As I have said before, I get criticism for drifting from objectivity when I get into politics or make comments on the political issues and characters of our day. I guess one of the reasons that is frustrating for me is because politics by it very nature destroys objectivity. There is an objective world of reality and there is truth out there but once we put politics into play, Pilate’s words at Jesus condemnation ring out loud and clear. Pilate’s palace was alive with the sound of stupid when he asked that famous question, “what is truth?” There are politics in the church too and there is good reason to call the time before elections “the stupid season”. I serve on the Board for International Missions and I have seen politics in action and once again the sound of stupid is in the land.
So free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I am free at last and I can comment on an incident that took place earlier this year. So let us talk about objectivity. A few years back the church restructured and put all the Boards of the Synod under two Boards, National and International Missions. Objectively speaking, the restructure was meant to consolidate things, and objectively speaking there was a political reason for the consolidation. The problem was that the people who were desperate to consolidate didn’t win the election. That was a long time ago and now the folks that were so desperate for the restructure are unhappy and the blogspots and facebook pages are alive with the sound of stupid. There were several articles that came over the internet that were particularly frustrating. They were usually remarks made after our Board made some decision that obviously upset some in our church who have a political agenda. By definition politics makes things confused because what is an objective reality can be twisted like a waxen nose. One incidence was a by-law that had existed in the church for many years, but when the Board for International Missions took it seriously and attempted to do what it was mandated to do by the by-law all kinds of stupid broke out. It didn’t mean what it said; it was never paid any attention too; it was being misread by the Board; it was a power grab; it would lead to the destruction of missions and witness; and on and on. The sound of stupid got so loud we finally had to bring it to the church and convention and ask a remarkably simple question – does the by-law as written mean what it says or not?
There came a day when articles and comments appeared that the Board for International Mission had “secretly sold” some Synod property in Hong Kong. Forgive me speaking objectively but that is a lie. It not only did not happen, if anyone has any rudimentary knowledge of the Synod structure they would know it is impossible. So if you wrote this article and didn’t know that the Board of International missions doesn’t and can’t sell property then you are ignorant. If you wrote the accusation knowing something about property being sold but didn’t realize that it is the purview of the Board of Directors, you are stupid. If you wrote these accusation knowing that the BIM cannot sell property and that is the Board of Directors bailiwick, and then claimed it is secret, you are evil and this is a calumny and a deliberate twisting of the truth. It is a violation of the 8th commandment and a personal affront to every member of the Board for International Missions. It is a lie.
It was out there and if it has been taken down or not I do not know. I was upset and told my Board in a Meeting that I wondered what their cut of the proceeds of our secret sale had been? I was furious but was told by Board members not to be upset because this is the “stupid season”. So because there is a Convention and elections coming up that gives others the right to be stupid and lie? The lie could be spread that our Board had sold property and we were supposed to laugh it off? I was never called about any of this. No one ever contacted me and asked questions. Then I received a fancy advertisement in the mail. It was sent to every congregation in the church. It was a political add and once again it was stupid. It also contained falsehoods. The secret selling of property was again brought up, but the BIM was not mentioned. Two candidates running for President are endorsed and so I have to believe if their pictures are pasted on the brochure that they agree with the stupid.
What I find so frustrating is that the Board for International Missions are a wonderful group of dedicated folks who want to serve the Church and Christ and they volunteer for this? I don’t think they volunteered to be lied about or have their reputations besmirched because some shadowy group that has enough money to send a full color mini poster around the country for electioneering had nothing else to offer to the theological or organizational debate than lies.
So after this calumny was spread abroad I was told to laugh it off and not respond to it because that would be unhelpful or unseemly or whatever. So I have been biting my tongue until it is a bloody rag but now after that blast sent to every congregation in the church I saw a little blurb in the ether sphere that the LCMS Council of Presidents had passed a resolution. I checked it out –
The COP passed statements affirming:
the integrity of the LCMS president and Board of Directors in matters pertaining to the handling of Synod-owned properties in Hong Kong. The statement reads:
“Given the past false and derogatory claims, which are violations of the Eighth Commandment, on the issues of property in Hong Kong, the Council of Presidents affirms that the LCMS Board of Directors and President Harrison have acted honorably and with integrity in the matter of the handling of properties in Hong Kong.”
So that’s it. Much appreciated. It would have been nice if the COP had mentioned that the Board for International Missions had nothing to do with any of this despite claims made before and spread all over. An apology to the BIM might be nice but I won’t hold my breath. I thank God everyday for the fine people on the BIM and their hard work and dedication. Everybody in our church should do the same.
Since objectivity can be objective sometimes, and since I don’t want to break the 8th commandment, I will put the best construction on everything. From know on when folks don’t tell the truth and don’t try and find the truth I will not call them liars and I repent of that kind of thinking. They are just singing along to the sound of stupid. I just pray that the choir is small.