direct them to what is truly meet, right and salutary in Christ — to the things that REALLY matter. The work of “influencing” the delegates prior to the convention shouldn’t end with the convention. We need to do even more to teach, study, preach, listen . . . to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  17. Was the motion to move the election brought by a Kieschnick supporter or a Harrison supporter?

  18. Despite losing the agenda vote, I think we will be vote the restructuring is pretty much dead on arrival especially if the vote is similar to the agenda vote. To amend the Constitution we need 2/3rd of a vote. The mode among confessional delegates is still pretty positive. It should really come to a head tomorrow.

  19. Parts of the Divine Service sounded to me like they could have been produced by Andrew Lloyd Weber. The raspy voices and guitar and drum solos reminded me of when I once saw Jesus Christ Superstar.

  20. Rev Brondos,

    Check the by-law changes on 8-10. The Treasurer IS REMOVED from the Board of Directors. This is a change from the Regional Gatherings and has not been mentioned from the podium.

    He will be appointed by the BOD. So he/she will no longer have an independant voice and will not have the right to sit in on BOD meetings. I don’t know how that will improve the “financial crisis” we are hearing so much about.

    Trying to get to a mic.

  21. Off topic, but, Rev. Brondos: the Magnesses are also John Taylor Gatto fans.
    I recommend his “Underground History of American Education” to all. Along with anything else JTG has written!

    OK – back to the topic: yes, this was a good day for confessionals.
    Some of these proposals may pass, but the real problematic ones are not convincing the assembly. They are getting lots of tough questions, and I think the tide will continue to turn against “Blue Ribbon” once we move from Q&A to formal debate.

  22. Dear Mollie and BJS Bloggers,

    Thanks very much for these very encouraging reports! WOW! Spread the news on the PRO CON vote! This changes the ENTIRE CONVENTION!

    Convention goers, at least those of us who believe the convention should be a delegate assembly with legislative powers like a Congress, have complained for years about how so many of the Floor Committees have squelched disagreement with THEIR resolutions. The floor committees, generally, have thought it was their job to make sure that their resolutions were passed–and any opposition was considered “heretical.” That is why almost all of the resolutions are usually adopted.

    The legislative process has in the past not been a matter of discussion and compromise, like in Congress, but rather a matter of the Floor Committees intimidating and wearing out all those “delegates who disagree with us.” And of course, those floor committees were appointed by their respective presidents, who wanted to make sure that THEIR AGENDA was passed.

    Maybe, for once in a long time, THIS convention will more resemble our founder’s idea of what a synod convention should be.

    I hope the delegates don’t squander this opportunity with poor manners and lack of courtesy. Delegates need to remember they are our Congressmen for a Week.

    Thanks, Mollie, this is wonderful news–a convention in REAL conversation!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  23. wrl :
    @Phillip Magness #27
    Ditto on Gatto

    He’s popping up all over the place these days.
    Now if you were all reading Murray Rothbard’s attack on public education, I’d be surprised.

    I’m not sure how to feel about the failed agenda change. I’m not happy it failed, but on the other hand, things like that make a convention go very poorly. People who planned for a certain order of events are seldom capable of smoothly handling big changes like that. I imagine if it had gone through, the rest of the convention would have been like torture, as other agenda items would have taken far longer.

  24. @Rev. Joel A. Brondos #21

    > Another John Taylor Gatto reader here on BJS?? Amazing!

    Thanks Rev. Brondos. I was so glad to see somebody (Gatto) analyze what makes me so uncomfortable about the way all groups are run. To see it in the church is too much. The bigger the church, the worse it is, probably. At least in a little church when somebody gets too hyper about ‘organizing’ everyone, it’s so obvious.

    Anybody watching this hoping to score a snipe: Gatto is not at all hostile to Christianity. He is a genuine example (as opposed to huckster fakes, who abound) of someone who went beyond the given mediocrity at significant personal cost and risk. If anybody is going to do better than the fathers in any way, they are going to start out by GENUINELY respecting and mastering them (MCH for example) and then acting on conclusions born out of such respectful and loving study of them.

  25. Mary :Will there be people allowed to go forward and speak against the proprosal? Talk about one sided presentations.Guess not just transitioned to Q&A to the written questions.

    @Mary #8

    There was a Q & A discussion session prior to the actual voting and debate on Floor Committee *’s work (aka Blue Ribbon). (Sorry this was late, but it was a long week.)

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