LutheranPundit at 2 months old – Some Thoughts.

We started LutheranPundit to quickly distribute news directly from the sources to Lutherans.  It has been a success so far and has gained a good following.  In the process we have discovered some interesting things about Lutherans in the news.  Here are some thoughts in no particular order:

Liberal Lutherans get most of the press 

The ELCA is still larger than the LCMS.  Besides this, the ELCA does far more of the things the world and its media pay attention to.  They are social activists.  This is largely because the church for them is no longer about preaching the Gospel and saving souls, but instead about helping to change the world.  This should serve as a warning – if we want to be noticed by the world, that our theological focus would have to shift first.  The world still hates the Gospel.  It always will.  We would be best served by getting used to it and not giving into the temptation for more attention by social programs and such.

Martin Luther is not as well-known as Martin Luther King Jr. in the press

Again this goes right along with the first point and anyone who has tried to google search for things about Dr. Martin Luther will soon find the web is filled with things related to the baptist pastor.  For Luther, the gospel is central.  For King, there was much more about changing the world.  The warning would be to not compromise here either – although seeing the LCMS version of the Martin Luther documentary last year only showed what kind of compromise this could be (no doubt also some virtue signaling as well).

The Concordia System gets most news for its sports programs

The news doesn’t take note of educational things so much, or speaking engagements, or the instruction in the Christian faith that should be central to the mission of the Concordia University System.  Instead, the world puts most attention on the Concordias’ sports programs.  Again, if we like this attention it will mean a continued focus and increase in the sports programs themselves.

LCMS Communications is not given attention by major aggregates

Google News and Apple New both do not comb the LCMS Communications department for news.  This is too bad as LCMS Communications tries to do a decent job of publishing all kinds of news for the LCMS.  I have let LCMS Communications know about this and they are looking into things to do to correct this.

Comfort Dogs are waning in getting attention from the world

There are many other organizations that are using dogs now to provide comfort/therapy/etc.  This means that the comfort dogs of Lutheran Church Charities don’t have a corner on that media attention any longer.  It also means that fundraising may be hurt by it.  Again, the comfort dogs have demonstrated a pattern of focusing on earthly things and loving the attention it brings from the world, only to be outdone by the pagans.  Perhaps a different focus and a higher comfort ought to be on our minds and on our lips as Christians.

 

Following the way the world reports on things has been an interesting experience.  I would chiefly warn confessional Lutherans against seeking fame or notoriety in the news, as it appears that extra attention is earned by adopting more liberal practices in order to please the world.  This applies to the LCMS as well as it seeks to always have a bigger name among the pagans.  Let’s not drift away from our center, the confession of Christ and His doctrine to all who will hear (but maybe not publish).

 

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About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

LutheranPundit at 2 months old – Some Thoughts. — 5 Comments

  1. This is an excellent resource. The Facebook edition is especially convenient and informative.

  2. Dear Pastor Scheer,

    Thanks very much to you, and other members of Steadfast Lutherans, for your work on and support of Lutheran Pundit! I find it to be very helpful on keeping up on Lutheran news and other Christian news.

    As to why the ELCA gets most of the press, there are a number of reasons for this, besides their size. The major news organizations in the USA are still based in, or controlled by, news media organizations in New York City, and to a lesser extent, in Washington D.C. That means that reporters and editors are, typically, culturally and intellectually East Coasters and chiefly aware of everything East Coast, and secondarily, most things West Coast. Intellectual and cultural trends in the Midwest, Intermountain West, and South are hardly on their mental map (e.g., see http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FlyoverCountry )

    The old LCA (formerly the ULCA) was THE Lutheran Church on the East Coast, from Maine to Miami. The other synods hardly made a dent in that region. The West Coast was heavily populated by ALC and other Scandinavian Lutherans in Washington and Oregon, with a mixed bag in California, synod-wide.

    So, even though the big news media sells their news to the entire USA, it is dominated by the East Coast perspective, with seconds going to the West Coast perspective. The LC-MS, Wisconsin Synod, and ELS are not dominant, much less visible in those regions.

    In the 20th century, the LC-MS realized that it was hampered by this lack of visibility, and so joined the “Lutheran Church in the USA” (LCUSA) as a way of trying to increase our visibility and influence. One of the functions of LCUSA was “representing interests of participating bodies, upon request, before the public, govts., and other organized bodies and agencies” (quote from Lutheran Cyclopedia), i.e., public relations. I believe that John Tietjen was the LCMS representative who worked with LCUSA for many years in their Public Relations Department, before he was called to serve as the seminary president in Saint Louis. His leadership at the seminary led to, or resulted in, the walkout and formation of Seminex. So it is unlikely that Tietjen’s term of office at LCUSA helped give the LCMS a strongly conservative presence in New York City (LCUSA offices were at 315 Park Avenue South, New York).

    The LCMS withdrew from LCUSA in 1977 for theological reasons. It then opened an office in Washington D.C., then closed it, and now is open again.

    I don’t know much about the Washington D.C. office, but I do know a bit about the New York offices, because I lived in Manhattan for four years, and got to know a number of LCA, AELC, and later, ECLA Lutherans there. The public relations officers (among whom we count Tietjen) job was not just to write press releases, but mainly to “network” with the chief news and media people who wrote about religion. So for example, Richard John Neuhaus and John Tietjen knew Richard Ostling, TIME magazine editor for religion, and would talk to him on the phone or meet for lunch whenever things Lutheran came up. So if Ostling wrote something in TIME during those years about a Lutheran or Lutherans, he would make mention of how ALC or LCMS, or maybe WELS, were different and why.

    There are just too many denominations in the US for religion writers and editors to keep track of them all, much less to write about them accurately. For this, they rely on the Public Relation guys, especially those they know. Even when Richard Neuhaus became Catholic, he still knew the LCMS well, and Ostling and others could call him on the phone and find out what all that “huffing and puffing” in Saint Louis or Minneapolis meant.

    After the demise of the LCUSA and Neuhaus, there is no reliable source for religious news. The old connections are gone, and with the change of news due to the Internet, is not likely to return to the old ways.

    I think that this is a strong argument for having an “Office of Government Information” (or whatever you want to call it) in one of the news centers of our country. LCMS is big enough that it makes sense.

    I hope this explains how religious news is reported, edited, and published and why we confessional-conservative Lutherans usually get “short shrift.”

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  3. Brother Scheer –

    Excellent!

    As Brother Noland explained immediately above – we Con/Con Lutherans do get very short shrift in religious news. So LP could go a long way toward helping rectify that situation. All BJS fans ought to spread the news, and make it a regular stop as well. I would venture a guess that “Norm” had a hand in bringing it all about.

    I trust he is progressing well, too.

    The Lord’s richest blessings on the new endeavor!

    Re. Jeff Baxter, Em.

  4. And now – this . . .

    Your connection is not private
    Attackers might be trying to steal your information from lutheranpundit.com (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards). Learn more
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    I posted them.

    Anybody know waasup?

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