Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make Mine Extra Timid

Rick Johnson has left a new comment on your post "Bring Back the General Synod":

Please remove my blog from your listing in the sidebar. It's mostly family stuff and local church matters. Besides it's creepy that you decided to post a picture of my granddaughter and I think inappropriate. I would have emailed you privately but because of the anonymous nature of your blog, that is not possible.

Thank you
Rick Johnson


When someone publishes a blog, it is public, unless certain measures are taken. The favorite blogs list simply uses the URLs already available. The staff at Timid Lutherans did not post your granddaughter's photo. You did.

We find it creepy that you published her photo and tried to saw we did. Not so. Blog links pick up photos automatically, if coded correctly.

To fix your situation, change your post.

To make your blog private, talk to the blog host.

Rick, all the bigshots are behind me. You should be honored.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bring Back the General Synod

I was hiding for a while, afraid someone would find out who I was.

I stumbled on the Wikipedia article about the General Synod.

Those were the days. Everything is falling apart, but I think the GS model would work today. In fact, it already is, thanks to all my backers and friends.

The idea is to call ourselves Lutheran while using all the cool ideas from the Reformed. We do not have to deny the Sacraments. We can just downplay them. Why lose potential members from having a communion service on Sunday?

Why call it communion? That irritates our prospects and they call it Catholic.

We always say the Lord's Supper, which can be understood correctly. I love that phrase.

The liturgy is an adiaphoron, so we seldom use that.

The Creeds are old and dusty, so I make things up or get them from the Net. I love copy and paste. If someone is offended, I act offended. Are you calling me a false teacher? That quiets them down fast.

The GS model allow us to study at any seminary we wanted to. We could worship with any denomination that suited us. And we could read any book that helped us.

In fact, we are already doing that. But don't tell anyone. Join the Timid Lutheran army. We work by stealth.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Have Followers And Mail

I have 10 followers now, but they are not my famous ones. The influential ones and I form a mutual admiration society. They are not going to name themselves anymore than I will.

They are the synodical leaders, the District Presidents, the professors, the circuit pastors, and above all - the ones who demand respect. We are all working for the same synod, in case you need to know - the Me Synod.

Burn at the stake, like those dudes in Belgium? Sure, they inspired a hymn no one ever sings, but what else? Are there any library buildings named after them? Are there any other school buildings?

I know for a fact that a man can have a tootsie-wootsie on the side and still have a building with his name on it, while he is living. That is influence.

I want to thank all the Timid Lutherans for your support. You are my silent witnesses.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finally - Common Sense from a Blogger

Words for Today

"If a cause be good, the most violent attack of its enemies will not injure it so much as an injudicious defence of it by its friends."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Now We Can Return To Mildness

This is my annual picture of Melanchthon, because I am obliged to call myself a confessional Lutheran.

I am glad that anniversary is over. The Augsburg Confession has some merit. It starts out with some clear concise statements.

Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for 2] Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. 3] This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

The best part is later, when many topics are discussed that are no longer relevant to us. That loses the vast majority of readers, so they forget about the Confessions and figure everything else is just as opaque, like reading the prospectus of a government bond issue.

I fear for that day when trouble-makers get them reading The Large Catechism or the Smalcald Articles. Both titles are bad marketing ideas. People do not want to study something much bigger than the Small Catechism, which they barely remember. And Smalcald? Find that on a map - or in a history book.

I really thought the Formula of Concord was a recipe for communion wine. Someone asked me about the Formula, and I said, "I'd like to try that some day." That got a puzzled look.

People who study the Formula annoy me. They knock me off my talking points, rather unfairly. Often I can look angry and say, "You are being harsh." That makes some of them settle down.

I can see that some opponents read my posts. They are probably looking forward to the next big Lutheran anniversary, such as 2017 and 2030. Not to worry, my friends. And do not gloat, my enemies. Lutherans always go mild for the big anniversaries. That is when Lutherans decide to cooperate with the Reformed instead of being so legalistic.

