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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: What one might consider an adequate reason to leave a church
Spiffy
Ship's WonderSheep
# 5267

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quote:
Originally posted by seasick:
I think there's always some tension, whichever tradition you're in. Because of my high church tendencies, I'm often asked why I'm not Anglican or Roman Catholic. I suspect if I went there, my Methodism would start showing!

I never felt more Methodist than when I started attending an Episcopal church.

Of course, in my case I found it a lot easier to be a congregationalist, plain talkin', covered-dish bringing Methodist in the Episcopal Church than to be a queer, Rosary praying, frequent-Eucharist-desiring Episcopalian in the Methodist Church.

Your mileage, as always, will vary.

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
# 777

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quote:
Originally posted by Spiffy:
Of course, in my case I found it a lot easier to be a congregationalist, plain talkin', covered-dish bringing Methodist in the Episcopal Church than to be a queer, Rosary praying, frequent-Eucharist-desiring Episcopalian in the Methodist Church.

Your mileage, as always, will vary.

Yep. We imported the frequent-Eucharist and BCP-flavored liturgy into our Methodist church. We're now bells, no smells.
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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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Wood, your letter seems very fair and reasonable indeed. At the very least anyone reading it should know the thought and deep consideration that's gone into it; which can only be commended and respected.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
We're now bells, no smells.
Unless someone has put something unspeakable down the ladies' toilet, and blocked it. But I don't think you were thinking of such mundane odours.
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Stephen
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
Wood, your letter seems very fair and reasonable indeed. At the very least anyone reading it should know the thought and deep consideration that's gone into it; which can only be commended and respected.

Yes,I thought it was an excellent letter actually
Wood I'm very sorry that this has happened - I think it's very commendable for you to stand alongside your friends - to be honest that would press my buttons - I'll react a lot more strongly where close friends and family are concerned than over myself,where I'm normally a lot more laid back,some would say to a fault
I was a bit surprised,like Greta, that you were considering feeling the water in Anglicanism, but as she says - all things change
This is going to be a very difficult time for you and your family I know - so [Votive] ,but I hope you'll be able to find another congregation in which you can make your spiritual home
Anyway,prayers and best wishes.....

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Best Wishes
Stephen

'Be still,then, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations and I will be exalted in the earth' Ps46 v10

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Doublethink.
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# 1984

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It is a very good letter, but if I am to be brutally honest - I think one part of it may not be true. You have spoken on this thread about your lack of trust in the leadership, and how you feel at times you have been mistreated. But in the letter you state there are no hard feelings.

I would suggest either leaving that piece of phrasing out, or if you feel up to it including something like: perhaps inevitably, owing to the years of growing and painful separation, I do have some wounded feelings and resentments about the process that has led to this - but I hope that in the future I will move beyond them and be able to cherish the grace I experienced whilst I was a member of [x] community.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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You know, I struggled with that bit. But in the end, I decided that it would be ungracious and unhelful to dredge stuff up, particularly relating to situation where the ministers never came to recognise/accept/admit/think they did anything wrong.

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Narcissism.

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Doublethink.
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Which is entirely fair enough, but in that case I would leave out the assurance of no hard feelings - instead maintaining a dignified reticence on that.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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Well, bit late now. Sent it two days ago.

I don't know. I have to extend a hand of some sort. Because in the end it wasn't actually about past hurts, it was about a single point of doctrine.

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Narcissism.

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Prudentius
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I think the things that would drive me from membership in a particular congregation would be -

1) If that community had become a personality cult of the senior minister/pastor/preacher -- no matter how good he was. I believe that the over-riding personality has to be that of the Master.

2) If the community had become smug and self-righteous in tone

3) If the community was unwelcoming to strangers and new members who didn't fit into their racial/societal/socio-economic/sexuality mold

4) If the community were not committed to helping its own members in a meaningful way in times of hardship or crisis

5) If the community were not attempting to be the presence of Christ to the poor in the community beyond its doors

6) If I sensed that the liturgy and/or preaching lacked sincerity

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The truth shall set us free. In the end, there can be no healing without justice; no justice without the truth; no truth without full accountability. We’re not there yet!

