24 March 2008

Issues, Etc. Updates and Thoughts

Pastor Weedon, as promised, has broken his Holy Triduum fast on discussing the Issues, Etc. cancellation. You can read his thoughts for a "plan of action" here. I applaud him for suggesting that the language of "protest" and "demonstration" be replaced with that of "prayer vigil." After all, we are Church, correct? We are Christians who are celebrating the life that our Lord has won and given us in His glorious Resurrection, right? Let's let that life energize us at this time. Let's rise above the merely political mindset that says, "Let's get even with 'em, and even trounce 'em!"

And with all of Pr. Weedon's fine thoughts in mind, let's also remember that this matter of cancelling Issues, Etc. is part of a bigger picture. We would also be wise to consider some thoughts by Mr. Chris Rosebrough, a guest on Issues, Etc. and a former parishioner of Pr. Cwirla at Holy Trinity in Hacienda Heights, CA (click here to see what Pr. Cwirla says on Mr. Rosebrough and his qualifications to offer this analysis). Mr. Rosebrough gives some very good thoughts on what exactly is transpiring in this cancellation of Issues, Etc. You can read his thoughts here, as well as follow other links that will paint a broader picture.

As I've said before, both privately and here on my blog, this cancellation as truly been a long time in coming. In fact, we also need to remember that Mr. Rosebrough's words, as insightful as they are, still only give part of the picture. The LCMS has been heading down this road of seeking to be "seeker-senstitive" for a long time. I even remember such nonsense during the years of Pres. Bohlman's tenure. We may have had a bit of a hiatus from such things during Pres. Barry's time, but now it's been coming back, as we see in this Issues, Etc. debacle.

So, with all of this in mind, let me throw out another thought - perhaps not that popular, I know, but at least worth considering. Would we truly serve the cause, the host, and the producer of Issues, Etc. well by trying to reinstate them in the same synodical bureacratic climate and structure that has now canceled them? Wouldn't we necessarily have to wonder if it could happen again, down the road?

Might the cause, format, host and producer, and especially the message of Issues, Etc. be better served by becoming more the phoenix that arises from the ashes of last week's ignominious cancellation? What I mean is this: I wonder if Pr. Wilken, Mr. Schwarz and company, along with loyal listeners, might be able to arise to do even more good by becoming independent of the LCMS. Perhaps a new show, with a new name, but maintaining the same Christ-centered message and similar format would better serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for much longer time to come. Just a thought. Please comment!


  1. Technology has made independence from the rusty bureaucracy possible. With YouTube and podcasts, "radio" and even "TV" shows are possible without the middleman of synodical politics.

    Of course, the collective will and money must be there to make things happen. It's expensive to pay salaries, health insurance, and pensions. Are we up to making the transition to a post-synodical existence? I think we may not have much of a choice if integrity is a priority.

    Just thinking aloud, but consider Higher Things - which has really risen to the occasion of filling a need created by the wrong-headed direction of the "official" youth gathering. HT has its own web presence and magazine in addition to the conferences - all independent of the Synodical shenanigans, out of reach of those who would love nothing more than to snuff out that confessional candle and replace it with a synodically-approved secular neon sign.

  2. I think there are two separate issues (pardon the pun!):

    1. Should Pr. Wilken and Jeff return to KFUO if they were offered a way back?

    2. Should the Synod repent of its decision and make an offer to them?

    On point #1, I'd argue that that's a private matter between those two, and that they should consider it with prayer and know that we'll support them in whatever decision they make.

    On point #2, I'd simply say "yes" and it should do so regardless of the outcome of the offer.

  3. Fr. Hollywood,

    My thoughts exactly. When things like this happen, it reinforces in my mind that "synod" has run its course. That is, for purposes of doctrine and practice we simply are no longer "synod," that is, walking together in a God-pleasing and godly concord. Good analogy with HT!

    Pr. Weedon,

    Yes on point #1; it's a private matter to be decided by Pr. Wilken and Jeff. And I hope that they would consider my original questions: would they really want to put themselves in that position again? If they were to answer in the affirmative, then they would certainly need our prayers and support.

    On point #2: very much needed, and yet, imho, very unlikely. Bureaucracies, businesses, and politicos rarely repent. That's what churchmen do because it's the normal, natural inhaling and exhaling of the Church.

  4. I would love to help finance/support Todd and Jeff independently so they would not have to suffer from the whims of the LCMS. Please count me in, if that is the direction they choose.

    Is Higher Things set up independently from the LCMS? Is it similar in independence like the White Horse Inn and its magazine? Would the WHI be a good resource for learning about setting up a new Issues radio show and issues journal?

  5. There is an internet radio station broadcasting from a storefront closet (literally about that size) in the East Village right around the corner from my church. It's easy to do, relatively speaking, and archives could help fill broadcast time as new shows are developed. Ancient Faith Radio is run in a similar way, and they or other similar stations may actually host portions of the show for a nominal fee so that Issues or some such wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel.

    I guess the question that needs to be asked is whether this is a protest against the Synod and its decision to cancel the show or action in favor of getting the message of Issues out. Who says that the people organizing this 'new' show have to be paid, perhaps this is a labor of love on the side supported by congregations that allow their pastor(s) to split their time with Issues as a ministry.

  6. Rev. Jeffrey E. RiesMarch 24, 2008 at 3:49 PM

    I would agree with both Prs. Asbury and Weedon that the decision to return to KFUO(where there such an offer given) would be Todd and Jeff's personal decision. However, were they to be interested in considering other options I like many of the suggestions of having something independent of the LCMS.
    We have association Lutheran Schools - that is, Lutheran Schools run via an association of two or more congregations. Why not an "association Lutheran radio station"?

  7. Hi,

    I'm a confessional Presbyterian (PCA) who has been a listener to Issues, Etc. for a long time. Going independent would be a wonderful thing. The trick would be finding another station and doing the podcasting thing.

  8. If it's true that Issues, Etc. would do even more good by becoming independent of LCMS, and would that way better serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for a much longer time to come, then is perhaps the same true of those individuals and parishes who share the faith championed by Issues, Etc.?

  9. My husband and I are members of a PCA, but have been attending a LCMS church since December. We decided to visit because of listening to Issues, Etc for about three years. In fact, in December we joined one of the donation clubs.

    We are "outsiders" and I have just become aware of the cancellation. We live in Birmingham, AL and listen through the iTunes podcast. I was sick and didn't investigate why the feed was not updating until today. Now, I am sick about this. My husband will be upset when he comes home from work today. I'm sure we will contribute to the fund.

    I have long thought the KFUO website is so antiquated. I hope that Todd and Jeff will be able to start an independent podcast. Starting with a podcast and a basic website might be a way to get something going until things are fully sorted out.

    Please contact me if I can help in any way. I have basic html skills and am skilled in social media marketing on the web. I will gladly donate some time and effort to this worthy cause.

    God bless you both, Todd and Jeff.