Surviving a District Convention

By Paul Koch

WS-LCMS-Convo-Delegation

The district conventions of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod are spectacles to behold. These regional meetings scattered across the country this time of year allow for an up close and personal encounter with the glory of church politics.

Now if you have managed to steer clear of church politics, you have been truly blessed. For many years I too was able to remain ignorant of such proceedings but no longer. However, chances are you’ve sat through your share of council meetings or board of directors meetings or even voters meetings in the church and felt the uncomfortable tension when business affairs and proclamation seem to be at odds. It is in that tension where the real politicking gets going.

LCMS Cross Burgundy with words

The rhetoric revs up, and all the factions within the visible church come forward to sway the herd. They are passionate and pandering and depressing. We are greeted with stats and visions and celebrities (yes, even the church has her superstars). We hear resolutions filled with a bunch of “whereas…” and “let it be resolved…” statements, and we are reminded how terribly important it all is.

But here’s the truth: if these conventions weren’t held in hotels or retreat centers with a bar nearby, it would all be unbearable.

lobby bar

In the face of this spectacle I have done my best throughout the years to have a good time, regardless. In fact as I was laughing during a break with a couple of colleagues at the last convention, a member of the board of directors commented, “You sure have a lot of fun.” To which I replied, “I have to have fun or we will begin to think that all this shit really matters.” I’m not sure if she approved of my statement, but she couldn’t deny that I was making the best of the convention.

We here at The Jagged Word know that many of our readers will be found at conventions this summer. So we have put our minds together to help you survive the ordeal. We want to inject your convention with a little bit of fun and a touch of anarchy. We give to you “Buzzword Bingo.”

Buzzword Bingo

All you need to do is download and print a copy of this Buzzword Bingo card to play any time that the convention is in session. You play just like any other bingo game, scratching out your squares as you hear the buzzwords. The buzzwords must come from those on stage addressing the convention. However, to claim your “Bingo” is a little more difficult. After all, it is a convention and you can’t just jump up and shout. No, you need to get to a microphone.

That’s right, step up to the microphone and speak to whatever motion the assembly is droning on about. You can speak in favor or against it, but you must us the phrase “Bag of Bacon” in your speech. Options may include, “This motion is as pleasant as a bag of bacon,” or, “I haven’t been this upset at something since my bag of bacon was stolen.” You get the idea. Be as creative as you want. Once the phrase is uttered, everyone in the room who is playing along will know that you have just called “Bingo!” Consequently, they will gasp in awe of your heroics.

microphone-town-hall

In order to claim your prize for winning, The Jagged Word will need proof. Simply submit a photo of your completed Bingo card and a video of your victory at the microphone. Just hand your phone to a person nearby and have them record you. Or if you’re really brave, do it selfie-style while at the microphone. You can send these to us via Facebook, Twitter or thejaggedword@gmail.com. Our victors will be greatly rewarded.

Have fun my friends, and you’re welcome!

bacon

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19 thoughts on “Surviving a District Convention

  1. I am cracking up. LOVE IT and I think the only reason I enjoyed the last convention was hanging out in the evening, even if it was with a bunch of Pastors. lol

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  2. Mid South district is lucky to get a 40% attendance rating..the convention SUCKS! only pastors that go are the ones who are retired,and they get to come for free….

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  3. This is hilarious! That bingo card will easily be filled in the first hour of any LCMS convention. I think what would be really entertaining is to change the game so a bunch of other funny phrases had to be used in order to win.

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  4. As a fellow cleric from the RCC, may I say, “We in the Court of the Gentiles salute you!” I assure you, no sin of a pastor is so heinous as to deserve the week-long harranging of the faithful who get access to microphones and ballots. We do it too — only, we use Latin names. Hence, convention becomes “Conventio.” Our annual clericus (priests only) got so vituperous that 10 years ago the bishop declared that, from henceforth, it would be a silent retreat. No priests could carry on conversations during Clericus, because irishmen, Italians, Germans, and beer turned out to lead occasionally to fisticuffs (but all for Jesus and orthodoxy.) However — beer would be free and inexhaustible for the clergy. It’s remarkably easy to have a beer or 5 with a brother priest you’re certain is destroying the Faith when all you’re allowed to say is, “Mmm, good beer!” I love your posts! I think we must surely be members of the same Church.

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    1. Beer…that sounds like LCMS…perhaps we should hold our convention and conventio side by side and meet in the middle between sessions for 1 or 5!

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  5. Guess what goes around comes around. I was sent an actual Bull#### Bingo Card from a listener of Rush Limbaugh to use on Presidential Promises in the State of the Union Speech. Is the church learning from the state again?

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  6. All kinds of meetings and seminars bring out the things you’ve described, and it is true some participants really enjoy the microphone too much, but in the name of Christian virtue, you need not act so dismissive and smug. The people attending these Synod conferences are imperfect….but they are your Christian brothers and sisters seeking solutions to real concerns and issues facing the LCMS. Those like yourself who do not take this effort seriously, who attend with a predetermined negativity, contribute nothing and just seem to go so you can write another witty blog. Perhaps, your true calling is comedy and satire. The sweat and work, and maturity required to contribute something worthwhile to the LCMS should be left to others more motivated.

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    1. John, first of all thank you for your compliment, I too think my blogs are witty. However I feel a little put off by the insinuation that I don’t take the bureaucratic endeavors of the church seriously. I know that many hours of long work have been put into them, I am fully aware that serious and even detrimental ideas and can be embraced or revoked at such meetings of the church. In fact the desire to find real solutions to the problems facing the LCMS is often palpable at the convention. So passionate are the presenters about what is accomplished at a convention that you would be tempted to think they are going to actually “fix” the church.

      And it is precisely because of this seriousness that I bring some much needed satire and levity. The very fact that I went through the hard work of designing a “Buzzword Bingo” game shows that I am more motivated than most to make an impact at the convention. Heck I’m not even limiting my efforts to my own convention but hoping to impact others across the nation. Laughter breaks the tension and helps us to stay focused on what is of real importance; laughter helps us to walk together.

      If you are going to a convention this year take along a bingo card, maybe even print out a few for some friends. Who knows you might even have some fun, you might even win!

      Peace

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      1. As you have witnessed in the above comment, and many times before I’m sure, the sheep we’re given to shepherd frequently have very sharp teeth.

        Mr. Flanagan, I say this with respect because you are my brother in Christ. St. Augustine — our common Father in the ancient and true Faith — taught us, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of the Holy Ghost in the believer.” Your post shaming a pastor of the Church because his sense of humor differs from your own at least apoears to indicate a distinct deficiency of this particular gift of the Holy Ghost.

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  7. Still annoying the bureaucrats, I see. I can’t help myself, however–at the end of the post, it should be “you’re welcome.” Grammar is life, and (thankfully) Jesus is risen from the dead and He is Lord.

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  8. Ah, I’d love to play, and certainly would, but alas, a family event precludes my attendance. Thus, it also precludes my participation in the next election for Synodical President. Hopefully and prayerfully the Body of Christ has a much better understanding of Grace than the body politic does. With the “punitive” direction our Bylaws have taken, it makes me wonder if humor will even be allowed from the convention floor. Oh, how I lament my absence…

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