Blue Here, Blue There… But What’s Going on with that other Blue Thing?!?

Note to Readers: This really isn’t a post, but more of an observation/question that has me befuddled.

Blue Here, Blue There, Blue Everywhere

Ever since the Missouri Synod has been “re-branded” in blue and even Gottesdienst Online got hip to the new trend and dressed up in blue for a few days, I have had blue on my mind. And it struck me that a rather large blue elephant in the room (that lots of people used to be very concerned about) has hardly been discussed of late.

What I speak of is the BRTFSSG. Remember that? The Blue Ribbon what-cha-ma-call-it that produced an endless slew of proposals and changes that had “confessionals” worried and sounding the alarm. Some of it passed, some of it didn’t. And some of the stuff that did get through was the stuff that had people up in arms.

I am not going to get more detailed than the vague summary above. My point is not to analyze the changes. There has been plenty of scrambling and studying over what in the world the changes mean for the Synod.

My question is simple: What happened to the fire in the belly from the “confessional side” on this issue. Do folks no longer care about these changes? Are they reasonably content with what passed? Are they ok with it because President Kieschnick was not elected and President Harrison was? Does apathy rule the day? What gives?

I just find it rather bizarre that for all the alarm surrounding the BRTFGSS before  the 2010 convention, I have yet to see any serious move to get rid of  any of it. To my knowledge, not a single resolution has come out of a district convention that seeks to repeal any of the changes. I also am unaware of any plans by any groups or individuals towards that goal. And it seems to me, even if folks wanted, it is way too late to get anything done in time for the 2013 synodical convention. This is all doubly weird because if you want to repeal something; you do it right away, before it becomes the established norm.

In my book, the centralization of power running through the BRTSSGF proposals is like the One Ring. The only thing to do with it is to cast it into fire. You certainly do not want it used, and you want it out of your hands as soon as possible. Do the confessionals no longer see it that way? And even if they do, is it too late?

So to summarize: What’s up with the whole BRSGSTF thing?

Seriously, somebody help me out here! What is going on?


In Christ,

Pastor David Ramirez

About Pastor David Ramirez

Pastor Ramirez is the pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Union Grove, WI. He is a 2008 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne. In 2009, after staying another year at CTS as the Historical Theology Department’s graduate assistant, he was called to Zion Lutheran Church in Lincoln, IL and ordained into the office of the holy ministry. Some of his particular interests are the teaching of Bible History and youth work.


Blue Here, Blue There… But What’s Going on with that other Blue Thing?!? — 17 Comments

  1. I was wondering the same thing. My assumption is that the fear of power is still present, but since we trust Harrison it has died down.

  2. Reminds me of an old joke when I was a kid…How do you kill a blue elephant? With a blue elephant gun. How do you kill a pink elephant? No, not a pink elephant gun…twist his trunk until he turns blue and then shoot him with the blue elephant gun. Maybe there is a metaphor in there somewhere; I don’t know…but I always thought the joke was funny anyway… :).

  3. CID has a resolution proposed to restore balance on the Board of Directors. It leaves the possibility of regional representation in place, but calls for pastor/lay representation to be more evenly divided.

  4. I think a big part of the answer is that most of the worst changes the BRTFSSG proposed were either were defeated, amended to make them less objectionable, sent to committee, or never brought before the convention.

    I believe some issues remain to be addressed, but the elephant is nowhere near as big or fearsome as it would have been had the convention simply rubber stamped everything the BRTFSSG and floor committee proposed.

  5. Speaking for myself alone, I have never completely figured out what did and did not pass. The proposals were complicated, and only partially acted upon. I would very much like to see a succinct description of what did and did not change.

  6. I think the issue is actually not that complicated at all. The changes that were made, particularly the change with Resolution 8-08A, are impossible to turn the clock back on. Even if an overture came to the floor revoking 8-08A and put everything back to the way it was before, it would be impossible to put things back because of the many changes that occurred as a result with some boards and commission just not existing anymore, not to mention the financial implications. While I am glad that Harrison won and that is was he and his team that enacted the changes that now cannot be reveresed, this would be true no matter who won the election. Other changes, such as the manner for electing the President and 1VP of Synod can be changed back with ease, and I am surprised no one has put forward overtures regarding that.

  7. Has anybody from the Lutheran Church of Canada commented on the blueness? It looks like a St Peter’s cross rendition of the LCC’s cross now. i.e. upside down without the bend.

  8. The old saying, “Be careful of what you ask for, you may get it” comes to mind.

  9. I agree with Rev. Schmidt, the clock cannot be turned back on the restructuring. One thing I think can be changed, which may mitigate to some extent, the consolidation of power. If you look at the org chart Pr. Scheer posted, the Board of National and International Mission has no authority. There is no line connecting the Boards to the Offices of National or International Mission. The boards were created to “set policy” only. Yet they have no authority to enforce that policy. Seemed dumb to me then and still seems dumb now.

    An overture to give those Boards managing authority over the corresponding Offices makes sense.

  10. The downsizing of Synodical Staff at International Purple
    Palace was long overdue. Now the bloated staffs in
    some Districts need to be reduced. The LCMS Budget
    needs to make a priority of financial support for our two
    Seminaries as well as foreign mission work.

  11. Why not simply phase out the districts and focus on the 5 regions?

  12. Speaking for myself, there are still provisions that were passed that make me uneasy. One of my biggest objections was that the centralization of power would only further disconnect the “synod” from the congregations–pulpits and altars–that *are* the synod–that is, that the sheep of Christ in the pews would say even more than they do now–“Synod? what’s synod? I only care about what’s going on *here*.”

    Perhaps the “streamlining” will turn out well, in terms of how the Purple Palace functions. And, at least in the Indiana district, I have seen that there has been an effort to honor the spirit of the particular provision that aimed at putting more emphasis on circuit fora and district conventions–in terms of overtures. Several overtures here *did* get passed along to circuit fora (and the provision for the election of Circuit Counselors facilitated this).

    Frankly, though, Harrison was right in “It’s Time”–re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic isn’t what’s going to “save the synod”. It’s the patient, long, humble and humbling work of sitting down and working through the doctrine and theology with each other–that is, it is the Word of God that will “save” our synod, if synod is to be saved at all.

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