Why did the radio station program cease to be broadcast?
Why were the program's presenter and producer fired on the spot?
Why did the program's website get taken down?
Why did the radio station and its website get pulled for a number of hours?
All questions nobody is answering to enquiring minds' satisfaction.
If you are unfamiliar with either the program, or the station, some background information might be handy. The station is historically one of the earliest church-owned stations in the world, and was the originator of the weekly broadcast "The Lutheran Hour" which was syndicated to many countries, including Australia where this page is hosted. The program was in dialogue and interview format, and because it was factual and applied gospel teaching to everyday living, accepting no watering-down of its evangelical origins, it brought many converts to Christianity through itself. Converts, one might add, who stayed the course and ran the race. No wishy-washy Father-Christmas-style Jesus for the presenter.
The name of the President of the Lutheran Synod in (St. Louis) Missouri has been bandied around in speculation, in many other places, as being directly responsible for what happened, even though he eventually denied any involvement in a very weak manner. Makes you wonder if someone in the ultimate authoritarian position was aware of something that was morally wrong, and why he did not step in and prevent it - or reverse the decision subsequently, because he has had plenty of time.
Much speculation has arisen about the deliberate moving of the synod towards the mega-church business pattern rather than being the church of our grandparents. The latter part of that sentence is his quote, not mine. In amongst the forum posts, both linked, and their equivalents saved to this site, is the 6 part set of instructions written on how to change an established church's direction to the Rick Warren pattern. You can find saved copies on this site.
Because one should not bear false witness against a brother, or indeed gossip about facts, this web site will not name him. However when one is elected by a majority of three, it only needs two of that majority to change their minds, and he no longer has the support of the quorum. Please consider that, if you are in a position to vote.
One also might ask why Concordia Seminary did not step in and offer employment to the dismissed workers (on whose campus the station was built, and who's undergraduates the station employed as part of their training in missionary work).
This may not be an accurate picture now, although the thought may persist in those with memories, based on a legal defence mounted by Synod on their 1998 appeal in re a move by the FCC to de-license the station in response to an attempt by the NAACP to acquire the license for their own use by discrediting the way in which the station was run. There is plenty of historical scuttlebutt able to be unearthed over the NAACP's behaviour in this case. Please see link here.
Ten years later that situation is likely not to be accurate; in fairness, I believe that it was not Concordia's place to do so, because they were not the owners, nor the operators of the station, which is registered to the synod, and the station masnager is hired by the sybnod, has his salary paid for out of synod funds, and reports directly to the President who has admitted he was aware of the Black Tuesday ruccus but didn't see any reason to interfere (my words, not his).
If anyone with access to the FCC could discover if a decision to shut the station down on "Black Tuesday" was actually made, and then reversed, it would explain why the station went off the air and its website were pulled for many hours. Further details on the page I've written about the station, and there is a link there at the bottom of this page.
Donations via PayPal and via a nominated church's account (St. Paul's) to help support the two sacked employees (including an extremely ill wife of one) have been set up. Please read the blogs and decide if you personally wish to help out where the Missouri Synod has flatly refused to help.
My personal opinion if I were a church member there, or more so, if I were ministering in one of their churches, would be to immediately cease funding the Synod. But that's me.
What is thoroughly reprehensible is that the Lutheran Church is able to get away with firing staff in this way. The huge response by Lutherans and other Christians to the online petition shows it is the "Reverend" bureaucrats in the "Purple Pad" - aka "Purple Palace" because of its palatial style - (the Synod office in St. Louis) who are out of touch with practical Christianity, not the pastors and lay workers of the Lutheran Church. The number of people signing is increasing quite fast, attracting not just US-wide but world-wide interest.
We have saved a number of pages about this debacle from the internet, and point you to them here; this webmaster has always done this, because pages have a habit of vanishing, particularly when pressure is put on others to take down pages which they had published, because of the frequent fearing and dislike of truth by the bureaucracy which rules us.
