Looking Ahead and Some Words of Advice
We have a real opportunity here to do the real work of health and unity. We have a real opportunity here to face that our church is broken and has been for quite a while. There are no easy fixes. (Let's not forget there are still cottage meetings going on, and there are still people who are just now or have yet to get the information they really need to see the extent of our problems.)
Those of us who have been "talking" this week seem to sense some calm right now, and I do think it is a good idea to ride that calm into the weekend services. I've been informed that the services will be reserved entirely for praise and worship. No messages. I can't think of a better thing for our community to do right than to gather as a body, go before God, and tell Him how awesome He is and how much we need Him.
As beautiful as the image of the Fosters and the elders embracing and "patching things up" is, it is not only simplistic, but unfocused. This conflict was not about Dr. Foster vs. the elders, with the congregation caught in the middle. There is an entire group of people that seem to be forgotten. Their healing and protection must be at the forefront of our congregational concern. Immediately working at reinserting Dr. Foster into our church in any capacity would be wrong and actually quite damaging. (If you don't really know where I'm going with this, please re-read this previous post of mine.)
It might make you feel better to be able to hear Dr. Foster's dynamic speaking again. But that cannot be our goal. Separation is vital right now. Insisting otherwise only demonstrates a missing of the most important piece of this scattered puzzle, and it's not the elders or the Fosters or the congregation. You can do the math, but if you don't know who I'm talking about, you will need to listen in the coming days most carefully.
So what we have to do will be hard. And I plan to "talk hard" next week. This stuff is unavoidable. And if we want to be a Gospel-driven community that continues to lead with the radical message that Jesus Christ has come to rescue sinners, we cannot afford to give in to easy sentimentality or cheap grace.
It's not pleasant or fun to be broken. But getting our church "fixed" will not come from trying to implement the thing that will most please us. Together we have to trust a fresh wind from God. He's promising mercy to the brokenhearted.
Look, bringing dead things back to life is sort of God's whole deal, you know?
It's not time to "shut down the blogs." It's finally time we start talking to each other. So next week I'll start talking hard. I hope you'll join me.
Until then, some advice:
Go to a service this weekend. Go with an open heart.
Spend some time reading in your Bible. Don't necessarily go into it looking for stuff that applies to the church. Just pick a spot that seems like a good starting point and read. Let the book speak to you. Go to the Word looking for wisdom, not ammunition. Look for stuff that applies to your personal walk with God or to the spiritual health of your family.
Get outdoors. Go for a walk. Take your kids to the park. See some friends you haven't seen a while.
Scrapbook. Go golfing. Watch a ballgame. Go to your neighborhood pool.
Eat out with friends. Go see a movie. (I don't know about you, but The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a siren song to my ears.)
Just take a breath.
See you Monday.