Interesting Question from Former President Kieschnick: “Miss Me Yet?” by Pr. Rossow

A year or so back former LCMS President Kieschnick started publishing a weekly e-mail letter. As an interested observer of all things LCMS I subscribed to his letter and still get his weekly postings. I read them with curiosity. This week’s post raises an interesting question.

Volume II Number 26
“Miss Me Yet?”

This past Friday I drove from home in Georgetown to a speaking engagement for the 50th anniversary of Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Dallas. The event was a great one, giving thanks to God for a half century of blessing at this very fine center of Christian education. It’s one of approximately 2,500 similar educational enterprises in the LCMS. On the way home Saturday morning on I-35 near Waco I noticed a billboard asking the question “Miss me yet?” A picture of the 43rd president of the United States was on that billboard, which had another question: “How’s that hope and change working out?”
Those questions provided pause for me to ponder the numerous scenarios in which such questions provide other people similar pauses for pondering. The issue is simply stated in the familiar phrase: “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.” Whether applied to hopes for a more exciting marriage, more obedient children, a more understanding boss, a more fulfilling job, or a more effective leader, the quest for someone different or something better is a reflection of the reality that human beings are difficult to please and have unrealistic expectations that are fed by unachievable promises. The one exception is the statement of Jesus: “I have come that you might have life, in all its fullness.” (John 10:10) That’s a promise God deems worth keeping, bringing great blessing to us in receiving!
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!
Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick

There aren’t too many things that I miss. I don’t pine much for the past. I suppose I do miss the glory days of Hayden Fry coaching the Iowa Hawkeye football team and his homespun witticisms, although the Hawks are not doing all that badly these days. I miss my first pet cat “Tom,” although his current stand-in “Happy Bob” is a fine specimin of the genus feline. Speaking of my childhood pet, back in the days of “Tom” the cat one could travel around the LCMS and consistently find our grandfather’s church. I certainly miss that.

What I don’t miss is an LCMS run like a business with countless programs initiated to manipulate growth in the kingdom of God.

What do you miss or not miss?

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.


Interesting Question from Former President Kieschnick: “Miss Me Yet?” by Pr. Rossow — 123 Comments

  1. mbw :
    Honestly, despite representations such as yours, I think people are laughing right now at attempts like mine and others (who are very glad we do have new leadership) to jump through hoops, squint, stand upside down and see his article as both competent and having nothing to do with himself.

    You are right that people are laughing. Others are ridiculing. One person even says “I hate him. I do not pray for him” but draws little instruction or admonition from the leaders and pastors on this site. Few attempts at best construction, but the post didn’t start out with good construction. This all reads like worldly thinking. Is there is some kind of Christianity or discipleship going on here with which I am not acquainted? Something from the bible or confessions to justify all these words and this approach toward our brother in Christ, the former LCMS president?

  2. DA, I think the Terrible Swede poster who said, “I hate him. I do not pray for him.” is what we call a Troll. My initial reaction reading such a comment was that it was probably a person who feels the complete opposite of what he said, but said such a thing to mock people here who are critical of GK. I’m not sure whether that is a better or worse construction on his brief words than taking them at face value, but that was my gut reaction and why I would not waste time rebuking such antics.

    Pastor Rossow’s original post was really rather neutral towards the pres emeritus, unless you take his comment about not missing business tactics as a jab at GK (maybe a fair assumption). Certainly some respondents have openly criticized and read things into the blog post. But many of us have simply taken this opportunity to state things we miss (mine were of the artistic nature).

    Perhaps we could all agree to ignore trolls who say exclamatory things like “I hate him” and perhaps redirect people to answer the question Pr Rossow originally posted: What do you miss?

  3. @DA #101

    > Is there is some kind of Christianity or discipleship going on here with which I am not acquainted?

    No, unless you are not acquainted with discernment.

  4. @Young Blood #102
    What I miss is posted above in #23, with some Koinonia on the side in #38.

    if what you say is true about the “troll”, best construction prevents that from happening.

    As to the original post, I personally have trouble seeing “neutral-to-jab” as best construction. Best construction may have been to just leave it alone. We have Koinonia through Jesus Christ and even a Koinonia “project” going on, but where is the evidence of change in our behavior after the recent election? Come to think about it, maybe GK is right. Sadly, nothing may have changed (yet).


