Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unholy Events on Holy Tuesday

Pr. William Weedon broke the news that the very popular Lutheran radio program Issues, Etc. was suddenly canceled yesterday. The irony is that it was canceled at the behest of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - who owns the radio station (KFUO) on which the program aired (it also went around the world through podcasts over the world wide web).

The host (Pr. Todd Wilken) and producer (Mr. Jeff Schwarz) were summarily fired with no warning. It is perhaps only a coincidence that the Issues, Etc. program was less than supportive of some of the pet projects of our church body, and instead chose to focus on deeper theological issues. Surely, that must be merely coincidental. It must be.

The bottom line is that Pr. Wilken has suddenly been fired from his Gospel-spreading work during holy week. He also has a family to support. I wonder if the LCMS will be sending this faithful pastor a card wishing him a Happy Easter? Mr. Schwarz's position is also dire. His wife is suffering from a neurological condition. She is scheduled to go to Mayo Clinic at the end of the month. What is the status of the family's health insurance?

Ironically, the Gospel reading for Holy Tuesday included the following:

Mark 14:18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me." 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, "Is it I?" And another said, "Is it I?" 20 He answered and said to them, "It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born."

The cancellation and firings have been met with outrage. Both the Synod and KFUO offices are being swamped with calls and e-mails, but are being very tight-lipped about the matter. Synodical officials seem to have hunkered down and are saying nothing.

The program was not merely a local St. Louis radio show, as it was syndicated on radio stations all over the U.S., as well as being made available around the world via the web and in podcast form.

Here is a reaction from a Lutheran in the African nation of Zimbabwe:

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Garikai Deredza <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 3:02:54 PM

Subject: Re: [pericope] Issues etc -- no more!

I am very much disappointed by the decision to end issues etc. It has been a source of knowledge, comfort, encouragement and truely an effective and comprehensible tool for reaching out to the world that did not realise the works of the slanderer against the church.

I leave in Zimbabwe, Africa, where there are no Christian (Lutheran) literature and Issues etc was my fountain from which I tapped and drank.

Peace be with you servants of Christ who are troubled on everyside by the slanderer. Don't despair. Yes it's painfull. Imagine how it feels for a new born baby to find their mother dad the next morning. With Jesus in the vessel we shall indeed smile in the storm as we are sailing home.

why was such a powerful Lutheran voice taken off air. I shall fast and pray to the Lord to help me understand, and if not his will that the program was terminated, that the programme be returned to the air.

I can't find the right diction to express my pain and loss emanating from such a decision. My heart really bleeds and I am only holding my tears from flowing but I am weeping like canned 5 year old.

Thy will be done.

In christ,

Garikai Deredza

Martin Luther Deanery
Youth Representaive

Harare North Luther League Fellowship

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe.

gariedee@yahoo. com
+263 91 2 290 886 / +263 4 2 926 223

Garie Dee

Before I became he Has ever been. Let Him who is always there take
charge and failure will never be known.

If you'd like to join the effort to make the officials of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod explain their actions, please consider contacting some or all of the following:

Rev. David L. Strand Executive
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

Finally, if you would like to provide financial assistance to the Wilken and Swartz families, send checks to:

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Box 247
Hamel, IL 62046

and mark it Wilken/Schwarz Fund.

For further information, contact the pastor of St. Paul's, Rev. William Weedon at

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