Here’s my suggestion, humbly and respectfully offered. Ask your district president for his counsel. Unless the pastoral and lay delegates from your congregation did not attend last year’s triennial district convention, your congregation participated in your district president’s election. He is a trusted leader in your midst. And he knows all three nominees for LCMS president.Evidently, Jerry missed the memo. As we have seen, some of the district presidents aren't waiting around for delegates to seek their counsel, but have already sent out campaign letters in the hope of swaying delegates to vote for the candidate of their choice. Or, maybe Jerry didn't miss the memo at all, and this is his way of offering his "humble and respectful" support to those district presidents, who have already chimed in, while encouraging delegates from other districts to contact their district presidents, who haven't sent out campaign letters, for whatever reason (maybe, hopefully, out of a sense of decency and ecclesiastical tact). Whatever the case, the message from Jerry is clear: District presidents know best, and they should play a significant role in the process of electing our synodical president. After all, these dudes have been elected to serve their districts, so they must be trusted leaders in our midst.
It's kind of ironic, isn't it? Three years ago, Jerry was soundly defeated in his bid to be reelected as synodical president, as Matthew Harrison was elected on the first ballot by a pretty significant margin, as far as LCMS presidential elections have gone in the past decades. Shouldn't that make him a trusted leader in our midst? Maybe we should just forgo asking our district presidents for their counsel and ask Harrison for his.
What a grand idea! Thanks, Jerry. President Harrison is a trusted leader in our midst. He knows all three nominees for LCMS president. I'm going to ask him, and I humbly and respectfully advise all delegates to do the same:
Dear President Harrison,Okay, so, no, I'm not really going to send that inquiry to President Harrison, and neither do I really advise delegates to do so. I'm just trying to highlight the irony and absurdity of Jerry's "humble and respectful" suggestion here, especially the bit about our district presidents being "trusted leaders" by virtue of being elected. If we have learned anything of late, the district presidents who have chosen to forsake all sense of decency and engage in electioneering have proven themselves to be anything but "trusted leaders."
You were elected to serve as our synodical president in July, 2010, which makes you a trusted leader among us. I am writing to seek your counsel in regard to the upcoming election for synodical president. You know all three candidates. For whom do you think I should vote?
Rev. Thomas C. Messer
Peace Lutheran Church, Alma, MI
That Jerry Kieschnick would send out this suggestive missive just a few days before the polls open is not surprising, given the fact that he has seen fit to offer his own not-so-humble and disrespectful commentary and criticism regarding our current synodical president, jumping on the bandwagon of the criticism heaped upon our synod and its president a few months back. He even sent out an "Early Edition" of his "Perspectives" back on February 11, which included a section sub-titled "People are asking . . .," wherein he noted that lots of people were asking him whether or not he'd be willing to serve again as our synodical president, how he was humbled by that, how he has always believed that the office should seek the man and not the man the office, which was followed up by a reminder that the deadline for nominations was quickly approaching and seemed to be the reason for the "Early Edition" of his "Perspectives," even though he was totally not seeking the office in any way - totally. So, not surprising at all. This is the same sort of "Ecclesiastical-ness" we all grew so fond of during Jerry's tenure as our synodical president, where churchly matters were often handled behind the locked doors of Executive Sessions, and where lawyers, bylaws, and CCM opinions were consulted before, or even in lieu of, Holy Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions, and where the ends always justified the means, so that the circling of the wagons was always employed to protect the institution of Synod, Inc. and we never heard any repentant apologies from our "trusted leaders" about anything (if I'm wrong about that, show me). Nothing says "Ecclesiastical" like Executive Sessions, lawyers, bylaws, CCM opinions, and the circling of the wagons. If that's your bag, by all means, contact your district presidents for counsel.
As for me, as soon as the polls open and I can cast my vote, I will do so for President Harrison, as will the lay delegate of the congregation I am blessed to serve. And, amazingly, we will be able to do so without having contacted our district president for his counsel. Go figure! We will do so not because President Harrison has the right vision or is trodding the right path, or because he's just more awesomer than the other candidates. We will do so simply because he shares our confession of the faith, promotes that confession, and desires to live and lead by that confession, which includes his ready admission that he is a sinner in need of Jesus Christ. He's transparent, unafraid to speak his mind or answer questions directly put to him in a direct manner (rather than screening questions in advance to formulate the best political answer), an excellent theologian, has a true pastor's heart, and will readily admit when he's wrong, repent, and seek forgiveness - you know, like a Lutheran.
So, thanks for the "humble and respectful" suggestion, Jerry, but I'm good.