Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Waiting on the world to change

So, last night’s meeting…

wasn’t the mud slinging fight I thought it was going to be. But it was still tense, frustrating, heart breaking. Oh yeah, and mind numbing. Going round and round in circles over the same issues for two hours will do that to ya.

The meeting was very controlled and orderly because members of the Presbytery of Central Florida came down to conduct it. In fact, it was the very ad hoc committee that reviewed the complaint in question last week. These are highly respected and godly men with twenty, thirty years of service in the Presbytery. The moderator started off the meeting by introducing each committee member and then had one of them explain the whole Presbyterian structure and process so we could put the discussion into context. Then the floor was open for questions.

There were those who simply wanted clarification on the process and stated they weren’t taking any sides in the matter. Then there were those who clearly had an agenda, and tried to air out all the grievances they had against the session. The Presbytery was great in their responses and not allowing the meeting to turn into a political battle. They shushed claps on both sides.

They also said very plainly that the complaint had been heard, it had been dealt with, and all that was left for the complainants to do now is either submit quietly or leave quietly. One said that if they were to pursue this farther by trying to bring a charge of sin against the elders for the way they handled the youth pastor’s termination, it would destroy the church. They were unhappy with the way the former pastor and his “band of followers” were disseminating the complaint among members of the congregation, which clearly violated Presbyterian Church policy. They said that no congregational meeting could be called by these men to discuss the complaint because it’s not supposed to be a matter of public opinion. The congregation cannot vote on whether or not the elders acted appropriately in their dismissal of the youth pastor- that’s entirely up to the Presbytery to decide, and they have already done so.

Last night it was clear who supported the group of men and women who were opposed to the session’s decision, because they spoke up. It was basically them bantering back and forth with the committee members while the rest of us watched in horror. What makes this so unnerving is that they’ve drawn the line in the sand between themselves and the rest of us, and it’s difficult to see them now as anybody other than the “troublemakers”. I hate that. We’re supposed to be one body of believers, but a few members have set themselves apart (in a bad way) and are jeopardizing the unity of our church because of their refusal to give up this fight. I don’t know what they’re hoping to accomplish. The complaint was heard and that’s the end of it.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up, even when you feel you’re 100% right. During the meeting, I kept thinking of that passage in 1 Peter 2- “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (verses 21-23, NJKV)

These men and women have done a great deal of damage to the church with their words and actions. I pray that they will stop trying to be right and just be righteous. I don’t know where this is all going from here, but it seems to me that the matter has been settled and they’ve been defeated. Just deal with it, people, and move on!

I’ve processed what’s happened with Gregg last night and a little this morning with my boss since he goes to our church, and I’m sure we’ll discuss it some more at small group tonight. Frankly though, I’m kind of sick of talking about the whole thing. It’s just a lot of drama that we could do without.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I'm sorry it was such a tense evening Marisa. I'm glad that the members of the Presbytery that were there handled the questions with tact and (it seems from your post) grace.

I will keep praying for your church and the people there. Hopefully the healing will begin soon.