01 July 2008

A Most Intriguing Phenomenon

As Mr. Spock from Star Trek might say, "Intriguing" or even "Fascinating." To what do I refer? The most intriguing phenomenon of what appears to be a fairly silent blogosphere now that Issues, Etc. has actually returned to the airwaves on the Internet and on radio.

Back on March 18, the blogosphere erupted with talk of what happened, why it happened, and how to fix it. Many words were written, many posts were published--by myself and others--and I know that visits to my blog skyrocketed to over 1000 hits for several of those days following the ignominious cancellation of Issues, Etc. Yes, we wanted to know "Why?" I had fun creating that little red circle-slash over the old Issues logo, and was quite thrilled to see it pop up in so many other places. (Perhaps I should have copyrighted it? ;-)

So what's happening now that Issues, Etc. has returned to the airwaves? Where are the bloggers and those who visit, read and comment? I posted one little piece yesterday after the first hour and as the second hour got underway. For this blog Site-Meter shows a whopping 239 visits yesterday, and as of now I have one comment for the Issues post. (Don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate all 239 visits from yesterday as well as the singular comment so far. Thanks, Susan!)

Now I'm sure that many of the blogs which commented on the Issues, Etc. debacle, the online petition, and even the events leading up to and including the protest in front of the LCMS International Center wound up on some kind of watch lists at the IC. I am certain that many readers of the blogs for those few weeks merely wanted to spy out what was being said for the purposes of "damage control," or being informed on what some of us loonies were saying, or who knows what. (Hmm. Wonder what's in my official, top-secret file now? ;-) Now that Issues, Etc. has resumed independent of any official LCMS channels, I'm sure some couldn't care less. They achieved their objective of ridding themselves of a thorn in their theological side and their ecclesial agenda, and they weathered their little self-made typhoon. So be it.

But what is most intriguing to me is that, apparently, those who longed for and eagerly anticipated the return of Issues, Etc. - and with the promise of "no holds barred," as we heard on the initial announcement of its return - also seem somewhat silent. What's up with that? (Please don't take this as any kind of chastisement. It's not meant that way at all! I'm simply observing a most intriguing phenomenon.)

What is that phenomenon? It would appear that blog publishing, and perhaps periodical publishing in general, seems to thrive on and long for *bad news* rather than good news. After all, what make the front page of the newspaper? The sordid bad news of floodings and murders, not the good news of births and wedding engagements. So, it would appear that the same holds true for the blogosphere even when discussing Issues, Etc. and related matters. When the tragedy happens, the blogosphere livens up quite quickly. But when things are coasting along smoothly and well, then we just sort of carry on with our business ... and make it a point to listen to www.piratechristianradio.com come 3:00 p.m. Central Time.

Let me say again, I don't mean this as criticism in any way, shape, matter, or form. It's just an intriguing observation, and I thought that I'd put it out for general consumption and discussion. I have no doubts that faithful Issues, Etc. listeners are very glad to hear once again the discussions, the host, the producer, and the guests. Yes, thank God for it. I'm sure everyone got their "fix" yesterday afternoon :-), and it is certainly nice to hear some much better bump music! :-) I'm even looking forward to see how the listenership numbers measure up to what they were previously on KFUO-AM or in the previous online, on-demand venues. I hope they put the previous numbers to shame!

What I will say is this: Come on, folks, talk it up! Let's not let the bad news rule the day; let's enjoy and promote the good news that is happening - especially this good news that draws us and so many to the real Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for us sinners. So many wanted Issues to return to the airwaves. Well, it has. So let's keep talking it up! (And, of course, keep supporting it financially as well.) After all, we Christians have a chance to show how set apart from the world's values we can be. We can actually put something good and decent on these "front pages" called blogs.


  1. And the good news keeps coming...
    The Afternoon Show has graciously provided its listeners with a wonderful example of playing the Pharisee Card in their interview with David Kinnaman of the Barna Group. This is a great companion to Pastor Wilken's article "Playing the Pharisee Card" (http://www.issuesetc.org/journal.html).
    Here's the audio link:

  2. It is true that "breaking news" is usually bad news rather than good news. It "sells" better - hence the greater activity in the blogosphere when there is savory news to blog about.

    As Christians, we have Good News to be excited about and blog about, and we should often focus on that news, rather than the negative.

    I'm excited about the return of Issues, Etc. and its continuing apologetics thrust. As the Church militant, we are called to be on guard against the false doctrine that threatens the Church. Now that Issues is back, it doesn't mean we can all pack our bags and go home. The Synodical climate that allowed the cancellation of Issues still exists, therefore vigilance is still the order of the day. Watch your life and your doctrine closely.

  3. ISTM that the return of Issues, Etc., has mooted the controversy. Although the issues within the LC-MS that the whole brouhaha demonstrated remain unresolved, fans of the show feel vindicated; hence the silence.

    Just an outside observer's guess.

  4. Here's a link to my post.


    Pastor Watt.

  5. I'm ecstatic about Issues' resurrection. Day 1 is downloading as I type. The blogs have slowed down (I check daily) because less is being written about them to begin the conversations.

    Gotta go now my downloads are done.

    (Good to hear about Pastor May)

    Where can an interested layman get an updated version of the LCMS budget so that I can see how much better off we are financially since IE was shamefully dumped?

    Kevin in Indiana

  6. Pr. Asburry,

    You're post reminds me of the Don Henley song, Dirty Laundry.

    I've also noticed the Lutheran blogosphere is holding its breath as our beloved program gets back underway. I think it's only natural that the activity will level off until the next crisis happens.

  7. i really didn't know about the Lutheran blogosphere before the cancellation of Issues, Etc.. I didn't know about the depth of the goings on in the LCMS and its administration either. After Issues was cancelled I was mad and I have to admit that motivated me to post more on blogs than now. That said I still plan to participate in the Lutheran blogosphere and to support Issues, Etc. and to try to help return the LCMS to the mission of proclaiming Christ's Gospel.

    I thank God that He has worked this out as He has and pray that I would always trust His will no matter what the circumstances. .

  8. Rev. George NaylorJuly 1, 2008 at 5:18 PM


    Silent because I'm revelling in the return of Issues Etc & just soaking it in.

    But I haven't been silent in church, since I announced the return of the program this past Sunday & will, in future, be directing them to more resources. I'm glad that PCR is trying to do more than just Issues Etc. The more Gospel proclamation, the better.

  9. I will gladly add my heartfelt appreciation for the resurrection of Issues, Etc. Our God is truly a God of new beginnings!

    It is even more special to me as (for many reasons) I am swimming out of the Tiber via Wittenberg to my Lutheran roots in the LCMS.

    I am going to enjoy Issues, Etc. very, very much. In addition --
    Deo gratias for the 478th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augusburg Confession!

    (Hugs to Porthos and Gimli!)

  10. Yesterday truly was a banner day. Issues returned to the air and the friend who first took this refugee from the Mennonite Church to a Lutheran Divine Service 34 years ago responded to my invitation to join the Wittenberg Trail. He logged in as a "Christian(non-Lutheran)exploring the Lutheran faith"
    --now if I can just direct him to a church in Miles City, MT!

    Thanks to all of you who blog and contend for the faith.

  11. Actually, I was in Chicago at a conference for work, so I can't blog about it until I listen to it...so I will be blogging about it tomorrow.

  12. I got the show on the radio 1320 AM all the way up here as I was driving back from Springfield, IL to Winchester today. Sweet!

  13. I'm inclined to believe that we're not talking because we're listening... to Issues, Etc.

    But now that it's back up, we can spread the word that it's back on the air and do what we can to build the audience.