Saturday, January 29, 2005

ON SYNODICAL POLITY AND THE TROUBLE WITH IT


If anyone expects me to be able to completely untangle the mess that is our synodical bureaucracy, then you have another thing coming. I shall attempt, with this post, to at least try to clarify the relationships by telling you how things should work, in theory, and how things are working, in practice, and add my own commentary along the way.

In reality, there are two different governments that exist in the synod and, quite unfortunately, we have done our best to muck it up. First, we have what might be called the ecclesiastical government. This government is Episcopalian in nature (no matter how much the people at Reclaiming Walther might think it isn’t) and its duty is to make sure that the right hand of the Church is preaching the Word rightly and administering the sacraments properly. The chain goes as follows: the Synodical President (SP), the District President (DP), the Circuit Counselor (CC), and the individual pastors. The circuit counselor visits and checks in with the pastors, the district president visits the circuit counselors, and the synodical president visits the district presidents. The SP should be kept in check by the Praesadeum (the vice presidents of the synod) and everyone is happy. This, of course, is all theory. The reality is that all of these offices neglect their duties to keep the right hand in check and decide to dither away with responsibilities best left to others. They only get involved when a pastor is getting shafted by the congregation (and, more often than not, help the congregation shaft the pastor) or when a pastor is installed or ordained. The CC shows up also if a congregation is calling a pastor, not that anyone would know who he is because he doesn’t show up otherwise.

The second government is not at all like the first government, because it has a very Congregationalist feel to it. The reason why I say this is because the money flows from the congregation upwards. That’s what really makes it Congregationalist. Even so, there are three separate layers of government, one stacked on top of another. These governments start at the congregational level and work its way up. The voters meeting at the congregational level is the starting point. After that, we work our way upward to the Board of Directors for the various districts and on up to the Board of Directors of the Synod. The various duties of this government are to make sure the bills get paid and the properties are properly maintained, and other duties to make sure the right hand can run smoothly. At each level (congregational, district and synodical) there should be someone besides the ministers making sure the day to day operations run smoothly, whether it be a secretary, and executive director, or a lawyer even. Our modern church, however, has found this arrangement to be too annoying so we now have DPs and the SP dabbling in the affairs of the left hand, so much so that they neglect their responsibilities to the right hand. In essence, many of our pastors, DPs and SPs are now the CEOs. Often, they are trying to run a bureaucracy in which they have little to know experience in, unless they were CEOs of their churches, in which case they are plenty experienced when they shouldn’t be.

So, what do we do to fix this? The first thing I would say is actually force the SP, DPs and CCs to make the rounds and visit the congregations like they are supposed to and yank them away from the CEO roles they have been playing. Secondly, I think that, if need be, executive directors be hired to do all the crap the DPs are doing now that keep them away from visiting congregations. Finally, actually enforce the rules we have. So many of our problems as a synod is because DPs do not either have the balls or the will to tell pastors not properly performing his duties to straighten up or be removed from the roster instead of just letting them infect the synod with novel ideas like the Purposeless Driven Life. The are many problems that can be solved by a swift boot to the rear.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Some of you may wonder how I sometimes come up with the crazy stories I post on this blog on occasion. I have my sources. Many are listed on my blogroll, but some are not because I like posting strange stories when I am bored. There are times, however, where one must post something as a public service. This is one of those times. So, to all the ladies out there, here is How to Fake it on Superbowl Sunday.
Every once in a while, you run into a headline that is just...

Well, you take a look and see what you think.

Man peed way out of avalanche

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Everyone needs to go tell Karl congratulations. He is now the proud daddy of Kirsten!
I know every once in a while I blog about things I find interesting and amusing but other people may not find all that interesting. This is just one of those oddball, once in a lifetime things that I just cannot help but point out, especially since I am something of a desert person.

Kayaking in ... Death Valley?

People are even canoeing down the Amarogosa River, a river normally in our imaginations only. Death Valley has gotten more rain in a month than it normally receives all year. Get out there and bring you boat if you want this rare opportunity.

