27 January 2009

THE ADVENTURES OF GRAYING PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: “Well this is a fine mess you've gotten yourself into.”

When Red got home, it was well past mid-night. He was tempted to just hit the rack, but the habit of evening meditation and prayer was hard to learn and easy to forget.

He walked into his study, took his Bible in his hands, and sat at his desk. In the darkness, broken only by a soft pool of light from his desk lamp, he prayed for direction and for calm. Then he simply allowed his Bible to fall open. His eyes alit on Jude 16:

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.


Reading the study notes, he saw that Jude was writing about the heretics of the early church and his admonition to the faithful to contend for the faith. But if we scoff and divide ourselves for earthly reasons, are we in danger, too, he wondered?

He then prayed for God to help him understand what had happened at the meeting and what he could do to ease the tensions that had driven the meeting.

As Red fitfully slept, it snowed---and snowed and snowed and snowed. The phone rang at 5:30 with a recorded message from the School District that school was cancelled for the day. He told Mary, who sighed contentedly and went back to sleep.

After checking on the children, he went to the kitchen and fixed a cup of coffee. Coffee cup in hand, he returned to his study.

All right, he thought, let’s try to make some sense to all this. I’m not talking to Rex or the other elders until I can do something other than complain.

He looked at his copy of the Leadership Training Guide and skimmed over his hand-written notes. Then, taking out a lined pad, he made the following outline:

WHERE HAVE WE GONE WRONG?

Responsibilities of Elders

Personal Leadership Responsibilities

Responsibility for Spiritual Supervision

Administrative Responsibilities

Problems I saw last night

Session

Not personally prepared—is this a job or a call?
Not supervising itself
Lost sight of its role
Neither mentally nor spiritually prepared
Poor stewards of time and energy
Lack of moral courage?
Are there fiefdoms in the Kingdom of God?
Are we leading by example?
There are two ordained offices and a civil office
-Does each group understand its role and function?
Corporate v. Ecclesiasial Body

Pastor Rex

We are not supporting Rex, our brother elder
Moderator must moderate
What are his duties--and ours—to the greater church?


Congregation

How lax have we become?
Unwelcoming/unfriendly
Worship wars
Culture Wars


Don’t forget the good stuff

There are folks who do get it
Will Jackson
Sandy Frobisher

Out in the kitchen, he heard Mary and the kids talking amidst the sounds and smells of breakfast.

He opened his Bible to Psalms: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” He prayed, Thank you, God, for the snow. Thank you for this unexpected day off. Please help and guide me to make good use of the day you have given me.

So, Red is hard at work. Will he be able to fill out the outline? What will God lead him to do? Is there any of that good strawberry jam left for the toast? Join us tomorrow for answers to these and other burning questions as we continue to follow the adventures of Graying Pres.

1 comment:

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm sending Red and his family some virtual chili for their lunch.