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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So the letter went out three days ago. So far I have heard nothing, but tonight is when the deacons and elders meet, and they talk about church correspondence, so who knows?

quote:
Originally posted by Prudentius:
I think the things that would drive me from membership in a particular congregation would be -

1) If that community had become a personality cult of the senior minister/pastor/preacher -- no matter how good he was. I believe that the over-riding personality has to be that of the Master.

Yeah, although for a while we had that in our church (see below). We rode it through.

quote:
2) If the community had become smug and self-righteous in tone
This one is harder to judge, though. Part of the problem with identifying self-righteousness is that it can if you are not careful turn into a very self-righteous thing to do.

quote:
3) If the community was unwelcoming to strangers and new members who didn't fit into their racial/societal/socio-economic/sexuality mold
Well. This was my sticking point, with the proviso that was that it is not welcoming by policy; if it's a problem with the community and not the leadership, I'd stick around so I could at least be one of the welcoming ones. If the leadership make people unwelcome, well. There's less one can do.

quote:
4) If the community were not committed to helping its own members in a meaningful way in times of hardship or crisis
This is another hard one to call. Thing is, with churches you often find that people in any church get helped fabulously and others get overlooked, and there is no rhyme or reason why. I've been in both situations in the same church, back and forth. Again, one would have to explore why some people were overlooked and others were aided before making this the breaking point.

quote:
5) If the community were not attempting to be the presence of Christ to the poor in the community beyond its doors
Again, this is something that has to be explored. I mean, some churches, you go, "why don't you have a soup run/street pastors/whatever?" and they will go, "oooh that's a really good idea — want to have a go?" And that's fine, because if I am not prepared to do that stuff, why am I complaining about it not being done?

On the other hand, if the leadership go "No! Do not be ridiculous! That is socialism and we shall have no truck with such bleeding heart nonsense, because the Bible clearly says that God only helps those who help themselves and vote Conservative/Republican*" (*delete as appropriate) well, yes, see that cloud of dust where I was standing a second ago?

You know, it never fails to wrong-foot naïve old me that these people exist!

Even this week, some awful right-winger, apparently a minister, put a comment on a minister friend's blog to the lines that the primitive church in Jerusalem failed because their socialism was unrealistic and that they needed to be taught reality and that God was for business and capitalism and shit like that.

I wouldn't touch his church with a bargepole. Hell, I wouldn't touch it Dyfrig's bargepole. with Also, I got the impression he was a bigoted asshole (see point 3) anyway as well as the whole slave of Mammon thing, but that's by the by.

quote:
6) If I sensed that the liturgy and/or preaching lacked sincerity
This is an honest and interested question: how can one tell if that's the liturgy or one's own perception? I recall very clearly one occasion years ago trying to tell a girl I was working with at Spring Harvest (man, how far have I come?) that it was possible for liturgy to be sincere and spirit-filled. She was. not. having it. She's not alone.

And then there's the former minister of my church, gone these 11 years, who, while I worked for him in a stupid, abusive job (I should really thank him for souring me on evangelicalism and causing me to look outside) admitted to me that when he did the call to faith thing where you got everyone to bow their heads and keep their eyes shut and you tell anyone who wants to make a commitment to put their hands up without anyone seeing, that he would always go "thank you... yes, thank you..." a couple of times, all solemn like, even when no one had put their hand up, in order to push the people who were feeling nervous or doubtful into sticking up their hands. And then he would of course zero in on them after. Hanging's too good, etc.

The point being that there are still people who think that that man's ministry was the nearest the church got to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And that he was a Great Man of God. Rather than the stone-cold crook he actually was.

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Narcissism.