My hope is that we can make up with the Holy Father as well, offer our apologies, and stop Christian-bashing with terms like Antichrist and Whore of Babylon. I hope my circuit will invite a priest or archbishop to help create more understanding.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Born To Be Mild - Our Friends the Adiaphora

Philip Melanchthon tried to please everyone.
More should follow his example.

Mild Lutherans know how to use the adiaphora. I was pretty much asleep during seminary - eyes open, but thinking about the Bucks and the Packers. There was a lot of confusing details about the adiaphora, but I learned to use the term often.

Pretty much everything is adiaphora - meaning, we can do what we want. It is good to start with something obscure in the service, like the gradual, if someone objects. Do you use the gradual? Does everyone? Will I go to Hell for not using it? Of course not. After that explanation, whoopee!, if you know what I mean.

If someone insists on something minor, like the liturgy, I can make my eyes flash and talk about legalism and the adiaphora. That is a good way to turn away an annoying question. Instead of me being in trouble, the other person is a potential danger to sound doctrine. I like that.

To fit in, the goal is to blend all the opinions and create as many happy campers as possible. In fact, blended worship is one way to make it happen. A little this, a little that, and pretty soon - whoopee. It takes longer, but it is worth it. The legalists leave and the fussing stops.

I want to be a DP some day and get all that free help, which I will call "reaching out with the Gospel" instead of overhead. To reach my goal I have to be a chameleon so I do not stick out in any way.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spener Brings Us Hope and Change

Spener is our guy, not that 16th century fanatic.

Everyone has a hero, and Spener is ours.

There are only two things people need to know about him.

One - He started small devotional groups, led by laity.

Two - He brought Lutherans and non-Lutherans together through charitable projects. Maybe his pally did more of that, but Spener got that going by being open-minded. He did not want doctrine to be divisive.

That gives us unity across denominational lines and power. We own the synods, but they do not admit it.

If anyone opposes us, we scream about "Christian-bashing."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drama Queens Control the Assembly

"Leave--fill in the blank---alone! I mean it! Stop it!"

I hate to give stuff away, in case the wrong people are reading this.

Drama queens control the assembly, every time.

Me, I just sit back and watch. People think I am wise. I am just thinking about my next vacation.

The drama queens get on the floor and say how scared they are. Or, they order everyone to leave one of our friends alone.

People fall for it. Laugh and people will laugh before they know why they are laughing. That is what laugh tracks are for on TV. Yawn and everyone will yawn.

Ever have someone upchuck near you? The same thing happens. That old throat starts getting ready to expel lunch and breakfast, for no reason at all, except sympathy.

Our drama queens are ready to fire off a salvo of crocodile tears whenever necessary. Debate that one.

I may have to erase this. Too much is being given away.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WELS Joins the KISS Army

I suffer from triumphalism, I know.

My people are swamping your people, and your people are not so daring after all.

There are a lot of people who joined the KISS army. They did not advertise it or put it on their resumes. They are joiners.

People get along by going along. They silence themselves.

I better watch it. My advice is catching on so fast I may not get that coveted position. Free travel. Perks. Acting important. I like that.

How did a no-talent group with bad make-up and silly costumes get filthy rich? You ask? We Lutherans adore mediocrity. It makes us feel safe. Look at our entertainers.

I always tell them how creative they are, how hard they are working to reach out. Who is conning whom? They know.

I changed my location to Vatican City because I live in the Vatican City of one of the Lutheran groups. My observation post allows me to see what is happening in the highways and bi-ways. Vatican City is always where the group rots first.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Favorite Comic Book When Growing Up

My parents placed this comic book in my hands when I was young.

"Tim," they said, "model yourself after this timid ghost. The less you say, the less they can hold anything against you."

I took their advice to heart. When people were upset at big church meetings, I said nothing.

If pressed to offer an opinion, I always said, "I am sure we can work this out." For many, this was a positive sign of my hope for the future.

You know what they say, "Victory has a thousand parents, but defeat is an orphan." I made sure every successful candidate was sure I was for them. I always grinned like, "We beat them like a backyard dog," to quote President Clinton.

One big advantage is that people shrink back from their favorite issues, once they have lost.

Our secret is persistence. Sure we have setbacks, like getting rid of the name Lutheran. Now no one dares oppose us. We got spanked a few times. Who doesn't?

