In all of our theology, we are careful to distinguish between the two pillars that stand behind all of our understanding of the faith: Law and Gospel. This is what stands behind Two Kingdoms theology, the understanding that God rules the world through the Law on the left and so orders the world in that way and also rules the world through the Gospel on the right and so orders the proclamation of his life-giving and salvific Gospel.
For various and, we are starting to realize – anachronistic – reasons, we are sensing the need for reform. And ideas that on,y a year ago would have been seen as radical pipe dreams are now on the table, so I thought I would sketch out a few barely formed thoughts here.
First, we should take our theology seriously in the construction and administration of our synod. Second, we should realize that we are terribly, incredibly small, and no longer can pretend that we have the money and people to support large bureaucracies. Third, we need to be about what we have always been about – Word and Sacrament Ministry.
So, basically, I feel that we should properly distinguish between Law and Gospel, between the Kingdom of the Left and the Kingdom of the Right. The idea that we have things called “Financial Ministries” (seriously, we have never seen the problem with something that is quite literally a Mammon Ministry, sigh…?) is quite ridiculous. We need to separate the corporate work of the synod from the ecclesiastical work of the synod, and prioritize the one over the other.
There is no need for Districts as independent corporations. They should exist in the future only as ecclesiastical supervision areas, with only one corporation, a single and national one.
We need to elect a President, who acts as CEO of this corporation but is not responsible for the ecclesiastical care of the people of synod. And then we should elect a bishop for each “district” who would be responsible for the ecclesiastical supervision of that area, and responsible for that alone.
The Districts, then, would be dissolved as corporations and all of their functions as a corporation taken by the national synod office. We would only then require one convention every three years, not four.
So, what do you think? These are just some thoughts for conversation, but I think that there is the root of some very important reform here.