Wednesday, May 09, 2007


That's the sound of the LCMS 2007 Convention Workbook arriving at my front door.  This hefty 427 page volume, and its sidecar documents appeared at my home the other day.  Since then I have been taking in the fine print of the many reports, overtures, and appendices.

With the reports: I can't help but observe what a HUGE bureaucracy our synod is.  Something about that seems not so healthy to me.

With the overtures: Some good, some bad, some ugly.  

One particular church in California has submitted overtures asking for:  Full fellowship with the ELCA, Full communion between LCMS and ELCA in the military, Open Communion in general, and immediate Women's Ordination.

One overture also asks that delegates present from congregations that practice Open Communion would simply raise their hands.

Lots of overtures to reaffirm or rescind what we did in 2004.

I think the biggie at this convention will be the "Specific Ministry Pastor" proposal, which seeks to create a second-tier pastor (with less training), who serves under a traditional M.Div. type pastor, and who cannot take a call anywhere else.  First blush - do we really want to "dumb down" our clergy?  On the other hand - is it better to have that, than "certified lay ministers" and all the other funny business currently going on in violation of ACXIV?


jWinters said...

Hah! Glad I don't have that coming to my door this year. Here are my own "first blushes" to some of the stuff you mentioned:

Full communion between LCMS and ELCA: From what I understand from a friend of mine who wants to become a Navy chaplain, this is a non-issue since communing a member of the ELCA in a military role is up to pastoral discretion if that pastor is a chaplain. Perhaps I misunderstood him though.

Women's ordination, open communion, etc etc --- yeah...well, it would surprise me if these things didn't come up. There are probably a couple of zingers about homosexuality too.

The most interesting thing here is the "Specific Ministry Pastor." I agree with you, this isn't a wise idea. The guy isn't really a pastor under the definition. Maybe he's a deacon. I might buy into it if they used that term instead of pastor. Still - what is the need that this is filling? My class had 4 guys who heard "call pending" on call night. It sounds like the only need that this is filling is creating a new "associate pastor" slot that comes cheaper (salary-wise) to congregations.

in Christ,

Preachrboy said...

I seem to remember a couple of the "zingers" last time around too - but they weren't nearly as brazen. They would call for a re-examination of Open Communion or Women's Ordination. Now some are just saying, "Let's do it!" This is not a good sign.

Well, another reason the SMP seems like a bad idea is that we are getting the workbooks now in MAY and will be expected to decide on this proposal in JULY? That's only 90 days to consider a MAJOR change to the way we do business as a synod. Prudence would suggest a longer period of careful deliberation and discussion.

jWinters said...

I'm a little clueless (ok, probably more than a little). Was the thing that landed on your porch with a thud the resolutions after or before they've gone through committees? Or does the Synodical convention even filter awful ideas like some of the ones you've mentioned through committees?

Yeah, 90 days is a little craptacular - but maybe there is no other way of getting the thought out there and maybe it will be tabled? sent to committee/task force for the next convention? It's still awful thought though.

I wish this was available to the laity - like on the Synod website. Maybe it is...I'll go check.

in Christ,

Preachrboy said...

No, these are the raw overtures. They go through the Floor Committees, then the FC's present Resolutions. That's always an interesting process too...

There are a number of ways the SMP proposal could have been "sprung", prior to its late appearance in the workbook. Why this method was chosen is beyond me.

And yes, I too think that these documents should be made available electronically, for all to see. I can't imagine it would take all that much to do it.

Jay, you may just find out who your delegates are in the Talahassee area (when you get there) and ask if you can see the workbook. If you're into that sort of thing.

jWinters said...

Yes, I will most certainly look up who is a delegate from my circuit. Hah! Especially because I'm in FL-GA and even I don't go along with some of the Florida Georgia stuff.

The SMP thing just seems more awful the more I think about it. It creates "levels" of pastors. It was done in an odd way...etc etc...

As Ozzie Hoffman used to say, "Forgive us, Lord, we have Synod" *read syn-ned ;-)

in Christ,

Andy said...

If they were made available for all to see, then certain someones would not be able to snuff a view they do not like, would they?


Anonymous said...

Just think, if there is full communion with the ELCA, we can all go to HerChurch and take communion.