Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why stay?

Ever went to bed on Sunday night thinking you needed a vacation?

I know pastors sometimes do. One or more services, probably teaching an adult class, maybe confirmation, and maybe a shut-in visit. Just a lot to do.

And it's not just pastors. Lay members (especially in smaller congregations) do a lot, too: Sunday school, hospitality stuff. All of the ordinary, day-to-day, wonderful faithfulness that -- humanly speaking -- makes the church work.

Which is to say that there's a lot to keep us busy.

But we are often more tired by the psychological jobs. A stressful encounter with someone who gets on our nerves. A nagger. Arguments with your spouse.

I think the psychological aspects of remaining in the LCMS are sometimes underestimated. Dealing with the crud on a day-to-day basis is tough. Which is one of the reasons I encourage a measured, thought-out plan to leave affiliation with such an organization: because staying is more stressful than most imagine.

Leaving is just that, leaving. It's not a divorce, it's not (in itself) sinful, it's not wrong. It's just leaving. We shouldn't make it any more complex than it is.

I wish there could be a meeting of all sides (there are many: old-time libs, confessionals, conservatives, church growthers, "old Missouri," and charismatics)and we could just smile at one another, and say, "You know, this isn't working. Let's agree to separate everything out, and 2 years from Tuesday, we'll divide with a friendly handshake."

But that's not going to happen. Leaving is not consigning those who remain to outer darkness. One doesn't even have to judge or condemn those who don't. It's just leaving. It's that simple.

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