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July 10, 2010


Hot in NJ; Hot in Houston

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

If you don’t know by now, I am not a fan of heat and humidity. Oh, I can take the heat, but when humidity is added into the equation, this pastor can become rather unfriendly. This past week, I found myself sweating more than I do on Sunday mornings in church, and this didn’t make me happy. There were times when I wanted to just snap, but the Holy Spirit pulled me back from this wrongful abyss, and for that, I am grateful.

Yet, it is summertime here in Northern New Jersey and it will be hot. The only thing we anti-humidity people can do is go on vacation to Alaska or the South Pole to hide from the icky-stickiness that the sun and the jet stream bring to us at this time of the year. Or we can just complain endlessly. I guess we can all be happy that oppressive heat only comes onto our summer agenda a few times during July and August. After this past week’s heat wave, I hope the oppressive nature of summer goes somewhere else for the next eight to ten weeks when we can start thinking about sweaters.

Speaking of heat, starting today, our Synodical convention is being held in an equally hot and humid place: Houston, Texas. The reasons given for the placement of the convention in the hot house of Texas are two-fold: first, the Synod gets a good deal on hotel rooms and convention space; and second, our current Synodical President, Gerald Kieschnick, is from Texas. Of course, I want to know why we have to hold our convention during the hottest month of the year in one of the hottest places in the USA. Can’t we move our convention to October or November and hold it someplace where air conditioning is not mandatory for survival?

As it has been the case with the LC-MS for the last few decades, our conventions can be on the ‘hot’ side. Elections become gladiator fights between the confessional Lutherans and the more liberal confessional side. This year, President Gerald Kieschnick is being challenged primarily by Rev. Matthew Harrison, executive director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. And what would an election be, even in God’s church, without some nastiness and heat?

An organization called “Jesus First” (yes, it is nice name, isn’t it?) has been leading the anti-Harrison forces, using some of the more slimy political tactics we’re used to seeing between politicians in New Jersey. ’Jesus First’ and their representatives are calling into question the finances of World Relief and Human Care, attacking Harrison for bloating the staff and wasting money, completely giving a pass to the bloated nature of our national synod and the constant reduction in support for missionaries. My stomach churns as I watch these types of political tactics being used by other pastors, tactics we all expect to come from politicians attacking other politicians, not between pastors. As a church body, we should be walking together to weed out waste within our national body and focus our energies on spreading the Gospel, not finding ways to smear someone’s good name.

I guess there is no fun if someone is working to  spread the Gospel; some church politicians think that sliming someone’s reputation is so much more fun.

‘Jesus First’ ought to remember the Eight Commandment. Or if they don’t want to live by this pesky little ’love thy neighbor-type’ commandment, they should change their name to something that leaves the name “Jesus” out of their title.

Ah, the political heat of the Missouri Synod in all its ugliness!

I think that is why I am happy that I am not in Houston this week. Yes, that area of the country is hot, humid, and unusually wet this summer. But the ‘heat’ caused by our Synod is something I cannot take.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Bob
    Jul 12 2010

    I’m with you on this also. I also hate the humidity in the summer. I am thanking God that I am not in Houston. I am also with you on the Synod. Why are we heating things up? All that does is cause divisions where there ought naught to be one. But then again where else can the devil do his dirty work? Outside the church? No, not needed.
    All pastors in our synod ought to recognize that and preach the truth of the Gospel.
    Pastor Bob, Indiana


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