Friday, November 02, 2007

Kieschnick: "I'm not a theologian"

This is another of Kieschnick's cliches, and it's a bit more subtle and a bit more difficult to deal with than even the "grandfather's synod" cliche. Like the other, it's a conversation stopper. It's a form of bragging by feigning humility. What we have is a synodical bureaucrats bragging [!] that he has little prowess in theology.

It sounds vaguely humble. It's anything but that. The simple response to this should be to request Kieschnick to immediately resign his position, because if he's not a theologian, he's not qualified -- by his own admission -- to do his job.

But we hear this cliche, and feel vaguely guilty. Guilty because by saying it, Kieschnick sounds humble. It's designed to stop the other individual from doing the theology that has to be done, because most of us feel guilty lording superior knowledge over someone who's admitted they don't know the field. So Kieschnick by this cliche is removing theology as a grounds of discussion about what's going on in the LCMS.

Again, cliches must be confronted. Hearing someone say this -- someone who should, like Kieschnick, know and do theology -- we should ask them questions such as, "That's a serious admission. What exactly do you mean by that?" and "Is it appropriate for someone who is not a theologian to head a church body?" and "If you're not a theologian, why are you in the position you're in?"

Defining terms, knowing how to logically discuss matters, and how to carefully think through the implications of an issue are important. Debate in the LCMS has become sloppy and trivialized. Confronting the cliche-spouters is a first step in cleaning up our confused discourse.

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