Here is a tribute to the late Dr. Donald Macleod who was Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics at Princeton until called home by Jesus; and even if you weren't one of his students, you may catch the drift.
Calling today's presbytery meeting to order, the moderator asked, "Shall we pray?"
Conditioned so well by one of my mentors, I thought, "Gee, I don't know. Maybe we can vote on it."
As I've written ad nauseum in reference to the irenic and redemptive spirit of my particular judicatory (Blackhawk Presbytery), I'm a lot more fortunate than friends and foes in other ecclesiastical governing bodies across franchise lines who live and minister amid open hostilities and hatred in a Christian kind of way.
Today's meeting provided another paradigm for the rest of 'em.
A solidly evangelical congregation in our presbytery (Aurora) hosted the meeting; and a network or affinity group or caucus or paradenominational or whatever else comes to mind to describe gatherings of folks who ain't official ministries of the franchise yet scream for our attention as if turning up the volume and forcing their way into our sight lines will convert us after all of this time issued this, uh, press release: "The Covenant Network Board in Blackhawk Presbytery, sensitive to the expressed attitudes of a significant group in First Presbyterian Church's membership, has decided not to display our resources at this church."
That's cool for two reasons.
First, in these times when our peace, unity, and purity are so precarious, only networks, affinity groups, caucuses, and paradenominationals looking to upset our peace, unity, and purity force themselves upon folks who aren't interested in hosting, accommodating, or enabling witnesses determined to be anathema to their witness.
Parenthetically, I would never expect some extreme left or right congregations to host, accommodate, or enable my favorites; unless, of course, I was trying to start a fight in a Christian kind of way.
Second, the precedent has been set; which means we don't have to host, accommodate, or enable 'em when presbytery meets in our church next May.
I applaud the Covenant Network of Blackhawk Presbytery for being sensitive to the witness of evangelical churches which believe their witness is anathema to Biblical Christianity as upheld by our constitution so far yet so precariously; and I promise we will not try to set up our booths in their churches even while we're praying...
Here's an alert from mainline new church developments!
Mainline new church development experts tell their new church development pastors to omit franchise labels like Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and the like from their names.
If you don't know why, you haven't been listening for the last few decades to ecclesiastical sociologists who've said we're smack dab in the middle of post-denominationalism.
Or as a friend and his session said to mainline executives when they visited the church and asked why they were changing their name and including no reference to the franchise after a collective guffaw: "If you have to ask, we're not going to be able to help you to understand."
I caught some of that bitter taste last Sunday.
We've started a satellite worship service about ten miles from the home site.
After a rousing worship service with commitments to continue and invite more folks, I spotted a woman who was looking at literature from our family of faith; and then she brought one piece to me with her finger pointing at the word Presbyterian.
Our less than an hour service was followed by almost another hour of conversation punctuated by contentious comments: "I'm not joining a Presbyterian church because they don't believe in the Bible...Are you here to start a Presbyterian church or just a worship service for real believers?...If you're trying to make Presbyterians, we won't be back...What are you trying to do?...You know the Presbyterians don't believe in Jesus or Biblical marriage...[etc., etc., etc.]."
I said we're not trying to start a Presbyterian church; and emphasized our home church sent me to help new friends experience saving intimacy with God through Jesus as enabled by the Holy Spirit.
A woman - I'll call her Amy because that's her name - said, "Then we'll be back!"
Like it or not, mainliners have a terrible reputation with Jesus-loving-Bible-believing people who are searching for a church home.
It's hard enough to get folks through the doors these days; which is why I talk more about Jesus than franchises.
Uh, isn't that...?
Quickly from the SP fan club!
After reading about Piper and Trig Palin and my 12 year old buddy in the last KD (9/4/08), a friend who I thought for sure would join our family of faith before now wrote, "Yeah, I know just how your 12 year old friend felt. _____ was adopted because her father also had another girl pregnant and married her not _____'s mom. I'm sure happy she's still around. And my folks got married after I was on the way. And I kind of think _____ is happy that I'm still around."
Go back to the last KD for the complete context.
Speaking of SP and how underwhelmed I've been about the other candidates, I'm looking for a campaign button kinda like this:
Actually, a friend sent a mock-up to me which she's gonna send again as a file attachment which I can send to you.
I know the preceding comes as a shock to my way left friends who think all relatively conservative crackers are gender chauvinists.
Truth is the way left and way right are ideological fundamentalists who forget there's always some space between white and black.
Maybe that's why name-calling never quite captures true character.
Blessings and Love!