". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Black Tuesday

I predict that Tuesday, March 18, 2008, will go down in the history of my church body--the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod--as one of two things: either a wake-up call and rallying cry for the confessional wing of the church, leading to a more organized and concerted effort to take back their church; or the day the co-opting powers-that-be kicked off their final battle in the war for this denomination.

For those of my readers who know not of what I speak, here's the short version: yesterday, the incredibly popular and long-standing Lutheran call-in talk radio program Issues, Etc. was pulled off the air with no opportunity to say good-bye to their listeners and no notice or reason given, and the show's host and producer (Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz, respectively) summarily fired. (If you are not familiar with Issues, Etc. and would like to read more about the program, see their listing in my sidebar under "Labels.") I first heard of this travesty early yesterday afternoon. As I repeatedly tried to access the Issues, Etc. website, I felt like I was looking at Alice's Cheshire Cat. First the link to the KFUO station which broadcasts the program quit working. In short order the archives disappeared. Then the pictures on the site were gone. Then finally, there was only a white screen with a short but devastating message: "Issues, Etc. is no longer available."

Questions come to mind. What kind of synod do we belong to, that would treat its own in this way, firing two faithful workers with families during Holy Week, no less? Where's the consideration for the myriad listeners of the program, for whom it is a regular part of their day or week? What does this action say to them regarding how they are esteemed (or not) by their church body? And what does it say about the value our synod places on spreading the pure Gospel to the churched and unchurched alike? Because if ever a program did that, surely this one did. Within my own congregation there are several members for whom Issues, Etc. played an integral role in bringing them to faith in Christ and specifically to my church.

This narrative--a tragedy of epic proportions--has only just begun. I believe the implications and repercussions will echo throughout my church body for months and years to come. If you are so inclined, please pray for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod--that God would protect it from those who would sacrifice it to their own purposes--and please pray for the Wilken and Schwarz families, that they would be sustained not only by their Lord but by their friends and supporters through this blackest of times.

Finally, if you want to help, gifts of support may sent to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Box 247, Hamel, IL 62046. Be sure to mark your contribution for the Wilken/Schwarz Fund. And for information on where you can register your disapproval of this act, watch the short video below.


Kelly said...

I grieve for the loss of this show too. I've registered my discontent, though sadly I doubt that it will do any good.

elephantschild said...

Pray, Kelly. Keep praying.

This church, sinful and flawed as it is, belongs to Christ. We are his bride, and never are we out from the protection of His wings.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Kelly said...

Amen EC!

AmusedMomma said...

Still shaking my head trying to figure out "why?"!!!

So sad... thanks for your post, it said everything so well. I'll be linking back to it from my blog.

Nana Porcupine said...

I heard a phone #1 888 843 5267 could be called for explanation why Issues Xtc. was cut. I however did not call.

Darth Nemoyer said...


Here is all sorts of contact information to tell people what you think about this, let them know how important Issues, Etc. was to us, and ask why the show was cancelled:

Rev. David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication
(314) 996-1200
(314) 822-0000

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
(888) 843-5267
(314) 965-9000
FAX: (314) 996-1016

KFUO Radio Station
(314) 725-0099
(314) 725-3030‎
(314) 721-2969

Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick
Synod President
(314) 996-1402
(314) 842-7110

LC-MS Board of Directors
(314) 996-1350


Meanwhile, an online petition has been started up about Issues, Etc. being ended. I don't know how much good it will do, but it should be able to do some. it certainly can't hurt to put your name down. Here's the link:

For anyone who comes across this and has Facebook, a lot of discussion it seems is going on at the "Bring back Issues ETC!!!" Facebook group.


Finally, financial help for the Schwarz and Wilken families can be sent to the following address. Just put in the memo line that it’s for the “Schwartz/Wilken Fund”. The Schwarzes especially need the help and Rev. Jack Schwarz's wife Beth has been recently diagnosed with small fiber neuropathy and they need to go to Mayo Clinic to try figuring out what can be done.

"Schwartz/Wilken Fund"
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
P.O. Box 247
Hamel, IL 62046

All help and all prayers are appreciated.


I will be continuing to post information and resources relating to the cancellation of Issues, Etc. and firing of Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz. So, if you could please help me draw people to the resource of my blog, I would really appreciate it.

God bless,
--Aaron Nemoyer

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

The phone # just will tell you that they were fired "for cause." They did not let Todd Wilkin or Jeff Schwarz know. It is standard policy within the synod to release employees in this way. If they give the actual cause, then they can be sued. This saves legal fees.