September 2004

The President’s visit
I was surprised by the negative tone of the letter in the August Reporter regarding the visit of President Bush to Concordia University Wisconsin’s commencement.  As one who was there (and very proud of my alma mater for attaining to this great privilege), I believe some context needs to be lent to the objection raised in the letter.
In the course of his speech on compassionate conservatism and its values, President Bush made reference to CUW’s own efforts to encourage its students to give time to community service.  He remarked that this was consistent with his own effort to give back some of the church’s mission through his faith-based initiatives.  Consistent with his core beliefs as a political conservative, President Bush believes that the society is not made better merely through entitlements such as welfare.  He believes that the church has a role to play in the betterment of society.  This includes the issue of poverty, which was the main thrust of last month’s letter.
One could argue that the New Deal entitlements and other government initiatives do much to hinder the church’s mission, as they cause the poor and elderly to look to government for help that they would have looked to the church to provide.  As a pastor of a mission-minded small congregation, I am pleased with President Bush’s faith-based initiatives because they say to the congregation I serve that the government not only wants us to make a positive contribution to our society, but appreciates our efforts also.
That was the spirit of the event at Mequon — one of positive up-building of both government and church through a commencement celebration.

Rev. Daniel T. Torkelson
Clyman, Wis.

In the book of Acts, the believers “shared everything they had … and it was distributed to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35).  They must have left out the part where the believers gave their money to the political leaders so that it could be distributed to those in need.
The community of believers is where the “wealthy” find what their wealth cannot give them and where the “poor” can find what their resources can’t afford.  Since when has this Christian value been turned over to the government by the Church?
The officials who invited President Bush to speak should be proud.

Mike Becker
San Antonio, Texas

I think it was highly inappropriate for Reporter to print Bernie Schaeffer’s letter concerning President Bush’s commencement address at Concordia University Wisconsin.  His letter was too political and not suited for your publication.  It made me furious, and, since the cat is out of the bag, it merits a reply.  
First of all, Mr. Schaeffer’s apparent socialist bent has blinded him and led him to arrive at erroneous conclusions about both true Christian charity and the president’s performance in office. 
Second, I think it is a distinct honor that any President of our country would deliver the commencement address at one of our Synod’s universities. 
Third, although I was not present, my understanding is that the message was apolitical and inspirational.  And fourth, President Bush apparently has the strongest Christian beliefs and values of any president in modern history — maybe ever.

Wynn Norris
Socorro, N.M.

Bernie Schaeffer has every right to be “appalled” that President Bush spoke at one of our colleges, but I am doubly appalled that Reporter would even print such a blatantly political letter.  All allegations against President Bush are just that — allegations brought by those who are not in agreement with his policies and beliefs.  In the future please do not publish political opinions which are best left to be expressed in other venues.

Don Veltkamp
Sioux City, Iowa

Preparing for the Supper
I read Dr. George Wollenburg’s letter in which he echoes the concerns of Anglican Dr. Peter Toon that the lack of preparation in coming to the Lord’s Supper may reduce the Supper to “fast food” (August ’04).
I trust that Dr. Wollenburg, as a district president, will instruct and guide Montana District pastors and congregations not only in the use of examination, but also in private confession, use of the chalice, long-term catechesis, head-of-the-household use of the Small Catechism, the liturgy, fasting and other outward training before participating in the Supper, and that he will lead the charge among other district presidents so that all of us in Synod may be properly prepared to receive the Supper every Lord’s Day in whatever church in whatever district we attend!

Rev. Michael Brockman
Hutchinson, Kan.

Getting recharged
I want to respond affirmatively to the letter under the heading “Low batteries” in the August Reporter.  Our congregation, Hosanna Lutheran Church, provides seven weeks sabbatical time (plus normal vacation time) after every seven years of service for all our called workers.  It’s a wonderful practice and should be considered and adopted by every congregation in the Synod.  One colleague said to me, “If my previous congregation would have given me a sabbatical, I wouldn’t have felt the need to leave.”
Strengthening our workers is strengthening our Synod.

Rev. Joe Meyer
Mesa, Ariz.

“Letters” may be sent via e-mail to or by mail to REPORTER Letters, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295.  Please include your name, postal address and telephone number.  Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Posted Aug. 27, 2004

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