  5. @MN Southie #92
    I am hoping that with the severe financial losses of the MN South District lately, that Lane Seitz will finally decide to retire; all that pageantry and limelight just isn’t that fun anymore. However, after him receiving 70% of the vote at the last convention, I’m not sure he’s so eager to drop out of sight. Yet— the former SP – one of his former Good Ole Boys Club members aka C.O.P. – is now just that — the former SP — so maybe Lane will find it in his wisdom to also take a step back. As far as a replacement? Steve Briel is always the token rival on the ballot, but I kind of doubt that he would get the post. Just not sure….my best guess would be Larry Griffin, whom I believe would not be all that bad. Lane is very much a politician. One of his former “assistants” is purported to have made the remark: “The day after Lane is reelected is the day that Lane starts campaigning for the next term.”

  6. @The Black Robe #105

    From my short time living in St. Paul, I heard stuuf like that off-hand from one of my pastors. Looking up info, Seitz and Benke appear to be the longest tenured DP’s both starting way back in 1991. After a while, you wonder if they get too comfotable in their jobs, or maybe the hold on so long because they do campaign so much. Anyway, the off hand remark was Seitz feeling like a bishop, in the Roman Catholic way. So is it good to have stability and time to carry out a vision? To prevent staleness is it better to have fresh DP’s more often? I’m sure that will depend on what you think of the person holding the office, and how well they conduct themselves.

  7. I miss a preached God. What I mean is: I miss an eschatological telos to all the things we preach. I miss election. I miss justification by Grace through Faith. I miss the sacraments being the place and space I am born through/in. I miss hearing how I am a child, who my God is, and how I know. I miss repentance and the forgiveness of sin, and for those who might need it (even me) the retention of sin and threat of damnation.

  8. @Mathew #90
    This may not have been the Wisest time for Rev. Kieschnick to reference that sign…

    It may not have been the wisest thing for us to “notice” here that he did.
    He’s one person of retirement age who would serve the church best by retiring.
    (But I don’t expect it.)

    [FTM, I don’t miss either of the Bushes, or Cheney, either. What we’ve got now is “more of the same”, in DC.]

    What we’ve accomplished in Missouri remains to be seen.
    Pray for that judge in California to save us from ourselves; we apparently can’t do it for ourselves!

  9. @ Rev. David Muller #95

    I’ll gladly take a Hammond B-3 off of anyone’s hands that are willing to part with it!

  10. @Bruce Foster #10

    You and I met about 8 years ago at Imago Dei Village. We spent a good week together while our respective youth were at confirmation camp. It’s good to see your name again.

    I’d agree that neither Hanson or Keishnick are great public Luther scholars; the thing I find intriguing about both of them are not their answers but the questions that they are asking about the church in the 21st century.

    thanks for posting

  11. What I won’t miss in heaven …

    All the futile complaining about people who don’t think and worship like traditional LCMSers.

    President Keischnick will be in heaven. So will President Harrison. The Baptists, Catholics, non-denominationalists – all who trust in Jesus Christ as their one true Savior – will be there. All the LCMSers who prefer contemporary worship along with those who relate best to the organ and all the hymns will be there. Even people who worship Jesus Christ to African drum beats and dance around a fire in praise to Him will be there. Our living God knows whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He makes the final call on whose earthly worship is pure and faithful. Not us.

    In all of time and in all of the world, LCMS “traditional worship” is just a babe. It is a beautiful babe, but not an only child. If it blesses and enhances our faith, it is good. I believe that God never intended for it to be a source of elitism.

    I pray for every LCMSer who speaks in arrogance against those who don’t fit into the traditional LCMS mold. God help us all for wasting the precious time and energy He provides us in this life in slander against our brothers and sisters in Christ. Time on this side is precious and short. We must make the most of what He’s given us. And in that we are to love each other with the love and patience of Jesus.

  12. @Johannes #67

    In our church the praise band budget IS a lot less than a full-time paid organist would be paid because it is made up entirely of people, young and old, willing to use the gifts God has given them, free of charge, to the glory of God, under the guidance of our worship pastor. There are over 20 people who rotate the privilege of leading worship in the band. We also have at least three people in our congregation who volunteer their time and God-given talent to play the pipe organ every week during the same service both with the band and alone on more traditional hymns and the Lord’s Prayer. As Pastor Rossow said above…God will pour out His storehouses of blessings when we are trusting enough to give back to His glory. He certainly has at my church.

    If synonyms that come to mind can’t be posted on this site, I would be ashamed to admit it, and would be thanking God for forgiving me for having such ugly thoughts.

  13. @In Service to Him #111

    Thank you for your post. I completely agree with everything you said. I am going to print it and keep it to remind myself to stop wasting God-given time this side of heaven looking at this site. I exist to share His salvation message, His love, and the joy I have in knowing Christ. When He is done with me here, I will go to heaven and see all of you there!

