Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wait, What?

Less than two weeks now until the LCMS National Convention and the synodical politics are heating up.  Jesus First, the political arm of the LCMS Left, has been sending the delegates regular letters the last couple of months in the attempt to persuade them to re-elect Pres. Kieschnick and to vote in favor of the proposals-now-resolutions of his Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance (BRTFSSG).  That's all fine and dandy.  They're certainly entitled to their opinions and to make their opinions known.  But, the last couple of "special delegate letters" they've sent out have been more about attacking Presidential Nominee Rev. Matthew Harrison and his supporters than making their opinions known.  They have been pretty ruthless, to put it mildly.

In Delegate Letter #8, they got down and dirty, chastising Rev. Harrison for "the company he keeps."  Ironically, those of us who use the historic, one-year lectionary were preaching on Luke 15:1-10 about the time this letter was released.  I couldn't help but draw the parallels between the Pharisees who were disgusted with Jesus for hanging out with the tax collectors and sinners and the Jesus Firsters who were making their disgust known with Rev. Harrison for the company he keeps.  Then, in Delegate Letter #9, they sunk even lower, accusing Rev. Harrison of being a liar, horrible steward, and terrible leader, artfully misrepresenting facts concerning the financial reality of LCMS World Relief and Human Care during Rev. Harrison's leadership as Executive Director.  An immediate response from WR-HC was issued and posted on the LCMS website correcting the record.  One would think that Jesus First would issue an apology for its scathing attack and misrepresentations, but nothing so far.  It's reminiscent of the lawyer who knows he's crossing the line in a courtroom with some "zinger," but goes through with it anyway in order to try to win points with the jury.  In fact, not only has Jesus First not apologized, but one of their leaders, the Rev. Chuck Mueller, Jr., made an appearance over at ALPB this evening to justify the article and to offer more unsubstantiated slander toward Rev. Harrison and WR-HC.  He claims that the article was factual, contrary to the response from the WR-HC, and even has the audacity to list other items which the article could have listed to raise suspicion about Rev. Harrison and WR-HC, but refrained from doing so, since there could be other explanations for those items.  In other words, he thinks the criticism of Delegate Letter #9, which has come from all sides of our synod, is unjustified, and that the author could have been a lot more ruthless if that was his desire. 

And now, Jesus First is beginning to release videos as part of their political strategy.  Here is the first in what I believe will be a series of videos put out in the days before the Convention:

Wait, what?  "The church that we are becoming is the same church our grandfathers dreamed of"?  Wait a minute, here.  I'm confused.  The candidate Jesus First supports, Pres. Kieschnick, has been heard saying on many occasions, "This is not your grandfather's church!"  Methinks Jesus First and their candidate need to have a team meeting and figure out which way to go here.  Maybe a team huddle to better strategize their campaign efforts is in order, 'cause the players don't seem to be on the same page.  Besides that, the video really doesn't say much.  Pastor Mueller, Jr. shares a nice story about baptizing the son of the first convert of his missionary grandfather and he, and a chorus of others, enthusiastically exclaim that they want to be a part of THAT church.  I hope there is more substance to the rest of the videos, but I'm not holding my breath - substance is not something Jesus First is big on, after all.   

Anyway, as I said, things are heating up.  It will be interesting to see what else Jesus First has in store for us.  I don't know if they can sink much lower, but I guess we'll see. 


Fr. Matthew J. Uttenreither said...

This is insane. The video and their articles show desperation.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

I think you're right, Fr. Uttenreither. They do seem desperate. One wonders how far this desperation will lead them. We'll see.

Brian Yamabe said...

I was inspired to make a video response.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...


That is simply AWESOME, my friend! I'm still laughing! :) Oh, and I'm gonna go with THIS, not THAT!

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Oops, I meant I'll go with THAT, not This . . . I'm so confused - you mean what I know! :)

Brian Yamabe said...

You want to stay away from THAT :-)

Paul said...

THAT is what will be on display in New Orleans after the Convention. THAT is why we are supporting Rev. Matt Harrison. THAT is too funny!