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WordAlone—can learn a lesson in moving forward from auto maker

Pastor Dan Storvick (WordAlone Board member; American Evangelical Lutheran Church, Prescott, AZ)

September 26, 2006

You've heard it, read it, seen it. "Toyota--Moving Forward . . ." It is Toyota's brand message. It captures the spirit of "there's no best . . . only better." A Toyota vice president said, "'Moving Forward' means that we have a passion for innovation and discovery and that we're never standing still."

That might be a good philosophy for the WordAlone Network. In fact, I believe it is an identifiable part of our philosophy. "Moving Forward."

The network was born as a resistance movement dedicated to defeating the adoption of Called to Common Mission (the full communion agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church), with all its "unbelievable" machinations. Now that it is a fact of life, we can still resist its imposition on those of us who see it as unbiblical and contradictory of the Lutheran confessions.

What we need to resist even more are the temptations to whine, complain and wish for the good old days. No one is attracted to sourpusses. How much better to realize that we can move forward. I see signs of forward movement from a meeting of the WA board to the work of those in churches.

To date I have attended only one WA board meeting (I'm the newbie). As I traveled to the meeting, I did not know what to expect. Frankly, I wondered if it might be a protracted rump session about all that is wrong with the ELCA. While there was no shyness about noting and analyzing the heresy hot-spots in our church, there was a spirit of moving forward--looking forward to what positive actions and initiatives WA can pursue. What I discovered was a group of strong, dedicated, sophisticated and highly committed people who love their Lord and His church. WA's house of studies and theological conferences, as well as WA's partnerships with LC3, Lutheran CORE and the Reclaim hymnal team, are abundant evidence that WordAlone is moving forward.

On a local level, synod points of contact are expanding the work of WordAlone. I recently received an email from our Arizona contact, Jim Lindberg. Talk about a pro-active guy! He has arranged a meeting with new Grand Canyon Synod Bishop Stephen Talmage. Not only did our bishop agree to the meeting, but look what is on Lindberg's agenda.

Discuss WordAlone and its role in Synod affairs:

  1. What role can WA play in reinforcing core Lutheran principles and values in the synod?
  2. How can we break down the barriers to communication that have existed between the synod office and WA?
  3. What can WA do to create a more positive image with both lay and clergy members in the synod?
  4. What pro-active things can WA do to get the Grand Canyon Synod resolution on the ordination of practicing gays and lesbians overturned?
  5. What can WA do to stop the practice of same sex blessings that are being done by some of the clergy in our synod?

Is he moving forward or what!?! I applaud both Jim and the national WA board for their determination to keep moving forward.

"'Moving Forward' is much more than a tag line to us," said Toyota's marketing vice president in a 2003 news release, "It's an opportunity to inspire everyone within the company, as well as appeal to our customers, to celebrate their next stage in life. Choose any direction, as long as it's forward."

St. Paul said it this way: "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus," Philip. 3:14 (NRSV). We are in good company! Let's keep moving forward.