  14. @Pam #114

    I exist to share His salvation message, His love, and joy I have in knowing Christ

    This sort of thing is best left to the professionals i.e., well trained pastors who have received a proper call.

  15. @In Service to Him #111
    YOu did miss one important point and this is not in reference to any of the people you mentioned. All will be in heaven who have faith that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, not matter what kind of whatever they have or use. I will see my Catholic Aunt in heaven for I know she had a great faith as also my Baptist Aunt who has great faith as will I see all my friends with whom I grew up in total Baptist country whom I know remain in the faith.

  16. @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #116
    I had similar thoughts about that after I’d posted my comments. Thank you for contributing. I have the same joy in knowing that I will see my Catholic father and his Catholic mother – both of whom loved the Lord and trusted in Christ. I will also see my Baptist grandmother who poured her love for Jesus into my heart. God used all of them to have a profound impact on my faith in Him. Together we will enjoy and worship our King for all eternity. And we will all know as we are known.

  17. @In Service to Him #111

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #116

    When the message is the same and the style is the only thing that is different, then I agree!

    And yet the message is often not the same.

    When Baptist, Methodist, and Nazarene friends lose their faith because they prayed really really hard for something or someone and God chooses to answer that prayer with a “no” or a “not yet,” when they are convinced that there is no way they can be good enough to be blessed by God, and they are so burnt out by what they think is Christianity that they refuse to even listen to you for fear you’re leading them back to THAT….

    When the Methodist church shows a Christmas video during “message time” that could have been shown at a Mormon church without batting an eye…

    When people wonder whether or not their decision for Christ “took effect”…

    And in the LCMS?

    When repentance moves from something we do every day and every Sunday to confessing that our only sin is not telling enough people about Jesus (TCN)…

    When application sermons assume you’ve got the Gospel so they tell you to GET TO WORK…

    When the creeds are rewritten and false doctrines are introduced…

    When it is socially unacceptable for you to grieve in a worship setting that demands that you be happy right here and now…

    …the worship leads to a different faith.

    Nobody will be in heaven because of how they worship or whatever else they do, yet how we worship and what we confess affects the faith that receives God’s Word and grants us that justification won on the cross.

  18. @Pam #112
    “If synonyms that come to mind can’t be posted on this site, I would be ashamed to admit it, and would be thanking God for forgiving me for having such ugly thoughts.”

    @In Service to Him #111
    “I pray for every LCMSer who speaks in arrogance against those who don’t fit into the traditional LCMS mold. God help us all for wasting the precious time and energy He provides us in this life in slander against our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

    Strong words, these.

    Pam, I strongly doubt that anyone who posts here is unaware of synonyms for “smarmy” that would be inappropriate on this site (or any other, for that matter.) That does not make knowing of those words the moral equivalent of having ugly thoughts, especially when I was referring to myself as “smarmy,” not someone else. If you don’t know such words, then good for you, but then how would you know that they are necessarily “ugly” and that they characterize the thoughts of others.

    “In Service”, I have seen arrogance (if not slander) from all viewpoints on this site. On this particular thread, I have seen Pres. K. trashed, but have also seen him defended. “Angry Swede” was clearly out of line, and several have responded appropriately. I have seen very arrogant and judgmental comments claiming that some of us are questioning the eternal salvation of non-Lutherans or those Lutherans with whom they disagree. Yet, I have not yet seen such a comment here. Ever.

    The judmental and arrogant (and perhaps slanderous) contributions and ad hominem arguments are not limited to only one side of the discussion as have been implied, but are sprinkled throughout by people of all viewpoints, as I believe I have demonstrated here.


  19. @Dan at Necessary Roughness #118
    Thank you for your insight. My point is that we spend way too much time being critical of things we do not have control over. Seems like a waste of precious resources.

    In addition to your list, our “good” LCMS churches are riddled with issues as well – from ugly congregational meetings, to ousted or burned-out pastors, to wayward youth, to C & E members and so forth. We cling to certain parts of the Word and then abandon others, especially the parts where God is clear that He despises grumbling and complaining. So if we think about it, as sainted sinners we’re just as messed up as they are. And we’re all loved by a perfect Father. He’s just as patient with us LCMSers – and the variety within us – as He is with His children in other denominations.

  20. Dan at Necessary Roughness (post #118) wrote:

    “When it is socially unacceptable for you to grieve in a worship setting that demands that you be happy right here and now…”

    The Theology of Glory is incompatible with Lutheran church doctrine.

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