Saturday, June 15, 2013
Better methodology... Really!
Methodology? That is our greatest problem? We need better models and paradigms? Really? I do not believe that there has ever been a time when there have been more diverse methodologies for equipping, encouraging, and supporting our laity in the mission work within our neighborhoods and communities. We have a plethora of choices available to us, a staggeringly confusing array of people, programs, and perspectives on how to fix Mother Mo (LCMS to the outsider). We have as many different plans as there are Districts, Synodical offices, parachurch organizations, recognized service organizations, auxiliaries (you know, LLL, LWML), etc... Everyone I know has an answer for what ails Missouri.
I am stunned by the idea that we have too few choices before us. I have found just the opposite. We have so many choices we do not know what to do. It is like going to a restaurant with a 20 page menu. We cannot figure out what we want to eat -- not because we have too few options but precisely because we have too many. Sure, many of them are similar but they still offer us choices beyond reason and within them is the possibility of more fully customizing the plans and programs even further.
I do not know David Maier. I am sure he is a fine man and a good pastor and an effective District President. I know that many people believe he is THE man for this time in Synod. But I cannot get past his basic point. Our problem is a lack of methodologies. I beg to disagree. We were most effective when we had fewer methods, fewer paradigms, fewer choices... We were most effective when we all seemed to be in the same play book, working together for the same purpose with the same game plan. It is not the past I wish to repristinate. It is the unity and unanimity within our Synod that I long for. I wish for the day when we had more uniformity to the content of the catechetical endeavor. I long for the day when we can expect to find Word and Sacrament on Sunday morning in any Lutheran parish. I pray for the day when we have a semblance of resemblance to what takes place in the Divine Service -- not slavish obedience to rules but one born of common conviction that this is who we are and how we worship. I lament how the staggering array of choices have left us all confused about who Lutherans are, what Lutherans believe, and how Lutherans live.
I refuse to vote for more choice, for more paradigms, for more nuanced distinctions, for more overt differences, for more methodologies, or for more diversity. We have tried that and it has left us bleeding people every year, suspicious and skeptical of each other, unsure that God will work through His Word without a little extra help from us, and more divided than every before. I have watched our church body borrow more and more from others outside, blindly following the next big guru, and quick to jump on the next big band wagon. What has it gotten us? Are we more confident of God's Word and promise? More united in faith and practice? More positive and trusting? More united and charitable toward each other? No. The answer is "no". We have a myriad of choices and, like the diner in the restaurant, we are still not sure what will be best, what to do without regretting our choice, and what will live up to the hype. No, President Maier, we do not need more methods.