Sunday, March 30, 2008

Issues, Etc.: Educating Congregations on the LCMS Mess

Thought Closing words on Doctrine:  The LCMS got this way due to years and years of no church discipline for aberrant teaching and practice.  

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The White Horse Inn Interview of Mollie Hemingway on Issues, Etc.

An den Herrn Strand: "Misapprehension about the Size of the Issues, Etc. Audience"

Mr. David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Dear Mr. Strand:

I read with great sadness your explanation yesterday as to why you have canceled Issues, Etc., and today, after reading the Wall Street Journal article that has now brought your report into serious question at a national level, I am even more concerned about the veracity of your claims and the integrity of our synodical leadership.

I am writing you today about the supposed "misapprehension about the size of the Issues audience" that you mentioned in your statement yesterday. The most obvious omission in your statement and your grossest miscalculation of the Issues, Etc. audience, was your failure to even mention downloads of the program via iTunes podcast subscriptions. In fact, you don’t even mention podcasts!

I am one of probably thousands of Christians of all ages from around the world and in numerous denominations who received and enjoyed each and every hour of Issues, Etc. through automatic mp3 downloads with iTunes, the primary and most popular means through which its thousands of avid listeners received the programming. This was the chief reason I financially supported KFUO as a member of the Reformation Club.

I literally listened to each and every hour of Issues, Etc., but I never could listen live. I work during the week and care for my mother and my family after work; likewise, the Sunday night broadcasts were just too late for me, since we live in the eastern time zone. So I am one of the thousands of avid listeners that you failed to even acknowledge in your report yesterday, for you did not even consider podcast subscriptions at all. Mr. Strand, we count in the eyes of our Lord, and we should have counted in your eyes as well.

To put the best construction upon this conspicuous and telling omission, I must assume that you just don't know about podcasts or iTunes, the most popular means on Earth for people to receive podcasts and the method of downloading that was most prominently suggested on the Issues, Etc. web site. Not knowing about this would be amazingly ironic considering the position that you hold and the sad, apparently rash, uninformed action that you took last week -- the sudden and unannounced termination of a program that brought the life-giving message of Christ to thousands around the world.

If I were less charitable, I would simply conclude that you were deliberately trying to obfuscate your actions and protect yourself or those who control you. Sadly, this is the perception of many, and now that the termination has been further revealed in a Wall Street Journal article, your actions and the specious reasoning upon which you have based them are now known nationally. This is truly a sad day for the cause of Christ and for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, but it is NOT due to those of us who are merely asking honest questions.

Mr. Strand, even though you are not a pastor, I ask you to please be pastoral to God’s people, even when those ordained persons in positions of political power over you may not be. Have you not read some of the heartfelt comments on the Issues, Etc. petition which now has more than 5,200 signatures? Does that not tell you anything at all? As Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird, there comes a time in every man’s life that will test him, perhaps profoundly, and how he handles and responds to that challenge will decide how he will be remembered. Frankly, this seems to be your time, Mr. Strand. Please be honest and open with God’s people! Do the right thing. Bring everything out into the light, for Christ commands us to do so.

I hope that you can provide Issues Etc.’s thousands of avid listeners more information, so that we can correct any false perceptions that you have given your brothers and sisters in Christ, and if necessary, humbly ask your forgiveness. I would at least like to know why you completely ignored podcast subscriptions in your report yesterday, for this is the primary means through which the vast majority of Issues, Etc.’s listeners -- thousands of Christians outside of the St. Louis area and around the world -- enjoyed this Christ-centered, cross-focused program.

I look forward to your response, and I pray that God would give you the grace to to clarify these matters in biblical openness and under and in the light of God’s Word.