… I am going to post a link to a page of last week’s online bulletin of a church in my city which, at the very bottom, features a mention of the Arkansas Shepherding Conference to be hosted at my home church July 27-29:
I am going to take an opportunity like this to thank the minister there, who edits the linked bulletin, to take the time and space in his publication to let others know about the conference.
I am going to express my appreciation to him for naming my church, rather than simply referring to it as a large metro church on the westside (as he has occasionally done before) so that people who read his article will know where the conference is taking place, as well as when, and who will be speaking there.
I am going to compliment him on his zeal for the Word, his protective oversight of the flock he serves, and his utter honesty in expressing his anticipation of the event.
I am going to do so because I have come to believe that for him – and many other people of similar persuasion – to do otherwise would be to violate conscience, and that violating conscience is a serious offense before God even when the matter is not an issue to the Creator of the universe.
I will not urge him to attend, and to invite his three elders and their wives to attend, because – though it might confirm what he anticipates – for them to do so after reading his article could be construed as an act of defiance on their part, or a violation of their own consciences.
I will not try to persuade him or them that the only subject that the speakers have been asked to address is the pursuit of a more Christ-like model of shepherding.
I will not seek to argue about the value of change, or of the agents who propose it, or of the absolute necessity of ongoing change – repentance – in the life of a follower of Christ.
I will not comment about fellowship and eternal consequences, nor quote a lot of scripture that I feel is relevant. Nor will I presume what any group of elders supports. Nor will I pronounce anyone doctrinally healthy or unhealthy, since I do not hold a doctoral degree in medicine or theology.
I am simply going to post the link, with my gratitude and compliments.
I am going to do all of this.
But not today. Because I am not yet that loving; not yet sufficiently conformed to the nature and image of Christ; not yet convinced that I am perfectly qualified to be the perfect judge of the efforts of imperfect people who are trying to serve God.
Some day – when it does not go against my nature – I will do these things.
12 thoughts on “This Goes Against My Nature, But …”
Sorry, but this kind of crap makes me want to puke. I had actually forgotten that people wrote these types of articles. I had forgotten about “Behold the Pattern” which reminds me of “Piloting the Straights.” >>Keith, you’re a good man. And while neither of us are at a complete place of gratitude for this type of writing, I’m so glad you have the attitude that you have.>>This is the kind of crap that makes me want out of the C of C for good and act like I was never there. Kind of a denominational witness relocation program.>>I wonder if these guys have ever heard Lynn, Jeff or Randy, or just read what others of like mind have said about them. >>I dare them to put up not only their education, but also their humility against Lynn’s. What a meek and gentle man. Your church will be blessed by Lynn. He is a great “presenter.”
I wish it was shocking. Its especially hard when it is personal.
Jon, it wouldn’t do any good to leave the Churches of Christ over this sect of negativists. First of all, that’d be their desired result, to “purify” the fellowship. Secondly, no matter where you’d go, there they’d be. And thirdly – as someone wise than me originally pointed out – if I ever found the perfect church, I’d ruin it by my own imperfection.>>What’s hard for me to remember is that I’m no different from the guy who “writes up” others when I “write about” him. In fact, I’m just no different whether I write about him or not.>>We are both pathetic sinners, saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, and rather poor at displaying it in our lives.
Keith, I appreciate the gracious way in which you have handled this. Stuff like this is never easy, is it? FYI: The link to the online bulletin doesn’t seem to work any more.
Keith, the link worked for me…..regrettably. Does it make me angry? You bet it does. Self-righteousness ALWAYS makes me angry. After the anger subsides, I ask myself “now what?”. That’s when it gets tough, because I know I am called to love these people…..and that the truth is the only way I will ever influence them is by loving. Not arguing, not debating…..but loving. So, even though every fiber of me wants to call for fire from above on them, I know the Cross is the great leveler. When we get to the Cross, we are ALL in the same boat. I do pity them, and will try to love them out of that context. >>Having said that, I also want to encourage you and the Shepherds at PV to stay the course! Don’t let one discouraging incident (and I am sure there will be others) deter you from this wonderful event that you are planning! It will be a TREMENDOUS blessing to all of us who are going to attend!>You knew from the git-go that you would have nay-sayers and detractors……they will always be with us. STAY THE COURSE! God is faithful! 🙂 I love you all for washing our feet with this event!>>In HIM,>DU
I love your honesty Keith….I like you don’t know what to do with all of the frustration….but knowing there are others out there does help the journey seem easier.
Keith, I think the best way to deal with that kind of thing is simply to ignore it. When you bring attention to it, it is rewarding it in a perverse way, like the attention the terrorists get when they think they are bringing their cause to the fore.>>I think it was Lincoln (Abe, not Blanche) who said he’d heard lots of dogs howling at the moon, but never heard the moon howl back.
There’s wisdom in your counsel, don … at the same time, if I don’t encounter the negativists for a long time, I can easily forget to care about them and pray for them; that God will open their hearts and minds to a broader perspective on doctrine and fellowship and judgment and the love of Christ.
I am sure that the Shepherding Conference is going ot go well. They are doing PV are real favor in in not causing division. I am not being sarcastic. If they came and griped about it, then that would be causing division. Le them enjoy their position from a distance. You’ve got more important things to do than mop up the messes they would make if they were to bring on a group of gripers. >>I thank God for their wisdom to avoid what they cannot and will not understand. >>You see, even in strange and unintended ways, the work of the Lord gets done.
I used to be one of the howlers. That gives me some well earned humility in these situations. As one who gets written up weekly, I will admit that I am the last one who may stand around with a stone in his hands. May God bless our brothers and help us love them, even if they don’t love us.
A wise man once told me, “The dogs bark, but the caravan keeps on moving.” Keep your eyes on Jesus, don’t be distracted–easy for me to say..uh, but true. What you are doing will carry eternal weight in glory.
Of course, the mind-set is not new. I am always amazed that such things will be in a church bulletin for all to see. May God have mercy on us all.