Monday, March 24, 2008

My post on the whole Issues, Etc fiasco

Last Tuesday the Lutheran Religious talk show "Issues, Etc" was suddenly canceled - immediately, and the host and producer were given their waking papers. This has caused considerable consternation among some because:

1 - Pastor Wilken, the host, is a solid Lutheran pastor - and so the show was by far the best theological thing on the radio, bar none.
2 - The swiftness of the cancellation and it's timing (during holy week, when Pastors are most busy) can lend it an air of being sinister.
3 - Not only was the show canceled, but the archives of the show (which many people who don't live by a station which broadcast the show used to listen via the internet) was taken off the station website until, after many complaints, it was restored.
4 - Whereas many of the scandals of the past have involved individual members of the Synod doing that which is tomfoolish - this has St. Louis officials canceling a solid show, perhaps for dubious reasons.

When asked about the reason for the change the only response given is that there is a desire for a change in programming. Many are skeptical over this being the sole reason - simply because if there is a change in programming, it doesn't generally happen over night. You get two weeks notice, you get a month of shows until it is done. There is a time of transition. There was none here.

There are efforts to get the show back on the air. I will link to one - an online petition found here:

Issues, Etc also produced a journal with articles in it (I end up using these as my backup, read this for bible study Sunday morning if the guest pastor doesn't make it) which can be found here ( ) if you would like to peruse them.

Now - my thoughts.

First - while the answer "We want to change programming" isn't a full answer - it may actually simply be the answer that is correct. This may not be "sinister" - rather, it may simply be a foolish decision to try and make a radio station into something different than it was. The reasoning for this switch may not be a desire to silence the gospel, or that Wilken raises theological issues that makes some in the Synod who are. . . theologically loose. . . uncomfortable. It could simply be a decision based on desiring to change format.

Second - That being said - this disturbs me greatly - more so than anything that has happened in this Synod for the past 3 years - and certainly the most disturbing event outside of convention in the past decade. Why? Often we will hear people get riled up over something that a solitary pastor does that is dumb (and he doesn't get dismissed) - or the solitary solid pastor who is run out of his congregation wrongly (although that has happened quite a few times). Those are isolated instances - whereas this is something that is "Synodical". Is this headquarters in St. Louis shutting down solid theology - is it more than just a simple programming change - and if so, does it mean that I am next? Is the day coming where I won't fit in this Synod anymore - and my congregation will have to change or go? This may not be simply a matter of an individual outlier, but rather a seachange in the Synod's identity.

Third - either way, if it is simple foolish decision or harbinger of my being drummed out - what really is different? Is Christ no longer Crucified and Risen? Am I not bound to continue preaching God's Word clearly? If I lose a tool, my task remains the same. If I am kicked out of a Synod, is not Christ the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow? And maybe - just maybe it won't be a violent removal - maybe a peaceful division of the Synod might come - where this makes it clear that there are two strains of thought and that perhaps there ought to be two actual Synods. I don't know - and I don't have to know - my task remains the same. Preach you the Word and plant it home, to people who like it or like it not.

I so dislike drama.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just follow the money...KUFO could sell for about $30 million...a huge windfall for "programs"