Saturday, December 4, 2010

Church Joiner's Lament

When I set out to look for a church to belong to,
I have to find a church that believes exactly as I do;
Not fundamental, not evangelical, not judgmental,
Whose God loves me for who and what I am.

When I go through the door of a church I'm shopping,
I expect everyone to smile and greet me,
To rush up and make a big fuss over me
For deigning to consider their church as one I might join.

When I join a church, I bring life's baggage with me.
I will dump all my burdens on the pastor and the congregation.
They will have to give me the resources to cope with
My problems, and put things right in my life.

Every thing I need to know about the theology of my church
Will be carefully taught in the sermons of the clergy.
So there is no need to waste time reading stuff or
Meeting with a group of sanctimonious bible thumpers.

I tried to serve with some people in church activities,
When I noticed that they group together in insider cliques.
They are willing to have me do the scut work,
But they wall me off from their social friendships.

Then comes the appeal for money, known as "stewardship":
Money for expenses, money for buildings, money for missions.
The whole operation seems to be a money-grubbing machine.
I think they all sniff at the little bit I contribute.

So I keep going to this church half-heartedly.
It would be too much trouble to join another.
After all, they are sort of like my family:
Impossible to love, impossible to do without.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Corrupt Churches

Those of us in liturgical churches in the U.S.
Have much to complain about to God.
"See here, You have made a frightful mess,
And it's up to You to straighten it out!"

The Roman Catholic Church has been bankrupted
In settlements of the psychic damages caused
By the predations of pedophile priests.
The faithful are still faithful, but to what?

Churches are closed and sold off.
Seminaries no longer attract celibate candidates.
Rome refuses to ordain women priests.
And the war against abortion consumes all attention.

The Episcopal Church is now a gay church,
Announces the Bishop of New Hampshire.
Its presiding bishop rides a broom as she swoops down
To depose rebellious clergy from their priestly functions.

She and her hatchetman insist that diocesan bishops
Sue the rector and vestry individually
For daring to separate from her apostate church.
Assets are seized and doors are barred.

The Presbyterian church has split into factions.
The Lutheran church already was divided into rival synods.
The largest has now inspired another schism
In the debate over the role of homosexual clergy.

So far the Methodists are holding together
But the forces of divisiveness keep pressing issues
That will eventually corrode the denomination
In the same way as their brethren churches.

Is there no end to these bitter factional quarrels?
Where does theological truth lie?
We need another Great Awakening
To put things right in God's house.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Closing Prayer for Discussion Group

Almighty God, today we studied your Word.
Today, and tomorrow, and all the days thereafter,
We must practice what it means to be Christian
In a troubled and difficult world.

We must love God with all our heart,
We must love our neighbors as ourselves,
Jesus tell us to do so in our daily lives,
By following the directions He has given us.

To be an example, to be a witness
To the revealed truth that makes us free.
To tell the good news to all who will listen,
That his grace makes us pure in heart.

So that we can bear any burden, endure any suffering,
Obtain the strength to carry on in life's tests,
And celebrate the joys we have on earth,
Until we achieve eternal joy in his kingdom.