Saturday, January 28, 2006

Case Study...

Respond to this case study: A couple has begun to come to the “emergent”
church where you are a pastor. They were recently married under a new Canadian
law. They have expressed interest in becoming members of your church. However,
the married couple is two women. What is your pastoral response? Briefly defend
your response? Remember, as an emergent church, your mission is to reach out to
emergent people groups.

So this is one of the questions we have to respond to in our class on Emerging Church Issues. Duecks please swallow your aversion for coloquiallisms (i can just see you grating your teeth at emerging/emergent) But screw the emergent perspective. How do you think this question should be answered? How do youthink your answer would go over in your local church?

9 comments:

Balmy Eva said...

The problem is with membership of a church in general. Such a concept allows us to vote and be included on committees of various descent - enabling us to feel included and somehow influencial (to buy-in) in the whole. If an individual does not believe in or respect the general bylaws/rules of a denomination, I would not allow them membership in my church (were someone silly enough to make me responsible for deciding such a thing); in the same way, I do not allow people to enter my home if I feel they will be harmful to the safety of my family. In addition, I would not allow that harmful individual to make decisions for me or influence me. Sin is harmful to the body (both physically and metaphorically), and as such should not be permitted. If your church feels the couple is sinning, you have a responsibility to make this known.
On another note, I get the feeling sometimes that the term 'emergent church' is an indication of the body of christ hoaring itself out to the world. Do other people think this?

Incoming... said...

interesting. there is no doubt in my mind that, "sin is harmful to the body." would you see any difference in allowing a greedy CEO into membership in your church? (the only reason i ask this is cuase sometimes it's harder to see if someone is greedy than if they are homo)
I can see how the hoar imagery comes easily - it often seems like these emergent people pick the most extreme issues to plunk away at - i think it leaves a pretty sour taste...

Ryan Dueck said...

Well Dale, your question wrenched me from my comfortable and familiar surroundings of abstraction and speculation. I read your question and I thought "Holy crap, what WOULD I do?" Kind of makes me wonder how relevant some of the things I study really are, but that's another discussion...

If I were a pastor (a big if, I know) and I was faced with this situation I would do my best to make the 'couple' understand that Christ was truly a 'friend of sinners' and that they were welcome to attend our services and learn more about what following him meant. Having said that, I think that I would be inaccurately representing Jesus and the church if I did not make it clear that the church is not the sort of place where we bring whatever moral convictions we happen to entertain, and then top them off with a dollop of 'Jesus' like some kind of whipped cream on top of a cake that we have already chosen. I firmly believe that the church (however imperfectly we do this currently, and whichever sins we happen to prefer to avoid in favor of homosexuality) has a prophetic role to play in society - we have a legitimate role in calling people to certain standards of personal holiness, as a way of training our corrupted minds and bodies about what it means to be a human being made in God's image - how to live well, and be most fully human.

Everett, I share your loathing of the term 'Emergent.' Quite frankly I have no idea what these people think they are emerging from or what the destination of their emerging will be. It seems to be a clever way of saying we're Christians but we don't buy into any of that Christian tradition stuff, and we'll just pick and choose which parts of it are 'relevant' or appealing to us. Maybe this is 'whoring itself out to the world,' maybe it's just trendy, who knows. I, for one, am tired of the term, and wish they'd just emerge already...

Incoming... said...

oh it's whore
thanks spell checker

Incoming... said...

sounds to me like we some people are kinda annoyed about the whole emergent thing :)

Freezer said...

ditto - If 'emergent people groups' in your case study means "new people groups", I would laugh seeing as homosexuality is nothing new. Good comeback on the greedy CEO thing. Amen. HOw about we change the conversation from emergent church - to seeking to be the true church. I too am bothered by much of the emergent talk which separates itself from the rest of the church. We are all a part of the body of Christ. And if I take that analogy any further I'm afraid of what might be emerging. (I'm very tired can you tell?)

Balmy Eva said...

My good friends, if the greedy CEO is sinning (which I'm assuming is what you mean), then I agree he should not be allowed membership in a church. I recognize that a church is made up entirely of sinning individuals. What draws the line in the sand is their willingness to confess and be forgiveness. I believe forgiveness comes when I am in a state of mind where I wish to be forgiven for something. Otherwise, Christ can do nothing for me. As a result, I ask why should any individual be allowed to function as a member of the governing body of a church when they themselves are not able to obtain the same forgiveness as me. This is the reason why I have a problem with church membership in the first place...there is no way to identify those without visible sins. There's your emergent church; one with no governing body because no reliable person is found to lead it. Worship on your knees and come play poker with me...that is fellowship.

Incoming... said...

i think that's brilliant evy
i think you've said it -in your own inimitable way...
We are all looking for community - longing really!
I also share your frustration with memebership. If membership is supposed to identify some level of spiritual advancement - we have done a pretty poor job teaching what that should be all about. if on the other hand membership is kind of glorified way of counting sheep and making sure you meeting your budget - that's a pretty lame reason to have membership.
So yeah...
Are we playing this week?

Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info
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