It has been very interesting to read the comments posted on this blog. At the same time it has been, at times, a little too adversarial for my liking. When you post a comment, it first comes to me as an email. I look at it and post it so long as it doesn’t include offensive language or attack a person other than me. I’d estimate that I have had to throw out 1 of every 10 comments received for these two reasons.
Most of the time I can easily endure conflict directed at me personally. Sometimes it is harder, which is the case right now. My congregation knows that I have had to deal with chronic pain for most of my adult life. Usually it is just a background issue, but there are times, like now, when it is severe enough to sap a lot of my energy. With lowered coping skills at hand I’m more inclined to consider something others have been asking me to do.
Quite a few people have asked me to block anonymous comments, since most of the bile has been vented through those. After much consideration, I agree that their concerns have real merit. So, from this time on I’ll only post the comments of those who sign their names. In the very near future I will further limit access to those who register as members of this blog.
I don’t want to limit the dialogue, for I actually enjoy that. I’ll have to admit, though, that I could get by with a little less anger in some of the comments. I have publicly admitted to my own failings in that regard in a previous post, and I don’t want the value of the whole blog to be tainted by a few.
What I will not do is stop talking frankly about the issues we are encountering as a church, as denominations, and as Christians. It is not just the PCUSA that is in theological turmoil, but almost every mainline denomination—and the turmoil is over the same issues. There are Christians in the pews of these denominations who have no idea of what is happening in the greater church, and need to find out if there will be any chance for substantive change.
There is something happening in the Christian world today that may bring about huge change in the future, and I’m excited to be alive and active in the church at this time. I believe that the value and function of denominational structures is becoming largely irrelevant to younger Christians. I also believe that devotion to mainline denominations will be fading into obscurity within the next generation. What replaces them is what interests me right now.
We are witnessing unprecedented interaction between conservative and evangelical leaders of different denominations. What we have discovered is that we have far more in common with each other (because we hold to orthodox beliefs) than we have had within our own denominations.
This is ironic because the mainline denominations have worked hard over the last 60 years to build up ecumenical relationships between the different church bodies. It has been largely ineffective, consisting mostly of meetings and joint statements on world conditions. What is happening between conservative and evangelical pastors and church officers, though, is truly ecumenical. We are fellowshipping and worshiping together. We are looking at joint missions. We enjoy each other.
If there is any hope for denominations in the future it will be because the people in the pews rebuild them. The people at the “top” have demonstrated little ability to keep them alive.
Keep praying—keep the faith,