Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Was George Orwell a Lutheran?

There are rumors of spies in the offices of Lutheran synods who keep tabs on what is written about their particular synod on blogs and in discussion groups. Is this true? We don’t know, but the rumors lead us to wonder, ”Why?” Why would a synod official order a subordinate to spy on what members of said synod’s congregations and the synod’s pastors are writing about the synod? If the officials of a synod are confident in and believe what they have done and said publicly, they shouldn’t be nervous if anyone questions or challenges their public statements, should they? Any such challenge could just be met with a strong backing of Lutheran theology that reinforces whatever was questioned, right?

Insubordination among pastors and laity can be a serious offense. However, when pastors and lay people are asking why certain statements were made or challenging that what was said was not in keeping with Lutheran doctrine, they are not being insubordinate but are obeying “God rather than men”. Pastors and synod spokesmen should be happy when people are acting like the Bereans and testing what they say against Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. It shows people are paying attention and helps to sharpen the pastors and synod-types who will need to give answers to those bringing questions.

Such spying shows either doubt about whether what you as an official of a Lutheran church body have said or written is correct, or something of a Narcissistic personality disorder that gets its knickers in a twist when faced with the reality that not everyone is going to agree with you, admire you, or accept your word as absolute truth. If you know what you are doing, what you are writing, and stand behind what you write and speak for the public, you can have the confidence to ignore such challenges if they have no merit.

Are there spies? Who knows? If there are it shows a sad cowardice on the part of those who should first of all know Lutheran theology, and secondly proclaim Lutheran theology, not spend their time scouring the internet for dissenting voices.


Shanna said...

This practice isn't uncommon, the use of "spies" or whatever you call them by various denoms to "monitor" the internet for those in their fold who aren't playing by their rules.

My friend Camille used to be a professor of rhetoric at BJU until this past year. They were all over her blog writings and tracked her all over the internet. It played a huge part of her & her husband leaving BJU altogether.

Another friend of mine used to go to a church (Unitarian Pentecostal) that monitors all the traffic on their site. They track people down somehow via their ISP--hackers basically from what I'm told. She told me never to go to their site--ever.

It's creepy, but a sad fact of life.

Personally, I have no doubt that there are Lutherans out there tracking other Lutherans.

rlschultz said...

My sentiments are in line with the post and with shanna's comments. Those that feel threatened by the truth will often send out lookouts or scouts to do their dirty work for them. Because the Internet can make information very public, I would not be surprised to hear that synod officials try to put their "finger on the pulse". The old trick of using the 8th Commandment and Matthew Chapter 18 does not work any more.