Two weeks ago, someone fired--against Synod rules, without cause, without notifying the governing board, or the Synod's treasurer--Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz, host and producer of popular radio show Issues, Etc. During that time, I have written to Mr. Strand and the president's office three times asking for clarification, specifically why this action was taken.
I have only received a single response - a brief email, with text identical to that received by many others. (I also received the standard auto-reply from the president's office, telling me how important my email was. But only on one of my emails. Perhaps the last one wasn't that important after all.)
As the Synod changes its explanations, using outdated figures and incomplete data that omits the most relevant statistics, there are rumors of larger "issues." Instead of responding, putting these rumors to rest, we are met with ...
I admit to being upset, disappointed, angry, confused when news of this broke. But as time grows on, I grow more and more suspicious. What is being hidden? Why the silence? As the scandal grows, why not respond clearly, unequivocally, honestly?
The show itself is now just a small part of some much larger issues and questions:
- Who made the decision to cancel the show and summarily fire, without cause, two Synod employees?
- When was this decision made?
- Why was the Board for Communications Services not consulted?
- Why was the Foundation keeping 40% of the money raised for Issues, Etc.?
- Why was the head of said Foundation reportedly supportive of Joel Osteen's teaching?
- Why were supporters of the program not given an opportunity to give additional funds to keep the program alive?
- What were the "programmatic reasons" for the show's cancellation? Was it too "Christ-centered, cross-focused"? How was the program evaluated? Were those evaluations shared with the board? Can the members of Synod see them?
- Why are inaccurate or incomplete numbers being used to create an appearance of a small listener base?
- What are the "stewardship reasons" for canceling effective Bible teaching and Gospel outreach?