Now that I am 90 years and several days old, what more shall I say? I once asked Rachel how long I should post, and she answered, “post until you are tired.” The air waves are full of politics and I am not enamored, but not yet tired.
Mennonite Media brought me the news of a large gathering of church leaders in Goshen, Indiana. The intent of the meeting was to build trust among its members. In the trusting atmosphere of the meeting one confessed that he too wanted to leave the Mennonite Church USA, but he couldn’t find spiritual permission to do it. More of us should be so sensitive to the purpose of the Holy Spirit. It is my opinion that splitting grieves the Holy Spirit who wants to make us one.
The conference ministers put on the table the possibility of a peer to peer review of conferences. To me, this is a hint of a weakness that besets us. Scrutiny by peers who are experts at “conferencing” would enable conferences to control one another and impose uniformity on them. Imposition of uniformity could be a deathknell. The church moves forward when it trusts conferences and congregations to innovate and test new ways of doing things. It is my experience that in the past major and minor changes occurred first, not at the center of the church, but on its fringes.
At the conclusion of the meeting the group was challenged to forget the past and to focus on the birth of a new missional church. There was a sense that God is at work in a new way. That cheered me.
The congregation to which I belong is in the midst of strategic planning for the next several years. We are assessing who we are, what we have and have been, and how to open ourselves to our community in a welcoming way. I am happy to be part of a church that dares to think of new possibilities and how to allow them to happen.
A mother told of her son who is challenged by what the church does and is, but who can’t accept that some teachings of the church must be true. She pled for our church to make room for her son. I told of recent access to a minister’s manual used in our church. I was dismayed by the covenantal questions asked at baptisms and ordinations.
I told the group that I concluded that our ministers manual should be updated. So what shall I say more? We may be judged more by what we do than by what we believe. I often go to sleep at night listening to songs sung by Harry Belefonte. One of them is “I’ve been buked and I’ve been scorned as I make this journey all alone.” (I’ve been rebuked for calling myself The Old Fool.) You may hear Belefonte sing this song by clicking here.
What shall I say more?
keep observing, keep learning.
Say more if you must.