Thursday, May 12, 2005

Two-Sided Story

Maybe you've heard about the issue in a Waynesville, NC Baptist church where a pastor has resigned after a fallout over political views in the congregation. I've withheld comment up to now, mainly, because I know there are at least two sides to every story, and it's taken awhile for some of the particulars to come out. It's sad to see something like this spill out into the media, sad to see that relationships take a backseat to "being right". And in this case, as I find often in my own life, neither side is as right as it thinks - both sides are at fault, probably first with taking sides in the first place.

The pastor has a forum to discuss his political leanings - there's nothing wrong in a free society with giving your opinions and beliefs and best arguments. But giving them the weight of scripture, which is what happens from the pulpit, goes too far, doesn't it? On the other hand, while the congregation has every right to disagree, to then get offended and seek some sort of retribution for the wrong - that's equally wrong in a "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek" and "don't sue a brother" kingdom-life. Being a Christian is such a relational perspective on the world, and it hurts our collective witness to have folks be so against each other that the possiblity of reconciliation and forgiveness is gone.

It's terribly sad when "being right" is more important than "relating rightly".

UPDATE 10:35am: Albert Mohler weighs in on the aspect of church discipline in extreme circumstances - "We must hasten to make clear that our political context is not that of Germany in the 1930s. The Democratic Party cannot fairly be compared with National Socialism, Maoism, or analogous evils. Furthermore, there is room for hope that the Democratic Party can be reformed. A decision in extremis assumes that the situation is beyond all hope of remedy. Still, the issues of abortion and marriage lie at the heart of what it means to respect and defend human life, and Christians are certain to face even more excruciating political decisions in days ahead." Once again, the "moral stance" is on the only two issues that matter, marriage and abortion. All other moral issues are ignored - what about poverty and divorce and AIDS and the environment? Aren't those moral issues, too? Again, it's just really sad.


Blogger Kevin said...

That last line is so important - "When being right is more important than relating rightly." It couldn't be put any better. We have lost this so much in the church that it really sickens me. I chose that word on purpose - literally my stomach turns when this happens. I believe people have good intentions, but that is not always good enough. As Christians we need to be intent on relating rightly - the message we have been given by God is too important to be dealt with in any other way. Thanks for that thought!

12/5/05 12:02 PM  

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