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03/18/2013

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Rev. Hans Fiene

"There are plenty of true things I’ll share with her but I can’t undo the harm of an immature and lazy pastor."

Dr. Meyer, I'm sure that, at some point in your ministry, someone has taken something you've said out of context and passed it on to another pastor in an effort to harm your reputation. If ever that occurred, I'm sure you would have wanted that pastor to put the best construction on things and give you a fair hearing. It's very disappointing that you are refusing to do that, in a very public fashion, with this post.

Rev. Daniel A. Hinton

"He claims his only job is to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments."

As we all know, there is indeed a bit more to the pastoral ministry than preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, but why on earth would you say this, and then connect it with how pastors "can be real problems in the spiritual lives of people"? What exactly does the pastor bring to the spiritual lives of people if not the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments? It is in those that God is at work, and any work the pastor does besides those things means less time preaching and administering.

Caleb

To write about a problem in this way seems to be terrible management if not downright sinful. If there is a problem, a sniping anonymous comment borne of passive-aggression in a public forum is just about the worst way, both practically and spiritually to deal with it. This is disgusting.

Rev. Matthew Uttenreither

Dr. Meyer,

As a pastor who soley does Word and Sacrament ministry (Augsburg Confession, Article V), I find the tone of this letter unbecoming of an LCMS seminary president as it seems to trample on the meaning of the 8th commandment.

As you should know since you prepare men for the ministry, Word and Sacrament ministry happens in many and various places outside of what happens on a Sunday morning. I will be leaving shortly to visit two members in a nursing home and I will be giving the Lord's gifts to them. Later on, I will be meeting with a mother about the baptism of her child.
Also, surely you understand that people mishear what others are saying. This happened to our Lord in John 8:42-59. I am deeply saddened by this blog post.

Rev. Kurt Ulmer

Dr. Meyer,

This is how unbelievers deal with one another - hearing only one side of the story, assuming the worse, and then publishing the matter before the rest of the world rather than talking to this pastor privately. It doesn't matter that his name isn't in here. You have made absolutely no attempt to put the best construction on this matter. And a post like this only further erodes the relationship between clergy and laity. You have just strengthened the resolve of any who have any issue with their pastor and placed your imprimatur on airing these things in the public square. I can't tell you how deeply it saddens me to read a post like this from one of our seminary presidents.

Rev. Michael Scott Monterastelli

Could it be that the pastor in question is trying to teach his flock the primary importance of what God provides for them through His Word and Sacrament ministry?
Could it be that this dear woman needs you to help reinforce what God is doing for her through His Word and Sacrament ministry?
Could it be that a fellow sinner could possibly be giving you his or her perceived interpretation of events to best promote his or her desired outcome?
Could it be that because the complaint comes from a donor that it is being treated partially, rather than impartially?

These are just a few questions that ran through my mind at this particular minute.

Rev. H. R. Curtis

Who certified this terrible, lazy, immature guy for the ministry anyway?

http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/2013/03/troublesome-clergy.html

+HRC

Rev. James Roemke

Dr. Meyer,
While in the field, doing "Word and Sacrament Ministry," I met someone who had very little kind to say about you. They knew someone whom you had served in your Word and Sacrament ministry. I defended you to them. Not because I thought you personally deserved it, but because it was the right thing to do. I defended you to them because I know how very easily a pastor's good work can be impugned by the lies of the devil. I am ashamed that the president of my alma mater would not do likewise.

Paul Beisel

Poor judgment, in my opinion, to write about someone's faults publicly, without knowing both sides of the story. I'd retract this, personally.

Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Juan C. Rivera

Where's SYNODOCAT when you need him? LOL!
Actually, the estimable Doctor does make a valid point- which is well reflected in the posted comments. If WE have a problem with what he's saying...then why not communicate with him in private?? So he says we're rude...and? Many of us ARE!!! We're also a BUNCH OF DRUNKS! (A sin I'm guilty of too!)
So we're going to deny that we're obnoxious by acting out and being RUDE??? LOL!! Dang- lotta money wasted in Seminary.
I should've remained a Baptist or become a Roman Catholic...less bolony and more compassion on that side of the camp....Especially that they got rid of the beer in Ft. Wayne....darnet.

