Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ah, politics

That was quick: the long knives (here and here) are out for Harrison regarding his response to the Newtown interfaith vigil-prayer-event. The upcoming election for Synod President will be a referendum on this action - count on it.

Would it have been better to choose other ground? Perhaps publicly rebuking a DP who dismissed charges against a certain professor who advocates for women's ordination and homosexuality? Or putting out a forthright plan to end lay ministry? Maybe - but hindsight is 20/20. Harrison wanted to lay down a firm foundation on these issues, build a consensus, and make big, lasting change.

But now this is the ground. There is a lesson here for parish pastors. A fight will always come and find you, no matter what you do. Be wise as serpents, meek as doves - pick your ground when you can, but dig in when you can't.

We fight not against flesh and blood. . .



  1. HRC and fellow brothers,

    What does this phrase "building a consensus" mean?

    1. Fr. Harrison has said on many issues that he thinks that "85% of the Synod" would go along together once we hash out the difficult issues (worship, lay ministry, etc.). I think his plan has been to work slowly toward a plan on such issues that would indeed cause that 85% to coalesce and the 15% to up and leave. That "plan" would include a lot of public teaching, one would suppose.

      It's not unlike a pastor coming into a divided congregation. What are the priorities? What must I move quickly on and what can I move slowly toward?

      I suspect that your choices and mine would differ from President Harrison's - but I certainly see his goals and have wished him the best even as I have at times been frustrated by those choices. Why not move publicly against Becker and make an example of him? Isn't that both good for the Synod and a political winner? I mean, the guy is so over the top out of the mainstream of the Synod. And why not start teaching about lay ministry and start to float concrete plans to the COP?

      But I also have to admit that I don't know everything that's going on at the IC. I don't know all the information he knows. Monday morning quarterbacking and backseat driving are not strenuous past times. . .

      Father Harrison is a confessional Lutheran who wants to do the right thing, has done many things well, and, in my opinion, should receive the same benefit of the doubt that I would ask my elders to have of me. But I also don't want my elders to be yes men who have no ideas and minds of their own.

      Thus the post above. In hindsight we can criticize Father Harrison for not picking some winning ground and drawing a line in the sand on one of Missouri's "high places" very early in his presidency. But that's hindsight and we don't know all that's been going on behind closed doors. We don't check our opinions or our minds at the door, but we also recognize that we just aren't privy to all the information.

      Now that the election is firming up around a choice between somebody who says that something like the Newtown "prayer vigil-event" was wrong and Dr. K and Dr. Becker....well, as I said in the first post, I'm glad Father Harrison has taken this stand well in advance of the election.


  2. John, refer back to the history of the formulation and publication of the Formula of Concord and the subsequent publication of the Book of Concord.

  3. You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. Trotsky (I think)

    God does the choosing, we just take off our shoes and talk to burning bushes.

  4. Wow, Becker invokes Kieschnick on his blog after suggesting Harrison be replaced.

    Kieschnick also sends out a press release on his own email list.

  5. God does the choosing, we just take off our shoes and talk to burning bushes.

    In the political division of the Saxon mind known as "Synod," we talk to burning houses; or perhaps to the supposed staffs of a Shepherd, revealed to be serpents.

  6. Even as a layman, I can understand the difference between praying with (sharing the "chancel" with other vested clergy) and praying against as did Elijah. Kieschnick's comparison does not stand up to plain language reading of either Elijah's acts or Harrison's letter.


Comments are moderated. Neither spam, vulgarity, comments that are insulting, slanderous or otherwise unbefitting of Christian dignity nor anonymous posts will be published.