The Glory Has Departed

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Friday, January 18, 2013

If Only They Knew They Were Slaves

CRMs, waiting, waiting.

I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. 
Harriet Tubman

Many men, stuck in CRM status, are pining for the day when they get a divine call. They cannot offend the District President, whose power stems from his death-grip on the call lists.

They do not know they are slaves.

Until recently, thousands of Lutherans felt trapped in congregations. They had no choice - either stay in ELCA or join something almost the same. Or they could not leave that brass plaque behind, the one memorializing a loved one, placed beneath the stained glass window. 

They are also virtual slaves, because the cell door is unlocked. In fact, there is no prison. They can claim the unique freedom we have in this country, to assemble and create their own congregation.

They might call a pastor who is still sighing in that slave-ship called Holy Mother Synod. They might make a layman their pastor.

But what if they end up with a bad pastor? The synod protects us by certifying men for the ministry.

Like the one who murdered his wife in Milwaukee and went on to serve another call in the UP?

Or the one the Minnesota DP certified, even with his record as an unrepentant sex offender?

Or the man who walked out on his wife and their five children, left with his mistress, and got a call in the sister synod? (No, not Stephan. He had more than five children.)

"But we want someone who is highly trained in the Scriptures."

Like the ones who read justification by faith passages in the Bible, like the entire fourth chapter of Romans, and say, "The whole world is forgiven"?

Or the ones so well trained that they mock the Book of Concord while calling themselves "Confessional Lutherans"?

The missionary, DP, or seminary professor arrested for a DUI?

He should be an orthodox Lutheran - like the ones who get free tuition from the synod for grabbing a drive-by DMin at Fuller Seminary and then put on the fast-track as leaders?

A highly trained seminary graduate who joins Eastern Orthodoxy the day after graduation - or Rome after having a congregation for a few years?

Yes, you might get one as bad as those who are certified, protected, and promoted by Holy Mother Synod. But that is not always the case.

"What about land, buildings? A synod mission starts out spending a million dollars now. We don't have that."

A congregation may have to rent space, just like Joseph did when he stayed in Bethlehem. 

Jesus said - "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head," and yet He managed. 

The Apostles did not have a building fund that allowed members to pay a mortgage forever and give up the equity to the Church if the mission folded.

The Savior and the Apostles relied on the efficacious Word of God. They did not go to the Temple and beg for certification. They did not wait for a call from pot-bellied bureaucrats with belt-sizes bigger than their IQs.