Monday, July 30, 2007

church of what's happening now

Here's a list of the resolutions that passed at the recent Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) national Convention. There are several that mention abortion: the DoC have been pro-choice since the very moment of Roe vs. Wade. Note the resolution against overweight clergy (perhaps they'd save even more money on the church health insurance plan if they cracked down on smoking clergy, and elderly clergy, and clergy with really fast sports cars), the affirmative action resolution for racial representation among clergy (does proportional representation make St. Paul's list of qualifications in I Timothy?), the resolution restoring our connection with our food through participation in local farming initiatives, resolutions against torture, for universal children's health insurance, against big tobacco, supporting all immigration, and of course the obligitory anti-Iraq-war resolution.

Several things worry me about this list:
1. Most of these resolutions are toothless, in that they don't contain provisions about funding or delegations of responsibility to make sure this stuff gets done. A DoC pastor friend of mine who was there described them as 'feel good resolutions'. The Episcopal Church is very good about following up its resolutions with concrete action - however, I'm not sure if that makes me more or less worried about our own convention's actions.

2. Most of these resolutions are chock full of statistics and policy suggestions and the latest findings of science and culture, but they're thin on bible and theology; granted, in the DoC, most of that spadework has already been done and can be assumed; but I worry that church conventions are now expected to be more activist than reflective, more political than theological. TEC definitely suffered from the same malady in the Summer of 06. This whole grab for political relevance smacks of temptation to me. When Jesus had a chance to comment on the hot issues of His day, He said, "Render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's, and unto God the things that are God's." and "My kingdom is not of this world." It was a sidestep, an attempt to refocus our minds on God rather than on today's issues. Church conventions ought to keep that example in mind. And after all, oughtn't there to be at least ONE place in our world where we set aside the divisive concerns of our temporal world and live together as citizens of an heavenly city?

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