A few-days-ago, I found myself reading through a message board that is viewed by a great number of members of our church. Usually I don’t make a daily (or even weekly) trek to the site, but most often someone will call me, or send an email saying that my name has been mentioned either directly or indirectly. At that point, I will usually navigate my way there to make sure that what has been posted is an accurate portrayal of my thoughts or actions as an overseer. Most things I read are usually laughable and I move on, however, when something is clearly being presented in a false way, I will make a post, address the issue and go back to my other work. This approach has worked well for me.
On this particular day I saw a post that disturbed me more than anything I had ever seen there before. By way of explanation, the author was making light of the history, people and practices of the Church of God of Prophecy over that last century. I think what struck me the most was the fact that this post was so vicious, even though it was cloaked in the pseudo-covering of tongue-in-cheek humor. I immediately thought of the multitude of honest-hearted Christian believers whom I know personally, that are nothing like they were portrayed.
A little further investigation and perusal of the follow up posts led me to believe that the individual who posted this is a former attender of our church, and he is now actively involved in a church with many ex-patriots from our organization. It was when I discovered this that I realized that many of you may also read the previously un-named message board, and my hopes are that you will allow me to share with you, the readers of this blog with an answer to much of what I seem to find so offensive.
I’ve learned a long-tine-ago that critical thinking skills need to be developed by the ministers and laity of our church. We should not ever embrace anything without careful examination of all sides of a debate, including the motivations that may (or may not) be behind such issues.
I am a PROUD member of the Church of God of Prophecy, and I cannot ever envision being a part of any other church. Does that mean that I feel we are superior to the other bodies of faith? No, I’m not saying that at all, but what I am saying is that I was reared in this movement by a multitude of wonderful Christian examples of Godly living, and by a mother who always told me to look beyond the exterior of anyone and try to observe their hearts. Have we, as a part of the Christian faith made mistakes? Absolutely! Will we continue to make mistakes? Absolutely! Yet, as with all organizations we have the opportunity to seek the grace of God in our lives, and when possible we will make restitution for the errors, and we will pick ourselves up and go again, with the ultimate aim of one day hearing the Father say, “well done.”
I pity those who can’t seem to move beyond their hurts of the past, but at the same time, with the level of viciousness that they attack, I also can’t hardly believe that they are totally innocent of causing offense either. I wonder why people who all proclaim the grace of a loving, merciful God can’t seem to embrace the very concept they proclaim.
Today, I decided that I will only visit that message board when my name or actions are specifically addressed, and I will not allow myself to drop down into the gutter when some who claim the Name of Christ can so easily attack their brothers and sisters in the faith with impunity.
Having said that, let me share that there are some character traits that I highly value, and hopefully model to those I work with in the harvest of the Lord. I will briefly share them:
1. Honesty. Why take “cheap shots” at people who are not present to defend themselves.
2. Integrity. I have no time for dishonest people. Many of these posts drip with sarcasm, and half-truths. I find that shameful.
3. Hope. Of course we’ve all failed, but I am constantly filled with hope for a better future.
4. Loyalty. There is nothing wrong with being loyal. I’ve been a loyal soldier to my nation, I’ve been a loyal friend, and a loyal minister. Loyalty in an age of lascivious behavior is quickly becoming a lost virtue.
Finally, I know this has been quite a post, and I am sure you are going to really be wondering what I am talking about…but the offenders who read this blog know exactly what I am talking about, and I want you to know that while I am not bitter over what has been said about the movement we call the Church of God of Prophecy, I will not allow myself to settle into the cesspool of folly that has overtaken so many. There are too many lost and needy people needing help for their hurts and disappointments, therefore, I’m going to get off this computer and get back to the work the Father has called us all to do.