They huff and puff and quit.

We never give in, never surrender.

Join me and dare to confess the compromise. There is always a middle ground, somewhere. There is no black and white, just winners and losers, whiners and boasters.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hurray! Doug Englebrecht Is Still Our DP

The Northern Wisconsin branch of Timid Lutherans re-elected Doug Englebrecht president of that WELS district.

We can do artwork too. We put our TL leaders on a pedestal.

I do not need to name our opponents. They know who they are.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mum and Pup

Mum and Pup

I cannot show the actual photos of my mother and father.

They were calm and well behaved, like the pair shown in this photo.

I was taught to blend in, stay calm, wait my chances.

If I stayed vague and non-threatening, they promised, I would go far in the Lutheran Church.

"I'm not much of a student," I protested.

"That does not matter, Tim." They called me Tim, short for Timid. "You will do far better if your grades do not annoy others and you keep up that friendly, devil-may-care attitude."

I stayed under the radar.

When people argued about all those non-essentials, like worship and doctrine, I would hold up my side of the conversation by saying, "It all depends."

I would say favorable things about each side of the argument. They made them try to bring me over to their side. Instead of appealing to 50% or only 33%, I found all of them trying to convince me.

That has served me well in the last few years.

We are going to get along much better if all Lutherans do the same. If I send a letter or a message, I say, "I am thankful for your passion and dedication." That makes them feel good without committing myself to one side or another.

We should all work on ambiguous, feel-good statements. If some decision appears to be completely devastating and polarizing, I answer a question with, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Debate that. The answer is so Delphic that no one can untangle it. Can you imagine someone shouting, "The proof of the pudding is NOT in the eating!" Doesn't work.

But on those other issues, oh boy.

My yoke is easy and my burden is lite. Go lite on everything and that will create happy campers.

This is my evil cousin.

He belongs to a Midwestern sect.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Do You Mean - "Us"?

The Lone Ranger: "The Indians have us surrounded, Tonto."

Tonto: "What do you mean - us - pale face?"

Tonto had the right idea. In any fight, pick the one who is going to win.

It is foolhardy to stand alone and go down for a noble cause.

My DP friends say, "Pick your fights. Pick the ones you can win." I respect that. The Holy Spirit has called them to serve and advise us.

They did not become DPs by taking a stand on any issue. That is their great wisdom.

We cannot have unity unless people work harder at blending in. To be honest, I am alarmed at how people have started to think for themselves. That will only lead to trouble, to splits.

I would rather have a coy unity than a noble split.

My DP friends know how to prevent a division. They are always gathering intelligence from all over, even from Facebook. They know if I have been naughty or nice, and they know who my friends are.

If someone gets his mind bent by Martin Luther or another obsolete figure, the DP finds out who his friends are. Little by little, the trouble-maker is isolated, alienated, and then gone. What a blessing to have such leaders.

Doctrine divides, my friends. We need pragmatists, men (in the future, women) who will do the dirty work to keep the blessed unity we now enjoy.

Join me. Stand down and not be counted. Blend in for peace and unity.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hammered about the Book of Concord

Do you really want to be one of the suckers in the stadium - lunchmeat for lions? Not I.

I have to apologize for saying too many good things about the Book of Concord.

One person phoned me and said, "Idiot! Don't give away the plan."

Give it away? The plan has been operational for a long time, buddy.

At first it failed. That was during the days of the Evangelical Alliance, another cool idea. I woke up during church history, with drool on my desk, and heard the part about the Evangelical Alliance.

The idea was to merge all Protestants together. All the Lutherans had to do was drop the Sacraments and some Romish notions like baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence. We could baptize babies and have the Lord's Supper while being open and welcoming to the other Protestants.

We had to stop ranting at them about doctrinal differences.

We made headway, so I am told, for a long time. We had union churches. Lutherans had revivals. Is that great? Mourners benches. We also went easy on Lutheran hymns and the liturgy and creeds.

