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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Some thoughts on churchmanship (personship)

Senator Barbara Boxer and Secretary of State Rice got into a bit of a dust-up this week about "the ultimate price" neither of them risked paying for decisions on Iraq. Sentaor Boxer said she was excluded because of her grown children being ineligible to serve and Secretary Rice was excluded because she is single and childless. While I do not think single people are incapable of making policy decisions that do not affect them personally, I think it raises the point about a person's context.
I would have a hard time taking marriage advice from a person who eschews marriage. I would have a hard time taking advice on music from someone who is tone-deaf, or about sobriety from an active drunk. Context determines credibility on many things.
The blog I wrote on Arvid Adell caused me to reflect on the wise voices that have influenced my theology. They all came out of a context of obedient, active and servant churchmanship (personship). These were scholars who taught and wrote, spoke around the country at gatherings, but also sat on Deacon Boards, taught Sunday School classes, and wrangled through budgets.
I have been encountering in the past couple of years, acknowledged and even successful voices on the church who have little or no churchmanship. These were strident voices urging change and renewal who did not attend worship. One person was a paid Sunday School teacher, brilliant in many ways, but who, after class, packed up his material and drove home, not attending any church. What's the signal here?
As I have been watching the Sundance Channel's compelling docu-soap on Jay Bakker "One Punk Under God" I am more than ever aware of the need for solid churchmanship (personship) to undergird our thoughts and words. With all the stirring "emergent" voices, we need to wonder where they worship week after week? To which body are they intimately committed? Are they tithers (at least sacrificial givers) to a local church? Do they serve in any place dimmer than the limelight? Would they take a turn in the nursery or convalescent home? Do they teach Jr. high Sunday School and help clean up after pot-lucks?

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