Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Compromising Duty

I am in the South-East District of the LC-MS, which includes the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland (I don't think it has much if Georgia, if any). I can count the number of confessional churches on one hand, and I dare say it might be as, or more so, liberal as California and Massachusetts. Being in the Bible Belt and Baptist country, there is a lot of influence on the SE District from those aspects. This is a challenging District, if only for those reasons.

Given the fairly universal influence, I am not terribly surprised that some of the Pastors let things bend one way or another in a limited (or sometimes extreme) fashion to accommodate the expectations of the congregation. However, I would expect a higher level of attention to detail at district meetings. I have it on good authority that a majority of the Pastors balk at a full service with communion for the meeting. They wanted a shortened version without a lot of the parts of the service that set the stage for communion. I do not know their reasoning, but a failure to practice the full service (and the Word that the service uses) indicates a greater reluctance to the more important things. I am not surprised at this, but it is disheartening. If the shepherds of the flock act like "hired hands," what does that say for the hope and direction of the flock? I dare say it will scatter (John 10:11-13).

This is also one of the objections I have to "incorporating" and entailing business-like terminology. It robs the church of the history and Biblical references that Shepherd and Servant give. I think being a Pastor is less of a career choice and more of a commitment to something above and beyond yourself. I know I am counter to the "second" and "third" career Pastor terminology (which I have used myself). However, I think leaving the vestiges of the business and worldly terminology has its own benefits which outweigh growth charts, market studies, and other man-made junk.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Kantorei

I was privileged to go to the Kantorei service on Dec. 31 and my family was able to host two fine Seminarians that night. For those who are interested, Pastor Stiegemeyer posted their schedule here. They are quite good and worth a decent trip to hear. For those who are unable to hear them in person, I know they have CDs that are accessible via the CTS bookstore website.

The Seminarians we hosted were about my age. One was a 4-year student who should receive his first call this spring and has a family similar to my own. The other was a first year student and isn't married yet (he is engaged though). Both were conservatives, and it was interesting talking about how they got to be a conservative and theology in general. It was a late night, but worth the time. I certainly hope I can keep in contact with these new friends as they enter the official position of Pastor. If you get the chance to host a Kantorei or Seminarian, don't only ask them about the new Lutheran Service Book (LSB), but ask who they are. I found the whole discussion to be enjoyable and will do it again if the opportunity presents itself.

As a side note, I have started looking at the Ablaze propaganda to attempt to figure out where the root issue starts. So far my impression is there is something wrong, I just can't stick my finger on it. I have found things that display a stunning lack of forethought, but I will save those for an Ablaze only post. I want this post to simply point out the Kantorei's ability and the men that make it up. Conservatism isn't for old guys anymore.