Politics in the church? I am shocked.

So, I received a circular today (Hint to people paying the postage for all this stuff : I’m not a delegate) containing an analysis of certain events in our synod.  I received two issues of a newspaper that, like most members of synod, I can tell you what was in it, but I never read it myself.  The Rebel Alliance website is all up in arms over the politicking going on in the synod,  and the odds in Vegas are now running 50-50 on the election of a new dear leader.

There is no politics like church politics.  One side says, “We planned to do this poorly out of the gate.”  One side says, “The numbers are in our favor.  This time we can win it all”.  One side says (What, you thought there were only two sides here? Cute.  Naive, but cute.) “It’s time”.  One side is attacking the candidate from 9 years ago.  One side is encouraging people to vote for new structure only if they will also agree to vote for the old president.  One side is leaking details from the Purple Palace.  One side is decrying the leaks from PP.  One side is…  Well, you get the idea.

Politics, by its very nature, distracts us from what we should be doing as the church.  (Technically, I should be working on something besides this blog post that will actually matter in the church.  And you should be doing something besides reading this blog.  Get back to work!)

So, how to encapsulate my feelings about this whole thing?

First : So glad they are delegate conventions.  And I’m not one of them.

Second : Remember these words :

For my part, if I am to write the truth, my inclination is to avoid all assemblies of bishops, because I have never seen any Council come to a good end, nor turn out to be a solution to evils. On the contrary, it usually increases them. You always find there love of contention and love of power (I hope you will not think me a bore, for writing like this), which beggar the description; and, while sitting in judgment on others, a man might well be convicted of ill-doing himself long before he should put down the ill-doings of his opponents. So I retired into myself; and came to the conclusion that the only security for one’s soul lies in keeping quiet.

Who wrote this?  How about Gregory Nazianzus, who presided over the Council of Constantinople?  You know, the one where they finalized the Nicene Creed.  Yeah, that one. Or how about this gem:

You call me? And I hasten, and that for a private visit. Synods and Conventions I salute from afar, since I have experienced that most of them (to speak moderately) are but sorry affairs. What then remains? Help with your prayers my just desires that I may obtain that for which I am anxious.

So it turns out that, since at least 381 AD, people have been saying, “This is the convention that will really decide the future of our church!  This is the important one!”  And since that day, Gregory has been out there, advising that we attend to our parishes and forget the politics.

Which I have now done.  Back to work.


One Response to “Politics in the church? I am shocked.”

  1. I love that there are people saying, “Vote for the BRTF proposals but only if Jerry gets elected!” These are the people you can trust. They make no effort to conceal that it’s all about power. It may not be so clear with the other “sides” of the political game, who all accuse each other of being only after power. How refreshing to see people with the honesty to tell the world, “Restructuring the Synod can be good or evil, depending on who gets to take advantage of it.”

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