Supreme Court Can’t Save the ChurchOctober 7, 2005
Harriet Miers, the nominative Supreme Court hopeful (as well as President Bush’s personal lawyer) has to face church problems the same as the rest of us. In an article in the Dallas Morning News, they reveal that she and Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht are members of Valley View Christian Church in Dallas. In fact, Justice Hecht personally introduced Ms. Miers to the Lord when in the 70s she left her Catholic roots to embrace an Evangelical faith. But just because they are high up in the judicial influence of this land does not mean they can prevent problems in their church. According to the Morning News they have trouble in the Valley View church:
But Justice Hecht also said that both he and Ms. Miers have recently left the church, joining about 200 others who are forming another congregation after disputes about staffing, governance and worship style since the arrival last year of Barry McCarty as “preaching minister.”
Ms. Miers attended a Sunday gathering of the disaffected group two weekends ago, said Mr. Key. He left the church staff this summer after more than 30 years and has been preaching to the as-yet-unnamed second congregation.
Ms. Wilson, the Valley View office manager, acknowledged that the split is painful for the church. “We’re in transition,” she said.
She noted that Ms. Miers attended Valley View while visiting a few weeks ago. “She’s still on the membership rolls here,” Ms. Wilson said.
But Justice Hecht, who has resigned as a church elder, maintained that Ms. Miers was joining him in leaving the church.
Apparently, Valley View is experiencing what many churches have gone through: The terrible agony of trying to mix the cultures and tastes of different generations together in their expression of worship and love for God. Not even an aspiree to the highest court in the land can prevent people from expressing their own agendas in church politics. It just brings to the forefront to me that one of the most difficult things in life is to get along as groups of people with common beliefs.
John Bevere wrote a book several years ago called “The Bait of Satan”. In that book, he said that the most prominent thought pattern ruining the lives of Christians is “personal offense”. Personal offense is the reaction we have when someone hurts us, betrays us, ignores us or takes us for granted. That offense takes a life of its own and can drive us away from the very people we are supposed to share community with in love.
One of the most aggressive sub-cultures of contemporary Christianity calls itself the “outchurched”. Many of them have been offended by things they see in church life and have left the Body of Christ in order to feel better. The problem with this is that the Body of Christ is also the Bride of Christ and as such, is loved by Him. To reject an individual group of people because they are not your “cup of tea” is regrettable, but sometimes necessary. But to reject “church” outright is to reject the One Christ loves. That is harsh. We may agree that Christ’s bride is not dressed in white yet, and that she has a lot of cleaning up to do. But that is not a good enough reason to tar and feather her.
I regularly hear an advertisement on radio where one preacher advertises his group by saying “we’re a church for people who don’t like church.” He is obviously appealing to those who feel disenfranchised by the legalistic morons of fundamentalism. But I would love to hear someone advertise their body as for “those who love His church”.
I would go there.