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Prudentius
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Wood, you are absolutely right in your reactions to my rationale. Any and all of those would need investigation, including exploring the possibility of working to make things happen and sensitive perception.

As to "smugness." In my own experience, I find any condemnation of other faiths or too much self-congratulations repulsive. Preaching hate in any form or blanketly canonizing those present as "better than" makes me more than uncomfortable.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by Prudentius:
As to "smugness." In my own experience, I find any condemnation of other faiths or too much self-congratulations repulsive. Preaching hate in any form or blanketly canonizing those present as "better than" makes me more than uncomfortable.

Yes. No, I agree with you.

Funny story: I recall sitting in a Christian Union meeting in 1995 where the president prayed something like "thank you that we are not in the bar and all debauched and crap like the people in the Union bar downstairs."

This was particularly bad since the first place most of the CU went after CU meetings back then was the Union bar. Anyway, a chap called Dave who was sitting next to me, in the pause after the president spoke, spoke up: "Also, I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there."

I never heard crap like that again from that president.

[ 03. February 2011, 11:20: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

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moveable_type
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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:

This was particularly bad since the first place most of the CU went after CU meetings back then was the Union bar. Anyway, a chap called Dave who was sitting next to me, in the pause after the president spoke, spoke up: "Also, I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there."

[Smile]
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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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Dave? Is that you?

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Narcissism.

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Prudentius
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As to sincerity, what I think one has to guard against is the attitude expressed so well by Cecily in "The Importance of Being Earnest" ---

“In matters of grave importance, style --- not sincerity --- is the important thing.”

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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I think it's virtually impossible to gauge until you know the people, and even then it can take a while. Anyone with a bit of performance skill can look like they mean it (incidentally, why I chose not to continue to take the pulpit despite everyone's insistence to the contrary back in the day, and before they realised I was dodgy).

[ 04. February 2011, 10:48: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

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Ethne Alba
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What would be my final straw to make me throw it all away?
Sleepness nights over niggling worries

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bonabri
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Excellent letter nicely pitched.
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Gamaliel
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I've resisted posting on this thread so far because your experience has been rather too close to the bone in terms of my own journey. I left a church after 18 years once and it hurt like hell ... although it was clearly the right thing to do and, in retrospect, I wonder how or why I stuck it so long.

I'm not entirely comfy in my current church - but I think I would have happily stayed in my previous one (the one I went to after leaving the restorationist scene after 18 years).

I'm probably on a trajectory that'll take me outside of evangelicalism altogether, whilst remaining grateful for aspects of it.

Anyway, well done for writing the letter. I thought it was excellent.

And I'm sure things'll work out for you wherever you end up.

If there's anything I can say/share from my own previous experience that might help in any way, please let me know.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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Thanks, Gamaliel.

FWIW, I have had no response so far. But it's only been four days. But if I hear nothing after Sunday... well, then I suppose I shall just have to shake the dust off my feet and look ahead.

On Sunday I sat in a church with doors in the pews and felt closer to God than I had in a very long time.

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Narcissism.

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Barnabas62
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If it's any comfort, Wood, being regarded as "dodgy" is OK and may indeed persist!

A good friend advises that membership of a liberal Anglo-Catholic church turned her back towards her evangelical roots. After a house move and a church change, she's now worshipping at a relatively conservative evo Anglican church, which she says brings out all her liberal tendencies! I pull her leg, advise her to be comfortable with her basic Dissenting world view!

Personally I think all churches are the richer for having a few members of the "naturally awkward squad" in their midst. It's good to have folks prepared to challenge assumptions and comfortable majorities. Anyway, that's how I rationalise things. [And as you get older, "gaga" becomes an increasingly credible defence.]

Very best wishes. This thread continues to be an education.

[ 04. February 2011, 23:09: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Gill H

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
Funny story: I recall sitting in a Christian Union meeting in 1995 where the president prayed something like "thank you that we are not in the bar and all debauched and crap like the people in the Union bar downstairs."

