Monday, August 22, 2005

so take off then!

discovered that someone else has decided to 'jump ship' from our congregation...
I love it!!
Someone else who ‘gets it’ about church and their gone. Had enough of the dish we were serving up and found something better somewhere else! Gorgeous! I love it! Why does this just keep happening – people who could make appositive contribution to the future and current function of our church are just deciding to leave.
Abdicate responsibilities.
Find a different church.
I can’t think of something more selfish!
And what about the church and it’s leadership – can they not see that these people have given the church an honest shot (sort of) and still want keep their heads firmly planted in their nether regions.
We have told the world that it’s hope is in the local church and then we behave like this!
It makes me want to throw a noose around my neck and yank.
I spend 12 years coaxing, cajoling, coddling, chastising, and yes sometimes even lying to students about the importance of belong to the local body. And then WHAMMO in one fell swoop I look like a liar. But do we care about what kind of church is left for our children to pick up when we are gone. Oh wait let me see it goes something like this:
1. Find a church you like and go there
Till another one looks more interesting
2. Make sure you go to a church where you can get fed
Right so that what? You get more knowledge to get what? Hmmm
Anybody heard of service or servanthood?
3. Don’t get too attached to the people who you spend a few years with in the church cause that will only make it hard to leave when something ‘cooler’ comes along.
Yeah that’s right and it also means you don’t really need to be accountable to anyone either.
4. What ever you do don’t become members or in any other way tie yourself to the function of the church
This only leads to awkward visits from the pastor – and letter yeah letters…
5. Oh yeah find a church that has enough things wrong with it that you’ll have a good excuse to leave when you need to.
6. And another thing sacrifice and church do not go together.
And basically the role of leadership in any given church is to facilitate this as much as possible. By being rigid and redundant; ignorant and self absorbed!
And look leadership - if I’m to blame – Fire Me! Now! Please!
Otherwise lead – for God’s sake lead.


Sterling said...

Wow, you really laid it out there. Hope you don't get burned - stepping on toes sometimes caused you to get punched. I've seen it and experienced it too.

The way I see it, the local church is a soci-political institution just like any other. The REAL Church is something much bigger - it transends time and place. People can pretned that the local church is something loftier but come on, look around. Anyway, as an institution, it has it's power base. Where does the power reside in our church? Take a look at who provides the most funding. You offend that group and funding is lost. That's why change will come very slowly (if ever). Conservatism rules here (and I'm not talking about Ralph's big blue machine). Also, let's face it, the local church is just a part of people's lives - it's part of the wardrobe - it's not the centre of it for most. Some things I keep, some things I give to MCC, some things I throw away. Until the local church faces reality, not much is going to change and frankly, I have better ways to spend my time.

Just one man's voice. Take it or leave it. I could care less if people like it (or me) or not.

You rule Dale!

Incoming... said...

thanks ster
i guess from time to time I am still smitten with this distracting and inconvenient notion of 'the local church being the hope for the world' or said another way - - the specific context of the expression of Christ through His body the church is the hope for humanities redemption from evil.
Granted I am not convinced, that the institution that 'the church' has become, remotely ressembles the ideal.
I also catagorically agree that we need to face reality. Like I said those who are in leadership (and that includes me) needs to lead instead of react or protect. The responsibility is huge. And as leaders we should bear the brunt of our current situation.
How can you blame people for leaving (even though i just did)? It's their choice informed by many wise considerations but...
You and I might survive the devolution of the this institution but what of our responsibility to preserve and pass along a vibrant REAL church to those that follow us. And this is not that we need to some how protect the church cause it is God's entity. But if we are the hope of the world - are we adequate conduits of that hope - not just individually but as a body.
It is sad that the epitaph for what we know as church now reads "Selfish to death!" But then maybe you are right maybe it should die. Good riddance.

Gil said...

Yikes Dale, what do you really think? You know that anyone can read things on the internet right? I share Sterling's concern for your future.
Not that I disagree with your assessment of the 'church shopping' phenomenon. It is a uniquely modern idea that we change churches like we change socks based on how dirty they are and how much they smell.
I also agree with Sterling's 'socio-political' analysis. Simply put the church looks like most other organizations in that those who give the money expect the results. It can be difficult to discern the activity of God in the midst of all the political wrangling.
Be careful little feet which toes you step on...

Incoming... said...

mine are big and fat and do their fair share of stepping...
maybe I am out of line...
as for my future? Yeah it probabaly wasn't the greatest career enhancing move or the most pastorally sensitive thing I could do. And it would be sad to have my comments read as a personal indictment of these individuals. And i realize that they could easily be taken that way. However, my comments really come cause it hurts to have 'good' people who 'get it' leave. It makes me question whether I should even keep on doing what i am doing - if there is any worth in it at all.
I want to believe that somehow the idea of church can find meaning and legitiamte expression in the life of believers in a broken world...

Clinton said...

And the 'led' say, "sometimes a shepherd would be a nice alternative to the ambitious cowboy." Service can become a little tedious when it's offered from the heart with as pure a motive as one can muster only to feel the tug of a lasso around one's neck or hear the crack of a whip over one's shoulders. God forbid the whip should ever hit you.

Seems to me the NT uses the analogy of a shepherd for a good reason. I find that too often, in my experience, (and I'm not sure where else I'd find anything) church leaders seem to believe that it's their right, their mandate, their obligation to move the body along in a prescribed direction. Well no amount of cajoling, threatening or bribing will motivate those who 'get it' to keep on serving. I'll serve to the death under leaders who understand that to shepherd a flock you have to handle the sheep, even if that makes you smell like a sheep. Crack the whip, however and I'm as skittish as a yearling in spring and thoughts of 'greener pastures' are conjured up oh too easily.

Incoming... said...

There we go now we've brought in the heavy hitters. Nice to see you chiming in Uncle. (and by the way congrats on the latest addition to your family - my cousin)
As for your comments...
I hear you.
Dictators and overbearing control freaks are not listed amoung my fav models of leadership.
Maybe I sounded like that here with this take - I don't know!
But when it comes to sheep you probably want somebody laying his/her life down for your animals rather than running down hill at the first sign of danger. Or worse yet just sitting there in the face of danger and refusing to identify it. And again - easily i may very well be at vault.
In the resulting conversations I have had on this topic it is clear to me that addressing the apparent abdication of responsibility to the local expression of the church with individual - is a failing endeavor.
On the other hand it is unclear to me how the leadership of any given church can aspire to be any more than purveyors or protectors of the most popular (or dollar garnering) product on the church market landscape. Without you and I taking responsibilities to live as a body - co-priests in its function and direction, will our leaders and pastors be anything more than puppets (regardless of whether they are cowboys, cowards or shepherds).
Of course it's a great reminder that you can't really spank people into or around 'the kingdom' if you want this 'hope for the world' to work.
there you go I'll try to leave the lasso alone...

Clinton said...

No sir, you didn't sound like that here. I'm just an old idealist lashing out in frustration at the most recent attempt to disillusion him (and I don't mean your post).

I had a lengthy diatribe all typed out here but I really shouldn't play the engineer and railroad your blog here.


Incoming... said...

it seemed like vaild counterpoint nonetheless...
lay down the tracks if you like otherwise this caboose is off the tracks...