The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Am I the Stage-Hand in a Bad, Off-Broadway Musical?

LCMS Synod President Matt Harrison

I was reviewing the material from LCMS Pastor Klemet Preus, Someone wanted him to be Synod President! Klemet suggested Matt Harrison instead. The lyrics to Hello went through my mind, since we saw Trolls recently.

No, the lyrics do not translate into a song parody easily, although I was tempted.

I wondered, "Are all these LCMS pastors pleased with Harrison now?" The LCMS has officially approved excommunication for anyone who discusses doctrine or practice without having an official title to do so. If the LCMS kicks out a pastor, the congregation can void the call, so goodbye to:
  • Salary.
  • Benefits.
  • Housing.
  • Most LCMS friendships.
If Otten did not quite endorse Harrison for Synod President, he certainly let Matt the Fat serenade him with The Ballad of Herman Otten. I wish I had a tape so I could compare it with the The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.




Klemet Preus endorsed Matt the Fat for Synod President in 2010. The Steadfast Lutherans were formed as a SWAT team to rid themselves of SP Kieschnick, who seems - in retrospect - to have been far superior to the Paul McCain gang who recaptured the Purple Palace.

I met Klemet and even took a class in persuasive speaking from him at Ft. Wayne. I began searching for material because someone was reading my review of his dreadful The Fire and the Staff, which make Frosty Bivens' attempts look eloquent and profound in comparison.

Yes! As Klemet might plainly put it, you practice what you preach — or you eventually end up preaching what you practice.

But no mention is made of his first wife - we met her at Ft. Wayne too. He left her behind in California and was welcomed with his second wife in Minnesota. When one obit mentions a book about his father-in-law, I wondered, "'Which one?"

Klemet thanked Jim Heiser for speaking at the Higher Things UOJ Youth Conference. Heiser reproduced the thank-you in his parish newsletter. So touching. Once again I tried to estimate a point where Heiser and his UOJ ELDONUTs became converted to Justification by Faith - if they ever were completely and honestly.

Someone heard the ELDONUTs say "It is unScriptural for Jackson not to be a member of Eldona." The witness said, "Why should you have joined Heiser? You were independent first. He remained LCMS. He should have joined you for leading the way out."

Logic has a corrosive effect on Pietistic pretensions.

Nevertheless. the entire Lutheran scene looks like a badly plotted off-Broadway musical - contradictory, unlikely, and buffoonish rather than humorous.


The early Broadway musicals were really just reviews, where certain scenes were set up to showcase a song. I understand the first Holiday Inn was like that, singing songs for the twelve months of the year. That was changed with Oklahoma! - great songs and a real plot, a movie someone can watch 20 times over and still enjoy each scene. Oklahoma! ruined Broadway expectations when people realized a musical could be a work of art rather than a set up for some songs.

So I would describe the current Lutheran situation as lame, bad, clumsy musical review. People step up and praise Justification and mention Luther, but they do not confess that they hate Luther's doctrine and reject the Justification by Faith of the Bible and Reformation.

People have an intuition for this awkward phoniness, which was transparent during the presidential campaign. Politicians made pledges they had no intention of keeping, and Hillary! angrily denounced all kinds of evil while pretending nothing was wrong with leaky servers and physical collapses in public. The press corps was like the much abused chorus girls, allowing themselves to be led along street by ropes, lest they get to close to Hillary!

I see this replayed over and over in Lutherdom, especially since people write to me about their experiences. A couple cannot believe the repudiation of Lutheran doctrine, a topic they know well, in one congregation, so they attend another Lutheran flavor. Oh no - it is another imitation vanilla UOJ minister.

And this continues, like the endless flow of bad movies, where Turner Classic Movies on the worst day is better than the local theater on the best day.

Like The Lutheran Hymnal compared to the new ones, the many new ones, the endless parade of improved, relevant, tuneful hymnals.