This was particularly bad since the first place most of the CU went after CU meetings back then was the Union bar. Anyway, a chap called Dave who was sitting next to me, in the pause after the president spoke, spoke up: "Also, I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there."

I never heard crap like that again from that president.

Tsk. They'd gone soft since my day, then. Most of them wouldn't have gone to the bar back then.
[Razz]

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*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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I can certainly relate to Barnabas's last post - as indeed to many of his posts. I get all evangelical around liberals and liberal around evangelicals.

I tend to get all sacramental around memorialists and memorialist around sacramentalists (although I've found that sacramentalism can be contagious ...)

I get all Catholic around Protestants and all Protestant around Catholics (Romans, Anglos and Orthodox) ...

I think the bottom line for me is that I'd want to be somewhere which isn't trying to mess with my head. It sounds like the pews with doors on may be a safe place ... at least for the time being.

At least you can open the doors if you feel the need for air or more space.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Snags
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"I am NOT contrary! ... It's just that it's not that simple ..."

[Biased]


The above comment brought to you out of fellow-feeling, rather than cheap-shotism.

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Vain witterings :-: Vain pretentions :-: The Dog's Blog(locks)

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Jolly Jape
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I was officially labelled as "awkward" by a (not my) vicar's wife on Wednesday evening. It kinda confirmed what I've always felt, even hoped. Sort of a badge of honour! I totally identify with the "liberal around evangelicals, evangelical around liberals" thing.

(I wouldn't care, it wasn't as if I was being deliberately provocative (on this occasion, at least). I only expressed my reluctance to call the Scriptures "the Word of the Lord", as I tend to reserve that title for Jesus alone.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Angloid
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I sympathise with Wood, Barnabas62's friend, Gamaliel and Jolly Jape. I'm currently two-timing with both a conservative anglo-catholic church and a liberal low-bordering-on-evangelical one. Both of them drive me crazy, but I couldn't do without the sacramentalism and attention to liturgy of the one, or the open-mindedness and simplicity of the other. The alternative would be to search out a straight-down-the-middle MOTR setup, which would drive me crazy with boredom.

As a priest, now retired, I realise that I have been spoilt, having been able to put my own stamp on things and mould a church into my own image. The frustration of not being able to do so when one has a vision of how things might be is hard to bear. It's easy to say it's self-indulgent, but it can't be spiritually healthy to continue in a church whose priorities and values are so alien.

It would be much easier in a 'take it or leave it' tradition such as the RCC. But many Catholics of my acquaintance seem to have the same sort of problems nevertheless.

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Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

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Gamaliel
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The Orthodox are even more 'take it or leave it' ... but they seem to have problems too.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Chorister

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If one sends a letter and doesn't get a reply or response at all, is that even more hurtful, or a blessing?
I remember receiving a reply which set me back even further, because the content of it was so nasty. I'd have preferred no reply at all.
YMMV.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
If one sends a letter and doesn't get a reply or response at all, is that even more hurtful, or a blessing?

I'm on the fence. Ask me in a week.

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Narcissism.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
This one is harder to judge, though. Part of the problem with identifying self-righteousness is that it can if you are not careful turn into a very self-righteous thing to do.

Very perceptive Wood. Sounds like leaving is the best thing to do if you are wary of this tendency.

quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
Funny story: I recall sitting in a Christian Union meeting in 1995 where the president prayed something like "thank you that we are not in the bar and all debauched and crap like the people in the Union bar downstairs."

I think you are being a bit harsh here Wood. CU Presidents are usually only 19 years old. They take themselves way too seriously, but so do most 19 year olds.

