Saturday, April 26, 2008

When the Coin in the Coffer Rings, Another Number on the Counter Dings

After reading some interesting information on the Wittenberg Trail's Confessing Resistance Group, I started thinking about the financial situation of the Synod. One of the reasons given for the cancellation of Issues, Etc. was that the program was costing more money than it was bringing in. Well, if that was the actual money situation, I guess I can understand what they are saying. Times are tight. Heck, I am paying $3.70 for plain regular gasoline. I understand the crunch. However, as most have pointed out, there seems to be no reason for the cancellation of *this* show because it had the highest listenership and the means to bring in the most money compared to all the other programs on the KFUO radio. If it wasn't the numbers, well, then what was it? It has already been said by the folks in charge of the Synod that it wasn't a political decision. Well, I believe that is a half truth. It wasn't just political. It was financial, too. The Synod is in financial trouble and Issues, Etc. was making it worse.

But it wasn't making it worse in the way that the Synod was saying. During the Reformation, Luther spoke out against indulgences. The sale of indulgences could absolve anyone from any sin. Convenient? You bet! The sinner was able to do anything s/he liked. I am sure church officials figured that people would commit these sins anyway, and they were just helping point them to Christ when they did finally commit the sin they have pondered in their heart. How pastoral and thoughtful of them to meet the sinners with the gospel in the aftermath of their sin! Oh, and let's not mention the financial gain from all of this. Forgiveness as such came with a price, and that price funded the tyranny of Rome. Luther was dangerous because he threatened the money flow. Forgiveness of sins isn't found in a piece of paper but in the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Five hundred years later, little has changed except the scenery. The sale of indulgences isn't the sin of the LCMS but rather it is the "bringing the Gospel to all the world". Noble in it's ambitions, yet shallow in the action, numbers is the name of the game. Churches only have worth as long as their attendance can be measured against concerts, baseball games, and tv viewing audiences. However, numbers like that can only be achieved by way of scratching itching ears. People don't want to hear that they are sinners. They can do nothing for their salvation and that Christ has done it all. This is offensive, especially in a time where being self-sufficient is a measurement of success. So, instead, more "user friendly" methods are being used, where people learn to use God to find success in life. After all, this numbers game has been used by the general protestant population with great "success". With this success has come the money. Although Ablaze will state that the money given goes to missions, I highly doubt that is the case considering they are cutting programming like Issues, Etc. that teaches actual theology. This theology was about teaching people that "You're Best Life Now" and "The Purpose Driven Life" isn't worth the paper it is written on. These models are the big money makers, and Issues was tanking that quickly by teaching the common person about theology, something that is lacking in the mainstream Protestant publications. As the Synodical President's salary is worth three or four pastor's salaries combined, and conferences go extravagant to show great hospitality, a shortfall in money is hardly what the Synod needs right now.

To sum it up, the love of money has usurped the love for Christ just as it did in Reformation times.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Daddy always said he could preach louder than any child could scream. . .

Children are nothing like adults. Although sometimes adults do act like children, the mindset and the thinking of a child is nothing like the rationale adults have for their actions. It is hard for adults to create a program that actually works and accomplishes set goals because children do not understand most abstract concepts in the same way that adults do. I believe that children do understand abstract concepts. They just do not understand them the way adults do. Take the example of God. Children believe in God though they do not see Him. They know He is there and they will share the truth about Jesus just as much as they will share what Mommy and Daddy fought about that morning. For them, it is truth, and what they can see is no different than what they can't. However, the end result of the belief that children do not understand abstract concepts at all is that many children's programs designed to educate in religious and Christian matters are "dumbed" down. People believe that the divine service is too much for children, and so programs are created to take the children out of church and put them in a separate activity that is deemed easier to understand. Is that really the case? Can a child learn more separate from the very location where Christ meets His people to bestow His good gifts of Word and Sacrament? Is there a better way to memorize Scripture than singing it in the liturgy and hearing the Word of God proclaimed in the Scripture readings and the sermon? Faith comes by hearing at any age. This includes infants, young children, school-age children, teenagers, young adults, parents, the elderly, and everyone in between. Church is not a place where the family should be split up to meet "felt needs". Church is a place where the whole family of God gathers for all ages to meet the need of forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain for the sins of all.

I have seen many parents get so flustered that their children are being loud in church. They apologize to everyone around them after the service that their children were such a distraction. I'm just grateful to see the children in church. Not because they are cute, (although some are just adorable!) but because it means that they are in a place where their vows at Baptism are fulfilled and the children are brought to the place where they will be nourished and fed in the Word. Just as we don't always understand how God to put faith in an infant at Baptism, we know He does because His Word does what it says it does. We don't know how the faith is growing in that young child, but we know the Divine Service is where the family of God is to gather to strengthen the faith, and that faith is strengthened with the young child, whether we visibly see it or not.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Daydreams of the Flock

If I ever wondered what went on in my fids' minds when I went off to work, I think this is it. Mostly, because when I get home, those are the exact types of noises I hear from my cute feathered darlings. Even so, I'd never trade them for the world!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Folks Concerned About the Cancellation of Issues, Etc.- THIS IS A MUST READ

Budget information for the KFUO AM and FM radio station has been leaked, and let me tell you, this is more fishy than a seafood market! Check it out here.

If the leaders of our church body are so corrupt as to do this, why should we trust anything that comes out of Synod?