How can we be one again once this is all over?

I am intereste in coming back to the original question from this thread, “How can we be one again,once this is all over?” As much as I have been wrestling with that ever-classic pseudo-punk question, “Should I stay, or should I go?” I am also asking myself, “What are relationships like either way?” and “What is my place in it, where ever “it” is?” How do I function, if I stay, in a church where I feel less and less like I fit or have room to breathe and really feel distrustfull of most people, particularly the current elders? If I go, ….

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You might be needed as the voice of a prophet, crying out in the wilderness.

But that takes energy. It takes … God. And even with those, one can - like Elijah - still get tired I suppose.

Possibly related deep thought with Merv here … (or deep something, anyway):

Very few things can more effectively blind people from seeing truth than having a ‘righteous cause’.

And if you read the above sentence and your first thought wasn’t about how well this applies primarily to your political enemies, … then kudos to you! Please share with all the rest of us how you did it.

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Assorted conspiracy theories come to mind first for me, followed by the highly politicized.

…and false nobility.

Ouch. I think I need a band-aid for my ego now. Maybe even an ice pack if you’ve got one.

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“Righteous cause”
Yeah. It’s killing me, trying to understand if this is my (self) righteous cause, or a legitimate time to go. After 21 years here, I feel like any alternatives I have demonstrated in contrast to “church 1.5” have made no measurable change, except in MY sensitivity to indirect rebuffs, the culture of the area I live in and the aspects of it that people here bring with them to church.
Thanks for the reminder that this is God’s “thing”, rather than mine. Jesus told all us, who comprose His church, he wouldn’t leave us alone, and reminds us that He is the head of his church. Walking through this by faith, though is tough, along with making decisions well, rather than self-righteously.

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I should say, I really can’t express how much I appreciate being able to hash this over with people, who are going through it, too, and who have similar concerns. It helps to hear wisdom (not self-righteous condemnation) from others, who also want to make the right decisions for the right reason. Perspective helps,

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Maybe I should have had everybody sign litigation waivers before I started swinging any big clubs around! Didn’t mean to be giving anybody a bad day! Sorry about that everyone.

I was just thinking that when I already just know I’m right about something (and if it’s something that involves me standing on what I clearly perceive to be higher moral ground), then something in me just stops listening as much to anything that might force me to nuance or rethink what I’m already so sure about. [And that’s not always a bad thing … I’m not going to go around thinking I’ve got to check into everything a flat-earther might suggest to me … my pre-settled convictions on such points save me a lot of time.]

Yessss. I finally decided that spending my time in the weeds of other people’s wrongness was just squeezing more and more life out of my already wounded hope. I need to put myself in a place where my hope can be nurtured back to health. Don’t know where that place is, but I’m certain it’s not where I’ve been all this time.

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No, it’s okay, we need that once in a while. And yeah, I do that too… even if it’s something that’s a 99 percent likelihood of being completely right about it, it’s still possible to go about it in a prideful way.

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Thinking back on Adrienne’s questions, the article Hillary shared, and Mervin’s challenging question: In some ways it seems like the easiest thing to do is just leave. I think many of us wouldn’t be part of this discussion, if we felt like “leaving” our churches, where staying isn’t easy at all, is obviously the best and rightest answer. I have never left a church for the reasons I am considering now; I’ve only left when I moved from the area. I am not aware of any NT situations that would help me understand what to do today; there were really no choices then, except to leave THE church all together.
I have never studied ecclesiology in depth before. But that’s what we’re talking about now, I think. Has anyone else? Any good tools (by that I mean well formed theological or theoretical frameworks) that can help give clarity or guidance in deciding what to do?
And yes, I’m praying the Spirit uses those things to guide my thinking.
While I have a tentative “exit plan”, I haven’t left yet, and don’t want to behave rashly (although this has been coming on for 20 years).

Maybe for everyone else, this discussion is done. And that’s ok. It just isn’t for me yet, and I’m willing to continue it with thoughtful people who are working through the same issues.

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I read A Church Called Tov this year. Although I don’t think all churches going the wrong direction these days are necessarily “abusive,” it helped identify dynamics that are healthy and dysfunctional. And some leaders get behave very dysfunctionally when anyone questions their direction. The book helps you think through whether or not things are workable. At the time I read it, I thought things were, but now not so much.

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I think we need community, so leaving has its problems also. I am fortunate in that the church community I am in is fairly diverse considering our location, but that puts a lot of 1s in the pews with 3s and 4s, so not ideal. At least I’m not the only 3 in a sea of 1s. If you have a few friends who share your thoughts and there is not comparable local congregation around, perhaps think of having a house church. Prayers.

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One thing I’ve thought of is that part in Acts 15 where Paul and Barnabas don’t agree about whether to take Mark with them. Paul is basically like, “Nope, not working with Mark” and he and Barnabas part ways over it and do their ministry separately. “And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.” So there’s some precedent, at least. Evidently they eventually worked it out because Paul (assuming traditional authorship) mentions Mark positively and implies he’s been around in 2 Timothy 4:11 and Colossians 4:10.

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Also, Paul had his hands full addressing problems at Corinth and elsewhere. False teachings were common subjects, drunkeness and not sharing at the Lord’s table, sexual issues, ethnic issues. While we might not have all the answers in this specific situation, we can take a little comfort that we are not alone in this age with conflict, as it has always been present.

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My NT prof at Wheaton used to make us answer in chorus his question “Why was this letter written?” with “Churches had problems!” over and over for all the NT letters.

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