E-mails Sent to Concordia Students Announcing Last Week’s STOP Events, by Pr. Rossow

Here are the e-mails that were broadcast to all students of Concordia-Chicago last week announcing the STOP meeting meant to address the abuse of gay students. As I understand it, the first one was sent out before Dr. Johnson got involved. The second one was after he got involved. Here are the two e-mails:

Dear Campus Community,

The Striving to Overcome Prejudice Committee (STOP) is pleased to announce the following educational opportunity, open to all students, staff, and faculty:

Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) is an educational program designed for a campuses. We are planning opportunities for the campus community to participate in one of two sessions. The program is one hour in length. It is a basic introduction to the LGBT language, definitions, and what it means to be supportive to LGBT people.

The sessions will take place in the Oak Park River Forest room on April 4th from 10:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. and from 11:30a.m. to 12:30p.m. We invite everyone to participate in one of these sessions.

In addition, the committee is announcing the presence of Safe Zones on campus.  Unlike more visible under-represented groups, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons cannot be readily identified. Likewise, there is no easy method of identifying persons who are familiar with LGBT issues. The Safe Zone Program strives to provide a way for supportive persons within the University community to prominently identify themselves. The program advances Concordia University Chicago’s goal of creating a campus community in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. Look for the following sticker to signify those supportive people: [sticker not included]

And the follow-up e-mail:

To the Campus Community,

Because of some misperceptions and inquiries, the Striving to Overcome Prejudice (STOP) Faculty Committee would like to clarify our earlier message regarding the April 4th educational program on campus.

In no way should this educational program be construed as contrary to the theological positions on human sexuality of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, with which the university is affiliated.  Please know that Dr. Johnson has requested time to address this matter in opening remarks at both of the sessions.  The program is designed as an educational forum where everyone will come together to learn from each other.  It is not meant as  a platform for advocacy of any point of view.

In addition, there were questions raised about the STOP Committee.  The STOP Committee was created in the late 1990s as the Antiracism Taskforce, and has periodically gone through name changes as it broadened its focus.  It is a committee whose members are appointed by the president of the university.

Thank you.  The STOP Committee

Is it just me or does the second e-mail sound like the line from the Wizard of Oz, “Just ignore that man behind the curtain?” In other words, e-mail one says “we are violating what the Scriptures teach about sexuality” and e-mail two says “just pretend with us that we aren’t violating what the Scriptures teach about sexuality.” As it turns out, according to our eyewitness account, it was the latter.

We are pleased that Dr. Johnson took some steps to alleviate the pagan language of the first e-mail but anything short of abolishing this committee is too little and too late.

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.

Comments

E-mails Sent to Concordia Students Announcing Last Week’s STOP Events, by Pr. Rossow — 112 Comments

  1. Paul:

    Why does it have to come through the LCMS office to be from the LCMS? LCMS laypeople give huge amounts to CUC and to each of the other Concordias for scholarships, endowments, special fund drives, etc. This is real money from real LCMS people. The campuses of each of the Concordias were bought and paid for by generations of LCMS members. They belong to us.

    If the Concordias don’t want to be a part of the church, we can give our money elsewhere and sell our property.

  2. The Concordias were begun as teachers’ colleges. CUC was originally Addison, then River Forest.

    j

  3. Richard #101,

    True, but the point that was trying to be made was that the synod gave all this money and as a result should intervene and govern this situation. Also true that if people don’t like what is happening they don’t have to give. I’d submit that is what both the LCMS and ELCA are experiencing from their laity now.

  4. Paul :Richard #101,
    True, but the point that was trying to be made was that the synod gave all this money and as a result should intervene and govern this situation. Also true that if people don’t like what is happening they don’t have to give. I’d submit that is what both the LCMS and ELCA are experiencing from their laity now.

