This week from Mark 8: 1-9: The Feeding of the Four Thousand.
We know that 4000 men were filled from the seven loaves. What could be more wondrous? And this was not all. Seven baskets were filled with fragments that remained. Oh mighty mysteries! They were wrought; and the works have spoken. For these works, if you understand them, are also words. and you are also part of the 4000, because you live under the fourfold Gospel. The women and children were not included in the number…. As though those who are without understanding, and the effeminate, are outside the number, nevertheless let these also eat. Let them eat. Perhaps the children will grow up, and be children no more. Let the effeminate be reformed, and be sanctified. Let them eat. We all distribute the food to them; we shall gladly minister to them. But whoever they may be, God sees his guests, and if they have not reformed their lives, he who invited them also know whom to separate from the rest. (St. Augustine)
Find it anywhere and everywhere, there is now officially, approved-by-voters, honest-to-goodness change in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
First, the Synod’s Constitution was fundamentally changed the past few days at the Convention. Why and how and what exactly I’ll have to report later; much of it involves elections, terms, boards and committees and so forth. There may be fundamental changes to districts in the near future as well. President Kieschnick fought long and hard for these changes to be implemented, and many of them make sense.
Second, the nearly the entire Presidium was voted out of office. We now have President Matthew Harrison,1st VP Herb Mueller (former conservative District President of Southern Illinois); 2nd VP John Wohlrabe; 3rd VP Paul Maier; 4th VP Daniel Preus (former conservative 1st VP in the first Kieschnick administration); and 5th VP Scott Murray (a conservative high church pastor in Houston). Whew!
What does this mean? It does not mean much, frankly. We are still a horribly divided body of believers, as I posted yesterday, and as Pr. Brown posted today. But as Brown notes, hopefully it will mean substantial and real discussions on our differences and what they mean and, maybe, possibly, prayerfully, a way to reconcile, or amicably split.
The LCMS Convention is well underway (I’m behind the game on this). Already our byzantine church polity has been replaced with a less byzantine church polity, and more is underway. After all these re-structuring changes are complete, the normal order of business will be followed, i.e., electing the President and other resolutions.
I cannot get excited or bothered by much of this. Re-structuring is probably necessary; our constitution is an unwieldy amalgamation of rules and conflicts. But restructuring will not change the Synod that much. Likewise the question of who is president. A more liberal president will ignore the conservatives, and a conservative president will ignore the liberals. It’s all politics, after all, and no one wants to preside over the real change that must happen in our synod.
What’s that, you ask? We are at least three different denominations living under the same roof. We have liberal protestants, evangelical conservatives, and Confessional Lutherans. To further complicate matters, each group has mixed in with them low, high, and no church worship theologies.
This is the problem in the LCMS: you never know what you’re going to get from any pastor or congregation, and all are insistent that they are the “real Lutherans.”
Changing the layout here was a warm-up exercise for the serious work: revamping the church’s website. This was fairly easy, simply involving a new theme and a few tweaks. The other will involve design and coding, but I have a few great ideas, if I can pull them off.
Well did the Lord say that “my burden is light.” For what burden is it, what labor, to forgive a brother his offenses against us? It is light indeed, it is as nothing, that we should of our own will pardon and forget, and be ourselves immediately held as just. He has not said to us: offer me riches, or calves, or kids, or a fast, or a vigil, so that you may not be able to say, I have not such things, I cannot do such things. But that which is light and easy, and quickly done; this he commands us to do, saying to us: let you forgive your brother his faults against you, and I shall forgive you yours against me. You condone small offenses, little debts, a few pence, a few shillings: but I am forgiving you to the extent of 600 talents of silver. And you only forgive something; you give away nothing that is yours. But I both grant you forgiveness, and at the same time give you healing of soul, and the kingdom. –St. Ephraim
I’m working on re-tooling the blog a bit, and as you can see, somehow I got the font really, really small. Sorry about that.
We had a great vacation and an excellent time with Marjorie in Chicago. It was really nice to get away for a few days, just her and me. We don’t do that often enough. We also had lunch with our friend Steve, who stood up in our wedding and is all-around one of the best friends there are.
We got back home to rain, and it’s still raining. It’s ok. My bermuda grass loves it and is quickly filling in some of the bare spots, so I’m happy.