Matt Hoffmann

I read the article and thought it was right on.

Rev. Larry Beane

So, Dr. Meyer are you saying that St. Louis sends lazy and immature pastors into the field with your faculty's blessing, institution's certification, and your personal signature on their diplomas? Or is it possible that there are two sides to this story and that this pastor may be the victim of slander?

Either possibility, combined with the remarks above by Pastor Rivera (CSL 2010), are painting a picture of Concordia Seminary - St. Louis.

Rev. Larry Beane

Rev. Jonathon Bakker

I echo the concerns of many others above. Was it necessary to mar the reputation of all recent CSL graduates by publicly giving premature credence to a complaint?

The 'immature and lazy pastor' in question may be carrying out the difficult pastoral art of applying Law and Gospel to the complainant and she may be bristling against the Law, as we are wont to do. Who knows? Not me, and not President Meyer before he published this post.

Brothers, when we receive such words about a fellow pastor, why not reach out to him with support and prayers? Reach out to the complainant as well, and urge them also to pray for their pastor, and encourage and support him. The devil loves to divide us one against the other. If we give in to such temptations, what a pitiful shell of ourselves we become.

God grant you wisdom, President Meyer, as you reach out to the complainant and, hopefully, also to this young pastor.

Rev. Timothy J. Loewe

Dr. Meyer, I'm praying for you & your ministry as Seminary president. I would remind you, brother, that we ought to always "put the best construction on everything" & perhaps you might think of retracting this very public musing which may or may not have validity. God bless you & yours.

Rev Kent Schaaf

Dr Meyer,
I agree with several of the commentators above. I would only add that it looks really bad when you use this public forum to vent about alumni when the original complaint was done "gently" and "without anger". Is this the kind of response a donor who gives money to CSL will get in return when something goes wrong with a graduate? Does your donor know that you have posted this out of response to their complaint and would they approve of its public nature? This kind of post does more damage to CSL's recruiting since its in your public forum. Does this encourage or dissuade men to enroll at your institution? Do alumni get an equal audience or do they take a back seat to a donor? These are some simple questions I feel that you should ponder. In the end I pray for you our seminaries, our laity and our pastors who serve and live in such tumultuous times.

Rev. Nathan Raddatz

Dr. Meyer,


Your post (comments) are disgusting, unbecoming of a seminary president, slanderous, gossiping, etc.

Word and Sacrament is all we have. Both are not done merely in a Sunday morning Divine Service. The pastor does work six other days too. Everything we as pastors have is founded on the Word and Sacraments.

Qeylar

"why on earth would you say this, and then connect it with how pastors "can be real problems in the spiritual lives of people"?"

Because it's true? If that is indeed what the young pastor is using to justify not caring for the people outside of the worship service, then he's in the wrong and yes, lazy, and this post is just fine and sorely needed. Especially considering how many pastors are infected by that church growth bug that tells people they don't need to have any personal connection to their pastor and you're selfish if you think otherwise.

Tom Ahlersmeyer

This is a difficult to face problem I have observed in many corners of our Synod. Dr. Meyer should be applauded for addressing this well known but little discussed issue, especially with one of his own institution's graduates. However, like most issues of this nature, there will be more of a tendency to "shoot the messenger" rather than deal with the message. Kylie eleison.

Rev. Hans Fiene

The problem, Qeylar, is that Dr. Meyer doesn't know that it's true. He's condemning a man based off the testimony of one witness, which is contrary to Paul's words in 1 Timothy 5. And he's aiding a woman in gossiping.

Even if he didn't reveal the name of the man, Dr. Meyer should still defend the man's reputation by urging the woman attacking his reputation to address her concerns in a Christian manner.

