Friday, February 18, 2011

Challenging & correcting church members

Sometimes God hits one over the head with a message. Earlier this week, "forgiveness" loomed large, popping out in my daily Bible readings, on TV and in other ways.

Last night, I was reading Gregory the Great's Book of Pastoral Rule, and encountered this:

The spiritual director should be a humble companion to the good and firm in the zeal of righteousness against the vices of sinners... By no means is it the case that leaders are prideful when they inspire fear... (II.6)

Praying the Morning Office, I read this:

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. (I Timothy 5:20)

Totally counter intuitive to most church's opinions of "being pastoral," which means to rationalize manifest sin and keep the shrinking membership happy and around for another week.

What's scary for me is that God doesn't put out these insights without a purpose... who am I going to be called upon to forgive (meaning who's going to hurt me or what hurt from the past will be dredged up), and what church member(s) am I going to be asked to correct?


Kim said...

What's the mystery? You are in The Episcopal Church, are you not?

I've been getting hit over the head with a message myself lately, about peacemaking. Peacemaking is NOT look-the-other-way peacekeeping. Making peace is hard and risky and God-sized. Looking the other way and choosing silence is easy because we practice it so much. Doing it in love, Jesus' way, isn't even possible. Except divinely.

Peace and grace!

The Archer of the Forest said...

This is one of the major red flags (you know, those elephants in the room I am fond of pointing out) I see in the bizarre Communion of the Unbaptized. If we can administer Communion to the Unbaptized, then basically that completely and utterly abrogates any form of Ex-communication of the Baptized. If an unrepentant sinner has a right to receive communion, how can we possibly deny Communion to a baptized one?

The Underground Pewster said...

I Timothy 5:20 in this context makes me think about the art of being a leader. There are times when you have to chew someone out in front of the others, there are times when you have to counsel privately, and there are times to lead by example.