Monday, November 13, 2006

We had the Rev. John Stone Jenkins as our guest preacher at church yesterday, which was Stewardship Sunday. At 82, he's still a marvelous speaker, inspiring and entertaining. He delivers jokes and funny stories as smoothly as he delivers strong doses of spiritual truth. He spoke to Mike's Sunday School class, too, relating all the changes he's seen in the Episcopal church in his 50+ years in the ministry. He's optimistic about our future regardless of all the current controversy - it's the Episcopal way, plowing new ground, harvesting new fields. I was encouraged.

There is a meeting tonight for those who want to discuss the future direction of our parish. Some of our more conservative members want to reign us in on some of the new thinking among our leaders. Ostensibly, they want to revise our church's mission statement:

Welcoming the stranger,
celebrating all of life,
accepting, forgiving and loving each other,
providing a place to grow in mind and spirit,
teaching and living the scripture,
seeking and trusting God's guidance,
and serving Christ in all persons.

My thinking is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Some of the terms are vague and ambiguous. Most of us can live peaceably with that. Others have trouble with it. They prefer rigid legalism, black and white rules of order, and that makes me very uncomfortable. As Max Lucado said, "Legalism has no pity on people. Legalism makes my opinion your burden; makes my opinion your boundary, makes my opinion your obligation." And Mr. Lucado does not have a reputation as a wild-eyed radical or liberal.

I haven't decided whether or not to attend the meeting. Part of me would really like to, part of me says, "sit this one out." Nothing disturbs my spirit like controversy in the church. If I can't get my emotions under control and go to listen more than I talk, I will stay at home.

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