Unwanted Attention

So, yes, it’s another church scandal. The roman Catholics kicked things off with the endless horrors and abuses at Mount Cashel Orphanage. The Anglicans dragged out their scandal over decades of Residential Schools. To round out the trifecta of scandal, LCC dropped tens of millions of church members money into a black hole.  Not a real black hole. Real black holes require physics. LCC can’t manage a balance sheet let alone physics.

One thing LCC can do: get media attention.

Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.

The Clerical Fat Problem

On a completely unrelated note, pastors are fat.

It’s not an epithet or insult; it’s an observation. Of the nine pastors serving congregations I’ve been a member of in my life, nine were overweight. Of the seven, five easily met the definition of obese. Two would be morbidly obese. One struggled with is weight so much he had multiple sets of clothes. It was hard to watch because anyone can recognize emotional pain when they see it. The American Psychological Association calls obesity an epidemic, and makes the link between mental illness and obesity.

We have a sick church. Unhealthy pastors are part of it. It’s as plain as the belly under their cassocks. Since I was a kid people joked how pastors gain all weight eating coffee and kuchen during visits with Grandma Schmitt. It’s not funny anymore; not when most of the pastors my age are on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, heart, cholesterol, or blood pressure medication.

Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.

Do’s and Don’ts

Compliance is a flexible word. In mountain biking, a “compliant” bike is one that sucks up some of the rough trail and still lets you feel in control. Of course mountain biking you don’t steer as much as guide and bounce to a new location. Compliance is a way to think about being in agreement: as a Synod, we expect all congregations to subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions – they are compliant.

Compliance is doing what you’re supposed to be doing; following all the rules, laws, and regulations of that particular industry.

One of the most heavily regulated sectors in Canada is the financial sector. Canada avoided the economic ditch after the 2008 downturn, largely because Canada’s regulatory system has built-in checks to make sure everything is in the green. There are always loopholes, but generally Canada has managed to avoid falling victim to circumstances seen in the USA and elsewhere.

Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.

Same Old, Same Old

I used to teach ethics, including organizational ethics. One of the best examples of how not to run an organization is NASA. In 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The inquiry into the loss found that the attitudes of those in leadership was a key factor. Arrogance, and denial of problems were key issues. NASA had a cultural problem. Its leaders felt because they were NASA, things simply couldn’t go wrong. So lots of little things – like protective tiles that fell off in flight – were not given the focus they deserved. After all, it was NASA. They were smart people. Their goals were good. They met obstacles and overcame them. What could go wrong?

Rev. Dr. Garry Dombrosky is a pastor emeritus of LCC. He currently is a zone advisor to the LWML and is a 4 term president of the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy in the Correctional Service of Canada.