In Practice: Church and State

Over the last weeks and months in particular, as I have less-than-studiously observed American politicians in operation, I have wondered if I operate the same way in helping make church decisions.

In what ways should the Church differ from the State in making weighty decisions?

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

The fewest should not decide for everybody.

Boiled down to the bare reality, three people in Congress made a decision for hundreds of millions of Americans.

To make such decisions with the simplest of majorities seems a major breach of justice.

Let it not be so in my church…even if “my side” would win.

“It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans.”

Do not use words to obscure and twist truth.

This is so easy for me to do!

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.

Ironically, that only solidified support for the legislation, clearing the way for conservative Democrats to vote for it.

If something is wrong in principle, don’t accept its premise by working to make “improvements” to it here and there.

Each so-called improvement serves to make the flawed whole more palatable to those most prone to compromise.

If something is wrong in principle…well, stand on that principle and don’t budge. (Just make sure you’re standing on Biblical principles and not on mere stubbornness!)

Nearly unanimous in their opposition, minority Republicans cataloged their objections across hours of debate on the 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion legislation.

United in opposition, minority Republicans cataloged their objections across hours of debate on the 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion legislation.

OK, my first point here isn’t about church. I just think it’s interesting how the writers and editors at AP forgot to remove one of those paragraphs. In this article apparently written pre-outcome, they apparently had sections saying things slightly differently to account for various potential outcomes. Then they could quickly strip out what didn’t apply and quickly run with a story. That makes sense. But requires extra vigilance against leaving more in the story than you meant to.

As one who writes a lot, that’s very instructive. 🙂

But to the lesson for the church….

Do not spend the congregation’s money lightly…or in advance of having it.

If I want a fellowship hall or a gym or a church bus, use existing funds. Don’t saddle others with future debt and other financial obligations.

Do not cram and cram and cram issues and provisions and language into a single motion.

Keep it all short and simple and clear. Especially clear. So that everyone can hear or read the entire motion in its entirety. And understand it. And vote sensibly. (Yes, recently I’ve had several congregational opportunities to put my practice where my keyboard is.)

If you don’t understand it or haven’t even read it, do not vote for it.

Can that possibly need any sort of explanation? 😯

But with little doubt about the outcome, the rhetoric lacked the fire of last summer’s town hall meetings….

Hey, AP! The “little doubt about the outcome” doesn’t really relate to the lack of fire. The fire at the town hall meetings didn’t come from the politicians…. But now I got sidetracked again. So to the lesson for the church….

When you’re in a position to make decisions that affect others, tune them in.

I think it’s very easy to forget that on church boards and committees. And I say that as one who serves on our congregation’s School Board and Mission Board.

Source: House narrowly passes landmark health care bill; my screen capture

Comment? Sure!

Above all, love God!
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