(via Instapundit)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Issues Etc. is an awesome program. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Last Sunday, the program covered Pietism. If you haven't had the chance to listen to it, go listen now. Todd Wilken interviewed Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, a man whose background was Pietism and how it drove him to atheism. Thank Go He rescued him from his atheism and brought him into the bounds of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Also, you might want to read the following article by Craig Parton.

The New White-Wine Pietists

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Normally, I'm not into something like this, but after the screech, errrr, attempt to sing at the Orange Bowl, I wholeheartedly endorse this petition. Conservatives and liberals both can come together and agree on this one point.

Stop Ashlee Simpson Petition

Currently, there are over 190,000 signatures. Join the cause and stop this menace from threatening the airwaves again.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Here's an interesting article.

I'm skeptical, however, because climate models are worth about as much as a piece of toilet tissue I wiped myself with.
Since I have mentioned it earlier, I don't want to mention it again: I will start deleting comments of people and banning people who refuse to give their email addresses. I remind everyone of the rules not to long ago. If you have trouble remembering the rules, here they are in all their harshness.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

An interesting story on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade.

For 32 years, this country has, nationwide, lived with the scourge that is abortion. I object to Roe v Wade for many reasons, not the least of which is that this decision spat all over the Tenth Amendment. It doesn't give equal protection to all humans, there is no court finding them guilty, there is no one making the decision who holds an office that would allow the taking of life. No jury convicted these babies of a crime, no jury sentenced them to death, no one with the authority executes these babies, and no baby has been killed because of self-defense purposes. With abortion, the whole concept of justice and jurisprudence becomes turned on it head.
Soon, I think I'll post an overview of what has gone on in the Synod the past couple of years and commentary upon these events. I also need to post on the structure of the synod (theoretically) and the structure of the synod (in reality) and compare and contrast the two.

At some point, I'll also tell a few more geology stories. Everyone seems to now know what I was trying to get at with those stories.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Because of all the crying and the accusations of selling out, I now present to you a more normal picture for this blog:

Chivas: Need I say more?

Everyone should be happy once again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rob and Devona have posted baby pictures. I have seen baby pictures posted all over the internet various other places. I've decided I'm going to post baby pictures, except they are not pictures of some love child I had behind everyone's back. These are pictures of me and my cousin's daughter, Mackenzie.

Mackenzie playing with a bow on her first Christmas

Another picture tomorrow! The cute factor on this blog is going to skyrocket!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

To get away from some of the other stuff I have discussed recently, we had our first ESL class of the year yesterday evening. As strange as it may seem, I missed my class. I've really enjoyed teaching, and we spend a lot of time laughing and playing charades (I've found being a good actor helps when teaching ESL). Sometimes, I don't think I'm seeing progress, so I just roll up my sleeves and try again. Anyway, I hope to see a little more progress this next semester.
I get the impression that some of you may think I actually condone my own behavior and think the last two posts are all about how much fun it is to get plastered. Yes, I had fun all those times. If I tried to do that now, I'd be in a hospital with chest pains so intense I'd swear I would be having a heart attack. Beer makes me feel lousy now. You see, I think I consumed too much beer in too short of time periods and now my body doesn't like it anymore. Another thing is that I did put a positive spin on my stories because that is how I remember them. It has nothing to do whether my actions were sinful or not (they were). I could use these things as a testimony of sorts, telling you all how turning my life to Jesus I conquered my willingness to overdrink on field trips and LSF events. I could, but then I'd have to become a Baptist and try to live the "Victorious Christian Life!" I could tell of how I earned (and yes, that's the word because I deserved it) my first hangover (not enough water before going to bed), how I've almost prayed to the porcelain God more than once by overdoing it, and why guns, lasers and alcohol don't mix. Yes, I've abused my Christian freedom more times than I care to admit.

