Monday, October 05, 2009

Unfriendly Meeting

I had a meeting on Saturday that left me feeling very discouraged. There was a lot of antagonism of people towards each other, tears and what looked like caucusing and hidden agendas. I left thinking, "well if that is the church and those are Christians, I want nothing to do with them." It is so hard to know whether people are acting out of slyness, or if this whole thing is just a product of . . . what? Maybe of people not being very sophisticated? But it is not pretty.
I am, however, starting to get a handle on what is 'culture' and what is just people trying to manipulate others. I am glad to have reached a milestone on that journey.
It's taken me a couple of days to emerge from quite a lot of unhappiness about this indication of the state of the church.
But, while I was busy with this meeting, my supervising minister was on an overnight retreat with the confirmation class and they seemed to have a very good time and it is great to see the relationships that he has built with them. It is not all bad!

6 comments:

markpenrith said...

The church remains my deapest source of discouragement in my own walk.

I look forward to a time when the Church is presented to Christ as a radiant bride, spotless and pure.

Until then we struggle togeather in the trenches.

Thomas Scarborough said...

I think this is the continual struggle in the Church everywhere -- between human control and divine control -- human influence and divine influence -- a person's will and Spirit. The two stand in stark contrast to each other.

I just received this note from the former General Secretary of a denomination: "We have a crisis concerning leadership at present. Whereas previous generations had held with whoever wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all, the present one thinks, let's impose our will upon them. This is the reason for the disaster ..."

Commenting on Mark's comment, the Church is my deepest source of ENcouragement. It is a continual source of gladness to me. However, he might well agree with me there. Perhaps it is the deepest source of discouragement AND encouragement?

It is, however, an intriguing comment by Mark, not least because I have researched discouragemnent among pastors. I'd be interested to hear more.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

I am still trying to get a handle on this! Thanks for your thoughts, Mark and Thomas.

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

It seems like Jesus had this problem too - disciples trying to orgainze special positions for themselves in the "Kingdom" - even to getting their mother to pull some strings!
and then Paul struggled with the Church in Corinth who turned love feasts into moments of separating the rich from the poor!
and so it goes....
Tony Campolo attributes the following quote to St Augustine: "The church is a whore - and this whore is my mother"

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks Pete. I never thought that I would find a quote like that from Tony Campolo/ Augustine encouraging, but I do!

Thomas Scarborough said...

This isn't, perhaps, why we used to have a Censorship Board? :-) The Augustine quote appears in Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/mayweb-only/118-22.0.html