Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fun at the Ministerial Alliance meeting
Perhaps you have read previous posts referring to the Ministerial Alliance. For those unaware, (and I don't know if this exists outside of Oklahoma or not; I suspect it does) the various ministers and/or Pastors of the ecclesial communities of a given locality gather together to support community wide projects and ministry done in the name of all the ecclesial communities of the town. The meetings of my town's Ministerial Alliance are monthly over lunch and we coordinate activities ranging from food drives, assistance to the poor (we all share the same voucher system for the needy), Lenten prayer services, etc. The various Pastors seem to be kind men and genuinely dedicated to our town, following Christ, and the mission of Christ. Not all Pastors attend the meetings. Often, other duties prevent one or more of us from attendance and some Pastors don't come at all. I'm not sure why some choose not to come, but that is the reality. Anyway, today's meeting was full of plenty of laughter and some pointed remarks delivered with some humor. Remember the humor as you read my account. None of what transpired was said or done with hate or a critical tone.

Here is a brief dialogue I found humorous and which I share with readers. All names are anonymous with the exception of mine:

At one point, discussing things the Alliance could do together, things that bring us together, Pastor A said: "While there is denominationalism, there is a lot more that brings us together. We are united on many beliefs. We all believe that Jesus is God. We ... We ... Uh ... And we all believe a couple of other things."

Pastor B (turning to me): "We all believe in the Apostles' Creed."

Me: "Well, sort of, but I'm not sure we would all agree on that."

Pastor C: "Well, now, we don't have a creed. Our denomination was explicitly founded to be non-creedal. [At this point, I am desperately biting my tongue, wanting to say, "Uh, but that would be a creed, too." I resisted.] I mean, locally I say for my congregation: We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and we seek to serve him in the world. But that isn't the denomination, that's just us locally."

Pastor B: "Okay, fine. But that's a creed," he added with laughter. [At this point I wanted to cheer: "Hallelujah! You've got it brother! Keep going! It's starting to make sense!" But I resisted.] He went on, "What I am trying to say is that whether we call them creeds or not, we do all believe the truth communicated by the words of the creed." Pointing to himself he said, "This Christian believes the Apostles' Creed." Then pointing to me he said, "That Christian believes."

Me (raising my shoulders and nodding): "Well, of course, it's our Creed."

Pastor B: "No, it's ours. We did change the part where you say ... uh, ... 'holy, apostolic...'"

Me: "Yes, 'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic'."

Pastor B: "Yes, that part. We changed 'catholic' to 'universal' because people didn't want to think we were saying we are Catholic."

The exchange was all done with some humor, no one left offended or hurt, but it does expose some rather telling gaps and conundrums, doesn't it?

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