Do you want to know what's different now? I grew up. That may sound strange to some of you, but the only alcohol I drink with any regularity also happens to be the Blood of Christ. Now, I'd rather have a glass or two of scotch (when I do drink scotch) and leave it at that. I don't need to drink a lot any more. I don't want to.

Please elaborate on how pietism was encouraged.

Maybe saying pietism is a little bit of a stretch, but that particular gathering was inconsistent. I wrote up something of a review of it soon afterwards (no poker games or mentions of alcohol within it) and the inconsistency drove me up the wall. Maybe it is better to say that pietism was mixed in with a whole bunch of other isms as well as orthodoxy. I wrote that I slept in one night because I tried to avoid a morning of contemporary music.

Stupid trivia: this blog received it's name because of an offhand comment the speaker at that particular gathering (Todd Wilken) made. Somehow, in that talk, he said his father told him that, "Beer is for amateurs." For some strange reason, I clung to that. I wonder why.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I know that there are a few hams that read my blog (and that many of you are Lutherans). If you are a ham and you know some other hams, you might pass this info around. This lists some of the frequencies hams are using in response to the tsunami. The request has been made to keep off these frequencies. That does not mean we cannot monitor them, however. If we can even hear 20m open this time of year. Anyway, there is also a website where you can monitor the audio of the ham radio operators. Cool, huh?

One of the major reasons for amateur radio's existence is exactly for situations like the tsunami. As one person put it, 11 September, 2001 was amateur radio's finest hour. I'm sure the untold story of ham radio and the tsunami will eventually be told and it will be just as fascinating.

Keep your HT's handy and charged. You'll never know when you'll need them.
The reason why 24 is called 24 is because it shows a story line that unfold over a 24 hour period of time. Thus, it goes on and on for 24 hours, usually resolving a story line by swerving into another. These conspiracies just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It's fun to watch and have them think that everything is OK and suddenly have the world fall down all around them again.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Since the server I was using is down, here's the question. I asked all the ladies who e-mailed m on time (which means by Sunday Afternoon) if they thought that the beer gals to the left objectified women. Everyone except one said no. I think all I got was five e-mail response in the many days I had it going. Not exactly a representative sample. I was curious because I have been accused in the past for objectifying women because of the pictures of the beer gals. Everyone's answers shall be kept anonymous (unless you want to tell the world yourselves, in which case, go ahead. Thank you to all of those who participated for your honesty.

In other news, COLUMBIA HOUSE PLANS PORN CLUB. I can see it now, buy 4 porn DVD's for only $.01! It makes one cry, "How long, O Lord?"

My parents belonged to Columbia House in the 80s. That's how I ended up with a Lee Greenwood tape.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Tonight is the start of the new season of 24. You can bet I'm going to be much happier tonight considering my college and pro teams blew it. I cannot wait for it to start. Even worse, they're giving us two new episodes tonight and two new episodes tomorrow!
I had to fix a link. Joy.

If there are any other ladies that would like to take my quick one question survey, e-mail me. Sunday evening, I will reveal to all my question and the results.

My Chargers just lost. Now I'm in a real funk.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

At Borders, I found a classical music guide sitting in the discount book section for only $6.95. Seeing an 1100 + page book that inexpensive is rare and, considering I didn't have a guide like this, I bought it. I am enjoying this book thoroughly, as it gives various reviews of classical albums. I now have some wonderful ideas of what CD's to buy to bulk up my Bach and Handel collections. I am also discovering some not-so-well known composers who I might find enjoyable. While no where near comprehensive (it would take hundreds of volumes this thick to cover the massive discography of classical music), it should give me a good starting point for some pieces that I wish to buy, but because I do not know which versions are good, I am afraid to. Amazon.com, here I come.
The new poll is up! I'm asking you all, my readers, what type of crazy thing would you like to see on this blog. Of course, I've given you limited choices because I only received 81 votes for my Christmas Carol poll.

By the way, "What Child is This" is the official Christmas Carol of this blog because you all voted for it. Ok, 19 out of 81 of you voted for it.

