Friday, July 4, 2008

Issues Etc. is back

Pastor Todd Wilken, his team and the Lutheran radio show Issues Etc. came back this week as an Internet radio show, two hours a week every weekday (and apparently also on Sunday). The show is available online, for one hour live in St. Louis (on AM 1320), and as an iTunes podcast.

I was struck by the graciousness of Rev. Wilken, who with producer Jeff Schwarz were fired March 18 by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod as part of an internal power struggle. The first hour of the first day back was about what happened on March 18 and during their period of enforced hiatus that Rev. Wilken referred to as a "spring break".

Both men also referred to the support they received from their LCMS pastors during the hiatus; Schwartz’s pastor is blogger Will Weedon, who has written about the LCMS problems and the Issues Etc. cancellation.. They talked about the sense of relief (and independence) they felt upon being fired, as well as their inability to reply to all the Lutherans and non-Lutherans who called and wrote to offer their support.

Rev. Wilken’s personality, format and melodious tones were near indistinguishable from the earlier KFUO incarnation. Some other observations:
  • Rev. Wilken also remarked at being the brunt of the LCMS publicity machine, something he’d never faced in his 17 years as an LCMS pastor;
  • the ads are for the donor-supported program rather than its former host KFUO or sponsor the LCMS;
  • many of the topics are the same, including popular perceptions of religion (the recent Pew Forum survey) and dissecting the theology of pop evangelists (such as Rick Warren);
  • many of the guests are the same, including various LCMS pastors: one guest the first day was from the LCMS seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
I find the new iPod podcasting to be more convenient than the KFUO MP3 files. The MP3 files were organized into hours: usually each hour had multiple guests and sometimes a guest spanned two separate segments. Now, each podcast episode stands alone, whether 14 minutes or 55 minutes. I am looking forward to having the Issues Etc. episodes to keep me company as I work at home.

To close out the week, on Friday Rev. Wilken observed 4th of July by interviewing another LCMS pastor, Lt. Col. Jonathan Shaw of the Army Chief of Chaplains office in the Pentagon who edits the “Sabre of Boldness” column for Gottendienst, an unofficial LCMS publication that celebrates the historic roots of Lutheran worship.

With Rev. Shaw’s impressive credentials, I look forward to listening to that podcast. Ministering to our men and women in uniform is an important concern for any patriotic, churchgoing American — just as I believe honoring their sacrifice is an appropriate topic for hymns and worship.

1 comment:

Rev. Beckmann said...

I've been out of touch with Issues, etc. for a while and didn't realise all this had happened. Todd is a great guy and his show has been a real blessing. I'm glad to see he's able to persevere and keep up the work. I'll have to tune back in. Thanks for the heads-up!