Friday, February 29, 2008


I spent the other evening playing catch up--reading the minutes from our church's council meetings for the past three years. I don't know what possessed me. Well, I do, actually. While we were overseas, we had heard about some friction between the pastor and some of the lay leaders of the group. Now that I've volunteered to be on a committee at church, I wanted to see if the minutes would shed any light upon the supposed controversies. They didn't, of course. In polite American society we can't just come out and say that so and so is bugging the heck out of me. It's just not done. So I'll guess I'll just have to live without knowing the gossip.

The fact that I've agreed to serve on a committee is another act of weirdness on my part. The plan is to survey some members of the congregation, send the surveys up the ecclesiastical hierarchy and get a dandy report as to how we compare to the profile of a healthy congregation. The problem is, I think the whole idea is foolish. We've had a number of surveys in the past ten years or so--all of them trying to find our "vision", to seek a direction for the congregation. The problem is, our direction is right in front of us, but we don't want to see it. Ol' Dry Bones church is headed towards the proverbial grave. Our numbers are dwindling along with our finances and we really can't function like we did back in our glory days. If we were rational about it all, our vision would be to efficiently close down the congregation. Our mission would be to hook up our remaining members with new church homes, dispose of our corporate property and make sure the pastor gets a nice severance package. That's what we should be meeting about, some would say.

The problem is, our faith gets in the way. We follow a God who works miracles, a God who uses the weak and insignificant to humble the mighty. Heck, every Sunday we declare that we believe in the resurrection of the dead. So if it looks like the congregation is dying, do we start making funeral arrangements? Heck, no. Instead we'll start talking about getting new stoves for the kitchen or repainting the Sunday School rooms. I wonder what the good Lord will say, when we're at the Pearly Gates. Will He say to us stubborn church members, "Well done, my good and faithful servants?" Or will he sigh and shake His head and welcome us in His infinite mercy? Beats me. So I suppose that's why I have a meeting this Sunday....

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