You may wonder the sort of person who they dismissed so arbitrarily... may I suggest you check out this piece of Todd Wilken's wordsmithing abilty here
Here are links to several blogs by Lutheran ministers and others Randy Asburry, Bill Weedon, a thread in the ALPB Forum Online Forum entitled "holy-tuesday-treachery", started by Bill Weedon, which seems to have set the ball rolling along with his own blog post here, the same title, a blog comment using the pseudonym of Ballam's Ass, two blog comments from his series called "Ask the Pastor" known on-line as Xrysostom, first Who Has Issues with Issues?, and secondly An Issues, Etc. Open Letter; I didn’t write this. I wish I had, From Frank's Putting Out the Fire blog is this one.
There are way too many now to continue to link to them. It is amazing the way the world has taken on the issue of Issues (pun intended) :)
The comment in the Wall Street Journal here had an interesting followup at www.sphere.com (which has since been taken down) where they traced 2,495 blog posts found related to Radio Silence as of 08:53 03-Apr-08 Central Australian daylight time - and it's going up all the time. Come on LCMS, wake up men, admit you blew it - not realising it wouldn't go away.
There have been other open letters published too, and it appears that the standard reply from the Synod (when they have bothered to reply, sadly) has been typical of the theology of "keep them in the dark, like when you grow mushrooms" and a typical example can be found here from my own site archive...
Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry for your disappointment over the change in KFUO-AM programming. However, we hope you will enjoy our future programs.
Sincerely in Christ,
David L. Strand
Board for Communication Services
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
My opinion is that the form letter shown above could have been written better by a teen on work experience. Why does one have to have tertiary qualifications to manage a station, and indeed all of the synod's communications, if that is the best way in which they can compose a letter, particularly one which needs tact and compassion?
There is a you-tube video here.
You may find saved pages in this directory; there is a subdirectory called "Reference" where you can find interesting official statements in pdf format and in audio, that demonstrate to this webmaster's satisfaction (his personal opinion, mind you, without any proof) that the direction the Synod and its high-ranking officers wish to push both their church and their radio station is towards the humungously big and impersonal extremely financial super-churches in which Rick Warren (The Purpose-Driven Lie) is a prime mover.
Now for some quotes from blogs which are taken more-or-less at random
When I was on the air, I often joked about retreating each night to the "Wilken Compound" and closing the gate. Radio can be an isolating profession. I would even say in jest, "I have no friends."
I was wrong.
In fact, the first thing Jeff said to me as the International Center's doors closed behind us on Holy Tuesday morning was, “Now we’ll find out who our friends really are. We have.
"Thank you" seems to fall short. "Thanks be to God" is better. In the days to come, we will need all the friends we can get.
We'll always have one. His enemies called Him "the Friend of sinners." To that I can testify. "While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son."
The first person I called on that holy Tuesday morning was not my wife. The first person I called on that morning was my Pastor.
I love my wife (I called her next). My wife is my best friend in the world. But that morning I didn’t need a friend; I needed a pastor.
Our Church needs a faithful pastor too.
If you want to carry on the legacy of Issues, Etc., you already know what to do: Pastors, go to the pulpit and the altar, be faithful to God’s Word and the Lutheran Confession in everything you preach, teach and practice. Preach Christ crucified for sinners.
People of God, require your pastors to do nothing less and nothing more than that. Hear the Word, trust Jesus, live for your neighbor.
Everyone, when decisions are required (be they congregational, district or synodical), remember: You need a faithful pastor, and so does your Church.
I keep hearing in my head those words from Hebrews: "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." This is so true.
This story has no martyrs; no one has died. This story has no sacrificial lambs; no blood has been shed.
The only story I’m interested in telling is the story of the one Martyr, the story of the Lamb of God. That story has all the death and blood I will ever need.
The writer to the Hebrews also asks a question:
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?
What can man do to me? What can man do to you?