Suzanne

Dr. Meyer, this post has hit the nail on the head. I have worked at one of the Seminaries, I have spent years in the church, I have a close relative that is a Lutheran pastor and I have seen this over and over. Our seminaries may be doing a good job of educating pastors, but they are not educating them as to the realities of being a pastor.
They understand doctrine, but lack discernment as to when a gentle hand is called for. It is hard to admit, but often, out here in layman's land, yes, absolutely the "clergy can be real problems in the spiritual lives of people" and far too often these same clergy refuse to admit any part in it, often hiding behind the office and the collar.
Despite most of the comments here (almost all from pastors) what you have said needs to be addressed. There is a problem and denying that there is simply makes it worse.

Eric R.

Best construction, guys, please...

A seminary president feels guilty that a donor to his institution feels less than cared for by one of the institution's graduates. Said President writes a blog post about the complaint -- never mentioning any of the involved parties' names -- and wraps it up with scripture about the Law as it lies more heavily on the shoulders of those in the ministry than on the shoulders of laity.

Some pastors* use this opportunity to attack both president and unnamed woman who complained. Some complain about their brother pastors, saying, "Yeah! Get 'em, Pres!" Some warn the president that perhaps the tone of his article was a little less than balanced.

So far, I've not seen anybody say, "Mea Culpa!" Even the best pastors fall short in the area of pastoral care, time and time again. This is nothing new. What I see in the comments here, however, is that the Law in this essay is falling on deaf ears. This essay is intended to be and should be seen as a reminder of pastoral responsibility and the dire consequences of a pastor's failure to live up to those mandates. This should bring every pastor to repentance. But instead of that repentant cry, I read responses of indignation.

I suppose even the teachers of the Church recoil under the pressures of the Law.

I know I do.

May the Lord lead us to repentance of all of our failures--sloth, pride, and all the others.

Just the humble opinion of a Confessional and educated layman.


Pax Christi, y'all!


*When I look at the people who have been most vehement on this blog, most of them have "Rev." at the front of their names.

Paul beisel

I find more often than not that it is the members of the congregation who are not willing to admit when they are wrong. Seems like we pastors are apologizing all the time.

Rev. Michael Scott Monterastelli

I like how the men who give their actual names have the integrity to put their names behind their words. That at least gives us a good place to start if we want to work together towards a brotherly solution.

Chris Jones

"He claims his only job is to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments."

That is the truth, isn't it? What is the pastor's job, if not to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments? If he is doing other things, things that are not directly or indirectly connected with Word and Sacrament ministry, then he is not doing his job.

That is not to say that Word and Sacrament ministry is limited to Sunday morning. But if the pastor is visiting the sick and shut-ins, he is bringing them the Word and the Sacraments. If he is teaching confirmation class or catechizing an adult inquirer's class, that is part of teaching the Gospel and it is preparing his students to receive the sacraments. If he is reading and studying so that he may rightly divide the Word of truth, he is doing the ministry of the Word. If he is hearing confessions or counseling those who are struggling with how to live by faith in very troubled times, he is administering the sacraments and imparting the Gospel.

Show me a pastor who is diligently studying, devoting himself to writing excellent orthodox sermons, planning and carrying out effective catechesis for children and adults, faithful in visiting the sick and bringing them the sacrament, hearing confessions, carefully planning the services of the Church, reverently celebrating the Mass and preaching the Gospel in the liturgical assembly; and I will show you a man who is working far more than full time to fulfill his vocation.

And all that he is doing is preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments. In all seriousness, what more, and what else, would you have him do?

Paul Dobberstein

There are lazy, indolent people in all professions and walks of life. I have known some of them over the years. It was not their training, but their own personality and attitude that made them so. In a fallible world, some bad pastors pass through certification. A general statement like the one by Pres. Meyer is not improper, but a call to better certification and oversight. That brothers, would resonate well with both Luther and Walther.

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