Monday, March 9, 2009

Jesus First Gearing Up Again

From time to time I drop in on the Jesus First website just to see what is happening on that side of LCMS issues and life. Many times the newsletter and articles are months out of date. No surprise. They are a political group designed for political purposes, especially to influence the direction of synodical policies and elections all the way to the national level. Given that the current climate in Synod has been quietly within their wishes, and the national convention was well behind us, there has been little reason to write.

However, the various districts of the LCMS will be holding their conventions throughout the next half year. Two have already met (North Dekota and Southern Illinois). These inevitably have some impact on what will occur at the synodical convention in 2010, and will give opportunity for the national organization to address the districts on upcoming developments. Thus, JF is "gearing up" their political machine to keep the troops informed in preparation for that future convention. Note how in their schedule of conventions they have specifically marked with an asterisk those conventions electing members to the national nominating committee. Note also their directive to JF operatives: "The Committee on Convention Nominations is an extremely important one. If your district will be electing someone to this important committee, we encourage you to work for the election of someone who will work to nominate “Gospel-centered, mission-driven, and future oriented” leaders for our Synod. " They dare never try to honestly potray themselves as anything but blatently political. It's so painfully obvious.

One would do well to read Rev. Charles S. Mueller Sr.'s article "Jesus First on Duty for Another Season." It sets the JF agenda for 2010 in broad general terms. The gist of his paper is that JF is a centrist organization that seeks only to keep the extremes in check. It also continues the encouragement that the LCMS is a big family with a fair amount of diversity that should be honored. But note, this diversity, he claims, is all within accepted bounds. Between the lines: Maintain the progress we have gained. If national suggests change, that's o.k. (especially the Blue Ribbon Committee's report on governance changes.) Watch out for the extremests (definition: those who seem to think there are any real problems with how the Synod is doing things these days, what what we believe.)

For the record, we do have problems, some of which I watched being created by my very eyes when I was a delegate in 2004. That was the year JF assumed obvious power over the structure. The role of men and women in the church remains an unresolved issue. The conflict within our understanding of pastoral ministry remains an issue. Fellowship and communion practice remains an issue. These are just a few. Unfortunately I see subtle and not so subtle tendencies of the ELCA creeping in year by year, especially the "live and let live" mentality I observed in the other post I made today. The message is we're big enough for almost everything as long as we move the boundaries of what is extreme and redefine them as acceptible.

Well, I'll be watching. 2010 may or may not be a watershed moment. That remains to be seen. But I'll be watching....


Rev. Benjamin Mayes said...

Thanks for the update. I appreciate your objective reporting on the activities of JF, Day-Star, and the like.

Don Engebretson said...

I'm glad you find it objective. Many others would see my "not so subtle" bias against the status quo :)

Thank you for your encouragement!