Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Monday, March 29, 2010


So what is going to happen with all this talk at MtCow, anyway? Was it just a exercise in exchanging ideas so that we could check something off our lists? Some of us - including everyone at the Northern Illinois District (NID) table - became concerned that little fruit would actually be born from the conference. Indeed, one of our frustrations was that much time was spent on generalizations about which the vast majority of us agree, while avoiding the real divisive issues of "wine, women, and song", sacramental piety, and the Office of the Holy Ministry. These concerns began to surface after Vogel's address and grew louder as the conference continued.

Coincidentally, as I am at this point in my reflections on the conference, I am pleased to report that, at least here in the NID, we will be going forward with the process in a way that should be more helpful to those of us who desire greater synodical uniformity. After the last Board of Director's meeting, District President Gilbert told me that the district pastors' conference next winter would be a district replication of MtCow. This, of course, is what is intended to happen in all the districts in some shape or form. What encourages me, though, is what our bishop said: "And we will do it right. We are going to deal with specifics."

This follows in the wisdom of Norman Nagel, who famously said, "When discussing worship practice, it is important to be specific."

We can talk about adiaphora and the Gospel and the Means of Grace all day and never get to the real issues that divide us. It's time we start talking about the elephant in the room. Bring it on! :)

And maybe, we'll have a synodical president who understands that It's Time to talk about a lot of other things as well!


Pastor Bowman said...

I hope the NID conference really does try to get to the heart of the matter and that all participants act in good faith. Unfortunately, I fear there will be some on both sides will pitch a fit and become very childish once it becomes clear they will not get their way.

I must admit I generally frustrated by both sides of the worship argument. I appreciate the resurgence of traditional liturgical elements, I think they can speak very well to the postmodern people. Yet at the same time, I think it is unwise to abandon modern music styles (some of the 'traditional' contemporary music should be dropped for vapid and heterodox lyrics).

Thanks for the link to It's Time, I actually had never seen that before. I had kinda liked Pastor Harrison before, now I like him even more. It helps that he said what I have been saying, we need to return to the format of the FoC in order to bring closure and understanding to our differences.

Phillip said...

Yes, it will be insteresting to see how the NID conference turns out. There may be some on each side who may not keep playing ball if they don't get their way, but I think overall we are going to make progress.

Glad you enjoyed the link to "It's Time". I think Pastor Harrison would make a wonderful synodical president.

Michael Paul 白霈德牧師 said...

The news about the follow-up plans in the NID is encouraging. Thank you for relaying it here.

Anonymous said...
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IggyAntiochus said...

Hey Phil, besides you, who was in the NID Delegation? Were all appointed by the DP, or was there some other process?

Outside of our district, I was surprised that some were not invited, ie, former members of CoW.

If you want to take this off your blog, you can email me.

Use my screen name (no space between first and last name) and then

Glad you were there for us!


Phillip Magness said...

Hi Iggy,

No reason to email you off-blog about this. It is a very good question - to which there is a very good answer.

I'm happy to report that the DPs appointed each delegation according to criteria prescribed by the organizers. These parameters assured that each table and each distrct would all include both musicians and pastors who were advocates of and/or practicioners of "traditional" and "contemporary" worship. Parameters also provided for the inclusion of Concordia faculty and elders in addition to pastors and music leaders.

So, in some districts with a wealth of worship talent, some folks may not have gone - even if they were formerly on the Commission on Worship - because there were enough others who fit the same basic mold from their district.

I can't speak for every district, but overall I thought the representation was very well-balanced. Other delegates felt the same way when reporting on who was at their tables and how the conversations proceeded.

It is a good problem to have in the LCMS - a surplus of qualified folks who are passionate about worship!