    Paul–
    For over 20 years, the Synod has encouraged the pew-sitters to give directly to the institutions of their choice. Part of the reason for this was to lessen the financial burden on the Synod. Of course, they thought that giving to Synod would not decrease. But it did. So there are several unintended consequences:
    1. Giving to synod has decreased.
    2. Therefore, synod’s “giving” to the Concordias (U’s and Sem’s) has decreased.
    3. The Concordias now all have their own development staffs, thus pulling many men out of the ministry.
    4. The Concordias have been effectively distanced from the Synod, both in terms of financial accountability and theological/educational accountability.
    5. The 2007 Convention mandated appointed members to the Concordias Boards of Regents. These members are appointed by the Boards of Regents, with no direct oversight by the Synod, except the Rep. of the SP who is appointed by the SP. This puts potential baneful influence on the BOR, especially as many of the appointments are potential large donors. It also means that a bare majority of most BOR’s are elected.
    6. The result of #1 thru #5 above, is that the Concordias are going in whatever direction they choose, especially theologically. The evidence is quite obvious.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    If I have misstated the facts, I welcome CV’s or anyone else’s corrections.

    Johannnes

  5. The old election of regent members was absurd. People voting for board members that they’ve never heard of, have no idea was skills or expertise they might offer, and yes, what type of donor they might be. A reality kf any non-profit organization is that board members must lead in the capacity as well. This is a university, not a seminary or a congregation and should be governed by different “rules” than those entities.

  6. Paul :
    The old election of regent members was absurd. People voting for board members that they’ve never heard of, have no idea was skills or expertise they might offer, and yes, what type of donor they might be. A reality kf any non-profit organization is that board members must lead in the capacity as well. This is a university, not a seminary or a congregation and should be governed by different “rules” than those entities.

    The addition of appointed BOR members extended to the Seminaries. It was a separate resolution passed also in 2007. The Transforming Congregations Accountable Leadership prescriptions include a Board of Directors, and among other things, the pastor as effective CEO.

  7. Paul :
    The old election of regent members was absurd. People voting for board members that they’ve never heard of, have no idea was skills or expertise they might offer, and yes, what type of donor they might be. A reality kf any non-profit organization is that board members must lead in the capacity as well. This is a university, not a seminary or a congregation and should be governed by different “rules” than those entities.

    Adding members to a board because of their donation potential is poor policy. It presents a temptation to money influencing policy and even day-to-day operations. Wealthy BOR members could conceivably influence programs and presentations given by the University that conflict with the theology of the institution. I’m not convinced that the weaknesses in the election process are more onerous than the potential for politics and influence in the appointment process. “Bottom line thinking” is no way to run either a synodical school or a business. Synod institutions have to be aware of the true “bottom line.”

    j

  8. J- any institution needs to have the fortitude to say “no thank you” if a donor offers a gift with strings attached that take the institution in a direction inconsistent with it’s mission. Howeever, I respectfully disagree with the notion that donor capacity should not be an issue when considering board candidates. Governance is most critical but right behind is ability to support. It is perhaps the most critical to almost all of the high functioning universities today. Consistent with the notion that a university president must be a good fund raiser. It is a rare case when a donor wants to change the direction of a university. In such a case, the president or BOR should refuse it. That integrity usually results in other contributions that make up for the loss of such a gift.

  9. Ephesians 4:31-32

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    I just want to say that your post makes me really sad. First of all, none of you attended the meeting so how do you know what happened there. Are you not able to be open to simply LISTEN? It’s not some sort of rally where people are forcing you to be sexually experiencing anything, yet this is how you are making it out to be. Jesus met with all sorts of different people. He lived among those that society looked down upon. Maybe instead of spending all of your time posting hateful and hurtful comments, you should simply talk with individuals from the LGBT community who are experiencing things such as bullying to get a better understanding. God wants all to be saved. How do you think that this kind of judgment works? God is the one who will judge us on the final day.

    These kinds of comments on the blog are reasons why people don’t want to join or be involved with the LCMS. It comes across in a way where people do not feel they can ever make mistakes. WE ALL SIN. It is better to have a conversation with someone and walk with them in their struggles then to spit hatred at them. RIGHT?

    This is the first and last time I will ever read this blog as a result of the content. Sorry, but I can’t see myself wanting to be associated with individuals that leave no room for error in a sinful world.

  10. Erin,

    When Jesus met with sinners he rebuked their sin and where there was repentance he forgave them. Is that what the meeting was about at Concordia?

    From everything that has been published about it that is not the intent.

    TR

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