Monday, April 21, 2008

Newspeak from the Purple Palace

Some comments and questions regarding the Post-Dispatch story. Portions of the story in italics, my response in bold. The entire story is linked in a post below.

In an interview earlier this week, David Strand, the executive director of the church's communications board, said the station had lost $3.5 million in the last seven years.

Are we forgetting that "losing money" is what ministries do? My congregation has "lost" roughly $1.4 million in the last seven years, though the congregation would say they did not lose a penny, having paid a full time church worker (or two), part time church workers, utilities, outreach efforts, helped the poor and aided missions. Is using money for these things the same as "loosing" it?

Strand also said the program's audience was too narrow. —"'Issues' was a strong show, but where we stand now in terms of listenership, it seems wise to try some news things to broaden our reach," he said.

There it is. The statement we have all been waiting for. The audience for "Issues" was too narrow, though the show had been downloaded 480,000 times--in the last quarter it aired. No, "narrow" in Strand's statement could not been "small" or "few," but must mean some other kind of narrow. Narrow-minded? Narrow, as in not appealing to the evangelical masses enough?

Critics say the church's audience numbers don't include the large number of people who listened to the show online via podcasts. Strand said that "Issues, Etc." was downloaded more than any other KFUO-AM program, but that in order to succeed, the station needs "live listeners" and that "it's not accurate to say every download translates to a listener."

How must KFUO-AM "succeed" by live listeners? What measure of success are they using for this ministry? Generating dollars? KFUO-AM is non-profit. Being popular? "Issues, Etc." was syndicated to over 100 markets. I simply don't understand.

The church currently produces seven religious shows, one of which is a replacement for "Issues, Etc." The new program, called "The Afternoon Show," is different from "Issues, Etc.," said Strand, in that "it doesn't dwell largely on Lutheran apologetics at a sophisticated level. It still takes its Gospel proclamation seriously, but it finds new ways to capture attention."

So goes the LCMS.

Strand said politics had nothing to do with the decision to pull "Issues, Etc." "This was a financial decision. All 2.5 million of our members would call themselves confessional Lutherans, so I'm not sure where this idea of division comes from," he said. "Like most denominations, we have differences of opinion on things … but Dr. Kieschnick wants a deeper sense of peace throughout the church."

Again the finances. What is ominous is this denial of division, ("We're all confessional lutherans") coupled with the statement that Kieschnick wants "a deeper sense of peace throughout the church." What does that mean?

"Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace -- and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar -- (Eze. 13:10 NKJV)