For starters, this post is not about me. I am not losing my job, but it is about a fellow minister who is currently in this unfortunate boat.
A minister colleague of mine posted on Facebook that his church had made the decision that they were going to withdraw from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination. On top of that, the governing body of the church had the right to terminate the minister, no congregational vote or anything.
The beginning of all of this started when the Kentucky Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at their last assembly voted to remove the restriction that stated that open homosexuals could not be ordained in the Region. The measure passed by a wide margin and even church in the region had an opportunity to cast a vote and speak on the issue. For my colleague’s church this was not enough. They disagreed with the measure and thus have taken action.
The thing that I do not understand is that in the Disciples of Christ denomination, one our main tenets is the freedom of belief and the priesthood of all believers. Under the notion of the freedom of belief, there are not hard and fast interpretations of the Bible broad casted from on high at some national office. Each person is supposed to be lead by the Spirit to come up with an interpretation of themselves. Now this does not mean that they are devoid of conversation with others or that they can not draw upon the knowledge of ministers and leaders, but it does mean that the conversation can not be had. The Disciples are big proponents of local church authority and autonomy. It is so the church can find an expression of faith that fits the congregation at hand. No two Disciples churches look a like and that is a great thing. The Bible is meant to expressed in a different ways to different people. Gone are the days of cookie cutter religion and hello a place where questions are welcomed and discussions can be had.
Does this mean you can believe whatever you want? In a sense yes and no… I mean you believed God was a water buffalo, you have missed the point of the gospel. But for the most part, theologies are constantly in flux, they are growing and shaping over a course of a life time. This does not mean that once you chose one particular way of believing or understanding the Bible that you are stuck with it forever. This is where I believe this congregation might have jumped the gun. What is wrong with having differing theological opinions What is wrong with having a good discussion based on and around the notion that in the end we are still welcome and able to come around the Table of Grace under the common bond of Jesus Christ. I hate to tell this congregation but even though they differ on this issue, there are still people within the remnant that do not see eye to eye on every piece of theology, its quite impossible for that to happen.
I am saddened for my friend and colleague and pray that he will find a church that will accept him and his understanding of the gospel.
May it be so.