Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dilemma

My daughter & her husband were carefully screened when they adopted their daughter. The adoption agencies had guidelines to detect possible familial dysfunction. Dysfunction constituted an immediate deal breaker. No child would be placed in a dysfunctional family and ignoring dysfunction was not an option. The 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) and the decisions that have come from it have effectively rendered our Church a dysfunctional family. Our local conservative congregation is attempting to move in one direction and the denomination is moving in an opposite direction. In my position, that is, from the pew, the congregation and the denomination are a package, a family deal... so:

Here are my choices in dealing with a dysfunctional church family: Should I......
  1. stay and work to bring the denomination back to its roots and eliminate the dysfunction.
  2. stay and work to get the local congregation to accept dysfunction as normal.
  3. stay and work to get the local congregation to leave the denomination.
  4. leave the local congregation and the denomination and find a new fellowship.
  5. stay and live with it, informing converts and new members of the dysfunction.
  6. stay and ignore or hide the dysfunction from others.

These are the choices and the struggles I’m personally facing and I suspect thousands of informed others in the PCUSA are also. Here is some advice that I have been able to glean from other bloggers (Pastors and Laymen) as they ponder many of the same questions:

On option 1 above: (Efforts at the denominational level).. hasn't done a thing in renewing the denomination into a more effective Gospel preaching, Truth teaching, Christ witnessing, Cross bearing, World caring, God fearing, Scripture loving, Servant leading, Church planting organization. (Dave Moody)

On option 1 above: Right now we're all family, and even though we think our brothers and sisters on the other side have gone bonkers, we need to figure out ways to make this family work and to reintroduce a little order and morality back into the family system. (Jim Berkley)

On option 4 above: We would all like ease and peace. But this is a fallen world, and we have another task: withstanding evil. We ignore and neglect that responsibility to our own peril, and especially to the peril of the most vulnerable. (Jim Berkley)

On option 3 above: So you "simply" split. You walk away. Now, if you think you have been preoccupied with peripheral activities, you haven't seen anything yet! You need to reorganize. You must fight your way out. You must deal with families split right down the middle over staying or going. You must reinvent several wheels. You must deal with placing significant new resources directly in the hands of the old denomination, now in the hands of people who would be unfettered to use the resources for destructive purposes contrary to the gospel. And the list goes on. Things just got harder and more complicated, rather than simpler and clearer. (Jim Berkley)

On option 6 above: If we don't make a big deal, on the congregational level, of divisions/splits/etc, then nobody in our neighborhood knows about them! (Drew)

You can click on the names to see the various quotes in their entirety and for the original context. These statements are put here only for the purpose of giving the flavor of the discussions as they are taking place in the blogosphere and to help in making decisions that must be made. Originally this entry was intended to be another comment on one of the blogs that are discussing the subject...but as you can see it ballooned into its own blog entry.

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