Monday, October 15, 2007
Brian and I are members of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ (DOC). I have been a lifelong member of this denomination. As a child, I belonged to the DOC because it is where my family worshiped. As a teenager, I wasn’t sure where I fit in and the DOC seemed as good a choice as any. And as a seminarian, in a polity class, I was drawn to the core values of the DOC and how I believed these values resonated with my beliefs. I found comfort (and still do) in the fact that the DOC are rooted in social justice. Social justice, I believe, was one of the fundamental principles and teachings of justice…
Three years ago, in seminary, it was so easy to say how I would promote values of peace and justice in the churches I served. I believed I would always be fighting for the oppressed—comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Looking back, I’m not sure I understood, or even could have understood, all of the dynamics and politics that go into a church.
So, I continually wonder, and perhaps you do as well, how to serve as a role model for my youth when it comes to social justice? I want to share my beliefs, encourage my youth to be prophetic, and really live out the teachings of Jesus. But, at the same time, I’m keenly aware of the fine line, as a minister, that we walk. I want to push, but not push too hard.
But perhaps I’m not pushing hard enough. Last week, John Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ—a church in which my denomination is in partnership with—was arrested at the White House while attempting to deliver a petition with 60,000 signatures protesting the war. Should John Thomas, the leader of a large mainstream denomination, serve as a role model for others to follow? Should we, as ministers of the gospel and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, be more vocal and less concerned about church politics and consequences of our actions? I don’t know. I plan to discuss this with my youth. In the meantime, I would love to hear what others have to say.