Friday, October 10, 2008

Pride and prejudices

One of the saddest things I've ever experienced in a church was watching my old church split itself very unhappily in two over an issue so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things that it was just heartbreaking to watch. Lifelong relationships were broken and I'm sure people were lost as a result of it and all for what?? For the church to then split again just a few years later, leaving three fractured groups where there used to be one huge vibrant congregation.

Arriving from the midst of that to St Johns to discover that there were already two congregations and plans for a third was confusing, to say the least, but after going to each of the services & becoming more involved in the church, I realised that whilst there were different groups of people who met at different times on a Sunday, "St Johns" was one very solid church that simply catered for a variety of tastes and styles. I've heard the Anglican church criticised as being all things to all people (often from the pulpit of my old church) but compared to Trinity, St Johns is doing a whole lot better at modeling the biblical principle of church. In ALL ways.

One the best things I've discovered about being part of a large, vibrant, varied congregation is how you can constantly be learning from people - their views on something, their interpretation of a certain passage or situation because of their experiences, their life experiences - if we all kept to ourselves in our happy little worship bubbles, there's a very real possibility that we would become insular, too set in our ways, too rigid, and unwelcoming to change. By keeping in touch with the other congregations, we can learn from each other...we're not fighting to keep everyone happy with one service and everyone can peacefully co-exist as individuals making up a big unit.

Now, don't get me wrong...I know the 9.15 congregation really don't like our tech kit being all over the dais, and I'll be the first to admit that the choir drive me insane when they move said kit and complain about it right when I'm trying to work. The 11am mix is too loud for some; the choir are too traditional for others, but when it comes down to it, I guess I'm proud of my church for truly embodying the concept that

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together
as a church: every part dependent on every other part,
the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't.
If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing.
If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance (1 Corinthians 25-26)

Love, etc.

p.s. Yes, I worry about how Anglican I appear to have become too...I claim redemption through my use of The Message...

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