Way back once-upon-a-time my favorite day of the week was when the weekend newspaper arrived with an extra-large section of full-color comics. A little bit of humor and fun is always welcome and the weekend comics always delivered. Among those strips was the long-lived The Family Circus which had a unique ability to take a single panel and illustrate the humorous side of normal family life.
One such cartoon is the depiction of the three “ghost kids” found in every home that’s shared with children – “IDA Know”, “Not Me”, and “Nobody”. Here’s a couple of examples:
What isn’t quite so funny is a recent report that friends of “IDA Know”, “Nobody”, and “Not Me” have found their way into LCC.
From the CEF Forum:
When I referenced the explanation of the 7th Commandment in Luther’s Large Catechism as an excellent commentary on how the Church stole from the CEF depositors, he (the East District official) “explained” to me that it wasn’t the “Church” who took the money – it was the “Corporation”.
When I read this my jaw just dropped. How can anyone in any seriousness say something like this? When I read language like this the message I get is that the East District rep is claiming that an organization
- created by the church
- that serves the church,
- that provides ecclesiastical supervision to the church,
- predominantly staffed by church members,
- promoted to church members,
- funded by church members,
- that provides a place of governance and dispute resolution within the church,
- accountable to the church
is somehow a “corporation” separate and distinct from “the church” and has as much to do with “the church” as a secular bank, a landscaping company, or the RCMP. The logical conclusion of this line of reasoning to this is if a “corporation” took the money then “the church” has no responsibility for creating the CEF mess much less for cleaning it up.
This isn’t too far removed from trying to make a case that the hand in the jelly-bean jar doesn’t belong to the kid in the picture:
The mind boggles – first that this was even considered a credible argument and second that it appears to be the company line in East District and possibly the corporate Synod body as a whole.
On the other hand – maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. LCC has been arguing that CEF’s implosion was a “normal business failure” and “it’s God’s money anyway, why are you mad?” This is just “more of the same.”
Sadly, the most fundamental reason conduct like this continues to manifest itself is that there is almost no curb to bad behavior in LCC. For some glaring examples:
- A few years ago the Commission on Adjudication (COA) refused to decide what looked to be a clear-cut a case and instead told the members in question to sort out the dispute themselves or take it to the legal system. The COA then filed an incomplete report to Synod in convention which received their report and that was that.
- The chair of the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure made a public statement defending the people behind CEF without disclosing that he was one of those people. He also later recounted a version of convention that did not happen – yet nothing has been done about this conduct.
- Finally, the head of a District that (a) vaporized millions of dollars of people’s lifetime savings over the course of nearly two decades while (b) telling them their money was safe and then (c) took public responsibility for it, before (d) retiring to a standing ovation – somehow is still considered to be a clergy member in good standing.
When lines are crossed and nothing happens people feel free to keep pushing the boundaries until something eventually stops them – be it their conscience, the authorities, an uprising from the laity, or an act of God.
In the secular world anyone under suspicion for these kinds of wrongdoings would be removed from their position and either suspended or given something else to do until an investigation could establish the facts of the matter. If the person was cleared of the allegations they’d be restored to their former position and if they weren’t cleared then appropriate disciplinary action would be pursued. This way there’d be no question of a bad actor remaining in a position where they could do more damage while the investigation was in progress.
Why hasn’t LCC done likewise?
I’m thinking – maybe restructuring for fiscal & insurance reasons isn’t enough.
Sadly, this attempt to evade responsibility is nothing new. Cain tried to do it when God questioned him about Able’s whereabouts (“am I my brother’s keeper?”) and this conversation between Christ and the religious authorities of the time sounds oddly similar to some of the things going around today:
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:9-13
When Christ told people to ‘love your neighbor’ (Matthew 22:36-40) followed by the parable of a Samaritan who helped the man set upon by thieves as opposed doing everything possible to avoid having something to do with him, the instruction was pretty clear and unequivocal. It also didn’t leave any opening for the kind of “somebody else did it” sophistry advocated by the East District.