Monday, February 13, 2012
How Connected Are We?
I've got a presbytery meeting on Tuesday.
For undershepherding guys/gals like me in the PCUSA, it's a vocational hazard.
If you're not "connected" to my/our particular franchise aka denomination, you don't care what PCUSA stands for; so why take up space which bears some irony because those in it don't seem to care as much about it as they used to pretend?!?!
But for folks not in my/our particular ecclesiastical ghetto, a presbytery is a bunch of pastors and elders in equal numbers in geographical proximity who get together so much more than necessary to make decisions/pontifications that nobody really cares about less than more yet they do it anyway to kinda prove to constituents that they're still really important.
Or something like that.
Don't get me wrong.
I like our presbytery; and it's a lot better than most these days in that it's still kinda irenic in a redemptive kinda way.
The coffee is usually good, we get brownies, and I get to see my friends, foes, peers, posers, and others.
It's just - Psst! This is a secret that nobody should know back in the churches that underwrite the cost of these meetings a la gas, vehicular wear and tear, paper, refreshments, person hours, and the like - that we really don't need to meet as often as we do for what we don't accomplish.
Again, I kinda like to go anyway to support a presbytery that's still trying to honor connections in a John 17, 1 Corinthians 12, and Romans 12 kinda way.
It's worth my...
And guessing your franchise ain't much different in the short run, it may be worth your time to read on.
We get advance copies of committee reports before meetings to inform our prayers, bantering, and moaning.
What caught my attention in the recent batch was a very handsome compensatory package (salary) being given to a rookie youth director in a fabulously well-to-do church.
I compared what the rookie just out of seminary and about to be ordained is gonna get to the packages that others in the presbytery who've been around a lot longer with some having been ordained even before he was a gleam in his momma's...
Coupling that with knowledge of others who haven't had increases in theirs for, uh, a long time...
Simply, the rookie is gonna get lots more than an unhealthy % of our presbytery.
Parenthetically, before the cynical, suspicious, and distrusting assume I'm campaigning pour moi, I get paid, uh, O.K. for the times; and while my latest book wasn't written with cash in mind/spirit, I may...
Moreover, I know Jesus has concerns when we're upset about how He can be so generous with others...
However, if we're really as connected as we say we are, wouldn't it be nice to chip in connectionally to assist those who aren't serving in such a fabulously well-to-do church that can, uh, afford to distort market value?
When I was the "senior" pastor - Don't you love the humility of that designation? Where does Jesus fit into churches that already have a "senior" pastor? - of three really rich churches, I couldn't rid myself of the guilt of getting paid less than I wanted but more than I deserved until I started insisting we and even selfish me share what we had with those who had not.
It seemed like the only "connectional" thing to do in a Matthew 25 kinda way.
Again, I'm not begrudging the generosity to the rookie, uh, free agent - I mean the Yankees do it! - but we're supposed to care about everybody in the franchise and beyond the borders of our parochial ghetto in a connectional Christian kinda way.
You know, "As you do it to/for them, you do it to/for..."
Because I can't even get folks to pimp my book at presbytery meetings, I'm not gonna bring it up at tomorrow's meeting.
I hope somebody is connectionally caring enough to do it.
Of course, these aren't good days for any kinda connectionalism.
Let's face it.
Franchises are being torn apart by folks who've never read/digested true discipleship directives like John 17, 1 Corinthians 12, and Romans 12.
Our country is being torn apart by increasing ideologically and politically partisan politics.
We can't even get folks to behave at youth sports events.
Look what happened after the, uh, Patriots lost the Super Bowl.
But that ain't a license for anyone trying to be true to Him.
Being connected has responsibilities...like when anyone in our connections needs...
One of my homiletics professors often said, "Never end anything with an interrogative!"
So I'm gonna take a risk.
Does anyone familiar with Jesus think Jesus would smile at churches and clergy who live that much better than...?
I think He'd ask rhetorically, "How did you miss what I said about...?"
Blessings and Love!