I was going to celebrate our wedding anniversary last night; but I had a session meeting.
Fortunately, our elders love Jesus; praying and laboring to honor Him through our family of faith.
So it didn't feel like penance; which is how I usually feel when attending most churchy meetings.
From what I'm hearing and seeing, I should be especially thankful for this uncommon experience in mainline denominations where any connection between Jesus and polity/practice is purely coincidental.
My wife and I went to lunch at my favorite local ethnic restaurant.
It's next to my favorite coffee shop.
She's a subscriber to KD; and, like you, gets it for free.
Unlike you, she showed her appreciation with a gift card to Starbucks; knowing I like my coffee like He likes His disciples: bold.
She also gave a nice check to help pay off my Caliber/plastic and increase my chrome pony fund to $17.89.
The gifts were for our anniversary.
She is like you.
Not changing the subject, temptations are bad things that taste good; yet lead to emotional/intellectual/spiritual/physical indigestion sooner or later.
I pray, "Lord, please don't lead me into temptations because I have no problem finding them myself."
Speaking of temptations, anyone forced to read Animal Farm in 6th or 7th grade knows fascism isn't just a right-wing phenomenon.
The left and right will slip on the glove of dictatorship - geezers will recall that skit from That Was The Week That Was - whenever they get the chance.
Might isn't always right; but it's kinda fun.
For example, lefties have seized control of mainline denominations; advocating and enabling defiance of their own constitutions which, more than less, honor Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.
Everybody knows that; and when somebody says they don't know that, they're either illiterate, residing in the ozone layer of reality, paddling a canoe through Disney's It's a Small World, smokin' weed in WalMart's parking lot, flashing back to their first Vanilla Fudge concert, or part of the conspiracy that took over and want you to think...
They don't want you to think; which, parenthetically, is a KD intention.
With the country turning harder left in Election 2008, ecclesiastical lefties in mainline denominations, formerly held in check by the decreasing numbers of folks on the rolls who still believe in Jesus and Biblical authority as upheld by their constitutions, are goin' for, uh, it.
My particular ecclesiastical judicatory (presbytery for those not chained to my parochial ghetto), which is not unlike most mainliners these days, has some polity-savvy-passive-aggressive lefties who are trying to sneak a really bad ideological codicil into the bylaws which, uh, dictates, in effect, that individual/particular churches which host presbytery meetings forfeit their jurisdiction over anybody authorized by somebody - still trying to figure out who's really behind this one - to hawk their wares/ideologies even if they are anathema to the individual/particular church's witness: "Recognized networks and partnerships may exhibit and present in presbytery meetings and their participation may not be restricted by any church or group."
Uh, fleshing that out a bit because that's what's really behind all of this, it means an individual/particular church which is kinda still fundie enough to believe in Biblical standards of human sexuality cannot proscribe the distribution of literature and pulpit/lectern/center/aisle/microphone presentations of ideologies bearing little resemblance to Biblical Christianity if authorized by somebody yet to be identified.
Are you confused?
O.K., let me use another example which may help.
Recently, in Pittsburgh, a decision was reached that said Presbyterian pastors can preside at same-sex weddings because there's nothing in the constitution prohibiting same-sex weddings which means they're not presiding at same-sex weddings because there's no provision for same-sex weddings in the constitution which allows them to preside...
Go back to Orwell (viz., Animal Farm and also 1984 which is being re-edited for 2008).
Pastors who are still fixated on Jesus as the paradigm and the Bible as the prescription for ecclesiastical polity/practice recognize their responsibility to fence congregations from apostasies and antagonisms to the old, old, increasingly ignored, story of Jesus and His agape.
They'll fight such overtures, conspiracies, and, uh, back door attempts to defy Biblical Christianity as upheld by their constitutions so far yet so precariously.
They'll withhold and redirect their $.
But it's over; and Dandy Don is singing in the distance, "Turn out the lights! The party's over!"
If you're a mainline pulpiteer/pewsitter, you're gonna have to deal with the mainline moving to the sideline of American religious life as well as Biblical fidelity just like crackers are gonna have to get over Election 2008.
Now would be a good time to read about those revelatory two witnesses.
As pour moi, I ignore 'em; and I'm still protected - How long, Jesus? - by a denominational constitution which allows my dissent, redirections of resources and energies/emotions, and continuing witness to Jesus according to the Bible as long as I don't start taking stuff like blood atonement and animal sacrifices too seriously.
I call it creative neglect.
You can read about the particulars in my non-best-selling Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry which is on sale via www.amazon.com or from me at $5 plus postage and donation - I'm learning from Joel and Rick! - if you hit the reply key and provide a preferred address.
Getting back to the sneaky little effort from the lefties in my judicatory to force our moderate to evangelical congregations within its jurisdiction to, uh, entertain their ideologies, my favorite rationalization is their insistence that proscriptions against their crap is censorship.
Do you think Jesus would say, "Today, we're going to hear from folks who don't think I'm the way, truth, or life; and you can pick up their literature on the demonstration/exhibit tables in the narthex"?
Help me, Jesus!
Anyway, claiming our national ethic of "free speech" for witnesses anathema to Biblical Christianity as upheld by our constitution is cool for the streets but not sanctuaries consecrated for the glory, laud, and honor of Jesus alone.
Read Matthew 10 and John 10 sometime for a refresher on pastoral responsibilities.
I forgot to mention our judicatory is meeting today on that sneaky amendment-to-the-bylaws proposal.
I'm gonna catch some hell for even bringing this up; but, you know, it's a KD thing.
If they ain't got nothin' to hide (aka clandestine agenda)...
I probably won't speak; unless, of course, I get really...
An old elder counseled many years ago, "Don't get into tinkling contests with skunks."
If it passes, I'll get up, ask to be recorded in the minutes as dissenting, maybe check with higher judicatories as to the constitutionality of it all, and tell our session that we've got an open date next May when we were supposed to host a presbytery meeting.
In case you're interested, I wouldn't force one of the few but increasingly vocal and recently emboldened lefty congregations in our presbytery to allow groups like Christians for Biblical Sexuality or Christians Who Still Remember Jesus to hawk literature in their naves and speak from their pulpits.
Joshua 24:14-15 explains my reasoning.
Psst, for mainliners, that's in the Old Testament between Deuteronomy and Judges.
Just being serious for a change.
Happy anniversary, honeybear!
Your gifts were thoughtful.
Your patience is...
Blessings and Love!