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Eckardt Crabby about Changes

by ToddPeperkorn ~ January 30th, 2009

Below you’ll find a couple excerpts from Burnell Eckardt’s blog, Gottesblog. In it he laments the changes made to the one year lectionary in LSB. You may read them as you see fit.

I wanted to make one comment, really. Okay, a question and a comment. First off, what changes are we talking about here? Are we talking about the translation? The Introits and graduals? Are we talking about the OT readings and the occasional Epistle? What precisely are we talking about?

Then on to the comment. I will say for myself that I have been very happy with the LSB one year lectionary. I’ve used it since it was in “field test” form, so about six years or so. Really my only complaint (and it is barely that) is that I would have preferred the NKJV over the ESV. My reason for that is that I prefer the Majority text to a critical edition, and I think that the NKJV retains the poetry of the language a little better. But I am also willing to give on that comment regard.

As to the readings themselves, I’ll say that I love them. I much prefer the narratives over the predictive prophecy in the OT readings. I’m sure Fritz will tell me why it’s bad, but I find it much more preachable.

So those are my Friday afternoon lectionary thoughts, as I muse on the Transfiguration.

So you one year folks, what do you think of the LSB lectionary? Good, bad, ugly? Why?


Crabby about Changes: by Burnell Eckardt

I tried to go with the plan, and agree to the slight compromise of accepting the one-year lectionary put forward by the LSB committee. It’s a compromise because, on the one hand, it’s mostly the same as the historic–in fact, the Gospels are all the same–and it would be good to foster some uniformity among followers of the one year series; but on the other hand there are a few changes, although the historic Epistle is always available, even if only on occasion as an alternate. The Old Testament readings are new, but then, Old Testament readings were never part of the historic lectionary in the first place.

So it was that the little group of us that met at my place in October of 2007, our liturgy seminar, to talk about what sort of one-year lectionary would be best, arrived at this compromise, and went with the LSB one-year lectionary, and in fact have posted it at this very Gottesdienst site, under Calendar and Archives. A number of Gottesdienst readers have followed suit, and routinely go to this calendar for their readings.

So off we went, for a couple of weeks into the new year. And dag nab it, I soon found myself missing the readings I had come to expect after years of having them. And I got to thinking, why did I change? To foster uniformity? But the decision to go with a local lectionary (local in a parochial sense, rather than in the geometric sense in which local lectionaries differed from one another in the regions of Germany after the Reformation, many of which also had their own lectionaries) is not going to foster any real catholic uniformity anyhow.

So I have reversed myself.

I’m back to the historic historic lectionary, in hopes of alleviating my crabbiness, and trusting my instincts. And as for possible charges that this will brand me as fickle, or hopelessly repristinating, or, worst of all, in disagreement with our own calendar, or whatever, I have to swallow and say, Damn the torpedoes. I’d rather be happy.”

(Via Gottesdienst Online.)

13 Responses to Eckardt Crabby about Changes

  1. Rev. P.T. McCain

    Be they high and crazy, low and lazy, or broad and hazy, American Lutherans can all agree, so it seems, that if there is personal gratification and satisfaction over matters adiaphora, they just won’t be happy.

    And besides, now really, tell me: if Fritz was actually happy with anything other than what he concocts in his own congregation, would we be happy?

    I don’t think so.

    ; )

  2. weedon

    I confess, I’m quite happy with the LSB one year series. And though I was initially inclined to the NKJV (also preferring majority text), the ESV has won we over, especially on the Epistles. It’s simply clearer to the modern ear. I really love the lectionary – beautifully laid out, easy to use, and lacking only one thing: they need to publish a bigger and more beautiful “Book of the Gospels” containing all the Gospel readings for A,B,C and One Year and Festivals (and the Passion).

    If there is one thing I think is a little weak, it is the longer Introits. I understand the rationale, but I think that it would have been better to leave the historic Introits alone rather than “augmenting” them. But even that’s not a deal breaker by a long shot.

    When I remember the days of being a “do it yourself” historic lectionary guy, I’m really delighted that LSB so fully supports the one year.

  3. csesget

    I’m very much a Byzantine Textform believer, and so will never be entirely happy with any translation not in that stream. I have grown reasonably content with the ESV, however, since we’ve been using it (although we still read the Gospel from our NKJ Book of the Gospels). Aside from that, I too am very happy with the LSB Lutheran Lectionary. I never use the “optional” texts for the Epistles and Gospels. I think the selection of OT lessons is superb. There are always things to be crabby about, but I don’t think the Lutheran Lectionary as presented in LSB is one of them.

  4. chaz_lehmann


    You make a great point. Fritz’s parish is all about innovation. Yeah, he claims that his innovations really take him back to older things, but they are what they are: many customs that you find nowhere else in Lutheranism.

    His post falls flat completely. He needs to get over himself.

  5. BF Eckardt

    My oh my.

    I guess when I say “crabby” I’m actually not really crabby, at least not in the sense that other people are about me. But since ad hominem comments are twisted complements, I guess they should make my day.

    To answer Todd’s legitimate concern, admittedly I could have made my original point more clearly. It was not really meant as a jab against the LSB lectionary per se, but rather that I found myself wondering why I the changes in the Epistles were being offered. That’s it. I wasn’t thinking about the Introits, the translation, or really even the Old Testament readings. Only the Epistles.