The answer to that question is seen just inside the threshold of the hollow tomb; it is heard in the frightened voices of the women who saw Him alive again; it is written in the blood of the true martyrs mingled with the blood of their Savior.
What can man do to me? Nothing; Christ is risen.
Wir sind alle Bettler,
Editor's note, if you are unfamiliar with that quotation let me point you to the Wittenberg Trail website where we read...
"Upon his deathbed in 1546, Dr. Martin Luther said, "Wir sind alle Bettler. Hoc est verum."
The translation from German and Latin means, "We are all beggars. This is true."
This is the appropriate response of a sinner confronted with a holy God." (taken from hocestverum.blogspot.com/2008/03/issues-etc-cancelled.html)
When confronted with the abrupt obliteration of the LCMS radio show Issues, Etc. and before impulsively speaking out about it, one must ask "But what do the Scriptures say?"
Searching the Scriptures one finds that there once was a company of men with a Financial Administrator named Judas Iscariot.
Now Judas was suddenly presented with an opportunity to obtain a pure profit cash influx into the company's treasury of 30 pieces of silver all for merely selling out the company founder (who was prone to extravagant company banquets with bread and wine on religious holidays).
All this during a company financial downturn since the Jesus show was not only currently receiving simply terrible reviews from the important critics, but also whose public following had hit bottom causing serious economic drain on the companies treasury.
Based upon sound accounting principles Judas accepted the cash influx and could demonstrate a clear bottom line solidly in the black that season to any skeptic whatsoever.
Reference the Book of Mark (look in the New Testament for it).
31 March, 2008 10:01
I’m well into the process of thinking they don’t care what we think or how they look to us. And, adding in past divisive events during Kieschnik’s time in office, it shouldn’t be the shock and hurt it still is. I’m reading lots of good letters like yours, that state reasonably and clearly why what they did was wrong, and how much Issues, Etc. meant to everyone.
I just wonder if they’ve really read those letters. There’s no indication they’ve given any consideration to anything anyone’s said or written, except for Mollie Ziegler in the Wall Street Journal.
I firmly believe they think we’re only beating a dead horse, and that our doing so is our problem, not theirs.
04.04.08 at 4:28 pm
Thank you Pastor for the information about the situation. The story of our Lord's righteous anger with the money-changers in the Temple comes to my mind.
I feel like it is finally time to put the scoundrels out, so that Jesus and his message can once again be proclaimed to all who listen faithfully to IssuesEtc!
3/23/2008 5:48 PM
You know, one of the best quotes that could possibly be put here is this one. I don't intend to identify the source, but it is genuine, and from a thinking man, called by Almighty God, to lead a congregation.
I ask myself if those who have "done this deed" are, in reality, called BY THE SAME GOD?
By shutting down this radio program, I believe the bureaucrats in Saint Louis at our Synodical HQ have awoken a sleeping tiger - that is thousands of Synodical church members who would have never gotten into the politics of the Synod, but now are angry enough to fight the leadership of the Synod.
Friday 28th March
Just to hand is a printed "official" response to the Wall Street Journal's excellent article mentioned above. Dr. Kieschnick's very wordy attempt to appear to deny what was said, coupled with the extremely literate posts following, are on this new blogspot page here. I would like to post his remarks in toto on this page, but frankly there are too many words, and I'm not into selective editing. I do encourage your going to read it.
I encourage you to take the link here, and explore all the files in that folder. If need be, I could create a set of links. Contact me, please, if that would be more convenient, and I'll create a link page.
You may wonder who this webmaster is. I am a Christian, although not of the Lutheran persuasion; however I have real life and on-line friends who are Lutherans. An ex-Mormon, living in Australia, who became a Christian in 1986 resulting from a real conversion experience, not a warm fuzzy "she'll be right mate" one :)
Oh, and we have a page about the radio station too, at wildernesschristianity.net/info/KFUO-AM and there we shall examine the technical checks I did while the station was offline. I am a retired broadcast engineer, and computer trainer.