Case in point. Full documentation. Too much information? Too public? You decide. Are these public church fights EVER good for the church? What do you think? ToddThe founding church of the Sovereign Grace ministries movement, Covenant Life Church, headed by Joshua Harris, has evidently asked it’s congregation to sever ties with the movement. Some of you may have been following the Sovereign Grace story over the past couple of years. It’s an interested case study. I’ll admit, I have read some of the stuff… from both sides, and it really turns my stomach. Both sides have dug in and Covenant Life’s departure may be just the most recent casualty. I have no insider information, don’t know anyone inside the movement, and they are out of the circle I normally run with… so I’m looking at this from a total outsider’s viewpoint. My problem… at least in this situation… is that leaders on both sides have dug in their heels… insisting that they are right and the other party is wrong. That’s good. There probably is a right and a wrong party here. But what has been unfortunate is the pages and pages of documentation that has been released from both sides… hundreds, probably thousands of documents… timelines… email leaks… etc. trying to prove points. It’s really been maddening… unlike anything I’ve really ever seen in the church world. And I have no problem thinking there are great followers of Jesus on both sides of the issue. But at some point, it does no one any good to continue the bickering. Maybe that’s where Covenant Life is. Maybe they’re tired of the fight. Maybe their digging in their heels more by just leaving. I don’t know… but it does make me sad, regardless.
“Parliament is impatient… Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church-State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”More on the story: A former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, upped the ante when he called on church leaders to “rip up its rule book” and speed through the introduction of women bishops. He said it was “ridiculous” to assume that the General Synod could not reconsider women bishops until 2015. A full 42 of the 44 dioceses of the church voted for legislation that would have made women bishops next year. There are 3,600 ordained women in the Church of England and 37 female bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion, including Africa’s first Anglican woman bishop, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, who was consecrated five days before the defeat in Britain. // Read more here…
- Evaluate objectively. Go back over the dialogue that lead up to the conflict and determine if you are responsible. Get another (objective) person’s opinion.
- Cool off before clicking. Rather than firing off a response, chill out and log off. Depending on the level of emotion, this may require a few hours or even a few days as a “cooling off” period. Read Romans 12:2.
- Ask forgiveness if needed. If you realize that you mispoke, relayed incorrect information, or responded inappropriately—you need to own it. Ask the person (if digitally possible) if they will forgive the offense.
- Maintain a “real” perspective. Match the worry to the relationship. Were you close to the person or were they a stranger prone to spar with anyone? Go read their feed/wall/blog to get a full picture. Cyberspace is huge and words are dangerous. If you angst over every person who disagrees with you, you won’t last long. Pray and determine if the issue is worthy to pursue, if not, let it go and move on. Read 2 Timothy 2:23-25.
- Don’t take it personally. Communicating online leaves a lot to be desired. If humans who talk face-to-face have conflict, you can bet that people writing brief posts will run into collassal confusion over written “intent.” It’s rarely about you and often about the deficit in the medium.