Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thoughts on Healing a Divided Church

I have had over the past few weeks some thoughtful conversations with different people whose opinions I respect about the current situation at St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church. Others in the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church have approached my B-2/3 in an effort to re-engage her in some way. Understandable. The victors attempting to assuage and coopt the vanquished.

But there is one family among the vanquished where no such attempts are being made to extend the healing and helping hand of the church: the pastor and his family.

A good man, his lovely wife, and his wonderful children have been excised from the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church community as if they were a cancer. That may sound harsh, but I find the analogy to be quite relevant and appropriate. Who wants to see a cancer return to a damaged and healing body?

And yet these good people are part of my family's spiritual life. They have been an instrumental part of our faith community. They are also dear friends who we believe have been grossly mistreated. Why would we ever want to associate with a congregation whose current leadership not only has behaved so abominably in my eyes, but which has not even made an effort as far as I can tell to extend any compassion and love to the pastor and his family?

There is no home for the Hucks in such a community where our friends have been told in no uncertain terms how "unworthy" they are to be members of this community. And to the folks who may protest that this is not true, I would ask such folks to tell me how often they have reached out to the pastor and his family to try to tell them how welcome they are in their church community. I would ask such folks: How many of them have said a single kind word publicly about the pastor and his family recently? From what I can tell, the prevailing attitude is more of the "good riddance" and "don't let the door hit you on the way out" variety.

But I will say this: I will meet with any person from SCABC who wants to tell me his or her side of the story. I will listen. And then you will listen to me. And I promise civility. But don't expect me to be smiley and play friendly or nice. This won't be any "reconciliation" meeting. I ain't feelin' that way and I won't pretend otherwise.

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