Then it all failed and Lutherans went the wrong way, back to the old stuff. I do not remember how that happened. I was a bouncer at Hooters and really sleepy, so I dozed off. (That is not true, of course. Factual stories would reveal my identity and I am too intimidated by you-know-who to reveal myself.)

But the plan has formed and taken over. All those old goals have been accomplished.

It took millions of dollars and lots of education at the right schools.

The plan is operational. We control everything.

They called me dumb in school and made fun of my knowledge. Non-reciprocating something or other. Well, who is laughing now?

You lurkers are stuck in Buffalo Chip Prairie while I am near headquarters. You cannot give away your stories, but I sell mine to the synod. Mine are printed in the magazine you have to read and rage about.

I may not be studious but I know which way the wind is blowing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some Good Points about the Concordia Triglotta

My friends would like me to say bad things about the Book of Concord, but I am especially keen about the Concordia Triglotta.

This is why:
1. The book is just too big, so it intimidates people. Latin? Are you serious? They dropped Latin from Sunday names already. Sesquipdia Sunday or whatever they call it.
2. The print is too small. Only a teen could read that and it is not on a cell phone - I hope.
3. Nobody promotes it. They sell modern versions. They are big, too. Large with a lot of content. That breeds disinterest and boredom.

We have to have studies of the Book of Concord to keep everyone happy. However, it is important that the synod sponsor the study, publish some materials, and let the matter fade away.

We all know most pastors are too busy to create their own studies of the Book of Concord. They have all those groups to manage and meetings to attend. If they are not doing that, they are running off to required circuit, district, and synod activities, where the staff do the thinking for them.

That is essential.

When pastors start creating their own studies, they tend to use current examples. They get themselves too excited and that spreads to the congregation. Soon everyone is finding problems instead of blending in.

Here are some ways of taking care of the situation:
1. Insist on using the Concordia Triglotta, which will make some of the geezers happy.
2. Let the treasurer know how much each Triglotta costs, so he can come to a meeting perspiring and outraged.
3. Mention how few have been interested in the Confessions in the past.
4. If anyone dares to ask for a study of the Confessions, say, "What? We tried that last year and decided against it." Pause for a moment, look concerned. "Maybe we can do a small group study of them later." Of course, that is the last thing to get going. Shudder.

In other words, the Confessions can be your friend, if used properly.

Whenever someone objects to anything being changed, just say in a solemn voice, "That is an adiaphoron."

Some might ask what that weird term is. After all, we don't even trust them to remember Latin. Not that I do.

Explain, "Adiaphoron means a matter of indifference. The plural is adiaphora." The listener will gasp at your knowledge of Greek, or was that Latin?

Warning Signs Should Be Non-Threatening

Too often Lutherans alarm people by pointing out warning signs.

When people are upset, they begin reading the Scriptures and old-fashioned books. I am not against that, but it puts them in the wrong mood. They start looking at problems and terms.

Once that happens, anything can break loose.

Warning signs must have a calming effect instead. For instance, these are proven to be reliable and sound, yet they accomplish the goal of this modest yet influential writer:
1. Don't rock the boat.
2. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
3. If you can find one perfect church, you better quit, because it will be imperfect the moment you join. (That is a little nasty, but it works sometimes.)
4. Are you calling him a false prophet? (Look anxious and seething with righteous anger. This will calm down the other person, who has to say, "No.")
5. Are you questioning the Holy Spirit, who placed that godly man in that office? (This is my favorite, because who wants to debate God?)
6. Do you know who my father is?
7. Synod says. (Do not say "The Synod" because Synod says is very much like Mama says. It brings up people short, and reminds them of their obligations to Holy Mother Synod.

Conformity Is Good

Dare to blend in. Notice how all the zebras are different but they all look the same. That is the goal.

Each person is unique, but we can all conform by thinking alike, following the herd, and not standing out in any way.

Horses are very different from each other, but zebras are all like. The blacks and whites blend together beautifully.

If we would all seek to be exactly alike, we can get along better. The trembling ground of a thundering herd shows the power of group think.

Aspire to it. Together we can rule and stamp out the concept of leadership.

I know the district presidents are behind me. Bless your work.

