Getting back to the parlor of Kansas City's 2nd Presbyterian Church (scroll down to the 2/8/10 edition), I'll never forget another apocalyptic moment that provided a precursor to the unscientific survey conducted by Ted et moi that was recently confirmed by the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Research Services (again, scroll down to the 2/8/10 edition).
Our session - that's the really important decision-making judicatory in a local church that's into presbyterian polity - was discussing one of those hot button issues that generate more emotional passion than intellectual/spiritual precision.
After several saints tried to look at it through the eyes of Jesus and Biblical Christianity, an elder who had made it through the process to ordination because she must have been a member of the same sorority as the woman who chaired the nominating committee took off her readers attached to a beautiful gold necklace that she didn't get at Walgreen's, twirled a lock of her gorgeously frosted hair in a way that suggested some kinda imminent self-gratification, and snapped in an inappropriately condescending way, "I know that's what Jesus and the Bible say, but I think..."
That's when it hit me.
Auto-suggestion rather than divine revelation in Jesus and Holy Scripture has become the new authority in mainline denominations.
All kinds of adulteries take place in church parlors.
It takes one to know one.
When how we feel and what we think rival God's revelations in Jesus and Holy Scripture, all kinds of adulteries take place in...
I wasn't stunned to receive some emotionally sharp and intellectually/spiritually dull responses to that 2/8/10 edition of KD.
Most clergy/others expressed dismay bordering on fatalism about the reasons why so many of today's mainliners don't really believe what they affirmed/pretended in ordination: (1) Young women and men who had just finished seven years or more of "higher" education in preparation for ordination as ministers of the Word and sacrament(s) really didn't understand the vows/promises/interrogatives-demanding-declaratives as in consonance with the Biblical witness to Jesus as upheld by their constitution; or (2) They lied to get ordained because, well, uh, they spent a lot of time and $ to get to that point; or (3) They changed their minds as they reimagined Christianity from other sources considered to shed "more light" than traditionally and constitutionally confirmed.
Some clergy/others were ___ed that I suggested a lack of integrity among those who don't really believe what is assumed they believe; suggesting changing times demand more flexibility in ordination standards (aka believe whatever the ___ you want to believe as long as you're nice about it).
After over three decades of hanging out in an increasingly apostate franchise in which your guess is as good as mine as to what anybody thinks it's/He's all about anymore, I wasn't stunned by the responses.
I just went back to the parlor where so many adulteries have been...
Betraying a personal naiveté that I had assumed was gone in the wind of the past three decades, I was befuddled as well as amused by the responses of others more than clergy to the exchange in a local supermarket (scroll down to the 2/4/10 edition):
I met a woman in a local supermarket who left our family of faith at First about ten years
She said, "I've heard about your service for people like me who left the church...[scroll
down to the 2/1/10 edition]...but I want to tell you why I left. It's because of people like...
I interrupted, "I really don't care why you left. If you love Jesus, you will forgive 'em
and receive their forgiveness. Besides, Christians have no right to tell the world how
to get along if..."
She interrupted, "But it's important for you to know why I left! I was wronged. I am
still so furious about..."
I interrupted, "Furious? Wronged? Friend, if you were so right, that means you're still
right. But if you were and are so right, why do you sound and act so wrong? Why do you
sound and look so miserable? People who know they're right have what Oswald Chambers
called 'strong calm sanity.' Frankly, you're not very calm or sounding very sane about
something that happened a long time ago."
She threw up her hands and walked toward the meat counter.
I was castigated for not allowing her to vent, saying I didn't care why she left, and challenging her countenance.
Aside from being reminded that "others" expect today's clergy to be some kinda good humor women/men who agree with the last person they've talked to as if there are no standards of belief and behavior, I didn't know venting was a fruit of the Spirit, enabling rationale for irreconcilation was Biblical, and being miserable for Jesus was an alternate form of discipleship ("If you're happy and you know it, then...").
Seriously, I confess I was a little ___ed myself because I knew she wanted to slander/diss/discredit/dehumanize/damn my predecessor who's also a good friend and served as one of my mentors in VMTC.
As far as caring why she left, what does that have to do with anything redemptive? It's over. You can't move into the future if you're always looking at your behind!
Homey don't play those games.
BTW, she is miserable; and she is sooooooo contorted because she is still living in an irreconcilable past. You can't get better if you're slumming in your sickness!
My favorite devotional writer put it best: "When Jesus becomes greater and I become lesser, something wonderful begins to happen in me. My perspective changes, self-absorption diminishes, and love flourishes! Joy abounds! I can see people in a different Light. Eyes that were once clouded now see clearly through His eyes" (go to www.PassagewayTulsa.org for more).
Christians talk/walk differently from, uh, others: "I know that's what I think, but Jesus and the Bible say..."
Let me put it another way.
Until we return to a heavenly perspective as patterned by Jesus and prescribed by Holy Scripture, those parlors will continue to host all kinds of adulteries.
Blessings and Love!
Every time I read your blog, I realize that there are many in the PCUSA who still get it.
Keep on looking behind the curtain to show the charlatans behind.
"You are a tonic to my spirit, friend; offering encouragement to keep keepin' on as the war rages in an Ephesians 6 kinda way."
Blessings and Love!
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