Got the astounding news today that the radio program Issues, Etc. -- a favorite of Rich and mine -- has been suddenly canceled and its host and producer, the Rev. Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz, respectively, unceremoniously fired with no explanation.
And this is Holy Week.
Reliable sources say that the cause is neither finances nor scandal -- neither of which would have necessitated the sudden cancellation of the program anyway. Speculation abounds, but the fact that there was no warning coupled with the fact that even the show's Web site was taken down completely smacks of a punishing stance by the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod, which underwrote the program.
Here's a roundup of blog posts about the topic:
Wil Weedon: http://weedon.blogspot.com/2008/03/holy-tuesday-treachery.html
Randy Asburry: http://rasburrysres.blogspot.com/2008/03/day-of-infamy-call-for-prayer.html
James White: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2585
Kim Riddlebarger: http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/the-latest-post/2008/3/18/lcms-pulls-the-plug-on-issues-etc.html
J.A.T. Vierkant: http://jatvierkantsnotebook.blogspot.com/2008/03/issues-etc-canceled.html
It just galls me that hacks like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are multimillionaires and poor Todd and Jeff are in the ranks of the unemployed today.
UPDATE: Looks like the LCMS has offered up a non-responsive response on the KFUO Web site:
For programmatic and business reasons, the decision was made this week to discontinue the "Issues, Etc." program on KFUO-AM. We look forward to bringing you new programming in this time slot in the near future. Also, we thank "Issues" host Rev. Todd Wilken and producer Mr. Jeff Schwarz for their years of service on behalf of the station. Those interested may still download past "Issues, Etc." programs from the "Issues" archive on this website. Thank you sincerely for your continued support of KFUO's radio ministry.
Try again, LCMS. Not. Good. Enough.
UPDATE: Pastor Wil Weedon, a frequent IE guest and -- I believe -- Jeff Schwarz's own pastor, is wanting to organize a formal public protest in St. Louis. Here's his blog post about it.
I'll be there in spirit, pastor.