Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Church fights

I can't stand it when people in my own army turn their weapons upon one another.

I belong to one of those Mega churches that is not having a Christmas day service. Of course, we are having 11 (including all campuses) Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve Eve services. If other churches or individuals are questioning our ability to sacrifice, well, I've seen the people that are employed at my church, I know many of their spouses. They sacrifice. My husband and I volunteer and love doing so, but I need to get on the ball and get all of my shopping done, because once the services begin we will probably be helping out (Eric's father is dealing with cancer, so much of our schedule depends upon how he is doing.) Our Christmas message is aimed at the crowd that comes twice a year, so it is meant to encourage people to become Christ Followers. It is very evangelistic. Such a service can't help but fuel the Body of Christ.

Maybe the reason so many disparage our church's decision not to have a service on Christmas comes from a misunderstanding of our own church's history. All I can say, is that we are a protestant church so we do not have a theology that reveres tradition like the Catholics have. We believe the Bible calls us to set aside a day for worship and rest, and it calls us to be in community with other believers. Beyond that, we have no laws or traditions to bow down to. In fact, our church has worship services on Saturday anyway. We are not canceling our Christmas services, we are adding more and rearranging the schedule. I think some protestant churches place more value upon traditions (i.e. meeting on Sunday) than Baptist Churches (our particular background) which pride themselves upon being autonomous, locally controlled entities. So I like to think that many of those who harbor criticism simply misunderstand our particular understanding of scripture. If this is the case, then the debate needs to center around our not holding all of our services on Sunday throughout the year--not just those on Christmas.

Would it cause such an uproar if we held just Saturday services on any other weekend? If not, then I don't think there are philosophical grounds for anyone to criticize our church's decision not to have Sunday services.

In fact, December 25th is an arbitrary date anyway. And we are not commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ. Perhaps we should all go back to the Bible and try to determine what it really says. I know we are called to live sacrificially, but that should look different for different individuals and different local churches. We all have our own particular mission and place in the Kingdom and that should be a beautiful thing. I'm sorry that some people are taking up arms about a season and a time that should only showcase our joy.

All in all, News agencies so want to stir up a fight amongst those who follow Christ. It makes for good TV. "Lets see what the gentle Christians are doing. Uh-Oh, it looks like they are ripping each other to shreds again. How fun, let's watch."

Why do we engage in these internecine wars? In what part of the Body (And when we engage in this argument on national T.V. the Body looks like it is fighting infection), does this seemingly trivial matter belong.

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