Day 11: OUTRAGE
Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Again, we get Jesus railing against the church leaders. Pulling no punches, he calls out their hypocrisy again: you brood of vipers!
Here is a thing that happened this year:
At our denomination’s Annual Conference, church leadership proposed that any minister who officiated at a marriage ceremony for two people of the same gender be immediately defrocked, no questions asked, no room for any possibility of the action being the result of a discernment of personal conscience, a prayerful and intentional pastoral act done in consultation with a couple, a congregation, scripture or a particular call from God (you know, that divine entity who scripture reports to be overly fond of calling unlikely people to unlikely tasks, almost always outside the bounds of accepted religious practice and polity? No, of course that isn’t possible. It’s not like our ENTIRE tradition was birthed when eight young people did that exact thing, out of that exact kind of call from that exact kind of God…).
At the very same time, perhaps just a few months before – church leadership failed to take appropriate steps to remove from privilege, power and position leaders who had – by their own admission – broken ethical covenants, ordination vows and dozens of bonds of relational and professional trust.
If that is not hypocrisy, I do not know what is.
To propose a punitive consequence and mandatory minimum for anyone who dares to cross a greatly disputed line in the sand while at the very same time struggling and failing to hold someone accountable for breaking unanimously agreed upon covenants.
Brood of vipers. “How can you speak good things,” Jesus asks, “when you are evil?”
This has outraged me. I have been raging for months. Both situations have been mitigated: the query is in committee and not (yet) polity. The covenant breakers have been removed and leadership has transitioned.
But I am still raging.
We don’t get this angry about things that don’t matter to us.
The church matters to me – it is and has been the most formative context of my life. I am church-shaped. The problem is that church-shaped doesn’t necessarily mean God-shaped. It doesn’t necessarily mean Spirit-shaped. It doesn’t necessarily mean Jesus-shaped.
And that sucks.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Better stretch my little church-shaped heart into something more resembling Jesus-shape.