When I was on the CU Committee (about a decade before your experience) our committee meetings used to go on 'til about midnight. What on earth was soooooo important to discuss for that long escapes me now. The Importance of being Earnest. The rest of the committee used to treat me with an air of bemusement - most meetings I would leave (after midnight) to go on to a night club to meet my mates. The going to lectures I wasn't so good at.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas 62:
Personally I think all churches are the richer for having a few members of the "naturally awkward squad" in their midst. It's good to have folks prepared to challenge assumptions and comfortable majorities. Anyway, that's how I rationalise things.

I agree with you B62 but it does come down to attitude. The NT is particularly down on divisive people. I think there is a difference between being 'different' and being 'awkward'.

(Not that I'm saying either Wood or JJ are awkward. [Big Grin] Indeed the way Wood is handling this shows, ISTM, that he is the former and not the latter. )

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multipara
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# 2918

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That ( quoted) vicar's wife has a pretty divisive attitude if she is slapping a "difficult" label on someone about whom she know nothing, and very likely without proper qualification to do so.

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

Posts: 4985 | From: new south wales | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fuzzipeg
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# 10107

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Johnny & B62, I must disagree with surely the church should be full of awkward, difficult even nasty people but not exclusively. Better have them in the church than in the street and turning over the buses!

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http://foodybooze.blogspot.co.za

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Roots
Apprentice
# 16193

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Hello Wood

Thank you so much for this thread...after years of following some threads from outside, I made the decision to join. This has hit my heart.

Its never easy to leave a church we have been part of for a long time,its like we are tearing ourselves apart. And yes, as a pastor,I also hurt when people leave, no matter the reason.

Once I was criticized for not replying timeously to a letter from a member leaving, yet to be honest, the letter floored me and I needed time to digest and ask God why. Try be patient with them and dont base your decision on wether you get a reply or not, but rather look to the future and move on? Ite pretty hard to reverse ourselves when we have made up our minds.

From previous personal history, moving from a church in ways not uplifting, do leave scars and the best thing we did was to not commit ourselves to another church immediately, but spent time simply enjoying fellowship, even if we did feel isolated at times. Eventually, and at the correct time, we found ourselves in a lovely congregation and fitted in well.

Adequate reason for leaving a church?
1. Being sent?
2. Excommunication?
3. Dying?
4. To keep the pastor humble? (has worked for me)
5. To discover that life doesnt end where we are now?

This thread has been the best ever and has given me more insight into leading a church well, thanks you all for this!!

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Just waiting for the end of the road....seems so far at times....

Posts: 26 | From: The Centre of the Universe | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Barnabas62
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# 9110

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Johnny and Fuzzipeg

Yes, I think my observation about the awkward squad needs a bit of qualification! It's possible to be both "awkward" and constructive. Once one gets into the undermining mindset, it's time to leave voluntarily!

I guess what I had in mind are the folks known as "Plants" in the Belbin team roles classification. Good leaders are not threatened by diverse, original and unorthodox opinions. Mediocre leaders often see those who generate such ideas as a threat to authority or the established order. Plants are a creative addition to any team, even though they can be pretty annoying if one is trying to build some kind of consensus! But they can often provide the stimulus for "breakthrough" plans via "out of the box" thoughts.

The problem in the church, very often, is a kind of anxiety about soundness.

[ 05. February 2011, 10:28: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Fuzzipeg:
Johnny & B62, I must disagree with surely the church should be full of awkward, difficult even nasty people but not exclusively. Better have them in the church than in the street and turning over the buses!

That reminds me of the joke about the Pastor and the Evangelist.

They had decided to enjoy a weekend retreat in a cabin up in the Rockies. True to type the Pastor was warming his toes in front of an open fire, reading a book, while the Evangelist was outside burning off some nervous energy.

About an hour later the Pastor glanced out of the window to see the Evangelist running frantically towards the cabin being chased by a wild grizzly.

Quick as a flash the Pastor jumped up and opened the door in order to rescue his friend. However, at the last minute, the Evangelist stepped to one side sending the bear crashing into the cabin. As the Pastor saw the door slam shut all he heard was, "Okay, you deal with that one and I'll go and get some more."

