Friday, March 28, 2008

A non-Lutheran Perspective on the Issues Etc cancellation

I am not a big media user. We do not have a TV. I used to listen to a bit of talk radio and NPR, but find myself more and more in silence, listening to various kinds of traditional music, or lectures from ISI or sometimes Ancient Faith Radio. One of the few shows I really enjoyed was Issues, etc. It was relevant, intelligent, and through it was squarely in the heart of the Lutheran Tradition,it was a show that any thinking Christan could profit from. On Holy Tuesday last week, the show was abruptly canceled.

I hesitated to Blog about this, because I am not a member of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). Most of what I know about LCMS comes from blogs like Pastors Alms and Weedon, and a decent and remarkable LCMS pastor I met a few years ago. However, I decided to write about this after reading the explanation of the cancellation from the authorities thanks to this site.

What I am most struck by, is that after the salutation ("Dear Christian Friend") the complete text of the letter could be taken straight from the corporate boardroom. The letter talks about ratings, profitability and market share. This is not the language of the Church. Because of this, it lacks credibility.

Regardless of denomination, most churches are now being run by "organization men". They might wear a collar or mitre, but their main paradigm is the same as corporate America. Like Corporate America, their concerns are perpetuating the organization for its own sake. They hire "directors of development". They embark on "programs" and new strategies. They are easy to pick out by their language- whatever management buzzwords are popular in the business world, will peeper their speech. "New Paradigm" "Tipping Point" "Managing Change" "Emergent Markets". These kind of leaders love "branding" as well- from "America's Best Kept Secret" (to market Eastern Orthodoxy) To the current LCMS "Its not your Grandfather's Church". Unfortunately, reliance on the norms of corporate America will also lead to a perception of credibility likened to corporate America. Those who live and act like a CEO should expect to be trusted like a CEO. CEOS may have sycophants, they may be feared, but they are not trusted.

The main leadership paradigm from Christian History is the Shepherd ("Pastore"). As I recall, Our Lord and Savior used this as a model repeatedly. I am a keeper of flocks, and perhaps sometime I will blog about that for non-agrarian readers. There are plenty of good examples of shepherds of souls. Even the concept of a "CEO of souls" really creeps me out.

The "Pastore" is supposed to feed the sheep. Issues, ETC fed me well, and I miss it. Thank you Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwartz for such a good show. I am sorry the organization men got you. I hope and pray you gain all things good.

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