    If you want to use them, go for it. Fine with me. That’s not what made me crabby. It was when I found myself having to make adjustments in my own usage, with no particular rationale, that I began scratching my head. It goes back to the adage, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  6. chaz_lehmann

    It’s not an ad hominem to note that the liturgical practice of your congregation is not that of any other congregation in American Lutheranism, or at least, the Missouri Synod. It’s a statement of fact.

    And, to be perfectly blunt, the day I worshiped in Kewanee, I was unable to discern any theological rationale for your innovations. I was not even offered one.

    I’m not saying that your liturgical practices are *wrong* or anything like that. What I’m saying is that they are innovative. They are not what was practiced in Kewanee when you got there and I think you’d concede that it’s pretty much impossible to establish that they go back to any older practice that existed to any large degree in Missouri before you introduced them.

    Your argument that you don’t like the new one year because of change, then how do you justify YOURSELF?

    Thanks for your work in Gottesdienst. I really do mean that.

  7. chaz_lehmann

    The second to last paragraph should read:

    If your argument is that you don’t like the new one year because of change, then how do you justify YOURSELF?

  8. +BF Eckardt

    I really can’t say what you’re referring to. I can’t think of anything we’re doing here that is actually a pure innovation.

    Maybe you mean my reading the Gospel from the pulpit instead of the lectern? I guess that’s a bit innovative, since the pulpit is not the same thing as the Gospel horn of the altar, though in our setting it is pretty close.

    Or maybe you mean reading the collect from the center of the altar? But that’s where Lutheran pastors usually read it from, though I’ll grant it ought to be from the Epistle horn.

    Or maybe you’re thinking of the lavabo, or other altar preparations? But those are all quite catholic and certainly not unheard of among Lutherans even in our day.

    Nope, I can’t figure. You have me stumped. It strikes me as odd that you have me pegged for an innovator. Perplexed. Oh well, at least I’m not crabby any more.

  9. chaz_lehmann

    “Or maybe you’re thinking of the lavabo, or other altar preparations? But those are all quite catholic and certainly not unheard of among Lutherans even in our day.”

    This would be an example. Another would be the tabernacle and the apparent custom of reverencing it apart from its use in the distribution (an issue that I think runs very close to the proscriptions of the Formula).

    I’ve got no problem with the lavabo rite. But let’s not pretend that using it in our congregations is anything less than an innovation. Much of the liturgical practice (even our vestments!) is an innovation where Missouri is concerned.

    If you want me to cease my accusation of innovation, get rid of everything but your Geneva gown (if you have one).

    But now that you’ve introduced all sorts of whacky (and quite good) liturgical customs, that too would be an innovation.

    My point is fairly straightforward. We liturgical types shouldn’t pretend to be non-innovative. The fact is, in the greater history of Missouri, we are innovators. That’s not a legitimate argument against us.

    I use the liturgy because it is GOOD and BETTER than the alternatives. I do not use the liturgy because it is old.

    Change is bad is and always has been a lousy argument.

  10. Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Chaz:

    That’s a really interesting comment that “Fritz’s parish is all about innovation.” Could you go into a little more detail about that? I sang there once with the Kantorei, and in my very limited experience with his parish, I found them to be “all about” the Gospel and our Lord. They were gracious hosts and reverent in the conduct of the traditional liturgy. I just didn’t see a single “innovation” nor did I experience unusual “customs” in their liturgy that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Lutheran parishes – but that was a few years ago.

    Maybe you have some more recent observations you can share? Maybe you’ve been there more recently than I have, but I would like to hear more. I mean, that is a pretty severe assessment. I’d really like to hear your reasoning for drawing that rather harsh conclusion.

    You make it sound like Fritz is some kind of a monster (what does “he needs to get over himself” mean?). Again, that has just never been my experience with Fritz.

    Personally, I don’t think Todd was raising the issue to talk about Fritz, but rather about Fritz’s opinion of the LSB lectionary – but somehow the topic got a little sidetracked. But that’s how things go, I suppose. Again, in my admittedly-limited experience, I have found Fritz to be very pastoral and especially supportive of pastors who have been kicked in the teeth a few times in this synod (and I think you and I could both name a few, Charles).

    I think when a guy has been in the parish for that many years, and has his share of battle-scars, he’s entitled to be a little crabby. I think we can all be crabby sometimes. In fact, I think every manjack who has posted on this thread has demonstrated considerable crabbiness at one time or another.

  11. pastorjuhl

    Pr. Eckardt has rightly taken this matter over to Gottesblog. May I suggest that the discussion continue over there?


  12. Pr. Martin Diers

    On another vein, not related to this “in house” debate, I also used the “field test” material — in fact, I still use it (I have yet to acquire an LSB as my congregation still uses the TLH and NKJV).

    The Old Testament readings, I believe, are identical to the series published in Nesper’s Biblical Texts, to harmonize with the historic Epistle and Gospel. Nesper does not take credit for the series, so I am not sure who did it. It may, in fact, have been Frederick Soll, who was also responsible for the Synodical Conference series (which is also quite excellent in the manner in which it harmonizes with the Historic Gospel).

    I find that the Epistles presented in the “field test” material are rather excellent. Luther himself lamented repeatedly the poor choices of Epistle texts in the historic series. The alternates presented in the LSB show remarkable restraint — sticking closely to the historic Epistle, adding verses when possible to include Gospel in those readings which would otherwise be entirely Law, and offering very well chosen alternatives when this is not possible, or the historic Epistle just does not correlate to the Gospel reading at all.

  13. Brian Westgate

    St. Matthew’s in Milwaukee (WELS, the old Hoeneke church) uses the Historic Pericope, with the Soll OT lessons.

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