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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.
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