Posts: 6834 | From: London | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
I think you are being a bit harsh here Wood. CU Presidents are usually only 19 years old. They take themselves way too seriously, but so do most 19 year olds.

I know a whole lot less now than I did when I was nineteen. TRUE STORY.

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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Re. the whole "awkward" thing: it's only useful to have awkward and restless people (you know, like those people who promote Christian Unrest, whatever that is) if there's some sort of place for them.

And that comes from two sides: if their unrest is constructive and useful, and comes from an expression of faith; and if the church at large (and leaders in particular) can, for whatever reason, conscious or accidental, allow these people to stay, and will converse with them rather than just shutting them up or doing the institutional equivalent of putting one's fingers in one's ears and going "la, la, la, I cannot hear you," or finding ways to silence people or just repeating the party line over and over again without engaging with other opinions.

The difficult thing is, sometimes, with genuinely divisive people, the institutional equivalent of putting one's fingers in one's ears and going "la, la, la, I cannot hear you" is sometimes really all you can do short of kicking them out.

The point is: a church that has unrestful people making a positive contribution is a terribly rare thing because both the unrestful folks and the rest of the community (particularly the leadership) have to make it work.

Regarding my own situation. People here have been terribly supportive, but I'm not for a second going to pretend that I am a model churchgoer. I might have been shut up over the years, I might have been ignored or shouted down, but I cannot honestly say that I have handled these situations well, or as a grown up. Leaving might well be the most grown-up thing I've ever done, churchwise.

[ 05. February 2011, 12:15: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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So much on this thread rings true and provides much to reflect on. I found myself nodding in agreement to this...
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I can certainly relate to Barnabas's last post - as indeed to many of his posts. I get all evangelical around liberals and liberal around evangelicals.

I tend to get all sacramental around memorialists and memorialist around sacramentalists (although I've found that sacramentalism can be contagious ...)

I get all Catholic around Protestants and all Protestant around Catholics (Romans, Anglos and Orthodox) ...

Two examples particularly come to mind... first the 'evangelical' voice of old friends from one of the bigger evangelical 'denominations' who I often hear when I know I'm acting or speaking outside of (what I recall to be) their perception of godliness etc (I call it operating with grace usually!). But the other being a conversation I had with a colleague last week - of a more liberal catholic persuasion - who has me in that black and white evangelical box - and who was told by me that I'm not as evangelical as he has me labelled! I have to smile to myself that I hear the voice of condemnation from one lot and am perceived as that voice by another!

quote:
Roots:This thread has been the best ever and has given me more insight into leading a church well, thanks you all for this!!
And I agree with this too... food for thought and prayer to keep on the straight and narrow!
And I had to laugh at the Pastor and Evangelist joke... pretty near the mark at times that!

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"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

Posts: 2870 | From: Wonderland, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Chelley:
I have to smile to myself that I hear the voice of condemnation from one lot and am perceived as that voice by another!

Happened to me for years. After a while, I stopped smiling. It broke my heart.

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
quote:
Originally posted by Chelley:
I have to smile to myself that I hear the voice of condemnation from one lot and am perceived as that voice by another!

Happened to me for years. After a while, I stopped smiling. It broke my heart.
Yes there's a lot of reflection contained within that 'smile'. It seems to me that it's about trying to live out both 'loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength' and 'loving your neighbour as yourself' when some are most focused on the first to the detriment of the second and the other on the second to the detriment of the first. Seems that even Jesus was challenged when one lot thought he was overplaying one aspect over the other. Doing both with integrity is a lifetime's challenge.

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"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

Posts: 2870 | From: Wonderland, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
The point is: a church that has unrestful people making a positive contribution is a terribly rare thing because both the unrestful folks and the rest of the community (particularly the leadership) have to make it work.

Yes, that is what i was trying to say.

Just because it is hard is not a reason to give up though.

