Hello again, friend. I’ve written a ton of new posts, but they’re on hold as events develop. Meanwhile, bold souls like Gordon Schulz are on the job writing about the actual issues that affect Lutheran Church Canada (re: theology). It’s time for me to put on the ink-stained smock and get back to it. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I’ve written tens of thousands of words, but they’re for another day.
Sola Gratia is at something of a low boil. There’s a lot cooking on the stove, including an examination of the very interesting essay written by Rev. Bill Ney explaining the reasons for LCC’s restructuring. It’s a welcome statement from an otherwise quiet synod. And who can blame them – being in the midst of restructuring discussions and preparations for lawsuits.
It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get through the 12-page essay because it’s a hard read. It’s not a, “he uses a lot of big words,” hard read. He doesn’t use a lot of big words. It’s a hard read because it’s confusing. I don’t think the author (or publisher) ran the piece past a fact-checker. There are facts, statements and assertions that are wrong, contradictory, or misleading. There’s an interesting re-framing of the constitution and bylaws, or at very least an attempt to rewrite their intent, or cast them in a new light (a light that shines more favorably on those facing lawsuits perhaps). Some statements are interpretations, more than actual facts.
The essay seems to have hit a nerve. I’m accustomed to being a lone voice in calling for reform (not restructuring) in Lutheran Church Canada. Within minutes of being posted, I was getting feedback that the CCMS essay was bewildering, disappointing, and confusing. A couple of older church-goers said it rewrote the history they lived through and experienced. In ABC district – and online – there’s derision for the essay. Here’s an example why…
After the collapse of CEF, the three districts made motions instructing Synod to restructure; everyone wanted to avoid the same mistakes that lead to the collapse of ABC/CEF. The only mention that Rev. Ney makes regarding CEF is tone deaf: he assures the reader that the people who caused the collapse were good people and didn’t mean to do it. According to Rev. Ney, there were no victims of the collapse of ABC/CEF: he simply ignores them. That’s page one of the paper. An ignoble start if there ever was one.
If Synod or ABC District have some actions they’d like to proffer as evidence of their concern, rather than hollow sentiments, the depositors/victims would like to see it. They’ve been waiting for over two years now. I spent all of 2016 talking to hundreds of them and they’re spitting mad, hurt, and disappointed in our leaders. Many have left the church. Some have left the faith. Synod officials have nothing to say but sorry, and nothing to do but repent. They’ve done neither.
If Lutheran Church – Canada as an institution is going to survive and thrive, it needs to become a church. We need to be a Synod; walking together. We are not that now. We have not been that for a long time.
The microscope and tweezers are out. Over the next few weeks we’ll examine Synod’s rationale for restructuring and see what it reveals. We should find out what the restructuring committee thinks, and Synod’s attitudes too. Sadly, on page one, praising the people who caused the collapse of CEF and ignoring the victims is something of an ignoble start.
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.