Yes, you heard me correctly. I am proud of my church.
Let me just clarify what I mean by “my church.” I’m speaking about the people in my area of like mind who, because of the grace of God working in their lives, have banded together intentionally because they believe in being involved in community together.
Now to why I am proud of them.
We had another church business meeting today to discuss a very important position in our community: youth pastor. The details aren’t important so I won’t bore you with them. What I consider outstanding is the way the meeting turned out.
The formalities aside, business turned to the resolution the leadership was bringing to the church for a vote (as they are required to do under our church constitution and state law). An hour later, the vote was nowhere in sight as the congregation had entered into real discussion and conversation (albeit somewhat regulated because we had to have a microphone passed around). Questions were raised. Ideas were brought forward. Concerns were raised. People were quite candid in their comments. This was a critical issue for many. There was some anxiety, some fear, possibly a little annoyance. But it was as open a dialogue as I have seen to date in our church.
In the end, the resolution wasn’t even voted on. The meeting was adjourned with a consensus that more time was needed to discuss the implications of the resolution and weigh the possibilities–to “discern the will of God.”
There is something warming to me to see a group of people voice their tightest-held opinions to each other and yet not be shouted down or cut off. Plenty of time was given by the Chair of the meeting for many voices to be heard, and finally it was those many voices that demonstrated how it wasn’t time yet for this decision to be made.
While I disagreed with many of the opinions brought forward, I was glad to see that people felt safe enough to let their voice be heard–or at least they had the courage to do so.
And I hope that we all will receive well the message that it is just as possible God’s will can be discerned by a church as a whole rather than a select few on a designated committee.
* * * * * *
Here’s an interesting rendering of the often-read ‘last supper’ passage of Scripture which I think is worth sharing, especially since all good Baptists celebrated their monthly communion today…
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took white, day-old bread on a tray from under the pristine white lace tablecloth that was covering it, and when he had asked one of the elders to give thanks, he cut it into little bite-sized blocks and said, “This is my body, which is for you; eat one piece of this, as soon as you receive it, in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, he took the tray of really little cups filled with Ribena Blackcurrant Juice (or Welch’s if you’re American), saying (again, after one of the elders said thanks), “This little cup of non-fermented grape juice is the new covenant in my blood; drink this together, once everyone has been served, when you do it once a month, in remembrance of me.”
OK. So obviously not all Baptists are literalists! But it is intriguing to me to see how literal some Christians can take some of the Bible, yet switch to metaphor or symbol when they choose.