Franklin Fry Was the Original FF - And I Liked His Approach

Franklin Fry was a leader of the Lutheran Church in America, the National Council of Churches, Lutheran World Relief,= the Lutheran World Federation, and the World Council of Churches. He was called Mr. Protestant and on the cover of Time.

How many bloggers will be on the cover of Time magazine? Not many, I assume.

Originally, FF meant Frank Fry. He was a uniter. That was accomplished by compromise. He was the force behind the Lutheran Church in America merger: Finns, Swedes, Germans, and the rest. He could not shoehorn the Norwegians in, but you know how they are. They needed their own denomination for 20 years to get over themselves.

We need more leaders who can ignore differences. Instead, we have ones who want the title of Mr. Lutheran of Franklin County.

No matter what position people may have, there is some way to ignore the little issues and unite for the grand scheme.

Bigness is better.

Some day we can have all the Protestants united together, but only if a lot of people stop scrapping so much.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We Need More Schmuckers

We need more Samuel S. Schmuckers.

History bored me in school. I ran into someone knocking Samuel Schmucker on the Net. I had to look him up in Wikipedia.

I had a professor who would not let me use Wikipedia. He was mean. He said it was wrong to copy a Wikipedia article and turn it in as my own work. I changed a few words and I put the link in, which is all I did in most classes.

Someone took me aside and said not to get angry. I could do that all I wanted when I was ordained. That is neat, to realize how understanding the clergy can be. I did not let that fuddy-duddy get to me.

Back to SSS. What a cool name. He had it all figured out. All the Lutherans had to do was drop a few contentious things and we could unite with the Reformed. We have wasted so much time and energy being so picky about doctrine.

Schmucker had a lot of support for a long time. I hope to model my blog after his work.

Since so many Lutheran leaders support me, I am no longer so afraid.

Mutes Are Cool

I know I speak for a vast number of Lutherans when I support muting the discussions. Let's not look at all sides. Let's just stopping talking about it all.

Go for the middle. The best possible approach is compromise. I am not against dithering, either. Wait and see what happens.

The Martin Luther complex makes me tired. He was lucky he didn't get himself killed. You know you are wrong when you have to be kidnapped to save your neck.

He hurt a lot of feelings. He made fun of the pope and called him names.

Luther called Dr. Eck, a distinguished theologian, Dreck. I am not German so I asked what that meant. I was shocked. No wonder he alienated so many people.

Fortunately we have leaders today who know how to be pragmatic. We do not have to know everything. Keep us happy and contented.

I can read the synod magazine and fall asleep in the La-Z-Boy, calm and relaxed. That is the ideal.

Timid Lutherans Take the Pledge

"I am not taking the hit for your issues, you troublemaker."

Already some people sent in the names they want me to list. They added their own comments too.

Joe - "Sign me up. I am sick and tired of people rocking the boat."

Sally - "Debate makes me upset, so I am 100% for what you are doing."

Cedric - "I know all the DPs are on your side. The Holy Spirit picked them and He knows what He is doing."

Bill - "I used to read independent publications and websites, but they got me thinking all the time. I like your approach. I am sticking to synod publications only."

Gertie - "I am so thankful you started this blog. I want to be with it and say I read blogs, but the blogs have all kinds of links that take me here and there. Pretty soon I start to doubt the circuit pastor, and I am his wife. This helps."

Don - "Pure gold."

Lawrence - "From your PC to God's ear, my dear friend."

Mom - "Why don't you write to me, your own mother? I put you through college, seminary, detox, and several 12-step programs. I darned some socks for you. I will phone you. Please pick up this time. Love you to death."

Dare To Blend In

Robert Barnes stuck out like a sore thumb, and look where it got him - burnt at the stake. No way, auto de fe.

I am sick and tired of all those blogs where people are taking issue with this or that.

I am calling on all Lutherans to dare to blend in. Send an email to timidlutherans@gmail.com and list your pseudonym.

I will publish that list. You can point to it when visiting with trusted friends and say, "That's me."

Swear them to secrecy first.

I sent notification to the most scared Lutherans I know, asking them to take a stand for letting everything alone. They will be adding their pseudonyms to the list as well.