Where are You Michael Moore?

I’m no fan of Mr. Moore but his iconoclastic ways with institutionalism might be helpful for these latter days of the Lutheran Church – Misery (Oops that’s a typo, or is it?) Synod.

Did anyone else find it strange that not only did the delegates to the 63rd convention think that calling for a special convention to address structure and governance was a good idea they resolved that they themselves should be the delegates?  Is this gerrymandering?  (No pun intended but certainly there.)

Did anyone notice how quickly the motion to save the resolution addressing District and Synod salary scales from the black hole of an omnibus resolution was squelched?  The intent of the motion was that parish pastors and bureaucrats would be on the same salary scale.  Maybe it’s for the better.  How could a parish pastor let alone a teacher live on what District or Synod bureaucrats make?

Does it bother anyone that while LCMS trumpets her congregational polity in reality she is an oligarchy?  In convention 11% of pastors serving congregations and congregations are represented while 100% of the bureaucrats are.  Try calling your district office during a synodical convention.  They’re all at the convention.  Whether as advisors, observers or staff, they are there serving, always serving.

The fact that only 11% of the LCMS is really represented explains how though the majority of overtures submitted challenged decisions made at the 2004 convention most all of the end resolutions supported those decisions.  One example: many overtures called for identifying serial prayer as always unionistic or syncretistic.  The resulting resolution?  To study the concept of serial prayer.  Now, good brothers and sisters, if you had submitted an overture asking the Synod to confess that abortion is murder and your beloved Synod had responded with an overture to study abortion, you would know the Synod wasn’t really sure that abortion was murder and definitely didn’t want to consider in convention a motion that it was.

Where is Michael Moore when you need him?  He would ask the tough questions.  When we ask, we are told, “That’s what the Synod you have voluntarily committed yourself to has decided in convention.  If you can’t abide by this, you are free to leave.” Is this what we have voluntarily committed ourselves to:  To submitting overtures to change the course of Synod that get no farther than a floor committee made up of about 12 people?  To have your overture considered “addressed” by a resolution that says the opposite?  To have 100% of the bureaucrats and 11% of the pastors and congregations bind us with doctrinal resolutions that are based on lengthy doctrinal statements?

This is really masterly churchmanship.  In order for doctrinal statements to be official they have to be ratified by the majority of congregations.  This never happens.  Doctrinal resolutions, however, are different.  Though passed by a small part of the Synod, they are binding on us all by virtue of being passed.  So lengthy, unbinding doctrinal statements produced by the CTCR are used to form doctrinal resolutions that are binding.  What a neat end run around congregational polity.

Where is Michael Moore when you need him?

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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