Friday, December 12, 2008

Things to See and Do in Babylon: Start a Neighborhood Watch!

After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. Ezekiel 3:16-19

So we've gone to clergy meetings and diocesan conventions, and nobody's listening.

But have we been doing the down and dirty grunt work of moral teaching, correction and encouragement in our own congregations?

This time in exile is a perfect opportunity to get back to some Christian basics. Whether our congregations are able to persevere in The Episcopal Church, or labor on its fringe, or have to leave, we have a chance here to get back to the kind of "watchman" work that was ignored for too long.

For decades, clergy in particular found excuses to not warn people of deadly sin, and lay people made loud opinions, withdrew pledges and participation, and took part in other sabotage to coddle sinful church members (or justify their own sinful behaviors).

So, start your neighborhood watch! Sound the warnings that save the people... but always do this God's way:

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 6:1-3

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