I have made some good predictions about who will be president of various Lutheran bodies. When Robert Marshall was leaving the LCA office, due to popular demand, I suggested James Crumley as the next president. He struck me as a suave gentleman who would survive while the others eliminated each other. I received severe rebukes from friends. Crumley it was.
Bye Bye Bohlmann
I could see Bohlmann's defeat coming because someone working with LCMS leaders told me how much Ralph was loathed. This person was not anyone the readers would know. The Missouri people were not posturing, as church workers often do, when they expressed their feelings about Ralph the Insolent. One professor, who asked that I not send mail directly to his seminary address, referred to Ralph's pastoral leadership as The Terror.
I predicted Kieschnick's first victory and his re-election. The so-called conservatives were so busy pounding each other that Gerald the Bold was voted in both times. Wohlrabe would probably be a much better president and could garner the votes this year to replace Gerald, but the office carries a lot of useful clout to be used for elections. Gerald is just a stand-in for Ralph Bohlmann, and Ralph will pull a lot of strings to continue getting even for being voted out of office. Hell may not have more fury than a woman scorned, but Ralph does.
I did not want to ruin my reputation as a Cassandra by forgetting a possible dark horse candidate for WELS Synodical President: John Brenner. Remember, in WELS, blood is thicker than doctrine. Family ties are everything. Genes seem to convince people that the past can be re-lived through a descendant. Missouri has similar illusions, with their fondness for anyone named Preus.
There are three John Brenners to remember.
SP John Brenner
The first was Synodical President and pastor of historic St. John's in Milwaukee (the one with all the light bulbs). Old John Brenner was truly Old WELS. He saw the change in Missouri before anyone else. SP John is still a scarecrow for the WELS liberals. WELS did not discover the Church Growth Movement until Naumann was Synodical President.
SP John begat another John, also known as Slick Brenner - for his hairstyle. Many WELS pastors have a distinctive nickname, so the pastors know exactly who Panzer, Slide, and Jumpin' Jack are. Slick Brenner has been the nemesis of all liberals. One time he went to Milwaukee to find Ron Roth, famous for his Church Growth enthusiasm. Roth was not in the headquarters office, he was told. Slick shouted, "Then why are his legs behind that divider? I see you sneaking out of there, Ron Roth. Come back." That was a story Slick told with glee.
Slick begat another John, nicknamed Sparky. People say that Sparky has his mother's irenic personality. Sparky was dean of men at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (big plus for the Michiganders) then professor at the seminary, another brownie point. His brother-in-law is Marcus Manthey, an instructor at MLS and a leader of Issues in WELS, the oh-so-mild dissenters of WELS. Sparky has been mildly critical of Church Growth, usually by mildly criticizing Pietism. In other words, Sparky has the bloodline to be nominated and he is not offensive to people. He has name recognition as well. If the votes start adding up, Brenner would surely represent schools and Old WELS while Mueller would symbolize Church Growth pratfalls, open communion, women's ordination, unionistic work with ELCA, Church and Change, and gifts to the United Nations.
Some are saying, "There he goes again. United Nations. Phooey." Pardon me, but WELS did send money to the United Nations. So there. WELS does work with ELCA all the time. Religious work. Unionistic work. Left-wing stuff. A vote for Wayne Mueller is a vote for the future, a black and bankrupt future, but the future nevertheless.
The Wisconsin Synod likes to create a new rule to fight a problem from the past. After the seminary kicked out its president, J. P. Koehler, they decided that they would not have personalities clashing together. Koehler, a fine historian, and August Pieper (brother of Francis, who absconded to Missouri) butted heads. Look for the rule to be followed for the election. Believe me, the person will seem mild, not wild.
The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Church Live Worship.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Posted by Gregory Jackson at 4:05 PM