As I head to St. Louis for denominational meetings this weekend (The Moderators’ Conference and the Mid-Council Leaders’ Gathering) we will talk about many things. Among the things we will not be talking about:
- Your church building’s boiler problems.
- Whether or not congregations should host Halloween parties.
- Harvey Weinstein. (Ok, somebody might bring this up.)
I love a Church that’s willing to grapple with issues that impact the way we live our lives. I love a Church that’s a safe place to disagree with each other (while still respecting and loving each other.) I love a Church that takes time to remember our mission and regularly consider if we are fulfilling that mission or not.
Specifically, I’d love to know if your church offers opportunities to discuss these things:
- Sex. Sexuality. Sexual Health. Yes, our kids should learn about these things at home. But if we can’t talk about them in Church as well – in the context of being created in the Image of God – where can we talk about them? Imagine if every kid in the world had a trustworthy church person he/she/they can talk to without fear.
- Skin Color. A Pew Research report in September found that “most Whites think White people get little or no advantage from their race.” This would be a good thing to talk about in predominantly White Churches. Ta-Nehesi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power would be a good book to read together unless you still haven’t read Waking Up White by Debby Irving.
- Poverty. Among the comments I’ve heard recently in church contexts are these:
- There are no poor people in the United States (at least compared to refugees.)
- There is nothing we can do to alleviate poverty. (“The poor will always be with us.”) For the love of God order this book right now.
- I have my own debts to worry about.
- Poor people only have themselves to blame.
Could we please talk about these things in Church?
I know, I know. You don’t want to get into politics. And it’s so much easier to talk about boilers and Halloween and Harvey Weinstein. But the Bible doesn’t talk about frivilous things. The Bible talks about money and power and abundant life.
When was the last time our congregations had a healthy conversation about money and power and abundant life? People’s eyes glaze over when I talk about the institutional Church but this is what we are talking about in Church Meetings if we are taking God seriously.
Please pray that all of us will take God seriously this weekend. We could start by turning to one person and saying something like, “Could I talk with you about something that’s been on my mind?” And then, go talk.