Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yes, I Do Believe David Strand

In in the minutes from the recent meeting of the LCMS Board for Communication Services (BCS) David Strand, the synod executive director of communication, said that everyone was surprised at the strong reaction to the cancellation of the radio program Issues, Etc. I do believe him when he says this, especially if by everyone you mean the bureaucracy of the synod.

Why should they be shocked? Well, consider the firing of Wallace Schulz from the Lutheran Hour a few years ago. Here he was a vice president of synod and he was thrown under the bus. Lutheran Laymen's League (LLL) which produces the Lutheran Hour gave all sorts of excuses. But conventional wisdom is that he was removed because the LLL leadership was upset that he had ruled against Atlantic District President Rev. David Benke, in an adjudication case to which Schulz had been assigned as a VP of synod. The result was little more than a whimper. In fact most of those who actually listen to the Lutheran Hour were totally indifferent. As long as there was a broadcast they didn't care who was on it. Many consider the Lutheran Hour to be the most sacred cow of the LCMS.

In comparison, Issues, Etc. was considered to be this small time apologetics show that no one listened to. I really do believe that this is what the bureaucracy thought of Issues, Etc. They certainly didn't know anyone that bothered to listen. Plus, I don't think that many of the suits in St. Louis really understand the impact of the internet and on demand listening. In some cases I'm not even sure if they know what pod casting is.

The Lutheran Hour was a big deal years ago. But today it's largely church for shut-ins. Or in some case, like my parents, they get up on Sunday morning, listen to Lutheran Hour, then the WELS church broadcast from Frankenmuth, watch the Coral Ridge Hour on television, go to church, then listen to Immanuel Bay City on the radio when they come home, until it's time for the Tiger's game. The upshot of all this is that it is largely an elderly audience listening to the Lutheran Hour. They are not well connected with the internet and at most might read Christian News. Plus this audience is largely people who spent their lives assembling steering gears for Chevy's or laying bricks for Dow. There's nothing wrong with such honorable work. But such people are more willing to accept the decrees of management. The audience of Issues, Etc. was young, highly educated, and well connected. These are doctor's, lawyers, journalists, investment bankers, and college professors. They are the type of people who bought their 250k "starter" home before they were thirty. They are also very internet savvy. And they are people who expect straight answers. They are also people who believe you get your dirty laundry clean by exposing it to the light of day.

I really don't think that David Strand realized that we have people like this in the LCMS.


RevFisk said...

They don't realize that people like that are in the LCMS precisely because of apologetics like those on Issues Etc. That's what is amazing that they can't see.

Walt's World of Religion and Politics said...

Welcome refisk. It is good to see that at least a few are finding their way to my new blog