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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are church rules like pie crust?

(Public Domain)
The expression usually goes like this:  "Promises are like pie crust, made to be broken."  It is generally said flippantly by those who expect a certain amount of disobedience.

But is disobedience always such a bad thing?  That is to say, should outer allegiance take precedence over inner conscience?

A United Methodist minister was recently suspended from his pastoral duties for 30 days because he officiated at his son's same-sex wedding and was unrepentant about doing so.  This minister, Rev. Frank Schaefer, told a "jury of fellow pastors" that he "will never be silent again" about gay rights within the church, and then he emphasized:  This is what I have to do.

These words sound remarkably like those of another conscience-driven Christian - one who risked his very life to spark what we now call the Protestant Reformation.  It was Martin Luther who, while also being harshly judged by fellow Christians, asserted:  Here I stand.  I can do no other.

Considering that the United Methodist Church is currently the largest "heir" to Luther's Protestant legacy, how ironic it was for Schaefer to be informed that "… it wasn't a good Christian example for ministers to say it's OK to break the rules of your church."

Saintly Christianity is filled with examples of breaking through some crusty rules in order to experience the freshness of the fruits within.   


Copyright November 21, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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