Everyone enjoys their birthday. I enjoyed my birthday, but not when I was in university. During my college years, my birthday invariably landed in the middle of mid-terms. I never had a birthday party because everyone had to study for finals and meet deadlines for mid-term papers. Oh woe is me. So hard done by, I know. What I remember of my birthday every year in university: cramming for exams.
LCC is cramming too. Synod has said over and over that the restructuring process is difficult, fraught, and we have a very short time-line. Yeah. We noticed that timeline thing. Delegates in Synod were given less than a month to gather all the information – theological and legal – about changing how Synod looks and works – and then change it all. Jeepers.
It’s an impossibly short amount of time to understand all the issues, unless you’re a willfully ignorant and horrifyingly glib delegate, in which case just go ahead and vote how ever your pastor delegate tells you to vote. It’s what’s always been done in LCC after all.
Synod is offering two webinars to get delegates up to speed on the issues. The problem is, a 105 minute long webinar is about enough to scratch the surface – you know, read the index, get a feel for what’s inside a document.
I can’t shake the feeling that LCC is facing a GOP moment. Currently, the Republican party in the united states is trying to modify/repeal/whatever The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). That has nothing to do with Lutheran Church Canada. What does relate to our church is that Republican leaders are supporting legislation they haven’t read, don’t understand, and don’t know the consequences of. They want to pass the legislation quickly because if they publish analysis and impact projections, they’ll get pummeled by their constituencies. In LCC it’s the same kind of problem: there’s a rush on to restructure LCC, but there isn’t adequate time to deal with all the issues and understand them, let alone deal with them.
LCC is moving to “repeal and replace” LCC’s current structure, but even the 187 page notice of changes to LCC for convention delegates is a hackneyed mashup of ideas. CCMS didn’t write the new structure document: it was a hand-picked group from CCMS and the Board of Directors. Except the Board of Directors has nothing to do with the process. CCMS answers to convention. Apparently the Synod Board of Directors believes it’s appropriate to usurp convention’s authority.
Welcome to the morass of LCC.
Delegates represent circuits, but will they represent the views of all the congregations, or just the view of the circuit’s pastoral delegate (re: the usual)? Right now, delegates are diligently studying all the restructuring documentation, preparing presentations and getting feedback from other congregations. I know, silly right? But that’s what happens in mature, functional organizations. In LCC we schedule a couple of webinars and declare it “close enough for jazz.”
With less than a month before convention, Synod is going to tell people what to think.
Sidebar: for those who don’t work in the communications business, webinars are a nice way to present information you want people to have without critique or too much feedback – because feedback channels are moderated by the presenter, so you only hear/see what they want you to see/hear. Webinars are a sales tool, They alwasy have been. They always will be. I should know: I produce webinar content for clients. It’s ALWAYS a sales job. So, be warned delegates. It’s not a discussion, it’s indoctrination.
While this has a bit rantier than I’ve been lately, I want to leave you with this insight about Synod’s planned webinar: Synod has choosen the worst possible vector to get a message to its people. Only 40% of LCC members have access to email AND the internet. This might seem low, but it’s right on track with our church’s demographics. This is the kind of rank amateurism that is crippling our church. The answer is NOT always “the intertubeweb.” First you assess who your audience is, how they can be reached, an and then you do the thing that reaches them, not the sexy thing that reaches everyone EXCEPT your audience.
A day without another set of weird decisions and a double-down-rush to the finish line, regardless of value or logic by LCC, is like a day without sunshine.
The future is so bright, we have to wear shades.
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.