Monday, July 31, 2006

New Links (and a Word on Voting)

Just discovered Dr. Foster has a WordPress blog. So far the posts there are identical to the ones at his Fostering Hope blog and his MySpace, so I'm not going to add it to the blogroll just yet. If unique posts end up there, however, I will add it, because frankly, it looks much nicer than MySpace and it navigates much easier than the Fostering Hope site.
(Hat tip to Chris Jessey in the TalkBCC Forum for the head's up.)

Also, there is this: BCC Blow-up, a Typepad blog started by BCC member Dirk Plantinga. The rhetoric in a few posts is a skoshe too heated for my taste, but I couldn't not mention it.

The HT for that link actually goes to the Channel 2 News Faith & Ethics blogger Jamey Tucker, via this post of his on the brouhaha.

It starts somewhat predictably about how Christians who "act like this" are why people don't like church -- a) I think the real reason people avoid church is because they want to think they're inherently okay, and the first principle of the Gospel is that nobody is okay, and b) yes, it would be nice, wouldn't it?, if real relationships with other people could be conflict-free -- but Tucker goes on to say some interesting things about church governance and congregational votes:
Now, I'm all for democracy. But is democracy the best way for a church to respond to these incidents? Is a democracy the best way to deal with these issues?

One thing many church people do not understand is that in elders or trustees or deacons or whatever they are called, aren't just placed in those positions because of popularity or winning some contest. Most churches have strict requirements for those positions . . . According to church bylaws, they are the ones who are spiritually discerning. Meaning, they seek guidance from the Holy Spirit (the living God) to make decisions that best serve God's church.

I cannot speak for every trustee or elder in every church, but in the churches I have attended, I can say I had the upmost confidence that these leaders would make every decision with that discernment and would never make a decision based solely on emotion or personality.
In the recent ouster of my old church youth minister, I could not have thought more highly of him. But in the confidence I had in our church leaders, I also had to believe they were led spiritually to make the change for the good of the church.

In the case of Bellevue Community Church, we should remember that the church bylaws were drawn up, written and approved by Pastor David Foster in 1989. In talking with [some] church members today, I am of the opinion that they respect the elders of the church. They do not agree with their decision, but they do (at least the ones I spoke to today) feel those elders responded the way they feel is best for the congregation.

Decisions like this are not best suited for congregational votes. It would cause further problems in this church body if both sides were to stand before the congregation and present their case. Then, you would have to air all of the reasons the elders have for asking Pastor Foster to leave. I've always been taught, "never say nothing bad about your preacher, that man's called by God to lead your church." Doing just that before the entire congregation wouldn't be good for the elders, Pastor Foster, the congregation or God's church.

I am well aware that there will be those, maybe many, who disagree and want to call for a vote and let both sides make their case. I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I've been in too many churches where this type of "majority rule" decision making would turn ugly.

Mr. Tucker is on to something here, and in some cases he's giving good answers to the wrong questions and in others he's asking good questions without giving answers.

Needless to say, I do not think a congregational vote is wise in this instance either, but not necessarily for the same reasons Mr. Tucker gives. But it's late, so I will tackle that sticky wicket (to mix my game metaphors) tomorrow.


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