Shekinah Glory

Occupy Church Manifesto #6
November 3, 2011, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I now know that God shows no partiality. Peter

My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. James

In all my years of being in the church one of the most depressing notions is listening to Nominating committees work through their “lists” of people who are deemed worthy of serving the church. I overheard once (not at my church) a leader of a Presbyterian church talking to another elder and saying, “We need to get her on board, she is one of us.” By “one of us” I found out later that the elder meant that this woman was a high paid lawyer and well respected in the community. When I survey the fire fighters, waitresses, students, High school dropouts, Wal Mart employees, dish washers and grocery stockers I have too often felt that many in the church do not believe the they are “one of us.”

No matter what the democratic structures of our churches there is an appalling hierarchy towards education, power and economic success. All that needs to be seen is the giddy glee in a nominating committee when a prominent member of the community agrees to a leadership role. It is not the local church alone that bears this false witness, but seminary boards, Foundations, non-profit boards and judicatories. We seem to have followed the advice of every self-help book in the Business section of our local Barnes and Noble against the clear invocations of our holy texts.

I would challenge the church as our sociology and economy transforms to take a second look at this nepotism and favoritism. Our churches claim to be a unity in Christ. So, why should there be any cultural hierarchies imposed upon the church by principalities and powers. This is not to say that some of those same people in favorite positions of society are unable to fulfill the spiritual decision making of the church proper. It just implies that their is not an inherent spiritual station that they possess because of success, economic opportunity or knowledge. Faith is the substance of things not seen but hoped for. This can be possessed by a janitor as well as a CEO. May we all live into the promise of equality before God that is our inheritance.


3 Comments so far
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The only metric for selection needs to be: does this person have the gifts we need to effectively be the church? Wealth and power mean nothing. Educational attainment also means little, although generally if I’m looking for someone to steward the finances of a congregation, some facility with numbers is a plus.

The counterbalance, though, is that not everyone has the gift of leadership. Some mistake “leadership” for meaning “I get to have power over people.” Some will automatically accede to groupthink, trapping the congregation in dysfunctional ways of being.

Comment by belovedspear

I highly agree, we seem to forget our heritage of the last shall be first, blessed are the poor in spirit, and we go after the first, and the strong in spirit.

I do understand that often the industrious self starter’s end up in leadership as a natural organic thing and not because of a conspiracy of power, but, still this betrays our biblical vision.

I think the answer is pastorally developmental leadership – we must go out into the streets and find the least of these and pull them in. We must seek out the less obvious and walk with them toward the blossoming of their gifts in our midst. We must build up these new leaders to do the same to those they can bring in.

Love these posts!

Comment by Jeff Kursonis

[…] by Rev. Brian Merritt Original post […]

Pingback by » Occupy Church Manifesto #6 » #Occupy Church DC #Occupy Church DC

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