I refuse to link to descriptions of the class-action lawsuit that is being launched, naming LCMS Synodical President Gerald Kieschnick as a defendant. This is bush league.
This is not to say that some impropriety may not have occured. Yet those who support the lawsuit firmly believe that a wrong has been enacted against the Synod…and that two wrongs make a right.
What happened? Honestly, what happened to make it impossible for one man, one Lutheran man, to go to a brother pastor and have a conversation? What threw this train off the track so far that he can’t simply say, “Look, I’m concerned for what you’re doing. It looks like you’ve sinned. Can we talk about this?”
This public airing of all the dirty laundry is embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because, regardless of what the situation may in fact be, it proclaims to the world that the LCMS is nothing more than a bunch of dysfunctional pricks who don’t know how to sit in the same room together without drawing up resolutions against each other–and now worse, bringing about civil lawsuits.
I read an article a few months ago about the Pharisees. Anytime the word Pharisee is mentioned the first place people tend to go is legalism. But the author of this article had an interesting and compelling take on the Pharisees. His contention was that Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees was not that they kept the Law too strictly but rather not strictly enough. The carefully constructed hedge around the Decalogue, he wrote, enabled them to justify themselves by saying, “Yes, I did this. But it’s ok because it wasn’t that, that, or that.”
Current trends within the LCMS come off just like this attitude. Bringing a civil lawsuit against a brother pastor ignores a significant part of the Scriptures in order to address a perceived sin. Bringing official charges against another without significant work to address his perceived sin in private and in confidence ignores yet another significant part of the Scriptures in favor of another. I suppose it doesn’t directly effect me at this point, but I can’t begin to describe the personal pain it causes me. In fact, I would maintain that there is not one person in the Synod for whom any of this is a good thing. All it does is serve to hurt and destroy.
The title of this entry comes from a Simpsons episode. Homer learned that he could walk around with a glove in his pocket and challenge anyone who crossed him to a duel. The image breaks down after this point, but it seems to me a fitting picture of life in the LCMS these days. Don’t talk. Just threaten and fight.
Those I’ve just offended should know that I’m not advocating the tolerance of sin. Sin must be confronted. But the process is important. And we’re not doing it right.
Here’s a thought: stop posting about a person on the internet and instead call him up or email him. Express a concern personally to a person instead of about a person to the whole world.