Sunday, 16 August 2009

We're all in this together

Enjoyed bowling at Girvan recently in the church's annual bowling club summer outing. There is a beautiful view from the green in Girvan, which must be great compensation when the play isn't up to scratch. The teams were very competitive and each team member seemed to know their part and were even able to accommodate the amateurs who had gone along for the day.
We have a tendency in the Church of Scotland to forget that the ministry of the church is all about team work. We elect a paid professional to make all the decisions and keep all the plates spinning and then sit back and wait for things to come crashing around our ears - as they inevitably will. I'm amazed at how often crossing the threshold of the church renders perfectly competent people unable to take decisions or use initiative. What happened to our theology of the body of Christ being made up of many parts, each part gifted and equipped for differing tasks? There is something in the depths of Scottish church psyche that makes us surrender all responsibility that no amount of preaching or sharing can seem to combat. Will that outlook ever change? Can we ever truly become a "priesthood of all believers"? The spirit of Scottish Presbyterianism lays out an ostensibly level playing field but we seem to much prefer the "Animal Farm" model that all are equal but that some are more equal than others.
We often blame Calvinism for our reticence - our being backward at coming forward, citing our inherent Calvinist upbringing as the reason we won't overstep the mark and "get above ourselves" but it was Calvin himself who said:
"Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?"
We are called not only to be the body of Christ but the thinking body of Christ.
Calvin also said: "All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbours."
So let's take that team work more seriously.


Nik said...

Calvin's been having a busy weekend, I see :)

The more I read 'Institutes', the more I love Calvin - and more deeply understand the theological hi-jacking that seems to have gone on in his name. I suspect he'd be aghast. There's a wide generosity in Calvin that has often been neglected.

And, yes, it has fascinated me for years how perfectly capable, gifted folk seem to lose the ability to do anything once they walk across the threshold of a church. Hmmm. This model / this mode of thinking and being 'church' is, in my mind, no longer sustainable. So, how do we address it? WWCalvinD? :o)

liz said...

that sounds like a good facebook group to get going: WWCD.

Nik said...

As long as it's done decently and in good order, hey, count me in! :)

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