I could not help but notice that our church parking lot was full and overflowing this morning. I recalled when that was the norm, every Sunday. This was the Sunday where the congregation voted to accept the slate of candidates for deacon and elder, for three year terms. MJ and I were pleased to see our son Jonathon accept a term as elder. I have enjoyed being a member of a church for the past 21 years that is governed by a board of elders that are elected by the congregation, as opposed to one person making the rules and policies of the church…with little or no counsel from the membership. It has been my experience that God speaks to all of us and does not reserve his plan for an individuals life by telling the pastor about it…and neglecting to share his views with the congregant. The inherent folly of relying on one leader to make substantial changes in either an individuals life or a countries governmental direction, and be witnessed time and again.
First Presbyterian Church, USA, both respects and encourages diversity of thought and lifestyles. Rather than seeking a cookie cutter approach to discipleship, our church encourages he hard questions. Instead of restricting membership to a rigid dogma or ideology, we welcome all christians to our communion table. There was a palpable excitement in the midst of the church, this morning, as we considered where we were going and who can we help. It is a special feeling to see people from all walks of life come together in Christ’s love and a desire to help others.
When people are released from the shackles of human ideology and the personal piccalillis of leaders who assure those listening to them that they have heard from God and have the message of the day….The vibrancy and enthusiasm of ‘the many’ is marshaled to live the message of the gospel among the poor and the downtrodden and those who have been marginalized or forgotten by society.
‘Power corrupts…and ultimate power…corrupts absolutely.’ John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
‘The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.’ Matthew 4:16. KJV
Our church government is composed of diverse people…just like our congregation…just like our nation. There is a security and a safety in a pastor…or a president…not having advisors who all agree with them. The founding fathers of our country created through our Constitution three equal branches of government. It is called…checks and balances. When the wise counsel that our country was founded on is abdicated or acquiesced for either personal gain or political expediency…or because confrontation is difficult….Everyone is the looser.
I am a retired from Southern Illinois University after thirty two years of service. I enjoy traveling and writing and I have been able to do more of both over the past two years.
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