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Get Ready to Run

Once upon a time, in a small rural town, I was a Baptist pastor. In the congregation that I served, we had a meeting for the entire community. Since everyone had a vote, it was a free-for-all. I would nicely say it was utter chaos. And all we needed to decide was a minor detail of procedure.


Once upon another time, in a larger city, I was a Presbyterian pastor. In the congregation that I served, we had a meeting for the leaders (both laymen and ministers). Since everyone there had a vote, it was a free-for-all. I would nicely say it was utter chaos. And all we needed to decide was a minor detail about polity.


Once upon another time, in a different small rural town, I was an Anglican priest. In the congregation that I served, we had a meeting for the clergy (myself) to meet with the people. Since everyone there had a voice, it was a free-for-all. I would nicely say it was utter chaos. All we needed to decide was how to reach out to the surrounding community.


Once upon another time, there was a group of Catholics who left the Catholic Church (i.e. the church of England). They hung tight for a while in their traditions. Eventually, they decided to have some meetings and allow theology and practice to be determined by vote. Since everyone had different ideas about what was the most pleasant way to incorporate modernism into their congregations, it was a free-for-all. I would nicely say, it was utter chaos. All they needed to decide was how to be faithful to God.


These are just a few examples from my experience. When we fall into the error of imagining that truth and practice are decided by a vote, then we will always end up in disaster. Knowing how this has played out in the past, I do not have much hope for it ever working out in the present or the future. I read today that Pope Francis wants to allow the laity to vote on the decisions of the Bishop's Synod on Synodality (no, I am not making this stuff up). I do not have to go outside to be sure: I can hear the thunder rumbling, and there are shadows from the dark clouds gathering. If an angel knocks on your door, do whatever he says and get ready to run.

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