Posts: 6834 | From: London | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Chelley:
It seems to me that it's about trying to live out both 'loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength' and 'loving your neighbour as yourself' when some are most focused on the first to the detriment of the second and the other on the second to the detriment of the first.

You mean they're different?

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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I got an e-mail from the pastor this afternoon, asking if we could arrange a time to talk. OK. Have to think about that.

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
The point is: a church that has unrestful people making a positive contribution is a terribly rare thing because both the unrestful folks and the rest of the community (particularly the leadership) have to make it work.

Yes, that is what i was trying to say.
Good someone managed it, then.

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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That sounds like a positive outcome for now. All good wishes for the next step.

re Christian Unions - even a good little chorister like me was labelled 'awkward' by the Christian Union - for asking too many questions, I think. We were divided up into groups and each group was given one of the awkward ones, to split us up. Trouble was, all this was written down on a piece of paper and the CU leader didn't keep it hidden. Well, I decided I might as well play up to my reputation until I gave up altogether. [Two face]

Did anyone actually manage to stay in the CU for the whole of the time they were at University or college? Or perhaps you were one of the good ones on the list without an 'A' for 'Awkward' next to your name?

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
quote:
Originally posted by Chelley:
It seems to me that it's about trying to live out both 'loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength' and 'loving your neighbour as yourself' when some are most focused on the first to the detriment of the second and the other on the second to the detriment of the first.

You mean they're different?
It depends how you look at it - some people might be the most kindly people to others with no faith element involved as far as they're concerned (whether some say that inclination is present by means of God and being made in his image whether acknowledged or not is another question). But what I was getting at was that it seems to me that some Christians are heavily weighted towards the 'loving God' commandment, and that often outworks quite legalistically (right living/doing what God says etc) and gives a stronger weight to the 'holy living' aspect of faith - which can sometimes be very unloving/judgmental. So quite ironic in the sense that in their 'loving God', the neighbour who hasn't got it quite right can get a bit trampled on. And when they do go out 'loving their neighbour' it can almost seem a bit 'because I'm commanded' rather than because of the love we have to share.
On the other hand, some are so focused on the neighbour (perhaps more 'social action') that any sense of boundaries or being challenged in how we live goes out the window (often seen as being unloving to the other) or because 'loving God' is done by loving his people and not by 'being good and holy' in this view. Those are at the extremes but it does seem a tough balance where, as I said before, I've been on the 'judged and found wanting' end of both perspectives!
But there are quite a few occassions when Jesus got the brunt of opinion because he did both together perfectly and got to the heart of the matter. (eg woman caught in adultery; picking corn on the sabbath; turning over the tables in the temple). And isn't that the challenge!

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"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

Posts: 2870 | From: Wonderland, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
I got an e-mail from the pastor this afternoon, asking if we could arrange a time to talk. OK. Have to think about that.

My thoughts with you, it must be a tough time - and prayers being said now I've finished rambling the previous reply!

[ 05. February 2011, 18:04: Message edited by: Chelley ]

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"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

Posts: 2870 | From: Wonderland, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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If you do it, I hope you can make it somewhere on neutral territory where you can politely leave if you want to--like a coffee shop. So intimidating to be stuck in their office with three doors between me and the outside. [Frown]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 20059 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
Good someone managed it, then.

Hey, you could try that response when you talk to the Pastor.
Posts: 6834 | From: London | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
Belle Ringer
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# 13379

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
If you do it, I hope you can make it somewhere on neutral territory where you can politely leave if you want to--like a coffee shop. So intimidating to be stuck in their office with three doors between me and the outside. [Frown]

Hope it works out well. Sometimes these follow-up chats are them beating you up (verbally) for obviously not following God anymore (or you wouldn't be leaving their God-centered church).

I hope in your case it will be a chat of mutual respect, even if not of theological agreement.

Posts: 5830 | From: Texas | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged



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