Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How a church dies

Coming from a long like of Presbyterian and Baptist ministers - this took me aback. John Calvin would unquestionably have a thing or two to say, and I know Mark Driscoll does.

If you ever find yourself blessed to visit Scotland (speaking of which, I need to get back), one thing you will notice from Edinburgh to the Highlands is the empty and converted Churches. Beautiful, historical, Churches build decades and centuries ago with great sacrifice by a poor, proud, but very Christian people. Almost like many places in New England.

As with those in many areas who don't understand what the giants whose shoulders they stand upon did - the Scots have in a large measure thrown away their Christian legacy in the ignorance and benign neglect that comes with complacency.

A lot of it has to do with a loss of perspective. A loss of fundamentals. A leadership that is more concerned with their pet projects, pride, and addressing their own problems than what is in line with what is actually taught in the New Testament.

Loss of focus and narcissism; yea, they got that.
The Kirk's annual meeting voted by 326 to 267 to support the Rev Scott Rennie, whose controversial appointment has threatened to split the church.

The 37-year-old divorced father-of-one plans is now free to take up his new post at Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen, where he plans to share the manse with his boyfriend.

In summary: a manse is a house that is owned by the church for the minister to live in - and all that comes with being a minister's house. Yep, ponder that. The vote in the Church of Scotland (AKA Presbyterian and Calvinist) was close ( 326 to 267 ). As usual, there was a lot of the usual bully-boying and taking advantage of the squishy middle that doesn't want to be called judgmental.

Pruned, it will grow again - but not with that bunch at the lead. I would offer to Scott that there are other denominations that he may want to focus his efforts on - to pursue his calling without destruction .... but no. That won't get you attention you crave. That won't validate your sin. In that line, perhaps starting with 'ole Phib - a little more praying for someone as opposed to ranting may be in order - but, silence is approval for me, and for Scott it might help to ponder that, as in many things, it isn't about you.

An important note here - we all have sin - I have to work and pray on mine every day. That isn't the issue.

I don't think that having as your minister a homosexual divorced father living out and proud in a church paid for house with his same-sex partner is quite the way to go, and isn't in line with what most see as being part of the Calvinist and Presbyterian tradition. Scott, what it dies is draw the attention and effort to you and not your calling - which hopefully isn't what you want.

I know this may seem like a strange post from someone who wants to change "Don't ask - Don't tell" to "Don't care." The difference is one is a secular concern - the other religious.

The church in Scotland specifically, the United Kingdom in general - and in Europe at a grand scale have plenty of problems with their Christian heritage .... bringing homosexual couples to the very front of their congregations will not solve any of the problems .... and will actually distract from addressing them. Shame.

Well, they could just follow the English model and turn them all into Mosques instead. All in good time, strong horse and all that - when your cathedrals are converted into conference centers - in the military we call that "Indications and Warnings."

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