What Child Is This
By: William C. Dix

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary?s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the king,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies he is such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here
The silent word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The cross he borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Hymn # 61 from Lutheran Worship
Tune: Greensleeves
1st Published in: 1642

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This is your last reminder to vote for your favorite Christmas Carol. Angels We Have Heard on High finally received a vote. Good job to whoever figured out the French title is one of the most well-known Christmas carols out there. I shall replace this poll with something much more in line with the general attitude of this blog.

I have been conversing with three different ladies today via e-mail. I think I forgot to ask one of them the question I asked about the other two. Anyway, if you are female and read this blog, I am going to conduct a "ladies only" poll and actually ask you your opinion about a specific aspect of this blog. If you would like your voice to be heard (and considering the question, you might actually want to be heard), send me an e-mail to daniel dot sellers at gmail dot com.

For those of you who may want to see a picture of me (and I know most of you are just dying to, not), here I am. That's mud on my face, and the smiley face just kind of happened naturally. I'm a happy boy. The other thing is this picture closely represents me now rather than me three and a half months ago. You can also dig up my confirmation picture. See how skinny I was then?
We're going through an ice storm right now. I'm also in mourning because my favorite college football team got its butt handed to them in the National Championship Game. I shouldn't be blogging but digging and scraping my way out of this. I called work today and no one answered. I heard on the radio the power to the building next to one I work is out. I called in twice and no one is answering. It looks like a hard day of shoveling and scraping for me.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I have never done this because I have never had the need to. I need help. I'm in the middle of an argument about, you guessed it, contemporary music. I have this bad habit of lighting fires I cannot put out. Well, I'll let you see for yourself. I have tried desperately to keep my blogging and my posting on internet bulletin boards separate. I might as well let all of you see what I was up to long before I started blogging. I still have a place or two where these two entities are separate. I'm taking a very big risk letting all of you know, and I expect things to get very interesting very quickly. I know I need help (I'm not very good at arguing though I am trying), but be nice, please. The guy who runs the board is a good friend of mine.
Is 13 years old too young for a boy to think he has found his true love?

Yes.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

The premise of the question is that a woodchuck could chuck wood, but since it is obvious a woodchuck couldn't chuck wood, asking such a question is an exercise in futility. Thanks for asking.
If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

Baby oil is a combination of highly refined olive oil that is fermented and then distilled. That's why babies like it. They get a buzz off of it. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Why is the attractive beer wench to the left offering me a beer when it is clear (by the ring on her finger) that she is married?

Are you saying you would refuse beer from an Oktoberfest waitress (beer wenches are a purely Australian phenomenon related to Cricket) even though she is married? I do not care whether the nice lady bringing my beer to me is married or not. All I care is that she is holding the beer.

Am I the only one who has voted for Adeste Fideles? Come on people, it's OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL!

You are if you voted for it six times. I would like to remind everyone you can vote once every day. If your favorite carol isn't up there, tough.

As a Lutheran, do you believe in Transubstantiation? Or do you just believe that change does take place, but you're not sure how it does? Or do you believe in consubstantiation?

Serious questions! The answers are no, yes, no.

Actually, give me a little time (I'm at work) and I will expound upon my answers above. If your curiosity gets to you before I respond, you can always go here, here, here, here, here, here, and here to see what the Lutheran Church actually believes, teaches, and confesses.

More speling erors. I went to publik skols
Questions? Anyone? Anyone?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Lord God, you made your blessed Son, our Savior, subject to the Law to shed his blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sin; through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Today is New Year's day and today is the Circumcision of our Lord, the eighth day of Christmas. One thing we sometimes do not realize, but needs to be pointed out, is that Christ's work was finished at the cross, but the first blood he shed for us was not on Good Friday, but the day of his circumcision. The prayer for today points that out well. He began atoning for our sins not on Good Friday but eight days after he was born. May God bless you all in this New Year.