Friday, May 31, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 5)


Am I at fault?  Yes.  First, I committed what the Bible calls fornication or in modern term premarital sex, which the Bible told that a Christian must flee or avoid.  I had a choice not to put myself in a situation that it will be in the inevitable.  Is the dis-fellowshipped SOLELY my fault?  Even today, I will say that it is PARTLY my fault.  Why partly instead of entirely?  There are circumstances in which I really, really tried to settle.  I told her how to behave in our church.  I told her how to interact with people that you don’t like.  She didn’t do it.  Yes, she is doing it sometimes, when it is becoming very obvious (not reasons like insecurities, but again, I’ll not use them as an excuse.  Am I being unrepentant for saying that? NO.  After all, I knew in details of what I did wrong.  I accepted the hurriedly made disciplinary action.  I understood them for that.  After all, in my opinion, human as we are and divine as God’s church is, there’s no perfectly executed church discipline.  Yes, churches are equipped because they are familiar with Bible chapters like Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5.  However, other factor kicks in.  Another factor to consider is the style of church governance.  In a Congregationalist system of church governance, voices or sectors are usually divided into the following: the single men, the single ladies, the married ladies, and the married men.  Nowadays, another sector is rising: the semi or full feminist.  Name it.  When they saw a woman is in distress, they will side with her and fight for her. How the discussion goes depends on who are the most influential.  In the case of semi-Congregationalist churches, these sectors are still significant, but this time, the leadership of the few decides.  In a “theocratic setting”, this time, the Pastor decides. 

 

Even in this theocratic setting, the Pastor also takes into consideration the dynamics of the sectors.  Ultimately, he will also consider the offended party’s side.  Brethren, please take me wrong in saying all of this.  Whether we admit or not, our judgment is affected not totally in light of the Scriptures, but partly of the behavioral dynamics of our own church.  Sometimes, we call this discernment.    This, in my opinion, is the reason why my dis-fellowship status was extended for almost two years.  I was never angry or rebellious.  I accept this as a reality.  I see my Pastor as an ordinary person doing extraordinary works, doing a God-ordained church discipline.  Unfortunately, human as we are, there are really loopholes on how we execute it.  Instead of Biblical, it is partly becoming political.  I believe that these are all hard for him and also for my ex’s pastor.  We don’t want to hit sectors, or we are afraid these significant sectors will go out of the church because justice, they might say, is not served.  In my case, we wanted to have a form of justice to be given to the offended family.  In other words, we need a sacrificial lamb.  Did I accept the disciplinary actions that were to me? Yes.  In fact, even when I eventually got married to the lady, the disciplinary action became retroactive: I’ll not get married.  Not to mention that my youth leader’s traditional exit tribute or what our church calls “Ecclesiastes” were.  People usually say that if a person truly accepts the verdict and/or punishment, he will not speak and shut his mouth.  However, it’s not the issue of what I feel; it’s the issue of accepting and not putting a stop on those retroactive disciplinary actions.  Am I being rebellious in all of this?  No. Witnesses can attest that I never hindered any church related work.  Of course, there are usual disagreements on certain decisions, just like any regular church member (unless you don’t care), but generally speaking, I practiced loyalty, not by label or political alliance, but by affections. 

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