Monday, August 28, 2006

Outlook: No need of you?

No need of you?:
Presbyterian Outlook (free registration required)
Jack Haberer, Outlook editor-in-chief

"Denominational loyalty. Virtue? Or vice?

Like national patriotism, denominational loyalty can engender sacrificial service and arm-in-arm teamwork.

Like national patriotism, denominational loyalty can blind us to our own ignorance, to our glaring mistakes, and especially, to the value and needs of those outside our circle.

On the other hand, denominational disaffection can launch outside-the-box missional creativity. And it can unleash a scorched-earth destruction of vital ministries and of tenderfoot believers. ..."
Jack Haberer is not going to resonate with all Presbyterians with this editorial, but he certainly deserves to be heard. His call to a different kind of loyalty cuts across the entire spectrum of our denomination.

What kind of "different loyalty"? The loyalty that comes from Jesus who said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)

How we interact with, speak of, and treat other Christians matters. The sixth of the Great Ends of the Church (Book of Order G-1.0200) is "The Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World." What does the Kingdom of Heaven look like to someone observing the internecine bickering, sniping and unpleasantness emanating from all sides in our denomination?

Jack Haberer is asking the right questions here, and I hope we all can take time to reflect on these questions. We all have our different levels of concern about our denomination, and will disagree on what constitutes a crisis, but our failure to follow Jesus' commandment to love one another is a scandal. We can do better.

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